Friday July 15th, 2011

The Beat

A most-often weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

Any review titled “Bullshit Heaven” has to have something going for it. Jed Perl has a lot of smart fun shaking his head at a new collection of essays by academics about Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light: “The entire subject of Thomas Kinkade is a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. I am not always sure whether the authors gathered together in [this] collection are being grimly sincere or shamelessly ironic. I wonder if they themselves are in some doubt about this.” . . . Peter D. Kramer reviews Adventures in the Orgasmatron (got your attention?), about the “fascinating, unfairly overlooked” Wilhelm Reich, who wrote “a book that forever changed the way psychotherapy is done,” and went on to “crazily, confusingly … elaborate a dream of a society saved by sex.” . . . Kenneth Sherman praises the recently republished One Foot in America, a 1950 novel by Yuri Suhl that Sherman says “covers much of the same territory as [Henry] Roth’s masterpiece, but whereas Call It Sleep is dark and brooding, Suhl’s book is a fast-paced, entertaining picaresque.” The book “tells the story of Sol (Shloime) Kenner, a good-natured and strong-willed immigrant who relishes his passage from ‘greenhorn’ to fully fledged American in the mid-1920s.” . . . Only available online to New Yorker subscribers, Joanna Kavenna’s consideration of John Banville and his mystery-writing alter ego Benjamin Black is well worth your time. . . . Henry D. Fetter reviews a book about baseball’s struggles to float during the Depression, “in which Ronald Coase and his eponymous economics theorem share the page with Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio, and balance sheets outweigh box scores as basic source material.”