Monday July 25th, 2011

The Beat

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

In my first review for the New York Times, I look at Daniel Orozco’s short story collection Orientation, which gathers stories that have appeared in literary journals over the years. Highly polished, they examine the lives of office dwellers who face banal indignities on the clock and pointed crises off it. . . . The week’s most entertaining review comes from Daniel Akst, who looks at the current state of small-town newspapers (print and digital) as shown in a book written by Judy Muller. There’s more than one anecdote worth reading aloud to the person sitting next to you, so go read it. . . . Etelka Lehoczky praises Alice LaPlante’s Turn of Mind, a thriller told from the perspective of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease: “From agonizing, slow-motion-car-crash moments to the ironic frissons of a good horror movie, [LaPlante] hits every bell.” . . . Adam Goodheart reviews David S. Reynolds’ new book about Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “a kind of biography of the novel itself, tracing an arc that spans two whole centuries, from [Harriet Beecher] Stowe’s birth in 1811 to the present. In a sense, it is also a history of American culture from the era of Transcendentalism to that of television miniseries.” . . . Richard J. Evans, the author of an acclaimed trilogy about Nazi Germany, reviews a new book about William Shirer, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. He praises the account of Shirer’s work, saying it “has much of interest to say about the life of a foreign correspondent in the war-torn Europe of the 1930s and early 1940s,” but says the book is also riddled with historical errors.