Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock 'n' Roll Since 1967

You won't find a lot of flyers or album art in this massive, lavishly illustrated volume. Rather, these critical essays are matched with full color reproductions of artworks to show how avante-garde artists and rock bands have mutually inspired one another through the past forty years. It begins -- as it must -- with Andy Warhol's two-year collaboration with the Velvet Underground and surveys the phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic. The fascinating juxtapositions that follow include Richard Hell's poignant analysis of the graffiti at CBGB and Dominic Molon's look at the effects of Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton on the thoroughly "mainstream" -- yet still highly art-conscious -- Beatles. Simon Reynolds matches Yoko Ono's "conscious regression" with Brian Eno's early devotion to the primacy of the artist over the medium. Both Ono and Eno injected vital experimentalism into a rock scene dominated by the cult of virtuosity and musicianship -- and arguably prepared the ground for the DIY punk culture of the '70s and '80s. Most of the art accompanying these thought-provoking pieces stands well on its own, though some of the plates of video installations are hard to fully appreciate on the printed page. On the whole, however, this is a gorgeous work that makes manifest the creative vitality that visual artists and musicians share. -

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.