Displaying articles for: November 2012

Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson

Mark Siegel newest graphic novel, Sailor Twain, which he both wrote and illustrated, leapfrogs him into the ranks of "creators to follow." It is exceptionally good, its story being fully the equal of any prose novel of similar scope and ambition, with of course the additional benefit of some gorgeous and sophisticated artwork. That Siegel conceptualized the project and roughed it out over the course of his daily commute alongside the inspirational Hudson River during several years only adds some glamour to his substantial achievement.

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The Caning

Stephen Puleo has invested a vast amount of research into the events surrounding and including the moment on May 22, 1856, when Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina thrashed Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a gold-topped wooden cane on the floor of Congress. The Caning casts the facts into a compulsively readable narrative which does honorable, evenhanded justice to all the players and issues of the era, while teasing out not only similarities with our present antagonistic politics but also some educational differences.

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The National Book Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's National Book Award winners: Katherine Boo, Louise Erdrich, William Alexander and David Ferry. In celebration of last night's ceremony, we wanted to look back at some of our coverage of the winners.

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"The Way We Choose to Cook Will Also Determine How We Live."

Bee Wilson, author of Dsicover Great New Writers Holiday 2012 pick Consider the Fork, discusses the "single greatest improvement ever to occur in kitchen technology," the one item cooks tell her they really love, and the graphic novel her teenage son convinced her to read, among many other things, with Discover Great New Writers.

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The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver shot to fame during the 2008 election, when out of the welter of political polling he correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential race in 49 out of 50 states. Since then his blog FiveThirtyEight -- the name comes from the number of votes in the Electoral College -- has been subsumed into The New York Times, where he nailed almost all the 2010 congressional and gubernatorial races. His role is somewhere between a commentator and a bookie. Political types might worship him, but for Silver politics is a purely quantitative undertaking, not so far from his original beat of fantasy baseball.

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July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page proves herself to be the Alice Munro of the supernatural, in these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small town wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).