Displaying articles for: December 2011

The Infinity Puzzle

The average citizen, playing with his or her iPhone, spares not a moment's thought for the scientists who made it possible. Happily, a worthy remedy to this shameful gap in our communal knowledge comes in Frank Close's The Infinity Puzzle. Written with pellucid prose, a keen eye for salient details, a talent for the illuminating metaphor, a passion for the topic, and a novelist's gift for portraiture, narrative, and suspense, this book plumbs the rich roots of our current scientific understanding of how the universe works, down where it all gets fuzzy and weird.

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The BN Review on Pulse for NOOK

Now you can enjoy the Barnes & Noble Review on your NOOK  with the free Pulse app.  Take great writing about books and reading with you wherever you go.

 

Download the Pulse app (click here for NOOK version) to select from a wide assortment of news and entertainment categories.  You can group them according to your tastes, and read anywhere, anytime through Pulse's image-rich, dynamic interface.  The Barnes & Noble Review looks as great when viewed through Pulse as it does on the web -- and as all of our reviews, essays and features are posted there, you won't miss a thing. (Here's a shot of what Pulse looks like in action.)

 

To get the BN Review on Pulse, once you've downloaded the free app to your device, you can add sources  -- look for the Review under the "Entertainment" category.  Once you've added us to your home screen, that's it.  Your device will automatically update, bringing you the latest from the Barnes & Noble Review. Pulse works great on iPad, iPhone, and Android-based phones, too (click here for these versions of the app).

 

And thanks, as always, for reading.

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The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

No amount of prior study or imaginative mental time-travel can prepare the reader for the outré and unsettling sights to be found in Julia Suits's wild and wacky...The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions. Burly, topless businessmen clad in hula skirts and ankle bells. Blindfolded clerks riding a Satan's Derby's worth of mechanical goats. Regally crowned shopkeepers plummeting down trick staircases. Farmers committing suicide by cannonball. The mind reels, as these uncanny vestiges of an extinct realm tease our wits and senses with devilish confusion. Chaos reigns supreme!

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Five Books on Korea

In the wake of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il's death, suggestions for reading about the enigmatic nation have been circulating via Twitter, including frequent mention of Adam Johnson's forthcoming novel The Orphan Master's Son, which follows a boy from life in the labor camps to work as a professional kidnapper.

 

Earlier this year the BNR featured a Five Books list of informative titles about Korea -- North and South -- led by Barbara Demick's penetrating study Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.

 

The full list of suggestions follows.

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Graeme Wood on Christopher Hitchens

 Atlantic contributing editor and BNR contributor Graeme Wood discusses the influence and legacy of Christopher Hitchens.

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A.C. Grayling on Christopher Hitchens

"Even those who were on the opposite side of any argument from Christopher Hitchens," writes A.C. Grayling, "were compelled to admire the sharpness, control, and extraordinary richness of his mind."

 

Click "Read More" to see his full rememberence.

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Remembering Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

The literary world grapples with an enormous loss today:  Journalist, author, and provocateur Christopher Hitchens has died of pneumonia, arising from cancer of the esophagus.  His death was announced by Vanity Fair, where he had been a contributing editor since 1992. 

 

His reputation was built on his eloquence, his delight in putting entrenched opinions to challenge, and his eager assumption of Orwell's mantle as a defender of truth against ideological distortion. His impact as a stylist -- Hitchens wielded both a deadly wit and an implacable sense of joy in literary combat -- was as large on his fellow writers as his politically unclassifiable positions (he defended atheism as fiercely as he did the War in Iraq) have been on the surrounding culture.

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Christopher Kimball Picks His Favorite Cookbooks

Wondering what to get the chef in your life? We asked Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of America's Test Kitchen and author of such delicious cookbook classics as The Cook's Bible and Fannie's Last Supper, to share with us his Holiday Cookbook Buyer's Guide for 2011. Click to see his mouthwatering choices

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The Sexual History of London

The transgressive writer Samuel Delany has theorized that one major reason for the creation of cities in the history of civilization was to provide more and better sex than could be found in pastoral or village settings. By this measure -- and according to the randy evidence found in the endlessly entertaining, illuminating and simply shocking new book by Catharine Arnold, The Sexual History of London, that storied city must be accounted a shining beacon in humanity's progress.

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April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.