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A Load of Hooey

It’s Mr. Show fans who’ll find the most to love: Some of these pieces, which generally run two or three pages, read like outlines for sketches.


The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

Mantel pokes and prods and scratches at our tiny collective wounds, opening them into something much bigger. Readers may find the stories uncomfortable, but also hard to put down.


A Vision of Fire

Readers can only hope they, along with Anderson, learn enough from this first trial to improve on the next one.


The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

A well-paced, page-turning popular history featuring a lively, character-driven blend of scientific discovery and gender politics.


The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty
Kirkus Reviews : Quantum Moment (October 13, 2014)

Always entertaining and meticulously composed, this book will reorient your relationship with the quantum.


The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer

Bostwick’s beercentric account of the world will delight beer lovers, food historians and home brewers.


The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests presents a detailed, colourful and vivid, if over-long, view of life in an era when, despite the culling and maiming of a generation of men, and the achievement of a kind of emancipation for many women, patriarchal values still held sway


Murder at the Brightwell

If you’re a fan of traditional mysteries, you’ll enjoy this one.


Nora Webster: A Novel

In its subdued way, Nora Webster is ultimately uplifting — and well worth savoring.


Belzhar

While I enjoyed bits of this book, it does have a depressing edge being immersed within the grief and depression surrounding the characters.


The Dog: A Novel

The Dog is an oblique but searing commentary on the refusal of a generation of bankers, lawyers, regulators and politicians to take responsibility for the mess they’ve made of the world, and the complicity of a sense-shirking, buck-passing legal language in that mess.


Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

The overall portrait of “Not That Kind of Girl” is actually not of a selfish girl. It’s of a candid, thoughtful woman who considers being female “a sacred joy,” and who, despite her neurosis, simply isn’t as self-centered as the character she plays on TV.


The Hundred-Year House

Equal parts screwball comedy, intellectual sex farce, historical drama and old-fashioned ghost story, “The Hundred-Year House” sometimes feels like the precocious love child of John Irving’s “The Hotel New Hampshire” and a rousing game of Clue.


How to Build a Girl

The pace of “How to Build a Girl” is easier and kinder, though no less feminist. Moran’s novel shows what her manifesto tells.


100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write

“100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write” is in fact a work of profound moral organization: It arises from the Woolfian notion of a feminine form, sure enough, but its deeper purpose is to define the artist’s relationship to truth and to demonstrate how, from within the correctness of the artistic process, life can be meaningfully understood.


The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour-and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News
The New York Times : Prime Time (October 10, 2014)

It’s hard to come away from “The News Sorority” feeling anything less than admiration, if not reverence, for Couric, Sawyer and Amanpour.


Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice

That anyone can walk this walk under the scrutiny Sotomayor bears — as a Puerto Rican, as a woman and as a moderate constitutional thinker — is the real story here. Whatever her elixir, it should be bottled and sold.


Bad Feminist
The New York Times : Arguably (October 10, 2014)

The eager pride she takes in being different — “I am an acquired taste” — can read more like personal branding than political conviction.


The Fame Lunches
The New York Times : Arguably (October 13, 2014)

Merkin’s most striking trait is her fearlessness with regard to her own denial and rationalization, especially on the subjects of weight and finances. If there is anything truly shameful left in this world it is self-deception, and Merkin deserves laurels for the willingness she shows in interrogating her own.