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Showing 1-40 of 1,244
Ten Thousand Saints: A Novel
This novel's advance copy comes filled with breathless "in-house praise" and a back cover full of promotional strategies. This energetic campaign may reflect the mood of the setting, the …
The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to
Books on the Provos, the dominant faction after the 1970s IRA split with their more Marxist comrades, tend to fall into two categories. Historians and academics tend towards heavily footnoted, analytical …
BIC Triumph 730RT Gel Pen (0.7mm), Black, 12ct
I reviewed the Bic 537 RT last year; this 730 feels very similar. It has the same .07 width, the same rubber grip style if a slightly altered and tapered rather than even wraparound design, and the same …
reviewed H-p1. June 22, 2011
posted in Music Matters
H-p1
Combining stoner steadiness with spacious soaring, this compresses vocals to a growl. This enigmatic trio expands guitar effects and percussive clatter. Not much of a message can be discerned from the …
on the road to babadag
Roaming the rarely touristed backroads of Central and Eastern Europe over perhaps seven years and accumulating 167 stamps in his Polish passport, this chronicler begins by noting how the third …
The Bluffer's Guide to the Cosmos
If you found the Smartest Guy in the Pub and he turned out not to be Stephen Hawking, he might sound like the author of this spirited 85-page whirlwind tour of where--and within which--we live.  In …
A Death in Summer: A Novel
Detective Inspector Hackett early on finds to his disappointment not a murder but a seeming suicide, but then not one, "for the corpse was holding the gun in his own hands." The ensuing narrative …
Instant Immersion French Levels 1, 2 & 3
What I liked? It's fun to play vocabulary building games and flashcard quizzes, and to see the attractive male and female "talking heads" demonstrate the pronunciation and intonation of …
reviewed Entering Zen. May 24, 2011
Entering Zen
Fixing a sewer pipe, buying paint, wielding a chainsaw, riding a motorcycle, and changing a diaper: Zen moments can arrive anytime. Poet and critic Ben Howard shows us, in seventy-five essays about a …
Logitech Wireless Mouse M185 - Swift Gray
I'm using this straight out of the box. It's easy to install, as long as you keep the little nano-USB port in your computer-- it has a space inside the battery door next to battery for storage, …
Stick Out Your Tongue: Stories
After "Red Dust," immediately I read this. I found that the section "The Woman and the Blue Sky," shows up nearly verbatim, if with subtle shifts of emphasis or description, as the …
Red Dust: A Path Through China
In 1983, this dissident left a failing marriage, his daughter, and Beijing to wander China three years. This travelogue compresses and distorts time; it's matter-of-fact and mundane. Not a lot happens …
Behind the Wall : A Journey Through China
After reviewing his excellent "To a Mountain in Tibet" (2011) and "Shadow of the Silk Road" (2007), I enjoyed this 1987 account of his 1985 Chinese travels. Thubron's unsurpassed …
Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions
This Irish poet-critic teaches in St. Louis and frequently summers in Colorado. His continental crossings led him to connect writers from the West of Ireland with those of the American landscapes he visited. …
reviewed False Beats & True Hearts. May 20, 2011
posted in Music Matters
False Beats & True Hearts
After Galaxie 500, guitarist Dean Wareham led Luna towards increasingly lower volume, channeling the Velvet Underground's tension into lounge-tinged and club-inflected indie-rock. Similarly, drummer …
reviewed Wilderness. May 11, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Wilderness
If you want to revive the sounds of that city's new-wave clubbers of the late 70s and early 80s, follow these five Swedes. On their third release, they turn, despite their press release, not towards …
Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary
Rob Young's quest spans the last century's search for pastoral evocations and folk recreations of a British quest to summon its lingering "ghost memories". Over 600 pages, narrated with …
reviewed Silence. May 08, 2011
Silence
Many praise this incisive, painful novel's merits. It tells of the fate of the last Portuguese missionaries sent to Japan after it cracked down on Catholicism in the early 17c. It's a grueling, …
reviewed Soul Mountain. May 08, 2011
Soul Mountain
This existential, postmodern, mystical quest is based on the writer's 1983 trek into southern China. After he learns his diagnosis of lung cancer is false, he seeks renewal as he searches for "Lingshan," …
Troy Parfitt's
Neither panda hugger nor dragon slayer, Sinophile or Sinophobe, after a decade teaching English in Taiwan, this author took his first mainland tour, three months the year before the 2008 Olympics. This …
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity,
God won't go away. But monotheism should erode: lest we increase ignorance and blood sacrifice. That's Onfray's thesis: "By aiming for paradise, we lose sight of earth. Hope of a beyond …
reviewed Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews an.... April 27, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews
For American consumers of his "Rip It Up and Start Again" post-punk history, this raw material and added fiber's nourishing. A chapter was cut there that appeared in the British edition, …
A Radiant Life: The Selected Journalism of Nuala
The consistency with which the late Nuala O'Faolain relates her thoughts echoes in this collection, largely of her columns for the Irish Times of Dublin. She combines erudition with no-nonsense observations, …
Watching the Door: Drinking Up, Getting Down, and
This reads as if a mad picaresque tale. Myers as first a reporter for RTÉ (Irish state radio and television) and then as a freelance journalist with no real experience, finds himself wandering …
Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews
For American consumers of his "Rip It Up and Start Again" post-punk history, this raw material and added fiber's nourishing. A chapter was cut there that appeared in the British edition, …
reviewed Lost Revolution. April 26, 2011
Lost Revolution
How Fenians turned leftists, and then split into militants and paramilitaries, one faction campaigning, the other operatives bankrobbing, to bring about a 32-County Socialist Republic sounds familiar. …
reviewed Led Zeppelin Five. April 25, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Led Zeppelin Five
On many small labels, since 1987, John Andrew Fredrick and his band craft gritty power-pop. On their eleventh full-length album, The Black Watch features what Fredrick, a professor of English, creates …
Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the
A solid combination of travelogue and memoir, this takes us into a land where until recently, few could enter. And, with the tourist tax and limited access now, few can afford to visit. It reminded me …
Bending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland
This retells and expands the coming of those who engendered their own myths about ancient Ireland, and those whom they met. The Invaders here turn antagonists, unlike their counterparts in Celtic origin …
reviewed Something Dirty. April 21, 2011
posted in Music Matters
Something Dirty
If Pete Frame drew a family tree of this experimental band, founded in 1971 in Germany, he'd face a challenge. The newest release comes with a respectable pedigree, from founders Jean-Hervé …
The Essential Chogyam Trungpa
In bold fashion, this Tibetan lama challenges us to find secular, or Buddhist, enlightenment. Neither placid nor full of platitudes, this compiles 38 pieces from fifteen books in print. It may daunt most …
The Snow Leopard (Penguin Classics)
This blends memoir with history, travel with insight. He presents Zen Buddhism filtered through a keen eye and a sympathetic voice as it meets Tibetan dharma. This occurs amidst magnificent landscapes …
Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982
He mixes autobiography with history, travel with insight. He presents Zen Buddhism filtered through a keen eye and a sympathetic voice.      The spiritual side contends with the physical …
reviewed The Empty Mirror. April 21, 2011
The Empty Mirror
This iconoclastic memoir provides one of the earliest "I went to Asia and tried to find enlightenment" narratives from what became the counterculture. After philosophy studies, affairs, working …
reviewed 3M Mouse Pad with Gel Wrist Rest, Bea.... April 21, 2011
3M Mouse Pad with Gel Wrist Rest, Beach
This takes up little room and can be carried easily in a laptop case. It grips much better than others I've used. The small size enhances portability, a plus for me as I move my laptop about often …
Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai
This very accessible narrative carries wide appeal. With so many eager to learn more about the Dalai Lama, this popular, yet well-researched account aims at the curious reader who may want the dramatic …
The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why
Wade seeks "to try to understand religious behavior from an evolutionary perspective." That our minds carry an instinct "to believe in gods neither proves nor disproves their existence." …
reviewed The Brothers' Lot. April 21, 2011
The Brothers' Lot
Promoted as a comic satire but often an ironic fable, Holohan's debut excoriates the Catholic-run schools in a vaguely postwar Dublin. As a graduate of the Irish Christian Brothers' schools there, …
A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism
Not a journey "to," but "in" this Buddhist enclave, before or as it succumbs to the rest of the world's ways, Harvey's quest takes in his own spiritual and existential condition …
Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree and Other Works of
What's this first-ever anthology of "Buddhist fiction" offer? Editor Kate Wheeler comments how according to dharma, everything's already a fiction; stories represent "a redoubled …
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