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Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

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Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Maupassant, Selected Short Stories
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

The editor made a big thing out of not including "The Necklace," which I think is a mistake; it's probably his strongest story. These are good, but it took me a while to get into …

Screening Party
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

Hilaaaaaarious. A group of people sitting around making catty comments about various movies is sometimes hard to translate to the page, but Hensley does a great job with it. His friend Tony and I must …

Running with Scissors
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

Read it in one day. It's sort of a Sedaris/Mary Karr hybrid, but that's not a bad thing, and it's not derivative, I didn't think, although it might seem like I thought that. I can't …

Rumble Fish
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

Probably the best written of the S.E. Hintons, but with the least likable characters. Rusty-James is a straight-up jackass.

Robert Kennedy: His Life
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

It's a bit dry sometimes, but totally worth grinding through the slower spots, because it gives you a really good sense of the world at that time and the background on certain Big Moments In …

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

A very quick read. The writing is somewhat uneven in terms of the diction, because Stacy Horn goes back and forth between kind of parroting tough detective-speak and writing more formally and deeply about the …

Reflections in a Golden Eye
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

I'm glad it was short, because after a while, that affected Southern Gothic business gets to be a bit much. McCullers is a good writer, but does every character have to be fucked up in …

Reel Shame: Bad Movies and the Hollywood Stars Who Made Them
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

It could have used tighter editing in several spots, but it's very funny.

The Real Lincoln
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

The authorial editorializing bugged me, right up until the end; DiLorenzo's tendency to clutch his pearls dilutes his arguments. I will admit that I don't particularly want to believe any of the evidence against Lincoln, …

Raw Deal: Horrible and Ironic Stories of Forgotten Americans
March 5, 2007 · No Comment

The title pretty much says it all. I love Ken Smith's writing style, and it's a super-fast read, really interesting (but kind of depressing at the same time; the Charles Goodyear chapter is so bleak). …