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Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

Dr. J recalls the day in his autobiography

 In the early 1970s, basketball artiste Julius Erving, dubbed “The Doctor” by a childhood buddy, was a living representation of Black Power. With a three-dimensional, frequently improvised game rooted in years of disciplined work and blacktop experimentation, and a face framed by flat-top afro and squared-off
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sister Souljah’s ‘A Deeper Love Inside’

 The Coldest Winter Ever, published in 1999, established Bronx-born orator/educator/organizer/essayist Sister Souljah as a first-rate novelist. The book set a standard for urban/street literature still unmatched. Its sociopathic
Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

A rock star’s funny, profound, profane autobiography

If one person epitomizes the many dualities of rock music—brutality and tenderness, bombast and subtlety, artifice and spirituality, self-reinvention and deception, exhilaration and despair, heroism and hubris, intelligence and lunacy—that person would be bandleader/singer/guitarist/songwriter
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

TSOL's Jack Grisham digs deep

Imagine, as literary premise, a demon in young Caucasian male form. So far, so Goth. Make this demon handsome, athletic and intelligent. Put him in Huntington Beach, Calif. Have him surf, hate Reagan and listen to Rodney Bingenheimer...
Monday, June 21, 2010

Graphic novels like ‘Area 10,’ ‘Bronx Kill’ appeal for mercy

Distinguished by arresting black-and-white art, DC Comics’ Vertigo Crime imprint shares a high-contrast look, fast action, and a macabre allure with DC’s incipient 1930s comic books. Like many early DC stories, two of Vertigo Crime’s six newest graphic novels, Area 10 and The Bronx Kill, take...
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Terry Teachout looks at the musician and the man

Terry Teachout’s previous biographical subjects are George Balanchine and H. L. Mencken, so it’s a boon to Louis Armstrong fans that Teachout chose the great man for this new life story. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) brims with insightful quotes...
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

Detective novel filled with exquisite detail, explosive energy

Are you sitting down? Thomas Pynchon—post-surreal political hippie/punk slinger of prose full of history, hilarity, piss, vinegar and exquisite, often distracting detail—has written an old-fashioned detective novel, Inherent Vice (Penguin), and it’s less than a thousand pages...
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Otto Penzler captures great African-American storytelling

The state of book editing appears precarious. Editor Otto Penzler's Black Noir (Pegasus), an anthology of "dark" fiction by black American writers, spans more than 100 years, and much of it is great. But look out for punctuation, formatting and spelling mistakes, including the embarrassing instance of a gun's report printed...

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