New Books Network

Lee Ambrozy, “Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009” (MIT Press, 2011)
Anyone who has been following the news this year has likely heard of Ai Weiwei. This provocative and gifted Chinese artist-activist has made 2011 headlines for his controversial work Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads and for his recent arrest by Chinese police. What has been less widely appreciated is Ai’s profound... Read More
Eric C. Schneider, “Smack: Heroin and the American City” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
When I arrived at college in the early 1980s, drugs were cool, music was cool, and drug-music was especially cool. The coolest of the cool drug-music bands was The Velvet Underground. They were from the mean streets of New York City (The Doors were from the soft parade of L.A….);... Read More
Danyelle Freeman, “Try This: Traveling the Globe without Leaving the Table” (Ecco, 2011)
Danyelle Freeman, better known as “Restaurant Girl” and a judge on Top Chef Masters, is single. But if you are considering asking out the petite and spunky brunette, you are going to have to compete with some stiff competition. “I prefer a great steak over a great man,” Danyelle said... Read More
Sheree Homer, “Catch that Rockabilly Fever: Personal Stories of Life on the Road and in the Studio” (McFarland, 2010)
“On July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black forever changed musical history,” writes Sheree Homer in Catch that Rockabilly Fever: Personal Stories of Life on the Road and in the Studio (McFarland, 2010). It was on this day that the trio recorded Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup’s “That’s... Read More
Maria Yatskova, “Miss Gulag” (Neihausen-Yatskova & Vodar Films, 2007)
In this episode of NBRES, we’re doing something a bit out of the ordinary. Instead of interviewing an author about his or her new book, we are going to talk to filmarkerMaria Yatskova about her documentary film, Miss Gulag (Neihausen-Yatskova & Vodar Films, 2007), on the women’s prison UF-91/9 in... Read More
Alan Nadel, “August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle” (University of Iowa Press, 2010)
Many scholars consider August Wilson to be the premier American playwright of the 20th Century. Alan Nadel is surely one of their number. In the early 1990s, he focused our attention on Wilson’s plays in the outstanding collection of essays May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama... Read More
Peter Filichia, “Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season 1959-2009” (Applause, 2010)
Speaking to long time theater critic Peter Filichia, one is reminded of listening to an old-time sportwriter talk about baseball. The Broadway he describes is full of colorful personalities, anecdotes, dates, numbers, and trivia. His spirit is enthusiastic and infectious: he’s turned his love of Broadway into a career. It’s... Read More
Thomas R. Sinclair and C. J. Sinclair, “Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change” (CABI, 2010)
The men, women and beasts aboard Noah’s Ark almost certainly were drunk a lot of those 40 days and 40 nights, according to Thomas R. Sinclair, a professor of Crop Science at North Carolina State University, and his wife Carol Janas Sinclair, a researcher, the authors of Bread, Beer and... Read More
Joe Carducci, “Enter Naomi: SST, L.A. and All That…” (Redoubt Press, 2007)
SST Records was a seminal label in Los Angeles’s independent music scene of the 1980’s. Founded in 1978 by Greg Ginn, SST released records by a slew of influential bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Saint Vitus, Husker Du, and Sonic Youth, to name just a few. Naomi... Read More
George Hunka, “Word Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama” (Eyecorner Press, 2011)
George Hunka’s book Word Made Flesh: Philosophy, Eros, and Contemporary Tragic Drama (Eyecorner Press, 2011) offers a series of challenges, provocations and meditations on Theatre (with a capital “T”). It’s a valuable piece of work to wrestle with, inviting both consideration and criticism. Much of Word Made Flesh is distilled... Read More