Category Archives: books

Reza Aslan’s new book, in which he becomes a pantheist

Reza Aslan’s new book, God: A Human History, came out five days ago. Click on the screenshot to go to the Amazon page: Curiously, despite Aslan’s recent television series, Believer, the book doesn’t seem to be garnering a lot of attention—or praise. (But perhaps that’s because his series was dreadful and got canceled.) The book got […]

Favorite fiction of the last 200 years

I was talking to my friend Tim last night, and told him I’d come upon a Guardian list of novels that everyone should have read before leaving college, and that the list included Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (seriously?) as well as Lord of the Rings (a good and entertaining read, but not nearly as […]

Evolution-dissing, teoleogical, Templeton-funded book gets a star on Kirkus

A book called Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism has Failed to Explain it“, by J. Scott Turner, came out September 12, published by HarperOne.  It hasn’t sold very well, despite Amazon recommendations by Intelligent Design advocates and Discovery Institute members Douglas Axe and Stephen Meyer and, amazingly, a starred […]

Questions about a new book on the Right, and NPR’s misstep in reviewing it

Reader Cesar called my attention to an Internet fracas I’d missed. You can read a bit about it in the Wall Street Journal, though it’s behind a paywall unless you’re a subscriber. Judicious inquiry may allow you to find their piece. The book at issue is a new one (published on June 13 of this […]

The latest skinny on Kirkus’s penchant for censorship

I’ve written twice (here and here) about American Heart, an upcoming young adult (YA) novel by Laura Moriarty (out January 2018), and how Kirkus Reviews dealt with it unfairly. The book is about a hypothetical America in which Muslims are put into detention camps, like some Japanese-Americans (citizens!) were during World War II, and in which a […]

How Kirkus changed its review of American Heart after mob pressure

Yesterday I reported  that Kirkus, one of the three “biggie” reviewing services that vets books for libraries and readers before publication, had removed a prized star from one of its reviews: that of American Heart by Laura Moriarty (out January 2018).  It’s a “young adult” novel describing hypothetical America in which Muslims, as were many Japanese in […]

Kirkus retracts a starred review because of ideological impurity detected in a young adult book (long before it’s published)

Kirkus, along with Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, are the three “biggie” pre-publication sites that can help make or break a book, for they issue reviews before a book is published, and orders for books are placed based on those reviews. Starred reviews (only one star is ever given) are particularly prized, as those are the […]

Biloxi pulls “To Kill A Mockingbird” from eighth-grade readings

From the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, we hear of a new example of book-banning in the Biloxi school district of that state. As is often the case, the book is To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), a wonderful novel by Harper Lee that won the Pulitzer Prize and was, of course, made into a superb movie.  […]

A book recommendation: “Unwanted Advances” by Laura Kipnis

I recently wrote about the mess that resulted when the Obama administration (the Office of Civil Rights) sent its “Dear Colleague” letter to American colleges, in effect telling them that all cases of sexual assault and harassment on campuses should be adjudicated by a “preponderance of evidence” standard: if it’s more likely than not that […]

Lecture by Cat in the Hat Woman

Thanks to a reader who sent me this ten-minute video of Massachusetts elementary school teacher Liz Phipps Soeiro, the woman who wrote a mean letter to Melania Trump after receiving a copy of The Cat in the Hat, which Soeiro characterized as not only a “clichéd”, but “racist propaganda”. She apparently forgot that she had been photographed […]