[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]
What We Talk About When we Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander. Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani (New York Times).
What a great title. Not only does it allude to one of the great short story writers, but it conveys a lot about this story collection in just a few words by walking the fine line of irreverance. Englander’s got chops, so a new collection by him is exciting. Like Carver’s collection, Englander ties his stories with a theme, but in his case, a much more direct one:
Whereas Carver’s stories focus on the difficulties of emotional connection and tend to feature isolated characters living in a present quite divorced from conventional social and political concerns, Mr. Englander’s people define themselves largely through their embrace — or rejection — of Jewish orthodoxy and tradition.
This book is definitely worth a look.
The Wolf Gift, by Anne Rice. Reviewed by Elizabeth Hand (Washington Post).
Woah, Anne Rice is moving on from vampires? Is she going to explore new creative angles and maybe write something literary and deeply personal? What’s that, it’s about werewolves? Oh.
The Origins of Sex, by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. Reviewed by John Barrell (Guardian).
Given the date, I gotta have at least one sex thing on here. This book looks like it might be a slog (though a far cry from stumbling through Foucoult). But the review is interesting enough. How the “origin” of sex was about 400 years ago in Britain is beyond me, but you can’t fault the guy too much for an imprecise title.
Quickly: Bristol Palin bribes (begs) people over craigslist to come to her book signing. If for some reason our creepy list wasn’t enough, here’s a list of books for Valentines Day. Death Comes to Pemberly sounds kinda good.
Bonus Book Trailer: Another cool one. We’re finally on a roll.