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The Week’s Best Book Reviews 4/25/12

[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]

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When I Was a Child I Read Books, by Marilynne RobinsonReviewed by Andrew Delbanco (New York Times).

Robinson is a fantastic author. Her essays are no doubt as great as her novels. I really like her notion here that, at least to her, “lonesomeness means the opposite of isolation,” instead allowing for a means of appreciating the world that surrounds her. It sounds, however, that this book of essays might be a little too Christian-focused for my taste, but her skill with words will likely make up for that. To be honest, I really mostly want to read this one because of the title.

Find it on Goodreads.

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Dropped Names, by Frank Langella. Reviewed by Ada Calhoun (New York Times).

This review is pretty funny, mostly from all the quotes it pulls from this book. Langella shares the dirt on a slew of Hollywood icons, most dead and/or from a bygone era. Still, this book looks worth a look. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear about how he and Raul Julia teamed up on Jill Clayburghfor “a pulsating Oreo cookie with nothing remotely chaste about where our hands and mouths wandered”?

Find it on Goodreads.

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The Baroness, by Hannah Rothschild. Reviewed by Rachel Cooke (The Observer).

It’s a little tough to believe there wasn’t a whole lot of drugs involved in this one. Nica, a young British aristocrat in the late 40s, hears a Thelonious Monk  album, and promptly decides to walk out on her husband and 5 kids, and spend the next 36 years more or less as a jazz groupie. The book’s nonfiction, written by Nica’s great niece. Sounds pretty crazy, but could be a fun read.

Not currently on Goodreads.

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Quickly: Kevin Smith talks retirement. A column intended to weed out the good self-published romance from the bad. English, the mongrel language. Pulitzers were ballsy(?) not to award a prize for fiction this year, and the publishers are being grumpy about it. Are you smart enough to work for Google?

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Bonus Video: Apropos of nothing, I just like this.

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