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The Week’s Best Book Reviews 4/27/2011

[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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The Tragedy of Arthur, by Arthur Phillips. Reviewed by Michael Dirda (Washington Post).

I’m not really sure what’s going on with this book. It’s a novel that purports to be a release of a lost Shakespeare play. At first I thought it had something to do with Double Falsehood. I’m not really sure quite how the book is set up, but it contains a whole 5 act play and the “preface” is 250ish pages about Phillips so I can’t help but think Pale Fire. Dirda is a book reviewing all-star, but in this case his review only lends to my confusion about this novel–I can’t tell if he’s being tongue-in cheek and playing along or confused as to if this is real or post-modernism (I have to assume the former). Still, it looks like I’m going to have to get a copy and evaluate this for myself.

Get a copy of The Tragedy of Arthur at Powell’s.

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Bottom of the 33rd, by Dan Barry. Reviewed by Stefan Fatsis (New York Times).

Nico already mentioned this book a few weeks back, but I liked this review so I’m listing it. Fastis reviews insightfully. Last time I was home my dad was talking about this book, and though it might sound kind of boring at first (an account of the longest recorded baseball game, played in AAA Pawtucket), it turns out to be rather fascinating. Pretty sure only in baseball would an archaic rulebook omission allow for an unbroken 8 hour event.

Also, it turns out there were some pretty big name players involved, including Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Neato.

Get a copy of Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game at Powell’s.

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The Extra 2%, by Jonah Keri. Reviewed by Jon Thurber (Los Angeles Times).

This review’s a little older, but I wanted to point out this book anyway. I just got it from the library and I’m excited to read it. Keri spent a lot of time studying the Tampa Bay (née Devil-) Rays, and documents just what they did to go from basically being another Montreal Expos to the World Series and to becoming a perennial contender in the toughest division in baseball. Sucks for Keri that the book launched alongside a 1-8 start for Tampa, but they’re playing better now so hopefully that helps his sales.

Get a copy of The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First at Powell’s.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. Reviewed by Brooke Allen (Barnes and Noble Review).

I never really cared much for Wilde, but nonetheless I find it fascinating that the original version of his famous novella has never before been published. I’m not so much amazed that the book was somewhat heavily censored, as I am that the uncensored version has apparently just been sitting on a shelf for a hundred years. If you are into Wilde, or never before read Dorian Gray, this edition is for you. Even if not, Allen’s review is smart and concise and worth reading.

Get a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition at Powell’s.

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Bonus Book Trailer: Sticks to what I’ve dubbed the Choppy Text PowerPoint Method, but at least they’ve added a little production value and original art. (Joe Croscup reviewed one of the books in this series favorably, might be worth a look.)

The Week’s Best Book Reviews 9-21-10

[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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Room, by Emma Donoghue, reviewed by Aimee Bender (New York Times)

I included a book trailer to this book in my last installment of this feature. This book intrigues me; it looks to do some interesting stuff with narrator and perspective. And it looks kinda creepy. This review is definitely worth reading in its own right, as Bender is no slouch of a writer herself.

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Zero History, by William Gibson, interviewed by Douglas Gorney (The Atlantic)

Nico mentioned this novel last time, but I wanted to point this out anyway. Rather than a review, this is an interview with the legendary sci-fi writer. I actually haven’t read very much of Gibson’s writing, but he still fascinates me. He’s got a very particular and insightful way of looking at the world, and this new book seems to express this nicely. All and all an intriguing interview, whether you are the type to read a book like Neuromancer or not.

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Dogfight, A Love Story, by Matt Burgess, reviewed by Max Ross (Star-Tribune)

Whether Ross came up with it or a Star-Tribune editor did, the title of this review, “A Pro’s Prose,” is clever. And I want to believe Ross in his praise of Burgess’s writing, because as he describes it, this book sounds like it plays in the same ballpark as Junot Diaz’s excellent The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  And that’s high praise for a debut novelist. Here’s a snippet of what he says:

The following are consolidated into a single plot: drugs, dogs, “Street Fighter 2,” the Mets/Yankees rivalry, the Nas/Jay-Z rivalry, McDonald’s infuriating late-night drive-thru policies, and a gun. The main story is that Alfredo’s brother, Tariq, is being released from prison, and Alfredo must steal a pit bull for Tariq, so that he can participate in a dogfight. The plot is fun, original, addictive and totally negligible. The real draw is Burgess’ prose.

I’ll probably give this book a shot.

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As a bonus this week, here’s a sweet book trailer:

Zombies vs Unicorns Anthology Book Trailer from cosproductions on Vimeo.