Book Reviews Feed

New York Times Magazine Chief National Correspondent Mark Leibovich was looking for a distraction from his regular job covering politics so he decided to examine something far less controversial: the National Football League. (Wait, that doesn't sound right.) Leibovich dove head-first into the saga that is the NFL over a period of four years and came out on the other end with his new book, Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. (Release date: September 4, 2018.) The author doesn't hide the fact that he's a lifelong New England Patriots fan. In fact, he fully embraces it. Whether you think... Read more →

Longtime fans remember well the dramatic transformation that hit the pro wrestling landscape in the mid-1980's. A longstanding collection of regional wrestling territories were challenged by Vince McMahon as he sought to turn his father's Northeast-based (then) WWF into a national company. McMahon upended tradition with sweeping talent raids, aggressive use of the emerging cable television industry, maximizing the new pay-per-view universe, and providing a more cartoonish form of wrestling aimed towards children. The other promoters tried a variety of ways to block McMahon's plans. One by one they fell, and wrestling would never be the same. It's a fascinating... Read more →

Bob Woodward's latest book, Fear: Trump in the White House, has been all over the news for the last few weeks, and with good reason. The veteran political reporter provides a harrowing look into the inner workings of Donald Trump's administration, and it's alarming. It's not that the book reveals another side of Trump, it's that it demonstrates his known failings are even more extensive and dangerous than have been reported. Fear shows that the biggest daily task his staff and cabinet face is not carrying out his agenda (not that he has a defined one in the first place.)... Read more →

Fred Rogers was a key figure in the lives of millions of children over the course of his career. They watched his groundbreaking television program, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and learned about kindness, compassion, love (for themselves and others), and other critical values which would stay with them for the rest of their lives. Rogers believed that adults needed to respect children and understand that they were not simply "little adults," but rather individuals who had their own unique hopes, fears, and questions. He believed that emotional learning was more important than factual information for young children, and he dedicated his... Read more →

Sumner Redstone has been a media titan for decades. The son of a movie chain owner from Boston, Redstone expanded the reach of that business until it was an empire that included CBS and Viacom (which also meant companies like Paramount Studios and MTV, among others.) He made a lot of aggressive decisions and angered many people along the way (including numerous relatives who ended up suing him.) His seemingly biggest ally/foe is none other than his daughter Shari Redstone, who has now replaced him at the top of the mountain, although her father's presence is still felt. The Redstone... Read more →

There are millions across the country who long for a return to the days when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in the White House. The bad news is that they won't be returning to fix our immigration policy. The good news is that the two men reunite in the new action-packed crime thriller/bromance parody, Hope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer. (release date: July 10) The book is set a few months after the 2016 election, and Joe Biden is still figuring out what to next with his life. His former best friend Barack Obama doesn't seem to be having... Read more →

I realized after his recent death that I've never read any of Anthony Bourdain's books. The late chef/TV host was a captivating presence any time I'd seen him on television, but not being a "foodee" per se, I'd assumed these books would not be for me. However, it's always good to challenge assumptions, so I went to the local library and checked out Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Published in 2010, Medium Raw is the follow-up to Kitchen Confidential, the book which launched Bourdain into super-stardom. It's a collection of... Read more →

Robin Williams fans will be interested to learn that HBO has a new documentary coming out about the late comedian. Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, will debut on July 16, and the first trailer just came out. Take a look: At first glance, the documentary has the same feel as Dave Itzkoff's new biography of the man. Robin Williams was a creative genius. However, it seems like he was also always the shy kid looking to connect with others, but never able to quite find what he was looking for. This may be a sad program, but we won't... Read more →

It was purely by chance that I picked up the paperback copy of Chuck Klosterman's X* A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the 21st Century, when I walked into the bookstore. Or was it? The first page I flipped to mentioned Van Halen. The second page was a discussion about KISS, and the third had something to do with Creed. Those three names alone made it clear this was a book that needed reading immediately. X is a collection of culture writer Klosterman's essays on a variety of topics over the last ten years. They're mostly split between music... Read more →

There will always be a special place in my heart for Robin Williams. I was in awe of the comedian when I was a kid. The way his mind seemed to be working at 100 mph as the quips flew out of his mouth during his stand-up routines was spell-binding. His movies could be hit-or-miss, but Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting are some of my all-time favorites. His suicide in 2014 was personally devastating, and the world hasn't seemed as funny ever since. With that in mind, I couldn't wait to read... Read more →