BY SEAN CLARK
[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]
Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern, and Emails from an A**hole: Real People Being Stupid, by John Lindsay. Reviewed by Courtney Crowder (Chicago Tribune).
I love the opener to this review: “They may both be Web site-to-print books, but only one of them is funny.” The former is the funny one, just so you know. CBS made a TV show of it staring William Shatner (my inner grammar geek thinks they should have retitled it “Shat, my dad, says…”). The original Twitter feed was pretty funny, so I can’t see why it would be any less funny compiled in a book. In fact, judging from this review, it’s better for it. The review is short, but Crowder does a good job of parsing the good and the bad in these two titles.
Sunset Park, by Paul Auster. Reviewed by Mark Athitakis (Barnes & Noble Review).
B&N’s web mag is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots to go for book recommendations and reviews. (Also, there’s a pretty good review up now about Elvis Costello’s new album.) I’ve never been much of an Auster guy–I got sick of The New York Trilogy about halfway through. That said, I’ve been meaning to give him another shot for a while now, and Athitakis’s well-written review makes me think that maybe I should start with the author’s newest work before revisiting the old.
The Interrogative Mood, by Padgett Powell. Reviewed by Steven Poole (Guardian).
We did a JABBIC of this book, which is written entire in questions. Frankly, that sounds like a dumb idea and I’d be pretty shocked if this book didn’t suck. At the very least it has to get grating after 5 pages. Poole’s review rightly lampoons the dumb conceit of this book. It’s fun to read the review, though I think it’s the last thing written all in questions that I’ll read hopefully forever. What do you think? Does it sound annoying? How many questions can I tack on to the end of this paragraph before you just skip to the next? Four?
Life, by Keith Richards. Reviewed by Liz Phair (New York Times).
I’m not really one for biographies, but you know this Rolling Stone with the resilience of a cockroach–the emperor/exemplar of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”–has got to be full of juicy stories, and at least some of which have to be incredible. The book’s been getting a lot of press, and been lauded more than once as actually pretty good. Not sure what Liz Phair is doing writing book reviews, but the musician does it competently, and I enjoyed her perspective. This is a long review, but worth the read.
Bonus Book Trailer: Somewhere out there, there’s a vault with a box full of potent Viagra within! Riveting!