Roxy and Coco by Terese Svoboda

West Virginia Review by Walter Cummins My fine feathered friends. That phrase, dating back to the 1500s, occurred to me after I read Terese Svoboda’s novel Roxy and Coco. The…

The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness by Jonathan Haidt

Penguin Review by Walter Cummins We’ve all probably witnessed similar scenes afternoons when school is out, middle schoolers gathered in groups, all fixated on their smartphone screens and ignoring each…

Passport Photos by Amitava Kumar

California Review by Walter Cummins A tangle of borders dominates Amitava Kumar’s Passport Photos. The most obvious are the boundaries between nations that require verification of a small booklet to…

American Spirits by Russell Banks

Knopf Review by Walter Cummins It may be me, but I find the three stories of Russell Banks’ posthumous American Spirits collection to be examples of gallows humor despite the…

3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool by James Kaplan

Penguin Review by Walter Cummins Despite the depiction of the many triumphs of three of the greatest jazz musicians—many might argue of musicians in any genre—3 Shades of Blue is…

The Freaks Came Out To Write : The Definitive History of The Village Voice, The Radical Paper That Changed American Culture by Tricia Romano

Public Affairs Walter Cummins In my long-ago youth I was one of the thousands of young poseurs, the wannabes from the outlying regions like New Jersey, who descended on Greenwich…

Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life by John Gray

Picador Review by Walter Cummins As I read John Gray’s Feline Philosophy, I couldn’t help thinking of the concluding lines of Archibald McLeish’s “Ars Poetica”—“A poem should not mean / But…

Erasure and American Fiction: Percival Everett in Fiction and Film

Graywolf Press | Orion Pictures Essay by Walter Cummins Is if fair to compare a book and its movie version? A friend who was a Hollywood writer argues that they…

A Scrap in the Blessings Jar: New and Selected Poems by David Bottoms

LSU Review by David Starkey Now that I’ve read A Scrap in the Blessings Jar, I’m not sure how the late David Bottoms flew under my radar for so long.…

God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning by Meghan O’Gieblyn

Doubleday Review by Walter Cummins Meghan O’Gieblyn opens and closes God, Human, Animal, Machine with detailed descriptions of her meaningful relationships with beings—in effect, machines— that were the creations of…