Tag: Politics

Apr 17 2018

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

I read The Gatekeepers, a book about White House chiefs of staff, like the grad student and extremely minor Washington insider that I used to be: acknowledgments first, then scan the bibliography, then a look at the notes, then the main text. In this case, I also read the last chapter, which is about the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/17/the-gatekeepers-by-chris-whipple/

Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/31/brick-lane-by-monica-ali/

Mar 25 2018

Spook Street (Slough House #4) by Mick Herron

I need more Slough House books. You guys don’t understand: I need them (she says, tapping her veins.) It’s so unfair that Book 5, London Rules, isn’t out yet in the US. ANYWAY, with Spook Street, the Slough House series has officially become my favorite spy series. Aside from being smart and topical, these novels …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/25/spook-street-slough-house-4-by-mick-herron/

Feb 03 2018

Berlin by Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean gave his book on Berlin the subtitle “Imagine a City.” His American publishers changed this to “Portrait of a City Through the Centuries,” which is odd because it loses the ties to MacLean’s prologue “Imagine” and epilogue “Imagine Berlin.” Further, the book is not a portrait but rather a collection of almost two …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/03/berlin-by-rory-maclean/

Oct 10 2017

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

How to review a book by one of the most polarizing politicians of recent memory describing an election campaign and aftermath that still elicit strong feelings from large swathes of the electorate? If you think Hillary Clinton is the devil incarnate, I’d be very surprised that you’d even consider reading this book, and then I’d …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/10/10/what-happened-by-hillary-rodham-clinton/

May 28 2017

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

As far as fantasy novels go, this has a great setting and characters (with one exception that I’ll get to in a minute) and above all atmosphere. Essentially an alternate world take on Weimar Berlin before the fascists’ rise to power, it depicts life lived on a razor’s age, hedonism in the maw of societal …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/28/amberlough-by-lara-elena-donnelly/

May 01 2017

Tales of the Squee

The height of my to-be-read pile could be measured in years, if the books could somehow fit into a unified pile. And that doesn’t count a particular moving box in the basement, in which some really good books, or at least some really interesting-looking books are awaiting their turn to come upstairs. (Some of them …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/05/01/tales-of-the-squee/

Apr 25 2017

Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor

Neil MacGregor was Director of the National Gallery in London from 1987 to 2002 and of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015. He is now Chair of the Steering Committee of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. His best-known previous book is A History of the World in 100 Objects. That background goes a long …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/04/25/germany-memories-of-a-nation-by-neil-macgregor/

Jan 03 2017

Landscapes of Communism by Owen Hatherley

Owen Hatherley places Landscapes of Communism at an intersection of several modes: serious but not academic architectural criticism; political and social history, as reflected in a region’s built environment; companion for both travellers and residents; and thoughts on living in cities shaped by different social systems. Hatherley writes early on that he uses the term …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/01/03/landscapes-of-communism-by-owen-hatherley/

Nov 14 2016

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I picked up this book hoping for a little comfort after the recent elections but found something else instead: stark truth served up as satire. The stark truth is rarely comforting but — and this is why the book merits four stars from me rather than three — in Paul Beatty’s hands, it is not …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/11/14/the-sellout-by-paul-beatty/