Mad man made good

In James Patterson’s thriller Jack and Jill (1996), a madman stalking a child in a branch of Toys “R” Us pauses to reflect on the in-store Muzak: The overhead speakers were playing the chain’s irritating and moronic theme song: “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid.” Over and over and over, … Read more

What’s Ekphrasis Good For?: On Camille Guthrie’s “Diamonds”

JULY 26, 2022 LIKE THE NARRATOR of Dante’s Infernothe speaker of Camille Guthrie’s latest book, Diamonds: Poems (Boa Editions, 2021), appears midway through life: “Ah me! I find myself middle-aged divorced lost / In the dark forest of my failures, mortgage & slack breasts.” Unlike that famous journey, however, the narrator of Diamonds is alone: … Read more

Cycles of History: On Jody Rosen’s “Two Wheels Good”

JUNE 26, 2022 I RECENTLY GOT rid of my vintage Raleigh cruiser, a dusky brown survivor with numerous patches of rust that, to my mind, made the 1960s bicycle look more distinguished. The finicky gears weren’t the problem. Nor was it the handbrake cable that frequently jutted straight up like an antenna. What wore me … Read more

Fighting the good fight

“Most booksellers’ memoirs”, writes Gary Goodman, a veteran of thirty-five years in the trade, “are about finding a pamphlet by Edgar Allan Poe at the bottom of a coal chute and selling it for a half a million dollars.” Really? Unlike Goodman, I’m not yet tired of reading about the sort of bibliophiles who wear … Read more

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations

It may have a boring name, but the standard model of particle physics is one of the most successful theories ever proposed. Its predictions have been tested to phenomenal accuracy; A team led by Gerald Gabrielse announced in 2008 that their measurement of the electron’s magnetic field agreed with the theory to the astonishing level … Read more