The Politics of Mass Consumption by Lizabeth Cohen This book takes an in-depth look at how the post-WWII prioritization of consumption has altered our identities as well as our environment, our political system, and even our very notion of citizenship itself. Cohen works hard to demonstrate that all are now -- to varying degrees --defined in terms of personal consumption; with the concept of individual rights being framed more and more as the right to consume. While you may not agree with all her conclusions, you will certainly receive an education in how things got to be the way they are in this country today. softcover
Whether the point of this novel is to show us the adult that lies latent in the child or to reveal to us the child that the adult never manages to quite fully outgrow is a question that is difficult if not fruitless to answer. What is certain, however, is that the novel Edwin Mullhouse is brilliantly conceived. It is also shockingly well written, replete with uncannily accurate descriptions of childhood perceptions that can at times be overwhelmingly sympathetic. It is at turns funny, sad, insightful, and even profound; but above all else, it is deeply creepy: It reveals -- almost imperceptibly at first, but then slowly, incrementally, the inertia builds, like a snowball rolling down the hill of your neighborhood cemetery -- the dark, lurking, unconscious desires that shadow what we might otherwise simply take to be our bright, waking, thoughtful acts. >> Read our full length review by clicking on the image at left.
And, while we're on the subject of follow-ups to spectacular debut novels, Tom McCarthy's follow up to his one-of-a-kind debut, Remainder, is now in paperback. As we have yet to find the time in our busy schedule to devote the uninterrupted attention that a novel like this deserves, we will have to leave it to the likes of this year's recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature, Jennifer Egan, to recommend this work. She wrote in The New York Times Book Review that C is "a tour de force... An intellectually provacative novel that unfurls like a brooding phosphorescent dream." And, to help you put it in context, The Washington Post reviewer states that with C, "McCarthy reignites the literary pyrotechnics of Perec, Calvino, Joyce and Sebald. Words are celebrated in vocabularic feats... [He] has produced something truly original."