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California Literary ReviewJanuary 2020 | California Literary Review California Literary Review

Archive for January, 2020

Destination: Morgue! L.A. Tales – by by James Ellroy

by
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John
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Holt

January 26th, 2020

Anyone who reads “Balls to the Wall” will gain a true, bloody taste for a slice of contemporary life that is all American, nasty, perverted, occasionally heroic.

Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

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Mike
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January 25th, 2020

According to Becker, man is torn between his symbolic, self-conscious awareness and his animal nature. The same creature that names himself, imagines, explores and speculates is in the end, food for insects.

Democracy and Populism : Fear and Hatred by John Lukacs

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Robert C.
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Cheeks

January 25th, 2020

You may not like what he says, you may not agree with his conclusions, but his thinking and his writing are so broad, rich, and in-depth that all but the most iconoclastic, the most radicalized, is forced to consider his perspectives.

Dancing With Einstein by Kate Wenner

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Kelly
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Hartog

January 24th, 2020

Combining fact with fiction, Kate Wenner’s “Dancing with Einstein” is a carefully crafted novel that manages to wrap a piece of history into beautiful alliterative prose with its portrait of a young woman struggling to make sense of her life.

The Collector by John Fowles

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Garan
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Holcombe

January 24th, 2020

Fowles was a writer who always seemed content to remain in the shadows, on the edge of things. He would emerge now and again to play the part of the cantankerous recluse, but he was, in essence a private, even hermetic man.

Collapse: How Nations Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

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Bradley
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Kreit

January 23rd, 2020

By the time the first Europeans visited Easter in 1722, the Island was nearly uninhabited, virtually barren except for the statues, and plagued by such a history of violence and cannibalism that in Island oral traditions, the most hostile insult a person could make was: “The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth.”

Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology by Lauret E. Savoy, Eldridge M. Moores, Judith E. Moores

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John
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Holt

January 23rd, 2020

How do we understand the natural forces that literally shape our world? How, over time have we attempted to explain sometimes spectacular, sometimes mysterious events?

How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies by Amy Knight

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Peter
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Bridges

January 22nd, 2020

Readers seeking to learn how the Cold War really began can bypass this book, since despite its title it will not tell them what they want to know.

Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy by Kent Nerburn

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Ed
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Voves

January 22nd, 2020

No one knows for certain who first uttered the notorious statement that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” General Philip Sheridan, commander of the U.S. Army on the Western Frontier, often gets the dubious honor for a remark he reputedly made to a Comanche chief in 1869.

Centuria: 100 Ouroboric Novels by Giorgio Manganelli

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Jascha
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Kessler

January 21st, 2020

Americans in this therapy-mad epoch tend to take, rather mistake, an “experience” for that fateful “event.” Perusing Centuria, we may come to understand that the myriad catastrophes blazoned in newspapers and splashed over our screens — love, celebrity, athletic prowess, failure or fame, marriage, illness, crisis, smashup — do not concern the soul; nor can they illuminate whatever meaning life might propose.

Casting a Spell: The Bamboo Fly Rod and the American Pursuit of Perfection by George Black

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John
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Holt

January 21st, 2020

Some years ago, back in the days of its relative anonymity, fly fishing was considered an arcane art practiced by mildly addled, eccentric cranks.

Campus Sexpot by David Carkeet

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Kelly
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Hartog

January 20th, 2020

Naturally, the publishing of this book complete with its intrigue, loose morals, and the real citizens’ names thinly disguised, set the town on its ear.

The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan by John Coyne

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John
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Holt

January 20th, 2020

At the risk of being cold-hearted, though after reading this book I don’t seem to care all that much, there are times I wonder why people who are at least reasonably accomplished authors make the effort to write certain books, not to mention why these less-than-stellar titles ever see the light of print.

The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos Passos and the Murder of Jose Robles by Steven Koch

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Ron
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Capshaw

January 19th, 2020

A ghost is a spirit who won’t stay dead.

Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World’s Best Poems

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James
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Hollis

January 19th, 2020

Blest be anyone who, in this age of meretricious materialism, nascent narcissism, and hapless hedonism, returns us to poetry, to the joy of language for its own sake, for its distilled passion, and for its summons to discipline, in both writer and reader.

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