Book Reviews


Can be read here at an interesting new blog devoted exclusively to book reviews. Here’s an excerpt: “WOMEN UP ON BLOCKS–The title itself conjures a powerful image. Set aside the immediate mental flash of stirrups and invasive annual examination. Look at the cover art (good shoes) because in this case you can judge a book yada yada yada. Like meandering by the tv in lingerie during playoffs, red shoes and good legs propped along a dirty bumper ought to get you...

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I’m honored and thrilled to have my short story collection Women Up On Blocks reviewed at an excellent website devoted exclusively to the literary short form. The Short Review

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I am thrilled to have a most excellent review (my first!) appear in the Winston-Salem Journal for my short story collection Women Up On Blocks. You can read it (pretty please?) here. Yippee!!

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The Painted Word is primarily a book about the rise of modern art—and art theory. (It also feels as if it’s a little bit about Tom Wolfe, too, but then, what book of his doesn’t feel that way?) Still, it’s an engaging read, filled with Wolfe’s studied observations and dripping with a detached bemusement toward the twisted subculture of art. Fortunately, The Painted Word is also filled with fascinating character sketches of the artists themselves. One of the most compelling—and oft repeated—arguments in the book is the notion that there are two key components necessary for the artist to attain lasting greatness: 1) The Boho Dance, in which the artist exhibits innovative work and struts his stuff amongst his peers all while showing utter disdain for the culture beyond the doors of his studio and 2) The Consummation, in which the culturati actually select the chosen artists to carry forth the standard of the movement-du-jour and the artist (albeit after some discreet hesitation) accepts the accolades and attention. Wolfe argues that the artist who gets stuck in a crippling disdain for his audience, who cannot accept the offer to dance when it is made, is doomed to stagnation and will not be revered by history. Picasso, he argues, became Picasso, largely because he navigated the transition from one artistic stage to the other with ease. Perhaps, one is left to surmise, the secret to greatness lies not solely in talent, but in the ability to be gracious and accept the patron’s hand when proffered. The only frustration for this reader—which may simply reflect my own ignorance of the book’s history—lay in having to wait until the end of the book to discover that I was reading a reissue of a book that was first published in 1975 (copyright page notwithstanding). As a result, no art or movement that has occurred since 1975 is mentioned. No discussion of the ways that the technological revolution will change the face of art history in the decades to come. No theorizing as to the Internet’s effects on broadening the horizons of the cloistered art scene. I kept hoping for that to be addressed, and was disappointed when it was not. Something as simple as Picador putting “Anniversary Edition” or “Heritage Printing” (or some other indicator of its age) on the cover would have saved me the pain of unrequited hope that turning that final page delivered. (Made worse by the fact that the “Epilogue”—hope, oh hope!—speaks about a time twenty-five years hence, in the year 2000. Oy! Give a poor reader some warning would you? An Epilogue, particularly if the edition is a...

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