Art

BOOKS: Bright Lights, No City

By Bruce Jacobs

Business books aren’t often funny. Typically they come in three varieties: the academic tome meant to pad a B-school professor’s CV; the exclamation point-filled, how-to paperback designed as a gateway drug to feed some smooth-talking charmer’s seminars; or a mainstream journalist’s 250-page narrative about some successful entrepreneur or company. Max Alexander’s Bright Lights, No City is like none of these; rather, it’s like a very funny story told to the kids around a family Thanksgiving dinner table about his brother’s wacky journey into a weird kind of entrepreneurial heart of darkness. MORE...

BOOKS: A Connecticut Yankee in King Abdulah’s Court

By Bruce Jacobs

Dave Eggers is a busy guy. At the same time, he founded McSweeney’s as one of the most eclectic of the remaining independent publishers, started a foundation dedicated to encouraging reading and writing for public school kids, appeared at the TED conference, and now has turned out Hologram for the King, a modest summation of the state of the world. MORE...

BOOKS: The Next Great American Novel?

By Bruce Jacobs

Want to write the next great American novel? Then think like David Allen Coe in “The Perfect Country Song” and be sure to include a few must-have ingredients. That’s what Ben Fountain has done in his first novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, stirring a pot of love, sex, money, war, family and Hollywood into a halftime show featuring Destiny’s Child performing at a Bears-Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day in Texas stadium. It’s a far-fetched but brilliant idea, brilliantly executed, that makes Fountain a writer well worth watching. MORE...

Color Jam

By Paul Klein

Jessica Stockholder is a wonderful, charming, humble, major, highly influential artist who has changed how sculpture is made, perceived and appreciated. MORE...

BOOKS: The Crime of Living in Wyoming

By Bruce Jacobs

Every year in May, give or take a few months either way, the spring thaw works up the slopes of Wyoming’s Bighorns and Tetons to melt the snow cover and refresh some of the finest sport fishing rivers in the United States. For the last decade, each spring has also brought forth another novel from Wyoming native C.J. Box to feed our curiosity about Game Warden Joe Pickett, the latest crimes in his vast patrol sector, his loyal friend Nate Romanowski, and frequent adversary Sheriff Kyle McLanahan. This March, Force of Nature joins the array to bring the series to a neat dozen, and that’s a good thing because, frankly, I find a new Box thriller to be more refreshing than any spring rain. MORE...

Letter from Paris: Socialism and I Return

By Don Rose

Having sold my lovely apartment in Paris two years ago, I returned last month feeling like a tourist rather than the part-time resident I was for so many years. It’s all in the head—but then Paris is a state of mind as well as a glorious destination. Just ask Woody Allen. MORE...

The Man Who Might Have Been

By Bruce Jacobs

Here in Chicago, baseball season has opened in disappointment. As new Cubs manager Dale Sveum has learned, no matter how good you once were, it’s tough to be the manager of a big league team. But it’s tougher still to manage at the lowest rung of the minor leagues, A-ball. And that’s where Edward Everett Yates (“Double E”) finds himself, making a career out of managing the smallest of the small town teams in Joseph M. Schuster’s first novel, The Might Have Been. MORE...

Mexico City Redux

By Bruce Jacobs

This March, Forbes magazine named Mexico’s Carlos Slim the richest man in the world for the third straight year. The Mexican BMV (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores) stock index Mexbol hit a record high. The Pope came to visit––five days after an earthquake registering 7.9 on the Richter scale hit (without any major damage or loss of life). And the 2012 “quiet period” before a three-month campaign leading up to the July election of a new Mexican president came to an end. It was well past time to go visit my favorite city in the Americas: Mexico City. MORE...

Marriage: For Better or For Worse

By Bruce Jacobs

Marriage – that personal, sacramental, traditional institution which, despite centuries of battering and unraveling, seems to have avoided the scrap yards of obsolescence – is now flourishing anew. Amid all the excitement over same sex unions, two new books by award-winning American novelists came out almost simultaneously last fall that illustrate how complex these unions can be. MORE...

BOOKS: It’s Complicated

By Bruce Jacobs

“It’s complicated.” So goes the ubiquitous rejoinder to inquiries about most everything from the war in Afghanistan to the Eurozone meltdown…even to a difficult marriage. But as “The Submission”, the debut novel by Amy Waldman about a memorial design competition for New York’s 9/11 site, so remarkably illustrates: it really is complicated. MORE...