Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell

. This is, quite simply, a delight. After producing only three recordings during the nineties, Mitchell's decision to deliver an album of covers might suggest a dearth of new ideas. Far from being a make-weight, however, Both Sides Now is a masterpiece fit to stand alongside her best work.  ...

Joan Ryan

Review of San Francisco appearance with Lee Lessack . Joan Ryan starred in the original production of Marvin Laird and Joel Paley's Ruthless! and has appeared in a number of other shows including Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Elegies and Anyone Can Whistle.  ...

Layin’ In The Cut – James Carter

Tenor saxophonist James Carter has risen to relative prominence in the current "serious" jazz scene; he's not the name Joshua Redman is, but he's a far better and less hokey player, not as willing to blatantly pander to the crowd as Redman. Each of Carter's albums has been significantly,  ...

Into the Tangle of Friendship – Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart has chosen an elusive theme for Into the Tangle of Friendship. "The more we let others into our lives," she writes, "the safer we become and also the more endangered." Her prose style, like the subject of her memoir, is a risky alliance of counterpoised harmonies, a  ...

I Married a Communist – Philip Roth

Philip Roth's I Married A Communist is one a series of novels that use a narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, as a stand-in for the author. It's a hodgepodge of a novel that serves to vent his feelings about the witchhunt days of the 1950s and to fire a shot at  ...

House of Leaves

Ten years in the writing, Mark Danielewski’s 700-page hypertext ghost story, House of Leaves, is a remarkable display of innovative book design. Dueling storylines are told simultaneously in contrasting typefaces. Blocks of text are printed upside down, sideways, backwards, or on top of one another. Hundreds of dizzying encyclopedic  ...

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Dave Eggers, the 29-year-old editor of the determinedly odd literary journal McSweeney’s, has written a memoir that wreaks delirious havoc by turning the autobiographical genre on its head. As its flippant title makes riotously clear, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is fitted with a bullet-proof vest of self-mocking  ...

The Hot Rock – Sleater-Kinney

Let's say you're 15 years old and you want to annoy your parents. But how? Dad used to stagedive at Black Flag shows and Mom embarrasses you by wearing her old Dead Kennedys T-shirt to the grocery store. What's a suburban smartass to do when punk's become nostalgia  ...

The Glass Cocoon – Serena F. Holder/Christopher J. Jarmick

The Glass Cocoon is a 500-page behemoth of a murder mystery written by two first-time novelists, Christopher J. Jarmick and Serena F. Holder. The theme is provocative: what if one of the anonymous members of a sexually-explicit online chatroom started killing the families and friends of other members? Not unlike  ...