Salon recommends

What we're reading, what we're liking

By Salon's critics

Published December 11, 2000 7:35PM (EST)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
This novel deals with an unexplored slice of Jewish history, which is the influence of Jews on the genesis of the American comic book superhero. The superhero became simultaneously a fantasy of assimilating and surpassing. The book has an authentic feel for the period rather than an iconographic feel for it, and Chabon manages to bring his research into the story without slowing it down.

--Charles Taylor

Dream Stuff: Stories by David Malouf
As New York magazine book critic Daniel Mendelsohn has noted, Malouf, an Australian, is one of those writers everyone you know has heard is great and has been meaning to read but no one ever quite gets around to it. I got around to Malouf with this book, and I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner. Each of the stories here -- from a young girl in a fundamentalist family describing her gay uncle's visits home (he can't enter the house so he stands at the gate during their Easter dinner) to a writer's strange encounter with an assailant on a dark city street -- rings as pure and true as a silver bell.

--Laura Miller

Recent books praised by Salon's critics

What to read: Winter novels
Run away to the circus, to a haunted Indian village, to a secret-filled Scottish island and more with the season's best fiction.
Reviewed by Salon's critics

Bellow by James Atlas
The long-awaited chronicle of the Nobel laureate's path from bootlegger's son to literary boychik to cranky old man shows why Saul Bellow has many admirers but few friends.
Reviewed by Edward Neuert

In My Life: The Brian Epstein Story by Debbie Geller
An oral history of the real fifth Beatle shows the visionary genius of the man who discovered the Fab Four.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

The Undergrowth of Science by Walter Gratzer
A science writer explains what makes honest researchers cling to ridiculous ideas like N-rays, homeopathy and cold fusion.
Reviewed by Edward McSweegan

Niccolr's Smile by Maurizio Viroli
Far from power mad, Machiavelli was a humane and principled man who never caught a break, according to a flattering new biography.
Reviewed by Minna Proctor

Doctor on Everest by Kenneth Kamler
A physician rides the "Into Thin Air" bandwagon with a grisly account of high-altitude medical disasters.
Reviewed by Dennis Drabelle

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
In the bestselling novelist's latest, the natural world overflows with lusty birds, bees and baby boomers.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd

"Bacchus & Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar" by Jay McInerney
From "Bright Lights, Big City" to gamay Beaujolais, the Brat Pack novelist finds being a jet-setting wine expert far more glamorous.
Reviewed by Matthew DeBord

"Selected Stories" by Theodore Sturgeon
Why did Theodore Sturgeon's great stories of eros in the age of machines languish in the ghetto of science fiction?
Reviewed by John Clute

The Law of Averages by Frederick Barthelme
The confessed minimalist's new book proves that the much-reviled genre can still break your heart.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles

Ho Chi Minh by William J. Duiker
The Vietnamese revolutionary emerges as a patriot closer to Thomas Jefferson than to V.I. Lenin in this monumental new biography.
Reviewed by Stanley Kutler

The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt
The cult-favorite Web site spawns a book memorializing the kind of people who meet their maker at hurricane beach parties.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

Off Keck Road by Mona Simpson
Two women -- a single romantic and a have-not who takes what she can get -- love the same man in the latest from the author of "Anywhere but Here."
Reviewed by Patricia Kean

Author Unknown by Don Foster
The man who fingered Joe Klein goes on the trail of JonBenet's killer, the Unabomber, Monica Lewinsky and Shakespeare.
Reviewed by Gavin McNett

The Beatles Anthology by the Beatles
An entrancing collection of anecdotes, confessions and memories, straight from the mouths of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Reviewed by Frank Houston

Zeitgeist by Bruce Sterling
In his epic new novel, the ambivalent cyberpunk leaves technophilia behind and sides with humanity.
Reviewed by Gavin McNett

The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams by Nasdijj
A not-quite-Native American's hard, strange life makes for a fiercely original memoir about the compulsion to write.
Reviewed by Maria Russo

Your Name Here by John Ashbery
A great American poet delivers one of his most emotional, honest and generous collections.
Reviewed by Melanie Rehak

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Pullman concludes the epic, heretical fantasy that began with "The Golden Compass" and rivals "The Lord of the Rings."
Reviewed by Polly Shulman

The Beast God Forgot to Invent by Jim Harrison
Imbued with all the gravelly melancholy of a Tom Waits ballad, the new book by the author of "Legends of the Fall" presents a cast of prickly, coarse and utterly lovable antiheroes.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [10/19/00]

Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? by Martin Gardner
A witty, world-class debunker cuts through centuries of pseudoscience crap, from earthbound asteroids to balancing eggs.
Reviewed by Tom DiEgidio

Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano
The author of "Memory of Fire" delivers a scathing, mischievous indictment of North America's hypocrisy and consumer culture.
Reviewed by Greg Villepique

The Bridegroom by Ha Jin
The National Book Award-winning author of "Waiting" is in fine form with new tales of ordinary Chinese angling for love, sex and Party favors.
Reviewed by Michael Scott Moore

The Boxer's Heart by Kate Sekules
Bloodied, bruised and elated, one woman offers an account of her love affair with boxing.
Reviewed by Susan Shapiro

An American Story by Debra Dickerson
The passionate, category-defying journalist levels her tough gaze on her own journey from the ghetto to Harvard Law School and beyond.
Reviewed by Maggie Jones

Cherry by Mary Karr
Though she didn't start the memoir craze, Karr feeds the frenzy with "Cherry," the luscious tale of her coming-of-age.
Reviewed by Lisa Zeidner

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
In the rapturous, panoramic new novel by the author of "Wonder Boys," two midcentury comic book writers battle evil and celebrate escape in all its forms.
Reviewed by Amy Benfer

The Golden Age by Gore Vidal
Vidal delivers the final volume of the American Chronicle series, his sweeping, score-settling fictional history of the United States.
Reviewed by George Rafael

Salon's critics

MORE FROM Salon's critics

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Books Recommended Books