Salon recommends

Evidence of terrible crimes and more of our favorite new books.

By Salon Staff
Published December 9, 2002 9:48PM (EST)

What we're reading, what we're liking

Evidence: The Case Against Milosevic by Gary Knight and Anthony Loyd
Gary Knight and Anthony Loyd's new book, "Evidence," is about 15 inches long and five inches wide, covered in black cloth and held together by two large screws. It's hard to figure out what it is ... an art book, maybe? So it's grimly surprising after a while to realize that "Evidence" is a harrowing collection of photographs, usually one per white page, of the crimes committed by Slobodan Milosevic. "Evidence" is effective in its simplicity. No words interrupt the succession of images -- pictures of brutally mutilated bodies, of blood sprayed on walls, of surreal scenes such as one in which a white horse stands inside a house of rubble. While it's not something you'd casually leave lying around on your living room coffee table, it seems that the authors want you to, as if to say that the daily horrors of Yugoslavia shouldn't be sequestered away in a criminal court, but instead exhibited for all of humanity, in unflinching detail.

-- Suzy Hansen

Recent books praised by Salon's critics

The Cave by José Saramago
An unassuming potter faces off against the Center, an all-encompassing commercial monolith with a dark secret, in this futuristic tale from a Nobel laureate.
Reviewed by Andrew O'Hehir

All Is Vanity by Christina Schwarz
A scheming would-be novelist urges her best friend toward financial and marital disaster in her quest for juicy material.
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott
A remarkably beautiful young girl and her mysteriously bruisable cousin share a last summer of innocence in a town that isn't as safe as it seems.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

A Whistling Woman by A.S. Byatt
From the author of "Possession," a novel of intellectual life in the 1960s and the dangerous allure of utopian and revolutionary dreams.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
A newly divorced woman casts a cold, clear eye on life in contemporary London and the idyllic potential of a trip to Italy.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

The Soldier's Return by Melvyn Bragg
An English soldier returns from World War II to his wife, son and cozy village, but finds the horror and the glory of his wartime memories hard to shake.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

The Matrix and Philosophy by William Irwin, ed.
Philosophers tackle the mind-bending questions posed by the science-fiction hit "The Matrix," and come up with some surprisingly deep thoughts.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges
A foreign correspondent and eyewitness to horror argues that war and patriotism are lethal addictive drugs and America should go cold turkey.
Reviewed by Gary Kamiya

"Twentieth Century Eightball" by Daniel Clowes and "Summer Blonde" by Adrian Tomine
These artists create graphic novels and comics as smart, deep and complex as today's best fiction. Plus, they're cooler.
Reviewed by Amy Benfer

Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael by Francis Davis
In her last long interview, the late, great movie critic talks about everything from "Deep Throat" to Stephen Spielberg and "American Beauty." Plus, Kael's final Q&A -- with 10-year-old Maggie Barra.
Reviewed by Allen Barra

The Blindfold's Eyes by Dianna Ortiz
An American nun who survived the torture chambers of Guatemala describes her ordeal and the fear and guilt that still haunt her.
Reviewed by Donna Minkowitz

The case of the confusing bookstore
It takes the skills of a great detective to find the best mysteries among the new releases. Our critic offers his list of some recent gems.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

Love at Goon Park by Deborah Blum
Psychologist Harry Harlow proved that children need warmth and affection -- but he tormented dozens of monkeys to do it.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

Out of the Flames by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
The scholar who enraged Calvin and inspired the Unitarians was gruesomely executed for writing a book.
Reviewed by Peter Kurth

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
Ten years after her hugely successful "The Secret History," a precocious author returns to prove she's still got that ol' black magic.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

The Spinster and the Prophet by A.B. McKillop
In the 1920s, judges ridiculed a Canadian woman who said H.G. Wells plagiarized her book, but a modern scholar finds her case convincing.
Reviewed by Jonathon Keats

Pakistan by Mary Anne Weaver
The U.S. helped build the Islamic fundamentalist movement threatening to take over Pakistan. Now can it rescue the world from the deadly consequences?
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
Stop squawking about the money, the youth and the fame -- there's a real writer among us, and Dave Eggers' new novel proves it.
Reviewed by Peter Kurth

Dressed for Thrills by Phyllis Galembo
These photos of vintage costumes, from Depression-era ghost hoods to 1960s neon plastic skulls, distill the murky glamour of Halloween.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Seige by Marilynne K. Roach
The Salem Witch Trials remain a hideous -- yet disturbingly familiar -- mystery.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles
The latest and best-ever biography of Jesse James tears down the myth to reveal not a latter-day Robin Hood, but a greedy, press-savvy bandit.
Reviewed by Allen Barra

Hey Waitress! by Alison Owings
A new book gives waitresses a chance to say what they really think of their work -- and their customers.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

Porno by Irvine Welsh
The "Trainspotting" crew is back in a deft and surprisingly heartbreaking farce about the making of a dirty movie.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
From the author of "A Fine Balance," a Dickensian story of a Bombay family whose members battle society to gain true love and worldly success.
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon
The story of a Sarajevan stranded in Chicago during the recent war offers an immigrant's hilarious and wretched view of American society.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W by Gabriel Brownstein
The inhabitants of a shabby Manhattan apartment building live out stories inspired by Fitzgerald, Kafka, Auden and other literary giants.
Reviewed by Amy Reiter

Desolation by Yasmina Reza
In this spellbinding diatribe, a deliciously wicked man rants about his friends, his women and the son who disgusts him by being happy.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
A new book about "Saturday Night Live" dishes the backstage dirt on sex, drugs and fistfights, but lacks the guts to ask if the show still matters.
Reviewed by Eric Boehlert

Step Across This Line by Salman Rushdie
In an age of religious fanatics, patriotic zealots and self-righteous leftists, Salman Rushdie champions free thinking and fun.
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

The Money Shot by Laura Grindstaff
The producers of daytime TV talk shows must woo wife beaters, drug addicts and other scum as guests. Their reward? Being treated like bottom-feeding slime by a public that laps it up.
Reviewed by Damien Cave

Strange Matters by Tom Siegfried
From strange quark matter to multiple universes, visionaries predict the weird things science has yet to discover.
Reviewed by Thomas Wilson

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
The master of horror ends his recent slump with this skeptical tale about a strange car, a troop of state police and the fundamental unknowability of the universe.
Reviewed by Andrew O'Hehir

Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam 1862 by James M. McPherson
The great historian James McPherson presents his account of Antietam, the savage Civil War battle that made the freeing of the slaves possible.
Reviewed by Katharine Whittemore

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
A "This American Life" commentator celebrates nerds and explains how to love your country without turning into a boorish, jingoistic, kitsch-crazed lout.
Reviewed by Douglas Cruickshank

Tourmaline by Joanna Scott
An American family seeking its fortune hunting precious gems on the island of Elba, finds mystery and adulterous passion instead.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
A bereaved man becomes obsessed with the riddle of a great silent film star's disappearance.
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
This wondrous epic from the author of "The Virgin Suicides" travels from Mt. Olympus to Detroit to tell the story of an all-American hermaphrodite
Reviewed by Andrew O'Hehir

One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian
From China's Nobel Laureate, the story of a writer who survived the Cultural Revolution and the price he paid to do so.
Reviewed by Amy Reiter

The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
From the author of "White Teeth," the story of a dealer in celebrity signatures who has serious girl trouble and a chance to sip from the toxic cup of fame.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Things You Should Know by A.M. Homes
Urgent, hungry stories about the nightmare of suburban marriage (and one hilarious visit to a lonely Nancy Reagan), courtesy of a master of the form.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
From the author of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," mysterious stories of love, loss and frogs set in a Japan harrowed by earthquakes and terrorism
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner
A newly discovered memoir by a German classified as "Aryan" describes the insidious early spread of Nazism and how hard it was to resist.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

Cicero by Anthony Everitt
Ancient Rome's greatest politican and public speaker lived a life of intrigue, betrayal and violence -- and no American leader today can hold a candle to him.
Reviewed by Lawrence Osborne

Gettysburg by Noah Andre Trudeau
A new book proves that you can tell the story of this legendary battle in a new way -- from the point of view of the men who fought it.
Reviewed by Allen Barra

Heat Wave by Eric Klinenberg
The 739 people killed by Chicago's 1995 heat wave were the victims of a mayor who believed in running his city like a business.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

After Shakespeare by John Gross, ed.
Victor Hugo raised him in a siance, Voltaire ripped him off and Byron called him a vulgar dog. The world's great writers just can't leave Shakespeare alone.
Reviewed by Jonathon Keats

Barbed Wire: A Political History by Olivier Razac
Here's how a simple twist of spiked metal ravaged the American West, crucified a generation of young men and terrorized millions of Europeans.
Reviewed by Damien Cave

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
From heaven, a raped and murdered 14-year-old girl watches her loved ones -- and her killer -- go on with their lives.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

The Girl From the Coast by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
A poor fisherman's daughter is plucked from her village to be the practice wife of a local aristocrat.
Reviewed by Andrew O'Hehir

The Whore's Child by Richard Russo
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls presents stories of brutal compassion about ordinary people confronting their pasts.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

The Weather in Berlin by Ward Just
A washed-up American filmmaker returns to Berlin, where he made his one masterpiece and a mystery from his past awaits.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett
Nine surprising stories by a new master about people who must choose between subduing the demons of depression or facing them head on.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
A preposterous but utterly enchanting story about a young Indian boy adrift in a lifeboat with his good friend, a Bengal tiger, and some other zoo animals.
Reviewed by Suzy Hansen

The case for Raymond Chandler
The creator of Philip Marlowe has been called an imitator and a hack, but eight recently rereleased novels reveal that he deserves his lonely, disillusioned corner in the American literary canon.
Reviewed by Allen Barra

Gods of War, Gods of Peace by Russell Bourne
For a handful of decades -- and a brief period of hope -- settler and Native American religions met, mingled and shaped colonial America.
Reviewed by Katharine Whittemore

Sexual Selection: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex From Animals" by Marlene Zuk
A new book examines what we can and can't learn about sex and ourselves from watching bonobos, birds and earwigs.
Reviewed by Susan McCarthy

My Jihad by Aukai Collins
The author, an American mujahedin, was a passionate convert to Islam. But his new memoir makes it clear that nothing got him more excited than the sound of a rocket-propelled grenade and the look in an enemy's eyes as he slit his throat.
Reviewed by Laura Miller

Koba the Dread by Martin Amis
Amis calls out Christopher Hitchens and other friends on the left for not giving full weight to the 20 million victims of Stalin's terror.
Reviewed by Charles Taylor

Zig Zag Zen by Allan Hunt Badiner, ed.
A book about Buddhism and psychedelics asks whether it's best, when seeking higher consciousness, to take the stairs or the elevator.
Reviewed by Douglas Cruickshank

"Backpack" by Emily Barr and "Losing Gemma" by Katy Gardner
Backpacker fiction like "The Beach" explores the authenticity-grubbing subculture of the dreadlocked, ganja-scented travelers, but women have been left out -- until now.
Reviewed by Michelle Goldberg

The Pirate Hunter by Richard Zacks
A thrilling and tragic new book about Captain Kidd reveals that the infamous buccaneer was actually a man of honor wrongly accused.
Reviewed by Stephanie Zacharek

Lost by Ian Phillips.
A collection of lost-pet posters offers a sad, evocative and sometimes very strange glimpse of the bond between humans and animals.
Reviewed by Ken Foster

Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

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