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PD Smith

James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Jim Mancall review

A wonderfully detailed A-Z guide to the crime writer's work Although some have accused him of revelling in violence and even of being a "fraud" and a "fascist" (Mike Davis), James Ellroy himself is clearly in no doubt about his significance: "I am to th

Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land review

Marine biologist James McClintock has visited the Antarctic 14 times and writes with real passion Marine biologist James McClintock first visited Antarctica more than 30 years ago and has returned 14 times to what he and his fellow scientists call "the ic

The Garden of Eros by John Calder - review

A wonderfully evocative memoir filled with anecdotes and a rich cast of expats of the postwar Paris literary scene " Paris was a mistress or a lover to nearly everyone in this book," writes John Calder in this fine memoir of the city's literary and pu

Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema? by J Hoberman - review

This selection of essays and reviews show Hoberman to be one of the most intelligent and politically aware commentators on film.

The History of the Kiss! The Birth of Popular Culture by Marcel Danesi - review

An illuminating look at why kissing is such a powerful act Why is kissing such a meaningful and emotionally powerful act? This is the question that concerns Canadian historian of popular culture Marcel Danesi. It was prompted by one of his students, who

Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What It Teaches Us by Leonard Mlodinow - review

A fascinating insight into our "inner unknown self" and its role in shaping the world we know The American philosopher Charles Peirce described our ability to detect the unconscious clues that guide us to correct answers as "an inward light" - "the lof

Anime: A History by Jonathan Clements - review

An authoritative and detailed study - essential reading for anime fans and scholars alike Coined in the middle of the last century, " anime " is the most common word for animation in Japan. According to Jonathan Clements, "Anime is not a 'genre'. It is a

The New York Nobody Knows by William B Helmreich - review

This fascinating street-level tour through the 'melting pot capital of the world' traces the city's transformation - and gentrification "Walking is the best way to explore and exploit the city", writes Iain Sinclair in Lights Out for the Territory . I

Understanding a Photograph by John Berger – review

Including pieces on the photograph of Che Guevara's corpse and the shock effect of war images, this collection is essential reading for anyone interested in photography.

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America by David E Nye - review

David Nye's fascinating study focuses on blackouts as a 'historically new collective experience' As the historian of technology David Nye says, the moment when the lights go out is always memorable. He can clearly recall the Great Northeastern Black