From: New City

An antidote to bestselleritis
Jon Langford

Moby Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville
(illustrations by Rockwell Kent) (Modern Library, $17)
Better than the Bible, it's a huge book about everything that bulges with torrents of poetry, mind-numbing details, stinging one-liners, perplexing truths and massive fucking fish.

Witness Against The Beast by E.P. Thompson
(The New Press, $15)
The ornery English social historian's last righteous and conclusive rant. A kick in the balls for conservative scholars who prefer their geniuses floating above the fray.

Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
(Plume, $14)
This was the first and smartest attempt to take rock 'n'roll seriously. Twenty-five years on, it's the one that gets closest to the sounds, the playing, and the connections we make.

The Devil and Sonny Liston by Nick Tosches
(Little, Brown, $24.95)
Not an easy read, but I couldn't put it down (as we say in the book-reviewing business). Racism, greed, corrupt power, neglect and death; this book isn't about boxing, it's about America.

The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature by Neal Pollack
(McSweeney's Books, $16)
We are appalled, disgusted, and at the brink of violence, then Pollack throws us a lifeline, and suddenly we are laughing with him, and he at us.

Five Pubs, Two Bars and a Nightclub by John Williams
(Bloomsbury, $13.95)
A collection of loosely interlocking stories about drugs, prostitution, pirate radio and the Nation of Islam, set in contemporary South Wales, by an author who actually seems to like people.

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
(Everyman, $8)
I'm Welsh, what do you expect?

Alfred Orage & The Leeds Arts Club 1893-1923 by Tom Steele
(out of print)
Steele presents a true and secret history of a provincial avant-garde that operated far beyond the reach of London's cultural monopoly. Socialism, occultism and risque theatre blossom among the dark satanic mills.

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
(Pantheon, $7)
Albert Einstein walks the streets of Berne and dreams his dreams of time. A spooky little book indeed, half science, half melancholia.
v Is It Still Raining in Aberfan? by Melanie Doel & Martin Dunkerton
(out of print)
A photo-essay and oral history of Aberfan, a tiny Welsh mining community, where on October 21, 1966, 116 schoolkids were killed under an avalanche of thick black slurry from a coal-tip that towered above the village.


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