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  • 'Why Football Matters' versus 'Against Football'
    'Why Football Matters' versus 'Against Football'

    Unlike Steve Almond and Mark Edmundson, the authors of two terrific new books on football, I did not grow up with a father who loved the sport.

  • Women's paths diverge in Elena Ferrante's epic 'Those Who Leave'
    Women's paths diverge in Elena Ferrante's epic 'Those Who Leave'

    I first encountered Elena Ferrante's fierce, singular voice in her second novel, "The Days of Abandonment," an unrelenting exploration of a woman whose husband has left her. In her newest novel, "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay," the third of her quartet of...

  • In 'Bone Clocks,' David Mitchell ties his universes together
    In 'Bone Clocks,' David Mitchell ties his universes together

    We enter David Mitchell's new novel, "The Bone Clocks," through a conventional door: Holly Sykes, a mouthy British teenager in 1984, is sleeping with an older guy and spending time with a bad-news best friend. After a fight she decides to take off, a short runaway jag, the kind...

  • Sci-fi and fantasy authors reveal truths in the strangest fiction
    Sci-fi and fantasy authors reveal truths in the strangest fiction

    Writers of realistic fiction are often are asked to wrestle with the question of autobiographical influence in interviews and essays. Some critics have made a cottage industry out of guessing even in the absence of hard data: Is the character a stand-in for the novelist? Is the plot based on...

  • 'Doom Patrol Omnibus' shows Grant Morrison's master plan
    'Doom Patrol Omnibus' shows Grant Morrison's master plan

    Before Grant Morrison was a huge name in mainstream comic books — the writer of series like "New X-Men," "All-Star Superman" and the forthcoming "Multiversity" — he was the brilliant weirdo who wrote "Doom Patrol." Morrison and artist...

  • Into the ether with Greil Marcus' ' History of Rock 'n' Roll'
    Into the ether with Greil Marcus' ' History of Rock 'n' Roll'

    "Once a song has gone into the ether, it never disappears," Greil Marcus remarks in "The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs." But it never reappears in quite the same form, either. A song like "Money (That's What I Want)" means something...

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