Oliver’s List

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  • Homer Whole: A Reading of the Iliad

    THE ILIAD IS ONE OF THE MOST MISINTERPRETED—and thereby maligned—books ever composed, recited, or written. Homer Whole sets out to correct this mis-reading of the great epic, to move it out of the caves of primitivism current readers consign it to and raise it to its proper place as the central foundational work of modern… Read more

  • Counting Blessings

    THE MORRIS BERMAN most people know is the famous historian of ideas, cultural commentator, and author of broadly acclaimed books like The Reenchantment of the World (1981), Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West (1989), and others that include The Twilight of American Culture (2000), Dark Ages America: The… Read more

  • root (/)

    root (“/”) begins with a mock tech manual replete with ridiculous acronyms regarding the Information Systems Integration Structure (ISIS) operating system: proceeds to a flurry of prose-cartoons: Object-Oriented Prose Programs (OOPP): and Asynchronous Text Motives (ATMs): and concludes with the doomed romance of Blood and Night: two tragic-comic ghosts in the Machine. “Anyone who reads… Read more

  • The Man without Qualities

    George Haskel, a retired professor of German literature, decides to found an institute to promote dullness, as a counterpoint to the hustling celebrity culture of contemporary America. The venture soon attracts a number of brilliant misfits, who transform the project into a political movement, the Authentic Party, that ultimately swells to 8 million members. Events… Read more

  • The Victory of sex and Metal

    With the recent death of Barbara Mor (1936-2015), the world lost a uniquely principled, learned, and powerful feminist thinker, writer, historian, observer—and poet. Mor was—and is—best known to readers as the author of last century’s extraordinary (1987) landmark classic, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth. Mor, indeed, was gifted, encyclopedic, and… Read more

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Nation

    More than a century has passed since the collapse and extinction of the American Nation, the massive and unprecedented catastrophe brought about equally by arsonists’ flames and by massive, long-term, internal cultural and political decay. As everyone knows, the full history of that once-great nation’s doom was first gathered in the 2110 CE multi-volume work… Read more

  • A Crow’s Dream

    Working at it for more than a quarter-century, Douglas Valentine has become widely known as a writer, researcher, and historian, a standing that readers can verify by taking a trip to his web site. A Crow’s Dream, however, is this prolific author’s first appearance as a poet—and what an appearance it is. Valentine proves himself… Read more

  • Dance without Steps: A Memoir

    AT AGE 21, PAUL BENDIX WAS SHOT in a street robbery and paralyzed—and in Dance Without Steps, he takes us on a journey through the next four decades of his life. We stand at his elbow as he makes pea soup with one unfeeling hand. We share his self-conscious wheelchair journeys through suburban downtowns, and… Read more

  • Listening to the Thunder

    OLIVER KNOWS OF NO BETTER WAY to introduce this poet and also this remarkable book than to cite from the Foreword written by Andrey Gritsman: Helen Tzagoloff is a Russian-born American poet who has lived most of her life in the United States. She is an example of a writer with mixed sensibilities: those of… Read more

  • The End of the 19th Century: A Novel

    The End of the 19th Century is the third in a group of four introspective and historically ambitious novels. The first, An American Memory (1988) introduced readers to West Tree, Minnesota, and to a young resident and native of that town by the name of Malcolm Reiner. By novel’s end, Malcolm had married a “strange,… Read more

  • Autumn Lamp in Rain: Poetry

    In some books—and some writers—the relation between art and autobiography is much more visible and, you might say, more necessary than in others. This is the case with Han Glassman. Her poems almost always touch on her life story in some unexpected and subtle yet distinct way-they touch on a long life that has been… Read more

  • The Expedition Sets Out: Poetry

    Dip up a ladle-ful anywhere from this broad pool of enigmatic yet plain and transparent words. What are these, you’ll ask, these alluring strings of sounds and beguiling images? Well, they come from the workings of a wonderfully complex and adventurous mind—in fact, maybe they are the workings of that mind, the record of what… Read more

  • Afghanistan: A Window on the Tragedy

    Thirty-seven-year-old Basque-born Alen Silva is a photographer for newspapers in his native Basque Country, Spain. Beyond doing that work, he has also, over the past fourteen years, travelled widely throughout Latin America and Asia. In fact, he is now planning a return to Asia to make a documentary film about the Afghan refugee camps near… Read more

  • Cella Fantastik: A Book of Proems

    Adam Engel has been writing for many years. In 2010, he published his unparalleled collection of essays, written during the early years of the Bush/Cheney “administration,” I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague: My Life in the Bush Era of Ghosts. The year before that, he published his linguistically stripped and poetically dystopian novel… Read more

  • The Blue Rental: Texts

    On the back cover of THE BLUE RENTAL, readers will find these words— Barbara Mor imagines Kantian ‘nauseous allegories’ growing out of a David Lynchian southwest American desert, a place that becomes a habitat of the psycho political terrestrial reality we all now inhabit—& the rent is very high. . . .Barbara Mor, critic/reviewer —words… Read more

  • The Skull of Yorick: The Emptiness of American Thinking at a Time of Grave Peril

    From the author of A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit (2006), seventeen literary-political essays ask whether Americans can remain a nation of liars (“U.S.A.—Land of Liars”) without inevitably bringing about the eternal death of the republic. “The ‘Debate’ Over 9/11” asks this question, as does “The Premeditated Murder of… Read more

  • Ablong

    Broccoli for breakfast is not recommended unless it’s putting you in touch with central truths about human nature. And in this comic-serious masterpiece, that’s exactly what it does for Professor Wilson Ablong, rudely irreverent Nobel laureate and medical hero. Yet Ablong remains a lost and isolated soul—until a young man seeking a mentor turns the… Read more

  • I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague: My Life in the Bush Era of Ghosts—Essays

    The essays in I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague were written, for the most part, between 2002 and 2005 and were published regularly at that time on some of the nation’s most important, visible, and significant political web sites. In the book itself, Engel writes this Acknowledgement, giving readers some idea not only… Read more

  • Kimchee Days, or, Stoned-cold Warriors—A Novel

    Millions of men served in the Army during the Cold War—many inside major American cities—in ARADCOM (Army Air Defense Command). Until recently, one of the Army’s best kept secrets was that the men in the Nike-Hercules system were in charge of nuclear missiles ready to knock down fleets of Soviet planes or ICBMs should they… Read more

  • Topiary—A Novel

    Summer in the City. The Nation is at war. Carnage is broadcast everywhere, igniting a galaxy of screens 24/7. For the Adman, a former copywriter for The Ad Agency, there’s no way out but in. He becomes an indoor landscaper or “horticultural technician,” for Topiary Techniques, Inc. He tends the potted flora of The City’s… Read more

  • Homer for Real: A Reading of the Iliad

    Literary Criticism by Eric Larsen, first in a series: Great Literary Works for Regular People: A Course of Readings Inspired by a Life in the Classroom WHY SHOULD YOU GIVE HOMER FOR REAL TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND TREASURE THE MOST? REASON 1: Because it’s a book for grown-ups (of all ages). Because… Read more

  • From Complicity to Contempt

    An American Writer and Veteran Speaks Out Against American Lies Tim Gatto is to our American literary population what the spotted owl is to our national wildlife. He won’t offer you anything fancy [but in Gatto] you’ll experience the conscience of a true American patriot, writer, and veteran who has insisted all his adult life… Read more