In a mid-term piece for New City, Ian Epstein does a survey of recent books on Barack Obama, opening with a dig at the people making the books:
The midterm election is a quadrennial occasion like an extremely exclusive art fair or a seminal trade show for many American industries. The main topic, of course, is the celebrated and increasingly absurd blend of American ritual and American politics. The midterms inject energy into everything, and especially the allegedly troubled industry of pulped trees and human thought that is known as publishing.
Among the books under scrutiny here are Roger D. Hodge's The Mendacity of Hope, Edward McClelland's Young Mr. Obama, Ari Berman's Herding Donkeys, and, of course, Tariq Ali's The Obama Syndrome about which Epstein writes, missing the point of the book entirely:
It lacks the make-you-want-to-stand-up-and-say-fuck-yeah attitude with which Obama adeptly mystified the masses during his campaign.
The book to make-you-want-to-stand-up-and-say-fuck-yeah that Epstein is perhaps looking for is The Verso Book of Dissent ...
Bookforum recently ran a short piece in praise of some "snazzy" new websites coming out of the publishing world. Verso featured prominently, flagged up alongside FSG and Phaidon. In short, Verso provides "the best radical political reading on the web."
Not long ago, book publisher's websites were mostly bland promotional fare: author photos, catalog copy, and—if you were lucky—perhaps a reading group guide. But lately, we've been spending more time on the snazzy websites of publishers like FSG, Phaidon, and Verso, which include interviews, multimedia, and blogs ... The indie publisher Verso's site has some of the best radical political reading on the web, with its books, authors, and events presented in an engaging format, as well as a blog and discussion forum.
Visit Bookforum to read the post in full—because the Bookforum website is excellent, too.
In a post for the London Review of Books Blog, entitled "They can't buy her silence," Tariq Ali salutes Arundhati Roy's "clarity, conviction and refusal to compromise."
Arundhati Roy is both loathed and feared by the Indian elite. Loathed because she speaks her mind. Feared because her voice reaches the world outside India and damages the myths perpetrated by New Delhi regardless of which party holds power. She often annoys the official Indian Left because she writes and speaks of events for which they are either responsible or of which they dare not speak. Roy will not allow her life to be subjugated by lies.
Visit the London Review of Books Blog to read the post in full.
In a piece for Huffington Post on why exactly one should vote Democrat ("it all comes down to an undeniable fact: that the [Republican] alternative is even worse") Andrew Levine directs readers to Tariq Ali's The Obama Syndrome for a "comprehensive account" of just how awful "Clinton-Pelosi-Obama awful" is.