Sharon Jones deserves a better biography than the soulless Long Slow Train

D

“What is soul?” George Clinton asks in the song of the same name, the final track on Funkadelic’s eponymous 1970 debut album. “I don’t know,” his bandmates shout-answer through plumes of extraterrestrial pot smoke. “Soul,” Clinton responds, “is a ham hock in your cornflakes.” “Soul,” he adds in the next verse, “is the…

A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey Into Guns sets its sights on America’s racist gun problem

B+

“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home,” the journalist and civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells wrote in 1892, three-quarters of a century before the nascent Black Panther Party For Self-Defense asserted its Second Amendment right to bear arms. Sickened by the number of Jim Crow-era…

Legendary critic Michiko Kakutani reviews all the president’s lies in The Death Of Truth

B+

If the role of the critic is to “educate the public,” as Oscar Wilde once wrote, Michiko Kakutani couldn’t have picked a worse time to retire from her post as chief book critic of The New York Times last July. Sure, serving for three decades as arguably the most important gatekeeper in literary publishing warrants a…

Dave Eggers brews a weak cup of coffee and aspiration in his latest nonfiction The Monk Of Mokha 

C

Mokhtar Alkhanshali wasn’t a coffee drinker. He didn’t know a Chemex from a Keurig. He couldn’t distinguish a coffee plant from an olive tree. He hadn’t realized that his ancestral homeland of Yemen basically originated the art of coffee. But that didn’t stop him, a 25-year-old college dropout, from endeavoring to…