September 10, 2013 Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman wasn't impressed by the title of Someone, but she says Alice McDermott's novel is nowhere near as generic as its name. Nothing extraordinary happens to the Irish-American protagonist, but with spare poetry and deep compassion, McDermott makes familiar territory seem new.
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An aerial view of Memorial Medical Center surrounded by floodwaters on Sept. 9, 2005.
Kathy Anderson/The Times-Picayune/Landov
September 8, 2013 Sheri Fink's Five Days At Memorial, describes the horrific conditions at a New Orleans hospital shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Facing floodwaters and corporate mismanagement, some staffers euthanized sick patients. Fink's judgment of those actions is admirably — and frustratingly — nuanced.
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December 22, 2011 Susan Jane Gilman recommends behind-the-scenes reads about the rich and famous — by a rock star, a hotel concierge, a stuntman and a Brat Packer, all offering backstage passes to their glamorous lives. Entertaining and star-studded, they make for perfect holiday escapism — with a cocktail (or two) in hand.
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July 27, 2011 Is there anything fresh to be found in a food memoir? Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman says yes — and to prove it, she recommends five excellent books that will quench your desire for amazing food and adventure this summer.
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December 9, 2010 Many people who are nervous before a flight have little rituals they must do before they board. Some wear a lucky sweater; others say a quick prayer. But commentator Susan Jane Gilman takes her preflight routine to a whole new level.
December 8, 2010 If celebrity tell-all books are the snack food of the literary world, author Susan Jane Gilman has been on a binge this year. Her picks — from various ranks of the pop-culture pantheon — may not be the proudest additions to your bookshelf, but they may be among the most amusing.
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November 11, 2010 Veterans Day usually comes with ceremonies honoring those who have served in the armed forces, visits to battlefields, and a reading of the names of POWs. But for writer Susan Jane Gilman, who lives in Switzerland, the day serves as a poignant contrast between her place of birth and her current, neutral home.
October 26, 2010 We know technology is taking over our lives — but is it taking on a life of its own? In his new book, Kevin Kelly says technology is an extension of the human body — not "of our genes, but of our minds."
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August 26, 2010 In her new book about bad behavior, Laura Kipnis explores why we can't look away when a public drama unfolds. But critic Susan Jane Gilman says her approach is a bit too timid for such a titillating topic.
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June 22, 2010 Sebastian Mallaby's book is an expert primer on hedge funds — the "Ferraris of finance" — and a detailed portrait of Wall Street's daredevils. Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman says More Money Than God is illuminating ... and infuriating.
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May 6, 2010 Tara Parker-Pope's new book, For Better, offers a scientific perspective on maintaining a good relationship post-nuptials. While reviewer Susan Jane Gilman says Parker-Pope gives an interesting look on the science behind couple dynamics, much of the information comes from a story we've all heard before.
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April 16, 2010 Iceland hasn't had it easy for the past year and a half. Banks have collapsed, sending the economy into a financial tailspin. But the country won't go down without a fight. Iceland's volcanic ash brought Europe to a standstill — but Susan Jane Gilman says that's nothing but good old-fashioned revenge.
April 5, 2010 David Remnick has a nearly impossible task in his new biography of Barack Obama: writing "the most complete account yet" of the most famous man on the planet. The well-written and well-researched book may be ahead of its time; the events in it are so familiar right now that its scholarship may resonate better in 20 years.
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Formed in 1994, the Spice Girls made "Girl Power" a pop rallying cry, but author Susan J. Douglas wonders if the group's brand of feminism obscured the gap between men and women in power.
Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
March 25, 2010 Author Susan J. Douglas explores Enlightened Sexism and the assumption that given women's progress, it's now OK to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women.
February 10, 2010 Hoping to find relief from her snow-buried, snow-obsessed home in Switzerland, author Susan Jane Gilman booked a February flight to Washington, D.C. Finding that the weather predictions weren't all hype, she reflects on the reality of "Snowmageddon."
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