A -post collection

Book Review: The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen

Bananas, it turns out, don't grow on trees, but instead are large herbs and are best classified as berries. The plant, which is actually a tall grass, can grow - from a cutting and not a seed - twenty inches in twenty-four hours. The banana we eat in the United States, the Cavendish variety, is not the one that first graced our grocery store aisles; that banana, the Big Mike, is now extinct. In fact, we get our "slippery banana peel" comedy from the Big Mike, with its slimy skin. To the dismay of grade-school comedians everywhere, the Cavendish isn't slippery at all. If these banana facts astonish you, you may be delighted to know that these and more are buried in the pages

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Book Review: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway wrote and rewrote A Moveable Feast, the memoir of his impoverished years as a young writer in Paris, but was never satisfied. He could not decide on a title, or an ending, or which chapters to include or reject. In the end, he did not decide any of this. His editors (first his fourth wife and then, in a later edition, his grandson) chose for him posthumously. This is the version of A Moveable Feast we read today: a pieced together memoir Hemingway himself never finished. Yet, the fragments lend humanity to a literary legend, bringing author and reader closer together. A Moveable Feast is a jaunt through the St. Germaine district of Paris. As he drinks at bars, writes and dines in cafes,

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Book Review: Luck Favors the Prepared by Nathaniel Barber

In the first sentence of what turns into an uncommonly poignant and funny book, Nathaniel Barber dives headlong into a familiar topic: the interview for the job your don't want. We've all been there, sitting across from our future boss, being talked out of a position we never really wanted anyway. We all come to the same conclusion: My team would be cordial, for a day or two. But they'd eventually come to believe, as a district implant, I'd stolen their rightful path to middle management. He passes on the job and gets a new one. Unfortunately for Barber, as he walks to work on his first day, a man in a window somewhere above pisses on him. This, we learn, is just his luck. What

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Book review: Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the early 21st Century, by Chuck Klosterman

If you devoured a lot of pop culture over the last decade, you might wonder what Chuck Klosterman's latest volume, Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century, has to offer. My answer to this: perspective. In this collection of 38 essays culled from his work in publications like Esquire and Grantland, Klosterman analyzes various facets of pop culture ranging from zombies to Miley Cyrus, from Mountain Dew to Lou Reed. He explains, "Consumed in aggregate, this omnibus equates to a short book about music, a short book about sports, and a short book about everything else that could possibly exist." Disconnected as these subjects may seem, they are all filtered through Klosterman's unique voice. He's the anti-critic.

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Book review: Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

What happens when a 7.5'-tall black basketball player and budding political activist meets a white Midwestern coach 37 years his senior in racially-charged 1967? For Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Coach John Wooden, this odd couple relationship becomes a memorable mentorship turned friendship. Set largely during his college years at UCLA, Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is a touching tribute to Kareem's friendship with "Coach." I'll get this out of the way early: with noted exceptions for hiking and a burgeoning interest in rock climbing, my sports knowledge is limited. I can't throw a ball or dribble. I understand what a layup is conceptually but would be hard-pressed to make one. My first and only

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