You've Got to Read This: G. Willow Wilson's Superb Ms. Marvel Comics

Categories: Books

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There's a billion books published each year. We swear that the ones in "You Have to Read This" are worth your eyeball time!

What You Have to Read: Ms. Marvel comics

The Gist: Jersey City teen Kamala Khan is a gangly, good-hearted goof who lucks into shape-shifting superpowers — and now, with fists embiggened by justice, kapows evil right in the kisser! Unless she's grounded, of course. (Sometimes, her thousand-pound teleporting dog helps her sneak out.)

Written and co-created by G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen, and most often drawn by co-creator Adrian Alphona, Marvel Comics' monthly Ms. Marvel series is sprightly, wise, suspenseful, and blessedly comic, in all the best senses of the term. It's also the most engaging teen-superhero story since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's original Amazing Spider-Man — and Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley's Ultimate take on the same character.


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You Have to Read This: Mary Doria Russell's Sprawling, Humane Doc Holliday Western Epitaph

Categories: Books

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There's a kabillion books published each year. We swear that the ones in "You Have to Read This" are worth your eyeball time!

What You Have to Read: Mary Doria Russell's Epitaph

The Gist: This sprawling, generous western is subtitled "A novel of the O.K. Corral," which might trick people into buying it at the airport but sells short the book's ambition and humanity. Russell plunges readers into the hearts and fates of famous names — Doc Holliday, the Earp boys — and a grand cast of real folks who dared make a home of Tombstone, Arizona, decades before the invention of air-conditioning.

Yes, Russell's almost 600-page saga delivers the gunfight goods, but that misleading subtitle would serve readers better if changed to something like "A novel of the O.K. Corral, sure, but also gambling, piano playing, myth-making, tuberculosis, frontier politics, yellow journalism, preventative policing, vengeance killings, how mines work, and what it must have been like to live in a place as mad and dusty as Tombstone, including how it feels to toil all day in a sewing circle with your sisters-in-law and dream of maybe getting gussied up to go downtown for once in your life."


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You Have to Read This: Jill Ciment's Sharp, Creepy Novel Act of God

Categories: Books

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There's a kabillion books published each year. We swear that the ones in "You Have to Read This" are worth your eyeball time!

What You Have to Read: Act of God by Jill Ciment

The Gist: An unsettling novel that opens with an outbreak of phosphorescent mushrooms in a Brooklyn closet and then blooms to follow the lives of four contaminated women.

A Taste:

"That was disturbing," Edith said. "My god, it grew freakishly fast. The head was so pink and bulbous. It almost looked like a giant's thumb had poked through the wall."

Kat waited to see if Edith would draw the obvious analogy, but she wasn't sure if her white-haired, sixty-four-year-old sister had ever seen an erect penis.


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Fifteen Books You Need to Read in 2015

Categories: Books

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Reading is an all-seasons activity, but there's nothing better than cracking open a new book at the start of spring — when the choice of reading locales expands greatly. Soon, instead of holing up in your apartment, you can tackle nature and culture in one go — be it on a park bench, a rooftop patio, or a blanket on the grass, you can't beat reading in the sun. Here are fifteen upcoming titles you won't want to miss as the mercury (hopefully) begins its steady upward climb:

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Read 'Escape From New York,' From Ellen Willis's Award-Winning Anthology

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University of Minnesota Press
Ellen Willis
On March 12, the National Book Critics Circle awarded the late Ellen Willis the top prize in its criticism category for The Essential Ellen Willis, a collection of over 40 years' worth of Willis's writing. Willis, who served as the first-ever pop critic for the New Yorker in the early Sixties, died of lung cancer at the age of 64 in 2006. She began writing for the Village Voice in the early Seventies, and became a staff writer here in 1979, where she remained as a writer and senior editor for the next decade.

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These People Take Their 'First Editions' of the Iliad Very Seriously

Categories: Books, Culture

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"This is a...this is a first edition?"
In the latest Jennifer Lopez hate-watch masterpiece, The Boy Next Door, she plays a classics teacher who is seduced by her strapping young student, played by Ryan Guzman. In one particularly unfortunate scene, he comes by her desk to give her a Victorian-era copy of Homer's ancient oral epic the Iliad that he bought "for a buck at a garage sale"; she gasps, "Is this — a first edition?!"

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Read These Lesser-Known Books on Race This Black History Month

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Original is at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery
Frederick Douglass: Born February 1818, died February 1895 (daguerreotype from 1847)
We commemorate so much in this country that we tend to become numb to celebrations like Black History Month. The U.S. has observed the occasion every February since 1976. (Prior to that, it was Negro History Week, which originated in 1926.)

If the past year has taught us anything, it's that setting aside one month to ponder something we should be thinking about all the time is questionable at best. That said, an opportunity is an opportunity.

So the Voice took this one to reach out to four insightful New Yorkers to help us assemble a reading list worthy of Black History Month and beyond.

You won't find classics by authors like Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes — not because they're not worth reading, but because we figured plenty of people know about them already. Instead, we aimed to up our game with these newer or lesser-known works from the canon.

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Our Favorite Books of 2014

Categories: Books, Lists

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Devoting yourself to a book, like a lover or Christopher Nolan movie, is an act of commitment. But which are worth the time and effort? Once again, we've done the dirty reading for you, separating the wheat from the chaff, the misplaced modifiers from the well-placed modifiers. Here are our favorites from 2014. Grab your glasses and a glass of something that tastes like whiskey and enjoy!

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Lena Dunham's Book Reading Included Little-Known Comedian Amy Schumer (And a Baby)

Categories: Books, Film and TV

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Katie Toth
Antsy Lena Dunham fans, shut out of the fourth floor of Barnes & Noble, resign themselves to watching Dunham's event on a television screen nearby.
Better Than: Eating ice cream and pickles with Jemima Kirke

Lena Dunham's book Not That Kind of Girl (Random House, September 30) is full of homages to Helen Gurley Brown, the Cosmopolitan editor who drew ire from feminists and "smut police" alike for "having it all."

So maybe it's only fitting that the first stop of her book tour -- on Tuesday, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble -- was interrupted by an adorable five-month-old baby.

"This isn't for babies!" Dunham joked at one point during her reading, appearing a little flustered. "I love babies. But this is...sexual!"


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A Brooklyn Librarian Will Now Make You a Personalized Reading List, and You Don't Even Have to Put on Pants

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Photo by Flickr user Jose Raimundo Sousa Ribeiro Jr.
The main Brooklyn Public Library branch at Grand Army Plaza
This has been, without a doubt, an excellent summer for New York's libraries. In Manhattan, the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch set up a beautiful outdoor reading room that was open for the past two weeks before closing on the 22nd. A group of seafaring book lovers announced that they'll launch a floating library aboard the Lilac Museum Steamship for a month come September. And now, in a less temporary and totally genius move, a group of hardworking librarians across the Brooklyn Public Library system will make you a personalized reading list. You don't have to leave the house, dress yourself, or talk to another human being to put in a request for one. The future is here, and it is glorious.

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