The Week in Reviews: Ben Marcus, Lana Del Rey, dead presidents, and more

A weekly appreciation for the art of the review.

“…like watching someone give his funeral audience a lengthy disquisition on his life while digging his own grave and knocking together his own coffin in front of them.”

Warren Ellis on Iain Specter’s Ghost Milk: Calling Time on the Grand Project.

“A book such as Chris Matthews’s biography of President Kennedy would not ordinarily seem like best-seller material.”

David Greenberg at The New Republic on Chris Matthews’ biography on JFK.  We were under the impression that books by well-known political pundits and books about historical figures always seem like best-seller material.  Maybe we were wrong?

“These beautiful, brutal sections of The Flame Alphabet contain some of the most thoughtful and moving writing I’ve ever read about family life.”

Michael Jauchen at The Rumpus on The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus.

“Switching from descriptions of the pseudo-bohemian life of a allowance-receiving, aspiring artist who lives in Bushwick and dates a girl at Sarah Lawrence to the life of a detained enemy-of-the-state awaiting tribunal, FMOANEC is delivered with a precise and trenchant eye for satire.”

Our own Jon Reiss on Alex Gilvarry’s “From the Memiors of a Non-Enemy Combatant”

“The songs come off like 15 different variations on a drunk chick at the bar trying to convince someone to come home with her.”

Tom Breihan of Stereogum gets pretty descriptive about Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die.

“The album’s full of Del Rey’s lurching attempts to Pull Things Off — and it’s most interesting when she’s not quite succeeding, but trying very hard regardless.”

And Nitsuh Abebe has some astute observations about the album in question for New York.

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