Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: "You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me," "The End"

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Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

Books are never perfect. The very best of them are those that describe sensations that you thought couldn't be put into words, feelings that can't be explained and characters that should evade ever being captured on the page. And yet somehow they expand what it is to feel, and to understand, as we read them.

I had that reaction when reading "You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me" by Nathan Rabin. He travels across the country to see a series of concerts by two of the most polarizing bands of the moment, Phish and the Insane Clown Posse. Now the book itself is a mess -- narrative-wise and emotionally it's all over the place.

Yet almost despite itself, I found while reading it a surge of empathy for the followers of both bands. I'm not a fan of either's music, but through Rabin's uneven narration, I gained a respect for the devotion that they generate, often among those who feel most discarded and humiliated by mainstream America.

I have no idea if Rabin's descriptions are accurate, but on reading it, I began to empathize for two groups that I had clearly misunderstood. Whatever you think of the book's plot, that's a heck of a literary achievement. "You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me" is available in paperback from Scribner.

There's no shortage of emotion in Anders Nilsen's moving new book "The End," out now from Fantagraphics. Assembled from a collection of sketches and work created shortly after his partner died in 2005, this beautiful creation explores grief and life, unanswered questions and unquestioned thought.

Nilsen is a Chicago-based artist, and his spare work is simple, elegant and devastating. Read this book, but make sure that someone you love is close by to give you a hug when you finish. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP