A review of Cinderella, by Shanie, age six:
One day there was going to be a fancy ball. Cinderella wasn't going to get to go, but then something very exciting happened. I liked to read this book because I like fairy tales. I also like to read about evil people. It's exciting and a little scary. I would recommend this book about Cinderella to my mom because she likes to do chores.
The Spaghetti Book Club provides book reviews "by kids, for kids." It's incredible. The kid-crafted illustrations that accompany the reviews are just as fridge-worthy.
One of the problems of criticism is—what happens when it takes you just forever to realize that something is totally great? It took me until this week, and lots of it cropping up on shuffle, to realize that the latest PJ Harvey album, "White Chalk," is absolutely her best. (Okay, second best—maybe nothing will ever be as cool as "Rid Of Me," if only because who writes rock music in 5/4? ) Back in September, Pitchfork gave "White Chalk" a 6.8, and I would have given it a worse score even as recently as December. But of course, what does anyone know? "Uh Huh Her" got a 7.6, her Peel Sessions got a 7.9, "Stories from the City..." got a 5.5 and "Is This Desire?" got an Pitchfork 8.
Paul tries to figure out why people review products at Amazon that have already been reviewed by several people. "What motivates someone to submit the 1,282nd review of The Poisonwood Bible to Amazon.com?"
The Amateur Gourmet celebrates a year of eating in NYC with a list of his restaurant reviews. Judging by the length of the list, an upgrade from amateur status might be in order.
Steven Shapin reviews Tom Standage's A History of the World in 6 Glasses, a "social life of beverages". Standage is one of my favorite technology/culture writers; he wrote about the telegraph in The Victorian Internet.
The Blurb Racket is a weekly roundup of movie blurbs put back into context. "...Travolta is as smooth as ever..." is actually "...although Travolta is as smooth as ever, the picture is a bust, a grimly unfunny comedy with no connection to reality, and worst of all, running on and on for two dismal hours".
Anthony Lane slams Revenge of the Sith in the New Yorker this week. "The general opinion of 'Revenge of the Sith' seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, 'The Phantom Menace' and 'Attack of the Clones'. True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion." Ouch.