Book Reviews

"The Genius They Forgot"

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 10:30pm

May 17: On this day in 1873 the innovative British novelist Dorothy Richardson was born.

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The Weirdness

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 2:04pm

A slacker, a deal with the devil, and a lucky cat.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 12:35pm

A sparkling debut novel, full of fairytale wisdom and mythic conundrums. Born with wings, Ava Lavender sets out to discover her true nature and her place in the world, encountering love and disappointment and myriad uncanny moments along her path.

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In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 12:33pm

Employing modern Israel as a heady backdrop, Ruchama King Feuerman assembles a motley crew of lost souls in search of an ancient pottery shard containing First Temple secrets.

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Nothing Holds Back the Night

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 12:31pm

With flair and compassion, Delphine de Vigan charts the chaotic, precious, tragic life of her own mother Lucile, whom fate left to raise Delphine and her sister without much help.

Categories: Book Reviews

Snap Judgment

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 10:22am

“Th[e] truth was laid bare... when Snapchat, the popular mobile messaging service, agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that messages sent through the company’s app did not disappear as easily as promised.” – The New York Times







literally hundreds of thousands

of others similarly situated,









(In open court; case called)


THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning and welcome back. Yesterday, you heard opening statements from both Mr. Brickman, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in this class action, and Ms. McCann, lawyer for the defendant corporation. Today, the plaintiffs will begin to present their testimony and exhibits.

Mr. Brickman, call your first witness.

MR. BRICKMAN: Thank you, Your Honor. The plaintiffs call “John Doe” to the stand.

JOHN DOE, called as a witness by the plaintiffs,

having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

THE COURT: Please state your full name, first and last, spelling both names for the record.

THE WITNESS: Ah, I’d rather not, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I beg your pardon?

MR. BRICKMAN (INTERRUPTING): If I may remind the court, this entire case concerns whether the defendant failed to provide the users of its software the very high level of privacy promised. Specifically, the users of the Ephemerotic photo messaging application--or, “app”--were led to believe by the defendant’s misrepresentations that their photographs and videos, which users could modify with text and drawings, would not be stored or viewable on any device anywhere after the duration of between one and ten seconds chosen by the sender, even though this was not true, as the evidence will show.

THE COURT: I’m seventy-two years old, Mr. Brickman. Can you say that in words I’ll understand?

MR. BRICKMAN: I’ll try, Your Honor. Here... this is Plaintiffs’ Exhibit 1, which I was going to offer into evidence in just a moment. It’s a physical copy--a print--of a digital photograph that the witness took with his smartphone... his cellular... er, his portable telephonic contrivance that has a built-in camera... and which the witness then transmitted to his best friend’s girlfriend. While the witness will testify to his understanding that the photograph would cease to exist in any form mere seconds after he sent it to his friend’s girlfriend, because of shortcomings of the defendant’s software of which the witness and his fellow plaintiffs were completely unaware, we, the plaintiffs’ lawyers, were able not only to retrieve the photo from the defendant’s computer servers but also to print onto paper for use in this lawsuit. May I hand the photograph up to Your Honor at this time?

THE COURT: Go ahead.

THE WITNESS: Objection!

THE COURT: I’m sorry?

THE WITNESS: I object! I don’t want you to see that photo, Judge! I don’t want anyone to see that photo! I didn’t know anyone had that photo, and I certainly didn’t have any idea that it was going to be an exhibit in this lawsuit! Give me that photo! Give me all of the copies of that photo!

MR. BRICKMAN: Your Honor?

THE COURT: He’s your witness, Mr. Brickman. This is between you and him.

MR. BRICKMAN (to the witness): Brian--

THE WITNESS: Gah! Don’t use my real name! What’s wrong with you?! Do you not see this paper bag on my head?

MR. BRICKMAN: My apologies, “Mr. Doe.” My apologies to the Court as well.

THE COURT: That’s all right. Proceed.

MR. BRICKMAN (to the witness): “Mr. Doe,” if you would prefer that the judge and the members of the jury not be shown what was previously labeled “Plaintiffs’ Exhibit 1,” a photograph of your genitalia taken by you, annotated with text reading, ”Wish you were here!!” and sent to your best friend’s girlfriend, then I’m afraid we will be unable to use your testimony.

THE WITNESS: That's it.  I'm out of here.

[Whereupon the witness fled.]

THE COURT: Mr. Brickman, do you have a new witness?

MR. BRICKMAN: I’m afraid not. Mr. Gardn... er, “Doe” was the only person even willing to admit on the record that he’d used the defendant’s service.

THE COURT: Does that mean that the plaintiffs are discontinuing this action, counselor?

MR. BRICKMAN: No, Your Honor. I believe I can proceed by presenting evidence from members of the class at large. If I may hand a new photograph up?

[Whereupon MR. BRICKMAN handed a photograph to the BAILIFF. Whereupon the BAILIFF accepted the photograph, looked at the photograph, looked at MR. BRICKMAN, unholstered his sidearm, cocked his sidearm, raised his sidearm, and stated, “Oh, hell no.”]

MR. BRICKMAN: Maybe not that photograph. This one instead, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Is this... is this counsel for the defendant?

MR. BRICKMAN: Yes, Your Honor. Ms. McCann in fact sent me that photograph while we were both watching Game of Thrones in our respective homes. Although the costume obscures--

MS. MCCANN: Objection!

THE COURT: Sustained. Mr. Brickman, you have exactly one more chance to offer this court an acceptable exhibit.

[Whereupon MR. BRICKMAN looked through some papers at counsel’s table]

MR. BRICKMAN: Would Your Honor be willing to testify regarding a photo the court sent to Juror Number 6 after yesterday’s session with the textual annotation, “I’d like 2 preside over u”--

THE COURT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are dismissed with the thanks of the court. The case of John Doe et al. versus Ephemerotic is hereby dismissed with prejudice, and the reporter is ordered to see to it that every existing copy of the record of these proceedings, in whatever form, be made inaccessible by any person, by any means. We stand adjourned.

[Whereupon this transcript was destroyed forever.]


Matthew David Brozik is happily married and therefore has no need to transmit embarrassing messages through the ether. Read more at

Categories: Book Reviews

West's "Screwballs and Screwboxes"

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 6:31am

May 16: Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust was published on this day in 1939.

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Next Life Might Be Kinder

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 3:01pm

A husband's grief over his wife's death leads to an unsettling set of possibilities.

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The First Leaves of Grass

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 10:30pm

May 15: On this day in 1855 Walt Whitman registered the title Leaves of Grass with the clerk of the United States District Court, New York, clearing the way for the first edition, published seven weeks later.

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Jen Doll

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 4:25pm

The author of Save the Date on reading that reveals character.

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The Blessings

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 2:51pm

The death of John Blessing reverberates through his tangled North Philly clan in a big-hearted family saga from novelist Elise Juska. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

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A Train in Winter

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 2:40pm

Caroline Moorehead unveils stories of ordinary resistance and extraordinary courage in the lives of the French women who fought Fascism.

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Cutting Clockwork Orange

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:30pm

May 14: On this day in 1962 Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange was published.

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Jo Baker & Evie Wyld: Stepping Out of the Story

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 2:44pm

Two novelists on the obsessions that give birth to fiction.

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Down the Hatch

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 7:00am

Even the ancients liked their bar snacks.

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"How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?"

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:30pm

May 13: On this day in 1950, The New Yorker published Lillian Ross's controversial profile of Ernest Hemingway, "How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?"

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Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:59pm

Espionage, obsession, and betrayal in the demimonde of pre-WWII Paris.

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A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 8:51am

A dark comedy captures the tension and suspense of seventh grade conformity.

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Twain's Mississippi

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Sun, 05/11/2014 - 10:30pm

May 12: On this day in 1883 Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi was published.

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The Oldest Dated Book

Barnes and Noble Book Reviews - Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:30pm

May 11: The world's oldest dated book, the Diamond Sutra, was published "by Wang Jie on behalf of his parents on the fifteenth of the fourth moon of the ninth year of Xian Long" -- this day in 868.

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