Reviews

“A fascinating thing to behold: literary criticism that’s deeply personal, hysterically funny and starkly honest in addition to being scholarly and trenchant. We get to see how a writer’s work “works” on a reader, affecting his thoughts and opinions on all manner of things: art, cinema, society’s uneasy shift from the machine age to the digital era, the future of books as physical objects, and — especially — the mysteries and complications of human intimacy.” Washington Post

“Unabashed enthusiasm and wit about living with a deep relationship with books…I fell in love with Hallman’s book.” San Francisco Chronicle

“It’s about the most fun reading you’ve experienced in years….Thank the good sweet lord for [B & Me]…Give us something messy and unfilmable and weird and slightly embarrassing.  Give us J.C. Hallman.  Instead of some artfully rendered enactment of cultural sensitivity that flatters my own sophistication, Hallman has written a book that’s both enthralling and unnerving.  Praise be.” Quarterly Conversation

“Audacious . . . Hallman ranges deep and wide in this passionate . . . wildly intelligent, deeply personal, immoderate exploration of Nicholson Baker’s entire oeuvre, reading in general, and the state of modern literature.” NPR

“By turns charming [and] obsessive…’B & Me’ frequently wonders if reading is closer to lust than to love, but it finally comes closer to this truth: that to be good readers, we must learn to be deeply interested again in things which we can neither love nor befriend.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Above all else Hallman craves intimacy…From the start, [B & Me] sets itself up as as story about getting turned on by — and turned on to — another writer.” Slate

“Funny and daring…a treasure trove of literary anecdotes and insider information….Besides [being] an entertaining story of book lust and physical lust, Hallman teaches us a great deal about literature, storytelling, and writing.” Blogcritics

“Witty…It’s difficult to do Hallman’s work justice, but this is a book that readers will absolutely adore…. B & Me is a wide-ranging and idiosyncratic career survey for Nicholson Baker’s work, a love letter to the act of reading, and a commentary on the modern novel.” Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“B & Me is a great love letter to literature itself…. This is the exhilaration Hallman wants the reader to share with him; not in loving [Nicholson] Baker per se, but loving any great writer.  The passion is the point.” World Literature Today

“Baker writes lustily about sex, giving Hallman a chance to do so, as well…he urges readers ‘to find their Nicholson Baker,’ a writer who liberates their imaginations and enriches their worlds.” Kirkus Reviews

“Nearly 25 years after U and I’s publication…B & Me aspires to more than mere reiteration… Hallman has set out to take the next step.” The New Republic

“Hallman has contended with Baker’s work in a highly personal and endearingly alarming way…[offering] a compelling prima facie argument for offbeat autobiographical criticism…Reading, as it turns out, is just as complicated as hooking up in real life. That doesn’t make it any less thrilling and, under the right circumstances, pleasantly scandalous.” Reluctant Habits, Ed Champion

“[B & Me] marks a return to the Impressionistic criticism of France… It is also a throwback to the era when Malcolm Cowley, Dwight Macdonald, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, and Edmund Wilson…were producing some of the most exciting literary criticism in America…The effect of following Hallman’s mind in action is at times droll and even exhilarating.” The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Calling the book creative criticism, though, doesn’t do justice to B & Me’s inventive narrative.  B & Me is a love store and a look into the writings of Nicholson Baker.” Interview Magazine

“Mr. Hallman is clearly a smart guy and an engaging author…sounding more than a little like George Carlin….This is a great book to read if you love reading books and are worried about their future; and it’s a great book to read if you love words and love to see them gainfully employed, often with humor.” Washington Times

“Hallman is an intelligent, passionate critic, and his fecund mind leads readers in many directions worth following….B & Me morph[s] into the deeper contemplation of literature and life that he chronicles with candor, humor and insight.…[A]n original, at once quirky and thought-provoking—a book in love with books and the power they can and should hold.” BookPage

“To say that B & Me is an odd book doesn’t quite do the project justice. . . . As provocative as this material is, Hallman’s inquiry has a deeper agenda. It’s a love letter to the book as a physical object, a source of intellectual ardor, and a form of emotional salvation.” Salon

“Incisive and chummily inviting . . . Hallman is concerned about all books and all reading . . . and some of his most passionate, insightful writing arises in sections where he considers the bigger picture.” Los Angeles Review of Books

“A bright, funny, and expansive account of a rewarding and investigative personal journey.” Litkicks

“Jaunty, funny and frank…Hallman questions what’s at stake without avid readers for a literate culture.” Rocky Mount Telegram