The critics: 5 new titles worth checking out


Here are five titles that put the lie to the notion that criticism is a dying art.

Corn Flakes With

John Lennon

And Other Tales from

a Rock 'n' Roll Life

Robert Hilburn

Rodale: 280 pp., $24.99

Hilburn, The Times' former pop music critic, covered Johnny Cash's concert at Folsom Prison and interviewed Yoko Ono in her bedroom at the Dakota just a day or two after John Lennon died. Here, he tells his stories, recalling the musicians he has known and interviewed, and reflecting on the importance of popular music in his life. (Excerpts from the book will run next week in Calendar, starting Sunday.)

Notes on Sontag

Phillip Lopate

Princeton University Press:

248 pp., $19.95

Essayist Lopate and Susan Sontag were acquaintances for many years, but this book is not a personal reminiscence in any fundamental way. Rather, it's a critical memoir, in which the author looks at Sontag's personality and her work to explore his own deep ambivalence about her as a cultural figure, framing her as at times brilliant and at times utterly self-indulgent, much like the times she sought to reflect.

Heroes and Villains

Essays on Music, Movies,

Comics, and Culture

David Hajdu

Da Capo: 308 pp., $17.95 paper