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Several years ago, The New York Review of Books ceased being simply the most reliable, if obvious, source I could find for thoughtful, incisive analysis; it also became the most reliable source I could find for discovering otherwise obscure new books – not so much from its book reviews but from its advertisements.

Touting advertisements in a periodical may be a risky thing to do; and The New York Review of Books is like the Vanity Fair of the critical periodical, overwhelmingly overfull of ad after ad.  But it was through these ads – largely for university publishers – that I discovered such books as the extraordinary Who Will Write Our History? (Indiana University Press), Alice's Adventures Under Ground: A Facsimile (The University of Chicago Press), a terrific reproduction of Carroll's original manuscript, and Why Did They Kill? (University of California Press), Alexander Laban Hinton's insightful study – in the appropriately if awkwardly and much-too-open-for-mockery titled field Psychological Anthropology – of the genocide in Cambodia.  There is no shortage of tremendous titles on these very overlookable pages.

The personals are also excellent reading, for a similar reason, if in a different vein, as are those in The Village Voice.

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