Off the Beaten Path

Although its table of contents reads like a list of stories from any issue of The Onion, every one of the articles in Censored 2003: The Top 25 Censored Stories are true. With chapter titles like "United States' Policies in Columbia Support Mass Murder," "U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System" and "Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles," the collection covers important news stories that were censored for various reasons. In his introduction, Robert W. McChesney laments the "deplorable" coverage of three of the past year's major stories: the war on terrorism, the Enron scandal and the 2000 presidential election. The articles, selected by Peter Phillips and Project Censored, range from an explanation of how NAFTA has ruined rural farmers in North America to a look at how the federal government bails out failing private prisons. Cartoons by Tom Tomorrow are sprinkled throughout. (Seven Stories, 17.95 paper 400p ISBN 1-58322-515-3; Nov.)

In Speedology: Speed on New York on Speed, journalist Timothy Levitch presents an uncontrolled, sweeping portrait of Manhattan. (Levitch's bus tour of the city was the subject of a 1998 documentary film, The Cruise.) The eclectic mix of historical tidbits, inspirational quotes, guidebook-like descriptions and humorous commentary make for a sometimes frenetic but mostly entertaining book about the city Levitch calls "a great teacher bestowing life lessons upon a mostly slow-learning population." Atypical in format—Levitch uses various font styles and sizes—the book is divided into chapters on New York neighborhoods including SoHo, Midtown and the Lower East Side. While he conspicuously leaves out chapters on Chinatown or Little Italy, Levitch does offer fresh takes on much-written-about places, such as the Chrysler Building ("the semblance of a budding flower and a spaceship preparing for launch"), and other more obscure locales, such as Filene's Basement ("many of the women in Filene's Basement are masochists"). Agent, Jill Grinberg.(Context, $16 paper 224p ISBN 1-893956-29-6; Oct.)