Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Based upon what Reisen said during the program, Alcott's life sounds very interesting. Louisa Mae Alcott lived from 1832 to 1888. In additional to being a commercially successful author, Alcott was a feminist, abolitionist, a nurse during the Civil War, and occasionally smoked hashish. This is a life story I want to read.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
There is nothing new in this new book, but that is clear from the start. What is less clear is that all the pieces are available free of charge from Gladwell's own website. If you like, you can go there and read the original New Yorker articles, complete with beautiful layouts and cartoons.
. . .
Gladwell's publisher no doubt paid a lot of money to repackage his free stories and sell them on for a tidy profit. It is a scenario that has the makings of a Gladwellian dilemma. Why buy the book if the content is free? And what does that say about me? Is the feeling of being mugged by the publisher trumped by the virtue of convenience? The book is beautiful and brings together the writing that made Gladwell the extraordinary figure he is today. That alone is worth paying something for, but if you want to avoid mental anguish it might be safer to buy it for someone else.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
- To Authors and Publishers: It is guaranteed that I will not buy your book if there is a blurb on the cover from a Fox "news" anchor.
- To Fellow Readers: My time and money were not wasted on a book that was endorsed by a Fox "news" anchor thanks to a book jacket blurb!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thinking about Ellison's book brought to mind a very fun read from some years ago, Memoirs of an Invisible Man by Harry F. Saint. (The book was made into a not-so-good movie, but never mind that.) Memoirs of an Invisible Man - the book - is an entertaining story about a NYC securities analyst who suddenly becomes invisible. This sudden invisibility makes the analyst, Nick Halloway, of great interest to the CIA. Nick tries to avoid capture by those coppers, and live life in the city as an invisible guy, in this clever story. If you haven't read it, check it out.
As far as I can tell, there are no further books from Harry Saint. I do find it interesting, however, that his protagonist is named Nick Halloway, and I'm currently reading a book by Nick Harkaway, "The Gone-Away World". The things that happen.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Also of interest: At the London Review of Books a look at The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Is this a good idea? I'm doubtful. But in any event, readers, bring a towel.
Monday, October 12, 2009
None of my reading marathons, however, can compare with that of Nina Sankovitch. Sankovitch, according to the New York Times, is reading a book a day for a year and reviewing the books at her blog. Check out the article here and the blog here.
Although I love to read, this sounds like a nightmare to me. And I've tried to imagine being an author who labored over a book for years, only to have a reader/reviewer gulp it down in less than 24 hours. I think I'd feel dismayed. My symbolism! My carefully crafted language! The subtleties!
Or maybe I'd just be glad that someone read the work.
Friday, October 9, 2009
It was reported in the Wall Street Journal that the President is holding a cabinet-level meeting today to discuss General Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops for Afghanistan. It might be awkward to issue an order for more soldiers after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, no?
Whether e-readers are appropriate for children, even responsible ones, I'll leave those of you who are parents to decide. It does look as though e-readers may be big sellers this holiday season. If you are considering an e-reader for yourself or as a gift for someone else, check out this article from PC World.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Please don't read a lot of reviews and plot summaries of the book - don't read the customer reviews at Amazon because they tell too much! One of the true delights of this excellent book is simply allowing the author, Dan Chaon, to unfold the story for you. I will tell no more than the book jacket tells: "The lives of three strangers interconnect in unforeseen ways - and with unexpected consequences . . ."
Just pick-up Await Your Reply - a mystery / suspense novel which ponders the nature of identity - and read.
Up-date: NPR review of Await Your Reply
Sunday, October 4, 2009
If these Bush folks thought that the Harry Potter stories encouraged witchcraft, then did they actually believe in witchcraft? Uff-da.
Friday, October 2, 2009
- The Devil's Bones: A Body Farm Novel
- Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm Novels) and
- Flesh and Bone: A Body Farm Novel
In the book, Dr. Leonard Novak is found dead, frozen in the icy water of the swimming pool at his home near the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear research facility. The elderly Novak was, back in the day, a leader of the Manhattan Project, the World War II program to develop the first atomic bomb.
This is not simply a slip-and-fall at the pool, however. It turns out that Novak was killed by small but lethal chunk of radioactive material. This chunk inside Novak is so hot that it injures the team conducting Novak's autopsy. From here the mystery takes off as Bill Brockton investigates this unusual murder, trying to find the source of the radiation that killed Novak and injured his colleagues. Solving this puzzle requires him to return to the days of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, and uncover the impact of those past events on the present day.
Oak Ridge is a real place and we know, of course, how the Manhattan Project and World War II played out. What this book adds is interesting detail about what happened in 1940s Tennessee, who were the people who worked on the Project, and what were the mores of that period. In Bones of Betray, Jefferson and Bass use the murder-mystery format to pull all of this together into a nice read.
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