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    Archived pages: 316 . Archive date: 2013-11.

  • Title: Baby Got Books
    Descriptive info: .. Baby Got Books.. Your head will collapse if there s nothing in it.. Home.. About Us.. Contact Us.. From our New York correspondent, word of some of the cool bookish things going on in the Empire State.. The first is a report from Hudson, NY s.. The Spotty Dog Books and Ale.. Books, craft beer, author events, and live music.. I m putting my house up for sale now.. Also: The New York Public Library has a must see exhibition called.. The ABC of It: Why Children s Books Matter.. The exhibit has many cool childrens books and artifacts on display, but my favorite (so far) has to be the.. big, furry Wild Things wall.. Seriously.. Road trip.. Share this:.. Share.. Twitter.. Print.. Facebook.. StumbleUpon.. Email.. Digg.. Books.. |.. Tim.. August 7, 2013 10:00 pm |.. Comments (0).. Book Time with Meg: Episode 35.. We re back with another episode.. This time around, Dad takes a break and Meg interviews her friend Joseph about a book that they both read,.. Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy.. by Tui T.. Sutherland.. Book Time with Meg.. Episode 35.. Wings of Fire, No.. 1.. Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip.. Download the latest version.. here.. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.. ,.. Podcast.. July 31, 2013 8:22 am |.. Comments (1).. The Paris Wife.. I know I’m a little late to the game with.. by Paula Mclain.. Although this book was getting rave reviews (including two great reviews from fellow BGBers.. and.. ), I put off reading.. The Paris Wife,.. because I thought it might be a little too highfalutin for me.. I’ve never been to Paris, I’ve shamefully never read an Ernest Hemingway book (and, if we’re being honest here, I don’t really even know much about Hemingway), and, despite all of the historical fiction that I read, books based in the Jazz Age have never crossed my reading list.. But then I saw an article in People Magazine where Pink put.. on her summer must read list.. Then I thought to myself, “Self, if even a quasi-angry, spikey haired, tattooed singer loved this book, well then maybe it’s time I figure out what all the buzz is about.. ”.. I won’t recap the story because you can read better summaries than I would offer in Jim and Anne’s reviews.. I will, however, agree with Jim, Anne, and Pink that this is a great read.. I’ve never been to Paris and I don’t know anything about the Jazz Age or the crazy pants artists that lived it, so I didn’t really connect to those elements of the book.. But what I did connect with was Hadley’s very moving story.. I know the book is fiction based on a true story, but it reads so real.. Having fairly recently moved to a new city to support my husband’s career and dreams, I immediately connected with Hadley when she and Ernest moved to Paris and she struggles with shifting between incredible loneliness and the desire to be wholly supportive of her husband.. It was like listening to a friend that actually understood that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your spouse and that you can feel so very happy for them one minute while also feeling very lonely and sad for the things that you have left behind but also so very hopeful for your new future.. Yes, Hadley understands a wife’s sacrifices.. Then when it became clear that Ernest was completely oblivious to the fact that, of all the people in his life, Hadley was the one person that would quite literally give up everything that she had established for herself to be his number one supporter through thick and thin, and he took a lover that happened to also be one of Hadley’s only real friends that she was able to make in this foreign land, well, then the book got really sad.. It would be an impossibly difficult situation to be in.. Just up and leaving your husband with no marketable skill to support yourself and your child would be no easy feat.. Plus she still loved him.. But the Hadley character in the book handles it with as much grace as I think anyone could under the circumstances.. It may just be the pregnancy hormones, but I cried a bit while reading the end.. (On an airplane.. Thank goodness my seat mate was sleeping).. I don’t think you need to know anything about the background of this book to enjoy it.. It’s a moving real life personal story set in a crazy background with crazy supporting characters that make it all the more interesting.. I do like that, despite all of the bs that Ernest put Hadley through, the author notes that Ernest said of Hadley, “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.. ” Kind of poetic.. I think it would be interesting to see Ernest’s take, so A Movable Feast will be added to my reading stack.. Two sides to every story I suppose.. Fiction.. Review.. Shannon.. July 29, 2013 7:41 am |.. Friday Links.. Christmas in July:.. The Man Booker longlist has been announced.. The longlist is being.. hailed for its diversity.. Get to know the list.. The Man Booker-nominated novel that was rejected 47 times.. The Greatest American Novels.. Cleveland s reading nest.. I m tired of reading out loud to my son, OK?.. 12 Foot Mr Darcy emerges from London park lake.. Edward Snowden s summer Russian reading list.. Bill Gates summer reading list.. The Annotated Oscar Wao.. List:.. Top 50 classic crime novels.. July 26, 2013 8:32 am |.. AV Club:.. Best books of 2013 so far.. The Millions:.. Most anticipated books of the second half of 2013.. 14 books to read before the movie comes out.. Encyclopedia Brown on the big screen?.. Don t tell Bugs Meany.. Spielberg is making a new.. Grapes of Wrath.. movie.. Tom Hanks is going to star in the big screen adaptation of Dave Eggers.. A Hologram for the King.. Map the places in your favorite books.. Artist Jane Mount has some.. new options for a personalized painting of your ideal bookshelf.. Have you seen mine?.. Portsmouth, England is going to.. name a lane.. The Ocean at the End of the Lane.. after Neil Gaiman s new book.. US ranked 23rd for time spent reading.. Get reading, slackers.. Why is English spelling so bizarre.. ?.. July 12, 2013 8:31 am |.. Happy Birthday, Franz Kafka!.. To celebrate Franz s 130th, check out today s Google Doodle:.. And then, check this out:.. July 3, 2013 8:48 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 34.. In this episode Meghan and I discuss her book club s selection,.. The School for Good and Evil.. by Soman Chainani, with special appearances by little brother and dog.. Episode 34.. June 25, 2013 8:17 am |.. Paste: 20 New Book s to Read this Summer.. GOP politician misspells title of book on cover.. Report:.. Only 33% of parents read to kids nightly.. Tom Hanks to star.. in movie adaptation of Dave Eggers underrated.. Game of Thrones:.. The beer.. Nifty is a new app that helps friends share books.. Indie lit of the NRA-crowd.. Top 10 useful words for which there is no English equivalent.. NYPL exhibit:.. why children s books matter.. June 21, 2013 9:28 am |.. Meg and 826.. Long-time readers will know that we are big fans of the non-profit kids writing centers.. 826.. , which were founded by Dave Eggers.. My daughter Meghan (who you may know from our Booktime with Meg posts) and I were talking about the various 826 centers and their cool fronts like 826 Brooklyn s Super Hero Supply store.. She thinks that an 826 is just what Atlanta needs, so she wrote a letter to the organization stating her case and her ideas.. In return, 826 sent her a wonderful reply letter.. While there is no 826ATL on the immediate horizon, they gave her some ideas to act on.. They also posted her letter on their web site and included.. a link in their latest newsletter.. We re all very excited around here.. (Note: If you re wondering, the link between her idea for an uncivilized store and.. the Cyclorama.. in her city is that the cyclorama is a huge painting of the Battle of Atlanta in the Civil War.. See what she did there?).. Awesome.. June 20, 2013 8:07 am |.. Decatur Book Festival Kickoff.. Last night was the.. Decatur Book  ...   is responsible for the heinous crime (and it’s heinous, not for the faint of heart).. Gillian also has a way of keeping you interested in the story even when the characters aren’t that likable.. Spoiler alert as I talk about what I didn’t like.. I didn’t like the ending at all, which means that I am about to talk about the ending.. As I read the book I pictured so many different ending scenarios because I really had no idea where she was trying to take me.. When I finally got to the whodunit, I was so disappointed because the endings in my head were so much cooler than the actual ending.. The book was so good, and then it just left me with a “really, that’s it?” feeling.. It could have had a.. Primal Fear-.. esque ending where you’re totally believing Ben didn’t do it, and then he turns out to be a Satan worshipping crazy the whole time.. That would have been fun.. The actual ending didn’t leave me shocked, or upset, or anything.. It was just meh.. I like Gillian Flynn.. She has a great writing style, but I want the end of her books to be worth the middle.. June 11, 2013 9:12 am |.. 25 Vintage Librarians Being Awesome.. Publisher s Weekly: Best Summer Books.. Via.. The Millions.. : Are you a sufferer of.. the Mariko Aoki phenomenon.. ? It s a thing.. The signs that.. you may be addicted to books.. A blog dedicated to t.. he best 1 star Amazon book reviews.. Books help kids beat the summer slide.. Tech-savvy parents still prefer print over e-books for their kids.. Senator fights for e-readers rights on planes.. I am loving the new Harry Potter covers by Kazu Kibuishi (.. Amulet.. ).. Here s the latest:.. June 7, 2013 8:02 am |.. The Rains of OMG! What just happened?!?.. Like the rest of the world, my fragile psyche was shaken to its core by that damn Game of Thrones episode Sunday.. I had to go back and watch it again.. How d we all miss it foreshadowing was EVERYWHERE.. Best reaction on the twitterverse was by novelist Erin Morgenstern who went with a Princess Bride reference for the win:.. Only just watched last night s Game of Thrones.. All I can think is Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read me this thing for?.. — erin morgenstern (@erinmorgenstern).. June 3, 2013.. George R.. R.. Martin explained himself to EW.. Spoilers ahoy:.. Boing Boing has a nice episode synopsis.. if you need to relive the episode with actually watching it again.. Someone found.. a way to laugh about it all.. at their local bookseller.. If you can still listen to that song, here s The National s cover of Rains of Castamere from last season.. On Screen.. June 6, 2013 7:51 am |.. While we were gone.. During our hiatus, all kinds of wonderful book things were going on.. The guys at The Lonely Island (which includes Andy Samberg) cooked up this amazing song about the correct way to use semi-colons.. In unrelated news, an Oxford professor drew gasps at the Hay Festival when.. he suggested that grammar pedants relax.. June 5, 2013 8:20 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 33.. Where have we been? Yikes.. That was a longer than expected hiatus.. Now that summer break is comfortably upon us, hopefully something approaching normalcy will follow.. I m excited to share the conversation that Meg (9) and I had about.. The Expeditioners.. by S.. S.. Taylor.. a book so good it ended our blogcation.. This is a book that I was pushing for us to read together, because I (not so secretly) wanted to read it myself.. The Expeditioners.. is published by McSweeeneys kids imprint,.. McMullens.. , so it is a beautiful book by default.. The illustrations by Katherine Roy are beautiful.. Plus -amazing childhood adventure.. I had to read it.. I m just glad that I had a daughter to read it with.. Episode 33.. June 3, 2013 8:01 am |.. Pulitzer-winners announced.. Top 34 horrible book covers.. The most banned/challenged books of 2012.. A brief history of American bookmobiles in pictures.. BBC adapting.. Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell.. into mini-series.. Infographic:.. Americans still love their libraries.. Granta s Best Young British Authors issue is out.. check out the list.. West Virginia introduces bill to include more science fiction in schools.. Like the rest of us,.. publishers trying to figure out new common core standards.. Worst English-language novelist in history?.. April 19, 2013 8:38 am |.. The Waste Land For Babies.. Do yourself a favor and.. check out this Kickstarter project.. April 17, 2013 7:28 am |.. On the heels of Amazon s purchase of Goodreads, Bookriot offers.. 12 alternatives to Goodreads.. Spoiler: any potentially good alternatives are still in Beta.. We Don’t Know Why Someone Made a Having-It-All Rom-Com Trailer About Daenerys Targaryen, But We’re Glad They Did.. bit.. ly/10ni2dY.. Flavorwire (@flavorwire).. March 29, 2013.. 28 books geeks should read to their kids before age 10.. Conservative group.. names Barnes Noble and the American Library Association to their list of facilitators of porn.. Did you read.. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.. ? Then you may be amazed to learn that.. scientists are continuing to rip off her family.. France has a plan to save its indie booksellers.. Why do we hate certain words?.. Nice article on paperbacks with.. interesting comparison between covers of hardbacks vs paperbacks.. 15 of the most architecturally unique libraries in the world.. admin.. April 5, 2013 8:17 am |.. Older.. Subscribe.. Entries RSS.. Comments RSS.. Search.. Follow @BabyGotBooks..  .. 411.. Authors @ BGB.. Scott Russell Sanders.. Stuart Archer Cohen.. Michael Fitzgerald.. Frank Portman.. Katie Kitamura.. Steven Hall -2.. Joe Meno.. Dara Horn - 2.. Christopher Beha.. Dan Baum.. N.. Frank Daniels.. Zachary Steele.. Laurel Snyder.. Rivka Galchen.. Rob Sheffield.. Yannick Murphy.. Richard Lange.. Dara Horn.. Joshua Henkin.. Steven Hall.. BGB Recommends.. A Cappella Books.. Atlanta A-List.. Atlanta Booklover s Blog.. Bokhora.. Book Addiction.. Book Girl.. Book Ninja.. Bookfinds.. BookFox.. BookLust.. Bookslut.. Brews and Books.. Cable and Tweed.. Counter Balance.. Criminal Records.. Critical Mass.. Cup of Coffey.. Dark Party Review.. Decatur Arts Alliance.. Desktop Retreat.. Edward Champion s.. Eskimo Bliss.. Everday I Write the Book.. Full Stop.. Galley Cat.. Hipster Book Club.. How Books Got Their Titles.. KCRW s Bookworm.. Largehearted Boy.. Lessons from the Edge.. Librarian.. net.. Maud Newton.. Moby Lives.. Moonlight Ambulette.. My Tragic Right Hip.. Neal Pollack.. Pecanne Log.. Pickle Me This.. Robert Fay.. Soldout!.. Southernist.. That Truncheon Thing.. The Blog of Litwits.. The Book Shopper.. The Book Spy.. The Dinner Party Download.. The Elegant Variation.. The Literate Kitten.. The New Dork Review of Books.. The Next Best Book Blog.. The Swivet.. 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  • Title: Baby Got Books » About Us
    Descriptive info: Writing inconsistently and with wild abandon about books since 2005, Baby Got Books is a loose confederation of.. book nerds.. literary bloggers.. We started out as a group of friends looking for a new way to share books and bookish news with one another.. Years later, we re very excited to have made so many new friends who share our love of books.. (The preferred version of our unofficial theme song can be found.. ).. Our Contributors.. is the ringleader, web guy, editor, and czar of Baby Got Books (BGB).. He is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle.. Tim lives in Atlanta, GA.. You can be pals with Tim at these fine social networking sites:.. Good Reads.. Shelfari.. Shaft.. is a regular contributor to BGB, as well as our chief legal strategist, poker correspondent, and drummer.. Shaft also lives in Atlanta, GA.. Dr J.. contributes from Deep in the Heart of Texas (clap, clap, clap, clap).. Dr J is our Chief Historian and Director of Spelling.. Jen.. writes about Young Adult, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, and kids books from Atlanta, GA.. Nitro Nicole.. contributes to BGB from New England.. She keeps us posted on the happenings in Manhattan.. Anne.. enjoys multi-cultural/historical books and  ...   novels stunk (The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao).. Russ reads literary fiction, graphic novels, and books about gross foods that he d never eat in real life.. If you are an overeducated (or at least a semi-overeducated) youngish person with a sleep disorder and a surfeit of opinions, the thing to do, after all, is to start a blog.. A.. O.. Scott.. Recognition.. The Editor s of Blogged.. com have given Baby Got Books an.. 8.. 7 Great.. rating.. Best Book Blogs.. (#9).. 101 Book Blogs You Need to Read (#3).. Best Book Blogs of 2008.. (#4).. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says.. BGB.. is “smart!!!”.. “has good taste!!!!!”.. is “a competitor!!!!”.. “…just another spot where more people like to yammer about books!!!!!!”.. Bloggers Emeritus.. FlavaWhee.. l is an occasional contributor and frequent commenter who weighs in from San Francisco.. RaeRae.. heads up our Awareness Department anc commutes to BGB World Headquarters from Texas.. Sally Rogers.. contributes to the site from Atlanta, GA.. Herman Glimscher.. , paramour of Sally, also contributes from Atlanta, GA.. Weezie.. , formerly in Atlanta, writes from her new home in San Francisco.. ElvisSmith.. is our Mid-Atlantic representative.. Swizzle D.. Monk.. also contributes from Atlanta.. February 7, 2006 7:06 pm..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Contact Us
    Descriptive info: We look forward to hearing from you.. Please fill out the form below, and we ll get back to you as soon as we can.. Name.. (required).. Website.. Message.. February 16, 2006 7:02 pm.. Other Links to this Post.. Baby Got Books Smarter than the NYT.. May 25, 2006 @.. 8:15 am..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books
    Descriptive info: August 7, 2013 10:00 pm.. No Comments.. No comments yet.. feed for comments on this post.. TrackBack URI.. Leave a comment.. *Name.. *Email (not published).. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.. Notify me of new posts by email..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Books
    Descriptive info: Category: Books..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Tim
    Descriptive info: The Tournament is over.. A winner has emerged victorious in The Tournament of Books.. And I m reading the winner now.. Hooray!.. Amazon has inked a deal to buy the bookish social networking site Goodreads.. Everyone seems to have forgotten about.. Amazon s similar purchases of Shelfari and LibraryThing.. In 2008.. Video:.. Junot Diaz on the Colbert Report.. Yeah, man.. Create your own family coat of arms.. Game of Thrones-style.. Newly discovered advice for writers from Oscar Wilde.. The Most Hilariously Disturbing Band Fanfiction You’ll Ever Read.. 7 essential books about comedy by comedians.. 10 Free Short Stories You Should Read.. March 29, 2013 8:33 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 31.. This week Meg and I discuss a book that is NOT by Rick Riordan.. Instead we dive into the mysterious world of Lemony Snicket s new series All the Wrong Questions.. The first book in the series,.. Who Could that be At this Hour?.. , is good fun.. The illustrations are pretty great, too.. Episode 31.. All the Wrong Questions 1: Who Could that be at this Hour?.. March 25, 2013 7:49 am |.. Salon: My Amazon bestseller made me nothing.. a grim look  ...   Chicago public school curriculum.. Just your everyday book-holding contest.. March 22, 2013 8:16 am |.. Stop Paying Attention to Me and Get Back to that Crucial Word Game Immediately.. T-shirt:.. The book was better.. A visual guide to what would happen if famous authors stuck to.. The Elements of Style.. How to use your Kindle as a bookmark.. Moby.. Ick s.. more like it.. 15 worst books to give as Mother s Day presents.. Game of Thrones as a drama set in high school.. Great cellphone reads.. Writer s Almanac discusses the writing process of Colum McCann.. Alternadad.. author.. Neal Pollack talks to the Onion A/V club.. about his troubles with making a living writing.. March 15, 2013 8:51 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episodes 30 and 30.. 5.. This week Meg talks about.. Peter and the Starcatchers.. by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.. We also talk briefly about its successor in the series,.. Peter and the Shadow Thieves.. She couldn t put one of them down, and couldn t keep the other one in her hands.. Find out more on the podcast.. Episode 30 and 30.. Peter and the Starcatchers.. March 13, 2013 7:53 am |..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Book Time with Meg: Episode 35
    Descriptive info: July 31, 2013 8:22 am.. 1 Comment.. By Kelly.. , July 31, 2013 @.. 2:50 pm.. Excellent review!..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Podcast
    Descriptive info: Category: Podcast.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 32.. This week Meg and I talk about.. The School of Fear.. by Gitty Daneshvari.. I was convinced that Meg was pronouncing that wrong, but that just goes to show what I know.. Episode 32.. April 1, 2013 7:01 am |.. Book Tim with Meg: Episode 29.. In this episode we discuss what seems like our one millionth Rick Riordan novel.. The Throne of Fire.. is the second book in the Kane Chronicles series but who can keep up.. We may have run out of things to discuss about Rick Riordan books as this is our silliest episode by far.. Episode 29.. February 25, 2013 12:16 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 28.. In this episode, Meg (8) and I return to the work of Carl Hiaasen.. Scat.. is another environmental themed novel for young readers featuring the everglades and Florida panthers an all around fun read.. Episode 28.. February 18, 2013 9:22 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 27.. We re back with MORE Rick Riordan.. Impossible, you say.. Hardly.. This time we tackle.. The Red Pyramid.. , the first book in The Kane Chronicles series.. Episode 27.. February 11, 2013 6:40 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 26.. Can we get enough Rick Riordan in our house? Apparently not.. In this episode we discuss.. The Mark of Athena.. , the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series.. Hold on to your hats!.. Episode 26.. February 4, 2013 7:57 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 25.. After a long hiatus, my daughter Meg (8) and I are back with our 25th (!) episode of Book Time with Meg.. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.. But no spoilers!.. Episode 25.. January 28, 2013 7:26 am |.. Book Time with Meg: 23.. Book Time with Meg is an ongoing series of podcasts in which I talk books with my eight year old daughter.. This week, Meg and I talk about.. The Son of Neptune.. by perennial favorite Rick Riordan.. Episode 23..  ...   Meg hosts and interviews her mom about a book they read together, Newberry Honor winner.. Princess Academy.. by Shannon Hale.. The book will be featured in a mother/daughter book club event they re hosting later this week.. They will also be attending.. Shannon Hale s reading at the Decatur Book Festival.. next weekend.. Episode 20.. August 27, 2012 7:34 am |.. Book Time with Meg: 18.. More father/daughter book chat.. Today we re talking about the third book in Kazu Kibuishi s Amulet series of graphic novels,.. The Cloud Searchers.. Episode 18.. Amulet: The Cloud Searchers.. Also: Listen to us discuss Parts.. 2.. August 13, 2012 8:18 am |.. Book Time with Meg: 17.. The Lost Hero.. in a spoiler adverse manner.. It s all Rick Riordan all the time over here.. Episode 17.. August 6, 2012 7:19 am |.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 16.. This is the second episode that we recorded on the train.. We re so relaxed on our travels that our mellowness is bordering on sleep.. Still, we persevere.. We talk about the second book in the excellent Amulet comic series,.. Amulet: The Stonekeeper s Curse.. Amulet: The Stonekeeper s Curse (Book 2).. July 30, 2012 8:52 am |.. Book Time with Meg:15.. We recorded this week s episode while riding the rails across the Deep South.. We re using our inside voices so we don t disturb the other passengers on Amtrak.. In today s segment, Meg and I discuss Carl Hiaasen s.. Flush.. Bonus: Meg pitches the next Hiaasen-esque eco-thriller for kids.. Agents: call us.. Episode 15.. Bonus 2: When we were in Denver s Tattered Cover bookstore, Meg spotted this giant.. cover signed by Hiaasen over in the giant children s area.. July 23, 2012 7:29 am |.. Book Time with Meg: 14.. On this wee s episode, I give up the interview chair.. Meg talks with her mom about the best and worst teachers in the books that she s read.. Book Time with Meg: Episode 14.. Teachers.. July 16, 2012 9:37 am |..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » The Paris Wife
    Descriptive info: July 29, 2013 7:41 am..

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  • Title: Baby Got Books » Fiction
    Descriptive info: Category: Fiction.. Rage is Back.. Would the author be better off had they left the By the New York Times bestselling author of Go the F**k to Sleep off the front cover? Time will tell.. by Adam Mansbach arrived on the scene at an opportune time.. I ve been reading, with relish, the.. Hip-Hop Family Tree comics.. by Ed Piskor over at.. Boing Boing.. The comics are focused squarely on the hip hop/graffiti golden era.. It has this panel on the bottom of each episode, which bears a certain resemblance to.. Rage s.. cover:.. I ve also been completely taken with the audacity of this amazing piece that went up in a quiet, forgotten corner of downtown Atlanta:.. Just look at that! Anyway, I was primed to read a novel that featured graffiti artists from back in the day is what I m saying.. So, yeah, back to the book.. takes place in the present and is related to us by our teenage narrator, Dondi, the half-black/half-Jewish son of once famous graffiti taggers.. Dondi kicks off his story by jumping right into the narrative :.. When Ambassador Dengue Fever told me that Billy wasn’t dead after all but half alive and back in town, skulking through the Transit System’s blackened veins feral and broken and scrawling weird mambo-jahambo on the walls with chalk— chalk! as if spray paint never existed— I pretty much just shrugged a whatever shrug and kept on selling hydroponic sinsemilla to stainless steel refrigerator owners living in neighborhoods that had just been invented, and hoping Karen would let me back in the apartment soon, me being her son and all, even if I had been expelled from fucking Whoopty Whoo Ivy League We’s A Comin’ Academy on account of some Upper Eastside whiteboys’ inability to keep my botanical enterprises, of which they were the major beneficiaries, on the low.. And we re off !.. The Rage in the title is Dondi s father (Billy) who disappeared after things went down back in the day but has suddenly reappeared.. Billy has been in the jungles of South America learning mysticism from shamans.. He brings an element of magic realism to the story.. Oh, you have a problem with that? Dondi is ready for you:.. If you’re already frowning and thinking I’m an unreliable narrator, or going “oh goody, I love magical realism,” then you should cut your losses and go read.. Tuesdays with Morrie.. , before I get to the really wild shit later on.. Skepticism is an admirable trait, but so is asking yourself if you’re really such a fucking Master of the Universe that things might not be happening beneath the surface of your world right now without you knowing.. Really, I could listen to Dondi s interior dialogue all day long.. The story unfolds as Dondi slowly gets to know and understand the father that abandoned him as a child, and we learn just why Rage is back.. And he is angry.. I really enjoyed my time with.. This book isn t for everyone, clearly.. If you re a fan of old school hip hop (which gets name checked regularly) or urban art, you should check it out.. If Dondi s unique worldview, as expressed here in brief quotes, appeals to you pick it up.. Ok, one more:.. Freeloading is exhausting.. All conversation, no alone-time, and for the only child of a single mother like your boy here, solitude is the base of the mental health food pyramid, the grain-and-bread group of not losing my shit rather than the occasional, Chili Cheese Frito-esque indulgence some people seem to find it.. When I do get some quiet, it’s in the dead-sober middle of the day, when regular citizens are out getting paid or educated, and I fritter it away shaking my fool head at the parade of unsound ideas and irresponsible people I’ve spent my life in thrall to— a great word, thrall; sounds like a monster’s gullet— while normal kids were busy soaking up all types of valuable knowledge from their square-ass parents.. March 6, 2013 9:27 am |.. Honky.. Since my area of interest leans toward multi-cultural, people find all sorts of books for me.. My mom picked up.. by Dalton Conley at a garage sale and I m happy she did.. Honky is a compilation of Mr.. Conley’s early memories living in New York public housing as the only white kid.. His earliest memory is from when he was about three years old.. He wanted a sibling so badly he ran up to a little black girl and insisted on taking her back home with him, to be his sister.. Having a white boy try to kidnap her daughter didn’t go over well with the girl’s mother.. How Mr.. Conley s family ended up in public housing is important to point out.. His parents were artists and their parents offered to help them in order to get them into an upper scale neighborhood.. They weren’t interested in taking the help and thought it would be good for the family to live in this public housing community as the only white family amongst mostly black and hispanic people.. They could never have guessed how it would affect their son.. While her son attends the the tough, local elementary school, Mr.. Conley s mother realizes that this public school isn’t the best option for her son and works the system in order to get him into a better school.. Having always been the only “white” kid in school, Dalton had several keen observations upon entering his new whiter school.. He was confused by Orzan, the Turkish boy, who was outspoken about his differences and was still comfortable with himself:.. Orzan, by contrast, seemed to carry the make of foreignness with him through the halls of P.. 41.. It wasn’t about race, for he appeared as white as anyone else.. It might have been about ethnicity, since his name certainly set him off form the rest of us.. But the major division between Ozan and everyone else was of his own making: his political opinions, almost as a rule, diverged from those of the rest of class.. In contrast to Orzan, Dalton had defined himself as a minority white kid and was surprised when he wasn t the minority any longer:.. Suddenly, being white was no longer the marker that set me off from everybody else, that defined who I was.. Being a honky may have made me twitch back at the Mini School, but it also gave me a certain freedom to act however I wanted, since people’s reactions never reflected anything about me in particular but could always be brushed off as a racial thing.. When young Mr.. Conley and his new upper middle class friend accidentally start a fire in that friend s apartment, he is stunned that nothing happens to them.. The father doesn t beat his son and the authorities don t press the issue.. He knows this would not have been the case in his hood.. He realizes soon enough that the inequalities of being poor just isn’t a money issue:.. Not only does the government deprive low-income families of the opportunity to take care of their own kids and their own mistakes, it actively goes after them in the form of drug raids, weapons sweeps and other such policy initiatives.. I learned this a few years later, when one of my neighbors was busted in a drug raid.. Because he had recently turned eighteen, he was tried as an adult …and given twenty five years of hard time….. I remember Marc as the kid who used to pump me up with confidence, telling me that because I batted left handed I had a chance to be like the greatest homerun sluggers of all time.. I feel sorry for little Mr.. Conley, everything in his life is about race and fitting in.. He admits that later in life, he became a bit OCD and to this day has to do things in pairs.. Reading.. reminded me of.. I m Down.. by Mishna Wolff.. Ms.. Wolff talked a lot about race and fitting in, but her issue really was her absent parents and her need for love from them.. Mr.. Conley s early life is similar.. He never understood why his sister never had problems fitting in regardless of race.. Obviously, she didn t use race as her stumbling block.. Conley needed his parents to help him sort this out, but similar to Ms.. Wolff, they were busy with their own lives and trying to survive as artists.. I understand that many kids have a desire to fit in and will do what they can to do feel accepted, but I ve always believed that you need to be yourself be a good person and the friend situation will work itself out.. Fortunately, for my mixed-race daughter, she seems to already understand this at eight years old.. She gets that she will have friends based on similar interests and personalities, not race.. Fitting in and friendship do not have to be about race unless you make it that way.. Unfortunately for Mr.. Conley, his parents couldn t help him with this.. February 5, 2013 7:16 am |.. Comments (4).. The House I Loved.. Sarah’s Key.. by Tatiana de Rosnay is one of my all time favorite books.. I was thrilled to find the audio version of Ms.. De Rosnay’s other book.. The House I.. Loved.. , on the library shelf.. I needn’t have been so excited.. This story takes place in Paris in the mid-19th century.. For anyone who has been to Paris, you know that there are hundreds of little streets but also les grands boulevards: Blvd.. Ste.. Germaine, Blvd.. Haussman, Blvd St.. Michel, Avenue de l Opera, to name a few.. Commissioned by Napolean III, Baron Haussman redesigned the city and these grands boulevards were very controversial.. Obviously, the city plan is not controversial today and I never gave much thought as to what existed prior to this master plan.. I was hopeful Ms.. De Rosnay s novel would provide some insight.. Rose Bazelet is one woman who is greatly affected by the redesign of the city.. Her house sits onthe small rue de Childebert and will soon be destroyed to make way for Blvd.. Germaine.. Rose narrates the story by describing her daily activities and her love of the house to her long dead husband.. All of Rose s neighbors had sold their properties and moved on, literally.. The book cover promises a woman who will stand up and fight for what she believes in.. As far as I can tell she left her house once to visit the city officials, lost her uneventful fight, returned home and never left again.. Rose reminisces about her life, their marriage and their children to her dead husband and tries to convince someone (the reader?) how much the house means to her.. I wasn t convinced and I didn t care about the house.. As much as.. Sarah s Key.. led me on an emotional roller coaster,.. left me yawning.. I only continued listening because it takes place in my favorite city, and there was supposed to be a dark secret revealed.. I already figured out the secret before it was revealed and it wasn t original or spectacular.. Bummer.. I was determined, however, to obtain something positive from this story.. Since I didn t know much about the layout of pre-Haussman Paris, I did a little research on the street name where Rose lived and found it to be a real street from long ago.. Rue Childebert is listed on.. a French website that talks about the old streets of Paris.. So although.. wasn t anywhere near a favorite, I m glad it gave me incentive to reserach a little more Parisian history.. January 24, 2013 9:26 am |.. Overdue Book Review: Gone to the Forest.. I first came across novelist Katie Kitamura when her first novel,.. The Longshot.. , landed unexpectedly in my mailbox.. It had what might be the most badass cover in recent memory.. Exhibit A:.. It was an unlikely read for me.. A novel about mixed martial arts? Nine times out of 10, that s a pass.. Once I started reading though, I was hooked.. In.. Longshot.. , Kitamura channeled Hemingway.. In all the right ways.. Kitamura was kind enough.. to be interviewed for BGB.. , which is still a highwater mark for this blog.. (Did you know that her brother had the name of her novel tattooed on his knuckles for that cover? I know, right? Badass.. ) I still can t recommend.. highly enough.. (.. Read my review.. I received an early review copy of her latest novel,.. Gone to the Forest.. , back in January.. January.. I read it immediately.. The novel was since released a few months ago, and I felt the need to go back and reread it for this review.. is a completely different novel than her first in many ways, but it is similar to Longshot in one important aspect Kitamura remains a fearless author.. The novel takes place on a large farm/plantation in an unnamed African estate in the last days of colonial rule.. The farm is run by the old man who rules the farm and his son Tom with an iron fist.. The dynamic between father and son is completely dysfunctional and in many ways mirrors the colonial rule.. There is no love, and there is often barely tolerance of Tom who never learned to be the man his father wanted to be.. So he leaves Tom as alone as he can.. Tom s mother has mercifully passed on.. Kitamura lays out the differences between father and son:.. Tom is different.. He does not force himself upon the land.. He does not force himself upon anything.. There is very little that Tom can call his own.. Tom is not like his father, Tom has chosen nothing.. He did not choose the country or the piece of land.. He did not choose the business of the farm.. He did not choose the house, with its dark rooms and corridors.. All of this was chosen for him, and Tom is barely aware of it.. It is simply his world.. As the novel progresses there is talk of a possible insurrection.. The tolerance of the locals for colonial rule has reached its limit and there is talk of spreading violence.. Meanwhile, a wife is found for Tom and a hasty engagement ensues.. But again, the dysfunctional dynamic between father and son plays out in the worst possible way.. In the midst of the unfolding chaos a dormant volcano suddenly erupts coating the entire region in ashes, bringing to my mind John F Kennedy s famous quote about nuclear war, In which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouths.. Things go from bad to worse.. Much worse.. Kitamura s two novels are about men in conflict with a world of violence.. Her writing style is lean, muscular, and unsentimental.. Again, a comparison to Hemingway is apt.. Katie Kitamura is a fearless novelist.. She is a badass, and I will gladly read all the novels that she cares to write.. Even if it takes me months to tell you about them.. November 14, 2012 11:56 pm |.. A Moveable Feast.. To be honest, I never had much interest in Ernest Hemingway until I read.. The Paris Wife.. after Jim’s review posted on BGB.. While reading about Hemingway’s life in Paris from his wife Hadley’s point of view (even the fiction version), I made a mental note to put.. A Moveable Feast.. on the short list.. Appropriately, I bought the book at Shakespeare and Company while I was in Paris and started it as soon as I returned home.. I chose the perfect time to explore Hemingway’s writings.. Fortunately for those of us late to this famous author, in 2009, Sean Hemingway took his grandfather’s notes and rewote several of Hemingway’s books based on his actual writings.. At the beginning of.. , Sean outlines the differences between the two editions.. Since I never read the first one, I wouldn’t have known any differently, but knowing that this version is straight from the source and not edited by one of his wives makes me happy that I waited.. To learn more about Sean’s work, check out t.. he NPR interview with him about his changes to.. Farewell to Arms.. Hemingway spent several years in Paris when he began his writing career in the 1920 s.. The 1920 s in Paris was a wild time.. American artists were escaping prohibition in America and were able to live cheaply in Paris while dedicating all of their time to their profession.. The smallest detail of the everyday is exciting in this case.. ( I always wonder if my Paris memoires would be this interesting, but probably not, I’m not Ernest Hemingway).. After you came out of the Luxembourg you could walk down the narrow rue Ferou to the Place St.. -Sulpice and there were still no restaurants, only the quiet square with its benches and trees.. There was a fountain with lions and pigeons walked on the pavement and perched on the statues of the bishops.. Hello! I was just in that exact place! That is the church square where I can trace my ancestry back to 1490.. Hemingway was there too! Ok.. I became just a little excited while reading this book.. Like most memoirs, each chapter can represent its own memory, completely separate from any other.. There isn’t a particular timeline that I could follow, but some subjects were deserving of several chapters.. His good friend and poet, Ezra Pound, was one such subject.. F.. Scott Fitzgerald is another example.. Hemingway seems to have had a love-hate relationship with him.. He appreciated Fitzgerald s writing talent but focused a lot of his own writing time on Fitzgerald s drinking problem, erratic behavior and crazy wife Zelda.. He put.. a lot.. of thought into describing Scott’s looks the first time he met him,.. Scott was a man then who looked like a boy with a face between handsome and pretty.. He had very fair wavy hair, a high forehead, excited eyes and a delicate long-lipped Irish mouth, that on a girl, would have been the mouth for a beauty.. His chin was well built and he had good ears and a handsome, almost beautiful, unmarked nose.. This should not have added up to a pretty face, but that came from the coloring, the very fair hair and the mouth.. The mouth worried you until you knew him and then it worried you more.. Hemingway also often describes what conditions were best for him to work.. His trips to the track and the different people who he would randomly see in cafes were also parts of his life he described.. All of them quite fascinating.. Having lived in Paris myself, there is nothing further form the truth than Hemingway’s famous quote:.. If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man [or woman!], then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.. When I return to Paris next time, and there is always a next time, I am going to explore Hemingway’s old haunts for myself.. October 29, 2012 7:20 am |.. Guest Post: The Red Umbrella.. Today we have a special guest post from Julia who is 11.. Julia heard about us from a colleague of [her] mom’s She mentioned that your blog was amazing, but, with all due respect, for a blog that did book reviews for kids.. there were no kids writing the reviews.. While factually inaccurate, we admire her moxie.. Welcome, Julia!.. ‘The Red Umbrella’.. is a novel by Christiana Diaz Gonzalez set in 1961 primarily in Cuba during the Cuban revolution about a 13 year old girl  ...   Claire through her open window.. This is a very cool, eerie event in the first book, but it has never been mentioned again.. It’s actually a little frustrating that Claire can remember details about battles she read in a history book years ago, but she doesn’t seem to remember this very odd event.. It doesn’t even come up when, while in the 1700s, Jamie shows Claire a pin that is identical to Frank’s description of a pin that the eerie 1900 Scotsman was wearing.. So clearly Jamie has been in the 1900s, and I’m going to need that event cleared up stat.. September 5, 2012 7:44 am |.. Year Zero.. Since I m an attorney who is not only a huge music freak but also does some music law in my job, Rob Reid s.. pretty much sounded like it would hit the bullseye of the bullseye for me.. By the way, I don t think I need to give you a spoiler alert because you learn all of what I m about to tell you in the first few pages of this book.. Reid s story focuses on our protagonist Nick Carter, an associate who practices music law at a New York City law firm.. As it turns out, there are countless alien societies throughout the universe, many of which have banded together as a collection of Refined Societies who all practice certain Refined Arts , of which music is the most valuable.. But apparently all of these alien societies absolutely suck at music, and through an accident of sorts they happened to listen to Earth one day in 1977 and heard the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter and they lost their collective sh*t.. This moment is referred to as the Kotter Moment, and it basically re-set the course of history for the rest of the universe, as every Refined Society began listening to and downloading music from Earth and 1977 became known as Year Zero.. Well, because of a rule that requires all Refined Societies to observe the laws of a home territory, the aliens have realized that they are in debt for pirating Earth s music, and a few groups of aliens with differing agendas visit Nick through wrinkles in the space/time continuum to get him to figure out how to rectify the situation.. The kicker is that the reasons HE was singled out by these different factions were that (a) everyone thinks he s the Carter in the name of his firm, an accomplished music lawyer who has played a huge role in the development of music-related legislation (he s not), and (b) they also think he s the Nick Carter that was in the Backstreet Boys, which makes him an icon.. Pretty funny set up, and Reid does a pretty good job with setting the stage here.. He was the founder of Listen.. com, which spawned Rhapsody, and so he knows the music world.. But I have to admit that while the book was an enjoyable read, the science fiction angle on it was a little too goofy for me.. There s a lot of funny stuff that happens, and as you learn more about the various alien characters you ll have yourself a good chuckle.. And the way Reid wraps things up is pretty good.. But between the names of the planets and some of the science fiction filler material, I think he could have done a better job of keeping the flow going through the book without having to get too silly.. He s got a great idea, some good characters, and knows how to write.. That s not meant to be a bash on the book; in fact, to the extent what I just wrote is negative, it s probably the only negative press you ll find on this book, and it probably stems solely from the fact that I m not easy to please when it comes to sci-fi.. Not because I m a sci-fi snob, but rather because I just don t really get science fiction, and so it s got to be dead-on for me to enjoy that aspect.. If you like music, comedy, and science fiction, chances are you ll love this book.. September 4, 2012 7:08 am |.. What in God s Name.. I liked Simon Rich s previous novel,.. Elliot Allagash.. , and so when I saw that he had a new one out I was interested.. Then when I read a blurb about.. I was dead-set on reading it at my first opportunity.. There s really just one word I can use to describe this book.. It s a word that I use sparingly, and which should not be taken lightly.. That word is.. cute.. And in case I need to point this out, I don t mean that with any negative connotation at all.. Rich does something that seems so simple, yet he does it in such an original and hysterical way: Heaven, Inc.. , is a corporation, and God is the CEO.. God is really a bit distracted and decides that he is going to destroy the Earth (which was originally set up solely to produce Xenon, with humans being an afterthought).. But a couple of angels from the Department of Miracles (not as major a department as you might think) convince him to give them a month to make an actual miracle happen, in which case God will cancel Armageddon and his plans to open an Asian fusion restaurant.. The way Rich tells this story is fantastic.. He describes Heaven like any big business, and he offers some great insights into how what we do here on Earth is viewed by God and the others up there.. His discussion of prayers for field goals, and how he s a Yankees fan and helps them win games, are brilliant.. And he weaves this story together with two angels, Craig and Eliza, who are not unlike the pair of humans that Craig and Eliza are responsible for making fall in love.. This is a book that you can read in a single sitting if you ve got the time.. Funny and heartwarming.. If they don t option this for a movie, somebody needs to send up a prayer.. August 29, 2012 8:33 am |.. Every Day.. I was lucky to receive an advance copy of David Levithan s new YA book.. How could I resist a story about a sixteen year old kid who wakes up Every day a different body.. Every day a different life.. Every day in love with the same girl? I ve read a few of Levithan s other books, and all of them have, if not a pretty strong message for today s high school kids, at least some interesting food for thought.. Not being a high school kid myself, I always wonder what the teenage take on his books really is.. , Levithan seeks to answer the questions of what it would be like living in the body and life of a different person every day.. What would it be like to be purely a self, with no set gender, race, family, or orientation of any kind? Could someone fall in love with a person who changed every day? Each day, A wakes up and has to quickly figure out who he is.. I write he only because the first person the reader comes across on Day 5994 of A s life is a he.. He has to discover the color of his skin, his gender, the length of his hair, the size and shape of his body, and then, where he is, what his family is like, and of course, if he has a test that day in whatever high school he attends.. A is always himself, yet he is always the person he wakes up as.. Until midnight when he will be ripped from his current body (he prefers to be sleeping when this happens) to wake up in/as another.. He has figured out how to do this with a pretty firm set of ethics.. He doesn t allow his new body to get hurt (after trying to ski as an 11 year old and breaking a few bones).. He doesn t allow the body to do hard drugs, even if the body is addicted.. And he almost always gets his homework done.. All this goes pretty well, until Day 5994 (he keeps an online diary) when he wakes up as the jerky boyfriend of a girl (Rhiannon) and has the best day of his life.. Once A has a person he loves in which to focus, he starts trying to understand his life a little bit more.. He knows he will never figure out his own existence, but suddenly he wants his life to be real.. The rest of the story chronicles A s daily battle of trying to get back to Rhiannon in whatever body he is inhabiting; some of those bodies being comical, others happy, others drug addled, and another depressingly suicidal.. The range of 16 year old lives A inhabits is huge, which is pretty typical of Levithan s style.. The author seems to relish in inclusiveness.. By being a different person every day, A has come to accept every body.. He can be male, female, straight, gay, and everything in between.. Everyone has worth, whether beautiful, ugly, fat, thin, athletic, not, outgoing, or introverted.. And A feels a responsibility to each of his bodies without actually interfering with their lives.. Pretty wise for a 16 year old, right?.. When A convinces Rhiannon of his atypical existence he finally begins to find some meaning in why he s here and what is happening to him (kind of reminds me of.. The Little Prince.. and his rose).. Then the trouble begins.. What happens when the person you love can t accept you as you are (a truly different person every day)? What happens when someone you ve inhabited remembers you were there? And what do you do when you find out there might be others like you and possibly a means to control who you are and what body you get?.. was a great story with a couple interesting messages.. I enjoyed A s open-mindedness and acceptance of others, his attempts at understanding love and relationships, and his desire to exhibit responsibility to and for the lives he affected, but I did feel a little preached to by the author.. A is still only a 16 year old kid, and although he has lived many lives, they have all been as any other child would age chronologically.. As an adult reader of young adult books, I always wonder what the actual young adults out there would say about these stories.. Do those crazy teenagers appreciate or resent this adult-like insight into their lives? Do they want their 16 year old protagonists to stumble through their lives just a little but still let them know it ll all be ok? Or will they yell, Whatever! and move on? If you re a real young adult and read.. as well as this review, let me know.. I m really curious to hear what you think.. August 28, 2012 7:49 am |.. Year of Wonders:.. I used to read historical fiction regularly but haven’t really picked up a good period novel in a while.. Then my neighborhood launched a book club and this was the first chosen title.. I confess I was a little reluctant to pick up.. Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague.. because despite all of the hype I’ve never been able to really get into one of Geraldine Brooks’ other books:.. People of the Book.. And it took me a bit to get into this title, too, but the payoffs were well worthwhile.. The novel is based on a real village, Eyam, in Derbyshire, England.. In 1665 a flea-infested bundle of cloth was delivered from London to a tailor.. The plague quickly took over the village.. Rather than further the spread of the disease the village chose to isolate itself from nearby villages: nobody came in or out.. Money, soaked in vinegar, which was thought to kill the plague, was placed in a hole in a stone called the Coolstone (you can see the stone still, should you visit Eyam.. ) A neighboring village would exchange the money for food and other supplies for the villagers.. Church records still exist which list at least some of the dead, and letters from the rector to a mentor still exist as well.. Brooks reaches into the silence beyond the historical records and brings to life a heroine in main character and narrator, Anna Firth.. At the beginning of the novel Anna has just lost her husband in a lead mining accident and is raising her two sons, some sheep and a cow entirely on her own.. She happily welcomes a tailor in as a lodger.. He is the first village casualty of the plague.. The plague quickly begins its angry and impartial spread across the village.. People fall in ill in rapid succession, some surviving against all odds and other dying when it seemed they might be saved.. Throughout the novel Anna works closely as a servant, and in many ways as a friend, for the rector, Michael Mompellion, and especially his wife Elinor.. As the plague spreads to a point where meeting as a village in the crowded chapel seems too risky for sharing infection the “church” gathers in the woods for Sunday services.. It is at one of these services that Mompellion suggests the isolation of the village.. Within hours of this pronouncement the wealthy village family evacuates, taking not one servant with them, abandoning their village to the disease and whatever may come of it.. The novel is filled with twists and turns as the village both comes together and turns against itself.. Throughout, Anna remains a strong character, caring for the sick, caring for her family, caring for her animals.. The denouement and conclusion are best protected from any spoilers but they do not disappoint.. I have officially declared this to be perhaps the best historical novel I have ever read.. I absolutely adored Anna, admired her strengths, felt her weaknesses with sympathy.. A side benefit in terms of basic education from a novel came in learning about the lead mining industry.. Brooks fails to fully explain all of the rules governing lead mining: the laying in of claims, the barmasters who administers claim ownership and the sale of ore.. I learned that the industry existed in Derbyshire into the 1920’s by doing a little Google research.. If there are flaws in the novel they are minor: the limited explanation of lead mining, the speed at which Anna learns to read under the tutelage of Elinor, and a bit of the ending that fell a bit flat for me.. Despite any flaws I highly recommend this book as a way to learn about the plague, small village life, the caste system therein and the sacrifice and indomitable spirit of a people with a common goal.. And the prose doesn’t exactly let you down either.. There’s a description of Anna sitting by a creek nursing her son that still stays with me.. In summary: Read it.. You’ll thank me later.. Stephanie Martin.. August 16, 2012 7:56 am |.. The Sisters Brothers.. I saw.. Tim s review.. of Patrick deWitt s novel.. and was so impressed by the start of the review that I didn t read the rest of the review so as to avoid spoilers.. Because I knew right away that I would read this book.. This is (I guess) a Western, taking place in Oregon and California in the mid-1800 s.. The story is told by Eli Sisters, who partners with his brother Charlie to form the infamous Sisters Brothers, a pair of guns for hire/assassins/murderers who embark on a mission for the mysterious Commodore.. The job will take them from Oregon City to San Francisco, and the first half of the novel really describes their journey there.. I have to confess that by the time I got to about the halfway point of the book I was a little underwhelmed; while deWitt has a nice, no-nonsense prose style, to this point the book is really sort of a this happened, then this happened, and then we went here, and then this happened, etc.. There wasn t much of a story building, and I was wondering what all the hype was about.. Then, shortly before the brothers arrived in San Francisco, I started to get it.. The first half of the book is really focused on building characters notably Eli and Charlie.. deWitt does this not only through letting the reader see how the brothers behave, but also through their interactions with other oddball characters they meet along the way; those characters don t really have anything to do with the story, but instead help to provide a context against which Eli and Charlie can be judged by the reader.. And most surprisingly, you realize that you.. like.. Eli, even though he is a murderer-for-hire.. And as their journey takes them into San Francisco and then on to Sacramento, you realize that you re rooting for things to turn out alright for Eli.. When the job doesn t go as planned and things take stranger and stranger turns, the book truly evolves into a character study that examines both Eli and Charlie s fundamental aspirations and values and the tensions between the two brothers, while also testing them in more and more difficult situations.. I was hooked, and like Tim, I couldn t turn pages fast enough to see what would happen.. And unlike many other stories I ve read recently that I found rather anticlimactic, I was just perfectly fine with how deWitt ended things here.. Good for him, and good for me.. August 14, 2012 7:13 am |.. The Man in My Basement.. I can t decide whether I really loved Walter Mosley s.. or whether I m just telling myself that because of all of the possibilities and potential the story had.. Apparently Mr.. Mosley is a fairly well-known author, the man behind various mystery series, but I knew nothing about him.. But the premise of this story fascinated me and I jumped right in.. Our hero, Charles Blakey, is a middle-aged African-American man who lives in the same house in Sag Harbor that his family has owned for centuries.. He has lost his job, has no money, and spends his time drinking, wasting time, and having regular card games with his friends Clarance and Ricky.. He s pretty much down and out and needs money when a mysterious stranger named Aniston Bennet appears on his doorstep asking if he can rent Blakey s basement for a month for a ridiculous sum of money.. Blakey is thrown by this and isn t interested, but as financial pressures begin to squeeze him, he relents.. Bennet s proposal is not your usual boarding situation, though; he essentially asks Blakey to imprison him in the basement without providing any clear explanation why.. When he moves in, the dynamic between Blakey and Bennet is tense and at times frightening, and Mosley turns it into a bizarre power struggle between the men in which the reader is never perfectly clear who is in charge.. There are a few other threads in the story as Blakey gets a crush on the an antiques dealer he engages to sell off all of the stuff he had to clean out of his basement to make room for Bennet, but the focus remains on Blakey s fears, curiosities, and determination to figure out what Bennet is thinking and why he wants to subject himself to the very situation he asked for.. It s an intense read and an interesting character study.. If what I describe sounds interesting, then you ought to check it out.. August 7, 2012 7:29 am |..

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    Descriptive info: Category: Review.. Destiny of the Republic, A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.. Destiny of the Republic, A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.. by Candice Millard.. I picked this book up because the cover looked cool and the title was exciting, and what I learned is that it always pays off to judge a book by its cover.. What a great book.. I’m not a big reader of nonfiction because, regardless of how interesting the person or event, the writing always feels like I’m reading a bunch of facts.. I want to know what the people were thinking and feeling, not just what they did.. Candice Millard’s writing style, however, is so effortless and gripping, that this nonfiction feels more like a story and less like a factual account of events.. I have to admit that before reading this book I knew absolutely nothing about President Garfield.. Rightfully so since he only held the office for a couple of months.. Now, however, I have a deep admiration for this man that was so full of character and strength.. Millard paints a picture of a man that kept his wit and integrity through times when most of us would break down into self-pity and anger.. Garfield’s story is told through a narrative consisting of personal letters, diary entries, and newspaper reports lending it factual credibility as well as insight into the emotions of the main characters.. The book tells the story of Garfield’s meager beginnings to his unlikely nomination for the presidency, his shooting, and fatal medical care.. The portions of the book dedicated to the accounts of Garfield’s medical care are a bit difficult to read.. I often found myself audibly gasping and admiring Garfield even more for continuing to exhibit such strength of character.. The book also contains some very interesting side stories about the people who impacted, or had the potential to impact, Garfield’s life.. Millard includes narratives from Alexander Graham Bell’s personal letters about his invention of the telephone and his attempt to create the induction balance to locate the bullet lodged in Garfield as well as excerpts from Charles Guiteau’s diary, Garfield’s assassin who was a crazy, crazy little man.. But perhaps my favorite part of the book was the quotes from Garfield’s letters and speeches.. Garfield spoke so eloquently and thoughtfully that I now include him on my short list of people, dead or alive, that I would have a dinner party with if given the opportunity.. For example, in a letter to his mother from college where he was working as a janitor to pay his tuition (talk about American dream, poverty to President), he wrote, “If I ever get through a course of study I don’t expect any one will ask me what kind of a coat I wore when studying, and, if they do I shall not be ashamed to tell them it was a ragged one.. ” Or, from a speech Garfield gave to a large delegation of African American men, “You were not made free merely to be allowed to vote but in order to enjoy an equality of opportunity in the race of life.. Permit no man to praise you because you are black, nor wrong you because you are black.. Let it be known that you are ready and willing to work out your own material salvation by your own energy, your own worth, your own labor.. ” Moving.. And, when the doctor told him he had one chance in a hundred of surviving the gunshot, Garfield replied, “We will take that chance, doctor, and make good use of it.. ” But my all-time favorite Garfield quote that I have even my fiancé repeating, “Of course I deprecate war, but if it is brought to my door the bringer will find me at home.. I’m very surprised at how much I liked this book, and I’m glad this book exists to shed light on a great man that not a lot of people know about.. I’m excited to read more of this author’s works.. Or, maybe my next adventure in nonfiction will be to pick up a book about Vice President/successor President Chester Arthur.. His part in Garfield’s tale is also pretty interesting.. January 29, 2013 8:09 am |.. How Music Works.. I  ...   one as an e-book.. If you re a music fan and don t mind reading about it, you really can t go wrong picking this one up.. November 8, 2012 12:21 am |.. Ayn Rand and the World She Made.. People have very strong opinions about Ayn Rand.. Personally, I never gave her much thought until the audio copy of her biography.. Ayn Rand and the World She Made.. by Anne C.. Heller ended up in my mailbox.. Thanks, Uncle Dave.. Extensive research went into this 20 hour (16 disc) audio book, and I listened to every minute.. I now have my own opinion of Ayn Rand, and I will try to keep it to myself.. Heller starts at the beginning.. Ayn Rand was born Alisa Zinov yevna Rosenbaum into a financially successful Russian Jewish family.. Her family had a rough time during the Russian Revolution, but from my perspective they managed to find ways to make it work.. Rand wouldn’t agree with me.. From an early age, Rand couldn’t understand why she should be denied anything she wanted.. Most children eventually grow out of this, accepting the reality that life doesn’t work that way.. Rand never did.. Her entire life was spent working for what she wanted, and in her case, ultimately achieving it.. She moved to America from Russia with the aspirations of becoming a famous writer.. Immediately after changing her name, she began her career as a screen writer in Hollywood.. The way in which she managed to land on Cecil B.. DeMille’s radar would be called a ‘stalker’ today, but of course, she would never admit to this.. Rand worked in the film studio’s wardrobe department and eventually wrote for silent films and then talking films.. Not all of her films were produced, but she wrote and was compensated for screenplays nonetheless.. From Hollywood to New York, back to Hollywood and New York, Rand never stopped writing (or creating drama) and we all know that it paid off.. Heller follows Rand’s life in detail, using interviews and journals as references.. I especially enjoyed listening when Ms.. Heller pointed out discrepancies between what Rand had said in interviews and the truth which was uncovered later.. Rand liked to say that no one ever helped her get to where she was.. In fact, that was false, as many of her acquaintances pointed out – she had plenty of help, which Ms.. Heller outlines.. That’s not to discredit her hard work and determination.. She had ambition, there is no doubt.. Heller also reviews the plots of the books.. The Fountainhead.. Atlas Shrugged.. in detail, pointing out events and people in the novels which corresponded to Rand’s real life.. This part of the biography is very important for any Rand worshipers.. When her stories and her life are linked together, the mystery and “brilliance” of Rand fade away, in my opinion.. Like most writers, she wrote what she knew and her writing reflected her life’s experiences.. Great philosopher? Or just reacting to those who had wronged her?.. By disc seven, I was listening to a soap opera a wonderful distraction from rush hour traffic.. At one point in her life, Rand decided she wanted to take a lover.. She presented the reasons for this affair to her husband and to the wife of her soon to be lover neither denied her.. The story becomes even more bizarre during the next 14 years as Rand becomes a marriage counselor and the couples become closer than ever.. Tune in to find out the rest of the story!.. brought much fame to Rand and by the time.. was finally published (a story in itself) she and her “Objectivism” philosophy had obtained a cult following.. This lends more drama to her soap opera life.. The rise and fall of her followers, by Rand’s hand, each have their own individual story and Ms.. Heller gives us the insights to those as well.. In the end, Rand achieved what she always wanted.. It is not surprising, however, that she was not a happy person.. She had plenty of followers but not many real friends.. So the question I ask is: “Genius? Or spoiled brat?” Each reader can decide for themselves, but either way Ayn Rand s life was definitely fascinating and entertaining.. October 24, 2012 7:40 am |.. Comments (3)..

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