Monday, February 28, 2011
It’s non-fiction written by a journalist. Maybe the forward summarizes this book best. The author, Michael Capuzzo, quotes both E.O. Wilson’s Voice of the Species and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table:
In the beginning when all is lost, mankind needs the right three men...the chieftain, the warrior, and the shaman...the king, the knight, and the wizard.
The reader gets to know three men, virtues and vices, the retired FBI agent, Bill Fleisher, the forensics artist, Frank Bender, and the criminal profiler, Richard Walter. The crime solvers are members of the real-life Vidocq Society, partners in solving often brutal murders, and their exploits read like crime fiction.
The author is the story-teller here and his prose is sometimes lyrical and sometimes practical. I actually stopped often while reading to reflect that the stories told were actual crimes these men solved. If the style was strictly practical I don’t think I could have finished reading the brutal facts of the crimes and the terrifying analyses of serial killers. Definitely not reading for the faint of heart; remember it is non-fiction. I thought it was a fascinating story. 448 pages.
Louise Erdrich’s books are narrated by amazing characters that mirror her ancestry, German and French/Ojibwa, and small town North Dakota near tribal reservations where she grew up.
In Erdrich’s books, the narrative chapters move back-and-forth between the present day and the past, fiction and legend, lyrically weaving the interconnection of the multiple narratives. As one character says: It’s all blood here.
In Plague of Doves, Evalina (and the reader) comes lately to the revelation that her beloved Mooshum’s (Grandfather) tales are really the sad oral history of miscommunication between Native Americans and immigrant settlers of the upper Midwest.
The Master Butchers Singing Club contains the most vivid description of caring for a dying person that I have ever read. A second reading did not diminish the power of the description of Delphine and Eva’s nonverbal bond.
audio: 12.5 hours
print: 512 pages
Imagine, it's late 1860/early 1861 and Abraham Lincoln has to pick a cabinet to help him run the crumbling union. Who does he pick? Friends and allies who might further fracture an already weak union? Or does he pick rivals who might not have the same political sensibilities and the President Elect but still want to see the union thrive?
Lincoln picks the latter much to the chagrin of political allies. The book Team of Rivals walks the reader thru Lincoln's decisions and shows how this team helped piece back together the union.
For anyone who's interested in Lincoln the man this book is a must read it delves deep into what made him tick.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Personally, I prefer Ortberg's books God Is Closer Than You Think and If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. But When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box has a good message, too, and is well worth to reading. 256 p.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Many sci-fi books are adding a dash of romance, the author of this book did it with more finesse than Star Wars: ... Vortex.
audio: 10.5 hours
print: 336 pages
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Most of these people were (and frequently still are) professionals in some field. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and artists all share their struggles to first leave Russia and then to survive in a new country, the country long considered that of the enemy.
All of these immigrants ultimately have very different impressions of their adopted country. Some long for the companionship they feel they can only find among other Russians. Some feel a great sense of security and stability when compared to the relative lawlessness of post Cold War Russia. Still others find the intense work ethic and materialism of Americans distasteful and long for what they considered simpler times in the Soviet Union. Many were allowed to emigrate because they were Jews, facing tremendous anti-Semitism at home in Russia. Finally, one would have to say that all of these people are survivors. They left their homeland under difficult circumstances and have carved out a living for themselves in an unfamiliar world.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I listened to this audio book during my commute, and it was a fun, slightly fluffy collection. I didn't love that there were sometimes different narrators for different stories, since I really loved the woman's voice who read the first couple (she sounded like Ellen Degeneres, who I adore).
Jennifer Weiner caught my attention when I read Good in Bed. I was so crazy about that book that I was sure her other works would be fantastic, but this is the fourth one I've tried and I'm beginning to think she only has one good book in her. Even a short story here, written from the perspective of the heroine's boyfriend from Good in Bed, was disappointing. This may be my last Jennifer Weiner book.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
I signed up for DailyLit a few years ago, but couldn't get used to the format (you're emailed a short section of each book however often you indicate--in my case, it's daily). I'm trying it again now, but with shorter selections...attention deficit makes it hard for me to read just one page a day of a 300-page novel!
It surprised me how sad I felt reading this. I'd heard it was humorous, so I was expecting a far less melancholy story, but the description of Button's love for Hildegarde was heartbreaking, as well as his "growth" from an old man to a newborn.
11 DailyLit 'sections'; couldn't find exact page numbers anywhere online. Perhaps 25 or so?
audio: 14.5 hours | print: 400 pages
audio: about 3 hours | print: 159 pages
Friday, February 4, 2011
I adore YA Lit. I think it's come a very long way since even I was a kid (although it's been argued that Catcher in the Rye would have been a YA novel had it been released in the 21st century), but even if it hadn't come a long way, I'd still love it. *Especially* in epistolary form!
If a book is classified as epistolary fiction, I am far more likely to read it (if it isn't already within a genre I'm comfortable with). Something about feeling like I'm nosing into people's lives a little more (even though it's fiction!)...or that it feels like I'm reading a bunch of short chapters, which I always enjoy...
Although I love reading, I don't love reading books that are too difficult. Reading is an escape for me, and I don't feel like stopping to look up words or rereading paragraphs that I don't understand. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the English language, so this preference doesn't limit me too often (although you'll never see me reading Joyce). But in general, YA books are a bit more accessible than so-called 'adult fiction,' so I almost always like them, and will try unfamiliar genres in YA lit far before I'd try them otherwise.
This book was a mite fluffy, but ended up being a little deeper than I'd expected. I fully enjoyed reading it, and spent about three days catching pages here and there until I was finished.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I remember when the massacre at Columbine High School happened back in 1999. The mass media was all over the place; unfortunately, they got most of the story wrong. Writer Dave Cullen was there from the beginning interviewing the survivors, their families, the school staff, the killers' friends, law enforcement, and even journalists covering the story. All of the myths that grew out of the massacre really were just myths perpetuated by the mass media. For example, the boys did not target jocks, they did not belong to the Trench Coat Mafia, and they did not ask one of the victims if she believed in God before they killed her. Cullen tries hard to get the details right with a timeline before the massacre, a large notes section, and even a bibliography naming his sources. He also has a web site with more information: http://www.davecullen.com/columbine.htm. In the end, two very different boys committed mass murder at their school for very different reasons.