Young Woman Reading by Hermann Jean Joseph Richir

Saturday Reads: January 28, 2012

Young Woman Reading by Hermann Jean Joseph RichirThe Guardian has an interesting blog post on “The Future of Books, Today.” Neil Gaiman, interviewed for the piece, says he thinks “traditional publishing” has five or “maybe 10 years … But that isn’t going to mean fewer books. There’ll be a lot more books—people will just find them differently.”

Also, London’s City University is now offering an MA in crime writing.

Pamela Paul weighs in on the 50th anniversary of [amazon_link id=”0374386161″ target=”_blank” ]A Wrinkle in Time[/amazon_link] in the New York Times.

Flavorwire has a list of the ten most dangerous novels of all time. I know Stephen King has expressed regret over writing Rage, but I did not realize he had asked his publisher to take it out of print. I also liked their list of the “10 Most Iconic Accessories of Famous Writers” and their list of “10 Legendary Bad Girls of Literature.”

This is so funny. The last Top Ten Tuesday was open topic, and Mandy of Adventures in Borkdom had the same idea (here is my post). We appear to have some overlap.


Young Woman Reading by Hermann Jean Joseph Richir

Saturday Reads: January 21, 2012

Young Woman Reading by Hermann Jean Joseph RichirSaturday Reads is a weekly feature sharing bookish links from news, blogs, and Twitter that made up my Saturday reading.

I spent a lot of time at my two favorite newspapers’ book sections on my iPhone this morning. The Guardian has a great article by Margaret Atwood reflecting on [amazon_link id=”038549081X” target=”_blank” ]The Handmaid’s Tale[/amazon_link] some 26 years after it was published. A commenter quoted Rick Santorum, underscoring just why Atwood’s book is as important as ever. Here’s my review of The Handmaid’s Tale from my archives, if you’re interested.

The New York Times has a great review of [amazon_link id=”0062064223″ target=”_blank” ]The Flight of Gemma Hardy[/amazon_link], which I will soon be reading for TLC Book Tours (very excited!).

New Books

The publishers also sent me a pretty copy of [amazon_link id=”B004CFA9Y6″ target=”_blank” ]Jane Eyre[/amazon_link], which Margot Livesy’s book is based on. I can’t wait to reread that one. It’s got deckle-edged pages and the paper cover is textured. I am very much in favor of this new trend in making classics look cool with bold, creative covers. As much as I love old paintings, I think they’re becoming a little played as book covers (she said, knowing she used one on the cover of her own book—in my defense, I don’t have the budget to pay a graphic artist to design one). I think winter is a good time to read gothic classics.

The New York Times also has good reviews of new nonfiction, including Ian Donaldson’s new biography [amazon_link id=”0198129769″ target=”_blank” ]Ben Jonson: A Life[/amazon_link], John Matteson’s new biography [amazon_link id=”0393068056″ target=”_blank” ]The Lives of Margaret Fuller[/amazon_link], and Richard W. Bailey‘s new book [amazon_link id=”019517934X” target=”_blank” ]Speaking American[/amazon_link].

I also really liked this feature on Edith Wharton as New York will celebrate her 150th birthday on Tuesday. Nice link to [amazon_link id=”B005Q1W10A” target=”_blank” ]Downton Abbey[/amazon_link] and discussion of Wharton’s own novel [amazon_link id=”0140232028″ target=”_blank” ]The Buccaneers[/amazon_link].

Of course, Charles Dickens also celebrates a big (200th) birthday this year, and The New York Times has a fun feature on Dickens. Favorite quote? “The fact is that Charles Dickens was as Dickensian as the most outrageous of his characters, and he was happy to think so, too.”

I’m think anyone interested in New York might find the new book [amazon_link id=”067964332X” target=”_blank” ]New York Diaries: 1609-2000[/amazon_link] intriguing. It sounds like the book has a variety of entries, from the “famous, the infamous, and the unknown in New York.” The Times reviewed this one, too, of course.

Flavorwire had some interesting posts, too. I particularly enjoyed “The Fascinating Inspirations Behind Beloved Children’s Books” and “10 Cult Literary Traditions for Truly Die-Hard Fans.”

Finally, I enjoyed this reflection on A Wrinkle in Time at Forever Young Adult. [amazon_link id=”0312367546″ target=”_blank” ]A Wrinkle in Time[/amazon_link] will be 50 this year. Can you believe it?

Times Book Reviews

New York Times book reviews filled my RSS reader this morning.  So I can close some tabs in my browser, I will tell you about the books that caught my eye.

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz is an autobiographical account of the children’s author’s arrival in Turkistan as a refugee from Warsaw in 1939.  His father goes to the market, but comes back home with a map instead of food for the family.  As a child who loved globes and maps (still do), I can relate to the protagonist’s discovery of the world through maps.  [Read the review.]

As the reviewer notes, biographies of Robert Frost are certainly common enough, but Brian Hall’s Fall of Frost is a novelized biography of the poet.  How does it work?  In the eyes of the reviewer, not so well.

Richard Bausch’s account of a murder committed by a soldier in WWII, Peace examines “how to preserve justice and personal integrity amid war’s insanity.”  The novel begins with a soldier’s murder of a German woman.  According to the reviewer:

Great writing about war — by Primo Levi, Erich Maria Remarque, Wilfred Owen — asks the same questions. What would you do? How can you bear witness? How can you preserve dignity and humanity in an inhuman struggle? These are the most (perhaps the only) important questions in conflict, and they always have been, whether the battle is fought in Amiens, Anzio or Abu Ghraib.

I learned that the OED has no plans to publish another print edition of the dictionary.  Doesn’t surprise me.  None of my students even think of turning to a dictionary on the bookshelf in order to complete their vocabulary assignments for my class.  When I point them toward one of these archaic devices after they have complained about finding the etymology for one of their vocabulary words, the response is usually something like, “Oh yeah, those things still exist.”  Perhaps the OED online wouldn’t be such a bad thing?  Then again, never having owned any print version of an OED dictionary, maybe I don’t have the same attachment to a print OED that the article’s author has.  Well, change is always hard, isn’t it?

Louise Erdrich has a new novel.  The Plague of Doves is the story of a public lynching of several Native Americans that haunts a small North Dakota town decades after it took place.  The novel’s multiple narrators attempt to unravel the story of who really committed the crime for which the Native Americans were lynched, but, as the reviewer notes, the real story is the complicated web of relationships among the town’s residents.  The genealogist in me can’t resist a book with that kind of description.

Is anyone else kind of annoyed by James Frey’s posts at the Amazon blog?  I mean, today it was a link to a review of his own book in Time, which bothered for some reason I can’t put my finger on.

I think I’ll be finishing The Book of Air and Shadows today, so peek in later for the review.  It won’t be pretty.