Category Archives: Books

Heroic Measures

Take this passage, where Ruth is looking wistfully out of her favorite window: The rise of the sun is like the opening of a novel she’s read so many times that she can take pleasure in the details and nuances without having to race to the end to find out what happens. … Here, Alex, an acclaimed artist, is working on what he imagines may very well be his last great work: an illuminated manuscript taken from his and Ruth’s FBI files, created when they were peaceful protesters in the 50’s: It will take in not only the manuscript page he is finishing, but all six hundred and ninety-nine pages still waiting to be illuminated, and his studio filled with a lifetime of work in the terrified city on the panicked island by the nervous continent.
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American Born Chinese

A great trend over the past decade, however, has been the emergence of the true graphic novel – a work created from the beginning as a single book, one single story, told by the author in words and pictures in such a way that it could never be done with words alone. … As I began to read American Born Chinese , I just assumed it was a collection of short pieces, just grouped together under the theme of being written by the same author, a man who is an “American-born Chinese”.
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Kindle 2: The Review

Kindle: Amazon’s 6″ Wireless Reading Device, $359.00 I’m living on a greatly tightened budget. I’ve cancelled satellite service, land phone service, pool cleaning, book and magazine subscriptions, and I’m buying all our food at Costco and Wal-Mart. So why, why … Continue reading

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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939). 559 pages, Easton Press. When I was a child, whenever we would go on a long road trip, my mother would look at our packed-to-the-gills station wagon and sarcastically say, “Well, here … Continue reading

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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899). 117 pages, Easton Press. I have never read anything by Joseph Conrad before picking up this book a week ago. I’ve had it on my shelf for a few months, as part of … Continue reading

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Anathem (2008) by Neal Stephenson. William Morrow, 960 pages. Anathem is a Big Novel. By that I mean both in physical length – at 960 pages, this is a good long read – and in subject matter. Anathem is a … Continue reading

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid

By necessity, he had to write some material to go with his cartoons, so he came up with the idea of an illustrated journal of a fictional 7th-grader (which I must assume is at least somewhat based on the author’s life). …Or when Greg is forced to take part in his school play, “The Wizard of Oz”, as one of the apple trees – only to discover his teacher has written a new song just for them, “We Three Trees”.
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The Age of American Unreason

asked how Jonah could survive inside a whale’s stomach for three days, what with stomach acids and all, our teacher chuckled and said the story was not a literal factual story, but was instead a parable – like the parables Jesus used on the mount – and we were supposed to discover what the story was telling us about God by carefully reading the story. … And yet, almost no one ever addresses this issue when we talk about education (or religion, for that matter): One of the most powerful taboos in American life concerns speaking ill of anyone’s faith – an injunction rooted in confusion over the difference between freedom of religion and granting religion immunity from the critical scrutiny applied to other social institutions.
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Two Books I Didn’t Finish

Friends, family, and the very small number of readers of this blog who do not fall into either of those two categories know that I am a Constant Reader. But I don’t like everything I read – as witness by … Continue reading

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World War Z

World War Z: An Oral HIstory of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (2006). Three Rivers Press, 352 pages. I just love zombies. As a fictional type, they’re hard to beat. So much can be done with them. You can … Continue reading

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