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Book Reviews 08/2013

Tell Me Who I Am by Alex and Marcus Lewis – review
Our culture's fascination with the unreliability of memory is borne out by the popularity of amnesia-themed films (Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and novels (SJ Watson's Before I Go to Sleep). Radio 4 recently selected Present ...

Book Review: Bill Connelly's "Study Hall"
Bill's first book, Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories is now available. He was kind enough to provide me an advance copy of the book. When I told a good friend I was reading Bill's book, his response was effectively "I'm guessing ...

BOOK REVIEW: "Circle of Shadows" by Imogen Robertson
British novelist Imogen Robertson rose swiftly in the ranks of historical mystery authors with the launch of Instrument of Darkness, her first book in the Westerman/Crowther series. Her latest and fourth book in the series, Circle of Shadows (Pamela ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'Margaret Thatcher'
Before the Reagan Revolution came the rise of Margaret Thatcher. The improbable story is well told by journalist Charles Moore in “Margaret Thatcher: From Grantham to the Falklands.” The book is a fine read, though the extraordinary detail, while ...

Samsung Ativ Book 9
The bad: It lacks a touch screen, and battery life is disappointing for such an expensive laptop. The bottom line: Formerly the Samsung Series 9, the rebranded Ativ Book 9 got little more than a change in name; the laptop feels dated, as it lacks a ...

Book Review: 'The Sports Gene' by David Epstein
One day in the early Aughts, Malcolm Gladwell, a writer at the New Yorker, was looking for a body of work that would provide a counterintuitive and inspiring take on how to succeed. At some point he came across K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist who'd ...

'The Longest Road' by Philip Caputo
Perhaps more than any nation in the world, our country celebrates the romance of the open road, reveling in the unexpected adventure and pure discovery to be found across a varied yet united landscape. These days, however, it seems this country is more ...

Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh – book review
He decides to write about a mathematical problem that gained iconic status because of a teasing, 300-year-old note in the margin of a book, but won't seem all that important to non-mathematicians. To make things tougher, the significance of the problem ...

Reader reviews roundup
That's it for the roundup this week, thank you all for your wonderful reviews! If we've mentioned your review in the roundup do email in - [email protected] - and we will send you a shiny book-shaped prize from our cupboards. Happy summer ...

Forty-One False Starts by Janet Malcolm – review
Given that Janet Malcolm owes her reputation to a series of books that began as articles for the New Yorker, a collection of her journalism has the effect not of dignifying her occasional pieces but of formalising their status as also-rans. A long and ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'Memories of a Marriage'
Elegant and cool are the adjectives that come to mind in reading one of Louis Begley's beautifully crafted novels. Add a touch of sardonic irony. His latest, “Memories of a Marriage,” is no exception. The story moves through time and place, from the ...

Book review: 'Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth' by Reza Aslan
The rest of the book is devoted to fleshing out this portrait and explaining how and why Paul and other early Christians transformed Jesus from a man at war into a man of peace. Like every other scholar with the chutzpah to try to divide the historical ...

Life, Death and Cheese
Mr. Paterniti's first book, "Driving Mr. Albert" (2000), was a gem of a story about his obsession with the man who performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein and then became the guardian of the brilliant man's brain, which was pickled in formaldehyde, as ...

Book Review Podcast: David Rakoff's Farewell in Verse
In The New York Times Book Review, Paul Rudnick reviews “Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish,” the final book by David Rakoff, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47. Mr. Rudnick said he was prepared to hate the book, “and not just because ...

A History of Food in 100 Recipes (a book review)
A History of Food in 100 Recipes, by William Sitwell, is a great combination of history and historical recipes. Each recipe (many in the traditional, long-winded, non-specific style of the Medieval world) comes with its own commentary, history ...

Scarry Stories for Small Children
A couple of generations ago, by contrast, the legendary children's book author and illustrator Richard Scarry made adulthood seem industrious and purposeful, an inviting realm to which children must naturally aspire. Born in 1919, Scarry imbued his ...

Bound to Please
When Susan Sontag, intellectually on fire and financially in need after surviving breast cancer in the mid-1970s, wrote several incisive long essays for the New York Review of Books, FSG published them as short books. "Illness as Metaphor" and "On ...

After Iris by Natasha Farrant – review
At first glance, you might think After Iris is a traditional family story. It shares much with Hilary McKay's Casson family books, or Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. Like many such novels, it is about a dysfunctional but lovable family, seen ...

Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle
This book, set shortly after the previous one ended, finds the author a year into her marriage, still running the school, wondering where to go next. And while it's a search for the truth of the noodle's origin myth, it's just as much a quest to sort ...

Red Or Dead by David Peace – review
Make no mistake, this book is about football. Unremittingly, uncompromisingly about football. It's what Shankly would have wanted. For Shankly, ephemera such as life, love and death could be metaphors for football, never the other way round. Football ...

Book Review: Sisters go it alone, find family
In this novel, two sisters — Liz, 15, and Bean, 12 — are first seen in their Southern California desert home, working their way through a mountain of chicken potpies. Their mother, Charlotte, who imagines herself a creative genius in a world of ...

'The Telling Room' by Michael Paterniti
This book could make you fat. It is a tale about cheese and will make you hungry for cheese. But, it is also about pleasure and the past. In the figure of Ambrosio Molinos de Las Heras, the wine-savoring master Castilian cheese maker at the heart of it ...

'Hothouse' by Boris Kachka
And, oh, what tremendous fun it all is to read about when we're in the hands of a writer who knows how to spin a savory tale. So it is with Boris Kachka's delectably gossipy “Hothouse,” a deeply researched, jam-packed, surprisingly hard-to-put-down ...

Tallahassee Writers Association Book Review of “The Blood of Heaven” by Kent ...
Tallahassee Writers Association Book Review of “The Blood of Heaven” by Kent ...

David Gilbert's '& Sons': book review
The novel “& Sons” tells the story of an aging literary lion — one who gained status as a legend in an era when white males were the big game in publishing — and the other men in the family who don't matter as much. His sons. This book, by David ...

Two Rivers by Carolyn Drake – review
Out of this vast space and its vexed geopolitical history Drake has made a visually stunning book that eschews traditional documentary for an altogether more impressionistic point of view in which mystery and suggestion are as important in evoking a ...

'The Moonstone' Is A Hidden Gem Of A Detective Novel
Reading the book was a little like seeing the Wright brothers maneuvering their first aircraft, except there was no awkward bucking, no crashes. Many conventions of the detective novel that we take for granted — a mysterious crime that is ...

Book review: 'Republic of Outsiders' looks at defiant subcultures
She divides her brief and provocative book into three sections. The first considers people who have banded together to redefine the diseases or disorders with which society labels them. Included are Sascha DuBrul, Will Hall and other members of “Mad ...

Book review: 'No Regrets, Coyote' by John Dufresne
Book review: 'No Regrets, Coyote' by John Dufresne. Posted: August 4, 2013 - 7:56am. Photos. NO REGRETS, COYOTE Author: John Dufresne. Jack Jacksonville on Facebook. By Tim O'Connell. Move over Leonard, Hall and Hiaasen. A new king of South ...

Book review: 'Key Death' by Jude Hardin
But this is the second time that Hardin finds it necessary to take the action out of town. Unfortunately, he tramples through some well-covered ground. Nice book cover, though. Colt, who lives on the banks of the St. Johns in a 1964 Airstream trailer ...

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The kind where you break out the highlighter, or bend pages back, because there are passages that strike you as so profound in such a simple way, you want to read them over and over again. Neil Gaiman is at his fantastical best with The Ocean at the ...

Not Your Parents' Puritans
The great Puritan divine John Winthrop, founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, probably wouldn't make it through Allegra di Bonaventura's book without suffering a cardiac episode. Set principally in the seaport town of New London, Conn., "For Adam's ...

Book review: CJ Box returns with 'The Highway'
Sixteen-year-old Gracie Sullivan is book-smart and resourceful, but her 18-year-old sister, Danielle, is impetuous, self-involved and boy-crazy. As "The Highway" opens, they're driving cross-country from their divorced mother's home in Colorado to ...

'A Good Birth' by Anne Drapkin Lyerly
In “A Good Birth,” author Anne Drapkin Lyerly relies on women's voices and experiences to reclaim the birthing process from the bickering jaws of the “birth wars” — that polarizing debate between midwives and obstetricians that leaves many women ...

Book review (nonfiction): Manson
Near midnight on an August night in 1969, four drug-addled, possibly brainwashed individuals broke into the house of film director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate. Polanski was in England working on a film, but Tate, an attractive actress of ...

Book review (fiction): Paris
Paris has been both good and bad to the aristocratic de Cygne family over the centuries. While one generation was welcome at the nearby court of Versailles, another faced the guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Edward Rutherfurd's latest historical ...

Book review (nonfiction): The March on Washington
The soaring oratory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial nearly half a century ago — still resonates in American society. It represents a vital aspect of the event, but not the only one, as William P ...

Delirium by Dee Shulman - review
It's fair to say that I absolutely adored Fever, the first book in this series – I remember the exact day I started it, and the exact day I finished it, and the overwhelming frustration I felt with the unanswered questions, and with the long, long wait ...

The Great Tamasha by James Astill – review
Early in this engaging, perceptive and rigorous book, James Astill, a former correspondent for the Economist in Delhi, describes how cricket evolved as the quintessentially English game, its batsmen, bowlers and fielders a ludic representation of a ...

England's Rare Mosses and Liverworts | Book Review
I've always loved mosses and spent many hours studying and drawing them when I was a child. I am still captivated by these delightful plants; often taking time to photograph them during my travels. But I've never seen nor even heard of a book that ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Unwinding'
A few pages into George Packer's “The Unwinding,” I was reminded of the closing scene in “Touch of Evil,” the last Hollywood movie Orson Welles directed and starred in. Welles played Hank Quinlan, the fat, drunken, corrupt police chief of a small Texas ...

8 3-Panel Book Reviews (PHOTOS)
All book reviews are too long. So when I started reviewing for the San Francisco Chronicle's book section, I decided that three cartoon panels would be my limit. I began with Atonement, by Ian McEwan, (1. I read something I shouldn't have. 2. World War ...

Book review: 'Manson,' by Fort Worth author Jeff Guinn
Charles Manson and his murderous acolytes emerged against the backdrop of a nation coming apart at the seams: war on TV, riots in the streets, demonstrations on college campuses and lost souls seeking the promise of peace. For Manson, a master ...

Book review: The Great Texas Wind Rush
Green groups played an important role in helping Texans embrace wind power, but in many ways the book turns the typical environmental narrative upside down. Instead of motivating people with doom-and-gloom stories of global warming, the authors make ...

Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle
This book, set shortly after the previous one ended, finds the author a year into her marriage, still running the school, wondering where to go next. And while it's a search for the truth of the noodle's origin myth, it's just as much a quest to sort ...

Book review: Chinese experts discuss their country's slow rise to 'Wealth and ...
Book review: Chinese experts discuss their country's slow rise to 'Wealth and ...

Book World review: 'Babayaga' by Toby Barlow
Toby Barlow's “Babayaga” is a novel that asks not to be taken too seriously. This is its most fundamental mistake, from which all its others spring: Even if a novel is a rip-roaring yarn or a bonkers comedy, one can feel whether, beneath all that, it ...

Book review: The Phoenix Project
I haven't been reading very many books lately. Most of my training has been coming from videos, documentation, blogs, and, of course, podcasts. In almost every podcast I've listened to in the past couple months the book ThePhoenix Project, by Gene Kim, ...

Book Review: 'Skin' by Donna Jo Napoli
Throughout the book, the audience can see her grow and can see the effects the disease has on her confidence, her self-worth, and her personality. Soon she's rushing to live as much of life as she can before her skin no longer resembles what it used to ...

'The Measures Between Us' by Ethan Hauser
The Old School masters of suburban fiction, including John Cheever, John Updike, and John Irving, fixed many of their bleak tales along the Northeast corridor, imbuing the spacious homes and ratcheting sprinklers of the middle class with an ...


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