Books

On the pleasures of stumbling upon books in the wrong places

It’s funny to think I just stumbled on this book by chance. I must have been escaping from something much more heavy—I love the turgid pace of an academic book, if it’s a topic I really care about, about once a year. I think I probably escaped to Jean Stafford from something like that, and I didn’t expect much of her. I thought, Oh, this is just good old-fashioned fiction, I’ll try that for a change. So often you’re just reacting to the last book you read, and you want something that’s a little bit of an antidote to that. I’ve found that if I live a more programmatic life where I’m reading the books that I’m supposed to read—if I’m accomplishing all my little chores of reading what everybody else is reading—I stop having time to read in a way that’s rich and multiple.
From Happy Accidents
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From Hamilton To Grant: Ron Chernow Paints A 'Farsighted' President in New Biography



From Hamilton To Grant: Ron Chernow Paints A 'Farsighted' President in New Biography

Chernow, author of Hamilton, has a new book, just out this week, which also aims to revise our understanding of a figure he sees as overlooked and misunderstood: The 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. In it, Chernow aims to rehabilitate the way Americans think about the man who not only led the Union Army into victory during the Civil War but also led the country during the tumultuous era that followed.

Full piece at NPR
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Let's Talk about Books

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Penn Jillette on books

People forget how useful books are.

--Penn Jillette
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Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks



In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way. Filled with suggested reading lists, Spence’s take on classic and contemporary books is very much like the best of literature―sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and filled with universal truths.

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks
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The Librarian of Auschwitz



Publisher's Weekly Starred Review -- The Librarian of Auschwitz
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What to Do With a Soaking Wet Book

from Syracuse University Library. A lot of paper towels are involved.

Books & Reading are More Important Than Ever

Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living, considers why books and reading are more crucial than ever - and offers up a few ideas for what to read next. Here from Signature Reads are Schwalbe's thoughts on the subject.

He begins thus: "When I can’t stand to look at one more hateful tweet from the president, I read a book."
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Tolkien's Plant Passion Moves Botanist To Create Guide To Middle Earth

NPR story - Tolkien's Plant Passion Moves Botanist To Create Guide To Middle Earth

When most people read J.R.R. Tolkien, they get swept up in mythical worlds of hobbits and elves, harrowing journeys in fantastical lands and epic battles of good and evil.

But Walter Judd says he got lost in the scenery.

"I started underlining every name of a plant as I was reading The Lord of the Rings," he tells NPR's Morning Edition.

All of the figures in the book — like this nasturtium — are hand-drawn by Graham Judd, who says he used a minimalist woodblock-style to let readers' imaginations bring the illustrations to life.

Moved by Tolkien's passion for plants, the retired botany professor spent years cataloging every plant that appeared in his writing, eventually compiling a list of 141 different species. He teamed up with his son, Graham, a professional illustrator. And together, they embarked on quest to transform that list into a botanical guide to Middle Earth.
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