Book Reviews

The case for hiring biased book reviewers

Over on Slate, Jack Shafer says stamping out conflict of interest may result in a "fairer" book review. But will it produce a better one? He thinks not.He says book reviews aren't yearbook photos for authors to treasure. They're for readers. Editors who obsess on fairness do so at the risk of inducing narcolepsy in their readers.


Books: Dracula... a jumped-up librarian?

World domination, feasting on the souls of the living to feed his own infernal darkness, causing eternal damnation to the poor souls who tread this earth.

These are the terrible motives which have in the past been put forward for the terrifying activities of the beast we know as Dracula.

But they are all well wide of the mark, according to the latest telling of the vampire legend, in Kostova's The Historian.

What old Count Drac was really after was simply someone to put his vast collection of books in order, and to keep adding to it.More From The Belfast Telegraph


There's No "Truth About Hillary" In This Book

Here, from the Fort Wayne (IN) Sentinel , a review of Edward Klein's new book..."The Truth About Hillary".

Less a review that a general critique of authors who try to cast aspersions on powerful women, reviewer Karen Heller regrets having wasted a day reading it, but then again, she got paid for it.


Hotter Than Harry? ELDEST by Christopher Paolini Available in August

From Publishers Marketplace/Publishers Lunch comes "Jonah's Picks", reviews of fiction for young adults, in this case, the sequel to the fantasy bestseller, ERAGON.

"Almost two years ago to the day, pre-publication enthusiasm for Christopher Paolini's ERAGON inspired the creation of our occasional review column for children's books, "Jonah's Picks." At least 100 books wiser and already well into a stack of fall galleys for summer reading, our reviewer returns with his assessment of ELDEST, set for release on August 23.

    By Christopher Paolini

    When ELDEST picks up, no time has passed since the end of Eragon. The budding dragon rider Eragon is setting out with his dragon Saphira to continue his quest to defeat the evil monarch. And he starts training to become a full-fledged rider. In the book Eragon makes unexpected allies and many new friends; he overcomes a disability that prevents him from fighting, and in the end, he stands up to a friend turned foe, and unleashes all he has got.


"More Book Lust" by Nancy Pearl Chosen by 'Today Show'

Mystery writer Lisa Scottoline (a good read) has chosen Nancy Pearl's "More Book Lust" to be the most recent pick of the Today Show Book Club (move over Oprah?).

America's best-loved librarian (and doll model) has followed-up her first bestseller with another great book full of recommendations in every genre. Article and video from MSNBC.


Speaking of Summer Reading...A Few Reviews

The Christian Science Monitor shines a light on summer literature beyond what is of course expected to be the summer blockbuster, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince".

Says reviewer Yvonne Zipp
"Love stories shallow and deep--The search for love - whether by a N.Y. single or a Holocaust survivor - lifts summer reading." The two titles reviewed are:

  • Melissa (Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing)Bank's "The Wonder Spot", a book of short stories about teenaged Sophie Applebaum in which she matures, still single, through her forties... and
  • Nicole (Man Walks Into A Room) Krauss's "The History of Love", written from the perspective of Leo Gursky, a Polish Holocaust survivor who lost everything but the memory of his first love.
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    Searching With Style: Google Hacks

    Blogcritics Has A Review of Google Hacks by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest. "With over eight billion Web pages indexed, the wealth of information available through the Google search engine is awesome, and somewhat daunting. A simple interface hides the powerful search tools available to the cognoscenti. Everyone wants more Google juice, but Google keeps changing the algorithm that delivers their page-ranking.

    So it was time for a new edition of Google Hacks, the inclusive reference to tweaking Google searches, written by Google experts Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest, with plenty of hacks contributed by other veteran Google-busters.


    Short Persons Support Library

    An Anonymous Patron writes "Short people deserve the same rights and privileges as any other member of society. We hope to help you gain them.

    --submitted by 5' librraian so don't be snide."


    Authors take top nods in gay literary awards

    Houston Voice Online reports on the 'Lammys'. The ceremony in New York honored literary achievements for books published in 2004 with gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender themes, characters and authors. Winners were chosen in 20 categories from more than 500 initial entries and 100 finalists. Gay booksellers, writers and members of the foundation from across the country vote to determine the recipients.


    New Book Authored by a Librarian: Cancer Etiquette

    "Cancer Etiquette:What to Say, What to Do When Someone You Know or Love Has Cancer," is a newly released book by former librarian Rosanne Kalick, a cancer survivor.

    When a casual friend said "At least you'll be symmetrical" after Kalick told her about her impending double mastectomy, she decided to reach out to other cancer survivors, and discovered that they, too, had endured insensitive comments and awkward gestures. She understood that the comments were made to be supportive, but that sometimes they weren't quite appropriate.

    Her book is packed with stories from other survivors and practical communication strategies for friends and family, such as when to make a joke, when to use religious comments or when to simply say nothing at all. Kalick also delves into appropriate humor, gifts and other methods to comfort, along with explaining the surprising physical and mental changes cancer can bring. Story from the Journal News .



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