Book Reviews

National Book Award Winner Patti Smith Begs Us, "Don't Abandon the Book"

Patti Smith won the National Book Award for Nonfiction this past week for her memoir "Just Kids," which recounts her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in the '60s and '70s. But "Just Kids" is far from her first flirtation with the written word.

Smith has actually published numerous books of poetry. And unlike other successful rock stars who have stumbled awkwardly into verse (Jewel and Billy Corgan come to mind), Smith's work reflects that she was a poet first, and that her love affair with the art runs deep.
It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies.

Books Done Better: You Tell Us How

Book review staff at NPR ask for feedback about what books they should look at in the future.

Full piece here.

Ron Charles Spooktacular Book Review (now with VIDEO!)

OMG, he's lost his the woods...with books he HASN'T even read. The Washington Post's Ron Charles presents... "I'M NOT A WITCH, I'M A BOOK CRITIC". Guest appearance by author Lisa Scottoline in a reenactment of Hitchcock's shower scene from Psycho. Wild.

Review: Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

@Roncharles (Washington Post) tweets: "Totally Hip Video Book Reviewer dons bacon, admits errors, loves Danielle Evans' short story collection BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF." Here's the video book review and the written review.

Cooler Than a Book...It's BOOKER

Another video book review of the Book Prize Finalists from the Washington Post's hipper than hip Ron Charles:

Meet Adele Mundy, Badass Space Librarian

Even fantasy librarians can be awesome.

For conspiring against the government of Cinnabar, her family was massacred; she is the sole survivor. She's a scholar, a librarian turned Signals Officer who has joined Daniel Leary, a lieutenant in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy (RCN) to battle against treacherous politicians, the Alliance, rebels, and all manner of galactic grief and peril. She is a master of information technology and spy craft. She likes weapons and knows how to use them.

Don't mess with Adele Mundy, sharpshooting librarian in space. More on this title, "Some Golden Harbor" by David Drake at BookTryst.

DAILY SHOW Appearance Trumps NYT BR

EarlyWord has an interesting entry titled:
DAILY SHOW Appearance Trumps NYT BR

Excerpt: It can now be quantified; an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart does more for a book’s sales than a review in the NYT Book Review.

Full entry here:

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Franzen's New Novel Freedom

Did you enjoy the last Ron Charles video book review? Here's the new one...on Jonathan Franzen's new and highly anticipated title, Freedom. Washington Post review.

A Look Back at the History of Print and Publishing (or It's Always Been a Tough Business)

Change of pace from the more frequent 'death of print' stories here on LISNews.

This one's about the birth of print; a discussion of the newly published book by Andrew Pettegree, "The Book in the Renaissance" with Tom Scocca of Slate and the Boston Globe.

In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook. It was probably an edition of a fourth-century grammar text by Aelius Donatus, some 28 pages long. Only a few fragments of the printed sheets survive, because no one thought the book was worth keeping.

“Now had he kept to that, doing probably would all have been well,” said Andrew Pettegree, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews and author of “The Book in the Renaissance,” the story of the birth of print. Instead, Gutenberg was bent on making a grand statement, an edition of Scripture that would cost half as much as a house and would live through the ages. In the end, struggling for capital to support the Bible project, Gutenberg was forced out of his own print shop by his business partner, Johann Fust.

The article continues in a question and answer format here.

Video Book Review

Too much reading to do? Get your book review fix by video. Here's Ron Charles of the Washington Post reviewing "My Hollywood" by Mona Simpson:


Subscribe to Book Reviews