Book Reviews

BookReviews

LitMob: Book Reviews with Passion

App Scout: The world of book reviews can be stuffy and uninteresting, with lengthy and long-winded reviews written by authors and critics who may understand their source material but may not relate terribly well with the reading public, or people who would love to get into books but find reviews more difficult to digest than the books themselves.

Enter LitMob (litmob.com), a new kind of book review blog. Rather than focus on lengthy descriptions of the author's background, influences, and similarities to other works, LitMob cuts to the core of the text, giving you a synopsis of the plot, enough tantalizing information to get you interested in the book, and enough background information to make you want to pick it up, all without reading like Ben Stein sounds.

Topic: 

'Little Book' Tells A Wonderfully Big Story


Books We Like by Maureen Corrigan
Fresh Air from WHYY, August 20, 2008

Selden Edwards' debut novel, The Little Book, has what they call in the publishing biz a great "back story." Edwards began writing the novel in 1974 when he was a newly minted English teacher; during summer vacations (and, I would guess, tedious faculty meetings) over the next 30 years, Edwards kept plugging away at his novel. Now, at long last, the magnum opus has been published.

Read or listen to full review here.

Topic: 

Coldblooded Commerce in Coldblooded Contraband

Book: THE LIZARD KING The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers
Review in the NYT: In “The Lizard King,” his book about the wild world of reptile-dealing chicanery, Bryan Christy describes a smuggling incident at Miami International Airport. An Argentine man who claimed to be carrying a suitcase full of ceramics turned out to have crammed all this into his single piece of luggage: 107 chaco tortoises, 103 red-footed tortoises, 76 tartaruga turtles, five boa constrictors, seven rainbow boas, seven parrot snakes, 20 tarantulas, 10 scorpions, 90 tree frogs, 20 red tegu lizards, about a dozen other lizards and two South American rattlesnakes. It was one wiggling, squiggling, brilliantly packed load of trouble.

Topic: 

"Books" a Memoir by Larry McMurtry

Reviews (mixed mostly) are sprouting up (in those publications that still have book reviews) for Larry McMurtry's new book simply entitled "Books".

McMurtry, in addition to being an author (Terms of Endearment, Last Picture Show, and the Pulitzer prize-winning Lonesome Dove), has been a bookseller in Archer Texas for the last forty-some years, and that is primarily the subject of this, his fortieth book.

Reviews: SF Examiner, NYT, Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe.

New Volume on the History of Children's Books

Scripps News reports: From the publication of the lesson-filled "New-England Primer" to the midnight bookstore parties for the latest "Harry Potter" volume, children's books have provided a valuable -- and fascinating -- window into American culture.

That's the premise of "Minders of Make-Believe" (Houghton Mifflin, $28), the newest book by children's-book historian Leonard S. Marcus. In this highly readable book aimed at adults, Marcus details the rise (and, often, the fall) of major U.S. children's-book publishers, as well as the key role played by librarians in the 20th century in determining what American children should read.

Booklamp's Algorithms Pick Reads For You

There have been previous stories on LISNEWS about Booklamp but I think it is useful to know when these services have stories about them in the popular media because patrons will start to mention the service.

Story on NPR: The creator of a new Website says its database can predict books you'll enjoy reading. Just type in your favorite and the site's algorithms will scan for others with a similar level of action, amount of description, dialog, tense and perspective.

Full Story here: Booklamp's Algorithms Pick Reads For You

NPR.org Expands Book Coverage

National Public Radio has expanded the book coverage on its website, adding weekly book reviews, and has hired six new book reviewers—including a graphic novel reviewer—and added more features to an already existing lineup of author podcasts, critics' lists and other book-focused content. Among the new slate of reviewers joining NPR.org are Jessa Crispin, founder of the literary blog Bookslut.com; John Freeman, book critic and a former president of the National Book Critics Circle; and Laurel Maury, freelance comics and graphic novel reviewer and a longtime contributor to PW Comics Week.

“We’re building up our book coverage because book content really works for our audience,” NPR senior supervising producer Joe Matazzoni explained.

Full story at Publisher's Weekly

What children say about children's books

Ask an adult what makes a children's book appealing, and she might talk about the colorful artwork, the clever storytelling or the lessons imparted.

Ask a child what makes a children's book appealing, and she might say, "It is weird and happy!"

Obviously, children and adults have different ideas about what makes a good children's book.

ALA President Offers Reading Suggestions for Gay Pride Month

June is when many gay and lesbian Americans celebrate their sexuality. In recognition of Gay Pride Month, Loriene Roy, President of the American Library Association tells listeners about books that highlight the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender experience. Read &/or Listen at NPR.

This hour, On Point: Great summer reads, '08.

Every book lover knows the thrill. A hot summer day. A porch swing, a hammock, a long curve in the beach -- and a great, transporting read. Maybe it's lords and ladies that first took you there. Or Spanish romance. High plains gunfire. Down and dirty spies. High-blown history. Distant lands.

On Point Radio [MP3] is asking top book mavens for their recommendations this summer. They've got a white tiger, and fear and yoga in New Jersey. Black flies, a black dove, Gandhi, Churchill, and 1434.

Playing the Odds

In the New York Times:
Book review of THE DRUNKARD’S WALK
How Randomness Rules Our Lives.

State lotteries, it’s sometimes said, are a tax on people who don’t understand mathematics. But there is no cause for anyone to feel smug. The brain, no matter how well schooled, is just plain bad at dealing with randomness and probability. Confronted with situations that require an intuitive grasp of the odds, even the best mathematicians and scientists can find themselves floundering.

Suppose you want to calculate the likelihood of tossing two coins and coming up with one head. The great 18th-century mathematician Jean Le Rond d’Alembert thought the answer was obvious: there are three possibilities, zero, one or two heads. So the odds for any one of those happening must be one in three.

Read full review here.

Topic: 

The Times (UK) Reviews "Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian"

<a href="http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article3986786.ece">Caroline White Likes It</a>: "These are not the shiny, happy Californians who people our cinema screens and magazines, but they are funny, illuminating and give Douglas's recollections a rawness with which the airbrushed memories of society's winners cannot compete."

The Future of History

Topic: 
Anne Applebaum's review of Nichoson Baker's book about World War II offers some good food for thought about the state of historical "research" in today's world and where we seem to be headed. Here is just one snippet.

Completely Wrong

The following book review was posted by mdoneil is his blog. Because of all the controversy of the original post that got him to buy this book I figured I would move this over to a story.

mddoneil said in his blog:
I remarked earlier that I thought Prioleau Alexander's book, You Want Fries With That? would suck. I could not have been more wrong.

I got it from my local independent bookshop a couple of weeks ago, but I had not had time to read it. I took it with me to read on the plane last week. It was a scream. I called a friend from the airport to read part of the prologue -the dialogue between a RWM (me) and a South American father of 3. It was hilarious and yet absolutely correct.

Read complete blog post here.

Topic: 

THE RETURN OF HISTORY AND THE END OF DREAMS

Book Review in the NYT of:
THE RETURN OF HISTORY AND THE END OF DREAMS

When Bill Clinton was in the twilight months of his presidency, he made a compelling case that by integrating China into the world economy we would gradually undercut the viability of its authoritarian government. It was only a matter of time, he told an audience of American and Chinese students in March 2000, before a Net-savvy, rising middle class would begin to demand its rights, because “when individuals have the power not just to dream, but to realize their dreams, they will demand a greater say.”

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Book Review in the New York Times:

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

The Bush's "Read All About It" Panned by the New York Times

"The belief that books aren’t “real” is exactly what keeps many kids from preferring to read, but while the first lady, Laura Bush, and daughter Jenna Bush are on target with their diagnosis in “Read All About It!” their course of recommended treatment is hard to follow, let alone swallow" says NYT reviewer Roger Sutton about this new title.

On the subject of "Read All About It" (oops, watch out, when you click this link you hear the authors speaking about their book)... Sutton asks "Whom is this book supposed to convince, and of what?" The main character, Tyrone Brown, (“professional student and class clown”) would say, (according to Sutton) "it’s not real. The point is laboriously made, the teachers’ names are dorky, the plot is hectic and the suspense and dialogue are artificial. What child today says “pesky”? (And anyone who has ever shelved books for minimum wage is likely to feel insulted by Tyrone’s aggrieved dismissal of the library: “All I will meet there are stinky pages.”)

Jenna's away on her honeymoon; maybe she won't get a chance to read the review.

Chicago Tribune selects Quiet, Please as this weeks editor's choice selection

<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/booksmags/chi-0510editors_choicemay10,0,875322.story">Chicago Tribune selects</a> Quiet, Please as this weeks editor's choice selection: With this week's summer reading recommendations from librarians, one wonders: Who are these characters? In this cleverly written book—a set of stories, really—drawn from his perspective as a California librarian, Scott Douglas brings us into the stacks.

It's Children's Book Week!

It's Children's Book Week, and happily, the library in Salinas (CA) and many others are open to celebrate the event and encourage kids to read.

One way of celebrating Children's Book Week (today through Sunday) with your child is by adding an extra book or two to the family library. Here are a few suggestions you might wish to consider: "Eco Babies Wear Green", "Doctor Ted", "The House That Max Built", "Human Body" and "MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES A Classical Bestiary".

And from another part of the great state of California, suggestions from Mercury News, which include: ""Little Night/Nochecita", "In a Blue Room" and "The Day We Danced in Underpants."

Is your library doing special to celebrate? Clue us in...

Hubert's Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus

Some reviews of the book "Hubert's Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus"
Boing Boing review.

L.A. Times review.

Time Out New York review.

Review in Galleycat that discusses what happened at the Strand bookstore when the author was doing a reading.

Topic: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Book Reviews