I recently read an article in the New York Times that details how scientists are on the verge of giving extinct animals a new lease on life. I’m hazy on the science behind their reincarnation efforts, but it has something to do with plugging the extinct animal’s DNA into an embryo that can be carried by a similar present-day creature. For example, an elephant might be used to gestate a wooly mammoth calf – and then the world would once again have fuzzy little puffball baby elephants. Which is adorable. If science makes this happen, the internet might cease to have any other function beyond housing and distributing footage of baby mammoths, in all their oxymoronic and anachronistic snuffleupagus-ian glory. Read More..
Davy Rothbart bears all in this aptly titled collection of personal stories. A likable dreamer, we follow Davy as he chases adventure—usually involving the last sad, mysterious girl with whom he has instantly fallen in love. He might be driving around Buffalo with a motley crew of people he just met, navigating New York City without pants, or stalking someone with pee to right an injustice. Lawrence, KS and the band, The Strongest Man in the World, even warrants a brief mention as Davy explores questions surrounding the 1997 murder of college freshman, Anastasia Witbols-Feugen. From serious to hilarious, Davy Rothbart is always engaging and an adept storyteller. Longtime fans will recognize him as an intermittent contributor on the radio show This American Life, or know his work as the founder of Found magazine. The first issue of Found (or as a friend calls it, What’s that dirty thing on the ground?) debuted in 2001—a collection of entertaining notes & random items found by readers.
My Heart is an Idiot invites you to celebrate or chastise the reckless behavior of this hopeless romantic.
This month I was able to squeeze in two classics! It helped that both were nice & quick, action-packed, fast-moving adventures. It also helped that they were both by the excellent Jules Verne. As has been the case a couple of times during my Reading the Classics project, after my February Classic I was ready for something a bit lighter. Luckily, the library’s One Click Digital audiobook service had just the material I was looking for! I was ready for some fun rather than the deep philosophical examination that is so prominent in many of the classics of literature. So it was with a childlike giddiness that I checked out Around the World in 80 Days. Read More..
Growing up, I had what I thought the dubious honor of a dad who never flipped past anything World War II-related on television without stopping to watch it. Tales of D-Day were of special interest–how well I remember the June marathons of anniversary years 1984, 1994 and 2004, when he seemed unable to resist any old movie depiction, eyewitness interview, or even the most obscure wreath-laying captured on tape by C-Span. My whines of “can’t we turn it back to A.L.F.?” were rebuffed with all the force of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, often with that classic parental refrain, guaranteed to kill whatever interest in the subject one may actually have: “Stick around . . . you might learn something.” Read More..
I picked up Good Kids by Benjamin Nugent while I was browsing the New Fiction shelves. As soon as I read “Fans of Jonathan Franzen, you just may have found your new favorite writer” on the back, I had to check it out. This was the reason I picked it up, but Nugent’s writing style is what kept me reading. Read More..
I’ve been nervous to read Ruta Septys’ debut novel, Between Shades of Gray because I knew a novel about the Holocaust would be an emotionally draining reading experience. When her second novel, Out of the Easy, was released, I thought a whodunnit murder mystery set in 1950s Louisiana would be a good introduction to her work. It proved to be a rich historical novel with a complex plot and a compelling protagonist. Read More..
“The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.” –Yossarian, Catch-22
It’s not often that I pick up a “classic” that has so much timely relevance as this month’s read. Sure, you can find parallels to modern society in just about any classic you read…I think that’s essential in making a book a classic. But with our nation mired in numerous unpopular foreign conflicts for the past decade or more, Catch-22 really made an impact on me as to how absurd the waging of war really is! Joseph Heller’s masterpiece, and YES, I’d definitely call this a masterpiece, is the epitome of wartime chaos and absurdity. Read More..
When I find myself highly distracted and struggling to dig in to a big old novel, I reach for short stories and essays. During a recent struggle to find the next great novel, I learned that Jon Ronson had published a new collection of essays. This made me happy. Jon Ronson’s latest collection of essays, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries is an achievement that equals his previous stuff. Read More..
When I heard the recent news that King Richard III’s bones had been discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, my first thought was of an unusual museum I stumbled into several years back while walking the medieval wall surrounding the old city of York. As a devoted fan of hole-in-the-wall museums, I could not have enjoyed the Richard III Museum more, due to the fact that, crammed as it is into one of four gatehouses in the York City Wall, the museum may be as close as one gets to being located in an actual hole in a wall. Browsing the exhibits, which detail the life of the last Plantagenet King of England and examine how his reputation has fared through the ages, I noticed several references to a novel called The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey, and when I returned home was happy to find that my local library had a copy. Read More..
Knowing that I’d basically be taking a month off from blogging about my Classics Reading Project during our library’s move to its temporary location, I knew I had plenty of time to read. And what better to fill that stretch with than another doorstop of a classic of Russian Lit? So it was that I picked up a copy of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky…not exactly the cinderblock-sized book that is War & Peace (the Russian Literature that got me started with this whole Reading the Classics thing). But I was also under the impression that, while shorter than War & Peace’s 1300+ pages, Dostoevsky’s 630 page masterpiece was a bit deeper psychologically. Read More..