A Gathering of Old Men is a breathtaking, heart-warming story of courage, family and honor, matter-of-factly set against a backdrop of cruelty and ignA Gathering of Old Men is a breathtaking, heart-warming story of courage, family and honor, matter-of-factly set against a backdrop of cruelty and ignorance in the Deep South. Each chapter unpacks the story from a different character's perspective, and while the large cast is an engaging mix of complex relationships and archetypes, it ultimately turns on two of them, Gil and Charlie, and their respective fathers, Fix and Mathu.
Gaines has a fluid, conversational style and the book reads like a series of dramatic monologues that beg for adaptation to the stage, though I see there was a TV adaptation that might be worth checking out.
Ned Sublette's subversive and engaging history of the cultural mix that begat New Orleans is a highly enjoyable read that puts its unique origins andNed Sublette's subversive and engaging history of the cultural mix that begat New Orleans is a highly enjoyable read that puts its unique origins and cultural impact in a historic context befitting one of the world's most intriguing cities. He deftly balances the complex history of slavery in the Caribbean and its effects on the development of the United States itself, with a specific focus on the evolution of music and spirituality in NOLA, while eschewing the dry objectivity of academia in favor of letting his passions shine through.
It's a compelling read for fans of HBO's Treme and anyone interested in digging beneath the tourist trap that is Bourbon Street, as well as those who are bored by the typically white-washed, milquetoast histories of the USA....more
This book has all the rave reviews it needs, so let me not belabor the point. Nine Lives is an important book, a necessary book, a simultaneously hearThis book has all the rave reviews it needs, so let me not belabor the point. Nine Lives is an important book, a necessary book, a simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming, frustrating and inspiring book. Read it.
I expected the Katrina section to have the most impact, but Dan Baum does an excellent job of putting it in perspective by focusing on what really makes New Orleans special: its people. By starting with Hurricane Betsy and deliberately following these nine lives over the following 30+ years, he paints an insightful mosaic with poignant vignettes that alternately left me laughing, smiling, shaking my head, and choking back tears, all before he even gets to August 2005.
When it comes to that proverbial fantasy dinner party meme, I have a new answer: Timothy Bruneau, Belinda Carr, Billy Grace, JoAnn Guidos, Ronald W. Lewis, Frank Minyard, Joyce Montana, Wilbert Rawlins Jr., and Anthony Wells....more
Gladstone, aided by Josh Neufeld's seamless visuals, makes a compelling case that the ills that plague media today -- mass and social -- are nothing new, that "we've been here before: the incivility, the inanities, the obsessions, the broken business models. In fact, it's been far worse and the Republic survives."
What follows is a broad, contextual overview of the history of media, recounted with a healthy sense of humor, and a refreshing undertone of optimism. eg: Near the end of the book, in two pages, she covers Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity, Lanier's skepticism, Planet of the Apes and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs... and it all makes sense!
"Graphic non-fiction" is a tricky format to pull off and not to everyone's taste, but Neufeld does a great job complementing Gladstone without letting the medium overshadow her message, and any student of media, formally or arm-chair, should read The Influencing Machine without hesitation.
Kudos to W.W. Norton for taking a chance on such an innovative book, though it's rather disappointing that the publisher of Frank Rose's excellent The Art of Immersion has zero online presence for it. A missed opportunity, but one that should be easily (and quickly) rectified....more
Genna Colon, an ambitious half-Black, half-Panamanian 15-year-old, inadvertently wishes her way out of modern-day Brooklyn and into the middle of CiviGenna Colon, an ambitious half-Black, half-Panamanian 15-year-old, inadvertently wishes her way out of modern-day Brooklyn and into the middle of Civil War-era Brooklyn, and Zetta Elliot makes it work by focusing on her coming-of-age story and keeping the time travel hook in the background.
Despite some minor plot holes and one-dimensional supporting characters, Genna's voice and experience rings true throughout and Elliott deftly handles the historical setting, tackling the question almost every Black American has entertained at some point in their lives: what would you have done if you had lived during the Civil War? It's a complex question and Elliott doesn't shy away from the many nuances, offering an engaging subtext that would make A Wish After Midnight an excellent addition to any High School reading list.
On a business note, kudos to Amazon for snatching this novel up for their Encore program. It's the kind of challenging story that isn't easy to market via traditional methods and segregated bookstore categories, but there is undeniably a market for it. Recommended!...more
Karl Marlantes juggles a large, diverse cast of complex characters (that sadly narrows over time), while deftly exploring one of America"There it is."
Karl Marlantes juggles a large, diverse cast of complex characters (that sadly narrows over time), while deftly exploring one of America's darkest periods from the proverbial fog of war with as close to a matter-of-fact, non-judgmental, nuanced hand as might be expected from an actual veteran. It's a relentlessly gut-wrenching read that absolutely broke my heart on numerous occasions.
Most books you read and review, but some just cut too close, so you simply demand that everyone read them because a review would be too reductive.
MockMost books you read and review, but some just cut too close, so you simply demand that everyone read them because a review would be too reductive.
Mockingbird is an absolutely wonderful must-read, skillfully combining Asperger's, To Kill a Mockingbird and the ripple effects of a tragedy on a small community; it had me in full-on tears by the end.
Fun premise, and after a shaky opening to set the table, Travis spins an engaging, medium-boiled yarn that hits all of the right genre notes, includinFun premise, and after a shaky opening to set the table, Travis spins an engaging, medium-boiled yarn that hits all of the right genre notes, including the villain's egotistical monologue that wraps it all up in a mostly satisfying bow. It's more about the journey than the destination, though, and Travis' post-Terror world is populated with an intriguing cast that makes it worth the trip....more