Below are the books self is interested in reading after perusing the 7 March 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books. Her choices are nothing if not idiosyncratic:
Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy, by Douglas Smith: reviewed by Michael Scammell (Self admires the title of this book tremendously; she, too, has felt, many times, like a “former people.”)
Now All Roads Lead to France: A Life of Edward Thomas, by Matthew Hollis: reviewed by Helen Vendler. In a nutshell: “Thomas meets Frost in London in 1913, begins (for the first time since Oxford) to write poetry, feels guilty (in complex ways, including the fear of cowardice) about watching others die while he remains at home, decides to enlist, trains as an officer (in part for the higher pay), volunteers for the front, and courts death. When the death arrives (from a bomb blast in Arras) it is both shocking and unsurprising.” Tragic.
Several books about General David Petraeus, reviewed by Thomas Powers:
- The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, by Fred Kaplan
- The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army, by David Cloud and Greg Jaffe
In the course of the review, Powers cites three other fascinating books:
- The Centurions, a novel by Jean Lartéguy, about the lessons learned by French army officers captured by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu (“You’ve got to have people on your side . . . if you want to win a war.”)
- Street Without Joy, a “history of the long French failure in Vietnam,” by the French writer Bernard B. Fall
- Hell in a Very Small Place, also by Bernard B. Fall, about “a set-piece battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.”
And now, self must get going if she wants to catch the Menlo Park Farmers Market.
Arrivederci, dear ones.