NYTBR, May 8, 2011: Book Reviews Worthy of Clipping

It’s another Tuesday evening, and self is winding down for the day.  As usual, she reaches into her handy pile of stuff and pulls out the first thing that comes to hand:  This time it’s the New York Times Book Review of 8 May 2011.

This one has a lot of really outstanding, well-written book reviews.  Here are the ones that seem the most interesting:

  1. Kevin Brockmeier’s review of Graham Joyce’s novel, The Silent Lamb.  The review addresses “the architecture” of Joyce’s prose:  “This was the sort of book,” Brockmeier writes, “. . .  that would build its meanings sentence by sentence, pausing to gather itself together again after every period.”
  2. Leslie H. Gelb’s review of Mohamed ElBaradei’s The Age of Deception:  Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.  “Baradei,” Gelb writes, “was an intimate participant in dramatic nuclear proliferation confrontations that dominated headlines.  He served as a senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog and inspection arm, for 13 years (1984- 1997) before rising to its director-generalship in 1997.”  This was a very dry review but, nevertheless, it was informative:  like a history lesson packaged in the form of a review.  Which is simply excellent for multi-taskers like self.
  3. Marilyn Stasio’s regular column on “Crime” books.  Among the books she reviews:  a “great comeback” by Thomas Perry, The Informant; Belinda Bauer’s Dark Side, “a plausible whodunit about an undetected serial killer running amok in an English village”; and Chris Knopf’s Black Swan, in which the “beach bum hero” engages in “banter with imperfect strangers” that “is a cut above the norm” (Self loves the “beach bum hero” thang, perhaps they could get Owen Wilson for the movie.  Seriously:  Marilyn Stasio is the reason behind self’s flowering of interest in mysteries of all descriptions:  from John Burdett to Karin Fossum to Arnaldur Indridason)
  4. J. Courtney Sullivan’s immensely entertaining end-paper essay, “Don’t I Know You From the Dust Jacket?” which cites several published authors who continue to work their day jobs in “good independent bookstores,” even after having achieved fame and/or financial independence.  Among these:  Ellen Meeropol (Her first novel, House Arrest, was just published February), Jennifer Close (whose novel Girls in White Dresses is due out in August), and Famous Bestselling Author of Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, who loved working in bookstores so much that he started his own, Booked Up, in his hometown of Archer City, Texas.

Stay tuned.

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