Congratulations to the following writers/contributors, who made this issue of the NYTBR worth reading (Although self is still canceling her subscription):
Elaine Blair * Jeannette Walls * Donovan Hohn * Justin Cronin *
Elaine Blair’s review of What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, by Daniel Bergner was the title page review. Blair’s review made self want to read Bergner’s previous book, The Other Side of Desire. See, it is so interesting that a man is responsible for doing all this research into female desire. Self fully expected that a woman scientist would produce the first comprehensive look at this fascinating topic. But then, why can’t it be a man? Men, after all, are just as affected by feminine desire as women are! Onward.
The “By the Book” interview is a good one. It’s with memoirist Jeannette Walls (There was one time the “By the Book” interviewee was Amanda Knox, she who was jailed in Italy for several years after being convicted of the murder of her roommate. What on earth the NYTBR thought they were doing when they interviewed Amanda Knox about her favorite books is still a profound mystery to self)
Jeannette Walls’ favorite book “of all time” is The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene.
Recently, she was impressed by A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout, a memoir about Lindhout’s time spent “kidnapped in Somalia.” In addition, Walls recommends the following memoirs: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, by Neil White; The Memory Palace, by Mira Bartok; Denial, by Jessica Stern; A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah; An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison; Chanel Bonfire, by Wendy Lawless; The Center Cannot Hold, by Elyn Saks; After Visiting Friends, by Michael Haimey; The Kiss, by Kathryn Harrison (Self has read this one; it’s about Harrison’s affair with her father); My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor; Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution, edited by Wally Lamb.
The book that “had the greatest impact on” Walls when she was growing up was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Donovan Hohn reviewed The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, by Margalit Fox. It is wonderful to read that the “gentleman archaeologist who led the excavation at Knossos” on the island of Crete brought along for sustenance “two dozen tins of ox tongue, 12 plum puddings and a Union Jack.” Hohn also brings up the term “hash marks” which then leads self to wonder how far we have come, from markings on an ancient tomb in Crete to Twitter.
Finally, there is Justin Cronin, who reviews “the world’s first 9/11 werewolf book,” Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy. Here we are in a world where “lycans” (werewolves, for you non-initiates or total ignoramuses) are confined to a reservation on a “discouraging patch of permafrost in northern Scandinavia, currently under American military occupation to safeguard its valuable training resources.” A majority of Americans goes about their business peaceably under “mandated medication — a mind-dulling silver-infused concoction wittily named Volpexx.” Sold! How soon can self get her hands on this book?
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.