"When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way."
"...Tabloid City shifts perspective among more than a dozen characters, but at its heart is Sam Briscoe, a 71-year-old editor who wears fedoras and trench coats and says "goddamned" a lot. Sam helms the New York World, Gotham's last afternoon tabloid, which, like all newspapers, is "under assault from digitalized artillery."
"Tabloids thrive on what Briscoe calls "murder at a good address," and it is a Greenwich Village double homicide, of a socialite and her secretary, that drives the fast-paced but occasionally implausible action here. Cynthia Harding, a wealthy patron of the New York Public Library, is found stabbed to death in her townhouse along with her employee Mary Lou Watson. Harding is Briscoe's longtime companion; Watson's husband is an NYPD counter-terrorism officer who worries that their estranged son, Malik, a radical Muslim, is connected to the crime. The novel's action spans one day, and its dizzying number of characters includes an elderly artist, a Bernie Madoff-esque swindler, a Mexican cleaning lady, a disabled Iraq veteran, a bitter gossip blogger, and a young reporter. Most of them are connected in some way, and circumstances throw most of them together at the scene of the novel's terrorism-related climax.
In addition to being a thriller, however, the novel is a sentimental elegy for the "profane, laughing city room" of yore, thick with cigarette smoke and the sound of clacking typewriters. "
"Infidelity: A Survival Guide" by Don-David Lusterman, PhD
"Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy" by Frank Pittman (not to be confused with Arnold Schwarzenegger's film "True Lies")
"Parents Who Cheat: How Children and Adults Are Affected When Their Parents Are Unfaithful" by Ana Nogales, PhD
"Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder" by Dennis Ortman, PhD
"Divorce Poison New and Updated Edition: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing" by Dr. Richard A. Warshak
"Fatherhood" by Bill Cosby
"Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son" by Michael Chabon
Whichever is appropriate: "Why a Daughter Needs a Dad" or "Why a Son Needs a Dad" both by Gregory Lang
"Two Plays by Denis Diderot: 'The Illegitimate Son' and 'The Father of the Family'" by Denis Diderot
"The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down" by Andrew Young And for the former household employee who is the mother of Arnold's child:
"Joint Custody With a Jerk" by Julie A. Ross and Judy Corcoran -- Carolyn Kellogg"
One of the many things I love about fiction is that it exposes me to information about places, people and things that I otherwise would not know anything about. For instance, I know almost nothing about Guyana, and I probably wouldn't pick up a nonfiction book about this country. At most, I might learn about Guyana if it somehow made world news headlines.
This work of fiction, reviewed by the NYTimes, sounds intriguing and would be one of those books teaches me about something arcane to me.
"In the opening paragraph of Rahul Bhattacharya’s first novel, “The Sly Company of People Who Care,” the unnamed narrator, a former cricket journalist from India, declares his intentions for his life, and thus his story — to be a wanderer, or in his words, “a slow ramblin’ stranger.” That rambling, through the forests of Guyana; the ruined streets of its capital, Georgetown; and out to the borders of Brazil and Venezuela, constitutes the novel’s central action. But its heart lies in the exuberant and often arresting observations of a man plunging himself into a world full of beauty, violence and cultural strife."
"...Bhattacharya’s narrator [an immigrant to Guyana from India] is thoroughly invested in Guyana and its striking blend of cultures, born out of colonization, slavery and indentured servitude. If anything, he is more reminiscent of Dante in the case of the “Commedia,” a careful listener and observer who, while in exile, faithfully records the stories that come his way."
"Rick Tramonto is a busy man. Probably most well known as the founding chef and partner at renowned Chicago restaurant Tru, he has been honored with several culinary awards, appeared on "Top Chef" and "Top Chef Masters," and written a pile of cookbooks. But Tramonto will be the first to admit his journey hasn't been a cakewalk."
"Tramonto beat drug and alcohol addiction. He struggled with learning disabilities that were so cumbersome he didn't graduate from high school. His father was sent to prison for money laundering and embezzlement. And then there was the time his father threw his mother through a glass coffee table."
"After an avalanche, a couple on a skiing holiday notice changes to their existence, in this eerie fantasy of isolation, marital love and the afterworld."Following an avalanche on the slopes, the married couple Zoe and Jake find their hotel deserted, and along with it the entire resort village of Saint-Bernard-en-Haut. Where has everyone gone? Why can’t they reach their friends on the phone? Why don’t the candles burn out or the vegetables decay? Why does their compass spin around on its dial, and why does every path return them to Saint-Bernard? Joyce keeps describing the mist that cowls the village as “oyster gray,” as though some grain of experience inside it were being converted to a pearl. But what is it exactly that has enveloped them? Zoe and Jake eventually reach a tentative answer — death — and though the perceptive reader is likely to figure out what’s happening much sooner than they do, the novel has other mysteries to offer, which compound until the story’s final pages, when they resolve in a genuinely touching manner."
"I used to wake up at 4 a.m. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness."
"Heaven is for Real is written by an evangelical pastor, Todd Burpo, and tells of his then four-year-old son Colton, who survived emergency surgery and later told his family that he went to Heaven. Colton described seeing Jesus and meeting his miscarried sister and his great-grandfather, who died before he was born.
Honestly, it’s difficult for me to know what to say. I found the book interesting. Todd and Colton appear to be sincere. Parts of the book seemed quite plausible; parts of it raised questions. Some of the words that Colton supposedly spoke as a four-year-old seem more like words an adult would speak, but perhaps that’s due to his father’s memories as he tried to reconstruct his son’s words from years earlier. More seriously, I was concerned about Colton’s claim that people in Heaven have wings (he says he too had wings while there), and other details that fit popular lore about Heaven, but don’t fit Scripture. In the Bible, some angels are portrayed as having wings, most are not. But never is any human being in Heaven or anywhere else said to have wings. Some beings in Heaven, according to Colton, have halos. But that’s not in the Bible. It’s from popular art in the Greek and Roman era and more recently in the Christian art of the Middle Ages. And of course we see it in our popular culture depictions of heaven, including cartoons."
"Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old—sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future. With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, she should be the star of Darcy Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town? The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it. And that scandal has something—but not everything—to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall."
The latest rumor about the Apocalypse is that we have six more months to live. I can't think of a better way to spend that time than with reading as many books as possible. This article suggests reading up on books about the end of the world. Hmmm, I think I'd rather read fantasy, but in case you're interested in reading up on the end of the world and what it might be like after the BIG EVENT, this article suggests the following books:
1. Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban
2. Camp Concentration, Thomas Disch
3. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
4. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
"Reminiscent of 1970s socio-political science fiction by the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin and Doris Lessing, China Miéville's often revelatory new novel Embassytown is three books in one: a tense political thriller, an amazing, sometimes brutal rhapsody on the uses of language, and a curiously flat account of civil war.
...combine[s] the grotesque physicality of The Weird with other genres...As ever with such enterprises, it takes tremendous skill to make those ideas an organic part of story and of character. At times Embassytown attains mastery, at times it does not.
The clinical yet compelling Avice Brenner Cho narrates this alien contact adventure. She is a native of Embassytown, which occupies an uneasy position as a human outpost on the planet of Arieka. The indigenous intelligent species, known as the Ariekei, have helped humans create a livable space that keeps out the planet's toxic atmosphere. Their civilization depends heavily on animals rather than inert machinery. Factories, buildings, and vehicles are all living bio-tech, as boldly visceral as anything in Miéville's Bas-Lag novels."
"British author Carmen Callil has quit the Man Booker International Prize jury over the decision to honour American writer Philip Roth.
Roth, who penned Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint and The Human Stain, was announced winner of the biennial prize on Wednesday. He previously captured a Pulitzer Prize for his novel American Pastoral in 1997.
"He goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book," Callil told The Guardian newspaper. "It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe."
As far as she was concerned, Callil continued, the 78-year-old Pulitzer-winning author did not "rate" as a writer.
"I didn't want my name attached to [the jury] and retired. You can't be asked to judge and then not judge," said Callil, who co-founded the feminist publisher Virago with Harriet Spicer and Ursula Owen."
Take this Marie Claire Magazine quiz to determine the best summer beach read for your personality.
What was your result? My result, below, is so off. How many times do I have to mention that I prefer nonfiction over fiction? #Fail To be fair, however, I do enjoy nonfiction that reads like fiction, and I loved The Glass Castle, which they recommended.
"You Should Read Non-Fiction: Sure, it's fun to get wrapped up in fun characters but the real fun is, well, when it's real. There's nothing better than falling in love with a story only to discover it's not only true but that it could actually happen to you. Authentic authors likely strike your fancy because their stories mean more to you when they're legit. A handful worth picking up: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells, Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, and Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. By Sam Wasson, which is basically everything you've ever wanted to know about the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's."
"Isabel Merton is a renowned concert pianist, whose performances are marked by a rare intensity of feeling. At the height of her career, she feels increasingly torn between the compelling musical realm she deeply inhabits, and her fragmented itinerant artist’s life, with its frequent flights, anonymous hotels, and brief, arbitrary encounters. Away from her New York home on a European tour, Isabel meets a political exile from a war-torn country, a man driven by a rankling sense of injustice and a powerful desire to vindicate his cause and avenge his people. As their paths cross in several cities, they are drawn to each other both by their differences and their seemingly parallel passions–until a menacing incident throws her into a creative crisis, and forces her to reevaluate her lover's actions, and her own motives. In this story of contemporary love and conflict, Hoffman illuminates the currents and undercurrents of our time, as she explores the luminous and dark faces of romanticism, and those perennial human yearnings, frustrations, and moral choices that can lead to destructiveness, or the richest art. "
I've read Anna Karenina and Freedom and agree: great books but sad marriages.
"Sometimes the best and most engrossing stories are those about the most terrible and heartbreaking events. Inspired by the Guardian’s article on the joys of unhappy marriage literature, we thought we’d catalog a few of our own favorites (a few of which, we admit, overlap with the Guardian’s choices). These novels, sad as they are, are completely beautiful. It’s like not being able to look away from a car accident, hard as you try — intense grief is an incredibly captivating emotion, and as humans, empathy is rewarding and cathartic. Click through for our list of unhappy marriage literature that is nonetheless wonderful to read, and let us know which books contain your own most dearly held crumbling marriage stories.
You don't have to be an official conspiracy theorist to enjoy and be intrigued by the wild theories out there -- some of them are probably even true, as history has taught us. Jonathan Kay's “Among the Truthers" delves into the many conspiracy theories out there and cites extensive research.
"Like a modern-day Gulliver, [the author] has traveled widely and conducted numerous interviews to map what seems like every nook and cranny of the conspiracist universe. Yet Kay, an editor and columnist at the conservative Canadian newspaper The National Post, has not written a Swiftian satire on the foibles of humanity. Rather, he sounds alarms about what he depicts as a mounting paranoia inspired by an invisible and nefarious oligarchy.
...as Kay sees it, conspiracy thinking is now experiencing a dangerous uptick in popularity. The terrorist threat has replaced the Red menace, as 9/11 had nothing less than what Kay deems a “seismic” effect on America’s “collective intellect.” He devotes much attention to the “truther” movement, which contends that the United States government perpetrated the terrorist attacks.
Some of Kay’s most illuminating passages center not on what conspiracy theorists believe — even to dignify it with the word “theory” is probably to grant them more legitimacy than they deserve — but on why they are attracted to such tedious rubbish in the first place. He divides them into different camps, including the “cranks” and the “firebrands.” Cranks are often reacting to male midlife crises — combating conspiracies, Kay says, offers a new sense of mission. Cranks, he adds, are frequently math teachers, computer scientists or investigative journalists."
I have the utmost respect for professionals in the psychology field but am not naive to the fact that psychiatrists and psychotherapists are human and therefore suffer with their own crazinesses. In fact, there's a stereotype out there about how crazy people tend to go into the field of psychology. This book seems to hone in on that idea.
"In this uncertain world, of one thing we can be sure. It is never a good idea for a psychoanalyst to have sex with his patients.
That’s exactly what the unnamed narrator does in Rikki Ducornet’s eighth novel, “Netsuke.” He does it repeatedly, and without remorse or doubt. He assures each of the patients he seduces that she (or he) is the only one with whom it has ever happened."
"The netsuke of the title are small, exquisite Japanese carvings, which Akiko and the analyst collect. The couple are drawn to the more sinister ones: a potbellied devil, a crab devouring a clam. The netsuke reflect husband and wife’s central, if unacknowledged, conflict — her devotion to a precise and pristine aesthetic, to perfect views and masterly carvings, versus his compulsion to have annihilating sex with people whose lives have already carved them into various distressing shapes.
The analyst sees his patients in one or the other of two small offices on his property. The office in which he sees his sexier patients is called Spells. The other patients, the ones with whom he is not interested in sleeping, are relegated to an office called Drear.
This is, in short, one very bad shrink.
For all its unsavory sex, however, “Netsuke” is not so much a story about predation as it is a story about a man trying to bring his own house down."
"Andrea Wulf reminds us in her illuminating and engrossing new book, “Founding Gardeners,” the first four presidents were passionate botanists whose country seats became laboratories for their grander vision of an independent agrarian republic in the New World.
Perhaps projecting an underlying message to our present leadership, Wulf has written an ecological and historical narrative, revisionist in the best sense, combining the suspense of war and political debate with an intimate view of private lives devoted to the natural sciences and reinforced by long-distance friendships. “Seed boxes” appear to have been the currency of those friendships, exchanged in an international network that defied official hostilities."
"Canadian cartoonist Chester Brown has written a memoir that will doubtless be controversial for its subject matter: paying for sex. But it demonstrates the power of comics as a medium for the exploration of a complex personal experience...
...Paying For It is a memoir of Brown's experiences with prostitutes over the course of the last 14 years. There are a great many of these trysts, each one making up a separate chapter. Brown alternates these explicit but entirely unerotic depictions of sex with scenes of himself in conversation with his cartoonist friends about his prostitution habit.
Brown believes that prostitution is a logical and healthy choice for him, and the women he engages, to make. His friends disagree, for a host of reasons. Paying For It is, at its cool, affectless heart, an argument for a deeply unpopular position, and as such it seems destined to become one of the most controversial memoirs of the year, graphic or otherwise."
"The New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders
In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy. Drawing on previously untapped sources and building on original research from coauthor Joshua Rosner—who himself raised early warnings with the public and investors, and kept detailed records—Morgenson connects the dots that led to this fiasco.
Morgenson and Rosner draw back the curtain on Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance giant that grew, with the support of the Clinton administration, through the 1990s, becoming a major opponent of government oversight even as it was benefiting from public subsidies. They expose the role played not only by Fannie Mae executives but also by enablers at Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, HUD, Congress, the FDIC, and the biggest players on Wall Street, to show how greed, aggression, and fear led countless officials to ignore warning signs of an imminent disaster.
Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read."
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