Saturday, October 29, 2016

Guilty thing : a life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson,put on reserve at NYPL

Booklist Reviews 2016 September #1
*Starred Review* Thomas De Quincey (1785â€"1859) was born fairly rich but lived dodging creditors from the moment he ditched grammar school. A voracious reader, he schlepped book-filled trunks with him every time he movedâ€"as long as the landlord he was stiffing hadn't preemptively seized themâ€"and every room he inhabited was soon flooded with paper. He wrote highly imaginative and witty journalism, autobiographical or literary-critical, about the other British romantics, primarily Wordsworth and Coleridge. If he later became disillusioned with them as persons, he never denied their gifts and achievements. Like Coleridge, he became an opium-eater or, since, following Coleridge, he preferred the liquid medium, laudanum, drinkerâ€"for life. So delightful a conversationalist that those he offended usually made up with him (though he occasionally chose not to with them), he always carried a streak of paranoia, also a fascination with murder. His lastingly influential writings include the macabre humorous essays "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts," and "The English Mail-Coach" as well as the prototype of the recovery memoir, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He had one great American disciple: Edgar Allan Poe. Married and the father of eight, he led a life packed with interest, as Wilson (How to Survive the Titanic, 2011) enthrallingly demonstrates. Copyright 201

Saturday, September 10, 2016

looking forward to this...Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman


Nietzsche says: "One must still have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star." The first fundamental point of view here is: Existence is pure joy. If you don't see that, your perception is wrong. And we are not talking about Mary Baker Eddy Christian Science denial of the facts. In this approach you are supposed to learn to alchemically transmute sorrow into joy, chaos into art. You exult in the random give and take of the hard knocks of life. It's a daily feast. Every phenomenon is an Act of Love. Every experience, however serendipitous, is necessary, is a sacrament, is a means of growth."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell,great...

Starred Review* The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are the largest branches of the Christian-religion tree. Almost unknown are Eastern Catholics, who follow Eastern traditions but proclaim their loyalty to the pope. Brothers Simon and Alex are priests, though Simon is climbing the Vatican ladder, while Alex has followed his father into the Eastern Catholic priesthood. Allowed to marry before ordination, Alex has a young son, Peter, which makes him even more of an oddity in Vatican City, where he lives. His life takes a dangerous turn when a friend, the curator of a Shroud of Turin exhibit, is murdered on the eve of the show's opening. There are secrets here, slowly revealed, that could change the face of Christianity if the truth about the shroud and an ancient fifth gospel—one that tries to reconcile the synoptic gospels with the gospel of John—comes to light. Caldwell, coauthor of the international bestseller, The Rule of Four (2000), has invaded Da Vinci Code territory here, but his version has more in common with high-end literary-historical thrillers like those by Iain Pears than it does with Dan Brown. Here motives are nuanced shadows that are as hard to grasp for Alex as they are for readers. It is this very elusiveness, juxtaposed against a strong sense of place, that intrigues, making this the best kind of page-turner, one about which you also have to think. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Caldwell's publisher smells Big Book with this one and plans to make it as easy as possible for readers to pick up the scent. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

 PW Reviews 2016 May #3
In her third novel, Moore (Heft) delivers a striking examination of family, memory, and technology. Leaping from the 1980s to the early 2000s, this is the story of young Ada Sibelius and her brilliant computer scientist father, David, who runs a lab at a prestigious college in Boston, working to develop a lifelike artificial intelligence program, ELIXIR. Ada is being raised nontraditionallyâ€"educated by David and his lab colleagues, treated as one of the team, without kid glovesâ€"but when David begins showing signs of Alzheimer's, her life is upended. She is sent to a local junior high school, where she is forced to interact with children her own age, and when David can no longer remain unsupervised, she is taken in by Diana Liston, David's closest associate. Moore's exploration of David's decline is remarkable and heartbreaking, and she shifts gears deftly as the story is complicated further: when Liston tries to become Ada's legal guardian, questions about David's identity arise. Since David can no longer answer for himself, Ada takes charge and tries to unravel her father's cryptic past, leading to the discovery of a hidden file, titled "The Unseen World," on David's computer. Mysteries build, and Moore's gift for storytelling excels. This is a smart, emotionally powerful literary page-turner.
LJ Reviews 2016 June #1
Moore's third and perhaps most ambitious novel (after Heft and The Words of Every Song) is large in scope, as it explores the philosophical issues surrounding human vs. computer consciousness, but it is also a small-scale, powerfully local story about a young girl. The details of Ada Sibelius's day-to-day life in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, homeschooled by her genius father, carry this narrative. She is forced to grow up fast, helping her father and his team at a computer science lab, and caring for him as he suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's. As his health and memory rapidly decline, she discovers her parent was not who he said he was, and with the help of a private investigator and a local librarian, learns more about him and his sacrifices than he would ever share with her. The story also flashes forward to the present and near future, when Ada is working for a tech company to produce a virtual reality world. VERDICT Moore's vivid characters will stay with readers long after the story has ended. Highly recommended for literary fiction enthusiasts, with crossover appeal to sf fans. [See Prepub Alert, 12/7/15.]â€"Kate Gray, Boston P.L., MA
[Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

put on reserve at NYPL: The Auctioneer by Simon de Pury

De Pury’s parents dismissed Sotheby’s training program in London as a course for spoiled brats ‘who couldn’t get into Oxford on a bus tour.’ 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Bunny was picked up by a mother driving a crowd of teenage girls who were squealing and laughing and waving wildly out all the open windows

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The lady with the Borzoi : Blanche Knopf, literary tastemaker extraordinaire / Laura Claridge is very good/...

PW Reviews 2015 December #3
Blanche Knopf was a full partner in the esteemed publishing company Alfred A. Knopf (named for her husband) from its founding in 1915 until her death in 1966. The case made here by biographer Claridge (Emily Post) is that, of the two partners, Blanche led the more interesting life. Shortly after marrying, Blanche and Alfred settled into a somewhat distant relationship and lived apart much of the time. Their lives revolved around books, with Blanche's many prestigious acquisitions including works by multiple Nobel Prize winners, Khalil Gibran, Dashiell Hammett, Willa Cather, Sigmund Freud, and countless other prominent authors. Claridge recounts Blanche's struggles with depression, intense love of dogs, and affairs with other men. Blanche's marriage was often fraught, but her friendship with writers H.L. Mencken and Carl Van Vechten helped sustain her emotionally. Claridge's storytelling is mostly clear and linear, but she occasionally omits narrative transitions, which can cause confusion for the reader. However, she manages to synthesize an enormous amount of research and biographical information to paint a complete picture of a complex figure. Packed with interesting literary anecdotes, this biography reveals a powerful woman who played an integral role in 20th-century publishing. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Apr.)
[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse,very good

Booklist Reviews 2013 December #2
Hannah Reilly waits at Heathrow to welcome her husband, Mark, home from a business trip. Only Mark never shows. Credit Whitehouse (The House at Midnight, 2009) for opening her latest novel with a crackerjack premise that will hook readers from the first page. Mark's reappearanceâ€"a lost cell phone and a last-minute client meeting explain away his absenceâ€"does little to relieve the tension, as seeds of doubt have been planted in Hannah's mind. Having watched her mother drive her father away with suspicions of cheating, Hannah has been almost willfully trusting of Mark, but the more she digs into her husband's business dealings and past, the more questions arise. Because Whitehouse has cleverly structured her work as a romantic thriller, with Mark presented as a classic leading man, she's able to pull off a red herring of a revelation that amps up the plot's suspense. She doesn't fully maintain her momentum as the novel gets caught up in exposition, but when Whitehouse sticks to the chase, this is a gripping cat-and-mouse read. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse,amazing

PW Reviews 2016 February #3
When Rowan Winter, the heroine of this nail-biting psychological thriller from Whitehouse (Before We Met), learns that prominent painter Marianne Glass has died after falling from the roof of her Oxford, England, house, Marianne refuses to believe that it was an accident. Rowan knows that Marianne, her best friend from childhood, suffered from extreme vertigo and would never willingly have stood anywhere near a roof's edge. Days later, Rowan receives a note from Marianne, postmarked the day before she died, that simply says, "I need to talk to you," breaking a silence of 10 years. After the two had a serious misunderstanding, Rowan left Oxford for London, but at Marianne's funeral she's forced to revisit the past. With bulldog tenacity, she delves into Marianne's personal and professional history, determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her friend. Whitehouse explores the many layers of Marianne's and Rowan's intertwined experiences in an emotionally satisfying read that builds to a thrilling climax. Agent: Claire Conrad, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)
[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC