Odyssey Online

Entries from June 2009

Summer Reading

June 30th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…with the 4th of July holiday upon us, it would seem like a good long weekend to spend reading and thinking about the American experience. Thinking about what it means to be American. Years ago I taught English in Maine and up there in Bangor I had a colleague who, unhappy with his son’s high school education, was designing an American Lit course for him. He’d tell me about what he was weighing and considering for his boy’s reading at lunch, and while I don’t remember a lot about this reading list I do remember it was going to start with the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and conclude with the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Remembering this just the other day I thought these two books would work nicely by themselves as the basis for American thinking

…whether the young man ever did the reading, I have no idea. Happy July 4th from Odyssey Online and there will be more books to consider next week!

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 25th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…as the world’s attention stays on the tumultous events in Iran, here are three more of our newest titles on Iranian history and the current government:

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 24th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…Annie Leibovitz is one of the best known photo-journalists over really the last forty years (she has many famous photographs, especially her portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and she has recently published a memoir titled At Work.  She’s an important and interesting part of American cultural heritage, and her book is worth reading…

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…any time spent reading about or thinking about Duke Ellington is time well spent, and there is a fine new biography of Ellington titled Backstory in Blue by John Fass Morton. Very positive review of this book in a recent Harpers, which not only praised it as a study of Duke’s life and work but as a study of the power of recorded music and what recorded music means…

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

Given the events unfolding in Iran, here are a sampling of titles about Iran, and the lives lived by Iranian people, that may be helpful in understanding all that is happening:

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…the other day in my bibliographic wanderings I typed “letters” into Encore (our jazzy new keyword search) and was rewarded with a list of recent acquisitions in collected and selected letters titles. Books of correspondence. It gives one pause to think about writing letters, the role that letter writing once held in people’s lives, and contrast that with the more ethereal-ephemeral (inconsequential?) electronic personal correspondence people conduct on blackberries. Perhaps a few days given over to reading letters might be fine June medicine?  Anyway, among our recent acquisitions in books of letters are:

Also, in 2006 there was a reissue of the Letters of E.B. White. I have been told that White took the same pains with is correspondence that he did with his professional writing (in thinking about his essays one can see how he probably didn’t perceive much of a difference) and so for a volume to really study the craft of letter writing, this would be a good start.

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 9th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…one of the most controversial figures, and a man who is becoming really a lightning rod for the George W. Bush administration, is former Vice President Dick Cheney.  He is someone who generates wildly different intrepretations of his actions and intentions.  We have a number of biographies of the man, and here are two that paint very different portraits of Mr. Cheney–Cheney: the Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen Hayes, and Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman. Read ’em and decide…

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 4th, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

Each year the North Country Library System sponsors a North Country Reads program, which features a book discussion. This year’s title was Chris Bohjalian’s Skeletons at the Feast. It’s a skillfully crafted novel set in eastern Germany during the Soviet advance through Germany during World War Two, and is about such topics as basic as love and war…

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

…from an anonymous book-reviewer, praise for The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.  The book uses the knitting club image to describe the interweaving of a number of women, and is a fine read…much recommended…

Tags: Recommended Book

Summer Reading

June 1st, 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Reading

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly is a lovely book, a book about family, and is set in the Adirondacks, perfect for this list!

Tags: Recommended Book