August 2011 in Review

August 2011 Stats Books in progress: 6 Books read: 7 Pages read: 2,382 Books reviewed: 6 Posts on book reviewing: 6 (includes features like In My Mailbox, Wordless Wednesday, and Top Ten Tuesday; reading challenges; and news) August was a great month for me–I read several great books that I’m excited about reviewing, and I reviewed several books that I enjoyed a great deal. I loved John McWhorter’s What Language Is and Noelle Hancock’s My Year with Eleanor. And I also enjoyed []

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman

People have described Neil Gaiman’s American Gods as one of the true new classics of fantasy. I generally scoff at such claims, since it is virtually impossible to tell which works will stand the test of time; many books and movies are widely heralded upon their release, only to be quickly forgotten. But the description is actually quite fitting for American Gods. The book has a patient, almost meandering approach that echoes the slower pace of classical movies like “Citizen Kane” or “The Maltese Falcon.”

Winner of “What Language Is” and New Giveaway

And the winner of John McWhorter’s What Language Is… The Word Jar! Congratulations! My next giveaway will be Ned Zeman’s fantastic memoir of madness and memory loss, The Rules of the Tunnel. Leave a comment on that review by midnight on September 30 to win! Note: I originally posted that the winner was Gwendolyn B. at A Sea of Books, but she informed me that she had already won this book and graciously offered it to the next random winner.

“The Rules of the Tunnel” by Ned Zeman

What is madness? How does one distinguish between a behavioral disorder and a really bad day?

Ned Zeman, a journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Spy, GQ, Outside, and Sports Illustrated, turns his eye to the one subject that has constantly eluded him: himself. His zany memoir of madness and memory loss reads like one long feature piece—a profile of himself.

Guest Review! “Russian Winter” by Daphne Kalotay

“It wasn’t that she didn’t believe in love; but she no longer believed in it for herself.” This simple proclamation, uttered by Drew Brooks, a character in Daphne Kalotay’s first novel, reveals an ingrained belief that haunts all three protagonists of Russian Winter. Kalotay, whose short fiction is gathered in Calamity and Other Stories, illustrates how the lives of three seemingly disconnected people become intertwined amidst a jewelry collection that the central protagonist, Nina Revskaya, has put up for auction.

“Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time” by Linda West Eckhardt

A guest review (and recipe!) from Ruth! Title: Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake Cakes Forever Author: Linda West Eckhardt ISBN: 9780811842402 Pages: 196 Release date: July 2005 Publisher: Chronicle Books Genre: Cookbook Format: Paperback Source: Ruth’s collection Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Linda West began her journey into baking more than a decade ago. As time went by, she came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to []

“The Irresistible Henry House” by Lisa Grunwald

Henry House is the practice baby everyone falls in love with. There have been and will be other babies, orphans who stay in the Wilton College Home Economics course for two years each to teach young women how to care for children. The practice house is “a testament to the belief that women could replace the mysteries of child rearing with mastery.”

Top Ten DC Authors

When I first began this site, my reviews were limited to DC books, authors, bookstores, and events. Though I’ve since expanded my reviews to cover all of my interests, you never forget your first love. And so, I give you my top ten list of DC authors!

“Just My Type” by Simon Garfield

“Comic Sans walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘We don’t serve your type.'”

This joke–printed in, of course, Comic Sans–encapsulates the tone and content of Simon Garfield’s Just My Type. Garfield sprinkles his history of typefaces with humor and pop culture references, creating a fresh and insightful reference book for type novice and design geek alike.

“Hot” by Mark Hertsgaard

Title: Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth Author: Mark Hertsgaard ISBN: 9780618826124 Pages: 352 Release date: January 2011 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Genre: Nonfiction; environmental science Format: eBook Source: Personal collection & Netgalley Rating: 2.5 out of 5 In Hot, Mark Hertsgaard approaches global warming through the prism of a parent concerned about the world his little girl will inhabit by 2050. A disappointed Melody Wilson hoped to read more solid advice. In 2005, American author and journalist Mark []