Book Reviews

“The Anti 9 to 5 Guide” by Michelle Goodman

Michelle Goodman offers advice geared to women who want to work in nontraditional jobs but don’t know where to begin. Drawing from her years as a freelancer, Goodman suggests practical, step-by-step changes one can make over time so that a transition to the entrepreneurial life doesn’t lead you back to your parents’ couch. Particularly salient in our troubled economy, The Anti 9 to 5 Guide should be consulted by anyone contemplating “life outside the cube.”

“Lost and Found” by Carolyn Parkhurst

Lost and Found is the story of a mother and daughter struggling to mend a relationship torn by deceit and mistrust—in front of millions of TV viewers. The true story, however, is the gradual unfolding of the characters’ lives—the peeks through the curtained windows, the chinks in the armor. Lost and Found is a well-written novel of secrets and yearning, of self-knowledge and self-acceptance, that is simultaneously thought-provoking and entertaining.

“A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink

If your work can be computerized, outsourced, or cast quickly away, you should rethink your field, Pink advises. Instead, he proposes, the jobs of the future will involve more creative activities, careers that focus on innovation and the human touch. In a very methodical, left-brained way, Pink breaks down the most important right-brain functions to six “senses”: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. He explains that developing these skills will aid in making your professional skills more unique and desirable—an important investment in this economic climate.

“My Prison, My Home” in Vogue!

The Woodrow Wilson Center held a launch on September 14 for Haleh Esfandiari’s new book. The book is an amazing account of one woman’s detainment and interrogation in an Iranian prison for months on end.

“The Turnaround” by George Pelecanos

The Turnaround is a solid read that offers a valuable glimpse into the lives of members of different communities, even if those characters seems forced or stereotypical at times. It seems as though Pelecanos has produced another solid, if predictable, book—one that will appease his current fans with an entertaining, thrilling story while reaching out to readers and residents, like myself, interested in the ever-vibrant communities of D.C.

A View of Haleh Esfandiari’s Book Launch

“Esfandiari recounts her harrowing experience in a newly released book called My Prison, My Home: One Woman’s Story of Captivity in Iran (HarperCollins).The story began in Tehran when, while visiting her 93-year-old mother, Esfandiari was stopped by knife wielding intelligence officials who accused her of plotting to overthrow the government. This incident, which occurred December 30, 2006, led to four months of house arrest and intense interrogation, followed by another four months in Evin Prison. She was released in August 2007, following a robust diplomatic effort that involved her colleagues at the Wilson Center and members of the U.S. Congress.”

“The Lost Symbol” Descends upon D.C.

Today’s the big day. After months of rumors, ruminations, and really excited Tweets, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol has appeared in stores. This follow-up to the best-selling Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons is set in Washington, D.C. – though Brown’s version of D.C. promises to be more thrilling and fantastical than Georgetown University’s annual tuition and expenses. Louis Bayard reviewed an advance copy for the Washington Post, and finds that the book will please readers who enjoyed the Da Vinci []

Denis Lipman to Publish “A Yank Back to England”

Denis Lipman, former resident of London’s East End and current resident of Washington, DC, will be publishing A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns in January 2010. The premise of the novel came about through Lipman’s many journeys back home, both solo and accompanied by his wife. I’m eager to review it, especially after this comment by Michael York: “A perceptive, engaging and informative take on contemporary England as seen through the eyes of a fellow expatriate who writes with []

Sybil Steinberg Reviews Eugenia Kim’s “The Calligrapher’s Daughter”

Sybil Steinberg reviews DC resident Eugenia Kim’s new novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter, in Washington Post‘s Book World. Steinberg praises the sensitivity of the novel, commenting that “Kim’s account acquires depth and immediacy as she draws vivid pictures of wartime poverty and hardship.” Steinberg closes by writing, In quietly recording the arc of a woman’s experience from idyllic childhood through harrowing adulthood, Kim mirrors the changing nation. The ending of the book is somewhat rushed, as Kim tries to encapsulate events in the []

Review of Eugenia Kim’s “The Calligrapher’s Daughter” in the Christian Science Monitor

Yvonne Zip reviews Eugenia Kim’s The Calligrapher’s Daughter in the Christian Science Monitor. Zip notes, “Kim builds a patient spell, carefully orienting American readers who probably know little of this chapter of history. . . Fans of Lisa See’s or Amy Tan’s novels should eagerly embrace [the main character] Najin, and The Calligrapher’s Daughter bids fair to become a staple of book clubs. While the story is Najin’s, its true subject is Korea’s occupation by Japan.”

“On This Spot” by Douglas Evelyn and Paul Dickson

This guide to the historical landmarks of D.C. succeeds in presenting a thoroughly unique viewpoint of the city and its long and colorful history. Through a combination of anecdotes and images of historical sites — both existing and long gone — each destination has its own story, ranging from the political to the criminal. Dividing the city by neighborhood, rather than into walking paths, this portable little book is indispensable for anyone interested in the history behind the geography.

“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

The strength of Walls’s narrative lies in her ability to completely absorb herself in telling the story, without allowing herself time or space to inject judgment or analysis. More than just an incredible story, “The Glass Castle” showcases Jeannette Walls’s clear talent with a pen and her undeniable prowess as a storyteller.

“Bright Lights, Smaller City”: Jessica Cutler’s Bored Review of Grant Ginder’s “This Is How It Starts”

Jessica Cutler, author of The Washingtonienne, reviewed Grant Ginder’s This Is How It Starts. Cutler found it lacking in inspiration, comparing the work to Jay McInerneny’s Bright Lights, Big City. Cutler comments, “Ginder’s prose is rarely amusing or enjoyable. Perhaps it’s moony and aimless on purpose — all part of the ennui and disillusionment, as though the characters are intentionally cliche because Washington is really like that.” Ouch. Sounds like another great DC political thriller.

“Ever Is a Long Time” by W. Ralph Eubanks

Title: Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past Author: W. Ralph Eubanks ISBN: 9780738205700 Pages: 256 Release Date: August 2003 Publisher: Basic Books Genre: Memoir Source: Library Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Summary W. Ralph Eubanks prefaces his first book with his son’s innocent question: “Daddy, what’s Mississippi like?” Eubanks finds himself torn between protecting his children from the harsh truth of segregation, as his parents attempted to do in his own childhood, and educating them on the []