Results tagged “reading” from onegoodmove

A Year in Reading - 2009

The year is almost gone and I've just finished Let The Great World Spin: A Novel by Colum McCann and one of my favorite reads of the year. Other favorites include Lorrie Moore's Collected Stories, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, a collection of stories by Wells Tower, and Deaf Sentence by David Lodge.

On the non-fiction side I found A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy worthwhile. I consider Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True the best on the subject I've read. I also learned much from Intelligence and How to Get it by Richard Nisbett. He makes a strong case for the proposition that enviornment plays a greater role in intelligence than was previously thought.

In previous years there were always a couple of books that I struggled getting through, this year I pretty much enjoyed everything I read. If you're interested in my other reading you can peruse the rest of this years list here.

If you have favorites you'd like to share please do.

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January Reading

January is almost over and it's been a month of nothing but fiction, my favorite kind of reading. I do have a non-fiction book on my nightstand and I'm about half way through it, but it is the fiction that has been dominating my time.

I thought it would be fun if I explained how I came to read these particular books with the expectation that some of you will share your current reading, and the decision making process that went with it.

Here's the list:


I started with Stephen King. I don't particularly care for the horror genre but I like short stories and so decided to give it a go. I was particularly taken by King's use of time in the story The Gingerbread Girl.

Last year I read a Christine Falls a novel by Banville writing under the name of Benjamin Black, it's a crime novel thriller that is extremely well written. A review I read mentioned Banville's most notable book The Sea a Booker Prize winner in 2005 and that did it, I was into my second book for the year.

An email from a reader noting that Stalin's Ghost was on my to read list, and how much she enjoyed it catapulted it to my next choice. I've read most of Martin Cruz Smith's books and have liked them all.

The Edgar Allen Poe was spurred by an article in the Guardian pointing out that it was Poe that was the primary source of the Detective genre.

Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping was a choice based on a strong recommendation from John Baker a pretty damn good writer in his own right. I liked his novel Shooting in the Dark

Clothes on Their Backs: A Novel was a spur of the moment decision based on a review in one of the book blogs I visit, and the book was well worth the time I took reading it.

The final book on the list came as a result of two factors: one It was free on the Kindle. Some authors, wisely I believe, are offering some of their early books for free. The idea, I suppose, is to seek out new readers, and giving away a book or two electronically really costs them nothing and may very well snag some new fans. It was that as well as a pretty good review by Stephen King that hooked me.

So there you have it: why I read what I read, and now tell me your story.

A Book For You

The winner is eldeeder

I've read it, and enjoyed it. Would you like it? The book is A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next few days, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

The winner is Bailey

I've read it, and enjoyed it. Would you like it? The book is The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro

Alice Munro is one of the best writers of short stories in the world, and this collection is exceptional. There is a short review of the book on John Baker's blog check it out.

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of North America. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipping is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

And the winner is Chris Stillman

I've read it, and enjoyed it. Would you like it? The book is Zugzwang by Ronan Bennett. I purchased this book because I collect fiction that has a significant element of chess in the story. The story is a thriller, a page turner, that takes place in St. Petersbug a few years before the Revolution. I probably wouldn't have purchased it without the chess connection, but it holds up well in the thriller genre. In short a good read. I'm giving this paperback copy away because I found a nice hardbound copy.

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

Where The Wind Blew - A Short Review and Giveaway

I occasionally get offers of books to review, and usually I’m smart enough to turn them down. I’m sure I miss some good reads, but my experience has been disappointing for the most part when I accept a free book. I violated my self imposed rule recently, and accepted a copy of Where The Wind Blew by Bob Sommer and for a change I wasn’t disappointed. The book is about a sixties Vietnam war protestor, Peter Howell, think a Bill Ayers type, who is involved in the bombing of a defense contractor’s building and the unintentional death of several employees of the company as well as several of his comrades.

Peter Howell, now Peter St. John escapes the carnage and is on the run. He eventually establishes a life, a wife, a family, all in the dark as to his past. His political instincts awakened by some fundamentalist lunacy cause him to run for the school board, a mistake that soon sends him on the run again.

The story paints a vivid picture of the history of the time. I was 18 when the Vietnam War started, and the author does a wonderful job of creating a sense of time and place that brought back my memories of those days. It captured the frustration, the anger, and the helplessness that we all eventually felt about the débâcle that was Vietnam.

The book is a fast paced then and now examination of our country and its culture. I had a hard time putting it down.

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

note: I normally take very good care of my books, but must confess that this one mysteriously acquired a slight coffee stain on the fore edge.

And the winner is, Kaleena


My Favorite Reads 2008

Here they are, my favorites for 2008, half fiction and half non-fiction. Do you have favorite books you've read this year that you'd like to share. The books you're buying as gifts for friends and family. The book you would most like every right-winger to read.

A Book For You

And the winner is Satinsheeds

I've read it, and enjoyed it. Would you like it? The book is The Canon by Natalie Angier

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to currently registered commenters others are welcome to register for future giveaways but will not be eligible for this one. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

The book went unclaimed.

The book is Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter by Rick Shenkman

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A note to the winners in the last giveaway, your books are on the way. I sent them media mail so they should arrive in 4-10 days.

Books For You

The winners are: Dende for Blackwater, Menso, Smells Like Dead Elephants, Korbonix Hypocrites, and Josiah, The Great Derangement

I don't know if there is any interest, but I'm trying to make room for more reading material and so I'm giving the following books away. If you're interested you know what to do. Please note which book you're interested in. If you're interested in more than one list them in order of preference.

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Revised and Updated] by Jeremy Scahill

Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire by Matt Taibbi

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald

The Great Derangement (this is the hardbound edition) by Matt Taibbi

I'll take all requests for the books left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the books at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note:The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the books or are just commenting.


A Book For You

This was my favorite non-fiction read of the year.The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

And the winner is lesterj

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 48 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note:The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

You may have thought my recent purchase of a Kindle would decrease the number of books I have available to give away. I confess I purchased The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker in a Kindle Edition and so now I'm giving away my Hardcover Edition. Would you like it?

And the winner is Manbeer

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note:The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You


And the winner is cognitive dissident

I read it. I enjoyed it. And now, I'm giving it away. The book is A Romance on Three Legs by Katie Hafner

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

I've read it. I enjoyed it. I'm giving it away. The book is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

And the winner is Bryan Young

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note:The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

A Book For You

The book is The Federalist Papers

And the winner is Manbeer

I'll take all requests for the book left in the comments during the next 24 hours, or so, and then use a random number generator to determine the winner. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winner. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note: The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting.

The Details

Why is it that authors don't spend more time on the details? Blue Angel is a perfectly fine novel, a good read until the author spoiled it for me. I really was enjoying it until I came upon this stupid exchange. The scene is the protagonist and his student. He's agreed to give her a ride to the next town to get a new computer.
“Do you know what kind of computer you want?” “I don’t care about speakers and graphics. Fancy video games. All I want is a big screen and lots of memory so I don’t have to keep deleting stuff to put more of the novel on it. That’s what happened with the last one.” Swenson says, “You used up all the memory?” “I write a lot,” Angela says.
Oh yes that text takes up shitloads of memory. The book was written in 2000 when the typical computer had more than enough memory to accommodate any novel. Maybe Francine is still using with an Apple II with 48K of memory. I don't believe it, but I don't want to think she was so careless as to make such an error. Or maybe she's using the famous WOPR that was nearly taken down by a game of Tic-Tac-Toe in War Games. I read on, I finished the story, and it has much to recommend it. It's an excellent satire of academia, mostly English and writing departments. The author Francine Prose has spent a good part of her life teaching writing and her dialogue rings true, that is most of it does. It's all in the details.

A Book For You

I think I missed last week and so this week I'll give away two books,The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand and In The Wake: A Novel by Per Petterson

The winners are: Age of Deception for The Metaphysical Club and Sean for In the Wake. Please contact me by email with your mailing addresses.

I'll take all requests for the books left in the comments during the next 24 hours and then use a random number generator to determine the winners. You can enter for one book or the other but not both, so please specify the book you want. I'll then ship the book at my expense to the winners. The offer is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. My apologies to my good friends in other countries but the cost of shipments to other destinations is simply too high.

Note:The offer is open only to registered comments others will be ignored. Please make it clear if you want to be considered for the book or are just commenting, and don't forget to specify the book you want.

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is one of may favorite authors and an atheist. You may have watched the segment on him in the [Root of All Evil](http://richarddawkins.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=6). I recently finished reading [Enduring Love](http://amazon.com/dp/0385494149/?tag=onegoodmove-20) a novel he wrote ten years ago, and one of his best. The protaganist, Joe Rose, is one I like a lot, a science writer,and a rationalist. He is a character who has much in common with the author. It's not suprising, but interesting, how McEwan draws on his personal experiences and imbues this character with his own feelings and beliefs in this story.

realted: [I think I'm right, therefore I am](http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/generalfiction/0,6121,98968,00.html)

I said,"there is nothing we can do but wait," and gestured in the direction of the road, one field away.

Parry took a couple of steps closer and looked down at Logan then back to me. The gray-blue eyes gleamed. He was excited, but no one could ever have guessed to what extent. "Actually, I think there is something we can do."

I looked at my watch. It was fifteen minutes since I had phoned the emergency services. "You go ahead," I said. "Do what you like."

"It's something we can do together?" he said as he looked about for a suitable place on the ground. The wild though came to me that he was proposing some form of gross indecency with a corpse. He was lowering himself and with a look was inviting me to join him. Then I got it. He was on his knees.

"What we could do," he said with s a seriousness that warned against mockery, "is to pray together?" Before I could object, which for the moment was impossible because I was speechless, Parry added, "I know it's difficult. But you'll find it helps. At times like this, you know, it really does help."

I took a step away from both Logan and Parry. I was embarrassed, and my first thought was not to offend a true believer. But I got a grip on myself. He wasn't concerned about offending me.

"I'm sorry," I said pleasantly. "It's not my thing at all."

Parry tried to speak reasonably from his diminished height. "Look, we don't know each other and there's no reason why you should trust me. Except that God has brought us together in this tragedy and we have to, you know, make whatever sense of it we an?" Then, seeing me make no move, he added, "I think you have a special need for prayer?"

I shrugged and said, "Sorry. But you go right on ahead." I Americanized my tone to suggest a lightheartedness I did not feel.

Parry wasn't giving up. He was still on his knees. "I don't thin you understand. You shouldn't you know, think of this as some kind of duty. It's like, your needs are being answered? It's go nothing to do with me, really, I'm just the messenger. It's a gift."

As he pressed harder, so the last traces of my embarrassment disappeared. "Thanks, but no."

Parry closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, not praying so much as gathering his strength. I decided to walk back up the hill. When he heard me moving away, he got to his fee and came over. He really didn't want to let me go. He was desperate to persuade me, but he was not going to drop the patient, understanding manner. So he seemed to smile through a barrier of pain as he aid, "Please don't dismiss this. I know it's not something you'd normally do. I mean, you don't have to believe in anything at all, just let yourself do it and I promise you, I promise—"

As he tripped over the terms of his promise, I interrupted him and stepped back. I suspected that at any moment he would be reaching out to touch me. "Look, I'm sorry. I'm going back to see my friend." I couldn't bring myself to share Clarissa's name with him.

He must have know his only chance of keeping me now was a radical change of tone. I was already several steps away when he called sharply, "Okay, fine. Please just have the courtesy to tell me this."

It was irresistible. I stopped and turned.

"What is it exactly, that stands in your way? I mean, are you able to tell me, do you actually know yourself what it is?"

For a moment I thought I wouldn't answer him—I wanted him to know that his faith laid no obligations on me. But then I changed my mind and said, "Nothing. Nothing's standing in my way."

He was coming toward me again, with his arms hanging loose at his side and with the palms turned up and the fingers spread in a little melodrama of the reasonable man perplexed. "Then why don't you take a chance on it?" he said through a worldly laugh. "You might see the point of it, the strength it can give you. Please, why don't you?"

Again, I hesitated and almost said nothing. But I decided he ought to know the truth. "Because, my friend, no one's listening. There's no one up there."

Parry's head was cocked, and the most joyous of smiles was spreading slowly across his face. I wondered if he had heard me right, because he looked as though I had just told him I was John the Baptist. It was then that I noticed over his shoulder two policeman climbing over a five-barred gate. As they ran across the field toward us, one of them used a hand to keep his hat in place, Keystone Kops style. They were coming to set in motion the official processing of John Logan's fate and, as I saw it, to deliver me from the radiating power of Jed Parry's love and pity.

One With A Bullet

I love short stories, and so when I learned that Tobias Wolff had some new stories, and had released them in a collection with a selection of his earlier stories I didn't order it from Amazon. I didn't take advantage of my Amazon Prime account and its two-day delivery. No, I stopped by my local bookstore on the way home from work and purchased Our Story Begins: New And Selected Stories by Tobias Wolff. It includes one of my all time favorite short stories, "Bullet in the Brain," and you're in luck the New Yorker has a podcast of T. Coraghessan Boyle reading the story. Give it a listen, even if you're familar with the story Boyle's reading is excellent, and the discussion of the story is also interesting.