books

Commentary
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

A 'Little Failure' Finds His Place

Gary Shteyngart
Credit Georgetown Voice / Flickr / Creative Commons

Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart

When Gary Shteyngart was a young child, his mother would call him "Solnyshko," which means "little sun."

But after the Shteyngarts left Leningrad for the United States in the late 1970s, his parents were disappointed with his aspirations of being a writer. His mother melded English and Russian to come up with the pet name, "Failurchka." The translation? Little Failure. Shteyngart has adopted this name as the title for his new memoir.

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5:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Four Books For The New Year

With a new year upon us, this is when many of us stop to perform mental audits of our lives. I can’t help you in the gym, but I can offer you these 90 seconds of self-improvement reading in the areas of art, history and literature.

The folks who gave us the coffee-table book The Louvre: All the Paintings have accomplished the same feat with The Vatican. The slip-cased volume contains every Old Master painting on display in the Vatican, as well as hundreds of additional masterpieces and treasures in the papal collection, featuring 976 works of art in all.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Book Review: 'The President's Hat' Is Charming And Fun

When French President Francois Mitterrand and his party are seated next to Daniel Mercier at a Parisian bistro, Daniel prolongs his meal to savor his close proximity to the man, imagining he is the fourth guest at the President’s table.

When Mitterrand inadvertently leaves his hat behind, Daniel takes possession of it, wearing it as his own.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Book Review: 'Go' Is A Great Introduction To Graphic Design

Credit Fletcher Powell / KMUW

Time and again we've been warned not to judge a book by its cover. But when you’re looking at one of the more than 1,000 book covers designed by Chip Kidd, it’s difficult to follow that advice. Especially when you understand the amount of research and planning that have gone into each of his cover designs.

So now, Chip Kidd has written a design book titled Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. Even though the title is a play on his name, it’s designed for “kids” ages 10 and up.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Book Review: 'The Goldfinch' Should Be Savored

The Goldfinch is my first experience reading Donna Tartt. The title refers to a painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius, the greatest Old Master you've never heard of-- Rembrandt's pupil, Vermeer's teacher. Fabritius was killed when a gunpowder explosion destroyed half the town of Delft and all but a handful of his paintings.

Theo Decker is 13 years old when he sees "The Goldfinch" in contemporary New York City. In fact, the same day he first sees the painting, he takes it as he escapes from the bombed museum where it had been exhibited.

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5:00 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Book Review: Picking Up The Pieces In 'The Aftermath'

Credit TheeErin / Flickr / Creative Commons

The title of Rhidian Brook's new novel, The Aftermath, refers to the years immediately following World War II.

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5:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Book Review: 'The Gravity of Birds' Is A Mystery Of Time And Art

The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman begins in 1963 with the Kessler Family spending their annual vacation at a lake cabin rental in Maine.

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9:22 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Into It: What Your Bookshelf Says About You

Ezra Codex Amiantinus
Credit Wikipedia

Your bookshelf might not seem interesting at first glance, but it has a strange history that might surprise you.

Ever since books began phasing out scrolls in the 1st century AD, they've needed a place to rest.

During the first 1,400 years of the book's existence, people managed to arrange them in just about every conceivable way other than today's current format.

They've been packed away in large trunks. On shelves, they've been piled horizontally or with the spines up, down, or backwards.

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5:00 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Book Review: Someone

Alice McDermott's new novel, Someone, focuses on an Irish Catholic family living in Brooklyn.

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5:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Book Review: The Distancers: An American Memoir

When Lee Sandlin was a young boy growing up in Chicago, each summer he was dropped off at the family home in Edwardsville, Ill., to stay with two great-aunts and two great-uncles. Sandlin describes his time there as a boot camp in old-fashioned values.

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