Throw This Book Away
Rating:Time to toss your copy of Zeitoun in your curbside recycling bin; it can land on top of Three Cups of Tea in the corner of the bin reserved for books that don’t even deserve donation to a library because they turned out to be dishonest accounts narrated by shysters
Three Cups of Deceit
Rating:Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way, by Jon Krakauer. Anchor (2011) 96 pages.
Vindication! I read Three Cups of Tea a couple of years ago, well before the scandal broke (via the April 17 episode of 60 Minutes), and was unable to get more than halfway through it.
Formerly Favorite Authors Suffer Simultaneous Brain Damage
Rating:What a disheartening year it’s been for those of us who want to believe that an author’s subsequent book will be as good as the one that preceded it. Such a string of much-anticipated follow-ups that have fallen flat on their face…
Did we really need a new book in which the author (according to the most recent issue of Publishers Weekly) “peppers the narrative with neologisms supposedly coined by famous gossip columnists, and annoyingly styles the text so that nearly every name, brand name, and...
Another Cover Art Disappointment
Who doesn’t love a vintage photograph from the author’s childhood on the cover of her memoir? When the image is just right, these covers are among the best. But if a photo that speaks directly to the story does not exist, why force an inappropriate one upon the book?...
Little House Series
HarperCollins has made a horrendous, unfathomable decision that will surely be studied in future college marketing courses in the same chapter as the “New Coke” blunder of 1985. In a woefully misguided attempt to keep the Little House series “relevant and vibrant” to...
This month I read two memoirs that I would be giving glowing reviews to, if only they had employed quotation marks. Is anyone else fed up with the idea that quotation marks in dialogue are unnecessary? Basic rules of grammar and punctuation exist for a reason (to...
A Million Little Lies
Rating:A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey. Random House (2004), 448 pages.
A memoir is one person’s memories of his life and can’t be expected to represent an exact rendition of absolute fact, as if a description of one’s life could be reduced to a provable mathematical formula.
Detectives and CIA Operatives Must Go
(This opinion first appeared in February 2003) The following words and phrases have no business in a decent book: FBI CIA Washington insider sophisticated weaponry special agent top-secret cigar-smoking helicopters submarines tanks ill-gotten business vigilante hit...