Rating:Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Viking (2010), 285 pages.
The movie adaptation of Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love will be opening in theaters this August. It is still May as I write this, yet the cover from the book is already showing up again everywhere I look.
Rating:Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story, by Evan I. Schwartz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2009), 322 pages.
In many respects this is a biography of L. Frank Baum, with immensely enjoyable stories about his family history, his early childhood in the outskirts of Syracuse, New York,
The Professor and the Madman
Rating:The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, by Simon Winchester. Harper Perennial (1998), 246 pages.
The making of the Oxford English Dictionary is more interesting than you might think.
You Are Not a Gadget
Rating:You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, by Jaron Lanier. Alfred A. Knopf (2010), 209 pages.
This is a very difficult book to describe because the author is the kind of genius who has ideas that are so visionary I at times have the feeling I’m only grasping ten percent of what he is trying to communicate
The Best Dog in the World
Rating:The Best Dog in the World, by Donna Long. Ten Speed Press (2007), 128 pages.
This charming and informative work is a collection of 111 vintage portraits of children with their dogs. The photographs are all from 1875-1925 and include fascinating information about the dog breeds that were being developed at that time.
Manhood for Amateurs
Rating:Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, by Michael Chabon. HarperCollins (2009), 306 pages.
Chabon’s writing in this collection of essays appears, as usual, to be effortless, as if his words were typed out directly from his mind and onto paper without any editing or revising necessary. He has a natural gift and an unmistakable, charming voice that is apparent in everything he writes.
The Lost City of Z
Rating:The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann. Doubleday (2009), 313 pages.
There are many reasons to read this book, the primary one being the ending, which I will refrain from saying anything about, even though I really, really want to. The second reason would be the catalogue of countless gruesome ways to die in the Amazon,
Don’t Dump the Dog
Rating:Don’t Dump the Dog: Outrageous Stories and Simple Solutions to Your Worst Dog Behavior Problems, by Randy Grim. Skyhorse Publishing (2009), 216 pages.
This book on dog training is an unusual addition to the category. Instead of the conventional attitude of empathy and patience for the beleaguered dog owner, Grim writes with unapologetic irritation and sarcasm toward those who would give up their dogs.
Neither Here nor There
Rating:Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe, by Bill Bryson. Perennial (1992), 235 pages.
This was a gift from somebody who remembered that I enjoyed Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, a comedic account of his hike along the Appalachian Trail. Neither Here nor There is similar in spirit—comedic
Rating:Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, by Jake Adelstein. Pantheon Books (2009), 335 pages.
I normally stay as far away as possible from books that include words like “crime boss,” “FBI,” and “death threats.” But I made an exception for Tokyo Vice, first because it was given to me as a Christmas present,