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brendanmcfadden : bookreview   16

Jeffrey Eugenides, Great American Novelist, Turns to the Story - The New York Times
In 1993, soon after the publication of Jeffrey Eugenides’s first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” my sly and thoughtful high school English teacher handed me a copy. In those days, my knowledge of contemporary literature ended with “The Catcher in the Rye,” so Eugenides’s book came as a thunderclap.
jeffreyeugenides  nytimes  bookreview  books  literature  shortstories 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Hunt for a Good Beginning. Then Write It. - The New York Times
Followers of John McPhee, perhaps the most revered nonfiction narrative journalist of our time, will luxuriate in the shipshape prose of “Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process,” a collection of eight essays that first appeared in The New Yorker, his home for more than 50 years.
writing  books  nonfiction  literature  johnmcphee  nytimes  bookreview 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The First Modern President - The New York Times
In his measured, insightful biography, “President McKinley: Architect of the American Century,” Robert W. Merry seeks to set the record straight. He notes that the willful, flamboyant Roosevelt upstaged the staid, placid McKinley. Even Roosevelt’s children joked that he wanted to be “the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral,” and Roosevelt was not above personal derision. When McKinley seemed to hesitate before declaring war on Spain in 1898, Roosevelt is said to have suggested, in a private remark that inevitably became public, that the president’s backbone was “as soft as a chocolate éclair.” (The quip has also been attributed to House Speaker Thomas Reed.) In reality, Merry argues, McKinley was shrewd and patient, wily beneath the bland exterior.
biography  williammckinley  books  literature  nytimes  bookreview 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Celeste Ng: By the Book - The New York Times
The author of, most recently, “Little Fires Everywhere,” often returns to “The Count of Monte Cristo”: “Right now, I see it as an exploration of the complexities of good and evil and how easily one shifts into the other.
celesteng  nytimes  interview  books  writing  literature  authors  bookreview 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Book Review: The Ordeal of Appalachia — ProPublica
A new account challenges our notion of how the people of Appalachia “acquired civilization and then lost it.”
bookreview  alecmacgillis  propublica  appalachia  poverty 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
After the Hurricane Winds Die Down, Larry McMurtry’s Houston Trilogy Lives On - The New York Times
Some claim the three essential books in Texas history are the Bible, the Warren Commission report and Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove,” his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about 19th-century cattle drives. This last August, as I watched Hurricane Harvey intensify on my TV screen, the 50 inches of rain in Houston breaking national records, I stayed clear of the Book of Revelation and Oswald and instead hunkered down in safe-haven Austin reading McMurtry. Not, however, his western-themed “Lonesome Dove” — set in the Great Plains and Big Sky country — but his underappreciated Houston trilogy of “Moving On” (1970), “All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers” (1972), and “Terms of Endearment” (1975), the best novels ever set in America’s fourth largest city. Additionally, his nonfiction essay collection, “In a Narrow Grave” (1968), remains the gold standard for understanding Houston’s brash rootlessness and civic insecurities.
larrymcmurtry  houstontrilogy  nytimes  bookreview  lonesomedove  allmyfriendsaregoingtobestrangers  movingon  literature  books  writers  houston  texas 
october 2017 by brendanmcfadden
A Late — and Maybe Last — Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Lost’ Stories - The New York Times
In the heyday of mass-market “slick” magazines, a serious fiction writer actually had the option of selling out, but you had to have a knack for it.
bookreview  fscottfitzgerald  shortstories  shortstorycollections  books 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
'Let's Talk About Love,' by Carl Wilson
Like most rock critics, Carl Wilson—a writer and editor at Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail—has always reflexively detested Céline...
bookreview  carlwilson  music  criticism  analysis  celinedion  newyorkmagazine 
october 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing
When he was in his late 20s, the writer Howard Axelrod spent two years living in a remote cabin in Vermont. He avoided almost all human contact; his beard grew long and his body grew thin. He went for epic walks in the woods. He had no computer, radio, or TV; he had a phone, but on the rare occasions it rang, he often would not bother to answer it. The kindly local who came by to plow his drive during the winter described him as a “real backwoodsman,” and on the long nights, Axelrod would lie down by the wood stove while memories streamed through his mind—of his boyhood walk to school, say, or some experience from summer camp—as though he were watching his very own TV show. It would make him laugh out loud, and cry.
slate  bookreview  howardaxelrod  thepointofvanishing 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Book Review - The Lost Cyclist - By David V. Herlihy
...Those were the days when Frank Lenz, a 24-year-old wheelman, departed New York in 1892 to round the globe — a trip grippingly detailed in David Herlihy’s “Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance.”
nytimes  bookreview  thelostcyclist  history 
april 2015 by brendanmcfadden
‘On Such a Full Sea,’ by Chang-rae Lee
Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading, and “On Such a Full Sea” provides all that and more.
nytimes  bookreview  onsuchafullsea  changraelee  literature 
february 2015 by brendanmcfadden
‘Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story,’
Despite the title of Jerry Lee Lewis’s 2006 album “Last Man Standing,” a few other survivors from rock’s early days still remain. Chuck Berry, an old nemesis, is still around. So are Little Richard, Fats Domino and Wanda Jackson, the let’s-have-a-party girl who briefly dated Elvis Presley and shouted her own version of the Lewis anthem “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Still, Lewis is the summation of that early period, before cleaner-cut teen idols like Frankie Avalon and Fabian came on the scene. In Tolkien parlance, he’s the one ring that binds them, and as such, he deserves a rich and textured biography.
jerryleelewis  nytimes  music  musician  bookreview 
december 2014 by brendanmcfadden

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