Saturday, August 26, 2006

Here's an interesting article about presidential reading lists--and whether presidents actually read the books they say they do:

“I don’t know if most presidents spent their time reading,” said Henry Graff, professor emeritus of history at Columbia. “Grover Cleveland didn’t read even after he became a trustee of Princeton. A curator of the F.D.R. Library told me that Roosevelt collected books, but he didn’t read them.”

Harry Truman was a very prolific reader, according to David McCullough's laudatory biography, a book that went a long way toward elevating Truman's reputation as one of the 20th century's most admired presidents. Truman could not afford to attend college, and reading was a way for him to continue his education.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Someone has written a book about J.D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer purportedly shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald the day of the JFK assassination. (Alert reader Jason brought this to my attention.) The only book I've read about the Kennedy assassination was Gerald Posner's "Case Closed" which argued persuasively that Oswald was the lone gunman. Posner systematically pulls apart the most popular conspiracy theories, but he's no apologist for the Warren Commission, which he takes to task for ignoring evidence that would have bolstered its findings. He also disputes some of the commission's conclusions, such as its timeline and sequence of shots from Oswald.

I should probably confess that I was predisposed in favor of the lone gunman theory, simply because when it comes to conspiracy theories, I tend to rely on Occam's razor--the simplest explanation is probably the best.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Books for bloggers, here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Kevin Maney describes a new online book-trading service, BookMooch.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is it just me, or is there a certain doth-protest-too-much quality to all of J.K. Rowling's veiled hints that she's going to whack her bespectacled protagonist in the seventh and final book of the "Harry Potter" series? It smells a bit to me like a way to throw her readers off the trail. Unless she thinks that because it's a children's book series, she needs to cushion the blow.

And yes, in case you are wondering, I am one of those adults who reads "Harry Potter." Rowling is a damn fine storyteller, a quality that many modern critics fail to appreciate. I touched on this idea in this post on my other blog.


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