Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm just starting to make a dent in "American Prometheus", a sweeping biography of Robert Oppenheimer. The physicist who oversaw the development of the atomic bomb was persecuted as a communist and ultimately stripped of his security clearance. It's hard to read the book without thinking of our current political climate and the dark path we've started down.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Recently I completed John Dos Passo’s “USA” trilogy, which I received as a gift last year in a single volume. Together, the three novels represent a compelling character sketch of the United States during the first three decades of the 20th century, when America was awakening to its growing power and reveling in its seemingly endless prosperity. Dos Passos advances his episodic narrative through several meticulously drawn characters that span the gamut of Jazz Age archetypes: the flapper, the revolutionary, the industrialist, the speculator, etc. Dos Passos uses his characters’ intertwined lives to explore America’s dark side—its racial and economic inequalities; its sexual hypocrisies and double-standards; and its imperialistic ambitions. The books are rounded out with pointed biographical sketches of real-life figures from the era, and Dos Passos uses the “Newsreel” and often confusing “Camera Eye” sections to enhance the books’ historic perspective.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Tips on becoming well read. (Thanks to Cope.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kevin Maney says that Amazon has an electronic book reader in the works, and he discusses the ups and downs of the concept in general:

File this, also, under fidelity v. convenience. The fidelity of a reader can't beat the total fidelity of a book yet. So an e-reader will have to be far more convenient (which includes being more economical) before consumers make the switch en masse.

Call me old-fashioned, but I can't imagine an electronic device ever replacing the feel of a book in my hand--not to mention how they look on my shelves ("I have many leather-bound books..."). And how many hours can human beings spend reading text on a computer screen each day before their retinas spontaneously combust?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I keep forgetting to mention that my friend and former co-worker Jason Togyer is writing a history of the G.C. Murphy Company, and you can read about it here. Also, you can pre-order Copeland's book here.

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