This week I realized two things: 1) there are two people in this world I will assemble furniture for; and 2) there are two people in this world who could convince me to read young adult fiction. They happen to be the same two people: my stepdaughters. Both of their bedrooms were remodeled this week and in the hours spent assembling desks, dressers, and chairs, I had time to think through why I dislike certain book genres. In particular, I refuse to read young adult fiction. I'll readily admit that I am a genre snob. Unlike many book reviewers who will read anything and everything, I'm not drawn to books because they are books. Some are just not worth my time and I draw a line
reviewA -post collection
Views for days from the summit of Old Speck in Maine. Summer in New England offers some of the best hiking in North America and, if Mother Nature grants us enough sunny weekends, the opportunity to tackle the 67 tallest peaks in the region. This is my second summer attempting the list and I admit that this year I've needed extra motivation to hike the seemingly identical, pine-scented trails of Maine and New Hampshire. What better motivation than tales of other adventurers on far more harrowing and aspirational journeys than my own? Enter Jon Krakauer. I had watched him as a talking head in various climbing documentaries but had never read his books. Like a good reader-cum-hiker, I bought used paperback copies of both Into the
My last week was spent partying like a rockstar with my friends in a seaside mansion. Charmed life, right? Technically, we rented it for a work project, but since we spent days and nights blaring music, drinking champagne, and feeling like rockstars, the setting was appropriate for my latest read, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 - 2011, by Lizzy Goodman. This book was getting a lot of buzz in music press lately, so I picked it up without knowing much about it. The author studied romantic poetry and Greek literature, and (perhaps for that reason, or more likely following the footsteps of other rock biographies) chose to pen this book in an oral history style. Maybe
In 1991, Nirvana's Nevermind was released to glowing reviews and plenty of mainstream radio play, jumping to the number one spot on Billboard's album list. After a great Pixies show at the House of Blues in Boston a few weeks ago, I got thinking about how influential the Pixies were to bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, and The Strokes - but who influenced them? The best I could come up with was some vague references to 70s-era punk, but I knew there must be more to it. To fill in the gaps, I picked up a copy of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad. Now that I've been schooled in what it truly means to be "
Few authors deftly create characters as deeply human and mesmerizingly real as Haruki Murakami. Whether sketching biographies of quake victims in After the Quake, or capturing the derailment of a man's life in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, he is an undisputed master of his craft. In his latest collection of short stories, Men Without Women, Murakami transports us into the lives of lonely men suffering heartbreak and self-inflicted isolation. So genuine are these characters and their problems that we forget they are not long-lost uncles we have yet to meet. While all eight stories are beautifully poignant, two are stand-outs. In "Scheherazade," Murakami paints an unpredictably tender relationship between a man under house arrest (readers assume) and his appointed caretaker.