Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Then Again by Diane Keaton

Then Again is Diane Keaton's memoir about her Mother and herself.  If you know Diane Keaton only as the actress who starred in many memorable movies over the years (Annie Hall, the Godfather trilogy, Reds, etc.), this book will give you a glimpse into her family life and personal life.  Her mother was perhaps the most formidable influence in her life and Diane writes about their bond with great candor.  Her mother kept 85 journals (literally thousands of pages) in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and herself and Diane has used these to paint a portrait of her mother that is unflinching in its honesty.  Diane's mother was an intellectual with restless and creative energy who struggled to find an outlet for her talents.  Diane wonders openly in the book what would have happened to her own dreams of being in the spotlight, if her mother's had been realized. 

Warm, funny, and self-deprecating, it's a marvelous little book about family--those people you love and who love you.

The Book Surgeon

Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

An Elephant in the Garden is inspired by historical fact (click here) and by the author's admiration for an animal he calls "the noblest and wisest, and most sensitive of all creatures."  It is a story that brings together an unlikely group of survivors whose faith in kindness and love proves the best weapon of all.

The bombing of Dresden looms and Lizzie's mother, a zookeeper, persuades the zoo director to allow Marlene, a young elephant that has bonded with Lizzie and her younger brother, Karl, to be kept safe in their garden.  Their home is destroyed when bombs are dropped, so the family and Marlene have no choice but to flee with thousands of others in the dead of winter.  This is the story of how they walked and kept themselves safe from approaching Russian soldiers.

It is a heartwarming narrative, with a calm and steady tone that engages the reader and builds in intensity as the story unfolds.  You will be drawn into this tale of survival and its thought provoking and poignant exploration of the terrible impact of war on both sides of the fighting.  Michael Morpurgo also wrote War Horse, which was made into a film Directed by Steven Spielberg being released on Christmas day.

And another inspiration for this lovely book was of course the elephants themselves.  If you love elephants (like I do), you may be interested in this link to another story about elephants during World War II--a very sad story indeed--and this link to one of my all time favorite books about elephants, that I discovered in a used bookstore in Chicago many years ago. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Future of Printed Books

Thanks to Wired, the next time someone asks me about ebooks killing off the print book, I've got my response all formulated.
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