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July 2016

Roberto Canessa's I Had to Survive.

One of the best nonfiction books I've ever read is Piers Paul Read's Alive. It's the account of the 1972 plane crash of a team of high school rugby players (and their friends and family) who, while flying from Uruguay to Chile, crashed in the Andes. (That description does not do it justice. Go read this review.)

A while back another book about the crash came out, this one by one of the survivors, Nando Parrado. So I got that too (Miracle in the Andes), and found it to be another interesting perspective on the crash. So when I saw a new book this year, titled I Had to Survive: How a Plane Crash in the Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives, by another one of the survivors, Roberto Canessa, I thought, well, I should probably just read it too.

And after a chapter or two of it, I thought I wouldn't continue--after all, I've read about this story before, and Canessa seemed to be taking the book in the direction of inspirational or self-help, exploring how his time on the mountain and his trek to find rescuers with Parrado shaped his life thereafter. After the crash, Canessa continued his education and medical training and eventually became a world-renowned pediatric cardiologist. Much of this book is about his experiences working with the families of babies with heart issues, and many of those stories are told not only by Canessa but also by the individuals in question.

But I stuck with it, and found that I got sucked into the story all over again. Canessa's account of the first few days after the crash, the screams and moans during the nights stuck in the crashed plane fuselage, and the slow dying of their hope that they would of course be rescued, is just as unbelievable as everything else I've read on the subject. Likewise, his story of the trek out, battling subzero temps, snow blindness, weakness, not knowing where they were, and even one night having to sleep while standing up, perched on a nearly vertical ledge, well, again: unbelievable. As Canessa tells his story, eventually he intersperses more stories of his life after the ordeal, and his professional experiences as a doctor, and those parts are interesting too--to see how the crash and trek perhaps changed him (or more likely highlighted certain aspects of a personality and will he already had), provided yet another valuable viewpoint on the whole story and history.

The book is written with (or by? who knows), another author, Pablo Vierci, and also includes chapters told by the families of babies whom Canessa has worked with over the years.These chapters were really a bit more inspirational than I typically like to go, but by then I was 180 pages in and figured I had to finish. One woman who has been his patient for more than twenty years reported that Canessa told her that her "heart condition wasn't a disability but simply a series of life's hurdles to be overcome one at a time." (p. 276.) And you know what? Just for today, I did find that a little inspirational. Don't tell anyone, 'kay?

I can't say it's a great book. It's written with someone and it's a bit odd the way it jumps around in viewpoint. If you haven't read anything on this subject you really shouldn't start here; you should start with Alive. But if you have read that book, and feel interested enough to continue, this was a different take on the subject, and could be worth a read to you.

Citizen Reading: 25 July 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Books from games, games from books. Why this article and trend disturbs me so much I don't know, but it does. RELATED: I'm completely bored by the Pokemon Go phenomenon, but here's an interesting list of books about "games that bleed into the real world."

Have you heard of soundtracks for books?

Did you know that Oprah is going to star in the movie version of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"?

"Snowden": Trailer. Okay, actually that trailer makes the movie (and the story) look ridiculous. I would suggest reading Ted Rall's graphic novel biography Snowden; I'm personally waiting to find the time to read Glenn Greenwald's No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State.

Okay, another trailer, this time for the BBC's new adaptation of Douglas Adams's "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency." I love Douglas Adams and I love me some BBC, but I've got to say, this trailer just makes me feel exhausted.

Book delivery faster than by drone, and less creepy: of course, you have to live in London to access it.

How indexing could evolve with ebooks.

A new book about Donald Trump, by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is expected soon.

Eight statistics about Roald Dahl's books. Of course you've probably read one of his kids' classics, James and the Giant Peach or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but have you read any of his books of short stories for adults? Kiss Kiss was one of my favorite short story collection reads ever.

A new film adaptation of "The Bell Jar" is and directed by Kirsten Dunst.

2016 RITA Awards (romance): Winners.

Did you know that actress Julianne Moore is writing children's books now?

I love Meghan Daum, and now she's going to be a columnist at the New York Times Book Review.

From the UK, but still very interesting to readers stateside: Anatomy of a bestselling book.

Yeah, we totally need more superheroes. Stan Lee launches new superhero franchise Nitron.

Expect a new adult novel from Twilight phenom Stephenie Meyer.

What exactly is a diverse book?

Ten "nonfiction books that changed my life." I was kind of expecting this list of good histories, or biographies, or anything more meaty...and it turns out largely to be a list of self-help and diet books. Nothing wrong with that, and I know that self-help and diet books can change lives. It still just made me chuckle for some reason.

The various covers of one of my favorite novels of all time.

What does an exhibit called "America Reads" look like?

An infographic about teens and their use of "secret" apps like Snapchat. I didn't even know the names of most of these, myself.

This is totally not related to reading, but there's so many interesting things going on in this post I can't help but link to it: Miranda Kerr to Marry Evan Spiegel. Miranda Kerr was a Victoria's Secret model and was formerly married to actor Orlando Bloom; Spiegel is the CEO of SnapChat, and all I can say is, good luck, Miranda.

Author Carolyn See has died, at age 82.

Your Obligatory Neil Gaiman + Obligatory Hamilton post for the week (we're at the nexus of the Internet here): 'Hamilton' Producers to Adapt Neil Gaiman's 'Interworld' for TV.

Bonus Obligatory Neil Gaiman Post (there are always so many to pick from!): the TV adaptation of American Gods--Trailer.

Friday Book Lists: 22 July 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

Amazon: Best Books of July

Summer reading list from Booklist

Reads to Prepare You for the Upcoming Conventions (NPR)

IndieBound: Bestselling books the week of July 14

The Millions: Best Political Fiction

New York Times: Man vs. Machine books. All of these books look super interesting, although they will probably just end up depressing me.

Disrupted, by Dan Lyons.

As per usual, I've completely forgotten how I came across the title Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble, by Dan Lyons. I know the variety of ways people track their reading, but does anyone have a way to keep track of how they FIND their reading? I'm never taking notes when I'm requesting my books from the library.

DisruptedSo I requested this book, and got it, and then it was laying around my house, but I didn't particularly feel like reading it, and I can't say the cover did much for me either. But read it I did, and once I started, I just went ahead and read the whole thing. Basically, it's a work memoir, with Lyons describing his experiences after being downsized from his Newsweek journalism job working for tech/marketing company HubSpot. He starts right in in the first chapter with his first day at HubSpot, and how nobody who hired him was there, and nobody knew he was coming, and various other complaints and descriptions of his new workplace, like this one:

"Dogs roam HubSpot's hallways, because like the kindergarten decor, dogs have become de rigueur for tech start-ups. At noon, Zack tells me, a group of bros meets in the lobby on the second floor to do pushups together. Upstairs there is a place where you can drop off your dry cleaning. Sometimes they bring in massage therapists. On the second floor there are shower rooms, which are intended for bike commuters and people who jog at lunchtime, but also have been used as sex cabins when the Friday happy hour gets out of hand. Later I will learn (from Penny, the receptionist, who is a fantastic source of gossip) that at one point things got so out of hand that management had to send out a memo. 'It's the people from sales,' Penny tells me. 'They're disgusting.'" (p. 5.)

It continues on much in that vein for most of the rest of the book.

It wasn't uninteresting, and it was a serviceable inside look at tech companies and their economics (come up with idea, make a company, hire lots of young workers and don't pay them anything but give them perks like "sex cabins" and walls filled with candy dispensers, sell out to bigger company and make big bucks for the founders, venture capitalists, and a few lucky others who were there at the beginning). It's gross, to tell you the truth. And it's somewhat surreal when you consider that this whole book is about a company that sells marketing software (although Lyons is never really sure, it seems, what HubSpot does, or what he is doing there), with a stock price that seemed overvalued at $30 per share at their initial public offering...and now that stock is above $40. For what? Unnerving.

The biggest problem with the book is Lyons himself, who sounds throughout like a thoroughly spoiled and unlikable Baby Boomer, annoyed that he lost his posh journalism job just when he was getting older, had kids, and needed to make some real coin. I'm not going to go through and find the instances in this book where Lyons sounded distinctly whiny, borderline sexist, and unfunny (the littlest CR around here keeps pulling all the bookmarks out of books I have sitting around), but if you're interested, this is the review of this book with which I most agreed, and it lists plenty of those instances for you.

Lyons is primarily known for being the author of the satirical blog The Real Steve Jobs, and for being a writer on the HBO show "Silicon Valley." I've seen one episode of that, and it was quite funny, and another friend who works in tech informs me it's a scarily accurate how as far as the tech culture is concerned (which is, to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not going to watch any more--I just don't have the heart for it). So perhaps you might be better off binge-watching a few episodes of that, rather than having to put up with Lyons's pissy entitled tone throughout this memoir.

Citizen Reading: 18 July 2016

Now, here we go! Here's the Millions' preview of nonfiction books for the second half of 2016. There are entirely too many books of interest here to discuss more fully, but please note the Shirley Jackson biography in September (I can't WAIT) and Robert Kanigel's Eyes on the Street, about Jane Jacobs.

Barnes & Noble will sell both print and ebook versions of self-published books in its stores.

Sherlock on the BBC: Get ready for Season 4!

A new Lionel Shriver novel is out. Her We Need to Talk about Kevin gave me nightmares, but I do think she's an interesting writer.

Exactly how often are the words "wife" and "daughter" being used in book titles anyway?

"Game of Thrones": won the Emmy noms battle.

Which states listen to the most audiobooks?

Oh, you've just got to love New York's Strand Book Store, don't you?

Helen Gurley Brown, author of Sex and the Single Girl: was she a feminist? Again, this is some interesting book writing in the New York Times. It's a review of two new bios of the author and longtime Cosmopolitan magazine editor, and it gives you a feel for both books, and even a bit for Brown herself.

The new Librarian of Congress, for the first time ever, is a black woman. So of course NOW they're limiting the term of this job to ten years, rather than just keeping it a lifetime appointment.

Infinite Jest at twenty years old.

Gore Vidal's novel Burr is a bestseller again, 43 years after it was first published. Christ, I'm sick of the Founding Fathers. I know it's not hip to say that right now but Alexander Hamilton? I used to appreciate you as the best-looking dead white man on our currency, but now I WEARY OF YOU.

Here's a shocker: in addition to all the other hardships involved with poverty, it's also hard to become more literate when you live in book deserts.

A crowdfunded memoir has won Britain's PEN Ackerley award.

MobyLives on what else? Amazon and "the dread Bezoki."

Yeah, I know we're not supposed to say anything bad about any authors, but this notice that James Patterson is the third highest paid celebrity in the world still makes me cry a little. It's because he can do no wrong, monetarily speaking.

Of course Winnie the Pooh was voted kids' favorite character!

J.R.R. Tolkien: Poet?

August 2016 LibraryReads. Again with no nonfiction. LibraryReads list, you continue to bore me.

NPR has done something interesting here, making recommendations to movies and other media based on books.

You know, this article about Ramona Quimby (and her creator, Beverly Cleary) and a new novel about similar characters (by a man) and the new Ghostbusters movie rambles a bit, but it's still kind of an interesting read about what happens when men write women, rather than women writing women.

So clearly there's money to be made in books somewhere: U.S. publishing earned $28 billion last year. But why are ebook sales dropping?

Are there really only six kinds of story?

Bernie Sanders will write a book. Whatever. Bernie Sanders is dead to me. At least he hasn't yet handed over his email list, though, so that's something.

And, here it is, your Obligatory Neil Gaiman Link: Neil Gaiman's Forbidden Brides to Receive Comic Adaptation.

Friday List: All the things that are wrong with Curtis Sittenfeld's "Eligible."

Well, it's Friday, so I'm doing a list, but it's not a list of book lists. (The ol' Interwebs seemed very devoid of book lists this week.)

Instead I've decided to take a break from nonfiction and list All the Things That Are Wrong with Curtis Sittenfeld's New Novel Eligible.

EligibleThe context: Eligible is a modern take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and of course, because I am addicted to all things Jane Austen, I had to read it. I had it from the library and was bored just looking at it for some reason, so I took it back. And then a friend of mine read it and demanded that I read it also so we could talk about it. (This list's for you, hon, as an opening salvo.)

It was not really fair of me to read this book, because I have never been a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld, who had big hits in her novels Prep and American Wife, both of which bored me to tears.* So, there's your backstory.

1. Sittenfeld has made our heroines, Jane and Lizzy Bennet, forty and thirty-eight, respectively. Okay, sure. She's updating it, she can do what she wants. But making the sisters older makes this a different story (in the original, Lizzy, by her own admission, "is not yet one-and-twenty," and Jane is slightly older). It makes it, in fact, Persuasion, where Anne Elliot is considered old at twenty-eight. In Pride & Prejudice, no one was really thinking (yet) that the girls were poor marriage material because they were too old.

2. Sittenfeld has set the book in Cincinnati, which is fine, actually. I like the American setting and I love me a good Midwestern city. But is she trying to make it the drabbest city ever? The city where the only landmark of note is a chili restaurant? For all the interest she shows in actually showing Cincinnati she could have set this book anywhere. Or nowhere.

3. In the original, it seemed like Lizzy's and Jane's (and the three other Bennet girls') father was, you know, various things. Suffering a bit, maybe, for picking a pretty wife who could have used a bit more going on upstairs. He seems a bit standoffish. Lazy, most likely. And definitely funny. In this one he just seems mean.**

4. Okay, Sittenfeld, other characters constantly commenting on the ST (sexual tension) between Lizzy and Darcy doesn't actually make for ST between Lizzy and Darcy. There is none. And can we stop using the abbreviation ST? It sounds like a terrible tagline to convince people that getting herpes is fun or something: "Herpes: Putting the ST back in STDs!"

5. Yes, yes, we get it, this is modern times, Jane has sex with Bingley on the first date and Lizzy and Darcy realize they are made for each other while engaging in frequent "hate sex." Related to Number 4: for the amount of hate sex and ST that supposedly goes on in this book, it is the least sexy and least ST-y book I have ever read in my life.

6. One of the most fun characters of all time, bossy old lady and grouch Catherine de Bourgh, appears here as a feminist icon who Lizzy interviews for work, and has no connection to either her or Darcy.

7. The chapters veer oddly from being one page long to fifteen or more. The book also feels about 100 pages too long. Editor? Was there an editor involved?

8. The title, "Eligible," comes from the fact that Chip Bingley (Jane's intended) appeared on a "The Bachelor"-like show called "Eligible." I cannot comment on this ridiculous subplot, as by the time I came to the last hundred or so pages of the book and it seemed to focus almost entirely on the minutiae of filming such a show, with both Jane and Chip (and the rest of the Bennet family) appearing on it, I couldn't stand the boredom anymore and just started skimming.

9. The twist concerning Lydia's marriage actually makes Lydia seem like an open-minded and likable person. That does not seem like the Lydia Bennet in the original. I'm just saying.

Bleah. Bleah bleah bleah. Of course, Sittenfeld is a critical darling, so you can read more positive reviews of this book here*** and here, if you are so inclined.

*In all fairness, I didn't get far enough into Prep to even say that I've read it. I think I got about twenty pages in and realized I didn't care one iota about one word of it I'd read, and took it back to the library.

**Although he was the source of the one line that made me laugh in this novel, when he and Lizzy are at a doctor's appointment: "'Fred!' the nurse said, though they had never met. 'How are we today?'

Reading the nurse's name tag, Mr. Bennet replied with fake enthusiasm. 'Bernard! We're mourning the death of manners and the rise of overly familiar discourse. How are you?'" (p. 82.) You're welcome. That's the only exchange in the entire book that seems vaguely reminiscent of Austen's flair for the funny.

***In this article I learned that Cincinnati is actually the author's hometown. I honestly would never have guessed.

Evicted, by Matthew Desmond.

EvictedWhen I saw reviews of Matthew Desmond's recent title Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, I thought, there's a title that I have to get. But then I remembered that Mr. CR has been very strenuously suggesting to me that I should start bringing home some lighter nonfiction, you know, "nonfiction that doesn't make you want to kill yourself."

Well. Fair point. I read a lot of depressing nonfiction.

But then I was in the library with the CRjrs, and I saw Evicted sitting out in the library's "Serendipity" collection, which is a collection of readily available, shorter-term-than-usual, titles for which there is usually a waiting list. Nicely played, library. So I gave in and brought it home.

And, depressingness notwithstanding, it was a really good read. In the course of doing graduate work in sociology, Desmond attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, but lived and did his field work in Milwaukee. The experiences he had living there and research he has done on the subject of poverty and housing form the backbone of his book. He provides a window into the worlds of the truly horrifically poor, whether they are black and white, working or not, drug-addicted or elderly (and many times some combinations of those and more attributes). They are worlds of trailer parks with substandard trailers, and inner-city rental properties and homes with substandard everything. And for the honor of living in homes with backed-up toilets, insect infestations, no appliances, and many other problems, Desmond found that many residents paid 70-80% of whatever income they could accumulate, whether it was work salaries, government assistance, or a combination of both, to rent alone.

Now I don't care, really, what kind of "lifestyle choices" these people are making. But I can see and do that math and know that if you are paying 80% of your income to rent, that leaves you very little to buy food and other necessities (completely forget about health care). Desmond himself points that out, and backs up his numbers in lengthy endnotes. His style is good investigative writing; descriptive, but not overwrought, and clean but not really clinical prose:

"Lenny knew the druggies lived mostly on the north side of the trailer park, and the people working double shifts at restaurants or nursing homes lived mostly on the south side. The metal scrappers and can collectors lived near the entrance, and the people with the best jobs--sandblasters, mechanics--congregated on the park's snobby side, behind the office, in mobile homes with freshly swept porches and flowerpots. Those on SSI were sprinkled throughout, as were the older folks who 'went to bed with the chickens and woke up with the chickens,' as some park residents liked to say. Lenny tried to house the sex offenders near the druggies, but it didn't always work out. He had had to place one near the double shifters. Thankfully, the man never left his trailer or even opened the blinds." (p. 32-33.)

Yeah, Mr. CR has a point. But it was a interesting book.* And I think Desmond did a good job with it. He not only details the problems of the renters; he shadowed a landlord and showed the many challenges of that lifestyle (although it comes with a bit more money) as well. He also provides a simple epilogue in which he suggests there would be plenty of money in this country to start to address this very basic problem (and ways it has been addressed thus far, neither effectively nor cost-effectively), but we just have to decide that this is what we WANT to spend our money on. I for one think it would be a good idea. Because the thought of people raising babies in apartments with stopped-up toilets AND sinks is just too ridiculous for words.

*Although this reviewer didn't think it was depressing. Trust me: it's depressing.

Citizen Reading: 11 July 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

Wow, J.K. Rowling writes fast: she's already penned the sequel movie to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Everyone's turning to writing thrillers...even Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate.

The Gay Talese situation. In short, Talese is a well-known writer of the "new journalism," like The Kingdom and the Power: Behind the Scenes at The New York Times: The Institution That Influences the World. He's currently disowning his new nonfiction book because it seems he relied a bit heavily on the definition of an unreliable narrator.

If you like McSweeney's, and A Game of Thrones, you are going to love this link. (Related: if you can't wait for Season 7 of Game of Thrones, well, you're going to have to.)

Scholastic to publish still more American Girl books. Are American Girl dolls still a thing? Who knew?

Studying steampunk: the documentary.

Ooh, I just put this book on hold at the library. Now I'm really interested to see it.

A round-up of new crime fiction. I really don't like crime fiction but it seems like all that people are reading these days. On a related note, that article's from the New York Times, and I've hit my limit of ten free articles for the month, which blows, because I'd kind of like to see some other articles, like this one: Two Books Recount How Our Postal System Created a Communications Revolution. Is it just me or have they really upped the quality of their book writing lately?

Do I have to re-evaluate James Patterson? Because I'd still prefer not.

I'm really starting to like millennials. They voted for Bernie Sanders, and TV is really important to them.

They're giving book and TV deals to nine-year-olds now!

Okay, sometimes I find Amy Schumer's show clips funny. And now her head writer has a book of essays out.

Marvel's working on the whole diversity thing: their new Iron Man "is a fifteen-year-old black girl."

Now Jonah Lehrer is getting book deals out of apologizing for lying and plagiarizing in previous books. Tee hee: MobyLives weighs in.

BookShots, BookBreaks, brother, I miss the days when we sometimes had a chance to read for twenty whole minutes in a row. (Related: Harlequin is also looking into expanding into the "literary" market.)

Audiobooks: they're great, okay? But they're not the same as books.

Clear your schedule for the next few minutes: you've got to look over the Second Half of 2016 books preview at The Millions (it's the fiction list). Anything there look good to you?

This is a very witty story about Amazon building a bookstore in Manhattan. Please go read it immediately.

Amazon, Amazon, always Amazon: Audible is now launching on-demand audio services and channels.

Here's a guy after my own heart: Dennis Loy Johnson says, about adult coloring books, "they make me despair for humanity."

The Huffington Post on a new way to help you find what you want to on Netflix. This is an interesting article, describing their new bot for offering "personalized" TV and movie recommendations. I've never understood the difficulty with book and movie or TV "discoverability"--everywhere I turn there's another book or TV show I want to watch--but perhaps now the problem is there's too much available, and we need to narrow our choices down. But I'd always rather narrow my choices down based on a PERSON's suggestion, not a BOT's or an ALGORITHM's. How can we all be talking all the time (it seems we are) without ever offering each other any recommendations?

Christopher Myers: will launch a new book imprint at Random House Children's

Reddit Book Club pick: Emma Newman's Planetfall. Anyone here belong to any online book clubs? How do you like them?

Top trends, as found by Amazon in 2016: psychological thrillers and books on healthy eating are hot. Wow, Amazon, thanks for blowing the lid off nookie with that research.

This week's Obligatory Neil Gaiman Post*: book trailer for his How to Talk To Girls comic book adaptation.

Completely unrelated to books: Russell Brand is going to be a father! This news makes me happy, for whatever reason. I really enjoy Russell Brand.

*When I wrote for the Readers' Advisor Online blog, I scanned probably 500-600 Internet headlines a day, and nearly every day, there was some sort of headline about author Neil Gaiman. I couldn't get over the guy's ubiquity. So I thought I'd continue that trend, because now my eye is just drawn to Neil Gaiman headlines no matter what I do.

Friday Book Lists: 8 July 2016

A round-up of the week's bookish lists from your friend and mine, the Internet.

Beyond Brexit: 10 books that re-imagine Great Britain.

Read 'N Raves from the last ALA conference: actually a much more interesting list than I thought it would be, and a great reminder that a new biography of Shirley Jackson is coming in September.

Booklist: Focus on contemporary middle-grade fiction.

35 sweltering tales of summer romance.

A review of "mid-year reviews"--everyone's doing them!

IndieBound: bestselling books the week of July 7

Short list this week. Hope to make this a regular feature but hopefully a more interesting or comprehensive one. Thoughts?

Citizen Reading: 4 July 2016

A weekly selection of reading and book news, sometimes with completely inappropriate commentary.

It seems to be the season for blog closings: first Bookslut, now The Toast. This is a hell of a closing paragraph in this tribute: "The Toast's satire was medicine for the slight tightness in my chest when I walk into another museum filled with paintings of clothed men and dead-eyed, nude women, or my inability to swallow yet more novels with self-serious male anti-heroes and decorative women (here's looking at you, Jack Kerouac). It's like the old saying: Laughter is the best cure for the nauseating omnipresence of the male gaze. Thanks, the Toast."

When biography gets personal: evidently Jean Edward Smith's new huge biography of George W. Bush begins with the line: "Rarely in the history of the United States has the nation been so ill-served as during the presidency of George W. Bush."

Do we care, really? Elizabeth Gilbert has announced she is separating from her husband "Felipe," a main character in her memoir Eat, Pray, Love. I even enjoyed that memoir but find it interesting that Gilbert announced the separation on her Facebook account, and this is considered "book news."

As an anxious germophobe, I shouldn't read this book, but you know I'm totally going to.

If you're a sucker for books about the Kennedys, it may interest you to know a new biography of Bobby Kennedy is coming out.

Futurist Alvin Toffler: has died, at age 87. I read his big book, Future Shock, roughly a million years ago and found it very interesting, although I can't remember anything about it. Evidently he is credited with coining the term "information overload."

Elie Wiesel has died, also aged 87.

PBS NewsHour: the next Oprah for books?

Garrison Keillor has told his last stories about how the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are all above average.

The new Litsy social reading app. I don't know. Evidently it will help you talk about books with friends. Am I completely off base, or sometimes is it nice to talk about books with friends without opening another app? I am seriously lost in this app-happy world.

Huh, a zombie novel I've never heard of (The Girl With all the Gifts) is now a movie. Somebody please explain the apparently endless appeal of zombie novels to me?

Dave Eggers's The Circle...the ultimate best-seller? For some reason, everything about this article makes me want to hit the people involved (except not you, Dave Eggers, I still like you), although I try not to be a violent person. I also don't understand this article. So this computer algorithm predicts what books will be bestsellers? And it picked this Eggers novel, which sold hardly any copies? And these people (I really dislike the super-casual black-and-white picture of the blandly good-looking creators of the algorithm too) don't know whether to "take a sledgehammer to it [the algorithm], or buy it dinner"? BLEAH.

Cormac McCarthy is not dead (and doesn't give a shit about Twitter). Awesome. Go read the entire (short) article. You need the laugh. Trust me.

Here's a genre for you to try and get your mind around: "weird as fuck horror"

Flavorwire: Must-read books for July. Actually, an interesting list. God love Flavorwire. In particular I want to see Dan Zak's Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age. Dig it: "In 2012, three activists — an elderly nun, a house painter, and a Vietnam veteran — broke into the “Fort Knox of Uranium” in Tennessee to protest nuclear proliferation. After spending hours inside, they waited to be arrested. Now, even if this act of protest failed to eliminate the nuclear threat wholesale, its success at spotlighting the contradictions in the fact of nuclear armament is nonpareil. Zak traces the origins of the protest from the perspective of each activist, and, in the process, uncovers the insane contradictions of life in the nuclear age." Also of interest here: the novel The Transmigration of Bodies, by Yuri Herrera. The description of that one puts me in mind of Paolo Bacigalupi's The Water Knife, which was one of my favorite novels last year.

Ewan McGregor news: a trailer for "American Pastoral" (Question: will my abiding love for Ewan McGregor beat out my abiding hatred of Philip Roth when I decide whether or not to see this movie?); and a review/trailer of the upcoming adaptation of a John Le Carre spy thriller, of "Our Kind of Traitor." Can any fellow Ewan Fan out there tell me exactly when he Americanized the hell out of his teeth? In "Shallow Grave" I think he had his own British teeth. They were so cute. I miss them. (Side note: McGregor also obviously did not vote for the UK to leave the EU in the Brexit vote.)

Lena Denham as "that one feminist on campus"...tee hee.

Evidently "Orange Is the New Black" is a ratings powerhouse.

This week's Obligatory Neil Gaiman post: Neil Gaiman to Retell Norse Myths in New Book.

New Bridget Jones trailer! I know. We're all getting a little old for this sort of thing. But I do think Renee Zellweger has really done a nice job of making Bridget her own. I didn't particularly need to see this movie until I saw the Emma Thompson bits in this trailer, and now I will have to go, because I do love Emma Thompson.

Quite possibly my very favorite Summer Book Club suggestions list ever: courtesy of Khloe Kardashian. The woman ranges from Haruki Murakami (really, Khloe? I will bet everything I have on you never having actually read Haruki Murakami) to The Girl on the Train and back again. Do you know, I remember a time when I didn't know who the Kardashians were? I kept seeing their names on People magazine while in the grocery store line, and I always wondered, who are these people, and why are they on People? I miss those days.

Now here is a Wal-Mart I can get behind!

Amazon Kindle and how it can "navigate literary thickets." Pretty fancy way of saying there's a new way to save your place on your ebook page when you want to look at something else in the book.

A freshly-printed book in the time it takes to brew an espresso to go with it?

The female bachelor. An interesting article on unmarried female characters in books.

A fun mini-collection: How To books. Got any title collections yourself?

J.K. Rowling reveals more about "America's Hogwarts"--sure, it's all a marketing ploy in advance of the release of Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I have to give the woman credit; she's not lazy about turning out content.

LitReactor calls John Swartzwelder "the funniest writer you're not reading." Evidently he's a long-time Simpsons writer...who knew? Anyone read any of his novels?

Book sales: not so great right now.

I'm a sucker for a good baseball book, and for articles about reading and books at the Christian Science Monitor. This list combines to sucker-punch me!

Oh, Zuck, you crazy kid, you. Anti-wall crusader Mark Zuckerberg puts up massive wall.