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January 2017

Citizen Reading: 30 January 2017.

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

Why you shouldn't fear academic essay collections. (I think the first thing they should do is stop calling them "academic essay collections"--snore!) This is actually an article for writers, about how to get into such collections, but it's an interesting one for librarians to read too, to remember these types of titles. They don't get a lot of press.

"Placemaking and the Public Library."

The Milos Yiannopoulos Kerfuffle continues: Roxane Gay has pulled her book from Simon & Schuster in protest.

The latest surprise bestseller? George Orwell's novel 1984.

Time for Oscar displays!

How to help readers spot fake news.

Fun: How Hollywood has changed the way everybody talks.

Oh god, another day, another thriller with "girl" in the title. I weary of thrillers.

7 podcasts to get hooked on in 2017. I don't really listen to podcasts but I admit I'm tempted by "The Hilarious World of Depression."

Justin Cronin's novel The Passage to be adapted for television.

Wisconsin true crime. Not a fun list, but in case you know any True Crime readers, it might do to familiarize yourself with some of these high-profile cases. Jeffrey Dahmer, for instance? I know no one really wants to read about Jeffrey Dahmer, but you simply must consider the graphic novel My Friend Dahmer.

Amazon makes Europe a new ebook offer.

Why will the physical book endure? Boy, my attention span is SHOT lately. This article isn't even that long, and I really am interested in the subject matter, but I can't get myself to settle down and read it. I don't know--I like The Millions, and yet most days I feel I'm just not smart enough for it, and that's the feeling I get just looking that essay over. I'll have to go back to it when I am capable of reading more than tree paragraphs in a row.

Emma Tennant: Obituary. Vicki Lansky: Obituary.

Just for fun: The odd jobs of 7 writers.

George R. R. Martin is becoming the new Neil Gaiman; he's just constantly in the news. He's now promising to release a new Game of Thrones "story" this year.

The New York Times has eliminated a number of its bestseller lists.

"All right, let's talk about the Oscar nominations." Full list of nominees. (Related: Screen Actors Guild Awards: Winners.)

2017 ALA Youth Media Awards: Winners. (These include the Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners.)

Carnegie Medals for Excellence: Winners. And even more ALA award winners are here.

CWA Diamond Dagger winner: Ann Cleeves (who I now know thanks to my British TV obsession).

The National Magazine Awards have quietly dropped their prize for fiction.

The Man Booker Prize will be unaffected by the merger between sponsors The Booker Group and Tesco.


I must have it: a new book about Dorothy Day.

A new book about our old way of living.

Wanna read a biography of President Obama, by a fan of Barack Obama? You've got at least three new choices.

Is social media "making the young less happy"?

Mary Berry has a new book out!

Two new books about Emmett Till and his father.

New York Times: a new Robert Kaplan book, about American and geography and globalism;a new selection of Gay Talese nonfiction; hey, all you BBC Sherlock fans, a new book about Arthur Conan Doyle; Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain and the "fight over American imperialism"; novelist Sheila Kohler recalls her relationship with her sister in a memoir.

Another nonfiction "it" book of the year: The Little Book of Hygge.

The New York Times reviewed this one last week, and here is the Christian Science Monitor's take on The Book That Changed America.


IndieBound: bestselling books the week of Jan. 26.

Publishers Weekly: Most anticipated books of 2017. I cannot wait to get the Joan Didion; the More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers by Jonathan Lethem looks good too.

9 gothic novels less than 40 years old.

11 books to "help prepare for our coming post-apocalyptic future."

Sports Illustrated: 7 best health books for 2017.


You know, I was very excited to get Keith Houston's new book The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time, but once I started it, I just wasn't in the mood.

I just laughed when I went to the library and saw one of the books on hold for me: Robert J. Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth--it's 652 pages long, and it's dense. There's no way I'm going to be able to read it now, although I really want to; it looks good. I think I got it off a list of "Best Economics Books of 2016" or something. It's about the rise in living standards and life expectancies in America between 1870 and 1970, and how that type of growth and that number of advances aren't really something we can count on happening in perpetuity, which seems like a thoroughly logical thought to me. I really do want to get this one back sometime. Perhaps for next Christmas when I'm at the in-laws'.

I read a few of the essays in Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living, edited by Manjula Martin, and found them interesting. Most surprisingly, I enjoyed the interview with Cheryl Strayed, about how much money she makes and how she made it; I am not really a Strayed fan, but I enjoyed her straightforward answers. A good collection, I think, but I just don't have the time or inclination to read the whole thing right now. If you head over to Reading the End at this link, Jenny's got a couple of good links there to other stories about this book.


No news this week, but if you're wondering how long you have to wait until his new book, you can check out the countdown on his website!

Frank: The Voice, and Sinatra: The Chairman--My first big reading experience of 2017.

My reading year 2017 started off with an intense biography experience.

It should also be noted that my first worthwhile reading experience of 2017 actually started in 2016. For some time I had been aware of James Kaplan's definitive two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, but hadn't yet had the time to tackle either or both books. However, every year we go to my in-laws' house sometime during the Christmas holiday and stay an overnight, and I can never sleep at my in-laws'. They're lovely people, they always welcome us, we get our own room with the boys, and in general it's a pleasant experience. It never matters. Usually I drop off around 4 a.m. and wake up again at 7 a.m. when the boys start stirring. So in recent holidays I have wised up and started taking along books that I know will either require some time or which I anticipate to be lovely reading experiences that I want to savor.* When you're up reading at 2 a.m, wherever you are, you generally are in search of something engrossing, I find. So this year I thought: I'm going to take the first volume in the Sinatra series, Frank: The Voice!

Frank the voiceAnd it was a good choice. Clocking in at 718 pages, this was definitely one that was going to take some time. I started it a bit before Christmas, read a huge chunk of it on Christmas night from midnight to 4 a.m., and then finished it up during the week after New Year's Day. I could put it down, because sometimes when you're dealing with a big brick of a biography like that, you have to put it down, but I was also dedicated to picking it back up and finishing it.

Regardless of how you feel about Sinatra, I must say that there have probably been few entertainers who merit a biography to the tune of 1500 combined pages (which this volume, along with Kaplan's sequel, Sinatra: The Chairman, totals), and Frank Sinatra is totally one of them. In addition to the unbelievable and dominating musical career, you have several other aspects to consider: his personal life, which was complex and filled with first a domineering mother, and then a variety of wives and paramours; his acting career, which included an Oscar-winning performance in the critically acclaimed and popular film "From Here to Eternity," as well as other star turns in "The Man with the Golden Arm," "Pal Joey," and "The Manchurian Candidate"; his business and singing career in Las Vegas; his long-standing associations with mobsters and Mafia connections; and his political work and friendships.** It should come as no surprise that the guy hardly ever slept and, by all accounts, had to keep moving at all times.

Perhaps my favorite part of this first biography was all the discussion surrounding Frank's very challenging rise to stardom, and, later on, the details about the arranging and recording of many of his biggest hits.*** Kaplan also has a fairly lively writing style. I don't know that this will appeal to everyone, but I enjoyed it and thought it suited his subject matter. Consider this sample, in which Frank first performed an arrangement of the song "I've Got the World on a String" by Nelson Riddle, with whom he'd never worked:

"From the moment the nervous-faced guy on the podium signaled the downbeat, Frank knew something was up. Stoller clashed a pair of cymbals; the horns swirled a downward-spiraling cadenza; and then the second Frank sang, 'got the string around my fin-ger,' the brass kicked--BANG!--and the band was cooking. Frank was smiling as he sang, as the seventeen musicians swung along behind him--he even had a smile for the unsmiling guy on the stand, who was waving his arms for all he was worth.

It sure didn't sound like Billy [May] to Frank. It didn't sound like anybody. He loved it.

They did a take, and then another, got it just right. It was golden--but it wasn't Billy May. 'Who wrote that arrangement?' Frank asked Alan Dell.

'This guy,' Dell said, indicating Mr. Serious, who was distractedly leafing through pages of sheet music. 'Nelson Riddle.'

The name registered for the first time. Sinatra made a surprised face. 'Beautiful,' he said.

It was a serious compliment. Frank was generous with gifts and money but extremely stingy when it came to praise. If he said it, he meant it; if he didn't mean it, he didn't say anything.

He looked at Riddle and said it again. 'Beautiful.' And Mr. Serious managed a quick, almost undetectable smile: more like a wince, really." (pp. 615-616.)

I thoroughly enjoyed that. I could just picture the scene. And if you go listen to the song (DO IT) you can just hear the joy. Combine that with the fact that this scene took place at the beginning of his career comeback--perhaps the biggest and best comeback of all time--around 1953/54, after many very bad down years, well, then it takes on even more import. Imagine singing that song, like that, after living through several tough years. THAT is art.

Which is not to say that Sinatra was not a major asshole in many and various ways, all of which Kaplan details. I enjoyed Frank: The Voice so much that I went on to Sinatra: The Chairman, but I did not enjoy that as much, and actually skim-read most of the last 300 pages so I could get some closure. For one thing, I much preferred to read about Sinatra the hustler in his early career years, rather than reading about Sinatra the Rat Pack pig who turned misogyny into an art form in Vegas and beyond. But it was still a great reading experience, and sometime I might revisit it when I can give it more time. Next Christmas at the in-laws', perhaps.

A few technical notes: these biographies have pictures spread throughout the text, which I do not enjoy as much as dedicated picture sections, but which probably allowed them to fit more pictures in, so that was good. Also, these books are exhaustive: volume one covers the years from Sinatra's birth in 1915 through his Oscar win in 1953, while volume two largely covers 1954 to 1971 or so. The nearly twenty last years in Sinatra's life, and his fourth marriage, are dealt with in a less-than-40-page "Coda" at the end (and boy, is that a depressing 40 pages. Getting old, my friends, is not for pussies, even when you are Frank Sinatra).

*And yes, of course, I always take at least two books along so I have options. I'm already dragging an air mattress, pillows, all our clothes and a thermometer and kids' Tylenol (just in case, because I am nuts), so what's a couple more things to drag along?

**I didn't just learn about Frank Sinatra in these books. I can quite honestly say I never realized what a disgusting pig and prick John F. Kennedy was until reading about his dealings with Sinatra and Hollywood (namely: women in Hollywood). Gross.

***Also, please note: Ol' Blue Eyes couldn't read music. How crazy is that? He learned the songs by reading the lyrics and having the songs played to him once or twice.

Citizen Reading: 23 January 2017

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

The audiobook version of George Saunders's new novel Lincoln in the Bardo will feature 166 different readers.

Oh, Christ: "Digital literacy is hot." I have been bored by the subject of digital literacy ever since attending library school, lo those many eons ago. Mainly because no one seems able to define it and it seems impossible to teach. Also: talk about beating your head against a wall. Ever tried to explain to hundreds of college freshman why they might want to check some other sources in addition to Wikipedia? I have, and it's an uphill journey. (Related: "On clickbait culture.")

The new buzz for 2017: Personalization?

Display idea: "What your neighbor is reading." I'm all for new display ideas and when I worked in the library I loved to pull books to check out for myself from the returns bin (after making sure no one else was waiting for them, of course), but something about that heading creeps me out.

You're reading Becky at RA for All, right? This week she had a great post about the RA resource "Notes from the Field," about helping readers find what they want.

It's official: They're making a Goosebumps 2.

Was Season 4 the last season of Sherlock? Do I even care? I've not been all that excited about season 4, as I wrote about at The Great British TV Site.

Fifty Shades: The musical?

"Lost City of Z" (based on the David Grann nonfiction book): Trailer.

"Trainspotting 2": a review (it won't open here until the end of March).

Celebrating the "best movie about books ever made."

ALA Midwinter galley guide now available.

The Buzz Books list for 2017 is now available from Publishers Lunch.

National Book Critics Circle Awards: Finalists. I'm not too excited or disappointed about these lists. I've not read many of the titles up for consideration! I must remedy that. I'm pulling a bit for the Matthew Desmond, but for some reason I just don't think the Shirley Jackson bio by Ruth Jackson deserves the award.

Edgar Awards: Nominees.

2017 Walter Dean Myers Award: Winner.


Nonfiction graphic novels.

Nonfiction kids' series "for reluctant readers."

I'm totally sickened by the tech industry, and the last book I read about it was disappointing, but I still kind of want to see this new book about Silicon Valley.

New York Times: Novelist Douglas Preston in the jungle; Jonathan Chait on whether Obama's accomplishments will hold up; what do members and supporters of ISIS really want?; a book on "college sex culture," God help us; a life of the poet Rumi; a new take on Darwin and the American kerfuffle about evolution; a linguist has written a book on "Black English".

NPR: A history of Mormon women in the 19th century is getting a lot of attention this week. As is Eva Hoffman's How to Be Bored.


IndieBound: bestselling books the week of Jan. 19.

9 books to inspire you in 2017.

7 highly anticipated book adaptations to come in 2017.

Five of the best climate-change novels. (And now for something completely different: Top ten novels about cold weather.)


I'm still plowing through the second volume of the massive Frank Sinatra biography by James Kaplan. I want to give it up but am driven to finish.

I've had Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, A Marriage (by Molly Wizenberg, author of the Orangette food blog and the memoir A Homemade Life) from the library for about two months now, and I'm going to have to quit. I made it nearly 100 pages in and then realized I no longer had the energy to read about good-looking newlyweds in their twenties following their foodie dream of opening a pizza restaurant in Seattle. I mean sure, they include pictures and recipes and an epitaph from Wendell Berry, but I'm just not in the mood.

The CRjrs and I are midway through Little House on the Big Prairie, and are leaving in the word "Indian," although we've covered that now the preferred term is "Native Americans." Oh well. As Mr. CR often threatens, I'll be the one taking the phone calls from school.


Neil Gaiman to adapt Good Omens for Amazon.

Citizen Reading: 16 January 2016.

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

Here is the least shocking headline of the new year: Oprah's cookbook is a bestseller.

There's a plan underway to turn "public housing into book-rich environments."

Two books for lovers of Sherlock Holmes.

God, how I love Melville House. Here we have a thoroughly great article on why Milos Yiannopoulos is being published...because of course, everything is always about money.

Amazon's Alexa: best friend of six-year-olds everywhere. (Related: Amazon: still poised to take over the world?)

What is crime fiction really about?

Barnes & Noble missed its holiday sales goals, but they collected a lot of books for charity.

Black History Month: On the screen.

John Le Carre's "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold" to be adapted by AMC and the BBC.

Print book sales were up for the third year running!

William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist): Obituary.

Oh, don't tease us, George R. R. Martin, you minx. (Related: So just when will "Game of Thrones" return in 2017?)

YA author Caroline Cooney: starting 2017 as a picture book author.

Nancy Pearl on NPR.

Rebecca Solnit: on Trump. Full disclosure: I haven't actually read this one yet, but I want to. I don't always agree with her but I always find Rebecca Solnit worth reading.

Ayelet Waldman on LSD.

Nancy Grace has launched a crime news website.

Terry Pratchett documentary to air on the BBC next month.

Can I get an AMEN from the choir? It's time to rethink the algorithm. Although I might say it a bit differently: namely: "fuck algorithms."

You've gotta love somebody they call the "Basil Fawlty of booksellers."

Oh, God, now we have to endure "The Shack" in movie form.

I really like living in Wisconsin.

Sydney Taylor and National Jewish Book Awards: Winners.


The book Hidden Figures, on which the new movie is based, is this year's first "it book," so it seems.

A biography about the author of Goodnight, Moon.

New York Times: a different take on Edward Snowden; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on two books about Islam; a new biography of Henry David Thoreau; Michael Eric Dyson on race.


Library Reads: February 2017.

IndieBound: Bestsellers, the week of Jan. 2.

Amazon: Best books of January 2017.

USA Today: Top 100 books of 2016.

The 16 most anticipated horror books of 2017.

Personal Finance books for 2017.

The 10 best book covers of 2016.


I'm taking Thomas Tryon's horror novel The Other back to the library; I saw it on a whole bunch of lists last year and was curious. Each time I picked it up it creeped me out and seemed very good...and yet I never seemed to go back to it long enough to complete it. Has anyone else read it?

It hurts me, but I started Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds, and just never went back to that one either, a completely foreign experience to me as far as Michael Lewis is concerned. I'll get it back sometime.

I read a bit of Robert Gottlieb's Avid Reader. This one was on a lot of "Best of 2016" lists, but I found it dull and seemingly just a long account filled with name-dropping.

The eldest CRjr and I are reading The Little House in the Big Woods right now. I forgot how awesome the Laura Ingalls Little House books are.


Unruly Reader gives us a nice review of Gaiman's audiobook The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction. Thanks, Unruly!

I just can't relate to Jennifer Weiner.

So why I read her entire memoir, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing, I really couldn't tell you. I think part of me puts Jennifer Weiner in the category of Jen Lancaster; I can't quite believe they're as hugely popular as they are. I read her early novel Good in Bed, and I can't remember strongly liking or disliking it. I read the whole thing, I know that, but I don't think I ever searched out any more of her fiction.

Hungry heartSo here's how this memoir/essay collection opens:

"The other day, I was walking from the hair salon to pick up my eight-year-old after school. It was a beautiful February afternoon, unseasonably sunny and springlike, with a sweet breeze rummaging in the tree branches that were just starting to bud.

Also, my hair looked spectacular.

I was feeling really good. I'd put in a solid morning writing; then I'd done a spinning class, where, according to the computerized rankings that I obsessively checked, I hadn't finished last. I was wearing my favorite jeans, which are dark-rinsed, straight-legged, stretchy and forgiving, and the Eileen Fisher cashmere sweater that I'd snagged for 70 percent off at the cash-only sale. With my UGG boots on my feet and my purse, with its furry purse-charm, slung over my shoulder, I strode confidently down Lombard Street, feeling like I was on top of things, like this was a day when I had it all figured out.

And then I fell." (p. 1.)

So then she whimpered a bit, got up, collected her daughter, and called for an Uber ride, and this is how she concludes:

"...and I realized that this was not just a trip, not just a stumble; it was a metaphor for my life, maybe for every woman's life.

You fall, you get hurt, you get up again." (p. 2.)

I don't know. It just doesn't do anything for me. From the spectacular hair to the excessive amount of detail about brand names to the somewhat basic conclusion about getting hurt and getting up again, there's nothing here to which I can relate. I also found it interesting that Weiner clearly struggled with body image issues for years, had a somewhat rough family situation (her father left the family--and all their bills--and struggled with his own demons), and struggled through her share of relationship problems, including a divorce, and this is what she comes up with as her big takeaway? You fall, you get up? I don't know. I was hoping for something less...formulaic.

But it's not a terribly written collection of essays. I'm not going to say I hated it; I just couldn't relate to it.*

*Evidently I'm feeling kinder and gentler in 2017.

Citizen Reading: 9 January 2017

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

John Berger, art critic: Obituary; historian Joyce Appleby: Obituary. I'd never heard of Appleby but at least one title of hers that I'd like to see now is 2010's The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism.

This makes me sad: Village Voice writer and civil libertarian Nat Hentoff died. Somewhere I have a picture of me and Nat Hentoff, taken when I was about twelve. I hadn't known who he was, but after meeting him I read his 1976 YA novel This School Is Driving Me Crazy, which I really liked. I should read some Nat Hentoff.

"the top literary stories of 2016."

Always one of my favorite features at The Millions: The great 2017 book preview.

Quartz: How to make 2017 the year you "finally read more books."

Ten things readers should do in 2017.

Here's a different type of resolution: "only listening to and reading old things in 2017."

J.K. Rowling is at work on two new novels.

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: On Hulu.

Will they stop at nothing? Amazon to open another bookstore in New York City.

USA Today Author of the Year: Colson Whitehead.

Costa Novel Award winner: Sebastian Barry.

International Dublin Literary Award: Longlist.

Golden Globes: Complete list of winners.


Paste magazine: the best nonfiction books of 2016.

The annotated Mein Kampf sold 85,000 copies last year.

Will Schwalbe's "love letter to reading."

A "memoir of taking Christianity to the extreme."

The New York Times: new books on food, including a book about why sugar is bad for you (this book was discussed in a recent NYT podcast as well) and another about how fat really isn't that bad for you; as well as a number of other books about how Americans eat; a book about how Americans tried to stay out of World War I; a history of Siberia (this may have to be one of the first "depressing nonfiction books" that Mr. CR is always accusing me of reading that I bring home for the year); a story of chaos and redemption in the ruins of Somalia; a finance book involving psychology; Laurence Bergreen's new biography of Casanova.


IndieBound: bestselling books the week of Jan. 5.

People Weekly: 11 inspirational books to read this winter.

Flavorwire: Must-read books of January.

Christian Science Monitor: 17 food-related books for winter reading.

The Verge: 16 science fiction and fantasy books you don't want to miss in January.

10 "politically subversive novels veiled in absurdism."

7 books on finance to start your fiscal new year off right.

Entertainment Weekly: 35 most anticipated YA novels of 2017.

Bustle: 7 reasons 2017 "is going to be an incredible year for book lovers."


Didn't have a lot of time for reading this week, sadly. I did look at Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, by Andy Sturdevant. This was a mix of essays and line drawings, ostensibly about the Midwest but mainly about Minnesota and very specifically about Minneapolis. It reminded me of Paul Madonna's drawings, and I'd like to explore it more. Just not now.

Oh, and I'm re-reading Poldark. Just because.


No Internet post this week. But Mr. CR is reading Fortunately, the Milk. I can't drum up the interest to do so. Sigh. Maybe this week.

2016: My Year in Reading.

I'm happy to report that my 2016 was roughly a million times better than my 2015.*

This was for many and various reasons, none of of which we will be discussing here. This, my friends, is a post about READING. So let's get to it.


The Reader's Advisor Online blog closed down, which was sad, because it was a great resource for readers and librarian types. Librarians, I'm sorry we couldn't keep it going for you. But this year also saw the conclusion of Bookslut and Gawker, so at least we were in hallowed company.


I've just taken a quick toodle through the blog here, and through my new handy-dandy reading notebook, and it looks like I got through 70+ books this year. Sure, I had to not clean my house and ignore my kids a lot to get to that total, but I still feel good about it. And a lot of those books were so good. Here were some of my favorites from the year (links go to my reviews of them):

Avalanche, by Julia Leigh.

Patient H.M., by Luke Dittrich.

TV (The Book): Two Experts* Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time, by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seit

Alive, Alive Oh!, by Diana Athill.

Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, by Emily Flake.

Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown, by Gerri Hirshey

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

Deep South, by Paul Theroux

British Stuff: Life in Britain through 101 Everyday Objects by

The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi (fiction)


I also read some books I did not like, at all, but they certainly made me think:

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus: Prostitution and Religious Obedience in the Bible, by Chester Brown.

And other books I didn't like didn't make me think at all:

Tracy Kidder's A Truck Full of Money


Let's not forget that I read at least one book that I really, really think you should read too. Immediately:

Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World, by Mark Goodman.


And, after years of fussing around with an Excel spreadsheet (that I hated) to track my reading, I gave up and went back to writing down my reading thoughts in a notebook. I'm really happy with this new (old) method and am glad to be back with it, even if I won't be able to speedily generate pie charts from its data. Pie charts suck anyway.

Happy (Reading) New Year!

*This is my wish for all of you: that your 2017s are roughly a million times better than your 2016s (however your 2016 was--there's always room for improvement, right?)

Citizen Reading: 2 January 2017

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

Holy shit, it's 2017. Fasten your seat belts, kids, it could be a bumpy ride.*

A moment of silence for Carrie Fisher, actor and author.

Another moment of silence for Richard Adams, author of Watership Down.

Let's just have a whole day of silence. 2016 in Memoriam: Authors.

Make this your reading resolution for 2017: "embrace the unexpected book."

George Saunders: "Who are all these Trump supporters?" Again, not really book-related. But I do enjoy George Saunders.

This is a slightly weird article, but I'm charmed by someone who enjoys books, and hustling for books, this much.


Okay, in case you're hearing or seeing the name Milo Yiannopoulos, here's the skinny: "He’s been called a provocateur, a troll, the poster boy of the alt-right and a white nationalist." He's also now got a $250,000 book deal from Simon & Schuster. I don't know anything about him and I won't be finding any more out, but do go check out his picture: he looks like he missed the casting call for the lead in "American Psycho." 80s much, dude?

New York Times: two new books on technology; wait, make that three new books on technology; a new book on the long, long history between America and China; ooh ooh ooh, I saw this in the bookstore and totally want it, a look at American ingenuity.


Onward! Harper Bazaar's best books of January 2017 Top history books of 2016

Wired: Required science reading from 2016

13 can't miss YA novels coming in 2017

Peter Davison: My six best books (Don't know who Peter Davison is? Why, only one of my formative crushes.)


I took the huge biography of Frank Sinatra, Frank: The Voice, along to my husband's family's Christmas, and it was spectacular. I couldn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. so it was nice to have something along to get through the wee small hours of the morning. More on this book later.

I'm re-reading Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising, because it's just that time of year. I really love Susan Cooper. If you've never read this book, you should; then gift it to any 10- to 18-year-olds you know.


Amanda Palmer, a.k.a. Mrs. Neil Gaiman, takes heat for saying Trump "will make punk rock great again."

*Not for any political or other reasons. Just, even when it's going good, it's still always kind of a bumpy ride, being human.