Every few months or so, someone on my Facebook newsfeed or elsewhere will put out a general call for book recommendations. Other friends will chime in, and the discussion that ensues makes us all end up adding more books to our to-read mental lists. In the spirit of those sorts of posts, from the semi-varied pool of books I’ve read lately, I offer five solid suggestions.
Drift, Rachel Maddow’s book on the state of the American military, was first released last year. Despite being a huge fan of Maddow, I didn’t get a chance to read the book until just a few months ago. I was massively interested in her thesis statement – namely, that the American process of war has become unmoored (i.e. has drifted) and unattached from the American public. That is to say, Maddow is arguing that it is far too easy to go to war these days. I think this is something that we can all agree on simply from watching the nightly news. But to hear Maddow explain it is truly a treat. It’s clear from reading this book that Maddow has done her homework. Maddow posits that this problem – as with many things – can be traced back to Vietnam.
Before The Bell Jar, before she became known as the “demon-plagued artist,” Sylvia Plath spent one summer in New York City working on Mademoiselle’s annual college issue. Elizabeth Winder’s new book Pain, Parties, Work explores that internship, Plath’s relationship with her fellow interns, her brief romances, and how the time set the stage for the rest of her short life.
The subtitle is what drew my attention to The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece. I love knowing what goes into notable works of art, be they books, paintings, music, or any other creative endeavor. Because Frankenstein is one of those books that I have started reading at least three times and have never finished for one reason or another, I thought that maybe Roseanne Montillo’s book would inspire me to give this “masterpiece” another go. Read More Book Review: The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo
World War II has always been one of my great fascinations. Guiltily, I always declare that World War II is the “best” period in history, but of course what I mean is that it’s the best period to be studied. Read More Book Review: “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson
Like Susan Orlean, Sarah Vowell tends to write about subjects that, at first glance, don’t seem all that interesting to the layperson or to one not already obsessed. While Orlean tends to bounce around topics – orchids, Rin Tin Tin, bullfighters, etc. – Vowell remains interested in writing about American history. Saying that it is the closest thing she has to religion, she gleefully travels the country in search of oddball museums, historical burial sites, and every unnoticed plaque.
I may write about television, but I love books more than anything. That’s probably the main reason why I am looking forward to my six hour flight to New York City today. I will have all that time to catch up on my much neglected reading. Read More Hit Me With Your Best Book Suggestions