Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland
by Jenny Woolf

What started out to be a fascinating analysis of Lewis Carroll, the writer of Alice in Wonderland, degenerated into a dry, repetitive, boring treatise that left many blanks. Carroll kept diaries, but from 1852-1862 these years have disappeared and so the author surmises or invents what maybe could have happened to Carroll at that time.
Another screwed-up author, who likes children (mostly female), never marries, is secretive, and lives alone.
The most bothersome thing, to me, was the excruciatingly, sloppy editing. Punctuation was horrendous with missing periods and incorrect placement of quotation marks.
Stay, very far, away from this one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Schmucks!: Our Favorite Fakes, Frauds, Lowlifes, Liars, the Armed and Dangerous, and Good Guys Gone Bad
by Jackie Mason and Raul Felder

A comedian and a celebrity divorce attorney (oy vey) collaborate to write about everything and anything that pisses them off: Madonna, the French, Tom Cruise, the New York Times, Hillary Clinton, the ACLU, etc.
Each chapter is really a short vignette of one or two pages.
The book is pretty awful and very juvenile. Not funny, at all.
Don't bother taking this one off the shelf.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty
by Yasmin Sabina Khan

Although two customers on Amazon gave this book five stars and thought it was so captivating and lively, I beg to differ.
It started out being very interesting. France was grieving over Abraham Lincoln's assassination, so a man by the name of Laboulaye, a legal scholar, wanted to celebrate the friendship between France and America. He enlisted sculptors, architects, and engineers to build a huge monument.
Alas, after 70 pages, I stopped reading the book. It became pedantic, dry and just not worth continuing.
The author is an independent scholar. Enough said.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Industry
by Peter Hessler

I think I really should just give up on attempting to read any more books written by Peter Hessler. His first book, River Town was his best and he should have stopped, there. Oracle Bones was his second and I hated it. (My commentary is on this blog.)
Now, Hessler has a new book, which is basically about driving 7,000 miles across China. The most interesting sections are the people that he meets in the rural areas, the questions that are asked on the written driver's exam and how the Chinese, themselves, drive.
Hessler has been a reporter for years and it shows. He should just stick to that venue and forget about writing books.