'nonfiction' Archive

book report: Jennifer Trynin; Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be

25 August 2007, 10:15 am
subtitle (or excerpt)

If I were dictator of the world, everybody who wanted to form a band to play in front of people would be legally required to watch Standing in the Shadows of Motown first, and everyone who wanted to sign a record deal would be required to read Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be. In my […]

read “book report: Jennifer Trynin; Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be”

book report: Marcus Gray; The Last Gang in Town

30 July 2007, 7:20 am
subtitle (or excerpt)

I found Gray’s enormous, dense history of The Clash mostly fascinating, but the obviousness of Gray’s authorial agendas bugged me. The book is subtitled “The Story and Myth of the Clash,” and Gray spends a lot of effort looking for the points of divergence between the (hi)story and the myth of the band. He provides […]

read “book report: Marcus Gray; The Last Gang in Town”

book report: Laurie Lindeen; Petal Pusher

29 July 2007, 11:58 am
subtitle (or excerpt)

Laurie Lindeen’s rags-to-well,rags chronicle of her band Zuzu’s Petals reminded strongly of Tommy Womack’s excellent and thematically similar Cheese Chronicles, with the added fillip that Laurie hooks up with someone Much More Famous midway through the band’s career arc.
Almost all of the book is written in the present tense. Lindeen is sometimes deliberately cagey about […]

read “book report: Laurie Lindeen; Petal Pusher”

book report: Julie Powell; Julie & Julia

18 December 2006, 7:01 pm
subtitle (or excerpt)

I read this at least partly to challenge my own preconceptions about what kind of books I read. This is a non-cookbook about cooking — worse, French cooking, although I didn’t realize quite how meat-intensive it would actually be.
But it’s also a book about a crazy challenge — specifically, cooking every recipe in Julia […]

read “book report: Julie Powell; Julie & Julia”

deli slices of security (even more on blink)

23 January 2006, 2:03 pm
subtitle (or excerpt)

I was initially critical of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink for not delivering on its implied promises, but I’ve revised my opinion of it substantially. It’s had a real impact on the way I think about certain types of situations. I still don’t think it provides a foolproof method for applying its principles, but it does offer […]

read “deli slices of security (even more on blink)”

Steve Squyres, Roving Mars

21 January 2006, 1:06 pm
subtitle (or excerpt)

You could be excused for thinking that Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet is a science book. It’s got a Martian landscape on the front cover, and the author was the “Principal Investigator” of the projects it chronicles. If you’re not careful, you might even learn a little bit about […]

read “Steve Squyres, Roving Mars”

the warren harding error error (more on blink)

22 December 2005, 6:49 pm
subtitle (or excerpt)

In Blink, Gladwell devotes a chapter to exploring what he calls the “Warren Harding error.” He contends that the primary reason for Harding’s political success was that the man looked presidential.
Gladwell doesn’t apply this line of reasoning to politicians of the current era (although later he does quote Paul Ekman — who, with Wallace […]

read “the warren harding error error (more on blink)”

surprise benefits of pseudo-vegetarianism

19 December 2005, 2:02 pm
subtitle (or excerpt)

(less stress)

read “surprise benefits of pseudo-vegetarianism”