Anybody read any great books lately? I'm looking for what to read next....
And a P.S.: Historically I get my best book recommendations from my brother Scott, and he and I have a friendly guideline we call the Pinker Rule. The name comes from a Stephen Pinker book that starts out very promisingly but, after the first third, descends into unreadability. He recommended it warmly to me and I read the first third of it with interest but then hit the heavy slogging and bogged down. Some time later, feeling somewhat rueful, I reported my failure back to him (is "bailure" a word? A failure which involves bailing out? If it isn't, it ought to be—my life, at least, is littered with bailures), and he admitted that he too had read the first third of the book and then stopped as well—he apologized, saying he simply hadn't gotten far enough along in it when he recommended it. Ever since then we've observed the Pinker Rule, meaning that either one of us must have read all the way through a book before we're allowed to recommend it to the other. You are under no compulsion to accept any rules from me, so this is a humble request, not a requirement, but if you could please perhaps consider the Pinker Rule in your suggestions I'd be grateful. Just in case. As you know, life is short, books long.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Mark Cotter: "The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer (U.K. link). It explores the recurrent themes of American photography during the twentieth century. An excellent read, interesting without being overly academic. Just bought Gerry Badger's new book: The Pleasures of Good Photographs (U.K. link)—looks good but I've not started it yet."
Featured Comment by yunfat: "Sebastian Junger: WAR. Just check out the photo on the back from Tim Heatherington, you will know it's for you."
Mike replies: I wonder if that's the same Tim Heatherington who used to be Richard Avedon's assistant.
Featured Comment by Stephen Best: "I read Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge from Project Gutenberg recently with the Eucalyptus app on my iPhone. I was sceptical that the small screen would be readable with my less than stellar vision but it worked surprisingly well. I've been working my way through Hardy over the past few years and still probably like The Woodlanders the best. Maybe one day I'll make a pilgrimage to Wessex. Current reading is David Malouf's latest and a weighty tome on CSS."
(Ed. Note: Since I have no real way to discriminate between recommendations, and there were well over a hundred awaiting me when I woke up this morning, I will (mostly) dispense with the usual "Featured Comment" format and just list a few of the recommendations that seem interesting or unusual in some way. These will be chosen more or less at random, so please don't feel slighted (in the slightest) if your own recommendation isn't listed. It will be in the comments. I do read everyone's comments, and I extend my thanks to all, as well.
And in a necessary nod to Mammon, our Amazon links (I fear this post is going to be extremely expensive for me):
These links can be bookmarked.
I don't have an affiliation with Amazon France. I've applied, but was turned down. I really don't know why, although I suspect the problem is at my end and not theirs. —Mike)
Kafka on the Shore (Dan K)
Man's Fate (Erik)
The Broken Shore("Very Australian.") (Ann P)
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (Ross Chambers, Dave, and Carl)
Featured Comment by Iain Dawson: "Have you read Fred Ritchin's After Photography (published by W.W. Norton)? I found it a very thought provoking account of where the 'digital revolution' in photography could be taking us (U.K. link)."
Snow Crash (John H. Maw)The "Reacher Novels" by Lee Child ("Light but engaging action thrillers.") (Jim, and Gary Fitzgerald)
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Recommended by Leigh Youdale, Dave Pawson, Simon, Dave Hodgkinson, Bill Anderson, stuartf287, Greg Anderson, Hugh, Mike Chisholm, and Al Patterson) ("If you liked The Da Vinci Code you'll like these." —Leigh. "Not put-downable." —Dave P.)
Dalva (Jean-Louis Cuvellier)
Featured Comment by Barnard Scharp: "Ctein's Post Exposure. Fits in with your current project (though I can imagine you've already read it)."
Mike replies: Oh yes.
The Invention of Solitude (XebastYan)
Blindness (Mr C, nacho)
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives ("Best thing I've read in ages.") (Scott)
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine ("Inside stories that answer the question, 'What happened?' to cause the recent and ongoing financial meltdown." —Speed.) (Recommended by Speed, MikeB, Harry, and Stephen Gilbert)
Kristin Lavransdatter ("Borrowed it from the library and had to buy my own copy.") (Ruby)
Cloud Atlas (Neil)
Featured Comment by David Miller: "Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Parts of its long, rambling, cosmic, earthy journey seemed to make the very ground shake beneath my feet! How have I managed to avoid it all these years? Finally reading it in my sixties I was suddenly reminded of so many things that I knew when I was twenty-one, which I have somehow lost touch with over the intervening years. (Echoes of Bob Dylan singing 'Ah but I was so much older then; I am younger than that now....') Life-changing—it opened my photographer's eyes wider than they've been in a long while. Have fun with the darkroom. (When will you find time to read?)"
Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was ("I doubt [this is] the kind of thing you had in mind.") (Will Frostmill)
The Meaning of Life ("Everything you need to know in a 'slim, profound, accessible volume.'") (richard)
The Value of Nothing (James Bullard)
Featured Comment by Thomas Osborne: "I set out to read a book a week this year. I was doing well until I started Roberto Bolaño’s 900-page 2666 in May. Of the 23 books I’ve read, I'd recommend three recent titles: Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon; Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (with a Lange photo on the jacket); and American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell. And one from 30 years ago: Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein."
Sh*t My Dad Says ("Got it for Fathers Day and couldn't stop laughing.") (Roger Engle)
Featured Comment by Michael W: "I'm enjoying The Odyssey by Homer. Fitzgerald translation. Wonder where I got the idea to read that."
Mike replies: :-)
Any book by Michael Pollan. (Tom)
Mike replies: I agree, Tom. Except the little Rules book.
The Art of Racing in the Rain (Don Olson)
Featured Comment by Frank Gorga: "May I recommend: Through an Uncommon Lens: The Life and Photography of F. Holland Day by Patricia J. Fanning. See here for details. In addition to being an interesting character in his own right, Day invited Clarence White to his summer home in Maine early in White's career and thus was in some ways responsible for the 'Maine School.' (Disclaimer: Patty is a colleague and friend of mine.)"
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (Kevin Schoenmakers)
Featured Comment by Matthew Robertson: "Keeping it in the family, John Camp is an occasional commenter here, and his pen-name of John Sandford is always one I look for. Good crime fiction, and he knows his photography."