Displaying articles for: July 2008
Patrick finished reading. The class clapped politely.
"What did you like about Patrick?s diary entry?" Mr. Abrams asked.
What could anyone possibly say? "I liked the places where you could read your own handwriting." But no one would want to say something mean in Mr. Abrams?s class.
Despite its somber themes, Claudia Mills?s newest novel sparkles like a glass of ginger ale, peppery and sweet. Spirited Amanda blunders through mistakes that only make us love her more. A splash of American history, a dollop of friendship, a pinch of philosophy, humor, pathos, even a dash of romance -- The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda Macleish has something for every young reader.
imation is "chronic idio-
phathic demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy" -- in other words, her immune system was decimating her nervous system. With spare, precise prose, gallows humor, and piercing observation, Manguso seizes and artfully organizes shards of memories of paralysis, breathlessness, extreme pain, and terror. She "grew used to being sick and looking forward to recovering" only to become "used to having no prognosis at all, because with a mysterious disease, all things are possible." Manguso masterfully evokes her yearnings to indulge her 20-something appetites (e.g., sex and alcohol) while instead forced to confront mortality -- enduring misdiagnoses and interminable hospital stays, encounters with former classmates turned nurses, and the death of a former lover. The Two Kinds of Decay is an indelible meditation on remembering what one longs to forget, by a woman emerging from the exile of illness.
Jerome Charyn's fiftieth book may be his best. Abraham Lincoln, known to his contemporaries as a man who loved to tell a good story, steps down from history's pedestal to narrate his improbable career with wit and charm. A bravura act of literary ventriloquism.
The name Eliot Ness and his struggles to bring down Al Capone have passed into the annals of pop heroism via "The Untouchables." But Douglas Perry's biography reveals the less glamorous -- yet no less thrilling -- truth behind the crimefighting myth.
Hassan Blasim offers his first-hand account of contemporary Iraq, in surreal short stories alive with awe, empathy, and a native son's vantage point.