Books Received–April 26

Jeff VanderMeer • April 26th, 2008 @ 11:52 am • Book Reviews

Can you guess which Ann bought, which I bought, and what came in the mail?

I highly recommend and suggest you order Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. Coll has the same talent as John Julius Norwich and my other favorite historians and journalists–the ability to find the most compelling storyline in any series of events and to then string other cool stuff off of that storyline, all while also shifting frequently between a huge cast of characters. This book gives an awesome overview, at an intimate level of detail, of the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. (Today’s Twitter Cookie actually comes from this book.)

I just got Metronome by Veronique Tanaka today, but it’s also recommended–very cool, edgy graphic novel goodness.

Ann’s been reading and enjoying The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein, one o’ them heart-rending memoirs.

She’s also just bought The Geographer’s Library by Jon Fasman, which is the next one for her book club.

And you’ll note another Juno book, Personal Demons, and Ekaterina Sedia’s new novel in ARC form, The Alchemy of Stone, out in July.

Finally, the DVD is a promotion for the Stone Brewing Company in San Diego–they do Arrogant Bastard ale, which is amazing. The DVD is awesome, too, showing you how they make the beer, etc. Definitely worth getting if the website offers it.

10 Responses to “Books Received–April 26”

  1. donnie says:

    Stacia Kane is definitely Ann’s. I’m judging a book by it’s cover. It seems more feminine. I will definitely buy Ghost Wars. I am currently reading Byzantium-The Early Centuries by John Julius Norwich and I’m really diggin it. I also recently bought the Russian Trilogy by Colin Thubron which I am looking forward to reading. I usually will read anything you recommend cause you have great taste in books. I especially admire the fact that you shed some light on writers who have not received the attention they deserve like Alasdair Gray and Edward Whittemore. Can you throw out any other names of historians you like Jeff? That’d be cool.

  2. Ann V. says:

    What??? Definitely Ann’s? What’s THAT supposed to mean? Not even close, Donnie. Read the post more carefully and you’ll see which books are mine. Just remember, Jeff is the one that watches The Golden Girls…….

  3. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Donnie: Let me think about the historians question. More soon. – JV

  4. Larry says:

    I wanted to guess, but alas, the below-cut comments spoiled that opportunity, although I was right about Bernstein even before reading that part. I really want to read Kathy’s upcoming book, since I enjoyed The Secret History of Moscow quite a bit when I read it back in January (plus I still need to free time up to write out my thoughts on Paper Cities. Soon, I hope).

    Since historians were mentioned, I can’t help but wonder what Jeff (and any others reading this) think of the following historians of the mid-to-late 20th century:

    E.P. Thompson
    Christopher Hill
    Peter Burke
    Peter Gay
    Simon Schama

    And I’ll stop there, before I start relieving grad school all over again :P

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Schama I don’t like at all.

    JV

  6. Larry says:

    If you don’t mind me asking, what was it about his writing that didn’t appeal to you, besides his rather strident comments on certain issues?

  7. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    I found him kind of simplistic and I didn’t like the writing style.

  8. Larry says:

    Understandable. If you ever try E.P. Thompson’s Customs in Common, let me know, as that is one of the better social histories that I read in grad school, for readability at least (most social histories are not exactly reader-friendly, alas).

  9. Zephid Bebex says:

    History would dictate that none of the books were actually bought.

    All arrived in the mail and are now straining the weary slats of your bookshelves.

    Another book sale is in the offing to relieve the strain.

    Otherwise your house will flit inwards into a crumble-seamed bramble.

  10. donnie says:

    Sorry Ann! I didn’t read the post carefully so i rushed to a judgement. My bad. I just realized how that comment could have come off as insulting so I apologize.
    Jeff, I’m looking forward to hearing about those historians. I went out and purchased Ghost Wars yesterday and will read it after I finish the first book of the Byzantium Trilogy. Thanks!

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