Tag Archive for Books News

Author Late Finishing Book on 37YearOld Cold Case Because He Solves the Case

After 2008′s Ghost, the bestselling memoir of his early career as a State Department counterterrorism agent, Fred Burton turned his attention to an unsolved murder.
On a July night in 1973, in the quiet suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, Israeli military attach Joe Alon parked his Ford Galaxie 500 in the driveway next to the single-story ranch house he shared with his wife and three daughters. Climbing out of the car, he was struck from behind by five .38 caliber bullets, one of which channeled through his aorta, killing him. Investigations by the Montgomery County Police Department and the FBI concluded that the fatal shot was delivered by a skilled marksman who then all but vanished Read more

How Nerds Can Save America PHOTOS

In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama told us we are now in the midst of a new “Sputnik moment,” in which we need to respond to the scientific vigor of our international competitors with a little scientific vigor of our own. He suggested that we as a nation need to learn to celebrate the winner of the science fair as much as we celebrate the winner of the Super Bowl. Good luck with that, Mr. President! In my recent book, Nerds: How Dorks, Dweebs, Techies and Trekkies Can Save America…and Why They Might Be Our Last Hope, I take a look at the developmental psychology and cultural history of the nerd stereotype Read more

When Writing Becomes Real

She was ten-years-old when we first met, and I was about a year younger. It didn’t matter that I was a Chinese-American girl from the suburbs of Los Angeles and that Katie John was a white girl from Barton’s Bluff, Missouri. We were soul mates, two misunderstood tomboys trying to navigate through the confusing world of our youth — no longer little kids, yet nowhere near old enough to sit at the grown-up table.
My parents were teachers, so we didn’t have a lot of money. However, I had something better Read more

Gertrude Bell

I’ve always been inspired by a certain caliber of woman born in the late 1800′s, who then went on to blaze a trail in the early decades of the 20th century, breaking ground for a later generation who claimed “women’s liberation” as their mantra.
They were among the first generation of women in modern times to go to war during the years 1914-18, and were profoundly impacted by the losses of young men in that conflict. The 1921 census revealed that over two million women in Britain alone would never marry or have children, instead facing a life of spinsterhood alone. There were those who floundered, but many moved into public life and a “man’s world” as never before. Gertrude Bell — writer, explorer, cartographer, historian, politician, intelligence officer — was one of the older members of that generation, and her life has fascinated me for years.
Born in 1868, she was the grand-daughter of politician, Isaac Lowthian Bell; it is through her grandfather that she likely garnered an early interest in international affairs, travel and politics Read more

Tennessee Williams The American Shakespeare

When the Puritans closed the theaters in 1642, they destroyed a theatrical world we have since come to cherish. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, play going resumed but the age of Faustus and Hamlet had come to an end. An artistic community is a living entity and two decades of barrenness had taken its toll. It would take time and care for fruit the equal of Shakespeare to once again ripen Read more

Bookstore Bingo Authors Edition

The Huffington Post just published another entertaining Bookstore Bingo of actual, amusing things people overhear customers say in book stores (Walmart couldn’t be as funny, could it?).
But customers aren’t the only ones who get things wrong in bookstores. Over the years, my name has been mangled by more than one bookstore employee introducing me at a reading or signing. So I’ve sometimes been Lev “Raffle” and Lev “Rafeel.”
And when I toured extensively for my first book of short stories, its title was a landmine waiting to go off.
I had published the title story Dancing on Tisha B’Av in the anthology Men on Men 2 a few years earlier and chose that for the book because the story had generated a lot of attention from reviewers, plus it made it very clear that there was strong Jewish content to the collection.
Tisha B’Av is literally the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av and it memorializes the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 by the Romans. It’s obviously not a day for dancing, but that happens in the story about a young woman professor coming to terms with her brother being gay.
I wasn’t prepared for all the versions of the book’s title I would hear on tour Read more

Will There Be Another Knuffle Scuffle at the Children Choice Book Awards

In New York City on May 2nd the Children’s Book Council will announce the fourth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards. One would think that a Taylor Swift – Kanye West drama would never occur at a celebration of children’s authors and illustrators. However, last year there was what some people call the Knuffle Scuffle when the Knuffle Bunny creator, Mo Willems forcibly ejected the former Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka from the stage after Scieszka, in a Kayne West maneuver, tried to hijack the ceremony.
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The first book in a trilogy Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices, Book 1 (McElderry/Simon & Schuster) is set in Victorian England and filled with vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk.
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The first book in a trilogy Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices, Book 1 (McElderry/Simon & Schuster) is set in Victorian England and filled with vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk.
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One can only wonder, if at this year ceremony there will be Scieszka/Krosoczka Hijinks Read more

Who Is Gary Vaynerchuk and What Is The Thank You Economy

If you don’t already know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, at some point you will. Such is the trajectory of a kid who was born in Belarus, grew up in New Jersey, and who has just written his second bestselling business book, The Thank You Economy, currently #2 on the New York Times list.
Vaynerchuk is a whirlwind of perpetual energy and relentless output. What might come as a surprise — especially considering that he writes books about business — is that Gary Vee, as he is called by a legion of fans, is considered to be the second most influential wine expert in the country Read more

Oscar Nominee Pen Densham on Overcoming Writers Block

Pen Densham is one of my new favorite people. You know him best as the head of Trilogy Entertainment, a writer/producer of such films as Robin Hood. His production company is one of the most trusted and respected companies in the entertainment industry and yet he has not allowed that (nor his two Oscar nominations) to go to his head.

read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com

Power and Policy in Syria Intelligence Services Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East

Book Review: Written before the recent wave of revolutions across the Middle East, this book by Syrian exile Radwan Ziadeh provides a informative, well intentioned but inconsistent account of the politics of modern Syria. The zenith of this inconsistency is the book’s claim to focus on Syria’s intelligence services, a worthy and important subject but one whose secretive and authoritarian nature makes it somewhat impenetrable. However, while Ziadeh fails to shine a light on the dark recesses of Syria’s security institutions, he does provide a very readable snapshot of the first ten years of Bashar al-Asad’s rule, placed into the context of a brief history of the country and the transition from Hafez to his son Bashar.
Part of the book’s failure is self-imposed Read more

Book Review Your Wildest Dreams Within Reason

If you could spend an hour inside Mike Sacks’ brain you would probably get lost. You might also find yourself giggling uncontrollably or wind up sobbing in a ball on the floor.
You would not be bored.
Sacks has written humor pieces for the New Yorker, McSweeny’s and The Believer, and his new book Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason draws together a wealth of these in one volume. The author’s previous book, And Here’s the Kicker, was an excellent collection of interviews with top humor writers and with Wildest Dreams he again works with freestanding parts to build the whole. The result is a hugely eclectic and highly original collection of vignettes, lists, songs, letters and the odd Craigslist ad.
A special blend of understatement and absurdity reigns throughout, with comedy often springing from the contrast of inexplicable content and casual delivery Read more

Rethinking Zelda

I know what you’re thinking. She was a dissolute jazz baby who drank champagne out of her shoe, supposedly ruined the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald and her own, and ended up in a madhouse. So why is Zelda Fitzgerald a heroine to me?
Consider the young Zelda Read more

I Can Has Kafka The Meowmorphosis Reviewed

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.”
In less capable hands, such a prompt would have resulted in a book that simply replaced the word “insect” with “kitten.” But Quirk Books wisely commissioned an extremely capable fantasy writer to re-imagine Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis as a work of gonzo literature. I’m happy to report that The Meowmorphosis (out this May from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies publisher Quirk Books) is more than the one-note parody its early detractors feared.
While the initial chapters stick close to Kafka’s well-known novella, the book spirals out of control (in a good way) when Samsa leaves his parents’ home to relieve them of the burden of caring and feeding for such a large, adorable kitten. Samsa’s adventure is both hilarious and horrifying to witness, and takes meta-fiction to dizzying new heights. The new co-writer absolutely nails Kafka’s voice; the new passages integrate so well with the story that it’s hard to believe the book isn’t entirely written by one author.
Co-author Coleridge Cook (a pseudonym for a Hugo and World Fantasy Award finalist and a “beloved blogger”) describes Samsa’s feline behavior in detail, and not a page goes by in which a piece of furniture is not scratched or perched on Read more

Delicious Reading

Do you love food and want to learn how to eat more mindfully? You may think that these two things don’t go together. However, they certainly do. If you love to eat but are watching your waistline, here is how you can solve that dilemma. Try devouring this list of food themed books Read more

Japans Grief Is the Worlds Grief It Wasnt Always Like This

Japan’s capacity to absorb its current natural and made-made assaults is one of those important teaching moments we keep hearing about. Civility and dignity rule instead of rioting and looting. Says a lot about this ancient culture. So it may be a surprise to many Americans under 65 to hear we did not always sing in praise of these worthy folks Read more

RIP Ms Taylor

Fall 1989
The publicist was adamant– no looking at Ms. Taylor Read more

Ten Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging

With all the Tweeting, Facebook Liking, and LinkedIn connecting going on, it’s easy to forget about blogging and finding the time to do so. Blogging, however, can be extremely useful for more reasons than just populating your website with content (although that’s important too). Let’s look at some reasons why you must blog and why it should matter to you!
Blogging gives “voice” to a website: In an age where there are millions of websites and millions more coming online each month, how can you stand apart from the crowd? One way is to get a great-looking site, but as we all know, sometimes budgets allow just the basics. A blog can then step in and (through your voice) give content and character to any website, regardless of how fancy or plain it might be Read more

How a US Army Gator Gets Information in Less Than 10 Minutes

The first time I taught a one-hour class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a 20-year-old student made it very clear that while he might be studying ethics, law and morality in school, it was practicalities that really concerned him.
“If we are kicking in doors in Iraq,” the third year student — known in West Point parlance as a “Cow” — said, “and I find a guy who has a load of materials that could be used to build an IED in his home and explosive residue on his hands, I don’t have time to do a by-the-book interview do I? I mean, lives are at stake and we will have minutes, not hours or days, to get the info we need.”
The cadet’s question touched off a debate that easily lasted through the hour, with students arguing that Abu Ghraib and other forms of torture should always be off limits because they are illegal and they have harmed the United States’ larger strategic efforts, and others arguing that a soldier sometimes had to do “whatever it takes” to protect other soldiers from harm.
One argument that the class did not spend much time considering was the idea that legal, humane, interrogation techniques may, in fact, yield more accurate information faster.
A new book, Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious Al Qaeda Terrorist by Matthew Alexander — an Air Force intelligence officer — is a first person account of the successes (and failures) of one 2-man interrogation team that is called on to repeatedly interrogate Iraqis in their homes, and make intelligence assessments in 10 minutes or less.
The book is a case study in what can be accomplished by interrogators who rely on their brains, rather than their fists, to gather information quickly.
Alexander and his partner abhor the use of abuse to make detainees talk. At one point, for example, in the kitchen of an insurgent, he struggles to pry the fingers of an angry Special Forces captain off the throat of a suspect.
Eventually Alexander prevails. But he observes, “If Walid had any thoughts of cooperating, they just evaporated Read more

Damn You Autocorrect Funniest iPhone Autocorrect Mistakes PHOTOS

While the autocorrect function on our smart phones can be a blessing, it’s also often a curse. Autocorrect has a mind – often a dirty mind – of its own. If you hit “send” too quickly, it can lead to some entertaining results.

read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com

The Story Behind My Novel The King of Diamonds

I have always been fascinated by jewels. As a kid I loved to play a game called Buccaneer in which tiny boats moved across the board carrying cargoes of pearls and rubies, and I believed utterly in my grandfather’s fiction that the fate of an entire world could depend on what happened to one golden ring. But for me nothing was quite like the diamond. I knew that no jewel was as hard; no precious stone was as bright, and the stories of the great diamonds appealed to my love of history and romance Read more

The Love Story Of Marie Pierre Curie Is Now A Beautiful Book With A Spooky Challenging Ending

There are exciting, original books, and then there is “Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout” — a book so astonishingly inventive that the cover is both a joke and a metaphor.
“Radioactive” glows in the dark.
And that’s just the start of the charm and beauty and high intelligence of an oversized book that mixes text and art, documents and narrative, to tell a story that starts with the story of the Curies and then radiates outward.
Image-and-text — like a non-fiction graphic novel?
Sure, if the non-fiction graphic novel had been drawn by Matisse and Warhol and researched and written by Joan Didion. The author’s description should be the start of you moving closer to the screen and reading more slowly: “a visual book about invisible things — in this case, radioactivity and love.”
“Radioactive” is such a bitch slap to traditional thinking about books and biography and the subject of radiation that — the metaphor is inevitable — it really has no half-life. This is a reading/viewing experience you’ll never forget. And when you need to give a book to someone who has “everything,” it’s the obvious choice Read more

The Michelangelo Code

Michelangelo: A Life on Paper, by Leonard Barkan (Princeton University Press, 352 pp. $49.50).
Don’t we already know a lot about Michelangelo? Most of us are aware of his awe-inspiring achievements in sculpture, painting and architecture, but perhaps not that he was a prodigious poet who strove to find in words a vehicle for connecting ever more closely with the divine. We know that, as a young man in Florence at the end of the 15th century, he already displayed prodigious talent. While still in his 20s, he completed two of the most remarkable sculptures in the Western canon: the David and the St Read more

Keeneland The Book

Just give me one more crack at the ol’ race track
-The Mills Brothers
As the son of a professional gambler, I spent a lot of my childhood at race tracks. Not particularly nice race tracks.
Dad would take us to the aging River Downs facility in Cincinnati during the day and to the even more aging Latonia race track in Northern Kentucky at night.
Lots of broken down men (outside of Pete Rose’s first wife, I can’t remember any women) betting on broken down horses Read more

Why I Wont Write a Disaster Thriller

By its simplest definition, a thriller is a story in which things go very, very wrong. Whether the threat comes from an erupting volcano, escaped nanobots, a political assassin, or bomb-toting terrorists, the pattern is the same. As the story progresses, the situation deteriorates, until it seems to the reader as though there is absolutely no way the situation can end well.
A mystery is often defined as a whodunnit Read more