Thursday, September 23, 2010

Half Empty via NPR

Writer David Rakoff worries a lot: about Sept. 11, about cancer, about epidemics and fame and religious devotion — not to mention sex, money, his childhood and the value of therapy.

The regular contributor to This American Life even worries about writing about himself, which he does in his latest collection of essays, Half Empty.

"That was the big problem for me in terms of this book," Rakoff says. "I've always bridled at the term 'memoirist' because I always wanted to be known for the quality of my writing as opposed to the particulars of my biography — so that's a huge worry for me."

Rakoff, who has previously written about subjects ranging from the torments of low-thread count sheets to visiting a New Age retreat hosted by Steven Seagal, turns his signature witty style to the value of pessimism in his latest collection — but, he warns, it's a very specific kind of negative thinking called "defensive pessimism."

"The 'defensive pessimist' looks at everything and thinks [that] this is going to be a disaster," he explains to Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "They lower their expectations ... and they go through all of the negative capacities and the negative capabilities of a given event. You imagine the worst-case scenario you can and you go through it step by step, and you dismantle those things and you manage your anxiety about it."

While writing Half Empty, Rakoff was diagnosed with cancer. His doctors told him that the cancer — a sarcoma in his neck — was caused by earlier radiation treatments he received for a bout with lymphoma in his 20s and could cause him to eventually lose his arm. Despite eschewing the powers of negative thinking, he remains optimistic about his treatment.

"I'm currently in chemo," he says, "The hope is that chemo will shrink [the cancer] a few millimeters so that it's no longer touching quite so many vital cables that go down your arm and than my wonderful surgeon will be able to go in and get the tumor without taking the arm. But, as they keep on telling me, no one dies from the arm. So there's a lot of stuff you can do with one arm — like continue living. So my arm is in danger but for now, knock on wood, I'm not in danger which is a distinction worth making."


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sentinel to PUblish Rumsfeld Memoir

From Publishers Weekly:

Penguin's Sentinel imprint has acquired a memoir by Donald Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, which it plans to publish on January 25. The book, which will be embargoed until its release, is, said Adrian Zackheim, president and publisher of Sentinel, a work that "pulls no punches." The publisher is promising that the title is "filled with previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." Zackheim acquired the title from Bob Barnett.

Proceeds from the book are going to veterans charities supported by the Rumsfeld Foundation. Sentinel also said that, in addition to juicy tidbits about the last White House, the book will offer the former Sceretary of Defense's take on history, as he chronicles his youth during the Depression, his time in the Navy, the years he spent in Congress through to his time working for various presidents, including Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. Sentinel also said that Rumsfled will be relying on more than memory for the book, working off of "previously unreleased and recently declassified documents." The publisher said those documents will be published on a Web site that will go live once the book is released.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oprah's Newest Pick....

Today on her show, Oprah confirmed what had been rumored for days--her newest selection is Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. Said Oprah, “I read it over the summer because the author sent me a galley with a note.” Finding the book “exquisite,” Oprah called Franzen to ask him whether he would like to be the next book club pick, because, she said with a smile, “as you all know we have a little history. After careful consideration, he said yes.” Freedom, said Oprah, is “a masterpiece that spans three decades…an epic family saga…it is everything you want in a book, and I’m betting it will end up being one of the best novels you’ve ever read.” Franzen will appear on a future show to discuss the book, Oprah said.

Freedom publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux, said it has printed 600,000 Oprah Book Club-stickered copies to augment its printing of 355,000 regular-jacketed copies.

When Oprah selected Franzen’s The Corrections in 2001, the author was quoted as saying he had almost turned down the offer. He was subsequently uninvited from appearing to discuss the book, but has made both public and private apologies for his remarks.

Oprah also denied what she called “rumors that this will be my last book club pick." She said: "I’ll continue to pick books all season long, and the book club will go with me to the Oprah Network.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Upcoming Event: 20 Amazing Wisconsin Homes

M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman, authors of Wisconsin's Own: Twenty Remarkable Homes
Thursday, September 16 | 7:00 pm |

This event takes is cosponsored by and takes place at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, located at 2220 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.
Wisconsin's Own tells the story of the considerable contribution Wisconsin's historic homes have made to American residential architecture. It also answers questions you've likely asked when you've seen a notable historic home: Who built this house? What brought them here? Why did they select that particular style? How is it that this historic home still stands today, despite development pressures? Authors M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman and the Wisconsin Historical Society researched and carefully considered 1,500 potential houses before narrowing the selection to twenty of the state's most remarkable residences built between 1854 and 1939.
The houses are a mix of public ones you may have visited and private homes you've been hoping for an invitation to explore. The homes are representative of the varied architectural styles in Wisconsin, from an Italianate along the Mississippi and an interpretation of a sixteenth-century northern Italian villa overlooking Lake Michigan to an Adirondack-style camp in the North Woods and a fourteen-bedroom Georgian Revival mansion on Lake Geneva. The Prairie School is, of course, represented, with examples by Frank Lloyd Wright and his mentor Louis Sullivan. Richly illustrated with the photography of Zane Williams, complemented by historical images, watercolors, and line drawings by the authors, Wisconsin's Own offers an intimate tour of residential treasures-built for captains of industry, be it paper or lumber, a beer baron, Broadway stars, and more-that have endured the test of time.

Author bio: M. Caren Connolly is a landscape architect, and Louis Wasserman, AIA, is an architect whose work, including research funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, has been nationally recognized. They are both graduates of Harvard's Design School and have taught art, architecture, and landscape architecture nationwide. They are the authors of Bungalows, published by The Taunton Press. They live in the Milwaukee area.

This event will take place at Boswell Books, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Friday, September 10, 2010

FYI...where to find ALL the e-readers you want!

Best Buy announced yesterday that it would begin selling Amazon's Kindle in stores. This means that Kindle shoppers have several places to go and handle a Kindle before buying, including Target and Staples in addition to Best Buy. The retailer doesn’t cite an exact date for when the Kindle will be for sale in stores, saying only it will arrive “later in the season.”

Additionally, Best Buy announced it would enhance its in-store e-reader displays, adding end-caps that show off the various e-readers and include information about all of them. “Our goal is to help people choose the device that’s right for them by providing the broadest selection of popular e-readers of any retailer, in one convenient place that enables people to easily see, touch, try and buy,” said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of Home Entertainment for Best Buy in the official release.

In addition to the Nook and, soon, the Kindle, Best Buy also sells Sony's line of e-readers. Best Buy is now the only retail location where these competing products sit side by side on the same shelves, allowing customers to really compare their feel and functionality.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keepin' Up With the Amish.......

Just recently, the Friends of the Waterford Library sponsored a trip to the Amish Country in Northern Indiana. Many Waterford Library patrons attended--as well as staff--and it was a great time had by all. The trip included lodging, transportation, food, a show, and even the tips and pie (for those of us who REALLY like to keep track...that means it was a bargain)!! Anyway, what I wanted you to know is that the event was a complete success, and the library looks forward to sponsoring a trip again in the near future. So, please keep your eyes peeled for the next one. I'm sure you'd have a great time and the proceeds benefit our library--which let's face it, is reason enough to go. But if that doesn't trip your trigger, I've got to tell ya, the fried chicken and pie would be enough for me to start packing again.....YUM!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Into Vintage???

Then this book is for you! I spotted this on Amazon a few months ago and have eagerly been anticipating it's arrival via the book van. I am literally the most rudimentary sewer on the entire planet, but EVEN I could put together a few of these looks in this book. A few of them only need a few snips of the scissors and don't need any sewing work at all (my kind of fashion).
I was a little disappointed in the fact that I thought it was looks you could put together right off the rack (no sewing needed), but I still think it's an interesting page-turner that has some really unique ideas. If you're into fashion-- especially vintage fashion, I recommend putting this on hold as it's truly something fresh and new. Become inspired. I did.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Tiger: A Terrifying Story

I really enjoyed this book. More for the depictions of the Russian people living in Soblonye than for the tiger fare, which I can hardly believe-- (who can pass up blood and gore)? But truly, I felt as if I knew the characters personally towards the end and was genuinely interested in not only the amazing tiger story told, but the the village of Soblonye and how it was struggling to maintain before, during, and after the great "tiger incident." I don't read many non-fiction books straight through, but this one I did. It did skip around a bit, which could be confusing to some, but I thought the author did an amazing job of capturing the thoughts, moods, and imaginations of the people he was interviewing and living with while he wrote this book. Fascinating!! Four and a half stars! (less)
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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Franzen Frenzy....

President Obama recently stepped out with a copy of Franzen's new book "Freedom" and ever since it's been the buzz of the book world. Franzens' previous work, "The Corrections" won a variety of awards and garnered critical acclaim around the world. His new book focuses on a love triangle gone wrong and is said to be "War and Peace" for our generation--or at least War and Peace-like in its delicious over-the-top effort (whichever you prefer).

The stories inter-weave heavily and you definitely need to keep your concentration up to get through it (says pretty much anyone who has tried to delve into the colussus already). I've read reviews both good and bad about this book, but one thing is for sure. It has gotten itself hyped up to the point where writers such as Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner has exclaimed: "What about us?" and Weiner even complained that books dubbed "chick lit" have very little elbow room in the marketing industry now that books such as "Freedom" have grabbed the attention of the marketing industry. Hmmm.... Really?? Not so sure about that one, Jennifer. Your books are pretty popular around here.

I definitely plan on reading it. I don't know if I'll like it...but any book that is being carried about by a president and gets the chick-lit writers riled up is a book I want to have in my duffel bag. And I think you should read it too. If nothing else, just to say you've read the same book as the president of the good ol' USA.