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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »


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Heather G has commented on (11) products.

Enon by Paul Harding

Heather G, August 6, 2014

Author Paul Harding won the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel "Tinkers," but you can pick up Enon without reading Tinkers first (I did). And wow! I was drawn in immediately by the prose, which was sensuous and beautifully descriptive, but then laugh-out-loud banal and stark, describing life's ridiculousness. The main character, Charlie, suffers the death of his young daughter, and then the departure of his wife. He's a loser and he knows it, descending into prescription drug abuse in incongruous small-town New England. This is an incredibly raw, but deeply insightful and humane look at how we make our way in this world.
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Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
Travels in Siberia

Heather G, February 18, 2014

The 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia have opened the door of Russia for many people, illuminating just a slice of the vastness of Russia beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg. Fortunately, the masterful writer Ian Frazier takes us the other 4,000 miles throughout Siberia. Along the bumpy tracks and at the mosquito-laden camp sites and industrial cities, Frazier takes the reader on many wonderful digressions into Russian history and culture. The likes of Dostoevsky, Lenin and Stalin were all at one time exiles to Siberia. Rasputin and Nureyev were from here. The last Tsar was killed here. Despite Russia's often tragic history (Frazier is obsessed with finding old gulags), his writing firmly evokes what he calls "Russia-love." Affection for Russia shines through page after page. This is a great travelogue for devoted Russia-philes, but is also a great introduction for those just beginning to learn more about this vast and complex country.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

The Mountain: My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts
The Mountain: My Time on Everest

Heather G, October 13, 2013

Ed Viesturs is the only American to summit all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks, and one of few anywhere to do it without supplemental oxygen.
He's penned prior climbing books, and this time, he gives us more mountain lore, this time focused on Mount Everest. This book completely drew me in, even though like many readers of this genre I had read some of the material previously, albeit by other authors. Viesturs reviews famous Everest stories such as George Mallory's ill-fated 1924 climb, the first summit in 1953 by Edmund Hillary, the 1996 disaster chronicled in "Into Thin Air," and of course, his own epic summits of Everest -- 7 in all. Surely active and armchair climbers alike will be thoroughly entertained by more of these stories about the world's highest peak.
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The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
The Art Forger

Heather G, July 12, 2013

This book is part mystery, part history and has a plot that will draw you in. It centers around the 1990 heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in which 13 works were stolen, including a Rembrandt, a Vermeer, and 3 Degas. The fictional story centers around a struggling artist who gets recruited to make a copy of one of the works. But in many twists and turns, it becomes unclear what is real, and what is fake. And that applies to both works of art and various characters in the story. Interesting food for thought quoted in this book: an estimated 40% of all art works for sale each year are forgeries. Wow! Is the art on the walls of museums priceless, just because it is "signed," even if it might be fake?!? Like good historical fiction, this book is an informative and dramatic look into another world -- the art world.
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Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith
Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety

Heather G, July 12, 2013

They say that 3 in 10 Americans suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, but even if you aren't prone to full-blown panic attacks, as the author is, you will relate to his vivid, usually hilarious descriptions of angst. From mortifying early sexual experiences, to choking under pressure at work, the tales of woe in this funny memoir will certainly entertain. But the book is also pretty helpful at giving a humane perspective, and just may help you cut yourself some slack next time you are freaking out with worry!
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