Summer Reading B2G1 Free
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

Customer Comments

Thomas Chandler has commented on (9) products.

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition by William Zinsser
On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition

Thomas Chandler, November 11, 2011

I first read On Writing Well as a college student 26 years ago, and because I was a photojournalism major, I remember being impressed by what amounted to my first "writer's book."

Zinsser knows how to craft a sentence and make a point, and the overall impression is one of being taught by a patient, gray-haired professor.

On Writing Well is aimed squarely at non-fiction writers (not surprising given Zinsser's newspaper background), and I'd suggest it's still an ideal primer for new writers.

Initially published in 1976, On Writing Well was reissued in a 2006 "30th Anniversary Edition" which included a new section on writing memoirs.

Overall, this book has aged fairly well (good writing is still good writing), though writers nowadays are facing new challenges, and you won't find answers to those issues here. Those looking for step-by-step guides to getting published won't find what they want here.

Instead, Zinsser has written a nice, patient, intelligent book about writing better. It's a classic and for good reason, though it is starting to show some wear around the edges.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Moneyball

Thomas Chandler, November 11, 2011

Michael Lewis' Moneyball is a rousing David and Goliath story about an underdog Major League Baseball team that takes a data-driven approach to buying and selling baseball players, and ends up winning many more games each season than their much richer counterparts.

At times the writing itself feels a little repetitive and breathless, but overall, this a fun, engrossing read.

Lewis rides along with the Oakland A's for a season and profiles the people who have rejected baseball's hidebound "conventional" approach to player recruitment, which relies largely on intuition, painfully restrictive rules of thumb, and a flawed approach to statistics.

Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane is at the center of the story, and Lewis couldn't have asked for a more colorful -- or even sympathetic -- character.

The most interesting part of the book may have been the epilogue (I read the Barnes & Noble ebook version), which outlines the responses of establishment baseball figures and sports journalists to the hardcover version of the book. They're mad and they clearly want to attack the book, but do little more than buttress Lewis' contention that baseball's inner circle is little more than a social club with little interest in modernization.

A very fun read of a book made popular again by the movie.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Juliet, Naked

Thomas Chandler, November 11, 2011

Hornby has a knack for writing characters which are flawed, likable and immensely recognizable.

In fact, Juliet, Naked is jammed with interestingly drawn characters, most of whom edge toward growth and redemption, though this isn't Hollywood and there are no Hollywood endings here.

Instead, Hornby writes deftly of a disparate group of people living at the intersection of pop culture, the Internet, sometimes-creepy fandom and everyday (boring) life, most of whom are drifting.

Tucker Crowe is an aging rock star who walked away from the business two decades ago after releasing a critically acclaimed "breakup" album. Pursued by a small coterie of fans who have endlessly analyzed his music, Crowe discovers he can no longer ignore his former wives or estranged children, and runs headlong into Annie, the former girlfriend of one of Crowe's biggest -- and borderline creepiest -- fans.

No coincidence is too great for Hornby to tackle, yet the overall effect of the book is wholly believable.

Neat trick, that.

Hornby remains a favorite writer and Juliet, Naked doesn't disappoint. The dialog snaps and crackles and you simply can't ignore the universal traits he infuses into his characters. More than once I found myself glancing at the page count, wishing it wasn't all going to end soon, and I give it five stars.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
Reamde: A Novel

Thomas Chandler, November 11, 2011

This was an inventive thriller, though one with almost no real sci-fi component (not that there's anything wrong with that). Sadly, I tried, but I didn't love this book; the narrative was epic in scope, but not quite coherent enough to get me to believe it. Still, it's a fun read -- if you're a fan of Stephenson's writing style, which is not compact.

In fact, at several points in the latter half of the book I found myself growing impatient during one of his frequent digressions; I was tired of the delay, and ultimately caught myself simply wanting the book to end.

One note; Stephenson focuses on the firearms in the book (the book involves terrorists, operatives and survivalist-style American groups, so no surprise), but he needs a better fact checker. He wrongly keeps calling ammunition magazines "clips" and at one point suggests some thirty feet away from a 12 gauge shotgun was outside its lethal range (dead wrong).

I read the ebook version (Google eBooks via Powells) and the formatting could have been better (especially nice would have been one-line breaks between sections).

Ultimately, this feels a lot like a Clancy style technothriller with a pinch of near-future sci-fi thrown in -- but written in a looser style than Clancy's.

It was fun, but I prefer a more compact writing style, so this dragged just a bit for me.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Juliet, Naked

Thomas Chandler, November 2, 2011

Hornby has a knack for writing characters which are flawed, likable and immensely recognizable.

In fact, Juliet, Naked is jammed with interestingly drawn characters, most of whom edge toward growth and redemption, though this isn't Hollywood and there are no Hollywood endings here.

Instead, Hornby writes deftly of a disparate group of people living at the intersection of pop culture, the Internet, sometimes-creepy fandom and everyday (boring) life, most of whom are drifting.

Tucker Crowe is an aging rock star who walked away from the business two decades ago after releasing a critically acclaimed "breakup" album. Pursued by a small coterie of fans who have endlessly analyzed his music, Crowe discovers he can no longer ignore his former wives or estranged children, and runs headlong into Annie, the former girlfriend of one of Crowe's biggest -- and borderline creepiest -- fans.

No coincidence is too great for Hornby to tackle, yet the overall effect of the book is wholly believable.

Neat trick, that.

Hornby remains a favorite writer and Juliet, Naked doesn't disappoint. The dialog snaps and crackles and you simply can't ignore the universal traits he infuses into his characters. More than once I found myself glancing at the page count, wishing it wasn't all going to end soon, and I give it five stars.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



1-5 of 9next
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.