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Graham Joyce: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce



The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is set on the English coast in the hot summer of 1976, so the music in this playlist is pretty much all from the... Continue »
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Customer Comments

chadwick has commented on (6) products.

Open City by Teju Cole
Open City

chadwick, January 4, 2013

As I was finishing Open City by Teju Cole, the 2012 Pulitzer Prize was announced with no clear prize being awarded for fiction. So here in this review, I would like to nominate Open City by Teju Cole to claim the unclaimed prize. It is a long ramble of a novel that won't take you anywhere you haven't been before. In fact, the novel's protagonist, Julius, reminded me of Holden Caulfield's roaming of New York City - his visits to museums, dropping in on former teachers, and looking for where the past and present converge to create the present moment. Cole uses the city to outline the things that unite and divides us as human beings (and New Yorkers); the closing of a Tower records becomes a metaphor for the Tower of Babel, bed bugs which harass and harm us indiscriminately, and our common history. Cole has Julius muse about life that existed in New York City before it became New York City, "human beings lived here, built homes, and quarreled with their neighbors long before the Duth ever saw a business opportunity in the rich furs and timbers of the island and its calm bay. Generations rushed through the eye of the needle, and I, one of the still legible crowd, entered the subway. I wanted to find the line that connected me to my own part in these stories." Julius is an unlikeable and often flat character on the page and yet is odd fascinating in his wandering and inner musings. There is a twist towards the end of the novel, that I will not spoil here, but Julius dismissed with, "Perhaps that is what we mean by sanity: that whatever our self-admitted eccentricities might be, we are not villains of our own stories." Open City tells a complicated story, told by Julius in which he is the hero and as the reader learns to live inside his head, we learn that this doesn't necessarily mean Julius is not a villain in someone else's story. A deeply layered story that I only wish someone else I knew has read, so we could talk about how Cole pulls it off.
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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

chadwick, August 31, 2012

I flew threw this book in a week. It is well-researched, well-written, and with a strange cast of bizarre BUT real characters, it reads more like fiction than a work of non-fiction. On the morning of July 2, 1881 President James Garfield was shot twice by demented office seeker, Charles Guiteau and died 80 days later from infection that developed in his wounds. Garfield is mostly known today as an assassinated president and perhaps because he shares his last name with a fat orange cat. However, Garfield was born into poverty and provide himself to be a polymath. He worked as a janitor, bell ringer, and carpenter to pay for his first year of college and proved himself to be so gifted at his studies that he was appointed a professor his second year. One campus legend has Garfield writing in Latin with his left hand, Greek with his right while lecturing in English. He was also a Civil War General to boot. To learn more about James Garfield read Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. It is awesome.
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1861: The Civil War Awakening (Vintage Civil War Library) by Adam Goodheart
1861: The Civil War Awakening (Vintage Civil War Library)

chadwick, January 3, 2012

One of the best books I read in 2011 was 1861: The Civil War Awakening an in-depth look at the opening year of the American Civil War chronicling the shots fired on Fort Sumter, James Buchanan's bumbling, Lincoln's inauguration, the battle for California, etc. 1861 reads like an epic novel with a wide cast of characters and yet, Goodheart manages to keep everything intimate and orderly, driving the narrative forward towards the precipice of succession and civil unrest. Goodheart strongly illustrates how Americans in the 19th century truly saw themselves as living in revolutionary times, when they could change the course of History and their country through a fierce determination and fiery advocacy. My only hope is that Mr. Goodheart does a book for each following year until the war's conclusion in 1865.
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1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
1861: The Civil War Awakening

chadwick, September 2, 2011

An in-depth look at the opening salvo of the Civil War chronicling the shots fired on Fort Sumter, James Buchanan's bumbling, Lincoln's inauguration, the battle for California, etc. etc. 1861: The Civil War Awakening reads like an epic novel with a wide cast of characters and yet, Goodheart manages to keep everything in order and pushes the narrative forward towards the precipice of succession and civil unrest. Goodheart strongly illustrates how Americans in the 19th century truly saw themselves as living in revolutionary times, when they could change the course of American History and their country through fierce determination and fiery advocacy. If you read one book on the American Civil War in this anniversary year, this is the book. My only hope is that Goodheart does a book for each following year, chronicling on to the war's conclusion.
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White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple
White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson

chadwick, January 1, 2011

The best book I read in 2010 would have to be this duel biography of Emily Dickinson and her publisher/mentor Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The book reads like a novel and is a powerful glimpse into literary celebrity, family, and the creation of poetry. I sat down with this book one rainy afternoon in a Starbucks cafe and I could not put it down. Wineapple's strength lies in her narrative writing and her thorough research. I have not been disappointed with anything she has written. I also highly recommend her biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne. I am eagerly anticipating Wineapple's next book.
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