The Bookfiend


A place for books and other fabulous things...
The Bookfiend turned 2 today!

The Bookfiend turned 2 today!

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Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ’n’ Roll →

Mr. Reed, punk-poet, guitarist and songwriter, was a founder of the rock group the Velvet Underground, whose music and lyrics influenced multiple generations.

NYTimes: Writer Brings in the World While She Keeps It at Bay →

NYTimes: Writer Brings in the World While She Keeps It at Bay

Book Review: Lexicon by Max Barry

LexiconLexicon by Max Barry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After finding myself intrigued by the “Which Poet are You?” quiz for this book on the Shelf Awareness blog, I requested and received an e-galley of the book from NetGalley. I was curious to know why my quiz results came back as, “Sylvia Plath”, and after reading the novel I’m not sure the quiz was accurate, but boy, oh boy, was this a terrific read!!
The main idea of this novel is that words have power…great and terrible power…that poets control words and words control people. Enter into this an organization, comprised of “poets,” that would make any sociopath cringe with delight. By turns witty and dramatic, Lexicon, is the freshest novel I have read this year and is comparable to the best works of Neil Gaiman. Taking place in various settings from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to Australia, this is a trip you won’t want to miss. Buckle up and hang on tight for this unique and thrilling ride through the imagination of Max Barry.

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Book Review: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of NazarethZealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intriguing non-fiction recount of the life of the historical Jesus that reads like a modern day political thriller. Mr. Aslan has again proven his mettle in relating the history of religions in a thought provoking and informative manner to the religious and non-religious alike.

What we think of as modern themes (example: the 1 percent vs the 99 percent) are shown to us as being present in 1st Century Palestine, supporting the idea that everything old is new again. The struggle for power, the corrupt nature of politicians and religious leaders, the zealous nature of those who believe in morality and ideas…all this is present in the telling of how Jesus came to be seen as a rebellious, charismatic individual who struck fear into the hearts of the Romans and the Sanhedrin. Jesus’ truth telling was even more troublesome than that of Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning in our time and this telling gives us a look at what the historical (rather than the religiously reconstructed) Jesus may have looked like in his own time.

A thrilling, evocative and compelling read to anyone who enjoys a story of intrigue, power, corruption and how the sacrifice made by an individual for an ideal can have unexpected consequences.

Full disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from NetGalley.

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Found Objects by Peter Gelfan…coming in April 2013

Found ObjectsFound Objects by Peter Gelfan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With the frontispiece quote from the poem “Tonight I Watched” by Sappho, the mood is set for this hauntingly written novel of beauty, loneliness and self-discovery.

Aldo is having a tough time adjusting to a major change in his life and his first person narrative explores the moral, philosophical and practical challenges of living a complicated alternative lifestyle. Things start out joyful and fulfilling for Aldo, his wife, their lover and her two children, but quickly become confusing and uncomfortable when an unexpected guest arrives unannounced.

Full of humor and deftly drawn characters, the novel explores the complexity of relationships forged between adults, adults and their children, and between a family unit and the community in which they live. Social questions are posed in this novel such as: what makes a family? what is moral? what is marriage? what makes a parent? These questions are pondered in a provocative and interesting way from the viewpoint of the main character and the reader is carried along for the journey.

I found the novel to be difficult to put down and read it in a couple of days. I will probably pick it up again in a few weeks and read it at a more leisurely pace to fully digest all the philosophical questions.

I recommend this novel to anyone who seeks to more fully understand themselves and their relationships with others. For, in the end, this is a book about being human and learning to accept yourself for who you are, even when who you are is a riddle.

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Lewis Nordan, Writer Who Spun Lyrical Tales, Dies at 72 →

Mr. Nordan’s best-known novel, “Wolf Whistle,” was based on the murder of Emmett Till in 1955.

RIP, Buddy Nordan, you will be missed.

newsweek-paris-france:

” When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” This poster of JFK is in the back room of Coffee Parisien, a bistro next the The Village Voice Bookstore on Rue Princesse in Paris, France. The line is from a speech President Kennedy gave at Amherst in October 1963 in memory of Robert Frost:
“When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

newsweek-paris-france:

” When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” This poster of JFK is in the back room of Coffee Parisien, a bistro next the The Village Voice Bookstore on Rue Princesse in Paris, France. The line is from a speech President Kennedy gave at Amherst in October 1963 in memory of Robert Frost:

“When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

Source: newsweek-paris-france

Source: sheronam

On Being Blog: Do Nothing for Lent and Be Grateful →

beingblog:

by Amy Ruth Schacht, guest contributor

Contemplating“Contemplation” (photo: Kasia/Flickr cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

Ash Wednesday is today, inaugurating this year’s season of Lent. Cultural customs dictate “giving something up” for Lent. Without any meaningful or theological reflection, it becomes…