This book is a discussion between a critic and Magnum photographer (and fellow Minnesotan) Alec Soth. I don’t always like Soth’s photos, but I almost always find them interesting (and often a bit mysterious). I enjoyed reading his thoughts on his own work.
I really like Julian Stockwin’s Kydd series. This one, however, was disappointing. Most of the book isn’t about Kydd as much as it is about the beginnings of the Peninsular War. It reads like a couple of novellas strung together to impersonate a novel.
The title of this book should be “Tolkien: A Biography Through World War I”, because it’s not just about his wartime experiences, but about his life up till about age 26. It focuses on his closest boyhood friends and their fates in the war.
Garth He goes into detail about the development of Tolkien’s languages and the associated world building.
He traces elements of Tolkiens legendarium to his experiences in the trenches, but it’s not a simplistic one-to-one mapping.
This is a great book that should be read by anyone interested in Tolkien. My only complaint is that it stops in 1918.
This is the ninth book in the Matthew Quinton series. I enjoyed it, but was disappointed that it was a story set in Quinton’s youth rather than a continuation of the previous book in the series, which closed with some tantalizing dangling plot threads.
This is a very short book on the non-financial aspects of retirement. It’s thought-provoking, but not as useful as Lowry’s excellent blog (happily active again after a hiatus) and its equally valuable comments section. I’d recommend reading the blog and Lowry’s previous book before reading this one.
I’ve read a lot about the Beat Generation. To some extent this book repeats what I’ve read elsewhere. The valuable thing about it is that it tracks all of the Beats through decades so the reader gets a good sense of who was where when and doing what with who. The “doing what with who” isn’t limited to literary efforts, thus the subtitles’s “uncensored”. It’s less salacious that it sounds; mostly the account proves that the Beats behaved pretty horribly towards the women in their lives.
Though the author (an archivist for Ginsberg and other Beats) doesn’t explicitly state it, he makes a good case for an argument that the Beat Generation is best defined as “friends of Allen Ginsberg”. It’s also clear from Morgan’s account that Ginsberg was a better friend to his friends than they often were to him.
I think it was David Frum who said “there is no bottom” to the misdeeds of the Trump administration. If anyone needed more proof of that statement, this book would provide it. McCabe writes about his entire career focusing on the way the FBI works and the essential nature of its tasks. The professionalism and dedication to the rule of law that he portrays is in sharp contrast to what the president wants: unquestioning loyalty.
The book would probably be better if McCabe weren’t constrained by security restrictions, but it’s a memoir, not a journalistic account. It’s chilling enough as it stands.
This is a graphic memoir (i.e., a non-fiction comic) about the author’s father, who was a child TV quiz show star. It explores what effect that might have had on him and to what extent that experience was at the root of the difficulties he had in later life, but the son can only surmise, never know.
From 1982 to 1985 the KGB’s top man in London, Oleg Gordievsky, was working for Britain’s MI6. “The Spy and the Traitor” is the story of Gordievsky’s life, his career working for the KGB and MI6, and his dramatic 1985 exfiltration from the USSR as a result of CIA agent Aldrich Ames’ betrayal. Ames, the “traitor” of the title — though from the Soviet perspectivve Gordievsky was also a traitor — had sold information to the KGB.
Macintyre is a good story teller and this story, told with Gordievsky’s cooperation, is a good one.