Quelle Books 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

It's my belief that the best present you can give anyone is a book. The fact is, there is a book for everyone. It doesn't matter how obscure or simple their interests are. Books make great gifts. Here are some gift ideas.

For the Ernest Hemingway Fan

The first time all the Hemingway books are available on audio and in one complete set.
For the Sensitive Teen

For the Dominican-American

or any Diaz book for that matter

For the Math Geek

For the Jazz Nut

One of the first Jazz novels
For the Discerning Cook

For the Economist

by Thomas K. McGraw

For the Angophile

Persephone publishes books by unknown British women writers. They'll send the recipient one book a month (you pick the books) and although they are UK based they do deliver internationally.

For the Audio Book Lover with a Long Commute

They'll get one audio book a month and discounts on other audio books plus lots of benefits (I miss my subscription!).

For the Science Nerd

For the First-Time Home Buyer

For the Well-Dressed Man

Moby Dick in the News

There has been so much in the news about Moby Dick. The classic 19th century novel is undergoing a grand resurgence and it is very popular right now with no movie adaptation or major milestone anniversary to support it!

Moby Dick Big Read - Starting in mid-September 2012, one chapter a day is posted in audio format with a different narrator. 

Call me hygienic: Pennsylvania uses 'Moby Dick' to enforce hand-washing - New York Daily News 10/22/12 - first page of Moby Dick is used to encourage people to wash their hands after using the toilet.

Moby Dick becomes a Zombie Novel with Zomby Dick or The Undead Whale published on 10/31/12

Moby Dick for babies?  Cozy Classics releases Moby Dick as a board book News story hits 11/8/12

Nathaniel Philbrick's Why Read Moby-Dick? was released in 2011

On the weekend of 11/16/12-11/18/12 there was a Moby Dick Marathon in NYC

10/18/12 was the 161st anniversary of Moby Dick (it's book publication or serialization? not sure). Google celebrated with the above Google Doodle.

Obama is re-elected in November 2012 and Moby Dick is listed as one of his favorite books.

In August 2012 it was reported that Out of Print Clothing raised more than $29k Kickstarter to raise money to make classic book inspired e-reader covers including one for Moby Dick.

Actor Chevy Chase' favorite book is Moby Dick.

November 2012 - Moby Dick Beer - Powell in conjunction with Rogue Ale sells White Whale Ales

I will keep adding to this list as I find more Moby Dick references in the news.

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot
The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century 
by Margaret Talbot
November 2012
Riverhead (Penguin)

This review originally appeared on my movie blog Out of the Past.

Please make sure you also check out my interview with the author which can be found on my movie blog too. 

In her captivating, impeccably researched narrative - a charmed combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir - Margaret Talbot conjures warmth and nostalgia for those earlier eras of '10s and '20s small-town American, '30s and '40s Hollywood. She transports us to an alluring time, simpler but also exciting, and illustrated the changing face of her father's America, all while telling the story of mass entertainment across the first half of the twentieth century. - Riverhead Books

Margaret Talbot's The Entertainer is not simply a biography about her father the actor Lyle Talbot. Rather the book consists of two parallel stories; one of Talbot's life as a man and career as an actor and the other about the evolution of Hollywood and the entertainment industry in the twentieth century.

This book is a portrait of an entertainer placed firmly on the canvass of twentieth century history. The Entertainer is a charming book with a lot of insight and thoughtfulness and a rich abundance of information. The book chronicles Lyle Talbot's life and career almost chronologically. There are several jumps back and forth through time but the course keeps steady and it reads as though you are moving forward continuously rather than simply jumping around.

Margaret Talbot doesn't try to romanticize her father. She is frank about his drinking problem and how he never became a major movie star. But this book is also an ode to the father who she knew and loved dearly. Their age gap reminds me very much of the one I have with my own father (52 years in my case and almost 60 in hers). Her father was secretive about his romantic past, much like my own is now. A lot of what Margaret Talbot found out about her father Lyle's girlfriends and wives was from her research.

Speaking of research, the author relies a lot on the memories of her father as well as the stories that her father told her and the ones shared by family and friends. She also relies on scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, receipts, menus, telegrams, postcards and other papers saved over the years. She revisited taped interviews and transcripts and dug up articles and interviews from various publications and read many biographies, novels and books on history and criticism. She recounts a lovely story about a man finding a photo scrapbook of her father at a yard sale, realizing it's importance and contacting her about transferring the book back to the family. I'm sure a lot of people would have kept those photographs or sold them so it's nice to hear that someone was generous enough to give them to the family for safe keeping.

The book clocks in at over 400 pages and includes 45 black and white photos which appear throughout the text. This type of design is my ideal as the photos appear with the relevant text to go along with it. It keeps me from flipping back and forth from a photo insert to where I had left off reading (which I have done many times in the past with other books).

For those of you who are looking for a book about an actor's life, without all the salaciousness of other biographies and with plenty of context, then look no further than this book. I wish there were more books like this one; kind yet frank portrayals with lots of added information. I would go so far to call this book an enhanced biography. I found The Entertainer to be absolutely charming, well-written and insightful.

Disclosure: Thank you to Riverhead Books (a division of Penguin) for providing me with an advance readers copy of the book to review.

Classics Project Book #3: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Harper Perennial

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those mid-Twentieth Century classics that everyone reads in school. But somehow this classic has eluded me for years.

There were three English teachers in my high school and two of them were teaching To Kill a Mockingbird as part of their curriculum for Junior year. I had the third teacher. She was wonderful and while I don't remember her name I will never forget the novels she had us read. They planted the seed of a lifelong love of books in me. She also allowed us to pick our own classics for one term and that freedom to chose what I wanted to read was quite liberating. It was only a few years later that I decided to become an English major even with my long history of poor reading comprehension.

That disability was brought to light while reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I often times found myself confused and had to re-read sections. I couldn't quite tell if we were listening to Scout as an adult narrate her past or if it was Scout in the present. Or a combination of both. I've always had difficulty reading fiction and was hoping it would not have been so noticeable when I read this classic.

Despite my difficulties, I thoroughly enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird. Stories set in the South are some of my favorites. There is something about the culture matched with sweltering heat and isolation that produces amazing stories. As a child of 1980s Cartoons, I often found myself trying to get rid of the Jem TV show theme song every time I encountered the same name in the text. I felt like I wanted to get closer to the characters but they were held at a distance to me. Atticus is a character I would love to learn more about but he will just always be an enigma to me. I love how sensitive this book is to prejudice and racism and I'm sure it made a historic impact on the civil rights movement when the book was published in 1961 and the movie released the following year.

This book deals with some heavy issues and I feel that the young character of Scout provides a good entry way into the story for young folks which makes it perfect reading for school curriculums. If the novel had been from an adult point of view, I don't think high school students would have been able to identify with the characters or develop an interest in the plot as they would with a much younger character. Overall I am very glad I took the opportunity to finally read this book after so many years. Now on to the movie!

Disclaimer: I got a copy of this book from Harper Perennial for hosting a giveaway for the 50th anniversary of the movie on my film blog.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...