Art, True Crime; Continent: North America, Europe

A review of two books for a change In Priceless, authors Robert Wittman and John Shiffman write about the art crimes the general public thinks of: multimillion-dollar theft from museums, galleries and private collections. Chasing Aphrodite authors Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, on the other hand, write about a more pervasive type of crime perpetrated […]

True Crime, Journalism; Continent: North America

Yes, there’s a murder, and it’s a pretty sick one. But Guldensuppe’s death figures into author Paul Collins’ book mainly so he can talk about journalism on the threshold on the twentieth century. Am I losing you with the whole “condition of journalism” theme? If so, than you’re underestimating Collins’ ability to create a stunning narrative from his many hours of research.

History of Science, Victorian Era; Continent: Africa, Europe

Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer and the African Adventure the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel 352 pages (272 pages in the Kindle version includes the worthy epilogue) Read this window into the club of Victorian gentlemen of science and the politics of race and privilege with someone you can dissect (sorry, […]

Book 5; Continent: Australia

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson 352 pages (roughly 35 pages of Notes and Bibliography) Engaging and informal, read this one at home if laughing out loud in public embarrasses you Thanks to Andrea for her suggestion of this book I’ve been blocked on how to write about Bill Bryson’s book about traveling throughout […]

Book 4; Continent: Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas

1493 by Charles C. Mann 509 pages (690 with Appendices, Notes and Index) Engaging enough to read even while on the bus or subway; Chapters are long but have reasonable subdivisions. This is the book I’d been putting off until my next transcontinental flights. Five hundred pages seemed like a lot to tackle without those […]

Book 3; Continent: Europe

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt 356 pages (263 without Acknowledgments, Notes or Index) Manageable chapter lengths for a cup of coffee, but not a great read for bus or train commute because the content is honestly not as interesting as people-watching Well, I had said I wasn’t going to write […]

Another Favorite from 2012

River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Camilla Millard 416 pages (353 pages excluding Notes) Organized into short, cup-of-coffee length sections within chapters so the reader can sneak in a few minutes with the book at a time Reading Martin Dugard’s Into Africa put me in mind of this book from last year. The […]

Book 2; Continent: Africa, Europe

Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone by Martin Dugard 340 pages (316 pages without the Notes and Index) Beautifully paced narrative features short sections and chapters, just right for your stopover at a coffeehouse or a quick read on your lunch break I never knew to whom the famous sentence “Dr. Livingstone, […]

A Favorite from 2012

A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield 338 pages (261 pages absent the extensive notes and the index) Short sections within chapters, but pick quiet reading opportunities to really connect the dots In the sixteenth century, the Spanish conquistadors found cochineal in the marketplaces of […]