Category Archives: News

New Erik Larson Book

Erik Larson has signed the papers and will publish his 6th book in 2019. This time he’s diving deep into Sir Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister. The working title is The Splendid and the Vile.

Larson’s unique narrative nonfiction style consistently lands him on bestseller lists as well as at the top of recommended reading lists.

Erik Larson In the Garden of BeastsMy book group just finished reading In the Garden of Beasts and it was fantastic. Erik  Larson has a way of lining up all of the diaries, letters reports, and news of the day in a very conversational way. One that truly paints a picture of how things happened  and of the personalities involved.

I hear Dead Wake, about the sinking of the Lusitania, is really good as well. It’s on my list. But now, so is The Splendid and the Vile.

Man Booker 2016

This is one of my favorite Man Booker short lists in recent years. Such a great crop of authors and books. The Man Booker Podcast is also back up and running this season. I always look forward to it and it’s usually worth a listen. Also, The Guardian has a good write up with the authors of the books, if you want more. These six books make a great lineup:

  1. Paul Beatty (US) The Sellout 
  2. Deborah Levy (UK) Hot Milk 
  3. Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) His Bloody Project 
  4. Ottessa Moshfegh (US) Eileen 
  5. David Szalay (Canada-UK) All That Man Is 
  6. Madeleine Thien (Canada) Do Not Say We Have Nothing 

I have just started Szalay’s All That Man Is and haven’t read enough to form an opinion yet.

manbooker_allthatmanismanbooker_thesellout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only one I have read all the way through is Beatty’s The Sellout. I thought it was absolutely fantastic. Satire is one of the hardest things to write and Beatty nails it! Every single page is dripping with it. But be warned – it is not for the faint of heart. It’s brutal in so many ways. I think you’ll be better off reading where Beatty is coming from before you start reading the book. So Google around a bit.

The only downside is that I read an interview with Beatty that said he was a little disappointed the humor was so well received, as he felt it distracted from the message he was trying to get out there. The message is certainly there and will slap you in the face. But it can be a rough read folks.

Two of the six, in the Man Booker Shortlist, are from Penguin-owned imprint/publisher Johnathon Cape. They have more Man Booker wins under their belt than any other publisher. So it’s another good run for them.

It doesn’t always work, but I think that the award’s opening to a global pool of entries has paid off. I usually prefer when things specialize, but for some reason this really really works.

The final winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016 will be announced October 25, 2016.

Have you read any of these books?

 

Reading Ability Tied to Ice Cream

Ok, so this one has a bit of a “cars with umbrellas in them get into more wrecks, so umbrellas cause wrecks” kind of feel to it, but hey, it was reported by The Economist. Which is pretty legit and their paywall is more profitable than what I’m running here at Headsubhead, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

But the numbers do track just about the same: countries that consume large amounts of ice cream treats also score very very well on literacy tests.

reading_Ice_Cream

No doubt there are many other factors here, but doing a quick and dirty back of the napkin confirmation…

Business Insider lists these ten as the top ice cream eating countries:

  1. New Zealand
  2. United States
  3. Australia
  4. Finland
  5. Sweden
  6. Canada
  7. Denmark
  8. Ireland
  9. Italy
  10. United Kingdom

And according to a Washington Post article, the most literate countries in the world are:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Iceland
  4. Denmark
  5. Sweden
  6. Switzerland
  7. United States
  8. Germany
  9. Latvia
  10. Canada & Netherlands (tie)

So that’s 50%. Of course, while it’s easy to count ice cream cones, it’s much harder to measure literacy. No doubt some formulas would track this trend higher or lower, but it’s still pretty fun.

So, averaging the info from Business Insider, in order to maintain a high level of literacy you should consume 13.5 liters (3.6 gallons) of ice cream per year.

All of that probably isn’t true, but it sure is fun to say. And there’s math behind it! Everything with numbers is true, right? Just ask any of these politicians running for office. However if science could tell us which flavors of ice cream help us most with reading comprehension…. then we’d be on to something.

$5 Fine Coupon for JCLC Libraries

Here is a coupon for a $5 credit to be applied to your library fines at Jefferson County libraries. You must print the coupon out and take it to a JCLC branch next week April 10th – 16th.

jclc_nlwcoupon

The $5 coupon is part of the JCLC library system’s celebration of National Libra$5 ry Week which is next week. According to the full press release there are a few other new things of note:

  • they are going to start allowing folks to renew library cards via the phone as well as online (though I can’t find where)
  • there is an instance when the $3 cost is waived for replacing a library card
  • expiration dates for library cards has been extended from one year to two years

So, if you use the Jefferson County Library system, grab the coupon and knock out some fines!