Tag Archives: One Book One Lincoln

“All About Books.”

aabpodcasttThis Thursday, June 2, I’ll be on NET Radio’s All About Books talking about what makes One Book One Lincoln selection Being Mortal by Atul Gawande so great. Such as bits like this bit, talking about the author’s father:

One of his proudest days was July 4, 1976, the country’s bicentennial, when he was made an American citizen in front of hundreds of cheering people in the grandstand at the Athens County Fair between the hog auction and the demolition derby. But one thing he could never get used to was how we treat our old and frail—leaving them to a life alone or isolating them in a series of anonymous facilities, their last conscious moments spent with nurses and doctors who barely knew their names.

I was on the One Book One Lincoln selection committee this year, and am proud to say the committee made a great pick. Like last year, I’m also happy to report that the committee brought a diverse selection of authors to its top three picks.

When the time comes, you can listen here; or if you miss it (if, like me, you have to work during the day) you can download the podcast here.

Recent Reading.

As I’ve been mostly working on fiction lately, I’ve not been as active in my book reviewing. But I’ve still been reading—of course—so I thought I might make it a regular part of this blog to round-up some of the better books I’ve come across.

The bulk of my reading lately has been as a committee member of One Book One Lincoln, the great reading program from the Lincoln City Libraries. Bound by secrecy (!), I can’t reveal the committee’s selections—other than to say we’ve picked three great books, at least one of which I’m sure you probably haven’t read.

luciaberlinThe best of the fiction that I’ve read lately is Lucia Berlin’s A Manual For Cleaning Women, a rich collection of brutal stories, marked by the isolation and estrangement of their narrators, often shades of Berlin herself. Highlights include “Mourning,” “Todo Luna, Todo Año” and the title story; and “Emergency Room Notebook,” a melange of macabre hospital tales, which also serves as a sort of companion piece to the title story. I’ve heard Berlin described by that distinct moniker “writer’s writer,” and perhaps it fits in the same way it does for James Salter—Berlin’s stories aren’t often conventional, and can shatter you with the beauty of their sentences. (The quality of being a “writer’s writer” seems to be the keen ability to make writers jealous.)

Despite loving the Berlin stories, I generally prefer novels. The recent novels I’ve read, coincidentally, have all been by younger authors: The Turner House (Angela Flournoy), The Story of My Teeth (Valeria Luiselli), The Unknowns (Gabriel Roth) and Delicious Foods (James Hannaham) have found their way to my nightstand. The similarities end there, though—all are strikingly different books. Luiselli’s is the most experimental and probably my favorite of the bunch, but I’m a sucker for Latin American novels. All are recommended.

One Book One Lincoln.

onebonelnkFellow Lincolnites: I’m excited to be a part of the selection committee for the Lincoln City Libraries One Book One Lincoln, our citywide reading program of the year. If you have a great book, nominate it at one of our local libraries or online here by February 23.

Last year I had a heck of a lot of fun being the reader judge for The Morning News Tournament of Books, and I can only imagine this experience—again debating the merits of books—will also be a blast.