Obviously, I read a lot of business books, but I also enjoy other types as well. I read novels from Stuart Woods, Catherine Coulter, Harlen Cohen, John Sanford, and I really miss Robert B. Parker, who passed away last year.
I like non-fiction also. A great best-seller that is now available is by David McCullough, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon and Schuster, 2011). McCullough is the authorized biographer for Harry Truman, and that book was cryptically called Truman. He also wrote 1776, featuring great stories of our country’s founders. His books have obviously focused on events in the Western Hemisphere, so this one is a departure from what we are familiar with from his writing.
The Greater Journey is about Americans who traveled to Paris between 1830 and the early 1900′s. Obviously, they went by sea, and the book chronicles the fascination that several Americans had with the Parisian arts, dining, and other aspects of its culture. Among the characters in the book are famous names such as Samuel Morse, Charles Sumner, George Healy, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
One thing to keep in perspective as you read this book is that comparing America to Paris in this time period is like comparing apples and oranges. As a nation, America was only 54-125 years old. We were an infant compared to the much longer heritage and history that Paris offered these people. Of course, almost every aspect of culture and civilization that these Americans experienced was better in Paris. That is only because Paris had much more time to develop them.
I particularly enjoyed these Americans’ fascination with Parisian food, art, and culture. Of course, most of these people that McCullough chronicles in the book had the money and resources to go first-class.
And, you could still do that today if you went to Paris. If you don’t want to do that, this book is a great way to experience the culture from a previous era. Remember that many of the items that McCullough includes are still open and active in Paris today – the most famous being the Louvre museum.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it!
I was amazed that the same day that I read about the bombing of the hideout for Osama bin Laden in a novel was the same day that the United States Navy Seals and our intelligence operations actually killed him!
One of my favorite fiction authors is Stuart Woods. His recent best-seller is entitled Strategic Moves (Putnam, 2011). The featured character is Stone Barrington, a playboy-type attorney, who is “of counsel” to a large New York City law firm.
In the book, a foreign arms-dealer and fugitive, Erwin Gelbhardt (Pablo), reveals he knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden at the end of a four-day interrogation which the CIA conducted in Barrington’s home office.
The book notes that the area that Pablo identified became the target of heavy and intense bombing from Unites States forces. However, the book does not provide a conclusion that the attempt killed or captured bin Laden.
Not so on Sunday! It was 10:00 p.m. and I turned on the news to check on the DFW weather. The local news was not on, but an ABC network breaking news story was. And, you know the end of the real story as well as I do.
How many times have you seen fiction turn into reality the same day?
Let’s talk about it soon!
Much excitement exists about the future of digital books that we will be able to access on devices such as Kindle. Some traditions, however, have no chance of being part of that digital framework, and remain as reasons that traditional books will simply not go away.
One of these is an author’s book signing. Avid readers who are fans of popular authors look forward to the date and time when they can see him or her in person and obtain a personal autograph. Publishers relish the great publicity that these signings produce. Many authors post upcoming cities, locations, dates, and times on their web sites. See, for example, the web site for the popular fiction author, Stuart Woods. In some cases, readers join lines that are doubled around a building, waiting patiently for the personal reward resulting from this experience.
How a book signing using a device such as Kindle would work is comical. Can you imagine a reader shoving his or her Kindle in front of the author, and then, obtaining a digital signature with an electronic pen? Or, maybe the author sends the reader a digital signature in a .jpg file so the reader can insert it. Or, maybe the reader can purchase the signature for an extra charge at the time he or she purchases and downloads the book. Such a signature is worth about as much emotionally and intellectually as the fradulent autographs that appear on some sports memorabila.
What an awakening this item must be to anyone who is ready to bury traditional books. Along with traditional books come traditional practices, and this one of many factors that I believe will keep traditional books alive. What do you think?