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Tag: What I'm Reading (11-15 of 15)

Royal wedding fever continues with 'William & Catherine: Their Story'


It’s been two weeks since the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine, and it looks like the fascination isn’t going anywhere. In  William & Catherine: Their Story (crashed into print and officially out May 17), Andrew Morton — author of the groundbreaking 1992 biography Diana: Her True Story, presents a photo-laden, gossip-studded history of the newlyweds that will satisfy royal fans hungry for more.  Oversized, with  printed endpapers, it has the feel of an expensive scrapbook.

The chapters focus mostly on William — his early years, adolescence and student life, including intimate details about life at the Palace, his parents’ messy separation and William’s role as Diana’s confidante during her struggle to find independence. The pictures follow his journey from shy youngster — look for an adorable picture of Wills and Harry playing on a vinatge fire engine — to the charming and handsome lad that the teen mags went gaga for.

There’s just one chapter devoted solely to Kate Catherine, but in it, Morton shares private details about her life, from a copy of her birth certificate to a story about how she and a boarding-school roommate mooned boys across the hall. (Let’s hope the Queen didn’t hear about that one.) There’s also a small section, which surely could’ve been more extensive considering the interest, on Catherine’s fashion.

The latter half of the book focuses on William and Catherine’s life together — their initial meeting, the ups and down of their relationships, the engagement proposal in Kenya, and finally, of course, the big day. Unlike the rest of the book, we don’t get too many extra details. Instead, it serves as a recap: Wills whispered, “You’re so beautiful,” once his bride made her way to the altar; they drove away in an Aston Martin; Prince Harry organized the raucous after-party; and so on. And we’ve seen the pictures before, too, perhaps too much, on the weekend of April 29. But seeing those images (the dress! the hats! Pippa!) in this compendium makes the somewhat saturated media hoopla feel special again.

Would you pick up a book on William and Catherine now? Are you still interested in all things royal?

Photo: St. Martins Press

The 'Game of Thrones' Book Club, week 1: First impressions, and when I got hooked


I’m going to level with you, Shelf Lifers: I wasn’t immediately sucked into A Game of Thrones. I found the prologue perplexing, the shifting perspectives  difficult to follow, and — though I know this is a tiny quibble — the names a tiny bit irritating. (Why, George R.R. Martin, do you give your characters monikers that are thisclose to being regular, like “Eddard” and “Tommen”and “Joffrey”? Why not just call them “Edward” and “Thomas” and “Jeffrey,” especially since other characters are named things like “Robert” and “Jon”? Arrrg.)

I know that many people admire Martin’s prose for the way it zips along, managing to keep a huge, thick book relatively fast-paced. But for me, at the beginning, things were moving too fast. While I respected the fact that Martin’s sophisticated storytelling wasn’t trying to hold anybody’s hand, I would have appreciated a little more exposition. Alas, I found out too late that there’s an extremely helpful appendix in the back of the book that lists all the characters and their relationships to one another. If only I had read the comments you left on my first post more carefully!

Despite my initial ambivalence, I plodded onward, assuming (and hoping) that things would get better. And boy, am I glad I did. READ FULL STORY

The 'Game of Thrones' Book Club: Join us!


By all accounts, the books in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series are sweeping, indelible works of fantasy on par with The Lord of the Rings or The Once and Future King. They also, however, range in length from 674 to 1216 pages — which is the main reason I’ve never sunk my teeth into them. Until now. READ FULL STORY

How do you judge a book without a cover?

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, and with e-books, that’s not a problem. There are no covers!

In today’s New York Times, there’s an interesting article about how, with the rise of Kindles, Nooks and — in a few days –iPads, it will be increasingly difficult to find out what people around you are reading. The days may soon disappear where you can lean over in an airplane, on the subway, or on the sidelines of your kid’s soccer practice, take a look at the book the guy or gal next to you is reading, and then quietly judge them.

For some, that’s a good thing. Many consumers of romance novels don’t appreciate getting disapproving looks because their book happens to have a shirtless man and scantily clad woman embracing on the front. Some don’t want to read the latest best-seller or buzzworthy work just to fit in. For others, though, examining the reading materials of strangers is part of the fabric of their day. They can see if multiple people are reading the same book, what authors have new releases out, and what just looks interesting because of its neon-hued or graphically clever cover.

A lot of magnificent works are hidden behind boring covers (go to Barnes and Noble’s website, type in “classics,” and be prepared to fall asleep while looking at the thumbnails of the results), so perhaps with e-readers, people will focus more on descriptions of books, rather than covers. My favorite covers are the bright, intricately designed ones from books I read as a child (Nancy Drew’s The Mystery of the Fire Dragon comes to mind), but I would still only actually purchase them if I liked the summary. Books are expensive, and just because the cover’s glitzy, I won’t be buying it if it’s going to cost me $20 and I’m not sold on the plot.

So while I am generally a pretty nosy person, I’m OK with the fact that I won’t be able to tell what you’re reading on your Nook. I’m just glad you’re reading something. Besides, when I’m on the subway, the last thing I care about is what someone’s reading. I’m more interested in when I’m going to get a seat and how soon I can use my hand sanitizer after holding onto the fingerprint smeared pole.

What do you think? Will you start asking strangers what’s on their e-reader? Come on, admit it, do you judge people based on the books they read?

What I'm Reading: Denis Leary

Denis Leary called it like he saw it in his 2008 book Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. The Rescue Me star recently chatted with EW about his favorite book of all time, who should write his life story and which literary topics fascinate him most.

What books are you reading now?

When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan; Sixty Feet, Six Inches by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson with Lonnie Wheeler; A Death In Belmont by Sebastian Junger; Clint Eastwood: Interviews edited by Robert Kapsis and Kathie Coblentz; and Chocolate Frosted – The History Of The World’s Greatest Donut by Denis Leary. Okay – so I made the last one up. But I’m actually thinking of writing it. If only for the research.

Any you can’t put down?

I can never put down anything to do with football, baseball, hockey, basketball, the Kennedys, the Kennedy assassinations or dogs.

What’s your ultimate beach read?

I don’t really read at the beach. I’m too busy smoking as I worry about sharks and other angry fish.

What was the first book you remember reading?

YAZ: The Story Of Carl Yastrzemski – my favorite baseball player of all time. I also ate YAZ bread, had a YAZ baseball glove and would have drank YAZ whiskey – if it existed.

What’s your favorite character?

John F. Kennedy. A handsome, football playing Harvard grad who became a hero in World War II then a senator and then the President of the United States and slept with Marilyn Monroe WHILE he was married to one of the most beautiful women in the history of women? Wow. Talk about fiction.

Who would you want to write the story of your life?

The story of my life should be written by my wife Ann. That way I know it would be funny.

What is your favorite book of all time?

It’s a tie between Without Feathers by Woody Allen and Orr On Ice. Okay – it’s Orr On Ice, which is a giant hockey book about Bobby Orr – the greatest hockey player of all time – and what he eats, how he skates, what he wears, how often he eats, how he scored, how many times he scored, etc. etc. It’s big and dumb and stupid and I read it at least once a year. It was published in 1972. That really shows you where my literary interests lie. Although I do think the Woody Allen book is incredibly well written and funny.

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