Friday, September 26, 2008

A near miss

Doing my parental fund raising duty, I picked up some scrip for Powells last week (have you purchased yours?) I went down to the store and perused the new titles thinking of what fine new volume I should add to the pile of books I won't get to any time soon. I nearly picked up American Lightning, thinking it would be another Devil In White City sort of read, but hesitated. I'm glad I did as Yarley savaged the book in the Post this weekend.

My own hunch is that Blum thinks he's written a nonfiction variation on the themes played in E.L. Doctorow's celebrated novel Ragtime, but such magic as Doctorow managed to extract from the same point in American history is utterly absent in this contrived, plodding, self-infatuated "tome."

Ouch. The other one that looks good is State by State, where 51 authors talk about their state (or District in the case of Edward P Jones). It is the sort of thing that could really click or completely collapse. I think I will pick it up at some point, but I will also want to check out the Out of the Book film on the book, which includes enough authors that there is bound to be one you like.

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