This year’s ten must-reads
In the last year, I have written 15 book reviews for Weekend. When I tell people that I write book reviews, they always ask me two opposing questions: (1) How do you possibly have time to read for pleasure? (2) What do you recommend?
A Recipe for Success
Anyone who ever gave money to Barack Obama paid a price far steeper than his or her donation.
OSCARS ALERT: WKND BLOG considers “Lincoln”
Lincoln and “Lincoln” by Scott Stern I was that guy — or, at least, I wanted to be. In the theater. After the movie. The one who walked out going, “They all looked so accurate. Especially Edwin Stanton! And Salmon P. Chase. And did you notice how Lincoln’s body was slanted at the very end? »
California Dreamin’ with Michael Chabon
“Telegraph Avenue” has what George W. Bush ’68 would’ve called a cast that “looked like America.” Not that he would read a book this progressive. Or one this long. Black, white, Asian, Jewish, Christian, young, old, thin, fat, really fat, gay, straight and sexually ambiguous characters all play major roles. It is as if author Michael Chabon tried to capture the entire essence of Berkeley and Oakland in a single book.
Harold Koh: Lawyer, Professor, Statesman
Immediately after Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21, the State Department’s legal adviser, Harold Hongju Koh, returned to Yale. Koh served as the dean of Yale Law School from 2004 to 2009 and as a professor there since 1985. Last week, he was appointed Ster- ling Professor of International Law. Koh, who had been a strong critic of President George W. Bush’s ’68 “War on Terror,” is an interna- tionally renowned scholar of human rights. However, in the Obama administration, he has come under fire from former allies for his expan- sive views on the president’s authority to use unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists abroad. On Tuesday, Koh spoke at a packed Master’s Tea in Davenport. Hours before that, WEEKEND sat down with Koh to discuss executive authority, drones and who he wants to see fill the next opening on the Supreme Court.
Predicting the Unpredictable (or at least tyring)
“The Signal and the Noise” is an excellent attempt to teach the reader how to judge predictions. Most of the book, reviewers have noted, are about issues that modern statistics cannot predict—in the stock market, in predicting climate change, in the housing bubble, in predicting natural disasters. Perhaps this is why “The Signal and the Noise” is somewhat unsatisfying to me. In spite of Silver’s decent attempt, the book remains largely inaccessible to me.
A Stroll through Fascism: “Selling War” at Sterling
When you walk into the main foyer of Sterling, head up to the desk, make a right, and walk past the entrance to the stacks, continuing down the sun-dappled corridor. There, in five display cases on the left side of the wall, is “Selling War.”
‘Is Our Children Learning?’
Why do our children seem not to learn? Why do some children do better than others? How do some children break the cycle of poverty? In “How Children Succeed,” freelance journalist Paul Tough addresses all these questions.
Game Change –> Game Over
By 11:30, it was over. All the major networks had announced that Barack Obama was going to be the winner. Shortly thereafter, his rival conceded in an awkward if apparently sincere statement. The election that had seemed like it would go on forever was finally at an end. Fast-forward four years. By 11:30, it was »
Rowling gets real
Apparently, J. K. Rowling thinks a lot about sex. Genitalia, masturbation, pedophilia, incest, rape, teen pregnancy — these are all peccadillos that delight her fancy. Now, after decades of writing magical children’s stories, her pent-up prurience can finally break free; the reader is treated to such phrases as “pink labia pulled wide to show dark »