Top 10 Books of the Year
In the last year, I have written 15 book reviews for WEEKEND. These reviews have been, of course, a labor of love. Emphasis on the love. And the labor.
Plain, Revolutionary Jane: “Book of Ages” by Jill Lepore
In 1939, the city of Boston tore down a small house that was obstructing the view of a monument of Paul Revere. This action was an apt metaphor. The house had belonged to Jane Franklin Mecom, the youngest sister of Benjamin Franklin. And she lived in an era in which women were kept low to make way for enlightened men.
History, As Told by Bill Bryson
Perhaps “One Summer: America 1927,” by Bill Bryson, is “remedial pseudo-history” that “does a disservice to the very word ‘history.’” Or perhaps it is “a splendid book, written in the breezy and humorous style that has come to be Bryson’s trademark.” This depends on whom you believe — esteemed professor Douglas Brinkley or prolific journalist »
A Wild Injustice
To many modern readers, the death penalty may seem permanent—in more ways than one. Capital punishment is so ingrained in our national cowboy culture that it may be hard to imagine that just over four decades ago the Supreme Court announced that the death penalty, as practiced at the time, was unconstitutional.
Navigating the Bully Pulpit
Few authors are as iconic, as respected, and as universally lauded as Doris Kearns Goodwin. As a young White House intern in the Johnson administration, she nearly lost her job for publishing an article mapping out a strategy to impeach Johnson. Nonetheless, Goodwin eventually became close with Johnson, conducting dozens of conversations that laid the »
The Election of 2012: Up Close and Personal
For months — years, perhaps — political junkies and bored randos waited with bated breath for the latest book by veteran journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Halperin and Heilemann’s new volume, “Double Down,” which tells the story of the 2012 election, is the sequel to their best-selling account of the 2008 election, “Game Change.” »
Thick, Goopy and Awesome
Walking into Heirloom, all my fears are confirmed: The jeans and flannel shirt weren’t sufficient. Hey, it has a collar! Heirloom, a large, dimly lit restaurant with massive windows, exudes refinement and a polite, appropriate amount of warmth. I am nervous.
Sex, Sin, Scandal in ‘The System’
When I told friends or family I was currently engrossed in a book about college football, the reaction I always received was: “Really?” Yeah, I’ll admit it; I’m less than even a casual college football fan. I’ll root for Yale over anyone else and I’ll support the University of Pittsburgh out of hometown pride, but I’d be hard-pressed to name a single player or coach. My ability to follow a sports team begins and ends with the Steelers.
Holmes’ Great Dissent
Oliver Wendell Holmes is known today for many things: his decades of service on the Supreme Court, his discerning analogies (fire in a crowded theater, anyone?), his magnificent mustache (rivaling that of the almighty Salovey). But his greatest legacy transcends these popular images, found instead in his trailblazing defense of free speech.
A book writ in verse, an awesome achievement A sad, funny novel, a touching bereavement: “Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die Cherish, Perish,” a review by Scott Stern
Every review I’ve read so far has gotten the title wrong. The full title—as it was meant to be spoken, never read—is: “Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die,/Cherish, Perish, a novel by/David Rakoff.” You see? It has to rhyme. And isn’t that the point?