The Better Angels of Our Nature

The New York Times/Sketchbook/Graphic Review/By Anders NilsenJune 22, 2017

A graphic review of Steven Pinker’s book about the dramatic decline of violence in human affairs over history.

Better AngelsAnders Nilsen is the author of the graphic novels Big Questions, Rage of Poseidon and the forthcoming Tongues.

14 Favorite Book Sidekicks to Celebrate on Dr. Watson’s Birthday

Goodreads Blog: Posted by Hayley Igarashi on July 07, 2017

BudsToday is the birthday of one of literature’s most beloved and long-suffering sidekicks, Dr. John Watson. A war veteran as well as an accomplished writer and detective, Watson gives Sherlock Holmes much-needed backup and friendship, all while enduring less-than-complimentary observations about his character. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson,” Sherlock says at one point. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

To celebrate the good doctor’s birthday, [goodreads.com] asked you on Facebook and Twitter to share your favorite book sidekicks. Check out some of the most popular answers below and add your own in the comments!

Sherlock1. Dr. John Watson
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books and stories

Sherlock’s friend, roommate, biographer, crime-solving partner and on-hand physician

 

Harry Potter2. Ron and Hermione
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books

Harry’s fellow Gryffindors, friends, partners in managing mischief, frequent rescuers (especially Hermione) and family

Click here for the rest of the list…

A List of Books that Sold the Most Copies

If only there was a shorter way of writing that. Oh yeah…

NYT Best Sellers List

  1. CAMINO ISLAND by John Grisham

Camino IslandAfter a gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library, Mercer Mann, a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position, is approached by a mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. The woman offers a generous amount of money in exchange for a job. All Mercer has to do is go undercover and infiltrate the circle of literary friends that surround Bruce Cable, a prominent rare book dealer that occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts, and learn what she can. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise.

  1. THE IDENTICALS by Elin Hilderbrand (NEW THIS WEEK)
  2. TOM CLANCY: POINT OF CONTACT by Mike Maden (NEW THIS WEEK)
  3. COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts
  4. THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  5. THE FIX by David Baldacci
  6. INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins
  7. THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware
  8. MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur
  9. DRAGON TEETH by Michael Crichton

Author Birthdays – The Last Birthdays Ever

No. Not all of them. Don’t worry, your candles and cake are safe. We’re just talking about “Author Birthdays,” the blog segment.

Why? We’ve come full circle, literally. The Earth has completed an entire orbit around the sun since we started with “Author Birthdays” (that means a year has gone by) and after this week there won’t be any more weeks that we haven’t already covered together.

I know. I know. There are many authors that we missed the first time around and newly famous/infamous authors are popping up all the time, but lets give the numbers time to build back up a bit before we start in again. We’ll do other things that are just as cool. Maybe (dare I say it) cooler.

In the meantime, The Last Author Birthdays (Possibly) Ever!

George Orwell (b. June 25, 1903, Motihari, India; d. January 21, 1950, London, UK)

Orwell“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: 1984

For more information on George Orwell, click here.

 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (b. June 28, 1712, Geneva, Switzerland; d. July 2, 1778, Ermenonville, France)

Rousseau“Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Confessions

For more information on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, click here.

 

Author Birthdays – Father’s Day Edition

People have gotta come from somewhere and authors are no exception – special shout-out to the fathers of this week’s authors! And all the other fathers too. Hi, dad!

Salman Rushdie (b. June 19, 1947, Mumbai, India)

Rushdie“A purpose of our lives is to broaden what we can understand and say and therefore be.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Satanic Verses 

For more information on Salman Rushdie, click here.

 

Joseph Kesselring (b. July 21, 1902, New York, NY; d. November 5, 1967, Kingston, NY)

Kesselring“You see, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Arsenic and Old Lace

For more information on Joseph Kesselring, click here.

 

Jean-Paul Sartre (b. June 21, 1905, Paris, France; d. April 15, 1980, Paris, France)

Sartre“If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Nausea

For more information on Jean-Paul Sartre, click here.

 

Octavia Butler (b. June 22, 1947, Pasadena, CA; d. February 24, 2006, Lake Forest Park, WA)

Butler“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Kindred

For more information on Octavia Butler, click here.

 

Michael Shaara (b. June 23, 1928, Jersey City, NJ; d. May 5, 1988, Tallahassee, FL)

Shaara“A man who has been shot at is a new realist, and what do you say to a realist when the war is a war of ideals?” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Killer Angels

For more information on Michael Shaara, click here.

 

Richard Bach (b. June 23, 1936, Oak Park, IL)

Bach“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

For more information on Richard Bach, click here.

 

Fantastic Voyages – It’s All a Matter of Perspective (Part 1 of 3)

Summer is a time of wonder, of adventure, of going to see what there is to see. So what are we all sitting around for? Here are some literary examples of fantastic summer travels to help inspire you to get out there and experience June.

Note: Pay no attention to the fact that all of the examples are of adventures that were unintended/completely involuntary. You should still go outside. Just, maybe start small…

I know! You could go to the library! Safe, close by and air-conditioned but still full of things to see and to learn. It’s perfect!

In the meantime, here is your first fantastic voyage.

By the summer of 1703, Lemuel Gulliver already knew that the world was a much larger (or smaller, as the case may be) and stranger place than most people ever imagined. It had been about a year since he had finally returned home after his first lengthy sea journey; a journey that had resulted in him being shipwrecked and stranded in the nation of Lilliput, being a nation populated entirely by people who were less than 6 inches tall. His experiences there (including his eventual fall from imperial favor and subsequent arrest and escape) are probably the best known and most retold of his adventures but they were far from his only. In fact, another one was to begin soon for, having been at home for 12 whole months, he was starting to get antsy.

Gulliver

Gulliver Exhibited to the Brobdingnag Farmer (painting by Richard Redgrave)

On June 17, 1703, Mr. Gulliver and his most recent crewmates put ashore on an uncharted coastline to explore and forage. This ended pretty abruptly when 70 foot tall giants chased the entire shore party back to their row boats, all of them except Gulliver that is. After spending time as a giant among the Lilliputians poor Gulliver now found the situation completely reversed. The intrepid ship’s surgeon remained stranded on the island of giants (he would find out soon enough that the place was called Brobdingnag) until he “escaped” when a giant eagle snatched him (and the room/cage he was in – he had become the human equivalent of a purse dog for the Brobdingnagian queen) and flew him out to sea.

He did not go straight home. There were many more highly improbable islands and people to meet. He, in fact, did not make it home once and for all for another 12 years. Take that Odysseus.

Intrigued? You can check out the rest of the story, and the bits I glossed over, in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. You know where you can pick it up.

So, even if it doesn’t exactly make you want to take up sailing anytime soon, I hope that Gulliver inspires you to at least make your way to the library. Maybe take the scenic route on the way here – you never know what you might find.

So… What is everyone else reading?

NYT Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts (NEW THIS WEEK)

Come Sundown

When Alice, the long lost aunt of Bodine Longbow, owner and boss of a large Montana ranch and resort, is discovered battered and lying in the snow one night it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround the ranch and the Longbow family. The local police suspect the ranch hands, but Bo isn’t so sure. The twisted story Alice has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

  1. NIGHTHAWK by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown (NEW THIS WEEK)
  2. SHADOW REAPER by Christine Feehan (NEW THIS WEEK)
  3. INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins
  4. THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia Quinn (NEW THIS WEEK)
  5. WHITE HOT by Ilona Andrews (NEW THIS WEEK)
  6. THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  7. CURIOUS MINDS by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
  8. DRAGON TEETH by Michael Crichton
  9. THE FIX by David Baldacci