A look at three self stories

After reading three autobiographies in less than 10 days, I emerged from the encounter feeling much like a lover who has finally encountered the full physicality of his beloved: I’m thankful for the romp but find myself a little disillusioned, a little disappointed with some parts of the romance.

Wonderful words

 

Like many of my fellow writers and readers, I am a sucker for word books. I love dictionaries — I own at least six of them, ranging from the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary to my own personal favorite, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary — thesauri, grammar books, and books on word origins.

Cupid’s reading list

Valentine’s Day is just around the bend, and for anyone with even a breath of romance in the heart — whether you’re madly in love or you’ve just gotten your heart ripped apart by some human version of Hurricane Katrina — it’s time to look at a few books that might help make romantics out of all of us.

Pre-school to pirates, reading is still fun-damental

Preschool children are normally as full of questions as a quiz show host on a fast night. They want to know who, what, when and why. They want someone to explain how and where and how much. They want to understand those things in this world which the rest of us, except for perhaps a few scientists, poets, and mystics, no longer see.

The groveling underside of therapy

In One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture Is Eroding Self-Reliance (ISBN 0-312-30443-9, $23.95), Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys and Who Stole Feminism? and Dr. Sally Satel, author of PC, MD: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine, make the case that our therapeutic society has run amuck, leading to a steady collapse of moral values and traditional American virtues.

Mind those manners

Talk To the Hand #?*!: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss.
Gotham Books, 2005. $25 — 216 pages.

Make way for the holidays

The Compleat Gentleman by Brad Miner. Spence Publishing, 2004. 264 pages.

The Truth of the Matter by Robb Forman Dew. Little & Brown, 2005. 336 pages.

Remembering the Civil War

This year marks 140 years since the end of the American Civil War. In that time a gigantic library of books regarding the conflict between the Gray and the Blue has come into being with scores of books published annually on what Shelby Foote once called “the American Iliad.” Sometimes other events will cause this steady flow of literature to rise to flood-tide; the centennial anniversary of the war sparked everything from a Civil War comic strip in the papers to Civil War song albums, while Ken Burns’ television series on the war and the internationally bestselling novel Cold Mountain both sparked a renewed interest in the conflict, again accompanied by a burst of publications.

Christmas reading: Some holiday ideas ranging from Christmas to religion in America

This week letÕs peruse three unrelated books whose only commonality lies in the fact that they were either written by Southerners or were published in the South. The first is an interesting volume about Christmas in America, which might be most profitably read before Christmas Day. The other two books are about religion in America, always a topic of great interest even among unbelievers; as one of the authors, Dave Shiflett, reports, É writing about religion is a lot more interesting than writing about politics or sports. This is the Big StoryÉ.

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