Saturday, July 5, 2008

by Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry is not only a prolific writer of forty books, such as Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, etc., but he has become one of America's most established bookmen.
In Books: A Memoir McMurtry writes about his passion for books, traveling all over the United States as a scout and collector to eventually open up stores for his rare finds in Texas.
He grew up in a ranch house that was bookless. His parents never read him any stories, which is why, he said, he's made up so many.
1942 was the year that changed his life, when his cousin Robert Hilburn, on his way to enlist in the war, gave him a box of nineteen books.
There's interesting trivia, gossip, anecdotes, crazy characters and observations about authors and literature.
The chapters are small comprised of either one or two pages, but they each pack a wallop of information.
A charming work that is both revealing and extremely satisfying.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

by Pat Shipman

Born in Transylvania, in 1845, Florence Szasz became orphaned during the Hungarian Revolution and was raised in a harem in the Ottoman Empire. When she was fourteen, she was sold, to the highest bidder, in a white slave auction. Samuel Baker, a wealthy Englishman and adventurer, was one of the assembled men, in the room and felt compassion and empathy towards her. He boldly abducted Florence and they escaped, in a carriage, through Central Europe.
In To the Heart of the Nile Pat Shipman deftly reconstructs letters, journals, documents and private papers to tell the amazing story of these two stalwart people. They travelled to Africa and stayed there for four years, where they confronted disease, starvation, hostile natives, betrayal, bloodshed and human cruelty. Four years later, the couple returned to Africa as Samuel was given the position of governor-general and told to eradicate the slave trade on the White Nile.
The book is an engrossing tale of bravery, determination and unshakeable love.
Heartily recommended.