Thursday, May 22, 2008

I was nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1993 for something you're too stupid to understand

Yes, I was eight. Go ahead, just try and disprove me.

What does this have to do with books, you might ask? Well, I learned something very interesting from a review of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. Apparently, in the footnotes of Chapter 13, you'll find the following nugget of information:

“Nominations for a Nobel Prize, I found out when I contacted the Nobel Foundation to try to verify Shafik’s, remain secret for fifty years. You make the claim, and nobody can prove otherwise until after you’re dead. Add one to your résumé today!”

Brilliance. I may have to check out this book, along with the author's previous works: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Who doesn't love a little humor in their science?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

True Stories of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Dude. People are sick. It's kind of awesome. And very, very disturbing.

I Walked the Line by Vivian Cash

--by Abby

In the midst of family vacation I've started this book. It's the story of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian. The description reads:

Before there was June, there was Vivian, the 17-year-old girl from San Antonio, Tex., who met Cash in the summer of 1951 as he was headed overseas in the army. Three years of ardent letter writing sustained them—indeed, a good part of this book consists of Johnny's aching letters from 1951 to 1954, revealing his attempts to keep himself away from drinking and loose women, while begging her to wait for him and pray together. Finally wedded, the couple set out for Memphis, where Cash worked as a door-to-door salesman. After Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two began to travel, Vivian, pregnant from year to year, moved with him constantly, sewed his performance clothes and scribbled lyrics for I Walk the Line as he drove in the car. By 1961, as Vivian Cash tells it, when Johnny was drinking and popping pills heavily, June Carter joined Johnny's tour and tenaciously pursued him. Johnny and Vivian divorced in 1966. Vivian, who died in 2005, has told her story candidly to TV producer Sharpsteen, disclosing myriad tender details and an affecting ability to forgive.

The book is (thusfar) just Johnny's love letters. They are very sweet, and very young, and very frequent. I'm about about halfway through and its 2 years of Johnny's almost daily letters. None of Vivian's writing is included, but the introduction is her explaining why she wrote the book and getting Johnny's approval to do so.

I'm hoping to finish in by the end of the week. After that I think I'm on to some Miranda Recommendations.

Persuaded

--by Abby

I finally, finally, finished Persuasion. I know it took an eternity, but I had to finish a project, finals and graduate in the interim.

I enjoyed Persuasion, but less than some other Austen Favorites. The language is much more difficult than S&S or P&P, and the humor is more subtle than Northanger Abbey. As per usual, the tension and heartbreak has the focus and the climax and conclusion require about 2 pages. The climax was particularly exciting, but I was left longing for a little more detail on the joys and happily ever after.

I guess my final opinion is this is a great book for Austen lovers, but if you didn't love love her other works, you'll probably hate this one. I'm still glad I read it.