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My Book Reading

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly  (completed)

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Killing Floor by Lee Child   (completed)

   (1997, Reacher's first appearance)

Sticky Fingers - The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan


The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (Dey St. Books, just completed, full review just published)

Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980, the book that started the franchise, just completerd)

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)

Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.


Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.


The New Gypsies by Iain McKell

Gypsies have long held a position as fascinating bit players in history. Hollywood always used gypsies as colorful minor characters they could dress extravagently, and teach odd Hungarian accents to. Turns out today’s real gypsies are kinda like that, but they live and travel Europe for entirely different reasons.

McKell has been following what he terms New Age Travelers in England for years; they came into being in 1986, as a group of Post-Punk Anti-Thatcher protesters left London, and modern society, for the English countryside. Over the years they’ve become hybrids, rural anarchists, living in extravagantly decorated horse-drawn caravans. Today’s European gypsies live in as sustainable a manner as they can, sharing beliefs in sustainability, self-reliance and disdain for the possessions of today’s contemporary life. I imagine there are no iPhones in the gypsy caravans.

The New Gypsies is a large format compilation of gorgeous, sometimes haunting photographs portraying modern gypsy culture. I find myself looking into the eyes of some of McKell’s subjects and wishing I could ask questions. Everyone in The New Gypsies appears very “in the moment;”  give credit to photographer McKell. Essays in the back of the book are helpful in filling in the blanks about this fascinating society. As a book, this is a complete success, leaving me wanting more, at the same time answering questions I didn't even know I had.

$39.95, Prestel USA (a part of Random House)  


The HCG Diet. Is It More Dangerous or Stupid?

You tell me. Injecting pregnancy hormones, eating only 500 calories per day... Claire Lambrecht, writing in, says it's the craziest fad diet in years. I couldn't agree more. I call it stupid.  


Has Jon Bon Jovi lost his mind?

Bon Jovi: “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business” /56123 /bon-jovi-steve-jobs-is-...

I'm late to the party, there's a long line of people beating Bon Jovi up in print for this crazy statement, but I couldn't let it pass. Having spent a fortune on recorded music in my life, knowing the industry, realizing how much the world has changed, how could a guy who likes baseball so much say something like this?


Buddy the Butterfly

My kids are grown, so I’ve not had books for children in front of me for a long time. A nice home-grown series for young children, Buddy and Company, has come to my attention, and you should get your hands on copies if you have children just learning to read. Begin by reading these three books to them, encouraging your kids to enjoy the colors and chalk-drawing-like illustrations. What child doesn’t enjoy a friendly butterfly, and won’t like delving into the “small world of Buddy the Butterfly?  

Dan Johnson writes and creates the artwork for these nice little books; in a world of crass commercialization aimed at your children, it’s refreshing to see books such as these self-published. Is there anything better than giving your money directly to the writer and artist? Support this project; your kids will thank you.


Gluten-free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap by Nicole Hunn 

Scanning the shelves in my local Barnes & Noble recently, trying in vain to locate a specific book in the non-ordered “alphabetical by author” area, I was struck by how many cookbooks are in print catering to the gluten-free audience. It appears disavowing gluten continues to spread beyond the world of celiac disease; I find this encouraging.

 Hunn is a well-known author and blogger (Gluten-Free on a Shoestring), and this new book continues her tradition of providing useful information easy to translate into real life. Planning meals ahead is where most people fall off the wagon, and eating carefully takes thoughtfulness. These recipes are easy to handle in the kitchen, and help you stay healthy and gluten-free with ease. ($19,