Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Turn Left at the Trojan Horse by Brad Herzog

The author travels in his RV from his home in California to a college reunion in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca has a Greek mythological connection. The book is the author's RV travel across country and stopping to visit cities named after cities and gods those Greek myths. Weaving Greek myth, the hero myth, conversations with the locals and baring facets of his personal life, this is a most readable book. Makes me want to become more focused and develop themes for my nomadic travels.

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson

This is the best biography of the bard that I've read. (I've read very few and there are hundreds of them.) The good part is that Bryson summarizes his research, other materials and three hundred years of words in this slim book. Want to read one book about Shakespeare? This is it.

The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester

The concept for the Oxford English Dictionary begins in the middle of the 19th century. Over 70 years later, it was finally complete. Winchester as the ultimate story teller relates the story of the development and the persons who were involved in that process. The most interesting and voluminous contributor of entries to the book was an inmate of an insane asylum.

In a final chapter, the author wonders whether a 20th century madman could contribute similar material after being prescribed today's "better living through chemistry" drugs for mental illness. Certainly an interesting question considering some of the known mental frailties of the visual, written and musical artists of the 18th and 19th century.


  1. I wish your review of Bryson's book on Shakespeare was a little longer. For instance, where does he come down on the "Authorship Question." Also, did the book seem like a mere "cut and paste" job? Professional authors do things like that sometimes.

  2. Boonie,
    As I was reading through the book, that question kept coming up for me as well. Fortunately, the last chapter deals with the other claimants to the authorship of Shakespeare material.

  3. I'm glad to see you enjoyed "Turn Left.." I just bought the book last week but haven't started it yet.


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