The Three Rs...

Relax reading book reviews!

What a lovely day at the library reading nonfiction book reviews from recent issues of the Wall Street Journal--and even getting paid to do it! If I had all the time in the world to read, I would find these books at my library. Not having that luxury, I recommend reading these book reviews. They piqued my curiosity. A well-written book review informs the reader about the subject of the book. It also critiques the author's writing, research, bias, and conclusions. A really excellent review brews the synopsis and evaluation with some spicy writing to make a quick and potent shot of intellectual salsa.

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, by Mark Lindsrom. WSJ review by Andrew Stark. While "neuromarketing" has an Orwellian aspect, it is intriguing to learn how marketers are using MRI brain scans. Those cutesie-wutesie Mini Cooper cars actually trigger the part of our brains that responds to human faces. That's why you want to call Minis "iddle widdle wuzzums".

Lili Marlene, by Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller Norton. WSJ review by Daniel Ford. The review explains briefly how a poet's synthesis of two experiences in WWI impacted troops on both sides during WWII.

Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914, by Philipp Blom. WSJ review by Arthur Herman. It's unlikely I could actually read this book, but I love reviewer Herman's phrase, "the economics of panicky elites," and his hints at parallels to the current financial situation.

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, by David Wolman. WSJ review by Cullen Murphy. Wonderful eccentrics have tried to reform English spelling over the centuries. Now spell-check, email, and text-messaging are changing our orthography habits for good or evil.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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