4 New Book Reviews

redeployment_0

Redeployment by Phil Klay
National Book Award Winner, 2014
Published by The Penguin Press, NY 2014

From former marine and Iraq veteran Phil Klay, a brilliant and hard-hitting collection of 12 fictional stories that are darkly comic.

In “Redeployment“, the first story in the collection, a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses comes home and learns how to cope with life in the suburbs.

In “After Action Report“, a lance corporal takes responsibility for killings he did not commit to ease the burden of his friend who did.

Another story, “Prayer in the Furnace” is told by a chaplain whose faith is tested by a ferocious colonel.  He seeks solace from a former old Jesuit mentor and the typewritten response comforts him. He keeps the letter in the breast pocket of his jacket, always in plastic to protect it from sweat, for the remainder of his deployment.

Money as a Weapons System” from a Foreign Service Officer’s perspective, his futile attempts at real help for the Iraqis, his translator and an irrational ignorant congressman determined to teach baseball to the Iraqis. At some point the translator says to the officer, who is forced to initiate this baseball program, “You have baked Iraq like a cake and given it to Iran to eat”.

I highly recommend this gritty and harrowing book.

“Klay’s fiction peels back every petty falsehood and self-delusion in the encounter between veterans and the people for whom they supposedly fought” — George Packer, The New Yorker

*********************************************************************************

DSC_0164   chast cover

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?
A Memoir by Roz Chast
Published by Bloomsbury, 2014

This is the story of an only child watching her quirky and, at times, difficult parents, drift into their nineties. The story is told through cartoons, drawings, family photos and documents. This is also a grim detailing of the slow decline of her sweet meek father and overpowering mother. People describe it as funny, I would describe it as melancholy and sad. I don’t recall laughing. But on the other hand, this is a book that I will pass on to many other people, as there is a universality that people can connect to, the eccentricities of human behavior. There are excerpts where one can easily empathize with Roz’ situation and how she handled the difficulties. I do recommend this book.

*******************************************************************************

THE NEW HEALTH RULES: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness
by Frank Lipman, M.D. and Danielle Claro, Photographs by Gentl & Hyers
Published by Artisan Books, 2014

DSC_0181   health book

This is a handsome little hard-cover book that is divided into five sections, Eating, Moving, Boosting, Healing and Living. It is small and compact, providing the ability to even tote it in your purse.

Each suggestion is simple and easy to follow. Here are two examples of the book’s format:

DSC_0176   format health

DSC_0179   format health

DSC_0184   health book

Be Unproductive

DSC_0190   health book

Switch from Mineral Oil to Coconut Oil

DSC_0182   health book

Eat the Colors of the Rainbow

DSC_0185   health book

If you learn only one yoga pose

 

“Easy-to follow advice on everything from eating healthy and exercising to getting more sleep and meditation.” – Ariana Huffington

And More: Don’t use antibacterial hand soap, Keep chlorine out of the house, Read your dish soap label, Honor thy feet, Your gut loves fermented food, If you eat cows, make sure they eat grass.

*********************************************************************************

HUMANS OF NEW YORK
by Brandon Stanton
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2013

DSC_0172   cover of photo book

DSC_0163  photo book

Four hundred photos of New Yorkers and their stories.

“In the summer of 2010, photographer Brando Stanton set out on an ambitious project: to single-handedly create a photographic census of NYC.” He crisscrossed the city covering thousands of miles….and then he created a blog where his photos were featured with quotes and little stories. This book is inspired by his work. I believe he really showcases the wonderful, larger-than-life, over the top, authentic personalities of New York City.

DSC_0170  photo book

DSC_0179   photo book

I love the individuality of this work which celebrates the greatness of the city.

*********************************************************************************

Stay tuned at the end of February for the following book reviews:

PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LIFE, by Atticus Lish

A trilogy by ELENA FERRANTE: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, & Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>