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Russ is always looking for a good book, movie, play, or conversation. Music, drawing, and history are favorite pursuits.

He recommends:

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The Innocents Abroad By Mark Twain, Tom Quirk (Introduction by), Guy Cardwell (Notes by) Cover Image
By Mark Twain, Tom Quirk (Introduction by), Guy Cardwell (Notes by)
ISBN: 9780142437087
Availability: Out of Stock In Store
Published: Penguin Classics - July 30th, 2002
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Twain's take on a group of chauvinistic materialists, including himself, on a "spiritual" quest to Europe and the Holy Land in the 1860's.  The wit is often callow and caustic and ages badly.  The reporting and the musings on Time shine.  It's all a matter of when worlds collide.  Brash parochial America rubbernecking through ancient lands that have seen it all many times before.  You might find yourself humming a Noel Coward lyric: "Why do the wrong people travel,travel, travel, while the right people stay back home?"

In some respects things haven't changed much.

~ recommended September, 2014

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The Siege of Krishnapur (Empire Trilogy) By J.G. Farrell, Pankaj Mishra (Introduction by) Cover Image
By J.G. Farrell, Pankaj Mishra (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590170922
Availability: Backordered
Published: NYRB Classics - July 31st, 2004
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Sprawling nimble comic satire of Imperial Britain and the Raj set in 1857.  It's like those rousing technicolor epics that they don't make anymore.  A brilliantly colored canvas worthy of Monty Python by way of David Lean.. 

~ recommended May, 2014

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The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (Vintage International) By Roberto Calasso Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679733485
Availability: Out of Stock In Store
Published: Vintage - February 8th, 1994
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Calasso's protean imagination sorts through the poetry and philosophy of the ancient world in order to restore the mystery, wonder and relevance of the Greek myths for an adult reader.  (A perfect companion piece to Luc Ferry's Wisdom of the Myths.)

~ recommended March, 2014

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Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin By Timothy Snyder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465031474
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Basic Books - October 2nd, 2012

An absolutely astounding book that radically altered my concept of history.  Grim going redeemed by the author's scrupulous quest to unearth the victims' stories and place them within the wider context of Hitler and Stalin's colossal social engineering.  A solid achievement that lingers in the mind long after.


~ recommended January, 2014

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A Month in the Country By J.L. Carr, Michael Holroyd (Introduction by) Cover Image
By J.L. Carr, Michael Holroyd (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780940322479
Availability: Out of Stock In Store
Published: NYRB Classics - October 31st, 2000
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A simple evocation of a country summer that deepens into a moving retrospective on life, love, loss, and the healing balm of art.

~ recommended October, 2013

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Darkness at Noon: A Novel By Arthur Koestler Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416540267
Published: Scribner - October 17th, 2006

A gritty suspense novel spun from Moscow's show trials of the 30's.
Shades of Orwell, Camus, Kafka, and Fallada here.
A true believer is arrested. In prison, his willingness to create a living hell for a future utopia is confronted by Stalin's demand that he not only obey but willingly agree--to his own execution. Unsettling and thought-provoking page turner.

~ recommended April, 2013