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GalleyCat Reviews features daily book review content, including book reviews, excerpted book reviews from select review outlets, and curated posts linking to the best book reviews on the web. The reviews are written by a mix of professional reviewers and passionate readers in the GalleyCat community. If you are a publicist looking to submit books to GalleyCat reviews, please email your pitches to this new email address. We are accepting pitches for new books in any genre, but we will only be able to review a fraction of the suggested titles. Want to read more? Check out these links: February 2010 Print Edition March 2010 Print Edition April 2010 Print Edition Best Book Reviewers on Twitter List.
You Can't Go Home Again: Scott Turow's Innocent
Reviewed by Louise Leetch Read more about GalleyCat Reviews Remember trudging up the sledding hill when you were a kid, with the rope to your Flexible Flyer slanted across your chest? You trudged and slogged and leaned into the hill just trying to get to the top where you knew adventure awaited. Finally you belly-slapped onto the sled and had the ride of your life flying, twisting, bumping down the hill in one great run. That's what reading Scott Turow is like. He tends to be incredibly lawyerly; and the first 200 pages are, if not prolix, certainly protracted. It takes forever to get to the meat of the story but when he finally gets there, you'll have no way to stop. Sometimes, though, you can't go home again; and writing a sequel can be repetitious. Innocent picks up 20 years after Turow's Presumed Innocent--same great characters, same foolish guy having another affair with another colleague, same guy accused of murder, same defense attorney, same prosecutor; only slightly different outcome. It's good, just not quite up to Turow's standard. Innocent has a great plot proffered by a master of great twists. Rusty Sabich, now Chief Judge of the State Appellate court, has put behind him his acquittal 20 years earlier for the murder of Carolyn Polhemus. He's preparing for a shoe-in election to the State Supreme Court when, whoops! his wife dies very suddenly. Now that would be just an unfortunate event for one with her medical history; except Rusty just sits with her dead body for 23 hours before he bothers to call anyone. This just doesn't sit right with Tommy Molto, who was the prosecutor in Rusty's murder trial. He and his intense samurai-like assistant, Jim Brand, think something stinks and still believe Rusty guilty of the earlier murder. Molto would love to nail Rusty, but after defense attorney Sandy Stern tore strips off him in that foray, he needs a dead cert case before he'll bring charges. Jim Brand has pit bull in his genes and turns up too many 'coincidences' for Molto to ignore. So off we go, back into the courtroom--this is the top of the sledding hill and Turow really lets it rip. The machinations of trial lawyers and the quirks and caprices of the law never cease to impress me.
Here's where Turow shines. Turow had one truly brilliant twist and then threw it away. I thought of a couple great turns this book might take; alas, the author took a different path. That's the trouble with writing great books; we expect each one to surpass the previous. Still, it's easy to be a critic; Turow has a lawyer's expertise. He's also the pro with eight bestsellers--so I guess that's why we let him be the author. Louise Leetch divides her time between Chicago and Wisconsin. Both houses are just crammed with books. She collects her reviews on her GoodReads page.
What Would James Ellroy Do?
Submissions for the World's Longest Literary Remix contest are rolling in, including a piece from novelist and Marvel Comics writer Duane Swierczynski. The author explained his remixing method: "It was easy once I asked myself: What Would James Ellroy Do?" Read his bear-fighting submission after the jump. Swierczynski joined a brave crew of readers in rewriting one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes--read his entry after the jump. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes: 1-Scribd.com and Blurb.com are donating 10 printed copies of the completely remixed novel, using the company's new print-on-demand service. 2- The remixing experts at Quirk Books will give one lucky winner an assortment of Quirk Classics books, posters, and audiobooks--a prize package worth over $100. 3-The multimedia literary journal Electric Literature will donate "Electric Literature: Year One"--a complete set of the first four issues of the journal--a $40 value. "Horatio Alger Confidential" The bear was little more than a hundred feet behind him and was gaining steadily. Fatigue--terrible. Breathing--a hoarse pant. Mind alive SCREAMING TERROR. A shrill cry, exploding from his lungs. Hogan sank. Hogan shut his eyes. Hogan waited. The bear--faster faster faster Joe's head swiveled. "Now let him have it!" Bickford squeezed--muzzle flash--pellets shedding fur--the grizzly’s wide SHOCKED face. Animal screams--furious, wagging his head side to side as if to ask who the f***...
There. The two others. Meat on legs. Rifles in hand. The bear thinking: f*** Hogan. The bear thinking: eat the others. The bear bounding forward, fantasizing about sucking marrow from thigh bones. Bickford, yelling: "Give it to him quick, Joe! He's making for us!" Joe: rifle steady. Deep breath. Hold it. Don't twitch. Don't freeze. Don't f*** this up. Rifle--EXPLOSION Fur/blood/muscle/musk/heat/choking/smoke/death The bear tumbled--sudden awkwardness. Joe, wiping gore from his palms: "Is he dead, or only feigning?" Joshua: "He's a gone coon. Let us go up and look at him." The beast--not quite dead. Glazed eyes. Convulsing, paws twitching, then-Nothing. Bickford: He's gone, sure enough. Good-by, old grizzly. You meant well, but circumstances interfered with your good intentions." Joe: "Now let us look up Hogan." The man had sunk to the ground utterly exhausted, and in his weakness and terror had fainted. Duane Swierczynski is the author of Expiration Date, out now from St. Martin's Minotaur, and a writer for Marvel Comics.
Mother's Day Gift Ideas
A feature by P.E. Logan Read more about GalleyCat Reviews Last Sunday I test drove Mother's Day. I had to. I live in a fraternity as the lone female in a house with two teen-aged boys and a husband. With Mother's Day fast approaching, I thought it best to provide a subtle hint for a gift I would really like this year. They can skip the electronics and hold the Jean Nate drugstore cologne. I want a book. I went to the local bookstore and kindly made this list for them. When I picture my men folk in a book shop, stumped by all that bound paper, I know they will need my help in the same way only I can home in on lost iPods and cell phones. I have real fear about what they could bring home. On the Mother's Day display table I saw this tome, She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother. Guys, if that comes into the house, you three are toast. And, a special shout out to the sixteen-year-old: No, I will not enjoy the complete transcripts of South Park, even if it exists. (Hedging my bet here...) I know my guys will select a book for me based on its cover and a peak at the back ad or flaps. So, like a fluke entranced by a lure, I swam the main aisles and combed the endcaps to create this list of what caught my eye and why. Dudes: it doesn't get any easier than this to make The Mother (or T'Mo, on text messaging) happy on Sunday. I was elated to see The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery, by Alan Bradley (Delacorte; $24). His debut novel in the series, The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie, introduced Flavia; a twelve-year-old British girl-sleuth hell bent for mischief and isolated on her familyâ€™s country estate, post World War I. She is Miss Marple Jr. and as thoroughly enjoyable as Bradley's sprite plots. It will be such a delight to spend time with her again. Anne Lamott's new book is the novel Imperfect Birds (Riverhead Books; $25.95). I would read anything by this great writer: a manual on industrial dry cleaning, health insurance forms, Brita Filter instructions. Ms. Lamott makes words sing. When I worked in publishing and traded books with fellow publishing types, I bought hers. I went to a reading for Traveling Mercies and purchased the book, along with three copies of Bird by Bird the best book on writing (and life) to date. Always meet your icons if you can.
Andrea Levy has a new novel, The Long Song (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $26.00). I did not read Ms. Levy's last novel, the prize-winning Small Island. I admit I discovered her from the recent two-part series on Masterpiece Theater. But if the PBS production did her work justice, I would relish a chance to indulge in this next story about Jamaican/British transplants in London and the racial conflicts in their lives.
I know I didn't want the book about the fat mom, but here’s one on myths about mid-life brain drain that begs to be read by all graying Baby Boomers. The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind by Barbara Strauch (Viking; $26.95), says the news about your aging, tired cerebellum is not all bad. Bring it on! If you feel squeamish about giving this title as a gift, include a bag of Mint Milano cookies to soften the blow. The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing and Bench Clearing Brawls by Jason Turbow (Pantheon; $25) is a book that should bring my baseball I.Q. up from the current level of an eleven-year-old boy to at least that of a fifteen-year-old. With this book I can become a perfect Tinker to Evers to Chance know-it-all. A special message to my nineteen-year-old: please do not read it first and spill Starbucks mochachino droplets on the pages. In time, I promise to lend it. Trust your mother. BTW, a ticket to a Yankees' game makes an effective and apt bookmark. I do want to read A Ticket to the Circus: A Memoir by Norris Church Mailer (Random House; $26), mostly I want to go to her house and just stare at this survivor. Too bad Norman Mailer's bunch didn't have a reality TV show like Ozzie Osborne's family. Clearly they would have been more interesting with the stabbings and other perpetual brouhahas. This memoir is most likely the next best thing to being there. I have complete faith it will not disappoint. Reader bonus: Your family will shine in comparison. While my sons are at it, they can save on their carbon footprint and also pick up an early birthday present for me. Being born on the first of July guaranteed every cake displayed fruit patriotically formatted with whipped cream into a highly recognizable red, white and blue pattern. This is the fault of one little upholstery worker from Philadelphia. Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller (Henry Holt; $30) should explain all the history and make you a fly on the wall when Ben Franklin suggest she sew the new nation's flag. Now we'll know what transpired when one woman made the lasting icon of America. Any one of these books will delight me no end and other than the book itself, all I ask is some time to read. A few hours in the hammock (wait, that broke in a midnight Frisbee game) or a repose in the wicker chair out near the lilacs would make a peaceable day. So take the car, I'm offering the keys, and go out for dinner. I'll stay at home on Sunday and read. Did I mention the Milanos? Thanks boys. P.E. Logan is communications professional and a writer in New York. She has worked at various adult trade publishing houses including Random House, Putnam, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster for almost three decades. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and other periodicals.
Horatio Alger and the Chocolate Factory: Remix Submissions Booming
The first submissions for our World's Longest Literary Remix contest are coming in this week as 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers each rewrite one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes. Among the many submissions, we enjoyed a hilarious mash-up of Alger and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory written by freelance writer Stan Friedman (read it after the jump). These GalleyCat readers signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes. If you didn't sign up for the contest but wish you did, email GalleyCat with the subject heading "Remix Waiting List." If any writers drop out, we will fill the empty slot with a writer from the waiting list. For your reading pleasure, here's Friedman's entry--temporarily entitled "Horatio Alger and the Chocolate Factory" by this GalleyCat editor. Both the first line and the last line come straight from Alger himself... The crowd disappeared, only Joe and his advocate remaining behind. "I am grateful to you, sir, for your kindness," said Joe. "It is fortunate I came along. Are you a stranger in the city?" "Yes, I was here to accompany my grandson, Charlie, to Wonka's factory. "You must be careful not to run into danger. There are many perils in the city for the inexperienced." "So I've learned. Charlie was torn asunder this morning by an obese, young woman with violet skin." The next day, Joe went down to the factory. An Oompa Loompa with attitude stopped him. "Have you got a ticket?" he asked. "Yes, sir," said Joe, "a golden ticket. There it is."
"Where did you get this?" asked the pygmy. "Craigslist," said Joe "How much did you pay?" "Actually, I bartered my four-person bed and a tube of moustache wax for it." "Then you have lost both bed and wax, for it is a bogus ticket. Go home!" Joe frowned beneath his limp moustache. The earth sank under him like a dissolving Everlasting Gobstopper. He realized that he had been swindled, and that a piece of gum that tastes like a three-course meal was farther from his lips than ever. CHAPTER VIII JOE'S LUCK CHANGES The intelligence that his ticket was valueless came to Joe like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. Just minutes before, his excellent prospects had him nearly orgasmic. "What shall I do?" he ejaculated. Stan Friedman is a research librarian and freelance poet/critic/hack in New York City. He holds an MFA from Columbia and his criticism appears regularly in Publishers Weekly.
GalleyCat Reviews 'Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution'
Review by Louise Leetch Read more about GalleyCat Reviews In 1776, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old independently wealthy Frenchman, adored and petted by royalty, happily married in a well-connected family, petitioned to be allowed to join the American Revolution. Dazzled by his reputation at court and convinced that this soldier's offer to outfit and transport his volunteers was legitimate; the American delegation in Paris appointed him a general in the American Army. In his new book, Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution, Gonzague Saint Bris shows us the Lafayette who was much more than a rich young Frenchman dabbling in a foreign war. He admits to the naivete and pursuit of glory which propelled Lafayette across the Atlantic. However, it was just those qualities that began his lifelong mission to establish freedom and defend the oppressed. Saint Bris gives us the man who used the lessons of the American Revolution to help France through her long journey to nationhood. Along the way, the author shows us the true image of the French revolution and it is nothing like that in our high school history books. Make no mistake, Lafayette was on a quest for fame and glory; more interested in popularity than power. What truly drove him, more than any of his contemporaries, was his dedication to securing freedom and equality for all men. He was the white knight of rights, a paladin whose commitment increased exponentially as he aged. In Lafayette's letters to his countrymen, his zeal for the American campaign convinced Louis XVI to issue the Treaty of Trade and Friendship, a deliverance for which America to this day esteems him. His filial devotion to George Washington during the Revolution continued in his letters seeking advice when France fought for the same liberties. France's burgeoning struggle beckoned Lafayette home to serve his king. His role as a member of the Estates General and his ability to serve both his king and his nation provide a remarkable tale of an apolitical idealist. As head of the Parisian National Guard, his duty was the protection of the royal family. Indeed, he saved the lives of the king and queen on more than one occasion. Their attempt to escape caused him to be reviled by both the nobles who blamed him for recapturing them and the monarch's enemies who believed he had enabled their attempt. I've always wondered how Lafayette the aristocrat managed to avoid the guillotine. In a strange twist of fate, a Jacobin conspiracy led to a call for his arrest in 1792. In the face
of certain execution, Lafayette deserted. He was quickly arrested by the Austrian army of Francis II, and imprisoned until 1797. He was released only after the intervention of both Washington and Bonaparte. Napoleon really didn't want him back in France raising cries for civil liberties, but finally agreed to allow him to return 'quietly' in 1799. Lafayette never rested, encouraging, cajoling and exhorting the nascent State of France as she grappled with interminable birth pangs of revolution, republic, directory, empire, and restorations--even securing Napoleon's abdication in 1815. Only just a few years before his death did he see his hopes of a constitutional monarchy realized. He was the voice of France's conscience crying out for freedoms, working as the 'soul of the liberal opposition' in the Parlement through all those governments. Mme de Stael said Lafayette's name was one and the same with the name of freedom. Louise Leetch divides her time between Chicago and Wisconsin. Both houses are just crammed with books. She collects her reviews on her GoodReads page.
The Best Beach Books
The sun has finally returned to New York City, inspiring this GalleyCat editor to dream about beach reading. What books will you take to the beach this summer? Share your favorites in the comments section. Counting on our readers' collective knowledge of books, GalleyCat Reviews regularly features curated book lists from Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations. The site is building a new Beach Books category, and your suggestions will help build a better beach book list. Over the last year, Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations has created more than 370 lists--giving reading advice on everything from book club books to cancer survivor books. Working with this carefully curated publication, we will share our favorite lists with GalleyCat readers. Add your suggestions in the comments section. Straight from his recent Mexico vacation reading list, this GalleyCat editor suggests Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann for the literary set; Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones for the horror and literary sets; and finally, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot for the nonfiction and literary sets. Laura: “Great post idea. I'd like to recommend So Cold the River by Michael Koryta for the mystery/thriller set and The Island by Elin Hilderbrand, set on an island near Nantucket, for the literary romance-inclined.” Tracy Davis: “I cannot believe you have never mentioned, "MY HUSBAND RAN OFF WITH THE NANNY AND GOD DO I MISS HER" ! Go to amazon and see the reviews, go to my website www.tracydavisarts.com and read teh first chapter free. It is number 5 out of over 13000 books on amazon list for fiction, humor. Check it out! I've been a member of yours forever!” The Doctor Is In: “Sugar Time, which has been described as "chick lit for women of a certain age", is available at amazon.com and is a terrific beach read for women of all ages!” That Neil Guy: “I'll be reading the new novel by Allison Winn Scotch: 'The One That I Want' (http://amzn.to/cEsrSa). Sadly, though, I probably won't make it to the actual beach and will just sit on my back porch instead.”
Horatio Alger: The Yiddish Version
Submissions for the World's Longest Literary Remix contest came pouring in this weekend, as participants rewrite one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes. Among the many submissions, novelist Mary Guterson sent us a Yiddish revision of a piece of Alger prose--read it below. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes: 1-Scribd.com and Blurb.com are donating 10 printed copies of the completely remixed novel, using the company's new print-ondemand service. 2- The remixing experts at Quirk Books will give one lucky winner an assortment of Quirk Classics prizes, including: a signed copy of the deluxe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ), the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters audio book, the audio and print version of PPZ: Dawn of The Dreadfuls, an Android Karenina poster, an assortment of PPZ postcards and a PPZ journal. It's a prize package worth over $100. 3-The multimedia literary journal Electric Literature will donate "Electric Literature: Year One"--a complete set of the first four issues of the journal--a $40 value. If you didn't sign up for the contest but wish you did, email GalleyCat with the subject heading "Remix Waiting List." If any writers drop out, we will fill the empty slot with a writer from the waiting list. Horatio Alger: The Yiddish Version CAUTION: This features some strong Yiddish! "Oscar Norton, do you mean to insult Miss Raymond or me?" he demanded. "Why, you little pisher! You think you can get away with giving it to me and Ms. Raymond in the kishkas?" "Ach, Joey. What a shmuck! So, suddenly you're the big k-nocker!" Oscar said. "Oscar, you shmegegge! Use your saychel! Answer already!"
Oscar shrugged. "Don't plotz, you noodge. Ms. Raymond, you choose such a nudnik to walk with? Look at him! Dressed in shmatas! You know that he works for my father!" "I need your opinion like a loch in kop, Oscar Norton," Annie Raymond said. "So he's not so farpitzsed. He's still a mensch." Joey said, "Your father, he gives me schlock! If I look like a nebbish, it's because of your mishpacha! It's a shonda, the way he dresses me." "Oy, now I'm all verklempt. I'll tell him of your tsoris," Oscar said. But he didn't mean it. "Go ahead, you piece of shmutzik! Save me the trouble of telling him the whole megilla!" "Let's go," Annie Raymond said. "Oscar's opinion isn't worth bupkes. Besides, I'm starting to shvitz." "Bei mir bist du shayn," said Joey, eyes sparkling. And they walked on. "What chutzpah! She's furblunjit! She's all fercockt!" he muttered. "Schlepping around with that goniff, Joey!" Oscar wanted to call her a fershtinkiner and a nafka, but it wouldn't be kosher. She had a lovely tuches, everyone knew so. She was zaftig like nobody's business, and Oscar wanted nothing more than to shtup her. But Annie Raymond thought Oscar was nothing but a shlub. And a schnorrer to boot, even if his father had plenty of gelt. And she knew Joey was no shmendrick, either When Oscar got home he looked for the alter kocker. "Father," Oscar said. "That meshugge Joey is telling Annie Raymond that you dress him in shmattes!" Major Norton looked annoyed. Mary Guterson is the author of the novels "We Are All Fine Here," (Putnam, 2005) and "Gone to the Dogs," (St. Martin's, 2009)
Humanity and the Divine: GalleyCat Reviews 'A Time for Everything'
Reviewed by Christopher Byrd Read more about GalleyCat Reviews Long before the back & forth between religion and science, literature has been an irritant and a helpmate to belief. Because the continual transmission of spiritual practices relies on the transformative power of storytelling, there is a kinship between the appeal of Scripture to the catechumen's sensibility and the grander aims of secular literature. In both instances, the success of a text may be reckoned by its potential to modulate a worldview, or bring clarity to universal concerns. That said, at least since the time when Plato anointed itinerant versifiers with myrrh and wreathes before shooing them away from his utopia, the subversive potential of literature has been appreciated. Censors throughout the millennia have grasped that dogma is not literature's forte. At heart, fiction and poetry are wildcards capable of shoring up a perceived truth or pillorying it, or zipping between both extremes on the fly. In his impressively ambitious book, A Time for Everything, the Norwegian novelist Karl O. Knausgaard uses fiction's license to advance and undermine piety. Charting the relationship between humanity and the divine, in light of the angelic manifestations in the Bible, Knausgaard adds a new coat of palpability to a selection of Biblical stories by injecting them with emotional resonances that are latent or missing from the source material. The liberties he takes are generally compelling. In his retelling of the story of Cain and Abel, the angels figure on the periphery as sentinels posted at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Initially, the plot canters along a psychologically pedestrian bridle path; Cain is portrayed as loner, who is forever being eclipsed by his extroverted younger brother. Then at one gruesome point, the tale shrugs off its predictability by ascribing Abel with a touch of sadism. This enriches the nuances of the brothers' relationship exponentially. Though a tragic outcome is never in question, Knausgaard's creative inventions lend the story an intensity lacking in its laconic, scriptural counterpart. It should be said that sometimes these Miltonic attempts to supplement, daresay, outperform the Biblical narratives are undermined by rather hammy anachronisms--e.g. Noah's future brother-inlaw plays poker. While it could be postulated that Knausgaard lards his book with such details to display an easygoing side, he does this fine in other places (Lot and his wife are a hoot) without these garish wink-winks. A Time for Everything prosecutes the case for divine mutability. The narrator, whose identity is explored in the coda (which one could imagine as a fully fleshed out treatment
for a Lars von Trier film), is versatile at voicing this claim along literary and hermeneutical lines with fluctuating seriousness. Donning a pleasant, scholarly tone, he engages in a close reading of the Bible that pays heed to God's changing behavior toward mankind: The punitive deity who sends the Flood; the lamenting deity who bids Ezekiel to eat the honey-flavored scrolls; the radical deity who, by incarnating himself in the figure of Christ, quests for total empathy with his creation. For the narrator, these and other examples attest to a creator who has a finite understanding of his creation, which should not be construed as an attempt to divest God of His grandeur, but as cogent assessment of His attributes. What if the improvised, the intuitive, the capricious, and the never-quite-finished are divine? ... What is noteworthy is not Bellori’s underlining of the Lord’s human characteristics, but the great theologians’ repudiation of them. It is hard to imagine, as Bellori said, that God and his divine creatures would exist without any sort of link with the human, raised completely over matter, as Thomas Aquinas and like minds maintained. As far as they were concerned, God in all of his forms was absolute - absolute purity, absolute enlightenment, absolute perfection… But because God in this way is defined as everything man is not, and never can be, it’s easy to accept it and believe that things really are that way, and that this abstract God is the true God, when really it’s the opposite: the abstract God is the more human, precisely because it equates with mankind’s concept of what the most beautiful, the most elevated, and the most perfect is. (376-377) This interpretive argument is sewn around a fanciful reading of art history. It accredits the discrepancy between the babyish cherubs of Baroque paintings and their more transfixing representations in the Bible—one thinks, for example, of Mathew 28:3, “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow”— as proof that angels have altered their appearances to get along in the world—in the aftermath of the death of God. For Bellori the death of Christ was the death of God. “The central point in Bellori’s speculations about Jesus in On the Nature of Angels was that he represented no permanent state of the divine, as maintained by the dogma of the Trinity, but came into existence in a so-called kenosis, that is, a “self-emptying” or “self-emptying ecstasy,” that God had emptied himself into Jesus Christ.” (p.417) Given that Bellori supposedly wrote about all of the angelic encounters in the Bible, it is strange that the narrative overlooks mentioning the angel sighted in the vicinity of Christ’s tomb, who informs Mary and Mary Magdalene that “he is risen.” While such an omission cuts at the novel’s theological critique, it does not sin against the institution of literature. Christopher Byrd is a writer who lives in New York. His reviews have appeared in publications such as The New York Times Book Review, The American Prospect, The Believer, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Wilson Quarterly.
Horatio Alger Versus The Doppelganger
Submissions for the World's Longest Literary Remix contest are rolling in, including a piece by professional remixer Ben H. Winters. Over at Quirk Books, Winters has written Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the upcoming Android Karenina. Winters joined a brave crew of readers in rewriting one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes--read his entry after the jump. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes. "Horatio Alger Versus The Doppelgänger" Joe, too, imitating the stealthy motion of the pursuer, swiftly gained upon him, overtaking him just as he had the sand-bag poised aloft, ready to be brought down upon the head of the traveler. With a cry, Joe rushed upon the would-be assassin, causing him to stumble and fall. Something looked eerily familiar about this murderous stranger. But what it was precisely he could not yet say. Joe sprang to the side of the gentleman in front. "Have you a pistol?" he said quickly. Scarcely knowing what he did, the gentleman drew out a pistol and put it in Joe's hand. Joe cocked it, stood facing the ruffian, and gasped in shock. "How can this be?" he murmured. For the man sneering back at Joe looked, in every particular, exactly like Joe himself. "What are you?" The doppelgänger's answer was to swing the sand-bag aloft. "Curse you!" he said in Joe's own voice, sending a glissando of horror rolling down Joe's spine. "I'll make you pay for this!"
"One step forward," said Joe, in a clear, distinct voice not betraying the chaos of confusion and fear in his gut. "And I will put a bullet through your brain!" "And if you do?" replied the mirror-image man. "Who dies? Dare you to shoot lead into my skull, which is your skull as well?" The assassin stepped back and laughed Joe's laugh, confident and ringing. "Now put down that weapon, you whipper-snapper!" "Not much!" answered Joe. "Not much," mocked the clone. "Stop that!" hollered Joe. "Stop that!" replied the other Joe. "I've a great mind to kill you!" "I've a great mind to kill you." "Oh, come on!" Joe demanded. "Turn round and leave us." The doppelgänger eyed him carefully. "Will you promise not to shoot?" "Yes, if you go off quietly." "I will. Only remember, Joe, that the greatest obstacle a man may face is his own self: his own predilections, his own obstinance and foolishness haunting him like a demon." When the peculiar highwayman had concluded this warning and moved off, Joe said: "Well, that was weird. We'd better be moving, and pretty quickly, or the fellow may return, with more versions of me, and I'll totally flip my lid. Where are you stopping?" Ben H. Winters is a writer who lives in Brooklyn with all the other writers.
Best & Worst Book Trailers Finalists
On Thursday (May 20th), this GalleyCat Reviews editor will help review the world's best and worst book trailers at Melville House's first annual Moby Awards--a genuine red carpet ceremony held at The Griffin in Manhattan. Email here to RSVP. After the jump, you can see all the finalists for a variety of categories: Best Big Budget Book Trailer; Best Cameo in a Book Trailer, Best Author Appearance in a Book Trailer; Least Likely to Actually Sell the Book; and finally, Best Low Budget/Indie Book Trailer. To prepare yourself, check out that Karl Rove attack ad book trailer (not a finalist) embedded above and read this Flavorwire article about book trailers. The awards will be judged by a panel of publishing folk, including this GalleyCat editor, Slate.com's Troy Patterson, the LA Times' Carolyn Kellogg, OR Books' Colin Robinson, and Melville House Publishing's Megan Halpern.
Best & Worst Book Trailer Finalists (in alphabetical order by title) Best Low Budget/Indie Book Trailer A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell The Electric Church in One Minute by Jeff Somers Extraordinary Renditions by Andrew Ervin I am in the Air Right Now by Kathryn Regina I Lego New York by Chistoph Niemann Best Big Budget/Big House Book Trailer: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith Blameless by Gail Carriger Going West by Maurice Gee High Before Homeroom by Maya Sloan Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
Best Performance by an Author: Gordon Lish in Collected Fictions Dennis Cass in Head Case Thomas Pynchon (voice of) in Inherent Vice Daniel Handler in Kindle vs. iPad #10 Jeffrey Rotter in The Known Unknowns Best Cameo in a Book Trailer: Jon Stewart in I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil... Jonathan Safran Foer's Grandmother in Eating Animals He is Legend's Schyler Croom in High Before Homeroom Deepak Chopra in The Karma Club Zach Galifinakis in Lowboy Least Likely Trailer to Sell the Book: Pocket Guide to Mischief by Bart King Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden by Cameron Pierce Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao Lin Sounds of Murder by Patricia Rockwell True Confections by Katharine Weber Here's more from the release: "Awards will be presented for book trailers that were produced between April 2009 and April 2010, whether by authors, editors, big houses, or little indies. The event is open to all publishing and media professionals, authors, and their guests. Indie publisher Dennis Loy Johnson, founder of the venerable book blog MobyLives, will be the host, and acclaimed novelist John Wray, and other surprise celebrity guests, will open the envelopes to read out the winners and present them with their trophies."
Horatio Alger in Oz
Submissions for the World's Longest Literary Remix contest are rolling in, including Wizard of Oz-themed entry from novelist Laura Hill. Read her ruby slipper-ed submission after the jump. Hill joined a brave crew of readers in rewriting one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes--read his entry after the jump. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes: 1-Scribd.com and Blurb.com are donating 10 printed copies of the completely remixed novel, using the company's new print-on-demand service. 2- The remixing experts at Quirk Books will give one lucky winner an assortment of Quirk Classics books, posters, and audiobooks--a prize package worth over $100. 3-The multimedia literary journal Electric Literature will donate "Electric Literature: Year One"--a complete set of the first four issues of the journal--a $40 value. Horatio Alger in Oz "Yes; it satisfies me." "Are you alone? Have you no partner?" asked Hogan. "What need do I have of partners when I have a fleet of flying monkeys to serve me?" Joe replied staunchly. "Why flying monkeys may be fine for terrorizing munchkins and small girls with dogs, but what I'm talking about is far grander than that!" "Grander than forcibly ruling the Emerald City?" "Grander than holding sway over all of Munchkin Land.What I propose is bigger than even the great Oz's head!" "Well then, spit it out, Hogan, what do you propose?"
Hogan leaned toward Joe and whispered, "I propose we turn the castle into a sports bar." "A sports bar, that's it? I would hope you might come up with something better than that!" sneered Joe in disgust. "Imagine the possibilities," said Hogan draping an arm over Joe's shoulders and sweeping his other hand in a grand gesture, "Flat screens on the tower, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow tending bar, monkeys in Dallas Cowgirl outfits." "And what about me?" They both turned toward the trembling voice of the Cowardly Lion who stood wringing his tail as he waited for Hogan's reply. Hogan peered at the lion momentarily annoyed at the interruption, then seeing his opportunity to win an ally he replied with enthusiasm, "You will be the Mascot who bravely guards the door." "I don't want any partner, Mr. Hogan," replied Joe staring unkindly at the diminutive man, "And I may as well tell you, I think your foolish for coming here." "Foolish perhaps but I have something that may convince you otherwise." Upon speaking Hogan grasped his trouser legs and hoisted them up to his knees. "The ruby sneakers!" Joe exclaimed, "Give them to me." "Do you mean to insult me?" asked Hogan, scowling. "You know as well as I do that they cannot be taken off once they're put on." "I mean to try!" Joe replied lunging at the intruder. Sparks flew from the sneakers. "Very well then you leave me no choice," replied Hogan. "I will sleep here the night until we can figure out a way to get them off." "Sleep here?" Laura Hill has enjoyed an illustrious career writing anything and everything from cheesy ads to historic documentaries aired in such illustrious places as the History Channel. My current work involves tracking a paranormal biker named Rider as he and a horde of flying Things wreck havoc on Hollywood.
Wednesday Addams Meets Pollyanna in Mystery Series
A review by P.E. Logan Read more about GalleyCat Reviews I have never considered myself much of a mystery fan. Growing up, I watched my middle sister Virginia devour volumes of Nancy Drew and Ian Fleming's entire oeuvre of James Bond adventures. I preferred disaster tomes like Walter Lords' A Night to Remember about the Titanic, and I was smitten with a history of the circus that listed all the oddities P.T. Barnum brought to the spotlight -- Jenny Lind, Tom Thumb and Eng and Chang the conjoined brothers. I was the lone teen reader among my peers of Nicholas and Alexandra and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. No wonder I didn't date. As an adult I didn't catch the spark for the 'who-done-its' that perpetually eat up prime real estate on best-seller fiction lists. But Alan Bradley has changed that with his terrific Flavia de Luce Mystery series. If there is a softer side to murder, this is it. And it's a lot of fun for the reader. In 2009 he introduced Miss de Luce, an 11-year-old girl sleuth who draws trouble to her like metal filings to a magnet. She is the gas for the engine in his charming series that began with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and continues in The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. To imagine Flavia -- a precocious, autodidactic chemist as well as a mini Miss Marple -picture a girl as infectious as Pollyanna sandwiched with Wednesday Addams' sense of sinister playfulness. Isolated in the English countryside, Flavia waits for trouble and if none happens, she is good on the assist. Who else but Flavia would inject chocolates meant for her eldest sister with a wicked potion, then rewrap the box? Flavia is the youngest of three girls. Along with sisters Ophelia and Daphne they live at Buckshaw, the rambling family estate of their late mother, Harriett, who died in a mountaineering accident when Flavia was one. Their father, Havilland, a retired colonel and doleful widower, does his best to keep order but is not successful with his rambunctious youngest daughter. Mr. Bradley's writing is highly descriptive and colorful. The family's cook, Mrs. Mullet, who is sorely in need of a basic kitchen primer, conjures up many unappetizing offerings that are so awful they get nicknamed by the girls. 'The Wiffler,' described as a 'clotted green jelly in sausage casings, topped with double Devon cream, and garnished with springs of mint and other assorted garden refuse,' stands alone in encapsulating English makeshift cooking post World War II, and the author's vast imagination.
In Hangman's Bag, Flavia has set out on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, for the church graveyard in Bishop's Lacey, the town center. Ever the dramatic person, she imagines her death and funeral, down to the dirge, when she is interrupted by the sounds of a nearby grief-stricken woman, Nialla, who, it turns out, is the assistant to Rupert Porson, a famed puppeteer from London and a BBC television star. Flavia befriends Nialla and quickly inserts herself into the traveling puppet show's ad hoc performance agenda, as they are marooned in Bishop's Lacey courtesy of their sputtering van. She wonders what an esteemed puppet troupe would be doing so far from London in her rural neck of the woods, and she cannot help but poke her nose into the possible romantic affairs of Nialla and Rupert, event though they do not strike her as a match made in heaven. If you were an amateur chemist what would you do in this situation? Gather samples! Slyly, Flavia collects these -- on a handkerchief from Nialla and from a stubbed-out cigarette of Rupert's -- and back in her lab assesses a few things about the pair: Nialla is pregnant and Rupert is smoking weed. Most intriguing to Flavia, and to the reader. Mr. Bradley gives a terrific description of the puppet show performances, which start with a Mozart marionette that plays a crocodile-like, finger-snapping harpsichord and of the main event a production of Jack and the Beanstalk. Curiously, 'Jack' looks eerily familiar to a young boy from the village who hanged himself years earlier. During the evening show Rupert is fatally electrocuted by the flotsam of wires on stage and Flavia senses immediately that this is no accident. Why would a stranger, new to Bishop's Lacey but now deceased, have carved a puppet with an uncanny resemblance to a dead boy? This is a crime Flavia decides she can solve, far ahead of the procedurally challenged constable. If there is any part of this highly readable series that causes pause, it's getting over your disbelief that Flavia could be such an apt chemist. But, Mr. Bradley is very good at getting you to dismiss such thoughts because of the story's humor and pacing. To overly question would be to miss the fun in this novel and anyway, it really is a big, big house. Beside, who wants to be a killjoy? Hangman's Bag is a glorious mischief and Flavia an embracing delight. There isn't a reason on earth why you should not tote this to the beach or the pool this Memorial Weekend. Or maybe just get on your bike and find a nice field where you can lay down your blanket and read. P.E. Logan is communications professional and a writer in New York. She has worked at various adult trade publishing houses including Random House, Putnam, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster for almost three decades. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and other periodicals.
David Foster Wallace Footnotes Horatio Alger
As we enter the final week of our World's Longest Literary Remix contest, submissions are still pouring in--including editor Meryl Gross' elegant use of David Foster Wallace's effusive footnotes to brighten up a dull patch of a novel. Read her complete submission after the jump. Gross joined a brave crew of readers in rewriting one page from a Horatio Alger novel for fun and prizes--read his entry after the jump. 150 pre-registered GalleyCat Reviews readers have signed up to rewrite one page of Joe's Luck: Always Wide Awake (cover pictured, via). We will publish the remixed text as a free digital book. Each remix contributor will be eligible for a random drawing of special giveaway prizes. If you want to participate in the next remix contest, email GalleyCat to get on the list. Three excellent sponsors have donated prizes: 1-Scribd.com and Blurb.com are donating 10 printed copies of the completely remixed novel, using the company's new print-ondemand service. 2- The remixing experts at Quirk Books will give one lucky winner an assortment of Quirk Classics books, posters, and audiobooks--a prize package worth over $100. 3-The multimedia literary journal Electric Literature will donate "Electric Literature: Year One"--a complete set of the first four issues of the journal--a $40 value. Horatio Alger Versus David Foster Wallace (or, Applying the David Foster Wallace Footnote Technique) By Meryl Gross He tore himself from Joe's grasp and went on board the steamer. Our hero, provoked, was about to follow him, when the officer said: "Stand back! You have no ticket." * Two young men, handsomely dressed and apparently possessed of larger means than the great majority of the passengers, got out of a hack and paused close to where Joe was standing. "Dick," said one, "I'm really sorry you are not going with me. I shall feel awfully lonely without you."
"I am very much disappointed, Charlie, but duty will keep me at home. My father's sudden, alarming sickness has broken up all my plans." * The officer, a man of alarming girth and completely devoid of hair and humor, closed his eyes in despair. What's wrong with people today? he thought. This idiot thinks he can just board my ship willy-nilly without a ticket. Some other man bought a ticket with his money? Does this addle-pated youngster think that I've just fallen off the turnip truck? But now the officer's mind drifted. Ignoring the hubbub and blather roiling about him, he started thinking about Millie. Ah, Millie.... Millie with hair like a sunset, Millie with the neck of a gazelle, Millie with the thirty-four yapping Pomeranian dogs... If only she hadn't undertaken the task of rewriting Ancient Egyptian for the Deaf he'd be a happier man today. Suddenly the officer was startled out of his reverie by the arrival of two young men chattering inanely. Tonight, he was certain, it would be laudanum or the window. Meryl Gross' background and training is in the fine arts (mostly sculpture) which is how she came to be the associate managing editor of a large science fiction/fantasy imprint of some repute.
Book Review Sparks Online Conversation about Hyperlinks
Over at Salon.com, book critic Laura Miller (pictured) created a sprawling argument between tech experts about the future of hyperlinks. Author Nicholas Carr summed up the debate neatly: Check it out: "Miller, in her Salon review of The Shallows, put all her links at the end of the piece rather than sprinkling them through the text. She asked readers to comment on what they thought of the format. As with Gillmor's early experiments, Miller's seemed a little silly on first take. The Economist writer Tom Standage tweeted a chortle: 'Ho Ho.' But if you read through the (many) comments her review provoked, you will hear a chorus of approval for removing links from text." How do you like to read? Should hyperlinks be sprinkled inside of an online book review or saved for the end? Here are the links cited in that post: Salon review Neuorethics at the Core post Standage's tweeted chortle The Shallows site
Best Library People on Twitter
Times are tough for the libraries and librarians in your life. No matter where you live, your library needs your support right now. To celebrate these passionate literary professionals, we have created another directory curated by GalleyCat Reviews readers. At the end of this post, we are building a directory of the Best Library People on Twitter. Add your favorite library, librarian, or library journalist (or yourself) to the growing list. Our feeble list IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE--yet. Add your favorite library people in the comments, we'll add them to the list. We will constantly update the directory, just like our other lists: Best Book Reviewers on Twitter Best Editors on Twitter Best Book Publicity and Marketing Twitter Feeds Best eBook News on Twitter American Libraries Association: "The magazine of the American Library Association" Helaine Becker: "Writer and presenter of award-winning children's fiction & non-fiction. Some science-y, all funny! Into education, library & parenting issues, toilet humor." BiblioFilmes: BiblioFilmes Festival Twitter page Brooklyn Historical Society: BHS is a nationally recognized urban history center, comprising a museum; scholarly research library; and educational center dedicated to 400 years of Brooklyn!" Phil Bradley: "A librarian & internet consultant. I teach effective internet search techniques, & use of Web 2.0 technologies. Also written 12 books about the net & 2 columns." Jack Bullion:"MFA, MLS. Medical Librarian at UNTHSC/TCOM. I consider literature, libraries, and sports to be subjects most tweetworthy." Kevin Butterfield: "Daddy, Husband, Librarian ... Director of Bibliographic and Digital Services for the University of Richmond Libraries." CA: "Aspiring writer who shelves books at a library and likes to read. A dicey combination, since I often get caught reading and want to one day shelve my own books."
Cindysku: "A library school student who want to focus int the young adult and youth services section" Davidson Titles: "Supplying libraries with books and other media for over thirty years!" Delta Township Library: "Explore Enrich Enjoy" DGLibrary: Downers Grove Library, the Place to Go When You Need to Know Edm Public Library: Spread the words. Edmonton Public Library has Computer Games, Movies, Music, Magazines, Newspapers, Books, free wi fi, databases. Katie Dunneback: Librarian. Writer. Knitter. Kook. Robin Fay: Multimedia artist, web junkie, metadata / knowledge worker, opensource fiend, social media advocate, magazine editor, consultant, librarian FLP Author Events: "The Free Library of Philadelphia's Author Events program presents 125+ author events each year and the annual Free Library Festival. Info: 215-567-4341." Jose Afonso Furtado: "art library director. Teaching in Post-Graduation 'Books and Publishing in Digital Era.' Universidade Catalica de Lisboa" Barbara A. Genco: "Librarian, Reader, Reviewer; Library Journal's Collection Management Editor. Chair, 2009 Ezra Jack Keats Award." Toby Greenwalt: Librarian, gadfly, and all-around Internet human. Contributor to @skokielibrary. Laura Gruninger: "Youth Services Librarian." Paula Grunseit: "Freelance editor, journalist, reviewer, Library Manager in special libraries. Former Dep Ed of Good Reading mag. I love Twitter, Stateline & ice cream." Halesowen College Library: "Halesowen College Library currently moving into the future with a facebook page and a twitter profile" Josh Hanagarne: Worlds Strongest Librarian, battling Tourette's Syndrome, kettlebell and grip addict, Killer guitarist, failed bagpiper, your librarian. Debra Harrison: Avid reader and book collector opens site on book collecting Peggy Hughes: "Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) Edinburgh: 30,000+ items of delicious contemporary poetry, Scottish & international, all in the award-winning SPL building."
Junior Room: "Children's Services of the Downers Grove Public Library. Bringing books to kids since 1891" Harry Ransom Center: "The Harry Ransom Center is a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin." Heather C. Hart: "I handle academic and library marketing for Consortium Book Sales. I also read, knit, drink, and watch movies with subtitles." Sarah Houghton-Jan: "Digital librarian, speaker, author, blogger @ librarianinblack.net, loves cats, wears black, often seen in velvet" Jennifer Howard: "writer, journalist, gadabout. writes fiction and non. covers publishing, schol comm, libraries & archives for the Chronicle of Higher Ed" Jewish Libraries: "Twitter stream for the Association of Jewish Libraries. Opinions expressed are those of the tweeter, not necessarily those of AJL." Carol Kania: "Info on libraries, museums, archives and other magical places." Kar-Ben Publishing: "A growing Jewish library for children. Learn more about our books at karben.com." Anna Katterjohn: "Ass't editor, Library Journal book review (also on zines and magazines beat), library lover, knitter, and more!" Leeds Libraries: "Leeds Library & Information Services, Yorkshire, UK." Margaret Montet: Freelance writer, academic librarian, quilter, pet lover. Nampa Public Library: books & beyond! Bobbi Newman: "I'm not that kind of librarian" KC Public Library: "Find out what's happening at the Kansas City Public Library! Have a question? Ask us here or call 816-701-3400." Library Links: Links of research and academic interest, hand picked by UGA reference librarians. Library of America: "Nonprofit publisher dedicated to preserving America's best and most significant writing." Library of Congress: "We are the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in our collections."
Library Journal: "Library views, news, and book reviews from LJ staffers" Lipstick Lib: Bookstoned! LJCDS Library: "Tweets from the LJCDS Library, a library serving over 1,000 students in a PK-12 independent school." Lwallentine: "Passionate about literacy, libraries, education, the future of children's book publishing...and chocolate." Heather McCormack: "Book Review Editor of @LibraryJournal & novelist in training. You probably shouldn't follow me if you don't like music, book ambivalence, or toilet humor." L. D. Mitchell "Blogging about private libraries, book collecting & book history Library Journal Library views, news, and book reviews from LJ staffers" Ann McKinnon: "Increase use of the Library, advocate for strong public funding, and provide private funding to enhance Library services" Nancy McNicol: "Bibliophile & bibliofiler." NY Public Library: "Librarians and NYPL staff tweet daily on what's happening at the Library, NYC and beyond. Got a question? Ask us here, call 917-ASK-NYPL, or visit ask.nypl.org" PhillyDame.Com Covering Philly's books/author/lit/library scene @ phillydame.com
Pima County Library: "It's your library, Pima County." Poudre Libraries: A regional Library District where the free flow of information cultivates growth and serves as a limitless source of renewal for the communities. Reference (UGA Libs): If the reference desk could talk... (Tweets from reference librarians at Univ. of Georgia) Resource Shelf: Resources of interest to information professionals, educators and journalists Ripon Friends All the latest updates from the Friends of the Ripon Memorial Library RoccoA Contributing Editor School Library Journal & Chair of Empire State Book Festival
Ben Rubinstein: "Library Marketing Assistant at Macmillan. I try to bring tweets that interest librarians and their collection development needs!" Tasha Saecker: "Director of the public library in Menasha, WI" K.G. Schneider: Librarian, writer, techy, homebrewer, procrastinator Jennifer Schultz: "Youth Services Librarian for Fauquier County Public Library" Tina Seeborg "Tweeting from Decatur Public Library about items just catalogued, events, etc." Somers Library: "Providing excellence in library service." Stowe Free Library: "Notes from Director Stephanie Chase and the staff at the public library for the town of Stowe, Vermont" Jennifer Tisdale: "Mini CV: PR, communications, public affairs, politics, public policy, Latin America, Harry Ransom Center, museums, libraries, US Congress, TX Lege, and Tulane." Young Lions: "The Young Lions Program at The New York Public Library"
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