The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

by and

For me, Stanley Booth and Nick Tosches are the two finest writers on 20th-century popular music and its creators. True Adventures is fascinating for all the reasons you'd expect an account of touring with the Stones in 1969 to be fascinating, but Booth's abilities as observer and writer take this out of the realm of "music journalism". Completed and released years after the events described, Booth brings the perspective of age while still beautifully conveying his original sensations, emotions, and reactions to the mad world he briefly inhabited.
A Short History of Reconstruction


Good survey of a hugely important but frequently overlooked period in US history. Reconstruction was complex, often morally ambiguous, and is still controversial. Although relatively brief, this is serious history, not a novelistic treatment by any means. Foner gives you the basics - after reading this, you can decide whether to dig into one of the longer histories of the period. I haven't yet taken that step, but I can understand now why it might be worthwhile.
King, Queen, Knave


Nabokov's second novel, originally written in Russian and translated by his son Dmitri. Nabokov himself revisited the novel in the '60's and made some fairly substantial (judging from his introduction) revisions. A more-or-less conventional adultery plot with some twists, the action split between Berlin and a seaside resort. Plot, of course, is only a small fraction of what makes a Nabokov novel enjoyable. Even in this early work, his observations and characterizations are sharp, and he's having fun with language and with the reader. I thought I detected a slight awkwardness in some passages, almost as if something had not quite come through in the translation. Perhaps not surprising with an author as fond of wordplay as VN. Whether real or imagined on my part, this is a minor quibble - KQKn (as VN himself abbreviated it) is clever, entertaining, and very much worth reading if you've enjoyed other Nabokov.