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Radiolab Reads: The Devil and Sherlock Holmes

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 06:00 PM

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This is the the kind of book that makes me long for a headlamp and blanket fort--reading it is too much of an adventure for an armchair, or a park bench. 

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, is a collection of little worlds packed into 12 articles by New Yorker staff writer David Grann. And I can take no credit for discovering it--I nabbed a copy from Jad's desk about a year ago, and he nabbed it back before I had a chance to take it home. Luckily Pat Walters also had a copy (Pat, if you're reading this...I can bring it back after Thanksgiving! Really!). Book lending is rampant in these parts.

Thanks to Pat, I spent a fantastic rainy weekend tearing through stories more irresistible than the most seductive dime-store detective tale--stories about a master of disguise, a researcher intent on capturing a baby giant squid, and an aging stick-up man who can't give up his gun. On one hand, it's a rollicking book about sleuthing and obsession. And on the other, it's a profoundly moving study of personality--article after article introduces characters who are charismatic, complicated, and often up against some kind of unimaginable immensity. It's a good one.

P.S. I'd love some recommendations...I've got some train time coming up over Thanksgiving, anybody reading something awesome?




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Comments [12]

Logan from Indianapolis, IN

Try a short story collections called "Stories for the nighttime and some for the day", by Ben Loorey.

Jul. 11 2014 10:23 AM
Jason Fried from Brooklyn

Last Thanksgiving i tore through Frankenstein and soon found myself reading Mathilda by Mary Shelly. That is an incredible read.

Next big holiday weekend i will tackle Infinite Jest and likely fail once again. sigh.

Apr. 03 2012 01:20 PM
Despina Fabbri

59 Seconds - Richard Wiseman

God is not Great - Christopher Hitchens

The Unconscious Civilization - John Ralston Saul

Krakatoa - Simon Winchester

Apr. 02 2012 02:16 AM
Rebecca S Trembath from Vancouver, BC, Canada

Better late than never.

The Information: Gleick

The Modern Art of Dying: Lavi

Alone, Together: Turkle (or any Turkle, but she gets a little more concerned about technology with each successive book)

An Edible History of Humanity: Standage (a nice light read)

The Physiology of Taste: Brillat-Savarin (an oldie but a goodie-- poetry of the enjoyment of cuisine)

Feb. 23 2012 06:14 PM
Monica Martinez from austin!

If on a winter's night a traveler.

also: the man who was thursday

Dec. 07 2011 10:24 PM

"A Wild Herb Soup" by Emilie Carles. It's not action-adventure glamour, yet it took me by sruprise.

Dec. 06 2011 01:12 AM
Aaron Fowler from Sacramento

If you are feeling the mystery genre, I'd recommend taking up Tana French. She is a master of the psychological thriller. Each time I finish one of her novels, I get the same feeling as I do when I get back from a vacation: a small twinge of bittersweet regret for having gone somewhere I enjoyed but could not stay.

Dec. 04 2011 10:49 PM
Lydia Montagnese from New York, NY

Steve Jobs's biography. He's a monster. I love it.

Dec. 01 2011 02:39 PM
Jose Alfaro from Ann Arbor

Two of this year's Nobel Peace Price Winners have life stories out there that are encouraging, motivating and mind blowing stories of moving from loss and hopelessness to results and triumph and most importantly reconciliation. Check them out: "This child will be great" by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and "Mighty be our powers" by Leyma Boweh.

Nov. 28 2011 05:10 PM
Tyler Davis from Alberta Canada

You may have read this one but Psychopath test by Jon Ronson, is an excellent Read.

Oh and the off chance you haven't, go read something by Niel Gaiman, I've heard his children's book "The Graveyard Book" is great read, and I thoroughly enjoyed every thing of his I've read.

Nov. 26 2011 10:41 PM
Jerome from Luxembourg

- everything from Craig Thompson (Blankets, Carnet de Voyage, Habibi)
- Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle
- Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp
- You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself by David McRaney
- How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions by Christopher W. Dicarlo

Nov. 24 2011 07:35 AM
Ian from Colorado

I would recommend reading Jim Harrison's " The English Major" it's really a great story.

Nov. 21 2011 10:31 PM

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