Issue of September 12, 2010

Welcome to our new issue of BiblioBuffet! We are sorry to have missed you last week but our involuntary absence at least gave you another week to enjoy the last one. And we know you are not going to be disappointed this week!

Brutality in wartime is inevitable. It is part-and-parcel of every history of war. But when the book is a memoir, the brutality becomes deeply personal. In his review of a new memoir about an Allied POW who worked on the infamous Burma-Siam railway, David Mitchell finds not just brutality but a surprising kindness and a powerful will to survive in An Island of Compassion in a Sea of Hatred.

The joy of science comes through two new books—one from the superstar  of “the new crop of those amazing science communicators,” the other a fascinating look at the Pythagorean theorem. As Gillian Polack notes in On Human Beings and Their Science, an “understanding of the world around us is increasingly important” and “short books with cool cover art, written by ultra-cool authors with impeccable academic credentials . . . give a lot more than TV specials.”

Many sports memoirs tend to be not much more than enlarged press conferences but one recent memoir by a former tennis star has proven to be so honest and compelling that it “shatters the memoir template and dances on the pieces,” says Pete Croatto, in  Portrait of the Athlete as Human Being.

Do you enjoy reading BiblioBuffet? We hope so, and we believe so because our website numbers and our Facebook fans tell us so. And we thank you for that. We also want to ask you to help us if you can, and Lauren Roberts tells you why in It’s All in the Honesty.

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