These are books I have read that I review for the benefit of others who don’t enjoy reading as much as I do. Perhaps this section will assist you in selecting your next book. I hope so. I read EVERY word on EVERY page of the books I review. If I don’t particularly care for a book, I don’t review the book publicly, unless I make a unique exception. I read around a hundred book a year. Most of my reviews are here and on Amazon.
Bill reviews pre-publication manuscripts, and early release books for a variety of publishers and authors in the U.S. and abroad, literary PR firms and at the request of certain authors. He performs this service gratis, without any compensation whatsoever (he knows….he’s really stupid). Notable authors whose work Bill has reviewed include William P. (Paul) Young, Donald Miller, George Barna, Samantha Power, Parker Palmer, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, John Wasik, Roger Lowenstein, Taylor Branch, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Jim Palmer, David Kinnaman, Irshad Manji, Eboo Patel, Mark Scandrette, and Erwin McManus. Bill has a policy of not publishing reviews of books he reads that he doesn’t particularly care for and is uncomfortable recommending to others ( “Literature is like ice cream….there’s a whole bunch of flavors and I have my own tastes that differ from others…some people adore chocolate while others prefer pecan nut”).
I recently had the opportunity to read Nick’s first book, The Last Light Breaking. I savored this journey into the lives of the Inupiat people of Ambler, Alaska – a people who, according to Jans, “move within the eddying currents of time, space and light – where the laws of physics seem to float freely, compressing and expanding, refusing logic.”
This book is an anthropological treasure. Yet – it’s much, much more than that. For the naturalist, the outdoors person, wildlife biologist – and those who simply enjoy a damn fine artist (Jans) and the tales of his time in a place that most will never journey remotely close too – It’s a fantastic read!
The characters, creatures, culture and challenges of living in a remote village like Ambler provide a wide and diverse audience with every element essential to invigorating the readers interest – and a yearning to return to the volume to continue enjoying Jans literary artistry.
Buy it. Savor it. Learn. Listen. Prepare to perceive the world around you in a unique and precious way.
According to author Nick Jans, “Words, like map and compass, tell one story yet fail at another.”
If there is meaningbeyondwords – well – Nick Jans is a literary guide I urge you to read – as he details the stories of his life among the Inupiat people of Ambler, Alaska.
Jans has a way of writing that affords the reader the privilege to envision, imagine, see, smell, hear, taste, feel — to journey intimately to those places where – for far too many authors – their ability fails to open these mysterious dimensions for our souls to wander, to live, to explore. Jans writing creates a yearning in the reader to return to his work – to immerse oneself into the marvelous milieu that Jans is uniquely gifted to create.
A Jans writes, “It’s not the death of the elders I mourn. It’s what’s dying with them and what’s taking their place.” There is an intimacy to Jans writing that allows you to feel what he is writing about – how he actually feels about the subtleties of his many years of living in Ambler reveal. He possesses an uncanny ability to observe and relay for the reader the human dimension of feeling that many writers simply are unable to accomplish.
This book is a song. It’s music for the soul. Listen to Jans sing:
“And beneath it all is music – a delicate, liquid shattering, a song of returning, of breathing again after long silence. I should join the others in their celebration, but just now, I want to sit alone, to watch and listen as the winter breaks apart.”
Nick Jans is an artist whose literary gifts allow the reader to enjoy dimensions of meaning and sensory stimulation amidst a literary topography that has been characterized as — “meaning beyond words,” a place beyond.
Enjoy A Place Beyond – Finding Home in Arctic Alaska by Nick Jans. Trust me – you’ll fall in love with this book. I did.
When you sit down to enjoy a meal in a restaurant, sometimes the appetizer is better than the entree. On other occasions, dessert is the most memorable course.
I happened to read Valerie Plame’s BLOWBACK between Bloodmoney by David Ignatius and Back Channel by Stephen L. Carter. Needless to say, Plame’s BLOWBACK was memorable for all the wrong reasons – it simply was bland when compared to the memorable dishes I devoured before and after her entree.
This was my first Stephen L. Carter novel. Back Channel motivated me to buy Carter’s The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln – which I am currently savoring.
Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. His courses include law and religion, the ethics of war, professional responsibility contracts, and evidence.
This a fascinating read – my first read of what can be characterized as literary fiction. Carter uses the Cuban Missile Crisis as the central setting of this yarn. It is fast-paced, believable, inhabited by intrigue, and crafted in a way that makes the reader legitimately enamored with the pure intellectual prowess of the author’s ability to spin a yarn like this.
A magnificent mystery. You’ll love it. I did. I’m now hooked on Stephen L. Carter.