SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #5 & 6

Book #5 was "Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast" by Andrew E. Kersten. Many biographies have been written about Darrow. This is one of the most recent (2011) but not the most comprehensive. Instead, Kersten has chosen to focus on some areas of Darrow's life that don't get talked about as much in other books, primarily Darrow's involvement in politics. Darrow lead a fascinating life with many sensational criminal and labor cases, and Kersten has to summarize some of these in just a few pages, and he does it well. The thing I liked best about this book is his analysis of why Darrow seemed to flip-flop on issues and contradict himself. Largely, Kersten believes, it's because Darrow became disenchanted with mass movements and was cynical about groups but still believed in fighting for the liberty and freedom of conscious of the individual. I'd recommend this book.

Book #6 was "Blue Champagne," a book of short stories by science fiction author John Varley. I first read this as a teenager and had my mind completely blown, especially by the first 5 stories in the collection. Those first 5 stories are worth the price of the book even if the last few stories are a bit weaker. Varley writes excellent women characters and had a lot of interesting ideas about how our culture would change around the idea of gender. I highly recommend this collection of stories along with most of the other stuff he wrote in the 70s and early 80s.

1. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Paperback [fiction/graphic short story collection]- Matt Dembicki -Ed.
2. Light Music [fiction]- Kathleen Ann Goonan
3. The Indian Clerk [fiction]- David Leavitt
4. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly [non-fiction/memoir]- Jean-Dominique Bauby

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