Summary of “Louis L’Amour’s Library and Reading List”

The Western writer had a library of over 10,000 books, and averaged reading 100-120 books per year – “Reading approximately thirty books a year on the West in its many aspects” both for pleasure and in order to stay on top of his writing game.
As a child, his family had a modest collection of books, but it was at the library that his love of reading really came to life.
Details about his family life are not easily found, but Louis kept up his torrid reading and writing pace until he died in 1988.
For Louis, his reading was largely determined by what was available wherever he was working.
“For those who have not been readers, my advice is to read what entertains you. Reading is fun. Reading is adventure. It is not important what you read at first, only that you read.”.
“I have enjoyed digging into the reading habits of many great men and women and have tried where possible to get a list of the books in their libraries…. I hoped that by understanding the books these men and women read I might grasp at the basic sources of some of their ideas.”
What makes the reading list below unique is that for many of them we get not just a title, but what L’Amour thought of and took away from that title.
By Arnold Zweig – “The best novel to come out of World War I, although Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. attracted more attention and was a good book also.” Lives by Plutarch – “In several of my western novels I have had characters reading Plutarch. I believe more great men have read his Lives. than any other book, except possibly the Bible. In reviewing the reading histories or libraries of great men, I have come upon him again and again, and justly so. His is a sophisticated, urbane mind dealing with aspects of leadership.” The Prince.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Making of a Public Intellectual”

In the beginning of September, about a month before his book was to be published, Mr. Coates gave a preliminary reading at BLVD Bistro, a soul-food restaurant in Harlem tucked into the ground floor of a brownstone that preserves old-school features like brick walls and a tin ceiling.
Mr. Coates answered that his own father had been part of the Black Panther Party and had later become disillusioned with mass politics.
When “Between the World and Me” was published, Dr. West took issue with Ms. Morrison’s comparison of Mr. Coates to Baldwin and expressed as much in a Facebook post, writing that, unlike Mr. Coates, “Baldwin’s painful self-examination led to collective action and a focus on social movements.” In his view, Mr. Coates’s inattention to the Black Lives Matter movement and political activists in “Between the World and Me” “Shows a certain distance” from his subject matter.
Mr. Coates counters that he hopes he writes “Things that clarify stuff for people that go to those marches, that clarify things that inspire people who go and think about policy. I necessarily need a little bit of distance.”
It’s a position that Mr. Coates has seriously considered, but he said that the book focused on black male life because “It was the story I had.” He’d been mulling for years over the death of his friend, Prince Jones, a black man, and the decision to address the book to his son necessarily skewed its perspective.
In 2015, just before “Between the World and Me” was published and became a sensation, Mr. Coates and his family moved to Paris.
As to what he plans to do next, Mr. Coates mentions his continued collaboration with Marvel Comics on the Black Panther comic book series, which “Satisfies the kid in me” and is “The place where I can go to do something that sort of feels private again.” He was tapped to write a screenplay called “Wrong Answer,” which will be directed by Ryan Coogler and is based on the standardized test cheating scandal that occurred in Atlanta public schools from 2005 to 2012.He is also working on a novel, due by the end of the year.
An article on Sept. 30 about the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates misidentified an audience member who asked him a question at an event in Harlem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “By Heart: Celeste Ng on What Writers Can Learn From ‘Goodnight Moon'”

Celeste Ng’s books feature the hallmarks of classic mystery novels-a crime to be solved, a roster of suspects, chilling details that aren’t quite what they seem.
Ultimately, the book’s structure helps illuminate Ng’s own creative process, the way she uses a central narrative enigma-a drowning, a fire-as an opportunity to uncover her characters’ hidden desires and secret histories.
Like most babies, he was not a good sleeper by disposition-but reading seemed to help, and this book specifically became part of his whole wind-down ritual.
The picture of a rabbit fishing with a carrot for a baby rabbit comes out of another of her books, The Runaway Bunny-which is itself on the bookshelf pictured here.
It’s not one of those baby ABC books that simply lists a bunch of isolated images.
In my first book, Everything I Never Told You, I noticed that eggs kept coming up.
One of the most fun things for me, as a writer, is when readers ask questions like: “Oh, I noticed that you have a lot of water and baptism imagery in your book. Did you do that on purpose?” Usually, the answer is that I didn’t do it on purpose at the beginning-but then once I realized I was doing it, I tried to use that to make an artistic point.
The book is better off without those details spelled out so explicitly.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The World According to Dan Brown”

Mr. Brown, 53, spent four years writing and researching the book.
Push a button on a library shelf, and it swings around to reveal a secret shelf that contains the first Brown book and an exotic scientific-looking object that turns out to be the antimatter prop used in the film of “Angels and Demons.” Touch the corner of a painting in the living room, and it slides aside to expose a hidden room whose walls are decorated with gold records, awarded to Mr. Brown as a result of vast audiobook sales in Germany.
“That’s a reproduction too, to save you from asking,” Mr. Brown said.
Because of their unequal work relationship, they dated in secret for seven years, Mr. Brown said, at one point even attending the Grammys together, along with fake dates, to conceal the romance.
Among other features of their house: a shirt signed by the members of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning soccer team; a cantilevered staircase built right out of the wall, with no supports from above or below; and two pillars that are exact replicas of those in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, which appeared in “The Da Vinci Code” and was quickly overrun by Brown enthusiasts searching for the Holy Grail.
We were on the way to Exeter, where Mr. Brown was going to a service in honor of his mother, who died several months ago.
Mr. Brown credits his father, now 81, with instilling in him a love of science, math and intellectual puzzles, and his mother, who was religious but became disillusioned with church politics, with instilling in him a wonder for the mysteries of the world.
Though Mr. Brown comes out strongly in favor of science, both in person and in his novels, he cannot give up the possibility that there is something else out there.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Mind of John McPhee”

During a semester when he teaches, McPhee does no writing at all.
McPhee refers to it as “a portrait of the writer at work.” It is a print in the style of Hieronymus Bosch of sinners, in the afterlife, being elaborately tortured in the nude – a woman with a sword in her back, a small crowd sitting in a vat of liquid pouring out of a giant nose, someone riding a platypus.
David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, where McPhee has been a staff writer for more than 50 years, took McPhee’s class in 1981.
John McPhee lives, and has almost always lived, in Princeton.
“The Patch” will gather fragments of the old work, arranged by McPhee into a pattern that pleases him, out of order, like patches in a quilt.
The title piece of “The Patch” is a short essay that McPhee wrote about the death of his father.
In the grand cosmology of John McPhee, all the earth’s facts touch one another – all its regions, creatures and eras.
As I prepared to leave Princeton, I stacked my John McPhee books on the passenger seat of my car, and there were so many of them that the car thought it was a person and frantically beeped at me to buckle the seatbelt.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Want to write a bestselling novel? Use an algorithm”

It’s the multimillion pound question that publishers and writers have been pondering for decades: what makes a bestseller? Attempting to write one could certainly pay off – the highest-paid author in the world, JK Rowling, has made $95m in the past year, and the 10 highest-paid authors in the world earned more than $310m between them, according to Forbes.
Even bestselling authors such as James Patterson, Danielle Steel and Stieg Larsson had manuscripts rejected multiple times, while self-publishing sensations like Fifty Shades of Grey took the book industry by surprise.
If you want to write a bestseller you have to hit the sweet spot on character, plot, style and theme.
With some authors, such as Rowling, Patterson or EL James of Fifty Shades fame, the algorithm was more than 90% certain their manuscripts would be bestsellers.
Luckily for would-be authors, she and Jockers decided to share what they gleaned from their algorithm in their 2016 book The Bestseller Code.
If you want to write a bestseller it will help to get the combination of these features right, says Archer.
“If you set out to write a novel to make money, you’ll never do it. You have to write the book inside you.”
Muchamore is equally sceptical about whether an algorithm can produce a bestselling novel.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Keepers of the Secrets”

A sign above the door called it the “Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books and Manuscripts.” Inside, there were a handful of quiet researchers stooped at large wooden desks, and in the corner, presiding over a cart of acid-free Hollinger document boxes, was the archivist Thomas Lannon.
The reason an archivist should know something, Lannon said, is to help others to know it.
“MPLP,” as the paper’s doctrine became known, went on to be the rallying cry of the field, even as it seemed to transform the archivist from an assiduous historian into a corner-cutting technocrat, rushing to get linear feet of record out the door.
Most archivists got their start because they liked poring over archives.
In a large room, in the Long Island City building, I spoke with a young archivist who was processing the New York Review of Books collection.
Much as MPLP has sped up the work of archivists, more significant may have been its embrace of a philosophy about what matters in an archive.
“What warms my heart is when a person comes in and discovers what’s actually here,” Lannon, the archivist, said to me on a call a few weeks after I’d visited the library.
As a rule, he said, archivists at the library should give you the box you’ve asked for – but also suggest another box.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Spend More Time Alone”

Two were actually titled Solitude, while the third, and most recently published, was titled Lead Yourself First – which is pitched as a leadership guide, but is actually a meditation on the value of being alone with your thoughts.
Lesson #1: The right way to define “Solitude” is as a subjective state in which you’re isolated from input from other minds.
It’s time for your mind to be alone with your mind – regardless of what’s going on around you.
Lesson #2: Regular doses of solitude are crucial for the effective and resilient functioning of your brain.
Spending time isolated from other minds is what allows you to process and regulate complex emotions.
If you avoid time alone with your brain your mental life will be much more fragile and much less productive.
Not all types of deep work satisfy this definition of solitude, as it’s possible to deeply react to inputs from other minds, such as when you’re trying to make sense of a tough piece of writing or lock into a complicated lecture.
Deep thinking is time spent alone with your mind, and as such it’s just one of many different flavors of solitude – all of which aid human flourishing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Air-Conditioning Invented the Modern World”

The story of air-conditioning-and 49 other breakthroughs-is the subject of a new book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, by the economist and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford.
Derek Thompson: Humans wanted to keep cool long before Carrier’s invention.
Thompson: The first invention in the book is the plow, which facilitated the agricultural revolution.
The second invention in the book is the gramophone, which allowed the most popular singers to reverberate in houses around the world, turning local stars into global superstars.
“The welfare state” is an invention that you discuss in the book, which is an impressively expansive definition of invention.
More generally, “Necessity as the mother of invention” is an intriguing cliché.
Thompson: Do you have a favorite invention in the book-or perhaps, an invention that you considered most underrated?
Harford: This is not a book about where ideas come from, or how inventions happen.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How We Make Up Our Minds”

His book is peppered with brief stories and artistic allusions, and it moves quickly from idea to idea, study to study.
Readers of science books are interested in the concrete details of how it all gets done as well as what it really means.
In 2014, three more students killed themselves in a similar way.
Research by sociologists, economists and psychologists has established that imitation and other mechanisms of social transmission cause norms, behaviors and moods to spread from person to person, without those people necessarily being aware of how they had been influenced or by whom.
Sharot, a London neuroscientist, covers the topic more fully and more authoritatively in a book whose title gives appropriately equal billing to thought, behavior and neurons.
A study found that putting them under webcam surveillance didn’t improve things, but adding a continuous digital display of the number of people following the rules brought compliance up to 90 percent.
Her book is a witty survey of techniques to influence and guide human behavior.
There is still a lot more to be learned about how to best apply cognitive science to our everyday problems.

The orginal article.