February 27, 2006


February Book Review

...I’m not sure if it’ll become a regular thing for me, but I felt the urge to do a book review for this month.
...A little over a month ago I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble and, being the cheap bastard that I am, did my usual run to the bargain section. Sometimes their bargain section has a decent selection from which to choose; other times the selection leaves something to be desired. On this particular occasion I struck gold.
...I’m not sure if I should even say this, but after a few minutes of investigating the shelves I came across a book that caught my eye because of the cover (I don’t mind if anyone laughs or cries over this—I’m just being honest). It was a black-and-white photograph of newsboys standing in an alley, and—being a fan of stories that are set in the early 1900s such as To Serve Them All My Days, The Alienist, and Johnny Got His Gun—it immediately piqued my interest.
...After scanning a few pages I quickly realized that this particular book had interesting subject matter and a writing style that illustrated both intelligence and imagination. The book was The Newsboys’ Lodging-House by Jon Boorstin, and it has since become one of my favorite books.
...I’m not going to go into more detail than that which is offered on the leaf of the dust jacket, so the book’s storyline is this: William James, psychologist and philosopher, suffered a mental breakdown when he was thirty-years-old. He obsessed over the concepts of good and evil, considered committing suicide, and went into isolation. After re-emerging several months later, he had a new attitude and new view on life. No one knows why this change occurred, however, because he removed the 42 pages from his diary which covered that period of time. Boorstin decided to contemplate what might have occurred to James throughout those months, and the result is this addictive piece of historical fiction.
...Looking back on it I feel a bit guilty for having paid only $2 for this novel; it’s worth more than the $24.95 suggested retail price. It's also worth reading again.


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