Dave Cullen's Blog

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Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen
New York, New York, USA
June 03
Written for NY Times, W Post, Slate, Salon, Daily Beast. Publisher Twelve (Hachette)
An expanded paperback edition of my book COLUMBINE came out March 1, 2010. Links to the book and my bio below: http://www.davecullen.com/columbine.htm

NOVEMBER 8, 2010 1:37PM

Best Books Lists: A pattern Emerging Already

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Publishers Weekly unveiled its 100 Best Books of 2010 list today, and the Top Ten is remarkably similar to Amazon's last week.

They share six of the same top ten titles:

Is that a record?

Book critics are notoriously divided in their opinions, and the sheer quantity of books published every year (is it 200,000?) makes that understandable.

But a real consensus seems to be emerging about some of those this year.

And I like it. Every one of those six I have either started reading, or am itching to.

And my special congrats again to Rebecca, and Patti, and the agent Patti and I share, Betsy Lerner, who helped shaped both our books

I also feel excited for and indebted to Laura Hillenbrand. Jon Karp edited Seabiscuit nearly a decade before editing my book, Columbine. He used Laura and Seabiscuit as a model for one crucial aspect of my book. (He likened my use of the killers' journals to Laura's races, believe it or not. Brilliantly.)

It really helped me crystallize how much to leave in, and how much more to cut. It also gave me the confidence that I was working with an extraordinary editor, who had helped wiser authors than me.

I'm so glad Laura is getting such accolades again on this book.

So. Looks like I have some reading to do.

(This news bumped the announcement of my Columbine Instructor/Teacher's Guide yet again. (And Columbine Online is in beta, coming soon.)

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I so need a break from politics and good books can soothe the soul.
Thanks, Trish. I hear that. I just saw a political ad on a sitcom I had tivo'd from last week and nearly retched.

Books, though. Ahhhhhhhhh . . .
The Big Short was great as a worked lesson in how things play out. I followed it with Freefall by Joseph Stiglitz, which was nicely presented in its own right but which was properly teed up by the fiascos that were so ably set out in The Big Short. I have since found The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz to hit a lot of usefully related points. I recomend all three highly. I was a little dismayed since I read them in audiobook that Lewis didn't read his own book; I totally enjoyed his reading of Liar's Poker on audio years ago. Still, the reader he chose was decent if a bit less colorful than himself.

The number one book I'm recommending everyone read is James Hansen's Storms of My Grandchildren. I somehow doubt it will make a best-seller, but it should. It is as relevant a book as people are likely to read on the matter of Climate Change. Full of science in places and personal passion in places. Very nicely told.

To Trish's point, Hansen's book is on one level not an escape from world politics. But on another level, personally, I find it satisfying to see a political topic worked thoroughly through from a single point of view rather than constant chaos of many voices in the real world just to explore a coherent world view. One needs both, but I just wanted to defend that even politics in book form can still be more relaxing than in the real world. (The Big Short is likewise a book on a topic for which there are many opinions, but seeing a single point of view worked through from start to end is fascinating. Michael Lewis is quite a storyteller, too.)
Nice post and I'm glad you are finally off the Columbine thing. There are other avenues.
I have just finished reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, she is an amazing writer and my mind is boggled at the research put into that book.