Tag Archives: Journalism

The Fiddler in the Subway

[Cover]

Title: The Fiddler in the Subway: The true story of what happened when a world-class violinist played for handouts - and other virtuoso performances by America’s foremost feature writer

Author: Gene Weingarten

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, July 2010

Summary: If you take one of the worlds best musicians and place him in the middle of one of the nation’s busiest subway stations and have him play his heart out, will anyone stop and listen? In this collection of sharply observed essays, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten shows why he is the only person to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing twice. Not only is he a brilliant writer (or, ‘investigative humorist,’ as he calls himself), he chooses to write on a variety of subjects from the ridiculous (trying to incite the French to be rude to him in Paris) to the sublime (witnessing the lengths to which a concerned citizenry will go in order to save a small bird trapped in a shop window.) Along the way, you will discover that the highest paid children’s performer in the D.C. area, “The Great Zucchini,” is a man whose personal demons might be his greatest professional asset, and you will meet the residents of Battle Mountain, NV, who might just live in “The Armpit of America.”

Like any great humorist, Weingarten is not afraid of pointing out his own shortcomings. Like any great journalist, he is willing to get to the root of his subject, even if what he finds there is chilling, disturbing, or deeply tragic. Many people believe Weingarten is the best essayist in America. Readers of this book would have a hard time arguing with that.

Who will like this book?: This is a great book for all general non-fiction readers – the essays cover a wide array of topics. And as Weingarten is a former editor, this book is also full of useful information and inspiration for writers.

If you like this, read this: How Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley. I’ll Mature When I’m Dead by Dave Barry. Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The White Mary

Title: The White Mary

Author: Kira Salak

Summary: After all the buzz about this book I thought I would have liked it much more than I did. The writing was very good and the descriptions of the jungle travel are very vivid, but the story was a bit too slow paced for me. I think it could be that I just didn’t care much for the main character. Although I didn’t personally like this book, it was very well written and I’m sure it will appeal to many others.

Marika is a journalist who covers human interest stories in war torn countries. She has narrowly escaped death several times but continues to travel alone to these dangerous regions. When she hears the news that her idol, fellow journalist Robert Lewis, has committed suicide, she decides to write his biography. During her research she comes across a letter written by a missionary who claims to have seen Robert Lewis in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Although she has settled down for the first time in her life while she writes Lewis’s biography, she cannot forget the letter and sets of to PNG to search for him. The novel follows Marika, called White Mary by the local people, through the jungle led by her guide Tobo, a witch doctor from a local village who does more to help Marika than just lead her on her quest. Tobo is by far my favorite character in this story.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who enjoys stories with strong characters and vivid descriptions about exotic, dangerous locations. Just remember to pack some bug spray, mosquito netting, and a big floppy hat because you’ll actually feel the bugs and the blistering sun while you’re reading.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator