American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

New Price: $21.00
Used Price: $2.80

Mentioned in:

A Year in Reading: Ted Heller

Ted Heller is the author of two novels, Slab Rat and Funnymen, and is senior writer at Nickelodeon Magazine.I work during the daytime and write my own books (and watch way too much sports) at night, so I don't read as much as I should. However, once in a while I do get a chance to read.The best book I read this year was Seven Ages of Paris by the historian Alistair Horne. A thousand years in the life of a city in 400 pages... it was tres magnifique and was so good that I then read his wonderful and poignant The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 I also read and enjoyed American Prometheus, the biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. It was thorough and terrific but just not quite as funny as the section of my masterpiece Funnymen which takes place in Los Alamos while the A-bomb is being invented.I also read and liked Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan. It had me laughing aloud and, at times, envious. It fell apart a bit toward the very end but I liked it and recommend it to anyone who needs a guffaw or two. I will certainly read whatever he comes up with next.I also began re-rereading the early short stories of Hemingway. You know something? He wasn't bad.I hope to work a lot less and read a lot more next year.More from A Year in Reading 2007

Excerpts of Pulitzer Winners and Finalists

Comcast's Internet service was been down for about 36 hours which has made blogging difficult. Now that my day job is officially a work from home gig, I rely on steady Internet access like never before, and considering the amount of time I spend blogging and using the Internet for pretty much all of the information consumption in my life, going without is next to impossible for me. I'd say that's a little scary, but it's been like this for several years now so I'm pretty used to it. At any rate, hopefully I'm back up and running for good, no thanks to Comcast - it took three phone calls to them and 12 hours before they could even confirm that an outage was causing my problem. Luckily, Mrs. Millions was kind enough to let me use her office for work, otherwise I would have been really screwed.In the meantime, the Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday. To me, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction is the most predictable of all literary prizes as it usually goes to the most well-known American literary work of the previous year, especially if the book deals with American themes, namely the American immigrant/Melting Pot idea. American history is usually an important theme as well. This year I figured E.L. Doctorow's The March was a lock, both because it sold well and because it's about an iconic episode in American history, General Sherman's great march during the Civil War. Instead, Doctorow's book was named a finalist, but the much less well-known, but similarly named and themed book March by Geraldine Brooks won the prize. March is about the Civil War as well, but the book is not simply a fictional account of a historical event, rather March tells the story of Mr. March, the father who in Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women is away fighting in the Civil War. This isn't the first time that what Booksquare calls a remix has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1999 Michael Cunningham's The Hours, a "remix" of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway won the prize.Listed below are this years winners and finalists in all the "Letters" categories. I've included links to excerpts and other interesting material where available.FictionWinner: March by Geraldine Brooks - excerptThe March by E.L. Doctorow - excerptThe Bright Forever by Lee Martin - excerptDrama:No Winner: (I rather like that the Pulitzer unlike most other prizes is unafraid to not pick a winner if they don't feel there's a worthy book in a category - though, admittedly, I'd be surprised to see them not pick a fiction winner any time soon.)Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang - New York Times reviewThe Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow by Rolin Jones - New York Times reviewRed Light Winter by Adam Rapp - New York Times reviewHistory:Winner: Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky - Bookslut reviewNew York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan by Jill Lepore - excerptThe Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz - interviewBiography:Winner: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin - excerptThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - excerptThe Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism by Megan Marshall - Megan Marshall at SlatePoetry:Winner: Late Wife by Claudia Emerson - a poemAmerican Sublime by Elizabeth Alexander - excerptElegy on Toy Piano by Dean Young - excerpt (pdf)General Non-fiction:Winner: Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins - (very short) excerptPostwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt - Judt in The NYRBThe Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq by George Packer - excerpt
Surprise Me!

BROWSE BY AUTHOR