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Last night at 87, died a well-known American author and screenwriter Gore Vidal (Gore Vidal). This information is provided media maestro's nephew - Burr Steers (Burr Steers). It is reported that Vidal died of pneumonia at his home.

Gore Vidal on the right is one of the classics of American literature and is famous throughout the world thanks to their stories, essays, plays, novels and scripts.

Vidal was a known homosexual and has never concealed his ties with men.

Also, Gore Vidal was harsh in his political views, and "never said nothing," but always openly expressed his criticism on a law and "act" of the government.

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Fans of e-books were the most active readers. According to official sources Research Center Pew Research Center, people who choose books in electronic format, read more than those who rely on paper edition. Polls have shown that fans of the electronic format for the year, on average read 24 books, while the rest - 15 books.

It turns out that digital books often read from a computer (42 per cent of respondents) and the "reading room" like a Kindle or Nook (41 per cent of respondents). Next in order of popularity followed by cell phone and a tablet.

However, the popularity of printed books are still ahead of the book in electronic format.

The popularity of e-book explains the situation and comfort, 83 percent of respondents recognized that digital books easier to travel.

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Sony Pictures hired Danny Strong to write a wide-screen adaptation of Dan Brown's novel "Lost Symbol".

Studio has announced the upcoming film adaptation of the book in late 2010, but due to the departure of Ron Howard's project, and finding the right director, who in October 2011 was the Mark Romanek, the work on the movie drags.

In the third novel about the adventures of Harvard professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), the protagonist tries to unravel the mystery of Freemasonry, the Vashinkton and, of course, falls into the most amazing and dangerous situation.

Adaptation of two other novels by writer - "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006 and "Angels & Demons" in 2009, earned its creators 1.24 billion.

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«My son is now an "entrepreneur". That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job» (Ted Turner)

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I am reading "Steve Jobs.Biography".
He is great man...
The basis of this biography went to talk with Steve Jobs himself, and with his family, friends, enemies, rivals and colleagues. Jobs will not controlled by the author. He candidly answered all the questions and waited for the same honesty from others. This is a story about a life full of ups and downs, the strong man and a talented businessman who was among the first to realize that in order to succeed in the XXI century must combine creativity and technology.

Co-founder and long-term head of Apple, the main generator of ideas, set the direction of all activities of the corporation, Steve Jobs has forever changed the world of digital technology. This book tells about the life of the creator of the world Apple, which has become a symbol of technological progress and the digital revolution. The book includes over 40 interviews of Steve Jobs with his biographer Walter Isaacson, as well as memories of loved ones and people who knew him.

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Has there ever been as bad a great writer as Charles Dickens?

None of the other classic novelists cause as much difficulty to their respective champions. Tolstoy’s appeal will surely continue for as long as there is war, peace or heartbreak; Dostoevsky, Proust and Joyce as long as there are show-offs; Mann, Updike and Nabokov as long as there is a disjuncture between youth, age and erections; Eliot and Flaubert as long as there is human life; and it’s a truth universally acknowledged that Austen will endure for as long as lazy hacks need an opening line. But Dickens? Dickens in the modern era has Simon Callow and Stephen Fry. I wouldn’t start from here, as the saying goes.

Okay, that’s not quite true. Dickens has plenty of champions and they’ve all been out in force over the last few weeks, manning the Christmas soup kitchens and ladling out thick spoonfuls of our most cherished writer. Even if you were able to avoid the numerous adaptations of A Christmas Carol, you could opt on Radio 4 for a Mumbai-set reworking of Martin Chuzzlewit and Charles Dickens’ iPod (featuring Callow), BBC2 for The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (featuring Fry) or one of the two BBC reworkings of Great Expectations. There is also the forthcoming The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the famously unfinished last novel that has now been given a new ending.

In fairness to the Beeb, there have been over 400 Dickens adaptations for TV and film, so it cannot be singled out for unoriginality. It’s all in honour of his bicentennial year and, given the information that Britain’s schools are largely retreating from attempting to teach the doorstop classics due to a palpable lack of enthusiasm among students, the BBC has an understandable urge to fulfil its public-service remit by filling in the gaps of the education system.

Yet it’s questionable whether this surfeit of Dickens really helps. He’s a surprisingly tricky writer to pin down: famously sickly and sentimental, yet capable of piercing emotional insight; a prose stylist of great technical skill and subtlety yet – by Christ – you can really tell that he was getting paid by the word most of the time. He produced the novel which classes as one of the all-time great satires on educational instrumentalism and utilitarianism (Hard Times), while also producing the novel you would want to keep as far away as possible from students attempting to cultivate a love of literature and reading (Hard Times).

I suppose such complexities and contradictions are where some of the greatness lies. Every age tries to claim him as their own, with limited success. Up until recently, those seeking to push his relevance insisted that if he were alive today he would be writing for EastEnders or some other soap opera. If you would consider your reaction to someone who sat you down and told you that you simply MUST watch episodes of EastEnders from 1987 to 1990 (for example) then you quickly realise that EastEnders always did much better out of that comparison. Dickens wrote in one of the popular and disposable mediums of his day, but given his day was the birthplace of modern industrial capitalism, different standards apply. At its very, and rare, best an episode of a popular soap may reach Dickensian levels; at his very (and frequent) worst, Dickens wrote as badly and didactically as most soaps generally are. Beyond that, context is everything.

Similarly, while many are currently attempting to reclaim Dickens as the novelist for the time because of his focus on social justice and the evils of poverty - what, we should read Little Dorrit so we can discover that poverty is bad? - it’s a sadder reflection on both the man himself and our time than is probably realised. George Orwell’s famous essay on Dickens, berating his absence of structural critique and calling for a fairer and more moral branch of capitalists, would be well worth reading while sat in an Occupy tent, for sure. Yet celebrating the modern significance of Dickens by emphasising the least modern aspect of his fiction seems doomed to failure.

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A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf, and each side of a leaf is called a page. A book produced in electronic format is known as an electronic book (e-book).

Books may also refer to works of literature, or a main division of such a work. In library and information science, a book is called a monograph, to distinguish it from serial periodicals such as magazines, journals or newspapers. The body of all written works including books is literature. In novels and sometimes other types of books (for example, biographies), a book may be divided into several large sections, also called books (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and so on). A lover of books is usually referred to as a bibliophile or, more informally, a bookworm.
A store where books are bought and sold is a bookstore or bookshop. Books can also be borrowed from libraries. In 2010, Google estimated that since the invention of printing, approximately 130,000,000 unique titles had been published.

The methods used for the printing and binding of books continued fundamentally unchanged from the 15th century into the early years of the 20th century. While there was of course more mechanization, Gutenberg would have had no difficulty in understanding what was going on if he had visited a book printer in 1900.
Gutenberg’s invention was the use of movable metal types, assembled into words, lines, and pages and then printed by letterpress. In letterpress printing ink is spread onto the tops of raised metal type, and is transferred onto a sheet of paper which is pressed against the type. Sheet-fed letterpress printing is still available but tends to be used for collector’s books and is now more of an art form than a commercial technique (see Letterpress).

Today, the majority of books are printed by offset lithography in which an image of the material to be printed is photographically or digitally transferred to a flexible metal plate where it is developed to exploit the antipathy between grease (the ink) and water. When the plate is mounted on the press, water is spread over it. The developed areas of the plate repel water thus allowing the ink to adhere to only those parts of the plate which are to print. The ink is then offset onto a rubbery blanket (to prevent water from soaking the paper) and then finally to the paper.

When a book is printed the pages are laid out on the plate so that after the printed sheet is folded the pages will be in the correct sequence. Books tend to be manufactured nowadays in a few standard sizes. The sizes of books are usually specified as “trim size”: the size of the page after the sheet has been folded and trimmed. Trimming involves cutting approximately 1/8” off top, bottom and fore-edge (the edge opposite to the spine) as part of the binding process in order to remove the folds so that the pages can be opened. The standard sizes result from sheet sizes (therefore machine sizes) which became popular 200 or 300 years ago, and have come to dominate the industry. The basic standard commercial book sizes in the United States, always expressed as width × height, are: 4¼” × 7” (rack size paperback), 5⅛” × 7⅝” (digest size paperback), 5½” × 8¼”, 5½” × 8½”, 6⅛” × 9¼”, 7” × 10”, and 8½” × 11”.

These “standard” trim sizes will often vary slightly depending on the particular printing presses used, and on the imprecision of the trimming operation. Of course other trim sizes are available, and some publishers favor sizes not listed here which they might nominate as “standard” as well, such as 6” × 9”, 8” × 10”. In Britain the equivalent standard sizes differ slightly, as well as now being expressed in millimeters, and with height preceding width. Thus the UK equivalent of 6⅛” × 9¼” is 234 × 156 mm. British conventions in this regard prevail throughout the English speaking world, except for USA. The European book manufacturing industry works to a completely different set of standards.

Some books, particularly those with shorter runs (i.e. of which fewer copies are to be made) will be printed on sheet-fed offset presses, but most books are now printed on web presses, which are fed by a continuous roll of paper, and can consequently print more copies in a shorter time. On a sheet-fed press a stack of sheets of paper stands at one end of the press, and each sheet passes through the press individually. The paper will be printed on both sides and delivered, flat, as a stack of paper at the other end of the press. These sheets then have to be folded on another machine which uses bars, rollers and cutters to fold the sheet up into one or more signatures. A signature is a section of a book, usually of 32 pages, but sometimes 16, 48 or even 64 pages. After the signatures are all folded they are gathered: placed in sequence in bins over a circulating belt onto which one signature from each bin is dropped. Thus as the line circulates a complete “book” is collected together in one stack, next to another, and another.

A web press carries out the folding itself, delivering bundles of signatures ready to go into the gathering line. Notice that when the book is being printed it is being printed one (or two) signatures at a time, not one complete book at a time. Thus if there are to be 10,000 copies printed, the press will run 10,000 of the first form (the pages imaged onto the first plate and its back-up plate, representing one or two signatures), then 10,000 of the next form, and so on till all the signatures have been printed. Actually, because there is a known average spoilage rate in each of the steps in the book’s progress through the manufacturing system, if 10,000 books are to be made, the printer will print between 10,500 and 11,000 copies so that subsequent spoilage will still allow the delivery of the ordered quantity of books. Sources of spoilage tend to be mainly make-readies.

A make-ready is the preparatory work carried out by the pressmen to get the printing press up to the required quality of impression. Included in make-ready is the time taken to mount the plate onto the machine, clean up any mess from the previous job, and get the press up to speed. The main part of making-ready is however getting the ink/water balance right, and ensuring that the inking is even across the whole width of the paper. This is done by running paper through the press and printing waste pages while adjusting the press to improve quality.

Densitometers are used to ensure even inking and consistency from one form to another. As soon as the pressman decides that the printing is correct, all the make-ready sheets will be discarded, and the press will start making books. Similar make readies take place in the folding and binding areas, each involving spoilage of paper.

After the signatures are folded and gathered, they move into the bindery. In the middle of the last century there were still many trade binders – stand-alone binding companies which did no printing, specializing in binding alone. At that time, largely because of the dominance of letterpress printing, the pattern of the industry was for typesetting and printing to take place in one location, and binding in a different factory. When type was all metal, a typical book’s worth of type would be bulky, fragile and heavy. The less it was moved in this condition the better: so it was almost invariable that printing would be carried out in the same location as the typesetting. Printed sheets on the other hand could easily be moved. Now, because of the increasing computerization of the process of preparing a book for the printer, the typesetting part of the job has flowed upstream, where it is done either by separately contracting companies working for the publisher, by the publishers themselves, or even by the authors. Mergers in the book manufacturing industry mean that it is now unusual to find a bindery which is not also involved in book printing (and vice versa).

If the book is a hardback its path through the bindery will involve more points of activity than if it is a paperback. A paperback binding line (a number of pieces of machinery linked by conveyor belts) involves few steps. The gathered signatures, book blocks, will be fed into the line where they will one by one be gripped by plates converging from each side of the book, turned spine up and advanced towards a gluing station. En route the spine of the book block will be ground off leaving a roughened edge to the tightly gripped collection of pages.

The grinding leaves fibers which will grip onto the glue which is then spread onto the spine of the book. Covers then meet up with the book blocks, and one cover is dropped onto the glued spine of each book block, and is pressed against the spine by rollers. The book is then carried forward to the trimming station, where a three-knife trimmer will simultaneously cut the top and bottom and the fore-edge of the paperback to leave clear square edges. The books are then packed into cartons, or packed on skids, and shipped.
Binding a hardback is more complicated. Look at a hardback book and you will see the cover overlaps the pages by about 1/8” all round.

These overlaps are called squares. The blank piece of paper inside the cover is called the endpaper, or endsheet: it is of somewhat stronger paper than the rest of the book as it is the endpapers that hold the book into the case. The endpapers will be tipped to the first and last signatures before the separate signatures are placed into the bins on the gathering line. Tipping involves spreading some glue along the spine edge of the folded endpaper and pressing the endpaper against the signature. The gathered signatures are then glued along the spine, and the book block is trimmed, like the paperback, but will continue after this to the rounder and backer. The book block together with its endpapers will be gripped from the sides and passed under a roller with presses it from side to side, smashing the spine down and out around the sides so that the entire book takes on a rounded cross section: convex on the spine, concave at the fore-edge, with “ears” projecting on either side of the spine. Then the spine is glued again, a paper liner is stuck to it and headbands and footbands are applied. Next a crash lining (an open weave cloth somewhat like a stronger cheesecloth) is usually applied, overlapping the sides of the spine by an inch or more.

Finally the inside of the case, which has been constructed and foil-stamped off-line on a separate machine, is glued on either side (but not on the spine area) and placed over the book block. This entire sandwich is now gripped from the outside and pressed together to form a solid bond between the endpapers and the inside of the case. The crash lining, which is glued to the spine of the pages, but not the spine of the case, is held between the endpapers and the case sides, and in fact provides most of the strength holding the book block into the case. The book will then be jacketed (most often by hand, allowing this stage to be an inspection stage also) before being packed ready for shipment.

The sequence of events can vary slightly, and usually the entire sequence does not occur in one continuous pass through a binding line. What has been described above is unsewn binding, now increasingly common. The signatures of a book can also be held together by Smyth sewing. Needles pass through the spine fold of each signature in succession, from the outside to the center of the fold, sewing the pages of the signature together and each signature to its neighbors.

McCain sewing, often used in schoolbook binding, involves drilling holes through the entire book and sewing through all the pages from front to back near the spine edge. Both of these methods mean that the folds in the spine of the book will not be ground off in the binding line. This is true of another technique, notch binding, where gashes about an inch long are made at intervals through the fold in the spine of each signature, parallel to the spine direction. In the binding line glue is forced into these “notches” right to the center of the signature, so that every pair of pages in the signature is bonded to every other one, just as in the Smyth sewn book. The rest of the binding process is similar in all instances. Sewn and notch bound books can be bound as either hardbacks or paperbacks.

Making cases happens off-line and prior to the book’s arrival at the binding line. In the most basic case making, two pieces of cardboard are placed onto a glued piece of cloth with a space between them into which is glued a thinner board cut to the width of the spine of the book. The overlapping edges of the cloth (about 5/8” all round) are folded over the boards, and pressed down to adhere.

After case making the stack of cases will go to the foil stamping area. Metal dies, photoengraved elsewhere, are mounted in the stamping machine and rolls of foil are positioned to pass between the dies and the case to be stamped. Heat and pressure cause the foil to detach from its backing and adhere to the case. Foils come in various shades of gold and silver and in a variety pigment colors, and by careful setup quite elaborate effects can be achieved by using different rolls of foil on the one book.

Cases can also be made from paper which has been printed separately and then protected with clear film lamination. A three-piece case is made similarly but has a different material on the spine and overlapping onto the sides: so it starts out as three pieces of material, one each of a cheaper material for the sides and the different, stronger material for the spine.

Recent developments in book manufacturing include the development of digital printing. Book pages are printed, in much the same way as an office copier works, using toner rather than ink. Each book is printed in one pass, not as separate signatures. Digital printing has permitted the manufacture of much smaller quantities than offset, in part because of the absence of make readies and of spoilage. One might think of a web press as printing quantities over 2000, quantities from 250 to 2000 being printed on sheet-fed presses, and digital presses doing quantities below 250. These numbers are of course only approximate and will vary from supplier to supplier, and from book to book depending on its characteristics. Digital printing has opened up the possibility of print-on-demand, where no books are printed until after an order is received from a customer.

Digital format

The term e-book is a contraction of "electronic book"; it refers to a digital version of a conventional print book. An e-book is usually made available through the internet, but also on CD-ROM and other forms. E-Books may be read either via a computer or by means of a portable book display device known as an e-book reader, such as the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook or the Amazon Kindle. These devices attempt to mimic the experience of reading a print book.

Throughout the 20th century, libraries have faced an ever-increasing rate of publishing, sometimes called an information explosion. The advent of electronic publishing and the Internet means that much new information is not printed in paper books, but is made available online through a digital library, on CD-ROM, or in the form of e-books. An on-line book is an e-book that is available online through the internet.

Though many books are produced digitally, most digital versions are not available to the public, and there is no decline in the rate of paper publishing. There is an effort, however, to convert books that are in the public domain into a digital medium for unlimited redistribution and infinite availability. This effort is spearheaded by Project Gutenberg combined with Distributed Proofreaders.

There have also been new developments in the process of publishing books. Technologies such as print on demand, which make it possible to print as few as one book at a time, have made self-publishing much easier and more affordable. On-demand publishing has allowed publishers, by avoiding the high costs of warehousing, to keep low-selling books in print rather than declaring them out of print.

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Lately those most likely to seek high political office also seem to be those most likely to implode in weird public psychodramas of their own devising. Typically, sex is the vehicle: Somehow an otherwise intelligent person, typically male (sex scandals are still the ultimate glass ceiling, though this will surely change as more women maneuver their way into traditionally masculine enclaves of power), “forgets” that sending lewd photos of himself to constituents or assaulting hotel maids or committing serial groping or frequenting high-priced prostitutes is unlikely to stay private for long in today’s exposé-driven political culture.

1But how much do we really know about why people turn their erotic capacities and drives into instruments of self-flagellation rather than pleasure, while seemingly oblivious to the consequences? In this connection, Susan Wise Bauer’s The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America (2008) should be required reading. (In fact, anyone seeking public office might want to order a copy pronto.) Remember: An apology is not the same thing as a confession, Bauer advises those caught in sex scandals. An apology is simply an expression of regret, whereas a confession requires an expression of fault, and the public is keenly attuned to the difference.

2If confessions require genuine soul-searching, note that this is largely an impossible task, according to a rather alarming book by psychologist Herbert Fingarette titled simply Self-Deception (1969). Not only is “spelling things out” to oneself an acquired skill, but there can be compelling reasons to avoid doing it, and to avoid becoming conscious of your avoidance. (See under: Edwards, John.) In other words, all the self-examination in the world isn’t going to help anyone bent on self-deception, which unfortunately applies to all of us, at least some of the time.

3In fact, nothing is more endemic to the human species, according to psychoanalyst Theodor Reik, an acolyte of Freud’s. In The Compulsion to Confess: On the Psychoanalysis of Crime and Punishment (1945), Reik posits a universal tendency toward guilt, which he links to a buried need for self-punishment. This is what prompts people to commit crimes for which they absolutely know, at some subterranean level, they’ll be caught and punished. In fact, getting caught is the point. Not a cheery premise, to say the least. In any case, watching one public figure after another set himself up for inevitable public disgrace might prompt us to ask whether the drives that lead people to seek higher office are the same drives that should also disqualify them. Obviously, the psychology of men in power is a far darker continent than we yet understand.

Laura Kipnis is the author of “How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior” and a professor at Northwestern.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/2011/12/06/gIQAMePwiO_story.html

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CHA 2011 - The Popular Smash Books!

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How Harry Potter Should Have Ended?

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In a small souvenir shop figurine was an angel. Small, no conspicuous figure was very fond of the owner of the shop. It reminded him of carefree childhood, first love and walks in the spring rain. Each morning began with the fact that he carefully brushed the dust from the small wings, each time finding a figure more beautiful. And like a flower in the capable hands of a gardener, answered him with a statuette
reciprocate. Every morning when the sun rose, crystal angel like body absorbed the rays of these, at the time of saving them, and then filled every heart with joy and happiness, lightly shimmering and glittering. No one except the Boss did not know what the back of the statue spoiled little scratch, whose origin was not known to anybody.
This morning was no different from any other. The owner, as always opened his shop, and began to prepare for the arrival of customers. "Hello, sweetheart, how are you today?" - Mentally addressed to the owner of a favorite statue. "You and I have seen so much ... People come and go, changing faces, changing my ... But we'll stay here forever."
Ringing the bell over the door diverted the attention of the Master of the statues. A tall man, 30 years went into the shop and looked around.
- How can I help? - The owner asked
- Yes, I was looking something in his office. Well, you yourself know how to decorate all sorts of little things environment ...
The owner has already been stretched out his hand to a metal painted inkwell, when suddenly I heard:
- How lovely - the man exclaimed, holding out her hands to the angel. - What a wonderful thing. I already know how it looks on my desk.
- This statue ... She .... - Boss hesitated - it defective. You see that little crack? So I copied it just did not have time to remove from the shelves.
- Yes ... crack really is. Well, nothing, because it is quite inconspicuous. I still want to buy it.
- But I copied it ... I do not know how to appreciate it now ...
The man handed a crumpled piece of paper, looking into the eyes of astonished shopkeeper
-I think that's enough. Incase
The owner was surprised and generosity of the buyer without hesitation rushed to pack figurine.
- Please, I hope this little angel will bring you joy and happiness.
The man left the store, taking with them a box, and the owner could not believe his own luck.

"What's all the same charm," - said the man, considering the statuette, and then put it on the table
Since statue took place on the table in one of the offices of the vast business center among a heap of pens, pencils, punch and other small things.
And now every morning statue welcomed its new owner with bright patches of sunlight.
This morning was no different from any other. The man winked at the statue as always and took up his daily work. A knock at the door heels forced him to distraction. In the office his secretary came in, bringing a flavor of just brewed coffee.
- Your morning coffee - she cooed.
- Thank you, put on the table.
- God, what an old-fashioned thing. And has managed to buy it as you ... Have not you heard that this season is fashionable to put ornaments of bronze, well, at least their tree. A crystal ... This is the last century.
Thoughts of his own image, that can think partners, visitors, colleagues, the founders and general all-everything covered his head.
Yes, perhaps ... Should get rid of it. I'll take her back into the shop, there it is the place. Bronze say? Hmm ... You will need to keep an eye on something prestigious.
The shopkeeper was delighted having received the statuette back. Again, it took pride of place in his shop, he again carefully wipe off the dust in the morning, and she winked at him by solar rays.
But even he did not notice ... I did not notice another little crack, whose origin had remained a mystery for all.

Catherine K. (C)

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Born Along the Racial Fault Line

“What would you tell someone who didn’t have a clear ethnic identity?” he asked. “For example, what would you tell someone who had one parent who was black and another who was white? Who had one parent who was American and another who was European? Who had moved dozens of times as a child and didn’t have a specific place to call home?” Everyone in the room knew that Mr. Whitaker was talking about himself.

“I guess I would say that that’s too bad,” the professor answered. “In the future I hope we don’t have too many more people like you.”

Mr. Whitaker recounts this story in “My Long Trip Home,” a book filled with as much family tumult as Jeannette Walls described in “The Glass Castle” and a racial factor to boot. It’s a story that registers not only for its shock value but also for the perspective and wisdom with which it can now be told.

The episode did not anger him, he said. He saw it as his professor’s Freudian slip, “exposing a wish to hold on to a sense of certainty about his roots in the face of a gathering demographic storm that threatened to wash them away.” But Mr. Whitaker’s troubled and combative black father, who is the book’s central figure through sheer force of personality, had a more heated reaction. “As I always say, scratch a white liberal and you’ll find a bigot,” Cleophaus Sylvester Whitaker Jr. told his son.

The senior Mr. Whitaker, who hated his first name and preferred to be called Syl, scratched many a white liberal in his time. He also rose to great heights in the world of academia in which his two sons were raised. And in a story that superficially resembles that of Barack Obama’s parents, he beguiled the white woman he would marry at a time when mixed-raced marriages in America were neither commonplace nor easy. When Mark was born in a Philadelphia suburb in 1957, his white mother worried about whether the sight of her baby might shock the doctor.

Mr. Whitaker, who has had a long career in journalism (most notably as Newsweek’s top editor) is well justified in thinking that his family’s unusual history warrants book-length treatment. “My Long Trip Home” is full of remarkable stories and not just because of its racial aspects. The author’s father, who was an undergraduate at Swarthmore, met his mother, Jeanne Theis, who was on the Swarthmore faculty, when she helped teach Syl his lines for a French play about Captain Cook. That he was bare-chested in a grass skirt may have contributed to the couple’s initial chemistry.

Mr. Whitaker’s stories of his paternal family (his grandparents prospered by running funeral homes for Pittsburgh’s black population) are vivid and unusual. His tales of the Theis family are even more so. Jeanne was born in Cameroon, the child of missionaries, and had seven sisters. Their father, Edouard Theis, was a French Protestant clergyman and became a hero of the Resistance during World War II. Six of the eight girls, Jeanne among them, were sent to the United States during wartime, and The New York Times published a 1940 photo of the girls arriving in New York, wearing matching berets. Fifty years later The Times published an up-to-date photo of the same six Theis women.

Although both of Mr. Whitaker’s parents were academics, it was his father who flourished as a professor. Among the many places where Syl Whitaker taught were Princeton, where he was the director of the African-American Studies department of the Woodrow Wilson School, U.C.L.A., Rutgers and Brooklyn College. This made for such a peripatetic existence that Mark had started five different school years in five different places before he was 8 years old. It also made for a volatile and doomed marriage. Much of this book is about the drinking and skirt chasing that were part of Syl’s charm during Mark’s early years and enough to get him fired by the time the ethos of the 1970s arrived.

In order to put this book together Mr. Whitaker researched and reported on both of his parents. (Unlike President Obama, he points out, he knew his father for 50 years.) But the harder part of the assignment was retrieving his own reactions to the constant turmoil of his formative years. He presents himself convincingly as an adorable, Daddy-obsessed baby (“He even waves when he sees Syl’s briefcase or coat,” his mother wrote in a letter) who grew into a hurt, frustrated adolescent confused by his parents’ anger at each other. As for his father’s drinking, he writes of a sad downward slide that led to frequent job changes. Just as he got used to the idea that Syl was teaching at S.U.N.Y., his father wound up at C.U.N.Y instead.

During the later part of the book he writes of going to Harvard, working for The Crimson and crossing paths with future media luminaries like Jonathan Alter, Nicholas Lemann, Peter Kaplan, Jim Cramer and the political consultant Mark Penn. But the sections about Mr. Whitaker’s own career as a newsman are less riveting than his childhood story. The book’s best lessons are derived from those early years.

His mother taught him perseverance. His father was in some ways a good role model too, “a black man who was proud of his racial identity but determined never to be confined by it.” And his father taught him so much more. Syl Whitaker did him a perverse, backhanded favor, Mr. Whitaker writes, “by offering so many cautionary tales about how not to behave.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/books/my-long-trip-home-by-mark-whitaker-review.html?ref=books

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In a small souvenir shop figurine was an angel. Small, no conspicuous figure was very fond of the owner of the shop. It reminded him of carefree childhood, first love and walks in the spring rain. Each morning began with the fact that he carefully brushed the dust from the small wings, each time finding a figure more beautiful. And like a flower in the capable hands of a gardener, answered him with a statuette
reciprocate. Every morning when the sun rose, crystal angel like body absorbed the rays of these, at the time of saving them, and then filled every heart with joy and happiness, lightly shimmering and glittering. No one except the Boss did not know what the back of the statue spoiled little scratch, whose origin was not known to anybody.
This morning was no different from any other. The owner, as always opened his shop, and began to prepare for the arrival of customers. "Hello, sweetheart, how are you today?" - Mentally addressed to the owner of a favorite statue. "You and I have seen so much ... People come and go, changing faces, changing my ... But we'll stay here forever."
Ringing the bell over the door diverted the attention of the Master of the statues. A tall man, 30 years went into the shop and looked around.
- How can I help? - The owner asked
- Yes, I was looking something in his office. Well, you yourself know how to decorate all sorts of little things environment ...
The owner has already been stretched out his hand to a metal painted inkwell, when suddenly I heard:
- How lovely - the man exclaimed, holding out her hands to the angel. - What a wonderful thing. I already know how it looks on my desk.
- This statue ... She .... - Boss hesitated - it defective. You see that little crack? So I copied it just did not have time to remove from the shelves.
- Yes ... crack really is. Well, nothing, because it is quite inconspicuous. I still want to buy it.
- But I copied it ... I do not know how to appreciate it now ...
The man handed a crumpled piece of paper, looking into the eyes of astonished shopkeeper
-I think that's enough. Incase
The owner was surprised and generosity of the buyer without hesitation rushed to pack figurine.
- Please, I hope this little angel will bring you joy and happiness.
The man left the store, taking with them a box, and the owner could not believe his own luck.

"What's all the same charm," - said the man, considering the statuette, and then put it on the table
Since statue took place on the table in one of the offices of the vast business center among a heap of pens, pencils, punch and other small things.
And now every morning statue welcomed its new owner with bright patches of sunlight.
This morning was no different from any other. The man winked at the statue as always and took up his daily work. A knock at the door heels forced him to distraction. In the office his secretary came in, bringing a flavor of just brewed coffee.
- Your morning coffee - she cooed.
- Thank you, put on the table.
- God, what an old-fashioned thing. And has managed to buy it as you ... Have not you heard that this season is fashionable to put ornaments of bronze, well, at least their tree. A crystal ... This is the last century.
Thoughts of his own image, that can think partners, visitors, colleagues, the founders and general all-everything covered his head.
Yes, perhaps ... Should get rid of it. I'll take her back into the shop, there it is the place. Bronze say? Hmm ... You will need to keep an eye on something prestigious.
The shopkeeper was delighted having received the statuette back. Again, it took pride of place in his shop, he again carefully wipe off the dust in the morning, and she winked at him by solar rays.
But even he did not notice ... I did not notice another little crack, whose origin had remained a mystery for all.

Catherine K. (C)

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