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The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha…
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The Invention of Everything Else (edition 2008)

by Samantha Hunt

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4893220,952 (3.64)1 / 100
Member:booketta
Title:The Invention of Everything Else
Authors:Samantha Hunt
Info:Houghton Mifflin Company (2008), Paperback
Collections:To read
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The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

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English (31)  Dutch (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Tells the story of Tesla's last years in New York, outstanding, imaginative. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
I bailed out of this one pretty promptly. I didn't like the way Tesla was made to sound, his voice struck me as entirely inauthentic to the historical Tesla. I feel entitled to at least a few knee-jerk prejudices- emphasis on the 'jerk'. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Here's this weird aspect of my personality that likes creative nonfiction and learning about different people but gets nervous when it's too "creative" or embellished. That's how I felt about this book, which uses some biographical information that has already been written and the actual events of his life but is still, and admits so, a work of fiction. This is a fun read-involving inventors, time machines and a sense of humanity.

However, I still felt a bit of unease as I'm not exactly sure what was embellished and what wasn't.

This book also tries to capture, in essence, a love story between two minor characters and tie it in to the last days of Tesla..not sure that actually works out because it detracts a little too much from Tesla and makes the book fall more into the genre of romance (though it's based around unusual and interesting circumstances). I think this book would be a good break for someone who wanted something less serious than straight nonfiction but was still interested in history and Tesla in particular. However, I found it somewhat lacking myself, even though the writing style was also fairly engaging.


Memorable quotes:

pg 3 "Invention is nothing a man can own."

pg.82 "Abstinence is so excellent a thing that I'm resolved to practice my passion for it by abstaining from abstinence itself.

pg. 87 "I don't think I've ever met a Serbian," Robert says.
"We have nine words for knife and only one for bread."

pg. 144 "Some old stories still interest me. Some, this one, feel arthritic, a version of a story that has been told so many times it's been dulled by all the greasy hands that touched it."

pg. 149 "...I've always found thought to be far more rewarding than love. Love destroys. Thought creates."

pg. 152 "Birds are unspoiled by worry, that grave imperfection that keeps humans heavy, keeps us from flight."

pg 180 "A man is a god in ruins" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

pg. 219 "Memory, then, is a process of energy, of course, just as thought is. Electrical pulses just like light, just like sound. We record light and sound all the time...And so I've been wondering as I lie here getting older, recalling the past in such vivid, vivid pictures, is, why can't that energy, that thought, be photographed? Can we take photos of thought? Can we take photos of memory?"

pg. 242 "His answer made me understand the reason he loved pigeons so much. It was because he didn't understand people at all."

pg. 244 "'Mr. Tesla stood for a moment by the window. He studied the pale bird, listening, before taking a seat, "People can make beautiful mistakes dear, and each one is an arrow, a brilliant arrow, pointing out the right way to there.' His breath was loud and his eyes did not meet mine. I didn't know where 'there' was, but I believed him."



( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Wow! I did not think that a book about electricity, inventions and the nature of time, memory and thought would be so compelling...or so beautiful. I absolutely loved the writing and was intrigued by the curiosity and passion of the inventors - real and imagined - that are featured in this story. It had been on my TBR shelf for years, and I am glad I have finally picked it. If you are hesitating, I suggest diving right in... ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Jan 13, 2013 |
I'm not sure this novel quite rates four stars for everyone, but it was made for me. I heart pigeons and Tesla. It's about a chambermaid at the Hotel New Yorker who gets to know the aged Tesla in decline. Nobody remembers him anymore and he's quite bitter about not getting credit for his inventions or funding for the many more he had thought up. The chambermaid and her family are charming. The whole darn book is charming. It's not quite "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," but if you like that you'll probably like this. ( )
  kylekatz | Jun 30, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Hunt’s prose is spirited, witty, and—dare I say it—inventive, but it’s also pricked with doubt and the bare, cold fact of loss. Again and again, this novel reminds us that even our best creative energies fail more often than they succeed.
 
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Epigraph
Everything that can be invented has been invented
-Charles H. Duell, Commissioner,
U.S. Patent Office, 1899
Dedication
For Joe
First words
Lightning first, then the thunder.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 061880112X, Hardcover)

New York City thrums with energy, wonder, and possibility in this magical novel about the life of Nikola Tesla.

 

It is 1943, and the renowned inventor Nikola Tesla occupies a forbidden room on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker, stealing electricity. Louisa, a young maid at the hotel determined to befriend him, wins his attention through a shared love of pigeons; with her we hear his tragic and tremendous life story unfold. Meanwhile, Louisa discovers that her father—and her handsome, enigmatic love interest, Arthur Vaughan—are on an unlikely mission to travel back in time and find his beloved late wife. A masterful hybrid of history, biography, and science fiction, The Invention of Everything Else is an absorbing story about love and death and a wonderfully imagined homage to one of history's most visionary scientists.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:24 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"From the author of the debut novel The Seas comes this new novel about an unlikely friendship between the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla and a young chambermaid in the Hotel New Yorker, where Tesla lives out his last days." "From the moment on New Year's Day 1943 when she first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the 33rd floor, Louisa, enthralled by radio dramas and the secret lives of the hotel guests, is determined to befriend him. Winning Tesla's attention through a shared love of pigeons, Louisa - thanks to her finely honed snooping skills - eventually uncovers the story of Tesla's life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamt of pulling electricity from the sky. As Louisa unpeels the layers of Tesla's past, she begins to glimpse the man who, though once esteemed by many, forbade himself human connection. Meanwhile, Louisa - facing her father's imminent departure in a time machine in order to reunite with his late wife - gets swept off her feet by a mysterious mechanic (perhaps from the future) named Arthur. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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