Not quite the cozy nostalgic read I was anticipating since this covered a period when these groups were dealing with tremendous discord among the memb...moreNot quite the cozy nostalgic read I was anticipating since this covered a period when these groups were dealing with tremendous discord among the members (or heroin addiction in the case of JT), and were in the process of breaking up. So, while the music they produced that year was excellent (after all these years, hearing Art Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" still makes me all shivery and teary) the whole book felt a little sad. Fascinating just the same,though, and still recommended for anyone who remembers 1970 and wants to know what was going on behind the scenes.(less)
In the year after losing her mother, Meghan O’Rourke examines her own mourning and also looks at others’ experiences with grief, as well as perspectiv...moreIn the year after losing her mother, Meghan O’Rourke examines her own mourning and also looks at others’ experiences with grief, as well as perspectives from mental health experts. It’s a beautifully written book. Much—certainly not all—reflected my own feelings about losing my mom, feelings that I could never put into words nearly as eloquently as she does. (less)
Gail Caldwell is certainly a wonderful writer—although sometimes I felt as though the prose and metaphor got in the way of the story a little bit. Alt...moreGail Caldwell is certainly a wonderful writer—although sometimes I felt as though the prose and metaphor got in the way of the story a little bit. Although this book is about her friendship with writer Caroline Knapp, the particulars of that friendship remained kind of vague, as did Caroline’s personality. Caldwell’s relationships with her dog and with alcohol, on the other hand, were better defined and were the more interesting parts of the book. So I liked this, but didn’t love it nearly as much as I anticipated. (And I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the author’s insistence on buying designer dogs from breeders.) (less)
When my oldest brother came home from college for Thanksgiving in 1965 he brought a stereo and a stack of record albums including The Rolling Stones N...moreWhen my oldest brother came home from college for Thanksgiving in 1965 he brought a stereo and a stack of record albums including The Rolling Stones Now! and England’s Newest Hit Makers. I can remember listening to those albums for the first time (wow, 45 years ago?) like it was yesterday and I’ve never wavered in my devotion to the Stones’ music. So I was very excited to get my hands on this book, and it did not disappoint.
This is not a history of the Rolling Stones (poor Bill Wyman gets, I think, just 3 mentions in the entire 550+ pages). Rather it’s the story of Keith’s love affair with music, his struggles with addiction, and his relationships, mostly with other musicians. He’s a good and honest story teller, who is also quite funny and generally likeable. Now I really wish that Anita Pallenberg would write her memoirs, although she has said she won't do so. (less)
Celebrity autobiographies are almost always fun but sometimes so unsatisfying. It often turns out that the celebrity in question isn’t nearly as inter...moreCelebrity autobiographies are almost always fun but sometimes so unsatisfying. It often turns out that the celebrity in question isn’t nearly as interesting as the people you know in real life, and that’s the case with this book. And if you’re looking for a warm and cozy peek behind the scenes of Little House, then skip this book for sure. Despite the misleading title, there isn’t a whole lot here about the TV series. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever look at sweet little pigtailed Laura the same after reading about Melissa’s romp around Hollywood. If she’s to be believed, every single actor she ever met was in love with her (although she slept with only about three-quarters of them). There is lots of very candid Hollywood gossip plus lots of parties, lots of drugs. At least Melissa’s chatty tone makes this a quick read. And her success in overcoming a very bad problem with alcohol is admirable. Overall, though, I could have lived without this book. (less)
Leslie Garis is the granddaughter of Howard Garis who wrote for the Stratemeyer Syndicate and also auth...moreI liked this book, but with some reservations.
Leslie Garis is the granddaughter of Howard Garis who wrote for the Stratemeyer Syndicate and also authored the Uncle Wiggily, stories that appeared in the Newark Evening News and later as books. Leslie’s grandmother also worked for the Stratemeyers and authored some of the Bobbsey Twins books.
This is Leslie's story of growing up in a multi-generational home that included her grandparents. The absolute best thing about this book for me was meeting “Grampy” Howard Garis whose extraordinary creativity—-he allegedly wrote some 15,000 stories and 500 books—-was easily matched by his sunny disposition and friendly warmth. On page 192, long after he has achieved great fame, a group of neighborhood children knock on the door looking for Uncle Wiggily. “He took a short walk with them, told a story, and signed their Uncle Wiggily books.” Howard Garis never loses that kindness and generosity even in later years when he becomes an alcoholic.
But the central character here is Leslie’s father (Howard’s son) who is also a writer, and who suffers from a severe depression that colors everything that happens in their home. The book is essentially a history of Roger Garis’s illness. I didn’t get any sense of what Leslie’s life was apart from that. While she describes each of her father’s hospitalizations in great detail (with long quotes from his medical records), she really never talks about friends or social life or school or anything that happens to her.
I realize that maybe this is the point—that what she actually remembers about her childhood was a home that was affected in every way by her father’s illness. But it didn’t feel like the “coming of age” book that the cover promised. Still an interesting read, though, about an American literary family. (less)
Written more than 60 years after the end of World War II, this is Thomas Buergenthal’s remarkable story of surviving the Jewish ghetto of Kielce, foll...more Written more than 60 years after the end of World War II, this is Thomas Buergenthal’s remarkable story of surviving the Jewish ghetto of Kielce, followed by 2 labor camps, Auschwitz and the death march to another camp, Sachsenhausen. He was 10 years old when he arrived at Auschwitz and was among very few children to survive. Nearly half the book covers the time after liberation when, in the chaos of post-war Europe, it took his mother more than a year to find him (which she was able to do only with the help of family in the United States) and then another 4 months for him to travel illegally to be reunited with her.
The writing is spare, and sometimes feels almost dispassionate, but it is simply an amazing and moving story. Today Buergenthal serves as the American judge at the International court of Justice in the Hague.
Short chapters on the lives of real 19th century women who traveled west to marry men they had met through personal ads. In some cases they married on...moreShort chapters on the lives of real 19th century women who traveled west to marry men they had met through personal ads. In some cases they married on the day they arrived. This was a fun book. The editing was not great, and I was unreasonably disappointed that the chapter about the shipload of brides brought to Seattle did not mention that this story was popularized by the television show “Here Come the Brides.” (I don’t know why I care, but I don’t like to miss a chance to relate things to the popular culture of my childhood.) But the vignettes were very entertaining and left me wanting to know more about some of these women. There's a good bibliography at the end. The best parts of the book by far are the personal ads.
“I do not pose as a beauty, but people tell me I look well. Enjoy fun and social gatherings. Age, 27; weight 138; height 64 inches; brown eyes, brown hair, fair complexion; American; very good disposition; plain dresser but neat. Prefer country life. Income $20 per month. Matrimonially inclined.” (less)