Not quite the cozy nostalgic read I was anticipating since this covered a period when these groups were dealing with tremendous discord among the membNot 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....more
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 perspectivIn 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. ...more
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. AltGail 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.) ...more
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 NWhen 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. ...more
Celebrity autobiographies are almost always fun but sometimes so unsatisfying. It often turns out that the celebrity in question isn’t nearly as interCelebrity 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. ...more
Leslie Garis is the granddaughter of Howard Garis who wrote for the Stratemeyer Syndicate and also authI 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. ...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, foll 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.