Enjoyable and completely free of the pretentious and portentous tone that mars so many memoirs. The story is not particularly eventful in terms of graEnjoyable and completely free of the pretentious and portentous tone that mars so many memoirs. The story is not particularly eventful in terms of grand drama, but the writing is bright and funny, and I loved the snapshots of Paris in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Child's enthusiasm for food and wine, paired with her snarky asides and fond memories, create a genuine and compelling read....more
Put quite simply: This book rules. Frankie Landau-Banks is an unknown sophomore at a swanky boarding school. Mathew Livingston, a popular senior, takePut quite simply: This book rules. Frankie Landau-Banks is an unknown sophomore at a swanky boarding school. Mathew Livingston, a popular senior, takes an interest in her, and suddenly she's sitting at the cool kids' table. Frankie loves Mathew's friends, who are unafraid to be themselves, but she's annoyed at her arm-candy status, and she quickly tires of being relegated to the periphery of the group. When she discovers that Mathew and his friends are part of the school's legendary all-male secret society, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Frankie embarks on a spying mission that evolves into a series of elaborate pranks. The writing is snappy, the plot is highly amusing, and Frankie is a refreshing protagonist,willful and intelligent without being infallible. Surprisingly, the book contains witty and extremely perceptive analysis of male/female relationships and human interactions in general. It actually made me think, which is pretty unusual, considering it's aimed at kids and teenagers, and I am 30. I wish I could have read this book when I was fifteen; it's an excellent primer for conquering a number of situations typical to the early teenage years. Highly recommended, particularly if you like children's and young adult novels....more
If you like mysteries or have ever worked in advertising, this book is highly recommended. As someone who has been writing copy for 10 years, I foundIf you like mysteries or have ever worked in advertising, this book is highly recommended. As someone who has been writing copy for 10 years, I found Sayers' incisive and sometimes subversion observations about the genre particularly amusing and remarkably relevant, considering the book was written in the 1930's. As usual Sayers' protagonist, the aristocratic Lord Peter Whimsey is awesome--debonair, dashing, irreverent, and hilariously snobby. If you love stories about people who are ridiculously good at what they do, ala Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Indy or the archetypal computer hacker or CSI expert, (I love unrealistically genius specialists!) you'll probably like Sayers. But there's more to her than high adventure. Murder Must Advertise is well written and pops with dry social satire....more
David McCullough is a lion of a historian and a brilliant writer. He's at his best when he writes biography, as clearly demonstrated by Truman. At 992David McCullough is a lion of a historian and a brilliant writer. He's at his best when he writes biography, as clearly demonstrated by Truman. At 992 pages, the book is a bit of a beast itself, but fascinating to the very end. McCullough's clear, direct style is admirable, and he has a talent for bringing his subjects to life and making you love them.
I originally picked up the book because I was curious how a man who seemed essentially good could have decided to hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As I read, it became clear to dropping the bombs were not Truman's only foreign policy mistakes. (Though mistake hardly seems strong enough a word.) McCullough's examination of Truman's record is unflinching, yet the portrait that emerges is of a good, bright, incredibly kind man who made decisions based on his morals, even when he knew that he was hurting himself politically. It's amazing and scary to see how Truman's decisions, many of which seem sensible when taken in context, laid the groundwork for the the arms race and Vietnam, among other atrocities that have shadowed the world I grew up in. But Truman was multifaceted: he has a deep desire to help the common man, as manifested in his surprisingly progressive domestic policies and his loyalty, and even tenderness, as a friend and employer. He was also funny and genuinely interested in just about everything, and McCullough is adept at choosing the details and anecdotes that make Truman both accessible and remarkable.
Highly recommended to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of modern American history....more