This is the fifth novel of Steve's that I've read and the seventh book overall. It's the best of his that I've read, which is saying quite a bit, espeThis is the fifth novel of Steve's that I've read and the seventh book overall. It's the best of his that I've read, which is saying quite a bit, especially after the last trio of Temporary People, The Consequence of Skating, and The Law of Strings.
Benchere in Wonderland seems to "simply" ask What is Art? and What is Art's role in the world? I think it goes beyond that though and pushes the reader to think about what it means to be human--what it means to think, to act, to love, to grieve, to admire.
The Benchere in question is Michael Benchere--world renowned architect, and sculpture. I don't want to spoil anything for any readers of this wonderful novel and will simply say that Benchere ends up deciding to build a huge sculpture in the Kalahari Desert in Africa and while he simply wants/hopes to do it for the sake of the sculpture, it turns into much more--a media event, a place for people to converge, to make their own comments about art and about politics and love and ...
And Gillis has infused this novel with plenty of humor and entertainment. It's a novel that will entertain you greatly while causing you to think....more
I cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed in a book. One would think that a book with the title, Nixon's Darkest Secrets, and especially wI cannot remember the last time I was so disappointed in a book. One would think that a book with the title, Nixon's Darkest Secrets, and especially with the subtitle, The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President, would have something new, something substantial, backing up its claims. Sadly, this is not even close to the case this time around.
Instead what Don Fulsom has given his readers is a mish-mash of previously whispered about questions about Nixon--was he tied to the Mob?, what were his sexual tendencies?, did he beat his wife, Pat?--with scarcely anything new to add to any of them. One would expect some form of proof of some of these "secrets" with the title on that cover.
Instead, Fulsom proves his points by leading into his evidentiary statements with such words, or phrases, as "legend has it," "claims," "rumored," "believed," and "speculated." These are just from Chapter Three alone, but it's a consistency the book does maintain throughout. Another fine example of Fulsom's hammering home his points comes in Chapter Five, "Nixon's Sexuality:"
Was Nixon's tough-guy attitude toward gays just a cover for his own homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality? Was he shrouding some kind of subliminal or "unaddressed" issue? Well, he isn't still called Tricky Dick for nothing.
So, after approximately nine pages of wondering about Nixon's sexual tendencies, his big point, the final nail in the coffin to his argument is that Nixon's been known as Tricky Dick for nearly seventy years? Forgive this reader for not immediately agreeing with such hard hitting logic and evidence.
Beyond this simply abysmal retreading of old bits of information, the book does not seem to have had a thorough editing process either. Or perhaps I just am not a fan of the style the editor/author opted to run with. One person whose ideas are brought into the book over and over again is Anthony Summers, author of The Arrogance of Power (Viking, 2000), a Nixon biography. Within the first sixty pages, he, or his work, is quoted from frequently. That's all well and good, but the way that Fulsom introduces Summers each time simply becomes annoying as he cherry-picks aspects of Summers career to shoehorn him into that particular chapter/secret/rumor. He's introduced into various chapters as "a historian," a "JFK Assassination authority," an "investigative journalist," and a "Sinatra biographer." It just seemed to simply depend on what argument Fulsom was making at the time. Simply refer to Summers the first time around as a historian that also wrote a major Nixon biography and assume that your readers of what is supposed to be a thoroughly researched political non-fiction book just might be able to remember the name as it appears the next dozen times through the book.
The worst case of this is when Fulsom notes on page 59 that Summers is the "author of the best, most comprehensive book about Nixon," and then less than a page later notes him as a "Nixon biographer." I do not believe that my sixth grade son has an attention span so weary that he would have needed that reminder so quickly.
Needless to say this book nearly drove me nuts. I do not believe that I was wrong in expecting much more from the book with the title and especially the "Inside Story" bit of the subtitle. I won't at all be surprised if another journalist does indeed find proof of some of these "secrets," but Fulsom didn't come close, nor did he put together a compelling book.
1 star (I truly think I'm being generous here, but I like the cover of the book)...more
As with past Mills' novels, I really enjoyed this new one and as in the past am still thinking about it after completing it--and as usual, coming to tAs with past Mills' novels, I really enjoyed this new one and as in the past am still thinking about it after completing it--and as usual, coming to the conclusion that it's much much harder to write what appear to be extremely simply constructed sentences than one might assume. There is much to consider in Mills' interpretations of society, and government, and people here....more
This is simply the best book I've read this year. The only title I can say that I've read multiple times, and got more excited each time I read it andThis is simply the best book I've read this year. The only title I can say that I've read multiple times, and got more excited each time I read it and got drawn in again....more
A fantastic read - difficult to put down once you get going. Stern's bouncing back and forth between the current day and Bernie Carp and his dealingsA fantastic read - difficult to put down once you get going. Stern's bouncing back and forth between the current day and Bernie Carp and his dealings with the unfrozen rabbi, and the historical journey the rabbi took from his original freezing until he arrived in Bernie's freezer, are masterfully handled.
Stern is an author that cares both about the individual sentence AND the overall story. Absolutely go out and support this author and wonderful publishing house and buy, read and enjoy The Frozen Rabbi....more