Al Franken, Giant of the Senate is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect. It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
I have a long commute, and felt that Al Franken was in the car with me doing his shtick. He is funny, insightful, and gave a perspective of political life I never was aware of. I hope his de-humorizer slows down. We all need some humor these days.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history. In 1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is elected president. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism.
This is the first Philip Roth book I've ever read- and to no one's surprise , he's brilliant, gifted, what everyone says. In the early era of Trump, this book is eerily familiar: a shock that he's elected, surrounded by white supremacists, influenced by fascists and killers from other governments. I hope we have a different ending.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.
Mr. Noah walked the line between tragedy and humor seamlessly. He clearly adores his mother. but does not present her in an idealized manner. The horrors of apartheid, acceptance of violence against women, and poverty are horrifying, yet I found myself laughing through much of this book. Highly recommend.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday.
I've only read the unabridged version, and can't imagine that they've edited so much out. The concept, story, and execution is nothing short of brilliant. Sadly, there's no place to go but down from here in the fantasy genre.
In Search of Bill Clinton unravels the mystery at the heart of Clinton's complex nature and explains why so many people fall under his spell. Gartner tells the story we all thought we knew, from the fresh viewpoint of a psychologist, as he questions the well-crafted Clinton life story. Gartner, a therapist with expertise in treating individuals with hypomanic temperaments, saw in Clinton the energy, creativity, and charisma that leads a hypomanic individual to success as well as the problems with impulse control and judgment.
As a therapist, I was looking forward to listening to this book. I was sadly disappointed to listen to this 2 dimensional portrait of President Clinton. The premise of the book is that Clinton has a "hypomanic temperament," which is not a psychiatric condition. This seems to be the author's own term, and described in large part as a "temperament" causing charisma and endless energy. Hypomania is a very serious psychiatric symptom, and the author minimizes how crippling it is.
The author also inserts his self-impressed resume into the story which added nothing to the story. Mr. Gartner states he has created a new genre.I think this is a genre we could do without.
> The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip.
I agree with some of the other reviews. Cora's back story was the most interesting part of the book. The story fell apart a bit towards the end with unrealistic plot twists and decades passing with little detail. Elizabeth McGovern's European accents were amazing. Her narration voice, mostly from Cora's perspective sounded snooty and pseudo-British-didn't make any sense.
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
I read a lot of the sci-fi / fantasy genre, and this was just brilliant. After a long commute, I lingered in the car a couple of minutes I was so engaged in the story. Mr. Grossman has set the bar.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches - with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
This is no great work of literature, but it was engaging enough to keep me company on my commute for a while.I thought the allusion to Nazism was a bit heavy-handed, and some of the writing was like a bad romance novel at times. Guess I didn't like it very much.
Janis Ian was catapulted into the spotlight in 1966 at the age of 15, when her soul-wrenching song "Society's Child" became a hit. But this was only the beginning of a long and illustrious career. In Society's Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures - and the hopes and dreams - of an extraordinary life.
What would have made Society's Child better?
I love Janis Ian's music and lyrics. Her lyrics are complex and lyrical and just beautiful. Her prose is more conversational, and a chore to listen to. Her guitar and singing were the best parts of narration.
For the first time ever - a comprehensive biography of one of the 20th century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Usually, when I finish a biography, I have a a sense of knowing the subject better, even in a personal way. I did not have this experience finishing this book. I didn't have a sense of who he was psychologically. He was a brilliant artist, but there was no depth re: how he saw himself as an artist or how his spiritual beliefs affected his works. Some of this information was occasionally dropped in between long descriptions of business dealings. I know the reviews are very good, but not my cup of tea.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful