Alexandra Styron's parents—the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sophie’s Choice and his political activist wife, Rose—were, for half a century, leading players on the world’s cultural stage. Alexandra was raised under both the halo of her father’s brilliance and the long shadow of his troubled mind. Reading My Father portrays the epic sweep of an American artist’s life. It is also a tale of filial love, beautifully written with humor, compassion, and grace.
Here we go again! The disaffected daughters write their wrongs. If William Styron were not the powerful writer he was, and did not suffer the incredible pain of his mental illness and his alcoholism, his daughter probably would not have a publisher. The story is predictable--he went from difficult to impossible--but engaging because of who he was, and his talent; she seems to be riding on his name and reputation. Nevertheless, worth the listen because of him and the story, although predictable, of what it's like to grow up with a mentally ill genius.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
At once fiercely immediate and complex in their implications, “The Shawl” and “Rosa” succeed in imagining the unimaginable: the horror of the Holocaust and the emptiness of its aftermath. They were written in 1977 but were first published in the early 1980s in The New Yorker. Both “The Shawl” and “Rosa” won first prize in the O. Henry Prize Stories and were chosen for Best American Short Stories.
Cynthia Ozick might just be the greatest living American writer. This story is so perfect, so brilliantly written, it should not be missed by anyone.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Tapping their personal histories and drawing on numerous interviews, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D., explore unexpected death and its role in the cycle of life. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye provides survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.
I found nothing in this book that I didn't already know, but appreciated the authors' heartfelt attempts to be consoling and practical. Written on an eighth-grade reading level, it will contain cognitive therapy insights only for the unsophisticated, and not much for the unspeakable agony of an educated survivor. Such folk should stick with Joyce Carol Oates and Joan Didion. The performance leaves something to be desired, too, because the reader mispronounces words repeatedly, such as "et cetera," not a real challenge, as "ek cetera." Some of the quoted authors have their names mispronounced as well.
But the worst aspect of this book is that gay survivors simply do not exist for these authors. The unique problems that beset us get not even a token mention. And we are likely to be among the most devastated, because of the lack of family and legal protections. If the authors do a third edition, perhaps they will give us the dignity of not being invisible in yet another way.
5 of 15 people found this review helpful
The child of a scheming father and ruthless mother, Lady Jane Grey is born during a time when ambition dictates action. Cousin to Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, she is merely a pawn in a political and religious game in which one false step means a certain demise. But Lady Jane has remarkable qualities that help her to withstand the constant pressures of the royal machinery far better than most expect.
Sick and tired of today's world? Let Alison Weir take you on a fabulous time journey to 16th- century England, where heads roll, plots abound, virtue and vice live and die side by side. This is an absolutely delicious book, scholarly but highly accessible, romantic and exciting but educational, with a remarkable heroine both admirable and tragic. The readers are first-rate, great voices, classy accents, perfect renditions, just mesmerizing. The author knows her history and knows how to serve it up as a tasty confection for the mind.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages. Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces, including the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement and the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities.
What did you like best about Last Call? What did you like least?
This book will tell you everything you wanted to know about prohibition, plus everything you didn't want to know. Too bad a good editor didn't tell the author to cut ruthlessly! Too many details left me overwhelmed, and the writer's style is workmanlike but not memorable. More beer than champagne.
Would you be willing to try another book from Daniel Okrent? Why or why not?
I probably will avoid Daniel Okrent in future.
What three words best describe Richard Poe’s voice?
The reader, like the writer, is workmanlike but not especially enthralling or seductive.
Could you see Last Call being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Could be a TV documentary, in fact I think there is one, but it would have to be sharply condensed and livened up.
Any additional comments?
The musical intros are hokey and predictable. The era deserves better than this.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful