"A fascinating account of the West Point program. Very informative, esp for someone like me who knows little about the military life. I loved this book and have it in hardcover--it won't make it onto PBS, sorry! :)"
"A well-written novel. From the back of the book: "When Tess Winterstone returns to her suburban childhood home after almost thirty years to attend a high school reunion, memories flood back, firmly shut doors open, and the betrayal by her father decades earlier comes to rest. Masterfully weaving the complexities of familiar love and rosy 1950s suburban life with the dark underside of such a reality, Mary Morris poignantly portrays a woman coming to terms with her past and, ultimately, herself.""
"Phenomenal stories. The title novella is a heartbreaker, and was made into the movie "The Secret Life of Dentists." I have read this collection over and over again. Jane Smiley is a wonderful writer."
"Very funny. Kind of Angela's Ashes inverted: a frown-turned-upside-down. The part with the funeral is hilarious (believe it or not). Plenty of sadness and poverty here, but delivered in a lighthearted format. After reading it, you kind of want to meet Brendan Carroll; he doesn't take himself too seriously, and he obviously loves his mama."
"This book came out to enormous hype when it was published. I read it eagerly and was disappointed. I find Caleb Carr's writing facile and unpolished, and the story was loose and not as gripping as I would have liked. It's not a waste of time to read, but there are a LOT better books in this genre."
"I really enjoyed this book, much more than his second one. He put all of his best stuff here. Another memoir from a man who loves his mama, and the writing flows beautifully. Laugh-out-loud in places."
"This is one of those books that keeps being taught in schools. Damned good thing, too. Everyone should read it. It is heartrending, horrifying, beautiful and not a word wasted. Very short book that will stay with you long after you read it--haunting in that way that the best books are."
"I enjoyed this very much as a teenager; it's got all the elements of trash, but masquerades as literature. I have read my copy of this until it is falling apart (it is not posted to PBS, of course!). Dreiser's writing is technically horrible, but the story is so compelling...if you kind of blur your crit skills as you read (don't notice the awkward sentences, the repetition, etc) you will really get absorbed by this one. A lot better than Sister Carrie. I think of this as pulp fiction from an earlier era. The whole "naturalist" movement of literature is represented perfectly by this book. So it's a little depressing on the whole--but it's a fun, long read. If you like this, you'll no doubt like Maugham (The Razor's Edge, Of Human Bondage) and Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, Main Street, Arrowsmith). The story here (drastically edited) was made into the movie A Place in the Sun."
"How great is this book? It is one I have read again and again. Really gives the feel of a horrible era in the US, and if you didn't live through it, maybe it won't have the same impact as it does on me. The story of the AIDS crisis: young, healthy people were dying in droves from a brand new, totally unknown illness, and the political implications were complicated and disturbing. Taken from Randy Shilts' newspaper columns of the time (although it does NOT read like journalism, more like fiction although it is not). Really absorbing. Nothing like the lightweight film made with Matthew Modine. No film could capture all the stories and personalities in this book. Highly recommend this."
"A typically Bugliosi account (=riveting and detail-laden) of the murder trials of two "hippies" who were on a deserted island near Hawaii with an older couple previously unknown to them. The couple disappeared and the hippies sailed into Hawaii in 1974 on the older couple's very nice boat. No one knows exactly what happened to the missing couple; the hippies claim they drowned in the lagoon on the island, but six years after her disappearance, bones were found washed up on the shore of the lagoon, with evidence of foul play.
Bugliosi believes his client (the female "hippie") is innocent...but she has lied numerous times under oath, and the available facts of the case are bizarre and unclear.
An interesting read, especially for those who like legal process (any Law&Order fans out there?)."
"God this was a funny book, even though the story it tells is terrifically sad. McCourth does an excellent job of narrating this memoir with a fresh, uncynical voice. It almost feels like he is the child telling the story instead of a grown man looking back--although it is not childishly written. Much much better than the movie. Some parts of this will make you laugh out loud."