Tag Archives: book

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Brother Writes A Memoir

Posted by: Audiegrl

The eagerly anticipated inspirational memoir from Michelle Obama’s brother, celebrating the extraordinary family members and mentors who have shaped his life

LAT~Reporting from Washington – The news might have set off alarms in some past administrations: The president’s brother-in-law has written a book.

But you won’t find dirty laundry in a memoir from First Lady Michelle Obama’s brother, Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson.

The book, “A Game of Character,” which has a foreword by their mother, Marian Robinson, is due out April 20.

Craig Robinson writes that he and his parents didn’t think Barack Obama stood much of a chance with his sister when they met him.

He and his parents were out on their porch on a hot summer night in Chicago when the couple stopped by to say hello on their way to a movie.

Well, he’s tall,” Marian Robinson said while Obama was out of earshot.

Not a bad-looking guy, either,” said her husband, Fraser.

But even though the suitor struck the Robinsons as a self-possessed man with a nice smile and firm handshake, they figured he wasn’t a keeper. “Too bad,” Marian said. “Yep,” Fraser answered. “She’ll eat him alive.”

Miche, as he calls her, was a disciplined, scholarly girl who saved money fastidiously, who learned to box at their father’s behest and who once conspired with him, upset that their parents smoked, to destroy every last cigarette in the house.

Robinson writes mostly about basketball, even when describing how he introduced his sister before her prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention.

Michelle was being asked to sink a three-pointer at the buzzer in a do-or-die game at the start of the championship,” he writes. “Everything to come, victory or disappointment, would hinge on this one shot. And all I could do to help was simply pass her the ball. And believe.

More @

In A Game of Character, Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his most important influences in his understanding of the winning traits that are part of his playbook for success. Central to his story are his parents, Marian and Fraser, two indefatigable individuals who showed their children how to believe in themselves and live their lives with conviction through love, discipline and respect. With insights into this exemplary family, we relive memories of how Marian sacrificed a career to be a full-time mom, how Fraser got up and went to work every day while confronting the challenges of multiple sclerosis, how Craig and Michelle strengthened their bond as they journeyed out of the Southside to Princeton University and eventually, the national stage.

Heartwarming, inspiring, and even transformational, A Game of Character comes just at the right time in an era of change, reminding readers of our opportunity to work together and embrace the character of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of others and to pave the way for the next generation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

1 Comment

Filed under Basketball, Books, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

Michelle Obama: First Lady of Comic Books, Volume Two

Posted by: Audiegrl

ABC/Karen Travers~Mrs. Obama may not have any superpowers in the comic book, but she has does have enough star power to warrant a sequel.

The second installment, “Female Force: Michelle Obama: YEAR ONE,” is scheduled for release on Wednesday. The comic sequel brings the First Lady’s story up to date, starting with her husband’s inauguration last January, and chronicles her transition into the White House .

Even before the first issue on Michelle Obama, we realized we were following a dynamic, continuing portrait of history,” said the publisher of “Female Force,” Bluewater president Darren G. Davis in a statement. “I forsee several more chapters as she creates her own agenda and makes her own mark as a “female force.”

The first edition showcased Mrs. Obama’s biography, starting with her childhood in Chicago’s South side, her years at Princeton, and then her husband’s election to the presidency.

Now avid comic readers can learn more about Mrs. Obama’s first year in the White House: her travels around the world, including her pitch for Chicago’s 2016 Summer Olympics bid and her visit with the Queen of England, and the recent launch of her campaign to end childhood obesity.

It’s been an unpredictable twelve months worthy of its own full-length, full-color comic book chronicle,” writer Robert Schnakenberg said in a statement.

Bluewater said that the first issue of Mrs. Obama’s comic sold out a week before it even hits stores.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, First Lady Michelle Obama

Nominated for Best Supporting Actor ~ Stanley Tucci ~The Lovely Bones

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy

Stanley TucciStanley Tucci was born in Peekskill, New York, the son of Joan (née Tropiano), a retired secretary and writer, and Stanley Tucci, Sr., a retired high school art teacher. His sister is actress Christine Tucci, and his cousin is the screenwriter Joseph Tropiano. He grew up in Katonah, New York and attended John Jay High School. Tucci played on the John Jay soccer team and baseball teams, however, his main interest lay in the school’s drama club, where he and fellow actor and high school buddy, Campbell Scott, son of actor George C. Scott, gave well-received performances at many of John Jay’s drama club productions. Tucci attended SUNY Purchase and completed his B.F.A. degree after four years in the school’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film.

Tucci made his Broadway debut in The Queen and the Rebels on 30 September 1982. His film debut was in Prizzi’s Honor (1985). Tucci is known for his work in films such as The Pelican Brief, Kiss of Death, Road to Perdition, and Big Night, and in the television series Murder One as the mysterious Richard Cross. Big Night (1996), which he co-wrote with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, starred in, and co-directed with Campbell Scott, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film also featured his sister Christine and mother, who wrote a cookbook for the film. It won him and Tropiano the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.

Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones

Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones

He has been nominated three times for Golden Globes, and won twice — for his title role in Winchell (1998), and for his supporting role as Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy (2001), both for HBO films. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Winchell. He was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his role as Johnny in the 2002 revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

In July 2006, Tucci made an appearance on the USA Network TV series Monk, in a performance that earned him a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series. Tucci’s TV series, the medical drama 3 lbs., debuted on CBS in the 10:00 p.m. EDT time slot on November 14, 2006. It was cancelled on November 30, 2006 due to low ratings. He can be heard as the voice over in the AT&T Wireless “Raising the Bar” marketing campaign. Tucci also played Nigel in the screen adaption of The Devil Wears Prada alongside Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway. In 2007, Tucci had a recurring role in medical drama ER. In 2009, Tucci again starred opposite Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia playing husband Paul Child to her Julia Child. Also in 2009, Tucci portrayed the murderer of a young girl in The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, for which he received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®Learn more about The Lovely Bones

Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®

5 Comments

Filed under 82nd Academy Awards, Best Sup Actor, Books, Children, Culture, Entertainment, Hollywood, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, US, Video/YouTube, Young Women

Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

3 Comments

Filed under African-Americans, Army, Books, CNN, Culture, Entertainment, History, Iraq, Larry King, Larry King Live!, Marines, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, NBC, News, Politics, Television, Terrorism, The Today Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Veterans, Video/YouTube, War, Women's Issues

44-D’s Book Diaries: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Posted by: Audiegrl

My husband picked this book up for me this week. In Northern Illinois we are used to very harsh winters, and living less that 20 miles from the Wisconsin border, he thought I’d enjoy this. He was right…Now, I’d like to recommend it to you.

A Reliable Wife: Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt stands stands alone on the train platform anxiously awaiting the arrival of a visitor. The woman who arrives is not who he expects. This woman, this reliable wife, will decide whether Ralph Truitt lives or dies.

An Interview with Robert Goolrick

blank

The plotting of A Reliable Wife seems very deliberately crafted, as readers must constantly change their expectations of these characters and their actions. There is one surprise after another as the story unfolds. Did you think about the reader’s experience as you were crafting your storytelling, or did you write the story as you saw it?

I wanted to give readers, first and foremost, a good solid story and a reading experience that is as sensual as it is cerebral. I thought about the story for years before I started writing, then started it several times and stopped, and finally just committed myself to writing down what I had already committed to memory, the story of three figures in a barren landscape. I thought a great deal about the myth of Phaedra, and her entanglements with Theseus and Hyppolitus. So I thought I knew pretty much the whole thing.

But you’re always surprised. I was surprised at Ralph’s reaction to the knowledge that he was being poisoned. I was surprised that the brief encounter with Alice in St. Louis became, for me, the emotional fulcrum of the book. And I was surprised by Catherine’s passion for knowledge, for the comfort she takes in the reading rooms of public libraries.

You’ve mentioned that Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip was one of the major inspirations for your novel. Can you talk a little about Lesy’s book and its relationship to your own?

Michael Lesy’s remarkable book is an examination of the lives of ordinary citizens of a small town in northern Wisconsin in 1896. It is a collection of photographs taken by the local photographer and brief newspaper accounts of the surprisingly erratic lives of the men and women who endured a hard life in a poor year in a bleak landscape.

Ralph and Catherine and Antonio are vivid, larger than life. I wanted to plant them very securely in the world, and the world they inhabit is the one depicted by Michael Lesy. It is a world in which no one is safe, in which the roof can always cave in when you least expect it.

I’ve always thought the lives of ordinary people are far more fascinating than the lives of the rich and powerful. An account of a man burying his father is more fascinating to me than a politician’s description of lunch with Henry Kissinger. A snapshot taken at the beach on a summer’s day is more memorable than any fine art photography. They show much more clearly the preciousness and grace of life.

Michael Lesy shows us how fragile life is, how hard it can be to get through the day without running off the rails.

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Robert Goolrick is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know It. This is his first novel. He lives in New York City.
blank

Download the entire interview
Read an Excerpt of A Reliable Wife
NPR’s ‘Reliable Wife’: Madness And Passion In Wisconsin

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Book Diaries Series, Books, Crime, Culture, Entertainment, History, Media and Entertainment, Pop Culture, Robert Goolrick, Uncategorized, United States, Weather, Wisconsin, Women's Issues

Go, Tell Michelle: You’ve Read the Book, Now See the Play

Posted by Audiegrl

“When you and your family go to the spot under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, you will take with you our history of dreams deferred; however, you will also take with you our prayers and hopes for an America that is ready to build and dream anew.”~~Excerpt from a letter to Michelle Obama

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady was first published in January 2009. In December 2009, “Go, Tell Michelle” was named by book and movie critic Kam Williams as one of the 10 Best Black Books of 2009. My daughter gave this to me as my Mother’s Day present last year, and I highly recommend it. I thought it would be a great way to start off the new year (and new decade), to introduce the book to those who have not read it yet, and also give me a chance to provide a photo slideshow of our First Lady during the first year.

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First LadyGo, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady”, the award winning volume of 100 letters to Michelle Obama written shortly after the 2008 election of President Barack Obama has been adapted as a dramatic production. Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram, co-authors and editors of the book, have been working with Dr. Robert Knopf, chair of University at Buffalo’s Drama Department on this dramatization. The outcome of this collaboration is Dr. Knopf’s adaptation, a one hour play that features three readers.

Dr. Knopf describes “Go, Tell Michelle: the Play” as more than a dramatic reading: “It is a montage of lost voices, personal stories, and heartfelt emotions unleashed by the tide of history that has swept the nation.” Under Dr. Knopf’s direction, storyteller Karima Amin, Brooks-Bertram and Seals Nevergold will give voice to the stories and poems in this dramatic adaptation.

The play will debut on January 19th at University at Buffalo’s Allen Hall on the South Campus on the eve of the first anniversary of President Obama’s historic inauguration. Performance time is 7:00pm and Jericka Duncan, reporter from WIVB-TV will act as Emcee. A second performance will take place at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library on January 20th. Both performances will be free and open to the public.

The Warmth, Style, and Grace of First Lady Michelle Obama

This is the short biography of Michelle Obama that introduced the Obama family to families across America. It originally played the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Michelle Obama: South Side Girl", posted with vodpod

Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram on C-SPAN Book TV (03/28/09)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

20 Comments

Filed under African-Americans, Art, Barack Obama, Books, Change, Chicago, IL, Children, Christmas at the White House, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Fashion, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Media and Entertainment, Plays, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Toys for Tots, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, Women's Issues

44-D’s Picks for Best Books of 2009


Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Reading more is a great resolution.

The number one rule to follow if you want to read more is to SIT down and do it. From October 2008 through October 2009 I read one book a day and along with all the pleasure and wisdom, laughs and tears, I became an expert on how to find time to read. Some tricks to reading more are obvious: ignore the dishes and the laundry and the Internet. Some tricks are surprisingly effective: don’t ignore friends and family, but instead invite them to sit down and read, too. ~~Nina Sankovitch
blank

Fiction


Under the Dome by Stephen King

King’s return to supernatural horror is uncomfortably bulky, formidably complex and irresistibly compelling. When the smalltown of Chester’s Mill, Maine, is surrounded by an invisible force field, the people inside must exert themselves to survive. The situation deteriorates rapidly due to the dome’s ecological effects and the machinations of Big Jim Rennie, an obscenely sanctimonious local politician and drug lord who likes the idea of having an isolated populace to dominate. Opposing him are footloose Iraq veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara, newspaper editor Julia Shumway, a gaggle of teen skateboarders and others who want to solve the riddle of the dome.
blank


Strain-Book-One-TrilogyThe Strain-Volume One by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Who better to reinvent the vampire genre than Guillermo Del Toro, the genius behind Pan’s Labyrinth, and Chuck Hogan, master of character-driven thrillers like Prince of Thieves? The first of a trilogy, The Strain is everything you want from a horror novel–dark, bloody, and packed full of mayhem and mythology. But, be forewarned, these are not like any vampires you’ve met before–they’re not sexy or star-crossed or “vegetarians“–they are hungry, they are connected, and they are multiplying. The vampire virus marches its way across New York, and all that stands between us and a grotesque end are a couple of scientists, an old man with a decades-old vendetta, and a young boy. This first installment moves fast and sets up the major players, counting down to the beginning of the end.
blank


The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Everyone off the bus, and welcome to a Washington, D.C., they never told you about on your school trip when you were a kid, a place steeped in Masonic history that, once revealed, points to a dark, ancient conspiracy that threatens not only America but the world itself. Returning hero Robert Langdon comes to Washington to give a lecture at the behest of his old mentor, Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his lecture, he finds, instead of an audience, Peter’s severed hand mounted on a wooden base, fingers pointing skyward to the Rotunda ceiling fresco of George Washington dressed in white robes, ascending to heaven. Langdon teases out a plethora of clues from the tattooed hand that point toward a secret portal through which an intrepid seeker will find the wisdom known as the Ancient Mysteries, or the lost wisdom of the ages. This is just the kickoff for a deadly chase that careens back and forth, across, above and below the nation’s capital, darting from revelation to revelation, pausing only to explain some piece of wondrous, historical esoterica.
blank


evilatheartthumbEvil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Gretchen Lowell strikes again—or does she?—in bestseller Cain’s grisly third thriller to feature the female serial killer who takes sadistic pleasure in taunting Portland, Ore., detective Archie Sheridan (after Sweetheart and Heartsick). A violent attack that leaves body parts in a rest stop bathroom, along with Lowell’s signature heart design, persuades Sheridan, a recovering Vicodin addict, to leave rehab and rejoin the hunt for Lowell. As he and newspaper reporter Susan Ward dig deeper, they discover that while the corpses cropping up around town are reminiscent of Lowell’s nasty handiwork, they might also point to one of the myriad fan clubs dedicated to the killer, who has become a media sensation since she escaped from prison in Heartsick. Even though readers may wonder how much longer this extended game can play out, Cain delivers her usual blend of organ-ripping, blood-soaked gore and compelling flawed heroes—and antiheroes. Hey, when characters from True Blood start reading your books, its on…
blank


Bloods A Rover by James Ellroy

Ellroy’s astonishing creation, the Underworld USA Trilogy, is complete. Its concluding volume, Blood’s a Rover, has just been published. The three long thrillers that make up the trilogy (American Tabloid, 1995; The Cold Six Thousand, 2001; Blood’s a Rover, 2009) present a brutal counterhistory of America in the 1960s and 1970s — the assassinations, the social convulsions, the power-elite plotting — through the lives of invented second- and third-echelon operatives in the great political crimes of the era. The trilogy is biblical in scale, catholic in its borrowing from conspiracy theories, absorbing to read, often awe-inspiring in the liberties taken with standard fictional presentation, and, in its imperfections and lapses, disconcerting
blank


The Winterhouse by Robin McGrath

“My father has married me to a mad old man.” These words, written on a slip of paper inside a fading brocade collar, are a clue to the unlikely marriage of a Jewish remittance man and a 14-year-old orphan in a remote Newfoundland fishing station. More curious still are the connections that entangle a retired school teacher and an Israeli scholar almost two centuries later. When the bereaved Rosehannah Quint and her mysterious “mister” retreat into winter quarters at the back of Ireland’s Eye, the two begin to develop an understanding based on curiosity as well as upon need – an understanding that works its way down the years. The Winterhouse is a compelling novel about finding oneself and creating one’s own community.
blank


2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño (Author), Natasha Wimmer (Translator)

To say that 2666 is a novel is like calling a Beethoven symphony a collection of songs. If we must, though, this novel in five parts is without doubt Roberto Bolaño’s masterwork, epic in scope, labyrinthine, frustrating, disjointed, maybe a bit pretentious, always somewhat aloof—and brilliant. The novel’s parts are interrelated only to the extent that the author wants them to be, and his intention isn’t always clear (witness the title, which has little, if any, connection to the text itself). Reading 2666 is a daunting task, though once accepted, the result might be something akin to what readers felt in 1922 when, faced for the first time with the disquieting modern vision of James Joyce, they picked up Ulysses and were changed by the experience. Perhaps we’ll know in 657 years.
blank


The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein: A Novel by Peter Ackroyd

Medical student Victor Frankenstein imbibes fellow student Bysshe Shelley’s belief in the perfectibility of mankind and strives to create a being of infinite benevolence in this recasting of Mary Shelley’s horror classic from Ackroyd (First Light). When Victor reanimates the body of acquaintance Jack Keat, he’s so horrified at the implications of his Promethean feat that he abandons his creation. Outraged, the Keat creature shadows Victor as an avenging doppelgänger, bringing misery and death to those dearest to him. Ackroyd laces his narrative intelligently with the Romantic ideals of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, and deftly interweaves Victor’s fictional travails with events of the well-known 1816 meeting between the poets that inspired Mary to draft her landmark story. His hasty surprise ending may strike some readers as a cheat, though most will agree that his novel is a brilliant riff on ideas that have informed literary, horror and science fiction for nearly two centuries.
blank

blank

Non-Fiction


True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy

Often touching . . . After a life chronicled in tabloid chatter and often vicious editorial cartoons, Kennedy tells his own story here, expansively yet selectively, portraying himself as a dedicated, loving, flesh-and-blood figure who, despite being born well, had to prove himself. And the person, to whom he most had to do that is clearly etched in these pages. It was neither his famous brothers, nor his pious mother, Rose, nor even himself, but his controversial father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. . . This is a book that all but the most toxic Kennedy critic could love . . . Later, there is much substance about his political life. His accounts are richly detailed. As a reporter covering Kennedy decades ago, I learned that he was keeping a diary and knew what a treasure it would someday be. It is. The best insights are perhaps his accounts of Senate maneuverings prior to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, his advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland, the misgivings that he and Robert both had about Vietnam, and the run-up to the latter’s presidential campaign and subsequent murder in 1968 . . . He writes with great affection of dating and marrying the warmly elegant Vicki Reggie. The memoir is dedicated to her.

blank


The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash

Decades before the Five Families emerged and more than half a century before Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather, Giuseppe Morello and his family controlled all manner of crime in New York City. Bestselling historian Dash (Satan’s Circus; Tulipomania) presents an enthralling account of this little-known boss of bosses, ‘dubbed the Clutch Hand‘ because of his deformed arm. Arriving with his family from Corleone, Sicily, in 1892, Morello soon set up a successful operation counterfeiting American and Canadian bills. Dash depicts the balance between loyalty and betrayal as an ever-changing dance and nimbly catalogues the endless gruesome murders committed in the name of revenge and honor. Readers may think they know the mob, but Morello’s ruthless rule makes even the fictional Tony Soprano look tame.
blank


This Is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks by Jessica Amason

Food was once the providence of celebrated chefs and critical connoisseurs. Cooking shows featured all gourmet creations and web sites displayed artfully photographed delights. Then something changed. Perhaps it was the desensitizing of web culture or perhaps it was a cry for help from the food-loving public. But by God – there came a day when fancy vegetable towers came crashing down and $50 mushrooms were no longer acceptable. Amason and Blakley wanted see the old stand-bys, the carnival foods of their childhoods, the sticky mess of a deep-fried candy bar, the indulgence of a greasy burger with all the fixin’s. It was the birth of the nasty food web-trend. And it was delicious. The website This Is Why You’re Fat is an ode to this trend – whether seen as a commentary on North American dietary habits or a celebration of the deliciously bad – and Amason and Blakeley are devoted to the world’s newfound obsession with over-the-top food. Within its first month the site pulled in over ten million eyeballs, and attracted major nation media including CNN. The world cooked, they listened.
blank


Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin

As one of America’s preeminent comedic voices, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acer-bic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life. George Carlin’s journey to stardom began in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of New York’s Upper West Side in the 1940s, where class and culture wars planted the seeds for some of his best known material, including the notorious “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” His early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp honesty that made Carlin one of the best loved comedians in American history.

blank


Gabriel García Márquez : A Life by Gerald Martin

The great Colombian novelist—winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize, the chief exponent of “magic realism,” and the author of, among other celebrated works, One Hundred Years of Solitude—has continuously offered both challenges and delights to his readers. This well-researched, authorized biography offers a total immersion into the author’s life and career, and, unlike many of García Márquez’s novels, it is a relatively uncomplicated and quick read. Unearthing facts never before presented to the reading public, Martin tracks the evolution of a small-town, “susceptible” boy from the steamy Caribbean region of Colombia into a novelist whose work, while remaining grounded in Colombian history and culture, reflects a worldview transcending local interest. Discerning explication of García Márquez’s fiction (especially in terms of its autobiographical component) finds its grounding in an understanding of the man’s uneasy relationships with his family and his inveterate interest in politics. García Márquez, an international star, lived many places in the world, but Martin makes clear that, in the end, while the man could be taken out of Colombia, Colombia was never taken out of the man. His intense political consciousness—he was a leftist and good friend of Fidel Castro—always found its sounding board in the tumultuous politics of his homeland. A brilliant and lasting biographical treatment.

blank

12 Comments

Filed under Art, Blogging, Book Diaries Series, Books, Culture, Entertainment, Holidays, Media and Entertainment, New Years Eve/Day, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, United States