In a book of this scope, the narrative is inevitably top-heavy in spots, and the plot wears thin toward the end, but this is storytelling at its most seductive, a brash historical adventure.
While the final insights stretch thin, Schulte unearths the attitudes and “powerful cultural expectations” responsible for our hectic lives, documents European alternatives to the work/family balance, and handily summarizes her solutions in an appendix.
For dedicated movie buffs, a handful of choice remarks on the personal habits of stars provides respite from tedious details...Ultimately, the book is a charmed and mostly charming tribute to off-screen lives during a period many may regard as Hollywood's finest.
...he's found a compelling and uncomfortable way to illuminate a fantasy that feels uniquely American. Invoking Jay Gatsby and the Talented Mr. Ripley, he shows us the way one individual, by simply dropping names all over the place, going sockless and never carrying a wallet, can get alarmingly far in a country that was founded on self-invention.
Given this long and complex history, it’s a surprise to find that the book is so readable, and so nearly complete. Perhaps it was never finished because the strain of being known as one of the finest prose stylists of his generation proved too much for Leigh Fermor’s perfectionism.
The author often takes an offhand, anecdotal approach; sometimes the effect is too breezy, but at other times it captures the daily indignities to which the junior capitalists are subjected...The better part of the book is sociological in nature:
The opening chapter, on Hebel, is the most forceful, a piece of historical criticism conducted entirely from the armchair (not a seagull in sight).
“HRC” is a relentlessly domestic book. Blame the parochial side of Washington, a world capital that is also a small town. Even so, what a waste.
A 12-page montage of random moments from her life...seems slapdash; so do some of her remarks on the six objects, which ramble in ways that are not necessarily illuminating. But even these slightly disappointing passages contain examples of Lively's gift for sharply turned phrases...
...the book reminds us how rewarding it can be to see a parent outside the context of our own needs. It's that illumination that allows Corrigan to turn what starts as a complaint about her mother into a big thank you.
On a highly touchy subject, the authors tread carefully, backing their assertions with copious notes. Though coolly and cogently argued, this book is bound to be the spark for many potentially heated discussions.
For die-hard Burroughs fans, Call Me Burroughs will likely fill in small details of its subject’s life that were left in question. For people looking for an introduction to the man’s life and work, reading his Wikipedia page would save a lot of time.
Some sections detailing military deployment negotiations will prove as dry as Afghan dust to anyone not wearing green, but overall the book is a rewarding read and a rare insight into the ongoing capture of the Obama administration by Washington's security establishment.
These depictions of Roger Ailes as something other than a frothing, ratings-mad showman-provocateur may be cases of damning with faint praise. But it’s about as a fair and balanced an account as one could hope to read about someone who has so weightily tipped the scales of American political life to the right.
Stossel’s personal stories are absorbing...His discovery that his young daughter has a phobia of vomiting, despite not knowing of her father’s identical fear, is both eye-opening and heartbreaking...My Age of Anxiety is a compelling mix of research, personal journalism and insights.
"Little Failure" is an immigrant story. It's also about coming of age, becoming a writer, and becoming a mensch. And in each of these ways, it is unambivalently a success.
In the end I’m not sure that some of the central questions about writing and drinking ever really get answered. Their alcoholism may have destroyed them, but did it in some way make them great writers?
Conspicuously lacking chapter breaks, prefaced by a photo of a naked toddler in sunglasses...formatted willy-nilly...by turns intoxicating, indulgent, hilarious...and straight-up dull, Morrissey’s memoir earns its pithy title. For better, for worse, for nothing at all, Autobiography is a catalogue of everything “Morrissey,”...
The author dishes plenty...but the repeated demonstrations of flawed character do nothing to diminish Williams’ outsized stature as a player. Bradlee is as enthusiastic as Vin Scully...
Again and again in this stirring memoir of a highly unusual life, Anjelica Huston just tries to show what it's been like, being her.