Reviews: Part 1

 

Bowie: A Biography
By Marc Spitz
CROWN PUBLISHERS
October 2009
Price: US $26.99
ISBN: 978-0-307-39396-8
www.crownpublishing.com
 
I am a huge Bowie fan. I have been listening to and reading about, and going to see Bowie live since I was 13 years old. I thought I had read everything written about him; thought I knew all the facts of his more than interesting life. I’ve been proven wrong in the best possible way.
 
Bowie: A Biography is the most thor-ough and well-researched book ever written on a rock star or any celebrity for that matter. Marc Spitz has done such an amazing job here that I found myself re reading pages, going back and forth and actually rereading the book twice. It is a bible for die hard fans like myself and it’s a brilliant read for those vaguely familiar of wanting to know more about rocks original and still reigning chameleon.
 
The fact that Bowie has gone missing these last couple years after his sudden heart surgery makes us long for him even more. This book and the Reality Tour cd’s (reviewed here as well) will help fill the void until the next offering from Bowie is delivered. This is a must have for any rock library, for any Bowie fan and for anyone who wants to read about a real and true artists emergence from his humble beginnings to becoming our favorite cross dressing folk singer too the only glam alien, onto a thin white duke...well get the pattern here, Diamond Dogs, Low, Scary Monster, etc, etc...just go out and get this book. Don’t even wait to get it as a gift, go buy it for yourself. Trust me you’ll thank me. And Thanks to Marc Sptiz for Loving The Alien as much if not more than the rest of us do!
 
LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER
By John Irving
RANDOM HOUSE
October 2009
Price: US $28.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6384-0
 
I read everything by John Irving; he’s arguably the greatest living American novelist. I’ve trudged through “The Forth Hand” and “ A Son Of The Circus” I’ve breezed through masterpieces like “A Prayer For Owen Meany” and “The Cider House Rules” and of course the breakout novel “The World According To Garp”. I eagerly await Irving’s next book the moment I finish his last one. I reread some of them as a fix.  When received my copy of “Last Night In Twisted River” I was excited to say the least. Was it going to be another Garp or another Circus? Would I plod through relishing ALL the details, resentful of the pace or would I keep turning page after page, amused and taken away by Mr. Irving like so may times before?
 
Don’t get me wrong, even the books by Irving that I’m less fond of than some of his others are still light years more likeable than most other authors best work. The man is a genius and he’s proven it again this time out. I couldn’t stop reading this one. It is huge in scope, fascinating, heart breaking and hugely entertaining. It has all the expected Irving signatures, a writer, a bear, NH, love, sex, romance, death, murder, the exploration of relationships and the eternal Irving message of don’t take for granted the ones you love.
 
I can’t get into the details of this book, it’s too vast (in the best possible way), it spans decades, and there are too many plot twists and turns, just suffice it to say that our main character Daniel Bacigalupo is as endearing and entrancing a main character as Irving has ever created. Not since Owen Meany have I cared for and about an Irving ‘s characters. This is an amazing and utterly unpredictable book, you have to sit back and just take a moment to admire the mind that can do this, to compile this amount of thought and detail, admire the ability to write with such passion and humor.
 
This is a book that readers, real readers must have. The love of the written word is on display here, delivered from the more than capable hands of a real artist living and working in our times. Buy this for yourself and get a copy for someone you love and get another one as a gift for that hard to buy for person, everyone will be thrilled. Winter is here in the East and I can’t imagine a better way to pass the cold nights of January than losing yourself in another world from a master storyteller. Bravo, Mr. Irving!!
 
p.s. please don’t make us wait so long for the next one.
 
 
NEW YORK’S UNIQUE & UNEXPECTED PLACES
By Judith Stonehill and Alexandra Stonehill
Foreword by Ethan Hawke
Universe Publishing/Rizzoli
November 2009
Price: US $24.95
ISBN: 978-0-7893-2011-7
www.rizzoliusa.com
 
If you’re anything like me, and I hope for your sake you’re not, except in this instance...I wake up everyday and think to myself, I live in New York City, how cool! I’m not a fanatic about it, but I am bordering on a Woody Allenesque love of the city. I complain about tourists and touristy things but when someone comes in from out of town to visit I’m secretly all to happy to play tour guide, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to point out places of interest here in the greatest city in the world. And now I am armed with new ammunition! New York’s Unique And Unexpected Places.
 
This charming little book is perfect in every way. It’s an interesting size, it’s printed beautifully, features crisp, vivid photography with original maps and illustrations, but more importantly, it lives up to its name by delivering exactly what it says it will, unique and unexpected places here in New York.
 
There is a museum in New York for everything from subways to fashion. There are countless parks, a wildlife refuge, botanical gardens, small streets you’ve never heard of, thousands of restaurants, miles of waterfront and boardwalks, more history than one can imagine and this book, this little gem is a treasure trove for those who love the idiosyncratic details that make up this city.
 
This is perfect for the jaded New Yorker who has “seen it all” but really hasn’t, or for the New Yorker still in love with their city and it’s especially great for those who love it here but can’t for what ever reason live here or visit often enough. This is a GREAT book that makes a great gift about a great city!
 
WAITER RANT
Thanks For The Tip—Confessions
Of A Cynical Waiter
By The Waiter, Steve Dublanica
Harper/Perennial
Price: US $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-125669-1
www.harperperennial.com
 
Waiter Rant is one of the most fun books I’ve ever read. It’s informative in an offbeat way, although sometimes its message is very direct. It’s filled with some touching sentimental moments and over flowing with the behind the scenes goings on in one of New York City’s upscale eateries. There are chapters that will literally make you cringe and others that are laugh out loud funny. This is such a kooky little book I read it in a day and all I could think about was how someone is going to make this into a movie and how good its going to be. Weird, I know but read it and you’ll see what I mean. It’s also going to make you a better patron in a restaurant and you’ll also learn the difference between a good server and a great one. But behind all the restaurant talk, lurking under all the stories of drunks, movie stars, bad tippers, hookers on dates, and the usual creeps who “all know the owner” we are treated to the real story, one of survival and all it takes to stay above water in life, and the decision of simply accepting ones fate or changing your situation, and making your life better. There’s a lot to be learned here, not just about how to tip and when not to dine out, there is a real life story of a man and a dream, a dream realized. I loved it, you will too

 

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