Thursday, November 03, 2005
A bookslut's roll call
You know that ever-passionate music buff whose zest for the art form is so all encompassing, it makes you want to fire up the file sharing program of choice to download what the fuss is all about? Well, Peter Guralnick is just that kind of writer. After crafting bios for legends like Robert Johnson and Elvis Presley, he casts his eye to R&B crooner Sam Cooke. Best known for silky gems like You Send Me and the poignant A Change Is Gonna Come, Guralnick crafts a painstakingly detailed portrait of a preacher's son who wrestled with his gospel roots and secular crossover success amid a scenery of timeless classics, social uprisings, womanizing ways which spawned multiple offsprings and a predilection for prostitutes that would ultimately spur his untimely demise at the age of 33. Not since David Ritz's bio of Marvin Gaye has an autobio kept me enraptured from cover to cover. It's a story of talent, demons, ambition and drive delivered without sugar-coating for a voice deemed the greatest of a generation.
If the devil wore Prada, the bouncers wear... Dolce? Lauren Weisberger uncorked a water cooler touchstone with her first offering, an embellishment of being an assistant to PETA's favorite furry target, Anna Wintour - editor-in-chief at Vogue. However she can't avoid the sophomore slump the second time around in Everyone Worth Knowing. The parallels jump out at you more brightly drawn than a Roberto Cavalli spring collection. Here the heroine, Bette Robinson is another attractive gal able to skip over the velvet rope from investment banking to the hottest PR agency in Manhattan. The problem lies that the narrative of a supposedly naive woman whose more Dasani than San Pellegrino rings about as real as a telenovela.
Under the impression that the conversation in controversy over slavery reparations began with Randall Robinson's The Debt? Think again. In her latest novel, historian Mary Frances Berry chronicles the fascinating and groundbreaking story of Callie House - a Tennessee seamstress and former slave - demanded compensation for other ex-slaves shortly after gaining emancipation over a century ago from the U.S. government in her latter role as an activist, heading the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association. This isn't a piece of Black history finally given a spotlight decades later, this is American history that's vital to know.
Four novels in and the scenery still remains the same for the brain behind Carrie Bradshaw. But tales of the Big Apple's glitterati for the over-40, power climbing social set falls about as flat as week-old warm bubbly. The main characters (with preposterous names like Nico and Victory? Honey, please...) have reached a point in their lives where the years are simply check marked with new career goals to leap over in a single bound. Candace Bushnell is veering into dangerous, one-dimensional territory: Judith Krantz-ville.
Labels: book review
- Mealone commented at 11/09/2005 08:28:00 PM~
You are someone I must meet one day Trini!
First of all thanks for the heads up on Candace Bushnell! I will read despite the awful rating.
I am going to trust you on the slave story (are you sure???)
- ceecee commented at 11/09/2005 09:28:00 PM~
great reviews, thanks for the 411
- TriniPrincess commented at 11/10/2005 11:03:00 AM~
Borrow LJ at the library because it isn't worth even spending the $8 for a paperback copy. It's a real step down from 4 Blondes and Trading Up. Go here for info on the Mary Frances Berry novel and it is a true story. The fact that after taking AA Studies as part of a double major, I still hadn't heard of Callie House before now is shameful. Should be made mandatory reading.
Where have you and your site been?! ((((put a big hug here)))) I hope you have it up and running soon!
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