February 2009 Archives

Click for availability and more information Sundays with Sullivan: How The Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, The Beatles and Culture to America, by Bernie Ilson

As a young boy, I remember sitting with my family around our large Philco television set with the small 12" screen to watch The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings. Ed was a New York entertainment gossip reporter, who provided national exposure to up-and-coming entertainers such as Buddy Holly, Elvis, Sammy Davis, Jr, Jackie Mason, The Rolling Stones, etc. On the other hand, if he didn't like you, or thought you were a Communist sympathizer, he did his best to derail your career. Known for his stone face and stiff deliveries, Ed Sullivan was an American icon. Sundays with Sullivan: How The Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, The Beatles and Culture to America provides great behind the scenes anecdotes to entertain everyone. No other personality did more to shape the nature of television entertainment.

Click for availability and more information Paul Newman: People Tribute, the Life of a Legend, (Time; 2008)

Everyone will enjoy Paul Newman: People Tribute, the Life of a Legend. This book is laid out in a "faux" magazine format, with black and white or color photos combined with interesting text on the actor's work and life. It covers his early years, growing up in Ohio. Then it explains how he got into pictures, and moved to Westport, where he led a quiet and private life. The book also discusses how he was passionate about certain political and social issues. Newman developed a specialty line of foods (Newman's brand), and donated all the proceeds to his "Hole in the Wall Camps" for seriously ill children. He was passionate about two things in his life: his wife of fifty years, Joanne Woodward, and automobile racing. Despite his fame and fortune, he remained well-grounded, and was genuinely grateful for his fortunate life. This book summarizes his many films, and provides a treasure trove of candid and serious photographs. This book is a quick read, and a must-read for the movie buff.

Mrs. Astor Regrets

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Click for availability and more information Mrs. Astor Regrets, by Meryl Gordon

For those who thrive on reading a well written true tale of family woes among extremely wealthy and notable New Yorkers, Mrs. Astor Regrets should be a top priority. This book is the story of Brooke Astor - her life and terrifically sad final days when her friends rescued her from her seemingly money-hungry son, who made continuous attempts to claim as much of her wealth for himself as possible. While Gordon recounts Brooke Astor's early years and first two marriages, she concentrates on Mrs. Astor's emergence after the death of her third husband, Vincent Astor, in New York society as a hugely determined philanthropist. She was a true lover of all things related to New York City and supported a wide range of social causes and institutions that have made New York City such a diverse and fascinating metropolitan area. However, her relationship with her son Tony Marshall, born during her first marriage, was strained and reached a disastrous point as she fell victim to Alzheimers disease and lost control of her affairs. This sensational story comes out of newspaper headlines and Gordon tells it well. Brooke Astor was an extremely interesting and generous person as she donated her personal fortune to help so many. But, in the end, she became a victim of family members who wanted so much more for themselves than they had. Mrs. Astor Regrets is a great, diverting and fun book to read!

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

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Click for availability and more information A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, by Nicholas Drayson

Charming and funny tale, set in Kenya, of the rivalry between two old schoolmates, Mr. Malik (our hero and a man of unimpeachable integrity) and Harry Khan (a rich, flashy ex-patriate), for the privilege of inviting Rose Mbikwa (leader of weekly bird walks) to the Annual Hunt Club Ball. Fellow members of the Asadi Club design a competition to determine which of them will do so. This competition means whoever spots the most species of birds during one week, under very strict rules, will be the winner. Harry takes an easy lead, thanks to his ability to charter an airplane and hire a car to take him to places birds in great variety were known to be. Mr. Malik is handicapped by the theft of his car, attack by bandits, and by his secret life which he doesn╩╝t feel he can sacrifice to such a frivolous project.

11 Birthdays

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Click for availability and more information 11 Birthdays, by Wendy Mass

Amanda is dreading her 11th birthday. She and her best friend Leo were born on the same day and shared their parties since they were one year old. But the best friends had a falling out at her 10th birthday and haven't spoken since. So Amanda is dreading the separate parties, the gymnastic tryouts and everything happening on her birthday because she knows it will be awful....and it is. When she wakes up the day after her birthday, she discovers she is starting the same day over again...and again...and again...and so is Leo. They are the only two trapped in repeating this same day until they figure out what can be done to begin a new day. 4th grade to middle school readers will enjoy these two characters, their funny and daring adventures, and the story behind the enchantment of having to repeat the same day over and over again.

Click for availability and more information Double concerto for harpsichord & piano with two chamber orchestras, by Elliott Carter

One of the most esteemed American composers of the last half of the 20th Century, Elliott Carter is still plying his trade in his hundredth year. This piece was completed in 1961, and reflects the maturation of Carter's theories on "metrical modulation", where rhythmic continuity is maintained despite the cumulative change in tempo imparted by altering the note values played by individual instruments. I'm not sure this particular innovation had much bearing on my appreciation for the composition, which was visceral rather than analytical. What struck me repeatedly was the sheer beauty of texture and line; reminiscent, to my mind, of Edgar Varese's Arcana, although on a smaller scale. Indeed, this recording was recommended by a friend familiar with my enthusiasm for the Varese.
The disc also comprises Carter's Sonata for flute, oboe, cello & harpsichord (1948) and Sonata for cello and piano (1952). The former rivals the Double concerto for my affections for the same reasons cited above. The latter was a little more astringent; not surprising, given its sparser instrumentation, but still arresting. All told, this CD represents an investment of time I'm very glad I made.

Archer's Quest

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Click for availability and more information Archer's Quest, by Linda Sue Park
It looks like another dull afternoon of homework for Kevin Kim when a young man, armed with bow and arrows, crash-lands in his room and claims to be a legendary ruler from ancient Korea. Will Kevin be able to help the famed archer travel back in time to hi skingdom before the Year of the Tiger ends and history is changed forever?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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