Profile for Leonard Fleisig > Reviews

Browse

Leonard Fleisig's Profile

Customer Reviews: 445
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,701
Helpful Votes: 13105




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Leonard Fleisig "Len" RSS Feed (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Dorothy Parker Drank Here
Dorothy Parker Drank Here
by Ellen Meister
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
37 used & new from $10.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts of round tables past, December 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It goes without saying that if you are going to write a book whose main character is Dorothy Parker you best be able to put words in her mouth that are witty and acerbic. I'm happy to report that the ghost of Dorothy Parker, as captured by Ellen Meister in "Dorothy Parker Drank Here", does not disappoint. Ms. Meister has set the bar high in trying to channel the spirit of Dorothy Parker and, to my mind, she went over the bar. The result is a clever and entertaining book.

Dorothy Parker, along with such other literary figures as Roberth Benchley, Robert Sherwood, Heywood Bround, Edna Ferbers and others who during the Roaring 20s and on met daily for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel for lunch. Those who sat at the Algonquin Round table shared barbs, talked books, plays and music and so on. In fact, the new Yorker Magazine was funnded in part by contributions from members of the Round Table. Although long gone, the legend of the Round Table remains. Parker, for her part is remembered by many for some of her many quips that live on today: ""The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue"; "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses" ' and ""I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." all come to mind. For purposes of this book and its title, perhaps the most appropriate quote might be, ""I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host."

I won't get into excessive detail about the plot. Since it is set in contemporary New York and features the long-dead Ms. Parker, we are presented with what is actually the ghost of Ms. Parker, haunting the Algonquin Hotel's Blue Bar and materializing into human form whenever she can and scaring the bartender or unsupsecting out of town guests to buy her a martini, or two and three. Once you accept the premise, and I did that quite freely and with a smile on my face, the rest of the plot made perfectly good sense.

All in all, Dorothy Parker Drank Here was an enjoyable book to read. It was light hearted and clever. It is also clear that Ms. Meister is a serious and devoted fan (or scholar if fan comes across in any negative sense) of Ms. Parker, her life and her writing. She has an enjoyable Facebook page devoted to Ms. Parker. I have no hesitation in ercommending this to anyone who would get a kick out of the possibility that Ms. Parker and her many pearls of wisdom might just possibly be sitting next too you sipping her fourth martini.


A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction
A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
80 used & new from $13.30

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bunyip's Delight, September 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A Bunyip is, as far as I can tell, a mythical creature which springs from Aboriginal mythology and oral tradition. It is also the Amazon nickname of my friend Stephen Haines, the reviewer who introduced me to Terry Pratchett and Discworld. Actually I think it fairer to say that he demanded that I pick up a book, (his review of Interesting Times: A Novel of Discworld sealed the deal for me,) and discover the wonders that lay therein. Stephen has long since taken leave of this world but I still recall the numerous conversations and arguments we had over all things Pratchett. I cannot think of a better way to praise "A Slip of the Keyboard" than to say the Bunyip would have loved it. So I lift my glass of single malt and say cheers mate, this one's for you.

A Slip of the Keyboard is a compilation of writings about life, the universe, the art of writing, the art of book tours and everything. Keyboard contains articles and other musings that Pratchett has written over the years. Short pieces all the book is roughly divided into three parts: ideas and set pieces about his life as a writer; stories and reminiscences about his childhood years, and finally a section entitled "Days of Rage" which focuses on Pratchett's approach and response to the early-onset of Posterior Cortical Atrophy (a variant of Alzheimer's apparently) that can only have one result. All of the pieces share the same wit and insight that permeated Discworld.

The Days of Rage heading is particularly apt in view of Neil Gaiman's brief but warm and compelling introduction to the book. In it he describes Pratchett's writing over the years as being driven by fury. I won't say more but Gaiman, a friend to Pratchett and a collaborator, sets up everything that is to follow with that introduction. Finally, and although not quite the last piece in the collection, Pratchett notes, in discussing end-of-life decisions, suggests that if the burden of carrying on becomes too great, those who wish to should be allowed to be shown the door, closing with a phrase that pretty much encapsulates the style and sometimes a wit colored with sadness and grace with this: "In my case, in the fullness of time, I hope it will be the one [door] to the garden under an English sky. Or, if wet, the library."

If you are a fan of Pratchett you won't need this review to guide you in your purchasing decision. For everyone else, do what I did and listen to your inner Bunyip. You will not be disappointed.

L. Fleisig
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2014 11:05 AM PDT


The Zone of Interest: A novel
The Zone of Interest: A novel
by Martin Amis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.31
94 used & new from $14.03

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.", September 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Isaiah 60:2.

Martin Amis' Zone of Interest is not a "love story with a violently unromantic setting" as claimed in the Publisher's product description. It is many things but most assuredly it is not a love story. If anything it is a fictional exploration into the dark, abject lives of those who participated, willingly or not, in the death machine known to the world as the Holocaust.

Zone of Interest is set at the Monowitz Work Camp, sometimes known as Auschwitz III. The camp was built at the request of German industrial giant I.G. Farben to serve as a source of free/slave labor for its Buna Werke factory; designed to produce synthetic rubber in aid of the German war effort.
The story is told via the voices of the four main protagonists. Golo Thompsen is the civilian tasked with oversight of the construction of the Buna Werke. A favored nephew of party leader he is a known womanizer who bears some protection for his acts and rather cynical view of the war effort by virtue of his being the favored nephew of party leader Martin Bormann. Capt. Doll is the Camp Commandant. A true believer, his primary task is two-fold: ensure a steady supply of slave labor to get the factory built and supervising the selection and immediate extermination of arriving prisoners who are not capable of working. To that end he is assisted in those efforts by Szmul, a Sonderkommando, a Jewish prisoner whose life is temporarily spared as long he works to assure doomed prisoners that they were being marched to a shower and not their immediate deaths. Last is Hannah Doll, the commandant's wife. Her relationship with both her husband and Doll serves as the spine around which the story is built.

I will not discuss the intricacies of the plot. In fact, it might even be inaccurate to say there is a plot. Rather, the story takes us through each character's lives in the camp and details their relationships to the other protagonists. Despite the absence of what one might call a traditional plot, Zone of Interest makes for a compelling if disturbing read. Most disturbing is the fact that there is no single character here, with the exception perhaps of Szmul, who has enough moral gravitas for the reader to develop any affection or affinity for. Each is guilty in his or her way of `sins' of omission or commission in a setting in which they bear witness to and participate in the slaughter and death that marked life in the camps. And yet, as the story progresses and their lives are revealed one cannot help but hope that one, or maybe two, of the protagonists will find some way to climb out of their personal heart of darkness. The fact that Amis manages to pull this off is no small testament to the power of his writing.

I could not help but think as I read Zone of Interest about the use of literature, of art, as a means of providing permanent testimony to man's inhumanity to man in a century that has witnessed more than its share of horrors. Zone of Interest stands as an example of how fiction can portray the horrors of genocide with an emotional clarity that non-fiction sometimes lacks. Actually, the lack of emotional clarity forms the recurring theme of the book but the essential point remains. To that end Zone of Interest may be compared to both Kolyma Tales (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) and This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (Penguin Classics) as a literary remembrance of life in a place with little mercy and less humanity. Even though I would not `rank' Zone of Interest as being as powerful as those books the fact that they may be mentioned in the same conversation is high praise. They stand as stark testimony, even though they are works of literature and not history, to the "evil that men do."

Recommended. L. Fleisig
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2014 3:54 PM PDT


Featuring the Saint (The Saint Series)
Featuring the Saint (The Saint Series)
by Leslie Charteris
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.99
22 used & new from $8.13

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Original Most Interesting Man in the World., August 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I decided to read Leslie Charteris' "Featuring The Saint" for three reasons. First, I grew up watching The Saint with Roger Moore. Roger Moore's Saint, along with Sean Connery's Bond provided a lot of entertainment as they introduced the suave, debonair British `man-of-mystery' to American audiences. Second, I've discovered recently the original The Saint radio series in which the great Vincent Price in his mellifluous and devilish tone gave voice to the irascible Simon Templar. Last, I went to the same school in the north of England that Charteris attended as a schoolboy. So as I read this new compilation of three of his novella-length stories, I had a visual image of the young Roger Moore and an audio image of Vincent Price. That pretty much made it impossible for me to have anything other than an enjoyable reading experience. I had fun reading these stories.

Simon Templar, aka The Saint, is a dashing man-about town. He is handsome, charming, a hit with the ladies and pretty handy with his fists or gun when the need arises. He has also had something of a checkered past. As the stories in this compilation indicate Templar has morphed from what is likely a felonious past into a man who now, if not exactly admired by the authorities, is recognized as someone who now spends his time doing battle against people he doesn't like, people who are crooks and swindlers or worse and who deserve whatever fate The Saint has in store for them. His methods of doing battle are far from ideal. Templar is more of a fight-fire-with-fire type than a Dudley Do-Right type. His ability to carry out his crusade with aplomb and a wink of the eye makes his methods downright charming even if they might sometimes make an ethicist squirm.

The three stories including in this compilation, The Logical Adventure, The Wonderful War and The Man Who Could not Die were written between 1929 and 1930. So the stories were written early on in the career. But I found the character to be pretty fully formed. I won't get into details of the plot of each. That would be time consuming and would run the risk of spoiling the plot. I'll just say that they were fun to read, kept me engaged and had me laughing every now and again.

I will add that the style of Charteris' prose, particularly in his descriptions of Templar, his abilities and accomplishments might seem a wee bit overblown to some. Templar is nothing if not confident. But I quickly decided that Charteris was both a product of his times as far as his style is concerned and was also writing with tongue planted firmly in cheek. In fact, as I read the stories I couldn't help but think of those beer commercials centered on "the most interesting man in the world." Charteris created, 80 years prior to those commercials his own version of the most interesting man in the world.

So, I think it fair to say ofThe Saint that: people hang on his every word, even the prepositions; Templar could disarm you with his looks or his hands; he lives vicariously, through himself; the police often question him just because they find him interesting; and that he is indeed the most interesting man in the world.

I don't always read crime fiction, but when I do, I won't hesitate to read The Saint. Stay reading my friends.
L. Fleisig


Amazon Gift Card - Email - Happy Birthday (Candles)
Amazon Gift Card - Email - Happy Birthday (Candles)
Price: $50.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convenient way to say Happy Birthday, July 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A nice, efficient way to send a birthday gift. This one, for my niece, ended up being used to order a number of books for her Kindle. Since she is a young teen with a variety of reading interests I didn't have to worry about picking the right books.


Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel
Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel
by Yelena Akhtiorskaya
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.17
91 used & new from $9.95

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved, June 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can." Beryl Markham

Panic in a Suitcase takes a 20-year look at the Nasmertov family, who left Odessa, one city on the Sea, for another, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When the story opens in 1993 the family is firmly entrenched in the Russian/Ukrainian enclave in Brighton Beach (often referred to as Little Odessa) except the Nasmertov's son Pavel who had chosen to stay behind. Pavel is a poet and more than a bit baffled by the external world. Concerned for his health the family has him fly over for a vacation. He spends a month in Brooklyn with his family and friends before returning to Odessa. Years later, his niece Frida returns to Odessa for the wedding of Pavel's son. The book's story is not really plot-driven as much as it is driven by an examination of how emigrants deal with their experience as a stranger in a strange land and how that experience is viewed by those they left behind. In the first half of the book we have Pavel casting a critical eye on Little Odessa and the life lived by his family. On Frida's return to Odessa the camera-eye is reversed and a critical eye was cast on the city where their yesteryears are buried deep.

Panic in a Suitcase had a particular resonance for me. My grandparents left (fled may be the more accurate word) Odessa for Brooklyn about 90-years before the Nasmertov family. They fought through poverty, despair, family dysfunction until their place here in the U.S. was secure. I know very little about their day-to-day experience but have heard enough so that the vignettes of the Nasmertov family and their quirks, oddities, and living on what I call the fault-line of better living through maternal guilt complexes to believe that as exaggerated as some of the characterizations may seem to the reader they are not all that far-fetched.

I very much enjoyed Panic in a Suitcase. The writing was crisp and often funny. My reaction to Yelena Akhtiorskaya's Panic in a Suitcase was very similar to my reaction to Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. They were both excellent first-novels focusing on some of the same ground; stories of the lives, loves and dysfunctional family relationships of those who left Ukraine behind for distant shores.

As with Marina Lewycka (whose second novel was excellent) I hope that her next book lives up to the promise of her first effort.

L. Fleisig


Midnight in Europe: A Novel
Midnight in Europe: A Novel
by Alan Furst
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.34
189 used & new from $4.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good summer reading. 3.5 stars, June 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The time: 1937/1938. The setting: Paris. The backdrop: the Spanish Civil War. The protagonist: Cristian Ferrar, a native of Spain settled into a career in Paris as a lawyer for a renowned international law firm.

In essence that is the standard back drop to most of Alan Furst's entertaining and well-written noir stories. Furst comes from a line of writers that can be traced back to both Graham Greene and Eric Ambler. Like Ambler (and unlike LeCarre for example) Furst often takes an unassuming, or unwitting civilian and immerses him in a world of mystery and intrigue in pre-World War II Europe. Furst's strong point has always been how he sets the scene. His atmospherics are tremendous. His descriptions of the streets of Warsaw, Berlin or Paris and the atmosphere of those cities reek of authenticity. Similarly, Furst has a keen eye for the inner life of his protagonists. Almost invariably Furst manages to convey a real sense of how those protagonists think and feel. Both of these elements of his writing generally dominate his plotting and are primarily responsible for getting the reader to turn to the next page.

As the story opens, Ferrar, although a supporter of the republican forces in its bloody civil war with the forces of Franco's armies, is pretty much focused on his law career. He works hard and has a fairly active romantic life both in Paris and New York. But he gets drawn into active participation in the war. Climactic battles are looming and the Republican army is in desperate need for arms and materiel. Once he gets drawn in the story proceeds in typical Furst fashion. Lines are drawn and Ferrar finds himself travelling into dark corners of Europe trying to accomplish the task he has been entrusted with.

Midnight in Europe certainly has its strong points. Furst does a very good job, as he invariably does, with keeping his story suspenseful while remaining historically accurate. Readers must surely know how the Spanish Civil War played out and Furst never stretches from actual events. He manages to keep the plot and suspense boiling without stretching credulity and that is no small feat given the 'constraints' of history. However, I was not as drawn to the character of Ferrar as I have been to previous Furst protagonists.

I did enjoy Midnight in Europe even if I wouldn't put it at the top of my Furst reading list. Those who have already discovered and enjoyed Furst will likely enjoy reading it. Good Furst is still a cut above the norm. Those new to Furst might be better served with one of his earlier works. I'd suggest starting with The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel or Dark Voyage: A Novel. I think Minight in Europe will be more enjoyable once you have a bit more familiarity with Furst's work.


BluePoint New Bloom Towels, Chocolate, Set of 4
BluePoint New Bloom Towels, Chocolate, Set of 4
Price: $27.13
2 used & new from $27.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice set of towels, June 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This towel set lived up to my expectations.

There are a number of things I look for when using towels. First, there's the question of absorbency. When I get out of the shower I like a towel that does a good job drying me off. Second, I like a bath towel big enough to wrap around me comfortably (I'm 6'2"). The BluePoint bath towel does both quite well. When I get out of the shower I don't need a back-up towel to finish drying myself off.

The bath mat also works well. It is a bit plush and takes a while for the water left on it to evaporate but that's really something to be expected. The wash cloth is not abrasive yet it does its job well.

Apparently, about 35% of the cotton used in the production of this bath set is recycled and hence the product is being promoted as eco-friendly. Be that as it may, for those concerned about whether the use of recycled cotton in any way changed the feel or efficiency of the towels, I didn't notice any discernible difference.

All-in-all I'm happy with this towel set.


Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore: A Novel
Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore: A Novel
by Walter Mosley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.27
98 used & new from $2.87

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't it make your brown eyes blue?, May 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Walter Mosley's "Debbie Doesn't Do it Anymore" begins with a bang and ends with something approaching relief or resolution. Debbie Dare (formerly and subsequently known as Sandra Peel) is a star in the Los Angeles `adult-entertainment" industry. A woman of color she is known to her fans by her shockingly bright platinum hair and bright blue eyes, courtesy of the contact lens industry. The story opens with Debbie doing a routine `performance' that unintentionally and in violation of the industry norm results in a climax that can best be described by that oft-used term "earth-shattering". Actually as the story develops it becomes more life-changing than earth-shattering. Upon her return home she finds a dead husband, electrocute when a recording device falls into a bathtub where he was initiating a very young girl looking to get into the industry. The story takes us on the path Debbie/Sandra takes subsequent to that very eventful opening.

Mosley is, in my opinion, one of the best American writers out there. Although he rose to frame in the mystery/detective area with his Easy Rawlins Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) series Moseley has written fine books across a range of genres including science fiction and books with something of a theological bent, The Tempest Tales: A Novel-in-Stories. His depth and breadth makes pigeonholing a non-starter.

As an initial matter it should be noted that the book's protagonist is a porn-star and the initial chapter might leave one thinking that this is going to be a sexually-charged book. In fact it is not. Certainly Debbie's occupation and life are discussed but the heart of the story is the path that took Debbie into one world and the path that Sandra takes out, or tries to take out. It is not a story about the adult entertainment industry, that is merely the setting. It is a story about choices and the prospect of change, and possibly even some redemption. Mosley's prose is fluid and entertaining and he manages to write about these themes without being preachy. And despite the rather strange cast of characters that populate this book, they come off as believable characters and not caricatures.

I very much enjoyed Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore. Any fan of Mosley should enjoy it. And, if you are new to Mosley I don't think you need to have read any of his other books before taking this on. So as long as you don't have any objections to the setting, you will hopefully not be disappointed.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2014 8:18 AM PDT


tasc Performance Men's Carrollton Performance Tee, Heather Grey, XX-Large
tasc Performance Men's Carrollton Performance Tee, Heather Grey, XX-Large
Price: $31.51
4 used & new from $29.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd give you the shirt off my back but, May 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
probably not this one.

The tasc Performance Tee has stood up pretty well since I received it. The fit was as described and it has not shrunk and has not faded after a couple of washings. (Time and a few more washings will determine if that remains the case.) It is comfortable to wear both during exercise and for general use.

It's advertised absorbency seems quite accurate during heavy workouts. It was far less soaked in sweat and uncomfortable after those workouts and I didn't feel that compulsion to race into the locker room or rush home to change out of it. Further, the material is smooth. Bottom line is that you don't notice it during workouts and that is a good thing.

Bottom line: the product did just what it was supposed to do.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20