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Playing from Memory
Playing from Memory
by David Milofsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.10
38 used & new from $0.45

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine and memorable novel, September 1, 2014
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This review is from: Playing from Memory (Paperback)
I read this novel in 1980, when it was published. And I've never forgotten it. After all these years, I still think of scenes from it --- from the lives of Ben, the musician father, stricken with MS, and his wife, Dory, and their children. I decided to hunt the novel down, see if there were copies still around --- and how delighted I was to be able to order a used hardcover here on Amazon, and a new paperback. I'm going to read the book all over again. I recommend this book to anyone for its sensitive writing and moving story. It left me with such a vivid picture of Ben and his family. The novel has had a warm place in my heart for almost thirty five years. I just ordered another one of the author's books. Looking forward to it.


The Young Lions
The Young Lions
DVD ~ Marlon Brando
Offered by UltimateDiscountsCANADA
Price: $22.49
36 used & new from $6.78

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brando's performance makes the film worth it., August 13, 2014
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This review is from: The Young Lions (DVD)
The film is worth watching for Marlon Brando. He gives an absolutely remarkable performance as the deeply conflicted Christian Diestl, a German soldier who comes to be horrified by the war in which he is participating. And I found his German accent flawless. As a picture of war, I feel the film is limited and dated. It cannot compare to films of later decades, in my estimation, films such as "Apocalypse Now" or "Enemy at the Gates," at depicting the horrors of war; and even compared to other popular yet serious movies of the same period, such as "On the Waterfront," it lacks both the sophistication and the raw power. However "The Young Lions" is a film of noble ambitions. And it is never a boring film to watch. Dean Martin and Montgomery Clift are appealing. So is the rest of the cast. ----- Irwin Shaw, author of the famous novel, did not approve of Brando's take on the role and said so publicly to Brando. And as much as I deeply respect Shaw as the novelist, the original creator of the character, I have to affirm that what Brando did do with this role is quietly magnificent. (It seems to me the director and screen writer must have been behind the shaping of the character of Diestl. But Shaw's public argument was with Brando.) Did the movie do justice to the novel on other levels? I don't know because I have not yet finished the novel. Again, I recommend the movie for Brando's performance. I wonder if some one will attempt a remake of this film in years to come. Irwin Shaw was a mightily respected writer in his time, and he was successful with mass audiences right up until his death. College kids of my age (early 60's) may remember his short stories, including "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" which was in my English textbook. He wrote for The New Yorker for years. I'm reading Shaw again with pleasure.


Irwin Shaw
Irwin Shaw
by Michael Shnayerson
Edition: Hardcover
154 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written story of author Irwin Shaw's rich and amazing life., August 13, 2014
This review is from: Irwin Shaw (Hardcover)
Irwin Shaw, author of numerous short stories, and a sting of successful novels, including "The Young Lions" lived an amazing and exciting life. I first encountered Shaw when I was college. His story, "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" was included in our English class textbooks and I never forgot it. And now over fifty years later, I'm reading Shaw's stories for pleasure, insight and inspiration, and I'm also tackling his great post WWII novel, "The Young Lions." I am finding this immensely readable and wonderfully detailed biography of Shaw very helpful in providing a picture of a complex and remarkable author, considered both literary and popular, whose life brought him into contact with the other major writers of his time. Shaw came to success early as a playwright in New York, became a successful short story writer for The New Yorker, went on to write scripts in Hollywood, experienced the Second World War first hand and offered his own great novel based on it, and lived a glamorous and productive existence right up to the time of his death. His 1969 novel, "Rich Man, Poor Man," became a hugely successful television miniseries in 1976. This biography gives a vivid and fascinating picture of Shaw's world. I'm grateful that Michael Shnayerson wrote this book and wrote it so well. It's for me an informative and inspiring document. And I think the book might be of great interest to many authors, as well as fans of Shaw's work, and students of American literature, especially those interested in the literary giants of the Twentieth Century, and the few who attained popular success.


The Musketeers, Season 1
The Musketeers, Season 1
DVD
Price: $16.99

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate entertainment, beautifully done, and great fun., July 27, 2014
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Marvelous entertainment on every level. We're in a new golden age of television now, especially for fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and historical drama. And this show with its great production values and seductive cast, is outstanding for the more playful and fun approach it takes to historical romance. It's light, fast paced, and beautifully done. Of course the older Musketeers movies always delivered comedy as well as action, but this version is just serious enough and intelligent enough to make the wit and humor all the more appealing. The violence and inevitable cruelty of the period is never overdone, and moments of triumph often depend not on brutality but on cleverness. The villains or antagonists --- Milady de Winter and Cardinal Richelieu --- are quite complex and truly interesting characters, and that adds considerable depth to the whole offering. I am delighted that a second season is in the works. --- For some one who grew up in the forties and fifties as I did, reveling in Errol Flynn movies like "Captain Blood," "Robin Hood," or "The Sea Hawk," this is a great treat. It's entirely safe for an audience that might find the gore of "Game of Thrones" too much, and the sadism of "The Borgias" simply overwhelming. "The Musketeers" is not striving to be as serious as those and other shows, yet at the same time the sets, costumes, and the cinematography are superb, the writing is consistently excellent, and the use of historical figures is extremely well done. Every episode is profoundly emotionally satisfying. Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (22) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2014 11:16 PM PDT


The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London
by Judith Flanders
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.37
53 used & new from $13.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for the lover of Dickens, and for the historical novelist., July 27, 2014
This is a treasure trove of information on London in the time of Dickens --- filled with marvelous details about all aspects of life, beautifully documented, and well written throughout. Having loved Dickens all my life, finding in him the greatest teacher when it comes to fiction writing, I am beyond delighted with this volume. Any and all students of 19th century English literature will find this helpful, however. And for historical novelists, books like this are pure gold. Highly recommended. Enjoyable too. Looking into the author's other titles.


Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World
Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World
by J. H. Brennan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.72
70 used & new from $2.00

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely intelligent and well written account of "spirit contact" throughout the ages., June 8, 2014
Excellent book. Highly readable. Entertaining. What this book offers is not a grand theory of spirits and spirit contact so much as a secular overview of the evidence for humankind's involvement with the "spirit world" since its earliest beginnings through the present. Myself, I do not subscribe to any comprehensive theory as to whether spirits are real, or what their nature and goals might be, etc. But I deeply value books like this which draw together so much evidence with regard to spirit contact in all ages and explain and reflect on the evidence in simple and often elegant terms. The book is very well researched and very well documented and contains a lot of interesting references for further study in the field. I felt Brennan's criticism of the "skeptics" (those who discount the paranormal out of hand) were sound. The last few chapters of the book I found particularly intelligence and persuasive. But overall, it is an extremely ambitious and satisfying study. Highly recommended.


Mary Renault: A Biography
Mary Renault: A Biography
by David Sweetman
Edition: Hardcover
69 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent eloquent and readable biography of a great novelist., May 24, 2014
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I'm quite swept up in this very well written biography of Mary Renault --- author of "The Last of the Wine," and "The Persian Boy," two books which pervasively influenced my own life as a writer. I commend the author for his thoroughness, and his restrained and polite writing, for his research and for giving me so much basic information here about Renault --- about her early life, her crucial social decisions, her commitment to write, and her career experiences. ------ It positively broke my heart to read here that the editor/publisher made Mary Renault cut huge portions of "The Last of the Wine." Renault's pain over this is so understandable. What I wouldn't give for a restored version of the novel with all the edits put back. --- And thank heaven, Renault did not take the advice of anyone who urged her not to write anymore historical novels!!!! ----- I would have welcomed a lot more in depth discussion of her plots and characters but that is not really the responsibility of the biographer of a novelist and can be found elsewhere. I'm really enjoying this book. And I recommend it to others. --- The more I read, I wonder if Renault's life wouldn't make an excellent motion picture or TV film. She broke ground in an age when people were afraid to be gay, let alone publish "gay" books. She was principled and courageous --- and wrote beautiful prose always. Her achievements and her immense influence are worth remembering. --- And her ability to tell the story of Alexander the Great through the eyes of his gay lover is just remarkable. As to why her novels have not been made into films I do not know. Surely this is the time for "The Persian Boy." What a great quality cable series it would make, if not a big time motion picture. I recommend this book to all Renault fans ---- and to struggling writers who are inspired as I am by the lives and example of writers who went before us. Renault is a great writer, and at the moment is a bit neglected. But I trust that will change in time. Her accomplishments are too beautiful, too profound, too entertaining, and too dazzling on all levels for her not to be rediscovered over and over again.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2014 6:58 PM PDT


Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His Work
Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His Work
by Joan D. Hedrick
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from $12.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this in depth critical discussion of Jack London very much., May 12, 2014
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This is exactly the kind of literary criticism I enjoy --- an in depth and always responsible and respectful consideration of the work in question. Well written. I recommend it to anyone studying Jack London. Gave me many insights. This is an academic book, yes, not intended for the popular reader perhaps, but I found the prose fluid and entirely accessible. This will probably appeal the most to those of us who have read a biography of two of London, and several of his novels, and want to delve more into what made him tick, what drove him, what made him the writer he was. As a reader, I enjoyed this, and as a writer, I loved it.


All the Heat We Could Carry
All the Heat We Could Carry
by Charlie Bondhus
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from $13.28

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, powerful, unforgettable poems., May 8, 2014
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I am stunned. I just sat down and read this book in one long sitting ---- hearing aloud in my head each word, each line, each poem. So powerful; so beautiful. One muted but profound emotional experience after another. I don't have words to praise enough the words I read here. This is a gay man writing about war and peace. But more significantly --- this is the soaring achievement of an extraordinarily gifted poet with an extraordinary theme and an extraordinary heart. Just a great book, a great book of unforgettable poems. ---- I'm buying copies to send to friends.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2014 4:03 PM PDT


Doc Martin Season 6 [HD]
Doc Martin Season 6 [HD]
DVD
Price: $19.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The entire series is terrific fun, with a lot of virtuoso acting and quiet zany comedy., April 22, 2014
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I've now watched seasons 1 through 5 over again from the beginning and just finished with season 6 which aired last year. What a treasure. Martin Clunes is simply superb as the angry short tempered and eternally frustrated GP in this small English coastal town filled with maddening and hilariously obstinate and quirky characters. But then so is everybody in the cast here, including Caroline Catz who is the charming and attractive female lead. The fictional village of Portwenn (beautiful St. Isaac in Cornwall) is a real character in the ongoing drama with its winding streets, and views of the blue sea --- and the unique Ian McNeice is especially captivating as Bert Large, a lovable though fallible pillar of the community. Stephanie Cole as Doc Martin's Aunty June is unforgettable and so is Eileen Atkins as yet another loving and interesting aunt. Claire Bloom does a great job now and then as Martin's ghastly mother. But I love all the cast truly. If you haven't tried this series, it's a pleasure to marathon it, let me assure you. There's something safe and comforting about it, though it is always surprising and entertaining. And I so hope we will see a season 7. We must have a season 7!!!! Makes me want to get on a plane for Port Isaac and rent a little house overlooking the bay, and never return to the real world.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2014 11:00 PM PDT


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