November 29, 2005
After his hugely successful debut, 1997’s A Civil Action, Jonathan Harr is back with his sophomore effort, The Lost Painting, which chronicles a female Italian graduate student and Irish restorer’s efforts to track down obscure Italian painter Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece, The Taking of Christ. Harr provides a compelling and incisive story that mixes scholarly sleuthing and art history, moving moves at a lively, brisk pace and with articulate prose. It seems Harr is apparently just as comfortable talking about complex artistic processes as he is with toxic drinking water and legal complications. At the same time, Harr also paints a vivid portrait of his own on Caravaggio’s wild life, renown for his street-fighting as much as his paintings.
Read a review of The Lost Painting here.
November 26, 2005
There have been hundred of biographies, analyses, and critiques of President Abraham Lincoln, but Doris Goodwin’s Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln manages to shed refreshing and insightful new light on an old discourse. Goodwin argues that this poor, self-taught, one-term congressman and prairie lawyer was one of the shrewdest political operators and Washington insiders of the time, managing to not only co-opt three better-born, better-experienced men (William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates) for the 1860 Republican nomination, but also bringing these rival men into his Cabinet and obtain their loyalty, respect, and wisdom at a time when the nation was tearing itself apart.
November 24, 2005
God Created the Integers is the latest outpouring by author and physicist Stephen Hawking, chronicling some 25 mathematical masterpieces that span 2,500 years and 15 acclaimed mathematicians from Augustin Cauchy to Alan Turing. This extensive anthology gives readers a chance to peer into the mind of these geniuses, providing them with excerpts of mathematical proof and results, as well as helping them to understand the process of mathematical thought, which has transformed the course of human history and now lies at the very heart of today’s technological foundations. The important signifances of these geniuses are explained in a thorough and clear manner by Hawking’s — an oft-proclaimed genius in his own right — well-written presentation.
Visit Stephen Hawking’s Official Website for more about his work.
November 22, 2005
Prolific James Patterson is back with his latest Alex Cross installment, Mary, Mary. Alex Cross, PD detective turned FBI agent, is enjoying a much-need vacation with his family when he’s suddenly called in by the LAPD to consult on a high-profile murder case. Famous actress Antonia Schifman, her chauffeur, and a well-known female movie producer have been murdered. Antonia’s face has been cut up so badly as to be nearly unrecognizable. A woman named “Mary Smith” is taking responsibility for the murders in a series of e-mails to an L.A. Times gossip columnist. However, as Cross is soon to learn, he can’t be certain of anything, not the patterns or motives of the killer, not even of Mary’s gender. As the number of A-list victims begins to grow and the pressure mounts for the LAPD and FBI to catch the killer from both the public and Hollywood, Cross also has to juggle a custody battle for his youngest son. Patterson weaves a suspense-filled thriller that leads to an ultimate, unexpected, and exciting climax. One of Patterson’s most sophisticated novels to date.
November 21, 2005
Author Barbara Boxer, a three-term senator from California who was re-elected in 2004, tries her hand at fiction with her debut novel, Time To Run. Joshua Fischer, Greg Hunter, and Ellen Downey are three bright individuals who befriend each other at the University of California Berkeley in the 1970’s. They were all headed for promising futures in law and journalism until Josh’s proposal to Ellen redefined the trio’s relationships. Ellen marries Josh and assumes his candidacy when he dies during his Senate campaign. Now, on the eve of the election of a controversial ultraconservative Hispanic female for Supreme Court justice, Senator Ellen is given the perfect weapon: sensitive documents that could wreck the nomination. However, she isn’t sure if she can trust its source — right wing conservative Greg, her former lover and friend. Barbara Boxer’s insider’s knowledge of politics gives this story an extra satisfying edge as she aptly tackles friendship, idealism, corruption, and all the behind-the-scenes machinations of politics.
November 18, 2005
The Regime is the second prequel to the apocalyptic Left Behind series by author duo Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This book continues the backstories of readers’ favorite Left Behind characters like Rayford, Chloe, and Buck in the time leading up to The Rapture, discovering the reasons why these characters have failed to believe in the one who could have saved them until it was too late. Readers will also see how events fall into place by the time the first book in the Left Behind series comes into play, with things in Israel heating up and Nicolae Carpathia’s evil rise to power.
November 12, 2005
Many fans of Rice may find the author’s latest novel to be a curious departure from her well-loved Vampire Chronicles series,. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt trades in the demonic for the religious as Rice gives a painstakingly researched, fictional narrative of Jesus’s life as a child leaving Egypt at seven-years-old to return to his home in Nazareth. As with all her stories, Rice provides a colorful context for her characters, this time steeped in Hebrew culture, history, and tradition. The early years of Jesus’ life are handled languidly and saturated with details and imagery, but soon the narrative picks up, and at the emotional heart of this story is Jesus’ discovery of the miraculous origins of his birth and why he can heal the sick and raise the dead. As he begins to understand who he really is, readers are presented with an achingly human portrayal of the savior of mankind, thanks to Rice’s magical prose.
Read Amy Wellborn’s indepth review of Rice’s latest novel here.
Visit Anne Rice’s Official Site.
November 11, 2005
The Pulitzer-prize winning author of 1996’s Angela’s Ashes and 1999’s follow-up, ‘Tis, brings you the final installment in the memoir trilogy of Frank McCourt’s heartbreaking but ultimately triumphant life. This time, McCourt focuses on his 30-odd years of teaching in New York City’s public high schools, detailing the often infuriating way education administrators, bureaucrats, and officials dealt with students, teachers, and curriculum when all McCourted wanted to do was simply teach. “I was uncomfortable with the bureaucrats, the higher-ups, who had escaped classrooms only to turn and bother the occupants of those classrooms, teachers and students. I never wanted to fill out their forms, follow their guidelines, administer their examinations, tolerate their snooping, adjust myself to their programs and courses of study,” McCourt writes, and eventually, he found ingenius ways to circumvent the system to enrich his students lives and get them to think creatively, while also learning from them as well. McCourt gives a remarkable insight into the nature of teaching that should be required reading for every teacher in America, and more than a few public officials as well.
November 10, 2005
Much of American cuisine is curiously influenced by Italian cooking, so what can be better than an all-inclusive cookbook that gathers together Italy’s oldest and richest recipes and updates them to suit modern sensibilities and tastes? Thats just what the editors of Phaidon Press did when they compiled traditional Italian cooking techniques for their latest cookbook, The Silver Spoon, and to date, it’s one of Italy’s most popular cookbooks. It all began when a group of cooking experts was commissioned ny Domus magazin to collect hundreds of traditional and modern recipes from the different Italian regions and make them available to a wider audience. In the process, they aslo updated ingredients, quantities, and methods while at the same time preserving the memory of ancient recipes. Readers will enjoy this flavorful book and perhaps will be motivated to stir up a few dishes of their own.
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Sidney Sheldon has had an amazing life, from becoming a top screenwriter, director, playwright, producer, and novelist who wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay The Bachelor and Bobby-Soxer, the Tony Award-winning play Redhead, and created four of television’s greatest classic shows including I Dream of Jeannie, and several novels. However, balanced with these career highlights were some devastating lows, including bouts of depression, a suicide attempt, and the death of his child. Sheldon serves up an engaging autobiography of an exciting, successful career that will be sure to entertain his fans as well as give them intimate insight into the man behind the scripts.
Visit Sidney Sheldon’s Official Website.