Sunday, March 18, 2012

The First Lady Of Fleet Street : The Life Of Rachel Beer : Crusading Heiress And Newspaper Pioneer
by Eilat Negev and Yehuda Koren

During the Victorian era, there were two prominent Jewish families: the Sassoons and the Beers. Rachel Sassoon married Frederick Beer who was the heir to a huge newspaper enterprise.
As I only reached page 100, I don't know all of the details. The authors spent the first part of the book writing about the history and background of the two families (Rachel was only mentioned as a child). The Sassoons were from Iraq and the Beers from Germany. That was the most interesting part of the story. I found the prose to be boring, plodding, and flat.
Not recommended.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Man Without A Face : The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
by Masha Gessen

If you are looking for an in-depth portrait of Vladimir Putin, you won't find it within this book. He's definitely an enigma and paints himself as being a thug. It's supposed to be a biography of him but most of what is written is about political events that happened in Russia while he was around but not doing much of anything.
The writing is quite poor and boring. Gessen is more of a journalist than an author because everything that is presented is factual and there's not much substance. I got halfway through and had enough.
Not recommended.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Lady In Gold : The Extraordinary Tale Of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Anne-Marie O'Connor

Adele Bloch-Bauer was one of the reigning Jewish society figures in Vienna. Her husband was a sugar-beet baron and the two of them were art patrons. Gustav Klimt painted her portrait after making one hundred sketches and it sat in the Bauers' palace until the Nazis confiscated it.
Alas, I didn't get too far with this book (thirty-eight pages). The writing is plodding there's too many names constantly thrown at you. It is not riveting and suspenseful as the front flap says. I found it dull and irritating.
Not recommended.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Tender Hour Of Twilight
By Richard Seaver

Richard Seaver was a magazine/literary editor for Grove Press and he would be responsible for demolishing U.S. censorship laws. He and his partner introduced Lady Chatterly's Lover, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and others to the American public.
Before all of this began, though, Seaver went to Paris in the 1950s and started up a magazine. He introduced Samuel Beckett (then an unknown writer) to thousands of readers, Eugene Ionesco, William Burroughs, and many more.
The book started out promising. I had never heard of Seaver (he's well-known in the publishing field) and it was really interesting reading about Paris in those days and what went on behind the scenes in creating a magazine and promoting authors. Halfway through, I quit reading it. The whole thing just fizzled out for me. Some of the details just were not that fascinating; in fact, they were boring.
Nothing to get excited about here.
Not recommended.