Archive for the ‘Memoir’ Category

Review: Resurrecting The Street: Jeffrey Ingber

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: Jeffrey Ingber (May 22, 2012)
English
ISBN-10: 0985410000
ISBN-13: 978-0985410001
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Synopsis:

On 9/11 we know about all the loss of innocent lives. But what we may not know about were the struggles that the wall street and financial community went through to keep from going into economic collapse. This book details that struggle.

Review

There was a lot of interesting stories in this book from people who were involved in the financial industry during the weeks following 9/11. One thing that really surprised me was how inadequatelly prepared these companies were, and many still are. There was no plans in place for backup systems, no recovery process, and just a poor job of data management. This was so poorly done, that according to the book, years worth of information on SEC investigations was destroyed with no way to recover.

The author takes us through from the actually occurrence of 9/11 up through some of the major banking and finance corporations as they struggle to get back up and running. The reader is allowed to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that we never was witness to, and learn how close we really came to a complete shutdown of our economic system.

The book is well written, very well research, and for history fans, or those interested in finance or the overall impact of 9/11 on America, I’d suggest this book. Due to content and language, I would gear it towards adults. It’s definitely a good guide for data communications people to see how things shouldn’t be done.

About the Author

Jeff Ingber is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Queens College and NYU Law School. He has worked in the financial industry for over three decades, including positions with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. Jeff currently is a Managing Director with Citigroup.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at Rebecca – The Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Infamous Players – Peter Bart

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Weinstein Books (May 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602861668
ISBN-13: 978-1602861664
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Review

Peter Bart had a long and illustrious career as an executive in the film industry. This career spanned 17 years, and covered some of the biggest hits and misses in film history. In Infamous Players he details the behind the scenes stories of some of the biggest such as Paint Your Wagon, Love Story, and The Godfather.

Not only does he cover the films, but he covers a lot of the the background politics and decisions that went into them. There were many surprises such as who all wanted to try out and was considered for The Godfather. How some members of the mob were involved.

As a time capsule of movie history, I found it very informative. It’s rare that I read an entire book in a one day period, but this one was one of those types of books. There were tons of pictures to go along with the narrative.

If you are a fan of film history then you defnitely need to grab a copy of this book. You’ll enjoy every minute of it. Be aware that there is strong language and subject matter, so older readers only is recommended.

About the Author

Peter Bart started his career as a newsman with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, then spent seventeen years as a film executive (vice president of Paramount, senior vice president of MGM, president of Lorimar Film Co.) only to return to journalism as editor-in-chief of Variety. Along the way, he was responsible for seven books, including Shoot-Out, written with Peter Guber (the basis for their current weekly television show), Dangerous Company (a short story collection), and three nonfiction books, The Gross, Fade Out, and Boffo.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Guest Post: Hollywood Movie Revival – Peter Bart

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Hollywood Movie Revival
By Peter Bart,
Author of
Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, The Mob (And Sex)

There’s a significant revival of interest in the movies of the ’60s and  ’70s. Films ranging from The Godfather to Easy Rider, from Nashville to Midnight Cowboy have become iconic in our pop culture.

Those of us who were lucky enough to work in the film industry of that period are often asked, “Could those films be made in today’s Hollywood?” My answer is a resounding ‘no’ and the reasons are simple.

The key aim guiding studio decision-making in that period was to surprise even shock the audience. Today’s film executives are eager to re-capture the familiar. The most important resource to tap into is “awareness,” not surprise.

Studio tentpoles are predicated on giving filmgoers something they’ve seen before and hopefully will want to experience again.   The upshot, of course, is the abundance of sequels, prequels and remakes.   The success of “21 Jump Street” has underscored an appetite to re-cycle the ’80s by remaking films like “Robocop”, “Dirty Dancing,” and a new “Die Hard”.

Geriatric action stars like Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and even Arnold Schwarzenegger are in demand again. Even Billy Crystal is coming back as a leading man.  Hence, while there is a desire to revisit the past, the intent is not to re-discover films that changed the landscape of pop culture. Instead, there’s a search for re-cycled superheroes.

The Tribeca Film Festival caused some surprise by booking “The Avengers” as the centerpiece for its closing extravaganza, after a two-week menu of art pictures and documentaries. This tentpole offers audiences the chance not to revisit just one superhero of the past but a veritable who’s who of heroic retreads. They include Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Captain America and  even the Incredible Hulk.

Hence fest-goers, too, can enjoy a return to the familiar — the Avengers comic book dates back to 1963.

The decision to showcase The Avengers is intriguing in that festivals are customarily irrelevant to the superhero genre of motion pictures, as are the major film critics. Tentpoles need tweets and viral buzz, not the approval of cineastes.

Most of all, tentpoles, with their enormous costs, need instant awareness.  The auras of books like the Harry Potter series or Hunger Games can create a foundation for that awareness. So can some comic books and video games.  By and large, the game-changing films of the ’60s and 70s emanated from original film ideas or obscure books. Even the Godfather was an unpublished and incomplete manuscript when it was acquired by Paramount. The motivation behind such films as Bonnie & Clyde was to provide culture shock, not to capitalize on an existing franchise. Films of that era opened in a very few theaters and ultimately found an audience.

Culture shock actually was a rewarding experience. Hopefully audiences may again get to experience it in films some day.

© 2012 Peter Bart, author of Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, The Mob (And Sex)

Author Bio

Peter Bart, author of Infamous Players: A Tale of  Movies, The Mob (And Sex), spent seventeen years as a film executive (at Paramount, MGM, and Lorimar Film Co.), only to return to print as editor in chief of Variety. Along the way, he was responsible for seven books, including Shoot Out, written with Peter Guber. He is now the host of Movie Talk, a weekly television show broadcast here and abroad.

For more information please visit http://www.weinsteinbooks.com and Amazon

Review: Goats Eat Cans: Volume 1 – Steven Novak

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (February 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1469969475
ISBN-13: 978-1469969473
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Review:

Steven Novak has written what amounts to a comic memoir of his life.  Through a series of essays he takes us through the various stages, from pre-adolescence on through.

As a reader we get to experience many of his adventures, or I should say mis-adventures, dealing with everything a person normally experiences throughout their life.  One of the most memorable scenes I can recall from the book was his first attempt at losing his virginity and how he ended up in a cast as the result.

For an entertaining read I’d recommend it.  It is strictly for adults though.  There is a lot of of strong language, some potty humor, and adult situations.  For that I’d say older teens and adults would be the primary audience.

About the Author

Born in Chicago Illinois, Steven Novak has spent the whole of his life creating. After attending The Columbus College of Art and Design for four years he moved to California where he married his wife. The pair have been together for nearly a decade. He likes pizza. He’s sort of a nerd. He has terrible luck and worse personal hygiene. He also hates having to write bios about himself. He thinks bios are stupid. His work can be found online at www.novakillustration.com

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Leyane at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Obamas – Jodi Kantor

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316098752
ISBN-13: 978-0316098755
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Review

The election of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black President was one of the most historic elections in the history of the country.  But before the streamers had even finished floating to the ground, the controversies started.  His election gave birth to birthers, the Tea Party, and many forms of ugliness.  How does a man survive in this hostile world, and more, how does his wife?

In Jodi Kantor’s book we get to look into the four years of the Obama Presidency.  Each chapter is dedicated to 3 or 4 months over the 4 year period.  As a reader, one gets to see the feelings/behind the scenes functioning over some of the biggest political issues.

You also get a glimpse into the personal lives of the President and First Lady.  You get to see how she struggled to find her own voice.  You’ll see the personal conflicts between her and Rahm Emanuel.  In short, you get a good glimpse at the stresses that go with being President, a job I wouldn’t take for any amount of money.

I thought the book was well written, very well researched, and it kept me engaged.  Being a bit of a political junkie, I remembered most of the scenes that took place and really enjoyed seeing some of the behind the scenes stuff that was involved.

Whether you are a fan of this President or not, I think you’d probably this book interesting, just for a look at what the President’s job is actually like.  Pick it up, give it a read, and stop back here and let me know what you think.

About the Author

Jodi Kantor began her journalism career by dropping out of Harvard Law School to join Slate.com in 1998. Four years later she became the Arts & Leisure editor of the New York Times, the youngest person in memory to edit a section of the newspaper. She has been covering the Obamas since 2007, writing about their faith, friends, marriage, roots, and family, among other topics. Jodi is a recipient of a Columbia Young Alumni Achievement Award, was named to Crain’s “Forty Under Forty” list of New Yorkers, and appears regularly on television. Though she is a Washington correspondent for the Times, she lives in Brooklyn with her family.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Brothers & Me – Donna Britt

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (December 8, 2011) Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316021849
ISBN-13: 978-0316021845
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Review

This book is not only a Memoir of Donna Britt’s life, but a beautiful tribute to her brother Darrell.  Darrell Britt was killed in 1977 by two police officers.  His only crime it seems from this book was asking someone for a ride.  However, the story goes deeper than that.  Ms. Britt covers a lifelong habit she has had of giving to all the men in her life, sometimes at the sacrifice of her own desires and needs. 

The book can be brutal at times, like when she discusses how she lost her virginity to date rape.  Throughout the story though, you get a great sense in her inner strength.  I’d not heard of Ms. Britt prior to reading this book, but I find her quite admirable as a woman.

The book was a very interesting and heart wrenching memoir.  I managed to complete it in 2 days, so it’s also very compelling.  At the end you feel like you’ve gotten to know her and her siblings, particularly her brother Darrell.  But more importantly, I think, you get to understand women better, and black women it seems in particular. 

I’d recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are always giving and not getting any appreciation back.  I think it’s probably geared towards those women.  Anyone else who enjoys a good memoir I think would also find something to appreciate within the pages of this book.

About the Author:

Donna Britt is a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, writing on issues both topical and personal. She has won awards from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, and other organizations, and has been featured on Oprah, C-Span, and NPR. She lives in Maryland with her husband, youngest son, and male dog.

Be sure and enter our contest to win a copy here.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Giveaway – Brothers & Me – Donna Britt

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Thanks to Anna at Hachette Book group I”m able to offer my readers 3 copies of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 12/24/2011.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: Five Chiefs – John Paul Stevens

Monday, October 24th, 2011
 
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Import edition (October 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031619980X
ISBN-13: 978-0316199803
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Review

We see a lot in the news regarding the U.S. Supreme Court. Particularly in the light of such cases as Citizens United and Roe V. Wade. In Five Chiefs we actually get a glimpse behind the scenes and at the history of the court through the five Chief Justices that Justice John Paul Stevens personally knew. The book begins with an overview of the first 12 Justices. The following chapter deals with the job of the Chief Justice. We then get into the bones of book which discusses each Chief one by one from 1946 to the present.

The reader also gets to see where John Paul Stevens himself disagreed with some of the decisions and the conflicts behind the scenes.

Some example cases:

Humphrey’s Executor: The court ruled that Congress was able to establish agencies such as the FTC that made and enforced their own rules and were not answerable to the President.

United States vs. Lopez: The court held that the gun free school zones act of 1990 (No guns in school zones) exceeded the commerce clause. Justice Thomas argued for this. Justice Stevens it appears was against it and stated that Thurgood Marshall would have een that “even if the interest in eliminating the market for possession of handguns by schoolchildren would not have justified federal legislation in 1789, it sure does today.” Essentially saying that we have to adapt the constitution to fit the times.

Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority: Say’s that federal power overseeing labor includes the power to prevent states from paying their employeees lower wages and/or discriminating against them.

Death Penalty: Said the Constitution did not allow legal systems “that permit this unique penalty to be so wantonly and so freakishly imposed.” Justice Steven states that they only allowed it because they felt that states would lower the risk of error.

If you are interested in the legal system or want a look behind some of the most famous Supreme Court decisions, then pick up this book. I think you’d find it very interesting.

Be sure and check out our giveaway here.

About the Author

John Paul Stevens served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1970-1975. President Ford nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat December 19, 1975.

Justice Stevens retired from the Supreme Court on June 29, 2010.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: West By West – Jerry West & Jonathan Coleman

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031605349X
ISBN-13: 978-0316053495
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Review

Jerry West. A Legend of Basketball. He’s also a fellow native of West virginia. It was rather interesting reading his memoir, because I knew many of the areas he wrote about. The memoir is a no holds barred, raw, look into his life. From a poor childhood, in which he details getting used items for presents, in particular a used bike, to his father’s abusive behavior. Throughout the book, you can feel the pain he still carries from his lack of his father’s love. You can also feel the drive he had to succeed because of the abuse.

He also details a major pivoting point in his life, the death of his brother David, who was killed in the Korean War. David’s death it appears left him to more or less survive on his own, and that’s when he turned to basketball.

Basketball it seems was his saving grace, but also a point of obsessions with him. He also goes into great details about a lifetime of suffering from depression.

Throught the book he covers some of the big names in basketball, and gives insight into his relationship with them. Wilt Chamberlin, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Dr. J. And some of the legendary coaches and announcers.

He also goes through some of the more heartbreaking aspects of his friendships with these sports Icons. He talks about his love for Shaq, his feelings when he found out about Magic Johnson contracting HIV, and the death of Wilt Chamberlin, his former Olympic Coach, and others.

For the basketball fans out there, this is a great walk through 5 decades of basketball history. For the non-fans, it’s an interesting look into a man’s life. I’d definitely recommend it.

We’re proud to be able to offer our readers the chance to win one of 3 copies of this book. To enter go here

About the Authors

Jerry West is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. After retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1974, West went on to lead the team– first as a coach, and then as the general manager. He lives in California and West Virginia.
Jonathan Coleman is the bestselling author of Exit the Rainmaker, At Mother’s Request, and Long Way to Go. He is a former producer and correspondent with CBS News.He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book.  It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Dewey’s Nine Lives – Vicki Myron

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult (October 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525951865
ISBN-13: 978-0525951865
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Dewey was made famous in “Dewey : The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” written by Ms. Myron in 2008. This book is a follow up. In it Ms. Myron speaks to many different readers about not so much Dewey’s impact on their lives, as their own cats impact on their lives. Each chapter highlights a particular story, a particular person, and how their cat, and their lives were tied to each other.

This book was very moving. There were at times I was very touched reading the various stories. All are heartwarming, and reflect the love between man and animal. Sometimes I’d laugh out loud at the antics of the cats, and then of course, there were those who I thought “What a crazy cat lady”. But each one had a deep, loving relationship with their cat.

I’d recommend this book for Animal Lovers. While there is nothing truly objectionable, I don’t think I’d let young readers read it, because at times, as sadly happens with life, we have to say goodbye to our furry companions. The loss then is reflect well within these stories also.

For a good emotional read about people and their pets though, I’d say definitely pick this book up.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anne at Authors on the Web for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.