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A Man in Full

A Man in Full

Tom Wolfe A decade ago, Tom Wolfe exploded on the scene with his spellbinding Bonfire of the Vanities, which defined an era on Wall Street and gave us memorable insights into the business, minds and lives of bond dealers and financial wizards of many stripes.  His plots were fascinating, his characters full and vivid, his […]

The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding

Chad Harbach The Art of Fielding (“Fielding”), by Chad Harbach, is a novel built around a college baseball team and the faculty of the college, but, in reality, it is a thinly veiled promotion of homosexuality.  Despite this, it has virtues: The author’s command of English is admirable; his metaphors and epithets are superb, endless […]

The Art of Living (Epictetus)

The Art of Living (Epictetus)

Sharon Lebell The Art of Living, a 130-page paperback, offers a highly condensed version of the wisdom of Epictetus [Eh-pick-tee-tis] (55 BC -135AD), a slave in the Roman Empire, who is among the most heralded Roman philosophers and possibly the best known stoic, along with Zeno. His philosophy was revived in Tom Wolfe’s bestselling novel, […]

Birdsong

Birdsong

Sebastian Faulks Kiril Sokoloff, with whom I have exchanged book notes now and then, is the renowned writer of “13D”, a widely-respected monthly analysis of world financial trends, and one of the most and prodigious readers and laconic writers on our planet, and a fellow-devotee of Roberts’ modern classic, Shantaram.  Kiril was kind enough to […]

Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

An Autobiography by Reinaldo Arenas When I picked up this book I found on its cover the arrestingly handsome face of Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), who looked much like the actor, Antonio Bandaras. Arenas was born and raised in Cuba. He was a conscripted participant in Castro’s Revolution and lived to regret it; he was betrayed […]

Brothers Karamazov

Brothers Karamazov

 Fyodor Dostoyevsky Einstein said that he learned more from Dostoyevsky than from any other author.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) is considered the greatest intuitive psychologist who ever penned a novel and has been called, “the greatest of all novelists”.  His prose, however, can’t stand head-to-head with the flowing poetry, similes and metaphors of Pasternak, Dickens, Dreiser, […]

Candide

Candide

 Voltaire Candide (“C”), a triumph of satire and alternately comedy and tragedy so brutal as to defy credulity, was written by Marie Louis Arouet, known to the world by his nome de plume, Voltaire, who was France’s greatest philosopher, the dominant force in The Age of Enlightenment, who was also an accomplished playwright, novelist, investor […]