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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales

Geofrey Chaucer (1343-1400) Translation by Burton Raffel The Canterbury Tales (CT) is modeled after Boccaccio’s Decameron and the Arabic Thousand and One Nights. CT covers a pilgrimage in which 30 travelers must tell two stories each. As Chaucer finished only 24 stories, CT is considered to be unfinished. The tales are satirical and cover the […]

Catch 22

Catch 22

Joseph Heller This 20th Century 1961 classic-fictional account of WWII up close will always be timely, because it deals with a universally timeless subject: war. It was written by Joseph Heller, a Jewish-American born in Brooklyn, a bombardier in WWII (who flew over 60 missions), a Fulbright scholar at Oxford, and a sometimes English teacher […]