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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 […]

Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger Among the best-selling novels of all time, as first published in 1951 and made timely again by the death of the author in 2001, Catcher in the Rye (“Catcher”) has been banned by schools, libraries, churches, etc., due to is presumed immorality (profanity, sexual content, rejection of America’s 1940’s mores, etc.), but, […]

Cutting For Stone

Cutting For Stone

Abraham Verghese Abraham Verghese, a Stanford professor and medical doctor, an essayist, short story writer for The New Yorker and many others, authored CUTTING FOR STONE (CS), his first novel, published in 2009. It was made into a movie into 2011 and was widely praised by reviewers. Although heavily medical, it is a sheer delight, […]

Cyrano De Bergerac

Cyrano De Bergerac

Edmond Rostand Cyrano de Bergerac (CdB) is sheer delight to read; it overflows with silken poetry of easily comprehendible and sonorous phrases, laced with positive philosophy.  One could delight in reading the entire play aloud (and it wouldn’t take more than two hours), just to listen to the sound of Rostand’s soothing words.  It is […]

The Darkling Thrush

The Darkling Thrush

 And Other Poems Thomas Hardy               Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), the writer of a half dozen well-regarded novels and The Darkling Thrush and considerable other poetry that is still admired, writes classic, metered and rhymed poetry that concentrates on nature, and especially on birds.  My problem with it is its […]

The Decameron

The Decameron

By Givonni Boccaccio [Bo-cahtch-chee-o] No book has been ever been plagiarized more often or by more authors than The Decameron, which loosely means ten days in Greek. Written in 1353, it provides 100 novellas, as told (ten each) by seven young women and three young men, who fled the Black Plague to Fiesole, a then […]

Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City

Eric Larson When you read Eric Larson, you read history (a.k.a. “narrative history” or “historical novels”), cloaked in the spell biding intrigue of real human lives, fleshed with dialogue that actually occurred (which was extracted from court transcripts, memoires, newspaper quotations, Scotland Yard depositions, etc., of the speakers or those listening to them); Larson thus […]