Monday, January 14, 2019


Hosting All Sides Weekend: Books on WOSU 89-7 NPR News is always a joy. My thanks to Kassie Rose and Robin Nesbitt who are the 'regular' anchors of this program. Their passion and love for books informs everything great about the show.

The following list reflects some of their choices, and some of mine, and some of our listeners. The revival of the opera Adriana Lecouvreur had me reading a book I've owned since 1972 for the first time, Jack Richtman's Adrienne Lecouvreur. The mildew smell was my fault, not Jack or Adrienne's

This was the year the Michelle Obama worked hard to bring decency back to the political discourse with Becoming. Thank you Mrs. Obama.

Rebecca Makkai's searing The Great Believers  brought us back to the early days of the AIDS crisis. Those of us who remember got a shiver, but kept turning the pages. Makkai skillfully keeps us between the 1980s and today.

Two thousand eighteen was the year of The Great American Read. PBS provided TV specials and the opportunity to vote for favorite novels. Thousand participated, and the final vote went to To Kill a Mockingbird.  I'm grateful that my beloved A Confederacy of Dunces lasted several rounds.

TGAR encouraged me to read Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolpho Anaya, often called the first Latino novel. First or not, it is a beautiful book.
I was delighted to read for the second time John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.  (At my age, I'm trying not to re-read. Clock's ticking)

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley by John Carreyou is a real life thriller. A page turner.

My favorite of all for 2018 was The Overstory  by Richard Powers. A long and dense-in a great way-novel where trees are the protagonist. This will change your worldview for the better.

   * Favorite
    ** Great American Read (PBS)
         + interviewed author

 Origin by Dan Brown
+The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts by Charity Tilleman-Dick
The Senator’s Children by Nicholas Montemarano (John Edwards)

*Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Hacks by Donna Brazile
*The Force by Don Winslow (Denny Malone)
Promise me, Dad Joe Biden

Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting by John Mauceri

*Homegoing  by Yaa Gyasi (Africa)

Flash and Fury by Michael Woolf

Balancing Acts: Inside National Theatre by Nicholas Hytner
Conducting Business: Unveiling the Mystery Behind the Maestro Leonard Slatkin

Sense of Occasion by Harold Prince

Exit West Moshin Hamid
The Cartel Don Winslow
+The Immortalists Chloe Benjamin

The House of Impossible Beauties Joseph Cassara

*Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music James Rhodes

Heir Apparent: Life of the Playboy Prince Edward VII Jane Ridley

Munich by Robert Harris
Reading With Patrick by Michelle Kuo
Endurance by Scott Kelly
The Seven Storey Mountain Thomas Merton

The Magdalen Martyrs Ken Bruen
Priest Ken Bruen

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in young America by Catherine Kerrison

Reservoir 13 Jon McGregor

*And After the Fire (Bach-Mendelssohn) Lauren Belfer

*Grant Ron Chernow

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L’Engle

The Perfect Nanny by Leah Slimani
The Rooster Bar John Grisham

All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez James Patterson

Purgatory by Ken Bruen
Green Hell by Ken Bruen

The Savior Eugene Drucker

The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Ring-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs. Ed Asner

My Father’s Wake by Kevin Toolis

Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker by Lauren Rebeca Sklaroff

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany Norman Ohler

*An American Marriage Tyari Jones

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson
A Higher Loyalty James Comey
In the Enemies House: The Secret Saga of the FBI Agent and the Codebreaker who Caught the Russian Spies by Howard Blum

Mrs. By Caitlyn Macy
Alternate Side Anna Quindlen
Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein by Todd S. Purdum
Unmasked Andrew Lloyd Webber

**The Stand by Stephen King
**Little Women Louisa May Alcott

Varina by Charles Frazier (Mrs. Jefferson Davis)
**Frankenstein Mary Shelly

Sweet and Low by Nick White

*****The Overstory Richard Powers

*Property: stories between two novellas Lionel Shriver
(“The Chandelier” “The Subletter” “Domestic Terrorism”)

Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World by Eileen McNamara
Sometimes I Lie by Ann Feeney
The Woman in the Window A.J. Finn

**Bless Me, Ultima Rudolpho Anaya

Robin (Williams) Dave Itzkof

**And then There Were None Agatha Christie

Rogue Lawyer John Grisham
Mary Pickford: The Woman who created the Movies by Eileen Whitfield

"The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations," by John McCain

** The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
**Goodbye Columbus Phillip Roth

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
My Girls Todd Fisher
Gray Mountain John Grisham

*On the Road and Off the Record with Leonard Bernstein by Charlie Harmon

The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

*The Great Believers Rebecca Makkai

The Outsider Steven King
Darkness Visible William Styron
Unhinged Omorosa

**Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Stranger Albert Camus

+Wallis in Love by Andrew Morton

Humboldt’s Gift Saul Bellow
Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser
Unnecessary Roughness: Trial of Aaron Hernandez Jose Baez
Beethoven’s Tenth by Richard Kluger
Providence by Caroline Kempner
The Cloister James Carroll
Betty Ford by Lisa McCubbin

The Big Game: Inside the NFL in Dangerous Times Mark Leibovitch
The Girl on the Balcony Olivia Hussey
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Fear by Bob Woodward

*****A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

*Ticker: The quest to create an artificial heart by Mimi Swarz
*Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

The First Family Michael and Daniel Palmer
Gone So Long Andre by Dubus III

*Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley John Carryeou

Life in Pieces by Sally Field
Handel by Christopher Hogwood

*Hallelujah! The story of musical genius and the city that brought a masterpiece to life Stephen Bardon

*Ohio Stephen Markley

November Road by Lou Berney
*Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret Craig Brown

*Becoming Michelle Obama

Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
Elevation Stephen King
Dinner at Camelot: Joseph Esposito
Vanity Fair Thackeray

The President is Missing James Patterson and Bill Clinton
*The Essential Composers Anthony Tommasini
There Will be No Miracles Here Casey Gerald

*Ladder to the Sky John Boyne
The Reckoning John Grisham

Novotna My Life in Song Jarmila Novotna
Gun, with Occasional Music Jonathan Lethem

Adrienne Lecouvreur Jack Richtman

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