Play by Play

Play by Play: The Angel Wore Fangs—Sandra Hill [pt 11]

Last time we were together, we discovered that Andrea and Cnut are lifemates (which is not Life Alert). Or they think they’re lifemates. I had a terrible aside about how much I hate Andrea, then Andrea can’t even hear the word “crucified” without getting all uppity, I was briefly Here For This, then there was a terrible cock-a-doodle-doo pun and more terrible sex and I was Not Here For This.

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Book Review

Pretties—Scott Westerfeld

pretties

Back cover text: Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun—the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom—is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life—because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

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Book Review

Avid Reader: A Life—Robert Gottlieb

Avid Reader

Cover flap text: How does someone become the most celebrated editor of his time?

After editing The Cambridge Review, staging plays at Cambridge, and doing a stint in the greeting-card department of Macy’s, Robert Gottlieb stumbled into a job at Simon and Schuster. By the time he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he was the editor-in-chief, having discovered and edited Catch-22The American Way of DeathThe Chosen, and True Grit, among other exceptional books. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an astonishing list of authors including Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Tuchman, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton—not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy.

In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker, and the challenges and satisfactions of running America’s most renowned magazine. Sixty years after joining Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb is still at it—editing, anthologizing, and, to his surprise, writing.

But this account of a life founded upon reading is about more than the arc of a singular career—one that also includes a lifelong vocation in the world of dance. It’s about transcendent friendships and collaborations, “elective affinities” and family, psychoanalysis and plastic pocketbooks, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and—always—the sheer exhilaration of work.

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Book Review

I Am No One You Know: Stories—Joyce Carol Oates

woman in dress standing in hallway with door at the end, I am no one you know stories, Joyce Carol Oates

Back cover text: I Am No One You Know contains nineteen startling stories that bear witness to the remarkably varied lives of Americans of our time. In “Fire,” a troubled young wife discovers a rare, radiant happiness in an adulterous relationship. In “Curly Red,” a girl makes a decision to reveal a family secret, and changes her life irrevocably. In “The Girl with the Blackened Eye,” selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2001, a girl pushed to an even greater extreme of courage and desperation manages to survive her abduction by a serial killer. And in “Three Girls,” two adventuresome NYU undergrads seal their secret love by following, and protecting, Marilyn Monroe in disguise in Strand Used Books on a snowy evening in 1956.

These vividly rendered portraits of women, men, and children testify to Oates’s compassion for the mysterious and luminous resources of the human spirit.

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Book Review

Thrawn—Timothy Zahn

ThrawnCover flap text: One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe. From his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continued adventures in Dark Force RisingThe Last Command, and beyond, Grand Admiral Thrawn has earned an iconic status among the greatest Star Wars villains. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.

All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.

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Book Review

The Road—Cormac McCarthy

The roadBack cover text: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

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