Friday, October 22, 2010

On The Shelf

"A Complicated Man, The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him" by Michael Takiff Yale Unversity Press 496 pages $32.50

Admitted, I didn't bother to read the accounts of Clinton's early life; they happened 60 years ago.

What did interest me is the contrast between his humanitarian efforts in Africa and China and the couple's personal assets. At the end of 2008, these assets numbered $109 million. And yet, the Clinton's were reluctant to spend any more than $1.3 million to pay off $11.3 million in lawyers' fees. A fund was set up instead. You may be very sure that everyone but the Clintons paid into it. Once you get money, don't ever let go of it!

"Deliver Us From Evil" by David Baldacci Grand Central Publishing 406 pages $27.99

Baldacci's previous 18 novels have been published in 40 languages in more than 80 countries with nearly 100 million copies in print.

That said, I didn't like this book. The plot was not believable, not fleshed out enough and when I read that the bad guy aka "the real butcher of Kiev" lived in a 13,000 sq. ft. penthouse completely alone, wouldn't even allow cleaning staff in, I thought, "Give me a break. This guy is going to clean his own shower, toilets?"

Perhaps Baldacci is tiring of the enormous pressure to crank out bestsellers. He deserves a rest, not my criticism.

"Lunch in Paris; A Love Story with Recipes" by Elizabeth Bard Little, Brown and Company 324 pages $23.99

Bard met an attractive, quirky French man; they fell in love; she moved into his Paris apartment; then they got married.

A lot of the book (more than I liked, to be honest) concerned itself with her reactions as a New Yorker to the Parisian way of life.

Most especially, she touts "her" fact that Americans are driven, ambitious, aggressive types in comparison to the more relaxed, day-to-day enjoyment of small things that the French exhibit. Her husband was (and presumably still is) an unambitious type, content to let life's river swirl him through any eddies. I don't think it's fair to base one's entire judgement of another country's people on your own husband's laziness!

Other than my umbrage at this, it's an interesting enough read. She does like and admire Paris and her remarks about the place did resonate with me.

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