Thursday, January 29, 2015 Shevat 9, 5775
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I didn't know what to think when An American Experience: Adeline Moses Loeb (1876-1953) and Her Early American Jewish Ancestors showed up on my desk. The book is without question a beautiful object in itself, bearing the proportions of an expensive art book and with the obvious production values to match. It's been distributed by Syracuse University Press, which I...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES I'm Dying Up Here is about what it's subtitle suggests: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Era . The people pictured on the cover -- David Letterman, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis and Andy Kaufman -- are some of the central players in the drama -- and it is a drama, despite the plethora of jokes retold...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Lyricist Fred Ebb and composer John Kander were not only collaborators for more than 40 years -- longer than any songwriting partnership in Broadway history, notes their biographer James Leve -- but also fast and inseparable friends for those four productive decades. It seems that only something as sudden and definitive as Ebb's death in 2004 could have...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Phil Camp, the central character of Bill Scheft's third novel, Everything Hurts , published by Simon & Schuster, is grappling with a number of significant dilemmas as the narrative opens. For one thing, everything does really hurt; his body is a hotbed of pain. It's localized in his leg -- he has a pronounced limp at those times...
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Peter Balakian is primarily a poet, with several acclaimed volumes to his credit. But beginning in the late 1990s, with the appearance of his prize-winning memoir, Black Dog of Fate , recently reissued by Basic Books in a updated edition, Balakian began delving into his family's Armenian past, and especially the fate of certain members at the hands of the...
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