A brisk, entertaining read.

JAMES PATTERSON BY JAMES PATTERSON

THE STORIES OF MY LIFE

One of the bestselling authors of all time celebrates his life and career.

Publishing juggernaut Patterson offers an upbeat, lighthearted view of his happy and productive life to answer two important questions: “How did a shy, introspective kid from a struggling upstate New York river town who didn’t have a lot of guidance or role models go on to become, at thirty-eight, CEO of the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson North America? How did this same person become the bestselling writer in the world?” In short, punchy chapters, the author sketches his childhood in Newburgh, New York, where he went to Catholic schools, took piano lessons from an elderly nun, played sports, and eagerly accompanied his grandfather on early-hour runs delivering frozen foods and ice cream. After graduating from Manhattan College, Patterson got a full fellowship to a doctoral program at Vanderbilt but left after a year for two reasons: Staying would have thrown him back into the Vietnam draft lottery, and he didn’t see his future in academia. From an entry-level job as a copywriter at Thompson New York, Patterson rose to become creative director and, by the late 1980s, CEO. He fashions sprightly anecdotes of his work among the mad men of the advertising world. At the same time, he was writing at least two bestselling novels per year. In 1996, he quit to write full time. Patterson’s prolific output includes several mystery series, children’s books, romance novels, and nonfiction, sometimes co-authored: Dolly Parton (“down-to-earth, genuine, thoughtful, smart as a whip, funny, and self-deprecating”) and Bill Clinton are among his collaborators. Along the way, he’s met scores of famous people whose names drop like ripe apples: Tom Cruise, Warren Beatty, Idris Elba, George and Barbara Bush, and Clint Eastwood, among others. He and his wife have become literacy advocates, donating books and money to schools and libraries. A list of beloved titles appends the memoir.

A brisk, entertaining read.

Pub Date: June 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39753-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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