Book Reviews

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Eugene O’Neill’s first professionally produced play, a one-act play entitled “Bound East for Cardiff,” premiered in 1916, first at the small Provincetown (MA) playhouse, then in New York.  The play has personal significance for me as it was my introduction to O’Neill, back in the sophomore year of high school.  Following that introduction, I went on something of an O’Neill binge, reading a large portion of O’Neill’s oeuvre, starting with his four “Glencairn” plays.  Following “Bound East,” O’Neill wrote three more one-act plays (“The Moon of the Carribees,” “In the Zone,” and “Long Voyage Home”) about the crew of the Glencairn, a merchant ship operating in the Atlantic during WWI. 

I'm not sure I've ever had a novel recommended to me more highly, more insistently, by more people, than The Force by Don Winslow.

The Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, was especially known for his witty control of and deft use of the English language, and nowhere does he demonstrate this facility with English better than in the play, The Importance of Being Earnest.  The title itself, with its pun on “earnest” and “Ernest,” with all its characters often very “earnest,” but not always or consistently truthful, gives a hint to the reader and viewer what craziness will ensue. 

The greatest challenge about reviewing Jerusalem by Alan Moore is summarizing what it's about. This isn't a traditional novel and it doesn't deliver a normal story. The plot is meandering, almost vestigial in some sections. Setting is paramount—language, tone, atmosphere, characters: all of these matter far more than mere plot.

I've come to think of this book as being akin to the Bayeux Tapestry—a sprawling and artistically audacious account of a place and its people. It's a love letter to a neighborhood as only Moore can write it.

Doctor Faustus (1967), dir. Richard Burton and Nevill Coghill, based on The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (c. 1590) by Christopher Marlowe. w/ Richard Burton (Doctor Faustus), Elizabeth Taylor (Helen), Andreas Teuber (Mephistophiles).

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