George V. Reilly

Review: Destination: Morgue!

Title: Des­ti­na­tion: Morgue!
Author: James Ellroy
Rating: ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 400
Keywords: true crime, au­to­bi­og­ra­phy
Reading period: November 28–De­cem­ber 20, 2015

A collection of James Ellroy's articles on crime and his own past.

I've enjoyed Ellroy in the past but I found this unreadable. I tried it twice but abandoned it halfway through. Ellroy's writing is self-indulgent, irritating, grandiose, and full of tiresome stylistic tics.

Review: So, Anyway...

Title: So, Anyway...
Author: John Cleese
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 400
Keywords: au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, humor
Reading period: 27 December, 2014–2 January, 2015

The first volume of John Cleese's au­to­bi­og­ra­phy takes us through the first 30 years of his life, from his birth in Weston-super-Mare in 1939 to the creation of Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1969. I learned along the way that his mother was im­pos­si­ble; that the Pythons consider themselves writers first, performers second; that he greatly enjoyed his school years; quite a lot about the various TV and radio shows he worked on before Python; not much about his first marriage to Connie Booth; and that his speech in A continue.

Review: Barcelona the Great Enchantress

Title: Barcelona the Great En­chantress
Author: Robert Hughes
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: National Geographic Directions
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 169
Keywords: history, au­to­bi­og­ra­phy
Reading period: 15–24 July, 2009

Robert Hughes has been in love with Barcelona and its people for four decades. This book—part selective history, part memoir—is adapted from a much larger, earlier book about Barcelona. Hughes is a partisan of Catalan culture and food. He brings us from its Roman origins as Barcino, Catalun­ya's founding as an in­de­pen­dent nation a thousand years ago by the Visigoth Wilfred the Hairy, up through the Olympics in 1992. This is no com­pre­hen­sive survey: he spends more time on submarine inventor Monturiol than on the Spanish Civil continue.

Review: By Myself

Title: By Myself
Author: Lauren Bacall
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Knopf
Copyright: 1978
Pages: 378
Keywords: au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, movies
Reading period: 10–28 March, 2009

Betty Bacal is an only child, abandoned by her father, raised by her Rumanian Jewish mother in New York. Stagestruck from an early age, she takes acting classes for years but gets little stage work. Modeling work is a fallback. A cover shot for Harper's Bazaar leads Howard Hawks to bring her out to Hollywood. Within months, Hawks' protogée, now Lauren Bacall, is the lead in “To Have or Have Not” and falling in love with her costar, Humphrey Bogart. Bogie is 45 to her 20, but it doesn't continue.

Review: Dreams from my Father

Title: Dreams from my Father
Author: Barack Obama
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 457
Keywords: au­to­bi­og­ra­phy
Reading period: 8-26 March, 2008

This book was originally published, to little acclaim, in 1995 before Obama first ran for public office. His primary claim to fame at that point was that he had been the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. It was reissued in 2004 after his celebrated keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention placed him on the national stage.

Obama is articulate and thoughtful. This excellent memoir tells of his childhood in Hawai'i and Indonesia, his ex­pe­ri­ences as a community organizer in Chicago, and a formative continue.

Review: The Assassin's Cloak

Title: The Assassin's Cloak
Author: Irene and Alan Taylor (editors)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Canongate Books
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 686
Keywords: au­to­bi­og­ra­phy
Reading period: 1 January, 2007 — 12 January, 2008

This anthology of diaries contains several entries for every day of the year, drawn from 170 con­trib­u­tors across three-and-a-half centuries. Everyone from Pepys to Goebbels, from Che Guevara to Alec Guinness.

I spent all of last year reading this book, trying to read each day's entries as they occurred. I often failed and would have to read a week or more's entries to catch up. I fell behind towards the end, not finishing my daily devotions continue.