Sachi Parker, the only child of Shirley MacLaine and her mysterious husband, Steve Parker has written a touching and disturbing book about her life with Mom and Dad...with more emphasis on the Mom part..(or lack of...)

Lucky Me: My Life With-and Without-My Mom, Shirley Maclaine by Sachi Parker is a simple read and one you may want to miss... Unless you are voyeuristic like me and eager to know what kooky, spiritual Shirley is really like.

Sachi Parker tries to paint a balanced picture of her Mother..but forget it.. Shirley Maclaine is a disappointment, and that's being kind. I won't bore you with all the details except to say it's a wonder Sachi Parker was able to survive this very bizarre mother and father.

Shirley Maclaine told one of her daughter's friends, "My daughter is a pathological liar and don't believe anything she says about me." Her father's pet name for Sachi was 'Idiot"....

How do you survive all this?  Hopefully this tell-all will have some consequence and make a difference in her life... and her Mother's...




IN LIKE A LION (02/28/2013)

It's almost Spring, days are longer, snow is melting and new books are launching.

Here's some quick picks and brief blurbs...

Middle C by William H. Gass   (03/12)
This long awaited novel moves from Austria to Ohio.."a mosaic of life"..hidden identity, suspense, engaging...beautifully written...

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (03/26)
Two protagonists are brought together..long standing tensions emerge, brilliant storytelling, great characters (What do you expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author?)

 A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee (03/12)
Marriage and careers at an impasse...well drawn characters, simplistic but very readable..quick, entertaining read.

Click On the Book for More Information

Click on Look What's Trending at the top of the blog for more new releases.



More Baths Less Talking is a collection of author Nick Hornby's monthly book columns in The Believer, an American Literature Magazine. It's laced with humor, witty asides and book suggestions. Readers have claimed More Baths Less Talking is a fresh and imaginative approach to looking at literature..

Below is an excerpt from a review on Goodreads.

Douglas on Goodreads wrote: 

"I am mad about Nick Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" column. More Baths Less Talking is the latest of the slim volumes collected from The Believer litmag, it's unputdownable mind-candy.

Each month's column begins with two lists: Books Bought and Books Read. Hornby (author of High Fidelity, Juliet, Naked and many others) ostensibly chronicles his struggle to keep up with his ever growing piles of books.

But Hornby is really concerned with the multipronged joy of reading, when you're reading the right thing. "Read what you enjoy, not what bores you,” he says, and the sense of engagement and vital importance as he takes on Flaubert, Dickens, Dennis Lehane, sports biographies, books about Khrushchev's planned economy, psychoanalysis, the lives of poets and Saturday Night Live, filtered through his trademark wit, unpretentious brilliance, and cheeky—very English—self-deprecation, are like crack......"

......I dare you to read just one of these columns at a time. I'll admit to getting fidgety, almost physically ill as I wait for the next collection to come out. What you get with Hornby are asides that seem taken from his fiction but are (usually, at least) windups to the next book under discussion.

After each month's column you'll have a list of books you simply must go buy. You'll read everything with more zest and elan, and feel better about life."

For More information on Nick Hornby:

EYECATCHERS (02/23/2013)

Welcome to Eyecatchers, a post that highlights books that appear to be breakthrough reads and trendsetters. Critics have given them favorable reviews, they're still relatively unknown, and savvy readers are putting them on their To Be Read lists. 
   Hopefully one of these will catch your eye....


VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE: Stories, by Karen Russell.

"A grim, stupendous, unfavorable magic is at work in Russell’s  collection, in which the innocent do not fare well and evil adults, are noncontenders."(NYTimes)

This collection of stories combines the weird and the supernatural with graphic realism. Some readers labeled Vampires in the Lemon Grove "magical realism" written with imagination, originality and invention.


MAD GIRL’S LOVE SONG: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted, by Andrew Wilson.

"A convincing case that Plath’s high school and college years were the truly formative ones." (NYTimes)

American poet, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes had an explosive relationship and Wilson traces the sources of Plath's mental illness in a new and revealing way. 


WE LIVE IN WATER: Stories, by Jess Walter
"Walter’s generosity of spirit elevates these stories of other bighearted, if broken, men from dirges to symphonies" (NYTimes)

The stories range from crime fiction to social satire and a lot in between. Parent-child relationships, male -female relationships  are also part of this debut collection..a lot of broken lives  portrayed with emotion and sensitivity.




Lots of books are made into films...some successful, some not. Is it better to read the book first? There's no right answer, but Kirkus published a list of films that were successful adaptations of books and all became Academy Award winners.

Here's a partial list of Oscar winning or nominated films that are definitely worth reading, even if you've already seen the film.

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

"Illuminating and well-written, as are all of Goodwin's presidential studies; a welcome addition to Lincolniana."

Well-practiced historian Goodwin, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time (1994), examines Abraham Lincoln as a practical politician, focusing on his conversion of rivals to allies.


"Magnificent writing, nonetheless, makes the best case yet for putting McCarthy on a pedestal just below the one occupied by William Faulkner. "

Almost as frustrating as it is commanding, McCarthy's ninth (and first since the completion of his Border Trilogy: Cities of the Plain, 1998, etc.) is a formidable display of stunningly written scenes..

ABOUT SCHMIDT by Louis Begley

"A sly, sharp portrait of an amoral but appealing figure, and of the declining world of privilege that has shaped him."

An elegant, precise, droll novel about a lawyer's startling transformation, by the author of Wartime Lies (1991) and The Man Who Was Late (1993).


"A Mafia Whiteoaks, bound for popularity, once you get past the author's barely concealed admiration for the "ethics" and postulates of primitive power plays."

Ten years in the workaday progress of a New York Mafia sort of family dynasty tale with all the attendant flurries of great houses at war. An all time favorite with many sequels and adaptations.

 The Color Purple by Alice Walker

"A lovely, painful book. Walkers finest work yet"

Walker scores strongly with this great novel..with some thanks to Oprah. Not only a film, but successfully translated to theater and television.


Link to a great source for book news. 

And be sure to check out the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Film and the Nominees, some based on books that may be far superior to the movie....  


John Denver couldn't have said (or crooned) it better.."I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again..."  and yes I am leaving for a vacay with my kindle and I-pad brimming with books. (However, I do know when I'll be back) and I plan to do a lot of catch-up reading.

A Sampling of My TBR Books

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick*
Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss
See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid*
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
The Dinner by Herman Koch*
Dying to Live in Palm Beach by Jane Grossman

* Look on the sidebar under Every Book on this Blog and click on the title.




No, not that kind of bookie, but a book group member, often referred to as a "Bookie."  Simply put, a book group is a bevy of readers who meet to discuss books anywhere. It can be done online, in a home, at a library or over cocktails.   

I recently came across Quick Reads, a UK group that helps people realize that reading is for everyone. It can be for those short on time and not ready for a long term book committment or those just intimidated by books. (Sounds like a relationship...)

Mainstream authors are commissioned by Quick Reads to write short books specifically designed to be quick reads. The books are sold through major retailers including Amazon, which means you can click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar if you feel inspired.

Here's an excerpt from

"New research unveiled today shows that a quarter of UK adults (over 12 million people) have only picked up a book to read for pleasure once or less in the past six months. Nearly one in 10 adults claim they never read books (8%), with over a quarter (29%) of those who read once every six months or less citing time pressures as the reason.However, the statistics which reveal Britain’s ‘reading rut’ also illustrate the many personal and social benefits that reading for pleasure provides....

•53% said that reading made them feel more relaxed

61% said if helped them switch off from their day-to-day life

•51% said they liked experiencing new stories

•40% said they felt like they learn new subjects

•32% said that finishing a book gives them the same or greater sense of achievement as they get by going to the gym"

(Click on the cover for details)

•Today Everything Changes - Andy McNab
•Wrong Time, Wrong Place - Simon Kernick
•A Dreadful Murder - Minette Walters
•A Sea Change - Veronica Henry

Thankyou Quick Reads for sharing this information. There's no excuse not to read, whether a quick read or a not so quick read, the satisfaction and accomplishment is worth every minute.



I admit it..I read Vanity Fair Magazine. It was a gift subscription and I'm smitten. For anyone into pop culture, fashion and politics, Vanity Fair is all that and more. For me it's a mindless gift that keeps on giving....

Vanity Fair labeled After Visiting Friends and Calling Dr.Laura two books that dominated the February releases. (Not sure if I agree..) One is a memoir and the other is a graphic memoir..meaning illustrations included. One seems a little atypical and you'll figure that out when you read the comments below...


In After Visiting Friends author Michael Hainey is haunted by the mysterious death of his father, a Chicago newspaperman. He recounts the obstacles he faced searching for the truth and the resistance he faced from his mother and friends of his father. His own inability to accept the truth contributes to this brutally honest memoir.


This memoir is an authentic peek into the author's life using art and narrative combined. You'll either love it or hate it. It's autobiographical and pretty gritty. The book covers many topics, eventually bringing it all full circle. Calling Dr. Laura is not a light prepared for the unusual.


For More Information:




Get ready for an unputdownable thriller, a richly textured, fast moving, gritty first novel titled Ghostman by Roger Hobbs.
This is an addictive tale about a real man with no name, a face you won't remember, no fingerprints and no connections. 

His job is to help people and evidence disappear after they've committed a major crime. He's officially known as Jack and is actually a career criminal proficient in the "business of disappearing." (Moniker, Ghostman)

When a casino robbery in Atlantic City goes horribly wrong, things escalate, Jack's called in and you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat.

Roger Hobbs has garnered remarkable acclaim for his first novel. It's a slam-bang crime story and Hobbs is now being compared to many esteemed crime writers. 
Below is an excerpt of an interview with Roger Hobbs published on

How did you turn yourself into a heist expert?

Roger Hobbs:
First things first: Ghostman is a work of fiction, and many of the techniques I describe I either embellished for artistic purposes or made up entirely. That being said, however, I did two years of research while writing this book. My approach was multifaceted. I taught myself four different techniques for breaking into and hot-wiring a car. I scoured used bookstores for those few rare tomes about safecracking and lock picking. I downloaded and studied manuals describing all sorts of criminal methods, from body disposal to making car bombs. I hung around in hidden, deep Web chat rooms with working thieves and hit men. I traded cigarettes for stories in after-hours clubs with thugs and ex-cons, pimps and drug dealers. I cased the security in every single casino in Atlantic City. Honestly, I did everything I could for this novel, short of actually breaking the law........

For more information:

WAYWARD AUTHORS (02/14/2013)

Yes, authors can be almost as scandalous, racy and wild as rock stars. Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors by Andrew Shaffer is a raucous romp starting with the Marquis de Sade and ending with James Frey of A Million Little Pieces infamy.

Many favorite and famous authors are included and you'll be surprised to see how eccentric and wayward they were and in some cases still are.

Andrew Shaffer writes with honesty and wit and the stories are well researched and startling. This book is for anyone who loves reading..and who doesn't? (Or you wouldn't be wasting your time here)

If you want the skinny on every author worth reading from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Alan Poe to a few contemporary writers, Literary Rogues should be your next read. But, before you order this book from the Amazon Search Box on the sidebar(of course), read the disclaimer below....

Author and humorist, Andrew Shaffer published the following article in the Huffington Post:
Way before musicians and actors cornered the market on misbehavior, writers were flooding hotel rooms and testing their livers' upper limits. My new book, Literary Rogues, turns back the clock to consider these historical (and, in some cases, living) legends, including Oscar Wilde, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bret Easton Ellis. Being a literary rogue isn't that difficult, however: all you need are the right accessories.

You obviously also need talent, practice, and determination to be a writer, or at the very least some level of celebrity and/or notoriety if you want to take a shortcut. Check local laws and regulations before attempting to follow in the footsteps of literary rogues such as Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Wilde. Also, you may want to check with your doctor, who will probably advise you against excessive drug and alcohol use, and may just flat-out tell you that writing as a career is inadvisable for a number of reasons.

The destination for news, blogs and original content, US politics, entertainment, style, world news, technology and comedy.


A book club in Florida has selected two older books that sound intriguing. Leslie C, a Florida group member is an avid reader of both the old and new, so I decided to check these selections out.

(I have nothing against old books..or old anything for that matter..especially old and good....) Ok, Let's get to the point...

Here's some quicky commentary:


This sounds like an ageless story and a memorable one. Published in 2007, reviewers called it "a wonderful story of family, love lost and found, and the tragedy that war carries with it." There's an exciting underlining theme of "art, imagination and survival"
Although, never a best seller Madonnas of Leningrad is fraught with great characters, interesting time frames and enough fodder to add to any group discussion.


Released in 2007, this is the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between two women of dissimilar backgrounds. In sharing their lives, they are set free and the author portrays their stories with depth and  great empathy.
Astrid and Veronica is a short read but reviewers found it to be beautifully written and well crafted.. definitely book club material.


Both books are available in all formats on Amazon. Click on the image for more information.


BOOKREPORTER.COM is another site dedicated to book lovers. It provides a lively commentary by Carol Fitzgerald, the editor and founder. Bookreporter spotlights books that are worth reading, lets you know well in advance about upcoming releases, talks about books on screen, includes author interviews and is written with wit and honesty.

Here's the list of what's new in paperback. Click on the image for more information.

15 Seconds by Andrew Gross - Thriller

Henry Steadman didn't know what was about to hit him when he pulled up to a red light. A successful Florida plastic surgeon, he is in town to deliver a keynote address at a conference when suddenly his life becomes an unrelenting chase to stay alive.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson - Psychological Thriller

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love --- all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life....

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - Fiction

Anne Boleyn has failed to give Henry a son, and her sharp intelligence and audacity will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

Defending Jacob by William Landay - Psychological/Legal Thriller

Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber is happy with his wife and 14-year-old son, Jacob. But when a crime shatters their New England town, Andy is shocked to learn that Jacob is charged with the murder of a fellow student.


I HATE DADDY LOVE (02/08/2013)

Why am I reading Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates? Two bloggers I respect recommended it..that's why. I hate it! It's painful and horrifying. To be fair I've only read about 50 pages... but I get the picture.

Joyce Carol Oates is a prizewinning author, although I haven't liked her last few books..but still, one or two out of 50 novels is a good record.

Daddy Love is dark, disturbing, and horrific. The prose is seductively Oates, and the emotions of all the characters are cleverly incorporated. I constantly felt uncomfortable.

It starts with a kidnapping.. a small child abducted by a disgusting, ruthless, depraved kidnapper. If you want a graphic picture of what happens when children are brainwashed, tortured and degraded, Oates spares no details. I couldn't take it....I'm done.

Has anyone read Daddy Love? What's your opinion of author Joyce Carol Oates? Leave a comment below...Tell me what you really think! (I did...)

For more information:

Here's some emails:

Take a breath..It's Joyce Carol Oates..she often writes dark books..I thought the story was typical Oates. Yes, it was a very very tough read, but it also focused on the parents, and on kids growing up and leaving their innocence much more than a horrendous abduction. I found it to be a thoughtful  and powerful read....

Joyce...I agree..but I'm not a JCO fan.. difficult read...I couldn't finish but may go back...when I want to be depressed...LOL

A WRITER'S WRITER (02/05/2013)

For those of you not familiar with Goodreads, it's a site for book lovers where you can post reviews, read what others have read, join a book group, contact an author, rate books, and keep track of what you read..or want to read.

So many people are talking about Tenth of December by George Saunders that I decided to research reviews from my "friends" on Goodreads.

This collection of short stories by the author considered to be one of the most original writers of his generation has been called profound and moving. Both these reviewers have an interesting writing style and I think you'll enjoy their points of view.

Here's their opinions about Tenth of December by George Saunders.....   

BA wrote:
"Well, I wanted to be all cool and like, way deep in the know about a writer's writer, one who's all the buzz among the literati. I did. I should have had a notion of what the experience would be like when the bookseller at Carter and Doyle, on Madison
Avenue, said, archly, with raised right brow, " Oh. Have you read him before?" And you know what "reading him" was like? It was like crawling along the Boston Post Road from the Bowery to Brookline, on your bare knees, with the complete length of the roadway covered with about a zillion pieces of splintered glass, while someone standing over you was tempting you along with a coffee-caramel macaroon from Laduree. Which is to say: endless, painful, bizarre, otherworldly, with top-notes of searing beauty and, yes, love. Not for the faint of heart, but then again, it's not easy being cool."

KC wrote:
......"Saunders has been rightly called a writer's writer, a writer for our times. Having started his career relatively late, his experience in life has given him much material to mine, but it is his dead-on perception of the world of today and the results of globalization and its effect on basic humanity that provides his stories with their power. There is also a great presence of familial love and care here. Several of the stories provide characters with inner lives so rich and complex they could fill volumes. Magnificent."

For More Information:

TREADMILL TALK (02/04/2013)

TREADMILL TALK is a new feature on Joyce's Choices. It's
bookish gossip or book news overheard at my gym. 

Sometimes a good book and good talk can make the torturous
time on a treadmill tolerable (whew!)...

Here's the latest workout chitchat. 


"NPR loved this book"  "Strange but great"   "Very different.."

The Dinner by Herman Koch takes place within a few hours over a five course dinner at an Amsterdam restaurant. Two couples meet and discuss a horrendous, unspeakable crime committed by their sons. Gripping, and tautly written, friendship and civility gradually disintegrate throughout the meal.

"No room for desert after reading this..which is a good thing."

"If you like British fiction, Past Imperfect is for you." 
"A light read but one you won't be able to put down"

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes takes place in 1968, just before the last British "Season." A middle aged Londoner revisits his past and a multitude of British society types are searching for  suitable husbands. The social mores of the 1960's are on the cusp of a radical change...Class distinction everywhere...
If you're familiar with Downton Abbey, you'll recognize Julian Fellowes as the creator.

My gym mates said "Past Imperfect made the time fly by and was definitely good for the heart rate."

THE DINNER is a new release and the recipient of excellent reviews. Both books can be ordered from this blog. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar.

BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU GO "HUH?" (02/03/2013)

To Order Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar

Gary S, a non-fiction reviewer on this blog, alerted me to a book review that was recently posted in the Wall Street Journal. Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde by former Daily Beast journalist, Rebecca Dana is a title that makes you stop in your tracks, and yes, possibly go, huh??

This is a witty memoir that details how a not very observant Jewish girl ends up with a rabbi (and martial arts student) for a roommate in the heart of Brooklyn's super orthodox community.

Promos and reviews have been mostly positive for this edgy  memoir although the Wall Street Journal thought it would make a "good summer flick".  (Not sure about that comment.....) 

For anyone who's moved to a new city in search of a dream, lost your way and possibly rebounded, you'll have an appreciation for Rebecca Dana's adventure... (or misadventure).

One reviewer aptly stated "This book has a very young feel to it. Dana is willing to laugh at herself and see the humor in her missteps and mishaps, and this has aided her in her success"


Rebecca Dana