Saturday, September 5, 2009


Some interesting reviews:

The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli - review by Jonathan Yardley @ The Washington Post
You will not be surprised to learn that in fact "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" is none of the above. Taraborrelli, a freelance journalist who specializes in gossipy fan bios of supermarket tabloid favorites -- his subjects have included Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and (of course) Jackie Kennedy -- stakes his shaky claim to originality on two aspects of Monroe's life: the three women who were central to her troubled childhood and adolescence, and the strong current of mental instability that ran through her mother's side of the family. But these matters are well known to anyone who has followed Monroe's life and career, and there is nothing "explosive" or even "revelatory" in Taraborrelli's discussion of them.

The Secret Wife of Louis XIV by Veronica Buckley - review by David A. Bell @ Slate
Both sides of Louis' reign come out in the story of his mistress and then secret wife, Françoise d'Aubigné, known as Madame de Maintenon. As Veronica Buckley shows in her richly detailed biography, The Secret Wife of Louis XIV, Maintenon's early trajectory was anything but staid.

The Sister of the Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels by Janet Soskice - review by Matthew Shaer @ The Washington Post
In early 1892, twin sisters Margaret and Agnes Smith, unschooled in paleography but possessed of keenly rebellious spirits, traveled from England to St. Catherine's Church, at the foot of Egypt's Mt. Sinai. There, in a "dimly lit little room below the prior's quarters," they discovered "an unpromising brick of parchment," its surfaces coated with dust. Despite the state of this "grimy codex," Agnes, the older of the sisters, was convinced that she had made a great discovery, and after 40 days of study she emerged with proof.

No comments: