Bailey, Blake. Farther & Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson. Knopf. Mar. 2013. 496p. photogs. notes. index. ISBN 9780307273581. $30. LIT
Charles Jackson’s novel The Lost Weekend was the basis of the 1945 Academy Award–winning film of the same name that also earned Academy Awards for actor Ray Milland and director Billy Wilder. Bailey (Cheever: A Life), recently named as Philip Roth’s authorized biographer, provides here a richly detailed, well-documented look at Jackson’s troubled life, from his traumatic childhood in Arcadia, NY, to his suicide in the Chelsea Hotel in 1968. Jackson is portrayed as living a “double life”; he was a happily married family man on the one hand, but on the other hand was also drawn to clandestine homosexual encounters. Bailey chronicles Jackson’s bouts with tuberculosis, his lifelong struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, his work with Alcoholics Anonymous, and his excursions into radio, television, and Hollywood to earn a living. Jackson resented having to do “hack work,” which he blamed for his failure to complete more creative projects. Yet his creative juices seemed to flow freely only on barbiturates, which, over time, took their toll. VERDICT Bailey’s absorbing biography will interest literary scholars as well as general readers, particularly those drawn to pathography. In conjunction with Vintage’s reissue of The Lost Weekend as well as The Sunnier Side , a collection of Jackson’s stories, this promises to generate fresh interest in his work.—William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Burnett, Carol. Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story. S & S. Apr. 2013. 160p. photogs. ISBN 9781476706412. $24. TV
Iconic comedian Burnett lost her oldest daughter Carrie Hamilton to cancer in 2002 when Carrie was only 38. Burnett touched on her loss briefly in her second memoir, This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection, but here she gives a heartfelt tribute to a daughter who fought addiction to become a successful actress, singer, and writer. Burnett’s diary entries and the emails between mother and daughter as Hamilton recovered and matured capture a loving relationship. Included in this memoir is the draft of a book Carrie was working on before her death, about a woman and a mysterious cowboy who take a road trip to see Graceland. Hamilton took this journey herself to explore her mother’s roots in Louisiana and Arkansas, and the trip is chronicled through emails to her mother that reveal Hamilton’s intelligence, kindness, and love of life, which makes her lost battle against cancer all the more poignant. She had asked Burnett to finish her book for her. While Burnett was unable to do that, she includes Hamilton’s writings here in their entirety. VERDICT A highly recommended mother’s tribute that will bring tears to most readers’ eyes.—Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA
Lopez Jr., Donald S. From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha. Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2013. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9780226493206. $26. rel
The highly regarded and prolific Lopez (Asian languages & culture, Univ. of Michigan; The Story of Buddhism: A Concise Guide to Its History and Teachings ) examines the West’s evolving understanding of the Buddha from antiquity to the mid-19th century. In approximately equal parts excerpts from historical writings and erudite commentary, which alternate, Lopez presents reports of European travelers who found what they considered merely pagan idols, later accounts from Catholic missionaries who continued to grapple with a plethora of images, and the 17th-century chronicles by soldiers and bureaucrats of Western empires who began to understand that the many deities represented but one human religious leader. The final breakthrough to today’s understanding of the Buddha came with 19th-century European scholars mastering Asian languages and for the first time having intellectual and physical access to read Buddhist texts in the original Sanskrit. VERDICT Highly recommended for serious students of Buddhist studies who may also be interested in Lopez’s excellent The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography and his Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West . Those seeking a more biographical treatment of the Buddha and his teachings will be greatly rewarded with Karen Armstrong’s Buddha . —James R. Kuhlman, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro
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The following titles are reviewed in the February 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Finkelpearl, Tom. What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation. Duke Univ. Feb. 2013. 416p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780822352891. $26.95. FINE ARTS
Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence. Thames & Hudson. Jan. 2013. 228p. ed. by Susan S. Bean. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500238936. $50. FINE ARTS
Schoeser, Mary. Textiles: The Art of Mankind. Thames & Hudson. 2012. 568p. illus. index. ISBN 9780500516454. $95. FINE ARTS
Lipman, Elinor. I Can’t Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2013. 176p. ISBN 9780547576206. $20. LIT
Muhlstein, Anka. Monsieur Proust’s Library. Other Pr. 2012. 108p. bibliog. ISBN 9781590515662. $19.95. LIT
Zarin, Cynthia. An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History. Knopf. Feb. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9781400042715. $24.95. LIT
Basinger, Jeanine. I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies. Knopf. 2013. 384p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307269164. $30. Film
Folson, Tom. Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream. HarperCollins. Mar. 2013. 320p. photogs. ISBN 9780062206947. $26.99. Film
Rose, Michael. The Birth of an Opera: Fifteen Masterpieces from Poppea to Wozzeck. Norton. Mar. 2013. 512p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780393060430. $35. Music
Rothschild, Hannah. The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild. Knopf. Mar. 2013. 304p. bibliog. index. photos. ISBN 9781471316517. $26.95. Music
Shipley, Jesse Weaver. Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music. Duke Univ. Feb. 2013. 344p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780822353669. pap. $24.95; ISBN 9780822353522.Music
Corvino, John. What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? Oxford Univ. Mar. 2013. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199856312. $22.95. PHILOS
Gridley, Sarah. Loom. Omnidawn. Apr. 2013. 88p. ISBN 9781890650780. pap. $17.95. poetry
McGrath, Alister. C.S. Lewis: A Life. Tyndale House. Mar. 2013. 427p. illus. bibliog. index. notes. ISBN 9781414339351. $24.99. rel