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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

From the Shortlist: The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok (a memoir)

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The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok 
Lantana Public Library Call No.: B Bar
 A powerful, courageous book about a mother who became so deeply lost in schizophrenia that nothing could salvage her. She became a constant physical and mental threat to her two daughters after their father disappeared for good when the oldest daughter was four. Hospitals failed, the police were useless, good will was wasted, halfway houses gave up, none of the drugs worked. There’s a reason people don’t discuss schizophrenia: it is terrifying, likely incurable and never kind.
As soon as they were old enough, Mira Bartok and her sister left “home,” changing their names and moving to other states. Bartok wrote children’s books, married, divorced and traveled, rarely losing touch with her mother, who, for the 17 years before either sister saw her again, sent notes to Mira at her untraceable address. Pieces of those letters preface each chapter. And, in a very odd way, there is a happy ending of sorts.
(From The Shortlist by Catharine Rambeau, Sept. 8, 2011)

Written by lantanalister1

September 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Summer Bestsellers! Come check them out!

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Attention Book Lovers!  Summer Reading that you may want to check out!!
Newly Arrived NY Times Bestsellers  at Lantana Public Library


Folly Beach: A lowcountry tale
by Dorothea Frank

A woman returns to the past [in South Carolina] to find her future in this enchanting new tale of loss, acceptance, family, and love.

Robopocalypse: A novel
by Daniel H. Wilson
In the future, a shy but powerful artificial intelligence, Archos, takes control of the world’s computer network…

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
A doctor’s stirring and breathtaking trip to the Amazon to search for her deceased colleague…and larger-than-life challenges.

Those in Peril
by Wilbur Smith
A daughter and heiress to an oil fortune is hijacked by African muslim pirates…and held for ransom.


The Hypnotist
by Lars Kepler
An entire family has been savagely murdered…and Detective Joona Linna convinces a retired hypnotist, Erik Bark, to help.

Now You See Her
by James Patterson
The latest from one of the best American mystery writers.

Trader of Secrets
by Steve Martini
Lawyer Paul Madriani investigates criminals attempting to steal dangerous weapons technology…

by Karin Slaughter
A deadly hostage situation and policewoman Faith Mitchell’s search for her mother…


All that is Bitter & Sweet
by Ashley Judd with MaryAnne Vallero
The Hollywood actress and humanitarian remembers her childhood, her famous mother Naomi and sister Wynonna, and her career.

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)
by Betty White
The famous 89-year old actress humorously recounts her career and shares her thoughts on important life topics.

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother
by Janny Scott
A first biography of Ann Dunham, mother of the U.S. President.

Lantana Public Library is at 205 West Ocean Ave (next to the Post Office).
For more information, contact us at (561) 540-5740, or visit us on-line at

Written by lantanalister1

August 13, 2011 at 2:57 am

From the Short List: biographies of two American women writers

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Edith Wharton    Lantana Library Call No.: B Wha
by Hermione Lee
Mining previously untapped sources, Hermione Lee gives readers a new look at Edith Wharton in a landmark biography that is as tough, modern, brilliant and complex as Wharton’s own fiction.

(From the Short List by Catharine Rambeau, Dec. 19, 2007)

Eudora Welty: A Biography            Lantana Library Call No.: B Wel
by Suzanne Marrs

An icon of American fiction, Welty loved the written word from early childhood. An astute shrewd observer, she studied people and loved strangers, and her work reflects humor and tragedy with lyric style. Marrs, who knew Welty for the last 20 years of her life, makes brilliant use of that access. An appendix, bibliography and notes are included.
(From the Short List by Catharine Rambeau, April 23, 2007)

Written by lantanalister1

August 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Bossypants by Tina Fey

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Bossypants  by Tina Fey
Hardcover: 277 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown and Company
(April 2011)
Lantana Library Call No.: B Fey

Here’s what Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live (SNL) writer, stand up comic, and 30 Rock executive producer, says about being a boss, which she doesn’t find hard.

In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people
and then getting out of their way.  In other cases, to get the best work out of people you may have to pretend you are not their boss and let them treat someone else like the boss, and then that person whispers to you behind a fake wall and you tell them what to tell the first person.

Fey also narrates parts of her childhood and teenage years growing up on the edge of Philadelphia as the daughter of Irish/German and Greek parents, going to college, taking improv comedy at the  famous Second City Theatre in Chicago and touring, working with Lorne Michaels at SNL and her famous role as Sarah Palin, and being a  wife (married to Second City Director Jeff Richmond) and mother.

Fey’s memoir is selective, and she chooses not to disclose setbacks or some deeply personal parts of her life.  Instead, she writes at hyper-speed, haphazardly and humorously, through a variety of topics including

*the rules of improv (these are curiously and possibly insightful, you may find, when working with people),
*being the first female head writer at SNL,
*travel and beauty tips,
*insights on Photoshop and breastfeeding,
*and down-time/me-time.

I would have liked to have heard more about Fey’s experiences as screen play writer of  Mean Girls and acting in it.  However, this bio was still enjoyable to read.  Check it out!

Written by lantanalister1

July 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Posted in Biography, Book Corner

Tagged with , , ,

On the Godfather of Tabloid…

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The Godfather of Tabloid:  Generoso Pope Jr. and the National Enquirer [Hardcover] by Jack Vitek
290 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8131-2503-9
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky
Lantana Library Call No: Fla 071 Vit

The Deeds of My Fathers [Hardcover] by Paul David Pope
396 pages, 2011
ISBN: 1442204869
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Lantana Library Call No: Fla 071 Pope

Read all about it, Lantana residents, news media history buffs, tabloid fans, and enquiring minds!

The Library has two new books about Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., the famous self-made billionaire, long-time area resident and recluse, and media tycoon of America’s best-known tabloid, the National Enquirer.  Remember when it was headquartered in our little town, just off Dixie Highway/East Coast Avenue, for nearly three decades?  As a young girl, I vaguely remember the high, beautifully-lit Christmas fir trees, as well as the enormous Enquirer sign along the road.

Vitek, an associate professor at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, extensively researched and interviewed numerous associates, detractors, and associates of Pope, Jr’s, as well as the rise of tabloid journalism in the U.S.  He claims, “Pope was not a visionary who theorized the National Enquirer into existence, but a central catalyst in the long and varied cultural dialogue that produced it.”

Readers may already know the Enquirer’s beginnings – that Pope, Jr. bought and sustained the paper with a $25,000 loan and subsequent infusions of cash from Mafia underworld boss Frank Costello.

What they may not know is that Pope, Jr. earned an MIT engineering degree and served briefly as a CIA officer in the early 1950’s.  Even so, he set his sights on publishing at a remarkably young age, which had also been the source of his wealthy, influential Italian-American family’s power and influence in New York.  Pope’s family, however, disinherited him. (Generoso Pope Sr. had made his millions in construction and gained power through ownership of Il Progresso, an Italian-American newspaper, and a New York radio station.)

After Pope, Jr. moved to Florida and relocated his newspaper in the early 1970s, he apparently distanced himself from the Mafia.

And the rest is history that Vitek vividly traces for us.  The Enquirer eventually became the most widely circulated paper in U.S. history (its issue of Elvis’s death in 1977 sold around seven million copies within hours), built with a seasoned corps of Fleet Street British and Australian tabloid reporters, a large supermarket readership, and stories based on a constantly tuned formula or mix of stories of Pope’s own making, ranging from 100% true to the fabulously unreal.    Moreover, Vitek sheds even more light on Pope’s cut-throat managerial style, possible sources for Pope’s legendary obsessiveness and social ineptness, and behind-the-scene accounts of some of the newspaper’s most famous breaking stories.

Paul David Pope’s well-researched inter-generational biography and  frank, personal memoir of his father, Gene Pope, Jr., and his grandfather, Generoso Pope, Snr., is poignantly and vividly written. Readers will learn some of the sadder, darker events surrounding Gene Pope’s earlier marriages and two wives, as well as with his son.  Readers will also gain a more complex perspective of the Italian immigrant experience in America, as well as learn more of American tabloid news industry and the stories that didn’t make it into the Enquirer.  David Pope, who unsuccessfully sought to buy the Enquirer and its sister paper, the Weekly World News (known for its famous columnist, Ed Anger), on his father’s death, eventually went on to found his own media/entertainment business and philanthropic organization.

Written by lantanalister1

June 26, 2011 at 4:22 am

New: “The Sugar King of Havana” by John Paul Rathbone

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The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon [Hardcover]
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; 1st ed edition (August 5, 2010)
Language: English, ISBN-13: 978-1594202582
Call No. at Lantana Public Library:  B Lobo

Julio Lobo was one of pre-Revolutionary Cuba’s wealthiest sugar magnates, speculators, and collectors of Napoleonica outside of France, among other things.  To this rich biography of the rise and fall of one of Cuba’s most famous figures, Financial Times journalist and author John Paul Rathbone interweaves some of his own family’s history (his mother was a Cuban exile and social acquaintance of the Lobo family) and the complex history of Cuba. 

Born in 1898 in Caracas to Venezuelan parents who were shortly exiled thereafter and emigrated to Cuba (Lobo’s father was a Sephardic Jew and banker and his mother of Basque descent), educated in the U.S. as an adult, Julio Lobo became one of Cuba’s most successful investors and brokers of sugar in Cuba and in the world, while still fairly young.  Controversial and yet also progressive, patriotic and also cosmopolitan, Lobo sought sheer profit while overseeing progressive worker changes in a sector that had long been dependent on slave labor.  A survivor of an assassination attempt and business shortfalls, Lobo still remained in Cuba, even while traveling abroad and socializing with the influential and famous (at one point, Lobo romanced famous Hollywood stars Joan Fontaine and Bette Davis and entertained Ester Williams at his famous Tinguaro sugar plantation).  

In all, this is fascinating reading for those interested not only in commercial but also social and political history of Cuba and sugar.  Rathbone aptly demonstrates how interests and allegiances of the powerful intersected with great drama in the immediate pre-revolutionary years of Cuba, as it was a  “small country marked by a dense and complex web of relationships that made it hard for anyone to claim to have never dealt with Batista, the Mob, the rebels, or often all three.” 

Rathbone was interviewed about this book on NPR on “All Things Considered” in August, 2010, and also more recently on Joseph Cooper’s WLRN radio program, “Topical Currents.”  To listen to the NPR interview, click on the following link:

There are also several book reviews to be found on the world wide web, including Anne Louise Bardach’s in The Washington Post on August 15, 2010.

Written by lantanalister1

May 25, 2011 at 7:08 am

Posted in Biography, Book Corner