The Guest List: How Manhattan Defined American Sophistication–from the Algonquin Round Table to Truman Capote's Ball by Ethan Mordden has interesting moments but I did not find the book entirely satisfactory. If the word “when” were substituted for “how” in the title, the title would be less misleading. If the book tells how Manhattan defined American sophistication, I missed it, perhaps through careless reading, since there were many pages that I skimmed over quickly because I did not think I would find them interesting. The book covers the period from the 1920's to the 1960's in twelve chapters that tell about people such as Dorothy Parker, Charles Lindbergh, Fiorello La Guardia, Ethel Waters, Cole Porter, and Truman Capote. The book is not very much more than a series of more or less interesting anecdotes. The presentation is similar to that of Mr. Mordden’s books about various decades of the Broadway musical, but represents a movement away from the author's field of expertise. I have the impression that Mr. Mordden wrote the book for the sake of writing another book, since writing books is what he does, but it demonstrates more competence than inspiration. The book is worth borrowing from the public library for summer reading, but I would not recommend buying it.
“A 2010 book entitled DSK: Les secrets d’un présidentiable (DSK:Secrets of a presidential contender) by an anonymous French author who goes by the pseudonym ‘Cassandre’, alleges that IMF head and accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn raped a maid in a hotel in Mexico while on a business trip.”–guanabee.com
Mexicana, entre víctimas de agresión sexual de Strauss-Kahn — eluniversal.com.mx
I finished skimming through the book Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter by Antonia Fraser. Famed biographer Lady Antonia Fraser has put together a book about her relationship with playwright Harold Pinter from 1975 (when they met) until 2008 (when Pinter died). Most of the book consists of diary entries.
Both were married to others when they met. After divorcing their spouses, they eventually married, in a civil ceremony. When several years later both ex-spouses had died, the couple solemnized their marriage in a Catholic ceremony. The book is not especially interesting, but it it is worth borrowing from a public library to read some of the pages and to skim over others. I would not recommend buying the book. Not much substance. Not much explanation. A certain amount of name-dropping. These people don’t have lunch or dinner with just anybody! But if the other diners are untitled, that’s OK. Lady Antonia will expect the best seat as an earl’s daughter.