One book I’m sure that

One book I’m sure that I will never try to read is David Rockefeller’s just-published, 517-page Memoirs. The Sunday New York Times Book Review had the smart idea of asking David Brooks to review the book, and his review is engaging and funny. The Times gives his review the clever and accurate headline, “Born to be mild.”
I am probably showing the limitations of my interests in saying that I am much more likely to read another book discussed in the Times Book Review, one by the excellent Israeli writer Hillel Halkin, Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel. The book explores the possibility that a people located in a remote border area of India-Burma-Tibet may, as they believe, be Jewish. The review by Judith Shulevitz is also worth reading. It may also show the limitations of my sense of humor to say that the Times headline writer must have been on a roll, because he gave Shulevitz’s piece what is to me a hilariously apt headline, “Funny, you don’t look Jewish.”
Christopher Buckley came to St. Paul a year or two ago to promote his book of that year, Little Green Men. Our faithful reader Bruce Sanborn and I sat together in the first row, about a foot from Buckley, in the cramped space at Ruminator Books to listen to him read from the book. We arrived a few minutes early to take our seats. Buckley is not only funny, he is a genuinely decent man. When a group of nuns arrived from their home on the nearby St. Catherine’s College campus, Buckley ran to go buy each of them his previous mock self-help book, written as “Brother Ty.” I asked Buckley when he fielded questions following his reading if it was difficult to be a political satirist in the age of Clinton. My recollection is that he denied that it was. Now his new book is out, No Way to Treat a First Lady. The review by Rob Walker touches on precisely that question.


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