A moral compass links best of 2015 reading

When you read as many novels as I do—I read and reviewed more then 75 novels for Great Penformances this year—there’s a tendency to become jaded. Plots get to feel familiar. Characters seem to reappear in different outfits in different novels. And the point of it all often is hardly worth the words expended in […]

My Picks of 1965 Bestsellers

I have two sets of favorites from the 1965 bestsellers, one serious and the other lighter. The Source by James A. Michener and The Ambassador by Morris L. West are the best of the 1965 bestsellers. They engage readers in examining weighty topics without being dull or pedantic. Michener’s novel is about the history of […]

The Ambassador Makes Sense of Vietnam War

The Ambassador is the second and the best of the 1965 bestsellers about America’s war in Vietnam. Unlike Robin Moore, who focuses on soldiers, Morris L. West focuses on the policymakers who set in motion events that ended in body bags. The Ambassador by Morris L. West William Morrow, 1965. 275 pages . 1965 bestseller #9. […]

Middling 1963 novels are best entertainers

The best novels from 1963’s bestseller list are not the most memorable. The Battle of Villa Fiorita  and Elizabeth Appleton are extraordinarily detailed pictures of rather ordinary people by fine writers. Rumer Godden and John O’Hara, respectively, make the ordinary characters of those novels assume importance for the duration of their novels. Once the covers […]

The Daughter of Silence is not golden

Daughter of Silence opens with Anna Albertini shooting the mayor of San Stefano to death at noon before turning herself in to police. There’s no doubt Anna is guilty of murder. The only question is whether mitigating circumstances should be considered in her sentencing. In a plot reminiscent of Robert L. Traver’s Anatomy of a […]