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January 12, 2010


Walter L. Ritter

It has taken me until my 70th year to discover the joy of the writing of Thomas Wolfe's, "Look Homeward, Angel." It is magical reading to follow the life of Eugene Gant (Thomas Wolfe) from birth through his adolescent years. THIS is literature!

Holly I

Hi Steve
I am reading the following books:
Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (loved her blog and was worried the book would be a retread. Great way to "start the year off right")
Delivered from Distraction by Edward Hallowell (who knew ADD could be so creative?!)
Sway by Ori & Rom Brafman (how irrational decisions can seem so clear and logical)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (just started but on recommendation of a friend for the prose)
and a host of teen-lit and fantasy novels I wont admit to reading by name!

Finished recently and recommending: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Beautiful prose.

Elizabeth R

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson also treats the subject of the injustice of the Japanese internment camps. Guterson realistically portrays the destructive nature of prejudice in general. I have not yet read "Hotel" but it is on my list.

Charlotte G Brooks

Dear Steve,
Thank you for the review of The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet. I had passed it up but now will read it.
I just finished reading Kathryn Stockett's The Help. I am amazed at how she found just the right voice for this compelling look at a grievious part of American history.
I can attest to the validity of the content because we moved from New York state to Atlanta in the late 1940's. Even though I was a child, I remember how our neighbors treated the 'damn yankees' (a term actually employed on many occasions) because my mother, who did not have a discriminatory bone in her body, refused to hire 'help' for a pittance and could not afford to hire someone at a wage she thought they deserved. Our neighbors could not comprehend how she could do her own housework & cooking as well as look after me.
I also remember being in the homes of those 'ladies' who had 'help.' It made me uncomfortable every time they ordered the help around; even some of the children I played with did the same. Needless to say, our family was relieved when my father was eventually transferred back north.
The Help brought back many memories and made me proud that my mother had the courage of her convictions. I only regret that we could not do more.

Charlotte G Brooks
Bedminster, NJ

Steve Leveen

What lovely comments, my friends! You've given me more books to read and inspired me anew. Thank you. Steve


Dear Steve,
What a really well-written review! I enjoyed it as much as any book. Thanks- the review made me want to read this book.

Chris Matney

Hi Steve.
It's great to see others enjoying "stories well told," as I like to call those unusual books which stay with us years after reading.

The Magician of Lhasa is a title that you would probably find fascinating. It tells the tale of a novice monk fleeing with his order's most precious secrets from the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. A parallel story introduces a modern British nano-technologist, torn from his family and work by the acquisition of his firm by an American conglomerate.

The plotlines, while radically different, converge at the end of the book in a wonderfully suspenseful manner – illustrating how quantum mechanics and Buddhist traditions are not really that different. The characters are deep, and the story – in a tragic but hopeful way - sticks in your mind.

If you are interested in reading the book, let me know, and I’ll send you a copy.

Elizabeth Magar

I have just been introduced to your site by a friend. I wanted you to know that I have started a virtual book club at the high school where I am the librarian. I started this club last year and your book, "Little Guide to a Well-Read Life," was my strongest motivation for creating the club. The club is based on the students reading books of their own choosing and sharing with others. Students like sharing their thoughts online and during our monthly meetings, and our membership has doubled in a year. I can't wait to tell them about this site. Thank you for continuing to provide inspiration for becoming a lifelong reader.

Steve Leveen

Well, how can I resist a copy of The Magician of Lhasa? Many thanks, Chris; I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

And thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing the story of your book club and your kind words for the Little Guide.

My best to you both.--Steve

Sally McConnell

I just saw this post and couldn't agree more. "Hotel on the Corner...." is a wonderful book. I also recommend "The Piano Teacher," by Janice Y.K. Lee. Marvelous! Set in Hong Kong during and just after WWII. Contains it all: love, lust, mystery, history, you name it. Beautifully drawn characters.


I also think that all of you will definitely enjoy reading THE ALCHEMIST, a book about pursuing your dreams and following your heart with abundance of wisdom and inspiration to walk away with. I really recommend this book to all who can read.

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