Author: Peter Clemens

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

What’s it about? The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a riveting tale filled with romance, power struggles, daring escapes, clever disguises, buried treasure, and solemn promises. Originally published in the 1840s, the story is that of Edmund Dantès,  a young sailor on the verge of being promoted to captain of his ship and of marrying his longtime sweetheart. This perfect life, however, is destroyed by a trio of jealous compatriots who falsely accuse him of treason. Consequently Dantès is locked away in the infamous Chateau d’If prison for fourteen years.  After a daring escape, Dantès begins the long...

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Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

What’s it about? In his memoir Stories I Only Tell My Friends, actor Rob Lowe shares the highs and lows of his personal and professional life. The memoir chronicles breaking into the ensemble of future stars in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders (1983), through his spotlight roles in St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) and About Last Night . . . (1986), and onto his later career revival as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing (1999-2003). He also discusses his parent’s divorce, his mother’s depression, overcoming his addiction to alcohol and the love he has for his wife and sons. Is...

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Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

What’s it about? Matterhorn is a novel of the Vietnam war in which a company of Marines build, abandon and retake an outpost on a remote hilltop in Vietnam. The story is told from the point of view of Lieutenant Mellas, a college kid who realizes too late that “because of his desire to look good coming home from a war, he might never come home at all.” The author Karl Marlantes, a highly decorated Marine Corps officer and veteran of Vietnam, spent 30 years writing this book. His persistence has paid off: many have called this the definitive...

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Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

What’s it about? In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” – the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. Through case studies ranging from hockey champions to Asian math whizzes, software entrepreneurs to famous rock bands to the rise of his own family in Jamaica, Gladwell tears down the cherished belief of the “self-made man” and instead explains how culture, circumstance, timing, birth and luck account for success. “It is not the brightest who succeed,” Gladwell says. “Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and...

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

What’s it about? As head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock, Tina Fey is a woman at the top of her field. In Bossypants, Tina recalls her humble roots growing up in Pennsylvania to her days doing amateur improv in Chicago to her transition into writing for Saturday Night Live and her eventual creation of 30 Rock. As you would hope, she tells her story with all the wit, candor, and self-deprecation that has made her famous. Is the narrator any good? Tina Fey narrates Bossypants herself. Her delivery is great, and the story...

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