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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Irv's Book Reviews - Two Great Reads

Posted by patron and guest blogger, Irv S.

Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hamilton the Revolution describes itself as follows: Being the complete libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on Hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America. I wanted to read if for the libretto and certainly enjoyed that part. Interspersed between the 45 or so songs are the authors' comments about the show and description of its development, with appropriate references to all who had a hand in its creation. The authors are Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright, songwriter, actor, singer, and more. He started with a plan to write a hip-hop concept album about the life of Alexander Hamilton, and wound up playing the title role in Broadway's most discussed, unique, and, probably most important, musical in over fifty years. His co-author is Jeremy McCarter, critic, director, producer, author.

The book is worth reading for the libretto. It would be a valuable and worthwhile read even without the libretto. It tells the fascinating story of the writing and development of an important piece of theatre. It also contains Miranda's footnote commentaries about the songs, characters, and lines. The pictures of the production are stunning.

This is a book for any reader interested in theatre, writing, history, or music, whether or not she is willing to pay the premium prices to see the show. And anyone not accustomed to the rapid-fire delivery of clever rap lyrics who intends to see the show would be well-advised to read Hamilton the Revolution before parting with the ticket price.

The Whistler by John Grisham 

John Grisham has another bestseller in The Whistler. He has a knack for producing spellbinding "page turners." He can also write with authority and integrity about trials, police work, and legal procedures. Unfortunately The Whistler, while a pleasant and quick read, does not meet his usual standards. The story is fast paced. The characters one dimensional. The message: the good guys come out on top, except for those who are killed in the process of fighting evil. Grisham has written any number of better novels. The reader who seeks an introduction to Grisham would be well advised to select one of his other books, e.g.: A Time to Kill, The Innocent Man, The Confession, or Rogue Lawyer


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