Miss Moossy's Recommended Reading List

Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, Luc Sante,
Vintage Books 1992
 

Opium Dens and old-law tenements, brothels, dives, and suicide saloons- these are some of the ports of call in Luc Sante's exuberant and formidably learned journey through the underbelly of old New York. Pimps, madams, rat-killing dogs, ear-chewing thugs, con men, and extravagantly crooked cops are among the natives. Low Life is a masterpiece of outlaw urban history- pungently written, voluminously researched, and illustrated with a wealth of archival photographs.

The New Bohemia: The Combine Generation, John Gruen,
Shorecrest,Inc. 1966
 

The author studies the motives of the people who have gravitated to the East Village, discusses the masterpieces and trash they have created, and evaluates the effect their work is having on the arts throughout the world. 50 photographs. Detailed street map.

Confessions of a Spy, The Real Story of Aldrich Ames, Pete Early,
G.P. Putnam's Sons 1997
 

Confessions of a Spy is the first and only complete story of the "spy of the century"--the story that no one could tell until now--from the author of the best selling Family of Spies. When Aldrich Ames was arrested in February 1994, he had been feeding the KGB information for nine years; he had been paid more than two and a half million dollars, with the promise of two million more; and he had been personally responsible for the betrayal that led to the execution of most of the United States' top assets in the Soviet Union. Never before had one man done so much damage to American security. This is an extraordinary human drama, a modern morality play charged with love, greed, betrayal, and heroism--and it is still unfolding.

Holy Cow, Sarah Macdonald,
Bantam, 2002

In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India-and for love-she screamed, "Never!" and gave the country, and him, the finger. But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of Sarah's life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. Holy Cow is Macdonald's often hilarious chronicle of her adventures in a land of chaos and contradiction, of encounters with Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Sufis, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians and a kaleidoscope of yogis, swamis and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, it is a journey that only a woman on a mission to save her soul, her love life-and her sanity-can survive.

Armed and Dangerous: My Undercover Struggle Against Apartheid,
Ronnie Kasrils,
Heinemann Educational 1993

Ronnie Kasrils is the Deputy Defense Minister of South Africa, a leading igure in the South African Communist Party and a former head of military intelligence in Umkhonto weSizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress. This is the true story of Ronnie Kasrils, alias the Red Pimpernel, at times South Africa's most wanted man. As a member of the ANC since he was 20, he participated in sabotage operations against the apartheid state in the 1960s before escaping into exile. He spent the next 27 years operating from London, Lusaka, and Luanda and organizing training for comrades in Cuba, East Germany, and the Soviet Union. On his return to South Africa in 1990 he was hunted by the police, who described him as 'armed and dangerous'. This is the extraordinary story of a white man who helped mastermind the people's war against apartheid in South Africa.

My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru,
Tim Guest, Granta

My Life In Orange is a non-fiction book about Tim Guest’s childhood in the communes of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in the late‘seventies and early eighties.

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse, My Life in Comedy,
Phyllis Diller with Richard Buskin,
Penguin Group, 2005


From housewife to humorist, Phyllis Diller has been making millions laugh for five decades with her groundbreaking comedy. Now the laughter continues with her uproarious autobiography. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse recounts the story of how, against all odds, Phyllis Diller became America's first successful and best-loved female stand-up comic. She began her professional career at age thirty-seven, in spite of the fact that she was a housewife, mother of five, and working at a radio station due to her husband's chronic unemployment. Now, fifty years later, after two traumatic marriages; extensive cosmetic surgery; numerous film, television, and stage appearances; and separate careers as an artist and piano soloist with symphony orchestras, Phyllis Diller finally tells her story. With her trademark laugh, incredible wit, and self-deprecating humor, Phyllis Diller has etched her way into comedic history. And while her wild hair and outrageous clothes may make her look "like a lampshade in a whorehouse," her strength, self-belief, perseverance, and raucous sense of humor are what make her truly unforgettable.

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett, Harper Collins, 2001


Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quit different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

Keepers of the House,
Shirley Ann Grau,
Random House, Vintage, 1965


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, The Keepers of the House is Shirley Ann Grau’s masterwork, a many-layered indictment of racism and rage that is as terrifying as it is wise. Entrenched on the same land since the early 1800s, the Howlands have, for seven generations, been pillars of their Southern community. Extraordinary family lore has been passed down to Abigail Howland, but not all of it. When shocking facts come to light about her late grandfather William’s relationship with Margaret Carmichael, a black housekeeper, the community is outraged, and quickly gathers to vent its fury on Abigail. Alone in the house the Howlands built, she is at once shaken by those who have betrayed her, and determined to punish the town that has persecuted her and her kin. Morally intricate, graceful and suspenseful, The Keepers of the House has become a modern classic.

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