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Reading L.a.

June 14, 1998

Marvin J. Teitelbaum, ophthamologist:

"Jennie Gerhardt," by Theodore Dreiser (University of Pennsylvania Press).

"Too risky for its time, this book was expurgated by its publisher, changing the characters and the tone. What was a grim, blunt novel of social realism became a simplistic love story. In 1992, it was re-edited as Dreiser had written it, and it's a powerhouse of a novel."

****

Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, attorney:

"Fidel: A Critical Portrait," by Tad Szulc (William Morrow).

"This is more than just a biography; it's a really compelling story. Szulc is a demanding scholar and a very good writer."

****

Barbara Shoag, real estate agent:

"Red China Blues," by Jan Wong (Doubleday).

"Wong, who was permitted to enter China during the Cultural Revolution, returned in 1989 and witnessed the Tiananmen Square massacre. Her story dramatically recounts her journey as a committed Maoist, then skeptic, then outright critic of China and its policies."

****

Tim Street, director:

"A Stiff Drink and A Close Shave," by Bob Sloan and Steven Guarnaccia (Chronicle).

"This book pays homage to the things our dads carried in their pockets and wore around their necks. The book is a frolic into the times when men had style and didn't get into too much trouble for it."

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