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Reading L.a.

October 04, 1998

Gary Goldstein, screenwriter:

"The Comedy Writer" by Peter Farrelly (Doubleday).

"This hilarious, oddly touching novel might seem almost surreal if it wasn't so outrageously authenic. Farrelly's candid story should hit home with anyone who's ever tried to make it as a screenwriter. It sure did with me."

****

Chantal LeDuc, actress-model:

"Close But No Cigar" by Melissa Miller (Dove/New Star).

"This wonderful story of the author's love for George Burns is sweet and not only romantic but respectful and poignant. It is filled with terrific anecdotes about Burns and has a wonderful selection of photos."

****

Bruce Vinokour, television agent:

"Portrait of Dr. Gachet" by Cynthia Saltzman (Viking).

"Saltzman reconstructs the journey of one painting, the last portrait Van Gogh painted, as it passes through various hands and eventually sells for $82.5 million at Christie's. It illuminates the intersection of art, politics and the marketplace."

****

Lewis McAdams, writer, director:

"Zen at War" by Daizen Victoria (Weatherhill).

"This book traces the intertwining of Buddhism and militarism in Japan from the late 19th century, culminating in World War II. There is such a clear understanding here of the role of the spirit and the church, between emptiness and form."

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