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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 02, 2007
- Vol. 68
- No. 1
By Stephen L. Carter | [3 stars]
REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN
There's no such thing as a pure motive in this exciting, racially charged thriller, where Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park) twists plotlines like pretzels while wryly skewering America's wealthy intellectual elite. At the book's center is Julia Carlyle, deputy dean of the divinity school at a prestigious New England university and wife of the university's president—they're an affluent African-American pair living in the midst of upper-crust white society. When Professor Kellen Zant, the school's economics guru (and, as it happens, Julia's ex-lover), is murdered, Julia is forced to hunt down the killer using clues left behind by her former flame—or else risk her marriage, the lives of her loved ones and even national security. In the process she uncovers a slew of Harlem secret societies that have ominous designs on the White House. Anyone who knows the genre will find the plot familiar, but it's to Carter's credit that his characters live on the page, even if his dialogue can be stilted ("The taking of a human life," declares Julia's husband, "the most profound crime on the books of any civilized society.") Perfect for beach reading, White is a smart, winning take on the whodunit.
A Buffalo in the House
By R.D. Rosen | [3 stars]
REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN
Most buffalo aren't ideal indoor pets. But Charlie, an orphaned bull adopted by Santa Fe couple Roger Brooks and Veryl Goodnight, was special: He learned to "drink out of toilets, and find his way to the kitchen," as well as into his caretakers' hearts. In detailing their three years with Charlie (whose occasional horn to the pants resulted in "buffalo wedgies"), Rosen also touches on the implications of the 19th-century buffalo slaughter. But he keeps his focus on Charlie, providing moving proof of the restorative powers of man's relationship with nature.
edited by Emma Forrest | [3 stars]
REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT
A collection examining women's love-hate relationship with body maintenance, Damage Control includes thoughts from the pedicure chair and waxing table along with stories from beauty-industry professionals. A bad haircut forces actress Minnie Driver to accept that her frizz won't be tamed; a makeup artist transforms college students into strippers; a Hollywood manicurist recalls doing Tori Spelling's nails when she was 5. All tell good tales, but few examine the wider context: Why do adult women idealize childlike hairlessness? How much time is worth spending on the pursuit of dewy skin? In the most provocative essay, journalist Julie Burchill dismisses the "pampering" industry as "a sad ... imitation of the way good sex is supposed to make you feel: relaxed, treasured, confident." Now that's something to process while your highlights set.
The Beautiful Miscellaneous
By Dominic Smith | [4 stars]
REVIEWED BY DANIELLE TRUSSONI
Smith's fantastic second novel follows a Midwestern boy's abrupt crossing into the realm of genius. The son of a physicist, Nathan Nelson has been groomed for brilliance from birth. But he is an average teen who'd rather explore a quarry than go to science camp until a brain-altering car accident makes him a savant—and tests his dad's sense of identity. Miscellaneous offers an utterly fresh look at how a child can grow beyond parental expectations and find the genius of being himself.
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