Empty Mansions

Posted: Aug. 28, 2013

17704903 When Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.

Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist W. A. Clark, nearly as rich as Rockefeller in his day, a controversial senator, railroad builder, and founder of Las Vegas. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she devoted her wealth to buying gifts for friends and strangers alike, to quietly pursuing her own work as an artist, and to guarding the privacy she valued above all else.

The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the Titanic.

Empty Mansions reveals a complex portrait of the mysterious Huguette and her intimate circle. We meet her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette’s copper fortune. Richly illustrated with more than seventy photographs, Empty Mansions is an enthralling story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms.

Advance praise for Empty Mansions

Empty Mansions is a dazzlement and a wonder. Bill Dedman and Paul Newell unravel a great character, Huguette Clark, a shy soul akin to Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird—if Boo’s father had been as rich as Rockefeller. This is an enchanting journey into the mysteries of the mind, a true-to-life exploration of strangeness and delight.”—Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

Empty Mansions is at once an engrossing portrait of a forgotten American heiress and a fascinating meditation on the crosswinds of extreme wealth. Hugely entertaining and well researched, Empty Mansions is a fabulous read.”—Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire.


An excellent book. This book begins with the finding of an empty castle or so that is the listing for sale. The author starts researching and comes across a name, Huguette Clark. He finds a relative and gets some back ground information. She is the last and youngest daughter of C.A. Clark. Who at one time was one or the richest men in America. She is from his second marriage and the mansions she owns are from after her mother passed on. But she has enough funds to pay the taxes, staff and benefits for everyone and not touch her main income just live year to year on interest. The story takes a sad and horrible turn. When she has to go into the hospital. People start stealing from her. Many , including Citibank who sells her mothers jewels over some paper work. Problem that they changed. Then they payed her 3.6 mill when the value was over 10 mill. Because they knew she did not what it in the press. Many more stories like this. Her last maybe 5 years were sad because of the people taking advantage until the New York D.A. 's office went on the case. A very good book with a lot of information. I enjoyed the story and the history of the Clark family.


DRIVEN                                                       DONALD DRIVER
Posted: Aug. 28, 2013

16071762The legendary NFL receiver, all-time receptions and yards leader for the Green Bay Packers, and Dancing with the Stars champion looks back on his life and career.

Now, in his memoir, Driver recalls what it was like to go from living in a U-Haul trailer with his mom on the streets of Houston to earning a spot on the Packers roster and becoming one of Brett Favre's favorite targets on the way to football stardom. He takes you inside the locker room with legends such as Favre and Reggie White, and recalls his more recent roles as a veteran leader for stars like Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings during the 2010 Super Bowl season and as a Dancing with the Stars winner.

A seventh-round draft pick in 1999, Donald Driver was given little chance of making the Packers roster, much less of becoming a 1,000-yard receiver, a beloved icon for one of the NFL's most storied franchises, and a Super Bowl champion. But in a life of adversity, Driver has overcome obstacle after obstacle and has become one of the most popular players in the NFL.


Really liked this book. The story about DONALD DRIVER and his life from being homeless. To college and then a 7th round pick by Green bay. I don't think you need to be a football fan or a Green Bay Packers, fan to enjoy this book. For me it was great being a Packer fan to be able to read this book and by sharing this review maybe somebody will see that you can make it out. He is honest about what he did when he was homeless and living in the ghetto. But he gives credit to the people who were there for him to guide towards sports and not crime. He also talks about hard work to stay in shape and to make the football team. I think it was funny that he did not even know were Green Bay, was. But at the end of hie career he became the all time leader in receptions, yards and in the top 5 of touch downs and top 3 of games played for Green Bay. To most people that might not be much but the team has been around since 1921. That was a lot of players to pass. The book was well written and anyone would enjoy his story.

Death In Paradise

DEATH IN PARADISE                               ROBERT B. PARKER
Posted: Aug. 28, 2013

297486Robert B. Parker is back in Paradise, where Detective Jesse Stone is looking for two things: the killer of a teenage girl—and someone, anyone, who is willing to claim the body…


I did liked this book. I had not read one of his stories in a while and it took me a little time to remember. That the main character can't or won't move on from his ex. Once I got passed that part. This was a very good story with many different stories inside of it. I was a little surprised at the end. I am glad when I can't figure them out all the time.

Mr. B. The Music and Life of Billy Eckstine

Posted: Aug. 28, 2013

Mr. B: The Music and Life of Billy Eckstine(Book). In 1950, Billy Eckstine was the most popular singer in America. Movie-star handsome with an elegant pencil-thin mustache and a wide vibrato, Eckstine possessed one of the most magnificent voices in popular music history. Born in Pittsburgh, Eckstine won a talent contest by imitating Cab Calloway and started leading jazz orchestras under the name Baron Billy. In 1939, he joined Earl Hines' orchestra, composing and performing the hits "Jelly, Jelly" and "Stormy Monday Blues." In 1944, he formed what is now considered the first bebop orchestra that included, during its brief three-year run, legendary figures such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Sarah Vaughan. Signing with MGM, he rose to superstar status, sold millions of records, marketed his own line of "Mr. B." shirt collars, and inspired an army of female admirers, known as "Billy-soxers." Eckstine fought all his life for recognition and respect in his quest to become America's first black romantic singing idol, but he faced hardships in the segregated music world of the '40s and '50s. Despite this, he went on to influence many singers who followed, including Arthur Prysock, Johnny Hartman, Johnny Mathis, Kevin Mahogany, Barry White, and even Elvis Presley. In this book, Cary Ginell traces, for the first time, the life of one of the twentieth century's most amazing success stories, the man known simply as "Mr. B."


An excellent about his life. I came across him when i was reading other jazz books and they would have Miles,Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Art Blakley, just to name a few that started in his band. Now that would have been one great band to have seen or even listen to. But during this time there was some type of strike going on so most of the records being made were by whites or if they new the song could sell for sure. Once the strike was over 4 years later of course he had new people with him and it still took time for him to get the right sound he was looking for.During most of his life he was called the vibrato but some say he was the voice before Sinatra. It seemed he was just on the out side looking in .When movies came they wanted him to sing like (old man river) and then an white singer who nobody knew would sing a song that he made popular at a club so he would walk off. He did stand up for what he thought was right. During the late 40's and early 50's he was one of the highest paid club acts in the U.S. and records with him ans Sarah Vaughan were top sellers. By 1956 it was starting to end but he would still keep at it up into the 1970;s. A very good book about his life and music.


PHONING IT IN                                           ANN WENTWORTH
Posted: Aug. 28, 2013

Phoning It In by Anne WentworthMelinda can summarize her life in a few words: dead-end job, nonexistent love life, and a contentious relationship with her older sister—not exactly the rosy picture she had of life at 25.

When Benoit enters the picture, she falls hard. Gorgeous, funny, and smart, he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a man and more, but she can’t fathom that he could possibly want a plus-sized girl like her.

Tired of going through the motions, Melinda tries to find the courage to pursue her dream career, but working for a publishing company would mean moving away from everyone and everything she knows and loves. Is she content to remain in her comfortable rut, or is it time to strike out on her own and seize her chance at getting what she’s always wanted?


Phoning It In was an interesting mix of a young woman who is feeling unfulfilled after graduating from college and not ending up in the field that she dreamed of being in after she graduated. As well as a love story with many long lasting friendships. Melinda Major works for Forward Horizon Insurance Company with Blaine a guy who is just like a brother she never had. She has a sister Susan who is an attorney but they are not close at all and a mother who is mother who she is just finding out she not the mother she always thought she was but a head in the sand kind of woman.
Blaine is tired of the fact that Melinda is never doing anything but staying home so he decides that she needs to get out and live a little. So, he decides they are going out for dinner and dancing to J.J.’s. She finally can’t take it anymore and agrees and invites her best friend since preschool Louisa Carmichael better known as Lou Lou. Lou Lou gets asked out to dance and Blaine sees a blonde making eyes at him so when he starts to leave Scarlett from work, their arch enemy comes to their table and says she wants them to meet her date. She brings him over, Dem her date and his friend, Benoit (Benwah), the sexiest French-Italian man she ever saw.
Now this is only part of the book you still have all her growing pains, her neurotic behavior, young love and an insecure woman. Provided by netgalley.com


LET’S WELCOME SHIRLEY JUMP   AUTHOR OF: Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with this concept for this book? Sh...