Reviews this week: not just Palin and Agassi

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This week, there were some small books competing for attention against some blockbusters. Andre Agassi’s memoir, ‘Open,’ is charming everyone, including our reviewer David Davis:

This literate and absorbing book is, as the title baldly states, Agassi’s confessional, a wrenching chronicle of his lifelong search for identity and serenity, on and off the court.


Peter Mayle, best known for ‘A Year in Provence,’ begins in Malibu but swiftly heads back to France, in a wine-and-food fiction this time around. Reviewer Bernadette Murphy writes:

‘The Vintage Caper’ is just that -- a caper -- a lighthearted romp through Bordeaux and Marseille, in which picking the right restaurant, choosing the best dish on the menu and, of course, finding the perfect wine (and female companion) to accompany the feast is every bit as important as catching the thief.

Well-known French children’s author Jean-Claude Mourlevat has tried his hand at young adult fiction, and the results are not good. George Ducker writes:

For the characters in ‘Winter’s End’ -- and this should go for the readers as well -- the book’s end just can’t come soon enough.

And don’t forget Sarah Palin. The former vice presidential candidate visited with Oprah, hit the road in a decorated tour bus and remained at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. As for the book itself, Tim Rutten says:

‘Going Rogue’ is so obviously a campaign biography that a reader comes away trying to figure out what he thinks of Palin’s presidential chances rather than what he thinks of her.

So far, Palin isn’t running for anything. Officially, that is.

-- Carolyn Kellogg