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Last year, Allegra Goodman made a splash with her fourth novel, which I missed by a country mile. Fortunately it's now out in a snazzy paperback edition "Intuition," (Dial Press, $13.95) so I can get another crack at it. "Intuition" is a rare mixture of science and passion, a love story set in a lab populated by a publicity-hungry oncologist, a talented research scientist and a post-doctoral fellowship recipient. Books like this don't come off the presses with much regularity, so it's difficult to scare up comparisons.
Ever since I watched the movie "Heartburn," I've wanted to know more about its heroine, based on Nora Ephron. In "Heartburn" Ephron is played by Meryl Streep and her husband Bernstein, is played by Jack Nicholson. They argue a lot, they eat a lot and finally they get divorced. In real life both have gone their varied ways, Ephron, now married to writer Nicholas Pileggi is a screen writer and a funny one.
Here's a bagful of books to get you started on an eclectic autumn reading program. Start with "Bitter Ocean: The Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1945," by David Fairbank White (Simon & Schuster, $26). For those of us who grew up with 1940s movies like "Action in the North Atlantic" (Bogart, Massey, Greenstreet, et al.) White's new book isn't exactly news. We remember the German U-Boats, and our Liberty Ships that brought precious cargo to Britain as it held out alone against the Axis. But for younger readers, "Bitter Ocean" is a fascinating study of the ravages of war.
When I was a wee tad, I went to the little movie house in town. I can't remember the feature, but I do remember a short subject that came on right after the RKO Pathe weekly news. The little movie starred Frank Sinatra, who was a big heartthrob in the 1940s. The plot went something like this: Sinatra comes out of a school building and overhears students at recess voicing racial and ethnic slurs. He lectures them about how tragic it is that we've just fought a war to end such stuff and now little kids are starting all over.
Let's start with a regional topic. Let's start with Orson Welles, who grew up in Kenosha and became a famous actor at 18, director at 20 and the brains behind and in what many folks call the greatest American movie, "Citizen Kane." And then it was all downhill for the boy genius whose Mercury Theatre of the Air gave us actors like Agnes Moorhead (another Wisconsinite), Joseph Cotton, Ray Collins and Everett Sloane and scared the pants off half the radio audience when it broadcast H.G.
Herb Christensen, 89, of Portales, N.M., passed away Saturday morning, Jan. 14, after losing his struggle with a respiratory illness. He was born to Chris and Mary Christensen of Cottage Grove, Minn., on April 1, 1922, one of two sets of twins in six siblings. On Feb. 10, 1979, he married Carol Green, who preceded him in death in Jan. 1995. After graduating from high school he worked in retail sales most of his life, initially in the Minneapolis area, but moved to River Falls, Wis. in the mid 1960's. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, woodworking, yard work, card playing, and bird watching.
Gerald W. Malmer, formerly of River Falls, age 79, passed away on Sunday Sept. 13, 2009 in Olympia, Wash. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Arlene; brother, John of Hudson, and sons, Dennis of Lacey, Wash., and Terry of Peachtree City, Ga.; and daughters, Debbie of Vancouver, Wash., and Jodel of Hastings, Minn. Burial will take place at the River Falls Greenwood cemetery at a later date.
Donald Lee "Doggie" Berg, 78, long-time resident of River Falls, Spanish professor emeritus at UW-River Falls, and "best snare drummer of his generation," died suddenly on Wednesday, June 25, 2008. A founding member of the Hall Brothers Jazz Band and part-owner of the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota, Minn., he was also the catalyst for the Semester Abroad Program to Mexico at UW-River Falls. He is survived by his wife, Mimi Trudeau; sons: Clint (Freya Larson) of Nashville, and Jason (Wa Stella) of Minnetonka, Minn.; two step-sons: Brent Griffin of Burnsville, Minn., and Phillip (Jeanne) Griffin