A charming stroll down Memory Lane and a tribute to a vanishing culture.



A native Greenwich Villager shares her intimate memories of Manhattan’s bohemian paradise.

Florio, a former TV producer, Wall Street executive, and opera singer, has spent the majority of her life as a resident of one of the nation’s most eccentric and colorful communities. “My childhood neighbors,” she writes, “were painters, social activists, writers, longshoremen, actors, postmen, musicians, trust-fund bohemians, and office workers. Some were born here; others came because our street let them live and think as they liked. I listened to debates on socialism, reincarnation, vegetarianism, and politics on stoops and in grocery stores.” As “the offspring of free-spirited artists,” the author has always been in tune with the vibrancy of her neighborhood. With rich detail and compassion, Florio takes us into her world, sharing many of the poignant memories of her life among “the neighbors who became my allies and surrogate family.” Some of the more memorable anecdotes include the author’s early visit to the Amato Opera on Bleeker Street, where she “toddled around a warm backstage world of Egyptian slaves, French courtesans, and Spanish gypsies”; and reminiscences of an eccentric babysitter, the “real-life aunt of the author Patrick Dennis, who wrote the best-selling novel Auntie Mame, which would spawn a Broadway play, a Hollywood movie, and a Broadway musical.” Florio also shares stories of resident spies and “high-ranking Communists,” the disco era, the frenzied media response to the death of Sid Vicious in 1979, and the humiliating moment when, watering her plants, she accidentally poured water on a passing couple, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Most touching of all are the many warm (and sometimes heartbreaking) memories of her neighbors opening their homes and hearts to each other. Thanks to Florio, as the Village continues to face gentrification, like many neighborhoods across America, we will never forget Bank Street.

A charming stroll down Memory Lane and a tribute to a vanishing culture.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4798-0320-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Washington Mews/New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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