Latest News

Short Takes |



By Bram Stoker. Edited by Leslie Klinger.

Norton. 613 pages. $39.95. ***

Leslie Klinger gives Bram Stoker's “Dracula” the same treatment as in his “New Annotated Sherlock Holmes.” This is a massive book that will make a great Christmas present for anyone into vampires, whether old school or the New Vampires on the Block-type youth heartthrobs.

The conceit here is that Bram Stoker's story is true. The footnotes all earnestly dissect the narrative with historical background, movie posters, a chronology, a bibliography and tangential subjects from Hans Christian Andersen to rat terriers.

All those separate tidbits make it perfect for the short-attention-span reader who prefers to read in bursts, but the entire narrative is also there for those who prefer the long-playing version.

Salem Macknee, for the Observer


THE SNOWBALL: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

By Alice Schroeder. Bantam. 960 pages. $35.

In 1940, 10-year-old Warren Buffett was taken to New York as a birthday gift from his father. Some kids yearn to see the circus and the zoo. Little Warren wanted to visit Wall Street.

While at the New York Stock Exchange he managed to meet Sidney Weinberg, senior partner of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, and engage him in conversation. At the end of their talk, Weinberg put his arm around the boy and asked, “What stock do you like, Warren?” People have been asking that question ever since.

Sixty-eight years later, Buffett is said by Forbes to be the richest man in the world. His opinions are so hotly sought that “The Snowball,” a biography with which he has enthusiastically cooperated, would be of interest even if it answered only softball questions. It approaches him seriously, covers vast terrain and tells a fascinating story. Buffett made a smart choice when he chose Alice Schroeder as his Boswell. Yes, he found an appreciative biographer with whom he seems to have a warm rapport. But he also found a writer able to keep pace with the wild swerves in the Buffett story and the intricacies of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway business empire. Schroeder is as insightful about her subject's precise anticipation of current financial crises as she is about his quirky personal story. And she is a clear explicator of fiscal issues.

This sprawling, colorful biography will mesmerize anyone interested in who Buffett is or how he got that way.

Janet Maslin, New York Times