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addabook - The Bonfire of the Vanities
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The Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Wolfe
read on April 28, 2017

Typically I only write what I want to remember about books here - which puts me in a pickle with fiction books since there is no explicit lesson or takeaway, rather an interesting journey. I suppose if I remember anything about this book, it would be that it's the best written book I've ever read, by a mile. Wolfe spins a ho-hum, pedestrian plot into a page-turner on the strength of just great, great writing. Epically good writing. 'Bonfire' had been on my radar ever since seeing the cover slug on Bombardiers. While Bonfire doesn't center around finance or bond trading the way that book did, Wolfe captures the aura around 1980's wealth and extravagance in a similar way than Po Bronson and Michael Lewis - but Wolfe excels far beyond those other attempts. Far surpassing them. It isn't even close.

I don't have any particular pullquotes that I kept. I'm sure there are many worth quoting, but that would do a disservice to the rest of the book. The whole thing is completely fantastic. I loved it.

Author Bio:

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (born March 2, 1931) is an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence over the New Journalism literary movement, in which literary techniques are used extensively and traditional values of journalistic objectivity and evenhandedness are rejected. He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, became a commercial success, and was adapted as a major motion picture (directed by Brian De Palma).