Gary Holtzman: Books

photo by Amanda Hendrix

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History teacher Gary Holtzman is interviewed about his favorite fiction and non-fiction books. Holtzman founded the Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Group at LB.

1. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlan
“Starship Troopers is a book set in the future about a young man who becomes a soldier in a society in which anyone can be a citizen, but in order to be a citizen you must serve for a period of time in the military. It really was a great philosophical exploration more than a science fiction book. But I just finally read this one last year for [the] Sci-Fi Fantasy book group. And I was expecting it to be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a masterpiece. It really is just as relevant and controversial as it was 60 years after it was written as it was in [1959].”

2. The Love Affairs of Nathanial P. by Adelle Waldman
“[A] very entertaining new novel, a debut novel, by a young writer in her 30s. And it is told from the point of view of a young, hipster novelist in Brooklyn. And it is very fun and is all about his relationships with women. [A]s it goes along you realize more and more that he is just a total cad, in that he really treats women very poorly, even though he presents himself to the world and considers himself a very liberal, feminist, enlightened type of modern man. [I]t really is funny and insightful and kind of infuriating, too.”

3. The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir
“The Princes in the Tower [is] an investigation into Richard III, who was accused of killing his nephews, which has been debated for 300, 400 years. But she really lays out the case; she uses all primary sources and looks at all the evidence of this murder mystery. And she just does a fantastic job, I think, of proving her verdict.”

The Worst. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
“I had really liked Less than Zero by Ellis, which is about a rich teenager in L.A., and the narrator is a drug addict. It really is a great critique about rich kids in the ‘80s. He wrote this book, American Psycho, which was later a movie. [It] is from the point-of-view of a serial killer, and he must kill a couple hundred people over the course of the book. I was so horrified. It was just a terrible experience having read that book.”