The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, February 26, 2004  

On Martha Stewart and Bess Myerson

The time I’ve not spent writing and job-hunting during the last few days I instead have spent packing.

This is the chore to end all chores, but during the past 20 years I have performed it with an alarming frequency. I’m getting used to it.

In so doing, this time around, I have become intimately reacquainted with my book collection, which, if not impressive, is at least characteristically idiosyncratic.

Strange, though, how even if one owns, I don’t know, a thousand books, even the inability to find a stray title or two can cause considerable anxiety.

I’m having exactly that experience with respect to two books: Just Desserts, by Jerry Oppenheimer, an unauthorized biography of Martha Stewart, and When She Was Bad, by Shana Alexander, concerning the infamous “Bess Mess” of the 1980s, which ensnared, among others, and to varying degrees, Bess Myerson, Hortense Gabel, Sukhreet Gabel, Nancy Capasso, Andy Capasso, and Ed Koch.

My inability to locate these volumes is driving me crazy. I’ve checked with friends and relatives, all of whom either have disclaimed possession of one or both books, or, more suspiciously, have not responded to my queries.

If you can help with my replacement strategy, please let me know.

(And before you send me an e-mail, I know that is, justifiably, on labor’s crap list due to its affiliation with Borders Books & Music. Several bloggers and readers have scolded me for my links to Although I don’t feel great about this, I’ve decided I don’t feel awful about it either, and the links are staying. In my meager defense I offer this: When authors and writers, writ large, individually or collectively, have arranged for to no longer sell their books I will then delete any and all links thereto and completely disassociate Rittenhouse from that enterprise. Until then, yes, I’m still on labor’s side, but there are plenty of people with more at stake in this than me, and I think it’s fair that I wait for them to act first.)

[Post-publication addendum (February 28): My copy of Just Desserts has been located. A dilatory sibling ’fessed up late yesterday.]

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