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1. My Losing Season : The Point Guard's
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2. John Adams
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3. A Reporter's Life
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4. Traveling Mercies
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5. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller
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6. Naked
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7. REBA MY STORY : My Story
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9. I'm a Stranger Here Myself : Notes
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10. Night
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14. Blindsided : Lifting a Life Above
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16. Give Me a Break : How I Exposed
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17. Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything
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18. All Over But the Shoutin'
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19. My Grandmother's Treasure (American
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20. Portrait of an Artist : A Biography

1. My Losing Season : The Point Guard's Way to Knowledge
by PAT CONROY
list price: $25.95
our price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553714074
Catlog: Book (2002-10-15)
Publisher: RH Audio
Sales Rank: 952944
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Despite losing, Conroy scores
Although I'm not a basketball player or even a sports fan, I couldn't put this book down. The book is really about the coming of age of a young man, as seen through the experience of an intense basketball season at a military academy. The writing is full of wonderful metaphors, and smooth and easy to read. The emotional journey--like other Conroy books--is intense. The difference here is that the experience is so real. He's describing real people, and the narrator is Conroy himself. The depiction of what goes on at The Citadel may shock you with its brutality. Its amazing that Conroy can recreate his senior year in college so clearly thirty years later. Thoroughly enjoyable. ... Read more


2. John Adams
by David McCullough
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0743504739
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 62263
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who thought, wrote, and spoke out for the "Great Cause" come what might, who traveled far and wide in all seasons and often at extreme risk; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was rightly celebrated for his integrity, and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.

Much about John Adam's life will come as a surprise to many. His rocky relationship with friend and eventual archrival Thomas Jefferson, his courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits few would have dared and that few listeners will ever forget.

Like his masterful, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale -- an audiobook about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived. ... Read more

Reviews (536)

5-0 out of 5 stars A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Using many sources, but basically drawing on the extensive collection of the Adams Papers housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, David McCullough has written a fascinating biography of John Adams. Unlike conventional biographies, the text covers his immediate family devoting considerable detail to his wife, Abigail, which makes for a balanced narration. This is a biography of John Adams and not a history of the Revolution and the post revolution era so that incidents, actions, etc. not closely related to John Adams are given minimum coverage making for a contiguous account that is not distracted by events (though important) in which Adams was not involved. By quoting from their numerous letters, journals and diaries, this is a highly personal account revealing Adams and Abigail's thoughts and feelings.

The narration of Adams activities in France, Great Britain, Holland and Belgium is fascinating. This is a subject that is only briefly covered in most survey courses of American history so that the casual reader of history will find the text well worth reading. The intrigues and manipulative politicians in Europe made for a serious challenge to John Adams' abilities and for the future of the new nation. In many respects, the European attitudes the text outlines in Adams era are still present today regarding America.

The text notes that Adams recognized the critical role of a navy for gaining and then maintaining independence. The author states "That he pressed doggedly for a greater part in the war by the French navy would stand as one of his own proudest efforts, and with reason given what happened at Yorktown." During his presidency he initiated a program of navy ship construction and persuaded Congress to authorize funds to equip and man three frigates constructed during Washington's administration, but never equipped for service. These became the three famous frigates CONSTITUTION, UNITED STATES and CONSTELLATION. He further recommended to President Jefferson the establishment of a Naval Academy to which Jefferson agreed. The founding of the US Navy was one of Adams greatest accomplishments.

McCullough provides an excellent account of Adams' relationship with Jefferson. Jefferson is not pictured in the typical honorable schoolboy image, but rather the text gives a balance account of Jefferson who did not always follow the highest ethical principals especially regarding political

rivals. The author notes that Adams never knew when Jefferson, his Vice President, might be working secretly to undercut or thwart him, for Jefferson's abiding flaw, Adams had concluded, was "want of sincerity". Most interesting is the text's narration of the 1791 public controversy over Jefferson's endorsement of Thomas Paine's pamphlet THE RIGHTS OF MAN. Jefferson had endorsed the pamphlet and in private correspondence ascribed to Adams "the political heresies that have spring up among us" and then blamed the pamphlet printer for his endorsement. In 1809 at the urging of his friend Benjamin Rush, Adams wrote Jefferson, their friendship was renewed and remained strong through the rest of their lives.

The text tells of Adams less than high opinion of Benjamin Franklin who Adams considered lazy. In Adams written documents, the image of Franklin as a wholly honorable statesman/scientist is brought into question. However, Adams still had high praise for Franklin stating that if he had done nothing else then invent the lightning rod he had done the world a great service.

The text also narrates many situations which were a harbinger of the American Civil War noting the strong differences between New England and the South principally with Jefferson's Virginia. The author quotes Adams who wrote " I know it is high treason to express a doubt of the perpetual duration of our vast American empire, but a struggles between the states over slavery might rend this mighty fabric in twain."

In his easy to read narration, the author describes the political world in early America. This account is most intriguing since if only the names and the dates are changed, politics and government today is the same as in Adams age. For example. McCullough writes "Colonel Smith was in Washington. Having failed at nearly everything he ever tried, he had lately been elected to Congress" and Adams is quoted as stating "I would to God there were more ambition in the country....ambition of that laudable kind, to excel." In another example, the text notes that "The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education and wrote "The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many." Today, politicians are debating the same topic.

To be sure John Adams had his faults and the author does not try to ignore his shortcomings in this biography. His support of the Alien and Sedition Acts was most reprehensible.Perhaps his greatest fault was that he was hard headed; however, this was tempered by Adams integrity. In today's "me first" and "what's in it for me" society, it is pleasant to read the biography of a person (even a whole family) which put public service above self interest. The reader may not agree with McCullough, but will never find the book dull reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A nice alternative to the "scholarly" bios
I have nothing against academics who write books (though they sometimes forget that an audience should *want* to keep reading), and I sometimes enjoy the details and minutiae some such authors deliver.

In the case of David McCullough's John Adams, however, I think the pathologically-serious academic/historian crowd has tellingly overreacted to the "popular" tone of the book. Oh, horrors -- McCullough wants to make history and historical figures accessible to the masses!

I greatly enjoyed the look into Adams' relationship and correspondence with Abigail, who played a much larger role in early American politics than most people realized. I also found the on-again-off-again friendship between Adams & Jefferson described in a much more compelling manner than in most other similar bios I've read. Granted, it seemed at times to be more of a pro-Adams apologetic than an objective recounting of facts, but I understood that going into the book. Part of the attraction here is that McCullough humanizes Adams (and Abigail, and other figures) for the reader; even though you know the outcome of the story, you still find yourself "rooting" for Adams during critical passages!

It's a huge book, but I tore through it because McCullough made it so easy to read. We all had to memorize names and dates in history class, but here it is presented in such a way that you will *want* to learn more. Congratulations to David McCullough for another grand-slam effort!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies I have read...
This book is a very readable book. Unlike some other history books which are dry, this one reads like a novel. I loved how they showed the personal side of a public man. His loving relationship with his wife Abigail is revealed through letters he wrote her. I also loved how the author described John Adams relationship with Thomas Jefferson, down to the little details like when they shared a room in philly one wanted the window open and the other wanted it closed. This book shows that the founding fathers did not live in a vacuum, all alone, responding to each others politics; but that they were freinds with complex relationships. I like how this book lets us see our countries greatest patriots as real people. I highly reccomend this book, there is a sage like quality to it. If this was the kind of reading offered in high school or college, I might have been more interested in history.

4-0 out of 5 stars good beach read
Am 300 pages into this novel. It's very descriptive and really gives you a sense of the person, as well as the other revolutionary characters. You can very clearly picture the obstacles he faced and what type of man he was. I'm thoroughly enjoying it -- and recently heard it may be made into an HBO movie by Tom Hanks.

4-0 out of 5 stars John Adams, Abigail and Jefferson
The book on John Adams by David McCullough is very precise and gives a great overview of the second president of the United STates but also of the country itself. Having been the person defending the Constitution on the Congress floor, being the ambassador in France and The Netherlands (very interesting to read for Dutchmen like myself) to the days of his vice-presidency under George Washington and his own presidency.

Most of the sources are the letters between him and his wife Abigail, one of the foremost women in her time. It deals with politics but also with personal problems like disease in the family and the death of a son due to alcohol.

His relationship with Thomas Jefferson is fascinating; sometimes loving, sometimes hating. They could not get along when they were president and vice-president. In the end through letters they come closer again and freakingly enough they die on the same day, the 4th of July when they were there signing the Declaration of Independence. ... Read more


3. A Reporter's Life
list price: $24.00
our price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067945814X
Catlog: Book (1996-11-27)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 277970
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

If you're looking for something in between Charles Dickens and James Thurber, try Walter Cronkite'sA Reporter's Life. This humble but very exciting autobiography is full of interesting characters andlightly told anecdotes. (Early on in the narrative, young Cronkite recalls running from a cigar store, wherehe has surreptitiously memorized box scores, down the street to the radio station where he can report themover his daily news broadcast.) The full, even tones of Cronkite's voice rise to describe the best fight he'dever seen on a movie screen and fall to recall the day John Kennedy died. A hundred years of Americanhistory are offered with refreshing color and candor, a tale many may only know as a semester-long dronein high school. The audio version of A Reporter's Life has the advantage of Cronkite's famouslyunassuming voice, perfectly suited to the weight and manner of prose that delights with understatement.Cronkite's affections, both for his wife and for his own success, are tempered with charming modesty. Hedelivers keen and respectful observations of U.S. presidents and other heads of state that he has workedwith, as though they were simply colleagues he has known through the years. For example, when WalterCronkite returned from Vietnam after the Tet Offensive, he announced on national television that hedeemed the war to be a stalemate, after which President Johnson is said to have turned off the set and said,"Well, we've lost middle America." ... Read more

Reviews (40)

2-0 out of 5 stars You'd think the guy could write
This is a surprisingly bad book, written essentially as a string of anecdotes on interesting things that happened to Walter Cronkite in his years as a newsman. For a guy who used to complain that a half-hour newscast wasn't long enough to adequately convey news, it's disappointing to see so many interesting moments in time (Walter's role in covering the Apollo 11 moon landing is a good example) get such short shrift.

This book reads like it was dictated into a tape recorder. There's a continual "then there was the time I..." approach to introducing the various anecodtes, and while I suppose a straight chronological approach might not have worked, it's jarring to read about LBJ's reaction to the Kennedy assassination several chapters BEFORE Cronkite recalls the assassination itself.

It'll be up to someone else to do the definitive Cronkite biography.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, light read.
I've always regarded Walter Cronkite simply a news-writer/wire service reporter/voice-over narrater/anchorman-presenter. I think he purposely reflects this same idea in his title, A REPORTER'S LIFE -- nothing more, nothing less. His memoir is written similiary in a frank, concise, matter-of-fact style, and is unpretentious (most mercifully). A blue-collar reporter; I was born, went to school here, got a job at the local paper there, went overseas and covered the war, did some radio work, went to TV, retired, and here's what I think of network news today... (That's all). Don't look for any insights or deep introspections. For instance; I was truly interested to know his thoughts, feelings, and dealings with Ed Murrow and The Boys, and how he won CBS news from them. Walt only devoted 2 short paragraphs bascially saying: They were editorialists, and I was more front page news. (That's it?) How about working with Eric Severide? A sentence here, another one there. (Yep, that's it).

The first half of the book is devoted to Walt growing up, working in newspapers, becoming a wire service reporter, and covering the war in Europe. This is some good stuff. Again, nothing intensive, but interesting. The second half of the book is about his television career with CBS. If you grew up watching Walt during this time, well -- there's not many surprises. He repeats how he choked up announcing JFK's death, calling the Vietnam War to be a lost cause, learning of LBJ's death with a phone call live on the air, watching Dan Rather getting slugged (woohoo!) at the Democratic Convention, etc. In the last chapter Walt gives his views on the state of network news and how it can be improved. To me, it was kind of sad. He doesn't fully appreciate or understand that it's dead. Yes, he gives some credit to the alternative news sources and how they're contributing to the demise of network news; but with all the 24 hour cable news channels, satellite TV, 2 channels of CSPAN; and the NY Times, Washington Post, BBC, foreign newspapers, and wire services on the Internet -- why would anyone want to suffer under the 3 network Ted Baxters we have now?

All in all, it is a light, entertaining, and enjoyable read. It's like sitting with a favorite, jovial uncle at the dinner table, while he recounts his life's adventures.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Killed American Soldiers
General Weyand presented this speech at the GEORGE CATLETT MARSHALL MEMORIAL RECEPTION AND DINNER for the Association of the United States Army Convention, held in Washington, DC on October 18, 2000 GEORGE CATLETT MARSHALL MEMORIAL RECEPTION AND DINNER Association of the United States Army Convention
Washington, DC October 18, 2000
"After Tet, General Westmoreland sent Walter Cronkite out to interview me. I was in Command of the Forces in the South around Saigon and below and I was proud of what we'd done. We had done a good job there. So, Walter came down and he spent about an hour and a half interviewing me. And when we got done, he said, "well you've got a fine story. But I'm not going to use any of it because I've been up to Hue. I've seen the thousands of bodies up there in mass graves and I'm determined to do all in my power to bring this war to an end as soon as possible." It didn't seem to matter that those thousands of bodies were of South Vietnamese citizens who had been killed by the Hanoi soldiers and Walter wasn't alone in this because I think many in the media mirrored his view. It was a far different situation for me than when I was in Korea with my Battalion. I had a fellow named John Randolph who was an Associated Press Correspondent. He literally lived with our Battalion and he wrote about the men in a way that was good for them. It raised their morale. He never undercut their effort nor maligned the cause for which they fought. He became like one of them. He was awarded the Silver Star for Valor for helping them retrieve wounded and dead from the field of battle under fire. When I was in Paris at the Peace Talks, it was the most frustrating assignment I think I ever had. Sitting in that conference, week after week listening to the Hanoi negotiators, Le Duc Tho and his friends lecture us. Reading from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Herald Tribune, the Atlanta Constitution, NBC, CBS, you name it. Their message was always the same. "Hey, read your newspapers, listen to your TV. The American people want you out of Vietnam. Now, why don't you just go ahead and get out?" So finally a Peace Agreement was signed that everyone knew would be violated and with no recourse or hope of enforcement on our part.

Walter Cronkite, the 'Reporter's Life' is a fraud, weak in story and rambles on and on about his sailing boat. In his first ever, televised editorial about the evnst of Tet 1968 barely offer a page in his book. He was not balanced or based on any facts whatsoever his fact-finding few days to Vietna during Tet 1968. It was his "personal opinion" telling his audience and or our government what he thought about foreign affairs. Sounds a lot like what is going on today with the media being more entertainment than news? It's like actors today criticizing American soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The massive numbers of dead were South Vietnamese that were murdered by the Viet Cong terrorists meant nothing to these liberal evil do-gooders like Cronkite, John Kerry and Hanoi Fonda. The "Killing Fields of Cambodian" mean nothing to these liberal holier-than-thou, know-it-alls. People who worshiped Mr. Cronkite as a so-called "fatherly figure" jumped on his bandwagon like Jane Fonda and college hippies. Walter had a new following of young minded zombies for peace.

As Richard Rowere wrote in his book, WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY, "This is the first war of the century of which it is true that opposition to it is not only widespread but fashionable."

Sleep well Walter and that's the rest of the story he omitted in a 'Reporter's Spoiled Life.'

3-0 out of 5 stars Nothing new
I enjoyed the book. But I felt the book lacked any new insights into all of the history this author lived through. While the book gave some interesting background on the author's family, the rest of it was like watching reruns of the 6:30 news.

It left me wanting more of what wasn't there.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good book by the best news man ever!
I've always been a big fan of Walter Cronkite (I even got to meet and interview him while I was in college), but I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I was not disappointed. Cronkite takes the reader through his start in journalism and through all of the important events that he reported on while serving as managing editor of the CBS Evening News. He does jump around a little bit, but that is a very, very minor complaint.

What I like most about the book is that Cronkite is honestly and genuinely modest. If there ever was a news man that would have cause to brag and take stock in his accomplishments in a high-handed manner, it's Cronkite, but he does not at all. Uncle Walter writes his book like he conducted his broadcasts - he just tells it like it is. This is a wonderful book not only for newshounds and journalism aficionados, but also for anyone who would like to read about a figure of Americana. Highly recommended. ... Read more


4. Traveling Mercies
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375405976
Catlog: Book (1999-01-19)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 439361
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

3 cassettes / 4 hours
Read by the Author

"Eloquent, detailed, emotionally honest . . . Lamott deserves a prize for telling it like it is." - People

From the bestselling author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird comes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny.

With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith.In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and them, even more miraculously, in herself.She shows us the myriad ways n which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life an exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope

Whether talking about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.

"Anne Lamott is a cause for celebration.[Her] real genius lies in capturing the ineffable, describing not perfect moments, but imperfect ones . . .perfectly. She is nothing short of miraculous." - The New Yorker
... Read more

Reviews (240)

5-0 out of 5 stars Only for those with a wry sense of humor
I can't fault this book, only praise it. For who else has written in such a unique way about a faith journey? Lamott makes it real (for someone of her age [middle-aged] and from a definitely Californian point of view.) But, her observations and the way she writes about them are universal. And funny.

If you can't laugh at yourself, your foibles, and even at God, don't read this--you'll start feeling self-righteous and will be quickly entering a "how dare she?" review. You will, of course, have totally missed the point.

Everyone can learn something about the way LIFE has a sneaky way of surfacing painful and joyous memories and feelings. These emotions are triggered by life's details, which Lamott expertly captures. She finds the most unassuming triggers to release a flood of feelings about various topics. The stories she tells are God-given, precious moments. Perhaps we don't "see" these moments and reflect on them enough in our lives. Is that why Lamott touches us? Thankfully, she remind us that they are there.

Read and savor this book, if you are open to what makes someone an imperfect person--and a Christian.

5-0 out of 5 stars Never written a review or letter to author before....
Have been an avid reader for 30 years, but never before felt compelled to write a review or letter to an author before...This book, perhaps more than any of the thousands of others I have read, struck a chord in my soul. On the recommendation of a friend I had read "Operating Instructions" about three years ago. While thumbing through a Book of the Month Club type catalog I ran across the photo of a white woman in dreadlocks and was struck with admiration for the woman who would present such a public image. I was pleasantly surprised to read that her name was Anne LaMott. I ordered the book "Traveling Mercies" and was delighted and completely engrossed by it. Ms. LaMott puts words to emotion I cannot personally express when she speaks of her "Christian-ish" life-orientation, her likening of her personal experience of coming to the Lord as to that of a stray cat trying to enter her life, and the pain and sublime joy of rearing her Sam. Like Annie,(oddly enough the name my own mother, a story in and of itself, was called as a girl) I came to a personal relationship with God through voyeurism into a congregation of Black believers, and like her, was taught life lessons I didn't know I needed through my interaction in fellowship with them. I thank God for the talent with words he has bestowed upon Anne, ask his blessings upon her and her loved ones, and recommend this book to anyone who finds him/herself surprised at the move of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hooked
This is the book that got me hooked on Anne Lamott. Most poignant and precious are the insights about life as a recovering alcoholic. Raw facts about motherhood were astounding, too. Her word choice at times caused my gut to spasm, but I survived and went on to read all of the book she had previously written. To my delight and the benefit of mankind, Lamott's newest book, Blue Shoe, avoids profanity.

4-0 out of 5 stars my kind of christian
Until I read Anne Lamott I associated the word "Christian" with holier-than-thou, priggish, etc. Now I see clearly that that's just a stereotype. It IS possible for a Christian to be a liberal with a wicked sense of humor.

Lamott isn't afraid to present herself in a less than flattering light whether it's secretly hating her mom or yelling out of frustration at her young son. We all do these things, but most of us prefer to show the world the "good" side of ourselves. Lamott is wonderful when it comes to making the everyday petty irritations of life funny, so that you empathize with her rather than judging.

Lamott writes about children, her friends, relatives and church. She writes about the competitiveness that can develop among parents of young children, and she writes about the path she took to becoming sober. Unlike some reviewers, I don't think it's going to be detrimental to her later relationship with her son when she makes him go to church. There could be a lot worse things she could force him to do.

In one essay, she writes about feeling unattractive after standing with a group of teenage girls waiting for a bus back to her hotel. Then she realizes that no one in the group is probably satisfied with her body, and this is something I've started to tell myself when I find myself in that kind of situation, too.

This atheist gives this book two thumbs up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outside my experience
This book should be an eye-opener for anyone who is prone to believing in "cookie cutter christians"...

Read with an open heart. God will bless... ... Read more


5. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller
by Ron Chernow
list price: $200.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0736647295
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Sales Rank: 877582
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6. Naked
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570424810
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 40542
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Reviews

Hip radio comedy fans and theater folks who belong to the cult of Obie-winning playwright/performer David Sedaris must kill to get this book. These would be fans of the scaldingly snide Sedaris's hilariously described personal misadventures like The Santaland Diaries (a monologue about his work as an elf to a department store Santa) seen off-Broadway in 1997. In a series of similarly textured essays, Sedaris takes us along on his catastrophic detours through a nudist colony, a fruit-packing plant, his own childhood, and a dozen more of the world's little purgatories. ... Read more

Reviews (307)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Absolutely Worth Your Money!
Well, first, I resent this being classified as fiction when it's a memoir.

That aside, Naked contains some of the most brilliant modern autobiographical writing that I have had the fortune of reading.
Any two-bit writing course will teach you that you should write what you know. But few can blend insightful self-analyzation, wit, and social commentary like David Sedaris.

Through his eyes, as a child, an adolescent, young adult, and finally as a thirty-something, Sedaris introduces us to his large and bizarre family, various quirky characters in his life, and to himself, by far the most intriguing subject of them all.

I had a hard time saying goodbye to him when the book was over. I had the overwhelming desire to fly to NYC, make friends with him, and spend the rest of my days meeting him for coffee and saying, "Tell me something that happened when you were an apple-picker."

Buy this buy this buy this. Absolutely the funniest book I read since WILL@epicqwest.com by Tom Grimes, and I thought they didn't come any funnier!

4-0 out of 5 stars One Big Laugh Out Loud!
I would love to give this books five stars but I can't. There were three stories ("Chipped Beef," "Dinah, the Christmas Whore," and "The Drama Bug") that just didn't grab me, so I can't in good conscience give "Naked" a perfect rating. But it's a very strong 4....like a 4.7.

David Sedaris is one of the funniest authors I've ever read. His storytelling is superb and absolutely hilarious! This is a must-read for anyone out there who wants to temporarily escape their own dull lives and live vicariously through someone else. Underneath Sedaris's humorous adventures lies a sadness and fear, but that's what makes the stories so beautiful and genuine. Living with OCD, his mother's death, and realizing and accepting his homosexuality are amongst life's trying situations, to say the least. But Sedaris recounts those experiences with tenderness and dignity. I dreaded getting to the last page, and when I closed the book and put it back on the shelf it felt like I was losing a new friend. So...the solution to that was simple....I just pre-ordered his next book.

NOTE: If you loved "Naked" you'll love "Barrell Fever."

5-0 out of 5 stars Addictive.
David Sedaris takes you on a journey through part of his life in a series of autobiographical essays - each one better than the last. If you're in the mood for a comical autobiography then this is for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Funniest Misadventures EVER
I loved David Sedaris' "NAKED." Bred of the same ilk as Augusten Burroughs' "RUNNING WITH SCISSORS" and Rikki Lee Travolta's "MY FRACTURED LIFE", the story is a collection of true misadventures told with scathingly fierce wit and dark humor. One of the funniest of its kind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Let's Get NAKED!
This collection of autobiographical essays ranges the gamut of diverse topics from a nudist colony (the essay which gives the collection its title) to a chain-smoking mother dying of cancer, to the prostitute who David's sister rescues one Christmas Eve. ('I felt superior to all the other families on the block, because suddenly the phrase 'Ho, ho, ho!' had an entirely new meaning to me.')

Sedaris, one of a select few openly homosexual authors to reach out to a broader audience, makes his prose sparkle with wit and cynicism. In the stories of his semi-dysfunctional family life, you will catch elements of your own (probably tame and normal) life. While being darkly funny and cynical, Sedaris balances humor with a touching tenderness about his mother's fatal bout with cancer. But lest he become too much of a softie, such zany essays such as 'A Plague of Tics,' about his collection of nervous habits growing up. ('Don't you lick that light switch one more time, young man!')

Sedaris's unique blend of dark humor, cynicism and wonderful tenderness and reflection are reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut. Sedaris bares his soul for the world to see Naked, showing us the contradiction of humanity. He is a satirist with a heart, a chain-smoking, zany, wonderful author who will leave you at the end of an essay in tears of laughter, choked up on a wonderful, sadly funny concept. (...) ... Read more


7. REBA MY STORY : My Story
by Reba Mcentire
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671886584
Catlog: Book (1994-06-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 455135
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Is A Must Read for any Reba or Country Music Fan!!
This book is a MUST read, even though I am a HUGE Reba fan, and somewhat partial!! It is the story of her life, and the lessons she learned while growing up in Oklahoma, as well as, her rise to fame as one of country music's leading ladies. It is the ONLY book that she has had anything to do with writing, with the exception of the upcoming, "Comfort From A Country Quilt" (I CAN'T WAIT!! :-), and therefore, is the only completely true account of her life. I loved this book...It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and I HIGHLY recommend it!!!!! It is a fantastic book!!!! "Forever Love" You Reba!!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is THE book!!
For anything you want to know about Reba's life, this IS the book to read. I was not fond of country music of any kind, until I read this book. Now, I am a HUGE Reba McEntire fan..one of the biggest, because I gained enormous respect for her for bringing the truth out to all her fans. This book is funny, sad, sometimes surprising...but always well written, straight from the heart. You will enjoy this book, and the audio is great too because she reads it herself! I highly reccommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Man...Can this woman sing!!!!!!
This book was very good. She was honest and told the happy parts of her life and the sad parts. While You are reading this book you are sad and happy. I could not put this book down. And there are some great pictures in it also. I hope she continues to succeed at what she loves to do. YOU'RE THE BEST!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I read this book when it first came out. I could not put the book down. I have to say that Reba is my favorite singer. I have read this book over at least three times. I have lent my book out for other people to read it. They thought the very same thing that I did. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK REBA!

5-0 out of 5 stars Honesty
I appreciate her honesty in this book. She gave not only the pleasant but the unpleasant side of life and situations. The good always has bad to follow and we do what we can with situations. Reba demonstrated this with the format and presentation in the story. ... Read more


8. Three Weeks With My Brother
by Nicholas Sparks
list price: $29.98
our price: $18.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586216422
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 75355
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A VIVID VOICE PERFORMANCE
Who wouldn't want to go on a trip around the world, especially in the company of bestselling author Nicholas Sparks? Well, not everyone can go around the world, but listeners now have an opportunity to hear about a once-in-a-lifetime trip undertaken by Nicholas and his brother Micah.

Voice performer Henry Leyva brings to vivid life not only the recollections of the authors but also some of the world's mysterious and best known far-off spots, Easter Island, Ayers Rock, Machu Picchu, and more.

Perhaps more important than the physical journey "Three Weeks with My Brother" is also a journey of self-discovery as the two share memories of their youth. They are now the only remaining members of the Sparks family - their mother died in 1989; their father was killed in an automobile accident, and they lost their sister to a brain tumor.

As the trip begins both are grown men with families of their own for whom they deeply care. Yet, both seem to realize that the opportunity to make this trip may not happen again. Listeners will be glad that they made that choice as they listen, perhaps reflecting upon or even reconnecting with members of their own families.

- Gail Cooke ... Read more


9. I'm a Stranger Here Myself : Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055352626X
Catlog: Book (1999-05-04)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 291021
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The master humorist and bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods now guides us on an affectionate, hysterically funny tour of America's most outrageous absurdities.

After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly three million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens--as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new-and-improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. From motels ("one of those things--airline food is another--that I get excited about and should know better") to careless barbers ("in the mirror I am confronted with an image that brings to mind a lemon meringue pie with ears"), I'm a Stranger Here Myself chronicles the quirkiest aspects of life in America, right down to our hardware-store lingo, tax-return instructions, and vulnerability to home injury ("statistically in New Hampshire I am far more likely to be hurt by my ceiling or underpants than by a stranger").

Along the way Bill Bryson also reveals his rules for life (#1: It is not permitted to be both slow and stupid. You must choose one or the other); delivers the commencement address to a local high school ("I've learned that if you touch a surface to see if it's hot, it will be"); and manages to make friends with a skunk. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended, if at times bemused, love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.
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Reviews (158)

4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable perspective on America
Bill Bryson can be a curmudgeon. A very funny curmudgeon. This book is a collection of columns he wrote for a British publication over the course of a year. Collected here, they contain the experiences of a person returning to their homeland after 20 years and reacquainting himself. As mentioned by previous reviewers, a couple of the columns seem as if he was rushed (although I found the tax column funny), but many of them are spot-on. Many column subjects are about things Americans like to remember fondly - diners, drive-in movie theatres, the outdoors, and are therefore touching. Others are just plain hilarious. When he's in the 'zone', Bill Bryson is among the funniest authors alive. If you've read a column or any previous books by Bryson and slightly enjoyed it, there will be something here for you. Keep in mind that it is a collection of essays written over the course of one year, so a couple may not sway you, but overall this collection is definitely a keeper!

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights from the outside
Bill Bryson's "I'm a Stranger..." is an interesting collection of observations and comments about several aspects of American life. As they are taken from weekly columns he wrote for a paper in England, this is not a "book" per se. But that fact doesn't take away from its charm, or, at times, stinging criticism.

This is mostly a humorous work, like the article Bryson wrote poking fun at the US Federal Tax Return (wait 'til you hear it!). But it's not all light-hearted; Bryson also finds time for more serious matters, like immigration and gun control. His analyses of these situations and his expose' of inconsistent American values/beliefs is worth the price of the book alone. Sometimes it takes an outsider, like Bryson was, to show you things you couldn't see yourself. He does this splendidly.

Others have commented that the book was a little too formulaic; I have noticed this too. Many of the articles end with a "punch-line" of sarcasm, and it seemed a bit predictable the more I read. For this reason I would recommend not reading too much at once. It worked better for me listening to one or two themes at a time, and then taking a break. The material (and Bryson's approach) remained more fresh that way.

In all, though, this was a good effort. Bryson definitely makes you think about issues you might have taken for granted. Four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Portrait
After reading and enjoying "Notes From a Small Island," I was looking forward to Bryson's witticisms in regards to every day life in America. Although an American, having spent twenty odd years in England gives Bryson a unique perspective on what makes America, and Americans, tick. "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a collection of essays Bryson wrote for an English audience; but they lack none of their charm when read by an Anglophile American.

"I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is and odd conglomeration of essays that deal with a range of topics: small-town America, shopping, the inconvenience of our numerous "conveniences", and several entries on his own ineptness when it comes to technology. In each of his essays Bryson is a bit of a wanderer, starting in one direction, only to go off on a tangent. Usually he's able to bring himself back to the point, and can even poke fun at himself for doing so. His wanderings are what sets his style and what generates the largest laughs or head shakes of disbelief.

While Bryson is at times critical of what happens in America, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a loving portrait of a revered country. However, Bryson's perspective is one of a man living a blessed life. He now resides in a virtually crime-free small New Hampshire town and grew up in small-town Iowa. His essays sometimes lack the experiences that growing up or residing in other areas might offer. However, due to his extensive travels, Bryson's perspective is truly unique and a joy to read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Bryson's best
Bryson's best book is "Notes From a Small Island," about traveling in Great Britain. It's one of the funniest books I've read. The British are funny, and Bryson knows them well after living in Britain for 20+ years.

His book about Australia, "In a Sunburned Country," is also entertaining. He studied Australian history, met many interesting locals, etc. After reading it, I feel like an expert on Australia and its people.

His book about Europe, "Neither Here Nor There," isn't so good. The problem is that he speaks no languages other than English. He didn't talk to anyone on this trip. Wwithout any characters (other than Bryson) the book isn't engaging. The book has only one joke, which he repeats: "The waiter/hotel clerk/taxi driver didn't speak English so I tried to make him understand that I needed..." Some of these moments are quite funny, but they don't constitute a book. Bryson didn't study the places he visits. Unlike the Australian book, you learn almost nothing about the countries he visited.

Bryson's book about America, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself," failed to make me laugh. It reads like a series of Erma Bombeck columns. Bryson comments about various aspects of his life in a small town in New England. Not other people's lives, which might have been interesting, but only about his domestic life.

I got only a few chapters into his book about the Appalachian Trail, "A Walk in the Woods." I wasn't amused that two people with no backpacking experience would attempt a six-month hike. After several chapters of Bryson repeating one joke -- "I know nothing about any of this!" -- I stopped reading.

This suggests that the old advice "write about what you know" is worth following. It also made me realize that traveling is only enjoyable if you do two things: meet interesting people, preferably by speaking their language; and studying the area you're visiting.

Review by Thomas David Kehoe, author of "Hearts and Minds: How Our Brains Are Hardwired for Relationships"

3-0 out of 5 stars A stranger in a strange land.
"The intricacies of modern American life" leave Bill Bryson wondering, "what on earth am I doing here?" in this collection of short, anecdotal essays (pp. 231; 286). Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryson (best known for NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, A WALK IN THE WOODS, and A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING) lived in the Yorkshire Dales of England for twenty years before returning to the States in 1995 with his English wife and his four children (p. 1). The Brysons lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, before recently returning to Britain (where Bryson is finishing a new book on Shakespeare).

This book offers a compilation of Bryson's whimsical contributions from 1996 to 1998 to London's Night & Day magazine, offering his humorous observations upon life in the United States and in New England in particular. While Bryson recognizes that there is a great deal about American culture that is appealing--"the ease and convenience of life, the friendliness of the people, the astoundingly abundant portions, the intoxicating sense of space, the cheerfulness of nearly everyone who serves you, the notion that almost any desire or whim can be simply and instantly gratified (p. 286)--with his characteristic wit, he chooses instead to skewer American culture in all of its idiosyncrasies--diners, drive ins, dental floss hotlines, diets, processed foods, cable TV, lawsuits, drug laws, running shoes, and garbage disposals.

I am a big Bill Bryson fan. I have rated this book with three stars only when measured against some of his better books--A WALK IN THE WOODS, NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING, for example. This book didn't hold my attention as those books did, and Bryson's reunion with American culture didn't leave me with a sense of wonder and delight. Rather, his encounters with the American "have-a-nice-day" culture left me feeling like a disenchanted stranger in a strange land myself. Ah, well, who wants to be "normal" by the cultural standards described here anyway?

G. Merritt ... Read more


10. Night
by Elie Wiesel, Jeffrey Rosenblatt
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883332400
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Audio Bookshelf
Sales Rank: 306898
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Night -- A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.
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Reviews (744)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lifechanging experience
Night, by Elie Weisel, is a book different than any other I have read. Many opinions about history, and even life in some cases changed while reading Night. For a very long time I believed that Josef Stalin was the most evil man to live in the twentieth century. After reading Night I believe that Hitler and his relentless "fight" to exterminate Hebrews from the face of the planet is the most evil act of hate ever. Elie Weisel is a 12 year old boy living in the town of Sighet. Untouched by Nazis until about 1942, Elie begins his long tour of numerous concentration camps throughout Europe. This book is about the lengths a human will go through to survive. Night is about love, hope, determination, and the spirit of humanity to survive, forgive, and to inform us, the readers, that we must never forget the lives lost during the years of Nazi occupied Germany. We must never forget how 12 million people just like you and I were executed because of differences. Night is a book that should eventually be read by all high school students. I am still humbled by Night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop Reading for the Mind and Soul
Reading Night by Elie Wiesel began as a simple two-day assignment for my freshman English class. At first glance, I expected this quick read to be simply one more trite account to the terrible atrocities committed during wwii Germany. But after getting only 15 pages into the storyline, I found myself immersed in the detail, precision, and striking ability with which Wiesel describes his own adolescent struggle. At the age of only 15, he was faced with the daunting task of realizing that not everyone is good deep down inside. As his family is herded from its town of Sighet into trains, and then unkonwingly into concentration camps, the universal good in man which young Eliezer had once believed was stripped from his soul. This emotional weekend read is capable of being devoured all in one sitting. However, while reading this book in our living rooms or at the beach, we must remember what our fellow men and women around the world have been through. As readers, we should take time to celebrate the courage and hope that men like Elie Wiesel have possessed. Without this strong passion for life our world would be so much different than it is today. The few hours we spend reading this book are special. But they are nothing compared to the days, months, and years that thousands of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and slavs spent in concentration camps. If you have ever felt low or alone, read Night, and you will see just how lucky you are to be able to breathe, to eat, to love, to feel, to even be alive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Horrifying Account of the Holocaust
Night is the story of Elie Wiesel's experience in the German concentration camp Auschwitz during World War II. He calls it a "nightmare-" this is an understatement. One can wake up from a nightmare. The horror Wiesel lived had no outlet.

A Jew from Transylvania, Wiesel grew up with a strong religious background. He found an unlikely teacher in a man named "Moshe the Beadle." Moshe taught his pupil that man could not understand God's answers to man's questions; man could only ask God the right questions. Would Elie's time in Auschwitz destroy his budding faith? The book explores faith in a searing way. A must read for all. Ages 16 and up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Searching for Themes in Night
Night is a story about a young boy's life during the Holocaust. He uses a different name in the story, Eliezer. He comes from a highly Orthodox Jewish family, and they observed the Jewish traditions. His father, Shlomo, a shopkeeper, was very involved with the Jewish community, which was confined to the Jewish section of town, called the shtetl.
In 1944, the Jews of Hungary were relatively unaffected by the catastrophe that was destroying the Jewish communities of Europe in spite of the infamous Nuremberg Laws of 1935-designed to dehumanize German Jews and subject them to violence and prejudice. The Holocaust itself did not reach Hungary until 1944. In Wiesel's native Sighet, the disaster was even worse: of the 15,000 Jews in prewar Sighet, only about fifty families survived the Holocaust. In May of 1944, when Wiesel was fifteen, his family and many inhabitants of the Sighet shtetl were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The largest and deadliest of the camps, Auschwitz was the site of more than 1,300,000 Jewish deaths. Wiesel's father, mother, and little sister all died in the Holocaust. Wiesel himself survived and immigrated to France. His story is a horror story that comes to life when students in high school read this novel. Even though many students have not witnessed or participated in such horror, they relate to the character because Wiesel is their age. They cannot believe someone went through the nightmare he did at their age.

This book focuses on many themes: conflict, silence, inhumanity to others, and father/son bonding. We see many, too many, conflicts this young man faces. Eliezer struggles with his faith throughout the story. He believes that God is everywhere, and he can't understand how God could let this happen, especially as Eliezer faces conflict everyday in the concentration camp. He also learns silence means. He says he says it is God's silence that he doesn't understand. He feels that God's silence demonstrates the absence of divine compassion. Another silence that drive confuses Eliezer is the silence of the victims. He cannot understand why they don't fight back, especially with the inhumanity that is forced upon them. It is because of this inhumanity that he loses faith, not only in God but also in men. He tells how at the beginning, the Germans were "distant but friendly." However, when they reach the camps, the soldiers are transformed from men to monsters. As part of this inhumanity and lack of faith is the instances when a son betrays his father. He sees this several times and can't comprehend how a son, in order to save his own life, betrays his father. Luckily for Eliezer's father, Eliezer's love and bond is stronger than self-preservation.
How can students relate to this story when they haven't experienced anything near what Wiesel did. Maybe they haven't experienced these acts, but they have experienced conflict, silence, inhumanity, and bonding, and if a teacher focuses on these themes, the students will relate.
Works Cited:
Sparknotes.com. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/night/themes.html

5-0 out of 5 stars Overpowering and Humbling....
l am a Christian and was absolutely stunned by this book. To read -and more importantly to re-read and reflect - about the trials and tribulations of a devoted Jewish family as they went from a loving, religious/spiritual home to a ghetto, then to the railroad yards, then to a Concentration Camp...is to be transported to a nightmarish journey and world that must never be taken for granted, that must be understood deeply, and which must be respected with our hearts more than with our minds.

To criticize any victim of the Holocaust for doubting or questioning their G-d is to live in a fantasy world. Unless one has lived through the horror and degradations of the Holocaust, he should be quiet. As for me, whenever l see or think of the child-victims and their parents of those terrible days, l think of me and my own children in their place...and it keeps me very humble. ... Read more


11. At Home in the World
by Joyce Maynard, JoyceMaynard
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559352892
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Soundelux Audio Pub
Sales Rank: 333431
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the spring of 1972, Joyce Maynard, a freshman at Yale, published a cover story in The New York Times Magazine about life in the sixties.Among the many letters of praise, offers for writing assignments, and request for interviews was a one-page letter from the famously reclusive author, J.D. Salinger.

Don't Go Away Sad is the story of a girl who loved and lived with J.D. Salinger, and the woman she became.A crucial turning point in Joyce Maynard's life occurred when her own daughter turned eighteen--the age Maynard was when Salinger first approached her.Breaking a twenty-five year silence, Joyce Maynard addresses her relationship with Salinger for the first time, as well as the complicated , troubled and yet creative nature of her youth and family.She vividly describes the details of the times and her life with the finesse of a natural storyteller.

Courageously written by a women determined to allow her life to unfold with authenticity, Don't Go Away Sad is a testament to the resiliency of the spirit and the honesty of an unwavering eye.
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Reviews (130)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that deserves respect--as does its author
I first read this book several months ago, but feel compelled to comment now because so many members of the press have treated Joyce Maynard as though she had peed on the American flag. What she has done is to write a painfully honest story of a family journey that includes one major, attention-getting stop: her sad, brief, and ultimately devastating relationship with an American icon. When J.D. Salinger realized that the painfully young, painfully thin, unworldly girl he had invited into his New Hampshire aerie was only human, and not able to follow his abstemious, judgmental way of life no matter how hard she tried, he kicked her out. Joyce Maynard, who'd given up a scholarship to Yale at Salinger's bidding, initially may have reminded him of the perfect, pure little-girl characters he created, and that so many American readers love (such as Phoebe from "Catcher in the Rye," or Esme from "For Esme--With Love and Squalor"). But this powerful, famous man became, as Joyce Maynard writes, "the closest thing I ever had to a religion." Once this "religion" was snatched away from her, she labored to put together a life for herself. How Joyce stumbled and fell, how she picked herself up, makes fascinating reading. "At Home in the World" also speaks volumes about what is expected from women (and what women expect from themselves) as lovers, wives, mothers, and wage-earners. Perhaps Joyce Maynard's detractors see her work as a mirror that reminds them, all too uncomfortably, of themselves. Give this book a chance.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, considering...
I heard about this book several years ago, and
did not expect to find myself reading it. I knew
of Joyce Maynard from her columns in "Parents",
which I found uninspiring and often gratuitously
patronizing. Eventually I took this book out from
the public library when I was in the mood for some
light reading, and was pleasantly suprised. The main
strenght of the book IMO is it's lyrical narrative.
The quality of the writing for the most transcends
what I consider to be Joyce's uninspiring
life story, and that includes the Big Love Affair With
Salinger. For someone as intelligent and capable as she
clearly was, Joyce's adult life reads like alot of
poorly-thought-out decisions and missed opportunities,
which she makes the best of. But for his fame and
idiosyncratic ways, the affair with Salinger does
not by my lights make Joyce unique among any other
young women of her generation that had father fixations.
The real heroine of the
story IMO is her mother, who taught Joyce discipline
and the art of writing, while reclaiming her own life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why not tell?
Does a person have a right to her own life story? Guess not. Strange as it must have seemed to the apparently unquenchable ego of the unsavory hermit who preyed on Joyce Maynard, he wasn't the only person in the story. It happened to her, too, and it's her story as much as his. Maybe more so, because it only happened to her the one time, whereas he apparently repeated the May/December affair ad nauseum. Just because he wrote well and crafted a bizarre mystique of impenetrable solitude about himself doesn't mean it needs to be honored at all costs. I enjoyed this book, as Ms. Maynard's prose rings true throughout, especially whe she writes about her relationships with her parents. You go, girl! Keep writing the truth, even though it be about false or fallen idols.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't tell anybody the secrets
As a fellow boomer, I enjoyed and related to Ms Maynard's early 70s memoir, "Looking Back." We now learn that what she wrote on those pages was, while perhaps accurate, not exactly truthful. In "At Home in the World" she seemed determined to tell the truth. The lesson we learn is that truth has a steep price. It is particularly expensive for Mr. Salinger, who appears to have had the misfortune to have been, although seriously eccentric, mostly human. His biggest mistake was that of bad judgment. He trusted Ms Maynard.

This is not to say that Ms Maynard's decision to write about her relationship with him, and the resulting consequences, was wrong. At the time of their relationship she was a journalist of sorts, so Mr. Salinger's decision to place trust in an eighteen-year-old budding writer/journalist, seems today to be foolish.

Reading "At Home in the World" is a lot like passing a horrible traffic accident on the road. You know you shouldn't look, but you do. You know it's a huge invasion of the victims' privacy, but you do it anyway.

This book is a story of coming to terms with our middle age lives. It is a book about what made us what we are . It is a book about choices, good and bad. Where we were once filled with promise, we now must come to terms with the lives we have led. Ms Maynard does this beautifully. Her book makes you think, makes you reflect. Often it is disturbing. It is a compelling story of her search to make sense out of the complicated and twisted road we call life.

I am sure that Ms Maynard's intention in disclosing extremely intimate details of her relationship with her former lover was honest. I am sure it was therapeutic for Ms Maynard to write this updated memoir. I am equally sure it will help a lot of people. She is a wonderful writer. I am sure the result will be beneficial to many struggling to make sense out of their lives.

The truth is, and this is what makes life difficult and complicated, that all these good intentions do not make what she did right. The problem is that in the process of purging her own demons, she felt it necessary to violate the sanctity of her former lover's most sacred right, the right to be secure in the secrets he unveiled to her.

In "Metal Firecracker", Lucinda Williams, in a song about a broken intimate relationship, pleads: "All I ask, don't tell anybody the secrets, don't tell anybody the secrets, I told you."

Anyone who reads "At Home in the World" will know that it is not a book about Jerry Salinger. It is not, in a strict sense, a kiss and tell book. It is however-- a shame. A shame on Ms Maynard for telling his secrets. And shame on us for wanting to know.

3-0 out of 5 stars Honest, but Ultimately Sad
During her freshman year at Yale in 1972, Joyce Maynard published a story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine called ``An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life''. Her picture appeared on the magazine's cover. Among the hundreds of responses she received to that story was a letter that changed her life. It was from the well-known author and recluse J. D. Salinger, a man thirty-five years her senior. Maynard and Salinger soon began a daily correspondence that consumed them both. Eventually, Maynard drove to Salinger's home in New Hampshire to meet him. At the start of her sophomore year, she dropped out of college to move in with him.

The book covers much more than the relationship with Salinger, although it is centered around her time with him. Even allowing for the fact that we hear only one side of that story, the portrait of Salinger that emerges is one of a manipulative and bitter man.

It might be said that Maynard, in the writing of this book, has exploited her relationship with Salinger and betrayed his intense desire for privacy. In anticipation of those criticisms, she writes in her preface, ``While I have no doubt that some will view my choice to tell this story honestly as an invasion of others' privacy, I have tried hard to describe only those events and experiences that had a direct effect on the one story I believe I have a right to tell completely: my own.'' She goes on to recount her life and to describe the people in it with startling honesty, including none-too-flattering portraits of herself and her family. Her forthrightness builds trust, and ultimately, makes us care about Joyce and her story.

Still, despite the panoply of friends she trots out at the end of the book, I couldn't help but wonder about the title Maynard chose for her memoir --- she still strikes me as being rather uncomfortable in this world, and haunted by her past. Mostly, this book made me sad --- sad that so many people with so much intellect and talent could act so foolishly for so long. It's not a pretty picture of the human condition! ... Read more


12. The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
by Jacques Pepin, Michel Chevalier
list price: $32.00
our price: $32.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618331697
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 465382
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Awardwinning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain.
As a homesick six-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, Jacques works on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef.
When he comes to America, he falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child. The master of the American art of reinvention, Jacques goes on to earn a graduate degree from Columbia University, turn down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switch careers to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. It is also the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.
... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A JOY TO READ AND SAVOR
As satisfying as a 5-star meal, as delicious as his mother's cheese souffle, Jacques Pepin's autobiography is rich in scenes, friends, recipes, and anecdotes.

Surely one of the most famous chefs in the world who came into homes through his PBS cooking shows and popular cookbooks, Pepin now reveals the story behind the public face.

Born in prewar France to a cabinetmaker and an energetic woman who owned a small restaurant Pepin was enamored with the kitchen as a youth. He left his formal education behind at the age of 13 to sign on as an apprentice in the arduous training system then required. It was a difficult road he had chosen in a system reminiscent of feudal days. Yet the young man persevered, and before the age of twenty found himself in France's most elite restaurant. Next, he would become personal chef to Charles de Gaulle.

After coming to America he numbered among his friends those with like interests and gifts - Julia Child and James Beard. He also earned a degree from Columbia University, and began to work for Howard Johnson.

A serious automobile accident might have meant the end of anyone's career, but not Pepin's. When he was unable to keep up the daily routine in a kitchen he became a cooking teacher, and a television icon.

"The Apprentice: My Life In The Kitchen" is a joy to read and savor.

- Gail Cooke

4-0 out of 5 stars A delightful read- Quite a life!
This book was really pleasant to read. I could almost hear Mr. Pepin's voice as I read it. It is a fascinating look into his life from young childhood to the present. Also a fascinating look at restaurants, training, apprenticeships, and cooking. If you have enjoyed Pepin's books, or TV shows (my favorite was the PBS series with Julia Child and Pepin) you will enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the Best Memoir I've Read this Year
The skills that make an awesome chef are the same skills that make an awesome writer, patience, a loving devotion to detail, an appreciation of the sensual - this has it all. It's a great slice of history and does what a great memoir is supposed to do - it allows you to enter the world of another.

Jacques Pepin's book, "The Apprentice : My Life in the Kitchen", is a light and compelling, can't put it down read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Reading
I enjoyed every minute of this delectable memoir. Amusing and thoughtful; Pepin shares an intimate look from WWII France and as an ex-pat in America. I hated to see the book end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book by a great cook
Julia Child (who should know!) has called him the best cook in America today. That's high praise.

Jacques Pepin's life in kitchens, beginning with his mother's cafes and continuing on the Food Channel, is a fast-moving and sometimes surprising journey. As a child he worked on a farm (sent there by his parents to avoid the bombs of WWII) but it's his experiences in his mother's cafes that confirms his culinary talent and hitches his wagon to international stardom in cuisine.

Entertaining and international, this is a book that should bring more admirers to Pepin's already crowded table. ... Read more


13. Gibraltar Passage
by T. Davis Bunn
list price: $26.95
our price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556869649
Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
Publisher: Books in Motion
Sales Rank: 651682
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Book Description

Adventure/SuspenseLarge Print EditionA single cry from a young refugee shattered Pierres sorrowful resignation over the fate of his twin brother. Could it be that Patrique, a leader in the French Resistance, had survived an enemy ambush all that time ago? If so, why would he be hiding in Morocco? Racing against assassins and time across Europe and into North Africa, Jake Burnes and Pierre Servais pursue a long-abandoned hope. ... Read more


14. Blindsided : Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir
by Richard Cohen
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060724137
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 341897
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Illness came calling when Richard M. Cohen was twenty-five years old. A young television news producer with expectations of a limitless future, his foreboding that his health was not quite right turned into the harsh reality that something was very wrong when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For thirty years Cohen has done battle with MS only to be ambushed by two bouts of colon cancer at the end of the millennium. And yet, he has written a hopeful book about celebrating life and coping with chronic illness.

"Welcome to my world," writes Cohen, "where I carry around dreams, a few diseases, and the determination to live life my way."

Autobiographical at its roots, reportorial, and expansive, Blindsided explores the effects of illness on raising three children and on his relationship with wife, Meredith Vieira (host of ABC's The View and the syndicated Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). Cohen tackles the nature of denial and resilience, the ins and outs of the struggle for emotional health, and the redemptive effects of a loving family. And while dealing with illness is not the way he chose to live his life, it did choose him.

... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Puts everything in perspective
"Anyone battling chronic illness understands the power of family support and even the groundless fear of being left," Richard Cohen says.

Cohen, whom I had never heard of before reading this book, puts everything in perspective in this eye-opening and introspectively candid look into not only his life, but that of his spouse Meredith Vieira and their 3 children. At times shocking, revealing, humorous, instructive, as well as cathartic, Blindsided makes for an incredibly refreshing read for anyone who has suffered through a chronic illness or hospitalization(such as myself) or who simply enjoys a profoundly uplifting memoir.

Cohen will surprise you with his surprising candor and dry humor. Especially amusing was his unbridled disdain for the ostensibly helpless light in which Ladies Home Journal cast him in after interviewing Meredith. Making him out to be a pitiful invalid and Meredith as the incessantly weeping caretaker was far from the truth, Richard says. As a true testament to his unwavering resolve, he has chosen to live his life to the fullest that he possibly can -- regardless of his medical limitations.

"Personal strength, in the end, wins out. My hope never dies. And, still, I call myself an optimist. I believe that in the end, my life will be better."

5-0 out of 5 stars I Did It My Way
After listening to the author's wife, Meredith Viera, on the Barbara Walters' interview, I purchased this book by Richard M. Cohen, a survivor of multiple sclerosis and colon cancer, because he deserves to be heard. He is strong through adversity. His wife is his best friend, his loyal partner, and obviously wants to share the inspiring story of her admiration for Richard Cohen and the strength of their family.

Mr. Cohen develops his "reluctant memoir" as he refers to his book, in a realistic way. All of us will face some sort of adversity at one time or another during our short time on this earth. Read this engrossing story in order to learn this man's coping mechanisms. He continues to deal with worsening symtoms of this disease, teach his children to be understanding and compassionate towards others, work constantly on being optimistic in the face of uncertainty about his medical conditions, and give his opinions and insights on just about everything.

The effects of this progressive disease on his wife and three children are told with honesty and concern. He is a skillful writer, an independent thinker, and discourages any sympathy one might have for him.

As I read this timely book through in just two sittings, I counted my blessings and gave thanks to our God for His peace which passes all understanding. None of us are promised a "rose garden" in this life, but we are promised a "Presence" to comfort us, if we ask. There is no mention in this book of a spiritual journey. I hope he writes another book with a mention of that type of journey as well as a thanks and a mention of all those who have assisted and encouraged him these past 3 decades - for without them, I doubt he could be the "overcomer" he daily strives to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars "When sorrows come, they come . . . in battalions."
Richard Cohen knows about sorrow as well as joy. When he was twenty-five, life seemed to have endless promise. He was an up-and-coming television news producer who felt physically fit and self-confident. One day, Cohen dropped a coffee pot, and he chalked it up to a clumsy moment. On another occasion, he was standing at a curb and he lost his balance for no apparent reason. He gave these symptoms little thought until his leg began to itch and Cohen realized that the outside of the skin on his leg was completely numb. After speaking with his father, a physician, Cohen learned that he has multiple sclerosis, a devastating and potentially crippling disease.

"Blindsided" is not just a story of sickness and physical deterioration. It is also a testament to the faith, love, and determination of a very special family. Cohen married Meredith Vieira after he was diagnosed with MS. They have three children whom they adore, and they have remained unified throughout many years of suffering and sacrifice. Besides his battle with MS, which has left him legally blind, Cohen has also survived two bouts of colon cancer.

Each day, Cohen lives with the knowledge that he will most likely never recover his strength, that he cannot work at the job he adores, and that his wife and children will see him growing weaker as the years pass. Yet, he chooses to fight back by doing his utmost to remain as strong as he can, and by setting an example of courage that is an inspiration to those who know him. Although Cohen's prose is not subtle or elegant, his story is compelling, unforgettable, and unflinchingly honest. After reading this powerful book, most readers will consider every day of good health to be a tremendous blessing that should never be taken for granted.

2-0 out of 5 stars Reluctant indeed
If I could ask Richard Cohen one question, it would be "Why did you write this book?" Because he is reluctant, and even while he wants to give the impression of being personal and honest, I get a feeling he's trying to do so while not giving too much away, or that he's talking around something. Maybe he was nagged to write a book about his experience to the point that he finally just wrote it to get everyone off his back. He's very angry person who seems to think that that's fine with his family, that they had worked it out and accept his hair- trigger temper as just a loveable quirk. I don't mind that he is angry about his illness. For once, someone does not get all gooey about illness, but just presents it as pain, obstacle, a waste of life force that Cohen would rather have spent on his career or family or anything else. And why not? I appreciate his rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light (literally, in his case). Not everyone can be ennobled by illness, and I'll bet it's actually a relief to many sufferers to learn they have a kindred soul in NOT being more than average and in hating their illness and what's been stolen from them. There are better, more eloquent books about what it's like to have illness ("Time on Fire," for one) interrupt your life, steal your time, youth, freedom, independence and love and patience. This book feels like it is a narration to which I'm missing the pictures -- Richard Cohen was in TV, after all, and is used to having the pictures do most of the talking. I don't "see" this book at all, feel like I'm being lectured at, and found Cohen to be a very hostile, unpleasant person to the point where, although I believe his resentment is justified, I didn't enjoy being around him during the time spent reading his book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Multiple sclerosis affected his body, emotions and future
Illness changed author Richard M. Cohen's life when he was only 25: it came in the form of multiple sclerosis and affected his body, emotions and future. Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir (his resulting autobiography) sketches his confrontation with his condition, its effects on his family and his relationship with his wife, and his determination to lead a good life still filled with dreams. ... Read more


15. The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester
list price: $34.95
our price: $22.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060592354
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 132468
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling author of
The Professor and the Madman,
The Map That Changed the World,
and Krakatoa

Writing with marvelous brio, Simon Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language and pays homage to the great dictionary makers from Samuel Johnson to Noah Webster before turning his unmatched talent for storytelling to the making of the most venerable of dictionaries – The Oxford English Dictionary. Here the listener is presented with lively portraits of such key figures as the brilliant but sickly first editor Herbert Coleridge, the colorful, wildly eccentric Frederick Furnivall, and the incomparable James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent half a century as editor bringing the project to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the minutiae of dictionary making, brings us to visit the unseemly corrugated iron shed that Murray grandly dubbed The Scriptorium, and introduces some of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward Hall, a bitter hermit obsessively devoted to the OED, to the murderous W. C. Minor, whose story is one of dangerous madness, ineluctable sadness, and ultimate redemption.

The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating account of the creation of the greatest monument erected to a living language.

... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Flawed People Who Together, Made A Masterpiece
The Oxford English Dictionary is an unrivaled monument to the history, beauty and complexity of the English language. The story of the men and women who made this marvelous work makes for compellling reading, especially in the hands of such a skilled storyteller as Simon Winchester.

"The Professor and the Madman," Winchester's first best-seller, was the story of Dr. W.C. Minor, an American who had gone to England in what was a vain hope of regaining his sanity. Instead, he committed a senseless murder, and was imprisoned in an asylum for life. Minor found redemption in his otherwise ruined life by devoting decades of service as a volunteer reader/researcher for the OED.

In his introduction to this volume, Winchester explains that an editor at the Oxford University Press suggested that since he had written a footnote to the story of the great enterprise, he might want to undertake the main story. Fortunately for us, he took up the suggestion with enthusiasm.

The pace of the narrative never falters in its entire 250 pages. The opening chapter provides a brief overview of the evolution of English and of previous efforts to compile a truly comprehensive dictionary of the language--and why all fell short of that lofty goal.

What became the OED enterprise had its origins in the late 1850s, but the first completed dictionary pages did not see the light of day until the early 1880s. Why the project was almost stillborn, how it survived deaths, disorganization, lack of funds and innumerable other setbacks--all of this is brought vividly to life in Winchester's tale. Even when the great editor James Murray took the helm and the project finally emerged from chaos, it still faced obstaces, especially from those who would have sacraficed quality in order to produce a swifter, but less authoratative, final product.

Today, the third edition of the OED is in preparation by a staff working in modern offices, making use of all the tools of twenty-first century information technology. The contrast to the conditions facing makers of the original OED, laboring by hand, sorting tens of thousands of slips of paper into pigenhole slots in an ugly, dank corrugated tin shed (grandly named the "Scriptorium" by Murray) is startling, and makes their achievement all the more amazing--and grand.

Dr. Minor makes a brief appearance in the story, along with some of the other unusual and exemplary volunteer contributors from around the world who combed nearly 800 years of English literature to give the OED its impressive depth. While none of the other's stories may be quite as extreme as Minor's, it's clear that for many, their involvement in this great cause (with no pay and little recognition) also gave depth and meaning to their lives.

It's the vivid, human qualities that Winchester illuminates so well make this a great story...one that you won't want to miss.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Delight
Anything by Simon Winchester is bound to be a delight due to his mastery of the English language and his ability to tell a fascinating tale. In The Meaning of Everything he returns to much of the same subject matter as he covered in his best known work, The Professor and the Madman.

The Oxford English Dictionary is a peerless reference work. Winchester tells the story of how it was conceived and brought to fruition by the work of numerous talented men and women from the mid eighteen hundreds up until the 1920s. He describes the painstaking work that developing each etymology and definition involved and the many personalities involved, most especially the greatest of the Dictionary's editors, Sir James Murray. There are also many vignettes of some of the others who spent time and energy creating the Dictionary, including J.R.R. Tolkien, who created many of the W definitions.

This is a delightful book that will entertain you even if you rarely have occasion to consult the OED.

4-0 out of 5 stars Needed some of that famous editing....
This is an interesting story well-told, but I find myself in agreement with those readers who feel that it was somewhat hastily thrown together. On page 75 (of the first hardcover edition, Oxford University Press, 2003, 2nd printing), the writer tells us as simple fact that James Murray, born in 1837, "cherished the fact that he had managed to befriend a local ancient who had been alive when Parliament proclaimed William and Mary joint sovereign in 1689..." Do the math. If this "ancient" was two years old in 1689, he would be 152 years old in 1839 when Murray might be old enough to meet and remember him. Ancient indeed, and worth at least a comment. On page 124, the writer says of compositor James Gilbert "He joined the Press as an apprentice in 1880... and was still working 36 years later when the final words... were set in January 1928." Perhaps he was docked 12 years for lollygagging. I tend to think that Mr. Gilbert worked for the 48 years because 36 years at the same job is not so remarkable. What is remarkable is that this kind of obvious error would get past the august editors at the Oxford University Press.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring on several levels
Simon Winchester's book chronicles the efforts of many individuals who, as he often repeats, never received compensation and only limited recognition. In many ways it presages the millions of Internet contributors whose collective contributions create disproportionate value for everyone. Winchester writes well, as one would expect of someone writting about the best dictionary in the world. He weaves history and personal quirks into the narrative. I could hardly put the book down.

In a way, the narrative is inspiring at a higher level than just the creation of a big, fat dicitonary. Many of the participants in the enormous project had lives with disappointments or (and suprisingly often) even madness. For them, their contributions represented a redemption of sorts -- adding a small part to a huge undertaking compensated for their real or imagined failing.

He presents enough facts to give the reader a sense of the day-to-day work. The sheer mechanics of millions of slips of paper stored in wooden holes, the arguments about words to be excluded, how far back in time to go ... all had to be resolved. I particularly like the introduction where he mentions that the top echelon of educated people in 1928 were FAR more educated than almost all educated people today. While I don't think people today are dumber than in 1928, that comment sounds like the basis for a new book ....

Anyhow, this is an "accomplished, admirable, attractive, beautiful, capital, choice, cool, crack, dandy, elegant, enjoyable, exceptional, expensive, exquisite, fashionable, first-class, first-rate, first-string" read!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Concise history of the OED
Immediately after I finished undergraduate school, some thirty years ago, I joined a book club, finally free to read for pleasure once again. In exchange for ordering x-number of books and promising to buy several more over the coming year, I received a bonus: a micro-print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, two large blue volumes with print just large enough that the naked eye could recognize it as print, but small enough that one could not read it comfortably without the magnifying glass that came in its own box and drawer at the top of the box. Although I was familiar with the OED, this was my first extended exposure to its riches. I was fascinated with the many illustrative quotes drawn from English literature. What surprises me now is that I had so little curiosity about who collected all those quotes. Who read all the books necessary to find all those sentences? And how did they catalogue them?

Simon Winchester answers both questions (volunteers all over the world to the first, and specially built pigeon holes to the second) and many, many more in his short, but informative "The Meaning of Everything." In lucid prose, with just enough humorous anecdote to moisten what could have been dry facts, he traces the history of the OED from its inception in a speech to the Philological Society in 1857 to its first complete printing in 1928 and then through its various revisions and expansions, including my micro-print edition.

Along the way, he drops in character sketches of some of the major players, describes some of the major predecessor dictionaries, offers some almost unbelievable statistics and compares the OED to its peers (if one admits any exist) in other countries, always with a gentle sense of humor. He shows admirable discretion and restraint in selecting his examples. Rather than attempt sketches of all the various types of volunteers, for example, he contents himself with portraits of a few representatives, and includes a list of some of the more colorful and evocative names to stimulate the reader's imagination.

If you use the OED regularly, or even occasionally, you may be as fascinated as I at how long it took to finish, and that the project was almost abandoned - several times. If you are not familiar with the OED, this history should be sufficient to entice you into finding a copy to peruse ... Read more


16. Give Me a Break : How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media...
by John Stossel
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060585641
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 130277
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ballooning government? Millionaire welfare queens? Tort lawyers run amok? A $330,000 outhouse, paid for with your tax dollars? John Stossel says, "Give me a break."

When he hit the airwaves thirty years ago, Stossel chased snake-oil peddlers, rip-off artists, and corporate thieves, winning the applause of his peers.

But along the way, he noticed that there was something far more troublesome going on: While the networks screamed about the dangers of coffee pots, worse risks were ignored.

In Give Me a Break, Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scare-mongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market.

He traces his journey from cub reporter to 20/20 co-anchor, revealing his battles to get his ideas to the public, his struggle to overcome stuttering, and his eventual realization that, for years, much of his reporting missed the point.

Stossel concludes the book with a modest proposal for change. It's a simple plan in the spirit of the Founding Fathers to ensure that America remains a place "where free minds -- and free markets -- make good things happen."

... Read more

Reviews (123)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, a real life clear thinking journalist!
No doubt that the liberals and socialists in this country will name call and rant and rave over this book. Mr. Stossel attacks large government programs for the waste that they are, and the liberals depend upon these programs to control the lives of people. I'm sure he'll be called a racist, right-wing nut, but let's not forget who's calling him these things.

Stossel takes an objective look at not only big government programs, but the limiting of free speech, the drug war, lawyers, and some hypocritical filty rich. How anybody can say Stossel is a neo-con after reading this book is either a moron or a liar in saying they've read this. Stossel advocates stopping the drug war, decriminalizing prostitution, and legalizing assisted suicide, hardly a Republican agenda. He rightly recognizes that you own your body, not the government, therefore they should not have the power to control what you do to it. Certainly a libertarian position.

However, that same intrusive government that shouldn't tell you what to do with your own body shouldn't be telling companies how to run their business. He demonstrates how government programs, rules and regulations on a whole kill more people than they save. Poverty kills, and rules and regulations cause companies to move offshore and fire workers where jobs are needed most. Is it any wonder that, as he showed, the more free the country, the better off it's population is?

5-0 out of 5 stars Give Me A Case of These Books: Everyone Should Have One
In the same relaxed style that has made his Friday night 20/20 broadcasts "must see TV" for open-minded Americans, interested more in truth than partisan politics, ABC co-anchor John Stossel delivers a book every citizen should read.
Far from partisan, Give Me A Break leaves no sacred political cows untipped as Democrats and Republicans alike are toppled to the ground in this truly remarkable breath of fresh air. In breezy, easy-to-read prose, Stossel recounts example after example of how a risk-phobic, nanny government threatens to strangle the very creativity and innovation that have made America the envy of the world.
Here you'll read about the $300,000 outhouse you paid for, the victim industries that profit from the misery of others, why trial attorneys and their lawsuits are more than a nuissance, among other hot topics.
Give Me A Break is somewhat predictable (but no less valuable) if you consider Stossel's libertarian bent. However, what is truly admirable -- not to mention, radically bullet-proof- about his writing is his willingness to not only admit to errors, but to recount them in detail. Instead of giving his detractors ammunition to blow up his arguments, Stossel freely admits to his short comings and past mistakes and explains forthrightly where his thinking went terribly wrong.
While I am not completely convinced that trial lawyers are the devils of democracy, reading this book opened up the subject for me as none of the regular broadcast or cable journalists ever have. Give Me A Break is a highly recommended book by a heroic journalist. -- Regina McMenamin

5-0 out of 5 stars A tour de force of intellectual honesty
John Stossel is one of the few reporters to emerge from the stupor of mindless media liberalism to rational observation. In many respects 'Give Me A Break' is a textbook on systems thinking. Stossel destroys a multitude of liberal and conservative paradigms by demonstrating the second and third order consequences of self-serving governmental, social and economic positions. Stossel understands, like few others in the media, that there are trade-offs, and often-unintended consequences, with every decision. Stossel's book is balanced, humorous and irreverent; it relentlessly unmasks the uncomfortable realities underlying the massive clouds blue smoke generated by special interest groups. If you are looking for a great read that will expand your understanding of contemporary social issues, then by all means purchase this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a well written book that explains the media's liberal bias as well as tells how the news media distorts the truth to get a big story. This is a must read for anyone that watches the news.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
One of my favorite reads. Very interesting and enjoyable. A lot of common sense... I agree with 99% of what he says. Highly recommended. ... Read more


17. Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything
by Robert Anton Wilson
list price: $34.95
our price: $22.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1564559513
Catlog: Book (2001-12-01)
Publisher: Sounds True
Sales Rank: 245646
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything!
By Robert Anton Wilson

From the author of the legendary underground classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy and many other works comes an unprecedented event: a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with Robert Anton Wilson – captured live on audio. Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything (or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance) brings us face to face with one of the most unconventional and brilliant writers of our time, affording listeners an inside view of this enigmatic (and sometimes misunderstood) novelist, visionary, and "stand-up comic for the mystically inclined."
In four engrossing sessions of conversation, Robert Anton Wilson delves into such topics as futurist psychology, the paranormal, God, political conspiracies (real and imagined), the Eight Stages of Consciousness and how to obtain them, life extension and space migration, the origins of language, guerrilla ontology, and much more. Wilson also offers a rare glimpse into his early years growing up in an Irish-American ghetto of New York, his friendship with Timothy Leary, his investigations into various magicks – plus a mind-expanding exploration of Wilson’s newest insights into the state of the human predicament.
This Collectors Edition also includes three classic Robert Anton Wilson lectures: The Acceleration of Knowledge, The New Inquisition, and Religion for the Hell of It. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
I highly recommend it. Wilson's philosophy seems to regard certainty and Aristotelian either/or thinking as a deceiving neuro-sensorial interpretation of the world. He likes to quote Alfred Korzybski's "The map is not the territory"(and the word is not the thing...) He regards things on a scale of probabilities. He gives many insights into his ideas and people such as Joyce and the Pope, whom he reveres(well perhaps not the pope...) I find him funny and wise, and the tapes sounded great in the dark silence of my room before I went to bed. I liked his interview tapes better than the lecture tapes though, although the latter also teach you some good stuff and make you laugh. I've only read one of his books "Cosmic triggerII" which my mother could not stand for more than two pages when she grabbed it off of my shelf(she said it was "very badly written"). I think that when reading that book some people(like my mom) read in the lines what they would expect to find only in between the lines under a "structured book".The "subtext" Stanislavski spoke about. And they don't like that. Too much chaos. For those who thrive on Dubya's rhetoric "You are either with us or against us" Wilson may seem a little nutty, but watch out, he may be saner than you thought!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Only Audio Book I have even tried
First off, I hate Audio books. I have a low recall rate for things I hear, so I prefer to read. However, this isn't a book per se, but a running dialogue between RAW and a questionner. Having never heard RAW's voice before, it keeps the attention much better than most radio programs, either.
The six tapes cover a host of topics, but the main topics are the Life and Times of Robert Anton Wilson, Language and Reality, Techniques for consciousness change, politics and conspiracy, the acceleration of knowledge, and the New Inquisition/Religion for the Hell of it. This is great, because you can pick and choose the topic, especially those of us used to CDs.
The conversations are subdued, mellow, coarse, and profoundly funny at times.
If you are not a RAW veteran, however, don't start with this. Much of the information has appeared in some form in his books, and the depth he dives to in print is preferrable.
It is just kind of fun to hear Bob make fun of himself, everyone else, and the possibilty that RAW is full of crap, too. ... Read more


18. All Over But the Shoutin'
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375405038
Catlog: Book (1998-09-08)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 298612
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by the author

Now, this national bestseller is specially priced at $12.95

"This is a moving, memorable audio, the kind that stays in the listener's mind long after it ends." --Billboard

"Rick Bragg writes like a man on fire.And All Over But The Shoutin' is a work of art.While reading this book, I feel in love with Rick Bragg's mother, Margaret Bragg, a hundred times.I felt like I was reading one of the prophets in the Old Testament when reading parts of this book.I thought of Melville, I thought of Faulkner.Because I love the English language , I knew I was reading one of the best books I've ever read.By explaining his life to the world, Rick Bragg explained part of my life to me.You feel things in every line this man writes.His sentences bleed on you.I wept when the book ended.I never met Rick Bragg in my life, but I called him up and told him he'd written a masterpiece, and I sent flowers to his mother."--Pat Conroy

"A sort of Alabama version of Angela's Ashes, this memoir details the miserable, impoverished childhood that informed and inspired a young man who became a successful writer . . . . Throughout, Bragg's own vice barely contains his bitterness and rage." --Chicago Tribune

"Listening to myself read it aloud gave me the opportunity to hear my words in my own voice, not just in my mind.Reading the sad parts out loud brought tears to my eyes.It was a delightful experience, and I'm proud to have done it."
-Rick Bragg

This haunting, harrowing, gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin is the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times.It is the story of Bragg's father, a hard-drinking man with a murderous temper and the habit of running out on the people who needed him most.

But at the center of this soaring memoir is Bragg's mother, who went eighteen years without a new dress so that her sons could have school clothes and picked other people's cotton so that her children wouldn't have to live on welfare alone.Evoking these lives - and the country that shaped and nourished them - with artistry, honesty, and compassion, Rick Bragg brings hone the love and suffering that lie at the heart of every family.

The result is unforgettable.
... Read more

Reviews (253)

5-0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review
Rick Bragg understands poverty. He knows intimately the taste and smell of being dirt poor, has experienced the chill that settles deep into a person's marrow. When it comes to the haves and have nots of life, he's walked both sides of that line and knows first hand the strengths and weaknesses of both. He witnessed from an early age the deprivation that can drive both the strong and weak to violence and desperation. And he by God knows determined courage when he see's it because he grew to manhood watching true fortitude in action. In this book, courage and cowardice, violence and devotion, poverty and triumph are found in equal measure.

Bragg's mother was a pretty southern girl who married young. When her husband went away to war in Korea, she waited loyally for his return. The young man who loved music and laughter did not return to her from Korea. In his place, she got an irresponsible alcoholic given to drunken rages and abuse who abandoned his growing family with regularity, leaving them to scrounge their way without him. To feed her three sons, the author's mother worked long hours picking cotton and ironing the clothes of those who could afford such luxury. Much of this memoir is a testament to his mother's strength, as well it should be. The people and places he decribes are also memorable, whether Bragg speaks of them with bitterness or pride. And he cuts himself very little slack in the telling.

Whether sharing memories of Alabama, Africa, or Afghanistan, Rick Bragg sees life with his heart's eye, and documents prosaically his visions. He writes of times and places few of us have seen, and does it with compassion. All Over But the Shoutin' is a gift to those of us who love to read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rick Bragg
Rick Bragg describes his journey of life through a collection of childhood memories. His writing releases his emotions that should be captured by all. This book is a wonderful novel for those who havedealt with a troubled childhood.
"When God Blinks" is a great chapter due to his southern home style of life. He gives full detail in the house on the hill. you can close your eyes,and see exactly what he describes.
Bragg's weakness of this novel would be the age of the audience.This novel is suited for an "older" generation or an open minded person willing to read about a southern broken family.
I would recomend this novel to people who are eager to learn about southern living in the 1970's. People from broken homes or people raised by a single parent could grasp a hold of this novel and recollect on their memories.

4-0 out of 5 stars just another good read
All Over but the Shoutin' is a memoir written by Rick Bragg. He wrote it in honor of his mother who had a great presence in his life. The book starts early in his life, when he was still just a toe-headed little boy. He grew up in poverty with his mom and two other bothers in a box house just barely big enough to live decently in. He didn't remember much of his father except for how every now and then he'd get drunk and beat his mother. Rick had a blessed life in a sense. He survived a car crash that should have killed him, he came close to death in riots, became a famous journalist for the New York Times and he even won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.
I'll admit, I first choose this book by its cover. The pictures on the front for some reason told me it was going to be a good book. Little did I know the author had won the Pulitzer Prize and was a writer for the New York Times. I thought the book was great. The author did a good job of honoring his mother for all that she had helped him achieved, even if it was in small ways. I also liked the fact that the author had a lot of respect for the way he grew up. He didn't think his childhood was horrible because he grew up poor.
There was nothing I really didn't like about the book. I think Rick has had quite an extraordinary life, better then most people. The book was good and I would recommend it if you want a great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reader from Nebraska
I checked this book out of my local library, and was gald I did.

Rick Bragg's mother reminded me of my own. Another rviewer said Mrs. Bragg should have gotten a job. The lady already picked cotton from daylight til dark, then took in ironing which she worked at half the night. Rick Bragg's family lived in a different time, when southern poverty was far worse than it is today. Picking cotton and ironing are not jobs for the faint of heart. Bragg made it quite clear in his book how hard his mother worked at horrible jobs to make a life for her children. She was the glue that held this book together and gave it a shine. If you love your mother, love or have a certain curiosity about the south, you need to read this one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Grossly overrated
I do not get it. He writes an ode to his mama, who, it seems to me, could have made all their lives a lot easier if she had just gotten a job. ... Read more


19. My Grandmother's Treasure (American Storytelling)
by Jackie Torrence
list price: $12.00
our price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874833280
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: August House Publishers
Sales Rank: 327510
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars No better story teller
I heard Ms. Torrence tell the story of her grandmother's apron on NPR recently (from "My Grandmother's Treasure") and I was mesmerized. Her rich voice, direct and meaningful language, and the story itself seen from her childhood perspective but told from her adult viewpoint and understanding all blended to create a delicious story-telling experience for me. Jackie, if you read this, thank you for taking the time and energy to tell your stories on tape so that others like me could hear and treasure them even as we ourselves look back on our own long roads in this life. ... Read more


20. Portrait of an Artist : A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe
by Laurie Lisle
list price: $69.95
our price: $69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786108045
Catlog: Book (1995-07-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 871983
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Georgia O'Keeffe, one of the most original painters America has ever produced, left behind a remarkable legacy when she died at the age of ninety-eight. Her vivid visual vocabulary -- sensuous flowers, bleached bones against red sky and earth -- had a stunning, profound, and lasting influence on American art in this century.

O'Keeffe's personal mystique is as intriguing and enduring as her bold, brilliant canvases. Here is the first full account of her exceptional life -- from her girlhood and early days as a controversial art teacher...to her discovery by the pioneering photographer of the New York avant-garde, Alfred Stieglitz...to her seclusion in the New Mexico desert, where she lived until her death.

And here is the story of a great romance --between the extraordinary painter and her much older mentor, lover, and husband, Alfred Stieglitz.

Renowned for her fierce independence, iron determination, and unique artistic vision, Georgia O'Keeffe is a twentieth-century legend. Her dazzling career spans virtually the entire history modern art in America. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars From Wisconsin to New Mexico: An incredible life.
There are parts of New Mexico that, if you know of the woman, just scream This is Georgia O'Keeffe Country. This honest and admiring biography lays out the story of this incredible woman who lived to age 99. That's a long, long, long life. Her life found its trajectory when, in 1916, a friend sent some of her drawings to renowned photographer Alfred Stieglitz. He proclaimed her to be "a woman on paper." Furious (as only O'Keeffe could be furious), she confronted him, became his lover, and eventually married him, initiating an emotional and artistic collaboration that endured until his death.
O'Keeffe became a feminist before the word was even invented. When she realized that it would be impossible to become her own person while working in his shadow, she established the pattern of spending 6 months with him in NY and 6 months on her own in New Mexico, a place she always referred to as her spiritual home. Stiegitz died in 1946, and O'Keeffe lived on for another incredible half a century.
If you have the opportunity to visit New Mexico, don't miss the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe - and my all means visit her home in Abiqueque. To say it's Georgia O'Keeffe country is to put it far too mildly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Georgia O'keeffe is a true American treasure
Having just seen the Georgia Okeeffe exibition at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, DC, I had to run out and buy a biography to learn more about this incredible artist.This book gives deep personal insight to MsO'keeffe's life and work.

5-0 out of 5 stars lending and losing this book should have taught me a lesson
Having read Portrait of an Artist in college I learned to appreciate the talent, determination and self reliance that success requires.It should be required reading for every young woman ... Read more


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