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    $17.79 $9.48 list($26.95)
    1. My Life So Far
    $17.13 $12.95 list($25.95)
    2. Searching for the Sound:My Life
    $16.29 list($23.95)
    3. Down Came the Rain : My Journey
    $16.47 $15.18 list($24.95)
    4. Elvis by the Presleys
    $16.32 list($24.00)
    5. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
    $15.64 $13.49 list($23.00)
    6. Early Bird : A Memoir of Premature
    $31.50 list($50.00)
    7. Chanel and Her World
    $17.13 $12.75 list($25.95)
    8. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
    $17.79 $13.49 list($26.95)
    9. Sinatra : The Life
    $14.93 $14.49 list($21.95)
    10. How To Lose Your Ass and Regain
    $23.10 $22.04 list($35.00)
    11. Lion of Hollywood : The Life and
    $16.29 $14.69 list($23.95)
    12. Bono: In Conversation with Michka
    $9.75 $5.85 list($13.00)
    13. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts
    $15.40 $11.98 list($22.00)
    14. Three Weeks with My Brother
    $13.77 $12.99 list($22.95)
    15. Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons
    $5.39 $2.06 list($5.99)
    16. Night
    $15.64 $11.95 list($23.00)
    17. Don't Kiss Them Good-bye
    $9.00 $7.29 list($12.00)
    18. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    $10.50 $6.99 list($14.00)
    19. Dry : A Memoir
    $16.47 $16.39 list($24.95)
    20. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind

    1. My Life So Far
    by Jane Fonda
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375507108
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 294
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    Amazon.com

    One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

    Exclusive Letter from Jane Fonda

    Stay in Shape: The Jane Fonda Collection
    New Workouts

    The Complete Personal Trainer Series

    The Complete Workout and Stress Reduction Program

    Fun House Fitness: Fitness for the Whole Family

    Jane Fonda: The Essential DVDs

    Barbarella

    On Golden Pond

    Nine to Five

    Coming Home

    Klute

    See more Fonda DVDs ... Read more


    2. Searching for the Sound:My Life with the Grateful Dead
    by Phil Lesh
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316009989
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-18)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 631
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Right in time for the Grateful Dead's 40th anniversary, eccentric bass player extraordinaire Phil Lesh has delivered fans a most welcome gift: his autobiography. There are many books out there about the Dead told from the perspective of roadies, journalists, third party observers, and fans.However, with the exceptions of Jerry Garcia's ramblings in Garcia: A Signpost to New Space and Conversations With the Dead, Lesh's Searching for the Sound is the first time a founding member of America's favorite band tells their own story of what it was like inside the Grateful Dead. And what a wonderful, strange tale it is.

    Phil Lesh, considered the most academic of the group due to his avant-garde classical composition training, literate mind, and passion for the arts, decided to write his story himself. Written without the crutch of a ghostwriter, Searching for the Sound might be considered disjointed in places, but overall it comes across as conversational, intimate, informative, and candid (particularly regarding topics of drug use and death). If you are familiar with the band and their extended family, their history, the sixties' musical milestones and influences and all the band's famous tales (the Garcia/ Lesh "silent" confrontation, being busted on Bourbon Street, the Wall of Sound), you may be a little disgruntled there is not much new here in the way of content. However, what is "new" and totally satisfying is Phil's warm, optimistic perspective on the many events that helped shape his life. As described by Lesh, his life's journey, much like the Dead's music, is "a [series] of recurring themes, transpositions, repetitions, unexpected developments, all converging to define form that is not necessarily apparent until it's ending has come and gone." For the many fans who enjoyed the fruits of his life pursuit of sonic explorations,Searching for the Sound isa welcome addition to their Dead library. --Rob Bracco ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What the professor, er I mean, the bass player is thinking
    I'm so full of music and nostalgia, having just finished this book. I didn't want it to end. I'm exhausted--feeling like I just danced my way through a weekend of shows--and yet, so high on the memories, I'm thrilled and honored to write this review. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Phil, for writing "Searching For The Sound." It's a wonderful book. The best I've read about the Dead. Thank you for sharing everything behind that omnipresent smile you always seemed to have on stage.

    Our intimate circle of Deadhead cohorts--best friends, pals, passing and long-term acquaintances that began in Southern Illinois (particularly along with the fabulous and memorable cover group, "Uncle Jon's Band,") through our crew called "East Bay Deadheads For Peace" formed during one of many Berkeley Greek Theater shows, always called Phil "The Professor." I confess I never knew why until I read this book. Wow. Phil brings an intellectual integrity to the story of his own musical education and, of course, to the band--to the history of the music driving The Grateful Dead, and to all of us who continually flocked to see them play for us and for each other. Phil lets us in. Tells us what it was REALLY like. Even when I knew what was coming, I experienced the pains (and the joys) through a different and certainly wiser set of eyes. This book is written with true love and deep respect for all members of the band and above all, for THE MUSIC.

    What amazes me most about his book is the clarity of Phil's memory. He recounts (particularly the early days) with such detail that I can't help but believe this is transcribed from personal journals. Passages like: "the whole urban symphony of Industrial Man, coming from near and far, high and low, finally weaving a shimmering web of discontinuous rhythm, and in the longest slow fade ever, subsiding over hours to a dull roar, felt rather than heard, only to rouse itself anew as the sky brightened with the light of another day." Whew! This amazing, true, brutally honest, funny, insightful memoir is full of such . . . such . . . stuff! And it's not just trippy memory-packed description that blew me away. When he describes the "dark and stormy night" that defined their Woodstock experience, he describes the faltering sound-system as an electrical edifice with "a saber-toothed crotch cricket of a hum."

    To anyone who not only experienced the phenomenon that was (is) the Grateful Dead, and particularly to those who appreciate the value of music, I highly, highly recommend this read. I haven't felt this emotional over a book in a long, long time. I love you, Phil.

    From the author of "I'm Living Your Dream Life," and "The Things I Wish I'd Said," McKenna Publishing Group.

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's all about the MUSIC
    It is so refreshing to read a book by a musician who is in it for the MUSIC.I knew some background on Mr. Lesh.I'm not a rabid Deadhead...never quit my job and followed them on tour or anything, but I have seen them at least six times.I've read the books by Hank Harrison, Blair Jackson and Rock Scully and enjoyed them all, and have many of their CDs.But Lesh's book is a well-written memoir of what it was like being on that wonderous ride through that unique time in history.If you want to hear stories about shagging endless lines of groupies, or snorting endless lines of cocaine, go elsewhere.Lesh touches on the drug element in the band, but doesn't dwell on it....except for maybe the LSD experimentation which was so crucial the the development of the band. And I've honestly never read such a "dead-on" (sorry) description of the effects of mind-altering drugs.Lesh is obviously an intelligent man, and to be honest, he loses me occasionally when talking about electronics/sound/acoustics, but I knew enough about him to expect that.

    It's rare you get to read a book by a dedicated musician, and not a *ROCKSTAR*.Listening to the Grateful Dead taught me a lot about listening to music in general. After appreciating the dynamic between Garcia, Lesh and Weir, I was able to move on to Coltrane, Garrison, Jones and Tyner and many more great combinations after that.I've always admired Lesh as a musician, but now I also admire him as a writer, a husband and a father.Go in peace, Mr. Lesh! Thanks for the great read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a great book on the Dead
    Searching for the Sound is a great book for any GD fan.

    Written by an insider, this is the definitive work on the Dead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the best book on the Dead
    I have been on the bus since the sixties in the bay area, when liking the Dead defined yourself to your peers as an uncool nerd and a bit of a weird-o.Nice to hear Phil's journey from the inside.He comes across as warm, human, honest and of course, brilliant.This dude can write...nearly as well as he can play.My wife, who isn't a head, loved reading it, just for the literate writing and the anecdotes.

    The funniest part of it for me was when I caught Phil in two or three errors of chronology or fact, especially about the business side of the Dead, mostly in the seventies.But he explains how that could have happened, especially during that dark time.

    He reminds me a bit of John McCain...having been at death's door, he now has his priorities and values clearly defined and doesn't so much care what you or I (or Mickey, Bill and Bob) think.

    A great read, a spiritual quest.Warm-hearted and full of hope.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love Will See You Through
    Phil Lesh was the oldest member of the Grateful Dead and the member with the most college education - he studied music and classical composition at several Bay Area universities. Thus, it's not surprising that he is the first member of the band to write a book about his Grateful Dead experiences.

    "Searching for the Sound" is enjoyable for Deadheads. All the band milestones you know about, both positive and negative, are included: the Acid Tests, Altamont, the New Orleans bust, the Canadian train trip, the Bozo and Bolo Buses, the Wall of Sound, Pigpen's deterioration and Jerry Garcia's drug use. But Phil also throws in a few other interesting tidbits, such as:

    *Phil's first instrument was the violin, then he took up the trumpet to play jazz. He learned the bass on his own after Jerry showed him which strings corresponded to which notes.
    *He moved out of 710 Ashbury in part because of Jerry's loud snoring.
    *After the Lenny Hart money fiasco, Mickey Hart didn't officially quit the band; essentially, he took a long leave of absence and still socialized with band members.
    *Jerry showed up for a performance of Wagner's Ring cycle wearing sweats, and fell asleep during the opera.
    *Due to the high cost of constant touring, the band members never made more than a general cost-of-living wage until "In the Dark" in 1987.

    The book is well-written and for the most part easy to read. (His description of his visions during an accidental onstage LSD overdose must be read to be believed. You'll see the notes, too!) Its only real flaw is that Phil includes several very technical passages describing electronic equipment set-ups that mean nothing to the amateur. But those can be skipped over. Put on a Dick's Picks (or Ives' Fourth Symphony) and enjoy this insider's look at the Dead. ... Read more


    3. Down Came the Rain : My Journey Through Postpartum Depression
    by Brooke Shields
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1401301894
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 612967
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    Book Description

    In this compelling memoir, Brooke Shields talks candidly about her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, and provides millions of women with an inspiring example of recovery.

    When Brooke Shields welcomed her newborn daughter, Rowan Francis, into the world, something unexpected followed-a crippling depression. Now, for the first time ever, in Down Came the Rain, Brooke talks about the trials, tribulations, and finally the triumphs that occurred before, during, and after the birth of her daughter.

    In what is sure to strike a chord with the millions of women who suffer from depression after childbirth, America's sweetheart Brooke Shields shares how she, too, battled this debilitating condition that is widely misunderstood, despite the fact that it affects many new mothers. She discusses the illness in the context of her life, including her struggle to get pregnant, the high expectations she had for herself and that others placed on her as a new mom, and the role of her husband, friends, and family as she struggled to attain her maternal footing in the midst of a disabling depression. And, ultimately, Brooke shares how she found a way out through talk therapy, medication, and time.

    Exhibiting an informed voice and a self-deprecating sense of humor, this first memoir from a woman who has grown up before the eyes of the world is certain to attract the attention and empathy of many new mothers and fans alike. ... Read more


    4. Elvis by the Presleys
    by Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0307237419
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
    Publisher: Crown
    Sales Rank: 440
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Think of Elvis by the Presleys as the ultimate souvenir guide from your tour of Graceland. The 256 pages are packed with family photos, reminisces, and still-life photography of Elvis's possessions. The book is also a companion volume to the multimdedia event that brings the personal side of Elvis to the masses from the recollections of just six family members: wife Priscilla; daughter Lisa Marie; cousin Patsy; along with Priscilla's mom, dad, and sister. Many of the words written here were not in the TV show but one assumes what will make this a keeper are the photos. Along with candid shots, there are stills of the home movies seen on the CBS special (and subsequent--and expanded--DVD), and the still life shots by Henry Leutwyler get your mind racing. Here one can dwell on Elvis's guitar and think of all the music that came out of it. You can spy his phonograph with the record that was on it when he died, his wallet, an autographed Bible, his first contract, a hand-drawn football play, even his FBI badge along with pristine views inside Graceland. Some shots seem like filler (a boot, "with the original mud," Lisa Marie's crayons), but the overall impression is you are viewing pieces from the Museum of Cool, circa 1970. Several of Pricilla's passages and some of the images allude to Elvis's dark side: the massive reference book on pills and three guns are shown (plus the TV Elvis shot) looking like items from a murder investigation. Ultimately, do we really learn anything new about Elvis? Perhaps not, but there are several segments where Priscilla (the main voice) draws us in with her emotional recollections. The book (and program) is never better than telling the courtship in Germany when a homesick solider found an older-than-her-age 9th grader. Elvis by the Presleys does not try to be compressive; it succeeds as a warmer, more heartfelt tribute to The King. --Doug Thomas ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars For The First Time, The Inside Story by Elvis's Family
    Elvis's wife, daughter, and others in the immediate family tell the story of Elvis Presley from the inside looking out. It is very interesting to have this new perspective on the life of Elvis Presley. In addition, there are some wonderful photos included in the book. Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars New Discoveries
    Reading through this book I realized that a lot of what the media said was untrue.This book gave a different insight to the values Elvis kept close to his heart. It tells about his complex personality, but at the same time the sensitive side to Elvis that he hid from the public.The book told how generous he was and at times to perfect strangers.He loved to make people happy.He loved his family life. I recommend this book because it tells the truth about Elvis from the people who were closest to him.This book is truly a must read for an Elvis fan.

    4-0 out of 5 stars great pictures
    I gave this book 4 stars because it does not have a lot to read in it. but it does have some really good pictures. the few stories init were good but just wish there was more text. anyone looking for a good picture book of elvis this is the one for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
    Even though i'm only 14 i've been an elvis fan from a very early age and have collected numerous items, books, DVd's etc... but this seemed to give you an inside look to his personal choice. Priscilla and other Presley family members have been lucky to share their life with him and now they're letting us have an insight. Excellant!
    Helen, 14, New York ... Read more


    5. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
    by Jeannette Walls
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743247531
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
    Publisher: Scribner
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    6. Early Bird : A Memoir of Premature Retirement
    by Rodney Rothman
    list price: $23.00
    our price: $15.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743242173
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 213
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Everyone says they would like to retire early, but Rodney Rothman actually did it -- forty years early. Burnt out, he decides at the age of twenty-eight to get an early start on his golden years. He travels to Boca Raton, Florida, where he moves in with an elderly piano teacher at Century Village, a retirement village that is home to thousands of senior citizens.

    Early Bird is an irreverent, hilarious, and ultimately warmhearted account of Rodney's journey deep into the heart of retirement. Rodney struggles for acceptance from the senior citizens he shares a swimming pool with, and battles with cranky octogenarians who want him off their turf. The day-to-day dealings begin to wear on him. Before long he observes, "I don't think Tuesdays with Morrie would have been quite so uplifting if that guy had to spend more than one day a week with Morrie."

    Rodney throws himself into the spirit of retirement, fashioning a busy schedule of suntanning, shuffleboard, and gambling cruises. As the months pass, his neighbors seem to forget that he is fifty years younger than they are. He finds himself the potential romantic interest of an aging femme fatale. He joins a senior softball club and is disturbed to learn that he is the worst player on the team.For excitement he rides along with a volunteer police officer on his patrols, hunting for crime. But even the criminals in his community seem to have retired.

    Early Bird is a funny, insightful, and moving look at what happens to us when we retire, viewed from a remarkably premature perspective. Any reader who plans on becoming an old person will enjoy joining Rodney on his strange journey, as he reconsiders his notions of romance, family, friendship, and ultimately, whether he's ever going back to work. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Existentialist in Florida

    This is a profoundly depressing, insightful and refreshing book. Sure it's all gussied up as uproarious by the marketing drones. But its messages are all downers.Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course: I highly recommend it.

    Rothman is an observant 28 year old, burned out and jobless, who escapes to Florida to get a head start on retirement.He expects older people to have 'figured it out' -- to be wise and inspiring -- kind of like the Morrie character in "Tuesdays with ... ." (Rothman's expectations, not my characterization of them.) Instead he finds ... nothing in particular.Near death, people are still searching, seeking, angst-ridden, horny, hopeless and hapless.Kinda like how one is at 28.

    The book strikes you on several levels:First: it's a warning not to expect too much wisdom from elders.Go seeking advice from an elderly person and you're going to get a particular person's take on life -- a take that has been sharpened and narrowed over the years. (Obvious, buttragic.)

    Second:The possible corollary to the lack of wisdom Rothman observes among retirees is that ... there is no wisdom to be had. That is, we're here, we don't know why, we can't know why, we've got the blip of consciousness, so don't go looking for some "meaning of life" experience. It's not that people aren't wise ... there is nothing particularly to be wise about.

    Buy the book. It's not Camus -- but is still good stuff.

    1-0 out of 5 stars seniors beware
    I'm a senior and unfortunately found nothing funny about this bizarre and unpleasant contrivance. Unfortunately, because I spent good money on it, thinking that a former writer for David Letterman would at least give me a few laughs. Well, there are some, but they're all at the expense of us seniors. You know, how we've got sagging skin, love early bird specials, forget things--all the tired and offensive cliches. Har, har har. Unless you want to endure a 28-year-old sitcom writer's snarky observations about the failing minds and bodies of the elderly, avoid this one. I suggest these books as alternatives: Be An Outrageous Older Woman; 100 Things I'm Not Going To Do Now That I'm Over 50; How Not To Become A Little Old Lady. I'm sure that amazon carries them all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Old Bird Likes "Early Bird"!
    Funny, original and poignant, "Early Bird" will bring a reader lots of laughs and even atear or two.As a senior, I appreciated that the author could laugh at old folks while showing an affection for for them.If you are living in a retirement community or know someone who is, this is a fun read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars As Yoko-Ono would say, "YES"
    More a series of essays than a book, Rodney Rothman gently muses about aging and retirement with an edgy wit that makes his cynically nostalgic look ahead at old age remarkably sweet, bitter and entertaining.I know what you're thinking -- it's not possible to "look ahead" with cynical nostalgia -- but, my friends, this clever book proves it is not only possible, but a welcome change from the sappy nostalgia with which most novels attempt to conquer the subject of old age.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ahhhh. . . . .
    By the time I had read about 5 pages, I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, he's got a straight guy David Sedaris vibe to him." Well into his adventures in retirementworld, the Sedaris vibe proves to be a good thing. His take on the golden years is hilarious, honest, and not condescending. He has genuine affection for some of these folks, genuine disdain for some, and he's even envious and physically attracted to others. That's how REAL life goes -- it can be cruel, interesting, boring, hilarious, and delicious (or bland if you're at a cheap buffet eating scrod). I'm now loaning my copy of the book to all my friends. ... Read more


    7. Chanel and Her World
    by Edmonde Charles-Roux
    list price: $50.00
    our price: $31.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0865651590
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-09)
    Publisher: Vendome Press
    Sales Rank: 1062
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883-1971) is a fashion icon unlike any other. She invented modern clothing for women: at the height of the Belle Époque, she stripped women of their corsets and feathers, bobbed their hair, put them in bathing suits, and sent them out to get tanned in the sun. She introduced slacks, costume jewelry, and the exquisitely comfortable suit. She made the first couture perfume-No. 5-which remains the most popular scent ever created.

    In this beautiful volume, the glorious life of the incomparable Coco Chanel shines again through hundreds of illustrations and the lively prose of Edmonde Charles-Roux, her official biographer and close friend. Chanel knew and collaborated with the likes of Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Jean Renoir, and Visconti-even as she matched their modernist innovations by liberating women from the prison of 19th-century fashion and introducing a whole new concept of elegance. The staggering collection of photographs amassed by the over decades of friendship with Chanel sheds new light on one of the great stories of the modern age. AUTHOR BIO: Edmonde Charles-Roux began her journalistic career at Elle and ultimately became editor-in-chief of French Vogue. She has published three novels, among them To Forget Palermo (Oublier Palerme), which won the Prix Goncourt in 1966.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Coco Chanel - The Originator of Modern Women's Fashion
    I am so glad this book is back in print.Written by the Senior Editor of French Vogue, who was also a close friend and biographer of Chanel, this is a must have for fashionistas.I own the original version which has all black and white photos.This new version, published 25 years after the original has new color photos and illustrations added.The book has also been revamped with all the new additions, but retains the original text.If you only get one book about Chanel, get this one.It is worth every penny.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Big Beautiful World of Chanel
    Visually pleasing and well-written, here is a book that would surely please Mademoiselle Chanel if she were still with us.

    Fans of Chanel and "Fashionistas" alike will undoubtedly be delighted with this big, beautiful book and its vast number of Chanel photos, which document Coco's personal world of fashion.

    Linda Painchaud-Steinman, Park Edge Books

    5-0 out of 5 stars Please bring this book back!
    *Chanel and Her World* is a great document of a great woman!I've neverseen another Chanel book with so many pictures, and that's what it's allabout when it comes to one of the century's most important style-makers. It's a CRIME that it's out of print, because I MUST OWN IT. ... Read more


    8. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
    by GoldieHawn
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0399152857
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
    Publisher: Putnam Adult
    Sales Rank: 173
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An inspiring and unconventional memoir from one of the world's most beloved actresses.

    Goldie Hawn's life is an ongoing tableau of stories, and she has a born knack for telling them. In this candid and insightful book, Goldie invites us to join her in a look back at the people, places, and events that have touched her. It is the spiritual journey of a heart in search of enlightenment.

    With her trademark effervescent humor, Goldie tells us about the lessons she's learned and the wisdom she feels she's been given in the hope of giving something back. Not a Hollywood "tell-all," A Lotus Grows in the Mud is a very personal look at moments private and powerful: her delight in her father's spirited spontaneity; the confidence instilled in her by her mother; the unexpected gifts of comfort from strangers many miles from home; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a parent. This memoir is Goldie's chance to talk about everything from anger and fear to love, compassion, integrity, and friendship, to the importance of family and the challenges of show business.

    Goldie writes about her younger self-the little girl who felt like an ugly duckling-and growing up in suburbia dreaming of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go dancing years in New York in the sixties, her phenomenal success on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and then on to the world of Hollywood stardom and such memorable films as the Oscar-winning Cactus Flower, Swing Shift, and Private Benjamin.

    A Lotus Grows in the Mud speaks of her relationship with her family-her partner, Kurt Russell; her children, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, and her stepson, Boston Russell-her growing faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn't yet know, and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    4-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful person...
    I was walking thru one of my favorite superstores when I came across this book - the always beautiful woman made me notice the cover but the title made me pick up this book containing steps of her journey thru life.

    At first I was a little intimidated or should we say annoyed with the size of this book.Memoirs are normally not this large in size and I immediately wondered what piles of conceit can someone so young in life have to say. I expected this from maybe Oprah but not Goldie.And that was not an attack on neither person but more of an explanation of what I have seen from the work and travels of both women. I later became glad the book contained such volume, for there was no way to tell her tale in short for the tale would have been missing all the reasons life is beautiful.

    I have not had the fortune of seeing all of her movies, but I will say I have had the fortune of reading this book.And her spirit is lovely.She does not force her beliefs on the reader but more of explains how she came across these beliefs.

    How very unfortunate if you don't find this book enjoyable.I or the rest of the reviewers who are watching the Lotus grow from our own version of mud - will not hold it against you.

    For those of you who are open, perhaps spiritual and easily touched, don't let the size of this book intimidate you. It's a good read by a good person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant to ponder
    The cover is nice.Some pages are blue or purple with very attractive motifs and graphics inside.Nice pictures too of Goldie at work, rest and play including snapshots of her children and partner Kurt Russell.

    The content is only losely biographic.This is more Goldie Hawn's philosophy of life through the window of her journeys and successes in the movie industry.Co-authored with another it reads very well.

    Little subchapters called "Postcards" capturing experiences.There are also poems and thoughts: "Is our smile coded for in our DNA or is it nurtured?" (paraphrased).In this sense the book has some fine quotations.

    As a woman who represents openness and seems to be something of a spiritual student this book is great for exploring themes on happiness, relationships, death and being human.Designed to bring out the best in anybody.

    This book and its sentiments represent a fantastic contribution to genuinely making the world a better place - not by throwing money at problems but by being well inside.

    I liked reading it - ideal as a gift or to dip into though not to be read from cover to cover necessarily.Really well edited - not much gossip, thankfully.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get interested
    I don't remember Goldie Hawn from Laugh In.I have seen her in only two movies, The Banger Sisters and Butterflies Are Free, and not in the theater but on tv.The book is pretty on the outside and the colored pages are nice.I couldn't get interested in it so I didn't buy it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars silly and oh so predictable
    A waste of time for me.I borrowed a copy from my friend.Completely light weight.I guess I expected more depth.Now, who is the stupid one?Depth from Goldie Hawn?Well, I had hopes.She canNOT be as dippy as the girl from Laugh In, but I am afraid she is.At least she maintains that image in this new age-y, let-me-enlighten-you piece of froth."All I ever wanted was to be happy," she recalls from her days as a very small child.Right.I'm sure.

    It's easy to pontificate about Buddhism and how material things are really meaningless when you're sitting on $200 million.Give up your money, Goldie, your penthouse in NY, your $10million house in Montana, your home in Canada for your son's convenience, your cars, your "assistants", your jewelery, etc., and move into an ashram and then I'll have a little more respect for her views on "life" as a Buddhist.

    As for her childhood memories, they seem very "exact words" and although I have a memory and can recall conversations word for word, as well, I find her recollections a little hard to take, re the one on wanting to be happy:I was a very happy kid too and my childhood was wonderful, but I didn't KNOW it until I was able to understand the concept of happiness, to understand how others lived, and that certainly didn't happen to me when I was five.

    I hope it was printed on recycled paper.It's a shame any tree had to die for this.

    I think she probably babbled on and a ghost writer did the hard part.And if I was him or her, I'd never let ANYONE know I did THIS book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars an amazing book.....

    This book was hard to put down. Goldie has a wonderful warm, sincere, and open approach to life which is refreshing. She has welcomed us into her life and shared her intimate thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed every page. I am giving this as a gift to my daughter, and recommending it to my friends.

    Ruth Nighswonger (Boca Raton, Fl) ... Read more


    9. Sinatra : The Life
    by ANTHONY SUMMERS, ROBBYN SWAN
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375414002
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-17)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 296
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    1-0 out of 5 stars The Age of Sinatra
    We know Frank Sinatra - we don't know Summers and wife.

    "They buried a man in California on May 14, 1998, but they didn't bury Frank Sinatra. Rock 'n' roll couldn't bury him, disco and rap couldn't. Elvis and the Beatles couldn't." What makes you feel you can, Summers?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Ole Blue Eyes
    Frank Sinatra was a Man of many faces,but He had a Persona about Him that you would never soon forget.I've read so many books about him&this One truly captures another side of him.nothing changes my mind of Him as a Artist because I always say that you have to seperate the person from there craft they are two totally different beings.Sinatra is One of the Music Worlds Greatest Treasures period. Sinatra did His thing as He wanted to.like He sang"My Way"&He never strayed from that&You can always respect a stand up Cat.very interesting reading&Details.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Latest Sinatra Book is a Winner
    This new book on Sinatra is a great read and most people reading the book will find it difficult to put the book down. It deserves to be a best seller. In short, it is a highly entertaining page turner with many photographs that show Sinatra at most stages of his life, and has an excellent free flowing writing style like a magazine article. Furthermore, the authors did a good job and it eclipses prior books - it is a substantial book about 590 pages long with 200 pages of notes.

    Most people, especilally older ones, know the Frank Sinatra success story. The present book gives the rest of the story, the not so pleasant but possibly more fascinating hidden side of the Sinatra story - what was going on behind the scenes. Since many parts will be controversial, the authors have been very cautious and very conservative with the details of their story. In any case, I suspect it is probably close to 100% correct - that is my guess. Out of the total of about 590 pages, the authors have an impressive 200 pages dedicated to backing up the facts of their story including many sources, references, public information, etc. and they give much detail on where they got all their information. Fortunately for the reader, all those 200 pages of notes are neatly placed at the back of the book, and the text itself, just under 400 pages, is a free flowing and easy read with many photographs.

    The story starts with the family immigration from Italy to America, and then continues with his youth and his parents living in Hoboken, NJ, right across the river from New York city. It is one of a number of New Jersey ocean port towns in the area that had strong mob ties- and Hoboken was made famous by the 1954 Marlon Brando movie On The Waterfront. The story continues through his start as a singer, his breaks in show business, the movies, his wives including first wife Nancy and their children then on to Ava Gardner and the other marriages. Ava Gardner was an obsession that lasted until her death according to the book. Then it is on to the numerous girlfriends including Bogart's wife Lauren Bacall. The authors take us through the criminal charges for assault on a reporter, assault against a 20 years old actress, the days in Las Vegas, his connections with Marilyn Monroe, his numerous contacts with politicians including the Kennedy family and more.

    The reason that some will not like this book is that some of the details are not pretty, and they are linked to organized crime. This can be traced to Sinatra's father who comes from the same small town in Sicily as some of the most famous mob leaders of his time; the mob link was previously widely known and it is not new to this present book. Frank had ongoing and continuous contacts with these people as did his father. His parents ran an illegal bar during prohibition using mob supplied liquor, supplied by their Sicilian connections.

    It is claimed that he got his singing start with these connections, and later in his career he got his part in the movie From Here to Eternity, in a style similar to that depicted in the Godfather movie, i.e.: serious and credible death threats aimed at the movie producers if they failed to hire Sinatra. However, once he became famous he continued a strong interaction with many mob figures including Sam Giancana in Chicago. According to the book, Sam Giancana was not an isolated incident - there were many. One or a few incidents like Giancana might have been considered an error of judgement, but the authors detail perhaps dozens of other crime figures, many with photographs and notes and other information. They even claim that Sinatra transported cash for the mob. Sinatra would deny all of this in public, even years later after many of the other people were dead, but there are too many references to come to any conclusion other than what is described in the book.

    The other not so pretty part of the story involves his famous temper, impatience, and similar behaviour with women and associates, and even beating a reporter. With his fame and success came sex appeal and power. He was diverted from his first marriage to Nancy by many women including Ava Gardner and others, many being the most famous and most beautiful of the day, and sometimes many decades younger than himself such as Mia Farrow. But he was unable to maintain the relationships and marriages, due largely to his temper, his expectations, and his manner or life style.

    This is a fascinating read, and I highly recommend the book. It is similar to some prior biographies on Sinatra but refined and expanded. It has a lot of back up material and an excellent collection of photographs. My opinion of him did not change from reading the book. I already new he was a fairly independent and strong headed guy who did things his own way oblivious to the social norms - as per his song "My Way". Maybe this tough guy connection percolated through to his public image and that is one reason why he was famous?

    Fascinating book, this is a buy: 5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on Sinatra So Far
    We have had the records. We have the CDs and Videos.And finally we have THE BOOK! The most carefully researched and factually presented document on Sinatra the man. It tells the complete story, for the first time, of the twentieth century legend who thrilled us with his wonderful gift of story telling in music. It is simply the best book on Sinatra so far.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Whose "Life" Is It Anyway
    Frank Sinatra is generally regarded as the finest popular singer of his time so it seems logical that any book entitled "Sinatra-The Life" would have to take off from the music.

    Without the music there would be no "Mob", no starlets, no movie roles,no bodyguards...none of the egocentric trivia the Sinatra biographers generally like to focus on.

    Kitty Kelley in her 1986 hatchet job spent so little time on Sinatra's artistry one would be hard put to realize she was writing about a musician.

    Anthony Summers and Robin Swann, authors of "Sinatra The Life" are not quite as mean spirited in their tone as Kelley was, but they spend so much time dwelling in the gutter, it's almost as if it was an inconvenience for them to touch upon the music (some of which they get wrong--there was no "recitation" on the "Watertown" album


    Summers and Swan devote a huge portion of the book trying to finally cement Sinatra's connection to the Mob....

    Does anyone really care at this point if the "Mob" helped get Sinatra the role of Private Maggio?....did the "Mob" give Sinatra's terrific Oscar winning performance--did the "Mob" record a body of musical work that remains unparalled in the history of American popular culture?Did the "Mob" make worldwide standards out of obscure showtunes such as "Lady Is A Tramp" and "I've Got You Under My Skin?"...Is the "Mob" responsible for the fact that millions can date the events of their lives by what Sinatra album was in release at the time.

    An artist of Sinatra's stature and longevity deserves at least the same sort of 2 volume treatment that Elvis received from the excellent Peter Guralnick.


    Suffice it to say that amazingly enough the definitive biography of Frank Sinatra has yet to be written...

    "Sinatra-The Life" ain't it........................


    ... Read more


    10. How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big-Butted Star
    by Kirstie Alley
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 159486232X
    Catlog: Book (2005-03)
    Publisher: Rodale Books
    Sales Rank: 4114
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    She captured our hearts with her award-winning performances on screen.Now Kirstie Alley is poised to do it again as she laughingly explores our American obsession with fat, food, love, sex, beauty, and weight loss.

    If anyone in Hollywood knows about weight obsession, it's Kirstie Alley.After she rose to fame on Cheers as the svelte and gorgeous Rebecca Howe, she watched as the tabloids mercilessly chartered her fluctuating weight.Well, look out, Hollywood, because this beloved star is ready to strike back - with a starring role in a new, unscripted comedy series on Showtime calle Fat Actress.She plays a fictionalized version of herself as she searches for work and love in the land of glitter and glamour.The show, which promted a huge media buzz when Showtime announced plans for it, premieres just as this witty and wry new book hits bookstores across the nation.

    Alley's accounting gives readers and intimate look into her life while providing a hilarious view of being overweight in a skinny-obsessed world.Whether readers are struggling with weight or personal integrity - or if they're just looking for love and happiness - they'll identify with Alley's experiences.She tells it like it is and helps us laugh at ourselves (and others.)

    ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not a Weight Gain/Loss Tell All, Light and Forced at Times
    This was a very quick read.Kirstie opens the book with a funny sexcapade story about her and a former love interest.This intimate yet funny story makes readers thinks that Kirstie is really going to "open up," in this book.Not really.She shares some intimate details, like how the press was insensitive when she suffered a miscarriage.Don't get me wrong, I am not wanting Miss Kirstie to divulge all of the details of her life, but being that this story was about weight to a degree, I didn't really get the feeling that the book was authentic.I felt like the journal entries (which are very short) were written after the fact, like maybe after looking at one's day planner after they ink a book deal.There were also a lot of pictures of people in this book that took up full pages, as if they might be serving as fillers for a book trying it's best to make the 200 page mark.I hope this doesn't sound harsh because I like Kirstie and somewhat enjoyed the book.

    If you enjoy "Fat Actress" as I do, you will find in the book that several of the scenes in the show were inspired by real life events.I just thought the book would dig deeper into how she gained weight, if her divorce and the time after the divorce made her eat more, just more about her feelings regarding food and the struggle to lose the weight.The book is very "now," meaning the journal entries were from like the 2004 to now era.I wanted to know about the "fat" Kirstie after "Veronica's Closet" and before "Fat Actress."I am sure there was a deeper story to tell.This is kind of light."Yeah, I am losing weight on Weight Watchers," that kind of thing.She also details selling her show "Fat Actress" to Showtime.There are also numerous John Travolta mentions. In the last pages of the book she tells a story about a child hood friend, it just seemed out of place as the book was supposed to be wrapping up. I love Kirstie and am so proud of what she has done with "Fat Actress," and with bringing to light the drama that celebrities deal with.I am an author and an entertainment journalist and when I have to do promo or special appearances there are many times I feel very fat and I am always trying to lose that 10 pounds, and as Kirstie in the book discusses how happy she is with her children, the book really makes you wonder about why women work so hard to lose weight for society when they are really happy.In conclusion, the book seems like a tie in for the big Kirstie come back, kind of forced and not very deep.Would have liked to see more detailed journal entries and more about how she got to the point that she did verses the standard PR line we have all heard about deciding to stay home with the kids and eating.

    5-0 out of 5 stars laughed my ASS OFF
    Funny book, funny lady. I can't recall ever laughing this much from a book.. I admire and respect Kirstie for being able to extract the humor from lifes "little" adversities. You go girl!

    5-0 out of 5 stars fun book
    This is a fun book. Kirstie writes with a sharp wit and candor I found very entertaining. She jokes about herself and speaks with love & respect for her family, parents, and grandparents.
    Her food & weight issues are mentioned often. I really loved the story about her Grandfather paying her a dollar to spend Saturday night, watching the fights with him on TV, serving the then 6 year old Kirstie lightly salted beer in a "thimble" sized shot glass. I'm glad I bought this book so I can reread it whenever I want.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "BRAVA MS. ALLEY!"
    "How To Lose Your Ass And Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions Of A Big-Butted Star," by "funny lady," Kirstie Alley, was such a FUN BOOK!Be ready to stay awake all night once you begin reading this FABULOUSLY FUNNY BOOK!You will not want to put it down.

    I love this writer/actress.Kirstie Alley is one terrific lady and talent.I admire her and her efforts as she tries hard in life to turn her stumbling blocks into stepping-stones!

    We briefly met once right after her first few tapings of "Cheers" after Shelly Long left the scene.What an amazing woman!I'm such a fan.

    If you enjoy this genre in your reading material then this is one book you won't want to miss.It is well-written, entertaining, and insightful.You'll enjoy it as much as I did.That's a promise.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A quick & fun read
    I was so drawn in by the title I couldn't resist picking this one up.I also am currently enjoying Fat Actress on Showtime.

    Kirstie is very blunt and funny.This autobiography is basically just a brief glimpse into different periods of her life and how they've shaped her into who she is.

    For those who are offended by bad language and what not, Kirstie is not for you.But, I think she's pretty well known for being outspoken, so this shouldn't be a surprise for anyone, so it's unfortunate that this affects the books ratings.

    A good read for even mediocre fans, and certainly anyone looking for motivation in their own life.
    ... Read more


    11. Lion of Hollywood : The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer
    by Scott Eyman
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743204816
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 755
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Lion of Hollywood is the definitive biography of Louis B. Mayer, the chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- MGM -- the biggest and most successful film studio of Hollywood's Golden Age.

    An immigrant from tsarist Russia, Mayer began in the film business as an exhibitor but soon migrated to where the action and the power were -- Hollywood. Through sheer force of energy and foresight, he turned his own modest studio into MGM, where he became the most powerful man in Hollywood, bending the film business to his will. He made great films, including the fabulous MGM musicals, and he made great stars: Garbo, Gable, Garland, and dozens of others. Through the enormously successful Andy Hardy series, Mayer purveyed family values to America. At the same time, he used his influence to place a federal judge on the bench, pay off local officials, cover up his stars' indiscretions, and, on occasion, arrange marriages for gay stars. Mayer rose from his impoverished childhood to become at one time the highest-paid executive in America.

    Despite his power and money, Mayer suffered some significant losses. He had two daughters: Irene, who married David O. Selznick, and Edie, who married producer William Goetz. He would eventually fall out with Edie and divorce his wife, Margaret, ending his life alienated from most of his family. His chief assistant, Irving Thalberg, was his closest business partner, but they quarreled frequently, and Thalberg's early death left Mayer without his most trusted associate. As Mayer grew older, his politics became increasingly reactionary, and he found himself politically isolated within Hollywood's small conservative community.

    Lion of Hollywood is a three-dimensional biography of a figure often caricatured and vilified as the paragon of the studio system. Mayer could be arrogant and tyrannical, but under his leadership MGM made such unforgettable films as The Big Parade, Ninotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and An American in Paris.

    Film historian Scott Eyman interviewed more than 150 people and researched some previously unavailable archives to write this major new biography of a man who defined an industry and an era. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars :LB: THE MAYER OF MGM CITY WAS A GREAT MOGUL!!!!
    Louis B. Mayer (1885-1957) was in this reviewer's opinion the greatest of the studio heads in the days of Hollywood's golden
    age. Mayer rose from a difficult childhood.Mayer was born in
    Eastern Europe, had a difficult relationship with his father;
    adored his mother and was always busy in his new beloved land
    of America! He grew to manhood in Canada, moved to the east coast of the USA and developed a string of successful theatres
    in the east. Mayer went to HOllywood and climbed the slippery slope to the top at Metro.
    Scott Eyman has written an outstanding, well balanced view of the complex producing and executive genius of LB! Mayer had a
    scant education, rarely read books and wanted Metro to be the
    studio of clean, wholesome entertainment. Mayer had a difficult family life with his first wife Margaret and his two difficult
    daughters Irene and Evie.
    In this book you will hear the gossip spoken around the water coolers in Culver City. You will meet the pantheon of MGM stars
    from Garbo, Gable, McDonald, Garland, Rooney, Montgomery, Loy,
    Powell, Crawford and Garson (and a cast too numerous to mention).
    One caveat about fans wanting the scoop on stars should be voiced-in many Hollywood books the author usually takes several pages to explain in detail how movie deals were financed and
    distributed. I personally found this of interest.
    Mayer and his chief lt. the boy wonder of MGM Irving Thalberg
    built MGM into the greatest studio in Hollywood. Due to changing
    social mores, the advent of television and other factors the studio faltered and declined sharply under the leadership of
    Dore Schary who ousted Mayor. Plots and counterplots among the Hollywood bigwigs populate these many pages!
    Mayer was far from a candidate from sainthood! He had affairs,
    could be cold, cruel and vindictive. He was also a man who loved the movies and his studio. Take him all in all-he was a giant of the industry.
    Scott Eyman has done another fine job with this outstanding
    biography.
    The Lion of MGM in the incarnated form of Louis B. Mayer roars
    again!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book By Scott Eyman
    I was anxiously awaiting the publication of this book, and it was well worth the wait. Finally a book about the much maligned Louis B. Mayer that is balanced and objective.

    While the book primarily is devoted to telling the story of how Mayer went from dealing in scrap metal to running the classiest movie studio in Hollywood (o.k., Culver City) and then describing Mayer's eventual fall from grace, a wide cast of characters fills out Mayer's story. This book relates commonly circulated stories as well as some new ones. However, Eyman meticulously has researched his subject and allows his readers to draw their own conclusions by evaluating the validity of some of these stories which would be considered questionable.

    Eyman also provides his reader with an exacting description of the dynamics that came into play while Mayer was running a large movie studio as well as the dynamics within his own family.

    The list of those people Eyman interviewed while writing this book is mind-boggling. Many of his interviewees have died since he began this book which makes a lot of the information provided in this book even more significant.

    This book was long overdue and I am glad the author took this project on while there were still enough people alive who could provide first hand information about the subject.

    I am hoping that I don't have to wait too long for Mr. Eyman's next book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another winner from a terrific biographer
    You can always rely on Scott Eyman for a readable, well-researched and even-handed bio. This is no exception: it's fascinating to see L.B. Mayer not as the monster so many have painted him, but as a well-rounded human being.

    Eyman also gives his readers credit for intelligence and judgment: he repeats the questionable stories (John Gilbert hitting Mayer; Mayer cheating Marie Dressler out of money), but then cites his sources and lets us make up our minds as to how legitimate these stories are.

    No doubt Mr. Eyman is taking a well-deserved breather after this book, but I al already anxiously awaiting his next project. ... Read more


    12. Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
    by Michka Assayas
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1573223093
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
    Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 160
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    For the first time ever, Bono--the biggest rock star in the world--tells his life story.

    Bono's career is unlike any other in rock history. As the lead singer of U2, Bono has sold 130 million albums, won fourteen Grammys, and played numerous sold-out world tours, but he has also lobbied and worked with world leaders from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to Nelson Mandela on debt relief, AIDS, and other critical global issues. He has collaborated with the same musicians for nearly three decades and has been married to his childhood sweetheart since 1982. His life, at all turns, resists the rock star clichés.

    In a series of intimate conversations with his friend Michka Assayas, a music journalist who has been with the band since the very beginning, Bono reflects on his transformation from the extrovert singer of a small Irish post-punk band into one of the most famous individuals in the world; and from an international celebrity to an influential spokesperson for the Third World. He speaks candidly about his faith, family, commitment, influences, service, and passion. Bono: A Self-Portrait in Conversationis the closest we will come, for now, to a memoir from the iconic frontman of U2.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Conversations Between Friends
    If you wanted to ask Bono a question, what would it be?

    Would it be about the music?

    Would it be about his personal life? Perhaps the deaths of his parents?

    Would you ask about the formation of the most successful band in history?

    Perhaps you'd want to know more about his work in support of AIDS and hunger releif.

    All of these questions, and many, many more are asked and answered in this book. In fact, almost the whole book is a series of questions that ramble from subject to subject with no pattern. These questions and answers are like a normal conversation flows between friends.

    Because they are friends, a true respect exists between the two men and it comes out in the book. This means that there is great insight shown into how Bono thinks. And it comes out that he thinks very well indeed.

    This is a fascinating book, not just because of the fascination with the singer, but because of the insight he brings to us about places like Africa and the Soviet Union.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Trip inside Bono's head
    U2 is the greatest band of my lifetime.How could I resist 323 pages of Bono pontificating?Obviously, I couldn't.Is Bono a little self-indulgent?You bet.Does he avoid dishing the dirt?Absolutely.But he does provide quite a bit of insight into what makes him tick.He is a remarkable human being.

    This is by no means a "tell all" book.The book briefly mentions Adam's problems with addiction, which were so bad at one point that he actually just didn't show up for a show in Sydney, a show that was being filmed for TV!But there aren't any details.There's some lip service paid to the group's (minus Adam) involvement with Shalom Christianity (a group devoted to understanding the Scriptures), but again, no real details.The details we get in this book are the little ones that make up day-to-day family life, past and present..., and ALOT about Africa.6500 Africans die each day of a preventable, treatable disease.It's hard to argue when Bono suggests that deep down we don't really believe in their equality. Bono's trip to Africa after the Live Aid concert seems to be a real turning-point in his life, and there are many pages devoted to his time there and his efforts to bring Africa's problems to the world's attention.

    But it's not all heavy seriousness.There's alot of poking fun at Bono's admittedly giant ego.Naturally, there are more than a few great quotes:"I can do the high-life; I can do the low-life; it's the in-between that gives me trouble."I'm paraphrasing.I've started using the line myself, and have kind of made it my own, as I did with, "The God I believe in isn't short of cash, mister...."Back to the heavy stuff, there's some interesting commentary on the Sandinistas and the events that inspired "Bullet the Blue Sky".Bono saw things first-hand.

    Naturally, there's some talk about other musicians.Bono clearly loves Prince.Oddly, it appears that Bono thinks The Rolling Stones (the only band I can think of with the longevity and enduring creativity of U2) as almost fluffy pop musicians.He doesn't come out and say it, but it's between the lines.

    In short, the book is a must-read for the U2 fan, and a great read for people curious about the life of a very unique individual who might very well one day win the Nobel Peace Prize.It's missing the stories of sex and drugs, but it's clear, despite what Bono might have said on God Part II, that rock and roll can really change the world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A humbling perspective of a man in power....
    I must admit that when I saw this book, I was hesitant at first to read it.I thought it was going to be another "entertainment book" about U2 and their career.Little did I realize that this book is very in-depth about "the man behind the shades".Bono shares his joys, his struggles, and his adventure in this book.It covers anything from his family, his inadequacy as a celebrity, the workings of U2, his activism, faith, and other topics.This book is definitely a must read for anyone who loves U2's music and wants to gain a better understanding of Bono.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into Bono's character
    A long-time fan of U2's music and impressed by Bono's activisim, I was anxious to read this new book. And I loved it! I couldn't put it down!

    Written in a coversational style, I at first thought it may be difficult to follow. Instead, I pleasantly realized that it made me feel as if I was listening to Bono talk to a group of which I was part. Because we are actually reading his words, I thinkwe really get a look into Bono's mind - or even his soul.

    Every topic I could want to hear Bono talk about is covered - his music, the band, his family, his belief in God, and his activism. It had it all.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about what makes Bono tick. It confirmed to me that he has a very big heart, a great intellect, and incredible talent.

    Enjoy! ... Read more


    13. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith
    by Anne Lamott
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385496095
    Catlog: Book (2000-02-15)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 1493
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."

    Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.

    Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.

    ... 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


    14. Three Weeks with My Brother
    by Micah Sparks, Nicholas Sparks
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $15.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0446532444
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
    Publisher: Warner Books
    Sales Rank: 504
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    As moving as his bestselling works of fiction,Nicholas Sparks's unique memoir, written with his brother, chronicles the life affirming journey of two brothers bound by memories, both humorous and tragic. ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Summer Reading
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Spark's family and about the journey around the world and through childhood of these two brothers. I was deeply touched to be given such insight into the author's life and it made you realize that no matter how good someone's life looks on the outside, you never know really what is going on/has happened behind the smile/tears. This book is different from his others since it was inspired by his own life not someone else's (also enjoyed learning where he came up with the ideas for other characters in previous books)...truly an enjoyable book to read. I loved how he mixed past and present stories with his trip with his brother. Kept it very interesting.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Skip the Travelogue, Read the Memoir
    If anyone advised Nicholas Sparks to abandon couching his memoir within a travelogue, he should have paid attention. Sparks's thoughts about the wondrous places he visits -- Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Agra, among others -- are silly and shallow. Plus he and his nominal co-author brother proudly portray themselves as buffoons and philistines. You want to slap them both on the back of the head and tell them to at least be quiet if they can't behave.

    On the other hand, the bulk of the book, which details the series of tragedies that have overwhelmed the brothers' adult lives -- deaths of parents and a sibling, as well as the rearing of an autistic child -- is sad but compelling, and ultimately encouraging, because it is written from the heart.

    I also think another book -- perhaps it will take the form of a novel -- needs to be written about the Sparks' mother. Nicholas professes unblemished love and respect and devotion to the woman, who died tragically at 47, just weeks after his marriage. However, she was a complicated character whose parenting of her three children was often questionable at best. Perhaps additional time is needed for him to examine her -- and his own feelings about her -- more honestly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Full Of Heart
    Thats exactly what this book has-Full Of Heart. The brothers go through so much together, life is a challenge, sometimes so unfair but the one thing-the clearest thing spoken is that they have the ultimate gift-Love. Full of heart! Also recommended: Other Memoirs-A Child Called It, Father Joe,Running With Scissors,Nightmares Echo

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Three Weeks" is a great read
    Like many others who have reviewed this book, I have read all of Nicholas Sparks' previous books. I completely enjoyed reading this book as well. I think some reviewers missed the point of the book, unfortunately. It is not a "travel" book and it is not a "spiritual" book. It is a memoir, an autobiography, of the author and his brother's life experiences. I was drawn into the story on many levels - the familial relationships, the growing up years in Fair Oaks, the heartbreaking traumas endured. I think it is wonderful that Cathy and Christine were in favor of this trip for the brothers. They truly are saints (it's nice to know that both Nick and Micah truly understand that!). It makes me sad to think that Micah and Nick are so far apart (physically), but the book is a beautiful reminder that love knows no bounds. And aren't they lucky to have each other. I don't think they come off as pretentious at all...they're all they've got, it doesn't get more real than that. I think it must be amazing for Nick to look back and realize where he was and where he is now (and that he thanks God for all the blessings). I think writing this book must have been very cathartic for him, at least I would hope it was. And that he can still rely on his faith to carry him through the difficult times...we all have them, even if we aren't best selling authors or successful businessmen. It's interesting that as I read the book, I kept reminding myself that this wasn't one of his novels...this stuff really happened. And though some of the antics that he and his brother did on the three week trip were borderline-out-of-control, it was funny. I could see me and my brother and sisters doing stuff like that! Micah seems to be a good reminder to relax, enjoy life and have fun. I hope that they both benefitted from traveling together and spending quality time together like that...and that there was some healing in the pains suffered after living through so many tragedies...especially for Nick. Micah seems to deal with life and it's ups and downs well enough...I mean, if not going to church and questioning his faith are the worst things that he has endured, then good for him. I think writing the book for Nicholas probably has helped him move forward, which sounds like he is doing. God bless him, his brother and their families. Now I think I need to make a run downtown to get some Zelda's and beer myself! :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!
    This is a different kind of book but wonderful! Any Sparks fan will love this! You will laugh and cry. Have some tissues nearby and enjoy! Fan for life! ... Read more


    15. Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life
    by Tim Russert
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $13.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1401352081
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-10)
    Publisher: Miramax Books
    Sales Rank: 378
    Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Veteran newsman and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert is known for his direct and unpretentious style and in this charming memoir he explains why. Russert's father is profiled as a plainspoken World War II veteran who worked two blue-collar jobs while raising four kids in South Buffalo but the elder Russert's lessons on how to live an honest, disciplined, and ethical life are shown to be universal. Big Russ and Me, a sort of Greatest Generation meets Tuesdays with Morrie, could easily have become a sentimental pile of mush with a son wistfully recalling the wisdom of his beloved dad. But both Russerts are far too down-to-earth to let that happen and the emotional content of the book is made more direct, accessible, and palatable because of it. The relationship between father and son, contrary to what one would think of as essential to a riveting memoir, seems completely healthy and positive as Tim, the academically gifted kid and later the esteemed TV star and political operative relies on his old man, a career sanitation worker and newspaper truck driver, for advice. Big Russ and Me also traces Russert's life from working-mjkjclass kid to one of broadcast journalism's top interviewers by introducing various influential figures who guided him along the way, including Jesuit teachers, nuns, his dad's drinking buddies, and, most notably, the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whom Russert helped get elected in 1976. Plenty of entertaining anecdotes are served up along the way from schoolyard pranks to an attempt to book Pope John Paul II on the Today Show. Though not likely to revolutionize modern thought, Big Russ and Me will provide fathers and sons a chance to reflect on lessons learned between generations. --Charlie Williams ... Read more

    Reviews (53)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cats in the cradle...Harry Chapin's song comes to life!!!
    The background story behind this book is learning from your elders. In this particular one, we are talking about Tim Russert and how he explains the way that his father's knowledge (something that most children never appreciate until after the fact) and experience shaped his life. We learn of Big Russ, as he refers to his father, and how he was raise in poverty, was a WWII vet with an admirable record and his ability to raise his four children and support his household while holding down two jobs for a good part of his life. That, in itself, shows the character of Big Russ.

    As is the dream of every parent, Russert's life is anything but representative of the suffering his father witnessed. A wealthy lawyer, Capital Hill insider and married to a celebrity journalist, Russert is the success story his father could brag about to any and everyone.

    The book provides a nostalgic walk through time as the author reflects on his own life as well as that of his country. By the time you finish the book, you can understand why Big Russ earns the biggest title that any father can ever dream of. That of being seen as a hero in his own son's eyes. No amount of money or honors can ever top such a title as that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Gift to Big Russ
    Bookstores have been gearing up for Father's Day for some time now, lining their front displays with titles dad is sure to enjoy: sports, grilling, amusing how-tos. Pretty standard stuff. But once in a while a book comes along that supersedes the silly.

    BIG RUSS & ME, by Tim Russert, is one of these rare finds.

    Russert, the popular host of NBC's "Meet the Press," wrote this tribute to his father, Tim Senior, a member of what has become known as "the greatest generation." A hard-working, spiritual and devoted family man who served his country during World War II, the elder Russert represents the millions of fathers (and mothers) who sacrificed to make their children's lives better.

    The Russert family grew up in a blue-collar section of Buffalo, NY, where Tim Senior instilled in the author and his three sisters the qualities of discipline, respect, honesty and faith that, for whatever reason, are sometimes lacking from parents today.

    In the minds of younger readers, Russert might as well have written his book a hundred years ago. Imagine having to walk to school, including "sir" or "ma'am" when addressing adults, or having to do chores. It wasn't punishment --- it was expected and not open to discussion or bargaining.

    Writers of a certain age often recall a time and place in which television shows were broadcast in black and white, no one locked their doors, kids always had friends to play with and people watched out for one another. Compare that with today's omnipresent security alarms, motion detectors and play-dates.

    Russert writes fondly of his Jesuit education. Its extension of discipline helped him focus on excelling in college and law school. He worked hard to put himself through school, not just because his parents could ill-afford tuition and other expenses. As Big Russ said, you appreciate it more when you earn it yourself. The era in which he grew up was difficult: the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. had profound effects on his circle, as did the social unrest of the sixties. Through it all, however, he remained close to his father while many of his contemporaries rebelled against their parents' values.

    Russert is not a name-dropper. He was fortunate enough to know several people who were very influential to his maturation, and he mentions these relationships (his chapters on Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Pope John Paul II are especially warm) more in thankfulness than to inflate his own ego. His self-effacement ("I have a face for radio") seems genuine, not put-on, which makes BIG RUSS & ME even more enjoyable.

    The saying goes (approximately): "When I was a teenager I thought my father didn't know anything. It's amazing how much smarter he became once I got older." This is definitely not Russert's credo. Indeed, he has always sought his dad's advice and opinions; even now, in his high-powered capacity as host of one of television's venerated staples, he is not satisfied until Big Russ gives his feedback. (Not to psychoanalyze, but one doesn't get the impression that Russert, Jr. is in dire need of Senior's approval.)

    Being "men," it's not unusual that expressive feelings exchanged between fathers and sons are underplayed. This is one reason why BIG RUSS & ME is so welcome. And the love and respect between the generations continues through the author's son, Luke.

    Relationships, especially for today's parents, seem much more difficult, thanks in no small part to the myriad distractions and competitions for their kids' attention that simply didn't exist fifty years ago. All vie for the child's attention and some can be very seductive, especially when the folks want him to do something that isn't cool, like get good grades or clean up his room.

    Russert's apotheosis is a wonderful gift to Big Russ, an expression of love and gratitude that makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. It's even better that the old timer is still around to enjoy the accolades the book will no doubt engender.

    So, what did you say you were doing for your dad this year?

    --- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

    1-0 out of 5 stars Ack! Ack!
    Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Endearing & heart-felt memoir.
    Refreshing and light read written by a man with a genuine and, in many ways, a new-found love and appreciation for the most important man in his life.

    In a society that seems less determined to be self reliant and accountable and more determined than ever compete over who can be the biggest victim, Big Russ is living testimony that absolutely nothing beats a strong family bond and a solid work ethic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging, nostalgic, well-written
    This is a great book. I can't believe how many Amazon "reviewers" are getting their facts wrong, or dragging politics, or other issues into this simple, straightforward ode to one's father.

    One reviewer says Tim does a disservice to mothers everywhere by writing a book about his father. If you didn't check out the title of the book clearly before purchasing it, maybe you should go do that now: "Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life." He mentions his mother reverently a few times in the text, but the book is mainly about his dad. Enough Said. I'm sure his mother knows how much he loves her. Maybe he'll write a book about her someday. But I don't see how he's disrespecting all mothers. That's ludicrous.

    Secondly, a few reviewers have remarked about Big Russ blowing his paycheck on booze every week. Obviously these readers didn't read carefully. Tim was writing about another man in town who would take his paycheck to the bar every payday and drink it away. Tim contrasts this man with his father, who would enjoy a few cold ones every now and then, but knew that providing for his family was much more important. Big Russ was not a drunk. Maybe you reviewers should go back and re-read that chapter.

    Another reviewer complains that Tim Russert's book is "full of errors," and backs up this claim by saying he got one word wrong when remembering a prayer from his youth. This reviewer says a half-decent editor would've caught this. I'd like to enlighten this reader by letting him know that not all prayers are taught or recited exactly the same way. It depends on the school or church, I suppose. To call it an error is wrong. It's a variation. I'm sure some people think the way you recite it is wrong. Whether it's "THROUGH thy bounty," or "FROM thy bounty," it hardly makes much difference, does it? Means the same thing.

    I could go on, but for some readers there's no hope. It's a great book about a father's influence on his son's life. Read it. Pass it on. ... Read more


    16. Night
    by Elie Wiesel, Stella Rodway, Francois Mauriac
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553272535
    Catlog: Book (1982-04-01)
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 1663
    Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's wrenching attempt to find meaning in the horror of the Holocaust is technically a novel, but it's based so closely on his own experiences in Birkenau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald that it's generally--and not inaccurately--read as an autobiography. Like Wiesel himself, the protagonist of Night is a scholarly, pious teenager racked with guilt at having survived the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died. ... Read more

    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


    17. Don't Kiss Them Good-bye
    by Allison DuBois
    list price: $23.00
    our price: $15.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 074328190X
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-14)
    Publisher: Fireside
    Sales Rank: 1265
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description


    "Death is a funny thing. It brings out the best and worst in people. It casts light on the truth and makes life blindingly clear."

    Her visions have helped solve crimes; her instincts have helped find missing people; she can predict future events and sense your thoughts.

    These are some of the extraordinary gifts that define the remarkable Allison DuBois, the real-life medium, wife, and mother whose life is the inspiration for the hit NBC television series Medium.

    When she was six years old, Allison's deceased great-grandfather came to her with a message for her mother: "I am okay, I am still with you. Tell your mom there's no more pain." Allison shared his comforting words with her mother and thus began a lifetime of creating connections between loved ones and those they have lost. The purpose of her gifts became clearer when Allison worked as an intern in the homicide bureau of the district attorney's office and found that she visualized the crime as she handled the evidence. Allison now works as a profiler on criminal investigations.

    In this stunning book, Allison shares fascinating stories of her encounters with people who have passed and her adventures as a profiler for various law enforcement organizations. With wit and compassion, Allison shows us what it is like to live with these special gifts and talents and alsotells about her struggle to live a normal life as a devoted wife and mother. She shows how learning to accept her own gifts has helped her accept the unique gifts of others and how her compelling desire to relieve the pain of others has helped define her own life, a life committed to the search for ultimate truth.

    If you have ever questioned whether there is an afterlife, this book will help you see that there is a living energy beyond death. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Little substance and worse writing, don't waste your money
    This book presents the experiences of the author.While some of the experiences are insightful and interesting, overall little is gained from reading this book.Moreover, the author is a poor writer.The book is written practically as a stream of consciousness, with little attention to structure or grammar.Don't waste your money.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Audio book review
    I'm never sure why people who don't believe in psychic phenomenon read books about it and then trash those books simply because they are about psychic phenomenon.I'm NOT phychic and I can see THAT train coming.

    I am not trashing this book because of the nature of the content.I hope I am not really trashing it at all.Some of the content is very interesting, and some of it isn't.I don't find it particularly well organized; and there is a lot of focus on how to parent a child with these abilities.While I have a child who may have some psychic ability and found some of it helpful, it was a bit too much for me.

    As you can tell, many people really enjoyed reading the book, and I may have as well if I had read it.However I listened to it, read by Allison DuBois. Sometimes I find listening to books read by the author a more enriching experience.We are all aware that part of communication is "tone of voice." When an author reads his or her own book, the listener has the benefit of hearing the author's tone of voice. I can't imagine that I would have enjoyed reading "Father Joe" by Tony Hendra as much as I did listening to Tony Hendra tell the story. However, I did not really enjoy listening to Allison DuBois.I'm sure she is a lovely woman and she has a very compelling story. However when reading this book aloud, her voice is rather flat and expressionless. It became monotonous very quickly and ultimately I did not enjoy listening to the book at all.

    I recommend that if this topic interests you, or you are intrigued by Allison DuBois, as I am, don't allow comments about the content or style of writing to keep you from reading it.However, I do not recommend listening to it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Intro to Paranormal Experiences 101
    If there is a course named this, this would be a good book for course reading.I've always thought it interesting that the gift Allison has is spoken of as paraNORMAL, considering as a society as a whole we view it anything but normal.

    The book is about someone just like us yet different because she discovers she has an unusual ability to see.Although many "gifts" of children are celebrated (like the child who makes college at 11)...this gift of seeing is not. One of the most helpful parts of the book is the part about helping to parent a child with these gifts.

    Since there are so many phonies out there one begins to wonder if any of it is "real".I'm reminded of the times of potions and fortunes being told in dark rooms.Allison is not dark, you feel her light and truth and love in what she writes.

    One of the interesting components of this book to me was feeling faith in it.Most faiths denounce any kind of psychic event or experience as being from God, yet I myself have always questioned why God would stop sending prophets to warn us or help us.Allison confirms that there is right and wrong, good and evil.She knows you reap what you sow.You'll find yourself smiling at her human honesty.

    It is clear that Allison knows it's a gift given her by someone much greater than her and she knows to use it for good.

    The book is a very quick read, informative, funny and it is a biography that is engaging.I too hope that Allison will continue to write her thoughts and experiences and we can grow to understand and appreciate a world that we cannot see.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WELL DONE!!
    This is a great read for those who have grieved over the loss of a loved one or wondered about the continued existence of consciousness after death.I found some of her understanding of spiritual experiences here enlightening- for example that people who radiate very positive energy attract like a beacon- those spirits who are not loving and wish to do us harm.She offers sound practical advice that has clearly been earned though her challenging personal journey.Thank you Allison for sharing this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than what most think
    I personally went to the booksigning for this book, and met Allison (and Joe) in person. At the book signing she answered alot of questions and gave alot of info on how her book came to be. Another reviewer on here suggested the book was rushed because of the tv show airing. Not true. The book was written prior to the tv show even coming into existance. It just was not published until now.

    Those who find the book confusing I think are missing the beauty of the book. Sure, it may not be the polished work that you are used to seeing from authors. This is because I do not believe her book went through much editing. How could you possibly edit it? It is a 1st hand experience written in a warm and person way. Too much editing would have ruined this. So instead of being "polished" it is personable and real. Personally, when dealing with subject matters such as these, I would much rather get a 1st hand account that is not watered down by an editor who doesn't have a clue about the subject.

    For those of you about to buy this, let me give you a laydown of the basic formula of the book. In case you do not know, it is almost a collection of stories as there are several different ones in the book. #1 She tells her story #2 She summarizes her story and speaks of the lessons she has learned from the story #3 Then she gives suggestions as to how the story could apply to you and what to do with that knowledge or lesson.

    This book is real, and touching. Allison was a fantastic down to earth person when I met her. A must have for fans of the show, anyone interested in psychic phenomena, and anyone who has lost a loved one. ... Read more


    18. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas : A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
    by HUNTER S. THOMPSON, Ralph Steadman
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679785892
    Catlog: Book (1998-05-12)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 1684
    Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com Reviews

    Heralded as the "best book on the dope decade" by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson's documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto.Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour.

    On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius. --Rebekah Warren ... Read more

    Reviews (292)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Grab a fifth and enjoy the ride
    This isn't a book for the Disneylandified Vegas crowd. This is for the off-strip, I've been up for 72 hours, get me another beer, the light is too bright, let it ride crowd.

    Hunter is at his best covering a race in the desert, attending a drug prevention convention (the irony!) and taking as much alternative substances as his body can handle. And then some. Lost in the world post-60s, he decries (with fear and loathing, of course!) what he sees happening as society backs off of "the high water mark".

    It's a book about the falacy of the American Dream. Vegas - land of illusion - is the perfect setting for a story that pops the balloon that is the American Dream. Travel with Hunter, and you are there, parking the boat he calls a car onto the sidewalk. You're there chatting it up with the law enforcement officers from Podunk Illinois. You're hoping your ODing mammoth of a friend is calming down.

    Sometimes runny, this gonzo journalism will surprise you with cutting observations of what is happening to society. Awesome read, that will poke holes in your view of Americana.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More truer now than it was originally!
    I personally live just outside of Las Vegas, and just about everything the good doctor wrote about is still true (especially Circus Circus). I can only imagine what he'd think of the quasi-Disneyland attractions that are there now.

    The drug content was to be expected at that era. The world was still in a white picket fence mode and "creative chemistry" was seen as a tool to escape from it (or at least, take a different view).

    The stream-of-consciousness writing style is a wonder to behold. You can practically feel your mind bob-sledding through the ether-induced haze, coming to a landing on both feet.

    As for weither or not it was real, get over it. Just wallow in the genius of the work; how it dissects the "American Dream" and how we were so rudely woken from it.

    And if you've seen the film, READ THE FREAKIN' BOOK AS WELL! You will discover a favorite quote or two that you'll find yourself using over and over again. I laughed so hard reading it the first time, my face hurt!

    It's a classic document of the tail end of the "flower power" generation, and the beginning of the narcisism of the 1970's. Classic American literature with sheer outright BALLS that's so dearly lacking in today's pop culture.

    I am certain that when Dr. Thompson reaches his final reward, he will have a never-ending orgy held in his honor, just for writing this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing at the very least!
    This nonfiction account of Hunter S Thompson's search for the American Dream is a trip you won't soon forget. It is not for the meek or squeamish. The substance abuse is staggering. I imagine there is some degree of exaggeration. Thompson himself has admitted as much in interviews. I must warn that the consumption in this book will be shocking if not scandalous to many.

    FEAR & LOATHING rocks with an unerring intensity. This book is written like a typewriter tanked on meth. The road trip, the hitchhiker, the booze and the drugs, spending an employers money destroying hotel rooms. It is a full force assault on the senses. It left me dazed and confused. It is hilarious at times but in that guilty way when you know that you really shouldn't be laughing. Raoul Duke is like Jerry Seinfeld in that you know he's a jerk but you can't help liking him.

    Thompson was an extreme individual. He was notorious for missing deadlines. Reading this book makes it easy to see why. He was very absorbed in the moment. He seemed more intent on getting hammered than on writing the book. But in the end, his extraordinary talent allowed him to produce an amazing book.

    The description of drug use will be disturbing to many readers. LSD, mescaline, cocaine, ether. Thompson doesn't seem to be very discriminant in what he'll introduce to his bloodstream. His consumption assumes staggering proportions here.

    The writing is surprisingly good. Thompson is able to convey the sensation of being there as all this insanity unfolds. He had a fine grasp of the English language and a deftness at cutting a good sentence. The carefree excitement of youthfulness is captured here. I always feel more alive when I finish this book. It is also a book that I refer to a lot. It is fun to read a single paragraph and then put it away.

    This book is for students of the 60s and for readers who like an intense, tumultuous trip into madness. It is shocking and even offensive to some but it is a great ride for those that like a bit of shock value in their entertainment. Truly great -- don't miss it! Along with FEAR & LOATHING, I also recommend THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez, a book whose writing was obviously strongly influenced by Thompson

    5-0 out of 5 stars OPPOSITES ATTRACT
    The beauty of a free country and free artistic expression is that it allows polar opposites to find themselves. Bill "Spaceman" Lee once told a conservative political audience that "I'm so conservative I eat road kill" and "I'm so conservative I'm standing back-to-back with Chairman Mao." Funny? Doesn't seem that way, but you never heard such laughter as responded to Lee's delivery. The same goes for my love affair with the writing of Hunter S. Thompson. You could walk the fruited plain from California to the New York Island and not find somebody more different from Thompson than me. Thompson would read my opinions and pronounce that I am an "enemy of the people." If I spent a weekend at his cabin in Woody Creek, however, we'd find common ground. I'm an absolute Reagan conservative, a total Christian, a flag-waving American patriot, an admirer of the military (particularly George Patton), a devotee of law'n'order...and a giant fan of Jim Morrison and Thompson!

    "Fear and Loathing" is so brilliant, so funny, so biting in its commentary, so revolutionary that I cannot do it justice herein. Thompson is just plain awesome. An insane writer, in the admirable as well as the literal sense.

    How to describe this book? "The '60s meets the John Birch Society"? "The American Dream meets the American nightmare"? I don't have it in me to analyze Hunter. He's too good, too out there. Just admiration, that's all I have left for him. The only thing left is mystique, because Thompson, despite years of stories and in-depth analyses, is still very much unknown. Can he be the guy he describes and survive? The truth, or the Truth as Hunter might call it, is that he probably is putting on a little act, but it is just questionable enough to leave doubt, or Doubt!

    I think Thompson is what Michael Moore wishes he was.

    STEVEN TRAVERS
    AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
    STWRITES@AOL.COM

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unescapble Excursion into the American Aorta
    The movie is a good work. Hunter S. Thompson is an interesting man, but the novel is an entirely different world, a world where Don Juan and mysticism mesh with the concrete experience of conservatism.

    The world which the protagonist Rauol Duke lives in is one where people are "pigs and creeps" and drugs are an integral part of the daily experience. Fear and Loathing is not a linear tale of reckless abandon in the City of Sin but a convoluted tale of the thin line that exists between sucess and failure in the aftermath of the Acid Culture. Although Thompson claims that this piece of work is non fiction the sheer absurdity and subjective dialogue makes it hard to accept the validity of that claim.

    If you are an informant for the DEA, strong Christian, or live in the bible belt this book will only infuse anger in your soul, but if the world of chemical experimentation exposed through the use of masterful english and a corollary to the Great Gatsby expose then you are in for a treat. ... Read more


    19. Dry : A Memoir
    by Augusten Burroughs
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312423799
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
    Publisher: Picador
    Sales Rank: 1952
    Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

    You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (92)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Sobering Look At Sobriety
    Augusten Burroughs showed how funny dysfunction could be in the excellent biography "Running With Scissors". Anyone who read (and enjoyed) "Running" can't be suprised that the next step for Burroughs would be rehab, which is the core of his new book "Dry".
    The cast surrounding Burroughs in this novel comes with its own set of baggage, which gives him new avenues to explore, new failures to ridicule and new situations to extract both humor and pathos. Again, Burroughs makes laughing at his own missteps central to the book's theme, allthough a running second story involving a best friend who is dying of AIDS really turns the reader against Burroughs (until the necessary near-book's end epiphany, which always seems to be a common theme in alcohol-recovery stories).
    Burroughs makes a funny, and tragic drunk. His confusion over dates and times, his lying and deceiving friends and co-workers lead to some laugh-out-loud tales. And the long overdue intervention will make a great movie scene someday. But this book hits its stride with Burroughs exiting rehab, and trying to cope in the real world without a drink. Here his yearning for understanding of his own condition, set against a number of incidents (his friend's eventual death, scripting a beer advertising campaign) lead to humor, sadness and understanding, and show us the heart and soul that we suspect is there, but are rarely given a chance to see until the end of the story.
    Anyone who has experience with sobriety, or with twelve-step programs will especially enjoy Burrough's experiences in rehab and meetings, but there may be a few too many in-jokes for those not familiar with a sober lifestyle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Depth, reality, humanity
    For someone who doesn't fancy himself a memoir reader, I'm glad to find books in the genre such as this which shine. Anyone who read Running with Scissors, Burrough's first memoir, and enjoyed it well past the hilarious "and then there was the antique ECT machine under the stairs" line into the ups and downs of that life...well, you'll also want to read this book. It's not a 'follow up' any more than Time Regained is a follow up to Swann's Way; Dry stands related but on it's own merits. Nor is the book a 'rehab' book because it transcends that kind of labelling as well. The author doesn't have to resort to edgey posturing. Burroughs privileges us with an honest look at his life and so tells us a bit more about what it means to be human. And check out his website...: from his bio you just know there's more to come, which is pretty amazing for someone who isn't 40 yet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Honest Memoir
    <br /> He admits hes a drunk, admits he fails to come home...admits that he is basically forced to under go rehab. But deep within the book you understand the reasons why he got to that point. He is honest about the difficulties in returning back to where he once was, only he has to do it sober. This is a moving memoir, funny and at times heartbreaking. More importantly it is real and courageous. Courageous like other books I have read, Nightmares Echo and A Child Called It,including but not limited to his other book, Running With Scissors, Dry is the story of love, loss,and finding your way back when everyone else gave up.<br />

    5-0 out of 5 stars Can Get In To The Heart Of It
    This was an easy book to get in to the heart of. Excellent style of writing. The author takes you through the painstaking journey of the different forms of abuse and how it drives the adult in to addictions that are so difficult to control. There are many books out on the market that deal with abuse, and yet only a few such as 'Dry','Running With Scissors' and Nightmares Echo' allow the reader to understand without to much of the physical look in to that side of their lives.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Story You Can Relate Too
    One of the most authentic books I've read on addiction. Never falls into that 'preachy' mode that turned me off to so many before. Tells it how it is: warts and all, but with an entertaining flair. Best addiction book I've read since Rikki Lee Travolta's "My Fractured Life." It's something I can actually relate too. ... Read more


    20. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
    by Rachel DeWoskin
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393059022
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 636
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A smart, funny, insightful peek into modern China through the eyes of a "foreign babe."

    Hoping to improve her Chinese and broaden her cultural horizons, Rachel DeWoskin went to work for an American PR firm in China. Before she knew it, she was not just exploring but making Chinese culture—as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jexi, star of a wildly successful soap opera. A sort of Chinese counterpart to Sex in the City revolving around Chinese-Western culture clashes, the show was called Foreign Babes in Beijing.

    Living the clashes in real life while playing out a parallel version onscreen, Rachel forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim that "to get rich is glorious." In only a few years, billboards, stylish bars and discos, international restaurants, fashion shows, divorce, foreign visitors, and cross-cultural love affairs transform the face of China's capital. Foreign Babes in Beijing is as astute and informative as it is witty, moving, and entertaining. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Out of the mouths of babes ... come the truest words . . .
    This is one of the most entertaining and informative books I have read in a very long time.I have been to Beijing once and I now live in thevery multicultural city of Toronto.The author deftly weaves the scripted story of the soap opera in which she acts with her real story on the streets and clubs and offices of Beijing.In a style of writing that is clear but deeply nuanced and humorous, she relates the lives of young men and women in a rapidly changing China, dealing with their own kind of culture shock, even as she deals with hers.

    The chapter "Model workers" talks of the emerging, very non-Maoist profession of runway models.Brief, capsule biographies of the author's friends in China who are both typical and extraordinary, painters, actors, and fellow office workers, provided me insights that I will long carry with me.The story is told in part with quotations from her actual conversations, quotations from the show script, lyrics from popular songs, and brief quips about historical women recorded in the ancient "Lives of Eminent Women." Together these constribute to a fine tapestry that reveals many truths about our complex multicultural lives without judgement and with considerable affection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Crisp, Clever, Fast-paced, and Funny
    This book is both smart and fun. On the one hand it is about an American babe who stars in a Chinese TV soap with funny stories to tell; and on the other, a glimpse into China's vast cultural landscape that is shifting as we speak.The seduction by the foreign babe is a metaphor for the impact of the West on the middle kingdom. DeWoskin has a smooth as silk grasp of language that is kind to the reader. Well done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary - Served Hot and Spicy
    Rachel DeWoskin arrived in Beijing during the mid-90s, among the first wave of Westerners to see the city since the protests and reprisals at Tiananmen Square a few years earlier. During her stay, China relented from rigid socialism, opened up to foreign capital, and incorporated western business practices. On one level, "Foreign Babes" is the story of this process. DeWoskin's descriptions of these cultural convulsions are pithy and delightful. From the introduction of Coke and McDonald's (and the resulting obesity epidemic), to the latest trends in Chinese rock music and performance art, she was a witness and an insider - the perfect guide.

    DeWoskin was not just an anonymous tourist, though, she was a pop-sensation. Starring as an American temptress in China's version of Beverly Hills 90210, her weekly seductions were seen by half a billion people each week. Hundreds of fans mobbed her on the streets of Beijing and followed her through stores, buying whatever random products she put in her bag.

    But the heart of "Foreign Babes" is not the fascinating backdrop of Beijing in bloom, or the glamorous and sexy soap opera, but the relationships between the characters. Sparring across a huge divide of language, politics, and culture, they must shed stereotypes and find a personal space in which to understand each other - not as American or Chinese, but as individuals and friends. DeWoskin possesses an astute social sensibility, a pitch-perfect ear for conversation, and the gift of spot-lighting the most awkward - and revealing - moment in any interaction.

    Just going to China after college was adventurous. Signing on for the TV-show was audacious. Most impressive, however, was DeWoskin's ability to bridge the gaps and surround herself with friends in a foreign country. Impressive, but not surprising, since the author's warmth and grace are apparent on every page.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Telling Look at Late 1990's Beijing
    Having lived for much of the period from 2001 - 2004 in Suzhou, (about 50 miles west of Shanghai), I can categorically say that Rachel DeWoskin's new book, FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA, gets nearly everything right when it comes to Chinese culture and interpersonal relations. Her book is a fascinating account of a city, a country, and a culture in transition. The people around her, and she herself, suffer the contradictions of tradition versus modernity, socialism versus entrepreneurial capitalism, blind patriotism versus Westernization, and government control versus individual freedom, yet everyone zooms ahead to find their own way even as the book's timeline approaches the millennium.

    Ms. DeWoskin arrives in Beijing on something of a lark, a college grad with an English degree, a little Mandarin, and a desire for something adventurous. She has taken a position with the Beijing office of an international public relations firm (we later learn that "P.R." sounds uncomfortably like the Chinese word for an unflattering body part) but quickly finds the work empty of content. She unexpectedly gets offered a spot as one of the two foreign female leads in a new Chinese soap opera entitled "Yang Niu Zai Beijing," or "Foreign Babes in Beijing." She is duped into signing a contract for far less than she's worth to the producers (there are still relatively few attractive young Western women in Beijing in 1995), and a series of acting misadventures and cast romances ensue. DeWoskin can barely separate her real-life feelings for her hunky co-star Wang Ling from their respective romantic roles in the soap opera. In the end, "Foreign Babes" is a huge success throughout China, and Ms. Dewoskin is recognized everywhere she goes as Jiexi, the "loose" Western woman who steals a married Chinese man (Wang Ling's character, Tianming) from his wife and takes him to America.

    The author eventually quits her P.R. job and takes on a series of small acting and spokesperson roles, and even takes a brief turn as a runway model. Along the way, she meets and briefly profiles four young Beijingers (two female and two male, despite oddly labeling their chapters, "Biographies of Model Babes") and describes their lives, beliefs, and aspirations. Each is fiercely independent and nontraditional, seeking to find their own identity and purpose in a newly-opened society. These four people are sometimes misinformed and often obstinate, even foolishly obstreperous, but there's no doubt they are brave, going where relatively few in their country have gone before.

    DeWoskin develops close relationships with each of her four Beijingers, including a live-in relationship with the actor/screenwriter Zhao Jun. The last one-third of the book details her post-Jiexi life, which seems to devolve into clubbing and bar-hopping punctuated by occasional vague hints at working. Two tragedies -- the sudden death of a close Chinese friend juxtaposed against the mistaken U.S./NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade -- bring DeWoskin's relationships and her Chinese life to an abrupt end just as the 20th Century is drawing to a close. It is time to go home, to find her place in her native country.

    Ms. DeWoskin tells her story in casual prose with easy pacing. Her writing is sometimes poignant and other times humorous. The reader feels her confusion about Chinese life and language; she doesn't even learn until later that her Chinese name, Du Ruiqiu (Du for DeWoskin, Ruiqiu to sound like Rachel), actually means "Bumper Harvest." She finds huge cultural gaps and differences with everyone around her. She makes repeated cultural faux pas, but muddles through nonetheless, just like any American in her place. Interlaced with her story are bits and pieces of Chinese history and language. Ms. DeWoskin also offers a number of surprisingly on-target, passing observations about Chinese life and culture: the importance of face, women covering their mouths when laughing, lack of winter heating, foreigners' prices, women holding hands but not hugging, and a host of others. Combined, these little bits add to a greater whole, creating a "Beijing atmosphere" that effectively complements her personal story.

    It is hard not to see FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA as a coming of age story, both for the naïve, young college graduate author and for the country in which she is perpetually an outsider. She uses China and the Chinese for her own adventure story as surely as they use her for her "exotic" foreignness. This book is also a story about cross-cultural personal relationships, about roles assumed and played out, about what is thought and said, and not said, between any two people, complicated a hundredfold by cultural differences and ways of thinking. In the end, Ms. DeWoskin's confused, conflicted, and ultimately lost relationship with Zhao Jun may well serve as a metaphor for the instability, and perhaps the utter hopelessness, of the larger Sino-American relationship.

    3-0 out of 5 stars interesting, and impressionistic
    A good read, funny at times. In a way, this book is not exactly about the "new new China," but "recent new China," for the described events happened more than 5 years ago, a generational period on the Chinese time scale. DeWoskin is charming, self-deprecating, and going out with interesting people including Cui Jian. Do not look for any substantial, observant description of the capital and its people in this chattery book. She is after all a babe, living a half-real, half-dreamy life in Beijing. Never an insider, she is but a sweet, lovely guest who is invited to watch China and be watched at the same time. ... Read more


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