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41. Rolling with the Stones
$17.13 $13.13 list($25.95)
42. The Orientalist : Solving the
$18.16 $11.00 list($26.95)
43. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons
$30.00 list($141.90)
44. Biochemistry (4th edition)
$15.64 $12.98 list($23.00)
45. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
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46. Steinberg at the New Yorker
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47. Expecting Adam: A True Story of
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48. If This Be Treason: Translation
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49. The 24-Carrot Manager: A Remarkable
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50. The Dirt : Confessions of the
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51. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
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52. The Cinema of George Lucas
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53. Fever Pitch
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54. Ogden Nash : The Life and Work
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55. I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes
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56. Guru : My Days with Del Close
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57. Stop-Time
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58. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
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59. Bird by Bird : Some Instructions
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60. Scar Tissue

41. Rolling with the Stones
by Bill Wyman, Richard Havers
list price: $50.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789489678
Catlog: Book
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 39935
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Of his own choosing, Bill Wyman's career as a founding member of the Rolling Stones has achieved a perspective that his legendary bandmates don't yet enjoy: a beginning, middle, and end. Indeed, the musicians once hailed as the greatest rock & roll band in the world have become more like the band that wouldn't die. But history can't be denied, and the man born William Perks of Lower Sydenham, London, has lovingly assembled this over-500-page book, equal parts memoir and lavishly illustrated coffee-table tome, with a winning mix of clear-eyed reportage (based on his own voluminous diaries) and an eye for colorful detail and ephemera worthy of a proud family scrapbook. Which, in many ways, Rolling with the Stones most resembles: family--and musical--trees are acknowledged, career moves dissected, deaths mourned, and triumphs and foibles alike are dispensed with equal candor. Wyman deflates the myth of the Stones as rock's preternatural bad boys (a conservative, sensationalist press made it all too easy to live down to expectations) yet allows the tragic legend of band founder Brian Jones to assume its proper perspective. A half-decade older than his bandmates, the retired Stone has few illusions about the band's true cultural impact and creative arc, devoting nearly three-quarters of the book to the Stones' first, turbulent decade. What is more gratifying is that he avoids the myopic constraints of the similarly sized Beatles Anthology, generously weaving the recollections of band members, associates, family, reporters, and even fan letters into a narrative whose outline is epic, but whose viewpoint has a decidedly human scale. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get this book on the Rolling Stones if you only get one!
I'm also prejudiced as I'm a very strong and longtime Stones fan, e.g. I've got all the new SACD albums and have seen them 6 times on the 2002 US tour! This book is a superb summary of both their off and on stage escapades with lots of details too. Designed as a high end coffee book it is more than its 2,000 photos, 45 two page tour spreads (yes - each tour and every date is listed up to 1993 - when Bill Wyman had left). Plus their are lots of quotes from many who were there and so much more! It literaly starts with where they were born and goes on from there. Definitely easy to dip in to, say for your favorite album or tour, or to read through in one very long sitting. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Holy Grail for the Rolling Stones fan
So much has been written about the Rolling Stones over the years, but as shown in his autobiography Stone Alone, Bill Wyman's accounts carry much weight because he was there. This massive book is a huge collage of trivia, photos and memorabilia of the band's long reign. Still, the written content is just as valuable, and Wyman packs every page with inside information and personal observations which makes this priceless.

All the famous and not so famous moments of the Rolling Stones' career are highlighted, and the reader is spared the pretensions of the boring rock critics who usually suck the life out of their subjects. Particularly enjoyable (as in Stone Alone) are the anecdotes about the early Stones and their unlikely rise to fame.

Lots of tidbits all over; for example, Wyman still seems pissed 30 years later about Keith Richards overdubbing the bass on "Happy". There's trivia, like the story behind the cover shoot of Get Your Ya-Yas out and Andy Warhol's disapproval of the Love You Live cover, as well as detail like the typical set lists from all the tours. Ticket stubs and concert posters are everywhere, now if only I could find my 1979 Oshawa concert ticket that's pictured in the book!

Wyman still manages to convey the excitement of the whole experience, and its obvious that he loves being an integral part of the Rolling Stones' legacy.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you love the Stones, run--don't walk--to buy this!
Let me begin by tempering my comments with the fact that I've long been a fan of the Stones (going back to my garage-band days in the late 60's), so I began this book with a sincere interest in understanding the "phenomenon" we know as "The Rolling Stones". After just a short while, I was absolutely blown away by Bill Wyman's thorough, loving, and fantasically annotated effort. Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the complete history (warts and all) of one of the world's great rock bands. I am amazed that the book comes across as objective, and Wyman never sounds as if he's boasting or bragging...he just lays out the history of the group, song-by-song and performance-by-performance. Information is presented in somewhat of a scrapbook format, but this quickly grows on you, as it allows you to skip over items you might not care to view (lists of each forum where the Stones played on each tour), and savor the tidbits of information that are so insightful. Each page holds an incredible amount of information: photographs, background information, side notes, copies of contracts, mini-biographies, discographies, and so on. Very interesting tidbits of information are found almost everywhere....did you know that the famous "Jumping Jack Flash" riff was NOT a Jagger/Richard idea? Lots of clippings from newspapers and other media of the day, in turn condemning or praising the Stones as a group and as individuals. It's almost like being allowed to view Wyman's day-by-day scrapbook/diary of what happened as the band went from a bunch of school boys to the greatest rock band left standing. The amazing thing is that I never found myself bored with this volume. Maybe that's because I've always been amazed by the Stones, and perhaps that's natural for someone who "grew up" with them. So my advice is aimed at those who are sincere Stones fans or those who have a deep interest in the history of the band. This book should pretty much answer all your questions and provide MANY hours of entertainment as you "roll" with the Stones.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute "must have".
If you're gonna buy one book about the Rolling Stones, this is the one. When it came out, I remembered reading a long time ago that Bill Wyman was "the band's archivist". He did one helluva job!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!!
I highly recommend this book to every music fan. Contains old journal entries, rare pictures, and memorabilia, this book takes you back in time when the Stones were really rolling. ... Read more


42. The Orientalist : Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
by TOM REISS
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400062659
Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 3147
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gives life to those memories and images of yesteryear
I was captivated by the narrative of The Orientialist so thoroughly that I found myself reading whole sections aloud: to myself and to whomever came within the sound of my voice.Tom Reiss' writing style evoked many cross currents of sounds and images from my childhood.I was eight and a half when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

My parents bought and read Time, Life, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, The Grit, subscribed to two newspapers, and played the radio throughout the day up till bedtime.I remember listening to the London radio reports of Edward R. Murrow with my parents.I saw at least one movie newsreel each week during WWII.And at age 11 I had an evening paper route; my delivers were also late because before starting my route I read the war correspondents' columns and read the news items and studied the maps concrning the Allies' progress against the Axis.

So, Tom Reiss' The Orientalist called forth a grand perspective of just how important the time of history that the life of Lev Nussimbaum covered really was.And Reiss' narrative illustrates how significant the life of a single person, no matter how obscure, mysterious, and "insignificant," can be for getting a profound insight into how history is about life and death, not just about names, dates and places.

The Orientialist should be read by those who don't know about "this past," and, especially it should be read by those who have forgotten "this past."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orientalist
The author of this truly wonderful book has written a fascinating story about an enigmatic figure in history, but the intriguing substory interwoven into the narrative is that which chronicles the dogged research he did to discover his material.Along with this remarkable tale of following every scrap or paper, every character, every hint and rumor, he encountered amazing coincidences.Somebody said you never have really good luck unless you work very hard, and this is surely the case here.

The descriptions of Baku in the early 1900s and Berlin between the wars are vivid and moving, and provided me information I had never heard before.I have a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East, and the attitudes among Jews and Muslems of the 20s and 30s was enlightening.

One of the best books I have ever encountered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Orientalist
I knew very little about the fascinating pre and post World War I erathat is so very well illuminated in this book, and about how the major Empires of Europe all collapsed in a few years.The life of the mysterious lead character, Essad Bey (with numerous aliases!) held me spellbound - in an earlier Hollwyood era, he would have been portrayed on the screen by Peter Lorre, as in a Bogart movie.All in all, this book is a fabulous recreation of some really weird times in history -- (almost as weird as today!) Literally could not put the book down and await Tom Reiss' next book eagerly.

Bill Sheldon, Glenview IL

5-0 out of 5 stars past and prologue
'The Orientalist' is as clear a portrait as one can find about how we got, in a series of horribly transfixing steps, from WW I to WW II. People under 60 do not realize how close we are still to that time and how easy it would be to repeat it. I am 63 and have a friend (Christian) whose family escaped their farm in Latvia just ahead of the Russians, leaving the farm wagon and the old horse with a bit of hay on the wharf. Our Bible class teacher's grandfather, a rabbi, was one of the last 800 people to get out of Lithuania before the borders were closed.

One does not feel that the spirit of Europe perhaps is less different today than it was then, despite the intervening 60 years. Factions of Communists, Nazis, Socialists, and Fascists still battle it out in many countries. The Rom, the Jews, and other ethnicities are still disliked and persecuted, and, if you read Malcolm Muggeridge's books and the new 'The Cube and the Cathedral,' Christians are not too popular either. It may be that Europe retains more of its barbarian heritage, its paganism, than anyone would like to admit.

Lev Nussimbaum, with a fascinating history from a region that looked hopefully multiethnic in 1900, is worth knowing, as well as his bittersweet novel 'Ali and Nino.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing the tapestry of history to life
What a great "can't put it down"ead.

Mr. Reiss describes the rich tapestry of social and political life in Europe and the Middle East which produced conditions which brought Hitler to pass.All this is woven through a tale of the life of a man as complex and complicated as the times in which he lived. ... Read more


43. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life
by MICHAEL MEDVED
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.16
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Asin: 1400051878
Catlog: Book (2004-12-28)
Publisher: Crown Forum
Sales Rank: 597
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44. Biochemistry (4th edition)
by Lubert Stryer
list price: $141.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0716720094
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (Sd)
Sales Rank: 195359
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars CONCISE; YET, WELL-DETAILED
Compiled by an experienced mind, this "Biochemistry" by Lubert Stryer may seem a little pricey, but it is worth investing on. Its everyday language is comprehensive, generously illustrated, and presents details using a concise format. The book was designed for intermediate learners; although that its aura appeals to both beginners and advanced students. The sequential organisation of each section makes self-teaching an easy task. There are also revised chapters with overviews of Developmental Physiology and Genetics. It is a very fine text.

3-0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, but not so good to study from
This book is considered a classic in its field, and, indeed, had few serious competitors up until about eight years ago. But, with new undergraduate texts that appeared since then, the weaknesses of Stryer's text became more apparent.

1. The text is not structured well enough: its 37 chapters are divided into a number of titled topics, but it is apparent that students would find it easier to manage if each chapter were divided into 4-8 major topics,just the way it has been done in 'Student companion for Stryer's Biochemistry' by Gumport et al.

2. It seems that the book owes part of its popularity to the fact that the most difficult topics have either been left out or are covered very briefly and with serious lack of rigor. The most notorious example is incredibly poor coverage of biochemical energetics. Since most readers are life science majors or medical students with little background in thermodynamics and electrochemistry, this ought be treated in a more detailed and more serious manner. Many students find the treatment of energetic aspects of oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis so unclear tham majority of them find it necessargy to consult some other text to figure things out. The same goes for enzyme kinetics - it is just inexcusable for a text of this size to completely ignore discussion of bisubstrate kinetics and other common complex kinetic systems.

As a conclusion, Stryer's Biochemistry 4th ed. is still readable and up-to date text. However, nowadays there are several other texts of about the same size and aiming at the same audience, but with much less things to complain about. As a TA in an undergraduate biochemistry course, I found texts by Mathews and van Holde (1996), Garrett and Grisham (1995) and Lehninger, Nelson and Cox (1993) to be more adequate for the needs of most students. My students especially praise Matthews and van Holde as a book which enables them to easily grasp even the most difficult concepts.

1-0 out of 5 stars Learn elsewhere
A disorganized muddle of clinical correlations, chemical mechanisms, and pathways, the text attempts to destroy an otherwise beautiful topic. It is difficult to extract the main pts and organize the information into a coherent fashion. But fortunately there are other texts, and a map showing how all the pathways converge and a table w/enzymes organized by mechanism w/cofactor, rxn info will be golden. With books like Lippincott's Reviews and Voet&Voet, youll be biochemistry's biggest fan in no time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Jack of a few trades, master of none
As with any intro text, this book tries to reach the largest audience possible. The problem is that it has deficiencies in many areas. The initial sections on DNA are short, completely avoiding any detailed mechanisms about DNA replication or transcription, putting those with a background that is stronger in chemistry at a disadvantage. When it comes to proteins, the book seems to have no trouble giving detailed mechanisms but the mechanisms are often obscure and poorly labeled (notably in serine proteases and metal-ion catalysis) making the information more difficult for those stronger in regular biology. Perhaps the worst part is that this book, which was chosen for my professor based on its integrated web courseware, has a website that is often unresponsive and seems to only work on old versions of Netscape. Nonetheless, I still keep a copy on my bookshelf for reference since the sections on proteins (notwithstanding the diagrams) are actually pretty good. All in all, an okay text and decent reference but certainly not for someone looking to pursue a career in biochemistry, molecular biology, or medicine. If you have a choice, the new Lehninger 4th edition is way better.

3-0 out of 5 stars One step forward, one step back from previous edition
OK, it seems that the new authors of the 5th edition actually took to heart soem of the amazon.com critiques of the 4th edition. The chapters are more structured, and the worst chapters of the previous editions have been completely overhauled. There is a modest increase in the amount of quantitative materrial, although its quality still cannot rival some other biochem textbooks targeting the same audience (e.g. the wonderful Mathews, van Holde and Ahern text).

The 5th edition also succumbed to a malaise common to most textbooks when they are taken over by a different set of authors: an absolute overkill of "new pedagogical features". Icons, boxes, keywords, conceptual insights, structural insights etc. belong well to a study guide, but here they just interrupt the flow of the exposition unnecesarily. The simplicity of layout and the illustrations was one of the strengths of previous editions, and it seems to be lost here.

Also, without questioning the importance of the structural data that accumulated over the past decade, I am very doubtfull of the pedagogical value of their extensive use to explain basic biochemical concepts: way too often they just add additional complexity that moots the point the authors are trying to convey. Just look at the figure 10.21 - without the accompanying animation, it is about the poorest (least illustrative) depiction of the T to R transition in hemoglobin I have ever seen.

Overall, it is an updated text that will please Stryer fans. Those using other textbooks (Mathews, Lehninger) will have no reason whatsoever to switch to this one. ... Read more


45. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400080452
Catlog: Book (2005-01-25)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 6457
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"I have not survived against all odds. I have not lived to tell. I have not witnessed the extraordinary. This is my story."

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, one-time Might magazine columnist and self-confessed hater of the segue has written a snappy, random, remarkable memoir--the first of its kind to give readers an honest flaws-n-all perspective of what it's like to be...ordinary. Initially inspired by the "bizarre, haphazard arrangement" of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Rosenthal has collected a lifetime of thoughts, observations, and decisions, and created an alphabetized personal encyclopedia, complete with cross-referenced entries and illustrations. Rosenthal reveals the minutiae of her life, from pumping gas ("Every. Single. Solitary. Time I go to get gas I have to lean out the window to see which side the tank is on"), towitnessing her son's accident ("I saw with front-row-seat clarity, just how quickly, randomly, and mercilessly your child can be taken away"), and in turns both playful and poignant, engages the reader in effortless and stimulating conversation.

Whether you are laughing aloud or nodding along, reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is like being introduced to a new friend--one that you automatically connect with and feel compelled to share. Fans of Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, and shows like Arrested Development and Scrubs will appreciate Rosenthal's quirky, conversational humor and dead-on observations. Writers will see the book as a contemporary portrait of the fledgling artist, and should enjoy her aptly named, "Evolution of this Moment"--a timeline tracking her growth as a writer from her first word ("more") to publication of her fourth book.

Modesty prevents Rosenthal from acknowledging herself as anything other than ordinary--that, and the fact that she has not "survived against all odds"--but that certainly does not mean she has nothing to say, or to share. Her delightful memoir is a reminder that life is not always anadventure, but it can be full of sad, silly, and important moments that make it worth living. Witness the generosity of an author who is willing to reveal so much of herself, not just as a writer, but also as a person--share this delightfully quirky, utterly enjoyable book with family and friends with a note, "Here is someone I think you should meet." --Daphne Durham

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

The Lost and Found Project
Between January 25th and February 1st, hundreds of copies of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life were intentionally left in random places (taxis, public bathrooms, laundromats) in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Each book was inscribed with a note from the author, and the finder was encouraged to report back to Rosenthal's website (www.encyclopediaofanordinarylife.com) when and where the book was discovered.

Watch the "Lost and Found" video directed by filmmaker Steve Delahoyde, documenting Rosenthal's test run and featuring her theme song, "This is My Story."
Listen to the theme song written by Tony Rogers.


Ordinary Life from A to Z
How do you interview a smart, creative, clever author like Amy Krouse Rosenthal? You agree to let her start with the questions, and hang on for the ride. Find out more about Amy and sneak a peek behind-the-scenes at Amazon.com with this decidedly ordinary email correspondence between Ms. Rosenthal and senior editor Daphne Durham.

Read our unusual interview with author Amy Krouse Rosenthal.



Extra Ordinary Excerpts
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... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Engaging Catalog of an American Life lived 1965 to present
Amy Krouse Rosenthal describes her "Orientation Almanac" that begins her "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" as an attempt to provide "plain facts about American life at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the backdrop against which this book was written."Her "Alphabetized Existence" continues that theme to a large extent, but also presents personal (but at the same time universal) reflections that are engaging and delightful. Her encyclopedia of her life is more topical than a novel or linear prose, but it's :) very easy to pick up & compulsively read.
I'm about a decade younger than the author, so some, but not all, of the American pop-culture details resonate.It would be interesting to see how this catalog reads in twenty years."Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" is a self-affirming, funny, sometimes tragicomic, read that is a good way to spend the afternoon.
I really enjoyed reading about Scholastic book orders (p. 89) which I haven't thought of in probably twenty years.The instant I read the phrase, a picture of those order forms came strongly to mind.When I was in school, I used to fight with my parents to get them to order as many books as possible, so I could add to my Scholastic book stash. :)Never mind the other chances with the RIF program & book fairs.Thanks for the memories, Ms. Rosenthal-- the minutiae and detritus of your life are my nostalgia (see Red Gingham Tablecloth p. 171). Although, I disagree that one can give too many landmarks when giving directions.On most entries I've been nodding, but when it comes to giving or getting directions, too much is better than too little.Unless brief directions are given with the director's phone number.

4-0 out of 5 stars Contains Brilliant Insights, With a Few Slow Points
This highly original book succeeds brilliantly in conveying the day-to-day thoughts and actions of an "ordinary life." Amy Krouse Rosenthal has written down the small events and thoughts that often go unnoticed and are never, ever, expressed aloud.I couldn't read the table of "sounds that are loud, though quiet" without nodding with recognition at every single entry.Just look at the entry under "dishwasher," and see if you've never experienced the same disorienting feeling when someone loads a dishwasher the "wrong" way. And I shamefacedly had to admit to doing the same thing as the author whenever I come across a "stupid, slow driver."Going through the encyclopedia, I wondered what the author would do for the letter "X."The entry "XX," where Rosenthal explains why she enjoys being a girl, does not disappoint.

The book gets tiresome, however, when it becomes a little too self-reflective.I don't care about the author's "childhood memories." The "evolution of this moment" is flat-out boring.The fact that it comes right up front, however, should not deter you from looking at the rest of the book, which has insights that are remarkable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Clever Little Book
I bought and read this book on the same day and loved it.It's clever, insightful, and fun and I found myself wanting to buy a copy for friends and family.I read it from cover to cover, but it's the type of book you can set on your coffee table and open to any page for interesting insight on any number of things.

5-0 out of 5 stars a cult favorite
A fun book to pick up and put down at any time... although I had a hard time putting it down.Indeed the format is refreshing, the thoughts and insights as simple and ordinary as the title implies.Once in a while, between reading intense mystery or history, it is nice (and even healthy!) to pick up something lighter, to discover the joy of reading a work of reality and humor.Do not expect to be knocked over by this book unless you can laugh at yourself and everyday life.It is light, fun and worth the read.If you take yourself too seriously you may think you have wasted your time; in fact you missed the point entirely.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a kindred spirit
I rarely pick up a book that ends up delighting me from cover to cover as thoroughly as this book has. I knew from the instant I encountered the back cover's description of "Book, standing in the bookstore(well, library for me) holding a" and read the exact procedure I had just gone through, that I and this book were destined for each other.
I could name off a hundred things that I admire about the Encyclopedia, from the orientation almanac to the cross-section; however, that would perhaps be over-zealous. I will say that any book that incorporates the wit and humor of the entire book into the copyright page has earned my eternal devotion, and such a "Reader's Agreement" as the author includes should be incorporated into...well, everything!
Though I identify with almost every aspect of the encyclopedia, there is one entry I would add my slight alteration to. On "Rainy Day" I would add that while the return to radiant reality may be slightly overwhelming, somehow, the smell of the sun as it caresses the newly-washed grass make it all worthwhile. At least, that's how it is for me.
I must admit that as a child I also read the encyclopedias; I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate this contribution to my library. It has brightened my day and is sure to remain a favorite on my shelf for years to come. ... Read more


46. Steinberg at the New Yorker
by Joel Smith
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810959011
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Sales Rank: 152751
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Book Description

For six decades, Saul Steinberg's covers, cartoons, features, and illustrations were a defining presence at The New Yorker. As the magazine became a standard-bearer of taste and intelligence in American letters, Steinberg's drawings emerged as its visual epitome. This richly illustrated book, featuring Joel Smith's astute text and a captivating introduction by the artist's friend and colleague Ian Frazier, explores the remarkable range and unceasing evolution of a major American modernist-one whose art reached a grateful public not from museum walls but from the pages of the periodical he called "my refuge, patria, and safety net."

All Steinberg's New Yorker covers appear here in full color, along with over 130 examples of inside art, from black-line drawings to elaborate color portfolios. Also included are Steinberg's most beloved, intuitive, and brilliant inspirations, among them a New York populated with stoical cats, precocious children, puzzled couples, and a menagerie of vivid grotesques. A vibrant celebration of one of the most original and engaging artists of the 20th century, Steinberg at The New Yorker brings alive a genius, a magazine, and an era. AUTHOR BIO: Joel Smith has been the Fisher Curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College since 1999. He is the author of Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Ian Frazier is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. His previous books include the national bestseller Great Plains.
... Read more


47. Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic
by Martha Beck
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425174484
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 4880
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The "slyly ironic, frequently hilarious"(Time) memoir about angels, academics, and a boy named Adam...

A national bestseller and an important reminder that life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Put aside your expectations. This "rueful, riveting, piercingly funny" (Julia Cameron) book is written by a Harvard graduate--but it tells a story in which hearts trump brains every time. It's a tale about mothering a Down syndrome child that opts for sass over sap, and it's a book of heavenly visions and inexplicable phenomena that's as down-to-earth as anyone could ask for. This small masterpiece is Martha Beck's own story--of leaving behind the life of a stressed-out superachiever, opening herself to things she'd never dared consider, meeting her son for (maybe) the first time...and "unlearn[ing] virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."

"Beck [is] very funny, particularly about the most serious possible subjects--childbirth, angels and surviving at Harvard." --New York Times Book Review

"Immensely appealing...hooked me on the first page and propelled me right through visions and out-of-body experiences I would normally scoff at." --Detroit Free Press

"I challenge any reader not to be moved by it." --Newsday

"Brilliant." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever loved an exceptional child, read this book.
Maya Angelou once said that "there is no greater agony than holding an untold story inside of you." This piece of work represents Martha Beck's luminous journey towards choosing to mother Adam, her son who was prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.

Like many mothers of exceptional children I've known, Martha has touched on the one theme most of us feel reluctant to talk about--that our lives are peppered with unexplainable, prescient experiences that served to pave our way towards accepting a child that a highly educated world often believes is less than worthy of a chance at life.

Because Ms. Beck's Harvard Education and academic's resume brings the reader into a metaphycial journey towards coming to accept Adam through a skeptics eyes, her story seems more credible than that of the average person who sits down to write a book that says "oh, but my child is so much more than what he seems."

Martha's tale is as convincing as it is spellbinding. Her range as a writer is vast--she is both a comedian and an accomplished dramatist.

Expecting Adam hits its intended mark. It reminds us that every child comes into this world for reasons that often lay beyond the realm of human reckoning. It offers proof that all lives have purpose, meaning and dignity. On top of all this, Expecting Adam offers the reader the benefit of an excellent writer.

As the mother of two boys with autism, one who "came back" and one who "didn't", I commend this writer for sharing her story.

Ms. Beck's experiences felt universal to me, and true in a way I can't begin to put into words.

When I look into my children's eyes, I understand without reservation that nothing is left to chance. Like Ms. Beck, I feel both humbled and awed by the opportunity to mother children like mine.

It is impossible to read "Expecting Adam", and fail to see that every life has meaning and dignity.

For all things, there is a season...

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the whole thing in one sitting
Martha Beck dubs her tale "A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic" and sets the imagination churning with her wit and wisdom. An account of a Harvard sociology graduate student from Utah who decides not to abort her Down Syndrome baby sounds more like the recipe for a tragedy than a satire, but Beck is full of surprises. For me Beck's book was a witty critique our success-oriented society, on academia, on pretense and on parents. Beck dreads the mindset that leads our society toward perfect babies, perfect students, and perfect breadwinners, and away from perfect content.

This story carries you high and low over the hurdles and under the weather with Martha all through her pregnancy. You feel the harsh sting of the truth, the terror of the unknown, and the crumbling of life-long plans. Over and above all else this book is a secret look at one of the ways in which life manages to outwit our calculations. The strong survive because they bend, because they stretch to fit the life that chance throws in their path. Perhaps those of us who plan our life events as though they were dinner parties are really weak, weak because we do not know how to rejoice in the unexpected.

5-0 out of 5 stars So many skeptics
It's a shame that people are unwilling to accept possibilities simply because it's beyond the scope of their experience. In reading the reviews here, I understand why people have trouble believing. But, they shouldn't completely discount someone else's experience just because it's different from their own. While I've had nothing in my life nearly as miraculous as Martha Beck's experiences, I've had enough strange occurrences to know that what she writes is absolutely possible. And, there are many people who have had extraordinary experiences. I wish the same for the rest of you who are too closed-minded to open up to the possible. Your life will be forever changed for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars She swears it's all true, but......
I'm puzzled by this book still, several days after putting it down. Can it be true? Is it possible for someone to have the incredible good luck that Martha and John had during Martha's pregnancy? Or is the story the product of a mind half-crazy from dehydration, overwork, stress, and the knowledge that her baby will be born with Down syndrome? It's a credit to Beck's book that we're not quite sure!

Martha Beck is a very smart woman married to a very smart guy. They have swallowed the Harvard message that work comes first hook, line and sinker. Nevertheless, Martha and John manage to get into serious trouble through a sort-of-unplanned second pregnancy. Martha has an unspecified auto-immune disease which results in 9 long months of debilitating nausea. Her husband takes on an assignment which requires him to spend 2 weeks of every month in Asia while still trying to finish a thesis. She herself has a punishing schedule, also working on her PhD. They already have an 18 month old daughter to whom not a whole lot of attention is paid.

This would be enough to unhinge anyone, but then odd things begin to happen. Martha and John become convinced that they "know" their unborn son; Martha senses there's "something wrong," and when they discover the baby has Down syndrome, they make the improbable--at least for Harvard--decision to continue the pregnancy. At the same time some very good things happen--a generous friend takes Martha under her wing and probably prevents her from spending most of her pregnancy in the hospital, Martha miraculously gets her child into the toughest child care center around, and she somehow finds a way to communicate with John even when he's half a world away.

But some things happen that are hard to believe. Could she have been saved from the burning building by someone unknown? I'm not sure, and I had to wonder why an intelligent, pregnant woman would deliberately start down 10 flights of smoke-filled stairs with an 18 month old child in her arms. Could a life-threatening hemmorage mysteriously stop after Martha passes out form loss of blood? Not sure, and again I had to wonder why with her last ounce of strength Martha didn't call one of the faithful friends she had to bail her out. Can unexpected, wonderful things happen in life? Yes. Do people get saved from life-threatening situations they get into partly through their own fault, again and again? Not so sure.

If, however, you can suspend disbelief for awhile the book is very good in parts. I loved Martha's description of her son, and I wondered for the first time about the automatic assumption that every woman over a certain age will have amnio and abort if something is wrong. Surely Adam must have had problems, which Beck doesn't share with us, but the good times are truly lovely. I also thought her description of life at Harvard quite brutal but mostly accurate. I'm not sure that giving birth wouldn't have been a good excuse for late homework even back then, but Beck accurately portrays the way Harvard professors can completely terrify highly intelligent adults--I know from experience. And Beck makes a very convincing case that there's an alternate reality out there, even if you cen't believe everything she tells us.

2-0 out of 5 stars Expecting Adam, Not Expecting Fiction
It's a little hard to access the veracity of someone's magical experiences, but the veracity of the rest of the book seemed to lose me with each passing chapter. Beck's descriptions of Harvard reminded me of the movie Good Will Hunting - where the academic moral was that the folks who are janitors are in fact the truly smart people and the professors are inadequate boobs. But lucky for Martha, she has it both ways. (she's the OUTSIDER - making her smart - but with the 3 degree credential for her 165 IQ.) And did anyone out there buy the story about the Smurfs??? (This was my first tip off that she was inserting transparently ludicrous scenes that could be easily adapted to a Hollywood screenplay.) And the books she claims were at the Harvard Coop - such as "Pre-Law for Preschoolers" and "Toddling Through the Calculus" are certainly not in print here at Amazon. It certainly made me doubt a lot more incredible material when she was willing to fabricate such seemingly trivial details. Does anyone believe there is a daycare center that signs up parents 5 years before the birth of their child? And if Dr. Goatstroke was anything but a character out of cental casting, I'd be amazed. (apparently Goatstroke is the name of a town in Utah.) The litany of improbable events - near death experiences, strangers at the door with grocieries, car accidents, drownings - combined with the obvious factual fabrications - began to make me think this was supposed to be a satire. Somehow, though, from reading most of the other reviews here, people took this book SERIOUSLY. Perhaps like Martha, there is a profound desire for people to believe what they want to believe. ... Read more


48. If This Be Treason: Translation And Its Dyscontents-A Memoir
by Gregory Rabassa
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811216195
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 10230
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Witty, Fascinating Memoir By One Of My Literary Heroes.
Many years ago I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez' novel, "One Hundred Years of Solitude" for the first time. I was entranced by the tale of Macondo and its populace, the poetic elegance of the language, and the author's ability to turn the written page into a magic carpet. I was living in Latin America back then and just beginning to speak Spanish, so I read the novel in English. I didn't really credit the translator's work very much, sad to say. I was young. What did I know? However, the narrative was, and is, written in such an exquisite manner that I took note of the translator's name, Gregory Rabassa. A few years later, still living south of the border, my ability to speak the language had improved significantly - for which I am thankful! I reread Marquez' masterpiece, this time in Spanish, and remembering the English version I was struck at the accuracy of Mr. Rabassa's translation. Not only had he interpreted the author's text from Spanish into English with exactitude, (the words, their meaning, correct grammar, syntax, and idioms), he brilliantly communicated the culture of coastal Colombia, the author's writing style, in fact, his very voice. Most extraordinarily, however, he was able to capture the lilt, lyricism, and love of language. This ability to transcend linguistic and cultural borders, proves Gregory Rabassa is a gifted writer and poet in his own right. I'm a big fan!

I cannot think of another who has had such an impact on Latin American literature. Through him English-speakers, worldwide, have been able to appreciate the works of such notable authors as: Octavio Paz, Miguel Angel Asturias, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, Antönio Lobo Antunes, and, of course, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

When I discovered that Mr. Rabassa had written a memoir, "If This Be Treason: Translation And Its Dyscontents-A Memoir," I couldn't wait to read it. I have done so, and enjoyed every page. Not only does he discuss his own fascinating life, he writes about so many talented authors, whose books I have loved, and his collaboration with them. His writing style is conversational, witty, and provocative in its honesty. One feels as if seated at the table with him, over a good cup of coffee or a bottle of wine, listening to tales of the people, anecdotes and incidents which have been so important in his life.

Also included are essays on the writers he has worked with and the books he has brought into English. These memoirs make for an excellent read - especially for those who have loved the novels Gregory Rabassa has translated. Kudos to the author!!
JANA ... Read more


49. The 24-Carrot Manager: A Remarkable Story of How a Leader Can Unleash Human Potential
by Adrian Robert Gostick, Chester Elton
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586851543
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: Gibbs Smith Publishers
Sales Rank: 37260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this companion volume to their successful Managing With Carrots, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton present a remarkable story of how a great leader can unleash human potential--creating success in even the worst economy. Providing strategies and solutions for the managers of today, this book offers answers for improving employee commitment and profitability by strategically acknowledging employee effort. How is it done? The deceptively simply answer: with carrots. Plentiful examples show how to choose the right reward for each employee, how to time the giving of a reward to motivate performance, how to effectively present rewards, when to give praise in private and when to make it a public celebration, and how to motivate employees to work harder and work smarter with the company's goals in mind. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A recipe book for providing recognition
This is an easy-to-read book providing useful tips on how to develop and implement a recognition reward program in your organization.

It offers suggestions at a macro and micro levels.Therefore, you can benefit from it no matter what type of managers you are.There are numerous best practices shared from a wide range of private companies.

In my opinion, the authors spend too much time demonstrating the importance and the benefits of recognizing employees' contribution.If you read the book, it is because you are already converted, isn't it?

5-0 out of 5 stars Highest ROI book ever!
After sinking my scarce time into a book, I do a rough ROI calculation by asking two questions: "Is this really going to build my business?" and "How rough a slog was the book to get through?" The 24-Carrot Manager might be my highest ROI book ever. I think it'll have big impact on my company . . . and it's a blast of fresh air to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A golden tool for managers!
Gostick and Elton have woven a clever story together with thoughtful insight and straight-forward HR advice to create a book that should circulate through the management ranks of every organization bent on success. It will soon circulate through ours!

"The 24-Carrot Manager" is a quick-paced, entertaining read with a bushel-basket full of ideas on how to motivate and retain the best employees in any organization. More importantly, "The 24-Carrot Manager" underscores why employee motivation is central to YOUR success as a manager. It's a 24-karat winner! ... Read more


50. The Dirt : Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Neil Strauss
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060989157
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 1003
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of MÖtley CrÜe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend. They nailed the hottest chicks, started the bloodiest fights, partied with the biggest drug dealers, and got to know the inside of every jail cell from California to Japan. They have dedicated an entire career to living life to its extreme, from the greatest fantasies to the darkest tragedies. Tommy married two international sex symbols; Vince killed a man and lost a daughter to cancer; Nikki overdosed, rose from the dead, and then OD'd again the next day; and Wick shot a woman and tried to hang his own brother. But that's just the beginning. Fueled by every drug they could get their hands on and obscene amounts of alcohol, driven by fury and headed straight for hell, MÖtley CrÜe raged through two decades, leaving behind a trail of debauched women, trashed hotel rooms, crashed cars, psychotic managers, and broken bones that has left the music industry cringing to this day. All these unspeakable acts, not to mention their dire consequences, are laid bare in The Dirt.

Here -- directly from Nikki, Vince, Tommy, and Mick -- is the unexpurgated version of the whole glorious, gut-wrenching story. In these pages, published for the first time anywhere, are Tommy Lee's letters to Pamela Anderson from prison: Mick's confession to having an incurable disease that is slowly killing him; Vince's experience burying his own daughter -- and the train wreck that his life became afterward; and Nikki's anguished struggle to deal with an entire life fueled by anger over his childhood abandonment, his discovery of the family he never knew he had -- and his subsequent loss of them. And all of it accompanied by scores of rare, never-before-published photographs, mug shots, and handwritten lyrics. No one is spared. Not David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Vanity, Aerosmith, Heather Locklear, AC/DC, Lita Ford, Iron Maiden, Pamela Anderson, Guns N' Roses, Donna D'Errico, RATT, or those two girls from Dallas, Texas.

Make no mistake about it: these guys are geniuses. They invented glam metal and then left it in the dust; sold more than forty million albums from Shout at the Devil to Dr. Feelgood; toured the world dozen times and have the scars to prove it it; and maintained a rabid following in an era of throwaway pop stars. MÖtley CrÜe has done nothing less than tattoo the psyche of the entire MTV generation. They are the ultimate rock 'n' roll band. And if you don't believe it, read The Dirt. You don't know what decadence is...

... Read more

Reviews (211)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rock's Bad Boys Tell All...
I've followed the Crue since 1982 and have read so much about the band, listened to interviews, and watched them on TV. Knowing all I know about them, I could not put this book down once I started reading it. It's amazing to actually hear how the band was consumed by drugs and alcohol.

The book follows each member from childhood. It gives you a sense of each member's personality and shows you a different side of them not seen by the public. While each member's tales of their upbringing were interesting, Nikki's childhood stories are the most interesting and moving. Moving past childhood and adolescence, the member's chronicle their way into music and Motley Crue.

From their wild nights and endless days of partying while making a name for themselves in L.A., see how the band promoted themselves, and snagged a record deal with Elektra Records. It amazing that they got signed after reading just how wild they were before they hit the big time. At that point, the party had only begun.

The Dirt allows you to see the real people behind the Bad Boy Rock Star Images of the Motley members. While they are one of the wildest bands to walk the face of this earth, they are in fact human and have faced more problems and turmoil than most of us combined will ever know. Some of their problems may have been self inflicted but none the less, real problems. With all the good and bad they went through, they made it out alive and left their mark in rock and roll.

This book covers everything Motley. The wild tours, fights, arrests, deaths, recording sessions, parties, groupies and more. Motley Crue lived the Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll life style like no other band. VH1's "Behind The Music" only scratched the surface of the bad boys story. If you want it all, pick up "The Dirt" and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars THEATRE OF PAIN...INDEED!
I'm not a fan of Motley Crue (the people or their music) but this book came to my attention through all of the stories I have heard over the years. As far as rock biographies go, it's a fast paced read. Motley Crue epitomizes the message of "Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll!" So since there are so many other reviews I think I'll just share what I have learned about the band members through their 430 page opus.

Vince Neil has the most penultimate tear-jerker in the chapter that deals with the death of his daughter. In a book made to shock and astonish, this was as touching a moment as anything I have read. Beyond his love and loss, he comes off like a stand-up guy who enjoys the life style and isn't making excuses.

Nikki Sixx had a rough childhood and has so many father-son issues it's not even funny. While I respect the fact that he's been through more turmoil than I'll ever know...get over it. There's nothing more pathetic than listening to rock star millionaires pining away about how sad they are. I guess money can't buy happiness.

Mick Mars has the least to say in this book and this left me the most intrigued. He has battled rough times from personal illness to divorce to just plain being the victim of emotional abuse. I'm amazed he stayed with the band as long as he has. His is the true sad story in The Dirt.

Tommy Lee...moron. Here is the epitome of a millionaire jerk who just never learns. How a guy like this managed to bag babes like Heather Locklear, Pamela Anderson, and Carmen Electra...is beyond me. Don't expect to learn anything from his chapters except to see a spoiled baby who is used to getting anything he wants, and if he doesn't then the tantrums start...then and now.

It's a testament to this book that I enjoyed reading it. The chapters flow quickly telling each band member's story and author Neil Strauss never slows down. And unlike biographies by other rock groups, these characters actually have some bizarre stories to tell...and how they survived is beyond me. While I may not be racing out to buy any Crue music, I'm very happy that I read this biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for hard core Motley Crue fans!
This was a great book......great pictures and the stories of these guys is just amazing. The fact that it is so in detail about each band member and how they told each of thier stories is amazing. The fact that they are all clean and sober is just as great. This band is amazing and I do feel that the music will live on forever. Don't ever judge a book by its cover. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars a wild ride
"The Dirt" is impossible to describe. The stories Motley Crue tell are hard to believe, yet you know it's all true. Struggling in Hollywood living together in a roach infested apartment, the wild parties, the girls, girls, girls. Of course, they become a huge famous band and their drugs and girls get huge too.

The chapters Nikki Sixx wrote were my favorites. He comes across as very intellligent and is a great storyteller. Mick Mars' chapters are very insightful, as he always seemed to shy away from media attention and I never knew all that much about him. Tommy Lee's chapters make him sound like a spoiled child. He was always my favorite member of the Crue, but his chapters got harder and harder to read (ending with letters he wrote to Pamela from prison that were so juvenille it hurt to read them).

All in all, this is a fantastic book that I've read three times since purchasing. It's hard to put down, hard to believe and a totally wild ride.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unadulterated Realism
In my opinion, this is the most gut renching, unadulterated truth that I have ever read. From laughing out loud, to being completely disgusted, the boys of Motley Crue cover all basis and pulled no stop when it came to this autobiography of their lives as they lived it.

They had drugs on tap, sex on tap, and a boat load of trouble that followed them everywhere they went. The fact that some people dislike this book because of their "Hedonistic actions", they must realize that this IS life as it was and still is today. I highly recommend that people read this book just so they can know what is out there and what really happened/happens in the world of rock as we know it. ... Read more


51. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
by CHUCK PALAHNIUK
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385722222
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2972
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank god for paperback
I think the term stranger than fiction fits this book just fine. And now, like a blessing from god the book has finally come out in paperback. The hardcover copy was sort of a hasle for me because I'm such an abid traveler.
This book, much like Palahniuks other books is delightfully disturbing, but if your a new Palahniuk fan I recommend you start out with his earlier work like Fight Club or Invisible. My personal favorite story from this book is the fist, I really think it sets the tone for this great non-fictional book. I hope all who buy this book enjoy it as much as I did. ... Read more


52. The Cinema of George Lucas
by Marcus Hearn, Ron Howard
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810949687
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Sales Rank: 126105
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Book Description

Acclaimed filmmaker George Lucas re-invigorated the science-fiction genre more than 25 years ago with Star Wars, one of the greatest epics and cultural icons of its generation. He has enthralled audiences with his grand vision, mythic narratives, and groundbreaking visual effects ever since, and he remains a pivotal figure in American cinema: Star Wars: Episode II (2002) was the first film to be shot entirely with state-of-the-art digital cameras, and Star Wars: Episode III is set for release in 2005.

Marcus Hearn draws on exclusive interviews-as well as unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm archives-to craft a definitive look at more than four decades of the director's work. Lavishly illustrated, the book features many never and rarely seen images, including stills from Lucas's student films and behind-the-scenes photographs from the first Star Wars, the Indiana Jones adventures, and Star Wars: Episode III. Hearn delves deep into Lucas's achievements in the film industry as a director, writer, editor, and producer. Destined to be the classic illustrated survey of Lucas's career, the book is sure to fascinate not only die-hard fans but also general film and popular culture enthusiasts. AUTHOR BIO: Marcus Hearn is a writer, editor, and publisher specializing in film and popular culture. He is the author of the best-selling Star Wars: Attack of the Clones-The Illustrated Companion. He lives in London. Ron Howard is an actor, producer, and director whose film A Beautiful Mind (2001) won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director.
... Read more


53. Fever Pitch
by Nick Hornby
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573226882
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 6680
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the States, Nick Hornby is best know as the author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, two wickedly funny novels about being thirtysomething and going nowhere fast. In Britain he is revered for his status as a fanatical football writer (sorry, fanatical soccer writer), owing to Fever Pitch--which is both an autobiography and a footballing Bible rolled into one. Hornby pinpoints 1968 as his formative year--the year he turned 11, the year his parents separated, and the year his father first took him to watch Arsenal play. The author quickly moved "way beyond fandom" into an extreme obsession that has dominated his life, loves, and relationships. His father had initially hoped that Saturday afternoon matches would draw the two closer together, but instead Hornby became completely besotted with the game at the expense of any conversation: "Football may have provided us with a new medium through which we could communicate, but that was not to say that we used it, or what we chose to say was necessarily positive." Girlfriends also played second fiddle to one ball and 11 men. He fantasizes that even if a girlfriend "went into labor at an impossible moment" he would not be able to help out until after the final whistle.

Fever Pitch is not a typical memoir--there are no chapters, just a series of match reports falling into three time frames (childhood, young adulthood, manhood). While watching the May 2, 1972, Reading v. Arsenal match, it became embarrassingly obvious to the then 15-year-old that his white, suburban, middle-class roots made him a wimp with no sense of identity: "Yorkshire men, Lancastrians, Scots, the Irish, blacks, the rich, the poor, even Americans and Australians have something they can sit in pubs and bars and weep about." But a boy from Maidenhead could only dream of coming from a place with "its own tube station and West Indian community and terrible, insoluble social problems."

Fever Pitch reveals the very special intricacies of British football, which readers new to the game will find astonishing, and which Hornby presents with remarkable humor and honesty--the "unique" chants sung at matches, the cold rain-soaked terraces, giant cans of warm beer, the trains known as football specials carrying fans to and from matches in prisonlike conditions, bottles smashing on the tracks, thousands of policemen waiting in anticipation for the cargo of hooligans. The sport and one team in particular have crept into every aspect of Hornby's life--making him see the world through Arsenal-tinted spectacles. --Naomi Gesinger ... Read more

Reviews (110)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beware What This Book Might Do To You
I've been meaning to write a review of this book for a long time, but since Nick Hornby reawakened in me many of my childhood sports fan obsessions when I read it for the first time in 1999, I've been too busy. Not only did "Fever Pitch" remind me how irrationally and how much I loved my own hometown team (the heartbreaking Boston Red Sox) but he turned me into a fan of English football and his own Arsenal Gunners to the point where I follow them daily on ESPN's soccernet, LISTEN (!?) to them on internet radio broadcasts and have even gone to two games in London over the past two years. It's sick really, and I suppose it's not the kind of thing Hornby would have wanted when he wrote this quintessential memoir of growing up a soccer fan in England, but I've enjoyed it

"Fever Pitch" is an obsessive's tale as much as it is a fan's story, and so should appeal to the same wide audience that enjoys his excellent novels (It was my love for "High Fidelity" that sent me straight to this book). It is a memoir of surprising depth considering how it is organized only by the dates of soccer matches between 1968 and 1991, and it makes perfect sense that Hornby, or any true fan, should see the rest of his life (parents' divorce, his own education, romantic and career trouble) primarily as it relates to the team he spends so much time, money and psychic energy on.

The irony, for me, was finding out after I read "Fever Pitch" for the first time that Arsenal was one of the top teams of the last decade in England, so Hornby at least gets to feel the joy that we Red Sox fans are still waiting for. Sure, we're ecstatic the Pats won the Super Bowl, but our lives will change forever when Boston brings home the World Series. But after "Fever Pitch," I'll remember to laugh like the rest of the world laughs when American sports leagues crown their title-holders "world" champions.

5-0 out of 5 stars For sports fans, obsessives, and everyone else
I assume this book would be a joyous, justifying experience for a devoted fan of any sport - "I'm not alone!" - and I can assure you that it's a fun, educational read for someone who has no interest in any sport. It's a look at the way fanship can be created by, and in turn create, a person's life, and as such should be required reading both for fans themselves and for the people who can't understand them. In other words, if you completely understand why an important win could turn your entire life around, or why you would have to miss your sister's wedding if it coincided with a game, Fever Pitch is for you. And if you don't understand this at all, the book is also for you.

Now, having said that, there are a few problems with this book for Americans who don't know much about football. (You know, soccer, not American rules football.) If you don't know thing one about the game, you can still read the book, but you won't understand big chunks of it. Hornby either never expected this book to be published in America, or he can't imagine an audience that isn't intimately familiar with football argot. (And, having read the book, I'm betting on the latter.) So you'll need either to read a book about football before you read Fever Pitch, or to have on call a person who knows football. As it happens, I had both. I read the decent book The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro before Fever Pitch, so I knew about, for example, relegation and promotion. And I happen to know a person who watches football. And still I didn't get everything; what the heck is the Arsenal offside trap? What was the Ibrox disaster? (Double whammy, since apparently it also happened before I was born.) What's the penalty spot? I don't know, and Hornby didn't take the time to tell me. So - not perhaps the best book to introduce you to football.

Still, this a fascinating book, a book that contains a wealth of self-knowledge for the obsessed and astonishing revelations for everyone else. Read it. If nothing else, you'll learn that the person in your life that you thought was as obsessed with team X as it is possible to be is merely a fly-by-night fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is one of the best football books
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is one of the best football books around. But it is about much more than football, it gives a rare glimpse into the psyche of the British football fan. In his book, football is a metaphor for all aspects of life, romance, family, and career. Hornby¡¦s amusing narratives perfectly encapsulate the unique relationship a football fan has with their favorite team. Even as a Manchester United fan I find it fascinating to read about his obsession with and dedication to Arsenal.
At the most superficial level, this book provides a very detail account of Arsenal from the late 60s through the beginning of the 90s, and the increasingly violent behavior by football fans during the late 70s and early 80s, and the negative impact it had on his feelings for the games.
Hornby describes vividly how his life was related to Arsenal's achievements. When Arsenal was doing good, Hornby was doing good. When Arsenal was having an off-season, Hornby fell into depression. It is interesting to observe the development of Hornby's obsession, because it can happen to anyone. With the backdrop of his often witty accounts of Arsenal games, Hornby talks about how his life evolves with his family, his girlfriend, and his students. Football is like a common world language, and Hornby uses it to interact with his students. And watching football with his father was one the highlights of his childhood.
Every game has an analogy in life for the football fan. For Hornby, a tight game ending in defeat is a painful reminder of a break with his girlfriend.
While this obsession with football is almost innate, sometimes Hornby felt immature, especially when he was unable to control his overwhelming passion for the game in front of his students.
In humorous pros Hornby highlights how football and life come together on the pitch and is definitely worthy of reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars black and white and read all over
This is a cool book, and a very good book, but a tiny little "je ne sais quoi" keeps me from giving it that last and final fifth star.

To summarize the book superficially in a sentence, it's an autobiographical retelling, in a very witty first-person voice, of the author's (London journalist Nick Hornby) lifelong love of soccer and his passion for the English pro soccer team Arsenal (which plays in London). Thrown in are side stories about his boyhood, his relationship with his parents, and his posse of friends, love interests, and workmates who either do or don't share his love of the sport.

One problem for North Americans is that this is a truly English book, in that it contains tons of references to little villages in England, little UK customs, judgments and descriptions of London neighborhoods, etc., that left me feeling like a Yankee hick who'd never left the trailer park. Indeed, that is my problem and not the author's, but North Americans who don't know English culture well will feel lost at times.

Another problem is that the book, like the TV show "Seinfeld," isn't really about anything. Sure, there's a lot of chatter about soccer, but not in any sort of methodical or educative way. It's basically a willfully disorganized diary about 20 years in the life of a clever, witty Englishman (from about age 10 to about age 30) who allows soccer to dominate his worldview and, alas, his whole life. It comes down to the amusing musings of a 30-something Londoner, which makes the book fascinating but not monumental.

The obsession with soccer is the strength and the weakness of the work. If you want to learn about English pro soccer, you will be disappointed. If you want to learn first-hand, from a very imaginative and clever soul, about what it was like for one particular person to grow up soccer-mad in southeastern England the 1970's and 1980's and how it impacted the rest of his life, then this is the book for you.

I'm a big fan of Nick Hornby, and a better book of his, and a better "starter book" for him, is "High Fidelity."

2-0 out of 5 stars Painfully, painfully boring
This book was extremely pointless. Since each entry is a memory, they are written like them so they don't have an insteresting story-telling narrative. Also, some of the entries were just how the game was played and who won, with absolutely nothing interesting to say. And that for 300 pages, completely redundant. This book has no beginning, middle, or end. Just entry after entry of complete pointlessness. Now, it may be because I am not interested in sports, but this is just a football (soccor) journal and nothing more. Hornby was able to shove in a little bit of angst and childhood problems, but it is not nearly significant enough to keep the reader interested.

Though the book had some very funny parts, it doesn't make up for the ennui I experienced while reading this book. You know, they made a movie out a this.....HOW?!! It barely works as a piece of fiction or reference book...but a movie?! Jesus. I'm sorry but this was one of the most boring books I've ever read. ... Read more


54. Ogden Nash : The Life and Work of America's Laureate of Light Verse
by Douglas M. Parker
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156663637X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
Sales Rank: 42649
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For years, readers have longed for a biography to match Nash's charm, wit, and good nature; now we have it in Douglas Parker's absorbing and delightful life of the poet. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars I recommend it - get Amazon to send it!
I was delighted to find this book.Rather than quoting Nash's verse at length, Parker uses quotes quite judiciously to illustrate various points he's making.This made me want to read more of Nash's collections, which I feel is an indicator of a good biography.
I thought the book was well-paced and engaging.I'm not a big fan of biographies (I tend to find them overwrought and melodramatic), but enjoyed this quite a bit. ... Read more


55. I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away
by BILL BRYSON
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076790382X
Catlog: Book (2000-06-06)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 1682
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens--as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me").They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth.The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.


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Reviews (158)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G. Merritt ... Read more


56. Guru : My Days with Del Close
by Jeff Griggs
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566636140
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
Sales Rank: 245387
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jeff Griggs gives the reader the essentials of Close's biography: his childhood in Kansas, early years as an actor, countercultural exploits in the 1960's, years with the Compass Players and then with Second City, experimentation with every drug imaginable, which cost him his health and ultimately his life. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great portrayal of Del, and of Improvisers in general
What impressed me most about this book was not Griggs' compelling portrayal of Del Close (although I loved it), nor the way that it filled in gaps in Close's biography that I only had to guess at before.What I liked most about it was Griggs' descriptions of what it's like to be an improviser in the scene; taking classes, being in ensembles and learning from giants.I certainly can relate, and that's what helped make this book such an essential read for me.This book is a must for disciples of Close.It's funny, touching, wonderfully human, highly informative.It made me feel like I had gotten to know Close well.After reading this book, I truly wish I had that honor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Something Wonderful Right Away...
I couldn't put the book down.I loved Mr. Griggs' invocation of Del Close.

For improvisers it's a must-read:you witness Del's clarity and passion regarding the craft.
For you pop-culture buffs, it's a must read:you get to learn of Del's impact on American comedy, and his intersections with 1960s counterculture.
For those who love a good story, it's a must read:I loved how seemingly innocuous errands became adrenaline rushing adventures, and was fascinated by the reflections of a man who lived a tremendously full life.

With his book, Mr. Griggs took me back to when I studied under Del in 1998.Seven years later, his teaching is very much vital and relevant to us as we are building a longform improv community in Houston, TX.Thanks for your work, Jeff.Well done!

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it, Loved it.
This book is such a good read, you'll be hard pressed to put it down once you pick it up. The essence of Del is so meticulously laid in front of you, that you truly feel you knew him by the book's end. All of the true life stories presented by Griggs hit home and give insight into the fearless, crazy, and sometimes lonely world of an incredible genius. If you have enjoyed any comedian or comedic actor in the past 35 years, then you must read this book, as Del has been noted by nearly every one as a person of influence and inspiration. Kudos to Griggs for bringing this to us. ... Read more


57. Stop-Time
by Frank Conroy
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140044469
Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 83166
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic American memoir
Conroy has been compared to Holden Caulfield, but Stop-Time, of course, is memoir - not fiction. Also, Conroy's writing is understated, haunting, and lyrical, even when he's talking about pretty brutal and gritty stuff. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to study the art of the memoir. First published in 1967, it still rings with the truth of boyhood and adolescence during a certain time in America.
The facts are not so terribly remarkable: He grew up poor, was bright but didn't do well in school, moved around a lot, his father died when he was 12, and he didn't get along with his stepfather (who, after Conroy's mother left, moved an insane girlfriend into the home). Okay, all that makes a good enough tale - but what really elevates it to high art is Conroy's skill as a writer, his ability to take a teensy memory or detail and expand it into something utterly remarkable.
Read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant and tightly crafted
Thirty-six years after it was first published, Frank Conroy's Stop-Time still holds up as a classic American memoir, and a great book to boot. Conroy's young narrator reminds me of Holden Caulfield, but he's less cloying. Conroy controls the writing beautifully -- this is a far better book than The Liars Club and, for my money, a better book than Angela's Ashes, too. Understated and haunting -- a must-read for any student of memoir, and a good book for anyone interested in what it was once like to grow up in America.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Memoir of Growing Up
The memoir has become a particularly prominent literary form in the past decade, often blending fact and fiction in licentious literary exploration. I think, particularly, of Mary Karr ("The Liar's Club" and, more recently, "Cherry") and Kathryn Harrison ("The Kiss") and, of course, Frank McCourt's Irish ramblings, among others. But thirty or so years before all these candid, sometimes titillating, self confessions, Frank Conroy wrote a book titled "Stop-Time," a memoir that surpasses all of them in the beauty of its prose and the poignant and deep sensitivity of its feeling.

"Stop-Time" tells the story of Frank Conroy's first eighteen years of life, a life marked by the ordinary rather than the lurid or unseemly. But the ordinariness of the life is elevated by the dreamlike, sensitive, asynchronous wonder of Conroy's writing. As Conroy relates in the first chapter of his narrative, in a passage that gives you a feeling for his writing style and for the narrative to follow: "My faith in the firmness of time slips away gradually. I begin to believe that chronological time is an illusion and that some other principle organizes existence. My memories flash like clips of film from unrelated movies."

"Stop-Time" is a stunning example of how great writing can elevate even the most ordinary of lives. The facts of Conroy's memoir are not remarkable. He grew up in relatively poor circumstances, his father died of cancer when he was 12 and lived most of his life apart from Conroy's mother, he spent his time primarily between New York and Florida, and he was a bright boy who performed miserably in school. But while the broad outlines of his life are seemingly unremarkable, Conroy possesses the great gift of the writer: he can focus on the mote of dust floating in the sunlight and take the reader into a world of dreams and memories that are startlingly real, a world that the reader can feel and identify from his or her own recollections of growing up.

Conroy can lie down in a kennel with his family's dogs and dream that he, too, is a dog running through a field. He can relate the fear of being left alone in a cold cabin in the middle of winter while his mother and her boyfriend work the third shift at a state mental institution. He can recall a trip to the carnival with his best friend and how he was cheated and more by a seedy carnie hawker. He can precisely detail learning all the tricks you can do with a yo-yo, and learn them well. And he can recall the tumescent longings of early adolescence, of sneaking and peeking with his cousin and, as he got older, of experiencing, too. It is all related with a feeling, with a literary sense, that would be called "perfect pitch" if it were music.

"Stop-Time" is a remarkably written memoir that not only should be read, but also studied, as a stunning example of how the literary imagination can give vibrant life to the mundane.

1-0 out of 5 stars Truly bad
Not only is Conroy a woman hater, he also cannnot write worth a dime. Much of his work is nonsense,badly written, trite and boring. Use this as scrap paper!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Memoir of Growing Up
The memoir has become a particularly prominent literary form in the past decade, often blending fact and fiction in licentious literary exploration. I think, particularly, of Mary Karr ("The Liar's Club" and, more recently, "Cherry") and Kathryn Harrison ("The Kiss") and, of course, Frank McCourt's Irish ramblings, among others. But thirty or so years before all these candid, sometimes titillating, self confessions, Frank Conroy wrote a book titled "Stop-Time," a memoir that surpasses all of them in the beauty of its prose and the poignant and deep sensitivity of its feeling.

"Stop-Time" tells the story of Frank Conroy's first eighteen years of life, a life marked by the ordinary rather than the lurid or unseemly. But the ordinariness of the life is elevated by the dreamlike, sensitive, asynchronous wonder of Conroy's writing. As Conroy relates in the first chapter of his narrative, in a passage that gives you a feeling for his writing style and for the narrative to follow: "My faith in the firmness of time slips away gradually. I begin to believe that chronological time is an illusion and that some other principle organizes existence. My memories flash like clips of film from unrelated movies."

"Stop-Time" is a stunning example of how great writing can elevate even the most ordinary of lives. The facts of Conroy's memoir are not remarkable. He grew up in relatively poor circumstances, his father died of cancer when he was 12 and lived most of his life apart from Conroy's mother, he spent his time primarily between New York and Florida, and he was a bright boy who performed miserably in school. But while the broad outlines of his life are seemingly unremarkable, Conroy possesses the great gift of the writer: he can focus on the mote of dust floating in the sunlight and take the reader into a world of dreams and memories that are startlingly real, a world that the reader can feel and identify from his or her own recollections of growing up.

Conroy can lie down in a kennel with his family's dogs and dream that he, too, is a dog running through a field. He can relate the fear of being left alone in a cold cabin in the middle of winter while his mother and her boyfriend work the third shift at a state mental institution. He can recall a trip to the carnival with his best friend and how he was cheated and more by a seedy carnie hawker. He can precisely detail learning all the tricks you can do with a yo-yo, and learn them well. And he can recall the tumescent longings of early adolescence, of sneaking and peeking with his cousin and, as he got older, of experiencing, too. It is all related with a feeling, with a literary sense, that would be called "perfect pitch" if it were music.

"Stop-Time" is a remarkably written memoir that not only should be read, but also studied, as a stunning example of how the literary imagination can give vibrant life to the mundane. ... Read more


58. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
by PhyllisDiller, Richard Buskin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585423963
Catlog: Book (2005-02-17)
Publisher: Tarcher
Sales Rank: 12478
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From housewife to humorist, Phyllis Diller has been making millions laugh for five decades with her groundbreaking comedy. Now the laughter continues with her uproarious autobiography.

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse recounts the story of how, against all odds, Phyllis Diller became America's first successful and best-loved female stand-up comic. She began her professional career at age thirty-seven, in spite of the fact that she was a housewife, mother of five, and working at a radio station due to her husband's chronic unemployment.Now, fifty years later, after two traumatic marriages; extensive cosmetic surgery; numerous film, television, and stage appearances; and separate careers as an artist and piano soloist with symphony orchestras, Phyllis Diller finally tells her story.

With her trademark laugh, incredible wit, and self-deprecating humor, Phyllis Diller has etched her way into comedic history. And while her wild hair and outrageous clothes may make her look "like a lampshade in a whorehouse," her strength, self-belief, perseverance, and raucous sense of humor are what make her truly unforgettable.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Having the last laugh?
If living well is the best revenge, then it is hard to appreciate why Phyllis Diller spends a good portion of her latest autobiography settling scores with dozens of minor people whose names would have completely faded from history if not for her memoirs.

But then, for a woman who made a comedic career out of catastrophes and disappointments, perhaps this is her way of having the last laugh. Unfortunately, these bitter remembrances just aren't funny and mar an otherwise delightful book. Instead the story is jagged and a little too hard-edged and earns a solid three stars.

Penguin, however, has produced a beautiful book for Ms. Diller with a stunning bright orange cover with raised printing while the book underneath features a three-piece case binding with foil stamping. Even the ivory-colored paper inside is high-quality stuff. And I couldn't find one typo. The presentation reflects Penguin's star-quality regard for Diller giving this book an overall four-star rating.

When Diller focuses on her successes by highlighting colleagues (like Bob Hope) or good timing (like breaking in at a time when no other female comics offered serious competition) or techniques (like ending punch lines with consonants to emphasize the mock hostility), the book really entertains. But the story just isn't worth the hardcover admission price and I would recommend waiting for and buying the paperback version of Diller's story.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Terrific Bio"
"LIKE A LAMPSHADE IN A WHOREHOUSE, from the "QUEEN" of comedy is such a fun book.I both laughed and teared-up a bit (at times), while reading.

I have always admired the fun spirit of this "funny lady."It is nice to finally get to know more about her on a "real-life" level.For example...I Had No Idea She Had Six Children!That in itself is impressive.

Many years ago I met Phyllis Diller in person at the 'Beverely Hills Supper Club," in Kentucky.I found her to be both funny and charming (at the time), and after reading this book, I'm happy to learn she is a lot more than that.

I really enjoyed this book and know that any person who enjoys reading this fact-filled genre will love it to.

"LIKE A LAMPSHADE IN A WHOREHOUSE," by Phyllis Diller, is a "must read."Add it to your Amazon.com list of books to order.You will be glad you did.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Being the funny person Phyllis Diller is, I expected something different than the tone of this book.Miss Diller comes across as bitter and resentful towards the men in her life.I understand that this was with cause, but it has been many years now and she seems to be carrying a lot of unforgiveness and resentment around.Being that she is a lover of "The Magic of Believing" by Claude Bristol, I guess I expected a more positive view. She seems to be proud of her atheism.What makes her so sure there is no deity?What force did she tap into with belief to change her life?

She also told me far more than I needed to know about her sex life with her first husband, Sherwood Diller, "banging away at her with no thought of how to ****" to second husband Warde Donovan's trysts with a chauffeur "coming home with the smell of semen on his breath."Then she writes "I had my share of one-night stands."Point is, I really didn't need to know all of that.She also spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about her first husband's mental illness.If he was truly mentally ill, it was cruel of her to write as she did. Going on and on about her in-laws got to be a bit boring too.This could have been a better book.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHATTA BOOK; WHATTA PERSON
It is so interesting to read about a multi talented person who is supremely successful where they reveal the downside parts of their life and wonder why they did what they did...but they did it.Like Phyllis Diller, I read a most wonderful book "The Magic of Believing" by Claude Bristol when I was in my early 20's that did change my life, but not to the extent that she transformed herself because of that book.Many miserable things happened to her traveling through her life journey, but she was always optimistic and overcame the adversities.This book has funny parts, however, it is really an autobiography and details the life of the author.A marvelous read and a story that should get more than 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars She's terrific
I am in my early sixties so I can remember when Phyllis Diller was appearing on all the variety shows. She was hysterical. But as this book shows she is also a hardworking, warm BRAVE woman with great spirit. She had 6 kids!!!! Who knew? She tells a great story for women and is so funny. Enjoyable. ... Read more


59. Bird by Bird : Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by ANNE LAMOTT
list price: $23.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679435204
Catlog: Book (1994-09-06)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 197126
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (199)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review Bird by Bird
In the world of writing there are many different books that one can check out to find guidance and inspiration. This book explains how to write in a down to earth way. Writing is like walking, taking one step at a time until you end up where you want to be. Oferring everything from she has ever learned about writing Anne Lamott presents it in a way that is humorous, inspirational and can help any writer who is having trouble. After you finish reading this book you will be motivated to want to write for hours upon hours.

The first part of the book is a basic overview of how to write a work of literature. The number one rule of writing is to tell the truth. The reader does not want to read a story from an unrealiable source. After the writer swears to write the truth Lamott says to start from the very beginning of your life. Write down everything: where you went to school? who your friends and teachers were? What clothes you wore? things like that. Then expand the details, write the fine points and then just keep going. Writing is observing what is around you and putting that on paper. To get into the mood for writing, make it a habit, sit down at the same time, and just write. The only way to get better at something is to practice, so practice writing. This process is the same for everyone.

Once you start the writing, the characters need to come into play. What are the different personalities of these people? Are they good with morals? Or are they bad to the bone? Now ask yourself different uestions and think of an answer that the character might respond with. Get to know your characters personally and let there be something at stake or else the story will be very boring. One way to familiarize yourself with the characters is to base them on people you know.

As the plot thickens, Lamott says that the characters interacting make the plot. Two characters who learn about each other day by day are bound to have something happen to them at some point.

After the characters are in place, the set needs to be accounted for. This accounting is where the author gets to be the director and set everything into place. What does the room or surroundings look like? What time is it? What does the area smell like? These and many other questions need answere to make the plot work.

Bird by Bird also has many examples as to why to write in the first place. You can give your writing as a gift. Write someone a story and they will chereish it forever. Write for the communitiy, in a paper. Tell the populaceyour view of an event happening in the town. The best reason to write, is to have it published. To have your words immortalized in a book is one of life's ultimate moments. Although Lamott says that it is not as big as, one would make it. Once you have a published book, you think that it could have been better written she argues.

Lamott has a lot of advice to give to writers who feel stuck in their writing. Her advise can be put to good use. The first advise is to carry index cards, when a good idea pops into your head, just whip out an index card and jot down your idea. Later gather your index cards while writing and put your good ideas to use. Lamott says that a telephone is a good resource to use on writing. When you need a second opinion about something or need some expert advice just use a telephone to instantly contact someone. Another good piece of advice is to shut up that voice that says that your work is worthless, that it is not perfect, and that it does not sound good. Silence that voice in order to achieve perfection. Probably the most important advice is to keep writing. Practice makes perfect.

This book has taught me a lot about writing. I thorougly enjoyed the book. Lamott explains how to write well in a simple, humorous, way that makes writing enjoyable. I highly recomend Bird by Bird. Even though I will not pursue a career in writing, I can not wait to start my own story just to be writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ever Meet Someone As Crazy As Yourself?


Reading Anne Lamott is like sitting down with a close friend who shares all of your idiosyncracies and insanities, as well as your warped sense of humor. Bird by Bird gives Lamott's view of the writing life and confronts all of the little details and major crises faced by anyone who's ever wanted to write. Filled with warm and witty anecdotes from her own writing career and from the classes she teaches, Lamott takes you gently by the hand and then proceeds to push, pull, or drag you to the pencil or the keyboard because you suddenly feel that you have to write something, right now! This is a book to keep next to the bed or the computer, or wherever else you're likely to be when you need a nudge to keep going and a major dose of inspiration. Read this book with a highlighter grasped tightly in your sweaty palm, because you're going to want to come back to certain lines over and over again. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Streaker's Delight
Anne Lamott is always a brave and honest writer, but in "Bird by Bird" she streaks through your psyche, leaving her self evaluations and confessions burned into your mind like the image of the naked stranger you walked in on by accident in the dressing room. You get the feeling you should look away, but you can't help taking a peek. Often funny, sometimes uncomfortable, but always, to the last page, authentic. If you're a writer, I bet you'll read it more than once.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bird by Bird
This is an excellent book about the writing life and secrets of successful writing. I like especially the humor in it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Boring Beginner's Stuff
I'm trying to return this book right now...it's not bad, and certainly has its audience, but I'm not it. It's your basic beginner's guide to creative writing, unique for its alternately folksy and sassy tone. A certain kind of beginner will find it encouraging -- typically young and female, I suspect. It's like having your own encouraging single mum! But for anyone who's got past their own precious egos (enough to progress beyond hand-holding and back-patting, anyway) and has the minimum intellectual insight required of a would-be writer of "literary fiction" (as opposed to "genre fiction"), this book's likely to be only amusing at best. I myself cannot recommend it as being helpful to anyone writing at an advanced, pre-publication level, for which I maintain that John Gardner's "Art of Fiction" and "On Becoming A Novelist" remain the most useful of all such books, intellectually rigorous (even if it sounds elitist here and there) and spiritually uplifting for being more "formal" and "classically-minded." As it stands, "Bird by Bird" is a good enough preamble for its implicitly intended market of young female beginning writers (and sensitive "Young Werthers," for that matter). As a nice counter-weight to Gardner, I'd recommend "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers." ... Read more


60. Scar Tissue
by Anthony Kiedis, Larry Sloman
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401301010
Catlog: Book (2004-10-06)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 309
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Book Description

As lead singer and songwriter for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis has lived life on the razor's edge. So much has been written about him, but until now, we've only had Kiedis's songs as clues to his experience from the inside. In Scar Tissue, Kiedis proves himself to be as compelling a memoirist as he is a lyricist, giving us a searingly honest account of the life from which his music has evolved.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are that rare breed of rock band. Critically lauded and popularly embraced by millions of fans, their albums consistently sell into the stratosphere -- their CD Californication sold over 13 million copies alone.

Now in Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis defies the rock star clichés. In his telling, we can see everything he has done has been part of a passionate journey. Kiedis is a man "in love with everything" -- the darkness, the death, the disease. Even his descent into drug addition was a part of that journey, another element that he has transformed into art. ... Read more


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