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121. If I Die in a Combat Zone : Box
$45.00 $30.14
122. Balanchine: Celebrating a Life
$16.29 $14.93 list($23.95)
123. Magical Thinking : True Stories
$16.50 $13.70 list($25.00)
124. A Private Family Matter : A Memoir
$18.33 list($26.95)
125. The Bradbury Chronicles : The
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126. The Mayor Of Macdougal Street:
$16.47 $14.96 list($24.95)
127. The Amorous Busboy of Decatur
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128. Layne Staley: Angry Chair
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129. It Seemed Important at the Time
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130. A Tale of Love and Darkness
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131. A Small Place
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132. A Million Little Pieces
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133. The Road from Coorain
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134. Dream Lovers: The Magnificent
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135. Lucy & Desi: The Real-Life
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136. Oxford Composer Companion: J.S.
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137. The Last American Man
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138. How to Be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn
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139. The Operator : David Geffen Builds,
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140. The Lives of the Artists (Oxford

121. If I Die in a Combat Zone : Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767904435
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 24341
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars exceptional!
This is an excellent piece of literature. O'Brien is at his finest as he transcribes his experiences during the vietnam war. If you read "The Things They Carried" (which he wrote after this) you'll definately love this book. It's also interesting to observe some of the similarities to the characters in this memoir to those in The Things They Carried. It's exceptional, honestly. You wont be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage
A thinking man in Vietnam was a dangerous thing. Being a soldier in Vietnam was a dangerous thing. Tim O'Brien was both and somehow he managed to live to survive it and tell his story. He ends up in Vietnam after unsuccessfully dealing with his conflict between doing the right thing and being a courageous man. He tells of his decision not to follow his well planned escape route and stay with his country and its proposal to send him to Viet Nam. O'Brien describes Vietnam as a place with nameless soldiers and Buddys, faceless enemies and endless minefields.

This is an excellent text for learning about the experience of the Vietnam war, the choices that young man were faced with at that time and basic dilemmas in making moral decisions. It is a well written book which makes for a quick, satisfying read.

5-0 out of 5 stars War a Go Go
Whether academics would consider this a literary masterpiece or not, Tim's honesty and integrity make this a must-read account of his total Vietnam experience. I say total, because I found his description of his almost-AWOL phase to be one of the most fascinating parts of the book.

Morally and practically, his situation was infinitely more complex than that of a draft dodger, for whom there were known routes into Canada above all, and more clear cut decison processes involved. About 90,000 of the 100,000 draft dodgers fled to Canada, many of whom settled here long-term.

Yet as you read Tim's account of his guided tour of hell, you realize that, like all Vietnam Vets, and I have the honor of knowing many of both genders, his healing journey is one that he will not be undertaking alone. Sadly, there was nothing unique about his Vietnam experience, as he would be the first to tell you.

At one point, back in the late seventies, there was a statistic indicating that about 800,000 Vietnam Vets - about half the combat vets, were suffering from PTSD. Yet it became obvious that this figure, which did not even include the Army nurses and Docs who sewed everybody back together, was somewhat low. On reading If I Die, you can see how the Vietnam experience could stay with a person for the rest of his/her life, especially in view of the hostility that the Vets faced upon their return to 'The World'.

Vietnam was a tremendously divisive issue and the factors that Tim O'Brien had to balance during his almost-AWOL period, make you realize that the actual draft dodgers will also have their own healing to do. The only draft dodgers I have a problem with are the ones who fled to Canada, yet who claim to have done so because of their 'principles'.

No. The draft evaders with true integrity and principles either took the courageous step of joining the military as a Medic and refused to carry weapons, or like David Harris, Joan Baez's husband, went to jail for their principles - David was jailed for 3 years for Draft Evasion. The dodgers who ran to Canada did so because they were scared, pure and simple, and there is nothing wrong with being scared. Just don't lie about it - or you will never heal.

As for 'principles', if 100,000 people had forced the Government to jail them over the Vietnam issue, as David did, it might have made a difference. It might literally have ended the war years earlier, and saved young men like Tim from having to undergo such a psychologically damaging experience. Running away was a selfish act, but one which I do not judge - that is between them and God. Just don't try to sell me 'principles', boys. Ever.

Tim O'Brien is a great writer, and in If I Die, he really puts you in harm's way, among the trip-wire grenades, the panji stake pits, the minefields and the VC snipers. Yet hard as the Vietnam War was on the young draftees, the unforgivable thing is the fact that for many of these teenage soldiers, the hardest part was coming home. To quote from Paul Hardcastle's '19' (the average age of the combat soldier in Vietnam) "They fought the longest war in American history... None of them received a hero's welcome..."

Welcome home, Tim.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Early O'Brien...
O'Brien is simply my favorite author. I was curious to read this, his first book, a memoir of his real days in country. It is without the lyrical beauty and power of some of his other fictionalized accounts of war, but as he says in How to Tell a True War Story--what exactly is real in war? This is as close one can come...a fascinating account--perhaps most interesting is the down time--the mundane aspects of war. His honesty is disarming (no pun intended), but the polished O'Brien we know and love is still developing. It is an important book and worth the time spent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good
As a Marine grunt(1968) In Vietnam, the book basically gives a good view into daily 'NAM' LIFE. Other reviewers gave a low rating thru their WELL-> READ knowledge of the war. There is a old Vietnam unwritten code "if you were not there, then you have no idea what happened or should not judge the ones who were. Vietnam vets don't talk about our experiences over there because there is no way a civilian could comprehend what we endured". The war was a horrible, minute by minute effort to stay alive but also a duty to protect your fellow marines , your fellow marines were your brothers. Read the book. Semper Fi ... Read more

122. Balanchine: Celebrating a Life in Dance
by Costas
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
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Asin: 1559498455
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Tide-Mark Press, Ltd.
Sales Rank: 57687
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance is a tribute to twentieth-century ballet’s most influential choreographer.Even before founding the New York City Ballet with Lincoln Kirstein, George Balanchine ha achieved international recognition as a dance innovator.Creating dances for his own company, Balanchine’s insights reinvigorated ballet by combining new forms with the traditional while dancing to contemporary musical scores.The works that emerged from this synthesis of styles brought new audiences to dance, as well as new meaning and relevance to the art of dance.

To commemorate the centenary of Balanchine’s birth, Balanchine explores fifty of the choreographer’s greatest works.A host of the most recognized names in dance have come together in this book to pay tribute to George Balanchine in essays that recall their personal experiences with "Mr. B." and offer analysis of his masterpieces.

Clive Barnes, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Kay Mazzo, Maria Tallchief, Helgi Tomasson, Edward Villella, and Karin von Aroldingen are among the many Balanchine proteges and notables in the dance industry who provide commentary on the ballets.Full-color and black-and-white photos from Costas accompany each essay. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute to Balanchine and Costas
This lavishly illustrated and handsomely designed book is as much a tribute to choreographer George Balanchine as it is to the photographer Costas. True, it is Balanchine who gets centre stage, commemorated for the centenary of his birth with no less than 50 of his ballets, covered by quite an impressive host of authors. Dancers like Maria Tallchief, Suzanne Farrell, Sara Leland, Karin von Aroldingen, Violette Verdy, and Peter Martins, who have been instrumental in bringing Balanchine's work to life or proved an inspiration to "Mr. B." at various moments in his cornucopian career, are joined by the fine fleur of Anglo-saxon dance writers of today - Clive Barnes, Robert Greskovic, Robert Gottlieb, George Jackson, among others - to pay homage to his creative genius.

Yet, it is the photographic legacy of Costas - born Costas Cacaroukas in Chios, Greece and a dance photographer for more than 35 years - which turns "Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance" into an irresistible reference work. With more than 370 photographs (color and black and white) showing Balanchine at work or illustrating his ballets as performed by various leading ballet troupes and artists, past and present (New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera, Kirov-Mariinsky, Bolshoi), this book will prove indispensable to any ballet lover.

A most fitting tribute. ... Read more

123. Magical Thinking : True Stories
by Augusten Burroughs
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0312315945
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 279
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It’s best to know this from the start: Augusten Burroughs is mean. Augusten Burroughs is also outrageously X-rated. If you can get past those two things, Burroughs might just be the most refreshing voice in American books today, and his collection of acerbic essays will have you laughing out loud even while cringing in your seat. Whether he is stepping on the fingers of little children or giving you the blow-by-blow on a very unholy act, Burroughs manages to do it in a way that fills conflicted fans with both horror and glee.

Spanning from the surprisingly Machiavellian portrayal of his role in a Tang commercial at age seven to his more recent foray into dog ownership, Burroughs has what seems to be an endless supply of offbeat life experiences.Much like earlier David Sedaris collections (Barrel Fever or Naked), there are occasional fits and starts in the flow of the writing, but ultimately, Magical Thinking is worth reading (and re-reading). If you’re familiar with Burroughs's memoirs, Running with Scissors, and Dry, you may find parts of Magical Thinking repetitive, since these essays bounce around in time between the other two. In fact, in an ideal world, this collection would have come first, as it offers an excellent introduction to Burroughs's fascinating life. --Vicky Griffith ... Read more

124. A Private Family Matter : A Memoir
by Victor Rivas Rivers
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 0743487885
Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 216
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This is a story about how I was saved by love at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue," begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of how he escaped the war zone of domestic violence -- too often regarded as a "private family matter" -- and went on to become a good man, a film star, and a prominent activist.

The Cuban-born author begins by recalling when he was kidnapped, along with three of his siblings, by his own father, who abandoned Victor's pregnant mother and took the children on a cross-country hell-ride that nearly ended in a fatal collision. This journey of survival portrays with riveting detail how, instead of becoming a madman like his father, Victor was saved by a band of mortal angels. Miraculously, seven families stepped forward, along with teachers and coaches, to empower him on his road from gang member to class president, through harrowing and hilarious football adventures at Florida State and with the Miami Dolphins, to overcoming the Hollywood odds and becoming a champion for all those impacted by domestic violence.

Though at times Victor's odyssey is heartbreaking and disturbing, A Private Family Matter is ultimately a triumphant testament to humanity, courage, and love. Profound and poignant, it is a compelling memoir with a cause. Victor Rivers's way of thanking all the angels and advocates who made a difference in his life is by trying to make a difference in all of ours. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Monster And His Handsome, Talented, Nurturing Son
A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER takes up the story of one of Hollywood's leading actors, whom you have seen in so many TV shows and movies, and strips off the surface to reveal that behind the handsome mask he wears, a nightmare of terror and horror will forever haunt Victor Rivas, as the demons that have haunted him since childhood keep whistling through his mind like witches on broomsticks.He never has had a day without reliving the traumas of his difficult youth, particularly standing in the shadow of an abusive Dad, whose beatings he endured on a regular basis.Sometimes the father seems so wound up he's unreal, but through the eyes of a child, evil often wears a human face, and all too often, as Mr. Rivas demonstrates, that evil is in the father.

I liked all the Cuban stuff, an area I know little about.The family left Cuba when Castro came to power, because his father's family occupied important positions in the cabinet of the corrupt dictator Bautista (still fondly remembered, it seems, by many anti-Communist Cuban Americans).When you read A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER perhaps you, like I, flashed back to the great novel by Reinaldo Arenas, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, with its odd mixture of a longing for indigenous culture and a fleeing from its misogynist and anti-child aspects.The smells and sounds come out at you in waves of sensuous description.

Most of all, however, you feel the boy's pain.His father was truly a monster, and his mother was completely cowed by what amounts to the abuse he meted out to whoever got in the way of his anger and machismo.Beyond that, Victor reveals what it took to get him to become a productive adult.There had to be a lot of repair work done on this man.Next time you see him in the movies, think of how much his acting talent comes from the resources it took for him to find the light in a dark world of abuse.And now he helps others who have suffered some of the same syndromic abuse.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get This For Your Son
Victor Rivers displays such courage, both in escaping from the horrible violence his father inflicted on him, and in breaking the cycle with his own child.Every parent should buy this book for their sons; Victor's father is an extreme example, but any kind of emotional or physical abuse is WRONG, and our children need to be taught that being a real man means never, ever resorting to violence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, powerful, inspiring story
This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.At first you react with shock, then disbelief, tears, and finally joy as you ride with Victor on his incredible journey.The story is unbelievably compelling - I couldn't put the book down, though some events were so difficult to read about, I wanted to.Victor's father is more than a match for any terrible fathers in past books -- THE GREAT SANTINI, for instance.But what's really amazing, and really moving, is how Victor triumphed over the odds, with the help of his "angels," to become not only a good kid but the school's valedictorian and eventually a good father.

It's also great that there this is a lot of information at the end of the book in how to get help if you need it or how to become involved in the movement if you feel so inspired - and after reading this incredibly powerful book, you will.

5-0 out of 5 stars With Grace And Courage
I have the utmost respect and love for Mr. Rivers and his family. It was traumatic to read this book, but I would not give back a moment shared. Sadly, many of us know the debilitating effects of both physical and verbal abuse. We spend a lifetime, with varying degrees of success, juxtaposing the violence of our youth, and the shaming of our souls by those who should unconditionally protect and love us, against the reclaiming of our lost innocence, determination and optimism. Our hearts and souls deserve so much more. To have endured such extreme abuse, and to have fought with so much heart to overcome the systemic indifference of the police, school administators and others who never asked why Victor was so reactive, to have endured long enough to let the angels over ride the evil and negligence, is a testament to Victor's courage, heart and spirit.
This book is amazing not only for it's vulnerability and pain, but also for it's willingness to reveal the depths of darkness so that others in need might have heroes and hope.
I don't think I ever cried so hard while reading a book, but I could not turn away. I was riveted to the page. Thank you to Victor, Mim and Eli for all of your courage and love. READ THIS BOOK! And while you are at it, read Mim Eichler Rivas' BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY. What a family. So much kindness, patience, talent and generosity of spirit. ... Read more

125. The Bradbury Chronicles : The Life of Ray Bradbury
by Sam Weller
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006054581X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 139061
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126. The Mayor Of Macdougal Street: A Memoir
by Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0306814072
Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 3965
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The posthumous memoir of Dave Van Ronk, leader of the Greenwich Village folk revival of the '60s

Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the 1960s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Greenwich Village scene. Holding court in legendary venues like Gerde's Folk City and the Gaslight Caf8E, Van Ronk's influence was so great that a stretch of Sheridan Square-the heart of the Village-was renamed on June 30, 2004, and is now Dave Van Ronk Street. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a unique first-hand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the '50s and '60s. It features encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan (who survived much of his first year in New York sleeping on Van Ronk's couch), Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta. Colorful, hilarious, engaging, and a vivid evocation of a fascinating time and place, The Mayor of MacDougal Street will appeal not only to folk and blues fans but to anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars At The Pinnacle Of Importance
Everyone can pinpoint a few songs that changed their entire perspective on the first hearing.Such was the case with Dave Van Ronk's contribution to the great 1964 Elektra compendium of folk and blues, The Blues Project.Mr. Van Ronk performed "Bad Dream Blues," and my life was altered forever.This song is the yardstick of excellence by which I measure so much other American music from Dylan to Chapin to Springsteen.

Had he been with a powerhouse label like Columbia, Mr. Van Ronk would have become a household name.

This book focuses on the source of the genius.The particular blend of time, location, and current events combined to produce a fertile opportunity for singer-songwriters.And to my ears, Mr. Van Ronk was at the pinnacle of importance.

Mr. Van Ronk may've been The Mayor on the world's most vital street of the folk scene during its heights, but among artists he's royalty.

4-0 out of 5 stars Van Ronk's Golden Memories
Some of you who have made Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES VOLUME ONE a bestseller might pick up on this book; Van Ronk covers some of the same territory as Dylan, only he got there first and he's more capacious, Whitman to Dylan's Hart Crane.Props to Elijah Wald who hand-crafted this material from a bunch of Van Ronk's monologues.It reads like a book and you'll hardly know it wasn't.The detective writer and creator of Matt Scudder, Lawrence Block, adds a preface that does the job efficiently and well.

What a life he had!(The singer died in 2002.)In the chapters devoted to his youth, Van Ronk paints us picture after picture, of the memorable individuals he met in the age of the first folk revival.In San Francisco he encounters the nutty Jesse Fuller, who had once been the folk-singing protege of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.In New York he shares a stage with Odetta, whose powerful voice could fill all of Manhattan when she let it loose.The truth is that being a folk singer in the late 1950s wasn't very much fun, and Van Ronk believed in getting paid for his singing and playing, so he was denied a space by the coffeehouse owners who could put on all the entertainment they wanted for free, and so he started organizing the musicians properly.All of this is fascinating to read about.Those of you who enjoyed Christopher Guest's folk revival send up A MIGHTY WIND will howl with recognition as Van Ronk lays into the "crewcuts in drip-dry seersucker suits" of the period such as the Kingston Trio."There was an obvious subtext," he writes, "to what these Babbitt balladeers were doing, and it was, `Of course, we're really superior to all this hayseed crap-but isn't it cute?'This attitude threw me into an absolute ecstasy of rage.These were no true disciples or even honest money-changers.They were a bunch of slick hustlers selling Mickey Mouse dolls in the temple.Join their ranks?I would sooner have been boiled in skunk piss."Yowzer!

He's funny also about the truth that, although he was a tried and true Bohemian anarchist, he sure wasn't getting laid very much.In the pre-Pill age, he says, nobody was."And the fact that we were a pretty scuzzy bunch might have had something to do with it." ... Read more

127. The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue : A Child of the Fifties Looks Back
by Robert Klein
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684854880
Catlog: Book (2005-06-02)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 9629
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dear Reader,

When we asked the beloved award-winning comedian and actor Robert Klein to write a book, you can imagine our utter surprise when he told us that he wanted to write about sixth-century Chinese pottery. Thankfully, he hit a creative brick wall (since he doesn't really know anything about pottery from China or anywhere else). Then came similar failures to write books about sea turtles, circumnavigation of the globe, building jet engines at home, the sociology of chickens, or fungi of the skin.

Luckily, Mr. Klein's paramount concern was the consumer. He knew that if we, his publishers, were going to boldly ask you to purchase his book (see above for price), he would have to write something so good, so worthwhile, so meaningful as to make you want to send additional money to your bookseller in gratitude for having allowed you to partake in this reading experience.

So Mr. Klein set out to write about what he knows best: himself. This book is about the adventures of a child who becomes a young man: how he thinks and dreams and lusts and fears and laughs and handles adversity.

From the beginning of his distinguished career as a comedian, Robert Klein established himself as a pioneer in observational humor and razor-sharp routines that are infectiously funny. Now -- for the first time -- Klein brings his trademark humor and honesty to the printed page. In this portrait of a comic as a young man, Klein takes us back to the people and streets of his Bronx neighborhood, the eccentric cast of characters in the Catskills hotels and bungalow colonies where he worked, the college dorms where he received more than an academic education, the 1964 World's Fair where he fell in love, New York City and Chicago in the 1960s as he developed his talent, and Los Angeles just as he was about to embark on a show business career. Throughout, Klein reveals the hilarity of growing up and explores the mysteries and his own foibles in sex and relationships. He recounts with wit and poignancy losing his virginity with a prostitute, bringing home a German girlfriend to his Jewish family, and the amorous adventures of the busboy he once was.

With an ego more fragile than Chinese pottery, Robert Klein has written a funny and evocative coming-of-age memoir -- well worth the price (if we say so ourselves). Enjoy.

All the best,
The Publisher ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book Truly Worth The Wait
Robert Klein has been my favorite comedian since I was twelve.Mind Over Matter was the first comedy album I ever heard and after that I was hooked.In eighth grade English class when we were assigned to memorize and recite a poem, I chose Mind Over Matter by Robert Klein (which I still know by heart.)

Since then I have become a comedian myself, and whenever asked who my favorite comedian is I answer "Robert Klein" without hesitation.I was thrilled to discover his memoir and am excited to be the first customer reviewer.

Klein once again displays the unique intelligence fans have valued for years by writing a detailed and touching memoir rather than a joke book.This book is rich with detailed memories.As an avid fan I was amazed and intrigued by how closely the routines I remember so fondly reflect Klein's real life.This confirms the theory that the best humor, and Klein is the very best, must come from the truth.

In a his classic routine about Alfred University ("people clap with one hand for Alfred") Klein recounted his shock upon discovering a dormitory neighbor with a swastika mobile and his frantic phone call home ("Mama, the boy next door..."). The book contains an in depth telling of the tale, which includes a brawl with the boy who insisted the shape wasn't actually a swastika.

In another old favorite routine Klein asked, "do you really have to wait an hour after you eat before you go swimming?" He went on to explain that his father claimed that you waited different times for different foods ("jello - five minutes, franks and beans - you can't go in till NEXT YEAR.") The book tells this true story in great detail.

In another routine Klein spoke about how his mother had a story about how anything and everything was dangerous, even playing checkers ("a boy on Hull Street put his eye out with a checker.") The memoir describes in great detail many examples of the overprotective behavior of both of his parents and how his youth was filled with fear of danger everywhere.These and more elaboration on the true stories behind the lines will appeal to any reader and will particularly fascinate fans.

The book is smart, touching and honest.Klein is a comedian's comedian and any true fan of comedy appreciates the importance and brilliance of his work.In this book Klein generously, with great skill shares a behind the scenes look at his evolution.It is a book well worth reading and I very highly recommend it.
... Read more

128. Layne Staley: Angry Chair
by Adriana Rubio
list price: $19.95
our price: $16.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933638132
Catlog: Book (2003-01-27)
Publisher: Xanadu Enterprises
Sales Rank: 28222
Average Customer Review: 2.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Rock Singer Layne Staley was one of the most private, mysterious and misunderstood performers ever! His story is told by his mother, sister and Layne himself. It dispels the myths about Layne's childhood, his early days in music, and the final, very private years of his life. It contains dozens of never-before-seen drawings, writings and photographs...that all shaped the ALICE IN CHAINS' songwriter/singer who sold millions of CDs...helping revolutionize modern rock. ... Read more

Reviews (47)

3-0 out of 5 stars It could have been great.........
Well, as a huge AIC fan I have been waiting for this book since August of '01, when I pre-odered it from the books web site. And now that it is here after a few delays, I would be willing to wait a little longer for a more polished product. At times I couldnt determine if I was reading Layne Staley's biography or a essay on my humanities class from college. The author at times also had me confused on the timeline on events in Staleys life. What was nice is that the author was honestly in my opinion trying to tell Layne's tragic story without giving us fans the yellow tabliod crap we are used to regarding stories about Staley. A quick read, and if your a fan I would say go ahead and buy the book. Dont expect a masterpiece, just a decent story about a very talented man who destroyed himself slowly over the last 8 years.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ehhhhh, not too bad, not too good....
Being the biggest fan of Layne Staley, I was hoping for alot more from this book. I understand from reading this, it isnt easy to write too much on him, because he basically was very sheltered and private. I just though there was alot in this book that was just page fillers. There was alot of info that frankly had nothing to do with Layne at all, and lost my interest quite a bit. However, there was some good stuff too, and it was cool just to read some his letters and poems. I didnt learn all that nuch I already didnt know, except for his family life. If your a huge fan, I guess its worth the read, if not, you'll probably throw the book away.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a waste.
I feel sorry for anyone who has already wasted the hour it takes to read this miserably written so-called book. Poorly written, uniformative and incoherent best describe this sorry piece of work. Save yourself the money and just listen to some of the great music Layne, Jerry and the guys made over the years.

2-0 out of 5 stars For true fans only
This is a book you should purchase if you want to take a look at some of the private artworks, poems or photographs of Layne Staley, the 'great late' leadsinger of Alice in Chains. But: it's written by a fan who wants to be in the picture herself. Adriana Rubio is obviously very proud to have had intimate conversations with Staleys mom and sister, and it shows throughout the whole book. Everybody shall know that she has this overwhelming respect for Staley's relatives and their stories. Also, I got the impression that she wrote this book to get rid of her own complexes, comparing Staleys heroin-addiction to her own struggle with Anorexia Nervosa. She places herself too much in front, which is quite irritating after a while. Or, in the words of Layne Staley: "She should write a book about herself". Still, there is the telephoneconversation with Layne Staley and her that is quite shocking for the true fan. I'm still reading the book so now and then, about a year after buying it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Really Bad Book
In less than 200 pagess the author trails off into her own biographical infromation, goats, Cobain conspiracy theories, you get the idea. Poorly written (and printed in large print to beef up appearance of content I presume) and poorly edited (typos). For an individual who had access to a virtual treasure trove of Layne's family photos and early school and artwork, she printed nominal amounts of either, but they are worth seeing. "Interviews" were several hours long with Layne's sister and mother, yet the content was lacking. No light thrown on how or why Staley got so entangled in heroin use. That info. would have been useful. Nor did she reveal much about Demri and how her demise contributed to Staley's self-destruction. Get what you can out of it. . .won't be much. Pics are worth it and the account of her phone conversation with Staley is interesting if accurate. Not much of a biography for a very worthy subject. Eureka! How about Layne's family printing pics and Layne's early school/artwork in a coffee table book and use the proceeds to build/run a school for kids like Layne according to his own solution for how to fix public schools. That would be worth spending money on. The only Angry Chair here was the one I was sitting in as I read this awful book! This book, sadly, was not worth the paper it was printed on. ... Read more

129. It Seemed Important at the Time : A Romance Memoir
by Gloria Vanderbilt
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743264800
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1526
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Book Description

An elegant, witty, frank, touching, and deeply personal account of the loves both great and fleeting in the life of one of America's most celebrated and fabled women.

Born to great wealth yet kept a virtual prisoner by the custody battle that raged between her proper aunt and her self-absorbed, beautiful mother, Gloria Vanderbilt grew up in a special world. Stunningly beautiful herself, yet insecure and with a touch of wildness, she set out at a very early age to find romance. And find it she did. There were love affairs with Howard Hughes, Bill Paley, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few, and one-night stands, which she writes about with delicacy and humor, including one with the young Marlon Brando. There were marriages to men as diverse as Pat De Cicco, who abused her; the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, who kept his innermost secrets from her; film director Sidney Lumet; and finally writer Wyatt Cooper, the love of her life.

Now, in an irresistible memoir that is at once ruthlessly forthright, supremely stylish, full of fascinating details, and deeply touching, Gloria Vanderbilt writes at last about the subject on which she has hitherto been silent: the men in her life, why she loved them, and what each affair or marriage meant to her. This is the candid and captivating account of a life that has kept gossip writers speculating for years, as well as Gloria's own intimate description of growing up, living, marrying, and loving in the glare of the limelight and becoming, despite a family as famous and wealthy as America has ever produced, not only her own person but an artist, a designer, a businesswoman, and a writer of rare distinction. ... Read more

130. A Tale of Love and Darkness
by Amos Oz
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151008787
Catlog: Book (2004-11-15)
Publisher: Harcourt
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Book Description

Tragic, comic, and utterly honest, this extraordinary memoir is at once a great family saga and a magical self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history.

It is the story of a boy growing up in the war-torn Jerusalem of the forties and fifties, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. His mother and father, both wonderful people, were ill-suited to each other. When Oz was twelve and a half years old, his mother committed suicide, a tragedy that was to change his life. He leaves the constraints of the family and the community of dreamers, scholars, and failed businessmen and joins a kibbutz, changes his name, marries, has children, and finally becomes a writer as well as an active participant in the political life of Israel.

A story of clashing cultures and lives, of suffering and perseverance, of love and darkness.
... Read more

131. A Small Place
by Jamaica Kincaid
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374527075
Catlog: Book (2000-04-28)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 38211
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John

"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."

So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.

Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Caribbean jeremiad
"A Small Place," by Jamaica Kincaid, is a nonfiction prose piece about the Caribbean island of Antigua. The author bio at the beginning of the book notes that the author was born on Antigua. A lean 81 pages, this is nonetheless a powerful text.

Kincaid discusses British colonialism, the corruption of the Antiguan government, racism, and greed. It seems to me a key question raised by the book is whether post-colonial Antigua is worse than colonial Antigua. The book is very much haunted by the spectre of New World slavery.

This book is a dark, angry jeremiad. I think it works better when seen as an extended prose poem rather than as an essay. As the latter, it could be criticized as full of invalid generalizations and undocumented claims. But as a poetic/prophetic text, it is chillingly effective.

Ultimately, Kincaid's vision of the human condition is extremely negative But her haunting, almost hypnotic prose really held me. I recommend the book to anyone planning a trip to a poor country for their own pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spell-binding
Exceptional, breathtaking. I have never in my entire life witnessed a god-given writing talent like this.

2-0 out of 5 stars Be Part of the Solution
This book is full of hate and racism on Kincaid's part. Would she have no tourists? What brings in the money? She should be a part of the solution not continue the problem.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating use of tense and voice
Like other reviewer, I was little put off by Kincaid's politics.

But the first thing that struck me about this book was the tense and voice. Second person (?you do this, you do that.....?) isn?t very common in literature, so when I see it, it has an immediate effect on me. Now, in one sense, I admire the choice of this tense. It allows the narrator to talk directly to the reader, informing him or her. It also gives the narrator some freedom to literally paint a scene in the reader?s mind. Instead of going to all the trouble to create the hundreds of details necessary to allow the reader to place himself or herself in Antigua, Kincaid can accomplish this in one sentence. Granted, she goes on to provide the details (she points out the cars, the roads, the hospital, the beach, the sun, etc.) but as she does this she has some additional room with this tense to comment on these details and actually point out their significance.

Using this tense also lets Kincaid convey her opinion of the typical tourist who comes to Antigua. Using the second person present tense makes the book flow more like a conversation, and as such, allows me to imagine one particular narrator, a very specific person who is telling me this story and painting these pictures in my mind, filling in the details and their significance as we go along. And if I am not a middle class or upper middle class white American who travels to other countries, this works very well. If I am not a middle or upper class Briton, this also works. But if I am, as are many of the people who buy and read contemporary literature, this would put me out a bit. In fact, it would pretty well alienate me to this narrator. Kincaid?s narrator pretty clearly says she wishes the tourists would stay home, she despises the English, she disdains the concepts of democracy and capitalism, and doesn?t think much of the people who do. Now on the one hand, using this tense and voice makes the narrator very real, very tangible as a character. We hear the narrator?s opinions on almost everything, so the voice becomes distinctive and individual. On the other hand, what this narrator says can be very challenging to some readers. Kincaid has obviously made some choices about what she has to say and how she sees her readership.

Starting in second person, the narrator focuses on building the scene in the reader?s mind, helping the reader see himself or herself in Antigua. The first sense we get of the narrator is from the asides (?Or worse, European?). The first time the narrator identifies herself is on pg. 10 (?of the people like me...?). I think this relates to the gradual change in voice that becomes evident at the beginning of chapter 2.

At the beginning of chapter 2 (after the illustration) the voice changes from a heavy second person to a slightly more traditional first person. Kincaid starts the chapter with ?The Antigua I knew....? and goes on to stay more focused on the first person voice. For me, this reinforced the conversational aspect of the book, the give and take as the focus moves from one speaker to the other. Even though it is always Kincaid?s narrator talking, the first chapter?s emphasis on the reader (you, you, you) is followed by the second chapter?s emphasis on the narrator (I, I, I). This more closely approximates the rhythm of a real conversation and keeps the essay relaxed and moving forward for me.

Small Place Section Stands Out Because of Voice Change Again

On page 52, the narrator changes voice again. In this section, the narrator stops talking primarily about herself and the reader and speaks in a more essayistic voice about Antigua as a whole. ?In a small place, people cultivate small events.? For me, this served to draw attention to this section. Not only because the voice changed, but also because the meaning of the book?s title is revealed in this section. The effect on me as reader is to keep my attention. The general feeling I come away with is an essay that starts with me, moves to the narrator, then moves to Antigua in general.

Last Section Entirely Third Person

The final change in voice occurs in the last section. The last chapter is totally in third person. The narrator has completely dropped the reader (you, you, you) and herself (I, I, I) and begins to speak in straightforward, third person omniscient point of view about Antigua. She even drops into the essayists questions (?What might it do to people...?) in this section. Ending the book in this voice, to me, lent credibility. If she had stayed in the first or second person voice all the way to the end, I might have more easily dismissed the book as biased or too personal. But slowly moving across the voice spectrum, ending in traditional third person, lends an aura of objectivity to the end.

All in all this was a fascinating change ue of tense and voice to tell a compelling story.

1-0 out of 5 stars The selling out of the West Indies
Unfortunately, I had to buy A Small Place for my University of Michigan class on Latin America. I'm horrified that students and people will believe the West Indies is such a bad place from this book. Horrified. Believe me, I was born and lived in Barbados, an island close and similar in attitude to Antigua. Many everyday activities in Barbados that occur in Antigua are turned into Dateline "controversy of the week" issues. People, it's not that serious! What's worse, she doesn't even touch the real issues of the Caribbean. Not to mention, Jamaica Kincaid wrote the account as a longtime resident of the US. She doesn't even sound like a West Indian; she sounds like a pampered, naive North American who believes every nation that doesn't have a McDonald's on every block is third world, to exaggerate. White superiority is the myth this book perpetuates, and the West Indies is once again made out as a "Banana Republic." What's worse, half of the book's claims aren't even true, nor do natives consider them major issues. A warning to North Americans and Westerners alike; take this book with a grain of salt, most of this account is cornball, "what people want to hear" bull. Unfortunately, most people will believe this "tragedy." Please don't. I'm never believing anything Western media says about the rest of the world again. ... Read more

132. A Million Little Pieces
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385507755
Catlog: Book (2003-04-15)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Sales Rank: 9116
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment center where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonizing months of detox confronting "The Fury" head on:

I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.

One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a former championship boxer, and a mobster (who, upon his release, throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

The rage-fueled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons ... Read more

Reviews (219)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Read
At age 23, James Frey's life was broken into a million little pieces. He had skipped bail in four states, he was an alcoholic, drug addict and had managed to alienate pretty much everyone who ever cared for him. Yet, those who cared never fully gave up on him, because perhaps they could see the nugget of genius that gave us this powerful memoir. While I cannot speak to those who have lived through the horrors that Frey recounts as he goes through detoxification and rehab--this book may have a different effect for them and I have seen some reviews here who just aren't buying what he has to day--to most who pick up this work--this will be an amazing read. Frey's recount of his time in rehab is almost hypnotic, is addictive in itself. The writing is different, almost disjointed, but it works. At the beginning of the book, he recounts his experience getting root canal without pain killers--it is a powerful and evocative passage. There are several other sections of this book that I don't think I will ever forget, simply because of the power of his writing. I don't normally read memoirs--I picked this one up on a lark. It's a quick read, not quick because it is "easy", but quick because you will need to know how James got through rehab.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harsh and Honest.
I'm typically not a memoir fan, but Frey's style has a stream-of-conciousness lyricism that I found poetic enough to keep me reading until I reached the point where I couldn't stop. Usually when book reviews quote mainly from the first chapter, I feel like the rest of the novel won't keep up (ie: The Lovely Bones). But in this case the narrative continues to bite the entire way through. And sometimes I found myself physically wincing.

What's most refreshing is the lack of irony. I loved Eggers as much as the next guy, but I can't help but feeling that 5 years from now, when I re-read Eggers' work, I'll be embarrassed that I did. Frey never attempts to attach his life to a grander meaning of the times we live in. That job is left (rightly) to the reader. Relating such gruesome facts so plainly is pure elegance. There's meaning in that alone.

This book is bigger than a memoir. It's certainly bigger than a addiction/self-help book. It's near great, in a way that makes me look forward to this author's next work, instead of dreading the ultimate disappointment of the usual second novel flop. It's coming from an honest place, which is the only foundation an author can build on.

Read it because of the press overload, or in spite of it, but i promise it's a book that'll be read for many years after the p.r. goes away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Addiction is a CHOICE, and Frey readily admits it.
I do not believe in addiction. I believe we all make choices every day on how we want to live. I am not saying it is not a condition, but it is still a conscious choice. We all wake up everyday and choice what we want to be. Some people choose a job and a stable life, and some choose drugs and alcohol.

That being, said, I really like this book. The writing is unique and interesting and really drives the point home.

An overall great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Rocks. Period.
Not being as eliquent with words as James Frey is, I struggle to communicate how this book has impacted my life. There is something about it. It is intriguing. It captures you from the very beginning, and I am easily distracted. The writing format keeps you interested along with what is being said. This gives NOTHING away, but he describes drinking coffee in this book to the extent that I ALWAYS think about his description everytime I have a cup of hot coffee - which is every morning. So I think about this book every morning. I don't struggle with addiction. I, of course, know people who do or have. It is just a fabulous book that really changed me. I love this book. Absolutely love it. Will read it again. But am letting it marinate for a while. Please read it. It will move you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best read ever
I don't think you can put into words what James Frey has accomplished. This simply is one of the most intense, heartfelt, and very often painful reads you will undertake. I was skeptical to pick up yet another book on addiction (most book stores have entire sections donated to the subject) but, make no mistake, this novel is exceptional, true, and wonderful. ... Read more

133. The Road from Coorain
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679724362
Catlog: Book (1990-08-11)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 22334
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the shelter of a protective family, to the lessons of tragedy and independence, this is an indelible portrait of aharsh and beautiful country and the inspiring story of a remarkable woman's life. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that will stay will me always.
"The Western plains of New South Wales are grasslands." Grasslands that with their vastness, their cycles of drought and bounty, and above all their isolation, shaped a little girl who would one day become Smith College's first woman president.

This book has been marketed as a coming of age story for girls. It's surely that, and a remarkable one. It is also (for this American reader, anyway) a fascinating look into a culture of many similarities - but with subtle, yet sometimes startling differences. Something else it ought to be is required reading for any young woman (particularly any gifted young woman!) trapped by a co-dependent relationship with her birth family. Read it, and think about what this world loses every time a woman capable of Jill Ker Conway's lifetime achievements subsumes her talents and sacrifices her dreams because the code of her childhood demands it.

A book that will stay will me always.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle"

5-0 out of 5 stars Australia and America - are their histories similiar?
Jill Ker Conway is an excellent, focused, academic writer, now President of Smith College in USA. She grew up in the orange dust of the Australia bush with no children as playmates, yet remembers a wonderful childhood with an especial concern for her mother's life. She writes this book as a successful adult, reconstructing the steps that got her through the University of Sydney's very demanding late-1950's history department. At that time, university studies were open to women, but the focus was on males, both living and dead white men. It was British colonial history that was taught, and most educated people picked up an inferiority complex about being Australian. Near the end of the book she writes about how she shook herself loose of this view, became proud and fond of the outback, and finally accepted that she was a city person. NEar the end she lands a history-teaching position at the U. of Sydney while enrolled in a Master's level program there, and it all closes tantalyzingly with a successful bid for a position at Harvard in USA. I've noticed often as a tourguide that British, Canadian and Australian women on my buses are very well-read and discuss books as a matter of fact, as something that one should know. They speak in a crisp and exact way with reasoned opinions. This writer falls in that category, well at the forefront of course. She knows herself, her own mind, and knows injustice and sexism when she experiences it herself. Her widening eyes begin to grasp that Europeans have simply grabbed the land of the aborigines. As a historian, she starts to want to know their view. To me, as an American, it is a slippery slope. There is only one logical conclusion: that all the land should be given back. Since this cannot be done, and Asians are beginning to flood into Australia as well since the 1960's, then the best strategy of the whites, if guilt they do feel over this landgrab, is to donate of their own accord time, help, money, food, clothing or training to their own poor. Academics around the world are concerned with the rights of "native peoples", but to turn back the clock is impossible. The interlopers are here. I greatly look forward to hie'ing my white yet hairy flesh over to the library and looking for the sequel to her life story and changing views. May she come to some peace about her ancestors' plopping down on the abo's!

4-0 out of 5 stars Mental claustrophobia of an era
I found this to be an uncomfortable read as I can totally empathise with the author, growing up in the same era and knowing the feeling of being out of sync with the older generation. I realise that this probably happens even now but at least these days, females have grown up knowing themselves to be the equal of males and without having to apologise for sometimes being smarter.Jill was fortunate to have a very good education but was also responsible for earning Australian government scholarships which are awarded solely on the good marks earned in exams( not by good luck as one reviewer implied).Even so, she was, not so subtley reminded that a woman's primary function was as a wife and mother and as a mere adjunct to her husband and even brothers. This state of affairs probably existed in all cultures at that time, and not just i Australia, but even as I read, that old feeling of suffocation was present...the feeling that you wanted more but of what, you couldn't say and your parents certainly didn't understand either.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it beginning to end
I found her story interesting and well written. I was interested in the culture and geography of Australia, as well as her story of finding her way in life. I quickly connected with her, and found her writing to be clear and honest. Contrary to what others may have said about this author, she had a tough childhood and adolescence, but thrived in spite of it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating at first. Pedantic in the end.
At first I could not stop reading and was highly fascinated by both the content and the way this book was written. In the end the book became a bit pedantic and longwinded. ... Read more

134. Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee
by Dodd Darin, Maxine Paetro
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446517682
Catlog: Book (1994-09-30)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 173266
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars brought back wonderful memories
I read this book when it first came out in Hardcover, and purchased it.It is a wonderful story of the lives of two very special people.Bobby is no longer with us, but Sandy is not well but still living.Their son wrote this book, and it truly is the true story of what happened.i would reccommend that you look on Amazon's collectible page to find copies to purchase.I know of one listed that was autograghed by the author and Sandra Dee. good Luck

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching biography
Dodd Darin is the only child of the late great Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, the "Dream Lovers" of the title. I hesitated reading this book because most celebrity biographies written by the children of the subjects are often vindictive, slash and burn tell-alls. Not this book. Dodd Darin has written a touching,honest, heartfelt account of his parents lives, together and apart ,paying tribute to their good qualities while recognizing and accepting their shortcomings. The story told here is often quite sad, especially reading about Dee's current isolation and reclusiveness. The book is very well-written and is a fine tribute to the author's parents. Sandra Dee must be proud of her son.

5-0 out of 5 stars Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee--the truth behind the image
A detailed, well-written account of the lives of Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin as authored by their son. What is also interesting is that Sandra Dee's own comments are included, written in her voice, as if she is speaking to the reader. Her commentary is honest, sad, and painfully revealing; at times she sounds very detached, which makes it even more touching. Her onscreen image of a sweet, blonde teen-age virgin (as spoofed in the song "Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee" from the movie soundtrack "Grease") was the antithesis of what her life was really like. Starting at age 5, she was molested by her stepfather; as she matured, she was forced to submit to sex with him. Dee's mother knew about this, but turned a blind eye and lived vicariously through her daughter's movie career. Thanks to her dyfunctional mother and stepfather, Sandra developed a severe eating disorder which plagues her to this day. Of the two, I found Sandra's story to be the most interesting and the most tragic, although Darin's life wasn't a piece of cake, either. He struggled with a heart condition, living his life as a race against time, knowing that eventually his heart would give out. Once you start reading this book, you won't want to put it down. This book shows how two gifted young entertainers lived quite tortured and difficult lives once the cameras stopped rolling.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dreams don't always come true
I just finished reading "Dream Lovers" and would recommend the book to all lovers of the entertainment industry.It tells from beginning to end thelife of two wonderful people who never really didn't have anything incommon, struggle with their own demons. It's not a name dropping sort ofbook it's a story of struggle, misunderstandings, abuse in the extreme andthe type of abuse we inflect on the people we really love. Dodd is quitea man and any parent would be proud of the way he turned out consideringwhat he himself had to go through as a child of two famous people who hadand still has a lot of warts. It has been out of print for awhile, but ifyou put a little effort into it you can still find iteither through usedbooks store or like I did on ebay.Good Luck it's worth the effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grace Guides Sandra Dee into Post Career Maturity
Although this book is out of print there are followers and fans of Sandra Dee who search it out of the dusty bins of flea markets and bookstore backshelves.It is a story told honestly and painfully by the son of thetwo most followed and star-crossed luminaries of that 20th CenturyHollywood babylon. It illustrates in the most sensitive and touching waysof how very difficult and nearly impossible a personal life can remainexistant when heady fame is reached bybeautiful lives portrayed by everypossible method from the scions of mass media.Sandra Dee's loss from ourcollective view is somehow bittersweetly vindicated in our hearts as oureyes chronical the events which tossed her into the shadows of the samelimelight which nearly snatched her soul.She illustrates the heart anddetermined mind of not only a fighter, but rather a combantant adorned ingraciousness - that other light far removed from the silver screen.Afterputting this book down this reader realized the brilliance that was and isSandra Dee is an ever strengthened force borne head and shoulders above andbeyond the cheezy klieg lights of tinsel town.Her illumination has becomethat epitomized flame of what you and I might refer to as the truthprevailing.What it truly has evolved to by the release of this book , isLove.Sandra Dee's unconditional love of those who revere her out of ourunderstanding of human nature and the very nature of moral values sherepresented in every film she made, is prevalent in the theme of this storywhich is an undraping her difficult tribulations.It takes courage to stepback into the light after a fall.Sandra's story by her son Dodd, and thememory of their beloved Bobby Darin has become in this expose' thequintessential olive branch surrendering their intimate selves quiteunselfishly with those who care.To read this missive is to come awaycaring deeply about this family and it comes whether one does so with orwithout forethought.I applaud Sandra and support her stardom now morethan ever. ... Read more

135. Lucy & Desi: The Real-Life Scrapbook of America's Favorite TV Couple
by Elizabeth Edwards
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076241572X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 4100
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Book Description

During their marriage, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz filled over 100 scrapbooks with all manner of memorabilia. Now fans can take a rare peek at the details of the famous TV couple's lives with this fantastic replica composite. LUCY & DESI, our exclusive, real-life scrapbook of the couple's lives, contains 25 interactive, three-dimensional paper-engineered replicas of actual items--from Desi's report card to important telegrams--which have never been published before. Vintage snapshots of happy family moments, touching love letters, passports, and other precious minutiae, with more than 150 photographs, both black-and-white and color, fill this wonderful, engrossing look back at the golden years of television comedy, when Lucy and Desi charmed America with humor and song. This official scrapbook is a must-have for the millions of devoted fans. ... Read more

136. Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach (Oxford Composer Companion)
by Malcolm Boyd, John Butt
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198606206
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 201241
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This superb reference work on Johann Sebastian Bach is the first volume in a new species of Oxford Companion that will focus on major composers.Illustrated with twenty-four black-and-white plates, this volume boasts over a thousand alphabetically arranged entries that cover Bach's music, his life and times, scholarship on Bach, and the performance of his music. Readers will find entries on the various genres that Bach worked in (including chorales, fantasia, sonata, concerto, missa), his many individual works (such as St. John's Passion, The Goldberg Variations, Brandenburg Concertos, Passacaglia, Well-Tempered Clavier, The Christmas Oratorio, andThe Art of Fugue), places important to his career (such as Muhlhausen, Weimar, and Leipzig), and important contemporaries (Handel, Rameau, Vivaldi, Telemann, among others).There are also entries on instruments (harpsichord, organ, clavier, and so on), Bach performance practice, stylistic influences on his work, and other biographical details. The book concludes with a family tree, a chronology of Bach's life, a list of his works, and a glossary of terms. Bach was one of the giants of classical music, a composer of astonishing powers of invention. In The Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach, music aficionados will have at their fingertips a treasure chest of information on this major figure. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for Bach lovers
The title and the alphabetical format of this book seems uninspiring, but actually it is a veritable treasure. It has an excellent article or entry on almost anything you might wonder about Bach, and the format lets you just to look up the issue alphabetically. The appendices also ease the effort-- there is a thematic list of all entries, a BWV list with years, a text list of the first lines of all arias/choruses, first performance dates of cantatas... The tone of the book is scholarly but very readable.

So if you have ever wondered what was the trumpet like in Bach's day, the real meaning of well-tempered, who P.D.Q. Bach is, what did Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg do with the concertos, you need to get this book. Indispensable for anyone who has been bitten by the Bach bug; it will appeal to the starter and the expert alike. ... Read more

137. The Last American Man
by Elizabeth Gilbert
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670030864
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 104674
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In The Last American Man, acclaimed journalist and fiction writer Elizabeth Gilbert offers a fresh cultural examination of contemporary American male identity and the uniquely American desire to return to the wilderness.

Gilbert explores what pushed men to settle the frontier West in the nineteenth century and delves into the history of American utopian communities. But her primary focus is on the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway, who left his comfortable suburban home at the age of seventeen to move into the Appalachian Mountains, where for the last twenty years he has lived off the land.

Conway's romantic character challenges all our assumptions about what it means to be a man today; he is a symbol of much that we feel our men should be, but rarely are. From his example, Gilbert delivers an intriguing exploration into the meaning of American manhood and-from the point of view of a woman-refracts masculine American identity in all its conflicting elements. Like Jon Krakauer's national bestseller Into the Wild, this book will find an enthusiastic audience among women, readers of American history, and those interested in nature and the wild.
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Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars You have to read this!
I first read of Eustace Conway in the newspaper. I went to visit his Turtle Island Preserve in Boone, NC. I bought The Last American man and went to the author book signing at Malaprop's in Asheville and met Eustace for the second time.
I have read this book twice and think Gilbert has done an amazing job. The writing is sharp and witty and sensitive. I read pages aloud to my family on a recent vacation (the mule story) and they roared with laughter vowing to read the book.
Anyone interested in Thoreau or John Muir or Everett Ruess...if you care about the planet, living simply, really following your heart--You MUST read this wonderful book. It is so inspiring because it is true. Eustace Conway is a great example to humanity for his courage to live with integrity but Gilbert also shows his human failings and mirrors everyone's challenges in wishing to find true love. Read it and let it motivate you to live more fully.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read, read, read this book!
I can't say enough good things about this book. (& yes, I accidentally put my review in for the audio cd!) A fascinating and complex subject handled with the perfect amount of admiration, objective analysis and humor. Eustace Conway's fervent attempt to lead Americans back to nature by setting an example - even if he tends to be so busy promoting that lifestyle that he doesn't always get to live it! - makes for a compelling read. I respect and admire not only his passion for what he believes in, as well as allowing so much of his character - good and difficult - to be made accessible to Elizabeth Gilbert. You might not be moved to go live out in the woods ala Conway, but this book will make you stop, think and evaluate your life. (Now if only he could sort out that whole girl thang...!!!)

Just a side comment on someone else's review: Narcissistic, ok, but I definitely didn't get that he self-medicated with alcohol. As a matter of fact, Elizabeth says he should loosen up a bit more. And yes, he had his Dad lend him the money to buy the land before it was too late, but nearly killed himself working to pay it back in record time.

As for Ms. Gilbert, I was so impressed that, midway through reading this, I purchased her novel "Stern Men" and look forward to reading her future work. I also hope she writes the follow-up in 20, 30 years or so! I could go on and on but I'll shut up and say, thank you Elizabeth, thank you Eustace for a gripping, inspiring story so well written.

5-0 out of 5 stars A modern-day Daniel Boone. . .
This is one of those books that stir up strong opinions and heated controversy. Eustace Conway, the back-to-nature mountain man of the title, is someone you can see as a living American myth or a nut case. The author's portrait of him, full of ironies right from the title onward, lends itself to either point of view. And depending on how the book is read, you can see either admiration or skepticism in what she says about Conway.

Or you can see subject and author in all of these ways which, as I understand the book, is what the author intends. Eustace Conway is full of contradictions. He's both immensely appealing and stridently off-putting. A rigorous thinker, naturalist, and walking whole-earth-catalog, he is still a babe in the woods in knowing how to negotiate just about any kind of relationship with another human being - including the many, many young women he attracts. By the author's account, few men so lucky in bed have been so unlucky in love.

For every amateur psychologist the author provides more than enough back-story to puzzle over Conway's behavior. There's a tyrant father who heaps withering scorn on his son, starting at the age of two. And there's his great-outdoors-loving mother, who rescues him from his father by encouraging his unsupervised forays into the woods. By the time he is out of high school, he's already living in a teepee, beading his own moccasins, killing game for food, skinning animals, and hiking the entire Appalachian Trail wearing nothing more than two bandanas, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, his epic journeys on foot and on horseback and his pioneering in the North Carolina backcountry are mythic Americana. While our first reaction to all this may be admiration, Gilbert writes in a wisecracking tone that heightens the ironies and more than once made me laugh out loud. And she reminds us that if there's anyone to fault, it's not Conway but the gullibly romantic Americans who believe literally in their own national mythology and heroes. Looking back to Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, for instance, she reveals that they were in fact no different. Like Conway, they were supporters of the myths and legends that grew up around them and good old-fashioned American entrepreneurs and self-promoters.

Anyway, there's much to enjoy in this book. And it's full of surprises - right up to the last pages, as Gilbert tells a poignant story of how Conway touched the life of a troubled teenager who spent a week with him in the woods building a fence. And the author's closing image captures the spirit of the entire book - Conway getting out of his truck and shouting, "I love you!" at a buck deer that refuses to move off the road. The image is moving, ridiculous, or both; take your pick.

1-0 out of 5 stars Broken
Read within these pages the effects of extreme mental and emotional abuse upon a child and the way it plays out as an adult. Eustace is a broken human. His unfortunate treatment at the hands of his father seriously crippled him. People who have suffered like Eustace are often over-achieving, perfectionists; unable to maintain relations with others; either oblivious to the needs of others or slavishly catering to the whims of others and they almost always come to closley resemble the abuser.

Big Eustace was a denizen of the office and the classroom- liked to write out long equations and ramble on to hear the sound of his own voice, so little Eustace subcociously chose a path 180 degrees away from father and becomes a creature of the forest but ended up rambling in his classroom just the same, just a different subject.
To me this was an eminently sad tale of a boy going to any length for father's notice and approval. Neither of which came at least by the conclusion of this book.
Eutace-walk away.

1-0 out of 5 stars awful
It's too bad that Eustace Conway's story had to be told by Elizabeth Gilbert. She's totally immature as a writer, and she doesn't know how to maintain any sort of distance from her subject. Last American Man reads like you'd expect it would, coming from a city gal who has a little romp in the woods with an outdoorsman. She is completely clueless. She retells Eustace's stories without skepticism. She quotes liberally from the work of Richard Slotkin, a hip scholar -- perhaps to bring some heft to this otherwise lightweight work. I travelled to Boone, N.C., shortly after the book came out and talked to folks who knew Eustace, had him in a class, etc. They thought the book was a laughable piece of trash, too -- a not-very-accurate picture of the man, and certainly not an accurate picture of that corner of Appalachia. Don't waste your time. (I notice that most of the reviewers here focus more on whether they like Eustace as a person, and not whether the book is any good. Which it's not.) ... Read more

138. How to Be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life
by Melissa Hellstern
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525948236
Catlog: Book (2004-06-03)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Sales Rank: 3651
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book and remembering— because you can’t take it all in at once."
—Audrey Hepburn

On many occasions, she was approached to pen her autobiography, the definitive book of Audrey Hepburn, yet she never agreed. A beloved icon who found success as an actress, a mother and an humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn perfected the art of gracious living.

More philosophy than biography, How to Be Lovely revisits the many interviews Audrey gave over the years, allowing us to hear her voice directly on universal topics of concern to women the world over: careers, love lives, motherhood and relationships. Enhanced by rarely seen photographs, behind-the-scenes stories, and insights from the friends who knew her well, How to Be Lovely uncovers the real Audrey, in her own words.

While she would have been the last to say so, Audrey Hepburn was an expert in the art of being a woman. How to Be Lovely imparts whatever wisdom and insight she found along the way to the millions who grew up, or will grow up, wanting to be just like her.

Published to coincide with Audrey Hepburn’s would-be seventy-fifth birthday, How to Be Lovely offers a rare glimpse into the woman behind the mystique and the definitive guide to living genuinely with glamour and grace.

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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this...
I really wasn't familiar with Audrey, but this book was a great introduction for me. Passed by it in a book store, and the title grabbed me. Sat down to browse thru it and never got up. Wonderful words of wisdom here. Didn't realize she was so down-to-earth. Now I'm off to find more stuff about her. There were a few editorial misses, but thanks for a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, Ephermeral and Wise
This beautiful treasury shares the same qualities as its subject--there is magic at work here that winsomely floats forth and manages to be unforgettable. More than a lovely tribute to this remarkable icon, it resonates with life affirming smarts and down-to-earth pluck. Hurrah for author Hellstern. Audrey is smiling on you...

1-0 out of 5 stars doesn't do justice to Hepburn's memory
cut and pasted from a wide variety of sources, this book's words and images have the look and feel of high school project. I admire the author's intention but the result is an unfortunate mish-mash. There's even a quote attributed to KATHERINE Hepburn.
Not recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect book to give
This is the perfect book to give for birthdays, hostess gifts, Christmas, Mother's day, graduation, or any special event in a woman's life. I sent it home with 15 ladies who attended a baby shower, and it has inspired several Audrey "film-festivals." Her thoughts on how to carry oneself with style, dignity and grace will translate to any generation. "How to be Lovely" should be on every woman's night stand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Audrey,the more I read about you,the more I love you
I would like to say that I am very pleased that I bought this book-it is very beautifully well written and is a perfect tribute to Audrey Hepburn. As a serious admirer and fan of Audrey Hepburn,I can truly say that this book has the thought,love,care, and kindness that are befitting to Audrey.There are many quotes that Audrey said and all are of tremendous wisdom and thought. If you're like me,you'll be an Audrey Hepburn fan for life.
Audrey,you were a beautiful,talented,and loving lady-we miss you very much.
... Read more

139. The Operator : David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood
by Tom King
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679457542
Catlog: Book (2000-03-07)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 298868
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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DreamWorks cofounder David Geffen, as portrayed by Wall Street Journal reporter Tom King, is in various ways a saint, a visionary, and an absolute maniac. In his saintly mode, Geffen both raises and gives record-breaking sums of money to AIDS foundations, advises and supports the President and progressive causes, and races to visit old friends stricken with grief or illness (even the washed-up agent Sue Mengers, whose friendship could do him no earthly good).

As a visionary in the music, movie, and Broadway theater industries, Geffen orchestrates the sale of his record companies, which made him a billionaire, and brings you Laura Nyro; Cats; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Tom Cruise; the Eagles; Nirvana; Bob Dylan; John Lennon; Guns N' Roses; Saving Private Ryan; and Joni Mitchell (who immortalized his deepest yearnings in her tune "Free Man in Paris").

But the most impressive and detailed portion of King's landmark biography is Geffen's performance as an entertainment entrepreneur, and in this capacity he is apparently a visionary and a maniac at the same time. Not only does he discover all manner of talents and works of art and hire the best hit-sniffers in the business, he also masters the fine Hollywood art of the Machiavellian tantrum. Geffen allegedly softens up his prey in a business deal by offering up disarming gossip about his own life--his traumatic courtship of Cher, or Marlo Thomas, perhaps, or the male prostitute he is said to have boasted about being in bed with the night John Lennon was shot. At some point, minutes or decades into an apparent friendship, Geffen is shown betraying anyone, even best friends and mentors, in his relentless quest for winning a deal. King's book provides a ringside seat; it's fascinating to watch Tinseltown's titans slug it out in championship bouts, maneuvering, lying, reuniting, and seizing power like crazed Renaissance princes.

In one memorable encounter, Geffen protests that Sid Sheinberg of MCA is displeasing his DreamWorks colleague, Steven Spielberg. "David, stop screaming," says Sheinberg. "I'm not screaming!" Geffen screams. "David, you know what would make me happy?" says Speilberg. "Stop screaming." It turns out that Geffen doesn't even know the details of the deal in question. But nobody knows how to strike a deal--with mind and maniacal heart--like David Geffen. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Reviews (50)

2-0 out of 5 stars more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel
I work in Hollywood and when this book came out, word on the street was that Tom King had published a well-researched, well-written, no-holds-barred and blistering account of David Geffen's life and work. Now that I've read this 600-plus-page monster, I'll go along with the well researched and call it a day. Maybe I've worked around too many moguls for too long, but I didn't find anything in here that I found particularly shocking, much less revelatory. I don't doubt the veracity of anything King has written (especially re: Geffen's own childish behavior - his tantrum over this innocuous publication bears that out), but even with Geffen's amazing achievements I closed the book wondering what the hell had made me pick it up in the first place. Geffen's world certainly contains the time-tested elements of a fascinating life - he started from less than nothing and now has a number of careers, fortunes and empires to his name while lacking any essential emotional connections. King has reported all of those elements faithfully, but what separates "The Operator" from great biography is the book's lack of any compelling rationale behind Geffen's behavior. Of course, even the most megalomaniac among us (another title for which Geffen certainly qualifies) don't live our lives thinking about what it's all going to look like when some enterprising reporter commits several years of his life to putting it down on paper. However, if you are that reporter, you had better be able to find the essential threads that knit together the disparate elements - otherwise, you have something that reads more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel (something that my favorite bios, like George Plimpton and Jean Stein's "Edie," certainly resemble). A much better read is David O. Selznick's "Memo From Selznick" - a book that is exactly what it sounds like and yet is still fascinating. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but it's worth the search.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mogul Mania
This is one of the better biographies around, whether or not you end up liking David Geffen (aka "the prince of pain"). It is full of great inside stories about legendary artists of the music business...Phil Spector, Dylan, the Band, Cher, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, George Michael, Donna Summer etc., etc. King keeps the narrative flowing, and he provides plenty of authentic detail without ever falling into the biographer's trap of being too academic. Of course Geffen is a very interesting subject...having powered his way to the very top of the entertainment business through sheer drive and cunning...and without having the "golden ear" or creative judgement of his competitors. The stories about his interaction with(and abuse of)fellow moguls like Ovitz, Eisner, Ross, and Davis were jawdropping. I found myself shaking my head at the deals he cut, for example talking Steve Ross into giving him back his music label for free after Ross had bankrolled he whole thing! But don't get the impression that The Operator is all about The Dark Side of fact King balances the book nicely by reporting on the many philanthropic and other positive projects in Geffen's life. All in all, a very entertaining read, and well worth having on your shelf, especially if you're fascinated by the entertainment industry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book is almost impossible to put down. Geffen's life has been truly extraoridinary and it provides an excellent story. Buy this book if you have any interest in the entertainment industry or business in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched
I have followed David Geffen's carrer for many years. I have even written a school paper on his Record Company (Geffen Records), which I have had the pleasure of visiting. This book is very well detailed and gives a vast amount of insight and information.

Long before he flung open the closet door back in 1992 and declared his homosexuality, David Geffen made news. Big news. Really big news. His is the life --- from college drop-out to mailroom clerk to founder of record labels and a movie company --- that makes a biography such as the one Tom King has written so lengthy ... and often lumbering. King had access to Geffen and hundreds of people in and outside of Geffen's circle of power. This is Superman as Supermogul: Saving pal Calvin Klein from bankruptcy (it was Geffen's idea to out Marky Mark in that series of memorable underwear ads), paying for experimental surgery for dying pal Dawn Steel, wooing (and almost marrying) galpals Cher (whom King says was Geffen's "first fully-functional heterosexual relationship") and Marlo Thomas to finally settling boy with assorted boytoys, unselfishly donating some of his $3 billion to fight AIDS. So many details, so little substance. This is a meticulously researched, though ultimately superficial, look at the bravo and bullying, the temper and talent that have made David Geffen the builder, buyer and seller of the New Hollywood. ... Read more

140. The Lives of the Artists (Oxford World's Classics)
by Giorgio Vasari, Julia Conaway Bondanella, Peter Bondanella, Peter E. Bondanella
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 019283410X
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 27781
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

These biographies of the great quattrocento artists have long been considered among the most important of contemporary sources on Italian Renaissance art.Vasari, who invented the term "Renaissance," was the first to outline the influential theory of Renaissance art that traces a progression through Giotto,Brunelleschi, and finally the titanic figures of Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael.This new translation, specially commisioned for the World's Classics series, contains thirty-six of the most important lives and is fully annotated. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than many Modern Art History Books
If you were to read a modern art history book of the high Renaissance, chances are the author of the book drew at least some of his information from this book written by Giorgio Vasari. Giorgio Vasari was an Italian Renaissance artist who also wrote about the various artists of his time. A contemporary of Michangelo, Georgi Vasari's book reads like a Who's Who of Renaissance artists. For a book more than four hundred years old, the style is amazingly modern and interesting.
Vasari has an artist's eye for critiquing another artist's work. His writing style is not boring, whereas many would be reduced to general descriptions like "beautiful" and "amateurish", he dissects the artist's work between strong and weak points, pigments and flesh tones or landscapes vs. portraits or the use of light and perspective. He states the reason why some art or one artist is renowned and others ignored. His judgments have generally stood the test of time. Vasari also weaves in some interesting tidbits and anecdotes of the Artist's life. I found this book more interesting than many modern day Art History books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Necessary for art historians and college students
Vasari's prose is effusive but easy to follow because it says the same things over and over about each artist. If you have any interest in the Italian artists this book is a crucial and reliable source of information. Artists lives with an emphasis on their contemporaries and their development are lavishly detailed in this book. It's a crucial source for a college-level art history report. Art historians respect Vasari's analyses of the artists' lives.

Vasari LOVES the High Renaissance artists, especially Michelangelo and Raphael, so you'll find that those chapters are especially long and informative. At times the praise of these artists, and others of the Renaissance, seems exaggerated and excessive. But you get the general gist of things, and find yourself itching to see the paintings that he tells stories about after you read about each artist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some hard work, ultimately worth it.
Slogging a little bit, because it's difficult to read even interesting prose descriptions of paintings and also painfully aware that I lacked a lot of the technical understanding of what he was discussing-- my history of art knowledge has huge holes in it. I turned frequently to the Internet to find the paintings Vasari was discussing and that helped a great deal.

I read the George Bull translation and it felt really clunky, although it's a plus that the footnotes are at the bottom of the pages rather than at the rear of the book. If I'm going to go on to read Volume 2 then I have to say that I'd choose another translator.

I knew in an intellectual way that a lot of the Renaissance was about reclaiming lost arts and sciences, but reading Vasari gave me a much better gut level feel about that really meant about the development of the arts. Connects real people to the history lesson, albeit in a gossipy and occasionally too-flowery way.

3-0 out of 5 stars In the Land of the Blind . . .
This is badly-written, badly-structured, gossipy, confused, misleading, and in too many places downright dishonest. Nevertheless it remians our main source of biographical information on the great artists of the Renaissance and Mannerist periods.

Most of these geniuses were considered so unimportant in their own lifetimes that the details of their lives weren't thought worthy to be recorded. It is telling therefore that it was Vasari, himself a rather vainglorious and self-important artist, who first conceived the notion of setting down the minutae of his own class. Unfortunately he was more a man of the brush than the pen and used his biographical duties to settle a few old scores and to pass on rumor and gossip.

Of course, the very ineptitude with which this work is written gives it an extra appeal in our own dumbed down age, but compared to great biographers of the past, like Plutarch, this is clearly inferior goods. Unfortunately, it's all we have to go on for most of the artists here. If it's a great work, it's a great work solely by default.

'In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating
I read this book in preparation for an upcoming trip to Florence. I am a big Michelangelo fan to begin with, and the idea of reading something written by a contemporary and aficionado of his was intriguing. I was well rewarded for my interests.

Vasari clearly idolized Michelangeo and Raphael. That is apparent, but as he did for every other artist's Life he covered, the level of personal detail and anecdotes is invaluable for someone like me looking for the story behind the artists. Artists from each phase of the Renaissance are covered with detail of both their personal and artistic lives. I can say I learned so much from each chapter that I will surely be taking this book with me for reference when I am in Florence.

One caveat, I think it would be helpful to have a book with photographs of the works Vasari discusses. Unless you are already up to speed on the major Renaissance works, it is more helpful to visualize them with the assistance of Vasari's descriptions. I found myself running to the internet often to see what he had been talking about.

Kick back and relax with this very easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable guide to some of the Renaissance's finest artists. ... Read more

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