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1. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
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2. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts
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3. Three Weeks with My Brother
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4. Night
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5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
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6. Dry : A Memoir
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7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering
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8. Tales from the Bed : On Living,
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9. Quicksands: A Memoir
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10. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous
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11. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
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12. The Spiral Staircase : My Climb
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13. Black Boy (Perennial Classics)
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14. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
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15. Mistress Bradstreet : The Untold
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16. Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs
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17. The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects
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18. On Writing
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19. Gift from the Sea : 50th Anniversary
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20. The Orientalist : Solving the

1. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
by Jeannette Walls
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0743247531
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Scribner
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2. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0385496095
Catlog: Book (2000-02-15)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 1493
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

... Read more

Reviews (240)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This atheist gives this book two thumbs up.

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

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


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

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

Reviews (48)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Reviews (744)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Reviews (292)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think Thompson is what Michael Moore wishes he was.

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

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

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

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


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

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

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.
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Reviews (92)

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

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

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

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

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


7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by DAVE EGGERS
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375725784
Catlog: Book (2001-02-13)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 791
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Well, this was when Bill was sighing a lot. He had decided that after our parents died he just didn't want any more fighting between what was left of us. He was twenty-four, Beth was twenty-three, I was twenty-one, Toph was eight, and all of us were so tried already, from that winter. So when something world come up, any little thing, some bill to pay or decision to make, he would just sigh, his eyes tired, his mouth in a sorry kind of smile. But Beth and I...Jesus, we were fighting with everyone, anyone, each other, with strangers at bars, anywhere -- we were angry people wanting to exact revenge. We came to California and we wanted everything, would take what was ours, anything within reach. And I decided that little Toph and I, he with his backward hat and long hair, living together in our little house in Berkeley, would be world-destroyers. We inherited each other and, we felt, a responsibility to reinvent everything, to scoff and re-create and drive fast while singing loudly and pounding the windows. It was a hopeless sort of exhilaration, a kind of arrogance born of fatalism, I guess, of the feeling that if you could lose a couple of parents in a month, then basically anything could happen, at any time -- all bullets bear your name, all cars are there to crush you, any balcony could give way; more disaster seemed only logical. And then, as in Dorothy's dream, all these people I grew up with were there, too, some of them orphans also, most but not all of us believing that what we had been given was extraordinary, that it was time to tear or break down, ruin, remake, take and devour. This was San Francisco, you know, and everyone had some dumb idea -- I mean, wicca? -- and no one there would tell you yours was doomed. Thus the public nudity, and this ridiculous magazine, and the Real World tryout, all this need, most of it disguised by sneering, but all driven by a hyper-awareness of this window, I guess, a few years when your muscles are taut, coiled up and vibrating. But what to do with the energy? I mean, when we drive, Toph and I, and we drive past people, standing on top of all these hills, part of me wants to stop the car and turn up the radio and have us all dance in formation, and part of me wants to run them all over." ... Read more

Reviews (741)

2-0 out of 5 stars unstaggered
You've got to give Dave Eggers this, if nothing else, he knows how to market himself. First he wrote this memoir, loaded with irony to appeal to Gen-Xers, continually self-referential to appeal to postmodernists, and centered around his efforts to raise his little brother after their parents both died of cancer, a sure chick magnet. Then, having exposed most of his and his family members' lives to public view (at least in theory) he adopted a Pynchonesque/Sallingeresque reclusive pose, and feigned personal agony at having to discuss the book. All this while cashing in big time on the supposedly "tragic" events of his life. For these savvy ploys alone he deserves to be called a "staggering genius."

The book itself uses a host of postmodernist, ironical, satirical, etc., etc., etc...techniques, which are rather hackneyed and, given the ostensible topic of the book (his family tragedy), quite off-putting. A fairly representative passage comes when he's heaving his mother's ashes (or cremains) into Lake Michigan :

Oh this is so plain, disgraceful, pathetic--

Or beautiful and loving and glorious! Yes, beautiful and loving and glorious!

But even if so, even if this is right and beautiful, and she is tearing up while watching, so proud--like what she said to me when I carried her, when she had the nosebleed and I carried her and she said that she was proud of me, that she did not think I could do it, that I would be able to lift her, carry her to the car, and from the car into the hospital, those words run through my head every day, have run through every day since, she did not think I could do it but of course I did it. I knew I would do it, and I know this, I know what I am doing now, that I am doing something both beautiful but gruesome because I am destroying its beauty by knowing that it might be beautiful, know that if I know I am doing something beautiful, that it's no longer beautiful. I fear that even if it is beautiful in the abstract, that my doing it knowing that it's beautiful and worse, knowing that I will very soon be documenting it, that in my pocket is a tape recorder brought for just that purpose--that all this makes this act of potential beauty somehow gruesome. I am a monster. My poor mother. She would do this without the thinking, without the thinking about thinking--

Yeah sure, I get it, the way he's having this discussion shows that he understands what's going on, yadda, yadda, yadda... But unfortunately, the point he's making is more accurate than his style is clever. There simply is something gruesome about this kind of mannered irony and the way, throughout his life, that he seems to interpret his experiences through the filter of the book he plans to write.

At the point where every thought, emotion, and action in your life must be considered for how it will appear in print, you've become a fictional character rather than a real human being. And by creating so much distance between the character of Dave Eggers and the supposedly tragic events of his life, Eggers (the author) makes it really hard for the reader to care much. I finished the book unstaggered and heart unbroken, but grudgingly forced to admit that the literary world has a potential new genius, a writer with a genius for self promotion the likes of which we've not seen since Norman Mailer; and we all know how the Norman Mailer story has gone : badly.

GRADE : C-

3-0 out of 5 stars Bitter, Sad, Self-Obessed, Humorous....but not quite genius
Frankly, I felt this was a heartbreaking work of staggering genius that sputtered and stopped just shy of greatness.

The first half of the book was brilliant. The middle was torturous. The end (being that it followed so closely after the agonizing middle) just didn't feel as captivating anymore.

I disagree, however, with the reviewer who criticized Eggers for not caring about his mother and sister. There is tenderness and profound sadness there, you just have to perceive it underneath the facade Eggers constructs.

His brutal portrayal of the death of a loved one and the complication of family relationships afterward is, perhaps, too much for some readers. I found it to be honest (probably the most honest aspect of the book).

That said, I recommend this book to those with an open mind, an appreciation for ironic humor, and a tolerance for an unconventional approach to writing. It was mad. It was refreshing. But it was just a little too unedited to live up to the title completely.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lies, Lies, Lies, and more Lies
First off, the title is a lie.

The book is boring. The narrator does not care about the deaths of his parents nor the future death of his sister, so how is it heartbreaking?

Einstein was a genius. Shakespeare was a genius. Eggers is incapable of writing a book with a plot and characters.

Then, all the blurbs are lies, as they were all written my people on the McSweeney's payroll.

And then, all the insider tax and tuition snark-fests, held by pomo hipsters on college campuses are lies.

And then, all the creative-writing workshops which assign this book, as well as postmodern english classes which place it on the suggested reading lists are lies.

The sales numbers given by the corporate conglomerates are lies, aimed at bolstering their bottom line while Eggers aims to eradicate literature by spamming the bookstores with his crap, killing trees and displacing quality literature penned by indy presses.

Then, all the positive reviews here are lies, written by Eggers himself, as the New York Times reported.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Heartwrenching Display of Staggering Hubris
There are so many other good books out there, why waste your time with this one? The title is lofty and ambitious and creates expectations for the reader that this work fails to realize (Of course, Dave, you did ask for it). No question to me that Eggers has potential to be a decent writer, but his smug (oh, but I try to be self-deprecating, and I almost mean it, too!), cooler-than-thou, "Are you in on the joke?" style gets in the way of what could have been, if not a work of staggering genius, a well-told coming-of-age story.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Self-Indulgent Work of Staggering Verbosity
Have you ever had a friend who just couldn't stop talking about him or her self? They seem to have no other concern in life but to tell you how great, magnificent and important they are. It's as if they think they're the only ones who exist, or worse yet, matter. And after reading Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius", I couldn't help but feel that's exactly who I had been listening to.

Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. Eggers is a very talented writer, with enough quirkiness to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool to brimming. The subject matter he attempts here is very "heartbreaking", and he manages to evoke strong emotions from his readers without becoming overtly sentimental. And in dealing with the tragic loss of two parents to cancer (in the same month), this would be easy to do. Eggers deftly keeps his memoir moving by utilizing humor, anger, and a jarring, schizophrenic leaping from story thread to story thread.

Eggers shows a clever and refreshing playfulness in his writing. Where else are you greeted with directions on how to read a book? Where else do you get the story notes "before" the story actually begins? The book is also filled with various other clever devices, such as diagrams which point out optimal areas on his kitchen's hardwood floor for sock-sliding, a chart which explains all of the symbolism in his book (for his less alert readers), and a number of formatting switches, such as to movie script format or interviews written in italics. Eggers has employed nearly every trick in the book to maintain his reader's attention.

The story, however, even as Eggers states in his "reading directions", is a bit uneven. The heart of the story, that of Eggers' coping with raising his young, orphaned eight-year-old brother, Toph, is rendered with tenderness and honesty. Simple acts such as throwing frisbee and sliding down a hardwood floor in one's socks take on a philosophic poignancy, and the remarkably realistic dialogue between the brothers is captivating.

However, true to his schizophrenic nature, Eggers is not content to merely talk of Toph. The middle of the book he fills with stories of his attempts to start up a (relatively pointless) satirical magazine, Might, and his attempt to get on MTV's even-more-pointless reality show, The Real World. These threads, while somewhat entertaining, tend to wear thin, especially when Eggers continually rants about how great and important he is. The worst part is a nearly fifty page "transcription" of his interview with the producers of The Real World to sell himself onto the show. Pages and pages of where he grew up, what his favorite food was, and why he is so gosh dang vibrant and beautiful and necessary to everyone on the planet. Energy is refreshing. But in Eggers case, it gets self-indulgent at times.

Still, there is something to be read here. The first 100 pages and the last 50 are fantastic, particularly his thoughts on his mother, and Eggers exuberance, as well as his ferocious anger, are marvelous to behold. Staggering? Yes. Masturbatory? Very. Genius? Not quite. Entertaining? You betcha'. ... Read more


8. Tales from the Bed : On Living, Dying, and Having It All
by Jenifer Estess
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743476824
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 320
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jenifer Estess is a woman on the verge: She's about to launch her own company; she's looking buff and dating vigorously; she's driving in the fast lane -- with the top down. At the age of thirty-five, Jenifer dreams of falling in love and starting a family. Then she notices muscle twitches in her legs. Walking down a city block feels exhausting. At first, doctors write off Jenifer's symptoms to stress, but she is quickly diagnosed with ALS, a fatal brain disease that is absolutely untreatable.

Max out your credit cards and see Paris, suggests one doctor. Instead of preparing to die, Jenifer gets busy. She dreams deeper, works harder, and loves endlessly. For Jenifer, being fatally ill is not about letting go. It's about holding on and reaching -- for family, friends, goals.

Jenifer's girlhood pact with her sisters Valerie and Meredith -- nothing will ever break us apart -- guides them as Jenifer faces down one of the most devastating illnesses known to humankind. That same enduring pact inspires the creation of Project A.L.S., a movement started by the sisters that changes the way science and medicine approach research for ALS and the related diseases Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and which has already raised more than $18 million. Will Project A.L.S. help scientists discover medicine in time for her?

Jenifer answers these questions and others in this beautifully written and wholly inspiring memoir that celebrates a life fuelled by memory. Tales from the Bed forces us to reconsider society's notion of "having it all," and illustrates, more than anything, the importance of endurance, hope, and, most of all, love. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've found a new hero (or heroes)
I have seen the HBO documentary, "Three Sisters," with which this book is associated, and also read this book. Both were amazing and powerful, yet different. I walked away from the book, looking to do something more meaningful with my life, whereas the film was more educational as far as ALS is concerned.

The book kept me up, reading all night long, in a rush to continue with Jenifer on her journey to the end. When I read the final pages, I didn't want to close the book, in fear that the connection I established with Jenifer, Valerie and Meredith would disappear. The writing flowed like a familiar memory and the humor made me smile between the tears that dropped. I feel like I've known the Estess family for my entire life, even though I was introduced to them by mere text in the pages of the book. I recommend this book highly to everyone--not just those who have ALS or know someone with ALS. After all,like Jenifer, ALS could happen to anyone of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This was such a great read that revealed a woman with a lot of class who even though she was dying inch by inch continued to live and fight for the hope of a cure for ALS. Through the writing you can feel her struggle, but her sense of humor comes through so just when you are about to cry over the inhumanity of the disease you crack a smile or even laugh out loud at something Jenifer said. The love she and her sisters had for one another and their determination to help Jenifer is awe inspiring. This book makes you forget about your troubles and makes you want to do something to find a cure for ALS. I'd recommend it for anyone who has a heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving story of courage
I picked up this book on the way home from a trip for some airplane reading and could not put it down. I was somewhat familiar with Jenifer's story from seeing her and her sisters on the Today Show and other news programs when they started Project ALS. But her courageous story of life and love and what it means to be family really touched my heart - and gave me some much needed perspective in my life. I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Indomitable spirit an encouragement to all
I deeply admire Jenifer's courage and indomitable spirit. Her sisters' commitment to love, care, and find a cure is also very admirable.

My husband has ALS and I am very glad I read this book. I am challenged to love others more and do my best to make a positive difference in spite of daunting odds.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful summer read - inspiring and filled with love!
I just read Jenifer's wonderful memoir, TALES FROM THE BED and thought it was one of the most beautiful stories I've read in years. With all that was changing in Jenifer's life, she had her sisters and still had hope, and remained funny, heartwarming, and inspiring you can feel the love that she had for life pouring through the pages. I hope that you'll give yourself the gift of reading Jenifer's wonderful story and the legacy she left behind. ... Read more


9. Quicksands: A Memoir
by Sybille Bedford
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582431698
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 9581
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Book Description

Beginning in 1956 with the publication of A Legacy, the highly acclaimed Sybille Bedford has narrated-in fiction and nonfiction-what has been by turns her sensuous, harrowing, altogether remarkable life. In this memoir, her first new book in over ten years, she provides the moving culmination to an epic personal story that takes readers from the Berlin of World War I, to the artists' set on the C™te d'Azur of the 1920s, through lovers, mentors, seducers, and friends, from genteel yet shabby poverty to settled comfort in London's West End. Whether evoking the simple sumptuousness of a home-cooked meal, or tracing the heartrending outline of an intimate betrayal, she offers both "a deliciously evoked return to worlds" (John Fowles), and spellbinding reflections on how history imprints itself on private lives. ... Read more


10. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
by Charles Seife, Matt Zimet
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140296476
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 10850
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Charles Seife traces the origins and colorful history of the number zero from Aristotle to superstring theory by way of Pythagoras, the Kabbalists, and Einstein. Weaving together ancient dramas and state-of-the-art science, Zero is a concise tour of a universe of ideas bound up in the simple notion of nothingness. ... Read more

Reviews (82)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good summary
Despite the abstract nature of it's subject matter, this book is a surprisingly breezy and informative read about the history of zero and it's value in the mathematics (and scientific) revolutions of the 1600s and still today. It's part history, part math primer, and part practical guide, with the later chapters focussing on how the zero is used in physics and astronomy.

Seiff has an engaging style and he doesn't talk down or talk above the reader. Although Seiff obviously is an expert in difficult math, he doesn't overwhelm you with equations or get too abstract. Even sections on trig and calculus are written in everyday language that you can easily follow. The book does begin to trail off at Chapter 7-8, from here much of the book seems like filler. I preferred "The Nothing That Is" (also about the zero number) a little because I was more interested in the history and that book covers it more, but Seiff still does a fine job here with history of zero, and his book is probably more useful for students trying to know how to use the zero and it's concepts for their math classes, especially figuring out the limit and other calculations.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very engaging, interesting, and enlightening read
The title of this book is "Zero: the Biography of a Dangerous Idea." Certainly, what Charles Seife wrote does not disappoint: it IS a biography of zero. It starts from its conception in early history, and progresses to outline its development in history through the branches of mathematics, physics, art, and even philosophy. A previous reader was disappointed that the book took time to focus on physics and philosophy, but keep in mind that zero is not limited only to the mathematical realm. Indeed, it is pervasive in society, and it has affected the way we view the world. So to talk about zero yet disregard its important contributions to fields other than mathematics would be a travesty.

Seife's book is a very engaging and enlightening read. Seife looks at how zero has become: the foundation for calculus (taking limits to zero), a revolutionary idea in art (3d drawings have a point of infinity to give depth perception...and infinity and zero are just different sides of the same coin), an important concept of the numberline, and many other places. Indeed, I have read this book many times, sometimes for a quick browse and sometimes for an indepth read, and it has always been a pleasure to read.

Moreover, Seife is very knowledgeable in what he writes, and he brings a sense of humor as well--if you have ever read his article about the debate on cold fusion in 'Science' or 'Scientific American' (it was one or the other, its been a while since that article was published in the early 90s I believe) you'll see his sense of humor in his concluding paragraph (cold fusion or confusion anyone?).

And in response to another review earlier, the reader said that in the appendix there was a proof where a=1 and b=1, and from the equation a^2 - b^2 = a^2 - ab it can be found that 1=0 by factoring the difference of squares and dividing by (a-b). The reader commented that this is dividing by 0, that such an operation violates a fundamental law of algebra (cannot divide by zero), and that an editor should have caught it.

The point is that Seife is showing WHY you cannot divide by 0, that the result is 1=0 and that logic and mathematics would be invalid. He is showing why zero may be a 'dangerous idea'!

In conclusion, this book is superb in its writing and content. It lives up to what it was meant to do, to show the development of zero through history. It is clear, concise, and witty. You will not be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Zero is fundamental
Entertaining book for students of philosophy, historians, and math neophytes, but Seife's simple-minded application of the principle of the conservation of energy to the quantum electrodynamic sea of spacetimemassenergy, i.e. the "zero point field," among other things, reveals him to be among the least imaginitive of physicists. His dismissive proposition that "nothing can come from nothing," overlooks the very simple fact that the QED sea of energy is hardly "nothing," otherwise there would be no such thing as Brownian motion or the Casimir Effect, not to mention the space, time, mass, and energy of our universe. Hal Puthoff claims that a cupful of this so called "vacuum energy" could boil away the oceans of our planet. (The most intriguing concept of "zero" is that promulageted by today's heretics such as Tom Bearden.) Presumably, however, Seife's math and philosophical history of zero is accurate. Before reading this book, this reader had known very little of it, and it was this part that he found quite enjoyable.

1-0 out of 5 stars Jumbled mess of ideas
This is a mildly interesting and entertaining book about history of zero that unfortunately tries to be too cute with its style and to pull in so many unrelated ideas, it loses focus as you turn the pages. When "Zero" stays on topic it's OK. Seife has a pretty good grounding in most of the history, and it was facsinating to read about how the number was used for such simple purpose for Babylonians but became so important for abstract number systems later.

Middle section of the book deals with zero in calculus, useful for any student toughing it out thru intro calc. But Seife gets too drawn in to all the goofy philosophical wanderings you can make about zero, he goes off on way too many tangents that don't make sense. Yes, you can't divide 1 by 0 and the number has a special role in most operations, but how do these properties threaten to bring down the whole framework of math (to paraphrase)? There's all kinds of talk about how zero and infinity are just two sides of the same coin-- why? The author tries to sound like a sage but doesn't make much sense with the claims on these pages.

Whole thing comes apart in the last couple of chapters on physics, cosmology, and applied math which are slim on facts and chock-full of flowery language about how important zero is but where the author really doesn't back his claims. In fact, as the book goes on it seems to make less sense, as though it doesn't quite know what it's supposed to be saying as it moves farther afield from history and calculus. Why are these later chapters even here? They don't add anything and detract from the book's overall value.

4-0 out of 5 stars Zero is not just a number, its a way of life
A very interesting book. The Author shows how mindsets, philosophies and cultures had to change to enable the Zero to be accepted. The West overlooked then resisted the idea of zero.
When the zero idea took hold and was finally accepted it affected everything from Aristoteloism, to commerce, to Art. Even the biblical creation stories took on a different light.
Art in the West during the Renaissance gained a major improvement
as the sense of perspective was developed. This vanishing point within a painting is the equivalnt of the introduction of Zero into the art world .
I would read other books by this author, interesting history, The book moves right along, I like the Author's style, plenty of background, but always stayed the coure. I believe an audio book
is probably not the correct format for this information. I would have liked to have seen the test portraying some of the
equtions. ... Read more


11. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight : An African Childhood
by ALEXANDRA FULLER
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758992
Catlog: Book (2003-03-11)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 1448
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time. ... Read more

Reviews (106)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, funny insight into post-colonial Africa
What makes this book worth reading -- aside from a captivating style and humorous content -- is precisely what separates it from other excellent books about similar subject matter (Godwin's Mukiwa, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions): the fact that Fuller makes no attempt to analyze, excuse, or explain the racism and insanity of her family history. Rather than rationalizing her parents' racist attitudes, Fuller chooses instead to simply describe in her wry, matter-of-fact voice precisely how the end of the colonial era was experienced by people implicated in it. She does not try to gloss her childhood experiences with politically correct hindsight, and in so doing thrusts the reader into the desperation and the joy of rural African life in the last three decades. Bobo's mother is one of the most memorable and remarkable personalities I've encountered in African literature. The book is worth reading entirely for its hysterical concluding scenes. Fuller's characters are real and human, in all their extraordinary bizarreness!

Having spent many an hour, like Bobo Fuller, poking grass into ant-lion holes in the hot dusty veld, this moving story captivated me and painted a moving portrait of people fighting the cruelty of the African landscape. Myth and reality are intertwined in a witty and beautiful story. Everyone should read this book!

3-0 out of 5 stars A different perspective
It was interesting to read a book about life in Africa, from the perspective of a white woman brought up in a family who clung fiercely to the notion of white supremacy with every last bit of their strength. I disagree with a previous reviewer, however, who seemed to excuse the racism of the Fuller parents by implying that the historic and political situation they were in "made" them that way. Racism is racism, no matter what the circumstance.

Despite the attitudes of the Fuller parents, their daughter Bobo has documented a well-written account of their life in various African countries, and provides vivid details about the smells, sights, and emotions that the continent evokes for her. Her writing really gives the reader a sense of both the incredible harshness and danger(poisonous snakes, itchy vegetation, scary militaristic governments, etc) of Africa, but also its gentleness and great beauty.

Although I think Alexandra Fuller writes very well, and I appreciate her honest writing about her parents' behavior and attitudes, I couldn't warm to the family. Despite their numerous trajedies and troubles, I found it difficult to feel sympathetic. In contrast, when I read "The Flame Trees of Thika", another memoir of an African childhood by another white woman, Elspeth Huxley, I rooted for her colonial, turn-of-the-century, white-is-right parents, Robin and Tilly, through all their successes and setbacks. They held the same attitude of racial superiority as the Fullers, yet there is something intrinsically more likeable about how they handled themselves on a continent where they were the minority race, political upheaval or no. After reading Fuller's memoir, it was a relief to pick up "Nervous Conditions" by black female Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga, and read about three-dimensional black Africans. Her book is set in 1960s Rhodesia, for those interested (A. Fuller recommends it herself in the Afterword section of her memoir). Despite my personal reaction to this book, I recommend it to anyone interested in African writing, because I think that Alexandra Fuller's perspective is just as important and valid as that of any other African writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo
A wonderful insight into the mind of a child and a precise memoir of life itself. Life isn't straightforward and simple, yet we survive, thrive and love, even in the most difficult situations. Ms. Fuller: You said it all and you said it well.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just meanders . . .
I read this book for my book club. It just seemed to meander through her childhood, no real plot or climax. Yes, this girl definitely had a different type of childhood, but what makes it that interesting or significant?????

5-0 out of 5 stars A very different childhood
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller is an extraordinary memoir of growing up white in war ravaged Africa. Alexandra, called Bobo by her family, was born in 1969 in England. Her parents moved the family to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1972. Always suffering from "bad, bad luck", which included losing three children, the family moves from farm to farm within Rhodesia and Malawi.

Fuller's writing style is rich, lyrical and many times, funny. I could picture the land, feel the heat and smell the smoking fish that embodies the Africa she describes. I found myself laughing even as I was shaking my head in disbelief at some of the choices her parents made. Bobo's mother, Nicola Fuller, is racist, resilient, strong and mad as a hatter. In other words, she's the most memorable character in the book.

Of course, to Fuller all of this stress and strife was, while not exactly normal, expected. She was a child, after all, and it's all she'd ever known. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think that American kids really have no idea how hard their life could be.

Overall a captivating read. It left me reminiscing about my childhood and reflecting on how simple and uncomplicated (read boring) it was. ... Read more


12. The Spiral Staircase : My Climb Out of Darkness (Armstrong, Karen)
by KAREN ARMSTRONG
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385721277
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2175
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Karen Armstrong speaks to the troubling years following her decision to leave the life of a Roman Catholic nun and join the secular world in 1969. What makes this memoir especially fascinating is that Armstrong already wrote about this era once---only it was a disastrous book. It was too soon for her to understand how these dark, struggling years influenced her spiritual development, and she was too immature to protect herself from being be bullied by the publishing world. As a result, she agreed to portray herself only in as "positive and lively a light as possible"---a mandate that gave her permission to deny the truth of her pain and falsify her inner experience. The inspiration for this new approach comes from T. S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday, a series of six poems that speak to the process of spiritual recovery. Eliot metaphorically climbs a spiral staircase in these poems---turning again and again to what he does not want to see as he slowly makes progress toward the light. In revisiting her spiral climb out of her dark night of the soul, Armstrong gives readers a stunningly poignant account about the nature of spiritual growth. Upon leaving the convent, Armstrong grapples with the grief of her abandoned path and the uncertainty of her place in the world. On top of this angst, Armstrong spent years suffering from undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy, causing her to have frequent blackout lapses in memory and disturbing hallucinations---crippling symptoms that her psychiatrist adamantly attributed to Armstrong's denial of her femininity and sexuality. The details of this narrative may be specific to Armstrong's life, but the meanin! g she makes of her spiral ascent makes this a universally relevant story. All readers can glean inspiration from her insights into the nature of surrender and the possibilities of finding solace in the absence of hope. Armstrong shows us why spiritual wisdom is often a seasoned gift---no matter how much we strive for understanding, we can't force profound insights to occur simply because our publisher is waiting for them. With her elegant, humble and brave voice, she inspires readers to willingly turn our attention toward our false identities and vigilantly defended beliefs in order to better see the truth and vulnerability of our existence. Herein lies the staircase we can climb to enlightenment. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (50)

3-0 out of 5 stars Sprial Staircase
Suberb book!Should be REQUIRED reading for every person who is seeking a more spiritual life.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit tedious
I really enjoyed the early chapters of this book.The author's experiences as a young nun and her subsequent disillusionment with convent life make for fascinating reading.The years of struggling with an at-the-time undiagnosed illness also is of interest.Apart from the above, however, her story is one ofquite an ordinary life - perhaps even more inhibited and uneventful than most. Her story bogs down in the descriptions of her academic life and her living situations. Yes, she struggled with her faith - but who hasn't? She spends a great deal of time discovering things about life that would seem fairly obvious to others.At times her story was rather slow-moving, self-absorbed and even tedious.Did it inspire me?Only a little.Would I go on to read any other of this author's books? I doubt it. I could barely finish this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning story of a spiritual quest
Karen Armstrong is one of the best general interest writers on religion today, and this wonderful autobiography relates how she got there. Armstrong was a Catholic nun in the 60's, during a time of great upheaval in the church. After a 7 year struggle to subdue her intelligent, inquisitive spirit, described in "Through the Narrow Gate," she left the convent, and the struggle really began. Armstrong describes herself as caught in between, in a sort of no-man's land, having lost the vision of God she pursued for so long, but ill at ease in the secular world. She also suffers from deep depression, loss of memory, and hallucinations, which years of psychiatric treatment fail to cure. It is a measure of her misery during this period that a diagnosis of epilepsy is a liberating turning point for her.

Armstrong's long and tortuous path towards a life as an author includes a failed doctoral thesis, being fired from a teaching job, and a failed TV project on the Crusades. But "Through the Narrow Gate" was a surprising success, and "The History of God" established her as a popular (meaning non-scholarly, but serious) writer on Christianity, Judiasm and Islam.

As honest as Armstrong's account of her struggle is, it's not all here. She dismisses her apparently limited experience with men in a terse paragraph, viewing any such involvement as a loss of freedom. And her view of Christianity is, perhaps understandably, quite negative, her view of Islam perhaps overly positive, as she downplays the fanatical, "jihad" aspects that have marred Islam in modern times.

Armstrong's story is an important one, spanning four turbulent decades in the history of modern religion. Read "Through the Narrow Gate" first, then "Staircase." They're well-worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Happy Discovery
I came across this title in a women's magazine book review section.Something about the synopsis intrigued me, and I bought a copy.I was so impressed by Ms Armstrong's writing style, use of language, and her compelling honesty in describing her experiences that I read the book in less than a week.She has a luminous clarity of mind that drew me into the nightmarish world of the convent and on to her self-searching quest for identity and scholarship.Hers is a story of survival and transcendence.I look forward to reading her books on Islam and Buddha, among others.She also has an essay in the April 2005 issue of Utne magazine, warning that "misbegotten U.S. foreign policy is pushing Islamic fundamentalists closer and closer to the use of weapons of mass destruction."She's a brilliant woman, a gifted writer, and I highly recommend this memoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars For more about temporal lobe epilepsy and religiosity...
This fascinating autobiography describes Karen Armstrong's diagnosis with temporal lobe epilepsy, a little-known but common brain disorder often associated with intense religious feelings and prodigious creativity. To learn more about this remarkable disorder and its appearance in the painter Vincent van Gogh and the writers Fyodor Dostoevsky and Lewis Carroll, go to Eve LaPlante's 1993 book, Seized, available in paperback. ... Read more


13. Black Boy (Perennial Classics)
by Richard A. Wright
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060929782
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Sales Rank: 11016
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With an introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming off age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

"Superb...The Library of America has insured that most of Wright's major texts are now available as he wanted them to be tread...Most important of all is the opportunity we now have to hear a great American writer speak with his own voice about matters that still resonate at the center of our lives."
--Alfred Kazin, New York Time Book Review

"The publication of this new edition is not just an editorial innovation, it is a major event in American literary history."
--Andrew Delbanco, New Republic

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Reviews (117)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent description of negro life in the 1920's
"Black Boy" is a great autobiographical book written by Richard Wright. Richard, the main character in the story, goes through many trials and tribulations in finding what he loves to do- write. The description of the hardships of negro life in the 1920's and how discrimination ran rampant was excellently described by Wright....the only flaw is maybe a little overexaggeration going on in the descriptions of racism and other hate from whites towards blacks. Richard Wright descibes well though the trials and tribulations of an average negro in American society in that time period. This book is great for teenagers; over the age of 16 though. I say this because vulgar language is constant throughout the story and a couple sex scenes are described explicitly in the book. This is a must-read for young adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book To Read
I recently read Black Boy by Richard Wright and I must say it is an amazing book. The book is about Richard growing up in the South in the early 1900's. It may sound a little boring but believe me it's not. Richard had a hard life growing up and that's what makes the book so interesting. Burning up houses, killing cats, and becoming a drunk were just some of the things he did before reaching the age of eight. The thing I like most about him is how he grew up very poor, moved from place to place, including an orphanage, never completed two consecutive school years, and still managed to become a well-educated young man and a world-famous writer. Although the book was very interesting there were some parts at the end that I felt were a little boring, but maybe that's just me. Either way, I think Richard Wright was a very talented writer, and if you get the chance, you should read his autobiography, Black Boy. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of thirteen that is interested in learning about history or just likes to read about some hardships other people had to face growing up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wright Auto Bio
The first Wrift book I read was the impressive 'Native Son'. I found Black Boy and read it. It's easy to read and gives you a good insight in how black life in the south was in the 1920. Wright's life as for so many has not been easy: no father, a crippled mother, racism abound. But still he finds time to read books and he reads the classics. Especially Babbit was one of his favorites (and one of mine too). Via Memphis he goes to Chicago were he becomes a more famous writer and starts working/writing for the communist party where he has a lot of trouble as an independant thinker.

This book gives a great insight into black life. REal events are interspersed with his thinking about race relations. It is also easy to read and won't take a long time to finish. Definitely worth reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book to Remember
Black Boy, an autobiography written by Richard Wright, describes what many average African American children faced growing up in the Jim Crow South. Wright described the poverty that he, his friends and family lived through and the agony and dangers they had to face day-to-day. Wright also described the unfair treatment from white people that African Americans had to endure and ignore. He also described how white people treated African Americans as slaves. Wright wrote in excruciating detail bringing to the reader what life was truly like in the South and in the U.S. in the early 1900s.
I enjoyed reading Black Boy since it gave me insight into how African Americans were really treated in the South. The book really showed me the crisis that America was in over racial segregation. Black Boy also described the despicable acts that white people committed on African Americans for pleasure and entertainment. Richard Wright's actions showed me how a person that is always put down can still strive to be the best. Wright never gave up and kept on dreaming about his goals in life. Wright's book really showed the determination that one can have. His actions in life influenced me to never give up and to keep on trying no matter what someone tells me to do. This was a great book and if one wants to understand what things were like for African Americans in the South in the 1900s, they should read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable autobiography
Black Boy is a outstanding autobiography about Richard Wright. Richard writes about his whole life. The book shows the great discrimination Richard faced, as well as he a lot of the times stood up for what he believed in. He fights the world back and in the end his dream of becoming a writer comes true, but not only does he become a writer he also becomes one of the best writers of the 20th century. ... Read more


14. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
by Ann Patchett
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060572140
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 2189
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving a person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A BROKEN HEART AND A BRILLIANT MIND
If you've read Lucy Grealy's book AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE, you must read Ann Patchett's book TRUTH & BEAUTY. Ann was Lucy's best friend and tells the story of their loving and literary friendship. Ann's book is filled with Lucy's letters. The book tells of how Lucy was taunted by kids and adults because of her facial cancer. Readers get to see into Lucy's heart and how because of her "ugly" face she thought no one would ever love her. yet she beds every man who says something nice to her out of a need to connect and feel "love.". this book is a fantastic look into the heart and mind of someone with a visible disability. it is about someone with a brilliant mind. and it's filled with triumph and tragedy. And if you haven't read AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE, I recommend that too. In both books you'll see the life of a driven woman hoping her genius and writing abilities will save her from what she thinks is the tragedy of her disability and make someone love her and she will live happily ever after. Sadly Lucy died of a drug overdose a few years ago. was it an accident or suicide?? she was heartbroken. she never thought she would find love. but so many of her friends loved her.

4-0 out of 5 stars Patchett's Frank and Tender First Work of Nonfiction
Female friendships are one of the most complex human relationships, regardless of age. And in TRUTH & BEAUTY, author Ann Patchett does nothing to dispel the mystery of girlfriends. If anything, she adds to it.

Although this book is nonfiction, it reads like fiction. Readers will dive into the story, greedily gathering information about the two main subjects --- Patchett and her friend, Lucy Grealy --- like characters in a novel. They were two young and ambitious women who go directly from Sarah Lawrence to the Iowa's Writers Workshop, the most coveted graduate school for writers. They develop a friendship that straddles the lines of intimacy, and they find literary fame. Along the way they form a bond that is difficult to describe. It spans continents, weathers illnesses both physical and mental, and seems to survive even death. But this is not a work of fiction, and so the eloquent writing of this well-known author packs even more of a punch. These are real people; this is Patchett's life, her beloved friend who lives, metaphorically speaking, just beyond her reach.

Patchett recreates her life with Grealy by interspersing their history with letters she received from Grealy over the years, postmarked from Scotland, New York, Providence, Connecticut, and all of the other places she traveled, taught and lived. They are letters that reveal a literary voice filled with love and admiration for a woman to whom she referred as "Pet." She was a competitive woman who was known to jump into Patchett's lap and ask repeatedly, "Am I your favorite? Do you love me the most?" And inevitably the answer was yes.

"Dearest Anvil, she would write to me six years later, dearest deposed president of some now defunct but lovingly remembered country, dearest to me, I can find no suitable words of affection for you, words that will contain the whole of your wonderfulness to me. You will have to make due with being my favorite bagel, my favorite blue awning above some great little café where the coffee is strong but milky and had real texture to it."

Narrated by Patchett, TRUTH & BEAUTY could be described as an analysis of Grealy, a woman who fights an uphill battle to recover physically from a cancer that robbed her of her outward beauty as a child, though it amplified an inner beauty. Grealy, as Patchett tells us, had a kind of animal magnetism that drew the best of people to her. She underwent at least 35 surgeries to rebuild a jaw decimated by radiation and lived her life subsisting on mashed fruits, ice cream and the occasional milkshake. Despite the staggering number of surgeries, the procedures never quite worked and much of Grealy's life was spent lamenting what she believed were her physical inadequacies. Yet TRUTH & BEAUTY is not a sad story. In fact, it features the gifts of Grealy's best features: her wit, gaiety and zest for life.

And while it focuses on Grealy and Patchett's friendship, TRUTH & BEAUTY may be better described as a study of human nature. Patchett writes about the intricacies of the human heart in THE MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT, THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS and BEL CANTO, and she tackles the subject once again in TRUTH & BEAUTY. The constant search for a love that seems to be right in front of a person's eyes is a recurring theme for Patchett, who weaves a beautiful if not frustrating story of a friendship that she worked diligently to maintain.

In life many people struggle to find reciprocal friendships in men and women. And, frequently, outsiders perceive even the best of friendships to be one-sided. This may also be the case here. Readers will complete TRUTH & BEAUTY with a keen appreciation for the love that exists between women, the unwavering loyalty that friends can maintain through years of turmoil and emotional trials. And while loyalty (as we see in this 257-page story) may falter occasionally, it can withstand the test of time. And perhaps even beyond.

--- Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw

4-0 out of 5 stars Not recommended for tender sensitivities
Well written, strangely powerful and often horrifying. I can't quite recommend it. It's a special sort of pathology that many of us have encountered.

4-0 out of 5 stars Painful and Questionable
I read this book directly after reading Autobiography of a Face. Lucy seemed to have a huge black hole in her soul that she constantly looked to others to fill up. Obviously she never learned to love herself, so her friends were her mirrors to her soul. She searched endlessly for love on the outside but her greatest quest was her search for the ability to love herself with all her physical flaws.
I saw Lucy's repeated surgeries simply a way to stay connected with something she knew and a place where she felt comfortable and accepted. The surgeries were physically painful but they gave her an opportunity to have everyone care for her openly and with such extraordinary allegiance, a true sign of love. Lucy could never quite embrace it and assimilate that love into her psyche.
Was it guilt that drove Ann to write this book wondering if there wasn't something she could have done to make the ending different? I felt a sense of relief when Lucy's life was finally over. What quality did she ever have in her existence? I think Ann went above and beyond the realm of friendship. One has to wonder why she hung in there through everything for a one-way friendship? Why was Ann so possessed by Lucy? It's a question we will never know but one that the book continually asks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful tribute
Patchett's book is a beautifully written tribute to an exceptionally intense friendship. The author takes you through her relationship with Lucy Grealy although side-stepping prolonged analysis of why their bond was so tight. The reader can draw his or her own conclusion; close attention should be paid to the excerpts from Grealy's letters, which reveal her intellect, her delight in words and her charisma. One thing that astonished me, despite having read Autobiography of a Face when it was first published, was how much physical discomfort Grealy constantly dealt with. Her problem was far more than just an aesthetic problem -- she had only six teeth left, couldn't chew food normally and was constantly in danger of choking because she couldn't close her lips. It amazes me that she was able to be as productive as she was despite to this condition, even before factoring in the multiple surgeries. Grealy clearly had the heart of a lion and it's no surprise that people were drawn to her inner strength, even when it was clouded by her understandable depression and feelings of isolation and want. ... Read more


15. Mistress Bradstreet : The Untold Life of America's First Poet
by Charlotte Gordon
list price: $27.95
our price: $19.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316169048
Catlog: Book (2005-03-23)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 10937
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

DESCRIPTION: An illuminating biography of Anne Bradstreet, the first writer--and the first bestseller--to emerge from the wilderness of the New World. Puritan Anne Bradstreet arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, 18 years old and newly married to Simon Bradstreet, the son of a minister. She was accompanied by her imperious father, Thomas Dudley, and a powerful clutch of Protestant dissenters whose descendants would become the founding fathers of the country. Bradstreetís story is a rich one, filled with drama and surprises, among them a passionate marriage, intellectual ferment, religious schisms, mortal illness, and Indian massacres. This is the story of a young woman and poet of great feeling struggling to unearth a language to describe the country in which she finds herself. And it also offers a rich and complex portrait of early America, the Puritans, and their trials and values; a legacy that continues to shape our country to the present day. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Charlotte Gordon!
I first discovered Anne Bradstreet as an undergraduate in the 1970's and fell in love with her work.Over the years I have researched her personal history in depth.Why is so little written about her, I wondered.Doesn't anyone else get it? Well, Charlotte Gordon gets it.
I read this book hungrily, delighted to have found a kindred spirit in Ms. Gordon.Her understanding of the spirit and times of this passionate Puritan are compelling.This is a must read for anyone seeking a better understanding of our Puritan ancestors. I disagree with the author on some details, mainly dates, but she paints the big picture skillfully.This one is definately worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lovely & Timely Biography!
Anne Bradstreet is virtually unknown--but not after this engrossing and well-researched biography!The author has carefully crafted a beautiful book about the life of this great woman of the early American days.A wonderful book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Modern Messages in an Important Historic Story
I LOVED this book and couldn't put it down - It traces the life and work of Anne Bradstreet, America's first poet, whose story carries a very modern message. "Mistress Bradstreet" is vital reading TODAY for several reasons: 1) it inspires any present-day American who is bent on holding on to their passion, voice, faith and family in times of great upheaval and change, and 2) It fills in missing chapters of history of those women leaders, creative thinkers, and pioneers who continue to shape the world. 3) Finally, Gordon's writing is gorgeous, combining the best of storytelling, biography and history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Adventure in Early America
This wonderful literary biography is an important contribution to the history of American literature and thought.Anne Bradstreet, a poet whose work I was only slightly familiar with, emerges as a vital, passionate, brave, and yet very human woman in this lively and well written biography.The biography reads like a novel as the author,Charlote Gordon,includes vivid images of early American life including hostile Indians, drunken sybarites, and scathingly judgemental Pilgrims.The reader learns about religious history, the Puritan movement, Anne's life events, the trials and tribulations she faced as a powerfully faithful and spiritual woman in England, the struggles and joys she faced as a wife and mother raising a family in primitive conditions in some of the first settlements in the New World.The biography is constructed with superb and lively scholarship. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is that Gordon, a poet herself, discovers Miss Bradstreet's inner feelings and thoughts by interpreting Anne's poetry.The reader gets to follow Anne's private world though Gordon's inciteful commentary.A must read for anyone interested in poetry, early American history, and adventure. ... Read more


16. Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare
by Clare Asquith
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586483161
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 35088
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A revelatory new look at how Shakespeare secretly addressed the most profound political issues of his day, and how his plays embody a hidden history of England

In 16th century England many loyal subjects to the crown were asked to make a terrible choice: to follow their monarch or their God. The era was one of unprecedented authoritarianism: England, it seemed, had become a police state, fearful of threats from abroad and plotters at home. This age of terror was also the era of the greatest creative genius the world has ever known: William Shakespeare. How, then, could such a remarkable man born into such violently volatile times apparently make no comment about the state of England in his work?He did. But it was hidden. Revealing Shakespeare's sophisticated version of a forgotten code developed by 16th-century dissidents, Clare Asquith shows how he was both a genius for all time and utterly a creature of his own era: a writer who was supported by dissident Catholic aristocrats, who agonized about the fate of England's spiritual and political life and who used the stage to attack and expose a regime which he believed had seized illegal control of the country he loved.Shakespeare's plays offer an acute insight into the politics and personalities of his era. And Clare Asquith's decoding of them offers answers to several mysteries surrounding Shakespeare's own life, including most notably why he stopped writing while still at the height of his powers. An utterly compelling combination of literary detection and political revelation, Shadowplay is the definitive expose of how Shakespeare lived through and understood the agonies of his time, and what he had to say about them. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Even If It Has Lots of Speculative Ideas
This is an entertaining book if nothing else.... and I am not trying to be negative in any way. For someone new to Shakespeare, this book is a bit complicated and that particular reader will fail to grasp some the arguments. I found it slightly hard to challenge all of her ideas and conclusion since she draws on a wealth of knowledge. I have attempted to learn something about Shakespeare and started by reading three popular biographies by three well known authors: Burgess, Kermode, and Greenblatt. Plus I have scanned or read a number of other books - see my Listmania list on Shakspeare. Eventually I bought Asimov's guide to Shakespeare, which is just a joy to read, and The Norton Shakespeare, the 3500 page monster that is the best single book - as a general reference on the works and times. Today one can enjoy most of Shakespeare's works on DVD and there are thousands of books, magazines, and journal articles available on the subject.

Writing a biography or an analysis about Shakespeare - putting it mildly - is a challenge, especially if the aim is to present and discuss new information as we have here. The idea that one might find new ideas about a 450 year old Shakespeare is virtually impossible. Thus, all the Shakespeare biographers and writers including Asquith are dependent on Shakespeare's works themselves, plus those books that immediately followed Shakespeare's life such as John Aubrey's book Brief Lives (1626 to 1697), and the various civic records from London and Stratford, along with court records, land transfer documents, and wills, etc. He left no notes nor did he write a biography.

All these books - including the present book - are not about new information. They are about presenting a coherent picture of Shakespeare and his environment: political, socio-economic, historic, sources of myths, religious ideas, other writers, etc. In reviewing the books the differences one sees in the books are in the styles, depth of knowledge, amount of speculation, facts, writing skill, holding the reader, etc.

The present book attempts to bring us an analysis based on the "hidden meanings" or code words and phrases, or simply a deeper understanding of his works, so we can find clues in his writings. This concept is not new since Shakespeare left no diaries and all we have are his writings and those writings of his contemporaries. There have been thousands of books and articles on Shakespeare, but as I wrote above, none by him, and most are centuries after he died.

In trying to judge her arguments - and I am not an expert - I looked fairly carefully at Chapter 15 or "Silenced" where she puts forward the theory that the Tempest was a sort of final personal tour de force for Shakespeare and that he was forced to retire - since he had a Catholic bias in childhood or some Catholic tendencies - and he had to leave London. We will never really know the real story unless we suddenly discover Shakespeare's secret diary after 400 years, but to me this seems like mostly speculation. Around this time he bought property at the Blackfriars in London so clearly he was not completely cutting his ties with London and the theatre. For myself, I suspect that he was simply getting tired after 20 years of writing and had accumulated enough money to retire, and in fact he lived only a few more years. That is the generally accepted view. It is generally thought that his father was a secret Catholic who had suppressed his public views in the mid 15th century as a town bailiff and alderman under the rule of Elizabeth. William Shakespeare the son seemed more neutral and had always lived with the continuous anti-Catholic intimidation factor of heads stuck on spikes, including many Catholic martyrs, as he walked back and forth across the bridge to London from the south bank, so I see nothing really dramatic here to cause a sudden change forcing him out of the theatre. Also, that chapter has just a few references beyond Ben Johnson.

In summary, this is a quick and entertaining read about Shakespeare with some speculation, and it merits at least 4 stars. I enjoyed the book but was not totally convinced. She needs more specific references to back up her points - in my opinion. Still it is a good 4 star read.
... Read more


17. The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
by Stanley Kunitz, GENINE LENTINE
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393061418
Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 1223
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Book Description

From his celebrated seaside garden, a beloved poet-in his one-hundredth year-speaks about life, poetry, and the kindred spirit in all living things.

Throughout his life Stanley Kunitz has been creating poetry and tending gardens. This book is the distillation of conversations—none previously published—that took place between 2002 and 2004. Beginning with the garden, that "work of the imagination," the explorations journey through personal recollections, the creative process, and the harmony of the life cycle. A bouquet of poems and a total of twenty-six full-color photographs accompany the various sections.

In the spring of 2003, Kunitz experienced a mysterious health crisis from which, miraculously, he emerged in what he called a "transformed state." During this period, his vision of the garden-constant source of solace and renewal-propelled him. The intimate, often witty conversations that followed this time are presented here in their entirety, as transcribed. Their central themes, circling mortality and regeneration, attest to Kunitz's ever-present sagacity and wit. "Immortality," he answers when asked. "It's not anything I'd lose sleep over." 26 color photographs. ... Read more


18. On Writing
by Stephen King
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0743455967
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 1777
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Long live the King" hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King's On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 -- and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it -- fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. ... Read more

Reviews (540)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ideas behind the words
"The story is the most important part of the story" could accurately sum up Stephen Kings book on writing.

The first half of the book is autobiographical. Stephen takes us through his childhood, discussing key events in his development as a person and a writer. This sets the context for the experiences he later writes about.

The second half is the "On Writing" part, where he gives advice to aspiring fiction writers. He covers technical aspects (be concise) as well as tips on the creative process (don't sweat the plot, create situations and be true to what the characters would do in them). He describes the process of writing as "finding a fossil" - the fossil of the story is out there, use the most subtle tools out there to share the fossil.

At the end, Steve covers his current status and recovery from a near death experience at the hands of an errant van driver. Perhaps this is the most touching part of the story.

This book does capture some very useful nuggets of information, and will be especially useful to avid king readers. In that sense, it isn't just a trade book for writers. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and practical book for writers
I read this book - my first by Stephen King - after noticing a lot of favorable reviews, and I really liked it. This book has been highly recommended in many different forums for young, aspiring writers, and I can see the reason why.

While the first half of the book is autobiographical, dealing with events that made Stephen King the type of writer he is; the second half deals almost exclusively with King's insights and suggestions on the craft of writing - from vocabulary, grammar, editing, etc., to the nuances of dialogue, description, and narration. Unlike many books dealing with the art of writing, this book has a friendlier, almost intimate approach, and King uses numerous examples from his own work and that of other writers to illustrate his points. Two of the best pieces of advice in this book are: "Write with your door closed, re-write with your door open", and "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write".

This is a very inspiring and motivating book for anyone interested in writing. King himself never stopped writing, no matter what the circumstances - the abject poverty of the early part of his life, or the excruciating pain as a result of the life threatening accident - and that is the biggest lesson in this book for writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a school book, but way more fun!
Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, is probably the best advice book you're goin to get.
It has three parts:
(1)An account on his younger life, and why he thinks he came to be the type of writer she is today.
(2)The second part is an absolutely fantastic account on writing. He runs you through Plot Development, Character development, different types of plot eg: Story/Situation, advice on Literary Agents, submitting short-stories to magazines etc etc etc...
(3)And the last 60 pages or so is an account on the horrifying accident he had in 1999 in Maine. He walks through it in detail.

As an aspiring writer myself, I found this book classic. When I think back to before, when I didnt read it - and was writing myself - If found that I really needed it.

So, for anyone who wants to know the low-down on becoming a successful writer, buy the book; for anyone who is a fan this is a must, you will read exciteing stories about his childhood and later life, and read the explicit chapter on his horrible accident.
King, at his best. :-)(-:

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Stephen King ¿ On Writing
Book Review: Stephen King - On Writing

I enjoyed the first half of the book for the humorous lighthearted approaches Steve takes to his life. One inspiring moment would not leave my mind. I wish that I had one in my own life as significant. As a young boy Steve copied the works of his favorite comic and showed the result to his mother. "Write one of your own, Stevie," she said. WOW! Obviously the seed of a writer was already planted but what fertilizer was that moment in Stephen King's life. Permission to write came at a very significant age. So many writers struggle to give themselves permission to write. A comment like this reminds me how influential a parent is to their child. Imagine what may have become of Steve had his mother been a different woman.

Other enjoyable moments involved poison ivy, a rather naughty school distribution and Steve's bleak telling of his drug and alcohol abuse. With the latter I sat wondering at Stephen's courage. Not just to relate these facts openly and honestly to his readers, but also to step beyond his dependency and hope, perhaps pray, that his writing did not come from the altered state. Some of his readers would see Steve in a darker light when realizing he is a former addict. I know that my image of Stephen changed. I saw in him honor, courage and a great strength to overcome. I admire him for stepping through the fear I can only imagine he must have felt and coming past it into real living. May we all learn from his experience.

When I reached the middle of Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir", I could not help but notice the very distinct change of voice between the first section and the second. I wondered how the light hearted man, who wrote about living life even through some very hard moments, could possibly be the same man who wrote in stilted lament. I read feeling rather resentful of the attitude I felt coming from the pages. I wondered how he dared imply that the way he did things was the only way to do them. I was particularly flummoxed at the parts where Steve speaks of plot and how no writer should ever use plot, story is the key element. I agree, story is key, but my current novel is laid out perfectly on a large board with every little plot nuance decided. Of course since I am suffering a serious writer's block with that novel perhaps Steve has merit when he speaks of plotting and the damage it can do to story.

Beyond that single disagreement I found Steve spoke to the readers of "On Writing" with integral truth. He spoke fact, but somehow in the second half of the book there seemed a lot less joy. It is only when I reached the postscript I realized why the two halves of one book seemed so different. You may notice the significance of change yourself when you read this book and you will find as I did that there is an rather extreme reasoning for it. Right where the voice changed is the eighteen months where Steve had been recuperating after being hit by a Dodge van. This life-changing event very obviously changed his sense of self and ultimately his voice, his writing.

The second half of the book involves a lot of helpful advice, but personally I felt that a writer would find the first half much more inspiring. The second half answers questions you might have, but the answers are only helpful if you write in the same way Steve writes. Every writer does things their own way and while you can take his words and mince them in your own mind and heart into something of your own, if you attempt to copy his routine exactly you will loose your self. He admits this also and I thank him for once again being so honest. The second half of the book offers a great deal to aspiring writers but I feel the first half offered twice that again.

Overall this book is a wonderful read for all writers and entertaining for non-writers. I freely admit that I have never read another of Stephen King's books but having read this one I am itching to read some of his fiction. He has a fluid hand that is a delight to read. I did find the profanity scattered across the book grating, but he has a section where he speaks of that also. It says a lot about who Stephen is and how he was raised. The entire book opens him up for readers to really know him, and that is a true connection of minds that shouts the truth he shares of writer's telepathy.

Despite all he has suffered in life Stephen comes out a stronger man. In "On Writing" he offers aspiring writers a wealth of advice the most significant being, "Read a lot, Write a lot." You can only learn your subject by immersing yourself in it and as with all artistic desire to reach perfection the Carnegie hall anecdote comes to mine, "Practice, practice, practice". Thank you, Stephen King, for sharing yourself with me. I am a better person and hopefully a better writer because of your candor.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith

5-0 out of 5 stars Helpful and Entertaining
I read this book while in the middle of editing a book for publication. It reminded me of many things I had either forgotten (from my days of working with the Chicago Manual of Style or The Elements of Style) and suddenly, my red pen used A LOT more ink.

A highly entertaining read, I recommend for all serious writers. Take a few tips from a true master of the craft.

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


19. Gift from the Sea : 50th Anniversary Edition
by ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679406832
Catlog: Book (1991-10-08)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 25698
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

n time for the holiday season--in an appropriate and enticing new format, and with a striking new jacket--a spectacular hardcover reissue of one of the most beloved books of our time. Since it was first published in 1955, Gift from the Sea has enlightened and offered solace to readers on subjects from love and marriage to peace and contentment. ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Honest and Inspirational
"Gift From the Sea" is the kind of book that makes you want to leave your life for a couple of days and find the existance that Anne Lindbergh seemed to be living in when she wrote it. When I began reading it (by accident), I felt that she must have found some secret passage into my own soul and put its meaning into words I could never even dream of thinking. Her approach is incredible- because it seems as if she took no approach. She just sat down and wrote what seemed to pour uncontrollably from her own soul. She is heroic in her honest, simple view of life and its possibilities. It is a book I advise every woman to read at every stage of her life to remind her of the opportunity she has as as woman- to not only be equal to the opposite sex, but to also delve deep within herself to be what she was created to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars So few pages, so many gems
"I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women," Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes. "The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery."

Using the illustration of shells from the sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh clears away the clutter of life, pares it down to its most simple form, that of an internal life that lends clarity to the externals. Each section of the book is a different shell, and a different lesson learned. Peace within one's self, simplicity, clarity, joy, the validity of each cycle and era of a lifetime, strength, and wholeness are just some of the lessons she imparts.

In about 50 years things have not become any less complicated, and this short, simple little book is even more relevant to our busy and noisy modern lives. The lesson one takes away from the book is not how to get rid of all the things, but how to find a calm, still center within one's self to maintain sanity, and that need never change, no matter what the distractions might be.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gifts From the Sea
Quila Mackinnon, a twelve-year-old girl, is just crushed by the death of her mother. Now she is only left with her father and the old light house on Devils Rock. Everyday, her father works in the light house while Quila cleans not only the house but the light house too. One morning Quila decided to go out onto Devils Rock. Breathing in the deep blue sea air was nice until she saw something. As she started down the large rocks, stepping onto the cold wet sand she remembered her father telling don't go down to the waves where they will take you away. Quila sat there shaking when suddenly yelled out, "Papa, Papa!" Her father came running out saying, "What is it?" "A baby Papa, I found a baby."
Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, the author, has a wonderful style of writing. I liked it because she used a lot of description and detail. She can tell in good times and show in good times as well. Find out if they keep the baby and what happens about having no mother!

Franny

5-0 out of 5 stars Five... Cinco... Cinq STARS*****
This is THE book for your feminine lifetime. It is not only a journey.... it's an adventure... and a healing. (+ reality check!)

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for Moms
Even though this book was written in the 1950's, it's subject matter is as current and relevant as if it was written yesterday. This is a small, sensible, gem of a book on the often overwhelming and thankless task of being a wife and mother. No, it's not a feminist rant, just a realistic look at what it means to sacrifice yourself for others. This book would make the perfect gift for every mother with young children...trust me. ... Read more


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the best books I have ever encountered.

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

Bill Sheldon, Glenview IL

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

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

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

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

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


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