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1. My Life So Far
$15.64 $13.49 list($23.00)
2. Early Bird : A Memoir of Premature
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3. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
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4. Lion of Hollywood : The Life and
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5. Bono: In Conversation with Michka
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6. Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons
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7. Night
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8. Take the Cannoli : Stories From
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9. By Myself and Then Some
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10. Silent Bob Speaks : The Collected
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11. Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art
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12. Breathing Out
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13. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons
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14. Kiss Me Like a Stranger : My Search
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15. The Cinema of George Lucas
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16. Rolling with the Stones
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17. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
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18. Scar Tissue
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19. How to Make Love Like a Porn Star:
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20. Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a

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

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

Exclusive Letter from Jane Fonda

Stay in Shape: The Jane Fonda Collection
New Workouts

The Complete Personal Trainer Series

The Complete Workout and Stress Reduction Program

Fun House Fitness: Fitness for the Whole Family

Jane Fonda: The Essential DVDs

Barbarella

On Golden Pond

Nine to Five

Coming Home

Klute

See more Fonda DVDs ... Read more


2. Early Bird : A Memoir of Premature Retirement
by Rodney Rothman
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743242173
Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 213
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Existentialist in Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (22)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Reviews (4)

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

Would it be about the music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy! ... Read more


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

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

Reviews (53)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Reviews (744)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


8. Take the Cannoli : Stories From the New World
by Sarah Vowell
list price: $12.00
our price: $10.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743205405
Catlog: Book (2001-04-03)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 3654
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Take the Cannoli is a moving and wickedly funny collection of personal stories stretching across the immense landscape of the American scene. Vowell tackles subjects such as identity, politics, religion, art, and history with a biting humor. She searches the streets of Hoboken for traces of the town's favorite son, Frank Sinatra. She goes under cover of heavy makeup in an investigation of goth culture, blasts cannonballs into a hillside on a father-daughter outing, and maps her family's haunted history on a road trip down the Trail of Tears. Vowell has an irresistible voice -- caustic and sympathetic, insightful and double-edged -- that has attracted a loyal following for her magazine writing and radio monologues on This American Life. ... Read more

Reviews (64)

4-0 out of 5 stars I LOVED THIS BOOK...
...but I will caution readers that they MIGHT find it more enjoyable to hear Consigliere Sarah Vowell read them herself. That's what I discovered. Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic book start to finish; my favorite This American Life essayist covers a wide and diverse variety of topics, from the Trail of Tears to growing up a gunsmith's daughter to going Goth for a day. Every essay in this book was a delectable morsel of Sarah Vowell's acid, accurate wit. This wonderful piece of insight made me laugh, made me think, and most of all, made me understand why I should leave the gun and take the cannoli. Thank you, Sarah Vowell, for continuing to grace the world of popular culture with your fresh, cutting perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, laugh-out-loud funny essays
This is my first experience with Sarah Vowell's work, having seen her on Letterman and Conan O'Brien, and I found it at a used book sale at the local library and decided to get it. I'm glad I did; this is one of the funniest collections of essays I've read in a while. Vowell's unique, almost Gen-X approach to life (though I hate to use the label "Gen-X", as that suggests someone much more mopey than Vowell really is). I'm perplexed by the reviews that cite this as being "boring" or "not funny", I suppose everyone's entitled to their opinion but I couldn't disagree more. Whether knock-down hilarious ("Take The Cannoli", "Shooting Dad", etc) or serious and well-thought historical and emotional ("What I See When I look at The Twenty-Dollar Bill", the Frank Sinatra-Hoboken essay), Vowell is excellent, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I highly recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good laugh, and hopefully I'll get a chance to hear her on NPR sometime. At any rate "Take the Cannoli" is a good primer for Vowell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Partly cloudy patriot
Read everything Sarah Vowell writes but possibly read radio on after partly cloudy patriot and take the cannoli.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fairly Decent
Take the Cannoli serves as a decent introduction to Sarah Vowell's writing, although it is not nearly as good as Partly Cloudy Patriot. The most appealing thing about her is the simple fact that one can disagree with her opinions without feeling argumentative. She has a way of presenting her opinions that does an excellent job of articulating why she feels the way she does without sounding like she is attacking any opposing opinion. Very civilized and enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like a lively conversation at a bistro
...and speaking of a bistro, her take on the hidden meaning of your morning mocha is laugh-out-loud funny. This collection of essays deals with her historical, political, religious, and cultural experiences - and who could be more fun to wade through that with than a cynical, lyrical gen-X commentator?!

This book has a little something for everyone. Well, O.K., probably not everyone. If you're a big fan of the Left Behind series, you might not like her take on premillenial dispensationalism. If you have little appreciation for Frank Sinatra, you may need to skip a couple of the essays. It reads like a lively road-trip passenger, full of random opinions and witticisms. Having heard her recently in a live reading, I think we would be well served by an audio version of this book. ... Read more


9. By Myself and Then Some
by Lauren Bacall
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060755350
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: HarperEntertainment
Sales Rank: 5181
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them Hollywood's most celebrated couple.

But when Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall and their children had to take everything he had taught them and grow up fast. In a time of postwar communism, Hollywood blacklisting, and revolutionary politics, she mixed with the legends: Hemingway, the Oliviers, Katharine Hepburn, Bobby Kennedy, and Gregory Peck. She was engaged to Frank Sinatra and had a turbulent second marriage to Jason Robards. But Bacall never lost sight of the strength that made her a superstar, and she never lost sight of Bogie.

Now, on the silver anniversary of its original publication, Bacall brings her inspiring memoir up to date, chronicling the events of the past twenty-five years, including her recent films and Broadway runs, and her fond memories of many close lifelong friendships. As one of the greatest actresses of all time turns eighty, By Myself and Then Some reveals the legend in her own beautiful frank words -- encapsulating a story that even Hollywood would struggle to reproduce.

... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful and Engaging Book
If you have read her first book you will probably be a bit disappointed since the present book has just 80 new pages added in a second section at the end, and there is a twenty year gap in her biography, between where the old story stops in the 70s and the addition begins in the 90s. The new part is mostly from the early 1990s through to her Oscar nomination, and then on to the Sept 11, 2001 attack and beyond to the end of 2004. It covers her more recent movies and TV appearances, and plays, including those movies with Nicole Kidman. For readers like myself - and I am a Bogart fan - and I have not read her old book, I found this to be a wonderful biography and I read it cover to cover over a two day period. The book transports the reader back to 1940s Hollywood with Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and many more.

This is a fairly detailed look at the life of Bacall, but mainly about the years to 1957 and before, the year her first husband Humphrey Bogart died. My main complaint is that the book lacks structure, andinstead the 500 page book is one continuous story broken with the occasional short sentence inserted in heavy font to designate a change in the direction of the story, and that line can occur anywhere on a page. There are no chapters nor is there an index - just one break where the new 80 pages are added. The good news here is that this update book by Bacall is a a very well written, reader friendly, and an engaging book. Once you start to read it is almost impossible to put the book down, and I read the first half or over 300 pages almost non stop - to where Bogart dies.

She starts with her early childhood in New York city; she tells us her life story through high school, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, modelling, then into small parts. She was star struck with visions of Bette Davis and others frorm a young age. The book describes a meeting bewteen the two in a New York hotel, where Bette Davis advised Bacall and her friend on how to become an actress. After some struggles, and by page 80 in this 500 page book, the ambitious Bacall makes a breakthrough when she appears on Harper's Bazaar cover in March 1943. Next she leads us through seemingly hour by hour for her first days in Hollywood at Warners, her screen test, the long wait and then her first film with Bogart, their relationship, threats from the director Hawks who had been supporting her but who opposed the Bogart relationship, Bogart's love letters, etc. They had an intense romance punctuated by Bacall making a middle of the night drive down highway 101- somewhat dramatically in the rain like a Bogart film -looking for a perhaps slightly drunk Bogart - who had phoned her in the middle of the night - and who was walking on foot with a large sunflower in his lapel - while her mother sat at home and was horrified that her daughter was going out with a three times married and 25 years older man.

The book seems to slow in tempo after Bogart's death and her affair with Sinatra - around pages 320 or so - and my only negative feeling about the book is the Sinatra section - about 20 pages long - where one is certain that she is skipping much detail. The last part of the book, the last 150 pages, leads us though her second marriage to Robarts - a mostly dismal and uninteresting period in her life - followed by the death of her mother, and then the rest of her career and awards, and her friends and family. In the last few pages she spills over with opinions about living in New york city, travelling outside the US with a US passport, and a number of other topics including her relationship and admiration of the late Katherine Hepburn.

After her second marriage failed, and her mother's death, and with "Mrs. Bogart" still being part of her core identity, Bacall was able to start a new life and made a comeback on her own in TV, movies, and live theatre. To her credit, the mature Lauren Bacall seems to have had great success in live theatre and on Broadway, and done it mostly on her own. She worked around the country in smaller theatres then in New York. She got a Tony for Applause and in a moment of poetic closure, Bette Davis, the star that Bacall had schemed to see in a hotel 30 years earlier (see above), came backstage and praised her for her performance in Applause, and told her that only she could do the part.

After her comeback she has appeared in a number of films and has reached a total of 50, but never again enjoying the same level of success and popularity as her early 4 Bogart films. But she continues to work into her seventies and is still sought for parts, especially mother roles, and came close to duplicating her old successes with a recent Oscar nomination late in her career. With her success she continues to live in New York overlooking west central park, her home town where she grew up and went to school.

All in all a great biography -5 stars.


1-0 out of 5 stars Same book, with brief epilogue
BY MYSELF--excellent, heartfelt autobiography.

UPDATE--reads something like this."The next one to die was Adios Hartley.We had enjoyed many wonderful luncheons together over the years and he was my escort to the Golden Globes in 1987.I will miss him terribly."

"Then the next one to die was Beau Bye.He was a delightful person that I got to know well on the set of Uptown Downtown.Such a raconteur!"

and on, and on, and on....

Reads almost like a Roll of the Dead Christmas Letter.

3-0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed
I har already read the first book by myself.This is a wonderful book.The rest is just not worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Loved It"
BY MYSELF AND THEN SOME by Lauren Bacall is anything but boring. What a woman!

I admire Ms. Bacall for many, many reasons, a few reasons...her savvy way of doing things...her spunk... and her own unique style.I, for one, am thrilled she chose to share some of herself with us (her many fans), in this fantastic book.

No-matter what her real age today, I think she is STILL beautiful both inside and out.

Ms. Bacall, you go girl!

(Recommended Reading!)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved By Myself.Looking Forward to Reading This One
I have not actually read this follow-up book yet, but am looking forward to in the near future.I am currently re-reading By Myself.I read one of the reviews below, and felt I really have to answer it.Lauren Bacall is in no way ripping off or cheating her readers.Instead, what she has done is a marvelous thing.By Myself was first written 25 years ago.It is a wonderful book.Since then, a whole generation of people has grown up not knowing about this book.She has simply presented it again along with an update so those of us who weren't around the first time can enjoy it, and those of us who read the first book can enjoy it again along with a nice companion update.I just love and admire Lauren Bacall.She really is class all the way. ... Read more


10. Silent Bob Speaks : The Collected Writings of Kevin Smith
by Kevin Smith
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401359736
Catlog: Book (2005-04-13)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 8437
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the award-winning screenwriter and director -- a collection of irreverent and hilarious rants on the absurdity of just about everything.

In 1994, Kevin Smith debuted his low-budget film Clerks at the Sundance Film Festival. It became an instant cult classic and made Smith the top dog of the indie film world. Next he was an executive producer of the smash hit Good Will Hunting and quickly earned the title "King of Gen X Cinema" from Time magazine. He appeared on Charlie Rose, Politically Incorrect, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and currently holds a regular spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosting a segment entitled "Roadside Attractions." Fans of his films will instantly recognize Smith as Silent Bob -- the character with no lines. And last year Smith began writing a hilarious monthly column covering popular culture for Arena magazine.

In this side-splitting rant-fest, Kevin Smith waxes rhapsodic and obnoxious on everything from his platonic infatuation with Ben Affleck to his bloodcurdling hatred of Britney Spears, from his shocking diagnosis with morbid obesity to the fatal flaws of SpiderMan -- all done in his inimitable, raunchy style.

Silent Bob Speaks interweaves the best of the Arena columns with a new introduction by the author to produce Smith’s first collection of bawdy, over-the-top essays, guaranteed to make his legions of fans choke on their Cheerios. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, worth picking up.
Kevin is the type of guy you'd love to hang with. Intelligent, witty, has a wonderful way with the english language, colorful phrasing and all.

If you're not really into Kevin, his films, or the whole View Askew thing this isn't really the best place to start. This is however a nice collection containing previously published material from magazines and the web. Perfect for me since I'm not a magazine person and don't really read the web stuff regularly.

I am however a total "movie snob" and appreciate the anecdotes, opinions, truths and obvious biased views spewed into the ether by this dude. It is very interesting for example reading some of these essays years after movies being discussed have been released (and in some cases tanking at the box office). His interview with Cruise was a pleasure to read and made me want to take a second look at some of the projects T.C. has done recently, while he openly gushes (and of course is hard for) Affleck. Again, this ends up being a very revealing read especially after the Bennifer debacle.

While I will always disagree with Kevin about the Star Wars prequels (dude, they're self indulgent pieces of poopie), Rats was the bomb yo!

Pick up the book, 4 out of 5 from the Canadian judge!

4-0 out of 5 stars Like his movies, mostly hits and few bad jokes...
This not a serious book and Smith himself makes no bones about that.It is filled with the same kind lol jokes that his films are--some dumb--but mostly hilarious.The pieces cover much of his career the last 8 years or so.They are from various sources.With the except of his piece defending Star Wars and his final piece on ComicCon, the book is a great look at Smith.I happen to be big fan of all of his work (even liked Jersey Girl) and the man himself.He is humble, self-effacing, and just damned happy to be where he is.His take on Cruise and Affleck is rare in this media age--he loves these guys and tells us why.He is still a fan.He is also a husband and a father--some of the best stuff in here is about that.And, his essay on New Jersey and his friend Walt was just awesome.No need to nitpick over the few things don't work--the book is great for any big KS fan.Even one like me, who doesn't read comics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't read this review - just buy the book!
It's a quick read, primarily made up of articles that Kevin wrote for Arena magazine.Definitely worth the $10 Amazon's charging for it. The bit where Kevin interviews Tom Cruise is one of my favorites. Pretty funny stuff - caught my self laughing out loud at just about every story.Oh man, when Ben is telling Kevin's daughter that he's her real father..... ... Read more


11. Excelsior, You Fathead!: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd
by Eugene B. Bergmann
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1557836000
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books
Sales Rank: 1843
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jean Shepherd (1921-1999), master humorist, is best known for his creation A Christmas Story, the popular movie about the child who wants a BB gun for Christmas and nearly shoots his eye out. What else did Shepherd do? He is considered by many to be the Mark Twain and James Thurber of his day. For many thousands of fans, for decades, "Shep" talked on the radio late at night, keeping them up way past their bedtimes. He entertained without a script, improvising like a jazz musician, on any and every subject you can imagine. He invented and remains the master of talk radio. Shepherd perpetrated one of the great literary hoaxes of all time, promoting a nonexistent book and author, and then brought the book into existence. He wrote 23 short stories for Playboy, four times winning their humor of the year award, and also interviewed The Beatles for the magazine. He authored several popular books of humor and satire, created several television series and acted in several plays. He is the model for the character played by Jason Robards in the play and movie A Thousand Clowns, as well as the inspiration for the Shel Silverstein song made famous by Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue." Readers will learn the significance of innumerable Shepherd words and phrases, such as "Excelsior, you fathead," and observe his constant confrontations with the America he loved. They will get to know and understand this multitalented genius by peeking behind the wall he built for himself - a wall to hide a different and less agreeable persona. Through interviews with his friends, co-workers and creative associates, such as musician David Amram, cartoonist and playwright Jules Feiffer, publisher and broadcaster Paul Krassner, and author Norman Mailer, the book explains a complex and unique genius of our time. "Shepherd pretty much invented talk radio ... What I got of him was a wonder at the world one man could create. I am as awed now by his achievement as I was then." - Richard Corliss, Time magazine online ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful mix
What a wonderful mix of in-depth information about both Jean Shepherd's body of work (which to me seems timeless) and revealing interviews that draw Shepherd's enigmatic life and humanity into sharper focus.Bergmann does a fine job of explaining why Shep's fans are so loyal; what were Shep's best contributions to radio, TV, film, literature, and stage; and does this while making us aware of Shep's enigmatic less-than-perfect personal life.This latter subject, however, does not detract from portraying the man as an overall likeable character or significant artist.A great read for anyone, whether familiar with Jean Shepherd's work or not.Thank you Eugene Bergmann!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book EVER on Jean Shepherd and his particular genius
Imagine doing a radio show every night and not just ANY radio show but one in which you told stories that sounded like you'd made them up on the spot. That was part of the unique charm, eccentricity and genius of Jean Shepherd, a man who was a wonderful writer as well (anyone who has ever seen A Christmas story, complete with Ralphie and his coveted BB gun, has come in contact with one of Shepherd's works).

Bergmann has really done his homework in writing this bio of Shepherd and the results make for a wonderful read and a glimpse into days when radio really had an impact on people, a time when people took the time to listen to stories on the radio, something that may be making a bit of a comeback (as evidenced by Prairie Home Companion and other shows which feature short stories and other works read aloud). Shepherd was a pioneer, however, and no one has come close to his skill and genius. This book goes a long way in explaning why while it also reveals the particular demons that tormented and drove Shepherd. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Shep Lives!
"Excelsior you Fathead" left as many questions as it answered, but, then again, so did its subject - Jean Shepherd.Punctuated by Shepherd's own words, this insightful book chronicles the most innovative, and underrated, American humorist of all time. Jean Shepherd will forever be known as the creative force, and narrator, behind "A Christmas Story" - a movie that has achieved "classic" proportions.Thankfully, Mr. Bergmann does not dwell on this topic, but digs much deeper into Shepherd's less popularly known, but far more groundbreaking, pursuits - including, particularly, his nightly broadcasts on the powerful New York radio station, WOR.Bergmann weaves together Shepherd's own words with biographical highlights and first-hand accounts of those who knew him.Sprinkled in along the way are Bergmann's personal musings on the often dark, but always fascinating, enigma that characterized his subject's life.Thankfully, and to his great credit, Bergmann stops just short of making sense of it all - recognizing, wisely, as Shepherd himself did, that our world is more about contradictions and pretensions than abject certainties.

In his landmark book, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" (from which much of "A Christmas Story" was drawn), Shepherd posed a question.He wondered whether the coming-of-age, Midwestern-value-laden innocence embodied by his childhood best friend, Flick, had managed to survive in modern America.Immediately after the book's publication, graffiti artists all over New York City answered with the spray-painted declaration, "Flick Lives" - which was read by millions, but only understood by Shepherd's clued-in fans (who he often referred to as his "gang").Now, forty years later, and six years after Shepherd's passing, Bergmann should be justifiably proud because, due his comprehensive and entertaining book, I can happily report that not only does Flick live, but so does Shep!I strongly urge you to buy a copy and join the gang of those whose lives have been forever enhanced by Jean Shepherd's genius.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Shepherd Fans
If you are a Jean Shepherd fan like I am, this book is essential - you may not be able to put it down.I have never seen such an in-depth analysis of Shep's radio work.The author clearly did his homework, listening to and transcribingover 500 radio shows.I already knew some of the dark side - for example, that Shepherd became extremely bitter late in his career and virtually disowned his radio work.Unfortunately, it was rather disillusioning to find out Shep was also quite possibly the World's Worst Father, abandoning his two children while they were still in the crib and denying their existence in his last will and testament. I guess everyone has their issues... As the author warns, this is not a standard biography, and there may never be one, as Shepherd was a master at obscuring the facts of his life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! A Must Read for all of Shepherd's Flock!
Open this book and you will enter a portal into the world of Jean Shepherd as you have never quite experienced him before. This book is pure bliss for any Shepherd follower! A "must read" for any and all who count themselves among his flock!As with Shep's broadcasts, you will not ever want it to end.The great thing is you can savor it at your own pace, reading and re-reading it until late into the night. Just wish Shep was around to see THIS! ... Read more


12. Breathing Out
by Peggy Lipton, Coco Dalton, David Dalton
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312324138
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 2311
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Book Description

Peggy Lipton's overnight success as Julie Barnes on television's hit The Mod Squad made her an instant fashion icon and the "it" girl everyone-from Elvis to Paul McCartney-wanted to date. She was the original and ultimate California girl of the early seventies, complete with stick-straight hair, a laid-back style, and a red convertible. But Lipton was much more: smart and determined to not be just another leggy blonde, she struggled for a way to stay connected to her childhood roots, though her coming of age had not been an easy one. And when she fell in love with Quincy Jones, that wasn't easy, either: their biracial marriage made headlines and changed her life.

Lipton's passionate and complicated seventeen-year marriage to Jones plunged her into motherhood and also into periods of confusion and difficulty. Her struggle to keep moving forward in the world while maintaining a rich inner life informed many of her decisions as an adult. When Lipton's marriage to Jones ended, she returned to television, appearing in David Lynch's Twin Peaks as well as in The Vagina Monologues and other stage productions. But her most recent triumph has been her overcoming a surprising diagnosis of colon cancer in 2003.

Breathing Out is full of fresh stories of life with the pop culture icons of our times, but is also a much more thoughtful book about life in the limelight, work, motherhood, and marriage. It's a refreshing and real look at the life of an actress who became, in many senses, a woman of her times.
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13. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life
by MICHAEL MEDVED
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.16
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Asin: 1400051878
Catlog: Book (2004-12-28)
Publisher: Crown Forum
Sales Rank: 597
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14. Kiss Me Like a Stranger : My Search for Love and Art
by Gene Wilder
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 031233706X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 5965
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this personal book from the star of many beloved and classic film comedies -- from The Producers to Young Frankenstein, Blazing saddles to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- Gene Wilder writes about a side of his life the public hasn't seen on the screen.Kiss Me Like a Stranger is not an autobiography in the usual sense of the word, and it's certainly not another celebrity "tell-all." Instead, Wilder has chosen to write about resonant moments in his life, events that led him to an understanding of the art of acting, and -- more important -- to an understanding of how to give love to and receive love from a woman.

Wilder writes compellingly about the creative process on stage and screen, and divulges moments from life on the sets of some of the most iconic movies of our time.

In this book, he talks about everything from his experiences in psychoanalysis to why he got into acting and later comedy (his first goal was to be a Shakespearean actor), and how a Midwestern childhood with a sick mother changed him. Wilder explains why he became an actor and writer, and about the funny, wonderful movies he made with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, and Harrison Ford, among many others. He candidly reveals his failures in love, and writes about the overwhelming experience of marrying comedienne Gilda Radner, as well as what finally had to happen for him to make a true and lasting commitment to another woman.

A thoughtful, revealing, and winsome book about life, love, and the creative process, Kiss Me Like A Stranger is one actor's life in his own words.
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Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars Many references to People & Places
Gene Wilder's "slightly autobiographical' book gives a little insight into his life as a boy ,his close friendship with his pyschiatist Margie, the "Demons" which burdened him as a young man via thoughts and his wife Gilda, his sister Corrine and his own bouts successful or otherwise with Cancer...In his case his joy on "I've won" when the treatments were decreased from a sceduled nine to only six, turned to gratitude when he let one of the physcians who'd treated Gilda before she "passed away", inform him of the need for more treatment...His book hints that his major stresses are due to his concerns of why he thinks the way he thinks whenever the thoughts that lead to certain behaviour don't make sense...In its own "not-heavy" reading way the book is quite thought- provoking.

3-0 out of 5 stars In defense of the book
I found it informative enough. I got a good sense of Gene Wilder's life story from the get go of my reading it. He lets quite a few pictures of himself in younger days tell his story of his life as well as words. BTW he doesn't mention Patrick McGoohan (his co-star in Silver Streak) so I guess nothing happened between the two in a mutual sense. Makes sense as McGoohan had zero chemistry with everyone in that film (Wilder included), McGoohan was just in it for the money and most likely made no friends on the set. I'd like to add that Wilder's bio is definitely largely true as well as what he says of his co-star and friend Richard Pryor is confirmed in Pryor's very own autobiography.

2-0 out of 5 stars Is he a Nice Person? Is he a Good Writer?
Judging from the previous reviews, some of the people who think very little of Wilder's "autobiography" were disappointed to find he was not the sweet, insightful and gentle man he's made his career portraying.Well, OK, me too.

But "Is he a nice person?" is a separate question from "Is this book any good?" and in my view the answer to both is "no."

Dorothy Parker once wrote about Isadora Duncan's autobiography that she wrote with frankness, but that "frankness" was no synonym for "honesty." Or insight, for that matter.

What a sloppy, silly, unintentionally revealing book! At the end we don't know why Wilder's relationship with his daughter ended, but we do know that once he was able to copulate three times in one night.

I could give more examples, but that kinda does it for me: this is a very self-absorbed man, so selfish and consuming that he just doesn't give a **** that we will find it out. In fact, he seems to think we WANT to know. He didn't HAVE to reveal these terrible things about himself.

A self-absorbed jerk can be found with no trouble; what makes Gene Wilder different is that he has been one of the funniest actors and writers ever. Naturally, if you're reading his book, you want to find out about his artistic path. But we don't find out much about how he writes, or why, how he survived auditions, what he gets from his work, do the people who knew him when he was Jerry Silberman still call him Jerry, what roles would he have __liked__ to play?

It's hard to fault him for his Gilda Radner comments; she herself knew she was difficult. His account of his relationship with Gildawas pretty much as she said in __It's Always Something__, except she apparently didn't know he started dating his current wife while Gilda was dying.Again: not a story of a nice person--but that in and of itself is not terrible.Unfortunately it was also not great writing.

I didn't mind that it wasn't funny because I wanted to know about the Person, not the Persona.All I know about him that I didn't know before is that I wouldn't want him dating into my family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy the Book!
People who think they know this man DON'T.He's a terrific person and his book is just great.Buy it and judge for yourself.

3-0 out of 5 stars I am Waiting for the Unauthorized Bio Later This Year
I have always loved Gene Wilder's work and have followed his career over the years.His memoir is entertaining and he is surprisingly honest about certain aspects of his private life, but I got the feeling that he was being selective in what he shared with the reader.There is an unauthorized Wilder biography being published around November of this year called "Gene Wilder: Funny and Sad" that supposedly is more analytical of Wilder's films and also reveals significant details about his personal life that he chose to omit from his own book.Wilder's book is good but I am waiting to read this other book which I feel will likely be more objective. ... Read more


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

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

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


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

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

Reviews (19)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

With her trademark laugh, incredible wit, and self-deprecating humor, Phyllis Diller has etched her way into comedic history. And while her wild hair and outrageous clothes may make her look "like a lampshade in a whorehouse," her strength, self-belief, perseverance, and raucous sense of humor are what make her truly unforgettable.
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Reviews (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


19. How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
by Jenna Jameson, Neil Strauss, Neil Strauss
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060539097
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: ReganBooks
Sales Rank: 272
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Book Description

When the stewardess brought me off the plane in a wheelchair, I lowered my head. I was too scared to even look at my father. I didn't want to see the disappointment and horror on his face. All that hate I had accumulated for him over the years, all the resentment against him for not understanding what I was going through, just released with the tears.

"So, where are your parents?" the stewardess asked me after a few minutes. "I can't wait here with you much longer."

I looked up and wiped my eyes. My father was standing ten feet away. He didn't even recognize me.

In the underbelly of Las Vegas, a cesspool of warring biker gangs and seedy strip clubs transformed the gawky, brace-faced Jenna Massoli into the bombshell Jenna Jameson. Today, Jenna Jameson is the biggest star in the history of adult movies, consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful women alive. But behind the glamour and the meteoric rise to fame was a path paved with tragedy and heartbreak. As a teenager drawn into a chaotic world ruled by rape, abuse, and murder, Jenna plunged into a downward spiral of addiction, even as she became one of the most photographed women in adult magazines.

Determined to overcome this past, Jenna rebounded in the adult-film business, where she encountered sadistic directors, experienced lovers of both sexes, amorous celebrities (from Howard Stern to Marilyn Manson to Tommy Lee), bitter rival starlets, and finally, glory, as she went on to become the biggest porn star the world has ever seen. But her struggle for happiness did not end when the accolades began. For years she wrestled with her resentment at her estranged father, the loneliness of growing up from the age of two without a mother, and her enduring childhood desire to find a man who could give her the security and love she never had.

Her unforgettable memoir is many things at once: a shocking sexual history, an insider's guide to the secret workings of the billion-dollar adult-film industry, and a gripping thriller that probes deep into Jenna's dark past. An unparalleled exploration of sexual freedom, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star ventures far beyond the flesh, into the heart-shredding tragedies and adrenaline-pumping triumphs of a woman who has already lived a hundred lifetimes. Always witty and humorous even as she faces the demons of her past, Jenna offers hilarious anecdotes about one of the most controversial businesses in history, and shares outrageous advice, including her ten commandments of dating and sex, how to become a "suitcase pimp," and how to make it in the business as a female (or a male).

Add to this never-before-seen photographs from Jenna's private collection and others taken exclusively for this book, and the result is certain to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. ... Read more


20. Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
by Robert Rodriguez
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452271878
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 2389
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read On Filmmaking
If you want to be a filmmaker, buy this book. I've read over 30 books on filmmaking in the past few months, and none of them has been as good or as inspiring as this one. This isn't another book telling you how to make movies like everyone else does. In his 10 minute film school at the end of the book, he tells you what is essential, and what is just B.S. that film schools will tell you. Hollywood is for the taking, so get off you're butt and make a movie. This book is a diary of RRs experiences from preproduction all the way through distribution of his famous film, El Mariachi. Hollywood is for the taking, so get off you're butt and make a movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read ripper of a tale
This is a delightful, funny, amazing and inspirational book. It's the remarkable account of how one 23-year-old made a film on the cheap, and how hard he had to work (it was a labor of love, of course) to do that. This book also gives an insightful glimpse into the dazzling world of Hollywood glitz from the point-of-view of "an ordinary Joe" who suddenly finds himself catapulted into a world of limos, expense accounts, and who-you-know mentality. Included in the book are Rodriguez's famous "Ten Minute Film School" essay and the script for his film "El Mariachi" as he wrote it. (No, it's not in "proper script format", but since he wrote, directed, shot, and edited the whole film himself, it didn't matter. Rodriguez rule number one: You don't always have to follow the rules.)

Readers who aren't dying to make their own movies will still find this a tremendously good tale of how an ordinary, middle-class, almost-a-dropout can become a success. Rodriguez's formula for success is a true homily: 10% inspiration + 90% prespiration, and a little blood donated to science. Oh, and a whole lot of chutzpah.

For aspiring independent film-makers, this book is truly a must-read. For everybody else, it's a ripper of a true tale, well told and likeable.

Oh, and don't forget to pair it with the video of "El Mariachi", the film the book is all about. It shows how stylish a "cheap" film can be, and it's a lot of fun, especially when you know all the "inside jokes": cheat sheets, wheelchair dollies, why everybody always gets shot in the chest, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars fresh & inspiring
Rodriguez's philosophy on filmmaking is incredibly simple: get a camera and make movies. This book offers a glimpse into the author's own endeavors to create his first feature film El Mariachi. Just reading the introduction made me want to pick up a camera! His positive, you-can-do-it attitude is infectious and inspiring.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
This is one of the "Must Read" books about Hollywood. Anyone wanting a career in Hollywood needs to read "Rebel Without a Crew" by Robert Rodriguez, "My Fractured Life" by Rikki Lee Travolta, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again" by Julia Phillips, and "Digital Filmmaking 101" by Dale Newton.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Inspiration!!!
I must start off by saying that I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I love it for many reasons. It's written BY Robert Rodriguez in a journal style as he was creating his claim-to-fame, first feature film, El Mariachi... He talks about everything, is very to the point, and has a great sense of humor through all the hard times which lead to the "magic". I felt like I was right there with him through the whole Mariachi journy. And what an interesting, fun, nerve racking, and exetremely rewarding ride it turned out to be. Even though this book was written in '91/'92 and a lot of things in the industry have begun to change - the basic information and message are timeless. As a Robert Rodriguez fan, film maker, future film maker, or friend of a film maker, this is a MUST read book! He offers up the best advice through out the entire thing... advice you can not only apply to film making but to life in general as well. This HAS to be the most informal, most informational, and the BEST book on film I've read yet!!! ... Read more


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