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$23.07 $22.00 list($34.95)
101. A Youth in the Meuse-Argonne:
$25.00 $3.93
102. Miriam's Song : A Memoir
$7.95 $4.45
103. Indian Boyhood
$11.17 $7.91 list($17.95)
104. Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood
$9.75 $3.00 list($13.00)
105. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
$16.47 list($24.95)
106. The Lost Night: A Daughter's Search
$16.32 list($24.00)
107. My Bloody Life: The Making of
$15.00 $2.94
108. Famous Builder
$33.00 $26.99
109. Tales from Sacred Wind: Coming
$23.95 $3.40
110. Low Down : Junk, Jazz, and Other
$16.47 $9.00 list($24.95)
111. Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds,
$9.95 $6.44
112. The Spiritual Apprenticeship of
$17.16 $7.97 list($26.00)
113. Meyebela : My Bengali Girlhood
$15.00 $4.59
114. South to a Very Old Place
$10.46 $9.75 list($13.95)
115. Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy
$24.95 $1.94
116. Greenbelt : A Nostalgic Return
$21.00 $17.71
117. Road Song
$13.57 $12.90 list($19.95)
118. Only a Mother Could Love Him:
$15.61 $4.97 list($22.95)
119. Growing Up True: Lessons from
$10.36 $7.72 list($12.95)
120. Beauty Before Comfort : The Story

101. A Youth in the Meuse-Argonne: A Memoir, 1917™1918
by William S. Triplet, Robert H. Ferrell
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0826212905
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Sales Rank: 518873
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This is not only an excellent soldiers account of small unit action in WW1 but is also a very entertaining story. Best book on WW1 I have read. My grandfather was in the 139th (Triplet was in the 140th) and this book lets you feel what it was really like to be in the AEF in France in 1918. Excellent book by an excellent author.

5-0 out of 5 stars amazing but true.
I am the grandson of colonel Triplet. I remember these stories first hand . Beind a vet myself it amazes me how much the army has changed in the last 70 years . Its great reading and I can tell you it is all facts. I read the original unedited memoirs. ... Read more

102. Miriam's Song : A Memoir
by Mark Mathabane
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 0684833034
Catlog: Book (2000-06-07)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 608992
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The powerful memoir of a young black woman coming of age in South Africa amid the violence of apartheid, beautifully written by her brother, the bestselling author of Kaffir Boy.

Mark Mathabane first came to prominence with the publication of Kaffir Boy, which became a New York Times bestseller.His story of growing up in South Africa was one of the most riveting accounts of life under apartheid. Mathabane's newest book, Miriam's Song, is the story of Mark's sister, who was left behind in South Africa. It is the gripping tale of a woman -- representative of an entire generation -- who came of age amid the violence and rebellion of the 1980s and finally saw the destruction of apartheid and the birth of a new and democratic South Africa.

Mathabane writes in Miriam's voice, based on stories she told him, but he has re-created her unforgettable experience as only someone who also lived through it could. The immediacy of the hardships that brother and sister endured -- from daily school beatings to near-overwhelming poverty -- is balanced by the beauty of their childhood observations and the true affection that they have for each other. Miriam emerges as both an innocent child drawn into the war against apartheid and a strong woman forever changed by the struggles, brutality, and politics of the world around her; Mark emerges once more as a writer of extraordinary ability, sensitivity, and insight.

Miriam's Song is memoir writing at its finest. With its courage, determination, resilience, hope, and faith, it is a truly inspirational story, spectacularly told. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book of hope
I strongly encourage everyone to buy and read this book. This book tells the story of what it is like to be female in apartheid South Africa. Do not pass up this opportunity to learn more about the legendary Mathabane family!

5-0 out of 5 stars No more complaining...
...about my life, my educational opportunities, my social status. Miriam's Song should be required reading for all spoiled brats who think their lives are difficult. Shame on me for ever taking education for granted! Shame on me for ever complaining that my opportunities in the US are limited because of my gender!This book left an indelible mark on my social consciousness. Not just a touching and eye-opening memoir, but also a story of fierce determination and strength, Miriam's Song ranks among my must-reads. Her story is inspiring and her candid writing makes the reader feel as if she is sitting right there in the room, like an new friend telling you about her life. The text does not attempt to justify or rationalize or otherwise explain the social structure, and is remarkably pure in its telling of Miriam's story. Because this book is free from philisophy and pontification about wrong and right, fair and unfair, here-and-there comparisons, the reader is left to come to these realizations on his/her own and thus the story becomes most poignant. I find myself wondering how Miriam is doing now, and would welcome another book including the rest of her story and her observations of the US.Whole-heartedly recommended. Finished it yesterday and loaned it to a friend today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye opening book
How nice it is to sit in our American homes and vaguely read of the troubles of South Africa.I am ashamed to have never paid more attention to this subject.This is a riveting book that takes you past the superficial headlines and into the lives of the blacks who suffered under apartheid.

The Mathabane family lives in a suburb of Johannesburg, in a one-square mile ghetto that is home to over 200,000 people (400,000 by the end of the book).Employment is hard to come by--for one to work, one must have a permit.But to get a permit, one must have a job.

Their home is a two room shack, where four of the children sleep on the kitchen floor.There is a communal tap outside.Raw sewage runs in the street outside their door.Black children are only allowed to be taught certain subjects in a certain manner, and Miriam and her classmates are routinely beaten for any infraction--mistakes in schoolwork, uncombed hair, nails that are dirty/too long, wearing dirty bloomers, or not wearing bloomers at all.(These people live in complete poverty, and it was not uncommon for children to not have underwear.)The young teenage girls are easy targets of sexual abuse.Many become pregnant, single mothers, unable to finish school.

While the story is unbelievably horrifying, their outlook is one of constant hope and faith.I am unable to get this family out of my mind, and I will be reading Mark Mathabane's autobiographical books as soon as I get my hands on them...This is an amazing story of how people in other parts of the world live.I strongly recommend this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars miriam'ssong
I am searching how to get this book , please send me informationhow i can purchase. this is my email.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mark Mathabane does it again!
MIRIAM'S SONG is the heartbreaking, but hauntingly beautiful, story of a black girl's struggle to overcome the difficulties ofliving in South Africa under apartheid to achieve her one goal in life.Herbrother, MarkMathabane, writing in the first person present tense, reveals the horrorsof living in a ghetto of Alexandra wherepoverty, filth, violence, abuse,and fear are everyday occurrences.

In spite of a dysfunctional familyheaded by an abusive father more interested in buying alcohol for himselfthan food for his family of eight living in a two-room shack with an opensewer in the front door,Miriam is determined to get an education.TheBantu (Black) Education system is staffed by cruel teachers who are moreinterested in clean hands and fingernails, combed hair, and clean bloomers(or if they have bloomers) than the quality of education in overcrowded,and understaffed classroom with inadequate teaching materials.Miriam isencouraged by her mother to do her best to succeed in spite of thehandicaps.

The book is a social commentary on a society where women aresubservient to men,where polygamy is the accepted way, and wherephysical, mental, and sexual abuse are a way of life in the ghettos. Miriam resides in a culture where witchcraft, divination, and the castingof spells are accepted, and she and her mother are criticized for attendingchurch services.

MIRIAM'S SONG is also a commentary on the conditionsblacks endure in a country where they make up a vast majority of thepopulation but have no voice in the government.The author skillfullypaints a vivid picture of the struggle for equality and how peacefulstrikes, stayaways, and demonstrations give way to violence and to theeventual triumphant overthrow of the white-only government.

Even thoughMIRIAM'S SONGrecounts some of the struggles Mark Mathabane wrote about inKAFFIR BOY, it should join his earlier work on the list of required readingfor students throughout the world.It is must reading for anyoneinterested in human rights and the struggle to overcome apartheid in SouthAfrica. It reads like a novel but carries the impact of an atomic bomb. ... Read more

103. Indian Boyhood
by Charles Eastman
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
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Asin: 0486220370
Catlog: Book (1971-06-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 487175
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Chronicles first 15 years in life of a native Santee Sioux Indian in mid-19th century: childhood memories, training in the hunt, woodlore, religious practices, work of the medicine men, games, initiation rites, etc. 13 illustrations.
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Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars From a Boy to A Man
This book is a great compilation of the story of a young Indianboy who grows up to learn the traditions of his family. It was veryinformative and a great read. It would also be beneficial for people intereted in Native American history or just those wanting to read a good novel. ... Read more

104. Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust, Survivors Remember
list price: $17.95
our price: $11.17
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Asin: 0195156277
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 416260
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The dozens of vignettes in Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust provide personal perspective on one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. Editors Anita Brostoff and Sheila Chamovitz solicited written testimony from Holocaust survivors, which were developed and sharpened during writing workshops at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Each story is about a single event, situation, or person--hence the title's "flares" of memory.The stories come from most of the European countries occupied by the Nazis and are grouped thematically. Section headings include "The Lottery of Death and Life," exploring the randomness of survival; and "Disguise as a Way of Hiding," in which several writers reflect on the experience of pretending to be Christian in order to survive. The end of the book collects the testimony of several former American G.I.'s who helped liberate the concentration camps. In her preface to the book, documentary filmmaker Sheila Chamovitz notes that contributors to this volume wrote for reasons that we have heard before, but which remain powerful no matter how often they are repeated. "They wrote so that the Holocaust would be remembered, so their loved ones would be remembered, and so that no one could say it didn't happen." --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting stories
I had to read this book for a class, I am a senior at college. I attend school around the PIttsburgh area, so I am proud to know that this is from here. There is a story Robert Mendler who is a great speaker. he spoke to my class a few weeks ago. It is good to know that the stories are being written down so generations to come will know what happened and how people survived. ... Read more

105. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (A Harvest/Hbj Book)
by Mary McCarthy
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0156586509
Catlog: Book (1972-03-01)
Publisher: Harvest/HBJ Book
Sales Rank: 139945
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Conglomeration
This is the type of book that I think of as a conglomeration but not really a book. That is, she had published several magazine articles, then gathered them together and made a book. I find that style difficult to get into. She glossed over too much; so many years were packed into just a couple pages.

It irritated me after I kept reading and reading, and she kept criticizing and criticizing the people who raised her after her parents died. I sure didn't blame her for criticizing her father's side of the family. But her criticism didn't end with them. She didn't have many kind words for anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, analytical, and literary memoir
That Mary McCarthy's childhood was difficult and unpleasant is well recognized. She has created a worthy and literary memoir from the material gathered during the years before she was claimed by her benevolent Seattle grandparents from the truly draconian aunt and uncle who kept her for 5 years prior to that. Somewhere along the way, this child who was probably difficult and moody - and certainly intelligent and scathingly witty - developed the ability to step outside herself, observe what was happening, remember it, then later write about it. The result is a classic memoir that deserves to be read by writers as well as the general reading audience. Funny, heartbreaking, sarcastic, bitingly acerbic - and always excellent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Poor Little Rich Girl
I have always held a fascination for people who grew up with a real sense of religion that later fell away from the faith. I bought this book expecting something akin to the movies that are so prevalent nowadays about the catholic schoolboys smoking and getting caught by the nuns and hit with a ruler across the wrists. Instead, I was greeted with an amazing tale of Mary and her sad loss of her parents, pitiful existence with her aunt and uncle and twisted "saving" by her West Coast relatives.

The childhood she had was less than perfect, I agree, but the fact that she survived it and lived to create such a wonderful literary account of it almost makes me appreciative of her having to go through it. The chapter on her grandmother is so reminiscent of my own mother that I had to laugh out loud at times.

Well worth the read and the struggle through the many latin references and unfamiliar religious practices.

5-0 out of 5 stars Young Mary
As an off-again, on-again admirer of Mary McCarthy, I sometimes wondered if she ever had a childhood or just appeared full-blown, rapier-witted and sword at her side. While never doubting her talent, reading her was frequently as pleasant as drinking a glass of vitriol.

Mary indeed had a childhood, and unusual it was. I am sure it marked her forever to lose both her parents within a week of one another to influenza at age six. To add to the horror, the family was traveling by train to start a new life in Minnesota. Mary, herself, was deathly ill with the virus, and that colored her impressions of the tragic event.

Some reviewers and the book jacket describe her childhood as "Dickensonian," I presume referring to Oliver Twist. I disagree, as Mary came from a well-to-do family that didn't lack for the material things of life. She lived with an aunt and uncle from her 6th to 11th year and was tremendously unhappy, claiming she didn't have enough to eat, was dressed in hand-me-downs and frequently beaten. Yet all photos of this time depict a well-dressed, well-fed child. At age 11, she was taken to live with her benevolent, wealthy grandparents in Seattle. From that time on, she received the kindest attention and was expensively educated. My doubts about those five early years are because Ms. McCarthy all her life was an implacable, unforgiving enemy when her feelings were aroused.

The memoir is beautifully written with sharp and fascinating characterizations of her family. She appends each chapter with an epilogue taking an adult's eye-view of her childhood impressions. It is most effective. You are constantly reaffirming her brilliance. Well worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
Written long before the recent memoir craze, this book stands as one of the best of that genre. McCarthy looks back on an almost Dickensian childhood with wit and discernment. Perhaps most striking is the lack of defensiveness; writing of abuse suffered at the hands of a misguided great aunt and her sadistic husband, she traces the way it shaped her character but never uses it as an excuse. Nor is she more sparing of herself than of her relatives: she not only gives us a portrait of a realistically foolish, self-conscious adolescent Mary--recounting the sorts of youthful episodes many of us continue to blush over as we remember them in adulthood--but in notes appended to each chapter she deconstructs her own memories, noting where she has given in to the urge to dramatize or where her recollections conflict with those of others who were present. A wonderfully honest, bracing book, refreshing in its lack of grievance and its unostentatious, unsentimental good humor. ... Read more

106. The Lost Night: A Daughter's Search for the Truth of Her Father's Murder
by RachelHoward
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0525948627
Catlog: Book (2005-02-03)
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Sales Rank: 319187
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Book Description

A deeply moving story of one woman’s search for truth and meaning in the aftermath ofher father's unsolved murder.

On the night of June 22, 1986, ten-year-old Rachel Howard woke to a disturbing sight:pools of blood on the hallway carpet and a glimpse of her father clutching his stabbedthroat. Stan Howard died minutes later, and his bizarre small-town murder was neversolved.Rachel’s father was thirty-two, a laid-back, handsome man who loved the musicof Rod Stewart and had no known enemies.Faced with her family’s shock, Racheldecided she would cope the only way she knew how: By keeping silent and trying topretend the murder had never happened.

Now, seventeen years later and recently engaged, Rachel attempts to uncover for herselfwhat happened that night. Finally reconnecting with her father’s family, she sorts throughher relatives’ memories of his death and presses the less-than-helpful detectives. Stillbewildered, she seeks the only other two people present at the murder: her formerstepmother and stepbrother, neither of whom she has seen since her father’s funeral. Theresult is a tender portrait of a father and a keen investigation of memory, truth, and how afamily moves on from a tragedy for which they may never find answers. ... Read more

107. My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King
by Reymundo Sanchez
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556524013
Catlog: Book (2000-07-01)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Sales Rank: 243739
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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In My Bloody Life, Reymundo Sanchez tells a chillingly sad tale, from his birth in the back of a pickup truck in Puerto Rico to the day he quit the Latin Kings gang, 21 years later. From the first page, his narrative is unpretentious, disarmingly honest, and horrifyingly riveting. His early years were so full of pain and abuse that by the time he opts, at age 11, to hang out with the local gang, the Latin Kings, it seems a perfectly logical choice. In his shoes, any one of us--smacked nightly by a mother and beaten ragged whenever the stepfather got the chance--would likely have chosen the same path. The gang was the family that accepted him as well as the peer group that offered girls who didn't say "no." Any violence that went with the territory couldn't match the atmosphere of brutality that permeated his own home.

Sanchez was a Latin King for six years and participated in innumerable bloody gang battles--years rife with sex, drugs, booze, and acts of gang revenge. He finally got up his pluck to leave (and the only way was to be "violated" out through a gang beating), but admits in his conclusion that life since then has, in some ways, been even harder. He's had to quit drugs, lose the only community he's known, support himself, and deal with the nightmares of all the horrors he's seen and done. Though Sanchez still hasn't accomplished his dream of completing college, he has managed to leave the Kings, leave Chicago, leave behind his mother's legacy of violence, and write an impressive first book. --Stephanie Gold ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK

4-0 out of 5 stars Latin King tells all and tells it well
My Bloody Life is rather straightforward memoir about Sanchez's randomly brutal childhood and his subsequent violent career with the Latin Kings in Chicago. And a very violent career it was: bloodshed and drug addiction are the two major elements of the narrative. For all of that, this reader did not feel that the author was patronizing us or shocking us for its own sake: he is describing his world as he saw it, and he didn't live by Walden Pond. My Bloody Life does nothing to glamourize gang life, but it is apparent that the Latin Kings did provide Mr. Sanchez with the only community, the only family he has ever had. This adds a poignant note to an unsentimental memoir: it is only when the author is speaking of the gang that you feel he is connected to the world around him. The Latin Kings gave him a chance to be on the winning side of violence, for a while, instead of just being its clueless victim.

The prose is unadorned, the rhetorical tricks few, and the printing errors more frequent that I would wish, but I read this book with the sense that I was reading a life, and not just puffery or bathos. And that is what all memoirs are for. In addition, My Bloody Life tells us a great deal about one gang and one gangbanger, things that many of us do not understand very well, even if we see them everyday. Is this book worth reading? Most definitely.

5-0 out of 5 stars "loco"
I enjoyed the book, MY BOODY LIFE by Raymundo Sanchez. The main character Lil Loco is trying to find his place in life. He was a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico. Later he moved to Chicago. It was hard for him to live there because of his race. There was much discrimination. He was scared to be alone so he started to hang out with different gangs and gang members. They helped him out if he ever had any trouble with anyone. He found lots of friends including those in the Latin Kings.He later became one and had to deal with murder, drug addictions, sex, gang violations. He even dealt with killing some one he used to get along with. I recommend this book to anyone who would even think about joining a gang.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read!
WOW! I ABSOLUTLY HATE READING!!! I never read! But this book is incredible! I couldnt put the book down. Everything was so real. Kids get trapped into things like this everyday where I live and they dont even know what they are getting into. I highly recommend this book. Its easy to read, and its exciting and you just want to continue reading to see what happens next. I have just finished reading it and im about to start the second book by Reymundo Sanchez called "Once a King always a king" Deffinatly a great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST book I EVER read!!!
Living in a neighborhood with Latin Kings, just like "Reymundo" I picked up the book and read it from reading the first page i was hooked. It took me about a month to read it, and enjoyed evry page of it! It's not like anything i ever read and was interesting because I could relate. VERY GOOD BOOK! ... Read more

108. Famous Builder
by Paul Lisicky
list price: $15.00
our price: $15.00
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Asin: 1555973698
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Sales Rank: 286976
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Paul Lisicky remembers being not much like other boys his age, but rather the awkward thirteen-year-old with "arms thick as drinking straws," who composes tunes in his head that he might later send to Folk Mass Today or to the producers of The Partridge Family. Born into a family whose incremental success bumps them up a notch from their immigrant upbringing and into suburban America, Paul puts his creative, undaunted energy into drawing intricate housing development plans and writing liturgical music.

In these lively, loving essays, Lisicky explores the constantimpulse to rebuild the self. With gracious, thoughtful candor and pitch-perfect humor, he explores the very personal realms of childhood dreams and ambitions, adolescent sexual awakenings, and adult realities.
... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfection
Lisicky's Famous Builder is one book that can be judged by its cover which is beautiful, precise, subtle,and nuanced. Hemingway noted that "writing is architecture, not interior decoration," and in this startling collection of essays and memoirettes that trace Lisicky's emotional development while they simultaneously recreate, re-invent and reevaluate the South Jersey towns he loved and moved away from, Lisicky builds a lasting work of art. Sentence for sentence there is nothing frivolous or expendable in Famous Builder. Its emotional range is astonishing. A must read for anyone who has looked closely (or longs to look closely) at the worlds around and inside him. One of the more cohesive, unusual and engaging collections of essays to come along in recent years. It deserves serious attention. Lisicky is a fresh and innovative architect of the form.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most engaging books I've read
What a wonderful sociological study! Both hilarious and tragic. It brings out the dysfunctional family that exists in all of us. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Sweet. Irreverent. Warm. A little crazed. And still these adjectives don't do justice to the accomplishment of this lovely book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put down!
Every now and then I come across a book that takes hold of all my free time, that practically nothing gets accomplished until I reach the last page. This was one such book! The author has accomplished to portrait his journey from middle America youth to adulthood with great observation, introspection, and delirious humor. I loved it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary!
The most subversive thing that Famous Builder does is to retell family history from a queer perspective. Thus, the young narrator's painstaking journey toward an adult queer life is implicitly compared and connected to the father's movement up the social ladder. From Paul Lisicky's point of view, both are quintessentially American acts. How refreshing to read a book in which gay identity is not THE subject of the story but one of its narratives. Every reader will find an aspect of her story mirrored here, regardless of her background. I've come back to it again and again, always with something new to ponder. ... Read more

109. Tales from Sacred Wind: Coming of Age in Appalachia: the Cratis Williams Chronicles.
by Cratis D. Williams
list price: $33.00
our price: $33.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786414901
Catlog: Book (2003-03-11)
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Sales Rank: 503915
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Prior to his death in 1985, Cratis Williams was a leading scholar of and spokesperson for Appalachian life and literature and a pioneer of the Appalachian studies movement. Williams was born in a log cabin on Caines Creek, Lawrence County, Kentucky, in 1911. To use his own terms, he was "a complete mountaineer."

This book is an edited compilation of Williams’ memoirs of his childhood. These autobiographical reminiscences often take the form of a folktale, with individual titles such as "Preacher Lang Gets Drunk" and "The Double Murder at Sledges." Schooled initially in traditional stories and ballads, he learned to read by the light of his grandfather’s whiskey still and excelled at the local one-room school. After becoming the first person from Caines Creek to attend and graduate from the county high school in Louisa, he taught in one-room schools while pursuing his own education. He earned both a BA and MA from the University of Kentucky before moving to Appalachian State Teacher’s College in 1942; later he earned a Ph.D. from New York University and then returned to Appalachian State. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for those interested in Appalachian Studies
The stories of Cratis Williams are essential for the getting a glimpse of Appalachia. He is/was indeed the leading spokesperson and scholar of life in the Applachian Mountains. These stories deal mostly with his childhood growing up in rural Eastern Kentucky. These stories are unforgettable and profound.

Cratis Williams eventually came to Boone, North Carolina to teach school. He returned again after receiving his Ph.D. from New York University. Appalachian State University's graduate school is named for him.

"The Cratis Williams Chronicles: I Come to Boone" is another book that goes into detail about his coming to the high country of North Carolina. Highly Recommended.

If you're at all interested in peeling back the stereotypical images of Appalachia and peering into a region with soul and character, give Cratis Williams a read. ... Read more

110. Low Down : Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood
by A. J. Albany
list price: $23.95
our price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582343330
Catlog: Book (2003-04-03)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 609449
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

'Albany recreates a landscape of her childhood where misery is a faraway sound floating above a voice speaking in tones of affection, terror, rage, love and, most of all, a hipster's defiance.'-Greil Marcus

One day we're walking down the street, passing a newsstand, when I stop and pick up a magazine (maybe Life) with Thelonious Monk of the cover. I kiss it, and say, 'Hi Monk.' Dad, combusting with pride, picks me up, looks at me with those beautiful gray-green eyes, and says: 'From now on, you're not just my baby, you're my ace-one-boon-white-coon.' That, he would claim, was the day we forever connected, and became more to each other than everything.

So begins Amy Albany's life with her father, the legendary though obscure jazz pianist Joe Albany. Joe played with the likes of Charles Mingus, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dexter Gordon. In red-boothed, booze-drenched Hollywood nightspots, chances were you'd find Albany's daughter tucked behind the bar, curled on someone's fur coat, while her father played his set. Teddy bears were for other kids-Amy slept with a '78 of Louis Armstrong's 'Sugar Blues', and later with a photograph of the man himself inscribed 'To little Amy-Joe, always in love with you-Pops'.

Written with gritty honesty, Low Down is Amy Albany's extended improvisation on growing up, first appearing in Tin House Magazine, where it attracted the attention of Greil Marcus in his Real Life Rock Top Ten. Wise beyond her years and hip to the unpredictable ways of Old Lady Life at all too early an age, Albany guides us through the dope and deviance of the late 1960s and early 1970s jazz scene in Hollywood's underbelly and beyond. What emerges is a raw and often sad portrait of a young girl trying to survive amongst the outcasts and misfits who guided her life.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb and wonderfully grown-up book
"Low Down" has plenty of moments that are tragic, horrifying, horrifyingly funny.A lesser person and a lesser writer could've written it in a continuous (and unbearable) whine.Yet, thanks to A. J. Albany's pitch-perfect, mean, clean, uncompromising writing, it's instead an example of how the best art transforms the most sordid reality into something else entirely - something beautiful, pure.

Every time I revisit this book, and I've done so several times, I'm amazed by just how lovely Albany has made her story of wasted talent (the parents) and a ruined childhood (the author's), without letting her text get bogged down by the very natural emotions of self-pity, fury, sorrow.They're there, but they're not all that's there.There's the joy of music played right, the joy of love - however twisted - expressed fully, the joy the author clearly feels at getting it all down, and getting it down right - even righteously.

This book deserves a thousand times more attention than it's gotten.

5-0 out of 5 stars Raw, Romantic, Tormenting Account of Life with Jazz!!!!
Such an amazing story told in such a beautiful way that you truly don't feel 'BAD' after reading the awkward situations this young girl endored!!A completely original writing style adds to the romantic feeling of the entire book, which is a series of short stories about life in a Hardcore Hollywood, most kids couldn't even dream of.With each chapter, you expect to somehow get to the sunshine of her tormented life (ya know, like in the movies!) but, luckily, this book is reality, rather than a predictable movie and it stays true to it's "poetic integerity" throughout!Good luck putting this one down...there's nothing predictable about this book, it's truly BEAUTIFUL, somehow! ... Read more

111. Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family
by Louise A. Desalvo
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1582342989
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Sales Rank: 113236
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With this stunning memoir of growing up in Italian-American New Jersey, Louise DeSalvo proves that your family's past is baked right into the bread you eat.

In Louise DeSalvo's family, in 1950s New Jersey, the kitchen becomes the site for fierce generational battle. As Louise's step-grandmother stubbornly recreates the domestic habits of her Southern Italian peasant upbringing, she clashes painfully with Louise's convenience-food-loving mother, who is set on total Americanization. Louise, meanwhile, dreams of the day when in her own kitchen she'll produce perfect fresh pasta or pan-seared pork chops with fennel. But as Louise grows up to indulge in the kind of amazing food her impoverished ancestors could never have imagined and travels to Italy herself, her adult discoveries give her new insight into the tensions of her childhood. In unearthing the oppressive conditions that led Southern Italians to emigrate en masse to the United States, gaining a subtler understanding of the struggles between her parents and their parents, and starting a more happily food-obsessed family of her own, Louise DeSalvo arrives at a fuller and more compassionate picture of her own roots. And, in the process, she reveals that our image of the festive and bounteous Italian-American kitchen may exist in part to mask a sometimes painful history.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected---far MORE than I expected
I picked up this book to read thinking it was like so many other books I have read about Italian-Americans in an attempt to better understand my husband's family---a light-hearted look at the "crazy" antics of a close knit, pasta eating bunch of eccentrics. However, this is not at all what this book is, and what it actually is helped me more than any book I've read in understanding the family I have joined.

When Desalvo says "Crazy in the Kitchen", she is not kidding. Her mother and much of her family really does have seriously crazy tendencies---fury, cruelty, irrational financial habits, long running feuds, etc. And the kitchen is where many of these things are played out---from her mother's poor cooking to her step-grandmother's good but steep in unbreakable traditions cooking, to the cooking and eating of her ancestors in Southern Italy, or the NOT eating---for I finally understood what drove so many Italians to come to America. I had no idea how awful conditions were for the peasants of Italy. What they were subjected to honestly reminded me of accounts of places like Cambodia or China, during the Great Leap Forward.

I learned a great deal about Southern Italian culture from this book, and found myself reading many passages to my husband, a first generation Italian-American who spent much of his youth in Sicily visiting, and who had parents who spoke only Italian, and even he was stunned to find out much of what I read. I now understand my late in-laws much better than I did before this reading.

The writing style of this book took a bit to get used to, until I let myself fall into it. It's written like so many stories told by my in-laws---in a bit of a circular way---you find out a bit here, and a bit there, and it all adds up in the end.

I want to thank Ms. Desalvo for this book. I look forward eagerly to reading the rest of her works.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellently written exploration of family interactions
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The descriptions of food were mouthwatering. I appreciated the view into the lives of Italian immigrants and their lives in Italy. The family interactions were well described. Each chapter was a gem of an essay. Unlike many memoire writers, this author sustained the high level of writing and self-exploration to the very end. I really admire her ability to dig into her real feelings and to try to understand her parents and grandparents. I plan to look for other books by this author.

2-0 out of 5 stars bittersweet and funny . . . ultimately a downer
So sad. Even has her mother lay dying, she wishes Mom was someone else. A cautionary tale on accepting people as they really are.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Touching Book About Family, Food and Life.
Louise DeSalvo is a first class writer an this may very well be her best book yet. A master of memoir, DeSalvo has filled Crazy in the Kitchen with touching, funny and memorable stories about growing up and living in an Italian immigrant family. Most wonderful about this book, however, are the messages and meanings that everyone of us can take away from it -- the longing for a complete realtionship with our parents that is never quite realized, the quirks and and dysfunction that plagues every family and the joy of surviving and living despite these things. This book will make you laugh, make you cry and make you revel in the joy of living each and every day for its simple pleasures. ... Read more

112. The Spiritual Apprenticeship of a Curious Catholic
by Jerry Hurtubise
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879462833
Catlog: Book (2005-01)
Publisher: ACTA Publications
Sales Rank: 279166
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113. Meyebela : My Bengali Girlhood
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586420518
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Steerforth
Sales Rank: 464021
Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this powerful evocation of a Muslim childhood, famed Bengali dissident Taslima Nasrin revisits her early years — from her auspicious birth on a Muslim holy day to the threshold of womanhood at 14 — in a rural village during the years East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the fight for independence, Nasrin’s memories alternate between vivid tableaux of village life and scenes of violence and flight. The extremes of her world are reflected in her father, a philanderer obsessed with education, and her mother, whose powerlessness drives her into Islamic fundamentalism. But Nasrin maintains her own voice throughout, recognizing even as a child the injustices of her world. An unflinching account of growing up female in a Muslim society by a writer called "the voice of humanism everywhere" (Wole Soyinka). ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good biography and nothing more.
I'll be brief since one reviewer elucidated my points quite well.

There's no doubt that Taslima Nasrin will go down in history was one of the greatest writers the south Asian community has even produced. She has clear vision on contemporary issues within the south Asian world. Her recent novel is of course a "magnum Opus"that will be remembered by many. My only contention is that she tends to have a rather fervid tendency to over-generalize excessively. At times her statements about Islam in the book contradict her statements in speeches and other prints. Her critique of religion regurgitates old-fashioned arguments that stymies the reader( at least this reviewer). A good biography indeed. However, don't use it as a critique or religion.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much generalizing. Not enough objectivity
My husband is Bangladeshi, so I was interested in reading this book. The book is interesting in providing an insight into a dysfunctional, abusive home and childhood. It makes clear the critical need for third world countries to seriously address the issue of abuse and oppression of women. However, the book gets repetitive and tiresome after a while.

The reason I am giving the book only two stars is because it treats all of Bangladesh and all of Islam as one-dimensional. We are left assuming everyone is like that. Both of my husband's sisters have graduate degrees and his mother was head of the household, even though his father had spent a decade studying religion in an Islamic school. There wasn't any abuse and no prohibition against his sister's playing outdoors. They didn't wear head coverings either.

The subtitle A Memoir of Growing Up Female in a Muslim world is misleading. Her story unfortunately is common for females all over the third world including India, China, South America, Africa, and to a lesser extent the US and Europe. Domination and abuse of women knows no borders and is practiced by members of all faiths. Nasrin is not objective and makes a lot of generalizations about Islam being the problem. I am Christian but I also grew up with a domineering father. Nasrin, unfortunately, has alienated her countrymen instead of engaging them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughts on Meyebela
A very interesting book, not always fun to read and maybe like the first reviewer says not always really well, or at least tightly, written. However, the account of this girlhood was shocking to me. I think now I understand feminism much better then before. And even though I've spent some time in Bangladesh, I now feel like I understand life in Bangladesh much better than before as well. I feel it was extremely worthwhile reading this book. It taught me a lot about how most of the world lives.

1-0 out of 5 stars Rambling and Repetitious
I usually enjoy reading books by women writers from the Indian subcontinent. This was one book that could not hold my attention - badly written, repetitive, and unnecessarily lengthy: a tedious read. Ms. Nasrin sounds like a manipulative child - she knows what the West wants to hear and makes too much of an effort to please.

4-0 out of 5 stars A sad account from an important voice
Taslima Nasrin's is a strong competent voice from Bangladesh. She has been in exile ever since her controversial book "Lajja" or "Shame" about Muslim persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh caused a fatwa to be issued against her. Meyebela, My Bengali Girlhood: A Memoir of Growing up Female in a Muslim World is Nasrin's heart-wrenching account of a desperate childhood in Mymensingh, a relatively small town in Bangladesh.

In this memoir (one of two volumes), Nasrin openly questions her religion, Islam, and its discrimination against women. Her sad and depressing childhood was an unfortunate byproduct of a unique combination of cruel elements, one of which was a repressive society where "I was simply supposed to accept'without asking questions'whatever the grownups decided to bestow on me, be it punishment or reward." Taslima was treated like a second-class citizen all throughout and horrifically abused by her uncles. Add to these, Nasrin had very unstable parents'a mother who was driven to religious extremism by a philandering father and a father who was extremely harsh yet very insistent on education. Having had his first two sons fail his "expectations", he pinned all his hopes on young Taslima and her sister, Yasmin. The girls were denied all social interaction (Nasrin's father had high walls built around the house so the girls could not look beyond it and get distracted) and the books were made to be their only focus.

Nasrin's memoir, which is set against the Bangladesh war for independence, makes some very important points about religion and a girl's role in an oppressive society. Like a flood of memories though, her memoir seems to shift out of focus occasionally. Towards the end, parts of her statements get to be repetitive.

Taslima Nasrin did become a doctor and lived up to her father's expectations. In that sense, he "won". But eventually Nasrin did manage to find her own voice-- one that continues to speak powerfully on behalf of oppressed women all over the world.

Nasrin in her memoir tells us what life truly is like for many girls around the world. It is our duty to listen. It is sad though that we can often do little more than be outraged. ... Read more

114. South to a Very Old Place
list price: $15.00
our price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679736956
Catlog: Book (1991-09-03)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 621918
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars South to a Very Old Place
If Langston Huges is the poet laureate of Jazz, then Albert Murray is its scribe. Murray's indelible style continues in this wonderful trip down South. Murray grew up in Mobile, Alabama, after high school he went to Tuskegee Institute then on to the military where he was the first black to become an officer in US Air Force history. After retiring from the Air Force Murray settled in New York City where he lives today. A number of years ago Murray's publisher suggested that he go home and write about the differences in Mobile before WWII and Mobile now. Murray takes the reader along with him on his trip through his own personal history with remarkable rhythm. There are any number of notable sequences including the first paragraph which is destined to join the ranks of "Call me Ishmael" and "It was the best of times it was the worst of times..." Another striking point in the novel is when Murray checks into a celebrated hotel in his hometown and his bags are carried by a young white boy who calls him sir and mister. It is contrast against Murray's memories of this same hotel that he was not allowed to enter when he was a boy because he was black. The book also includes plenty of the rhythmic writing that has made Murray one of America's most cherished authors. ... Read more

115. Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy
by Frank Brady
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486259250
Catlog: Book (1989-04-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 92839
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Weak but worth the price
Fischer was a genius, no question about that. This book is a good buy for the price: you get a (weak) biography of a great player, 8 pages of pictures, and 90 (poorly) annotated games for less than US$15.00! Altogether not a bad deal. However, I take issue with the author. Because he was a friend of Fischer's he did not want to ruin his relationship with him by revealing Fischer's odd character traits, as many other reviewers have noticed. Worst, the author wants you to believe Fischer was a good boy, the American self made sportsman who increased the popularity of the game while fighting for better playing conditions and higher appearance fees, which would ultimately benefit chess professionals as a whole. This might be true. However, it is also true that Fischer left chess players as a whole with an undeletable image: that of nerds, eccentrics and the like. All in all I think his contribution to the image of chess was negative, not positive. Upon reading the book it struck me that Spassky allowed himself to play that fatidic match in Iceland. Fischer did not show up at the date and time they had originally agreed. Spassky gave in to Fischer's absurd demands, falling pray to Fischer's psychological warfare. He should have walked away and kept his title, period. Since he did not the rest is history. At the end of the day the character of a World Champion is seem not when he wins a world championship match but rather when he loses it. Fischer, unlike Spassky, Karpov, and Kasparov never showed up to defend his title. This will be his sad legacy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bobby Fischer ¿ Profile of a Prodigy
Brady's Profile of a Prodigy should be on the bookshelf of every chessplayer who has more than a passing interest in the game of kings. The carefully researched and thoroughly enthralling text hooked me, from Bobby's formative years as a child in Brooklyn, playing in a simul with Max Pavey to his dramatic triumph for the title of World Champion in Reykjavik, I was compelled to read on. Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy is filled with keen observations and telling anecdotes that combine to create an insightful framing of this stormy chess genius. In addition to the text of the biography, ninety of Fischer's games are reproduced with annotations. In brief, the definitive Fischer tome.

3-0 out of 5 stars For Fischer Games, look elsewhere
As one of the reviews says, this can be a good book for some interested in the life of one of the most famous players of all the time. Although, even in that aspect, it is not entirely satisfying. My interest in Fisher is more in his games. And for his games, I would strongly advise the reader to look elsewhere. The notes and annotations are superficial and not at all helpful. The aim of the book may not be to improve your chess, but Fischer games deserve far better treatment than this one does. I was very disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sanitized but engrossing nonetheless
Eminently readable, but strangely unrevealing. Full of details about all sorts of Fischer tantrums, negotiations, etc., but somehow the real Fischer is absent. Noteworthy is Brady's refusal to write a single word about Fischer's sex life or lack thereof. Brady outlines his career from age six to the end of the World Championship match with Spassky in 1972. One gets the sense that Fischer was unconsciously a master of the psychology of intimidation, but gradually became more of a paranoid schizophrenic. As the book ends and Fischer has secured the world title, the reader can see he is about to leave the world of the sane. Also absent was any explanation, or quotes from Fischer on why he embraced the fundamentalist World Wide Church of God faith and dumped his nominal Jewish identity. I mean, does Fischer pray to a personal God? Does he actually believe in hell fire, etc.? Brady gives no hint. The details about Fischer's incredible work ethic and maniacal devotion to the game, however, help us to see how he became at the time the greatest chess player in the history of the game. Also good were the many glimpses of the chess players and personalities of the times, including Evans, Cramer, Edmunson, Reschevsky, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky, and others.

The other thing that Brady is mum on is Fischer's famous prejudices. Brady spares us Fischer's anti-Semitism, etc. There are almost no quotes of Fischer's famous stupidities. When Brady talks about the article in Harper's Magazine by Ralph Ginzburg in 1961 he says that "Bobby is depicted as a monster of egotism, scornful of everything outside himself and the game" who has a "hopeless vulgarity." But Brady quotes nary a word to show us what Fischer supposedly said. I guess the real problem with Brady's biography of Fischer ("profile") is that he was tiptoeing around Fischer's prejudices as though afraid to offend him, as though it was essential to stay in his good graces. Brady writes that when Fischer was displeased with anyone, he just cut them out of his life completely and ruthlessly. I think Brady was trying to write a true biography while staying within Fischer's good graces, an impossible task.

The guy who should write a Fischer biography is Grandmaster Larry Evans who knew him very well, who played at Fischer's level, and a man who was instrumental in helping Fischer achieve the success he did. Without the patience, understanding and guidance of Larry Evans it is likely that Fischer would have gone off the deep end long before he began, let alone finished, the historical match with Boris Spassky.

4-0 out of 5 stars For the Chess enthusiast - This one is a must read!
I found this book to be very entertaining, and very revealing of not only Bobby Fischer's life and games, but of chess in general. The mature chess player will find this book to be a must for his chess library. It is the perfect companion to "The Fireside book of Chess". ... Read more

116. Greenbelt : A Nostalgic Return to a Texas Childhood
by James H. Man
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929175159
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Corinthian Books
Sales Rank: 633544
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jim Man writes, "In 1972, being twelve was like a future unto itself. I was always in search of adventure around Greenbelt Lake, but the funny thing was that the adventures seemed to find me. The lake was a key which unlocked a treasure trove of events and characters that became permanently embedded in my soul.People like Dwight, who was picked up and carried three miles by a tornado and lived to tell about it. And Stevie "Wander" Johnson, a nine-year-old who, like a mirage, would appear from out of nowhere riding his mini-bike. The freedom we had at the lake fueled these adventures, but freedom is a privileged rope whose length is sometimes nebulous. And boy, did we stretch it!"

This sweet, reminiscent compilation of mischief and friendly mayhem captures the author’s memories of his adolescent years at Greenbelt Lake in Texas. However, this book is not just for Texas natives. Man’s ability to lend his tales vitality and excitement allows any reader to enjoy Greenbelt like he or she was there too – just another visitor to the lake. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greenbelt:A Nostalgic Return to Texas Childhood
Greenbelt brought back childhood memories of a Texas lake and the antics one can get away with as a young kid.It reminded me of times that I had not considered in ages.Times when I was invincible.

The stories in this book transcend a regional area, they could have occurred on a Texas Panhandle lake, a California beach or on a Iowa farm.

Read this book to remind you of your own childhood or to remind you of a childhood you wish you had lived!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Summer adventure at its finest!!
Released just in time for for summer reading, I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure.Jim Man's style is easygoing, and at the same time compelling.I kept reading "just one more chapter" to find out what would happen next to Jim, Dwight, and the other colorful characters.This book truly is a return to a simpler time in the not too distant past.A time when kids explored the outside world on their own, and a Mother's parting words were "Be home in time for supper".

5-0 out of 5 stars I've never read a book that made me laugh like "greenbelt"
I picked up the book on a Friday night.I was skeptical at best, but everybody leaves the bookstore with a book; and besides, the author was at the bookstore doing the dog and pony show trying to sell some of his books.Politely, I bought the book, came home and was mesmerized for the next four hours (I am a slow reader). I liked the size of the book, it wasn't real intimidating and I thought I would give it at least three chapters.That was all it took and I was hooked.A NOSTALGIC RETURN is exactly what I got.Mr. Man's book took me back to my own childhood and the amazement that I (and he)lived through it.Chapter after chapter was adventure, exploit, and just good ole' childhood mischief.I finished the book that night (to my wife's dislike). Several times she woke up and hit me with the pillow because the bed was shaking from my laughter.I honestly couldn't put the book down.Anyway, for what it is worth, I wish I had the book to look forward to. Write on Mr. Man, Bart boxwell

5-0 out of 5 stars lively, genuine, and entirely too short
Here we have Jim Man's portrait of a summerful of visits to a lake house in north Texas of 1972 (age 12).The outstanding quality of Man's writing is its credibility:on a topic almost hand-crafted as a foundation for tall tales, I'm darned if I don't believe just about everything he says.

I too grew up in the 1970s in the West, and we did in fact use to shoot at one another with BB guns, dig through any half-ruined building available to us, and gad about on any wheeled vehicle we could scrounge up.While Jim's story is one of a lot of fun--some better and cleaner than others--it is a story of lessons learned about himself and others.Jim's friend Dwight is an especially compelling character, the kind you can't invent; they either are authentic or they are not.(His accent, by the way, is authentic.He sounds precisely like my very rural, very Texan father-in-law.)By the end of the book--which I wish had been longer--I really wanted to know what ever became of the boys in the book.

As a book for young people, I'd rate it PG-13:the author could have easily pushed it toward R-17, but a visible effort was made to take the edges off the language and content; this effort might not get the credit it deserves, but parents buying books for their children will appreciate it.If you're raising kids today, _Greenbelt_ will encourage you to pose the question:how come we turned out all right in spite of the fact that we behaved like Jim and his cohorts? It will appeal especially to anyone who likes motorcycles, fishing/boating, and modern-day Tom Sawyer hijinks.For anyone who grew up in rural Texas, naturally, the appeal will be even stronger. I came away liking the genuinely warm, adventuresome Man family, and I reckon a lot of readers will too. ... Read more

117. Road Song
by Natalie Kusz
list price: $21.00
our price: $21.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374528276
Catlog: Book (1990-12-01)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Sales Rank: 99628
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Luminous, courageous story that transcends category
I picked this book up in the Alaskana section of Title Wave, a used bookstore in Anchorage, thinking it was going to be an Alaskan story, but happily it's much more universal than that. Natalie Kusz's book delivers two parents who are beautiful misfits bearing difficult baggage--her mother's mother is mentally ill; her father's wartime experience is horrific. That they stay together is enough of a feat, but the love they instill in their children and the family they create with so little material goods is truly amazing. On one hand, it's a story of overcoming hardship, and Natalie's ordeals, while more than any child deserves, are not her father's fault, as one reader's comments seem to imply. That they shape her life and choices, ultimately leading her to life as a writer, is the larger story. One facet of this book no one has commented on is the language and style with which this book is written. It's luminous, courageous, and deserving of continuous reprint. Here's hoping Natalie is hard at work on another book. I for one would be first in line to buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE TERRIFIC MEMOIR
This book was published too soon. It came out in 1990, long before the current memoir craze took hold. That's really too bad because this book is what memoir-writing is all about. Natalie Kusz' story is truly beyond belief; it reaffirms my faith in the whole genre. Here then is the story of a how a seven year old child (Natalie) had her face ripped apart by Alaskan huskies and survived to write about it with an unerring voice. If you don't love her family almost as much as she does by the end of this book, then you're not human. This book is every bit the equal of "The Color of Money" (and probably surpases it as a memoir), a book that became a national bestseller. This one deserves that status as well. Please seek out and read this page-turner of a memoir. You won't be sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars An incredible memoir
A friend recommended this book, first published in 1990, saying it her FAVORITE" book. Mighty words coming from this particular friend.

I took it on vacation and read the whole thing in two days -- could not put it down.

And incredible, moving, extremely well-written, intense memoir that almost reads like fiction.

Rock on, Natalie. You are my new heroine....

5-0 out of 5 stars haunting... unforgettable
My father gave this book to me 6 years ago and and I reread it every few months. The true story of author's childhood is told in a bluntly honest and often painful way. This is a book that all writers interested in writing creative non-fiction need to study carefully. Kusz has mastered the craft. She takes us from California to Alaska with her family in 1969. We are enchanted by her family and the difficult path her parents chose to take in the effort to give their children something more. Even after loss and struggle, when you want to fault her parents for the choices they made, you cannot. Kusz understands them and helps bring you in. Kusz stays away from describing the harsh landscape of Alaska, but the harshness of the land is illustrated when she tells of the family. This book is my favorite memoir to date.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Memoir that inadvertendly recalls Greek tragedy
Are disasters inevitable? That is the question that kept popping up in my mind as I read this searing memoir, which often reveals things I wonder if the author realized. The Kusz family leaves L.A. to pursue adventures in Alaska, and boy do they find them. Why was seven year old Natalie left on her own to get nearly killed by sled dogs? Is it because her Dad didn't get over the post traumatic stress disorder of his childhood in war-torn Poland, and kept having to recreate scenes of peril in which to test himself? If so, Natalie and the entire family paid a very high price. It was like tempting the devil. The family of six sticks it out in the outback, though God knows why, as they are a cultured family and this is a cultural wasteland. Is it really all that fulfilling to build these rustic shacks by hand, just for the hell of it? It seems like a misguided wilderness dream, and way too much copy is spent detailing the housebuilding, when what I wanted to really know was more of the repercussions of Natalie's accident to her and the rest of the family. She skims over her teenage rebellious behavior as if none of it were important, although it does land her with a child at 16. I feel awful for her siblings, who were kept in the dark about their sister's pregnancy until Natalie came home with a newborn. It is hard to fault a person who has undergone what the author did, but in the context of her family she often came off as monstrously selfish, although she clearly tried to present herself as the hero. Who was it again, who had screaming fights with her martyred mother? How can she blame her other siblings for what eventually happened to her mother when she herself was clearly the catalyst for so much negative energy in the family? We only hear in backhand fashion, for example, that her parents have already been deeply stressed and in debt when she springs a pregnancy on them. Her parents are so giving that they even offer to build her her own house out back, before they even have their own house built! It was almost like some Greek tragedy: Mother, you robbed me of my face, therefore I will wreak havoc on you and all your other children, and you will pay with your .... We don't see the author owning up to the stresses she herself placed on her already beleagured family, nor do we hear enough about the love affair that gave her a daughter. I wanted much much more of what was going on inside her, and much less of the so called "close" family dynamics. Perhaps a serious examination of her emotional life was beyond the author, who was only 27 at the time of the writing. I look forward to a deeper layer of reflection in the future from a more mature Natalie Kusz. ... Read more

118. Only a Mother Could Love Him: Add : Attention Deficit Disorder
by Ben Polis
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740081692
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Add Help Guide
Sales Rank: 215784
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Ben.
We have struggled with our grandson's ADHD for 12 years. Both Boys have ADHD, CJ is quiet and introspective, a dreamer, who will explode at the oddest times and yell and scream and become uncontrollable. Billy on the other hand is always in motion, always on "Go". His rage attacks, violent outbursts, trouble at school, home and anywhere there is visual or audio stimulation has been a source of frustration for the entire family.

Many of the items and ideas in your book have been tried, and are still being worked and tweaked. However, your insight is a great benefit.

As I read your book, I realized it was a mirror of Billy, except for the fact that he is in a Special Eduation School, and does not get suspended or expelled. They have to deal with him. This does not eliminate every day care in the area. He was asked to leave all of them even one for "behavior problem" children. In their defense, they did the best they could for as long as they could and I am eternally grateful for the respite care they provided us.

Now I need to take this new knowledge and apply it to our situation. Working with Billy is a timebomb waiting for detonation. We never know when he will "go off", or what will cause the spark.

Basketball competition has been a great comfort, and we hope to start swimming competitions this summer. We have a pool and this has been a big help, but he will start competition in the summer through Special Olympics, another wonderful organization that has been extremely beneficial to Billy and his uniqueness.

I am getting a copy of your book for all family members to read, and another copy for Camp Holiday, the day care for behavior problem children. I encourage every parent/caregiver of an ADHD child to read this book and gain some insight.

4-0 out of 5 stars Only a Mother Could Love Him
I recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone needing information on ADHD. My 13 yr. old grandson lives with us and I was at my wits end over his school work and unpredictability. I found this book and just devoured it. It was not long before I could see thru the eyes of my grandson and truly understand some of what he is feeling.

The opinions stated in this book are not always mine, but I found a lot of his insight just so valuable and sometimes humorous. I have highlighted many passages and keep it by my bed so I can remind myself that I am not going crazy. Ben tells it like it is.

Ben Polis is a brilliant young man who should be applauded for his courage in writing this book and sharing his life with us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent advice for parents of ADHD kids
now that I have read this book, i can wholeheartedly recommend it to other parents. Our two sons have ADD and have exhibited some (but not all) of the behaviors described in this book. Fortunately we did not have the problems with violence he describes. However, one of our sons became a champion wrestler and I think this was an excellent outlet for him. As Benjamin says, individual sports are very important for the ADD student.

He describes problems in school that accurately reflect our sons' school careers. Excellent grades on tests, next to no homework done, so low GPAs. Like Benjamin, our older son is doing extremely well in college, because he is studying things that deeply interest him (physics) and not things that don't (english literature).

Two things I would change in terms of advice to other parents. Benjamin says that kids should not be medicated daily. We have seen a specialist at NIH who says that the latest evidence shows that daily doses of ritalin or equivalent are actually beneficial. the brain seems to develop new neurotransmitter capabilities if the dosages are kept constant.

the other has to do with reading. Our sons were not interested in reading until we discovered which topics interested them. Our oldest is sports-crazed, so he learned to read box scores at age 5. the first words he read were Philadelphia and Chicago. We bought lots of sports magazines and books and watched sporting events with him to reinforce what he learned in reading. Our younger son was very interested in comics, so we bought every Calvin & Hobbs book. We read them to him over and over and later he learned to read them himself. Great vocabulary builders! Now both are voracious readers. We kept the house awash in books on many topics. If they indicated an interest, we got books on that topic. so they learned to enjoy books.

So, thanks to Benjamin for an inside look at a world that is very difficult for a non-ADD parent to fathom. We wish you well, Benjamin, and all the other parents who are out there dealing with this problem! Your children can definitely grow up to be successful, though it may not feel like at when they are in third grade!

5-0 out of 5 stars Among the top two ADHD/ADD books
My wife and I are both physicians who've managed children with ADD/ADHD, but our professional experience is dwarfed by our personal experience.

In this domain we are experts.

There are two books that stand out amongst all the hundreds we've scanned and the dozens we've studied. One is 'The Explosive Child' by Ross Greene.

The other is this book. It's not the best organized or structured book; it's a bit scattered and tangential. It's speculative in places and not "evidence based". The writer is not as polished as Greene, the style is more like a business book than an academic book. All which is to say that the author writes like he really does have ADHD.

No matter, the book works. It's the best source of ideas and insight we've come across in years. I'm particularly intrigued by the focus on deficits in working memory; I think he's right about the importance of this particular disability and it's not been a major topic of research until recently.

It's also very optimistic and encouraging for parents and family. A quick read, I'd recommend buying copies for teachers and grandparents.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review in the NY Times
I am buying this book due to an interview with the author that was printed in the NY Times. The reference is: August 26, 2003
Attention Disorder Advice, by One Who Knows

As the parent of two ADHD kids and wife of an ADHD adult, it will be very helpful to know how it feels from the inside. ... Read more

119. Growing Up True: Lessons from a Western Boyhood
by Craig S. Barnes
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555913504
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Sales Rank: 597512
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Growing Up True, Craig Barnes shares his stories of growing up in rural Colorado during and after World War II. As the youngest of three boys, and an imaginative one at that, he dreamed of many a swashbuckling adventure far beyond Colorado's Highline Canal. But the lessons and demands of real life always nipped at the edges of his fantastic dreams. Barnes's mother told him that he would develop moral character if he would carry water to her maple saplings. His father held that a small person "... should learn to plan ahead, think a problem through, be lighthearted, cheerful, ready to help whenever needed. It would also be good to do the algebra homework, and geography, too, and it would be good to clean the barn ... ." ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Boyhood Classic
Craig Barnes has crafted a beautiful, evocative book. This vivid reminiscence of family life in the rural West explains--better than any general work I have read--the beliefs and values and personal strengths that enabled the so-called "greatest generation" to surmount the challenges presented by the Great Depression and the world's first global war. As a story of family life in America, GROWING UP TRUE is a boyhood classic which belongs on the special shelf that holds Russell Baker's book about GROWING UP in Baltimore. ... Read more

120. Beauty Before Comfort : The Story of an American Original
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812972678
Catlog: Book (2004-07-13)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 91357
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“The first lesson [my grandmother] ever taught me was that dancing matters. . . . When she did come across men she fancied who didn’t dance, she sent them away until they did. They always learned, because my grandmother was bitingly beautiful, and that is the second lesson she taught me—that beauty inspires, all of God’s beauty, but especially hers.”

So writes Allison Glock at the start of her irresistible memoir of her maternal grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair, a woman who came of age during the Depression in a West Virginia factory town yet refused to succumb to the desperation that surrounded her. Instead, Aneita Jean rouged her cheeks and kicked up her heels and did
her best to forget the realities of life in an in-sular community where your neighbors could be
as unforgiving as the Appalachian landscape. Before it was all over, Aneita Jean would have seven marriage proposals and her share of the tragedies that befall small-town girls with bushels of suitors and bodies like Miss America, girls “who dare to see past the dusty perimeters of their lives.”

In lyrical and often breathtaking language, Glock travels back through time, assisted by a fistful of old photos and the piercing childhood memories of her grandmother, “a skinny, eager child with disobedient hair and bottomless
longing.” Together they guide us through the cramped dankness of the pottery plants, the dense sweetness of the holler, and into the surging promise of the Ohio River, capturing not only the irrepressible vitality of Aneita Jean Blair, but also the rich ambiance of working-class West Virginia during the twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II. Expertly written, lovingly told, Beauty Before Comfort is stirring testimony to the vanished dreams, and powerful spirit, of an extraordinary person and place.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars So far from beautiful
Well, I don't know what the negative reviewers were reading, but they clearly took some offense to components I did not see in this beautiful book.Having grown up in the mountains of North Carolina, I am always on the lookout for books about life in Appalachia, and "Beauty Before Comfort" has to be one of the best in recent years.The honesty, reality, humor--they recall Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out of Carolina" and the poetry of Kathryn Stripling Byer.Glock deserves a place at the table of strong, stunning Southern women writers.

1-0 out of 5 stars ick............
I found the the story excruciatingly boring, virtually pointless.After Jean marries Don, the next sixty years of their lives are dealt with in ten pages.Ms. Glock may be a gifted writer, but she is a poor storyteller.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evoking Passion

You're a great little writer.That you evoked this much emotion from people reading your book says that you have the gift of telling a story passionately.You have stirred up some powerful emotions that goes to the heart of your ability to write.When people who can't spell or put a sentence together are moved to write a review of your book, you're doing something right.Either they love you or they hate you, but they are reading you.

I went to school with your mother, until I was one of the ones who got out of Hancock County when I moved to California.Your mother must be very proud.I sure would be.

Your book brings back many precious memories, even memories of some of the hardships grabbed something in my heart.You have written a very accurate description of the people and the area, and you have been able to tell it like it was while also conveying a loving image of your grandmother and the times.

This is your first book.Incredible!!!I gave you four stars because I'm saving that fifth one for your next book.

Sharin (Fletcher) Bowers

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it straight through
I came from an industrial town in Tennessee, and Allison Glock's wonderful story of her grandmother, who lived in that kind of environment, really resonated with me.Aneita Jean Blair's life is not the kind that usually gets the full biographical treatment, especially from a granddaughter.

The second outstanding part about this book is the writing.Lines such as "Just walking through the house required lurching effort," written about the death of a family member, make the story more real.

Having read some of the reviews here on Amazon, I cannot understand the hostility that some people convey about this book.My favorite line from an angry reader was this one:"I think if you right (sic) a book you should actually know what you are talking about."

That line--complete with spelling that shouts ignorance--says it all.Allison Glock does know what she is talking about, and tells it very, very well.

5-0 out of 5 stars The author speaks
I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read my book. It means a lot to me and I appreciate your interest, even from the few of you who didn't ultimately enjoy the experience. (Although I will admit it hurts to be called "garbage" by a stranger.) For those of you who also wrote reviews, thanks again. Your feedback matters.
Happy reading,
Allison Glock ... Read more

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