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81. The Scariest Place : A Marine
$16.76 $8.98 list($23.95)
82. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
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83. My Fathers' Houses : Memoir of
$10.46 $4.99 list($13.95)
84. Black Boy (Perennial Classics)
$17.13 $10.95 list($25.95)
85. Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids,
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86. I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian
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87. Against the Odds: Riding for My
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88. Mistress Bradstreet : The Untold
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89. Bruchko
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90. The Moon's a Balloon
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91. Autobiography of Malcolm X
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92. The Language of Baklava : A Memoir
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93. Kiss Me Like a Stranger : My Search
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94. Alexander Hamilton
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95. Buffett : The Making of an American
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96. Coach: Lessons on the Game of
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97. Operating Instructions: A Journal
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98. On Writing
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99. Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing
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100. Father Joe: The Man Who Saved

81. The Scariest Place : A Marine Returns to North Korea
by James Brady
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0312332424
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
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82. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
by Ann Patchett
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
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Asin: 0060572140
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 2189
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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Reviews (31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--- Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw

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

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

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


83. My Fathers' Houses : Memoir of a Family
by Steven Roberts
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0060739932
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 6522
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Book Description

Bayonne prepared me well for a larger life and a larger world. I knew who I was and where I was from. I was connected by innumerable little cords to people and places that gave me strength and identity. On The Block I was safe, secure, loved. I even had a number, 174, the address of our house, but the number wasn't a badge of anonymity. To the contrary, it marked my place, where I belonged.

As moving as Russell Baker's Growing Up and Calvin Trillin's Messages from My Father, My Fathers' Houses is the story of a town, a time, and a boy who would grow up to become a New York Times correspondent, television and radio personality, and bestselling author.

In this remarkable memoir, Steven V. Roberts tells the story of his grandparents, his parents, and his own life, vividly bringing a period, a place, and a remarkable family into focus. The period was the forties and fifties, when the children of immigrants were striving to become American in a booming postwar world. The place was one block in Bayonne, New Jersey, and the house that Roberts's grandfather, Harry Schanbam, built with his own hands, a warm and reassuring home, just across the Hudson River from "the city," where Roberts grew up surrounded by family and tales of the Old Country.

This personal journey starts in Russia, where the family business of writing and ideas began. A great-uncle became an editor of Pravda and two great-aunts were originalmembers of the Bolshevik party. His other grandfather, Abraham Rogowsky, stole money to become a Zionist pioneer in Palestine and helped to build the second road in Tel Aviv before settling in America. Roberts returns his saga to Depression-era Bayonne, where his parents, living one block apart, penned love letters to each other before marrying in secret. His father, an author and publisher of children's books, and his uncle, a critic and short story writer, instilled in him a love for words and a determination to carry on the family legacy, a legacy he is now passing on to his own children and grandchildren.

Roberts, too, would leave home, for Harvard, where he met Cokie Boggs, the Catholic girl he would marry, and later, for the New York Times, where he would start his career -- across the river and worlds away from where he began. An emotional, compelling story of fathers and sons, My Fathers' Houses encapsulates the American experience of change and continuity, of breaking new ground using the tools and traditions of the past. ... Read more


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

With an introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

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

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

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

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Reviews (117)

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

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

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

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

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

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


85. Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big
by Jose Canseco
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060746408
Catlog: Book (2005-02-14)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 4841
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Touted as a Ball Four for the new millennium, Jose Canseco's Juiced promises to expose not only the rampant use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball (with steroids replacing the amphetamines of Bouton's day), but the painfully human flaws of its heroes as well. A steroid devotee since the age of 20, Canseco goes beyond admitting his own usage to claim that with the tacit approval of the league's powers-that-be he acted as baseball's ambassador of steroids and is therefore indirectly responsible for "saving" the game.

Chief among his claims is that he introduced Mark McGwire to steroids in 1988 and that he often injected McGwire while they were teammates. According to Canseco, steroids and human growth hormones gave McGwire and Sammy Sosa (whose own usage was "so obvious, it was a joke") the strength, stamina, regenerative ability, and confidence they needed for a record-setting home run duel often credited with restoring baseball's popularity after the 1994 strike. Although he devotes a lot of ink to McGwire, Canseco envisions himself as a kind of Johnny Steroidseed, spreading the gospel of performance enhancement, naming a number of players that he either personally introduced to steroids or is relatively certain he can identify as fellow users. Because Canseco plays fast and loose with some of the facts of his own career he provides fodder for those looking to damage his credibility, but in many ways questions of public and personal perception are what raise the book beyond mere vitriolic tell-all. Those willing to heed his request and truly listen to what he has to say will find Juiced to be an occasionally insightful meditation on the workings of public perception and a consistently interesting character study. --Shane Farmer ... Read more

Reviews (105)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most revealing baseball book since "Ball Four"
This is the book that grabbed Congress' attention and finally forced the politicians to make baseball clean up its sordid act. Canseco not only implicates himself but also exposes some of the biggest stars of the past 20 years. And not one of them has refuted his charges. While Canseco's steroid-fueled past is undeserving of an endorsement and his statistics are forever tainted, his unmasking of what really goes on inside "the grand old game" is at once shocking and essential. He's a pariah in baseball circles now, but his book is what the sport needed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Juiced
Review By Josh Dall May 18, 2005
Juiced published by Jose Canseco

Jose "The Chemist" Canseco tells all in the book Juiced, an autobiography about his experience in baseball. This book explains why he started taking steroids, and why he thinks people need to know the truth about who cheated in baseball and who didn't. Canseco admits to steroid use and was banned from baseball, but the untold truth of the players who did it come out in his words from Jason Giambi and down to Mark Mcgwire. He explains how baseball has invited in steroids, and why it's their fault people use them still today. But besides steroids he explains the high life of a baseball player and what you don't know.

There are many characters in this book, but there not the usual made up characters you may find in stories. These characters are future hall of famer's, and names that associate with baseball. In this autobiography Canseco accuses Mark Mcgwire, Sammy Sosa, Ken Caminiti, Bret Boone, and 4 teamates from when he played on the rangers, and himself of using performance enhancers. Canseco tells what he knows about political figures and managers who knew about steroids and did nothing, including such names as George W. Bush and Tony Larussa. All these accusations that Canseco makes seem believable because Canseco seems to know what he is talking about. Still, the players aren't admitting what they have done, so what Canseco has done is exploit these players who still deny using steroids.

This book is a autobiography and very well written. What makes this book so great is that Canseco tells about the onward dissucion on the steroid issue which has become part of baseball for many years. One thing that did surprise me was that Barry Bonds was hardly mentioned, and he didn't say anything on steroid suppliers who may still be selling them today as much as I thought. My favorite part in this book is where he says all the names of baseball heroes so the public will know who is a cheater and who isn't. Through and through he reveals his life in baseball and what it's like to be criticized. Through the book he openly says he introduced them to baseball and he calls himself the "godfather" of steroids, which is pretty powerful to say. The players who were accused in this book, we're obligated to attend a conference hearing on steroids. All of them attended, accept Giambi, and Mark Mcgwire was crying when questioned, saying "the past is done and the future is now". Juiced, leads us to the point, is baseball Juiced?Even though some people are saying he's just making it sound like steriods are ok to kids and trying to make money,I still recommend this book to anyone who want's to here the truth on baseball, howit stands today, and what it will be like in the future.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, some errors, and a lot of blame
I purchased this book shortly after it came out and blew through it quickly.While the inside info of who did steroids and who he helped with them was nice, Canseco takes none of the blame for his own mistakes.Whenever he was in trouble with the law, amazingly it was always someone else's fault or someone overreacted.There are some factual errors that an editor should've caught.Namely his "Game Six" at-bat in the 2000 World Series.One slight problem: It was Game Four and the Series only went five games.
One other thing that got my attention is where he was going to kill himself after finding out his estranged wife was seeing someone else, only to stop once he heard his daughter crying.Now had he killed himself, his daughter (only one at the time) likely would have starved to death since no one would've fed her.What an absolute a-hole.Enjoy your newfound pariah status, Jose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jose is the MAN!
Who cares about the so-called name-dropping.THey all did steroids.Face it - Jose Canseco is the hottest guy in baseball and he can do no wrong by me.JOse - I'm your gal for life!

2-0 out of 5 stars revie of "Juiced"
Review of Juiced

"Wild Times, Rampant Roids, Smash hits, and how baseball got big was far from what Jose Conseco's book "Juiced" was about.This book brings me back to the third grade and how stupid I thought the "Where's Waldo?" books were.Since I am suppost to give this book an overall rating, I suppose it gets two stars and those stars are burnt out just like Conseco."Juiced" talked about the 1980 Athletics and mainly Mark Mcguire.There were other topics like locker room talk, record setting events, and everyday life stories but any baseball fan who reads this book knows that its just about low blows on teams and players such as Mark Mcguire.Conseco's thoughts are strongly discussed in his book and the thing that makes this book so unattractive to the reader is his lack of ability to support his topics.
Of the many weaknesses in this book there are a few strong points.The thing I do like about this book is that it is a quick and easy read.And by easy I mean EASY!I really do feel like I am back in the third grade reading books with big letters aboutbig animals like Clifford, the big red dog, only this time I'm reading medium letters about big steroid craving monsters.If your thinking about traveling a short distance and your in the mood to end your trip feeling like an empty headed Jessica Simpson, pick up juiced.
With the many weaknesses in this book there is one that sticks out more than any in my mind.That is when Jose Conseco talks about how he pinch hit in game six of the two thousand world series when it was only a five game series.Too me that would be something that I would not get wrong especially since its only the biggest game of the year.
My last and final good comment about this book would probably be giving Jose credit for admitting his steroid use and having the testicular fortitude to name and talk about other players in his book.Although I think this book was written manly for the money, I like how he describes Cal Ripken jr. as a blond, polish diva who demands fancier hotels than the rest of the team.Also I like how he calls "Big Mac" (Mark Mcguire) "Not the best looking guy around".I also like how he talk about his past and his self-confidence issues until he bulked up chemically.
After reading this book I will say that I do have a different view on baseball.I think that steroid use should not be allowed at all.I know that as a child I looked up to baseball players and how I always wanted to play major league baseball.If I ever had kids I don't think that I would want them to now about some of these players.With that being said this book had a tad bit of impact on me.I still love baseball and that will never change.I just think that once these players are done playing they should not always resort to writing books.

... Read more


86. I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala
by Rigoberta Menchu, E. Burgos-Debray, Ann Wright, Elisabeth Burgos-Debray
list price: $20.00
our price: $20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0860917886
Catlog: Book (1987-06-01)
Publisher: Verso
Sales Rank: 16775
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (35)

2-0 out of 5 stars Slow-moving, tedious (& fallacious) tale of Guat. struggle
I am sure that anyone familiar with Rigoberta Menchu is also familiar with David Stoll and his book "I, Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans" The well-known facts of Menchu's exaggerations aside, the book is certainly no literary masterpiece as it was edited by feminist ethnographer Burgos-Debray from tape-recorded conversations with the title character into Spanish, for neither of whom was it their first language. The flow is stilted and tedious, with long idealized accounts of the "noble savage" Indian community life and the ferocious fair-skinned oppressors; and while the nasty war in Guatemala has claimed many thousands of lives Menchu melodramatically idealizes the conflict as a purely right-wing government vs. oppressed Maya struggle.

As the idea of a somewhat accurate account, or "testimonial," as many academics prefer, the book is at times strong with its image of a young girl of a miserably oppressed class speaking in recently learned, fairly simple Spanish quite frankly of horrendous atrocities and massacres, as well as the extreme discrimination faced by Indians even by mixed blood "ladinos" in similar conditions. Even these wretchedly poor ladinos found solace in the fact that at least they were not Indians. But what is the difference, really, Menchu demands. Also interesting is the author's intertwinement of Biblical ideas from the local helpful Catholic Action (Menchu in reality went to a Catholic boarding school) with her people's native beliefs, drawing particularly heavily upon Exodus. Although the reading was slow, at least some of these themes were interesting; I, however, was greatly insulted upon learning of Menchu's exaggerations and falsities. The book, to me, at least, already had very little going for it, and then I find that much of it was distorted (the central theme of an Maya-rich landowner land struggle was actually a dispute between Menchu's father and his in-laws!) to gain greater appeal from academia in the US and Europe to Guatemala.

Menchu's story still deserves that second star, nonetheless, as it is a colossal example of the unfortunate state of modern academia and its "facts don't matter" approach to such romantic issues as the oppressed native Indian in contrast to the cruel white man. Guatemala's social history has certainly been nasty, but this is certainly not a good account (literarily nor factually) of that country in its idealized portrait of the Indian masses and their noble resistance to savage oppressors.

4-0 out of 5 stars I, Rigoberta de Menchu
"I, Rigoberta de Menchú"
Edited by Elisabeth Burgos-Debray

This is an awesome book. I recommend this book for everybody who wants to know the truth about the suffering of the Indians in Guatemala. This book talks about the customs of her community and also talks about all the injustices and discrimination that the white people had against the Indians.

Rigoberta belongs to the Quiché people in Guatemala. The customs of the Quiché people are very different from our customs. The Quiché people are very closed to the nature and they respect and give an enormous value to the animals and to the plants. This book make you realize the importance of the nature that we normally forget when we became more "civilize". This book shows all the suffering that the Quiche people had to life with it and the story of Rigoberta and her community shake you and force you to see that how superficial our society became. We worry for materialistic things, for example, I want expensive furniture or I'm not happy with the old T.V that I bought a year ago. Now I want the new plasma T.V. We worry for ephemeral things and most of the time we are wondering what kind of food are we going to eat instead of what we are going to do now if our children are asking for food and we don't have any food to provide them.

This book make you realize that Indians are being exploited and so many products that you consume are thanks to them. This book shows how the landlords exploited them on the fincas (The fincas are places where the coffee and the cotton are cultivated). This is a very emotional and sad part of the book and breaks you heart to believe that can exist people so mean who take any advantages of these hard workers. The conditions in which they work are unacceptable. They are exploited in every way possible. They work very hard and the pay is miserable.

When the Indians try to rebel the army took actions and what they did was to torture the people who try to change all this injustices. They try to suppress them with these awful tortures. We can see how the Indians accepted the catholic religion and how they interpreted the bible. The bible help them to see things more clear and they used it to claim their own rights as human been.

I recommend this book because after you read it all you are going to have a better understanding of the Indian culture and also you are going to be thankful for all the tiny things you have in life. People who don't appreciate life should read this book. People who waste food should read this book. People who don't appreciate nature should read this book. This book is going to make you be thankful and to be less superficial.

3-0 out of 5 stars The world is changing: a review on the mayans
There are times in your live when you realize that all the complications and "suffering" that you have to endure is something miniscule. That your whining about how the grass isn't growing pretty in the lawn or about how your life [is hard] because you are only getting paid $10, $12 dollars an hour and that is not enough to pay the $40,000 dollar car and the house and all those thing you need for your "simple" life are a testament of how God is not fair to you. But then, when you read something like I, Rigoberta de Menchu you come to realize that maybe, just maybe all the tragedy in your life is not so tragic. That is the beauty of this book. The realization that there are so many things out there in the world that we not even acknowledge as something real and with substance is what this book reminds you of. We live in a cynical, cynical world that focuses on money, [adult relations], and entertainment and most of the times the problems concerning other parts of the world are irrelevant until one of our own is involve. This is reality, but there is the other realities of people who really suffer and have to face adversity everyday and we, the privilege, don't even care.
(...) I, Rigoberta de Menchu, is an eye opener. It is cruel, sad, gross, devastating, and uplifting book all at the same time. It has value, morals and character something that our community, our entire nation sometimes lacks and that reminds you how little we know about the problems that the human race faces in general. Nevertheless, the narration is extremely moving and compassionate and brought to ink very vividly. I have to admit that there are segments of the book, which are really hard to digest and absorb. There are images that stick to your mind and your spirit like sun to the ground, they might leave you for a while but you know that once inserted they will always comeback to hunt you and will never leave you, not really.
(...)The book reveals the treatment that Mayas, and Indians in general have had to endure for so many years. Seclusion, rejection, discrimination, assassination, and many, many worse things that make your heart shatter. While reading this book you can help but think how humans are capable of doing so many atrocities to fellow members of their species without discriminating if they are men, women or children. It is something barbaric that in a nation like the U.S. seems to be like a Mel Gibson film, something unreal that during our lifetime should not be happening but, that unfortunately it is and with more frequency that it should ever be. Rigoberta accomplishes to tell the reader about the importance of community and respect towards any person. She establishes importance of unity that should be contemplated as something precious among human beings because that is the only way were are going to survive in this world that becomes smaller every day.

Personally, it was hard to read this book because I have fellow countrymen that are Mayan and it is really sad to acknowledge the problems they face are also happening in Mexico. Also, because I spend years studding about how magnificent and powerful their civilization used to be and how modernization is finishing with all the values and practices that made their culture one of a kind in the history of the world. I'll be the first to tell you that modernization is essential for the development of the world, without it we could not survive in this fast growing world, but it is truly a shame that we have to take advantage of people that all they desire is to maintain an style of life that doesn't require technology to be self-sufficient. This is what I am against of, taking advantage of people because we can.

This world needs more compassion and understanding. Until the day we realize that we are doomed to keep making mistake like creating conflicts with people we believe to be "uncivilized" when perhaps they are the rational side of the story. In my point of view, Rigoberta's message is that of -life and freedom for all- I think that is all she wants for her fellow Mayan brothers and sisters to be allowed to live a simple life where their custom will be protected and where their freedom will be left alone with nature. It seems to me that all they ask for is to be allowed to unite with nature in the future like they did in the past. Now, is that too much to ask?

4-0 out of 5 stars a story of survival
Take a whole community of people, stick them in the middle of nowhere and take away almost everything that they've been using to survive for the past hundred years. Take away their land and their way of life. Separate them and divide them against each other. Make them suffer to keep themselves and their family from dying. Will they make it? Some will, and the rest do not have a million dollar prize waiting for them when they've died trying to survive. This is not a reality show; this is simply reality, Rigoberta Menchú's reality.
If there was ever a story that needed to be told, this is it. I, Rigoberta Menchú will declare most of our modern problems, whether it is with our family or friends, bosses or co-workers or anyone and anything else that is complicating our lives, null and void. This novel gives new meaning to the word survival.
This book should affect everyone who reads it because it is not a recollection of history that happened a long time ago. This book was written in the nineteen eighties, not the eighteen eighties. The atrocities that took place all happened in most of our generation. It is real, and though it isn't happening in our home. It's close enough.

Rigoberta Menchú told her story when she was twenty-three years old. She starts off by explaining the traditions of her people, the Mayan Indians. She explains all their rituals, and the significance of each and every one of them. The background given was important to understanding why holding on to their culture was such an important part of life for them. There was not one ritual that I can remember that did not have an explanation. The bottom line was that her people based their lives on those who were before them. They strived to live the way their ancestors did, and when the Spaniards took over Guatemala, everything changed, and holding on to their way of life became a struggle. Even when Spain was done with Guatemala, their presence had a lasting effect on the Indian people. Their land was taken away, and they were forced to work for ghastly wages under inhumane conditions. They could no longer live as a community because all of a sudden they had to pay for things that the community used to provide, but could no longer afford to. Some of the Indian people turned their backs on their community to join the remaining Spaniards and others who were in control. These conditions caused a lot of death and trauma to the Indian communities and this story tells the world about all the atrocities that were committed, and how Rigoberta and her family helped her community, and eventually others, fight for their right to live.
It is inspirational to read about all the risks that were taken, with no regard to their own lives, in order to change the conditions they were living in. Rigoberta Menchú and her family saved peoples lives. They educated Indians on how to defend themselves, and keep from getting killed. They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, Rigoberta Menchú got entire communities going in the right direction to make changes that would better their lives.
There is no way that I could relate to her situation. No one I know could have been strong enough to live under the conditions that they did. They knew they were destined to work hard and get nothing in return from the day they were born. They did not sit and complain and ask the government for help, because it wasn't there. They sucked it up and worked their hardest every single day they were alive. Admirable is not strong enough a word to describe their survival.
I cannot end this review without mentioning that there has been some controversy about this novel and I will not say what it is. If you really want to know, you can find out for yourself. And when you do, put yourself in Rigoberta's shoes and see if you are a strong enough person to do what she did. I know that I am not, so I cannot point any fingers, can you?

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful*
I, Rigoberta Menchu is a powerful depiction of the life Rigoberta has faced in Guatemala. Part of its strength comes from the way it is written. The basis for the book comes from a series of interviews conducted by anthropologist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray. These interviews were taped, transcribed, and organized. Consequently, the book reads as if Rigoberta Menchu is talking directly to the audience. The book also contains several explanations and examples of her culture. For that reason alone it is a good book, but there is so much more to it. In addition, we see how the Indians in Guatemala were oppressed, but more importantly, Rigoberta Menchu offers the "Why?" For example, Indians are discriminated against because they sleep in the same clothes they work in. However, she points out how there is no choice in the matter. Everyone has to wake up before sunrise and work into the night just to earn the little they are paid. Just as she had to break through the barriers to unite the different tribes of Guatemala, so does the book fight to break down stereotypes and misconceptions.
This book will definitely trigger some kind of response. Perhaps the hardships and oppression her family faced will evoke sympathy or pain or disbelief. For example, when the workers were able to get their wages increased, the landowners turn around and increase penalties, some monetary, for unsatisfactory work, which more than exceed the raise allotted to them. The book gives a voice and a rare look at the world through the eyes of the oppressed.
However, the book does have its controversies. That is why I included the asterisk in the review title. The accusation is that portions of the book, or maybe even the whole, have been fabricated. However, there must be some truth to the story. All biographies or autobiographies contain some embellishments. Therefore, the disconnect between the events in the story and evidence in real life should not destroy quality of the book. Rigoberta Menchu did not win the Nobel Prize for Literature, but her ideals and actions more than warrant recognition as a fighter for peace and justice.
As stated before, there must be some truth to the book. There was a repression in Guatemala and several of her family members, including her parents, are dead directly or indirectly because of it. ... Read more


87. Against the Odds: Riding for My Life
by JerryBailey
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152733
Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 5374
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A remarkable narrative of failure and redemption, the fiercely candid autobiography of the world's greatest jockey, depicting not only the intenseinside story of professional racing but his greatest victory of all-against himself.

I had hit bottom. My descent into alcoholism had been slow, but now I was lying at the bottom of the ocean, searching for a ray of light. I needed to breathe again. I needed to live again. . . . It was up to me.

He is considered the leading rider of his era, one of the greatest jockeys ever to break from the starting gate. He has won every major race there is, and then won it again; set earnings and stakes records; and entered the Racing Hall of Fame. But none of it was possible until he defeated his demons.

Astonishingly frank and vividly detailed, Against the Odds chronicles the making of both a man and a champion: the years of drinking, cruelty, anger, despair; the moment of truth, with the help of his wife, Suzee; the dramatic rise to the top. It takes us into the racing world as only someone who has lived it can-the joys and dangers, the adrenaline highs and controversies, from the stables to the stretch drive. It is a new classic of the literature.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars No Formula Here
This isn't the story of a great jockey. That would be pretty formula. This is the story of a jockey who somehow beat the odds to achieve greatness. That's what makes it a great book. Somewhat like "My Fractured Life", "It's Not About the Bike" and "The Secret Life of Bees", this is an amazing story that celebrates the flawed heroes among us and takes the reader's emotions for a ride that few have experienced and you can't help celebrating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great to the Finish
There are two books that I had been hearing a lot about and so I ordered them. One of those books was Against the Odds by Jerry Bailey. The other book was My Fractured Life by Rikki Lee Travolta. Of the two, My Fractured Life immediately jumped to the lead in the race of favorites. Against the Odds is a strong contender in its own right though and ran a strong second. It has strength of spirit and courage over addiction that makes it lift off the page. It was a nice Perfecta of weekend reading. Other recent considerations included Simon Lazarus, Nightmares Echo, Mermaid Chair, The Glass Castle, and Smashed. ... Read more


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

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

Reviews (4)

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

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

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

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


89. Bruchko
by Bruce Olson
list price: $9.99
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884191338
Catlog: Book (1977-06-01)
Publisher: Creation House
Sales Rank: 13268
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Lesson in Learning to Trust and Serve God
I couldn't put this book down; finished it in one night. The most amazing part is that it's TRUE! The man who this story is about is still alive and still an example to the rest of us of what a true, servant of God can accomplish when he takes his own wishes out of the picture and follows the voice of our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ. My faith is stronger having read this book, perhaps yours will be too. God bless you as you seek the God of the Universe who Bruce Olson serves; three in one, God the Father, Jesus Christ the son and the Holy Spirit the Comforter

5-0 out of 5 stars the most unbelievable part is it's true
I whole heartedly agree with the other reviews. As the one person said- WARNING ONCE YOU START READING THIS YOU WON'T STOP! It was absolutely the best adventure story I have read in a long, long time. . . . and it is true! You will learn how God called author Bruce Olson to fulfill the Great Commission and when God leads Bruce's path there are great rewards and when he tried to implement his own plan (against God's clear direction) there is trouble. This is a story of the most amazing miracle that happened over a 20 year period. PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND PURCHASE THIS BOOK AND READ IT - YOU WILL BE BLESSED!

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible what one man can do in the Will of God
Bruce Olson was a 19 year old when he followed God's will for him to bring the Gospel to South American natives. Not knowing a word of Spanish, or any Indian languages, not having a missionary board, or any other missionaries to welcome him, not having a friend in all of South America (except for Jesus Christ), he walked off an airplane in Venuzuela, and eventually found himself injured and left to die inside a hut of the Motilone tribe, a group of natives so fierce that even the neighboring tribes refused to approach their territory and guided Bruce only so far, disappearing at the first sign of a Motilone.

How Bruce survives, and reaches these people and how Jesus transforms them is an exciting and enthralling true story that is miraculous, humbling, and glorious. You won't be able to put this book down until you reach the end, and you'll wish for a sequel, as Bruce is alive and well today and still touching folks with the Gospel and transforming power of Jesus Christ

5-0 out of 5 stars the most unbelievable part is it's true
I whole heartedly agree with the other reviews. As the one person said- WARNING ONCE YOU START READING THIS YOU WON'T STOP! It was absolutely the best adventure story I have read in a long, long time. . . . and it is true! You will learn how God called author Bruce Olson to fulfill the Great Commission and when God leads Bruce's path there are great rewards and when he tried to implement his own plan (against God's clear direction) there is trouble. This is a story of the most amazing miracle that happened over a 20 year period. PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND PURCHASE THIS BOOK AND READ IT - YOU WILL BE BLESSED!

5-0 out of 5 stars a must read for everyone !!!
This book is amazing !!! It tells a story of a 19 year old American - his capture by the Motilone indians and his adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age tribe ... Read more


90. The Moon's a Balloon
by David Niven
list price: $34.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440158060
Catlog: Book (1983-12-01)
Publisher: Dell Pub Co
Sales Rank: 234372
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Touching Personal Memoir
This is the personal history of one of those amazing 20th century lives. Made better when read by the author. (For all the Hollywood dirt you've got to hear "Bring On The Empty Horses!")

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have had the pleasure to read
Prior to reading this book, my only knowledge of David Niven was as an actor in a few films I had seen. 'The Moon's A Balloon' was recommended to the highest level by an old aunt, and I must do likewise to anyone who enjoys superb writing, hugely entertaining and humorous stories, and dry wit of the highest calibre. David's writings are wonderfully descriptive and tinged in places with tragedy lest we forget he was apportioned his share. He led a most extraordinary life, met some of the most famous people from royalty to screen stars, and after reading his memoirs I defy anyone not to be endeared to the man. The book was no doubt initially made popular by David's popularity as an actor, but I guarantee that people who are not acquainted with him will enjoy his memoirs as much as those who are. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, nor adequately elucidate my surprise that it is no longer in print. After reading it I believe you will concur that the world lost a very unique person when David died in 1983. Please do yourself a favour and read this book, you will love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging read
This is one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. The stories are hilarious and moving in turn. I never appreciated David Niven much as an actor, but his writing is first-rate.

My idea of heaven includes David Niven at the dinner table. I can't wait to read his other books!

5-0 out of 5 stars WITTY AND A TREAT TO READ
I am still reading this book and find it to be very descriptive of his early life and so many sad and funny stories. Never knew David Niven was so witty, but he really comes out with some "lulu's" in describing situations he found himself in. Buy it, you'll like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars David Niven don't be dead!
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend when I didn't really know who David Niven was apart from that he was some old actor. The best recomendation that I can give is that while reading the book I started to love David Niven. After I'd read it I decided to write him a letter, but then I thought of the possibility that he might be dead! I immediately searched the internet and found out that he died 10 years ago. I was completely devestated, but have managed to get on with my life since. READ THIS BOOK. David Niven deserves to be remembered. What I want to see is the legendary Michael Parkinson interview from which a doctor contacted Niven to tell him he had a motor neuron disease. If anyone can tell me where I can get hold of it please let me know! ... Read more


91. Autobiography of Malcolm X
by MALCOLM X
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345350685
Catlog: Book (1987-10-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 4112
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Malcolm X's searing memoir belongs on the small shelf of great autobiographies. The reasons are many: the blistering honesty with which he recounts his transformation from a bitter, self-destructive petty criminal into an articulate political activist, the continued relevance of his militant analysis of white racism, and his emphasis on self-respect and self-help for African Americans. And there's the vividness with which he depicts black popular culture--try as he might to criticize those lindy hops at Boston's Roseland dance hall from the perspective of his Muslim faith, he can't help but make them sound pretty wonderful. These are but a few examples. The Autobiography of Malcolm X limns an archetypal journey from ignorance and despair to knowledge and spiritual awakening. When Malcolm tells coauthor Alex Haley, "People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book," he voices the central belief underpinning every attempt to set down a personal story as an example for others. Although many believe his ethic was directly opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.'s during the civil rights struggle of the '60s, the two were not so different. Malcolm may have displayed a most un-Christian distaste for loving his enemies, but he understood with King that love of God and love of self are the necessary first steps on the road to freedom. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (214)

5-0 out of 5 stars Forget all the Minuses About the Man
Growing up in a home where Martin Luther King, Jr. was considered the closest thing to a saint, I was not aware of much about Malcolm X. He was the ONE who was too radical, too opinionated, and too controversial for my parents to accept.

However, when I saw Spike Lee's masterful motion picture autobiography, I had to find out more about this man. I was led to read the life story in his own words and am I glad that I did.

Malcolm X was an individual who encompassed the rage and the determination of the black man of the 1960's. He began, as have so many struggling to survive in the inner city, as a hustler involved in the numbers game. This led to an incareration which brought him into the "light" of Islam.

His views changed and he spearheaded much of that movement designed to faciliate black economic survival and pride. He was misquoted, misunderstood, and underappreciated by the very people that he sought to uplift.

The book will bring the reader greater insight into this most complex human being. Previous biases about him should be placed aside and take him for what he was: a Black man with a mission, a mission to instill integrity and self-sufficiency in a people long denied many of America's basic principles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do NOT underestimate X
Knowing Malcolm X for a colored person is a prerequisite to being socially aware. Time Magazine calls this one of the top ten non-fictions ever. The reasons are clear. This is the most comprehensive, dauntingly honest, transcending account of X. No one energized the colored community with such "self respect" on a mass-level as Brother Malcolm. Malcolm X's charismatic influence as a genuinely intellectual, and intensely thought-provoking leader remains unmatched. The greatest aspect of Malcolm X was his committment to his very own thoughts and thus, speaking his mind. He didn't necessarily say what America's majority wanted to hear. That is why he was so phenomenal, so radical, so involving. His teachings on self-defense, "freedom by any means necessary", true Islam (after the Mecca trip); his urgency in creating forums for colored people, oppressed people world-wide; and his logical prioritizing of human rights before civil rights, are evidential of his deep/complex understanding of race and human nature. The latest version of the book includes a very special message by X's eldest daughter, A. Shabazz. She gives a personal insight into her father's life, goals, and philosophies. But most importantly, she clarifies the misconceptions surrounding X. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" is top-notch. Frantz Fanon's scholarly writing, "The Wretched of the Earth" probably comes second.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is incredible.
I have only one thing to say about this book: Wow, what an amazing life-story. Anyone who reads this book will be changed in some way. Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A story about the life a great man and his important life.
a very interesting story about a man's life. The book is written beautifully by Alex Haley as he tells about malcolm's life which is educational and inspiring. This is a recommeded read for people of all races. you will never regret spending money and time on this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars English 230
So... did these Chicago students have to submit their book reviews to amazon.com as one of their class requirements, or what? ... Read more


92. The Language of Baklava : A Memoir
by DIANA ABU-JABER
list price: $23.00
our price: $16.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375423044
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 174609
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93. Kiss Me Like a Stranger : My Search for Love and Art
by Gene Wilder
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
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


94. Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow
list price: $26.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143034758
Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 11047
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades," now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.

An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington's aide-de-camp, a member of the Constitutional Convention, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, leader of the Federalist party, and the country's first Treasury secretary. With masterful storytelling skills, Chernow presents the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his illicit romances; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.

For the first time, Chernow captures the personal life of this handsome, witty, and perennially controversial genius and explores his poignant relations with his wife Eliza, their eight children, and numberless friends. This engrossing narrative will dispel forever the stereotype of the Founding Fathers as wooden figures and show that, for all their greatness, they were fiery, passionate, often flawed human beings.

Alexander Hamilton was one of the seminal figures in our history. His richly dramatic saga, rendered in Chernow's vivid prose, is nothing less than a riveting account of America's founding, from the Revolutionary War to the rise of the first federal government.
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Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of American History's Shining Stars
There have NOT been enough biographies of Alexander Hamilton, and Ron Chernow has restored this often maligned founding father into his deserved spotlight. The marvelous opening passage describes the longings of Hamilton's widow, Elizabeth, for her husband who had died nearly 50 years previously. This romantic image sets the tone for this brilliant book, as it explores the heart as well as the mind of Alexander Hamilton.

For those who do not know, Hamilton was not merely a capitalist and economist who happened to die in a duel with Aaron Burr. True, he was the founder of The Bank of New York and was America's first Secretary of the Treasury. But Hamilton was also a tireless abolitionist, a brilliant lawyer and writer, General Washington's right-hand-man, a war hero, founder of the New York Post, and a swash-buckling romantic. Taken on their own, these achievements are amazing enough, but given the enormous obstacles and tragedies he had to overcome during his youth, it's just mindboggling. To take it a step further, he accomplished all this in just 49 years, which was his age at the time of his death.

A life as full, as dramatic, as IMPORTANT as Alexander Hamilton's deserves volumes. Ron Chernow's extensive biography is a long book but, even so, the amazing life he is describing requires such length. And, to Chernow's credit, the book achieves just the right balance of admiration and criticism, romanticism and realism, speculation and fact. Hamilton's life swung between often contradictory ideas and emotions, and Chernow presents them all to us, rather than sticking with one overriding image. ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow is perhaps the most important book written about the nascent years of our country since Ellis' FOUNDING BROTHERS, which would make an excellent companion to this book. I would also strongly recommend McCullough's JOHN ADAMS, as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Important American Figure Never to Become President
During the 1980s, during the period when Bank of New York launched its hostile take-over of Irving Bank, the following anecdote circulated.

As Alexander Hamilton was getting into the boat to be rowed across the Hudson River to Weehawken where he was scheduled to duel Aaron Burr, he turned to his aide and said, "Don't do anything until I return."

The story concluded, unfortunately, the aide and all of his successors took Hamilton at his word.

The anecdote, though funny at the time of the take-over, could not have a weaker historical foundation. Ron Chernow's biography relates the details of an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan who rose to become George Washington's key aide-de-camp, battlefield hero, Constitutional Convention delegate, co-author of The Federalist Papers, Federalist Party head and the country's first Treasury Secretary.

Hamilton was a rare revolutionary: fearless warrior, master administrator and blazing administrator. No other moment in American history could have better employed Hamilton's abundant talents and energy.

As Treasury Secretary, the country benefited from his abilities as a thinker, doer, skilled executive and political theorist. He was a system builder who devised and implemented interrelated policies.

As in the Revolution, Hamilton and Washington complemented each other. Washington wanted to remain above the partisan fray. He was gifted with superb judgment. When presented with options, he almost always made the correct choice. His detached style left room for assertiveness. Especially in financial matters, Hamilton stepped into the breach.
Washington was sensitive to criticism, yet learned to control his emotions. Hamilton, on the other hand, was often acted without tact and was naturally provocative.

Perhaps the main reason Hamilton accomplished so much was Washington agreed with his vision of 13 colonies welded into a single, respected nation. Chernow presents a well-written and nuanced portrait that arguably is the most important figure in American history that never attained the presidency. Though his foreign birth denied him the ultimate prize, his accomplishments produced a far more lasting impact than many who claimed it.

5-0 out of 5 stars True Founding Interests
The best all around depiction of a pivotal charecter in the founding of our country. With all of Mr Hamiltons accomplishments and pitfalls of character. Hamilton created almost single-handedly the modern capitalist society in addition to making huge implications into the manner which our government took shape that so many Americans take for granted. I would encourage anyone interested in the formation of the American experiment and a capitalist society read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Phenomenal Life
After Ronald Reagan died, I recall a TV commentator saying that there was a movement to replace Hamilton with Reagan on the $10 bill. Paraphrasing, "Hamilton was an easy target because he lacks a 'constituency'". Chernow's outstanding biography not only demonstrates why Hamilton is on the bill, but that his constituency should be all Americans. Of the "Founding Fathers", it is Hamilton who, if he could come back today, would be generally pleased at the United States he would find; his vision of capitalism, free markets and a central government has come to fruition.

The book details his youth growing up in the West Indies of questionable legitimacy, emigrating to the "Colonies", receiving an education, serving on Washington's staff in the Revolutionary War, his authorship of the Federalist Papers, his role in the Constitutional Convention, first Secretary of the Treasury, prolific writer, lawyer. His was a truly a phenomenal life. Chernow remarks that "No immigrant did more for the United States than Hamilton." After completing this book you can't help but "second" that statement.

The book paints vivid portraits of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Burr as well as the political climate. The role of his family and particularly his wife are well chronicled along with his faults. This book adds to the number of outstanding biographies that are being written about this period of our history. Back to Reagan, who quoted Hamilton on numerous occasions, I think if he had a say in who should be on the Ten, he like me would vote for Hamilton.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This is the best biography I have read in years. After the wonderful biographies out recently about Franklin and Adams, it was a thrill to learn about Alexander Hamilton, who has been so maligned and sidestepped by history. Buy this book. It is beautifully written, will hold your interest, and you will come away--as I did--with a new take on the founding of this country. ... Read more


95. Buffett : The Making of an American Capitalist
by ROGER LOWENSTEIN
list price: $18.95
our price: $13.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385484917
Catlog: Book (1996-08-18)
Publisher: Main Street Books
Sales Rank: 3760
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An intimate portrait of Warren Buffet, the world's richest man. With unprecedented access, Roger Lowenstein provides the definitive, inside account of the "Oracle of Omaha, " a true American original. 2 cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing American capitalist with principles.
The amazing securities investment analyst Warren Buffett is the focus of this near hagiographic biography that is filled with details about the life of an American capitalist that rivals the likes of Carnegie, Ford, or Morgan. Lowenstein has done a remarkable job in telling the financial story of Buffett's rise to securities fame, although not as much about his actual strategy (that's another story). The early years depict a precocious child adept at numbers in a household rich with a domineering mother and business-minded father. Buffett's early investments, his famous relationship with Katherine Graham of The Washington Post, his role in the Capital Cities purchase of ABC, his rescue of the Solomon Brothers, and his unique personal relationship with his wife all make for a highly interesting, fascinating tale, sure to be a hit in schools of business. Buffett's securities firm stock value has ranged from a meager $7, to an estimated 1994 value of over $20,000 per share, evidence enough of the sagacious leadership of this preeminent securities specialist. During the reckless '80s, Buffett's principle-centered approach to building value never wavered, thus solidifying his fame. James Lurie's powerful reading is dead on, evoking the power of this man's singular character. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proof that a book about investing can also be interesting
I picked up Roger Lowenstein's book because I had enjoyed his column in the Wall Street Journal. In a nutshell, he and Mr. Buffett explain the differences between investing and speculation. Purchasing a stock based on a cold-blooded assessment of its VALUE is investment; buying a stock based on guesses about the general market, the economy, the mood of the public or other factors that are inherently unknowable is speculation. Unfortunately, that distinction has largely been lost on the frenzied day-traders, the purchasers of Internet stocks and the legion of "expert" market prognosticators who ought to know better. If you are interested in investing successfully for the long term, you should read this book. Apart from all that, Lowenstein also gives us a highly readable story of Warren Buffett the person, and I came away with a strong sense of Mr. Buffett's personal integrity and intellectual discipline. (In a curious way, though, the laser-like focus and icy rationality that have made Buffett so successful as an investor have apparently made him less successful as a father and husband. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.) The book is worth reading simply for what it has to say about this remarkable man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Buffett Book Ever
I've read a lot of books about Warren Buffett and this is by far my favorite. If you have to read only one, read this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading
I found that I knew so little about Warren Buffett, and this gave me a wealth of knowledge. Unfortunately, the book was written before the tech boom and subsequent collapse. Therefore, you do not get a sense of what he did during that time of hysteria, but prior to that it gives an insight that most authors aren't capable of relaying.

5-0 out of 5 stars How Buffett Thinks
This book helps you understand how one of the greatest business thinkers of all time got that way. (How would Buffett approach a paper route as a boy, for example?) If you are interested in getting inside his head, this book is a good way to start. ... Read more


96. Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life
by Michael Lewis
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393060918
Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 114
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A story with a big heart about a boy, a coach, the game of baseball, and the game of life.

"There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child's mind; it's as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever."

There was a turning point in Michael Lewis's life, in a baseball game when he was fourteen years old. The irascible and often terrifying Coach Fitz put the ball in his hand with the game on the line and managed to convey such confident trust in Lewis's ability that the boy had no choice but to live up to it. "I didn't have words for it then, but I do now: I am about to show the world, and myself, what I can do."

The coach's message was not simply about winning but about self-respect, sacrifice, courage, and endurance. In some ways, and now thirty years later, Lewis still finds himself trying to measure up to what Coach Fitz expected of him. 14 illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars For Parents, Athletes and Coaches...(In That Order!)
Having previously read Moneyball, I was keenly interested in Michael Lewis' tribute to his high school baseball coach.He did not disappoint.It is a brief, almost essay-like book that gives us snapshots of his coach and himself that reveal worlds about life, coaches, athletes, parents and rising to meet the challenge.

He contrasts very effectively the experience he had with the experience of present-day players, and sets the coach and his ways in graphic relief against both. His admiration for his coach comes through the telling of the story, and not through a simple list of his accomplishments.

The book does give important lessons on the game of life, thus fulfilling the promise of its' title.

One of the book's strengths is also a weakness.It is too brief!This will make it more easily accessible for many, but this reader was left wishing for more...but isn't that the grand goal of most good authors?Michael Lewis has given us another gem.

Highly recommended for athletes, coaches, and especially parents of athletes!Read, enjoy, learn...

5-0 out of 5 stars I had a high school basketball coach just like Coach Fitz
If you are a parent and are wondering if you're kids are going to grow up to be happy, but aren't sure if you're doing the right things for them, read this book.Coach Fitz is much in the same vein as Herb Brooks, the legendary Minnesota Hockey Coach - if you've seen the movice Miracle - I've lived through a wind sprint marathon myself when I played High School basketball.I can tell you unequivocally that this type of insistent compassion is rare but absolutely essential for people to learn to deal with pain.I have seen this type of leadership in the organization where I work as well, and can tell you it makes all the difference in how well an organization performs.

5-0 out of 5 stars I know the coach
I have recently began to train with Coach Fitz. Yes he is intimidating but i dont see why the parents would be mad at him. I understand why he pushes his players. His ace pitcher this year has already signed with Stanford but will probably go high in the draft. His pitcher wouldnt be what he is today if it wasn't for Coach Fitz. I am goin to pick up my copy of this book as soon as I can.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Author Michael Lewis does a great job showing how perseverence and determination leads to success. With illustrations and an easy to read approach, this book conveys a message of hope and stresses the importance of one's formative years. Highly recommend. ... Read more


97. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
by Anne Lamott
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044990928X
Catlog: Book (1994-04-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 3765
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The most honest, wildly enjoyable book written about motherhood is surely Anne Lamott's account of her son Sam's first year. A gifted writer and teacher, Lamott (Crooked Little Heart) is a single mother and ex-alcoholic with a pleasingly warped social circle and a remarkably tolerant religion to lean on. She responds to the changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with aplomb or outright insanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably poignant when Sam's burgeoning life is played out against a very close friend's illness. No saccharine paean to becoming a parent, this touches on the rage and befuddlement that dog sweeter emotions during this sea change in one's life. ... Read more

Reviews (110)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book!
My partner bought this book for me just days before our son was born. I read it during the idyllic yet anxious days following his birth. I admit that although I had heard of Anne Lamott, I had never read any of her work. I soon found that I'd been missing out! I am totally in awe of her writing ability and her unflinching honesty about the joys and difficulties of being a new parent. Another reviewer called her writing "self absorbed," but I would strongly disagree with that judgment. I believe it is a gift to know yourself as well as Anne Lamott obviously knows herself. It takes a great deal of courage to bare your soul to the world without fear or embarrassment as Ms. Lamott does in this book. If more people approached life with this kind of self-knowledge and honesty, I think we would all be a lot happier with each other and ourselves. This is a beautiful book, not just for new parents but for all parents. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than all my girlfriends put together
My mother and my best friend each gave me a copy of this book a week after my daughter was born. I read it as I nursed, savoring each section and not wanting it to end. Since none of my girlfriends were mothers, I felt entirely alone in the world except for Anne Lamott; I depended on her to voice my rage, joy, fear, and love. I wished to God that I'd had a support system like she had. I'll never forget driving to the store a week after my daughter was born; in about 20 minutes, the "jungle drums" that Anne wrote about began pounding in my brain -- gotta get home!!! It was so fresh and real and clear, and helped get me through the most difficult period of my life. Thank you, Anne, from the bottom of my heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written -- a fun quick read
I enjoyed this book much more than the "Girlfriend's Guide". It's funnier and more intelligently written. The book is a journal of the author's first year as a single parent. The book focuses on the insanity and joy of that year and includes some of the best descriptions ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Five Star Mother
I absolutely loved this book!! It was so sweet, and yet so honest that you almost felt like you were going through the first year of motherhood with the author. Sam is a lucky little boy to have Anne for a mommy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For New Moms
A friend sent me this book when I was pregnant, but I didn't get around to reading it until after my son was born. I have savored each and every little bit of reading I've been able to fit in between feedings and sleeping. I am sad that I've finished it, so I've started reading it again! Like most new moms, it's nice to get reassurance that you're not the only one feeling like you're losing your marbles. It's also nice to know we are having the same thoughts. I pray every night that the universe takes care of my son. I'm frightened to death some stupid teenager is going to run him over, I'm frightened of all of the things I have no control over. Anne has a way of taking all of the fears and spinning them with such wit and humor, I found myself laughing at the absurdity of it all! This book has helped me cope with those dark fears. ... Read more


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

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

Reviews (540)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Laffar-Smith

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

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

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


99. Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer
by TRACY KIDDER
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375506160
Catlog: Book (2003-09-09)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 1908
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town. He has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative.” This powerful and inspiring new book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.

Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity" - a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds with the force of a gathering revelation,” says Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Harr says, “[Farmer] wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book will change the way you see it.”
... Read more

Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars Be Careful: Makes You Think
I like Tracy Kidder, but think his writing here is weaker than it has been in other books. However, I couldn't put it down. Not just because Dr. Farmer is a compelling person. Somehow, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Dr. Farmer, the problems he's dealing with, Kidder's reaction: together, this book somehow manages to be both enjoyable and unsettling. the lyric in Jesus Christ Superstar said "there will be poor always." It's a great read -- fast, interesting, lots of human interest -- but the bottom line is that this book forces the reader to try to reason through what's the right approach to inequity, what's our duty to the poor, how can national borders matter in the face of suffering. Very inspiring to learn about Dr. Farmer's successes; can't stop thinking about what my OWN sense of the issues are. One thing's for sure: while I may not agree 100% with Farmer's approach as a model for everyone to follow, there's no question he's made complacency less of an option I can live with. I highly recommend this book for anyone who cares about issues of human suffering, poverty, health, philanthropy, international relations, race relations, leadership.

5-0 out of 5 stars I nominate Paul Farmer for sainthood
Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder tells us about Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious disease specialist who has been working in Haiti since 1982. Farmer founded an apolitical organization that's the only source of medical care for hundreds of thousands of peasants. For his Herculean efforts, in 1993 he received a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation - and of course he plowed the money right back into his organization.
That Farmer has chosen this path is not so surprising when one considers his unconventional childhood, which included living on a leaky boat and in a bus. As a scholarship student at Duke (anthropology major), he worked in the NC tobacco fields with Haitians. After graduation, he spent a year in Haiti and then went to Harvard Medical School. He's married and has a child, but he sees them infrequently; he rarely sleeps, is a workaholic (duh!), and seems to inspire an uncommon degree of devotion among his coworkers and his patients.
Buy this book, and be aware that part of your money will doubtless find its way back to Haiti. Then send an additional donation to Partners in Health.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's all true-Paul Farmer is the real thing
The book was great. Tracy Kidder writes the truth and his wanting to write about Paul Farmer shows his insight, his awareness. I know Paul Farmer and what Kidder has written in this book is all true. The beauty of Paul's life, person and mission aside-he has the ability to inspire people, to bring the best out in people. Even if he meets them only once-as he did me. The fact that Kidder wrote this book will multiply that effect to thousands more people. The strong reactions that Paul's life and work has on people shows how many of us share his love for humanity, and his story wakens what is inside us. Not everyone has the god-given gifts of Paul Farmer but many relate to his heart and spirit. I like the idea that he is a professor. I know before I met up with him I was doing nothing in my field and after just a few words with him, I managed to accomplish a few steps toward human rights advances for women. He is someone who is almost christ-like in this way and no wonder Tom White and others wrote checks and made the commitment to the poor. I cannot say enough good things about this man, and his flaws-his humanity- just make him closer to all of us. His academic work reminds me sometimes of the great writer Ben Okri-the notion of innocents caught up in difficult and wicked worlds a recurring theme in his work. Paul loves and puts that love into transcendant forms -spirit transformed into concrete results. People wonder why his beautiful wife and child are not mentioned in the book. They are, and the story told is quite enough. Nabokov never wanted anyone writing about his wife either. Why do people need to hear this detail-its already admitted by Kidder, by Paul Farmer himself that he is human, no more, with flaws, with limits despite no sleep etc., he is a workaholic and yeah that is a problem. We know that it is Tom White's money that gave credibility to Paul at a place like Harvard-but Paul proved Tom right. He is real and that is the hope of his story-if he can do what he dreams and knows is right, in spite of his shortcomings, human limitations, it gives fuel to the rest of us. He reminds me of a kindred spirit, Jonathan Mann, MD, also a very approachable, compassionate man, who could inspire people to access the best in themselves and move mountains. There are many people like Paul who do the work he loves in obscurity. We never hear about them or meet them so we lose the gift of thier inspiration. Paul in being public, writing and extending himself out there gives us a view of that world. The book is marvellous and the best part about it is that it is true story!

4-0 out of 5 stars The man who walks the walk.
You may think he is crazy, or a commie, or a dreamer but you have to admire Paul Farmer. I think most likely he is a truly good genius. Alot of WLs (white liberals) talk the talk but his guy walks the walk, about a million miles of it. He is sort of a Mother Theresa + doctor + scientist. Sure he may come off as abrupt or self righteous from time to time but I believe this guy really does care for the downtrodden of the world. If you were inspired by this book as I was consider making a donation to his organization, Partners in Health, which is what I did as soon as I read the last page.
The book itself is somewhat superficial in it's analysis of Farmer. I am concerned about his family, for instance, and his daughter having a long distance dad. I'm not sure how he reconciles this. I guess Gandhi had the same issue. I think Kidder did an OK job though and I would not fault him for his introspection as other reviewers have.
All in all a solid uplifting book that makes you feel good about mankind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patria Es Humanidad--the only real nation is humanity
This is Tracy Kidder's chronicle of Paul Farmer's ongoing quest to wake our consciousness to the plagues coming out of third world poverty and to shake us into recognizing the suffering of our fellow humans around the globe. Paul Farmer is a super-hero on the front lines of infectious disease, attacking drug-resistant TB in Haiti, Peru and the prisons of Russia. His global fight for funding for AIDS and TB treatment has gained his organization Partners in Health huge grants from the MacArthur, Gates and Soros foundations. Farmer backs down from no obstacles in his quest to bring health care, one patient at a time, to the poorest and most down-trodden patients on earth.
A natural leader, his influence has drawn nations together in
their fight against poverty, hunger and disease. This is the most important story Tracy Kidder has told. Farmer's constant questioning of why some individuals need so much wealth, when most of the world goes hungry, is not an easy thing to take.
Should be required reading for high school seniors. ... Read more


100. Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul
by Tony Hendra
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400061849
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Random House
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

How I met Father Joe. I was fourteen and having an affair with a married woman. These are the opening lines to the first chapter of this outstanding memoir by former National Lampoon Editor Tony Hendra. How could we resist diving into this deliciously satisfying story about a lifelong mentorship with Dom Joseph Warrilow, a.k.a. Father Joe? After the devout Catholic husband catches the illicit couple in the kitchen, the husband does not attack Hendra. Instead he decides the young boy needs salvation. Amazingly, the husband leads Hendra to the one man who could save his soul: Father Joe. This is a tribute to a spiritual mentor, written in an easygoing, guy-talk style. It is no small feat to be brilliantly funny, ruthlessly honest, and spiritually profound at the same time, but Hendra has the winning combo. For more than 40 years Hendra would return to this mesmerizing old soul to tell him everything---from the details of his first sexual encounter, through questioning the social value of satire, to his crisis in faith after losing two children through miscarriages. But it's not just the North Star wisdom of Father Joe that captivates readers; it is the chance to follow Hendra as he gradually matures into a humble and spiritually solid man who can still crack a wicked good joke. Such a gift. Thank you, Tony Hendra.--Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's not "Tuesdays with Joe"
"Father Joe" is an unexpected stunner; not a "Me and My Mentor" book at all. It's a brush with greatness that wouldn't brush off. A real-life parable. An atheist's prayer.

Don't be scared off by the "Father" in the title. It doesn't mean you have to know (or care) about Catholicism or any other religion to "get" the book. Its lessons are hardly church-specific. There's even a paradoxical quote from the title guy on this point: "God loves atheists as much as believers. P-p-probably more."

Also don't be scared off by the idea of "lessons." This book preaches nothing. It discovers things -- resonant truths -- and the reader can't help but discover those truths along with the author.

If you don't laugh, cry, and learn something from "Father Joe," you're already dead.

Caveat: Have Google close at hand when you read. The author's language is clear but some of his analogies are a bit arcane. (Hendra's scholarship appears to predate his Cambridge education. His 14-year-old self, as recounted in the book, knows more than most adults I can think of.) It's hard not to be embarrassed bringing a standard American education to this party, because we are generally taught so little about literature and history.

Update June 8 -- based on feedback here, I started a Yahoo discussion group for "Father Joe" at groups.yahoo.com/group/father_joe_group

3-0 out of 5 stars Good read... but...
Father Joe is a very entertaining and wonderful story about a man who really makes a difference in people's lives. On that level it's engaging and involving, although I agree a bit with some of the other complaints I've seen that Hendra goes out of his way to insult Thatcher and Reagan, and doesn't tie those details in too well to the rest of the story.

My chief issue, though, is that nowhere do I get the impression that Hendra ever got the real message this priest should have had to offer. I don't know if it's because Father Joe didn't tell it well or because Hendra didn't hear it well. Hendra seems to be searching for a spiritual experience for it's own sake, and on that level, it's a pretty selfish quest, which migh explain why it is so disappointing. But that's just not what Christianity is about. It's about a unique individual who is both God and man and who's still alive, even though he was killed.

At one point in the book Hendra tells Father Joe that he only senses God's presence when he's with Father Joe. He should keep looking!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Uplifting
Don't get me wrong, though it is an uplifting book in many ways, you also see or should I say 'Feel' the heartbreak along the way. This is a Powerful read. There have only been a few books that have touched me so deeply-'Father Joe' is one of them, as well as 'Nightmares Echo','Running With Scissors'and 'A Million Little Pieces'

1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
This is a sad book about a very selfish person that wasted his life while inflicting much pain on others. I would have found the read more palatable if Hendra actually experienced a metanoia, but it remains clear he continues to view himself as the center of the universe. The lessons and love unconditionally offered by Fr. Joseph were ignored at best and at worst persecuted.

A couple of other points: (a) I find it impossible to believe the "recollections" are accurate as this author is prone to extreme fabrication, and (b) I found the "name dropping" to be tedious and off the mark. Silly me, I thought the book might actually be about the title - "The Man Who Saved My Soul". This one goes in the trash bin. I wish I could get my money back.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Powerful Book I have read in a Long Time
Father Joe is the story of author Tony Hendra's faith journey. It is an inspiring, heartfelt story of the four decade relationship between the satirist and a surprisingly wise Benedictine monk named Father Joseph Warrillow.

Hendra, one of the original editors of National Lampoon, captures the beautiful essence of a truly God-inspired man. The portrait that emerges is of one a cleric who is a credit to Church, a cleric who is a credit to his Christ. Father Joe is truly a saint. Hendra, in a startling departure from his normal style, portrays Father Joe's actions as non-judgmental, caring, and engaged.

This is the most powerful book I have read in a long time. If I have one criticism, it is Hendra's prodigious talent occasionally clouds this great story. I would occasionally find myself re-reading a particularly clever or unique descriptive phrase. However, you should properly view those words as the musings of a less talented, envious and jealous writer.

Father Joe is a tribute to one of the most charismatic, selfless, spiritual mentors of our time. At times it is funny; at times it will bring tears to your eyes. Tony Hendra experienced a miracle. I am grateful he shared the story with me. Read the book. You will be grateful he shared it with you. ... Read more


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