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81. Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh
$16.32 $15.46 list($24.00)
82. Cinderella Man : James J. Braddock,
83. One Lifetime Is Not Enough (Charnwood
84. Child of Happy Valley: A Memoir
$25.95 $5.45
85. Once Upon a Time : Behind the
86. The Prize Winner of Defiance,
87. Bob Hope: A Tribute (Wheeler Large
$17.13 list($25.95)
88. What Remains : A Memoir
$17.68 $4.94 list($26.00)
89. An Hour Before Daylight : Memories
$26.95 $3.99
90. Swimming Across : A Memoir
$15.37 $5.50 list($21.95)
91. Soul Survivor : How My Faith Survived
$18.33 $16.94 list($26.95)
92. The Pontiff in Winter : Triumph
93. Against All Odds: My Story (Thorndike
94. What Do You Care What Other People
$17.79 $5.35 list($26.95)
95. A Long Way from Home (Random House
96. Ring of Bright Water
$30.95 $8.95
97. Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures
$11.16 $8.70 list($13.95)
98. The Opposite of Fate: A Book of
99. Diana & Jackie: Maidens, Mothers,
$28.95 $8.99
100. Life Is So Good (Wheeler Large

81. Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh (Isis Large Print Mainstream Series)
by Alexander Walker
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1850892210
Catlog: Book (1988-11-01)
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books
Sales Rank: 682547
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars a tad disappointing
As a fan of Vivien Leigh, I was hoping for a biography that would delve more into her personal life. Instead, it dragged with pages and pages dedicated to mostly her career. However, if you can breeze through the boring parts, the rest is worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A life in turmoil
"Vivien" is proof positive that there can be a well-written, well-researched, realistic yet understanding biography of a messed-up star. This book could have been a sordid tangle of tabloid sensationalism, but Alexander Walker carefully crafts it into a tapestry.

Vivien Leigh was one of the most memorable actresses of the twentieth century, playing the headstrong Scarlett O'Hara. Yet Vivien was not as strong or indomitable as she appeared onscreen. The book starts with a poetic interlude during a peaceful time in her life, with several guests attending a dinner, then shifts back to her girlhood. Her first marriage fell as her fame rose, and she soon met the man she would fall in love with, her also-married costar Lawrence Olivier. But Vivien's life, despite her fame and idyllic life, was never a happy woman, her mental problems plaguing her to the end of her life.

Very few authors are able to strike a balance between admiration and reality; they'll either idolize the object of their biography, or pour vitriol on them. Walker does neither. While he acknowledges Vivien's faults, he also seems to care about her and her struggles. Nothing could more poignantly convey Vivien's pain than when she shrieked at a nurse, "I'm not Scarlett, I'm Blanche!" (Blanche being a character she played who went mad).

Vivien herself is a vivid presence from the first pages onward. Her struggles with mental illness are done with great delicacy, as is her relationship with Olivier. He himself is almost as strong a presence, even though he ultimately could not stay with her; another impressive real-life presence is Jack Merivale, the understanding younger man who remained with her until her untimely death. The scene where Merivale brings Olivier to his dead ex-wife's beside is another extremely effective anecdote.

The writing style is lush for a biography. Quite uniquely, there is also a lot of focus on Vivien's movies as well as her personal life, especially her dogged pursuit of roles that she desperately wanted to play. The pictures are well-suited for this book -- they're clear, elegant, well-laid out, relevant to the different parts of Vivien's life, and balanced well between her on-screen roles and her personal life. Walker keeps these pictures of her roles grounded by mentioning what was going on in Vivien's life while she filmed the movie.

Alexander Walker's biography of Vivien Leigh is a treasure for all of her fans. Without being sordid ior adoring, he creates a believable biography about a troubled, talented and passionate actress. Outstanding read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All Vivien Leigh Fans
Even though this actress is known to the world from her role as Scarlet O'Hara, many do not know the woman behind the role.This biography does an excellent job of giving her fans a chance to know who she was.I would recommend this to both Vivien Leigh fans and anyone who enjoys a good book.Her life even though not always a fairy tale, was very interesting and Alexander Walker hold the readers attention with ease.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than Scarlett
Extrordinary biography on a very interesting person. I've read many books on famous actors and this is one of my favorites.Vivien was a very driven, kind, and beautiful person that was haunted by many adversities untill her untimley death from tuberculosis.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography!
This is without a doubt the definitive biography of the gorgeous and extremely talented Vivien Leigh. This book chronicles her life and the experiences that shaped her as a person as well as an actress. This book follows Vivien from her birth in India through her passionate romance with Laurence Olivier, the stage and screen roles that made her a star, all the way to the final and turbulent years of her life. She was indeed an intelligent and strong willed woman. Alexander walker does an excellent job of presenting the life of one of the most talented and breathtaking actresses Hollywood has ever known. This book is poignant, interesting, tasteful and highly recommended! Once you start reading it, you'll have an impossible time putting it down. ... Read more

82. Cinderella Man : James J. Braddock, Max Baer and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History (Random House Large Print Biography)
by Jeremy Schaap
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375435433
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Sales Rank: 424882
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83. One Lifetime Is Not Enough (Charnwood Library)
by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Wendy Leigh
list price: $27.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0708986943
Catlog: Book (1993-03-01)
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print
Sales Rank: 766469
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars ~A BOOK ACUALLY WORTH READING~
This autobiography of Zsa Zsa Gabor is great. I never usually read books but this one I coulden't put down. It is so interesting on how her life turned out to be! She shares her deep secrets in this whole book. I dont know why anyone woulden't like this book! THIS ONE'S FOR YOU ZSA ZSA! ~Always Lorraine~

2-0 out of 5 stars "One Life" is too much
A possible rejected title for Zsa Zsa Gabor's autobiography: "All The Men I Slept With, And All The Gems They Bought Me." Gabor's biography "One Life is Not Enough" is as full of dishing as a kitchen sink, but after a while her gossipy revelations become boring instead of entertaining.

Born to a rich Hungarian family, Zsa Zsa Gabor first got married at the age of fifteen, but left her husband after the death of her lover, Turkish leader Ataturk. Eight more marriages came after that, including George Sanders, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, and Conrad Hilton (yes, from THAT Hilton family). Not to mention a small army of lovers that included Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, and more.

Gossipy memoirs are always a fun guilty pleasure, the sort of thing to tuck inside a weekly news magazine at lunch. Gabor reveals plenty of sexy details (including making out with Greta Garbo) that are above and beyond even what tabloids usually print, and she does in it a very straightforward, matter-of-fact manner.

Unfortunately, her exploits start to get annoying. The word "diamond" is used constantly (we get it, Zsa Zsa -- you love diamonds), and there is little of Gabor's life except who she slept with and why. There isn't a great deal about her daughter or family... except when ex-hubby George Sanders married her sister Magda. Some of her stories are questionable -- like Sanders wanting to watch Gabor bed a Catholic priest, or Gabor sleeping with Sinatra to make him leave her apartment. And others raise weird questions (if she's so amazingly sexy, why did her husbands keep cheating?).

Gabor gushes ad nauseam about her assorted lovers and husbands, few of which are actually around much. Initially, since her first lover was a god-king, it's an interesting tale. But when she gets to Hollywood, these guys mostly start to blur together. What's more, Gabor certainly was telling the truth when she said she liked being around men more than women -- her descriptions of women like Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and any other beautiful heterosexual actress are pretty catty, to say the least.

Zsa Zsa Gabor's autobiography starts off as a delicious gossipfest, but eventually deteriorates into a listing of the men she slept with and/or married. "One Life is Not Enough" is way more than enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's trash, but I couldn't put it down!
This is one of those books that you're embarrassed to be seen reading, buying, or checking out of the library. Zsa Zsa has written the most egotistical book I've ever read! Some of it is SO hard to believe, such as the little chapter about the priest who wanted to break his vows for one night of passion with Ms. Gabor (to make it even more incredible, her husband allegedly encouraged her to accept, telling her that it was his fantasy to see her with a priest). But this book was great entertainment, like a saucy bit out of the National Enquirer. Despite the fact that it may have lowered my IQ a few points, it was worth the hours it took to read it. Great pictures, too, of the young Zsa Zsa, who was a great beauty back in the days.

5-0 out of 5 stars A true page turner, one you pick it up, can't put it down.
In this book, Zsa Zsa gets honest about her views on life, and details that sum total of her life experiences. The book is written to a level of vivid detail which will prove to hold a reader's interest. Zsa Zsa details, her marriages, her arrest, and many others "events" that we get to know the true woman who is a legend. Excellent reading. A book of reality that borders on fantasy. ... Read more

84. Child of Happy Valley: A Memoir (Ulverscroft Nonfiction)
by Juanita Carberry, Nicola Tyrer
list price: $32.50
our price: $32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0708992552
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books
Sales Rank: 773579
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Juanita Carberry spent her childhood in the 1920's and 1930's on a beautiful Kenyan coffee farm.Brought up by her father's black servants and white governesses, much of her time was spent riding and with the tame wild animals, including chimps and cheetahs, who lived on the estate.Although her mother was killed in a flying accident when she was three, Juanita did not discover this until, when she was six, a cousin taunted her with the truth.For this was the White Mischief era, when parents were busy partying and children lived their own hidden lives.But children cannot hide forever.There was school to attend in Europe and later South Africa, a different establishment each year, where she struggled to speak English rather than Swahili. There was finishing school in Switzerland, which she attended when only twelve years old.And even in Kenya the less innocent adult life began to encroach on her African idyll.At fifteen Juanita became involved in the Lord Errol affair: she is the only person to whom Delves Broughton confessed to the murder of Lord Errol.This is Juanita's story: a colorful and passionate memoir, which reveals the darkness behind the glittering White Mischief society. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I once met Juanita Carberry, a quiet person, and this book surprised me. She and her co-writer, Nicola Tyrer, have, with beautiful writing, elevated a very good story to a near classic.

Juanita Carberry knew personally characters from "Out of Africa", "The Flame Trees of Thika", "West with the Night" and "White Mischief". She presents them in this retelling from an entirely different perspective.

There is also a disturbing underlying theme of child abuse. Two mysteries are related, one the story of a murder, the other an unusual love affair. The history of colonial life in Kenya, the drama of an excessive lifestyle in a wildly exotic country, and the pathos of a little girl acting as a companion to her debauched stepmother make riveting reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Child of Africa, no man's daughter...
This is a beautifully-told memoir of growing up in Kenya during the years of the "White Mischief" colonyof drunkards and libertines.Juanita Carberry, by some amazing piece of good fortune, retained herdignity and individuality, watching with a jaundiced eye as her nastyfather and promiscuous stepmother cavorted and stumbled around in thejungle like displaced, pampered poodles, alterntately abusing andabandoning her.

The true heroine here is Africa itself, its nurturingnative population (Ms. Carberry's spiritual friends and family) and itsnatural beauty, from amusing and engaging wildlife to exotic flora andbreathtaking views. The great gems of the book are the numerous anecdotesabout her startling encounters with animals and insects (my favorite: herpredilection for termites - as opposed to locusts).

We don't get the realgossipy "scoop" about the murder of the Earl of Errol until nearthe end of the book (she was the ultimate 'witness.' The murderer actuallyconfessed to her.However, shewas never called upon at trial because thedefense thought a child's testimony unreliable).

In the end, she defiedher inhumanly cruel parents andgoverness by becoming a world-classswimmer and Naval officer, and when her father implied that she wasn't evenhis daughter she stood up for her "true" lineage: she was aself-made woman, "Me!" she exclaims at the end, owned by no onebut herself. ... Read more

85. Once Upon a Time : Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
by J. Randy Taraborrelli
list price: $25.95
our price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446532339
Catlog: Book (2003-05)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 450280
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From master storyteller J. Randy Taraborrelli comes the powerful and moving story of one of royalty's most secretive families. Grace Kelly was swept away when the handsome Prince Rainier, a man she barely knew, asked for her hand in marriage. After a series of relationships with married co-stars, she was exhausted by the show-business lifestyle. If she married Rainier, she would be more than just a movie star, she would be Her Serene Royal Highness Princess Grace. Once in the palace, however, Grace found herself trapped in a fairy tale of her own making. Forced to make sacrifices that cut deeply into the core of who she was as a woman, she would then surrender her desires and ambitions for her spouse and her children. Grace and Rainier may have been royalty, but they were also husband and wife, and parents--and, as such, just as vulnerable to the conflicts that can contaminate any household. Drawing upon hundreds of exclusive interviews with family and friends, ONCE UPON A TIME portrays its subjects with passion and sympathy, revealing Grace, Rainier, Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie in ways both startling and compelling. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book
I couldn't wait to read this book and was not let down. What I loved is that the author didn't just copy every one else's information. If he didn't agree with what was written before, he wrote it his way. Therefore, to me, it was all fresh perspective. I loved the story of how Grace made the best of her life in Monaco, and became such a wonderful Princess even though the odds were against her. Who cares if the writer got the date of Diana's death wrong? Like that has anything to do with anything? That's a fact checker's error. This was such a good book, and so emotional. I would recommend it. If you want to know about Princess Diana and when she died there are lots of books out there that will give you all of that. But this one gives you Grace's and Rainier's story in a beautiful and wonderful way. Five stars from me, and I have read all the Grace books, too. This is the best one yet!

2-0 out of 5 stars Read this first
It's obvious Taraborrelli did some research - that is to be commended. However, if his research led to the picture that appears in this book, he never should have written it - there's not much of a story to tell. In this book, we are told Grace Kelly had almost no royal qualities. She had no heart-felt interest in charity. She was not a great parent. She had no idea what feminism was. She loathed her life throughout most of the book - whined, complained, regretted her decision to marry a Prince - thought her marriage lacked passion - on and on. We're asked to accept she won her subjects over but never given an explanation as to how. In fact, she wrote toward the end of her life that she wished a frog would turn into a prince and take her away from the miserable island she lived on. We're asked to accept she fell in love with Ranier in the beginning of her marriage, but read stories that did not support that.

The author (probably unwittingly) makes most of the men in the book accessible, reasonable, and likeable while most of the women are just the opposite. The men - Father Tucker, Prince Ranier, Prince Albert - you'll put the book down feeling warm about them. Oh, and since Prince Ranier had almost exclusive control over raising Prince Albert (and not the 2 princesses), it makes sense in this particular book that only Prince Albert turned out perfect while the two Princesses, raised almost exclusively by Grace, were complete disasters. We're asked to appreciate the "sacrifice" Grace made in giving up her acting career, yet, told that she resented her decision, never stopped trying to go back, never stopped complaining about it, etc.

By this account, Grace Kelly humiliated her husband numerous times, saying to friends and/or publicly through all the years that she regretted staying in a passionless marriage. The author never asks how Ranier (or the children) must have felt at hearing such horrible sentiments. The author actually relays these statements as though they evoke sympathy for Grace.

Next, the author makes some very odd statements. He says the death of Grace Kelly brought more collective grief of any celebrity since JFK. I guess Elvis, for example, didn't exist. Read the reviews - many people know very little about Kelly. Similarly, he says Kelly's long term impact will be greater than Princess Diana. Ha ha ha. (He must have been caught up in the moment). He also uses language sloppily - e.g. - "produced productions" - He misuses the word "ironic" in the popular way people misuse that word (that is, people who are not authors).

I kept waiting for a story worth reading. It never materialized.

2-0 out of 5 stars Lengthy Yet Lackluster
I'm one of those people who is intrigued by queens and princesses and gladly grabs up most offerings on the topic. When I first saw this book, I figured that it would contain a story as perfect as its cover. Well, not quite.

It wouldn't be fair to say that "Once Upon A Time" has no redeeming qualities. If nothing else, it seems to be the only in-print biography of Grace Kelly-which makes it somewhat valuable for anyone trying to learn about this famous lady. Also, it is written in a readable, conversational way-nothing overly "intellectual." And one certainly couldn't say that this book is completely devoid of interesting people, quotes, or happenings. The story of Grace and Ranier is definitely one that would have some fascination almost regardless of how badly it was told.

Yet as I was reading this book, I had a nagging sense that it wasn't as "unputdownable" as it should have been. I'd often feel like stopping after reading a few pages and rarely felt like I was really "getting into" the book.

Perhaps this dullness can be explained by the fact that the book was just too long. The author repeated himself frequently, seeming to resort to variations on main ideas whenever he had nothing fresh to say. (He often mentioned something similar to this throughout the first half of the book: "Although Grace was a successful career woman who seemed to have it all, she just needed her parents' approval.") Another similar problem was that the author tended to spend too much time recounting dull periods in the couple's lives. Finally, many included quotes just screamed, "That completely didn't need to be said!"

There are some enlightening passages and quotes in this book, but if you read it you'll often find the problems instead of the positives. If you're looking for a good royal biography, read "Lilibet: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II" instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars really good
This a is a very good ind interesting book on Grace Kelly's life. I think it's well written, and some great photos and the author did a good job in writing it truthfully, delicately and telling a good balence of a negative and posative

1-0 out of 5 stars Trivial stuff--DON'T BOTHER WITH THE BOOK
This was just a regirgitation of all the other drivel written about her. Author should be ashamed to take his royalty check! We all know the little stories-heck, we could have dug them up online! Not much depth here. He makes veiled comments about Kelly and her life, but only goes so far. VERY DISAPPOINTING ... Read more

86. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less (Thorndike Core)
by Terry Ryan
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783895755
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Sales Rank: 942416
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s.

Stepping back into a time when fledgling advertising agencies were active partners with consumers, and everyday people saw possibility in every coupon, Terry Ryan tells how her mother kept the family afloat by writing jingles and contest entries. Mom's winning ways defied the Church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to securing a happy home for her six sons and four daughters. Evelyn, who would surely be a Madison Avenue executive if she were working today, composed her jingles not in the boardroom, but at the ironing board.

By entering contests wherever she found them -- TV, radio, newspapers, direct-mail ads -- Evelyn Ryan was able to win every appliance her family ever owned, not to mention cars, television sets, bicycles, watches, a jukebox, and even trips to New York, Dallas, and Switzerland. But it wasn't just the winning that was miraculous; it was the timing. If a toaster died, one was sure to arrive in the mail from a forgotten contest. Days after the bank called in the second mortgage on the house, a call came from the Dr Pepper company: Evelyn was the grand-prize winner in its national contest -- and had won enough to pay the bank.

Graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. From her frenetic supermarket shopping spree -- worth $3,000 today -- to her clever entries worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, the story of this irrepressible woman whose talents reached far beyond her formidable verbal skills is told in The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will triumph over the poverty of circumstance. ... Read more

Reviews (81)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Daughter's Tribute
This was an uplifting, feel-good book. The small-town, large family setting showcased Evelyn Ryan, who never let her life get her down. She had a troubled marriage and little money, but her talent for writing jingles (and her sense of humor) pulled her through the hard times. She won hundreds of prizes (and cash too) in the days (50s and 60s) when companies used consumers to help them advertise their products. Everything from toasters and large appliances, cars, and trips were won by this indomitable and inspiring woman.

Ryan's daughter Terry writes this story with grace, admiration, humor and love for her mother. You will laugh and cry while reading this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute JOY to read!!!
This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read! It is charming, humorous and filled to the brim with inspiration! Evelyn Ryan was a homemaker during the 1950's and 60's with ten children and an alcoholic, sometimes abusive husband. She loved to write and was gifted with a marvelous talent for writing short, witty verse. Using this talent she was able to keep her large family fed and clothed over the years by entering contests of skill, which were very popular at the time. Often she would win just a dollar here and there but her winnings also included two automobiles, thousands of dollars in cash ( once a large enough sum to move her family from their two bedroom home to a much larger one) suitcases, watches, a supermarket shopping spree and the list goes on and on. Evelyn was a true competitor with a great sense of humor and a very positive outlook on life. Even when she did not win a prize she never let it get her down but instead just tried harder at the next one.

This book will also appeal to anyone who might have grown up in a large family during the fifties and sixties. A time when people were more reluctant to get into any sort of debt or to let anyone, even their own relatives, know the financial difficulties they might be experiencing. The Ryans went through some very tough times but their mother's attitude usually turned around even the most difficult situation. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It includes many photos of the Ryan family and samples of Ms. Ryan's contest entries. You will be delighted when you read them! I was fortunate to find this book in hardback on a sale table at my local bookstore and didn't realize until I started reading it what a treasure I'd found!

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend
I thought Terry Ryan overall did an exceptional job sharing her mother with us. Not only is Prize Winner inspirational, it brings back Americana in the 50's. Her narrative could have been written with a bit more creativity. (Having A few less jingles would not have lessened the essence). I was intrigued with Evelyn's capricious style of handling the unexpected challenges that life can throw you. Her imagination and creativity was a true gift, a proven affirmation that you can find and focus on the positive, not just see the negative in life. Terry did a great job capturing this in her book. Prize Winner also enlightens you on the strategy used in advertising back then.

This is in response to June 4, 2004, from a reader in Maryland: I understand questioning Evelyn's ethical standards regarding entering contest's with false names and teaching her children how to lie. You were harsh and unfair though, with your comments regarding her children and marriage. In the 50's you did not have women shelters or crisis centers. Majority of women were not trained to be professionals, capable of being the breadwinners of the family. Back then, babies and marriages weren't as disposable as they are today. You can't change what was, you can only learn from it to move on. Of course Evelyn made some mistakes, who hasn't! This story offered much more though. Just think, the memories written in the books to come will be titled: "My Life in Daycare", or "The Many Partners of my Parents".

5-0 out of 5 stars A story of family love
This is the story of Evelyn Ryan, a housewife and mother of 10 children who supplements the sometimes unsteady income of her alcoholic husband with contest winnings during the 1950's. She has a special talent for creating winning slogans, poems and jingles and wins many smaller prizes including kitchen appliances and cash but occasionally strikes it big wining large sweepstakes prizes, bailing out the family's financial situation on more than one occasion.

Written by Evelyn's daughter, it warmed my heart to read about the love that was shared in this large family. No, this was not a perfect family (are there any?) But in spite of the financial challenges that faced this family, the enthusiasm, optimism, and spirit exhibited by the mom and passed on to the children are truly characteristics to be admired.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dysfunction made cute
As I got further into this book, I started to really dislike this woman. Already living on a shoestring with an abusive, jealous alcoholic who kept a full 30% of his pay to cover liquor, she goes on to have 10 kids all of which for a long while slept in one room. If it weren't for family, they'd have little if any food so what do they start to rely on? Contest prizes. Insipid, stupid verses she enters - multiple entries - under fake names, name variations, etc. She 'stuffed the box' so to speak. She earned the down payment on a house by entering a contest (open to kids) under her son's name and then coached the son on how to respond to questions about 'his' entry. She saves wrappers all over her house and finally, inevitably, frequents the town dump. In spite of their situation, I had little respect for her methods and at times, was glad when I heard she hadn't won. Really glad.

This was a highly dysfunctional family. I hate to dis someone's Mom, but the author put this story out there. If she felt that her Mom was a hero, then good for her, but to me, I would have kept this 'sweet' story to myself had it been my family. ... Read more

87. Bob Hope: A Tribute (Wheeler Large Print Book Series (Cloth))
by Raymond Strait
list price: $31.95
our price: $31.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1587245566
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing
Sales Rank: 749482
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bob Hope-A Tribute by Ray Strait
This is an excellent tribute to Bob Hope written within months
of his death. The work has many memorable pictures of Bob with
Dorothy Lamour, James Cagney, Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin,
Bing and the famous USO Tours which were a trademark for the
performer. The author describes Bob's early work in Cleveland,
performances with the Jolly Follies, the Ziegfield Follies of '36,Casanova's Big Night and various co-host performances for the '56 Academy Awards, Christmas caravans and virtually every tour of any consequence. This work is a fitting tribute to
Bob Hope. It will be treasured by his many fans throughout the
USA and the world. The book would make a great gift for any
of his many fans .

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great, Readable Book
This one's definitely worth reading.You get a very human version of Hope, a lot of respect but no mindless worship.And Strait knows how to tell a story and write for an audience in a way that keeps you constantly entertained. ... Read more

88. What Remains : A Memoir
by Carole Radziwill
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743276949
Catlog: Book (2005-09-27)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 646125
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89. An Hour Before Daylight : Memories Of A Rural Boyhood
by Jimmy Carter
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743212207
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 90271
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
I was 5 years old when Jimmy Carter left office. As a child I remember hearing that he was just a peanut farmer. I didn't realize until later that going from peanut farmer to president was part of the American Dream. As an adult I have come to appreciate and admire Jimmy Carter for his character, I wanted to know more about his life, and was anxious to read An Hour Before Daylight.

An Hour Before Daylight is a charming book. What struck me most was the humility with which the autobiography was written. At times it seems the book is more about Jimmy Carters childhood friends and his family, than himself. Most of the direct references to his behavior are times he had to be punished or when he made mistakes. Really it is not a book about one man, but about a farm, its owners and workers, in the segregated South.

Aside from being about a past US president, this book provides an intimate window into life in the South. It will be warm and typical to those raised in the South. To me, being raised and schooled in the Midwest, it was a peak at a culture I never totally understood. The book is written with unusual frankness, and provides details, which others certainly would have left out, rather than embarrasses themselves or their families.

Defiantly a worthwhile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A President Comes of Age.
Using a journalist's eye, and introspect's heart, Jimmy Carter tells a warm and compelling tale of the times, places and people who shaped his life.

Humbly examining the elements of his youth, Jimmy Carter recounts his earliest impressions of segregation, politics, and life and death.

Jimmy Carters style is natural and compelling, and his honest appraisal of his families past is both frank and welcoming.

Clearly a man of great humilty, Jimmy Carter appraises his actions in the face of racism, expressing both pride and regret, he never blames his failings on anyone, or anything, but his own lack of understanding.

In the latter chapters of this book, Jimmy Carter closes in on his incompleted relationship with his stern but loyal father - a relationship that both shaped and confounded him.

This book is a wonderfully paced read, with the selfeffacing warmth of a Jean Shepherd tale wrapped around the sepia toned history of one of America's greatest living leaders. This is a great read.

3-0 out of 5 stars My grandma loved this book
My grandma sure seemed to like this book a hell of alot. She mentions it everytime we see her. I figres it must be worth 3 stars at least.

4-0 out of 5 stars The sepia toned boyhood of Jimmy Carter
Reading this book, it's easy to understand why the ex-president insisted, "It's Jimmy. Just call me Jimmy." I wasn't much of a Carter fan during the man's presidency but have since come to appreciate him greatly, mostly for his honesty, sincerity, and humanity. An Hour Before Daylight makes it easy to understand how he became the person he still in.
Born on a Georgia farm during the Depression, Carter grew up in the days of rigid segregation, but at the same time all his friends were black children. He writes lucidly, sometimes lyrically and with strong nostalgia for an era of American history long past.
It's definitely worth a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needs a colorful cover
My mother gave me a copy for Christmas. We live just a stone's throw from Plains and she grew up very similarly. This reminds me of John Boy musing on the Walton's TV show or Mark Twain's colorful characters. Carter is a master farmer and gives a wealth of agriculture and outdoor information. As a librarian I put a copy in our library and think it belongs in every library! This is one of the best rural Depression era Americana. The cover is much too drab for the colorful characters inside. ... Read more

90. Swimming Across : A Memoir
by Andrew S. Grove
list price: $26.95
our price: $26.95
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Asin: 0446529923
Catlog: Book (2001-11-12)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 611235
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Andrew Grove has earned fame and fortune as chairman and cofounder of Intel. But, we learn from this remarkable memoir, he began life under very different circumstances, narrowly escaping the Holocaust and the closing of the Iron Curtain.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1936, Grove--then called Andras Grof--grew up in a modestly prosperous, secular Jewish family. Through foresight and sheer good fortune, they avoided the fate of many of their fellow Jews, fleeing the Nazis into the countryside and living in a dark cellar in which "the sound of artillery was a continuous backdrop." Under the Communist regime that followed, Grove distinguished himself as a student of chemistry and was seemingly destined for a comfortable position in academia or industry--until revolution broke out in 1956 and he found himself in that cellar once again.

How Grove emerged, "swam across" to America, and made a new life under a new name makes a satisfying conclusion to this humane memoir, which gives readers valuable insight into the business guru and technologist. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprises me - Andrew Grove's childhood
Never would I have expected a man behind Intel could have such a childhood.I picked this book because it was written by Andrew Grove and mostly because it sets in the the times of World War II.Although I could not get much from a Jews perspective during the war time, however the book has captured some of the essence of tension during the period.

I was intrigued by his childhood story and found it hard to put the book down one I started reading it (Yes, it is cliche to say that..) The title of the book "Swimming Across" could not have been more appropriate with his escape from Hungary to the United States - that made such an outstanding person in man's history!

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective, but lacking
When I finished this book, I was rather disappointed at its incompleteness.No doubt Andy Grove must be an extraordinary person after immigrating to America with almost nothing and then moving to become the CEO of Intel Corporation.His book gives some insight into his personality through his childhood experiences and his dedication to hard work can easily been seen through his striving for an education.

The most disappointing aspect of "Swimming Across" is that it does not explain how he became such a successful person after moving to America.The story ends after his college education from City College in New York.It does not describe any part of his involvement in the development of Intel Corporation.Rather than a biography, it is more of a complication of his childhood reflections.

A good portion of the story revolves around his childhood experiences as a Jew during the Holocaust, followed the Soviet occupation of Hungary.It is interesting to read from a historical perspective.Much of the book also deals with his interest in chemistry and his quests for girls during his gymnasium (high school) years.

The writing is easy to read and not very intricate.While it offers an interesting tale of his personal experiences as an American immigrant, it does not have very much on how to climb the corporate ladder.It has a very good glimpse into the real Andy Grove's personality from a first person perspective, but not the details on what made him stand out as a successful individual among other Americans.

3-0 out of 5 stars Read this book or the content, not for literary strength
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Grove some time back. He's an intelligent man, with a powerful persona and strong sense of character.

I was surprised then, when I picked up the text. Swimming Across did not meet my expectations from a literary perspective. The presentation is very simply written and seems to be directed at an individual with a 6th or 7th grade reading level. I nearly put the book down and opted for another as a result.

The story however, is compelling. Mr. Grof and his family found a way to survive, compete, and eventually excel despite very long odds in Nazi and Communist dominated Hungary.

Read this story for its content (it is stirring). Read this to understand the character development of a leader. It is likely that your respect for the individual (like mine) will have grown.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stays with you
I loved this clear, accessible memoir about a boy (and later young man) who grows up in Hungary during the WWII and Revolution years, escapes to the West and comes to the United States to start a new life. I'm biased because my father is from Hungary and is of the exact same generation; he even had experiences similar to Mr. Grove's, going to preparatory high school, university, getting caught up in the Hungarian Revolution and escaping in the middle of the night to Austria. How wonderful to have some of the history and experiences of the times described in such an accessible way. The story is clear and straightforward and yet extremely moving, almost haunting. I loved how the title becomes clear when you read the book (an allusion to swimming across the lake of life and how not everyone makes it to the other side). How glad I am that Mr. Grove made it (across the Atlantic, at any rate) and wrote such a lovely book. It means a lot to at least one daughter of a Hungarian immigrant.

The majority ofAndrew Grove's story takes place in Hungary as a young boy, but eventually graduates to a young adult and then as an immigrant to the U.S.A.You learn of the big difference of the society in Hungary vs America; it is great.Andy Grove achieved great success, but you must read this book to discover why and how he did it.It was all due to personal determination and you learn of the setbacks encountered during his journey to adulthood.A fine read of inspiration. ... Read more

91. Soul Survivor : How My Faith Survived the Church (Random House Large Print)
list price: $21.95
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Asin: 0375431284
Catlog: Book (2001-09-18)
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Sales Rank: 273149
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Philip Yancey, one of America's leading Christian thinkers and author of more than a dozen books with sales of more than five million copies, returns for his most profound and soul-searching books yet. Soul Survivor is the story of his own struggle to reclaim his belief, interwoven with inspiring portraits of notable people from all walks of life who have succeeded in the pursuit of an authentic faith.

"I became a writer, I now believe, to sort out and reclaim words used and misused by the Christians of my youth," says Philip Yancey, whose explorations of Christian faith have made him a guide for millions of readers. In Soul Survivor, he charts his spiritual pilgrimage through the influence of key individuals: "These are the people who ushered me into the Kingdom. In many ways, they are why I remain a Christian today, and I want to introduce them to other spiritual seekers."

Yancey interweaves his own journey with fascinating stories of those who modeled for him a life-enhancing rather than a life-constricting faith: Dr. Paul Brand, G. K. Chesterton, Annie Dillard, Frederick Buechner, C. Everett Koop, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Henri Nouwen, John Donne, Mahatma Gandi, Shusaku Endo, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert COles.
... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Personal Journey
SOUL SURVIVOR is a big departure from Philip Yancey's usual style of book. It reads more like a pseudo-biography -- both for him and for the thirteen people who have most influenced him in his walk of faith. Much of the territory here will be familiar to long-time readers of Yancey's, but it works because of the different way it is presented.

Each chapter is devoted to an individual. Always readable, SOUL SURVIVOR reaches beyond that into more powerful air when the subject becomes more weighty (read: controversial). Chapters on Martin Luther King Jr., Paul Brandt, Mahatma Gandhi, and C. Everett Koop, in particular, I found the most enjoyable and enlightening. Yancey tells their tales in an honest manner, recognizing their shortcomings, and in doing so makes their examples all the more powerful.

As I read his (and their) story, I had to marvel at the grace of God, because Yancey has come a long way. No other person, outside of my parents, has had a greater influence on my Christian walk than Philip Yancey. Realizing that this same man was once a blatant racist (among other flaws which he is open about) amazes me. It also gives me hope, as it should his other readers, for if God can take a man and change him this much (using the influence of various authors and historical figures) it should help us to see the possibilities of what God can do in our own lives, as well as recognize the effect that our lives can have upon others.

SOUL SURVIVOR is not my favorite Philip Yancey book, nor is it his best (that title still belongs to WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE). But it is a fantastic, personal journey that I am so pleased to have been allowed to be a part of. If you are disillusioned by the institution of the church here is a book that will help you to see past those flaws to recognize how God really works through individual men and women. And that is what the church is really all about. FOUR 1/2 STARS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the Read
"How can I fit together my religious past with my spiritual present?" "What allowed me to ransom a personal faith from the damaging effects of religion?" "How have I changed because of my contact, direct or indirect, with this baker's dozen?"

These are the questions that Yancey answers in his book "Soul Survivor." Because of the scars left from his childhood religious community he presents to the world 13 people who have impacted his faith-life and who have led him to a further desire for Jesus. Some of the people presented are Christians and some are not, all are flawed as human examples of faith but he shows his readers their worth.

I admit that after struggling to read "The Jesus I Never Knew" I was not looking forward to choking down this book. I admire Yancey's point of view when he writes and I find him to be very thoughtful, even original, but I liken his writing style to that of a long winded preacher who doesn't know when to make his point and then move on. (I tend to wonder if a chapter will ever end.) Although I found his style to be the same in "Soul Survivor" I was riveted by the people that he writes about and was thoroughly hooked into this book by the second chapter. (Something that never happened for me with "The Jesus I Never Knew.")

As a journalist, Yancey's life has allowed him to come in contact with quite a few people. In "Soul Survivor" he presents the 13 people that have most influenced his faith beginning with the very well known Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, to the not so well known people like Dr. Cole Brand or Henri Nouwen. Yancey presents each person as an exposition of Christian faith in one way or another. I wondered what the Mahatma Gandhi chapter was going to be about. How could I possibly be inspired from Gandhi (A non-Christian)? However, Yancey skillfully presents what is inspirational about the man and has helped me to look at Gandhi through glasses of inspiration rather than a pure Biblical rationale. I also thought that reading about infamous people like Dr. Paul Brand would be an exercise in the boring but Yancey's portrayal of him helps me to appreciate him too. (It is actually my favorite chapter in the book.)

I was deeply challenged by what I read because the people that he chose to write about are truly inspirational. I knew that each human Yancey presented was sinful in their own way (he admits as much) but I knew if I could harness their areas of individual excellence into my own Christian life then Jesus would have a champion among his people. I found myself deeply challenged and provoked to repent for my short comings. After reading the "Soul Survivor" I realize, along with Yancey, that "I had not learned to love individuals." I read about people who in many ways are loathsome to the cause of Christ and I found myself in want to be as they were, or are. I learned that I think too highly of myself as a Christian and not highly enough of others. This epiphany alone made the book worth the read.

All-in-all the book was good. It was typical of Yancey's style which is not to my preference, but it may be to yours. It is worth reading; and I dare say, worth re-reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yancey - Never disappoints
I just finished reading "What's so Amazing About Grace" and this book is a great follow up. I grew up in Alabama going to churches similar to those described by Yancey and I am still trying to recover. The 13 biographical sketches in this book present inspiring details about the subjects but also allow the reader to see their human flaws as well. Read this book and learn about history, faith, and struggles of extraordinary people trying to live up to God's purpose for their lives.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
What I liked about it: Real stories of real people struggling to figure out how to authentically answer the question "How then shall we live?" What set this book apart however, was its realness. All of the characters are presented with their tragic flaws. Thus, we're not left with any feeling of defeat ("oh how could we ever be perfect like they were"), instead we're challenged to recognize that each one of has the potential to effectively change our world on behalf of the gospel - and it would be best if we prayerfully consider in which ways God is leading us to do just that!

I was very moved by Yancey's personal struggle with Martin Luther King, Jr. I could identify with the evangelical skepticism of this man, having been brought up in a tradition with a lot of sidestepping when it came to civil rights. The man's foibles were too clear. Seeing how Yancey drew strength from his life (the good and the bad) helped me grow a much deeper appreciation myself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye opening. A great book of even greater souls
In short, this is a brief introduction of thirteen great souls who influenced Philip Yancey, one of the best Christian writers of our time. They include Martin Luther King, G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Paul Brand, Dr. Robert Coles, Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoevsky, Gandhi, Dr. Everett Koop, John Donne, Annie Dillard, Frederick Buechner, Shusaku Endo and Henri Nouwen. No matter whether you know their names/works or not, your interest to know them more will be much increased after you read this book like I do. In fact, I had already ordered some books by Chesterton and Tolstoy immediately after I finished reading those chapters about them.

I believe that only very few readers who have not read Yancey's other books will have interest in this book. And if you are already a fan of Yancey, this one definitely wont disappoint you but will bring your perspective to a new horizon. ... Read more

92. The Pontiff in Winter : Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II (Random House Large Print)
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.33
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Asin: 0375434763
Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Sales Rank: 227140
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars too much authorial intrusion
First, it was well written and a quick read.That was the "good" the "bad".The author is very anti Pope John Paul 2 and he clumsily tries to bully the reader along to his conclusions.He overworks the word "autodidact" in referance to the late pope but methinks the author's own Freudian slip is showing.Though the author has a select Bibliography he keeps referring as a viable source of information to a Vatican version of 'Deep Throat'.In this book one gets more of a sense of what John Cornwell is about than of Pope John Paul.

3-0 out of 5 stars Important insights marred by mean and bitter writing
Let me preface this review by saying I am not Catholic and though I have Catholic leanings I have resisted converting because of my liberal religious outlook.Seemingly, this is an outlook I share with Mr. Cornwell.I--like him--hold John Paul II in very high regard as a man of peace and one of the most influential agents of positive change in the past fifty years.On this aspect of his papacy, I feel Cornwell provides great examples and writes with appropriate zeal and praise.

However, the areas that are of concern to many non-Catholics, which include ordination of women, contraception, marriage of clergy, and even papal infallibility, are presented in such a negative and sarcastic light that I fear no one will take them seriously.Cornwell claims to be a reform-minded Catholic.Unfortunately, his presentation of real concerns for thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics alike are handled with such vitriol that this book will prove to be more divisive than unifying.

Ultimately, I feel that in spite of differences in belief between the author and the Pope this book could have been infused with a great deal more respect for a man who will be missed by millions.After all, in Cornwell's own admission, John Paul II has done more for peace in the world than anyone.Somehow, it seems that after saying that about someone repeatedly referring to him as "old boy" is entirely inappropriate.I had hoped for an unbiased (although this is seemingly impossible when writing about religion) and thoughtful portrayal of the strengths and weaknesses of John Paul's papacy.Unfortunately, I got a venomous diatribe.

4-0 out of 5 stars Devasting! Fascinating! But too bitter by half
If you are looking for a gauzy, sweet biography of Pope John Paul II in these days since his death on April 2, please look elsewhere. If you are interested in a frank and sometimes brutal look at his life and policies, read on!

In "The Pontiff in Winter," John Cornwell (author of "Hitler's Pope") casts his gimlet eye on Karol Woytila, the man who became Pope John Paul II, from his early years through the decline of his health and (Cornwell argues) papacy in the first years of the 21st century.

"The Pontiff in Winter" combines biography, history and analysis -- in more or less equal parts -- as it seeks to understand the Pope as a person, and the value of his teaching to the Church and mankind. Cornwell is absolutely unsentimental about his subject, giving praise where due, but zeroing in with devastating effect on the Pope's weakness and missteps. The multi-faceted man who emerges is both repelling and attractive: intelligent though not brilliant; a victim of totalitarians yet autocratic; an actor (even a bit of a prima donna) whose public, smiling persona masks a desire to be center stage; a man of true and extreme piety with a weakness for its more outlandish manifestations.

Cornwell sees John Paul as a man embodying maddening contradictions. A wily and successful fighter for freedom in his native Poland, John Paul II did not trust others (e.g., Archbishop Oscar Romero) to do the same. Claiming to support Vatican II, he gutted its central push to decentralize the papacy and increase collegiality among bishops. Advancing the Church's relations with Jews and Muslims, he nevertheless undercut that pose by denying the status of "Church" to non-Catholic religious bodies like the Anglicans. The seeming champion of women's dignity, he attempted to shut down discussion of the divisive topic of female ordination.

The book's extremely negative tone is its main weakness. Cornwell seems to take the Pope's faults personally. Still, there are very few places where the limitations of papal pronouncements can be aired with such erudition and passion. In the current atmosphere, in which dissent from Church teaching is equated with disloyalty, Cornwell's voice is truly prophetic, leading the mind to consider perspectives that are worth considering.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well researched but slight negative bend
Knowing the Holy Father was not going to be around much longer I finally read and finished this book yesterday (the day before he passed).The author does let us have a glimpse at this popeand helps bring up questions of things that may be glossed over or even covered up by his assistants andbiographer.By the time I was done reading this, I felt well versed in some of the failures of the pope; places where he was hypocritical and others where he might have done more.
Having said this, however, the author's bend seems to focus so much on that negative (until the end) that one could almost forget the good that this pontiff brought to the world.
All in all, a very good book, lots of information and very thought provoking.It is an honest look about the pontiff and the papacy definitely without being a white-wash.

1-0 out of 5 stars SPEWING FORTH
This book is a hateful diatribe.I cannot help but wonder what the author was thinking in writing this book.It was not worth my time or my money. ... Read more

93. Against All Odds: My Story (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Chuck Norris, Ken Abraham
list price: $30.95
our price: $30.95
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Asin: 0786275197
Catlog: Book (2005-04-20)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 912673
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94. What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character (G.K. Hall Large Print Book Series)
by Richard P. Feynman
list price: $18.95
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Asin: 081614849X
Catlog: Book (1990-03-01)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Sales Rank: 833159
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A thoughtful companion volume to the earlierSurely You Are Joking Mr. Feynman!. Perhaps the most intriguing parts of the book are the behind-the-scenes descriptions of science and policy colliding in the presidential commission to determine the cause of the Challenger space shuttle explosion; and the scientific sleuthing behind his famously elegantO-ring-in-ice-water demonstration. Not as rollicking as his other memoirs, but in some ways more profound. ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Prof. Feynman Tells It Like It Is!
Richard Feynman (1918-1988) had a very full and adventurous life as can be gleaned from this great book. The first half is mostly autobiographical and anecdotal and in the typical Feynman way, he leaves nothing to the imagination. He spent the latter part of his life as a Professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Ca.

For hobbies he loved bongos and drums and occasionally performed with a drumming group at Caltech, but was content to spend hours drumming with close friends such as Ralph Leighton at his home. Feynman also enjoyed drawing and painting and some of his artwork is depicted in this book. The artwork was exacting and professional. There are several photos covering Feynman's life and concluding with space shuttle photos and diagrams.

The second half of the book, and some would say the most potent part, is dedicated to Feynman's participation in the investigation of the 1986 space shuttle "Challenger" accident. Feynman demonstrated the ultimate in dogged pursuit of the cause and was not to be intimidated or put-off by NASA and military officials who would have been happy not disclose the damning facts that they were thoroughly warned about safety issues before the launch, yet chose to ignore these warnings in deference to thenPres. Reagan's desire for a political feather in his cap by launching the shuttle on his schedule.

Who knows what, if anything, was explained to Reagan that the weather was too cold to launch (the shuttle was not suppose to be launched in less than 53 degree weather and the temperature at launch time was 29 degrees!). What is known is that the NASA management chose to ignore the warnings and heeded the beck and call of the President to launch. Later, and like typical management weasels, they tried to hush-up the fact that they were warned and then tried to blame the "O"-ring failure on the manufacturer, Thiokol.

During the inquiry, Feyman took the opportunity to demonstrate a simple, common-sense experiment in front of his fellow investigative teammates and news cameras that when the "O"-rings are chilled (he dropped a piece of one held by pliers in a glass of water) they shrink and cannot seal properly, and especially when the violent vibration of the launch process is added for an ultimately disastrous mix.

If not for Feynman's persistence, this simple, but profound demonstration could have been swept under the rug and fingers unfairly pointed at Thiokol. Management refused to take any responsibility for the disaster, yet when in fact, their incompetent dismissal of the freeze conditions were what led to the disaster. Thank God for Richard Feynman! This is not only a fascinating look into Feynman's life, it is a national treasure, for here is where we see the bungling, politically motivated decisions of a great country being jerked around by bureaucrats leading, ultimately, to disaster.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awe Struck
In my life I have only come across a few books which have been able to exert the same type of force on me as Richard P. Feynman's collection of essays, What Do You Care What Other People Think? has.To use an appropriate analogy: it is the feeling that a massive body exerts on all lesser bodies around it, pulling them down the bent slope of space towards them - it is not a conscious act but rather is just the natural result of the weight of the ideas involved.From nearly the first page on there are passages which you just feel compelled to tell a friend about, like there wonder is too much for you to handle on your own and you need someone else to share that since of awe with.

5-0 out of 5 stars an insightful book
I like this book a little better than "SYJ"--I certainly do also like "SYJ". However, the best thing I like about Feynman is that he talked so honestly about himself. Hardly any other celebrity would want do that. In "SYJ", he is real, not afraid to talk about his adventures or even sex. But you still can tell that in that book he was like a naughty boy, sometimes deliberately created "troubles" and generated adventures. In this book, he became more genuine, he used a very sincere voice to focus on how he see and value things -- love (2nd chap.), life, science (last chap.)... It almost make me have a crush on him - although he is dead. What do I care what you think about my last remark? :)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ordinary genius: serious and romantic edition
Feynman's book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" is a lot of fun. But fun was not the only thing in Feynman's life. "What Do you Care What Other People Think" is a rather different book.

Don't get me wrong: there are various funny stories in this book, too. And the book also describes various controversies - for example the story in which the silly feminists called Feynman "a sexist pig". Feynman never hesitated to inform morons (especially the pompous fools) that they were morons, and this book is another proof of it. Nevertheless, the main focus of the book is different.

Feynman first talks about his childhood - especially his father who taught him to question the orthodox thinking, and who probably always wanted Richard to become a scientist. On the other hand, Feynman's father was not an intellectual. One of the special features of Feynman is that he was brought up in an ordinary family - not in a family of professors which is unfortunately the case of most professors today.

The second part of the book is very sad and very emotional. It's about his first wife, Arlene. I think that the book will show you how much they loved each other and how big influence Arlene had on Feynman. Well, a problem was that she suffered from tuberculosis. She was dying while Feynman was working on the atomic bomb in Los Alamos. This part of the book could compete with any good fiction - the difference is that this story is real and it happened to one of the most influential physicists of all time. I am sure that you will agree that Feynman's heart was at least as strong as his brain.

However, it's not just a sad love story: Feynman also describes their tricks that they used to send letters to each other (circumventing the censorship in Los Alamos) and other amusing details of this period.

The third portion (about 55%) of the book is dedicated to the commission that investigated the explosion of the Challenger, the space shuttle in 1986. Feynman was always eager to get to the very heart of the matter and he never cared whether he looked "nice" to others. Even Ronald Reagan knew about that, and therefore he personally asked Feynman to serve on the committee (with Neil Armstrong and others).

Feynman did not disappoint and the book reveals the findings in depth - well sometimes the description is too detailed, I would say. It shows how some people in NASA - for example an executive called William Rogers - preferred the image (their personal image as well as the image of NASA) over the truth. You will also learn about many technical details that have led to the explosion. Feynman was thinking differently - unlike the chairman of the commission who thought that everyone should sit in a room and ask the experts, Feynman decided to talk to the engineers. Feynman's analysis is also a critique of the government bureaucracy.

Although NASA was probably a unified force when it sent the first men to the Moon, it became fragmented afterwards, Feynman argues. The engineers estimated the probability of the failure to be about 1:300, while the top bosses were painting an optimistic picture to the Congress that the probability of an explosion was about 1:100,000, and NASA can be both cheap as well as efficient.

Feynman's most visible conclusion is that the space shuttle program may have been a mistake because the public had to be fooled that the project was better than it actually was.

Feynman always believed that the public must be allowed to decide whether they want to fund you and your projects, after you honestly tell them what the project means. Unlike many unrealistic people in the academia who believe that an arbitrary amount of money paid for an arbitrary project in science is a good investment - and that it is always OK to fool the ordinary people to get some money - Feynman understood economics and the workings of the society very well. Moreover, honesty was his primary goal in debates with the laymen.

At the end of the book, Feynman advocates science and its principles. However, you don't need to be trained in physics to understand the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Joking this time
The follow-up to the successful, "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" this book offers four pretty distinct parts.

First section describes how his father taught him to think about the world and his father's ambition to make young Richard a scientist.The end of the book is Feyman's case for the importance of science.In between we get the sad, but sweet story of his first wife and the utterly compelling story of his time on the committee investigating the challenger explosion.It was my favorite part of the book.

The description of how government committees decide facts and make recommendations was eye opening.It was the best description of how these things work that I've ever read.Feynman was constantly up against a committee chairman that wanted to keep everyone in a room asking questions of experts.Feynman didn't like that setup.He wanted to travel out to NASA and talk to engineers, so he did.

Going to Huston and Canaveral, Feynman learned something about the nature of NASA that probably goes for any big organization.He found that NASA was a unified force when their goal was putting a man of the moon.Information was shared freely and appreciated at every level.Once that goal was met NASA became compartmentalized.

Leaders at the top spent their time reassuring Congress that NASA would achieve their goals with low costs and high safety.Engineers at the bottom realized that this wasn't entirely possible.The middle managers didn't want to hear the challenges because they would be forced to report it to the top bosses who didn't want to hear it.It was much easier for top bosses to paint a rosy picture to Congress if they were unaware of the actual challenges of making it work.The end result was that top bosses said that the likelihood of a mission death was 1-100,000 while engineers on the ground felt that the likelihood was more like 1-300.

Feynman concludes that maybe the shuttle program was a bad idea.It could never live up to the ambitious projections of the leaders and the American public was being lied to. NASA should be honest with the American people, Feynman thought, then Congress and voters can decide if they are getting enough for their money.It was a surprisingly thing to hear from an advocate of science and discovery.But Feynam reckoned that the amount of science and discovery has been little compared to the cost.He complained years after the first shuttle launch he still hadn't read any significant experiments in scientific journals.

In all, I liked this book a little better than "Surely You're Joking."It was a little more thought provoking than those fun tales. ... Read more

95. A Long Way from Home (Random House Large Print)
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375431853
Catlog: Book (2002-11-05)
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Sales Rank: 44063
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Reflections on America and the American experience as he has lived and observed it, by the bestselling author of The Greatest Generation.

In this beautiful memoir, Tom Brokaw writes of America and of the American experience.From his parents’ life in theThirties, on to his boyhood along the Missouri River and on the prairies of South Dakota in the Forties, into his early journalism career in the Fifties and the tumultuous Sixties, up to the present, this personal story is a reflection on America in our time.Tom Brokaw writes about growing up and coming of age in the heartland, and of the family, the people, the culture and the values that shaped him then and still do today.His father, Red Brokaw, a genius with machines, followed the instincts of Tom's mother Jean, and took the risk of moving his small family from an Army base to Pickstown, South Dakota, where Red got a job as a heavy equipment operator in the Army Corps of Engineers' project building the Ft. Randall dam along the Missouri River.Tom Brokaw describes how this move became the pivotal decision in their lives, as the Brokaw family, along with others after World War II, began to live out the American Dream: community, relative prosperity, middle class pleasures and good educations for their children. "Along the river and in the surrounding hills, I had a Tom Sawyer boyhood," Brokaw writes; and as he describes his own pilgrimage as it unfolded–from childhood to love, marriage, the early days in broadcast journalism, and beyond–he also reflects on what brought him and so many Americans of his generation to lead lives a long way from home, yet forever affected by it.
... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars The young life of Tom Brokaw.
I can relate to this book. My parents lived through the Depression and raised their children in the prosperous sixties and seventies. They live in northern Wisconsin where most of the population was white. The similarites with Brokaw's South Dakota is basically the same. As a product of the Midwest, Brokaw is more similar to me than Rather (Texas) or Jennings (Canada).
I enjoyed this simple story. Tom relates how he made it in televison journalism and New York. Despite where he lives now, he considers himself at home in South Dakota rather than New York. Tom chronicles his early life and relates how and where he was raised even now determine his outlook on life. I feel the same way and that is why this book struck home. I would rather tramp the forests of northern Wisconsin than see the lights of Chicago. People make their way in life in some measure because of who they were born to and where they lived. Tom's rural life and his parents survival of the Depression determined a lot of what Tom eventually turned out to be. A great story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Integrity
I've always sought out Tom Brokaw's reporting through the long list of high quality news anchors. At an early point, if asked, I could point to the fact that Brokaw was just a touch more honest or unbiased, just a bit more believable in his reporting.
Brokaw and his family's circumstances weren't that much different than others. But, it was how his family was able to handle the hardships through hard work, ingenuity, and integrity that stuck with Brokaw and what made him successful and more importantly happy in life. An important lesson for today's families.
This book is a great view of what made America and the family of that generation important. This is an articulate, uplifting book about an American icon's childhood.

2-0 out of 5 stars Superficial
Tom Brokaw may have always been a chatterbox, too bad he didn't have much to say. This book basically skims the surface of a child of the fifties. There are not many amusing anecdotes, not much detail, and no depth of feeling, and as a result not much to relate to. A disappointment because it could have been so much better, if the author would have dug a little deeper.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring
This book was written for simpletons by a simpleton. Reading from a teleprompter is not exactly brain surgery. But if you want to hear more from a self-important blowhard, then read this intriguing book about an egomaniac who pretends he doesn't have one. Seriously, there couldn't be a worse book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Long Way From Home
Review of Tom Brokaw's A Long Way From Home

Tom Brokaw's A Long Way From Home: Growing up in the American Heartland provides a fascinating look into the roots of one of America's most beloved television newsmen. Brokaw's story about his humble begins in rural South Dakota and the life lessons learned during his childhood delivers a theme of how the formative years will impact the rest of people's lives--no matter how far from home life takes them. Brokaw narrates how dependent all his life's successes have been on the values taught to him by his upbringing in the American heartland.
Brokaw begins his novel by telling the story of the evolution of his family since they settled in the South Dakota. He tells of great-grandfather's role in shaping the town of Bristol, SD and of his father's day's delivering coal and ice to support himself at age 10. The Great Depression's impact on both his father's and mother's lives is explained and is never forgotten, as it is a familiar theme throughout Brokaw's childhood.
The novel then moves on to the various stops in Brokaw's South Dakota childhood. From Igloo, the site of his first Public speaking performance, to Yankton where he graduated high school and landed his first broadcasting job. Along the way, Brokaw tells of childhood mischief and misadventures with his younger brothers and childhood friends in the great outdoors. Brokaw openly and honestly reveals his struggles with failure as young man after high school and the rocky relationship that developed into a marriage to the love of his life, Meredith Auld.
The issue of race and the importance of his mother also warrant entire chapters in the book. Brokaw explains his view of Native Americans as a child and of his realization the injustices done against them in his home state. Brokaw's mother, Jean Conely Brokaw, had the greatest influence on Tom's life. Her work ethic and even her political consciousness and news acquiring habits were passed on to her eldest son. Brokaw beautifully illustrates her role in his family and in his life.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Brokaw's memoirs. I was expecting a soppy, romanticized version of his life, but it was definitely not that. The book is a page-turning, relatable collection of funny stories and life lessons. ... Read more

96. Ring of Bright Water
by Gavin Maxwell
list price: $22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1850895910
Catlog: Book (1991-12-01)
Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books
Sales Rank: 860450
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Otterly fantastic
I read this book when I was a child, and I really enjoyed it. I've seen the movie version several times since, and just recently decided to re-read the book. I was not disappointed. It starts off kind of rocky, but once the otters enter Maxwell's life, it's pure magic. He's an incredibly good writer with the ability to make you "see" everything he describes.

Staci Layne Wilson
Author of Staci's Guide to Animal Movies

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book that Will Become Part of the Dream of Your Heart
Forever after you read A Ring of Bright Water, the beauty, wonder, and humor of this book will gently surface with a ring of bright ripples in the waters of you mind.I am never able to remember this book without simultaneously wanting to laugh and to cry-and always with a sense of awed wonder.This is the true story of Gavin's befriending of otters (or perhaps we should say of the otters' decision to befriend Gavin.)In one scene, on the first night Gavin has one of the otters in his home, the otter carefully watches Gavin get into bed and pull the covers to his chin.The otter then crawls in beside Gavin, lies on its back, and pulls the covers to its own chin.Other scenes describe Gavin's losing efforts to make certain parts of his cottage off limits to otters.Gavin never for the rest of his life produced prose that so translucently coveys the beauty of the waters around his cottage, or the sense of his own evolving life and emotions. Reading this book is giving a gift to yourself. It is one a dozen that I always look for used to give to friends.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Tale of Otters and More
Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water is a much-deserved classic.It tells the tale of the author's time on the coast of Scotland devoting the first half to his learning to live in this isolated paradise and the second half, slightly better, to his time consecutively with two otters (as well as other creatures, my favourite being the geese).As anyone who loves animals will know, tears will factor into this tale, but never at the expense of the joy and laughter.They are some very funny bits.It would almost be enough to get me to exhange my cats for otters (almost, but not quite enough).Some of the writing is a litte florid at times, particulary the brief section on killer whales, but, otherwise, this is an astounding and beautiful example of nature writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect nature book
Despite being a book written 40 years ago, the delightful stories are perfect to read over and over. If you only know it as 'the book about the pet otter', it also has dozens of other little vingettes in it. Marvelous,a classic!

5-0 out of 5 stars The classic otter tale...
This book has been a favorite of mine for years. Maxwell exceeds at conveying deep personal emotion, and this book is suffused with the joy he felt during his first few years with his otters Mij and Edal.

Fans ofthis book should take pains to search for the two out-of-print sequels:"The Rocks Remain" and "Raven, Seek Thy Brother".Neither is as joyful or cohesive as "Ring", but you will indeedfind out what the life of a reclusive-yet-famous nature writer can be like.I also highly recommend Maxwell's autobiography of his childhood, "TheHouse of Elrig". ... Read more

97. Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures at the Table (Thorndike Press Large Print Nonfiction Series)
by Ruth Reichl
list price: $30.95
our price: $30.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783895941
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 328602
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ruth Reichl's first book, the autobiographical Tender at the Bone, disarmed readers with its droll candor. The former restaurant critic of The New York Times and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine told great stories about growing up and loving food. Comfort Me with Apples begins where the first book ended, tracing Reichl's evolution from chef to food writer while detailing the dissolution of her first marriage, the start of a second, and motherhood at the age of 40. The book also limns a sensual journey, Reichl's awakening to the pleasures of sex as well as food, and also to love. Reichl interweaves her diverse coming-of-age narratives with passion (especially on the subject of food), wit, and a no-nonsense grace, all of which add up to a wonderful read--entertaining, but moving, too.

The story begins when Reichl, living in a '70s Berkeley commune, gets her first real job as a restaurant reviewer. Despite the incredulity of her in-the-movement roommates ("You're going to spend your life telling spoiled, rich people where to eat?" asks one), Reichl persists, traveling widely to polish her palate. In the doing she meets food luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck (a mad encounter in a produce market), M.F.K. Fisher (lunch and sweet reminiscences), and Alice Waters (a garlic feast), among others. Her trip to China, which includes clandestine dealings with a former chef, is particularly well handled. The ungluing of her first marriage is depicted in adroit emotional counterpoint to her soaring career, as is her discovery of love with her second husband, unspooled against her father's death. Reichl also provides recipes, such as Fall Mushroom Soup (made to comfort herself and her mother) that, unexpectedly and delightfully, deepen the narrative. --Arthur Boehm ... Read more

Reviews (72)

3-0 out of 5 stars better subtitle:"Adventures at the Table and in the Bedroom"
Note that the title comes from the Song of Solomon, 2:5
"comfort me with apples: for I am sick with love"
That should give a hint of the flavor of what you'll be reading.

Foodies interested purely in exquisite descriptions of gustatory delights should look elsewhere.This book is mostly a belated coming-of-age story:a woman who learns the ropes in a new career, and eventually finds confidence and freedom in it.She discovers unimagined intensity in love affairs, and is swept into various types of adventures under the tutelage of male lovers and acquaintances.Her father dies, and she achieves a somewhat more mature relationship with her mother.She divorces, remarries, struggles to have children against the ticking biological clock.

In the midst of all this, a lot of luscious food does appear, of course, given her job.But the actual descriptions of all that luscious food somehow feel strangely distant from the main themes of the book, which appear to be a general celebration of feminine independence as Reichl understood it, reveling in the pleasures of life, and the importance of following one's dreams and intuition.

So in the end, "Comfort Me With Apples" is at heart just a decent memoir.That memoir happens to be set in the world of food criticism in California, so it does have a fair amount of background color from there, but deep-down it is not really about that world.If you go in expecting much more you will likely be disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I was SO disappointed-- this woman, for all her publishing credits, does not write well about food!All those descriptions of how cheese and foie gras "explode" in her mouth (as if to emphasize that the author is a "sensualist", sensualist with a capital S-- yeah, we get it, especially after she describes how she passionately falls in and out of affairs...)By the last hundred or so pages I was skipping over all the meal descriptions because I knew what was coming: first, surprise; then, the feeling of something exploding in your mouth; then, either a fight or a love interlude...

I was also wondering whether, in the food publishing world, it is considered OK to sleep with your editor--?And she was getting really plummy assignments from him.This DID bother me...

Oh well, at least she was honest.I hope the editor was apprised that his role in her career was going to be laid out for all to see in the pages of her "memoir"...

5-0 out of 5 stars Reichl imparts hope and inspiration
This book is beautifully written.The honesty with which Reichl shares the joys and pains of her early professional career, and her ongoing exploration of food and of herself, will offer comfort, hope and inspiration to any reader, regardless of their understanding or passion for food.This is a book that reaches beyond the kitchens' of "foodies" and into all of our lives to offer us an outlet to contemplate the place of confusion, pain, and longing that so often co-exist along side happiness, excitement and fulfillment.Through Reichl's writing, readers are offered an example of how to look inwards at ourselves, and outward at the world, with compassion.

1-0 out of 5 stars Well, at least she cooks
Tender at the Bone was a good book.Comfort Me with Apples was not.I finished Bone wanting more, and finished Apples wishing I'd stopped after one course.

3-0 out of 5 stars appetizer not a main course
This book, which I gave one star simply for the delicious recipes it provided, was an evocative read. The smells and tastes of the various dishes prepared and consumed float off the page. This sequel to "Tender at the Bone" finds Reichl continuing to review restaurants, as well as deal with her demanding mother. She's also good at describing the characters she met while touring restaurants. However, while I admire her for her willingness to try any dish (even armadillo!), I wish less had been in about her various affairs. While I may be overly judgmental, I found her ruminations about her love life distracting and irritating. While the author is an adult, I just felt like she should have concentrated more on her professional life. When she sticks to food, Reichl is on more secure footing, I think. When she is wondering about her lovers, the book takes on a more teen magazine feel.

However, I had to hand it to her when she finally decides to stop being manipulated by her mother. That description, short as it was, was priceless. No more pussycat, for her! ... Read more

98. The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings
by Amy Tan
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594130337
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Large Print Press
Sales Rank: 226170
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amy Tan begins The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, a collection of essays that spans her literary career, on a humorous note; she is troubled that her life and novels have become the subject of a "Cliff’s Notes" abridgement. Reading the little yellow booklet, she discovers that her work is seen as complex and rich with symbolism. However, Tan assures her readers that she has no lofty, literary intentions in writing her novels--she writes for herself, and insists that the recurring patterns and themes that critics find in them are entirely their own making. This self-deprecating stance, coupled with Tan’s own clarification of her intentions, makes The Opposite of Fate feel like an extended, private conversation with the author.

Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers’ rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tan’s self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.

In a collection so diverse and spanning such a long period of time, inevitably some of the pieces feel dated or repetitious. Yet, Tan comes off as a remarkably humble and sane woman, and the book works well both to fill in her biography and to clarify the boundaries between her life and her fiction. In her final, title essay, Tan juxtaposes her personal struggles against a persistent disease with the nation’s struggles against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. She declares her transformative, artistic power over tragedy, reflecting: "As a storyteller, I know that if I don’t like the ending, I can write a better one."--Patrick O’Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty, Engaging and Well-Written Gems
Amy Tan is without question a gifted writer.In this book of essays/musings as diverse as the erroneous interpretation of "The Joy Luck Club" by Cliff Notes or Tan's debilitating and horrifying bout with Lyme disease, the author writes with zest, humor and insight, and she engages the reader from the first page.In some ways, writing essays about one's craft is more difficult than writing a novel because essays are generally less creative and inspiring than fiction, and the reader usually suffers as a result.But Tan's "The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings" is like O'Connor's "Mystery and Manners" and "The Habit of Being" in that both authors are able to inform their essays with clever and profound insights that are contained in their works of fiction.Above all, this book is about the relationship of mother and daughter that is at the core of Tan's works.A must read.

3-0 out of 5 stars The good stuff is good, and the rest is...
As a few others have indicated, there are some really moving pieces here about family and memory, as well as some good looks at the life of a writer in many arenas (at the keyboard, on tour, etc.). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to have been enough of that stuff to fill a book, and so we get a lot of filler, including e-mails that are not that riveting and the essay she wrote about the library when she was 8 (no, I'm not kidding). There is a LOT of repetition; many of these pieces were written and published previously, and that's fine, but when you sit down to edit them into a collection that hangs together, you really need to go through and make sure that things like her father's and brother's deaths, moving to Switzerland, first boyfriend, etc. are not repeated 15 times.

I still love this book for the good parts, but would have been just as happy checking it out from the library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really nice
I enjoyed reading Amy Tan's essays, the same enjoyable style of writing, although I think her essays are a little more complex than her fiction and this is not a criticism.Observations, some personal history, although this is her thoughts and experiences, it is not "all about her."She isn't full of herself at all.Her experience with Lyme Disease is horrific.And informative!Amy Tan seems to be a very nice person and I am glad she wrote this book.It is one that I will keep on my book shelf and re-read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Many enjoyable essays
I've read and enjoyed all Amy Tan's fiction and was very excited when Opposite of Fate showed up at my local bookstore.I love reading autobiographical pieces from my favorite writers.It's so intriguing to find out where their magic comes from and how they go about tackling the writing process.Amy Tan truly invites us into her life with the essays in this book, with subjects ranging from her thoughts on writing, her upbringing, her favorite author, battling Lyme Disease, hanging out with Steven King and Dave Barry, and (my favorite) turning the Joy Luck Club into a movie.She also gives us background information on some of her novels, which any fan of hers will find interesting.

This book appeals to the side of me that enjoys the candid celebrity photos in People Magazine--the side of me that likes to see personal, private glimpes of how the most wealthy, famous, and successful people live.But this book is guilt-free.No paparazzi stalked Amy Tan to give us this intimate portrait--she voluntarily offers it to us.I recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Setting the Record Straight on Amy Tan
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and not just  writers, women, North Americans with Asian heritage or people with any such specific demographics. A charming and well-written book that is true to the memoir genre where you get to know the author rather than the events of his/her life. There are enough interesting stories from Ms Tan's past, especially the cultural and cross-cultural ones - the former involving her Chinese ancestry and the latter involving her American and Chinese heritage. The reader knows plenty about the events of her life, but only the ones which matter to her, which, ultimately, are the ones that really matter in getting to know someone. However, Ms Tan's goal and focus was to set the record straight on Amy Tan, what she's like and where she stands on many issues, and that she did. There are many enlightening essays with Ms Tan's views and questions on a variety of interesting topics, with notes on how they've impacted her life. The writing style, vocabulary and organization of stories are very typical and symbolic of Ms Tan's ways. I feel like I partly know her now, as in having a feel of the gist of what she is like, how she thinks and sees the world, and that I would find her very amiable if I met her. I only wish every memoir could tell me as much about the writer. PS If you are writing essays on Ms Tan's books and/or her, take her advice and avoid using Cliff's Notes. Cliff never met her. Net sources are even worse! ... Read more

99. Diana & Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Jay Mulvaney
list price: $30.95
our price: $30.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786248483
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 396383
Average Customer Review: 3.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

History has seen only a few women so magical, so evanescent, that they captured the spirit and imagination of their times. Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were two of these rare creatures.They were the most famous women of the twentieth century ~ admired, respected, even adored at times; rebuked, mocked and reviled at others. Separated by nationality and a generation apart, they led two surprisingly similar lives.

Both were the daughters of acrimonious divorce.Both wed men twelve years their senior, men who needed "trophy brides" to advance their careers. Both married into powerful and domineering families, who tried, unsuccessfully, to tame their willful independence.Both inherited power through marriage and both rebelled within their official roles, forever crushing the archetype.And both revolutionized dynasties.

And yet in many ways they were completely different: Jackie lived her life with an English "stiff upper lip" ~ never complaining, never explaining in the face of immense public curiosity. Diana lived her life with an American "quivering lower lip" ~ with televised tell-alls, exposing her family drama to a world eager for every detail.

These two lives have been well documented but never before compared. And never before examined in the context of their times. Jay Mulvaney, author of Kennedy Weddings and Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot, probes the lives of these two twentieth century icons and discovers:

The nature of their personalities forged from the cradle by their relationships with their fathers, Black Jack Bouvier and Johnny Spencer.
·Their early years, and their early relationships with men.
·Their marriages, and the truth behind the lies, the betrayals and the arrangements.
·Their greatest achievements: motherhood.
·Their prickly relationships with their august mothers-in-law, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II
· Their lives as single women, working mothers.
· Their roles as icons and archetypes.

Graced with never before seen photographs from many private collections, and painstakingly researched, Diana and Jackie presents these two remarkable and unique women as they have never been seen before.
... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A suprising and thoughtful look at two icons.
I thought that this book might be a normal sort of celebrity biography, you know, a little (GARBAGE), a little flash, but DIANA AND JACKIE is much more, and much better than that. It's really a look at the lives of these two influential woman and how they impacted both the English and American cultures. There are a lot of thought provoking questions here...was Diana being a good mother when she aired her grievences regarding her marraige to the entire world? Was that a selfish act? Or a selfless one, in that millions of other women could identify with her, and feel less ashamed about themselves.

Jackie Kennedy comes across as a very sympathetic person, one who tried (successfully) to raise her children as close to normally as possible within the Kennedy whirlwind.

The parallels between their two lives are extraordinary and very telling. It's really amazing to see how these two branches of a very strong tree grew in completely different directions.

I really liked this book and would recommend it without reservation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Two extraordinary Everywomen
Mulvaney has taken two of the most famous women of the last century and compared and contrasted them in the roles all woman are cast in (Maidens, Mothers, Myths). It's a fabulous idea and makes for very entertaining reading. While there is little new in this book about the lives of either of these well-documented ladies, the parallells Mulvaney draws between them gives the familiar information a fresh spin. (In particular, I'd never considered how similar their relationships to their formidable mothers-in-law were!) The cultural comments are interesting, too. Jackie maintained her (stereotypically English) "stiff upper lip" to the very end, while Diana took the more typically American, open approach to her life and her problems. And that's why I believe these women continue to fascinate. As much as we read about Jackie, we'll never feel we knew her -- she's an enigma we keep trying to solve. And it was Diana's very openness and accessibility that made her so appealing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Show some respect!
Dear Publishing Industry,

I have not read the book nor do I intend to. I came across it recently through one of your book clubs(to which I belong). It seems that every month you make a point of investing a great deal of time and money into marketing a book about overrated celebrities by star-struck authors.

In this time of soaring unemployment, downsizing and corporate fraud that befall the majority of the population, you choose to release a book which praises two individuals who had never experienced the above injustices but whose families instigated them and themselves contributed nothing to the progress of humanity.

Both Diana and Jackie were born into privilege. Both had the fortune of living in the best neighbourhoods, attending the best schools, socializing with the rich and famous, and not working at all to survive. Both passed on the same experiences to their children.

Paparazzi, constitutional obligations and in-laws who bestow multimillion dollar trust funds on their grandchildren are thankfully not the misfortunes that many single mothers deal with. They are blessed. For they deal with gang leaders who harass kids in low income areas, dumb-downed education system, dead-end jobs to pay for food and apartments smaller than Diana and Jackie's bathtubs, apathetic fathers, humiliation and gender discrimination. Certainly such trivial worries do not merit hundrends of books.

It seems that many talented struggling writers from all cultures, fields and walks of life also do not merit to be published to educate the semi-illiterate public about the many accomplishments of the world. Why not publish books every year about such groundbreaking women as Marie Curie, Susan B. Anthony, Golda Meir, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Billie Jean King, Evita Peron, Simone de Beauvoir, Oriana Fallaci ... (unfortunately the space provided does not allow for all of them to be listed)?

It is also unfortunate that there is not enough space for them in your budget.

1-0 out of 5 stars Straining to be scholarly
There are dozens of vapid biographies of both Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana out there, but this book manages to do the work of two: It has vapid info on both of them! What a thrill! Jay Mulvaney strains to produce some sort of substantial comparison and contrast, but the result is less than satisfying. (Considering that his only other books are about Kennedys and clothing, I wasn't expecting anything too earth-shattering)

Using the trio of "naiden, mother, myth" (instead of "maiden, mother, crone"), he examines the lives of both Di and Jackie -- their childhoods, their marriages, the two children each of them had, their husbands, and their lives after their husbands (in Di's case, post-divorce; in both of Jackie's cases, in widowhood).

One of the biggest problems with this book is the superficiality. The book makes a great deal out of similarities that just don't mean much -- divorced parents, philandering husbands, overbearing in-laws, out-of-control weddings, and so on. But the fact is that though there are some similarities (both of them became irrational focuses for the masses), there isn't a lot of similarity under the surface.

Yes, both of them had divorced parents, but WHY they divorced is drastically different. Yes, both of their husbands cheated on them, but they had drastically different personas. Those husbands were a shy, spoiled aristocrat and an outgoing, charismatic elected leader; one actually NEEDED a wife to uphold his image in order to get his position, while the other just wanted one. Despite what Mulvaney says, Diana was not close to Jackie's level intellectually (by her own admission, no less). And their own personalities were at different ends of the scale -- outgoing and sensitive, versus private and almost snobby. The superficiality of things like divorced parents, pretty clothes, crazy weddings and obnoxious in-laws are clearly shown.

Moreover, Mulvaney seems to be one of those biographers who dreads speaking ill of anyone. He claims it would be "harsh" to refer to Rose Kennedy or Queen Elizabeth II as a bad mom. Well, Charles and Jack were quite harsh, then. Bad personality traits are watered down, obnoxious tendencies are diminished. The worst thing he says about Rose is that her memoirs are full of "half truths and evasions." (Mulvaney has an evasion of his own: Rose disliked Jackie)

In short, this book can be summarized as: "Jackie and Di had some similarities." It doesn't even provide interesting pictures or any new information whatsoever; everything in this book is gleaned from previous material. All the "intertwining" that Mulvaney can manage is to start many of the paragraphs with, "Like Diana..." or "Like Jackie..."

Basically, this book feels like an attempt to draw in Di and Jackie enthusiasts all at once. It could just as easily have been about Diana and Grace Kelly, or Jackie and Hillary Clinton. A quick'n'dirty, very generic read about the Windsors and Kennedys, and there ain't nothing new here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two very amazing women
These two women proved to the world that you don't need a royal title to be able to get people to listen and help get things done. They also showed a kind, soft side to themselves. Trying to protect their children from the press and all the terrible tabloid printing. Diana wanted nothing more than to be queen of peoples hearts and she has done that. Charles didn't know what he lost when he lost her. Their children were first in their lives and they made that clear. ... Read more

100. Life Is So Good (Wheeler Large Print Compass Series)
by George Dawson, Richard Glaubman
list price: $28.95
our price: $28.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568959370
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing
Sales Rank: 191824
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Life Is So Good, George Dawson shares his wisdom and knowledge about survival, joy, people, and the hidden beauty of growing old. Now 101, Dawson has witnessed a century of change. Born in Marshall, Texas, in 1898, he was eight years old when he first left home to live and work on a white family's farm. But from his warm and loving parents Dawson took with him a positive outlook, based on focusing on how much they had rather than how little, the wise observance of others, and common sense. This book captures Dawson's personality, voice, philosophy, and amazing life story. Throughout this story, Life Is So Good shows us as well the history of America itself as seen through his eyes - segregation and race relations in the South, the World Wars, the invention of the automobile and the airplane, the desegregation of baseball, and other historic events. Life Is So Good is an inspiring story for generations to come. ... Read more

Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book For Students and Teachers of All ages
George Dawson is a remarkable man. He was the son of a slave and grew up in Texas. At the age of four he began working the family farm. At twelve he was sent out as a hired hand to help earn money for his family. He left home at twenty-one and traveled the country by rail. He worked hard all his life and encountered many hardships but there is no bitterness in this book as there is in so many memoirs today. This book is like a mini lesson in American history from a black respective. I loved this book because it showed so much perserverance and determination. George Dawson never was able to go to school as a child because he always had to work but at the age of 98 he learned to read! At 103 he was working on his G.E.D. He died in June of 2001. I read part of his story to my first grade class this year and they were fascinated. It shows how it is never too late to learn. This is the best book I have read all year.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, true story
This book is about the life of George Dawson, a remarkable 101-year-old man who is the grandson of slaves. Born in 1898, he tells of what life was like in Texas before integration. He turned away racial hatred by his gentle manner and kept his dignity during the most trying circumstances. He did manual labor from the time he was 4 until he was 90, and at age 98 he began to look for new challenges and so decided to go to Adult Education classes and learn to read. When he was growing up, he was always working,and as the oldest son he was depended upon to contribute financially to his family. His younger brothers and sisters went to school, but he never had a chance until someone knocked on his door and offered him the chance to learn to read. His quiet dignity shines through the pages as his story is told to co-author, Richard Glaubman. Glaubman is an elementary school teacher from Washington who became fascinated with a newspaper article he read about Dawson in a Seattle paper. The two became good friends over the course of the writing of this book and it is told in a narrative style of two friends chatting about the past. Some of the most interesting stories involve Dawson's early years and the times in his 20's when he traveled around the country just to satisfy his wanderlust. This is a wonderful book and in the course of reading it I felt as if I'd gotten to know a very special person

5-0 out of 5 stars 104 and still going¿
Imagine being the grandson of slaves, learning how to read at the age of 98 and living through one whole century. A rare life like this is proudly owned by one very lucky man named George Dawson. A writer named Richard Glaubman and George wrote a book together called "Life is so Good". This book takes you on an amazing adventure through this man's life. He lived all the way back to the awful times of segregation between blacks and whites, and the Depression at the beginning of the 20th century. Fast forward the date all the way to the 21st century, he is still as healthy and active as ever at the age of 104. One of the things I enjoyed the most about Mr. Dawson's book was that he would always do his very best and never gave up even when things were really tough.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most interesting book Iv'e ever read!
When my teacher said that we were going to read a book outloud I thought oh no another baby book! but when I heard the first chapter I couldn't wait to read the rest it was so exciting and to know that this really happened it was like taking a trip to a virtual tour through history! Maybe it isn't the best book ever. Maybe the fact that my PE teacher is the author inched me to think it was great I love it! When I heard that Gorege Dawson was coming to our school I was thrilled I even got to shake Goerge Dawsons hand! This book is probably the best book I've ever read! It's true.

5-0 out of 5 stars After 5 years, I still think about this book
I read this book about 5 years ago and have never forgotten it. I wanted my grandson to read it, but I couldn't remember the title and was so glad after trying many searches to find it. This is one of those quiet books. I found it very engaging and soulful when I read it, but I have only come to understand recently how much it affected me. I still think about it often. This is a sign of a great book. ... Read more

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