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61. Who She Was : My Search for My
$16.47 $14.90 list($24.95)
62. Scar Tissue
$11.16 $7.95 list($13.95)
63. Electroboy : A Memoir of Mania
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64. The Dark Child : The Autobiography
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65. Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures
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66. A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up
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67. Magical Mystery Tours : My Life
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68. The Color of Water: A Black Man's
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69. When All the World Was Young :
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70. Blue Blood
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71. American Soldier
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72. Paris to the Moon
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73. The Face of a Naked Lady : An
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74. Ball Four
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75. Another Place at the Table
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76. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True
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77. Another Bullshit Night in Suck
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78. Even After All This Time : A Story
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79. Blankets
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80. Reluctant Tuscan, The

61. Who She Was : My Search for My Mother's Life
by Samuel G. Freedman
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743227352
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 14749
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Samuel G. Freedman was nearing fifty, the same age at which his mother died of breast cancer, he realized that he did not know who she was. Of course, he knew that Eleanor had been his mother, a mother he kept at an emotional distance both in life and after death. He had never thought about the entire life she lived before him, a life of her own dreams and disappointments. And now, that ignorance haunted him.

So Freedman set out to discover the past, and Who She Was is the story of what he found. It is the story of a young woman's ambitions and yearnings, of the struggles of her impoverished immigrant parents, and of the ravages of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Holocaust.

It is also the story of a middle-aged son wracked with regret over the disregard he had shown as a teenage boy for a terminally ill mother, and as an adult incapable for decades of visiting her grave. It is the story of how he healed that wound by asking all the questions he had not asked when his mother was alive.

Whom did she love? Who broke her heart? What lifted her spirits? What crushed her hopes? What did she long to become? And did she get to become that woman in her brief time on earth?

Who She Was brings a compassionate yet unflinching eye to the American Jewish experience. It recaptures the working-class borough of the Bronx with its tenements and pushcarts, its union halls and storefront synagogues and rooftop-tar beaches. It remembers a time when husbands searched hundreds of miles for steady work and wives sent packages and prayers to their European relatives in the desperate hope they might survive the Nazis. In such a world, Eleanor Hatkin came of age, striving for education, for love, for a way out.

Researched as a history, written like a novel, Who She Was stands in the tradition of such classics as Call It Sleep and The Assistant. In bringing to life his mother, Samuel G. Freedman has given all readers a memorable heroine. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars When we reach the age when our first parent died ....
When we reach the age when our first parent died we have to come to a kind of realization that they didn't have any more than we're already had. Somewhere about then many of us start to reflect a bit on the life that that parent lived.

In my case it was a father who lived very poor in rural Arkansas.His father ... well this is not my family's story. It was later that I realized what he had gone through working in the hot Louisiana sun to give me a couple of college degrees.

I wish that I had the way with words Mr. Freedman has to put down the story of his mother's life. Indeed I'd like to have even researched my father's life as extensively as he has his mothers.

It was certainly a different life in the East Bronx than it was in the Arkansas Ozarks. I don't think better, or worse, just different. Mr. Freedman's grandmother had a major and not necessarily beneficial impact on his mother's life. My father's mother had died when he was six (childbirth).

Mr. Freedman has taken this story beyond just the story of one lady, it's a tale of the life of new immigrants living the Depression Era American Jewish experience. It's a good tribute to Eleanor Freeman. It's also a good tribute to Samuel Freedman.

He, like I, think of the casual cruelty we caused our parents. We'd like to go back and fix a few things, say a few things. But we can't. Instead, we smile and think of the things our kids have done, and we don't mind.

Mr. Freedman, your mother is, I think, looking down on you with pride, as I think my father is with me -- even though we know we don't deserve it. ... Read more

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

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

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

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

63. Electroboy : A Memoir of Mania
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0812967089
Catlog: Book (2003-02-11)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 44418
Average Customer Review: 3.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornadolike rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.

Ignoring his crescendoing illness, Behrman struggled to keep up appearances, clinging to the golden-boy image he had cultivated in his youth. But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn’t have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and tranquilizers and feeling his mind lose traction, he opted for the last resort: electroshock therapy.

At once hilarious and harrowing, Electroboy paints a mesmerizing portrait of a man held hostage by his in-satiable desire to consume. Along the way, it shows us the New York that never sleeps: a world of strip clubs, after-hours dives, and twenty-four-hour coffee shops, whose cheap seductions offer comfort to the city’s lonely souls. This unforgettable memoir is a unique contribution to the literature of mental illness and introduces a writer whose energy may well keep you up all night.

From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read
A lot of people have criticized this book as being too sensationalistic and trashy. Others have labeled Behrman a self-promoter. These allegations may be partly correct, but one aspect of writing a good memoir is to entertain the reader a little. For example, I found the description of Behrman's art forgery interesting and consistent with manic behavior. I suppose the book is a little light on information about bipolar disorder, but perhaps describing bipolar disorder in detail wasn't really the intent- hardly anyone criticizes Kay Jamison for not providing more info about bipolar disorder in "An Unquiet Mind". In summary, Behrman has assembled a pretty good book in "Electroboy" that anyone interested in bipolar disorder, or who likes entertaining narrative nonfiction, should read. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".

I also suffer from bipolar disorder, as does Andy Behrman, the author of "Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania." Never have I read a more brutally honest account, albeit raw, of this illness that ravages millions of Americans (including both my brother and sister). I've read accounts of mental illness by Kay Refield Jamison and Elizabeth Wurtzel, but I've just never been this moved and frightening reminded of the intricacies of my illness.

Although Behrman's account seems to highlight an extreme case of manic depression, I really felt like I was taken along for the roller coaster ride of my own life. I became caught up in the frenzy of his mania - - the shopping sprees, the promiscuity and the psychosis.

Although "Electroboy" is technically a memoir, fellow sufferers of the illness (or any other mental illness) will learn quite a bit from this account (as will mental health professionals). It's a must read - - highly informative, captivating and entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Coming to terms
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its coverer, but I have to admit I've been guilty of this crime. I was originally drawn to Behrman's work by the bright yellow cover, but what I found inside was far better. The work provided an entertaining look at someone's life, from stories of travel around the world, to risky behavior revolving around sex and drugs, to life in New York City. This book did things for me other than entertainment as well. As someone that has been diagnosed with biopolar disorder it helped me realize things could be a lot worse. Despite my problems with illness the actions of Andy Behrman seem more extreme than I am capable, which gave me some peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can be enjoyed from either an insider's or outsider's view
I enjoyed this book from an outsider's point of view (I don't have BP) and I felt like it was a tremendously revealing look into the mind of a manic-depressive. Probably the life Jack Kerouac would have led, had he been young in the 1990's and been born into a well off family. The author teeters on the brink of self destruction throughout most of the book but always seems to eek it out, along the lines of Catch Me if You Can. If you have no sympathy for the burden of mental illness, then this is definitely not the book for you but if you'd like incite into this world, you'll love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT A PAGE TURNER!
I read practically every book on mental illness and a good friend of mine who is manic depressive told me that "Electroboy" was probably the most accurate account of the illness.

I literally devoured "Electroboy" in two days. It's a thrilling tale of a man who experiences such dramatic highs and lows of a devastating illness - - I just couldn't put it down.

If you're expecting Elizabeth Wurtzel or Lizzie Simon, you're not going to find that in "Electroboy." THIS IS THE REAL THING! The writer takes you into the mind of the manic depressive and takes you along for the ride. It's a must read! ... Read more

64. The Dark Child : The Autobiography of an African Boy
by Camara Laye
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080901548X
Catlog: Book (1954-01-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 140165
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.
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Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read this garbage
A year ago in my freshman language arts class, I was forced to read The Dark Child. Previously having been assigned garbage such as Nectar in a Sieve and Things Fall Apart, I expected this book would be terrible as well. I was not to be disappointed.
I soon discovered that The Dark Child was a sort of childhood memoirs written by a native of rural Guinea, which is described as a primitive paradise. After choking down five pages of the poorly written (or poorly translated?) prose, I thought to myself, "Could there be a premise less compelling than a boy living an idyllic life in 1920s rural Africa?" I mulled over this thought for a while and decided that there wasn't. This book is plagued by the fundamental problem that the reader knows, doesn't want to know, or doesn't care about what's coming next. Even if you are interested in what life was like for Camara Laye's people, you will be put off by the poor writing and the utter directionlessness of this book - indeed, I constantly found myself dumbfounded by the meandering descriptions, the contrived dialogue, and the pointless vignettes.
In conclusion, I would suggest to the prospective buyer that you spend your money on something better-done and more enjoyable, such as a porn DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read African Child and Radience Of The King together
Fascinating. A young foreigner in Paris, a young foreigner in Camara Laye's African Kingdom. It doesen't get any better. Read these 20 years ago.

George Pope

5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful
A beautifully textured, fluid and organic autobiography, Camara Laye offers readers a piece of his life in The Dark Child. As part of the Malinke community in Upper Guinea, Laye captures the layered tradition and culture of his community, deemed, perhaps by most, to be simplistic or primitive compared to today's modern standards. Yet it is exactly from Layes descriptions of the traditions of his community that we can begin to understand the psychology of the author. Each chapter is rich with imagery, and his words smack of sincerity and innocence, bringing about an effortless quality and flow to his work--it is as if we are there with Laye experiencing his many transitions, from boyhood to manhood. His descriptions of the communal lifestyle of his people is remarkable. Laye's works like other modern African authors reveal the realities of colonization, and help readers to appreciate and celebrate indigenous African traditions.

5-0 out of 5 stars It took me a long time to read this book.
I first got this book in junior high by a family friend but never bothered to read it until I entered high school. Not having anything to read, I took it upon myself to read the book. I found myself intrigued by the author's way of life during colonialism and his upbringing in a village and his graduation from high school. It was sad that one of his classmates died unexpectedly. Wanting to find out some more about this author I looked up a book of African authors. Unfortuately he passed away in 1980. He is a great writer and wished that I had read it soon as it was given to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of an African Childhood
Camara Laye was one of the first sub-saharan writers to become well-known outside of Africa. "L'Enfant Noir" or "The Dark Child" (also titled "The African Child"?) was published in 1953 when the author was twenty-five and living in France. It is a pleasantly nostalgic memoir of a childhood spent in the town of Kouroussa (French Guinea, now Guinea) and the village of Tindican, his mother's birthplace. Chapter by chapter Camara recounts his childhood memories: his father's work as a goldsmith and his position in society, his parent's magic, village life, the rice harvest, elementary Koranic education, circumcision and young men's secret society, secondary education in Conakry, girls and courtship, and his departure to continue his studies in France. After almost half a century in print, this deserves to be called a classic. [Note: some authorities state that his family name is Camara (also spelled Kamara) and his given name is Laye; the text supports this at one point. If using search engines to look for information on this author it may be useful to try both versions of his name.] ... Read more

65. Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0375758739
Catlog: Book (2002-04-09)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 10182
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this delightful sequel to her bestseller Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl returns with more tales of love, life, and marvelous meals. Comfort Me with Apples picks up Reichl’s story in 1978, when she puts down her chef’s toque and embarks on a career as a restaurant critic. Her pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles, and her stories of cooking and dining with world-famous chefs range from the madcap to the sublime. Throughout it all, Reichl makes each and every course a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. She shares some of her favorite recipes, while also sharing the intimacies of her personal life in a style so honest and warm that readers will feel they are enjoying a conversation over a meal with a friend. ... Read more

Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing honesty, incredible book
It seems to me that if you're going to write a memoir, you need to be prepared to offer your readers a "warts and all" account instead of whitewashing your life. Ruth Reichl does that here -- obviously a lot of people were upset by her revelations of extramarital affairs (and don't forget, her first husband played around even more than she did), but she is honest with her readers, and I admire that.

I was a big fan of Reichl's first volume of memoirs, TENDER AT THE BONE, and this continuation of her story captivated me from start to finish with its beautifully written accounts of great meals, wonderful chefs (including Hollywood star Danny Kaye), and Reichl's personal ups and downs. I loved the chapters set in exotic locales like China, Thailand and Spain, as well as the stories about Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters. The story ends with Reichl's pregnancy as she is living in L.A. and working as the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. Obviously much has happened since then, including her stints as a reviewer for the New York Times and her current position as editor of Gourmet magazine. That leads me to hope that there will be a third volume of memoirs before too long -- I can't wait!

5-0 out of 5 stars Delicious
Thank goodness the waiter slipped coffee into my decaf. Yes, I was up all night, but it gave me time to read "Comfort Me With Apples" in one huge, delicious sitting. If you read and liked Ruth Reichl's previous memoir, "Tender at the Bone," then run out and get this one--it's better. And if you haven't read Tender at the Bone, then get this anyway, or just make your life better and get both.

I'd initially shied away from reading this book because sophomore efforts are rarely as good as the originals, because the first few pages, when I scanned them, looked awfully dreary (all those Berkeley folks giving Reichl a very hard and preachy time of it, complaining that her new job as a restaurant reviewer means selling out), and because of some negative reviews on Amazon. Now that I've reread those reviews, I'm surprised--some people seem to have read such a different book than I did.

But I just figured out what the problem must be. Reichl is a devoted foodie and food writer, but she is also an eloquent and moving memoirist. If you've come to her work looking for insight only about food, go elsewhere (I suggest Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything, or AJ Liebling's Between Meals). But if your interested in lives--women's lives especially--and how they intertwine with careers and passions (Reichl's passion being for food among other things), get this. Reichl is definitely and consciously writing in the tradition of MFK Fisher, who used food as a prism to write about a thousand other things.

Reichl's chief story line is about her career as a restaurant critic and a reporter on the scene of the great revolution in Californian (and hence American) cuisine. Contrary to one reviewer, I didn't think she's telling this story to show off; her insights about Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Fisher, and others are worthwhile and fascinating. Her subplot is her personal life--divorce and remarriage, the death of her father, the adoption and loss of one child and the birth of another. In the hands of another writer these personal details might be mawkish or dreary; I found them wonderfully engrossing.

Of course there are problems with the book. I agreed with many others that tales of trips to China, Thailand, and Barcelona at times seemed more like magazine articles than a coherent part of a memoir. Unlike others, I didn't like the recipes at the end of each chapter; I found it intrusive to go from an emotionally wrenching description of the end of an affair, for example, into chirpee cookbookese ("count on a pound of asparagus per person. Buy the fattest stalks you can . . . ") The memoir parts of the book could have been slightly more self-reflective; Reichl needn't show regret she doesn't feel for the affairs she had during her marriage, but it would seem natural to acknowledge them as something the merest bit more troublesome than the decision about which main course to choose at La Tour d'Argent. Nevertheless, the book overall was wonderful, warm, lusty, passionate, filling, generous, and evocative. I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in food, life, or love.

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. ... Read more

66. A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana (Today Show Book Club #3)
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767915054
Catlog: Book (2002-09)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 4306
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people.Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears.In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel's straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.
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Reviews (125)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Hearing a novel hyped to no end often makes me nervous about purchasing it. However, once the hype turned into endless praise from friends in my book clubs, I knew I had to pick this one up.

Haven Kimmel's memoir of growing up in Indiana is a pleasant, intriguing read. Her use of lyrical description, at once sounds like a child's description, and is entirely beautiful. Ms. Kimmel's memoir evokes feelings of sheer happiness.

While complex enough, when examined closely, it is also a truly simple and enjoyable read. It doesn't have complex tragedies, depressing overtones. It is a simple memoir of real life growing up in the Midwest.

The characters will warm your heart, leave you ducking behind bushes, or misty-eyed, and they will all be real. It is hard to think that Ms. Kimmel wasn't jotting down notes on her thoughts, like a journalist, as her life carried on, because of the detail of every circumstance.

This novel will not dissappoint. I recommend picking it up as soon as you get the chance. It is a heart-warming, enjoyable read and lives up to its hype.

20 Nov 2002

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I ever read!
This book is hard to describe accurately, but I laughed out loud so many times reading it, sometimes feeling guilty for laughing ... but laughing nonetheless. The scene with the dead baby pig is a prime example. I've unsuccessfully described this scene to two groups of friends, and they all thought it didn't sound funny. But trust me -- somehow Haven Kimmel makes it funny!

Zippy is an adventurous, trouble-making child -- and you can't help but love her. Every character in this book is both quirky and believable.

If you're looking for a light, funny book that's like a walk down memory lane with an old friend, get this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh, funny and uplifting
Haven Kimmel's childhood was not punctuated by alcoholism or abuse. No one died young, no one tortured the young girl, and she wasn't raised in some exotic location. On the contrary, Haven's childhood was probably like a lot of people's...without major drama but full of interesting people and little stories that make for a wholesome read. I found this book very easy to get into and finish, and exceptionally refreshing compared to the majority of memoirs these days that focus on the negative. I guarantee readers of Zippy will come away with a deep appreciation for Haven's parents for raising her in a happy, and healthy environment that produced a great writer to boot.

5-0 out of 5 stars It tickles your funny bone!
I read this wonderful book while on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Given my disrupted sleep from time zone changes, I was up late into the night laughing to myself from the delightfully entertaining quips of 9 year old Zippy. The book was especially touching because I grew up in a small town, Tipton, IN, during the 1960's. I'm looking forward to reading more of Haven Kimmel's books!

5-0 out of 5 stars Just about Perfect
This book is amazing. I know I will be reading it many times. It means so much not only because I was born and raised in Indiana and can say first-hand that Haven Kimmel captures the very essence of the people and sights in small-town Midwest, but that she handles each character and setting with such grace and simple truth that I haven't seen in a book before this. This book reveals integrity and beauty without being overly sentimental. I think it's rare today to find an artist/writer/etc. with the courage to keep things simple and true. It is even more rare to do that and still be entertaining. This is one of my favorite books. Haven Kimmel is a wonderful writer. ... Read more

67. Magical Mystery Tours : My Life with the Beatles
by Tony Bramwell, Rosemary Kingsland
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031233043X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 4018
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"If you want to know anything about the Beatles, ask Tony Bramwell. He remembers more than I do."- Sir Paul McCartney to Donovan in a January 2002 interview

Tony Bramwell's remarkable life began in a postwar Liverpool suburb, where he was childhood friends with three of the Beatles long before they were famous. And by the time he caught up with George Harrison on the top of a bus going to check out "The Beatles, direct from Hamburg"--one of whom George turned out to be--Tony was well on his way to staying by them for every step of their meteoric rise.

If anything needed taking care of, Tony Bramwell was the man the Beatles called, the man they knew they could trust. His story has been sought after for years, and now, here it is, full of untold stories and detailing with an insider's shrewd eye the Apple empire's incomparable rise, Brian Epstein's frolics, Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, Phil Spector's eccentric behavior, and new stories about Yoko Ono, the Stones, and the life--his life.

From developing the first Beatle music videos to heading Apple Films, and from riding bikes and trading records with George Harrison to working and partying with everyone from the Beatles to Hendrix, Ray Charles, and The Who, Tony's life really did (and does) encompass a who's who of rock.

His story reveals fresh insights into the Beatles' childhoods and families, their early recordings and songwriting, the politics at Apple, and Yoko's pursuit of John and her growing influence over the Beatles' lives. And it uncovers new information about the Shea Stadium concert footage, John Lennon's late-night "escapes," and more. From the Cavern Club to the rooftop concert, from the first number one to the last, and from scraps of song lyrics to the discovery of the famous Mr. Kite circus poster, Tony Bramwell really did see it all.

Conversational, direct, and honest, the ultimate Beatles insider finally shares his own version of the frantic and glorious ascent of four boys from Liverpool lads to rock and roll kings.
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Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars Really?!!
First-hand stories of legends (living or not) from half a century ago are usually just that: stories. I'm sure most of them are true, but they don't have to be to sell books. And who's memory is that good, or has not been diluted or rearranged many times during one's life, to be able to note specifics of conversations or events pertaining to somebody else?

We all know that Yoko was the black widow that ate the Beatles heart, but we also should know that John desperately needed a "mommy" figure because he lost his mother twice as a child. People have been alot more screwed up from alot less trauma.

It is also been well known for quite a while that the Beatles re-recorded parts of the Shea Stadium concert soundtrack. Mark Lewisohn also details this (secret? Come on!) episode in The Complete Beatles Chronicles, although with plenty of inaccuracies as well. There are many bootleg copies of the concert, some with the original Shea audio, and some with the re-dubbed audio, and it's fairly easy to tell which is which, once you've seen it a few times. And hardly everything was touched-up anyway. Many of the original vocals remained with some of the instruments re-dubbed on a given track, but some songs were never touched at all. I guess it came as a shock to me, when I first saw the "Rain" video on Ed Sullivan, that they weren't really singing or playing; just miming, but I'm not 10 years old anymore, and they didn't invent lip-syncing, either.

So, I guess my point is that even historical documents often bear false information, so don't take somebody's "I was there" book as Gospel. It is, after all, just entertainment!

4-0 out of 5 stars One Big Suprise-true or false?
This is an enjoyable romp thru the Beatles history marred only by some suprising inaccuricies.They can mostly be overlooked as so much time has passed and a lot of alcohol has gone over the dam since then.

HOWEVER-there is a claim made in the book that I have never heard before and am really wondering about.Bramwell states the entire Shea Stadium concert of 1965 was re-recorded in the studio and dubbed onto the film shown on CBS the following year.With the exception of "Act Naturally", the studio version of which is used in the film, it appears the Beatles are playing and singing live. Has anyone heard of this, or has it been confirmed thru another source?Just wondering.

One last thought.This book is not likely to make Yoko Ono's end of the year top ten list.She has to be one of the most annoying people of the last century.What the hell was John Lennon thinking?

5-0 out of 5 stars Rare Gem of a Beatle Book - Advanced Beatle History
I love this book.This is a refreshing Beatle biography, from the standpoint of someone who literally grew up with the Beatles and socialized with them from boyhood.A gifted raconteur, Bramwell draws readers into a "sense" of each Beatle as a boy; what it was like to have George Harrison have dinner at your table; to witness George pulling a very dangerous stunt as a boy and being warned about John's questionable influence on his peers.

Bramwell does a stellar job of portraying a part of musical/artistic/cultural history that will no doubt delight inveterate Beatle fans, but attract the attention of those either becoming familiar with the Beatles or who have an interest in history in general.This book is really geared for all ranging from the "advanced" Beatle fan; that is, one who has a strong background in Beatle knowledge to people wanting to learn more about them and bring them to a high level of Beatle information.

This inveterate, avid Beatles' fan gives this work a hearty endorsement and a yeah, yeah, yeah!

3-0 out of 5 stars Hatred of Yoko Spoils What Could Have Been Something Special
Mr. Bramwell really did know the Beatles in Liverpool and the beginning sections of this book are excellent.Unfortunately Mr. Bramwell's blinding hatred of Yoko Ono really spoils the latter half.Mr. Bramwell puts an anti-Yoko, pro-Paul statement on practically every page and and some of his ommissions and misstatements are really egregious. Once Yoko enters the picture, Paul can do no wrong, and John's contributions are constantly minimized. Perhaps Yoko really was as loathsome to Mr. Bramwell as he claims when he worked for Apple.But his description of the complex Paul/John/Yoko dynamic is simply too vitrolic to be taken seriously.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good insider's view of the Beatles
Tony Bramwell, assisted by Rosemary Kingsland, writes a commendable overview of his years with the Beatles.Bramwell was the "go to" guy when members of the band or their management needed something done.

His early years with the group were the most interesting to me.He makes the reader feel that they are along for the ride when Tony and the group go on an exhausting van trip across England.The reader can tagalong as Tony assists John in escaping suburban imprisonment and embarking on a drunken night on the town in swingin' '60's London.

Bramwell is affecting when describing the trials and tribulations of Brian Epstein, the genius who made the Beatles "bigger than Elvis," but who succumbed to his own inner demons.

Yoko Ono is portrayed as the crazed "stalker" who calculatingly seduces John and evetually lures his interests away from the group.Sadly, Tony's account of her calculated pursuit of the vulnerable Lennon rings tragically true.

The reason I didn't give the book five stars is due to its occasional lapse in historical accuracy and misspellings.Bela Lugosi, who is described as a friend and dinner guest of Phil Spector, died in 1956, two years before Spector even wrote his first number one hit, "To Know Him is to Love Him."Bryan Ferry is rechristened "Brian" Ferry.

Still, overall, I recommend Tony Bramwell's book to all Beatles fans.Reading the book is like sitting in a cozy pub with a man who was one of the Beatles' closet friends and confidantes. ... Read more

68. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
by James McBride
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573225789
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 1394
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Order this book ... and please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all. ... Read more

Reviews (463)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mommy, what color is God?
This book is an amazing voyage of discovery. McBride unravels a life forgotten and buried by a mother who was born in 1921 to a Jewish Rabbi and his wife in Poland, and found Christianity and love in the arms of a black husband and her 12 children. The book tells two stories. The author tells of growing up in the projects of New York with a white mother and she tells her story of a young Jewish girl growing up in the south and then Harlem, always an outsider wanting only what all girls want, the love of her family and to be accepted.

It was early on in life that Ruth Shilsky realized that this would never happen. She found herself up against some of the greatest odds a person could face in an era of blatant racial prejudice and a family that turned their back on her because she dared to be different. The life she made was a remarkable one and the children she produced are all extraordinary people, to put it in the words of the author. An inspiring read of warm languid prose, I couldn't put it down, nor could I stop rooting for "Mommy" who just never stopped moving forward. 3/2/01

5-0 out of 5 stars Indomitable spirit and nurturing love
Subtitled, "A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother", the author, James McBride, a journalist and musician, has written his true and remarkable story.

Ruth McBride Jordan was born in 1921, in Poland, the daughter of Orthodox Jews. As a baby, her family immigrated to the United States where she was raised in Virginia where her father had a grocery store. Her life was harsh and when she married a black man in 1942, her family disowned her.

She raised 12 children, every one of them college educated, her indomitable spirit strong through poverty and the tragic deaths of two husbands. Her color confused her children who lived in a black world and it wasn't until they had grown to adulthood that her true story came out.

James McBride is a good writer, and his lively clear prose reflect a home that might have been lacking in material things, but was extraordinary in its warmth and love and nurturing atmosphere.

Ruth McBride Jordan's story is told in her voice through alternating chapters and her strength comes through in her words. Never once is there a shred of self pity as she tells her story. When she was first married she and her husband lived in a cockroach infested single room in Harlem with the bathroom in the hall. Her first four children were born while they were living in that single room. "It was one of the happiest times of my life," she says. Later they moved to an apartment with their own private bathroom which was quite a luxury.

The reader feels the emotions that James feels as he struggles with his own identity. He is the 8th of the 12 children and watches his older brothers and sisters being influenced by the "black power" movement of the 70s. Often, he's embarrassed by the color of his mother's skin.

Ruth is an active Christian avid churchgoer. James knows little or nothing of Jews. It is fascinating to read his point of view which is told with insight and honesty. And it is perhaps even more fascinating to hear the words of Ruth.

The book is an inspiration, a testament to love, and social exploration through the eyes of a mixed race family. Read it! You'll love it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for your mother!
This is one of the best books i have ever read!

the racial issue between a black man's perception of his white mother is presented equally with the outpouring of love and respect he has for her; simply as a mother of 12 children in Harlem who put all her children through collge and grad school. the stories about trips to church, to camp, riding public tansport, getting homemade haircuts, and how awful a cook his mother was are universal and are presented evenly with the tender moments of love and respect and joy he has with his mother.

the other half of this book is his mother's autobiography; the story of a young polish Jewish immigrant living in Jim Crow Virginia, abused by her father. the thinly veiled pain and anguish of memory that McBride's mother reveals futher illuminates his respect for his mother in his own chapters as he describes his mother founding a Baptist church in Harlem with his father.

this book is a gift to mothers everywhere!

5-0 out of 5 stars Escape Into McBride's Plight
I read this biography over the summer during camp, when I wanted to escape from the heat (not to mention the annoyance of the little campers!). It's very easy to lose yourself in this book because of McBride's straight-to-the-point, action-packed writing style. His own autobiography and his mother's biography are brilliantly intertwined in alternating chapters, keeping readers immersed in the various parallels and general comparisons of both lives.

The search for self-identity is so rich, so apparant, that almost everyone can relate to it. It also shows that the rise of poverty is possible, but also requires an endurance of obsticles along the way. Read this.

4-0 out of 5 stars A question of identity
James McBride, the author, knew very little about his mother's heritage before he began writing this book. One thing he did know was that she was different. Different from his father, his siblings, himself, his friends, and his neighbors. When he would ask her if she was white, she would avoid the question or answer that she was "light-skinned". When he once asked her what color God was she replied, "He's the color of water. He has no color". This is the way Ruth McBride looked at the world. When her Jewish family acted in an unloving manner towards her, she turned to black friends, who were more accepting of her. James loved his white mother, whom he calls "Mommy" in the book but was also embarrassed by her racial differences and was confused by a lack of knowledge of her roots. This book seemed to be a catharsis for him as it allowed him to contact some of his mother's relatives and old friends whom he had never met. Ruth McBride considered her greatest achievement to be the many college degrees which her 12 children earned and their professional occupations. This is an interesting story of a woman who did not ever let life defeat her and who held high educational and behavioral standards for her racially-mixed children. It is also the story of a search for identity. ... Read more

69. When All the World Was Young : A Memoir
by Barbara Holland
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582345252
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 32869
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The author deemed "a national treasure" by the Philadelphia Inquirer finally tells her own story, with this sharp and atmospheric memoir of a postwar American childhood.

Barbara Holland finally brings her wit and wisdom to the one subject her fans have been clamoring for for years: herself. When All the World Was Young is Holland's memoir of growing up in Washington, D.C. during the 1940s and 50s, and is a deliciously subversive, sensitive journey into her past. Mixing politics (World War II, Senator McCarthy) with personal meditations on fatherhood, mothers and their duties, and "the long dark night of junior high school," Holland gives readers a unique and sharp-eyed look at history as well as hard-earned insight into her own life. A shy, awkward girl with an overbearing stepfather and a bookworm mother, Holland surprises everyone by growing up into the confident, brainy, successful writer she is today. Tough, funny, and nostalgic yet unsentimental, When All the World Was Young is a true pleasure to read.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Delightful
An absolutely delightful book that brings back so many memories. I've often wondered how any of us survived child hood. I had about as much trouble with school as she did, as she called it "The Long, Dark Night of Junior High School." We didn't have a junior high school, but I certainly thought high school was a bitch.

I was struck by her story of wanting to ride on the back seat of a bus. She was in the South at the time, and this forced the African American women to stand. But she didn't know. There weren't any signs, just 'everyone' knew.Where I lived there were signs. I remember riding on a bus with our "negro" (the word at the time) baby sitter. She sat behind the sign, my brother sat just in front of her, with the sign in the middle. My brother and I played with the sign until the ultimate authority in the world, the bus driver came back and said, "leave the sign alone kid." We sat perfectly still for the rest of the trip.

This book is not a typical autobiography. It's a series of little stories from a time when the world was different. It wasn't as easy a world as one would have liked, but she made it through.

My life was much the same, I wish I could write like she does.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of the times as well as the person
A misfit, bookish, lonely child beset by terrors and bewilderment, Barbara Holland grew up to look back on her pre-mid-century childhood with wicked hilarity and affectionate humor, but not a shred of sentimentality. Growing up in the Washington DC suburbs during World War II, graduating high school in 1950, Holland, author of 14 non-fiction books, reanimates a bygone world when "the Father's chair" was sacrosanct and mothers never sat at all but fussed endlessly over their families. Except for her mother, who belonged in a category all her own: "Mothers and my mother."

Holland's mother is brilliant, attractive, talented, and about as unmaternal as a mother of five can be. A skilled carpenter and artist who believes her place is in the milieu she's least suited to - the home- she emerges as a complex, sympathetic character with dozens of quirks (not all of them endearing), who shuns housekeeping for murder mysteries.

Holland's stepfather, on the other hand, receives no such complex attention. He's a monster with only two dimensions, cold and brutal, and at long last Holland has her revenge on him. She calls him " `Carl,' since that wasn't his name." "Just thinking his name brings him back too vividly and I can even remember his smell, not noxious but sharp and distinct like a whiff of danger in the forest." Her real father was lost to divorce early on and nobody explained things to children in those days. Lucky for her, her grandmother anchored her childhood, a constant, if undemonstrative presence, with whom she spent most of her weekends.

Holland, writing as an adult, with an adult's horror and sympathy, appears comfortable with the elasticity and vagaries of memory. She conveys the immediacy of the child's world - the acuteness of perception, vulnerabilities and emotion - and accepts the large blurry patches from which islands of vividness emerge, inking the spaces with evocations of the daily round. Her chapter headings evoke the past with Dickensian humor, beginning with: "In Which the Chairs & Domestic Habits of Fathers Are Explored, & Nick Is Born."

She was five when Nick, her younger brother, appeared. "I was horrified....He howled when Carl was trying to read his paper; he howled at night when Carl needed his sleep. He fouled his diapers and made outrageous demands on Mother's time and attention, even during dinner. He was totally ignorant of the danger he was in; how could he know? He just got here." It was her job to save them both from being cast out of the house into the street. "Apparently Mother didn't understand the danger either. She had, as I said, a great capacity for refusing to notice."

School was the bane of Holland's existence, second only to Carl: "School & I Struggle with Each Other, Plus Hard Times with the Old Testament." The social maneuvering baffled her, numbers were a threatening mystery, each day was a looming dread. Reading, however, was a miracle, and she read voraciously, "shucking the self gladly like a shirt full of fleas."

In elementary school she was called on to read the Bible to her class each morning. A methodical child, unfamiliar with the Bible, she prepared herself by starting at the beginning. The "sheer meanness of God" shocked her. She cried hardest at the fate of Lot's wife: "Struck down for a moment's homesickness." "I wanted no more of God. He was Carl on a cosmic scale. When He put His foot down, everyone died."

Then came war, a time of change. A girl from California came to class wearing Bermuda shorts, a Northern family descended with a white housekeeper, Republicans moved into the neighborhood. Food deteriorated but children, just as they had before the war, "ate what was put in front of them, without comment, and barely noticed." Mother went to work. "Fathers, by definition, came home from the day's work exhausted and surly. Mother came home sparkling all over as if from a light fall of snow."

In school there were air raid drills and in Florida, where she spent summers, German submarines prowled the waters, sinking oil tankers, and fighter planes practiced offshore. "In Washington the war, though great fun, was largely imaginary; on Florida's east coast it was actually happening."

After the war there was Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee, which put the fear of State into many of their friends and neighbors, though not Holland's socialist grandmother, who resigned from teaching rather than sign the loyalty oath. There was also polio and the nuclear threat, which progressed from backyard shelters to evacuation to the end of life on earth.

"The Long Dark Night of Junior High School," ended with the blossoming of a wonderful, intense friendship, her first with a soul mate, and high school brought a succession of bad-boy boyfriends, then after graduation she fell into a stultifying depression. But Holland leaves us on a high note, "In Which I Am Saved Again & Live Happily Ever After:" saved by a job - nothing special about it, except the independence of a paycheck, no small thing, then or now.

Holland draws us into a time when big families were the norm, mothers stayed home and had black household help, children roamed at will, and people ate creamed chicken and pineapple upside down cake. In school history was male, girls weren't expected to do math or allowed to take shop and Latin was still offered. Funny, poignant, even savage, Holland's memoir will inspire you to seek out her other books, which cover a wide range of subjects from the irreverent presidential short takes of "Hail to the Chiefs," to "They Went Whistling," a wry and lively account of history's forgotten females, and "Gentleman's Blood," a sharp-witted history of dueling.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Cultural Reflection
My sister Sally H. S. says, "Had Barbara Holland stayed at BCC high school, instead of leaving as a sophomore because she flunked gym, we would have been in the same home room. . . she writes about sledding down Meadow Lane, and she went to Rosemary School.She does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of suburban Washington in WWII."

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
What a terrific read! Here is a girl who slayed many a dragon, surviving to become a brave, funny and rocky-smart lady who writes like a dream. The fascinating personalities who people Barbara Holland's world are portrayed with precision and compassion. A noble work, highly recommended. ... Read more

70. Blue Blood
by EdwardConlon
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594480737
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Sales Rank: 4382
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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As a Harvard graduate and regular writer for the New Yorker, Edward Conlon is a little different from most of his fellow New York City cops. And the stories he tells in his compelling memoir Blue Blood are miles away from the commonly told Hollywood-style police tales that are always action packed but rarely tethered to reality. While there is action here, there's also political hassle, the rich and often troubling history of a department not unfamiliar with corruption, and the day to day life of people charged with preserving order in America's largest city. Conlon's book is, in part, a memoir as he progresses from being a rookie cop working the beat at troubled housing projects to assignments in the narcotics division to eventually becoming a detective. But it's also the story of his family history within the enormous NYPD as well as the evolving role of the police force within the city. Conlon relates the controversies surrounding the somewhat familiar shoo! ting of Amadou Diallou and the abuse, at the hands of New York cops, of Abner Louima. But being a cop himself, Conlon lends insight and nuance to these issues that could not possibly be found in the newspapers.And as an outstanding writer, he draws the reader into that world. In the book's most remarkable passage, Conlon tells of the grim but necessary work done at the Fresh Kills landfill, sifting through the rubble and remains left in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 (a section originally published in The New Yorker). In many ways, Blue Blood comes to resemble the world of New York City law enforcement that Conlon describes: both are expansive, sprawling, multi-dimensional, and endlessly fascinating. And Conlon's writing is perfectly matched to his subject, always lively, keenly observant, and possessing a streetwise energy.--John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating story
I do not regret that I bought this book. It is an interesting book. I like the author's style of writing and the police stories which I found exciting. I generally like cop stories and wasn't disappointed by this. If you ever want to know about the inner workings of New York City and the NYPD, then this and True Blue are recommended reads.Disciples of Fortune takes you into another setting and gives us an idea about the negative aspects of the police force out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding read....
It's so hard not to say, "fantastic first novel" because this work reads like ths best of good fiction.Knowing it's an autobiography only deepens the appeal.I look forward to more from Mr. Conlon as both his careers develop......

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing; Fascinating story
When I heard that author Edward Conlon still serves in the NYPD, I was skeptical about whether he was really free to publish a truly candid account of life inside one of the nation's largest police departments. Yet, Detective Conlon does just that and more in a remarkably frank, funny, thoughtful and brilliantly written memoir.

Blue Blood stands out primarily because of Detective Conlon's sharp wit and humor. His vivid descriptions of the characters, customs and encounters that dominate a street cop's life had me laughing out loud. Likewise, his wry observations and amusing insights into the absurd aspects of NYPD bureaucracy (i.e., the petty bosses, the pervasive internal politics, the inane departmental regulations, etc.) made for entertaining fodder. In fact, Conlon's colorful writing and artful phrasing so impressed me that after finishing the CD/audio version of Blue Blood, I bought the paperback just so that I could re-read and highlight the exceptional prose.

Blue Blood also takes an absorbing, unvarnished look at the serious side of urban crime fighting including the tragic conditions that police routinely encounter, the ever-present dangers that confront officers in the line of duty, the devastating mistakes that can sometimes occur in high crime environments, and the flawed criminal justice procedures that too often fail to keep "perps" off the streets. What proves most interesting about this book, however, is that even in the face of such trials and frustrations, there is no sense of bitterness or defeat. Instead, Blue Blood paints an encouraging picture of policing. And in Conlon, you definitely see a good man who thoroughly believes in "the Job" and who relishes in carrying out his calling as a cop.

I absolutely loved Blue Blood. The book is lengthy (559 pages), but it is well worth the time. I highly recommend this amazing work.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blue Blood by Ed Conlon
Gets off to a roaring start: vivid, full of action, and surprisingly funny. Of course we'll never know if it was the author or his editors who made the fatal decision to pad the rest of the book with all sorts of family history and politically correct nonsense... and he never misses an opportunity to remind us how Progressive he is, a tedious quirk. And by the way, no romance whatsoever. Not a single flirtation. No sex. Nothing. Not one badge bunny throws herself at him! Maybe he wants a career in Leftist circles and refrained from saying anything too colorful. Leaves you with the impression he's a somewhat dreary character, like urban municipal buildings, pigeons, the subway, the color of cement, communism, etc.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great but Long!
A terrific memoir of Conlon's life and family history (his family history is the best part of the book).However, it could have stood to lose about 300 pages or so!A handful of stories would have more than sufficed. ... Read more

71. American Soldier
by Tommy Franks, Malcolm McConnell
list price: $27.95
our price: $16.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060731583
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: ReganBooks
Sales Rank: 92
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As Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command from July 2000 through July 2003, Tommy Franks led the American and Coalition forces to victory in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Unsurprisingly, the portions of American Soldier covering these wars are the most interesting because they combine military maneuvers, political wrangling, and lots of action and commentary. This does not mean, however, that the rest of his autobiography is dull. General Franks's writing is clear and engaging and his insider's perspective is informative and interesting, particularly when he explains how the military moved into the 21st century by emphasizing speed, agility, and better cooperation among the various branches--a significant shift from the first Persian Gulf war just a decade earlier.

In addition to his years as a war general, his memoir also covers his childhood, his early years in the Army, his tours of Vietnam, and how he contemplated retirement before being called up as commander of Central Command, "the most diverse, strategically vital—and unstable—region of the planet." Ever the diplomat, General Franks offers insights, but little criticism of individuals. Other than expressing admiration for his own staff and for President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in particular, he is tight-lipped about any conflict within the administration that may have occurred regarding policy issues. (The one exception is counterterrorism specialist Richard Clarke. "I never received a single operational recommendation, or a single page of actionable intelligence, from Richard Clarke," he writes). He also writes that he was surprised by the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that no WMDs were used against American troops. Still, the invasion of Iraq was justified in his eyes: "While we may not have found actual WMD stockpiles, what the Coalition discovered was the equivalent of a disassembled pistol, lying on a table beside neatly arranged trays of bullets."American Soldier is a compelling look at the war on terrorism from one who served on the frontlines as both a warrior and a diplomat. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

72. Paris to the Moon
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758232
Catlog: Book (2001-09-11)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 7971
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Paris. The name alone conjures images of chestnut-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafés, breathtaking façades around every corner--in short, an exquisite romanticism that has captured the American imagination for as long as there have been Americans.

In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light. Gopnik is a longtime New Yorker writer, and the magazine has sent its writers to Paris for decades--but his was above all a personal pilgrimage to the place that had for so long been the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. It was also the opportunity to raise a child who would know what it was to romp in the Luxembourg Gardens, to enjoy a croque monsieur in a Left Bank café--a child (and perhaps a father, too) who would have a grasp of that Parisian sense of style we Americans find so elusive.

So, in the grand tradition of the American abroad, Gopnik walked the paths of the Tuileries, enjoyed philosophical discussions at his local bistro, wrote as violet twilight fell on the arrondissements. Of course, as readers of Gopnik's beloved and award-winning "Paris Journals" in The New Yorker know, there was also the matter of raising a child and carrying on with day-to-day, not-so-fabled life. Evenings with French intellectuals preceded middle-of-the-night baby feedings; afternoons were filled with trips to the Musée d'Orsay and pinball games; weekday leftovers were eaten while three-star chefs debated a "culinary crisis."

As Gopnik describes in this funny and tender book, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys--both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived. With singular wit and insight, Gopnik weaves the magical with the mundane in a wholly delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century. "We went to Paris for a sentimental reeducation-I did anyway-even though the sentiments we were instructed in were not the ones we were expecting to learn, which I believe is why they call it an education."
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Reviews (123)

4-0 out of 5 stars Reflections on the city of light
I enjoyed Gopnik's book, primarily due to the mixture of personal reflection and careful observation that make up these essays. The essays about French cooking were certainly confirming in that the history of cooking is grounded in peasant fare and a return to those roots is a central theme in understanding good cooking foundations. I was most impressed however not by the essays on French government and culture but by the soft personal loving sections of the book on Gopnik's young son. Gopkik and his son swim at the Ritz pool in Paris where they meet two young girls. Gopnik's son's playful love for one of the female children was written so well and so transparently that I was amazed. The boy responds like a puppy, abaze with attraction and energy, swimming fearlessly in the deep end of the pool, like a magnet, a duckling, a male. Gopnik, the wise father, perfectly reads the situation, seeing eros engulf his little child, and supports the situation so that his son fully experiences this first taste of the honey and sting of the beautiful other.The children order expensive hot chocolate every day after swimming, which Gopnik endulges. It is Gopnik's wife upon discovering the VISA card balance that brings reality back into the picture. I would say to Gopnik "Your choices were correct, as you yourself know. The good father allows a child to experience the pull of beauty in the world, aware of the risks, aware of the rewards." I expected thoughtful essays because I have been a New Yorker/Gopnik fan. However, the passages on his relationship with his young son were sublime.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fin de sicle finery
Humor! Pathos! Sports! Food! Shopping (or not)! Wine, women (the heavenly Cressida) and song!

Not to mention, just plain life a la Parisienne.

This book is a modern sentimental sojourn through Paris which is not only a delight for the senses, but truly captures the essence of the French in all their guises. Having recently fallen completely in love with Paris on a short visit, I was longing for more and this book gave me that "You Are There" feeling I sought. Not only does M. Gopnik bring the Paris of today alive, but in the storyline dealing with all things human- his family, his adopted community, and the costume of French nationality which he endeavors to don- we see a glimpse into the Paris that generation after generation has attempted to make its own.

This book was so enjoyable that while reading, I was overcome with the desire to return and have already booked another trip. How lucky is this man to have had 5 years in this most sublime city!

Tres charmant! Merci beaucoup, M. Gopnik!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must If You Love Paris
This book is a wonderful memoir of a New York family that moves to Paris for a period of 5 years with a young son in tow.

Adam Gopnik writes this book in a style of short stories or essays that weave into one great book. He offers a well thought out idea of what must be said from an American in Paris. His comparisons are very real, some light-hearted, some blatantly profound. Gopnik shows his vulnerability many times as a fish out of water, but he tries harder than the average American to blend into his surroundings and take on some of the easier characteristics of becomming French like developing a fondness for a life of profound beauty, a taste for well prepared food, relaxing into the dining experience of the cafes and brasseries, showing his son the art of the carousel rather than the brainlessness of "Barney", and eventually creating another child born a Parisian.

The best chapters in this book are the ones that Gopnik writes about his son discovering himself in Paris. His favorite food becomes croissants rather than ketchup fast food burgers, his puppy love with a young French girl in the Ritz pool, how he would rather play at the Luxembourg Gardens than with a television and most importantly how he adapts to becomming a childish little Frenchman. With this said the one chapter I would skip is "The Rookie" a portion in the book that somehow just dosen't fit. From the elegance of the French life back to the world of baseball? Personally I would have just left the entire chapter with an editor and walked away.

Gopnik shows how well he has adapted to French life in the portions of the book that he dedicates to the cafe Balzar. This cafe becomes the victim of a corporate buyout and is almost lost until a band of dining brothers glue themselves together and form a secure fortress in pure French flair to save the cafe in its original form, garcons and all! It is an interesting look at how easy and yet how complicated life can be in Paris, all that French discussion can lead to something good.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Paris and craves a walk down its Rues. Gopnik makes little things seem absolutely important and accurately describes all of the large and small nuances between the French and Americans. His wife, Martha, says it best, "We have a beautiful existence in Paris, but not a full life, and in New York we have a full life and an unbeautiful existence." This must be why Paris remains in the minds of most Americans who walk along its streets but slowly find themselves returning home, to the rush and bustle of America with an over-inflated heart.

3-0 out of 5 stars If You Like The New Yorker Sensibility...
...and think that "The New Yorker" slant on everything is the apex of Western thought, then you'll love this book because you're the kind of person who goes to Paris and experiences it and notices it the way Mr. Gopnik does. If you detest "The New Yorker"/"New York Times" Manhattan-centric provincialism, you'll hate this book. If you're somewhere between these two extremes, well, you'll love and hate "Paris to the Moon."

Gopnik is a fine writer and observer it's always gratifying to read well-written expatriate tales. (I lived in Asia for years and am still looking for competent contemporary expat memoirs of Southeast Asia). Some of what he writes is engaging--he takes you inside the national library, demystifies the Ritz, describes everyday rituals that become something else overseas. Some is mundane--if you're not a parent or you loathe (your) children, your eyes might glaze over reading about his son and daughter and wife's pregnancy. Some is excruciatingly precious--the occupation of a restaurant (such revolutionary, soul-shaking activism!), the explanation of how super-expensive French restaurant cooking really is about peasant roots, one person's outrage over a perceived misuse of curry powder.

In short, my reactions to Gopnik's book were pretty much my reactions to Paris. It's hard to tell sometimes if Gopnik is just reporting or really finds all he writes about momentous, but it's refreshing to read contemporary accounts of urban life that aren't layered in irony or polemics.

A good companion piece is Lawrence Osborne's "Paris Dreambook", a fantastical account of Paris's underworld that is feverish and lurid where Gopnik's book is measured and polished.

5-0 out of 5 stars A father in Paris
Paris to the Moon follows the relationship of a new father with an old city. The book's anicdotes describe Parisians and the awkward curiosity that Americans have with the Gallic personality. Gopnik is a Paris romantic, but doubts that the city remains the international capital of culture.

Gopnik is a New Yorker at heart, but has a tremendous desire to understand and to fit into Paris. This dilemma never resolves itself, but Gopnik's struggle is a journey that is unique to contemporary America (and Paris). The desire to be separate from New York, a romanticism for Paris, and the uncertainties that come with being a father mix for a touching description of an American abroad.

As a casual speaker of French, a new father, and a lover of Paris, I found the book insightful and meaningful. ... Read more

73. The Face of a Naked Lady : An Omaha Family Mystery
by Michael Rips
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618273522
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 143785
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Nic Rips"s son had always known him as a conservative midwesterner, dedicated, affable, bland to the point of invisibility. Upon his father"s death, however, Michael Rips returned to his Omaha family home to discover a hidden portfolio of paintings — all done by his father, all of a naked black woman. So begins Michael Rips"s exquisitely humane second work of memoir, a gloriously funny yet deeply serious gem of a book that offers more than a little redemption in our cynical times.
Rips is a magical storyteller, with a keen eye for the absurd, even in a place like Omaha, which, like his father, is not what it first appears to be. His solid Republican father, he discovers, had been raised in one
of Omaha"s most famous brothels, had insisted on hiring a collection of social misfits to work in his eyeglass factory, and had once showed up in his son"s high school principal"s office in pajamas. As Rips searches for the woman of the paintings, he meets, among others, an African American detective who swears by the clairvoyant powers of a Mind Machine, a homeless man with five million dollars in the bank, an underwear auctioneer, and a flying trapeze artist on her last sublime ride. Ultimately, Rips finds the woman, a father he never knew, and a profound sense that all around us the miraculous permeates the
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Search For One Man's Father
Rips' father was there for his upbringing, and yet somehow he wasn't. So when Rips discovers a dark secret behind a bureau, he begins to ask if he ever knew his father at all. I don't know if anyone else has thought to blend magical realism with memoir before, (even Garcia Marquez's bio was pretty down to earth), but that seems to be Rips' objective. Part philosophical meditation, he transform Omaha into a place where people fly, millionaires haunt abandoned buildings, and even the everyday seems strange. Definitely worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read
I LOVED this book!!!There islightness and humour on the surface of a complex and deeply philosophical book.I read it twice. Highly recommended.

NYC ... Read more

74. Ball Four
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0020306652
Catlog: Book (1990-07-12)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 10295
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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As a player, former hurler Jim Bouton did nothing half-way; he threw so hard he'd lose his cap on almost every pitch. In the early '70s, he tossed off one of the funniest, most revealing, insider's takes on baseball life in Ball Four, his diary of the season he tried to pitch his way back from oblivion on the strength of a knuckler. The real curve, though, is Bouton's honesty. He carves humans out of heroes, and shines a light into the game's corners. A quarter century later, Bouton's unique baseball voice can still bring the heat. ... Read more

Reviews (75)

5-0 out of 5 stars True Major League Baseball world revealed !!!!!!
Jim Bouton is not a name that comes up when discussing the all time greats of baseball. However, when discussing the all time greatest baseball novels, his name should come up every time. Ball Four is a fantastic day-in-the-life recounting of a single player's (Bouton's) Major League season - more specifically, the season being 1969, and his playing days that year split between the upstart franchise Seattle Pilots, and the beleagured, relatively new Houston Astros. What sets the novel apart is it's absolutely brutal, truthful (but very taboo) telling of the player's and coach's personalities and lifestyles. Not a single vulgarity or shocking sequence is missed in Bouton's daily log he kept which eventually became this famous non-fiction piece. It also created more enemies in the game than he could've imagined. He only played one and a half more seasons after it's publication, and is a testament to a very intelligent, and brave athlete who wrote with a beautifully relaxing, very funny, and down-to-earth tone. A great read for true baseball fans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Baseball classic
When "Ball Four" was published in 1970, Jim Bouton was attacked by players, sportswriters, and the owners for revealing the secret, sordid underbelly of professional baseball. Which should be enough right there to get you to read this thing. But in "Ball Four," Bouton also reveals the humanity of baseball, the fear, the hate, and the fun, which makes it one of the classics of baseball literature and a must read.

Basically, "Ball Four" is a diary of the 1968 season written by a journeyman middle-relief knuckleballer. Before injuring his arm, and turning to the knuckleball, Bouton was a fireball pitcher for the New York Yankees. In his rookie season in 1962, Bouton won two games for the Yanks in the World Series. He played with Mantle and Ford. Then his arm went dead, and he found himself back in the minors, where he taught himself to throw the knuckler. The Yanks didn't think much of him anymore and traded him to the expansion Seattle Pilots (which left Seattle after a single year for...get this...Milwaukee), where he earned a spot as a spot starter and mopup long relief man.

The book reveals the personalities of the players and managers and owners. It tells what the players do on the road, in the bullpen, in the minors. It reveals the petty nature of the coaching staff, who are usually all old-time baseball men, not very clever, not prone to trying new ways. It talks about the dicey contract negotiations by players in the days of the reserve clause, when average players made an average wage.

Bouton travels in the world of boys. The players are mostly kids in their 20s, not educated, and spent their formative years in baseball. They like pranks. They like women, but they don't know either how to talk about them, or how to talk with them. Most of the time, they just try to look up their skirts. They drink. They sneak in past curfew.

But Bouton also works in a competitive business market. Pitchers hide their arm injuries for fear of being sent down. Players fume over bench time. Coaches think small, because to be creative and new means being out of a job. And baseball is all these guys have. They have nothing else to turn to.

Certainly in light of recent ballplayer behavior - think of the Pittsburgh cocaine scandals, Strawberry and Gooden, and the thuggish, drug-addled violence associated with football and basketball - "Ball Four" depicts a harmless and almost nostalgic view of baseball. But it still stands as a baseball classic for its honesty, its authenticity, and you wonder how much has changed since 1968.

In the end, the players, owners, and writers should have celebrated the publication of "Ball Four." Sure, it did spawn a string of subsequent tell-alls, and it did forever swing aside the curtain shielding the ballplayer from public scrutiny, but this is a modern age, and we want heroes with all their flaws. Who is it more fun to root for on the field, a straw dummy propped up by a marketing machine, or a man?

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Insight in Pro Baseball
My teacher for my History of Sports class recommended this book and I bought it. He told us that is was a very controversial book at the time because it spoke of things that were better left unspoken. That is the best recommendation you can get!

It is a very funny book, sometimes Bouton describes things that could be in a movie about baseball, a National Lampoon version that is. There is drinking gambling and looking at girls from all angles. But didn't we all expect them to this anyway?

He was ostracized by baseball but it is really harmless fun, the new sections in this edition also talk about what happened after the first edition came out. Get it

5-0 out of 5 stars Damn near perfect
Jim Bouton's Ball Four has rightly been called the best sports book of all times by publications that actually matter, but I figure I'll throw my two cents in, too. In a day before an ol' ballplayer could hire a ghost and slap together some fond memories or pathetic pleas for forgiveness (hiya, Pete Rose), Bouton, making a comeback as a knuckleballer with the expansion Seattle Pilots, toted a tape recorder with him for an entire year in order to write this day-by-day account of life in the bigs.
The humor is at once anecdotal and observational, and, most importantly, consistent. The Seattle Pilots were rather like the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League - a haphazard collection of rookies and cast-offs trying to make it. Of course, Major League had to have the whole underdog thing going on.
The issues that face baseball today - drugs, salaries, lack of interest by hometown fans, the Yankees being the source of all evil - are all present in Ball Four. The only part of the book that hasn't aged perfectly is the scale of the salaries - Bouton and his teammates hold out for an increase of a few thousand dollars, instead of the millions today's players make.
In summation, there is no baseball book you should read before this one, and there are precious few books you should read, period, before this one. Ball Four is in every right an American masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Ball Four is a must read for all sports fans. The first of it's kind, Bouton takes readers on the wild ride of a baseball pitcher that has played with the greats (Yankees) and the not so greats (Pilots). Ball Four is a book that reaches all generations and should be on every book shelf. ... Read more

75. Another Place at the Table
by KathyHarrison
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585422827
Catlog: Book (2004-05-24)
Publisher: Tarcher
Sales Rank: 84135
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The startling and ultimately uplifting narrative of one woman's thirteen-year experience as a foster parent.

For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers; and teenage parents who aren't equipped for parenthood. All this, in addition to raising her three biological sons and two adopted daughters. What would motivate someone to give herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? For Harrison, the answer is easy.

Another Place at the Table is the story of life at our social services' front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison's home, nearly destroy it. It is the frank first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption.
... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Place at the Table
Being a foster parent myself for almost four years, I know how difficult it can sometimes be to explain to others what my world is like.Kathy Harrison was right on the mark with this book.It was consistent, educational and emotional.It brought so many of the "zany" parts of foster parenting together and made it real for others.Kudos Kathy, I hope this book encourages many others to join us on the zany ride!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Family Table
This account of providing a home for children who were in dire need is heartwarming and encouraging.Many of the children who had a place at this table had parents who were in jail or were deemed legally unable to care for them.Each child came equipped with major emotional baggage.

The love and acceptance and diligent, dogged efforts on behalf of each child in this home have indeed raised the bar.Instead of being a stark and grim account akin to Dickens, this work instead is uplifting and hopeful.One can only feel that each child who found a place at this table was very fortunate indeed.

This is a book that belongs on our collective bookshelves; in our collective hearts and libraries.I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good - and Tough
As an adoption worker/counselor, I work hard at learning studying about foster care and the issues that face "my" kids and parents. I'd heard good things about this book, and thought I'd give it a try. I had to stop halfway through. I spend all day dealing with the horrible things of foster care - the terrible abuse, the ridiculous beauracracy, the burnt-out workers, and Kathy did a fantastic job of capturing this world. So realistic a job I could hardly call it after-hours reading.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn and know more about foster care.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for All Prospective Foster Parents
This book should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in becoming a foster parent.Having been a social worker in the foster care system for many years, I appreciate Kathy's frank presentation of some of the most difficult issues that any foster parent may face.Some people go into fostering with a rosy picture of helping an innocent, angelic child, and those people are setting themselves up to fail.Kathy presents a realistic picture of the ups and downs of fostering, the good and the bad, that is definitely not for the faint of heart but is a true depiction of the feelings and constitution that it takes to bring wounded children into your home. I couldn't put it down.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good description of the foster care system
This book is an excellent book on what the foster care system in this country is really like.It is written by someone who was been a foster parent and has seen the ins and outs first hand.She is very straightforward and honest about the foster care system and does not sugar-coat anything.She talks about the shortcomings of being a foster parent, such as the stigma attached to foster parents, the low pay, being on-call 24-7, kids getting sent back to abusive families, getting attached to a child, only to have to say goodbye, having to protect your family from the more dangerous foster kids, etc.

I really liked how she talked about the different foster kids and the descriptions of their backgrounds that brought them to foster care in the first place.

Some parts of the book were difficult to read because of some of the difficult and painful situations that some of the kids were in.But I would highly recommend this book to someone who is considering being a foster parent. ... Read more

76. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True Story
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400083117
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 4982
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When he was but 10 years old, Tim Tyson heard one of his boyhood friends in Oxford, N.C. excitedly blurt the words that were to forever change his life: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger!" The cold-blooded street murder of young Henry Marrow by an ambitious, hot-tempered local businessman and his kin in the Spring of 1970 would quickly fan the long-flickering flames of racial discord in the proud, insular tobacco town into explosions of rage and street violence. It would also turn the white Tyson down a long, troubled reconciliation with his Southern roots that eventually led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--and this profoundly moving, if deeply troubling personal meditation on the true costs of America's historical racial divide. Taking its title from a traditional African-American spiritual, Tyson skillfully interweaves insightful autobiography (his father was the town's anti-segregationist Methodist minister, and a man whose conscience and human decency greatly informs the son) with a painstakingly nuanced historical analysis that underscores how little really changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 supposedly ended racial segregation. The details are often chilling: Oxford simply closed its public recreation facilities rather than integrate them; Marrow's accused murderers were publicly condemned, yet acquitted; the very town's newspaper records of the events--and indeed the author's later account for his graduate thesis--mysteriously removed from local public records. But Tyson's own impassioned personal history lessons here won't be denied; they're painful, yet necessary reminders of a poisonous American racial legacy that's so often been casually rewritten--and too easily carried forward into yet another century by politicians eagerly employing the cynical, so-called "Southern Strategy." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I am from Oxford, and I still live there. This is an excellent book. It opened my eyes to what happened here in the past.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book, well written, researched and documented
If only all history could be told by the voices of those who lived it, maybe those voices could tell truth to power.Except on sources like "Democracy Now", those authentic voices seem to be missing in the media's telling of the stories of today.I think therefore this book is important for what it tells us about the history of race relations in this country but also for what it can tell us about our decisions and view of present reality.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin and this quote from "Blood done Sign My Name" is sometimes pretty applicable today in my town."Black Southerners forcibly altered that narrative in the 1950's and 1960's by stepping outside their assigned roles - and compelling a reluctant federal government to intercede on their behalf.As often as not, they had to be prepared to defend themselves physically from terrorism by white reactionaries.White liberals, with their hesitancy and quibbling, were sometimes very little help.In North Carolina, white liberal paternalists did not stand in the schoolhouse door as George Wallace had in Alabama.Instead, journalist Osha Gray Davidson observes,they 'would quietly appoint a committee to deliberate for eternity over exactly which door, and of what dimensions, would best facilitate the ingress and egress of all students.The style of a Wallace was different, but the result was the same.'And so sometimes it was necessary to escape from an endless and pointless conversation with white paternalism by striking hard and sometimes violently against the architecture of their oppression-Oxford's tobacco warehouses being only the local example."

Timothy Tyson delves into his personal history with an open mind and eye to find the truth about his family and his town during a difficult time and era.But he is also making the point that times are still difficult and the way to work on problems is to face them head on with a knowledge of what came before.

"There it should stay, many people seem to think - why dredge this stuff up?Why linger on the past, which we cannot change?We must move toward a brighter future and leave all that horror behind.It's true that we must make a new world.But we can't make it out of whole cloth.We have to weave the future from the fabric of the past, from the patterns of aspiration and belonging - broken dreams and anguished rejections - that have made us.What the advocates of our dangerous and deepening social amnesia don't understand is how deeply the past holds the future in its grip - even, and perhaps especially, when it remains unacknowledged.We are runaway slaves from our own past, and only by turning to face the hounds can we find our freedom beyond them."

5-0 out of 5 stars Confronting the painful history of race in America
Author Timothy B. Tyson has carved out a rather unique role for himself.Believe it or not, he is a white man from North Carolina teaching Black History in Wisconsin."Blood Done Sign My Name" is the compelling, personal and brutally honest story of how this all came to be.
Tyson was 10 years old back in 1970 and living with his family in the small rural town of Oxford, N.C.His dad was the Methodist minister and his mom a schoolteacher in town.One day in May, his 10 year old playmate Gerald Teel casually remarked that "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger."Indeed, his daddy and two of this brothers had brutally shot and killed a 23 year old black man, Henry Marrow, for very dubious reasons.This single event would have profound implications for the little town of Oxford and would play a major role in shaping the life of one Tim Tyson.
"Blood Done Sign My Name" is a remarkable book on many levels.If you are interested in learning more about the arrest and subsequent trial of Robert Teel then you will certainly find it here. It is not a pretty story.
Likewise, if you would like to learn more about the painful history of race relations in this country then this is your book as well. Tyson believes with all his heart that most of us have an extremely distorted and somewhat sugar-coated view of what really went on in this country during the 1960's and 1970's. For example, as a fairly well read white man in his 50's I had never even heard about two incidents that Tyson contends are key to understanding what really happened in those years.When you read about the case of the Wilmington Ten you begin to understand the rage black people felt back in the early 1970's. And when you read the grisly and heartbreaking story of what happened to some slaves who dared to rebel at the Destrehen Plantation in Louisiana way back in 1811, you again begin to appreciate the reasons why blacks in this country feel and react the way they do. The history books that most of us read in school never mention incidents like these.So how are we to know?And if we don't know, how can we possibly understand?
And finally, "Blood Done Sign My Name" is an intimate account of one man's personal struggle with the issue of race. Tim Tyson has presented us with an exceptionally well written book that offers the reader an awful lot to chew on.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indictment of America
I just finished reading Blood Done Sign My Name.I found it to be a very powerful indictment of America.I have basically shunned my German heritage based upon their complicity in Hitler's genocide of the Jews and other "misfits."This book made me re-think my own prejudices. Especially where the author's African-American friend, whose parents were a mixed-race couple, found it safer to live in Germany than in the U.S. It hit me like a 2x4 to realize that America has treated not just one or two groups this way but many. To name a few: African-Americans, American Indians, Japanese Americans, Chinese-Americans and most recently Arab-Americans.Just when I was despairing of our country and it's people who are leaning ever to the right, just as I was contemplating moving to Canada, I turned the page and Tyson began writing about hope and redemption.He wrote about facing the past and teaching it to our children.Teaching the truth, not the sanitized, re-written version.

I have felt that as individuals, we have to face our individual pasts or we will repeat the past and visit it upon our children.It is clear from reading Tyson's book that we must do so as a people/country as well.We have a long way to go considering that people don't even want to face violence and abuse that happens in our own homes.Until women and children are safe in their homes and we face these issues, I don't have a lot of hope that our treatment of groups of people will change.

I will pass this book around and recommend it to my friends and acquaintances not just because of the wonderful writing style but because this is a very important work that hopefully will hasten this country facing it's past and moving toward a better future.I am also very impressed that Tyson took a tragedy that impacted his life and turned it into a positive, not only for himself but others as well.

Thank you Timothy Tyson for writing such a powerful important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily One of the Best Books I've Read
Part civil rights history and part autobiography, this book deals with a little known 1970 lynching in Oxford, NC, its root causes and aftermath.I will allow the other reviewers and to detail the story, but suffice it to say that it reads like a novel and is both heartbreaking and uplifting. A very personal and spiritual look at race relations and the impact it had on the author's life.A truly great book. ... Read more

77. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir
by Nick Flynn
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393051390
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 1463
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Book Description

"Devastating....Ranks with Frank Conroy's Stop-Time."—Michael Cunningham

"Sometimes I'd see my father, walking past my building on his way to another nowhere. I could have given him a key, offered a piece of my floor. But if I let him inside the line between us would blur, my own slow-motion car wreck would speed up."

Nick Flynn met his father for the third time when he was twenty-seven years old, working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he'd received letters from this stranger, a self-proclaimed poet and con man doing time in federal prison for bank robbery. Nick, his own life precariously unsettled, was living alternately in a ramshackle boat and in a warehouse that was once a strip joint. In bold, dazzling prose, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (a phrase Flynn senior uses to describe his life on the streets) tells the story of two lives and the trajectory that led Nick and his father into that homeless shelter, onto those streets, and finally to each other. ... Read more

78. Even After All This Time : A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran
by Afschineh Latifi
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060745339
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 15896
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story with Several Lessons
I see this book as two or perhaps three in one.

On the one hand it is the story of a family torn apart by the execution of the father (convicted of commiting murder on the day he was in a hospital far away). The author was a young girl of ten at that time. This is the story of her life after her fathers arrest and execution. Obviously well to do at the time, the two daughters were sent to school in Austria, and finally to an uncle in America.

As part of this, I am reminded that when people move to the United States, they often become the best, most capable citizens we have. In this family of four children there are two doctors and two lawyers. Often, usually, the people who leave a country are the best people that that country has. Our country is benefitted by their being here.

Finally, this is the story of how an Islamic government moving into power. At one time the author's mother is showing hospital records to the jailer, and is told that it doesn't matter what proof she has, the decision stands and he will be executed. Not too different, I guess, than the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, but a pretty rough way to life. And this is what people say they want???

1-0 out of 5 stars Little Princess Cries,....... Again!
Cheio de Gases must be addicted to fiction and romance novels! He/she certainly lacks appreciation for and understanding of history. It appears to me that Az Kayhan, the other reviewer, hits it on the nose: This book is yet another sob story written by a former little princess who can't be one anymore. Read it as fiction and you'll be fine. Placing any significant amount of factual value on it is like taking the National Inquirer as a legitimate source of news.
Unfortunately, this is yet another book in a series of a dozen or so which very similarly chronicle the life story of children who were forced to leave Iran when the revolution hit and are now grown up to write their own "memoirs" with amazing recollection of the events of 26 years ago, when they were mere children. How detailed and accurate are our recollections of our childhoods? Fiction it is, fine literary work? I'm afraid it it is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blame Game
Another reviewer savagely and unfairly attacks this quietly powerful book by saying that everyone suffered in the Iranian revolution and therefore the book author must learn to deal with her tragedy.Strangely, this bitter reviewer does not mention that the author's father was executed and that this regime is by far more cruel and inhumane than what the Shah was ever even accused of being. The reviewer's bizarre obsession with the CIA-supported coup in the 1950's shows an unhealthy complex of reality avoidance.Get over it--what happened 50 years ago has little to do with Mullah's trampling of human rights today.Talk about weird nostalgia--if one were to accept the reviewer's tortured argument, then every execution in Iran is preceded by a salute to Mossadegh's unattractive portrait.

The simple reality is that political simpletons such as the CIA-obsessed reviewer were naive participants in a revolution that succeeded in killing innocent Iranians, and destroying a generation of hopes with war, religious fanaticism and repression. Now that the simpletons have seen their mistake, they revert to the old favorite of blaming the CIA!You might as well blame the Mongols too---no one ever fully recovered from their rampage and they were possibly under the direct control of the CIA Ulan Bator station.

This book is a personal story with facts that are sadly so true. Let the author tell her story in dignity and give her the respect that she has earned.Her tragic history in Iran is no less real than what she ways.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, Counter-productive nagging and nostalgia
Another book added to the slew offemale Iranian exile Fifth Generation bleeding heart nostalgic over the "lost glory" books of the same genre that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last 5 years or so.Which begs the question:Who is encouraging and supporting these mostly women exiled "writers" to write these mostly fictional accounts and "auto-biographies"?These books are basically a written transcript of a Persian tea visit to a friend:full of delusional and vague memories, gossip, and exaggerations.
The photo album is cracked open and published, and the authors who are still "after all this time" still suffering from the "Persian Privileged Princess Syndrome" are culturally frustrated and emotionally depressed for having to live outside Iran are reaching out to the public as their potential therapists or saviors.Like all people who are confused about their identity living outside the land they grew up in as kids and teenagers, only worse!

These so-called authors are women who were teenagers in the 60s and 70s under the Shah's regime, and who were (and are) mostly brats from privileged and affluent families who consumed the cream off the top of the food chain in Iran and lived really nice lives even with American standards.Now they have lost it all and are like lost Persian kittens in a land they feel estranged in culturally.So, they regurgitate "old glory" stories.The truth is that most of those sweet juvenile memories are exaggerated.Furthermore, for most Iranian people who lived under the old Shah's un-Democratic and Dictatorial regime deprived and persecuted, and without any nuance of social or political freedoms, these books sound hollow, indeed.

The Shah was put back in power in 1953 via a CIA coup d'etats which overthrew the Democratic nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh, and replaced him with the ruthless General Zahedi who was on the CIA payroll.And so began the un-popular and un-Democratic regime these writers fret over with such longing and pain in their books.None of these books mention these historic truths.None mention SAVAK, the Shah's secret political police, who arrested and killed many free-thinkers and students in the 60s and the 70s.Instead, the authors choose only to depict the pretty, sweet tea parties of their cushiony past that they choose to remember.

Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the 1979 uprising to correct that historic faux pas committed by US and Britain intelligence services.It was a reaction by a frustrated people who were deprived of the most fundamental freedoms, and deeply resented the foreign-installed monarchy and the atmosphere of fear, corruption, persecution, and social injustice that was created later.Not all who lost their lives were officers in Shah's army.Soldiers accept certain risks when they become soldiers.That is what happens in Revolutions, people die.And Revolutions happen because there is injustice, or at least perceived injustice.The original intent of that uprising was to regain the social justice and freedoms lost under the Shah.But since the Shah and his SAVAK had all but destroyed all viable Democratic opposition in Iran, the mantra of the Revolution was snatched and its path derailed, distorting a genuine movement into a totalitarian theocracy.So does that mean that anyone who was part of the illegitimate rule of the Shah has anything to be proud of now?History has been, and will continue to be the judge of that.But one thing is for certain: no amount of "how sweet it was" tales by Persian Marie Antoinette "Wanna Be"s can alter that judgment.

Besides, there is hardly any Iranian family who was not adversely affected during those times, and even to this day.Iranian ex-patriot hard luck stories are dime a dozen.Everyone has one, but most who were affected do not claim any special mantra because of that loss, nor do they write books to gain financially from that loss, and nor live in the relative comfort, wealth, and social status that most of these women authors writing these kinds of books enjoy outside of Iran.

Feminism is good when it talks about gaining expanded and equal rights for women, but when it becomes a tool for self-propagation, self-righteousness, buying vindication due to real or imaginary loss, or trying to legitimize or create sympathy for an illegitimate and corrupt regime, it becomes pure non-sense.

For effective and Democratic changes to take place anywhere, we should all first stop nagging and crying over the fake Garden of Eden that we think we had.To be effective for creating a Democracy again, we must first and foremost have a vision of history, something that these dreamy and mystified so-called authors sorely lack.We must also be forward-looking and hopeful, instead of being reactionary dreamers of the past.And most of all, please, no moroseness, fretting, sulking, or sad violin playing, and no hiding behind the shield of being a woman from a country where women are oppressed.And one more thing: keep your family photo album to yourselves (That's why they call it "family" album), we all have "look what I was" pictures from our past, no one is impressed.And guess what:no one cares.
As a famous contemporary Persian poet said in a poem:" there is nothing in the past but a dusty, old window shutter".

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ!OPRAH'SLIST should include this Best Seller!
Afschineh Latifi's touching tribute to her loving, devoted parents touched me in so many ways.I could not put it down.Ms. Latifi is a terrific role model who demonstrates that the power of strong morals beliefs, high personal goals, perseverance and family values can lead not only to professional success but also to inner peace.

The true saga of a young father's execution by barbaric terrorists a mere 25 years ago was very tragic, especially when heard through the voice of the victim's young daughter.The story continues with tales of two innocent little girls who were thrust into the world to fend for themselves without the guidance of a mother or father for many of their formative years.

While reading the book I found myself crying one moment and laughing the next. The author's frankness in sharing the experiences and inner thoughts of a child growing into her own were honest, pure, and often hysterical!

"The wife and daughters of a soldier," as they proudly refer to themselves, Afschineh, her sister, Afsaneh, and their mother, Fatemeh, did what was required to provide for their family through very difficult times. They overcame great obstacles and persevered together to achieve great success in their lives emotionally and professionally.An impressive collection of family photos dispersed throughout the book makes their life story really come to life.I found this book to be extremely inspirational and I would recommend it to anyone, including my 4 children.

... Read more

79. Blankets
by Craig Thompson
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1891830430
Catlog: Book (2004-11-12)
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Sales Rank: 1713
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At 592 pages, Blankets may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first. Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. A profound and utterly beautiful work from Craig Thompson. The New Printing corrects 3 small typos, widening the spine graphics, but otherwise is identical to the first printing. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant "Blankets" A Must-Read
At long last, Craig Thompson returns and it was worth the wait. After wowing the comics world with his "Goodbye Chunky Rice" Thompson left us all wanting more. 'Rice' was a beautiful tale, a poignant little love story and one you could read over and over again and always find something new. It was cute and grotesque, charming and bittersweet, layered and fullfilling. A tough act to follow it would seem. But after devouring his latest (and prolific) illustrated novel "Blankets", we see that 'Rice' was just the tip of the iceburg.

For "Blankets" is everything it should be and then some. Thompson's storytelling skills have skyrocketed to amazing new heights. His drawing skills, brilliant from the begining, continue to amaze and fascinate. Facial expressions, body gestures and scenery are beautifully crafted into each meticulously designed page. The narrative and dialogue are naturalistic and without the usual hint of drama that comes along with these types of stories. From all these somewhat technical aspects of the book, Thompson is no doubt in top form and at the top of his game. There is little to criticize here. He has, no doubt, transcended the genre while at the same time lifting it up to new heights.

But what is most impressive here is the heart of this tale. Thompson isn't telling us a brand new story. On a very basic level, this is an angst teen romance. But how he tells it is key. He wraps his love story in memories of his childhood, his religious beliefs, his family. This, we come to see, is a love story about love. It is about first love. It is about brotherly love. It is about spiritual love. It is about all the complexities and nuances that come with all the different ways in which we love. Thompson avoids using his tale as a soap box to eloquently voice his hatred of the "popular kids". Nor does he candy-coat his childhood memories. Like so much of Thompsons work, it is a mix of joy and darkness. He never overstates to make a point. Such restraint is what sets his work miles apart from any other comic artist/storyteller out there. In one memorable scene, the two young brothers see static electricity in the blankets of the bed they share. These three pages (250-252) sum up the brilliance of this book and capture it's heart so perfectly. These are the passages that make you stop and think. To read over them too quickly would be cheating yourself of the full impact of this book. Like 'Rice' before it, "Blankets" demands to be read more than once. But I'll be happy if everyone read it at least once.

5-0 out of 5 stars a beautiful work of art
Craig Thompson's drawings are infused with emotion. Where other graphic novelists have experimented with changing visual styles based on the characters' emotions, Thompson's world flows and swirls with feeling. From time to time, it feels nearly psychedelic -- and i mean that in the most positive possible way. Senses are blurred as joy becomes visual, or terror more visceral. I couldn't put this book down, as it's a joy to read, and fascinating for the story as well as for the artful way that it is told. Thompson has lead an interesting life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Amazing Experience
This is going to be brief because I'm in agreement with most of the others here. It should be known that I never write reviews here on amazon, I've only written one before.

Secondly, I rarely read, and when I do, it's hard for me to read for very long even if I enjoy it. Call it ADD, call it someone having trouble sitting in one place for too long, call it whatever you want. But I picked up this book and read it in one sitting. I've never done that.

Third, I don't like the majority of comic books out there. I find most of the writing to be corny, forced, and just plain laughable. The dialogue here flows naturally and feels entirely genuine. Beyond the writing, the art is some of the best I've ever seen. It's simple, but incredibly expressive and unique. Craig Thompson is also very gifted when he frames (or composes) his scenes. It's almost like watching a film. He's got the pacing, editing, directing, and quality of "photography" down brilliantly.

I really had no idea there were comics (or "graphic novels") like this. I can't recommend this high enough. I will be lending the book to my friends and buying an extra copy for my library. Everyone should read this book. As well, I will be checking out the rest of the quality graphics novels ("Box Office Poison" and "Goodbye, Chunky Rice" for example) that I've missed. Thank you Craig Thompson for this book. I envy you for you have made a brilliant piece of work that will be remembered fondly by many. You can rest easy now!

5-0 out of 5 stars such amazing honesty and emotion
Today I read "Blankets" by Craig Thompson, a nearly 600 page illustrated work aka comic. It's only been a few hours and I can't yet entirely put into words how and why it resonated with me. It is almost perfect, and maybe that imperfection at the end just makes it more so. It's hands down the best depiction of Christian teens dating that I've ever come across, in any medium. And it is so much more than that. The protagonist's relationship with Raina, their different worlds... it was intensely real and bittersweet. I lived some of these scenes, and others which at first seemed extreme and foreign I soon realized were not so far from my experiences growing up. There are little things that I now realize must be universal among guys like me, like tucking the girl's hair behind her ear as she lays there because you can't bring yourself to do more but you have to touch her. The "psalm" in appreciation of, and thankfulness for, her creation is sublime. This book has rocked me.

5-0 out of 5 stars A glorious book.
The day this arrived, I figured I'd be able to ration it out,a few hundred pages a day. This book must be read in one sitting, as I soon found out. I stayed up late into the night, and it was well worth it. This book will make your heart cry softly, and get warm fuzzies, sometimes all at once. The artwork only helps to bring this story to life even more. ... Read more

80. Reluctant Tuscan, The
by PhilDoran
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159240118X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-07)
Publisher: Gotham
Sales Rank: 7086
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the witty tone that made Phil Doran a success as a writer in Hollywood, The ReluctantTuscan will captivate a wide audience, from those who simply love a captivating travelnarrative to anyone who loves the quirky humor of Bill Bryson, Dave Barry, and Jerry Seinfeld.

After years of working on a string of successful sitcoms, Doran found that just as he and his peershad replaced the older guys when he was coming up, it was now happening to him. And it wasfreaking him out. He came home every night burned-out, angry, and exhausted. But even if hehadn’t had enough, his wife, Nancy, had. After twenty-five years of losing her husband toHollywood, Doran’s wife decided it was finally time for a change—so on one of her many solotrips to Italy she surprised her husband by purchasing a broken-down three-hundred-year-oldfarmhouse for them to restore. The Reluctant Tuscan is the author’s transition from asuccessful but overworked writer-producer in Hollywood to someone rediscovering himself andhis wife while in Italy, finding happiness in the last place he expected to.

Doran finds himself navigating through the maddening labyrinth of Italian bureaucracy just to geta road paved to their house; dealing with the foibles of their neighbors and the tangled drama ofthe family who sold them the home; coming to accept that the Italians live with a million laws andno rules—all while he becomes slowly seduced by the inexhaustible beauty and tactile pleasuresof Tuscany. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't pass this one by
I am a reader who usually takes 5 weeks or more to get through a book. Once I started The Reluctant Tuscan I could not put it down. I had it finished in 2 days!! The author's humor and experiences made this book one to tell everyone about. Anyone who has ever done any type of home remodeling will connect with the author's journey and be able to laugh about events that at a previous time would have had you in a different frame of mind. I can not stress enough DON'T PASS THIS ONE BY. If they had 10 stars that's where I would have rated it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Landscapes
Phil Doran has written a lovely, funny and terrifically-readable book.It brings the Tuscan landscape and people to life.But what makes it truly unique are the portraits of Doran's own internal landscape - his growth and insights through the course of the book.You can travel to Tuscany without leaving home, and you might just get some personal insights on the way.This book is a great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A light summer read...
Phil Doran's dry humor is evident in this light-hearted romp under the Tuscan sun.The story sounds predictable with an American writer escaping to Italy impulsively buying a fixer-upper in the country.Sounds familiar?Sounds like the plot for Under the Tuscan Sun, only this version is from a man who has the knack for comedy.Doran is the writer and producer of the tv hit Wonder Years.The Reluctant Tuscan has the feel of Peter Mayle's travel diaries but with more story than diary.Would be great for a light summer read. ... Read more

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