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$15.61 $11.29 list($22.95)
101. The Promise : How One Woman Made
$17.16 $0.94 list($26.00)
102. Broken Music: A Memoir
$7.99 $4.30
103. The Bridge Across Forever : A
$14.96 $10.96 list($22.00)
104. Fishing on the Edge : The Mike
$16.29 $11.89 list($23.95)
105. A Walk on the Beach : Tales of
$13.96 $6.91 list($19.95)
106. Trump : The Art of the Deal
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107. Faded Pictures from My Backyard
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108. It's Not About the Bike: My Journey
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109. A Thousand Days in Venice (Ballantine
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110. Magical Thinking : True Stories
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111. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
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112. Searching for the Sound : My Life
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113. A Private Family Matter : A Memoir
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114. A Thousand Days in Tuscany : A
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115. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
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116. The Amorous Busboy of Decatur
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117. Funny in Farsi : A Memoir of Growing
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118. Put on Your Pearls Girls
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119. We Are All The Same: A Story of
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120. Eating My Words : An Appetite

101. The Promise : How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of1st Graders to College
by ORAL LEE BROWN, CAILLE MILLNER
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385511477
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 31934
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book.
This book is written the way that an average person speaks, which is to say that it rambles a bit and frequently repeats things;but it's an easy read that I think every reader (both young and old) should find very approachable.As literature goes, it's not a great work of linguistic mastery.That being said, this is an excellent book that I wish everyone would read, because there's an extremely important lesson for all of us here.

Oral Lee Brown first recognized the very root cause of the brutal cycle of poverty that persists in America (it's the education system, people!), and then she tackled that problem in one of the most extraordinary ways I've ever heard of.Her story is brilliant and inspiring.And as I said before, I hope that it reaches as many people as possible, and will serve as an inspiration to us all.Great story, great lady, 5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars AHeart of Gold
I first heard of Oral Lee Brown a few years ago when one of the children from her original class was accidentally killed. I read a little about Mrs. Brown and when the book came up for review I had to get to know the lady behind the heart. I was not disappointed, this book displays an angel in disguise.A humble woman who just wants to do all she can for those in need. Determined, dedicated and courageous are words I would use to describe her and each of the classes her foundation takes on.The child who initially inspired Oral Lee to start her foundation, was an angel sent from God, to help Mrs. Brown fulfill her purpose here on earth.In addition, to this being an inspiring read, there are tips on applying for college found at the end for both parents and students. If you need inspiration to do something you have been putting off, reading THE PROMISE will give you the motivation you need.

Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ™Reviewers

5-0 out of 5 stars The author is a hero in my book....
Words fail me when it comes to Ms. Oral Lee Brown.We were living in the bay area when the Oakland Tribune and other media were reporting on her promise to send an entire 1st grade class to college.A real estate woman who was making less than 50k a year and a big heart and a bigger faith in God is what made her quest and her story so awesome.

And she made some big sacrifices and it did put a bit of a strain on her marriage and family life.And for some of the students parents who worked 2-3 jobs just to support their families, she would often step in and volunteer to attend PTA and parent-teacher meetings and report back to the parent(s).It wasn't just funds she was setting aside for college expenses but her time and energy.

As silly as it may sound she often gives as an example, that instead of buying shoes for her kids at Macy's she would buy shoes at Payless (just like many of us). And she would work more than one job herself.

What she shows is that if a woman who makes less than 50k a year can set aside money for twelve years to send a couple dozen kids to college, then a huge number of Americans can and should try to do the same.

What if a handful of citizens in a given city/town/village/community were to set up a foundation like she did, and raise money to put next years first grade class thru college in twelve years?

Education is power, and while we homeschooled, I still believe that no matter the educational choice, that any child who can get into a Jr. college or four year institution should have that guarantee of funding.

Ms. Oral Lee Brown is a hero of mine. ... Read more


102. Broken Music: A Memoir
by Sting
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385336780
Catlog: Book (2003-10)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Sales Rank: 2704
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done.

And so Broken Music began to take shape. It is a book about the early part of my life, from childhood through adolescence, right up to the eve of my success with the Police. It is a story very few people know.

I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiographical recitation of everything that’s ever happened to me. Instead I found myself drawn to exploring specific moments, certain people and relationships, and particular events which still resonate powerfully for me as I try to understand the child I was, and the man I became.
... Read more

Reviews (52)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very articulate writing, Mr. Sumner!
I was very impressed with Sting's writing ability and this captivating book. At times, I could not put this book down and was very tired the next morning at work! This book is a MUST for any Sting fan and also for those who grew up in Wallsend and Newcastle. My mother was born and raised not too far from where Sting grew up and she wants the book when I'm done.

The only reason why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 was because of the first 15 pages. I was getting turned off in the beginning because it didn't seem like it started where it should, which was on page 16. As I read further, it was starting to make a little more sense why he wrote the beginning the way he did, but it may turn off some readers at first. I urge people to read further if they start feeling the way I did in the beginning...it is well worth it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Broken Memory?
I love the music of Sting and was looking forward to hearing about the man who created it and how the music was created. Unfortunately, the readers get some interesting information, but they do not get the whole story.

The book begins with Sting and his wife, Trudie, in Brazil taking part of a religious ceremony where some kind of psychedelic plant has been taken. In taking this plant, Sting is taking back into his memories, which leads the reader into Sting's past. As a literary tool, this is interesting.

We learn about Sting's troubled childhood as well as his journeyman years as a musician. This was very enlightening and really gave me an idea of who the musician is. However, as a fan since the 80s, I would like to have read more about his time with The Police. This part doesn't come until the last pages of the book and is not particularly enlightening. This part reads as the climax of his career, although I know his career doesn't end there.

Although the book talks of Sting's first marriage and the first meeting with Trudie, the book does not go into the end of the first or the beginning of the second. As this fits with the time of The Police, maybe we will get this in another book down the line.

Still, I would recommend this book for people who want to understand the man behind the musician and the musician behind the man.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice Effort, Greedy Editor
I read this book on Christmas Day and finally feel like I can give it a fair review (6 months later.) My problem is that I have enjoyed Sting's music and lyrics from the days of the police, and now I'm amazed at his drive to become a better human being even in light of his wealth and fame. Not everyone would do that...and we have plenty of examples of those who don't. I admire Sting as an artist and a person.

However, I did not admire this book. For those who know Sting's lyrics it's obvious he's a deep thinker and knows the artistry of words. However, writing song lyrics is different than writing a book, and memoir seems to be a difficult genre. Not everything happens when narratively convenient, nor progresses in tension or hangs together perfectly. Such is Sting's book.

There are moments I was captivated...no matter that it was Sting's life, just that it was someone's life was fascinating. And, quite frankly, there were sections I was bored to sleep. I'm still not sure if some events are in the book or daydreamed by me.

Honestly, I think Sting's effort was monumental and I'm irritated at his editor. There are problems, easy to fix that would have made this book a work of art instead of a simple memoir of a famous personality. With a little coaching, Sting may have had a classic book to add to his great works but, as it is, I feel those in the know let him down. He did better than most of us would striving to write down the moments of our lives, but not as well as his editor should have helped him to do.

So, I recommend it, but don't expect "Fragile" or "Synchronicity" or anything as artistic as his mesmerizing bass lines. Read it as pop lit by a great artist pushed out by an editor trying to make a Christmas deadline. Than pray for another volume and for Sting to get serious about a writing class or two.

Curse that greedy editor.

2-0 out of 5 stars A great musician who needs an editor
I was a rabid Police fan starting back in 1980 and have admired Sting ever since. I knew when I bought this book that it would discuss his life before the Police, and that was fine. I was interested to learn more about Last Exit and Frances and his childhood, so I have no complaints with the content.

But his writing style stands in the way of the story. It is pompous and egotistical with pretentious metaphors and a really annoying habit of switching between past and present tense. I could just picture him sitting there with a thesaurus trying to find the most intellectual-sounding way to say each thing he wanted to say.

The foreshadowing "teasers" started getting to me, too: "Little did I know then that this person [or moment or event] would change my life forever." Over and over and over. Ugh.

He really needed somebody to reign him in on this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, dry read....
I have to admit it-I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy reading a memoir by an international music idol, and I certainly wasn't expecting much out of Sting in creating this work. His diction is very particular and precise. I used this book as my before bedtime wind-down, but found myself struggling to keep into it, as the language and general approach was extremely dry. I could only read a few sections of each chapter/unit and then had to put it down.

Not terribly exciting, but it held my interest because I'm such a fan of Sting's music. ... Read more


103. The Bridge Across Forever : A Lovestory
by RICHARD BACH
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440108268
Catlog: Book (1986-02-01)
Publisher: Dell
Sales Rank: 16299
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Bestselling author Richard Bach explores the meaning of fate and soul mates in this modern-day fairytale based on his real-life relationship with actor Leslie Parrish. "This is a story about a knight who was dying, and the princess who saved his life," Bach writes in his opening greeting. "It's a story about beauty and beasts and spells and fortresses, about death-powers that seem and life-powers that are." Yes, it is all that, and more. On the earthly plane this is about the riveting love affair between two fully human people who are willing to explore time travel and other dimensions together even as they grapple with the earthly struggles of intimacy, commitment, smothering, and whose turn it is to cook. Their love affair and happy ending inspired many enthusiastic fans. Years later, some of these fans were devastated to discover that this match made in heaven didn't manage to stick (the couple are no longer together). But in an Amazon interview, Bach explains that lovers don't have to stay married forever to be lifetime soul mates. Read this as a lesson about love's enchantments and possibilities, but don't count on this book to keep you and your mate on the bridge across forever. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (112)

3-0 out of 5 stars Love: New Age style
If you loved Jonathan Livingston Seagull and are looking for more of the same, you may be a bit disappointed by "The Bridge Across Forever."

The story chronicles the steps (and missteps) Bach made in his personal and financial relationships. And this makes for a wonderful and sometimes tragic, love story.

Unfortunately, the story is wrapped up in a new-age wrapping of time travel and out of body experiences. Bach's mistake is that he describes these experiences, and, in fact, the entire book as a "true story." So, even though very well written and interesting, it will probably not appeal to those skeptics who deplore real-life spiritual encounters in their pleasure reading.

Overall, a decent read, but be prepared for spiritual overtones. And, if you believe in soulmates, this book may be right up your alley.

I give this 1 star for the spiritual overtones and 3 or 4 stars for the story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich, warm, and compelling
Richard Bach may be one of those authors which one either loves dearly, or loathes unconditionally; he can occasionally come across as overly-hokey and melodramatic, but his stories are well-crafted and deeply personal.

_The Bridge Across Forever_ may be the best book he's written yet, and is an excellent way to expose oneself to his style of writing; it was the first book of his which I read, and it caused me to run right out and snatch up all the others I could find. I haven't yet found one that surpasses this one, but almost all of them contain wonderful gems and insights.

_Bridge_ is a rich, warm story about slightly metaphysical connections in life, through time, space, and personal growth. As he writes of his future wife, Leslie, the absolute love he feels for her is crystal-clear, and may at times bring tears to the reader's eyes. His love of flying is beautifully-portrayed as well, and he does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to the absolute joy and freedom of being airborne. In fact, Bach's descriptions of nearly everything are alive and vibrant, putting the reader Right There in that moment with him.

It's easy to recognize Truth when we see it - this book is full of truths that we perhaps always knew, but didn't quite *know* that we knew - it's that kind of book. I really recommend this to anyone who doesn't absolutely detest probing books with a real soul.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bargain-Basement Romanticism: A Love Story
This is the sort of novel Richard Rorty might write if he weren't so bright; for Bach adumbrates, in popular form, some of the same romantic polytheism, trendy Prometheanism, egoism, etc., that has been developing in Rorty (and in our culture) for decades. The novel is bad for divers reasons: its ideas are adolescent, the plot is visibly idealized; indeed Bach's folly in the first half of the book is a "straw man" to be knocked down all too easily in the second half. Bach's self-absorption, his selfishness: who can take them seriously? Probably too many. Withal, Bach, in the end, is a self-rightous purveyor of cultish nonsense. Astral projection, immortality. Indeed. Bach's only saving grace is that for a while he listens to the sane voice of Leslie; and we may take a modicum of comfort in this temporary--he's always GROWING, you know!--rapprochement. Very convenient, too, that children are never mentioned in all this soul-mate blather!

1-0 out of 5 stars Sacchirine, Self-absorbed and Trite
Like several other reviewers in this forum, I found this to be one of the most annoying, inspid, flakey books I've ever read. I too picked it up as it came much too highly recommended by a good friend. I loved Jonathon Livingston Seagull when I was just a kid but alas, it seems as though Richard Bach still hasn't grown up while the rest of us have. The character of Leslie Parrish nailed it with the long letter she wrote him and he would have done well to heed her words of warning. He has to be one of the most self-absorbed, confused, cloying lotharios in literature. I too found myself skimming through entire sections combing for the meat of the story, which is simply about the relationship he was constantly threatening to undermine with the much more enlightened Ms. Parrish. Underneath it all I kept thinking that while on the surface Mr. Bach was talking about silly astral projection and such, he must have been going to sleep at night thinking what a real ladies man he was. There was this sense of him feeling very sanctimonious and superior about himself and his views. Awful stuff. The story doesn't actually begin until Chapter 30 with Leslie's poignant letter to him, skip all the pseudo-spirituality and overly-long airplane tangents at the beginning of the book if you can. All along the way, Mr. Bach consistantly breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing over and over again: "show, don't tell". In any case, Richard Bach never got out of playing house and make-believe with the much more realistic, giving and pragmatic Leslie, what a loss. I've never in my life not finished a book but with three more chapters to go I finally had to pitch the book in the trash lest it somehow jump off on me like an unwanted strain of intellectual bacteria. I want to believe that soulmates are out there but Bach's book didn't do it for me. Is it any wonder his marriage to the woman ended in divorce? This is not the kind of destiny I welcome. I hope this man will someday mature and write another book that will convince us. Eventually I found my solace in the love story of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, which was like spending time with a dear, old friend.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Really My Kind of Book
I'm not going to make this a long review because the fact of the matter is that this isn't my kind of book. I'm also not going to say it was good or it was bad or it was anything other than what I just said, for the most part, which is that this is not my kind of book. Overall, it made me laugh a few times. And you have to be somewhat heartened that the guy was able to find his soul mate, or what he thought to be his soul mate at the time.

In real life, I found out that Bach and his soul mate got divorced. I felt that it was inevitable, because the author doesn't espouse one of my beliefs in life, which is that you need to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else. Admittedly, it begs the question of that even being possible. I'm not going to offer an answer either way, but this author didn't even try.

A good friend of mine lent me this book, which is the reason I read it. Not for nothing, I think it's good to read outside your usual "pattern" of reading because it opens your eyes to other authors and styles out there. For that reason, I'm glad to have read it. But beyond that, this was a bit of a failed excursion into a new realm of writing and authors that I had hoped would pay off.

The book was easy enough to read, though towards the end it got very dry and difficult to get through. I don't think I would read a book by this author again, even though a lot of people swear by him. In the end, I guess it's best to say, to each his own. This one really didn't do much for me because it never really shed any light on anything new. And I'm not a fan of his personal life, so it didn't appeal to me in that regard. As for the actual story, well if it sounds too good to be true... ... Read more


104. Fishing on the Edge : The Mike Iaconelli Story
by MIKE IACONELLI, ANDREW KAMENETZKY, BRIAN KAMENETZKY
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553804456
Catlog: Book (2005-05-17)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Sales Rank: 2659
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105. A Walk on the Beach : Tales of Wisdom From an Unconventional Woman
by JOAN ANDERSON
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767914740
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 5093
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The divine trinity...
While A Walk On The Beach represents the final part of a divine trinity of books, the internal divine trinity is the coming together of the two Joans in the presence of the Sea - which has always been a metaphor for Consciousness, the Womb of the Great Mother.

Joan Anderson is a great observer of Life and the human experience, and her ablity to articulate the way people think and feel, especially in the context of relationships, of all kinds, is unsurpassed.

That she should meet Erikson's wife in a beach/seashore setting, especially in Cape Cod, Mass, in magical New England, the virtual birthplace of what is now the United States, is most interesting - the seashore also being a symbolic point of transition for a mermaid/siren figure seeking transformation into mortal womanhood, as in The Girl In A Swing, by Richard Adams (also an excellent movie).

With the two Joans, the transformation is mutual, as these wisewomen unfold their lives in quite different marital circumstances.

For the record, Erikson the psychologist extended Freudian theory by factoring in the effects of culture and environment to the stages of human development rather than merely biological influences. To Erikson, development was a lifelong process. The main criticisms of this work focused on his gender and ethnocentric bias. The later, Third Wave psychology of Maslow and after, addressed the individual's relationship to the Universe itself, rather than the experiential layer generated by society.

Joan Erikson herself continued to expand on the work she had done with her husband with her own hands-on experience of old age (she was 90 when the Joans met), and Joan A was able to benefit from this wisdom first hand. Similarly, she was able to help Joan Erikson with her own major life adjustments, including the impending death of a Life partner, by sharing her own growth lessons as she re-structured her thinking as she moved into the second stage of her life.

I can see why some people regard this as 'a woman's book', (I disagree, it's a thinking PERSON'S book) but as a man with four daughters who has published a book about the suppression of the Feminine, I found it intriguing. The beautiful interactions between these two remarkable unfinished women reminds you that menopause and after is supposed to be a sacred transition, not a form of mental illness, as we have been programmed to believe.

Invaluable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Walk Worth Taking
Anderson's latest literary work is one of her best to date. Full of imagery, humor, and wisdom, A Walk on the Beach will touch your senses and awaken your true self in ways you thought might not happen. As her mentor, Joan Erikson reminded the author, the importance of continuing to learn, grow, change and play as one ages, as well as to be surprised by life and where it leads are the keys to a fulfilling and enriching life. Not just for women, it is a book for all who struggle at times with thoughts and feelings of purpose and significance.

Also recommended: Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson An Unfinished Marriage by Joan Anderson Wisdom and the Senses: The Way of Creativity by Joan M. Erikson

5-0 out of 5 stars The need for mentors
In an era of quick-fix motivational workshops and buzz words like "Life Coaching", this wise and soothing book stands as a strong reminder that we need SO MUCH MORE than weekend workshops and spiritual retreats to regain our balance or redirect our life's course. We need real mentors and ongoing friendships with seasoned women who can show us the way.

At some point in midlife, many women (and men) experience a career crisis or crisis of faith, and are desperately in need of guidance. Joan Anderson was lucky enough to find an incredible mentor to show the way, demonstrating how "elderly" friends are essential to our growth.

I believe many of us remain stuck with only peer relationships, and don't take time to seek out the untapped wisdom of older people in our communities and congregations. Joan's book is a marvelous blueprint for anyone who craves companionship with the older and wiser -- or women of experience.

As we read this sweet book, we are also called to treasure -- or initiate -- friendships with real women of experience in our midst. Thank you, Joan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey for Seekers.......
From the stranger on the shore to becoming the beloved mentor, JOAN ERIKSON, is the driving force that allows Joan Anderson to truly push the boundaries further from the traditional role she played, to unveiling the "unconventional woman" that Joan is today.

The book is perhaps a tribute and "thank you" to her playful and witty friend who helped Joan weave her way and; in turn, provide the gift of "unconventional wisdom" that she received ~ to women curious enough to seek. Joan's writings are always enticing, and she continues to expose her frailties, as well as her triumphs, in "A Walk on the Beach."

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
I just finished this book, and found myself slowing down as I reached the final chapter, not wanting it to end. But of course a work such as this never ends, as I have all the beauty and wisdom I derived from it to nourish and guide me. I have loved all of Joan's books, but this one by far was the most personal for me. ... Read more


106. Trump : The Art of the Deal
by DONALD J. TRUMP, TONY SCHWARTZ
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394555287
Catlog: Book (1987-11-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 7793
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars A real American success story
"Art of the Deal" is a truly inspiring read. If you are interested in learning how others achieve their success, this is one of the best books to study. Although written in the late 80's, this is one book that will withstand the test of time.

Written in an autobiographical style, each chapter covers a major "deal" in the life of The Donald. The beginning chapters show how he was introduced to the world of real estate by his father, and how Donald Trump went from collecting rent in dangerous neighborhoods to building New York's finest luxury accomodations. Each of the deals is unique and has its own set of interesting contractual problems that Trump works out. Some of his most interesting works are the construction of the Trump Tower, buying casinos, and saving the troubled Wollman ice skating rink.

If you like big business, I definitely recommend "Art of the Deal." This book puts you in the front seat with Trump and allows you to view up close how he turns the pressures of negotiations, contracts, and local politics into an exciting game. You will also find this book interesting if you are familiar with downtown New York, as it has many references to famous areas and buildings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Million Dollars Deal Making
If you can get past the unabashed self promotions, this is probably the best book by Donald Trump.

It sheds the most insights into his deal making skills and mindset.

If you are a real estate investor and have read a lot of real estate investments books, you will recognize that many techniques that are taught in real estate investment books and guru's seminars are present in his deal making. The difference is that the other books you read are dealing with a house or an apartment and his deals are hundreds of millions of dollar deals.

His deal making rules are simple, yet insightful. Try this rule: Protect your Down sides and the Upsides will take care of themselves. How many people actually follow that? Most beginner Real Estate Investors go out, load up a ton of debt, and buy houses without thinking about any down sides. In this book, you'll see that Trump is actually quite a cautious and very patient guy...and he is somehow geniusly able to get his capital back in some cases that makes it into those infamous "no money down" deals that gurus are always so proud of pointing out. Like i had mentioned earlier...the only difference is that this is a no money down MILLION dollars deal! I think a lot of us DREAM of doing one like that, Trump shows you how he actually DID it.

This book may be a little out of date...but it does show the reader a glimpse of what it means and takes to dream big.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining story of one of the luckiest guys around
First off, let me just say that The Art of the Deal is an immensely entertaining read, especially for anyone from New York. Trump is obviously an engaging character. So, as an embodiment of Trump's persona, this book is really good.
Donald Trump is certainly a skilled businessman. He offers a lot of advice that is hard to refute given that is seems to have worked quite well for him. Again, he is a real character and a surprisingly likable one at that - although the book seems heavily ghostwritten.
Trump summarizes his success as the result of hard work and a uniquely hard-driving personal style. While that may be true, his rise to success is really a story of some of the most phenomenal luck of anyone I have ever heard of. There are hundreds of real estate developers every bit as ruthless and intelligent as Trump and he fails to credit dumb luck for much of his success; he is, to use the cliche, a person who was spawned on the real estate equivalent of third base and tries to tell you that he's hit a home run every time he scores.
Although his name is still splattered everywhere, he is hardly the prophet that he portrays himself to be. As a construction manager, Trump is probably the greatest who has ever lived. The essential problem of Trump's business "empire" is that his extraordinary management skills, his social savvy, and his astute understanding of the tastes of the nouveaux riche belie a mediocre comprehension of the longer term principles of finance. Eager to build, build, build, it seems that Trump slept through a lot of business school as he seems to think the basic principle that states that a project is only as good as the terms on which it is financed does not apply to him. It is in this delusion of his own uniqueness that some of the more profoundly megalomaniacal elements of his character are visible amid the background of common swagger and bravado. It is funny that Donald Trump is considered by most people in New York as a brilliant businessman but a real jerk. In the end, he seems on a personal level to be similar to what he is on a business level: a man of considerable assets but also staggering debt.
I understand that he's got another book out called "How To Get Rich." May I humbly suggest that Donald Trump is NOT a good person on whom to model a business.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good look inside the life of Trump
Other reviews have summed up the book nicely. So, short and to the point, I thought the book was a nice glimpse into the life of a successful businessman. Who doesn't want to be successful? Seeing his everyday life and how he handles people, obstacles, and situations allows the reader to form their own ideas on how to acheive success. I'm not talking just about financial or business success.
Some of the stories, I thought, were a little long winded, but I'd rather have long winded good stories rather than short stories making me long for more detail. Trump's got a neat story that many will find interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awaken the winner inside you
This book is classic Trump. It brings to life the determination, drive and desire of one of the world's wealthiest men. It is inspiring. This book will help awaken "The Winner", "The mogul" inside you. Great book even if you have read Donald's other books. Highly recommended. ... Read more


107. Faded Pictures from My Backyard : A Memoir
by SUE CARSWELL
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345438566
Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 24766
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Backyard To Remember
Sue Carswell's Memoir Faded Pictures From My Backyard was a profound read. It touched my heart, my soul and made me realize how much my family means to me. When I picked up this book I can honestly say I didn't put it down until the very last page. I became engulfed, intrigued, enveloped into a little girls world so different from anything I could imagine.Faded Pictures will take you by surprise and maybe by wonder, too. A defininate book club winner that I am sure will be well known in a very short time.Trust me... Read it...And feel the beauty within.A Memoir worth every picture........

5-0 out of 5 stars Perception lies in eyes of the beholder
The father, John Carswell, is portrayed as man, and a father, who was well aware of "love", in the most innocent sense of the word, and allowed its power to lead his life's paths.This memoir of a child's perception of life, dictated by that father's aspirations, very quickly engulfs its reader with a childhood commonness. In some ways, even though Sue's life, growing up within the confines of an orphanage, was very different, the experiences which take place within the house are ones which tightly grab hold of the heart of all who lived with brothers, sisters or both. While continuing to read, the clearer it becomes how unique a story it is. The history of The Home, its orphans with their unique life history, all of its effect and relations upon the author, the one perceiving, experiencing and learning some of life's hardest lessons of reality.It is a wonderful, self-enlightening story, to say the least, which in the midst of it all, causes its common reader to reflect upon the appreciation of that same love which inspired both her and her father.The love of family.

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down, I read it in two days flat.
Faded Pictures from My Backyard" is a compelling memoir of what it was like for a young, inquisitive and caring girl of a family of seven to live in a house on whose backyard sat an orphanage, a riverbank teeming with unruly life, where her father worked as its administrator and her mother its nurse.
This is a gripping and heartrending work, because Carswell has captured what often can't be captured or communicated later in adult life, the psychosomatic feel of what it's like to live among orphans. This book is tailor-made for a movie.
Especially forceful are scenes of how the orphans' fears were made manifest.
That includes scenes depicting an orphan who, day and night, breaks windows desperately trying to escape, but has no place to go. Scenes of orphans setting off fire alarms in their bedrooms every night, jolting everyone out of sleep miles around. Scenes showing a young, terribly burned, suicidal boy, whose mother tried to kill him in a house fire, who desperately wanted to join his mother in heaven--I know, I couldn't stop crying here--and who could only find value in his own life after the orphanage's administrators helped him enact his own wake.
Especially heartrending are the scenes where, every year at Christmas, Carswell would stare out her backyard window as orphans trekked across the snow in hand-me-down clothes to celebrate in the orphanage's gym with donated toys under a donated tree, alone, none of their parents in sight. Touching too are scenes about orphan Bob Wygant, who overcame painful obstacles to find success and love with his vivacious and kind wife Sally.
All of this is anchored by two powerful moral presences, Carswell's father, John, who selflessly and tirelessly gives of himself daily to the orphans, all the while running his own brood of five towheaded, rambunctious, loving children, including Carswell's bighearted, kind sisters Mandy and Sarah. Helping him along were Carswell's loving, smart Aunt Mary and fun-loving cousin Laurie.
And who really comes shining through is Carswell's mother, Elaine, a selfless woman who tirelessly gave herself totally in the clarity of love. Elaine is the heart of the book. Carswell deftly shows how her mother's life was simply about one, little three-letter word: Joy.
As Sue's mother's illness advances, as her body is hollowed out by cancer, you'll cry from the pain that echoes throughout these pages, a pain that feels much like a voice echoing in a house without furniture and curtains.
Carswell has accomplished quite a feat. She's carefully woven the stories of orphans in with her own feelings of what it was like for a young girl to absorb their pain and emotion. In so doing, Carswell showed how her genetic makeup of depression and sleep disorder was ignited by her backyard, conditions which were only dealt with as an adult living in New York City.
There's a timeless lesson here for parents, especially to be aware if their child needs help. And there's a lesson here about the value of showing children love every day, not just once a year at Christmas.
In the end, Carswell has written a book that is animated with those first visions of childhood in their original freshness and vigor.
It's hard to find in any work of fiction, much less a memoir, anything that's quite like the pure emotional punch of this book.
It's true, what someone once said, that the effect of intense, heartfelt emotions feels like going down two steps at a time. You feel as if you're drawing on the very source of life itself. That's what this book accomplishes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Publishers Weekly in my opinion is wrong
I am the author of this memoir.Although PW has every right to slam my book if they so feel, they also have a responsibility to get their facts right.This is not a thinly veiled memoir of my deceased mother but rather my love letter to her in the eight years since she has been gone.As I write in my book, her life story is richly textured and full of lessons on how to be a decent and caring parent.This is not a book about my hair-dos over time but a story of a family growing up with an unusual backyard, an orphanage.This is not a book that details the life of a "quasi orphan" it details the life of an orphan -- there is nothing quasi about that. Nor is it the the story of an orphan who becomes an "artist"...It is the story of a little boy who never once had a Sunday visitor throughout his entire childhood growing up on the grounds of the Albany Home for Children and who would later become a football star and esteemed school administrator.That orphan never painted a picture in his life.All said, please read what others have written about my book, but don't let PW whose cowardly reviewers never sign their names be your guiding source for me or other writers works. Thank you - Sue Carswell

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique memoir about family relationships
"From childhood's hour, I have not seen as others were. I have not seen as others saw."

-- Edgar Allen Poe, "Alone"

A family is the bricks with which we are all built. They define us; they give us structure and something to cling to, or something from which to rebel. The family we grow up with stays a part of our lives forever.

In FADED PICTURES FROM MY BACKYARD, Sue Carswell reflects back on her own families --- the one she grew up with, and the one she would watch every day through the window looking out onto the backyard. Carswell grew up in a house bordering the Albany Home for Children, where her father worked as the Administrator and her mother was a nurse. Fearing the influence the troubled orphans could have on them, Sue and her four siblings were not permitted to play or really interact much with the residents of the Home. As the author grows up watching the orphans from the distance across her backyard, she beings to go through developmental troubles of her own --- suffering from insomnia, panic attacks, and depression. Sue and her own family become increasingly distanced by her troubles, and she begins to wonder if she doesn't fit in better with the lives she imagines the orphans must have, across the backyard.

Carswell's unique story is made up of pieced-together fragments, reflecting in some ways the fragmented lives of the Albany Home's residents. She skips back and forth through time in her own life story and interweaves her tale with stories of the Home's orphans. Carswell is a gifted storyteller with an eye for detail, although in early chapters dealing with her young childhood, the first-person narrative from the point of view of a young child does get a little tediously cute. She interweaves the stories of other orphans, growing up in the Albany Home during its different stages (when it was a more traditional orphanage, for example, during the Depression), but because Carswell could never really interact with those orphans, the stories feel somewhat impersonal. Kept, like many things, at a distance.

At its core, FADED PICTURES FROM MY BACKYARD is really about the family relationship Carswell knows and misses the most --- the relationship she shared with her own mother, who died in 1997. It's also the story of the strained relationship with her father, a man who --- like the orphans across the backyard --- she doesn't seem to be able to ever really understand.

Through FADED PICTURES FROM MY BACKYARD, Carswell shows us the many meanings of the word "orphan" and teaches us that it may never be too late to find our way home.

--- Reviewed by Lourdes Orive
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108. It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399146113
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Sales Rank: 8676
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (521)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Hard Not to be Inspired by this Story
Say what you want about Lance Armstrong but if you read this book it's hard to consider him anything but an inspiration.

Last summer I was in Austin, Texas during the end of the Tour de France attending the Texas Age Group Swimming Championships my younger brother was competing in. That city loves Lance and there wasn't a person in the streets who wasn't eager to talk about the Tour; yellow banners supporting him were more common than Texas flags, and anyone who knows Texas knows that that's saying a lot! Following that experience I knew I had to read this book and I wasn't disappointed in the least.

Having read the book, I can't regard Lance Armstrong as anything less than a miracle. He didn't survive cancer - he conquered it. He proved that a cancer diagnosis doesn't have to mean an end to anything unless you allow it to. This book is a very blunt and unapologetic account of his life before, during, and after his diagnosis and treatment. He's not the nicest guy ever, he's not the humblest guy ever, he's just a guy (who may or may not be the greatest cyclist in the world, it's not my sport, someone else will debate that).

If Lance Armstrong had never competed in another race again, his survival would still have been incredible. But he did compete, and he's sure to be a legend.

5-0 out of 5 stars No, It's Not About the Bike or Cancer. It's Pure Lance.
I know I'll catch it for this review. The book itself gets 5 stars from me. I enjoyed the read, I shed a few tears and I kept hoping that somewhere it would eventually turn Lance Armstrong into one of my heros. It never did. In fact, I pray to God I never meet Lance Armstrong and never get in his path, and I pray anyone who ever has to does survives the encounter. Sally Jenkins gets kudos on pulling off what was a difficult task. How to write his biography and story with him watching over her and to tell the truth. She did it. She pulled it off by writing between the lines like no other. She is truly the hero here. Make no mistake, the book is good, the hero is not. He is, without a doubt the single most arrogant and egotistical person I've ever read about in my life. I wanted him to be my hero so bad too. I have just gotten into cycling and was looking forward to having someone to watch, follow and emulate. Lance is not that guy. You'll read things that will blow you away. How he fully expected his French sponsor to pay him his 5 million dollar contract even when he was taking chemo and was not riding for them, they even offered to give him a contract, just not 5 million and he was outraged. He freaked on might having to sell his $300,000 worth of furniture and "art" to pay for his treatment. Why oh why have all forsaken poor Lance he wonders. Supposedly a boy that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Plano, Tx, but give me a break, there is no "wrong side" of the tracks in Plano. Even though he was only raised by his mother, it's obvious people took care of Lance. Riding his expensive cycles that were given to him out of the goodness of one man's heart, and then he doesn't speak to this guy for years on end. I could continue, but I think the world needs to read this book to learn about this. Lance's story is not over, he still hasn't learned what he probably was meant to learn. I do not suggest buying this book for someone with cancer or a teenager. It's not inspiring in the least, no one can afford what Lance had to get him through his terrible cancer ordeal. And, if a teen reads this, he or she will expect the world to give them everything on a silver platter just like Lance expects. One curious note I can't yet figure out. Never once does Lance tell the world he didn't check himself monthly for testicular cancer and that if he had, he could have caught it before it spread to his brain and lungs and recovery would have been comparably easy. With many pages devoted to pictures of he, his wife, his baby and mother not one single page printed a diagram on how to check yourself for testicular cancer. Seems a hero would have had that thought first and foremost in his head, especially since testicular cancer never has gotten the same PR as checking for breast cancer. I might read his other books. Maybe he's learned something along the way, but that is highly doubtful.

3-0 out of 5 stars A new focus for Armstrong..
I value Lance Armstrong's story, he is a driven and talented athlete who has had to battle through a life threatening illness. The story is incredible but you wish that Lance wouldn't be so in love with his own story!
Humility is the virtue that Lance needs most. Maybe that could be his next focus. I'm sure if he put his mind to it, he could tone down his ego. He accomplishes every thing he puts his mind too..... maybe improve his writing as well....

4-0 out of 5 stars It's not about the bike: It is about the being the best!
I am a beginner runner. I picked up this book because I wanted to know more about Lance Armstrong. This book has taught me how much mental and physical training are required to be the best, consistently. I have enjoyed reading this book because of the humor, the clear and direct expression of ideas, and Lance's candor in his failures and triumphs. I am sure I will pick it up and read it again periodically.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bike is Not Important
There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said. A fantastic book about an interesting character that has little to do with sports and more to do with the human spirit. This book details Lance's early life as he addresses his cocky, immature nature that quickly goes out the window when he begins his cancer battle. Lance is alive because his is famous. His cancer was so aggressive and mature that IMO what saved him is the unsolicited email from the doctor at Vanderbilt that eventually led him to the doctors at Indiana University. I like sports and would never have read a book just about cancer survival but this book was so highly recommended and for good reason.

The book finishes with Lance mentally battling to get back on the bike and on to greater glory. There is much to learn here also but the one downer would be listening to him describing his ideal marriage when of course it has already broken up.

I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK HIGHER. You will not be disappointed. And yes, you will start following the Tour de France. ... Read more


109. A Thousand Days in Venice (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by MARLENA DE BLASI
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345457641
Catlog: Book (2003-06-03)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 6091
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description



He saw her across the Piazza San Marco and fell in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it is fate. He knows little English; and she, a divorced American chef, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thinks she is incapable of intimacy, that her heart has lost its capacity for romantic love. But within months of their first meeting, she has packed up her house in St. Louis to marry Fernando—“the stranger,” as she calls him—and live in that achingly lovely city in which they met.

Vibrant but vaguely baffled by this bold move, Marlena is overwhelmed by the sheer foreignness of her new home, its rituals and customs. But there are delicious moments when Venice opens up its arms to Marlena. She cooks an American feast of Mississippi caviar, cornbread, and fried onions for the locals . . . and takes the tango she learned in the Poughkeepsie middle school gym to a candlelit trattoría near the Rialto Bridge. All the while, she and Fernando, two disparate souls, build an extraordinary life of passion and possibility.

Featuring Marlena’s own incredible recipes, A Thousand Days in Venice is the enchanting true story of a woman who opens her heart—and falls in love with both a man and a city.


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Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enchanted Romance with a Man and a Place
A Thousand Days in Venice is proof that it's never too late to live a dream. The story has a fairy tale quality, yet it really happened: Marlena de Blasi, a chef who is at a bit of a loose end in her life meets a Venetian bank clerk who had observed her before on one of her previous trips to Venice and fallen in love. Throwing caution to the winds, (as she says, "There hasn't been a prudent decision in this story."), de Blasi gives in to her love-at-first-sight response to the "blueberry-eyed stranger" and follows her heart where it leads her. Dispersing her home and possessions in the States, she packs up and moves to Venice to be with Fernando. Their romance and courtship against the backdrop of one of the most romantic places on earth is enchantingly and sensuously told. De Blasi is a master at evoking in word pictures the sights, and scents, textures, and sounds of La Sererenissima.
The adustments, compromises, and mutual discoveries that romance and a new marriage bring into the lives of Marlena and Fernando are related with humor and a sense of wonder at the changes brought about by this unexpected later life event. True to her her passion for cooking, foods and recipes play a part in de Blasi's story. Best of all, she ends her book with a selection of recipes that play a role in her romance so that the reader may extend the enchantment into the kitchen.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful City, A Very Human Story
I've read the on-line debate about this book with pleasure. I understand the conflict, but I come down on the side that says this book is a great read.

I readily agree with those who say the descriptions can be too long and too colorful, and, especially those who say that they could not imagine moving to Venice to marry a "stranger." But, when I finished this book I felt I had spent the last few evenings with a highly entertaining, charming, and impulsive friend. That we had spent the visit talking about life, love, food, and Venice. And, that I wished she could have stayed longer. Not that I wanted to live like her, or agreed with all her decisions, but that listening to her talk was simply fascinating.

I loved the description of small things about Venice, her admission that all in love is not perfect, and her determined, wily temperment.

Take this book to the beach. Use it to spice up a dull week. Read about this woman's flight of fancy. Don't judge her life choices based on practicality or her word choices based on Hemingway. Just relax and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than a fairy tale; maybe it's also a parable
Details, the essence of domesticity, shine in this story. There are the travelogue-esque descriptions of Venice: Napoleon's observation about Piazza San Marco and viewing works of art sequestered in ancient churches. There's a discussion of making house, once in the Midwest in a little house I would love to see and again in the grotty chaos of a bachelor's digs. And throughout are delicious descriptions of food and drink and the ways and places to enjoy them.

Like youth, this book may be somewhat wasted on the young. The small ruminations, the reflections on how we find a place and make a place in life may seem over-wrought. Until the onset of my own middle-age, I felt the same way about such memoirs. Now, I greet writings like this with a mixture of recognition and enthusiasm: recognition of the silly ways we fumble along and enthusiasm for another's discovery that it is not too late to savour what is delicious about life. In that, I find a parable of encouragement.

1-0 out of 5 stars ponderous tale of weighty self-reflection
everyone else seems to love this book - the star I awarded it was only in recognition of the wonderful city of venice in which it is set and the not frequent enough references to food and recipes contained therein. for the rest of it - I could have screamed. I think I might have.

Ms de Blasi has a very ponderous writing style - when I finally hit her expression in which I paraphrase she savoured time like an apronful of warm figs, I hit my limit. Every step she takes is weighty, every mouthful she eats has depth and every observation she makes she imparts as if burdened with wisdom.

and a healthy dose of self-esteem - we are assured she transferred a grotty venetian apartment into a haven of domesticity and style with a deft hand and some old scarves. After taking such a bold move in moving countries, she then seems to decide enough decisions have been made and leaves every other turn and ramble their life takes to The Stranger, who appears kinda weak-willed and slack jawed and rather irritating after a while.

for venice and an appreciation of food and the role it plays in life, only just enough to get me through the self-satisfied prosey prose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Venice in love
This book captured me from the start. By the end of the first chapter, I was in tears, reading it to my mother, explaining about this amazing true story of true love. Captivating writing by a woman who finds love in a stranger, trusts the fates and jumps head first into romance, and a new life in Italy. Take me to Venice so that I can absorb all the romance this sinking city eminates. I cannot wait for the continuing story of Marlena and the stranger. ... Read more


110. Magical Thinking : True Stories
by Augusten Burroughs
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312315945
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 279
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It’s best to know this from the start: Augusten Burroughs is mean. Augusten Burroughs is also outrageously X-rated. If you can get past those two things, Burroughs might just be the most refreshing voice in American books today, and his collection of acerbic essays will have you laughing out loud even while cringing in your seat. Whether he is stepping on the fingers of little children or giving you the blow-by-blow on a very unholy act, Burroughs manages to do it in a way that fills conflicted fans with both horror and glee.

Spanning from the surprisingly Machiavellian portrayal of his role in a Tang commercial at age seven to his more recent foray into dog ownership, Burroughs has what seems to be an endless supply of offbeat life experiences.Much like earlier David Sedaris collections (Barrel Fever or Naked), there are occasional fits and starts in the flow of the writing, but ultimately, Magical Thinking is worth reading (and re-reading). If you’re familiar with Burroughs's memoirs, Running with Scissors, and Dry, you may find parts of Magical Thinking repetitive, since these essays bounce around in time between the other two. In fact, in an ideal world, this collection would have come first, as it offers an excellent introduction to Burroughs's fascinating life. --Vicky Griffith ... Read more


111. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
by Sei Shonagon, Ivan Morris, Ivan I. Morris
list price: $22.50
our price: $20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231073372
Catlog: Book (1991-04-15)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 20715
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sei Shonagon was a contemporary and erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novelfictionalizes the court life Shonagon describes.is a collection of anecdotes, memories of court and religious ceremonies, character sketches, lists of things the author enjoyed or loathed, places that interested her, diary entries, descriptions of nature, pilgrimages, conversations, poetry exchanges--indeed, almost everything that made up daily life for the upper classes in japan during the Heian period. Her style is so eloquent, her observations so skillfully chosen, and her wit so sharp that even the smallest detail she records can attract and hold the attention of any modern reader. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enchanting, intimate look inside Heian Japan
Sei Shonagon, a court lady in tenth-century Japan, has left us an intimate, intriguing look at life inside the Heian court as well as a chronicle of her daily life. As an aristocrat, she had strong notions of what constituted good manners and good taste. At times she comes off as an insufferable snob, but her writing is redeemed by her lively sense of humor, her sharp perceptions and her wry intelligence that helped her to not take herself too seriously. In an era of almost total male dominance, Shonagon's intelligence and wit was the equal of any man's, and her attitude toward men was competitive almost to in-your-face hostility; she was nobody's doormat. She met men on her own terms and gave as good as she got. On the other hand, her reverence for the royal family was so profound as to seem ludicrous; one has the sense she was ready to kiss the ground they walked on. "The Pillow Book" is a compendium of autobiography, ideas, observations, lists (some of the most enchanting sections of the book are in her lists such as "rare things", "elegant things" and "unsuitable things"), written in a style characterized by its crystalline simplicity. Ivan Morris's excellent translation does full justice to this wonderful book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not a "highly intelligent statue"
I would like to disagree with the last reviewer and stress that Sei Shonagon was certainly not a highly intelligent statue and she was not particularly zen either. Shonagon was a lively wit and intellect, known for her erudition and scholarship. The thing that I found most wonderful about the Pillow Book was not its serene contemplation of nature, which was often a literary conceit in Heian times, but rather her robust enjoyment of life. In the Tale of Genji, the Gossamer Diary, and the Sarashina Diary, you find disappointed women, unhappy with the way their lives turned out and often betrayed by their men. Although several lovers are hinted at in the Pillow Book, Shonagon never lets anything get her down. The time she describes was probably not a happy time, her patron, the Empress was suffering due to lack of political support, and Shonagon's own future must have looked bleak. However, she never falls into self pity and rather treats us to a delightful look through the eyes of an extremely intelligent and realistic woman. Her description of the worst lover ever is hilarious today. I've read it to friends of mine who have never read any other Heian literature and it made them laugh. Shonagon's keen observations and ready wit shine through after a thousand years and a translation. It stands as a testament to the fact that somethings, love, laughter, friendship, and the relations between men and women never change.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of the heian journals
The entire book aside, one reason I enjoyed this more then The confessions of Lady nijo was for the fact that this book has no references to the tale of genji, which is considerably nice if you havn't read it. With the book itself and sei shonagons writing style, i myself did not find it hard to follow so long as i checked in with the notes in the back to read the follow up information on certain sentences. Just know that this is not a conventional diary, it describes things (spending copious amounts of time on clothes) in detail, describes relationships, buddhism and those are in the more narrative style, the other part she records her poems and lists of things she likes or dislikes (certain type of blossoms for example). Sometimes this can be disjointed, but its not really confusing. One thing that is enjoyable about Sei shonagon is her optimism during the time. Unlike the author of the gossamer years, Shonagon is not clinically depressed and never really shows great bouts of depression or crying as do some other authors of the time. During this particular time the empress was not doing that well politically and should be a cause of worry, but like the other heian women, they rarely if ever mentioned the world of politics.

5-0 out of 5 stars A look back in time
Relatively little is known about Sei Shonagon's life, except what is revealed in "The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon." What is known is that she was a court lady in tenth-century Japan, at the pinnacle of the Heian culture. Her reminiscences and thoughts add up to both an entertaining read and a glimpse back in time.

The story behind the Pillow Book is that when Shonagon (possible real name: Nagiko) was serving the Imperial Family, the Empress received a bunch of notebooks that she couldn't use, so she gave them to Shonagon. Part diary, part lists, part essays on things around her, the Pillow Book pretty much defies classification.

One of the most intriguing things about the Pillow Book is the glimpse into tenth-century Japan that it gives. Shonagon's stories are about little things like flutes, disobedient dogs, clothes, and the Empress's ladies betting on how long it would take a giant mound of snow to melt (no, I'm not kidding). It makes the past seem a little less distant. And the people in it seem more like people and less like historical paper dolls. An example is the Empress chatting as her hair is being done one morning.

It's pretty obvious that Shonagon was a bright and witty woman, although she could be quite a snob. However, her appreciation for simple pleasures will probably win over readers. Her charming love of beauty is often enchanting; she often lists things that she finds pleasing, such as moons, summer nights, flowers and willow trees.

She also listed her pet peeves (such as parents worshiping a very unappealing child -- something that made me chuckle), things she found depressing or annoying. A stickler for form and ettiquette, she had very precise ideas about how things should be done (right down to how lovers should act).

"The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon" is beautifully-written and highly entertaining. You don't have to be well-versed in this sort of literature to appreciate this unique memoir by a unique woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars Machiavelli never had it so good.
Sei Shonagon and her contemporary Murasaki Shikibu both led fascinating but restricted lives. But reading the diary of Sei Shonagon gives the outside world a glimpse of the courtly intrigue that thrived in her world. It almost reads like fabulous fiction, but it isn't. Great insight into the world of Heian Japan. ... Read more


112. Searching for the Sound : My Life in the Grateful Dead
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743546458
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 204549
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Right in time for the Grateful Dead's 40th anniversary, eccentric bass player extraordinaire Phil Lesh has delivered fans a most welcome gift: his autobiography. There are many books out there about the Dead told from the perspective of roadies, journalists, third party observers, and fans.However, with the exceptions of Jerry Garcia's ramblings in Garcia: A Signpost to New Space and Conversations With the Dead, Lesh's Searching for the Sound is the first time a founding member of America's favorite band tells their own story of what it was like inside the Grateful Dead. And what a wonderful, strange tale it is.

Phil Lesh, considered the most academic of the group due to his avant-garde classical composition training, literate mind, and passion for the arts, decided to write his story himself. Written without the crutch of a ghostwriter, Searching for the Sound might be considered disjointed in places, but overall it comes across as conversational, intimate, informative, and candid (particularly regarding topics of drug use and death). If you are familiar with the band and their extended family, their history, the sixties' musical milestones and influences and all the band's famous tales (the Garcia/ Lesh "silent" confrontation, being busted on Bourbon Street, the Wall of Sound), you may be a little disgruntled there is not much new here in the way of content. However, what is "new" and totally satisfying is Phil's warm, optimistic perspective on the many events that helped shape his life. As described by Lesh, his life's journey, much like the Dead's music, is "a [series] of recurring themes, transpositions, repetitions, unexpected developments, all converging to define form that is not necessarily apparent until it's ending has come and gone." For the many fans who enjoyed the fruits of his life pursuit of sonic explorations,Searching for the Sound isa welcome addition to their Dead library. --Rob Bracco ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars What the professor, er I mean, the bass player is thinking
I'm so full of music and nostalgia, having just finished this book. I didn't want it to end. I'm exhausted--feeling like I just danced my way through a weekend of shows--and yet, so high on the memories, I'm thrilled and honored to write this review. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Phil, for writing "Searching For The Sound." It's a wonderful book. The best I've read about the Dead. Thank you for sharing everything behind that omnipresent smile you always seemed to have on stage.

Our intimate circle of Deadhead cohorts--best friends, pals, passing and long-term acquaintances that began in Southern Illinois (particularly along with the fabulous and memorable cover group, "Uncle Jon's Band,") through our crew called "East Bay Deadheads For Peace" formed during one of many Berkeley Greek Theater shows, always called Phil "The Professor." I confess I never knew why until I read this book. Wow. Phil brings an intellectual integrity to the story of his own musical education and, of course, to the band--to the history of the music driving The Grateful Dead, and to all of us who continually flocked to see them play for us and for each other. Phil lets us in. Tells us what it was REALLY like. Even when I knew what was coming, I experienced the pains (and the joys) through a different and certainly wiser set of eyes. This book is written with true love and deep respect for all members of the band and above all, for THE MUSIC.

What amazes me most about his book is the clarity of Phil's memory. He recounts (particularly the early days) with such detail that I can't help but believe this is transcribed from personal journals. Passages like: "the whole urban symphony of Industrial Man, coming from near and far, high and low, finally weaving a shimmering web of discontinuous rhythm, and in the longest slow fade ever, subsiding over hours to a dull roar, felt rather than heard, only to rouse itself anew as the sky brightened with the light of another day." Whew! This amazing, true, brutally honest, funny, insightful memoir is full of such . . . such . . . stuff! And it's not just trippy memory-packed description that blew me away. When he describes the "dark and stormy night" that defined their Woodstock experience, he describes the faltering sound-system as an electrical edifice with "a saber-toothed crotch cricket of a hum."

To anyone who not only experienced the phenomenon that was (is) the Grateful Dead, and particularly to those who appreciate the value of music, I highly, highly recommend this read. I haven't felt this emotional over a book in a long, long time. I love you, Phil.

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

4-0 out of 5 stars It's all about the MUSIC
It is so refreshing to read a book by a musician who is in it for the MUSIC.I knew some background on Mr. Lesh.I'm not a rabid Deadhead...never quit my job and followed them on tour or anything, but I have seen them at least six times.I've read the books by Hank Harrison, Blair Jackson and Rock Scully and enjoyed them all, and have many of their CDs.But Lesh's book is a well-written memoir of what it was like being on that wonderous ride through that unique time in history.If you want to hear stories about shagging endless lines of groupies, or snorting endless lines of cocaine, go elsewhere.Lesh touches on the drug element in the band, but doesn't dwell on it....except for maybe the LSD experimentation which was so crucial the the development of the band. And I've honestly never read such a "dead-on" (sorry) description of the effects of mind-altering drugs.Lesh is obviously an intelligent man, and to be honest, he loses me occasionally when talking about electronics/sound/acoustics, but I knew enough about him to expect that.

It's rare you get to read a book by a dedicated musician, and not a *ROCKSTAR*.Listening to the Grateful Dead taught me a lot about listening to music in general. After appreciating the dynamic between Garcia, Lesh and Weir, I was able to move on to Coltrane, Garrison, Jones and Tyner and many more great combinations after that.I've always admired Lesh as a musician, but now I also admire him as a writer, a husband and a father.Go in peace, Mr. Lesh! Thanks for the great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a great book on the Dead
Searching for the Sound is a great book for any GD fan.

Written by an insider, this is the definitive work on the Dead.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the best book on the Dead
I have been on the bus since the sixties in the bay area, when liking the Dead defined yourself to your peers as an uncool nerd and a bit of a weird-o.Nice to hear Phil's journey from the inside.He comes across as warm, human, honest and of course, brilliant.This dude can write...nearly as well as he can play.My wife, who isn't a head, loved reading it, just for the literate writing and the anecdotes.

The funniest part of it for me was when I caught Phil in two or three errors of chronology or fact, especially about the business side of the Dead, mostly in the seventies.But he explains how that could have happened, especially during that dark time.

He reminds me a bit of John McCain...having been at death's door, he now has his priorities and values clearly defined and doesn't so much care what you or I (or Mickey, Bill and Bob) think.

A great read, a spiritual quest.Warm-hearted and full of hope.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love Will See You Through
Phil Lesh was the oldest member of the Grateful Dead and the member with the most college education - he studied music and classical composition at several Bay Area universities. Thus, it's not surprising that he is the first member of the band to write a book about his Grateful Dead experiences.

"Searching for the Sound" is enjoyable for Deadheads. All the band milestones you know about, both positive and negative, are included: the Acid Tests, Altamont, the New Orleans bust, the Canadian train trip, the Bozo and Bolo Buses, the Wall of Sound, Pigpen's deterioration and Jerry Garcia's drug use. But Phil also throws in a few other interesting tidbits, such as:

*Phil's first instrument was the violin, then he took up the trumpet to play jazz. He learned the bass on his own after Jerry showed him which strings corresponded to which notes.
*He moved out of 710 Ashbury in part because of Jerry's loud snoring.
*After the Lenny Hart money fiasco, Mickey Hart didn't officially quit the band; essentially, he took a long leave of absence and still socialized with band members.
*Jerry showed up for a performance of Wagner's Ring cycle wearing sweats, and fell asleep during the opera.
*Due to the high cost of constant touring, the band members never made more than a general cost-of-living wage until "In the Dark" in 1987.

The book is well-written and for the most part easy to read. (His description of his visions during an accidental onstage LSD overdose must be read to be believed. You'll see the notes, too!) Its only real flaw is that Phil includes several very technical passages describing electronic equipment set-ups that mean nothing to the amateur. But those can be skipped over. Put on a Dick's Picks (or Ives' Fourth Symphony) and enjoy this insider's look at the Dead. ... Read more


113. A Private Family Matter : A Memoir
by Victor Rivas Rivers
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743487885
Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 216
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This is a story about how I was saved by love at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue," begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of how he escaped the war zone of domestic violence -- too often regarded as a "private family matter" -- and went on to become a good man, a film star, and a prominent activist.

The Cuban-born author begins by recalling when he was kidnapped, along with three of his siblings, by his own father, who abandoned Victor's pregnant mother and took the children on a cross-country hell-ride that nearly ended in a fatal collision. This journey of survival portrays with riveting detail how, instead of becoming a madman like his father, Victor was saved by a band of mortal angels. Miraculously, seven families stepped forward, along with teachers and coaches, to empower him on his road from gang member to class president, through harrowing and hilarious football adventures at Florida State and with the Miami Dolphins, to overcoming the Hollywood odds and becoming a champion for all those impacted by domestic violence.

Though at times Victor's odyssey is heartbreaking and disturbing, A Private Family Matter is ultimately a triumphant testament to humanity, courage, and love. Profound and poignant, it is a compelling memoir with a cause. Victor Rivers's way of thanking all the angels and advocates who made a difference in his life is by trying to make a difference in all of ours. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Monster And His Handsome, Talented, Nurturing Son
A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER takes up the story of one of Hollywood's leading actors, whom you have seen in so many TV shows and movies, and strips off the surface to reveal that behind the handsome mask he wears, a nightmare of terror and horror will forever haunt Victor Rivas, as the demons that have haunted him since childhood keep whistling through his mind like witches on broomsticks.He never has had a day without reliving the traumas of his difficult youth, particularly standing in the shadow of an abusive Dad, whose beatings he endured on a regular basis.Sometimes the father seems so wound up he's unreal, but through the eyes of a child, evil often wears a human face, and all too often, as Mr. Rivas demonstrates, that evil is in the father.

I liked all the Cuban stuff, an area I know little about.The family left Cuba when Castro came to power, because his father's family occupied important positions in the cabinet of the corrupt dictator Bautista (still fondly remembered, it seems, by many anti-Communist Cuban Americans).When you read A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER perhaps you, like I, flashed back to the great novel by Reinaldo Arenas, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, with its odd mixture of a longing for indigenous culture and a fleeing from its misogynist and anti-child aspects.The smells and sounds come out at you in waves of sensuous description.

Most of all, however, you feel the boy's pain.His father was truly a monster, and his mother was completely cowed by what amounts to the abuse he meted out to whoever got in the way of his anger and machismo.Beyond that, Victor reveals what it took to get him to become a productive adult.There had to be a lot of repair work done on this man.Next time you see him in the movies, think of how much his acting talent comes from the resources it took for him to find the light in a dark world of abuse.And now he helps others who have suffered some of the same syndromic abuse.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get This For Your Son
Victor Rivers displays such courage, both in escaping from the horrible violence his father inflicted on him, and in breaking the cycle with his own child.Every parent should buy this book for their sons; Victor's father is an extreme example, but any kind of emotional or physical abuse is WRONG, and our children need to be taught that being a real man means never, ever resorting to violence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, powerful, inspiring story
This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.At first you react with shock, then disbelief, tears, and finally joy as you ride with Victor on his incredible journey.The story is unbelievably compelling - I couldn't put the book down, though some events were so difficult to read about, I wanted to.Victor's father is more than a match for any terrible fathers in past books -- THE GREAT SANTINI, for instance.But what's really amazing, and really moving, is how Victor triumphed over the odds, with the help of his "angels," to become not only a good kid but the school's valedictorian and eventually a good father.

It's also great that there this is a lot of information at the end of the book in how to get help if you need it or how to become involved in the movement if you feel so inspired - and after reading this incredibly powerful book, you will.

5-0 out of 5 stars With Grace And Courage
I have the utmost respect and love for Mr. Rivers and his family. It was traumatic to read this book, but I would not give back a moment shared. Sadly, many of us know the debilitating effects of both physical and verbal abuse. We spend a lifetime, with varying degrees of success, juxtaposing the violence of our youth, and the shaming of our souls by those who should unconditionally protect and love us, against the reclaiming of our lost innocence, determination and optimism. Our hearts and souls deserve so much more. To have endured such extreme abuse, and to have fought with so much heart to overcome the systemic indifference of the police, school administators and others who never asked why Victor was so reactive, to have endured long enough to let the angels over ride the evil and negligence, is a testament to Victor's courage, heart and spirit.
This book is amazing not only for it's vulnerability and pain, but also for it's willingness to reveal the depths of darkness so that others in need might have heroes and hope.
I don't think I ever cried so hard while reading a book, but I could not turn away. I was riveted to the page. Thank you to Victor, Mim and Eli for all of your courage and love. READ THIS BOOK! And while you are at it, read Mim Eichler Rivas' BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY. What a family. So much kindness, patience, talent and generosity of spirit. ... Read more


114. A Thousand Days in Tuscany : A Bittersweet Adventure
by Marlena De Blasi
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565123921
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Sales Rank: 4553
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Book Description

American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, married rather late in life. In search of the rhythms of country living, the couple moves to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany with no phone, no central heating, and something resembling a playhouse kitchen. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In this patch of earth where Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio collide, there is much to feed de Blasi's two passions--food and love. We accompany the couple as they harvest grapes, gather chestnuts, forage for wild mushrooms, and climb trees in the cold of December to pick olives, one by one. Their routines are not that different from those of villagers centuries earlier.

They are befriended by the mesmeric Barlozzo, a self-styled village chieftain. His fascinating stories lead de Blasi more deeply inside the soul of Tuscany. Together they visit sacred festivals and taste just-pressed olive oil, drizzled over roasted country bread, and squash blossoms, battered and deep-fried and sprayed with sea-salted water. In a cauldron set over a wood fire, they braise beans in red wine, and a stew of wild boar simmers overnight in the ashes of their hearth. Barlozzo shares his knowledge of Italian farming traditions, ancient health potions, and artisanal food makers, but he has secrets he doesn't share, and one of them concerns the beautiful Floriana, whose illness teaches Marlena that happiness is truly a choice.

Like the pleasurable tastes and textures of a fine meal, A Thousand Days in Tuscany is as satisfying as it is enticing. The author's own recipes are included.
... Read more


115. Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (A Marketplace Book)
by EdwinLefèvre, Marketplace Books
list price: $55.00
our price: $46.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471059684
Catlog: Book (1994-05-11)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 118330
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Critical Praise… "In my interviews with over 30 of the best traders of our time, there were some questions that I raised in each conversation. One of these was: Are there any books that you found particularly valuable and would recommend to aspiring traders? By far, the most frequent response was Reminiscences of a Stock Operator—a book that was over 70 years old!" —from the Foreword by Jack Schwager Author of Market Wizards and The New Market Wizards "Although Reminiscences…was first published some 70 years ago, its take on crowd psychology and market timing is as timely as last summer’s frenzy on the foreign exchange markets." —Worth magazine "The most entertaining book written on investing is Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, by Edwin Lefèvre, first published in 1923." —The Seattle Times "The best book I’ve read is Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. I keep a supply for people who come to work for me." —Martin Zweig "After 20 years and many re-reads, Reminiscences is still one of my all-time favorites." —Kenneth L. Fisher Forbes Offering timeless lessons about the market and investor psychology, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator has enriched the lives of generations of investors and continues to be the most widely read and celebrated investment book ever written. ... Read more

Reviews (114)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting but not particularly useful...
I have read this book several times and always find it entertaining. The psychology of the markets is, I guess, always fairly similar; however, this book will not make you a dime. Do not buy this book if you think that you will learn valuable money making insights by reading it.

The worth in this book is in the entertainment value. Experienced traders will relate to certain events and conditions mentioned in this book (at least I do). Really, this book is a just a novel for traders that transcends generations in terms of relevance.

Victor Niederhoffer heavily borrowed from this book when he wrote "Education of a Speculator." In that book, he basically said that he would not give up his trading secrets for the price of a book. What came about was a biography on the basics of how he developed his mind of a successful trader. That is the essence of "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator:" how Edwin LeFevre developed his trading mind.

Will a neophite leap frog elemental educational experience in the financial markets by instead reading this book? I think not. The neophite will also not learn of a succesful money making strategy by reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is my "bible" of investing
I have a library of nearly 100 books about the markets. Reminiscences was the third book I ever read and it remains my "bible" more than a decade later. You might wonder how an 80-year old book about the stock market could still be relevant. Well, that is because financial markets are determined by human nature as much as anything else, and human nature acts today as it did a century ago. Greed, fear, herd thinking, impatience - those are the same influences that drive markets today and haunt traders and investors who are striving to make the right decisions. Many of the lessons that dictate my investment philosophy ("Cut your losses, let your winners run", "if you don't like the odds, don't bet") were taught to me by the protagonist, who is the fictional characterization of the legendary Jesse Livermore. That he tells his stories with such color and suspense makes the book completely entertaining beyond its invaluable trading lessons. BUY THIS BOOK FOR YOURSELF. BUY ANOTHER ONE FOR A FRIEND (I've given 4 copies). You'll not only improve your own investing results, but your gift will impress as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
I bought this book after it was mentioned on the book Market Wizards. After I finished reading it, I found myself going back to it over and over again. This is a must read book for anyone that is really interesting in how the trading markets work in real life. It's brilliant, funny... Great!!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Dated Yet Insightful
This book's contribution to the literature of the financial markets is incontrovertible. For an investing public starved of trading wisdom in a pre-Markowitz era when stock traders relied more or less on rules of thumb, "Reminiscences" stood out as a true gem. It should be read both as a source of profound insight into the workings of financial markets past and present, and as a critique of speculative activity in the years prior to the bursting of the stock market bubble in 1929.

One of the most important lessons mentioned in the book is that a trader does not have to be invested in the market all the time. It sounds hackneyed today, but this tenet is actually difficult to follow in practice, given the propensity of traders and investors to ride out losing positions.

It is important to remember that, having been written during a massive bull run and prior to the systemic failure of the stock market in 1929, during which the market's 'boundless hope and optimism', as described in Galbraith's "The Great Crash 1929", run roughshod over sentiments that the markets were overheating, "Reminiscences" should be read with an eye towards portfolio preservation, not injudicious speculation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hardcover Marketplace Book version worth the price ?
Wonderful book.
However I wanted a version printed on good paper so it would last a long time.
I bought a very costly hardcover Marketplace copy, just to discover that it was printed on weak paper.
It probably is just the paperback version with a hardcover, for which a 4.5 times the paperback price tag is quite rich. ... Read more


116. The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue : A Child of the Fifties Looks Back
by Robert Klein
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684854880
Catlog: Book (2005-06-02)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 9629
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dear Reader,


When we asked the beloved award-winning comedian and actor Robert Klein to write a book, you can imagine our utter surprise when he told us that he wanted to write about sixth-century Chinese pottery. Thankfully, he hit a creative brick wall (since he doesn't really know anything about pottery from China or anywhere else). Then came similar failures to write books about sea turtles, circumnavigation of the globe, building jet engines at home, the sociology of chickens, or fungi of the skin.

Luckily, Mr. Klein's paramount concern was the consumer. He knew that if we, his publishers, were going to boldly ask you to purchase his book (see above for price), he would have to write something so good, so worthwhile, so meaningful as to make you want to send additional money to your bookseller in gratitude for having allowed you to partake in this reading experience.

So Mr. Klein set out to write about what he knows best: himself. This book is about the adventures of a child who becomes a young man: how he thinks and dreams and lusts and fears and laughs and handles adversity.

From the beginning of his distinguished career as a comedian, Robert Klein established himself as a pioneer in observational humor and razor-sharp routines that are infectiously funny. Now -- for the first time -- Klein brings his trademark humor and honesty to the printed page. In this portrait of a comic as a young man, Klein takes us back to the people and streets of his Bronx neighborhood, the eccentric cast of characters in the Catskills hotels and bungalow colonies where he worked, the college dorms where he received more than an academic education, the 1964 World's Fair where he fell in love, New York City and Chicago in the 1960s as he developed his talent, and Los Angeles just as he was about to embark on a show business career. Throughout, Klein reveals the hilarity of growing up and explores the mysteries and his own foibles in sex and relationships. He recounts with wit and poignancy losing his virginity with a prostitute, bringing home a German girlfriend to his Jewish family, and the amorous adventures of the busboy he once was.

With an ego more fragile than Chinese pottery, Robert Klein has written a funny and evocative coming-of-age memoir -- well worth the price (if we say so ourselves). Enjoy.


All the best,
The Publisher ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book Truly Worth The Wait
Robert Klein has been my favorite comedian since I was twelve.Mind Over Matter was the first comedy album I ever heard and after that I was hooked.In eighth grade English class when we were assigned to memorize and recite a poem, I chose Mind Over Matter by Robert Klein (which I still know by heart.)

Since then I have become a comedian myself, and whenever asked who my favorite comedian is I answer "Robert Klein" without hesitation.I was thrilled to discover his memoir and am excited to be the first customer reviewer.

Klein once again displays the unique intelligence fans have valued for years by writing a detailed and touching memoir rather than a joke book.This book is rich with detailed memories.As an avid fan I was amazed and intrigued by how closely the routines I remember so fondly reflect Klein's real life.This confirms the theory that the best humor, and Klein is the very best, must come from the truth.

In a his classic routine about Alfred University ("people clap with one hand for Alfred") Klein recounted his shock upon discovering a dormitory neighbor with a swastika mobile and his frantic phone call home ("Mama, the boy next door..."). The book contains an in depth telling of the tale, which includes a brawl with the boy who insisted the shape wasn't actually a swastika.

In another old favorite routine Klein asked, "do you really have to wait an hour after you eat before you go swimming?" He went on to explain that his father claimed that you waited different times for different foods ("jello - five minutes, franks and beans - you can't go in till NEXT YEAR.") The book tells this true story in great detail.

In another routine Klein spoke about how his mother had a story about how anything and everything was dangerous, even playing checkers ("a boy on Hull Street put his eye out with a checker.") The memoir describes in great detail many examples of the overprotective behavior of both of his parents and how his youth was filled with fear of danger everywhere.These and more elaboration on the true stories behind the lines will appeal to any reader and will particularly fascinate fans.

The book is smart, touching and honest.Klein is a comedian's comedian and any true fan of comedy appreciates the importance and brilliance of his work.In this book Klein generously, with great skill shares a behind the scenes look at his evolution.It is a book well worth reading and I very highly recommend it.
... Read more


117. Funny in Farsi : A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America
by FIROOZEH DUMAS
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812968379
Catlog: Book (2004-01-13)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 4272
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.

Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).

Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.
... Read more

Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Funny in Farsi
If you ever wondered what it was like to grow up an immigrant in the United States, Funny in Farsi is a telling story of this experience. Firoozeh Dumas writes a candid account of growing up Persian in America. From her parents adjusting the customs and cultures of America, to the impacts of the hostage crisis on her life in the US, and her own growing up experiences with her family, she paints a picture of how humor helps get through all the tough times.
Although this book is about a Persian family in the US, it transcends culture barriers and tells the universal story of what it means to be an immigrant in the United States and the difficulties that it entails.
Dumas writes an honest account of her life that the reader can relate to. Her poignant language and truthful analysis of life makes this a book that you will not be able to put down.
This is a truly delightful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its name--laugh out loud funny!
A book with "funny" in its title already gives readers expectations of being funny--and rightly so, because it lives up to all of its expectations, and I laughed out loud at every page! It's Dumas' witty, clever play on words when she retells her tales of childhood mishaps that makes this book so endearing and easy to identify with. We've all tried to fit in somehow, somewhere and ended up doing exactly the opposite! Dumas manages to take these stories and tell them with such humor, that sad stories turn into absurd ones--providing lots of giggles and laughter on the way. But the book also has tremendous substance, as Dumas writes about her family with love--especially her father, who is the epitome of kindness, and the ultimate lessons she learns growing up in an Iranian family in California. Those lessons of generosity and humanity serve her well through life's ups and downs, and she is able to look back on even the toughest of circumstances with side-splitting humor. I highly recommend this book for anyone that has ever felt "displaced"--and that would be every one of us. Brilliant!

2-0 out of 5 stars verey superficial
I bought this book because I was really craving a book written by an iranian so I could relate to... The book is well written if you want to have some fun laughing at extremely superficial issues about iranians living in the US, but totally lacks a real understanding of the situation. In few words this was a teenager book although I would not even recommend it to teenagers to read

2-0 out of 5 stars Too shallow, even for summer reading
It would have been wonderful if she wrote it to share with her family and friends, but to publish it? There is no substance, it is not particularly funny and it is just plain boring. This book proves that not everybody needs to write a memoir.

I've been married into Iranian family and I recognized a lot of traits she is describing. The book was amusing, at times. However, I would not recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!
This has to be one of the most entertaining books that I have ever read. I am so impressed with her writing, her honesty and willingness to share the story of her life and her touching recollections. Better yet, the story is mixed with humor all along.

When Firoozeh tells a story about financial problems, family issues, discrimination and injustice, she does so with humor and dignity, although you can even TOUCH the pain she had felt at the moment!
In this book, She also talks about some occasional unpleasant traits shown by her family, however it's clear the she loves them and that love shows through. She knows that you can love someone and not like everything that they do.

Reading Firoozeh's book makes me laugh out loud so many times. There are plenty of serious moments but they are all rendered with the remarkable wit of a very funny author, Firoozeh Dumas. Even the parts that should be dull in a biography are worthwhile and interesting.

I consider this book one of the best; I hope that you will too ... Read more


118. Put on Your Pearls Girls
by LULU GUINNESS
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0847826945
Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
Publisher: Rizzoli
Sales Rank: 89173
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars money wasted
I surely do wish I'd never bought this book. As another reviewer said, it's worthless if you come to it expecting to read anything useful. ALl you get are very charming illustrations and a few pop up pages and Lulu Guiness's favorite sayings. That's it. If you have a bunch of Guiness bags and love Lulu then go right ahead and buy it. The rest of us would be better off checking it out of the library. I intend to return my copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A lighthearted adorable book with simple but good advice
Granted this book is not everyone's cup of tea, but I feel thatLulu Guinness's book is a breath of fresh (scented) air! I like the color scheme used throughout the book and the sense of whimsy that the illustrations evoke. The book is a welcome respite from the "real world" with all of its chaos and stress...and very, very entertaining.

1-0 out of 5 stars Put Away Your Credit Cards, Girls
A huge disappointment!The quotations used in the editorial reviews compromise the bulk of the "literature" of the total book--this book is that useless!The introduction is the most informative part; the rest is one big ego-fest for the author.The drawings are cute, however, but do not compensate for the otherwise emptiness of the book. ... Read more


119. We Are All The Same: A Story of a Boy's Courage and a Mother's Love
by Jim Wooten, James T. Wooten
list price: $19.95
our price: $11.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200289
Catlog: Book (2004-11-04)
Publisher: Penguin Press Hc
Sales Rank: 214
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Book Description

The extraordinary story of the little South African boy whose bravery and fierce determination to make a difference despite being born with AIDS has made him the human symbol of the world's fight against the disease, told by the veteran American journalist whose life he changed.

Five million more people contracted HIV last year alone. We've all seen the statistics, and they numb us; on some level our minds shut down to a catastrophe of this scope. As with other such immense human tragedies in the past, it can take the story of one special child's life to make us open our minds and our hearts.

While the majority of all AIDS cases occur in Africa, a South African boy named Nkosi Johnson did not become "an icon of the struggle for life," in Nelson Mandela's words, because he was representative but because he was so very remarkable. Everyone who met Nkosi Johnson was struck by his blinding life force, his powerful intelligence and drive, his determination to make something of his short life. By the time of his death, the work he had done in his eleven years on earth was such that The New York Times ran his obituary on the front page, as did many other papers, and tributes appeared on the evening news broadcasts of every major network.

Nkosi Johnson did not live to tell his own story, but one writer whose life he changed has taken up the work of telling it for him. Luckily for the world that writer is Jim Wooten. In his hands, We Are All the Same is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit, even as it bears witness to the scope of the tragedy that is unfolding in Africa and around the world, cutting down millions of boys and girls like Nkosi Johnson before they can reach their promise. Written with the brevity and power of a parable, We Are All the Same is a book that is meant to be read by all of us, of all ages and walks of life. Its beginning and ending are terribly sad, but in the middle is the extraordinarily inspiring story of a very unlucky little boy who said, Never mind. I'm going to make my life matter. And he did.
... Read more


120. Eating My Words : An Appetite For Life
by Mimi Sheraton
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006050109X
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks
Sales Rank: 3558
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What's it like to be a food writer? What's it like dining at some of the world's best restaurants, as well as some of the worst? What's it like to share your opinion about food and restaurants with readers around the world?

Mimi Sheraton is one of the most renowned food writers and restaurant reviewers in the country. And perhaps the most frequently asked question is, How did she do it? Her response is simple: "Live my life." Now, in this entertaining and candid memoir, the doyenne of food critics provides a heartfelt and poignant look at the events of her extraordinary life.

A devoted journalist, Mimi's engaging style and meticulous research have made her the standard by which restaurant reviewing and food criticism in the United States is measured. In Eating My Words, she describes how she developed her passion for writing about food and travel. Witty and straightforward, Mimi takes you on an engrossing journey of memorable meals, unforgettable people and outrageous experiences. Travel with Mimi from her childhood growing up in a food-loving Brooklyn family with a very demanding mother ("You call that a chicken?") and a father in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, through her college years in Manhattan and her rise to fame.

Best known for her work as the restaurant critic at the New York Times, Mimi relates her experiences from how she landed the job there to why she left eight years later. As a journalist, she has tasted and reported on some of the world's finest cuisine, including three-starred French restaurants, and on some of the most dismal food imaginable, from hospital and public school meals to the often unrecognizable fare served in airplanes and fast food chains.

Forthright and never afraid to be controversial, Mimi talks about the importance of a reviewer's anonymity and the excitement of making a new culinary discovery like the now notorious Rao's, and then sharing it through her writing. She reveals some of her most challenging moments, right down to a masked appearance on French television with several well-known French chefs that ended in a mini-brawl.

Fueled by her passion for food, wine and travel, Mimi Sheraton's memoir is a degustation that is as engaging as it is enlightening. A true reflection of this bon vivant's voracious appetite for life, Eating My Words is an irresistible treat you will savor word by word ... and will feel utterly satisfied.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sharp, Short and Witty Delight
By Bill Marsano. Years ago, in the slim hope of making myself useful on a certain magazine, I often volunteered to edit Mimi Sheraton's column. She was counted a tough cookie by the other editors, who preferred saps. My stock did in fact rise through self-sacrifice, and so did my free time, for the fact was her column was a breeze.

Of course, if an editor mucked around with her copy (and that, I can say without exposing any trade secrets, is what editors generally do), then it wasn't a breeze. So after reading her tight-knit prose, her well-reasoned judgments, her lucid thoughts, I'd call her about a couple of minor points and we'd agree on changing or not in about ten minutes. Then, with my door shut and no one in any case daring to approach Sheraton Control, I had the afternoon free. (Later, when other editors asked how it had gone, I just rolled my eyes.)

Keys to Sheraton's style were sticking to the subject and not showing off. Her judgments were measured, not designed to become sound bites; the meal was the star, not the reviewer. Here she does write about (among many other things) herself, and what an interesting self she turns out to be. She covers a lot of ground, including childhood before the war (i.e., World War II); college-girl adventures in New York City (especially funny: her story of breaking up with a civilian boyfriend while being attached to two other guys in the armed services); early work in home-furnishings journalism; plunging into food writing through a passion for travel; her ups and downs as a nationally known food critic for the New York Times (and other publications) and her attempts at improving what professionals call "volume feedings and mass management" and the rest of us call jail, airline, school and hospital food.

Sheraton has a fine line in dry wit and is always informative: Most readers will learn some surprising things about restaurants and reviewing. She lists the 20 most-asked quiestion and answers every one, and provides a good idea of the pressures applied to a critic by big-name restaurateurs--and by people who think they're critics just because they run a newspaper. (Odd--but I don't think the Times has reviewed her book. Odd.) But she isn't dishy. Anyone looking here for gossip, innuendo and the settling of scores has come to the wrong place. Sheraton conquers but she does not stoop.

And she does it all in 240 pages. One reason is that she writes tightly and tartly. (At least one other well-known "foodie" has published two books, totaling nearly 600 pages, and isn't finished yet.) Another is that she speaks often of wonderful dishes but gives no recipes. Good for her. Recipes are turning up in lots of places they don't really belong these days, including mysteries and popular novels. I usually suspect that means the author hasn't really got the goods, and knows it, and hopes I won't notice. (For much the same reason I resist nutritional puns traditional in this sort of review. I refuse to call this a "bubbling bouillaisse of a book.") The only time she comes close to such nonsense is with her brisk instructions (maybe a dozen words?) for how to make a Jewish chicken--or a chicken Jewish.

Sheraton's 240 pages go rattling by--there's no padding--and because even now I read as an editor, I ticked a few things: I disagree with her use of "ascribe" and "masterful," and former New York City Mayor John Lindsay would, if he could, on personal orthography. Once where she says Michelin I'm almost certain she means Gault-Millau, but that's about it. (Come to think of it, where was the copy editor?) In all, the experience was like those long-gone magazine days: great reading and effortless, too.--Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor.

3-0 out of 5 stars Insights: Serious and Fun
Why hasn't the New York Times reviewed this book?

Here's why:

Ms. Sheraton is a former NYTimes employee; the Times even published her restaurant review book.

She tells a lot-not all, I'm sure, -but enough to learn about how newspaper management attempts to influence a journalist even on the level of restaurant reviews.

Very interesting; but here's the real point of the book:

Ever wanted to enjoy "behind the scenes" anecdotes direct from, quite probably, the nation's most famous restaurant critic?

Great foodie stories; learn some interesting dining, cooking ideas and definitely get a few chuckles.

This book just inspired my dinner this evening! ... Read more


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