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1. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
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2. Tis: A Memoir
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3. Love, Greg & Lauren
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4. Lucky
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5. Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections
6. Making the Wiseguys Weep: The
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7. Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story
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8. How to Lose Friends & Alienate
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9. Luncheonette : A Memoir
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10. Daughter of Heaven : A Memoir
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12. Country Matters: The Pleasures
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13. A Monk Swimming
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14. Lost in America: A Journey with
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15. A House on the Heights
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16. Heart of a Soldier
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17. I Am the Central Park Jogger :
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18. Fame and Obscurity
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19. American by Choice
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20. Chinese Playground : A Memoir

1. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
by Susan Jane Gilman
list price: $12.95
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Asin: 0446679496
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 603809
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2. Tis: A Memoir
by Frank McCourt
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0684865742
Catlog: Book (2000-08-28)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 7143
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Frank McCourt's glorious childhood memoir, Angela's Ashes, has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity. A tale of redemption, in which storytelling itself is the source of salvation, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Rarely has a book so swiftly found its place on the literary landscape.

And now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding.

When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age.

As Malcolm Jones said in his Newsweek review of Angela's Ashes, "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece. ... Read more

Reviews (528)

4-0 out of 5 stars Frank McCourt is a brave, brave man . . .
Writing a memoir invites accusations of myopia and self-indulgence. Writing a sequel begs comparison (with novelty often tipping the scales in favor of the first work). Along comes Frank McCourt who combines the two and manages to succeed admirably. Picking up where Angela's Ashes leaves off, 'Tis recounts young Frankie's impoverished early days in New York, his broadening stint in the Army, and his subsequent development from an unschooled laborer to a teacher of creative writing able to inspire others to make that same arduous climb.

McCourts narrative voice is a paradoxical wonder. Muscular prose and keen observation lay bare dire circumstances and woeful ignorance. Financial poverty stands in sharp contrast to an abundance of imagination and desire. Indeed, it is his driving hunger--both physical and metaphorical --that spurs him to read and write his way out of despair.

McCourt's style captivates with his underlying Irish lyricism and his overlay of poetic repetition. Young Frankie's incredulous tone reveals a touching, often frightening, lack of sophistication. It's a wonder the lad survives his youth. Ever so slowly, he trades that innocence for a college degree, a young wife, and teaching jobs that range from thankless and intimidating to purposeful and rewarding. Never stooping to sentimentality, McCourt evokes plenty of genuine emotion, a skill that serves his reading public as well as it must have served his students.

It is in the final quarter of the book that McCourt stumbles. His hard-won (and much described) sweetheart mutates quickly into a difficult wife, then fades to near obscurity. That they eventually divorce is no excuse for this disappearing act. McCourt needn't have trashed the ex-wife to expose his own grappling. His daughter, with whom he ends up on better terms, suffers similar abridgement, aging years in the space of two pages. Subtext (not to mention the character of the author) suggests a backing off due to pain and guilt but that's an inexcusable squeamishness in a memoir. This abbreviation and lack of candor give the reader a sense of having been rushed through important territory.

His relationship with his parents is drawn with a bit more detail but then it's generally easier to focus on others' failures than to examine your own. Case in point--McCourt spoke of the abysmal effects of his father's chronic alcoholism and admitted he saw himself making some of the same mistakes, yet his reactions seemed to stay on the surface. I kept hoping he'd make peace with his father's fallibilty even as he came to grips with his own but he retains his judgemental tone till the end, missing a valuable connection that might have shed some light on a man he regarded as something of a mystery.

Despite these deficiencies. McCourt's story vibrates with honest intensity and the great ache of anyone whose passion intially exceeds his eloquence. Whatever he turns his hand to next (surely this isn't the last we've heard of him), the lad with the bad eyes, the bad teeth, and the gnawing belly grew into a man with much to be proud of.

5-0 out of 5 stars A really good book for different reasons than Angelas Ashes
I really enjoyed the book and was disappointed when I read a New York Times book reviewer who panned it for being too cynical and bitter. The innocence, openness and hope that came out of Angelas Ashes reflected the child and youth of Frank McCourt during the time about which he was writing. In 'Tis, Frank confronts the reality of adulthood on his own, in the multi-cultural, and multi-spectral world of NYC - as an immigrant Irishman, Paddy-off-the-boat. His humanity shows. He describes with a lot of humor but not too much rancor, his envy, bitterness, anger, a tendency toward irresponsibility, and occassionally confusion about life's travails as they came his way. He also doesn't lose his ability to laugh at himself and see the humor and humanity in the situations and adventures he describes. It was about Frank's real life as an adult. It was written in the same lyrical,humorous and extremely perceptive style as Angela's Ashes and was just as much fun to read. I STRONGLY recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING STORY
Sequel of "Angela's ashes", I was not disappointed a second. The book starts exactly when Angela's...finished. It's written with talent. We hear about what happen to the dad & mum afterwards(You can also learn more on Malachy's first book...Read it).
By the way you'll learn of anything happened to Frank in USA, his return to Europe (after war as a soldier) and in Ireland.
A life that could have finished in an Irish lane fortunately made it in USA successfully.

5-0 out of 5 stars WE WANT MORE!
What a follow up. His life was so bad is was good and he tells it the way only Frank could. You practically fall in love with him and pray to God to send you back in time to meet up with him when he steps into America. It was a good ending to a good beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tis is a must read for everyone
I read Angela's Ashes at the suggestion of a very good friend, Louis it was his favorite book and I have say I could see why. When a friend at work saw me reading it she told me about the sequel "Tis a Memoir", I just had to get it and I have to say that when I did, I could not put it down! It is an excellent book, Frank McCourt has such an engaging way of keep his reader hooked! Superb! I love his sense of humor, his triumphs a wonderful and give us all hope, a must read for all ages! ... Read more

3. Love, Greg & Lauren
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0553802976
Catlog: Book (2002-03-05)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 408142
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, Lauren Manning-a wife, the mother of a ten-month-old son, and a senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald-came to work, as always, at One World Trade Center. As she stepped into the lobby, a fireball exploded from the elevator shaft, and in that split second her life was changed forever.

Lauren was burned over 82.5 percent of her body. As he watched his wife lie in a drug-induced coma in the ICU of the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Greg Manning began writing a daily journal. In the form of e-mails to family, friends, and colleagues, he recorded Lauren’s harrowing struggle-and his own tormented efforts to make sense of an act that defies all understanding. This book is that e-mail diary: detailed, intimate, inspiring messages that end, always, as if a prayer for a happy outcome:


We share this story day by astonishing day. Greg writes of the intricate surgeries, the painful therapies, and the constant risk of infection Lauren endured. Through his eyes we come to know the doctors, nurses, aides, and therapists who cared for her around the clock with untiring devotion and sensitivity. We also come to know the families with whom he shared wrenching hospital vigils for their own loved ones who were waging a battle that some would not win.

It was, most of all, Greg’s belief that Lauren would win her brave fight for life that kept him writing. Through his eyes we see what she could not-their toddler’s first steps, the video of his first birthday party, the compassionate messages of hope from around the world. And we are there as Lauren gradually emerges into awareness, signaling first with her eyes, then with smiles, her understanding of the words Greg speaks to her, the poems he recites, the songs he plays.

Most miraculously, we are there when Lauren walks out of the Burn Center.

The world knows all too well both the nightmare and the heroism that have marked this terrible time in history. But no account of September 11 matches the astonishing personal story Greg Manning records in these spontaneous and heartfelt pages. It is a story that invites us to share, e-mail after e-mail, the perilous course of a mortally wounded woman who by sheer will and courage emerges from near death because she is determined to live for her husband and her son. And it is equally the story of a man who, as he stays by her side through these long weeks and months, discovers anew the depth of his love and admiration for the woman who becomes his hero.
... Read more

Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching story of a woman's journey to hell and back.
"Love, Greg and Lauren," by Greg Manning, is the true story of a woman's miraculous escape from death. Lauren Manning, a senior vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald, stepped into the lobby of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, just as a fireball emerged and engulfed her. Lauren was burned over eighty percent of her body.

Lauren's doctors at the Burn Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital did not expect Lauren to survive her grave injuries. However, Lauren Manning was no ordinary patient. First, she had an enormous will to survive, in order to resume her life with her husband, Greg, and with her ten-month-old son, Tyler. In addition, the staff at the Burn Center was incredibly skilled, and fiercely determined to save as many victims of September 11th as they possibly could. Finally, the prayers and good wishes of people from all over the world were with Lauren and her family.

The book is Greg's e-mail diary of Lauren's remarkable recovery. It is a tribute to Lauren's courage, to the skill and dedication of the marvelous doctors and nurses who cared for her, and to the love and support of her friends and family.

"Love, Greg and Lauren" is not elegantly written, but it nonetheless has great impact. We feel the emotional duress, the pain, and the uncertainty that this couple and their family suffered as Lauren battled back, step-by-step, until she was finally pronounced "out of the woods." I recommend that you read this poignant account. It is a testament to the tremendous power of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Insightful!
Greg&Lauren accurately explores the events that occurred on 9/11 and it poignantly chronicles the strength of the human spirit. The author has succeeded in providing both a unique and compelling exploration into the utter devistation that 9/11 reaped on both his family and the industry and companies that he and Lauren worked for.
His eye for detail let me explore (tearfully at times) the agonies of a burn injury as well as the incredible love they have for one another. Laced throughout the story is the power of prayer and its' ability to positively affect the human condition.
This book is a must for historical insights of 9/11 by someone that actually worked at the Trade Center. It is also a book to keep on the shelves for any couple or family faced with the devastation of an injury either physical or pychological. I am certainly a more enlightened and giving person since experiencing Greg&Lauren. Hooray for them and their bravery and all of us as Americans!

3-0 out of 5 stars Something rubbed me the wrong way...
...about this book. While I cannot begin to imagine the horrors Lauren has experienced and I wish her and her family the best,I was left a little cold by the contents of some of Greg's missives. There are frequent references throughout the book to Lauren's beauty, and the reader is left with the feeling that it's Greg who is more dissappointed with Lauren's swollen face and missing hair than she is. Also -- Greg spent quite a few nights playing bass with his band at local bars while his wife lay in her hospital bed. Who was home with baby Tyler each and every night? Lauren's parents, who receive little in the book in the way of thanks. They're the true heroes of this story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hero!
The book is very good but there are slow moments.
I would not want to go through the pain she did. I give
her a high 5 for wanting to survive. I think the love
around her made her survive. Greg is also a hero. What
a wonderful man he is.
Read the book, but with the understanding it can be slow
but worth it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching but a bit slow..
Love, Greg & Lauren is a touching story of a woman who remarkably heals after being burned on over 82% of her body on 9/11. Through her healing process Greg, her husband, talks about her day to day recovery and how all those around Lauren were counting on her to help heal those who lost loved ones.

It's a slow starting book, but in the end you'll be glad you finished it. ... Read more

4. Lucky
by Alice Sebold
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
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Asin: 0684857820
Catlog: Book (1999-08-04)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 70695
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Alice Sebold's compelling memoir of her rape at the age of eighteen is a story that takes hold of you and won't let go.

Sebold fulfills a promise that she made to herself in the very tunnel where she was raped: someday she would write a book about her experience. With Lucky she delivers on that promise with mordant wit and an eye for life's absurdities, as she describes what she was like both as a young girl before the rape and how that rape changed but did not sink the woman she later became.

It is Alice's indomitable spirit that we come to know in these pages. The same young woman who sets her sights on becoming an Ethel Merman-style diva one day (despite her braces, bad complexion, and extra weight) encounters what is still thought of today as the crime from which no woman can ever really recover. In an account that is at once heartrending and hilarious, we see Alice's spirit prevail as she struggles to have a normal college experience in the aftermath of this harrowing, life-changing event.

No less gripping is the almost unbelievable role that coincidence plays in the unfolding of Sebold's narrative. Her case, placed in the inactive file, is miraculously opened again six months later when she sees her rapist on the street. This begins the long road to what dominates these pages: the struggle for triumph and understanding -- in the courtroom and outside in the world.

Lucky is, quite simply, a real-life thriller. In its literary style and narrative tension we never lose sight of why this life story is worth reading. At the end we are left standing in the wake of devastating violence, and, like the writer, we have come to know what it means to survive. ... Read more

Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survival - Incredible.
In this thought-provoking, chilling memoir, Alice Sebold recounts the events of her rape and the aftermath of that tragedy. While strong enough to go through with the trial and conviction of her attacker, Sebold's emotional state was deeply affected for many years after. Her memoir follows the events that occurred after her rape and the things she attempted in order to escape her pain.

Sebold captures this period in her life with great intensity and literary skill. Not only does the reader become informed of the actual events of the rape and the events following it, but we get a look into Sebold's home life and her personality before the night that would change everything.

This story isn't just about a college girl's rape and her survival story. It's a story about her life: her family, her friends, her childhood. Sebold explains how when she was younger all she wanted was to be hugged by her parents, but she would settle for something as simple as a touch because she was offered nothing more (and sometimes not even that luxury). It's about growing up in a dysfunctional family and getting through it. It's about surviving not only bad experiences in life, but surviving and coping with continuing bad situations.

A great read - highly recommended to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
A must read for clinical psychologists and students interested in the sexual abuse topic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Yet again I'm left disappointed ...
I was a bit underwhelmed with 'The Lovely Bones' - started out great, lost me entirely by the end - but I expected great things of 'Lucky'. Yet again it starts out well, the opening chapter is horrifying, moving and completely unputdownable - but as we move away from the actual rape and its immediate aftermath all Alice Sebold's faults as a writer surface again. She seems unable to select material which will be of interest to the reader and fills pages and pages with irrelevant detail of her family life and unnecessary background detail. The book comes alive again when she spots her rapist in the street but in between I found myself losing interest. We all know the argument about real-life not being as tidy as fiction - but in this case it WAS tidy - the rapist was identified by Alice, caught and punished (a much more satisfactory ending than that of 'The Lovely Bones', ironically). I wish the book had been more scrupulously edited to focus on the essential elements of her story rather than filled up with padding. I felt cheated at the end of the book - at the beginning I felt that I would be with Alice throughout her every step of her journey to find justice and recover from the trauma she suffered but somehow this connection was lost and by the middle of the book I had no idea what she - or indeed anyone else involved was thinking or feeling. What a shame as this could have been a truly great book and an inspiration to rape survivors everywhere ...

5-0 out of 5 stars A real tale, full of sound and fury
This book is so many things, but the one that comes first to mind is "brave." For Seabold to have written this is amazing--the courage it must have taken. But that aside, it is well-written. I read "Lovely Bones" first, and then this one. While the premise of "Lovely" was great, I found "Lucky" to be a better book. Don't get me wrong, I like both of them, but "Lucky" was by far the more "real" tale. Try them both and then decide for yourself.

Also recommended: McCrae's Bark of the Dogwood, A Boy Called It ... Read more

5. Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self
by Beth Kephart
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
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Asin: 1577314980
Catlog: Book (2005-02-10)
Publisher: New World Library
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Book Description

National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's new book is an enchanting midlife meditation on aging, identity, and memory set against the backdrop of Chanticleer garden in Pennsylvania. On the morning of her forty-first birthday, Kephart, a mother, wife, and writer pressured by deadlines, finds herself at Chanticleer, one of the world's most celebrated pleasure gardens. She knows little of the language of flowers. Week after week, she returns to Chanticleer, recalling her childhood self, mulling over legacy and soul, striking up friendships with gardeners and conversations with other visitors. Succored by the seasons and the weather, she finds the grace notes in approaching middle age. There are lessons in seeds, and she finds them. There are lessons in letting go. Kephart writes about questions we all ask ourselves: How do we remember who we used to be? How do we imagine who we'll become? Have we lived our lives as we set out to do? What legacies do we wish to leave behind? The book spans a two-year cycle, and each chapter is accompanied by a gorgeous black-and-white photograph of Chanticleer by William Sulit. Ghosts in the Garden pulses with possibility and purpose, with wisdom that is ageless and transcendent. ... Read more

6. Making the Wiseguys Weep: The Jimmy Roselli Story
by David Evanier, Farrar Straus & Giroux
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374199272
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Sales Rank: 176676
Average Customer Review: 3.87 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The fascinating life of an Italian American icon.

The mob couldn't live with Jimmy Roselli and it couldn't live without him. Roselli is Hoboken's other great singer, and to a greater degree than Frank Sinatra, Roselli maintained his ties to his old neighborhood and its people--indeed, he made a career of those ties. He's their link to their cultural heritage and Italy, and continues to sing a good half of his repertoire in Italian. But this didn't stop his wiseguy following from getting angry at him from time to time.

"When I started singing big," Roselli told biographer David Evanier, "the tough guys were in the front row with the big cigars. They loved me so much they wanted to kill me. But their mothers and sisters and their wives wouldn't allow it." Roselli sang his best-loved song, "Little Pal," at John Gotti, Jr.'s wedding reception. Mobster Larry Gallo was buried with a Roselli record in his hands. "Hell of a guy," Roselli says of Gallo. "Nice, warm individual."

Hoboken's unsung singer feuded with Sinatra, stood up to shakedown artists, befriended godfathers, and now has thirty-six recordings in print. A captivating story of a brilliant entertainer, Making the Wiseguys Weep is also a colorful portrait of Italian American culture from the 240 saloons that lined Hoboken's streets to the bright lights of New York City. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The author speaks
I am the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep." The reactions to my book have been extremely gratifying. Probably the most moving tribute came from the reader who called me the "Dante of the Italian-American community." I think that anyone interested in the Mafia or who loves "The Sopranos" would want to read my accounts of Gyp de Carlo, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and John Gotti, among many others. Jimmy Roselli is not only the "sweetheart of the mob" but an amazing singer who is considered the soul of the Italian-American community. Martin Scorsese featured his voice in "Mean Streets." After writing the book I was told by a disc jockey in New Oreleans that Norjo's, the Italian grocery in New Orleans, features behind its counter pictures of the Pope, Sinatra and Jimmy, and CD's of Roselli and Sinatra. In addition, it's important to note that Frank Sinatra had only one true rival in terms of a great voice, and that was--and is--Jimmy Roselli. It was a joy to discover a great singer, someone who deserved far greater recognition, and who, thanks to my book and the movie planned about it, is finally receiving it. There are many great Italian-American singers: Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Bobby Darin and Jerry Vale among them. No one is more unique than Jimmy Roselli. No one has more passion. Check out "Making the Wiseguys Weep" and some of Roselli's truly great albums: "3 A.M.," "The Best of Neapolitan Songs," "The Italian Album," "Jimmy Roselli," "When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New," and "What is A Song." You will never, ever, forget them. Vincent Patrick, critic of the book for the "New York Times," Sammy Cahn, Joe Pesci, who loves Roselli and wants to play him, Chazz Palmintieri, and John Gotti, among others, will attest to that.

4-0 out of 5 stars I am the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep"
I'm the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep." The reactions to my book have been extremely gratifying. Probably the most moving tribute came from the reader who called me the "Dante of the Italian-American community." I think that anyone interested in the Mafia and loves "The Sopranos" would want to read my accounts of Gyp the Collar, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and John Gotti. Jimmy Roselli is not only the "sweetheart of the mob" but an amazing singer who is considered the soul of the Italian-American community. After writing the book, I was told by a disc jockey in New Orleans that Norjo's, the Italian grocery in that city, features behind its counter pictures of the Pope, Sinatra and Jimmy, and, beside the olive oil from Italy, CD's of Roselli and Sinatra. In addition, it is important to note that Frank Sinatra had only one true rival in terms of a great voice, and that was--and is--Jimmy Roselli. It was a joy to discover a great singer, someone who deserved a far greater recognition, and who, thanks to my book and the movie planned about it, is finally receiving it. CNN's "Newstand" and ABC's "Good Morning America" have featured the book with profiles of Jimmy. Check out "Making the Wiseguys Weep" and some of Roselli's great albums: "3 A.M.," "Best of Neapolitan Songs," "The Italian Album," "Jimmy Roselli," "When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New," and "What Is A Song." You will never, ever, forget them. Sammy Cahn, Joe Pesci, who loves Jimmy and wants to play him in the movie, Chazz Palminteri, and John Gotti, among others, will attest to that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where's the movie?!
I read Making The Wiseguys Weep 4 times. It had me captivated from beginning to end. I was not aware of Jimmy Roselli's music before reading it, but picked it because I am Italian-American and wanted a compelling mafia story. This book paints a picture so vivid of Italian-American culture, the life and times of the "good ol' days" and the amazing experiences of Jimmy Roselli. It made me track down some Roselli albums for his talent is amazing.
I read that this would be adapted into a movie starring John Travolta called Standing Room Only directed by Gus Van Sant. As of now, it has not been made, and I read an interview with Mr. Van Sant from mid-2003 saying that it is a possibility that the film will indeed be made. I want to know any information about this movie! I am unaware of it being in production and if it is, I absoloutly cannot wait to see it! Travolta would be terrific as Mr. Roselli.

3-0 out of 5 stars like casino profits, best used by skimming
This book has much to recommend it. It provides insight into the aftermath of the profliferation of rock in the '60s---the virtual banishing to the wilderness of talented performers committed to, in my opinion, songs on a much higher level than those penned and sung by many of the musically less-than-literate '60s icons. Both songs crafted by Berlin, Porter, et al and the performers who delivered them with depth of feeling and well-honed craft were suddenly visciously shunted aside by both kids caught up in rebellion (somewhat understandable given the times, hell, I was one of them) and profit-driven record companies (sickening and unforgiveable). Gifted singers like Tony Bennett, Roselli, and many others were pretty much hung out to dry as American culture took a nose dive it has yet to recover from ... . This phenomenom, the steamrolling of America's great song book and its interpreters, is well documented in chapter 6 here.

Evanier also casts the light well on Roselli's sentimentality toward wiseguys as family that supplanted that of his biological family, and does a good job of explaining why Roselli kept coming back for more punishment, exposing and analyzing his frailties and rationalizations. He also does manage to take us into the Copa or other saloons and relive the excitement, the raw emotional power, the connection with his audience which made Roselli special. All commendable.

But I must confess disappointment. ... In the book ... the reminiscences of his wife and running buddies get repetitive and old awful fast. The key points are made, and made well early in the book, and after that there's some coasting and page filling. It goes on longer than it has to. As for Roselli himself, what at first reads like admirable [bravery] in standing up to the "boys", blowing off Ed Sullivan, etc., soon turns into tiresome tirades of self-justification and egotism. Ironically, he comes off as petty, mean, and self-important at times as his purported hated arch-rival, Sinatra. (This is not, of course, Evanier's fault) ... I have to hear Roselli sing (which the book did make me want to, a definite plus).

Pay close attention up to chapter 6, then skim like you were a boss controlling the slots in a classy joint in Atlantic City.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Five more stars to David Evanier for writing a great story on Jimmy Roselli. After reading the reviews, some people feel that Jimmy is not the greatest person in the world, but I think we can all agree that he is one of the best singers who's story is a story of interest and it was superbly told by David Evanier. ... Read more

7. Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055338015X
Catlog: Book (2002-01-02)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 20336
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jeanne Marie Laskas had a dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space — a dream she would discover was about something more than that. But she never expected her fantasy to come true — until a summer afternoon’s drive in the country.

That’s when she and her boyfriend, Alex — owner of Marley the poodle — stumble upon the place she thought existed only in her dreams. This pretty-as-a-picture-postcard farm with an Amish barn, a chestnut grove, and breathtaking vistas is real ... and for sale. And it’s where she knows her future begins.

But buying a postcard — fifty acres of scenery — and living on it are two entirely different matters. With wit and wisdom, Laskas chronicles the heartwarming and heartbreaking stories of the colorful two- and four-legged creatures she encounters on Sweetwater Farm.

Against a backdrop of brambles, a satellite dish, and sheep, she tells a tender, touching, and hilarious tale about life, love, and the unexpected complications of having your dream come true.
... Read more

Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Dream Come True
I loved this book. Written with warmth and humor, it is the most original and enjoyable material I've read in months. Jeanne Marie Laskas doesn't have to try too hard to be funny. She just is. There are certain repetitions regarding her inner princess, her husband's all pants half-off joke, stupid sheep, etc. and the roo, roo, roo and woof, woof, woof that give voices to her beloved dogs, Betty and Marley, that make the story come alive. She is also not afraid to show her serious side and reveal her vulnerabilities. Mostly Laskas had me laughing, but sadly, there are elements that aren't so funny. Believing at first this would be a "fish out of water story"-city couple tries to make dream of farm living a reality and everything goes wrong-it is quite the contrary. This is a love story-love between a couple, their extended family (family members, city friends, country friends, their fifty acres of farmland, and lots and lots of animals. Bravo!!! I highly, highly recommend.

From the Author of "I'm Living Your Dream Life"

5-0 out of 5 stars A rich and charming story!
The author and her boyfriend Alex decide to jointly purchase a fifty acre farm in western Pennsylvania. After living in the city their whole lives, they take their three pets--her dying cat named Bob, her dog named Betty and his "standard" poodle Marley--and begin country life on their newly acquired property.

Here's a story that's easy to read yet captivating because of its delicious deadpan humor, appreciation of country folk's cameraderie, and deep unabashed love of animals. The reader is drawn so strongly into the narrative that the characters become real people. How wonderful to look at the way in which one person's dream becomes reality even though this particular situation may well be out of the fiscal reach of the average single woman. The strength of the story lies in the fact that it deals with problems common to everyone---the impending death of a beloved pet, the fear of a cancer diagnosis, the whirlwind journey of wedding preparations. Its conversational tone is almost like that of a telephone chat between women friends, ultimately bringing bouts of laughter, tears of sadness, and whoops of joy. This kind of story should never end and definitely merits another book to find out what happens next.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun & Easy Read
I really enjoyed this story. It was a very fast read. Not the type of book you just CAN'T put down, but the kind that you just don't WANT to put down. The author does an excellent job in describing scenes so you can really picture them in your head while reading. She also evolves the characters quite well which makes the entire story very believable which just draws the reader in even further. It's not a book of surprises and twists, but it will make you laugh out loud!

4-0 out of 5 stars Farm Life From a City Perspective
Having recently bought a farm in the country I had to read this memoir in order to prepare for what I had gotten myself into.

Laskas writes with humor and reality about uprooting herself and her city man to the country. Many stories are humorous like mule buying, tractor trading, weed wacking, and the concept of a fancy French poodle who gets car sick becomming a country dog. Sadly some stories are tragic like when Laskas loses her loyal pet cat and when her neighbor battles cancer. Good and bad all part of real life and written well. So sit back and enjoy your work has only just begun!

5-0 out of 5 stars An honest story of love & self discovery.
I absolutely loved this story, I'm sending a copy to my mom & best friend!! Such a sweet and funny tale of love & life!
Excellent read!! ... Read more

8. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
by Toby Young
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306812274
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 20265
Average Customer Review: 3.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again meets The Bonfire of the Vanities, as told by...a male Bridget Jones? And it all really happened. In 1995 high-flying British journalist Toby Young left London for New York to become a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Other Brits had taken Manhattan--Alistair Cooke, Tina Brown, Anna Wintour--so why couldn't he?

But things didn't quite go according to plan. Within the space of two years he was fired from Vanity Fair, banned from the most fashionable bar in the city, and couldn't get a date for love or money. Even the local AA group wanted nothing to do with him.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is Toby Young's hilarious and best-selling account of the five years he spent looking for love in all the wrong places and steadily working his way down the New York food chain, from glossy magazine editor to crash-test dummy for interactive sex toys. A seditious attack on the culture of celebrity from inside the belly of the beast, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is also a "nastily funny read." (USA Today) ... Read more

Reviews (70)

2-0 out of 5 stars How to lose interest and return a book
When I first browsed through this book, I thought it should be an enjoyable expose on the more ridiculously aspects of the New York publishing\party scene - something rich in insight and satire. Toby seemed the stuff of the always struggling, but always failing, guy that I know that I can definitely relate to (at least the always failing part). I was thoroughly disappointed. As much as I wanted to like this book, I found it extremely repetitive and not particularly interesting. Toby, for as much as he bemoans the lack of a meritocracy in America, seems to complain mostly about success not being simply bestowed upon him. This ironic twist seems completely unintentional and grows tiresome very quickly. Whether he's talking about his social life or his professional life, it's the same theme. Having said that, there are some very amusing points to the book (the dating focus group is worth a novel in itself). Toby is at his best when he turns his talent outward and describes the world in which he lives, rather than himself. Unfortunately, there's not nearly enough of that to hold my interest. Worth a read if you have an extra gift-certificate to burn.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bitter, sad, occasionally hilarious but never boring
It is very rare these days that I find a book engrossing enough to read in one sitting and which also makes me laugh out loud. Toby Young, who has an unerring ability to focus on his own shortcomings, does an excellent job of explaining exactly how not to get on in New York. His waggish personality, a healthy appetite for drink and a large stock of off-colour jokes -- all attributes which would serve you well as a journalist in London -- ensure he makes a total mess of pretty much everything he does in Manhattan, the mothership of all that is politically correct in the United States. Indeed, when Vanity Fair boss Graydon Carter fires Young, he tells our hapless hero that he has a brown thumb. "Everything you touch turns to ****," he explains with a laugh. Young is the squarest of pegs in a world where all the holes are round and to make matters worse, a friend of his who went to Los Angeles at the same time strikes immediate and lucrative success. Young is also very funny about his total lack of success with American women, largely because they quickly realise he is broke (and has quite a few complexes, as well as an impressively large collection of appalling pick-up lines). Two-thirds of the way through, the book suddenly becomes more serious as Young realises he has hit rock bottom and starts groping for a way out. To say much more would give too much away but it's well worth sticking through to the end.

1-0 out of 5 stars Get it from the libary to bypass author's royalties!
I guess it's easier to like a memoir if you like the writer, but unfortunately, Toby Young appears to be 1) shallow as hell, and 2) harboring delusions of grandeur. Not an attractive combo. Remind me again why I would want to read about him?

3-0 out of 5 stars a fun read
This is an enjoyable book, although I take issue with Young's obsession with the good old days of New York journalism. Miniver Cheevy, anyone? On the other hand, by most accounts the Vicious Circle was full of self-absorbed, backbiting alcoholics, so he would probably fit right in.
One funny thing is that he seems to think he has skewered Graydon Carter but Carter actually comes off looking good, like a relatively decent human being, given the context.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth is ugly
I hadn't read this book for a while, and I saw it laying on the floor, and I picked it up. I read the whole thing agian. It was brilliant. For anyone who has wroked in New York and worked in publishing, these stories have a ring of truth to them. Lizzie Grubman is a creep. Tina Brown is a creep. Most of these shady magazine characters have very little redeeming qualities. They have no soul. They will have to deal with their empty lives down the road. Toby Young is funny because he believed in the myth of America. Sure there are rags to riches stories all the time. More often there is not. Toby Young is a valid writer. This book should be read over most of the crap that is being published right now. ... Read more

9. Luncheonette : A Memoir
by Steven Sorrentino
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060728922
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
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10. Daughter of Heaven : A Memoir with Earthly Recipes
by Leslie Li
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559707682
Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 158826
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!
Leslie Li's memoir is nothing less than astonishing! Beautifully written, it is a true gem, a heavenly memoir, subtle, mythical, evocative and strong, the real deal so to speak. Li is a writer of extraordinary talent, don't miss out on this one, it will give you pleasure and food for thought!

5-0 out of 5 stars Daughter of Heaven : A Memoir with Earthly Recipes
Author, Leslie Li, guides us through her life as a Chinese-American. You will journey through her ancestry, her relationships with her family and growing up in New York with the strictness of the Chinese beliefs.Well written and easily read, this work gives you insight into the author's life and way of life.This work also includes stories from her grandmother, Nai-Nai and recipes from her heritage.Four stars for Li, a novelist writing her family story. ****

4-0 out of 5 stars Circular Odyssey
I liked Daughter of Heaven and would definitely recommend it to other readers.I enjoyed getting to know Li's paternal grandmother, her father, her grandfather's second wife, her mother, and the food, and significance of Chinese life here andin China.

On occasion I found the juxtaposition of a recipe after an emotionally wrenching chapter a bit jarring.I have yet to try the recipes, but I plan to.And I am curious about the significance of the title.Did I miss something?

The book helped me understand Li and what it meant to be a Chinese-American in the United States, Europe and China.The episode involving Li's buying two bamboo flutes in New York's Chinatown and being told by the clerk that she was like them -- empty inside, with no Chinese culture -- was especially powerful.

Her odyssey has been a circular one -- away from Chinese culture and then back to it for an understanding and an appreciation.And I understood how important her father had been in shaping that journey.His verbal cruelty when she were growing up was hard to take, but somewhat mitigated by Li's travels with him to China and learning of his own odyssey.

Li's book brought home once again how long a parent's reach is and how we, no matter how old, are looking for approval or deliberately challenging them. It's how most of us achieve our own identity. Few of us can simply walk away, but dealing with one's parents
often forces us into a response that we then have to resolve at a later date, as Li has attempted, successfully, I'd say, by writing her memoir.

For future projects, I hope Li will continue to use her own stories. They are compelling -- the conflict between two cultures and the search for self.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about family, life and food!
What initially attracted me to this book in a shop in Zurich was the cover. The title, colors and images made me pick it up. Then there was the inner sleeve, a quick read told me - Hmmm - meeting this person Nai Nai, some recipes, and listening to Leslie Li describe her life sounds like a fun read - but it was so much more.

Daughter of Heaven takes you deep into Leslie's life - that of her wonderful family, of their interaction with each other and the changing world around them. Leslie gives you insight to her world as a child, where she is a little bit spoiled, a little bratty, and somewhat annoyed by her grandmother - Nai Nai and her conservative father. She then returns to these images as a woman, and in realizing what a treasure her family had become to her, finds answers to many questions that have followed her for decades.

Nai Nai - we have the pleasure of enjoying the life (in pages) of this incredible woman - #1 wife of Li Zongren - Chiang Kai-shek's choice for vice president. You get to enjoy Nai-Nai's food (with sumptuous recipe's at the end of each chapter), hear about her subtle yet carefully planned undoings of wife #2, and are witness to her departure from life after age 100 (I was quite sad during this part of the book). You also get to meet Leslie's father, a caring and sensitive man, caught between his stoic traditional Chinese upbringing, his American wife and their children, who are a constant source of challenges and discovery for him.

Leslie has such a colorful family, and does a magnificent job of making the reader a part of her family - it's as if you were Leslie's best friend and she was imparting these experiences to you first hand and inviting you to dinner. I know I want to meet Nai Nai (unfortunately she has passed away), her father, and Leslie herself to probe for more stories.

This is an honest take on the discoveries of life, one which I am certain we can all relate to in some way, as well as getting `a lovely parting gift' at the end of each chapter of a recipe, which brings this book into another dimension - the universal language of food.

5-0 out of 5 stars heart and soul of a Chinese family
"Daughter of Heaven" is a charming and wildly useful book that allows one into the heart of a family and the soul of a Chinese kitchen. The recipes are complex in taste but easy to follow! ... Read more

by Doris Kearns Goodwin
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684847957
Catlog: Book (1998-06-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 18179
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, Wait Till Next Year is Doris Kearns Goodwin's touching memoir of growing up in love with her family and baseball. She re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.

We meet the people who most influenced Goodwin's early life: her mother, who taught her the joy of books but whose debilitating illness left her housebound: and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and to root for the Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges. Most important, Goodwin describes with eloquence how the Dodgers' leaving Brooklyn in 1957, and the death of her mother soon after, marked both the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood. ... Read more

Reviews (105)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wait Till Next Year Review

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR is a story about a girl growing up in the suburbs on Long Island. What could be a boring life story, Doris Kearns Goodwin makes everything exciting, and a story worth telling. The book is an autobiography of her life. One story of hers that I especially liked is the author explaining her plan for her neighborhood to be safe if they got bombed by Russia. She explained that underneath the local stores were connected basements, large enough to fit her whole neighborhood to fit it. She would bring Monopoly, so she wouldn't be bored, and most importantly, her baseball cards.

The main character, the author, was a girl who thought differently than most young girls. She had many questions on religion, current events, and her family history, all at a young age. She explained things with comparisons like how when the Dogers left Brooklyn and Jackie Robinson retired, a chapter in her life closed.

I would recomend this book to almost anyone. Many people can relate to it. If you either grew up in the suburbs, lived with a sick loved one, or had a love for baseball, you should read WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all!
Doris Kearns Goodwin is famous for her biographies, especially the Pulitzer Prize winning, NO ORDINARY TIME. Her new book, though, is not about someone else's life, it's about her own. "When I was six, my father gave me a bright-red score book that opened my heart to the game of baseball." Goodwin begins to recall the game that was her childhood into this "score book". Although the cover of her memoir, WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR, is not bright-red, it serves it's purpose well. Goodwin writes a "play by play" account of her life from the time she first recieved that score book till the end of her childhood at age fifteen. Underlying it all is her passion for baseball and the New York Dodgers and her hope that they will win the World Series. The author attributes her love of narration to baseball. Every day, Goodwin would recount to her father, using the system he taught her, that day's game as he got her ready for bed. As well as a sign of her father's love, this ritual introduced her to the art of storytelling. "It would instill me in an early awareness of the power of the narrative, which would introduce me to a lifetime of storytelling..." This book is filled with poignant stories about the relationships between the author and her family and friends. It also draws on the many experiences of Goodwin's from her first trip to Ebbet's Field, to her hero, Jackie Robinson. There are stories about her religious experiences as a Catholic, her obsession with James Dean and how, at first, television brought her neighborhood together. The significance of the era is portrayed well. For me, this book was particularly interesting because of my own love of baseball. Just reading it made me long for those hot summer days when major league baseball is played. I can also simpathize with Goodwin over how many times her team came close to winning the World Series. As a Cleveland Indian fan, I have been waiting my whole life for the Indians to be crowned champions. They have not one a World Series since my Dad was born, in 1948. This theme of resulted in the title of her book, a popular saying among Dodgers fans,"Wait till next year". Not only did the story amaze me, Goodwin is an extraordinary writer. Her writing clearly and smoothly tells her story. I could almost hear her narrate the book while once in a while two characters would have a conversation. I could visualize it all too. WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR is a passionate, well written, captivating book. A must read for all!

5-0 out of 5 stars For Baseball lovers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. She paints a picture of her childhood home Rockville Centre that is wonderful. She describes the baseball games with such detail. I honestly could not put the book down. I liked the way she discussed historical events throughout the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly delightful!
Memoir of Doris Kearns' younger years, as an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Although baseball was her obsession, the story is about much more than baseball - it's about life in the 50's, childhood spent outside or at the corner soda shop, the importance the community had at that time, and the troubles and changes that adolescence brings.

Great memoir, and incredibly well written and told. I thought the book was excellent, even though I glossed over the baseball parts of it! Read this for my library book group, I never would've picked this one up on my own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful treat
I enjoyed this book the first and second time I read it. Doris Kerns Goodwin writes about her early years in post-war Long Island with grace.
This memoir reads like a charming novel - the details are wonderful, the characters are people we come to care about, and young Doris is someone you will smile with and cry with.
I've recommended this book to friends and students (I teach adult ed creative writing workshops). Everyone thanks me. If you want a good book by a good author check this one out. If you're considering writing your own memoir study WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR to see how it should be done! ... Read more

12. Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse
by Michael Korda, Success Research
list price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060197722
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Sales Rank: 495811
Average Customer Review: 3.07 out of 5 stars
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Despite the fact that Michael Korda was city born and bred (and, as editor in chief of Simon & Schuster and a bestselling author, part of Manhattan's elite), when he decided it was time to put down roots, he wanted land, trees, and a place in a community with history. The house he bought with his wife, Margaret, in Pleasant Valley, two hours north of New York City, was built when George Washington was president. It came with two barns, 20 acres, a backhoe, a bush hog, a York rake, a dozer blade, a bluff, and a slightly deaf old man named Harold Roe. Since Korda couldn't handle a hammer (plumbing and heating problems in his past merely involved calling the building super and keeping a 20-dollar bill handy), Harold became a permanent fixture, wielding large equipment, destroying the flowers, and showing the couple everything they needed to know about the real country.

Pleasant Valley, it turned out, was on the "wrong" side of the Taconic Parkway. It was "red and black plaid hats with earflaps and insulated bib-front overalls country," as opposed to Ralph Lauren estates country. Despite the blue-collar atmosphere (or rather because of it), the Kordas have been there for two decades. Becoming locals hasn't been easy, however. Korda relishes the moments that mark him as an insider--hanging out at the local diner, buying a Harley-Davidson, and most importantly, buying pigs. Pig watching in a place like Pleasant Valley is a truly bonding experience, which Korda describes with his characteristic dry wit:

Pig watching is not something anybody does in a hurry, as we came to learn. You have to shift your trousers down a bit, loosen up your belt a notch or so, give your belly a little breathing room, light a cigarette if you're a smoker, and look at the pigs for a good long time. Then you sigh, nod your head, and say, "Them's nice pigs, them pigs." Then you look at them some more.
You get the idea. A natural raconteur, Korda makes the quirks of living in an old house and the quest for local status in an insular community highly entertaining, and he proves once again that, while he may not be handy with tools, he certainly knows his way around the written word. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts with Promise and runs out of Steam
The New York Times sparked my interest in this age-old literary subject--city dweller finds renewal in the country, with all the highs and lows and informative or interesting tidbits of making the transition. My interest in this subject goes all they way back to Crazy-White-Man (Sha-ga-na-she Wa-du-kee) by Richard Morenus, published by Rand McNally and Co. in 1952. So, I am not a newcomer to the genre. In fact, my wife and I recently put the finishing touches on a 3-year restoration of a century-old lodge on an island in Maine. Therefore, I do not place a low rating on this book without careful thought and regret. Usually, one thinks that if the Times views a book as newsworthy, it will be a bit special. In this case, I think it is Korda's professional connections in the publishing industry (and not the merit of the piece) which earned the publicity, and possibly the initial printing. Korda would like the reader to believe that he is about to introduce them to the quaint, evolutionary transition of a (very, very sophisticated) city couple and a country estate from strangers to partners, each helped to reach the synergy by a cast of colorful local citizens with special skills and memorable characters. The book fails, however, to continue its early, promising pace, and eventually trails off into a series of random recollections, failing to develop the supporting characters in favor of repetitive, gratuitous references to Mrs. Korda's achievements as a horsewoman, and Mr. Korda's irrelevant pride in having read the classics. In the end, the country life which Mr. Korda portrays seems as shallow and trite as the city life he almost left behind. He is more often a disconnected observer than influential participant, and leaves the reader wondering whether, for the Kordas, the country really matters.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Affair of the Heart
Like an affair, a relationship with this country house was quickly made and not admitted-for a long time. But Korda grows to be a quirky, appreciative, open admirer of the old farmhouse and the local people. As befitting an editor, the author's style is fluid with a gently humorous viewpoint.
Famous people, as guests, are mentioned, sometime hilariously. The changing scene from rural to suburban in this and other areas is considered, along with the tendency of Americans to pursue the last, 'unchanged' home locale. Still Dutchess County retains a feel at least in Pleasant Valley, of country land and people.
Korda's deeply felt respect for the wiles and wisdom of local
people and his willingness to eat at The Diner, go to the Fair,
raise pigs, run a cross-country event on his property, trade car stories and employ half the county wins him respect from these people. Perhaps in the end, he knows he belongs to the house more than it belongs to him and his wife. The place is at last called 'the Korda farm."

3-0 out of 5 stars Funny but hard to read
I don't deny the author's sense of humor. In general it's a funny book. But his writing skills hardly qualify him for an editor in chief of a major publishing house. Why? Because he tends to write very long sentences, wandering off in the middle. Very often when I finish a sentence I already forget what he was talking about at the beginning of it. I suspect he is trying to show off that he is English. In fact I get a very strong impression that he is a snobbish person, not very personable or pleasant, not the type of person you will like unfortunately.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than A Year in Provence
A model of English prose. Korda¹s account of country life is interesting, witty and enthusiastic. He has a keen eye for the people, places and things in rural Duchess County, New York. The book will remind readers of A Year in Provence. Korda¹s imagery, diction and grammar are outstanding. This kind of writing requires both talent and hard work. I especially recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the nuances of well written prose. It would also make a good PBS mini-series.

2-0 out of 5 stars And I thought I was the only one...
...who finished this book thinking that Korda was a pompus twit with more money than good manners. His condesending observations of his neighbors left me irritated time and time again, as well as the name dropping and implied superiority of himself vs. the "lowly" country folk.
If you discounted the snide comments, the first part of the book was pretty interesting. However, the last 4 chapters became rambling and could have been condensed into one chapter.
It was great reading the reviews from the Hewitts on this forum. It made me remember that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story, and that Mr. Korda took some literary license in his book. ... Read more

13. A Monk Swimming
by Malachy McCourt
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786863986
Catlog: Book (1998-06-03)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 385535
Average Customer Review: 2.65 out of 5 stars
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Slapped with a libel suit after an appearance on a talk show,Malachy McCourt crows, "If they could only see me now in the slums of Limerick, a big shot, sued for a million. Bejesus, isn't America a great and wonderful country?" His older brother Frank's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Angela's Ashes, took its somber tone from the bleak atmosphere of those slums, while Malachy's boisterous recollections are fueled by his zestful appreciation for the opportunities and oddities of his native land. He and Frank were born in Brooklyn, moved with their parents to Ireland as children, then returned to the States as adults. This book covers the decade 1952-63, when Malachy roistered across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, but spent most of his time in New York City. There his ready wit and quick tongue won him an acting job with the Irish Players, a semiregular stint on the Tonight show hosted by Jack Paar, and friendships with some well-heeled, well-born types who shared his fondness for saloon life and bankrolled him in an East Side saloon that may have been the first singles bar. He chronicles those events--and many others--with back-slapping bonhomie. Although McCourt acknowledges the personal demons that pursued him from his poverty-stricken childhood and destroyed his first marriage, this is on the whole an exuberant autobiography that pays tribute to the joys of a freewheeling life. ... Read more

Reviews (194)

4-0 out of 5 stars The demons of the McCourts
The most telling page of Monks Swimming was the last page. There we are informed that Malachy McCourt is a happily married man with a loving family. Obviously something has happened since the gold smuggling, booze drinking, bed hopping and hot winding days of the 60's. What may have kept this review from being a five star is it took so long for McCourt to deal with his father and the constant hope that he held for him. It appears that McCourt had deep scars of the proverty and desertion that were masked through the care free attitude he displayed in America. Maybe once he faced this issue is when he became the happy person that the last page refers to. Notwithstanding the reasons for his behaviour the book is quite amusting in parts. His descriptions of the confessions to non-English priests and the gold laden vests are worth the price of the book..

5-0 out of 5 stars No Monk Ever Swam So Well Before!
This is an absolutely delightful book. No, I don't approve of many of the things Malachy McCourt did, but then, neither does he. But he is honest enough to tell it the way it happened, and he has the wit to make it, for the most part, very enjoyable. Yes, there were times when I wanted to say to him "Oh, Malachy, MUST you repeat your father's mistakes?" But of course he can't go back and change what he has already done.

It seems to me that a lot of reviewers have called this a bad book because they don't approve of the author. That is a silly thing to do. Richard Wagner, so I'm told, was a really rotten sort of person, even to the end of his days, but much of his music is very beautiful. I enjoy Wagner's beautiful music and I enjoy Malachy McCourt's beautiful prose, and I would feel free to do so even if Malachy had not gotten his act together (but I'm glad he finally did, as I learned from the sequel, "Singing My Him Song.")

3-0 out of 5 stars Malachy McCourt - waste of space?
This book does not tell the story of a man's life as an adult, but merely documents the destruction of that life. His travels leave a trail of exploitation. I am only reading this story for traces of Frank McCourt. There are occasions where Malachy mentions his despair, but through the countless episodes in which he takes advantage of others, there is no witness, observation or analysis of the situations that he placed himself into. I was disappointed by the numerous mentions of encounters with the famous, unfortunately who have no impact on the story. I do not take pleasure in humour at the tragic expense of others.

5-0 out of 5 stars An exciting laugh and to cry.
Malachy's got a very different writing compared to Frank, his brother. Malachy is this bloke, kind of rude...he's the MAN who lived "les 400 coups" all over the world. What a rich existence you had Mr McCourt. Your writing is so funny and so sad.
It's also so exciting and so unique.
Sometimes reality is more surreal than fiction and your life is the perfect example. A great book without a doubt. U, Irish, rule! I'll never drink Whiskey with the H, without thinking about this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining tale
This is the memoirs of the larger than life, hard-drinking Malachy McCourt. Born in America, rasied in Ireland and then back to New York as an teen. He made a name for himself in New York city as the first celebrity bartender. He was a social mixer, a writer, an actor of stage and screen. His gift for blarney made him a regular on the Tonight Show.

This book is darkly funny. And a bit raw in places, so be warned. But he does tell his story with passion, wit, irreverence and charm. This was a fun read. ... Read more

14. Lost in America: A Journey with My Father
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375412948
Catlog: Book (2003-01-07)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 101643
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He walks with me through every day of my life, in that unsteady, faltering gait that so embarrassed me when I was a boy. Always, he is holding fast to the upper part of my right arm . . . As we make our way together, my father—I called him Daddy when I was small, because it sounded American and that is how he so desperately wanted things to seem—is speaking in the idiosyncratic rhythms of a self-constructed English.

So Sherwin Nuland introduces Meyer Nudelman, his father, a man whose presence continues to haunt Nuland to this day. Meyer Nudelman came to America from Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, when he was nineteen. Pursuing the immigrant’s dream of a better life but finding the opposite, he lived an endless round of frustration, despair, anger, and loss: overwhelmed by the premature deaths of his first son and wife; his oldest surviving son disabled by rheumatic fever in his teens; his youngest son, Sherwin, dutiful but defiant, caring for him as his life, beset by illness and fierce bitterness, wound to its unalterable end.

Lost in America, Nuland’s harrowing and empathetic account of his father’s life, is equally revealing about the author himself. We see what it cost him to admit the inextricable ties between father and son and to accept the burden of his father’s legacy.

In Lost in America, Sherwin Nuland has written a memoir at once timeless and universal.
... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Searing memoir and eulogy of love
Whoa, this is a hard one. Lost in America, written by the gifted Nuland, is an ode to his father, a work of self-therapy for himself, a gift to his readers, and an offering to anyone looking for resolution and understanding of a difficult family situation.
Lost in America begins with the author admitting to coming under the grips of debilitating depression, and the writing of this book seems to have been his way of fighting out of that despair, of coming to terms with some of its causes, and of trying to explain all that went wrong with his father's life as a Jewish immigrant in America - and how those failures impacted Sherwin Nuland. The turning point comes with Nuland's discovery that his father suffered the mental and neurological effects of late-stage syphilis - and with his acceptance that happiness for him would be impossible.
Heartbreaking and oh, so beautifully written. But also difficult (on an emotional level) to read; you may find yourself putting it aside for a few days before wanting to continue. But persevere and read to the end. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving, sensitive, beautifully written
I love this book. Dr. Nuland takes you on a journey with him to his past and his family, in particular his relationship with his father. He tells his story in a manner that is simple, clear, yet deeply moving. His characters are real people who I really cared about while I was reading. I've read his previous books and was very impressed; this one is even better. His description of his severe depression was gripping. How I wish I could describe mine as well. Thank you, Dr. Nuland for a heart-warming book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Something was missing
I started reading the book and was thrilled by the content and writing style. It started out very strongly talking about his adult mental illness and then went back to his childhood dominated by loss. I could vividly picture Jewish New york for those in poverty. Although the childhood story was powerful and beautifully written, I was shocked that at the end it left too many unanswered questions about his life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Blessing
I had read How We Die, so I was anxious to read another book by this author. I tried reading this a few months ago and found it too bleak. Yet I picked it up again, and understood finally why it seemed bleak. It is a true story of life for an immigrant who suffers tragedies and losses and yet perseveres to eventually show love to his son and pride in his accomplishments. I almost cried at the end, even though I knew his father would die at the end of the book. It's a book of struggle to find one's own way. And it says a great deal about family influences. Well worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Long Day's Journey into Light
Great drama has character development, change, and carries the viewer to a climax where struggles come to some kind of resolution. One of the amazing properties of this book is how well the structure of drama is played out. Appreciation of sunlit heights is sweeter after slogging through enough rock strewn trenches. The attentive reader will be rewarded. In fact the cinematic climax would be hard to accept without a realization this is not fiction but fact. The drama here is not contrived, invented, or imagined - it arises naturally from the complexities of life. How nice for the author that subsequent chapters, unwritten, came out so fine! ... Read more

15. A House on the Heights
by Truman Capote
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892145243
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Little Bookroom
Sales Rank: 190746
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The tranquil life Truman Capote led in the quiet enclave of Brooklyn Heights in the 1950s and 1960s stood in sharp contrast to the glittering scene he adored in Manhattan. Intimate and wry, A House on the Heights vividly evokes the neighborhood that Capote came to know well and described as one of Brooklyn’s “splendid contradictions.” Its denizens, including a celebrated Russian spy, a globe-trotting antiquarian, and a cat-rescuing dowager with a pointed social agenda bring to life the Brooklyn that cast its spell over Capote. In A House on the Heights he meanders through a special time and place still recognizable today. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another winner by Capote...
I rated this one four stars because I can't help compare it to my two personal favourites, 'Music For Chameleons' and 'In Cold Blood.'
Nonetheless, this book has all the beautiful Capote observations in it as well. Whenever Capote describes something or someone I am completely amazed. The visuals he brings forth in the readers mind are like no other. This one's a quick read. I was a lil' angry it was short because I wanted more beautiful sentences.

4-0 out of 5 stars classic
Only reason I'm docking it a star is the typically tiresome bloviations of gadabout dilettante Georgie in the introduction. The presence of Georgie between the same covers as Truman might have some value for bulmics, but to me it's just repulsive. Beloved Truman wrote all too little, and Georgie keeps typing, typing, typing! When will it all end? ... Read more

16. Heart of a Soldier
by James B. Stewart, James Stewart
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743244591
Catlog: Book (2003-06-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 29702
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces' officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one's comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick's life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he'd held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising and very good
When I picked this book up, I was in a mood to read everything I cound about September 11. I was surprised by this one, though. Rick Rescorla plays a part in the tragedy, but the book is really about his amazing life leading up to September 11. A fascinating read, but not for the reasons I thought when I first got it. I kept turning to my wife saying, "I'm on page 100 and Sept. 11 still isn't mentioned..." or "Now I'm on page 200 and Sept. 11 still isn't mentioned."

Fans of James Stewart will not be disappointed. The rest of you will not be either. A highly engrossing read about Rescorla -- soldier, father, husband, Englishman, American, etc. -- and the people around him.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of a Soldeir
Outstanding read! Given their incredible life stories, I couldn't believe I had never heard of either Rick Rescorla or Dan Hill prior to reading this book. Mr. Stewart has done a great thing bringing their story to the public. It appears to be a fitting tribute to these two warriors....I couldn't put it down. My heart goes out to Susan Rescorla, along with my compliments for her touching testimonial to her husband in the Epilogue.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of a Soldier
After reading "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" and going to the LZ-XRAY web site I found out about the soldier on the cover of we were soldiers once and young. His name was Rick Rescorla. A few more digs into the history behind the photo I learned that Rick had died in the world trade center on 09-11-01 helping to save 2,700 of his fellow employee's. This book is a very good read as to the life of Rick Rescorla and I simply could not put it down reading the entire book in the last 48 hours. A hero that survived the Ia drang valley in Vietnam in November 1965 and numerous other military battles lost his life as a hero on 09-11-01. Rick Rescorla was a true leader in military and should set an example for others to follow. It's a shame we have not heard of Rick or the things that he has done prior to his death. Dan Hill the long time friend of Rick is also another hero of this story. If you want a book that will grab you then by all means this is the one for you. Author James Stewart has outdone himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking for real heros? Look no further.
I nearly wept after reading the excerpt published in the New Yorker. ("The Real Heros are Dead", Feb 11 2003, which is still available free on their website.)

And this piece just a hint of the quality of the rest of the book. Heart of a Soldier is justifiably a welcome respite from the usual politicizing, sensationalizing and garment-rending post-9/11 books. It elevated the tragedy to a profoundly heroic, yet poignantly human level -- something I believe we're all in need of.

After all, the memory of 9/11 means more than the loss of the buildings and of nearly 3,000 souls. Because we rebuild. Life does go on. It's about the human experiences because that's what will be remembered for generations. They are true sources of inspiration. In the context of his experience, Richard Rescorla serves as a powerful reminder -- and an example -- of how one person, one life, anyone, can rise above when called upon to make a difference.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Hero
I bought this book a year ago and never read it. When I picked it up I assumed I was reading a story of 9/11. But a small portion of this book covers the 9/11 incident. In fact, for the first 50 pages, the book was rather boring and I couldn't understand where it was going. It starts in Africa where two soldiers meet and develop a bond. Then it jumps to a college student who is studying in Portugal and refuses to have an affair with a married man. Where is this book going?

But after this backfill, the book really supercharges. Over half of the book covers Rescorla and Hill's military career, from work in Africa to rejoining the Army in time for Vietnam. In Rescorla's case, he wasn't even an American. They are both exceptional heroes and reading of their battles is very inspiring. It's also interesting to watch their views of the war change as they view the carnage. Although I had read "They Were Soldiers Once...", I did not remember Rescorla's name so it was fascinating to revisit his involvement and performance.

When the book leaves the military section but prior to the 9/11 event, there is an interesting section where Hill and Rescorla struggle with their identity as veterans of Vietnam, Rescorla particularly. But possibly the most fascinating part of this book is Hill's prediction of the next wave of terrorist attacks and what they would target. Hill participated in the Muslim religion including trips to Afghanistan and presented the FBI with an interesting proposal about Osama Bin Laden prior to 9/11.

And that's what makes this book so compelling. These two men touched four continents but seemed to always be involved in fascinating history that concludes with 9/11. Prior to 9/11 the book details a fascinating love story which finally ties back the confusing start of the book.

I strongly recommend this book if you have interest in war stories, particularly the Vietnam War, patriotism or fascinating details of 9/11. But the real reason you should read this book is to learn of a sincere man who chose to become and American and lived a normal middle-aged life until he found the love of his life which sparked his existence and gave him the strength to deal with cancer. ... Read more

17. I Am the Central Park Jogger : A Story of Hope and Possibility
by Trisha Meili
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743244370
Catlog: Book (2003-04-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 89087
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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In April of 1989, a young woman was brutally assaulted and raped while jogging in New York’s Central Park. The attack captured headlines around the world as the anonymous "Central Park Jogger" fought to recover from massive injuries that left her near death. Fourteen years later, in this first person account, Trisha Meili broke her silence to discuss the incident in her own words and reveal who she was before the attack and who she became as a result of it. Meili tells the story of a competitive and driven young executive at a finance firm whose life was destroyed, and how she ultimately rebuilt it. Passages where Meili is reunited years later with the doctors and nurses who saved her life are especially compelling, as are her accounts of testifying in court and her first run after the incident. While her candor is remarkable and certainly moving, it’s worth noting what this book does not include. Meili can provide no detail of the actual attacks (she has no memory of them), she has little to say about the racial controversy her case ignited, and she only briefly mentions the fact that, during the writing of this book, the convictions of her attackers were vacated after another man confessed to the crime. But these are not necessarily omissions; they are simply not central to Trisha Meili’s highly readable story of tragedy and, ultimately, triumph. I Am The Central Park Jogger is not just a book for New Yorkers curious to finally hear from "The Jogger"; it’s an inspirational tale of overcoming enormous obstacles and getting back on the road again. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars SHE IS A TRUE SURVIVOR.





5-0 out of 5 stars Talk about courage...
This is a fantastically written book - not an ounce of self pity! This book is about a strong woman reclaiming her life. I am inspired by her courage. The writing style is easy to read and not bogged down by too many details or medical lingo. I am riveted by her story (as I was when it happened in 1989 - I am from NYC!) and I am thankful that Trisha has lived to tell the tale!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I found this a very honest, sad and inspirational story.

As for the prosecutions being overturned, the boys let of jail had previously confessed to the crime and re-enacted it on video tape. They also had confessed to committing other assaults and robberies earlier that night.

So it is not at all clear they were in fact innocent. And to characterize Ms. Meili as anything but a victim an heroic survivor is perposterous.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Portrait of Courage and the Power of Positivity
Trisha Meili's account of her life and ordeal is moving and touching, but in a surprising way. Trisha does not make herself out to be a hero, nor does she overly dramatize her close encounter with death and the slow and painful recovery process she went through. In the expression of who she is before she was violently attacked and who she after, she is humble and shows her own vulnerabilities. True to her own personality, she shows her strength by showing her healing process in hopes that others will learn from her own discoveries; it succeeds at being both an emotional and an intellectual account.

Trisha's very personal account of her ability to find happiness in a world that is often cruel is interesting and insightful and solidifies that she is a great a role model and teacher to others. Her ability to love and give has not been hindered by her misfortune, instead it has been strengthened. Perhaps this observation is something we all should pay attention to, as Trisha's great attitutde and happiness seem to be directly related to her view that it is essential that she uses her talents and gifts to continue to add value and meaning to her own life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Realistic account of how to bounce back
The same age as Trisha and working in NYC when she was attacked, like millions I felt an evisceral identification with and compassion for the Jogger. And like others, I had a hidden voyeuristic desire to know more about her. What can she teach us? How DOES one bounce back?

Yet I applaud her determination to remain anonymous in this age of "instant celeb" for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead, she focussed on what really matters: her life.

By the time Trisha "came out," she has the perspective to produce a useful book. It's a must-read for anyone who has problems to conquer.

She's practical and real, a bright person and yet just like any one of us, who was thrust into extreme circumstances. How she recovers is a story in being grounded.

Ironically, many parts are funny--like when a psychiatrist is disturbed that she's not weeping enough. Her answer: I can't remember...there's no "there" there to weep over.

But her psych keeps writing her up. Being the "A" student-type and wanting to please, she briefly considers catering to the psych's textbook definitions. But then Trisha realizes she's just too tired to expend effort comforming to her psych's expectations and needs to focus on her physical rehabilitation. Buoy for her!

Trisha also shares poignant moments, such as when she gave testimony in court. She was so focussed on recovery that to her prosecutions' dismay, she tried hard to walk without limping to the stand, talk coherently, and even take pride in the work she was able to accomplish at her company.

The moment illuminates the complexities we don't get from newspapers: the defense benefits if the victim appears functional. But becoming functional is her hourly goal. The media coverage empathically reports that she's a little, pathetic figure badly damaged. She is horrified at this description. But her attorneys are pleased. Ouch.

It's a great book, a mature, telling, inspiring, grounded story of recovery that's one step forward, two steps back, year after year. People who're looking for easy, quick answers won't find it here. Instead, Trisha treats life as a journey in a way we can all benefit from. ... Read more

18. Fame and Obscurity
list price: $19.00
our price: $13.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034546723X
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: Ivy Books
Sales Rank: 414810
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Fascinating . . . Poignant."The Wall Street Journal

In this extraordinary work of insight and interviews, bestselling author Gay Talese shares with us the lives of those we don't know and those we might wish we did:Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, Manhattan mobsters, Bowery bums, and many others -- fascinating men and women who define our country's spirit and lead us to an understanding of ourselves as a nation.

... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic portraits of DiMaggio, Sinatra, etc.
I say 4 stars only because of the datedness of some of the material. But the pieces on Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio in this book (both written in 1966) are brilliant and incisive portrayals of a time and states of mind (and of icons in an age when celebrity was in some ways larger than life than it is today and in some ways refreshingly not) that are both long gone. ... Read more

19. American by Choice
by Al Fuentes, Alfredo Fuentes
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 097531680X
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: Fire Dreams Publishing
Sales Rank: 170505
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Book Description

American By Choice is a modern day odyssey, the story of a young boy from Ecuador who comes to America and encounters the challenges faced by every newly arriving immigrant; the story of a man who rises to the rank of Captain in new York City's renowned F.D.N.Y.

The book is a tribute to family, freinds, mentors, guides, and to brother firefighters here and throughout the international community. It taked us to the island of Culebra in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, to Oklahoma City, and to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, where Captain Alfredo Fuented was buried under the collapsed North Tower.

In the end, it is a story about coming home that embraces the thousands of strangers he has met along the way. It is a story of America. ... Read more

20. Chinese Playground : A Memoir
by Bill Lee
list price: $28.00
our price: $23.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967002303
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Rhapsody Press
Sales Rank: 389810
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This startling and unsentimental recollection of childhood and coming of age in the back alleys and bustling streets of San Francisco's Chinatown reveals the sinister and pervasive influences of organized crime. Delivering an almost-casual expose into the underworld of an urban Chinatown, "Chinese Playground: A Memoir" traces author Bill Lee's maturation from innocent child in a troubled family to a street punk, gang member, and college graduate struggling to break free of his involvement in escalating violence. In a dark journey spanning forty years, Lee fights an ongoing battle against relentless childhood demons and nightmares, ultimately coming to terms with his past and peace with himself.

Lee's personal accounts of two high-profile murder incidents are engrossing. The 1977 Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco that left five dead and eleven wounded, was carried out by his blood-brothers who were engaged in the most violent Asian gang war in U.S. history. A decade later, a mad gunman killed seven and injured four at ESL, a high-tech firm in Sunnyvale, California where Lee was employed. An unlikely hero emerges as he accepts his fate, employing his street instincts to save co-workers during the murderous rampage.

A moving look at the murky histories of Lee's parents -- both Chinese immigrants -- adds depth to this story and poignantly points to typical family dysfunctions that contribute to confusion, fear and aggression in young people. The author's early recollections are seen through the eyes of an innocent boy who was nearly aborted and sold away. As a young gang member, his pain and fears are hidden beneath a tough, macho facade as he contends with gambling, drugs, extortion and murder. Entering adulthood, Lee's street savvy and dark view of the world manifests itself into an aggressive, win-at-any-costs attitude which he unleashes in Silicon Valley. Lee faces his biggest challenge when he returns to the streets of Chinatown in search of his runaway son and confronts his own dark past. Lee's determination to heal his soul and transform his life is inspiring.

This book is a provocative read providing valuable insight into the Chinese-American culture, organized crime, distressed families, at-risk youths, personal recovery, Bay Area history, and Silicon Valley. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars All I needed to know
WOW!!!!! This book was shared with me by my husbands cousin. He knows of my frustrations and my always unanswered questions of my husband and in-laws. You see my husband as well as his family grew up in Chinatown San Francisco in the 60's and 70's and few still remain. I had always questioned my Father in Laws reasons for moving his family out of there as he has made it very clear that he has always wanted his children to marry Chinese and not any others.He also would never answer any questions on or about his childhood etc. My husband has always said its just the way it was and was always telling me please dont ask to many questions (its a respect thing). My husband did read this book also and knows of many of the key characters. When he finished it he said "You get it now?" And yes I do. He was able to share with me all of the family (secrets) history without shame or fear. Thank you Mr. Lee for giving him the courage to release all of this that has been bottled up for so many years. Also Thank you for helping me to better understand and respect my Father-in-law and his past.

5-0 out of 5 stars An accurate portayal of life growing up in SF's Chinatown
Bill Lee's work is important to the history and culture of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 60's and 70's. It tells tales of events which might otherwise go untold. The media presents its stories as a slice of life. The book however presents an in-depth look at the life of a Chinatown youth. As such, we are given an understanding of the situations that surround our daily lives. Professors and Intellectual scholars such as Sanders and Nee in all their wisdom would never be able to attain such a solid grasp of the subject matter. This is an important read, and no doubt should be used as curricula in urban studies and ethnic college level course. Asian American Urban kids are at risk. They must not be allowed to fall through the cracks to society's underbelly. Parents should read this to better understand the problems which their kids face. Bill Lee, thanks for giving these kids a voice.

5-0 out of 5 stars How new generation can relate also.
I was born in San Francisco. It isn't like that anymore as you can see, I didn't live in Chinatown but regularly go to my Grandma or grandpa after school in chinatown. I lived in Japantown til I was six years old. I moved to Oakland ever since.

When I brought this book, I didn't know what to expect, but when I read about his life, I could really relate to his childhood. Not as extreme as his was, but I can really relate, and how I would turn out if I was still in San Francisco. Would probably be the same as him with those family issues like that. Can turn a kid to look at their enviroment for support. I too am Toishanese, does that mean most toishanese parents are stubborn and ignorant? I don't know.

And the Enviroment in Oakland is no different. Kids want to be goo wak jais and hard ghetto punks.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
this is a very well-written book for a non-fiction plot. It was recommended to me by a friend and I have to say the plot was not boring, the author was very descriptive in his writing. Don't miss out on this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very powerful
Yeah-- so forget about some of the editing problems-- this book is a must read! There are so many similarities between this and cultish groups. It doesn't matter if you're a poor kid in Chinatown or a rich kid in a brainwashing group-the lessons remain the same:One's inner voice--thinking for onesself and then of course--running away when you can --are universal stories. We have seen it in Nazi Germany, with Waco, in Chinatown and in Jonestown. KIDS of all ages should read this truly eye-opening account of how easy it is to get pulled in to an ideology that then kills its own.... ... Read more

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