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$18.45 list($27.95)
181. Spymaster: My Life In The Cia
$15.61 $5.36 list($22.95)
182. The Pig and I
$13.30 $12.45 list($19.00)
183. Let Me Go
$18.66 $14.58 list($21.95)
184. Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences
$7.19 $4.87 list($7.99)
185. Wiseguy
$10.50 $8.59 list($14.00)
186. Hell's Angel: The Life and Times
$16.32 $9.99 list($24.00)
187. Burned Alive : A Victim of the
$5.40 list($24.00)
188. Appetites: Why Women Want
$15.61 $8.85 list($22.95)
189. The Way of the Wiseguy
$10.17 $8.55 list($14.95)
190. Ann Landers in Her Own Words :
$10.50 $4.94 list($14.00)
191. Henry and June: From "A Journal
$6.50 list($27.00)
192. Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey
$12.24 $11.71 list($18.00)
193. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia
$17.13 list($25.95)
194. Silent Witness : The Untold Story
$6.29 $4.47 list($6.99)
195. The Tiger's Child
list($52.00)
196. The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy
$9.71 $8.42 list($12.95)
197. Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery
$9.75 $2.29 list($13.00)
198. Swimming Lessons : Life Lessons
$5.39 $2.35 list($5.99)
199. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
$16.29 $15.79 list($23.95)
200. North of Ithaka : A Journey Home

181. Spymaster: My Life In The Cia
by TED SHACKLEY, Theodore Shackley, RICHARD A. FINNEY
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157488915X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Brassey's Inc
Sales Rank: 596053
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182. The Pig and I
by RachelToor
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594630089
Catlog: Book (2005-01-27)
Publisher: Hudson Street Press
Sales Rank: 42409
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For every woman who's ever come home after a disastrous date or day at the office to the unconditional love and comfort of a pet, this funny, irreverent memoir poses (and answers) the eternal question: Why is it so easy to love an animal and so hard to live with a man?

The Pig and I follows the hilly course of Yale-educated single girl Rachel Toor's love affairs with a series of unusual pets, and the string of boyfriends who bear an uncanny resemblance to them, both in looks and temperament. There's Charlie, a rich albeit mousy male, who turns out to be such a pushover that he allows Rachel to walk all over him without so much as a squeal, and to whom Rachel shows far less affection than to her pet mouse, Prudence. Patrick, the kind but dull manager of a typesetting business who Rachel falls for at the same time she finds Hannah, a cuddly but quiet canine mutt. Then there's Jonathan, the nerdy, brilliant doctor who was almost "the one," and whose role as co-parent to Emma, the pot-bellied pig, becomes pivotal to Rachel's quest for happiness and self-satisfaction. As Rachel falls for each pet, and each man, the truth of her question asserts itself as the human love fades and her love for the animal-and her acceptance of herself-grows stronger.

Any woman who has experienced the pure joy of loving an animal and the often-less-than-pure joy of loving a man will recognize herself in Rachel; any woman who has fallen for a man for all the wrong reasons will chuckle as she sees her own flawed judgment writ large. Heartfelt and hilarious, The Pig and I will be cherished by pet lovers and romantic realists alike.
... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing read
I picked this up from the library after having read it mentioned in an article elsewhere.Extremely well-written, I couldn't put it down, and have recommended it highly to almost all of my female friends.I plan on reading it again this weekend, to see what bits I may have missed as I was travelling with Rachel to see what insights she'd have into her own life that might mirror my own.

4-0 out of 5 stars Relationships with men and animals
Rachel Toor's "The Pig and I" chroniced her journey from a college student at Yale to a forty-something writer. Toor talked about her relationship with various pets; mouse, rat, dog, cat, donkey, and horse. Through each of those pets, she learned something about the animals, especially their characters. Besides her pets, Toor also wrote about the relationship that she had with various men, and the lessons that she learned from each of them. Some of the relationships that she formed with them actually lasted beyond even after they broke up. In fact, two of her ex-boyfriends actually formed a "R.E.B." which stands for Rachel's Ex-Boyfriends.

This is quite a well-written book as the author is witty, funny as well as knowledgeable. I like that she was able to explain vividly her relationships with all her pets and was able to learn a lot about them; their characters, their likes and dislike. From the way she wrote about her pets, there is no doubt that this author has great passion and love for animals. This is certainly a fast-paced and entertaining read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Belly Laughs, Joy, and Love
I enjoy books that make me laugh out loud to myself; there were some priceless moments in this book that elevated my mood considerably.Laughing out loud raises your heart rate and is a very good thing physically; Rachel's tour of encounters with the selfish pig, bitch rat, and others left me smiling.

I, too, have passed this book on to friends and family.I find even the title makes people smile, particularly animal-lovers and women in the dating world.

Toor is also thoughtful about the deep and profound love that can occur between species and that this cross-species love should be honored and revered as much as human love.Her capacity to engage with people and pets is enormous, and she puts her heart out there (and her pen) again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful & Soothing
This book was a surprise.I fully expected a typical chick-lit book, fun, "candy" -- a weekend read.What I didn't expect was to shed tears toward the end, both because of some of the author's insights--about men and about life--that hit a personal nerve, and the pets to which I became attached...

The beginning was a tad slow and it took me a while to shake off my original conception (that I was in a chick-lit book) and realize that this was a whole 'nother planet.The tone is gentle and very real.Not crass-real or life-is-horrible real: just life, beautiful, difficult, day-to-day life.

Thank you Rachel for sharing your gift with us, can't wait for the next one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well Done Rachel Toor.
I picked this book up at Border's and couldn't put it down.Alas, I paid $7 more for it, but I do not regret my indescretion.If you are in your forties, this book is a nostalgic and acurate representation of life as you've know it thus far.It follows one woman's adventures with her beloved pets and the assorted men that she encounters along the way.If you are looking for a mental vacation, a book you can read on you lunch break or a book to relax with in the bath tub, this book fits the bill.I laughed.I cried.I gave it to my best friend and asked her to pass it on.This one definately deserves to be in circulation, not sitting on a shelf. ... Read more


183. Let Me Go
by Helga Schneider
list price: $19.00
our price: $13.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802714358
Catlog: Book (2004-07-30)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 10194
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Book Description

Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. This extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, tells of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, who had left her family to become an SS guard at Auschwitz. ... Read more


184. Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Second Edition
by Stephen Shore
list price: $21.95
our price: $18.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931282196
Catlog: Book (2003-01-31)
Publisher: Autism Asperger Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 28493
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This expanded second edition, which features a foreward by Dr. Temple Grandin, includes a new chapter entitled Getting Ready for College. New information on common sensory reactions has been added in an easy to read chart format. Finally, there's a new chapter on Shore's recent public involvement with autism spectrum related issues, including speaking at conferences and advocating for services for those on the spectrum. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Way of Being
In the beginning of Stephen's book, he writes about the sleeping dragon of autism reawakened and his quest to find out more about *this way of being* and its relation to him.

Beyond the Wall is a must read for a parent, teacher or professional. Parents often wonder what it is to be autistic, how they can help their child learn and grow thru the years, and how to help their loved one with hypo or hyper sensitivities and what will their child's future be like. Stephen's book will answer these very important questions.

Stephen just doesn't write about his love of music, he shows how his love of music can help an autistic child to learn. Stephen writes about self-advocacy and how important it is to teach a loved one how to self advocate. Stephen writes about his academic learning from grade school to college. He writes of his frustrations in his earlier accounting career. He writes of going back to school for post graduate studies and switching careers. He writes of his new career, living life and being married.

Beyond the Wall, is Stephen's autobiography, about being a son, brother, friend, educator, advocate and husband. Long after your done reading his book, you realize that todays autistic child will be tomorrow autistic adult and that Stephen has left the door open for all the children to follow.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a personal account by a person with a life!!
I write as a peer and friend of Stephen Shore. His book
is a great step forward for our community. It is focused,
practical, well documented and informative. Stephen is not
another "autistic lounge act." He is a mature, married,
serious person with a life way beyond the deserved acclaim
that this book will bring to him.

The book is especially useful since Stephen Shore,
like most of the observed people with our condition,
Asperger's Syndrome, is male. His is the first book written
by one of the majority gender, after almost four decades of
living this way, to give parents, siblings, professionals
and our younger peers a great overview of how to live
in a unique way with dignity.

A must read and a very enjoyable one!!

Jerry Newport Tucson, AZ

Author of "Your Life is Not a Label: A Guide to Living
Fully with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome"

5-0 out of 5 stars What It's Like On "The Inside"
As the father of a seven year old son who resides at the light end of the Autism Spectrum, I found Stephens book to be one of the very best I have read by someone who resides on The Spectrum themselves. It is also notable as one of the few autobiographical books by a male. Quite simply put, Stephen's forthrightness is wonderfully disarming. And his very unique ability (especially for someone actually on The Spectrum) to relate not only how the world appears to him but also how that reality fits into the one we nuero-typicals live in, shows an oversight I don't encounter in most typical adults. His positive example is nothing short of a godsend. Beyond giving us hope for our sons, daughters and loved ones who reside with Stephen in this very fascinating place, Stephen's book helps to unravel the mysteries we strive to understand every day. And that Stephen has achieved what he has thus far and has dedicated his life to furthering knowledge about and advocating for the individual on The Spectrum is testimony to this wonderful mans character (and to the loving devotion of his mother, his wife and his mentors!). I only hope my son strives to be half the man Stephen Shore has shown himself to be by this book. If you've just had The "Autism Bomb" fall on you - that is to say, just gotten the diagnosis, you owe it to yourself (and your loved one) to pick up this great book and start thinking positively now at the beginning of your journey, about your gifted child.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Wall... a memoir on ASP/autism
There were definitely parts of the book that entertained me and parts of the book that taught me something. But, like most books which are essentially memoirs, there were large sections of the book that were a bit slow and relevant really to the writer more than anyone who might read it. Odd format... It is the author speaking but there are sections in a different font denoting a change in POV... that was a bit odd. Also included info from his mother--who is really hardly typical as she has both a MR child AND suffered from agrophobia--as well as his wife--who I felt sorry for. She is Chinese and in her country, this diagnosis is shameful. They were married three years before she KNEW about this... Made me sad for her.

I was encouraged that this fellow is married, gainfully employed and seems somewhat happy. Gave me hope for my son. Saw some things in his book that my son does, that I had no id'd as an ASP behavior. Definitely worth a look, but by far, not the best resource I've ever seen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Viva La Difference!
As a professional therapist who has worked with ASD children for the last 6 years, Stephen's information is precious. After attending two conferences where Stephen lectured, I read his book and still learned more! He is warm, loving and very funny in person. He has so much information to share with us to help unlock the secret world of Autism. This info is pertinent to Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Caregivers, Teachers, Therapists, Doctors and anyone else interested in truly understanding our ASD children! Keep writing and caring Stephen...we'll keep reading and cheering! ... Read more


185. Wiseguy
by Nicholas Pileggi
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671723227
Catlog: Book (1990-09-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 7686
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"At the age of twelve my ambition was to become a gangster. To be a wiseguy. Being a wiseguy was better than being President of the United States. To be a wiseguy was to own the world." -- Henry Hill

Wiseguy is Nicholas Pileggi's remarkable bestseller, the most intimate account ever printed of life inside the deadly high-stakes world of what some people call the Mafia. Wiseguy is Henry Hill's story, in fascinating, brutal detail, the never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster -- his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor.

Henry Hill knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and he turned Federal witness to save his own life. The mob is still hunting him for what he reveals in Wiseguy: hundreds of crimes including arson, extortion, hijacking, and the $6 million Lufthansa heist, the biggest successful cash robbery in U.S. history, which led to ten murders. A firsthand account of the secret world of the mob,

Wiseguy is more compelling than any novel. ... Read more

Reviews (82)

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable and Gripping
Pileggi's gripping narrative gives an inside view of life in the New York crime syndicate. Ex-mobster Henry Hill describes his 25-year career as a hijacker, arsonist, and thief. Hill and his associates operated via a combination of bribes, intimidation, crooked cops, and greedy businessmen eager for stolen merchandise (swag). Lest readers be misinformed, Hill's associates (if not Hill) murdered not just renegade mobsters, but ordinary citizens who got in the way. This book both glamorizes and attacks the swaggering, fast-money Mafia lifestyle. Hill entered FBI witness protection in 1980 after his bust for narcotics distribution left him a marked man for having violated syndicate rules against drug trafficking. Director Martin Scorsese turned this book into the superb 1990 movie "Goodfellows." Pileggi followed with "Casino," another fine narrative (and Scorsese movie) that investigates Midwest mob influence in Las Vegas. "Wiseguy" is a very absorbing and informative read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of its Type
Anyone who may have seen the movie Godfellas, might have thought the movie too fast paced to follow. That is not the case for this book from which the movie was made. This non-fiction tale of Henry Hill, a soldier in one of the smaller New York crime families is very easy to follow as well as extremely difficult to put down once you start. You actually develop a liking for the main character, who is way more passive then his two partners who kill without compunction or remorse. Though none of them ever becomes a 'made' man, they seem to be right on the cusp of a lot of big Mafia related events that happened in the 1970's and 80's. Having read The Valachi Papers and Sammy Gravanno's autobiography, I find this book the best of the bunch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of a "Frontline" mafioso
Wiseguy is the story of Henry Hill, a relatively minor associate member of the Luchese crime family of New York. Henry Hill is a half-Irish, half-Sicilian boy, who knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a wiseguy, a gangster. The movie "Goofellas", starring Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, is a rather good adaptation of this book. The book tells the story of Henry Hill, how he eventually becomes an errand boy for the Varios, a family of mafioso under the umbrella of the Lucheses (one of the Five Families in New York) and works his way up the ladder, making bigger heists, bigger scores, and loving every minute of it. Only when his involvement as a drug dealer and his subsequent arrest threaten to put him away for a long time does Hill finally make the decision to rat out his friends of 25 years and enter the Witness Protection Program in exchange for information leading to the conviction of bigger fish.

The book also takes down the recollections of Henry Hill's wife, Karen, who, despite an upper-crust upbringing, is irresistably drawn to the danger and excitement Henry brings into her otherwise humdrum, yet comfortable life.

Overall, this book paints an interesting portrait of life as a career criminal, where larceny, armed robbery, and intimidation are all in a day's work. This is in stark contrast to those familiar with "The Godfather" which is more about the lives of Mafia "royalty" and how the problems of wealthy, pwerful people are similar, whether they are kings, heads of state, or leaders of crime syndicates.

4-0 out of 5 stars great book
I admit that this book is really good, but "life inside a mafia famiy" is a stretch considering Hill wasn't even a made man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, better movie.
This of course is the all time classic that the best movie of the 90's was based on - Yes Im talking about Goodfellas. A lot of the exact quotes and dialogue of this book can be found in the movie. I loved the book and I have read it a few times in the past 10 years or so but I have probably seen Goodfellas no fewer than 50 times. Real life events make better stories than fiction sometimes and this proves it. Check out Henry Hills website. I think its called www.GoodfellaHenry.com or something like that. He has "threat of the week" on there and everyone emails him calling him a rat. Fun stuff. ... Read more


186. Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club
by Sonny Barger, Keith Zimmerman, Kent Zimmerman
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060937548
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 23903
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Narrated by the visionary founding member, Hell's Angel provides a fascinating all-access pass to the secret world of the notorious Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. Sonny Barger recounts the birth of the original Oakland Hell's Angels and the four turbulent decades that followed. Hell's Angel also chronicles the way the HAMC revolutionized the look of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and built what has become a worldwide bike-riding fraternity, a beacon for freedom-seekers the world over.

Dozens of photos, including many from private collections and from noted photographers, provide visual documentation to this extraordinary tale. Never simply a story about motorcycles, colorful characters, and high-speed thrills, Hell's Angel is the ultimate outlaw's tale of loyalty and betrayal, subcultures and brotherhood, and the real price of freedom.

... Read more

Reviews (67)

4-0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly excellent book.
Sonny Barger has lived the life and "Hell's Angel" chronicles it all. From the moment I began reading I found it hard to put down. Few other books have inspired that much anticipation in me.

While never truly romanticizing the 1%'er lifestyle it still holds an appeal that is undeniable, which is to say that those close to the subject will understandably get the most out of this while the rest of us will still find it a remarkably engrossing read. I was surprised to find that not very many books on the Hell's Angels and other associated clubs have been written, and of those that have most are of the expose/tabloid variety. Sonny on the other hand lays it all out in a very plain, unapologetic manner. He doesn't seek your approval just tells it how it is without ever acknowledging the right or wrong of his actions. "Hell's Angel" is not an indictment of his personal values or those of the Hell's Angels themselves.

At times, though, "Hell's Angel" has a tendency to meander out of chronological order and which gets kind of confusing but it usually becomes obvious after a few minutes of reading just exactly where the event in question took place.

This is a must have for any Americana lover out there so do yourself a favor, don't wait, go out and buy this book right now.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong start, slower finish
I picked this book up at my local library as soon as I saw it on the shelf. Love 'em or hate 'em, the Hell's Angels are a part of 20th century American history and culture, and the lion's share of the credit for this fact goes to Sonny Barger. It was interesting to read *the* insider's look at the Angels, whose image has been heavily mythologized, both positively and negatively, since the 1950s.

The first chapters of the book were more interesting to me, since they dealt with the history of motorcycle gangs in 1940s and 1950s America, the formation of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, and the personalities and activities that put the group on the map, as it were. Descriptions of Angels' club rules, codes of conduct, and reflections on their famous runs and riots were riveting.

But as the book went along it became less about the HAMC and more about the trials (literally) and tribulations of Sonny Barger. Granted, Barger is an interesting personality and I came away with a certain admiration for the man, and the book is the story of Sonny Barger and not just the club, but chapters about Barger's drug trials, incarcerations, and other travails were less interesting to me than stories of the heady early days of the HAMC.

All told, however, this is a good look into one of the more interesting but neglected parts of 20th century American society.

1-0 out of 5 stars An old man who has selective memory
"Sometimes you have to fight to be free". Bless you Sonny, but you know the real truth and you have left all except the most innocent facts out of this book. The Hells Angels are a horror and a growing one at that.

5-0 out of 5 stars back in the day...
Not owing a bike or even being able to ride one, I found myself wanting to Be a Angel( mostly because of the parties, booze and the woman). The book is mostly about former members and the roots of the bike club. It pretty wild stuff and hell I can see why the FBI keeps tabs on these boys.. Over all if you every wanted to know about the Hells Angels read about it from the man himself....

5-0 out of 5 stars truly inspirational
this book was such an inspiration to me, it helped me learn of a new alternitave way to live a life free of the daily toil of the system and helped correct all those rumors heard (especialy about "that" rolling stones incedent) and proved my point that Hunter S Thompson nothing that he makes himself out to be, i am not a bike or gang enthusiast, i had this book bought as an out of the blue gift and now that ive read it im so glad to have recived it ... Read more


187. Burned Alive : A Victim of the Law of Men
by Souad
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446533467
Catlog: Book (2004-05-11)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 30340
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first true account ever published by a victim of an "honor crime," this shocking, moving, and harrowing tale has already become an international sensation.

Souad was a 17-year-old girl living in a small village in Jordan when she had the misfortune of falling in love--an emotion that would lead to an unspeakable act of violence and a lifetime of exile from her homeland. With a childhood marked by hard labor and physical abuse at the hands of her father, who is humiliated by the birth of many daughters and only one son, Souad is desperate to leave home. Enticed into a relationship with a handsome neighbor, her short-lived romance leaves her pregnant. Forbidden to marry until her older sisters find husbands and having brought shame to her family, Souad faces the only acceptable punishment: death. How her family plots to kill her, her harrowing struggle to survive burns over 90% of her body after her brother-in-law douses her with gasoline and sets her on fire, her dramatic escape from Jordan, and her resolve to build a new life for herself is a tale of heartbreaking drama and remarkable courage. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book to read and share with friends and family
I could not put this book down once I started to read it. It captured my attention from the first page. It gives you such an insight on this woman's life and the different culture and ways that these men treat their women.
It shows how strong the human spirit can be and how you can overcome adversity.
You sometimes live in your own little world and don't realize what goes on in other countries. It sure does open up your eyes and your heart. A must read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for women to read.
This book is not only an interesting story, it serves as an educational novel teaching people about middle-east countries and how women are treated. I think everyone should read this book at least once.

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I read this in one sitting. It was extraordinary. I can't believe after reading this book a reviewer could complain the author did not provide cross-referencing and documentation. She didn't even know her birthday when she escaped. She is still in hiding, fearing for her life, and would not be at liberty to send a request for documents. She wrote a personal (not historical) account, from personal memory, and it was compelling.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stream of Horror
Souad is a stream of horror describing the mistreatment of women in a Muslim community. Although it is highly probably that many of the events actually transpired, the story suffers from a number of faults: no specific documentation or cross referencing; little background to the actual location or sect; repetitious accounts of the frequent beatings and mistreatment; and a sub par prose that diminishes the impact. It is an important subject but is done a disservice by the compilation of vagaries and sketchiness. For a more credible account, I recommend the work of Irshad Manji.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
The hardship of being a female child to a male controled family and male oriented lifestyle in the West Bank. Then her subsequent death because she was in love, made love, and then shunned by the lover. Burned alive due to the male honor status. Then a rebirth into a new world, where she learned to live, love, marry, have children. But with the terrible memories of her non-existant childhood and the scars she still has haunts her to this day. But my impression is that she is strong and is a survivor. ... Read more


188. Appetites: Why Women Want
by Caroline Knapp
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582432252
Catlog: Book (2003-04)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 91311
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The final and remarkable book of best-selling author Caroline Knapp underlines her gift of leveraging her life experiences into provocative lessons. On the surface, Appetites may appear to be about eating—-complete with Knapp's unflinching account of her anorexia. In fact, Knapp is writing about how every woman can decipher her hunger and loneliness by connecting with her desire to experience pleasure. She illuminates the ways in which cultural taboos about women who desire create vulnerability to disorders of appetite including food and alcohol addictions, compulsive shopping and promiscuous sex. In this expansive view, "one woman’s tub of cottage cheese is another woman’s maxed-out Master Card." Readers will nod in recognition as the author seamlessly weaves autobiography and anthropology, describing her family of origin, profiling women of appetite and countering what she calls "the culture of No!" that curbs and disguises women's desires. Knapp gets to yes by urging readers to ask: "What gives me delight and fully engages me?" Knowing that 42-year-old Knapp died of lung cancer makes this question all the more poignant. Such questions suggest Knapp’s brave and generous legacy. --Barbara Mackoff ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Searing, Soulful Look at Women's Deepest Urges
Oh, Caroline Knapp will be missed.
"Appetites" is a powerful and profound exploration of her battle with anorexia in her twenties. She weaves the stories of other female bulemics and anorexics throughout her own-and also of other women with deep obsessions and cravings that lead to such behaviors as promiscuity, alcoholism, spending wildly, and shop lifting. What are they really hunger for, she asks. Love, acceptance, security? She writes with grace and force. The reader confronts these issues with her, but she eases them into the debate. And then he or she is engaged.
Knapp explores the emotional, psychological, and cultural reasons that drive American women to such behaviors. She has a softer, gentler voice than most feminists and she does not indict men for the most part. But she does blame society. It's interesting-most pop psychologists would diagnose some of the behaviors she describes as examples of an "obsessive compulsive disorder" (anorexia is a manifestation of it in many cases). Yet she doesn't use that term once in the book-in many ways, she digs even deeper for the causes than simply a diagnosis. She analyzes what triggers the disease.
I would recommend this book for most women, even if you haven't had an eating disorder. We all have appetites. I wouldn't recommend it for most men, except those who like women issue books or know someone who is anorexic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not a misprint
Plenty has been written about WHAT women want; movies have even been titled as such. But this book by Caroline Knapp isn't about WHAT; it's about WHY. Knapp's 1996 book, Drinking: A Love Story, chronicled her battle with alcoholism, whereas Appetites, a much more ambitious book, examines her early battle with anorexia, a condition which was referred to only peripherally in her previous book. According to Knapp's self-awareness revelations, the denial of food is a metaphor that explores the difficulties women have even acknowledging their deepest desires - desires for sex, love, freedom, professional recognition... just life. The message behind Appetites is made more poignant by the fact that Knapp died last year of lung cancer at age 42. Her book is full of wit and wisdom - and we can hope that before death, she came to appreciate those 2 qualities within herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Caroline Knapp is a must read
Caroline Knapp clearly has been through a lot. Her writing is honest andfor the most part non-judgemental. This was the first books I read by Knapp and I simply started reading it when I picked it up by chance at a local bookstore. I ended up reading all of her books. But appetites is my favorite because it deals with so many issues under the "food" topic. I recommend it to everyone, for women to re-think and to menso that they can better understand and relate. Overall it was a great read. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a book to buy for your sisters and daughters
By any scale, I've been a fortunate and successful woman. I deeply enjoy my work, have the opportunity to think deeply, have good health, loving family and children.
This book was originally a recommendation from a friend, one of those 'think you might like it' things, that sat on the table. Why would I be interested?
Opening it, reading it and being stuck almost motionless by recognition of deep truths has changed that attitude. I'm ordering 5 copies. Young, middle-aged and older women need to read this book and think about it. Both to appreciate the stresses and strains that our mothers experienced, and to realize the residual effect on our lives. Share this book, pass it along to others, it is important.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well-written but same old song and dance
This book quickly draws you in with its enticing portrayal of anorexia but then drops you 15 pages later. The writing is lyrical, even poetic, the message is hackneyed and over-used. Men, society, teachers, traditional values, etc. are all blamed by the author for the horrifying statistics on eating disorders in our generation. Admittedly some of the things have put pressure on women to be thin, grotesquely thin. However, where and when will women be allowed to accept responsibility for their own bodies? The shape of our bodies, the color of our hair, and the size of our shoes is our business, not the business of know-it-all feminists who sit in their cozy little university offices writing books about the terrible pressures men put on us women to be skinny. Live and let live. Men have their own set of problems to deal with, and though they can be oppressive in their treatment of women, they also have shown increasing support and flexibility in their attitudes toward us. Men, in general are not to blame for anorexia nervosa, women must learn to treat themselves with compassion, patience, and respect. ... Read more


189. The Way of the Wiseguy
by Joseph Pistone
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762418397
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 9597
Average Customer Review: 3.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Here's the first nonfiction work from author Joe Pistone since his New York Times #1 bestseller and hit movie, Donnie Brasco. Perhaps no man alive knows the inner workings and lifestyle of wiseguys better than Pistone does, having spent six years infiltrating the Mafia as an undercover FBI agent. Now, years later, Pistone reassesses what the underworld was really about. Occasionally poignant, always in shocking detail, The Way of the Wiseguy gives readers a first-hand look at the thinking, psychology, and customs that make wiseguys a unique breed. The book is divided into anecdotes that reveal key principles of wiseguy life, including "Don't Volunteer You Don't Know Something," "Be a Good Earner," "Look Like You Mean Business, "It's Your Best Friend Who Will Kill You," and much more. The stories-more than 80 of them-are spellbinding, and the insights into this lawless realm of badguys are often uncannily relevant to the workings of the legitimate world of big business and everyday social discourses. Includes CD with shocking undercover surveillance audio from the Donnie Brasco operation (with commentary by author Joe Pistone). ... Read more

Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Tired material, dubious delivery
If you read Donnie Brasco - or know even a little bit about the prototypical wiseguy - you do not need to read this book. It essentially details the way mobsters live their daily lives, what's important to them (money), why they kill people (also money), etc. If you have a brain in your skull you could have gleaned that from Pistone's first book, or the film Donnie Brasco, or any of the Godfather movies. What's worse, the book is littered with profanity, something that was missing (or at least not gratuitous) from the Donnie Brasco book. And it also surprised me because when you see Pistone interviewed, he seems like a class act. The profanity seems highly contrived as to make you think Pistone has more credibility if he talks like a scumbag.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brasco does it again
This book was an excellent read. Told in Joe Pistone's authentic voice, it provides an alternative viewpoint to Hollywood's glamorized version of the mafia-a viewpoint that we don't see often enough.

I particularly enjoyed the format. The book is interspersed with some shorter chapters and some longer ones, each consisting of anecdotes that teach lessons about the wiseguy's lifestyle. So whether you've got an hour to sit down and read it, or whether you've only got 10 minutes here and there, you can pick up The Way of the Wiseguy at any point and be entertained and enlightened.

Informative, funny, and poignant all at once, Pistone brought me closer to being inside the mafia than I'll ever be. And convinced me that I don't ever want to get any closer.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Warmed-over rehash of better titles.
Joseph Pistone takes a page out of the handbook of those he put away and shakes down mafia aficionados for a quick buck.

There is nothing in this writing that hasn't been documented before by other authors better and in more detail. What we hope is a true insider's view of the day-to-day machinations of the mob turns out to be a book of thirty one- to two-page essays on various facets of a Mafioso's daily life. We hope to get a look at mob life not apparent to those of us on the outside, to get a true feel for the Way of the Wiseguy. What we get instead is a Cliff's notes outline of The Godfather.

Way of the Wiseguy offers up such gems as :

--some Wiseguys are degenerate gamblers
--Wiseguys do not have the same value system as everyday people
--Wiseguys send a message by whacking people
--Wiseguys are greedy
--Wiseguys take goomahs
--Wiseguys are all about the money

Do you want more details or information than the above list? Don't expect to find it in Way of the Wiseguy. Pistone really phones it in on this one: pulling a robbery on the book buying public that should be the inspiration for chapter one in his next writing: Fake Wiseguys know how to sucker the public too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fun & Informative Fast Read
While Pistone uses poor english --- 6th grade level lower class english, he writes what I find to be a riveting account of life in La Costra Nostra.

These are all issues and things that most people wonder about mobsters and Pistone answers them clearly, succinctly and well.

This is a good book for people interested in American History, Mafia history, the mob in general and sociology, among other things. One can't help but see a bit of oneself in mobsters. After all, we all have a dark side even if we never show it or dare to think about it.

A warning to parents, this book uses what some might consider very bad language although among business people, politicians, mobsters and just about every living human being, it's quite common. But if you are sensitive, don't buy it.

If you want a really great read and don't mind poor english and bad language, do buy it. It's totally different than any other book about La Costra (...)

1-0 out of 5 stars thin and weak
There isn't a whole lot to this book. Several 1 page chapters and blank pages. You can get a lot more information in other books. I loved Donnie Brasco, but this seems like a cheap way to get a quick buck. ... Read more


190. Ann Landers in Her Own Words : Personal Letters to Her Daughter
by Margo Howard
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446695041
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 147493
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this witty, wise, and intensely personal collection of letters to her daughter Margo, Ann Landers delivers her own unintentional memoir. The volume is both a moving portrait of a mother/daughter relationship and a keen social history of America between 1958 and 2001. Peppered with incisive information and gossip, Esther "Eppie" Lederer (Landers’s real name) offers insight on everything from marriage and divorce to growing up and growing old. Readers will delight in Landers’ s signature practical wisdom and sharp eye for the absurd. As funny and loving as they are stern and ascerbic, these letters reveal the real woman behind the Ann Landers moniker--a spectacularly original writer, wife, and mother. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars mother love
I loved this book. Given to me as a present, I had no idea what to expect and began reading it with a sense of uncertainty. But within a dozen pages I was completely held and involved. It is poignant, funny, wise and deeply engrossing, and full of practical advice on love, marriage, divorce, motherhood, and growing older. At times I got the guilty (but delicious) feeling that I was reading a good friend's private correspondence - it is that intimate and that honest. Some say that letter writing is a dead art, a form of communication that was killed off by the telephone and, more recently, the brutal abruptness of e-mail. But here it is resurrected in all its former glory. Full of good gossip and insights about famous names in show business, politics, the media and literature. there were moments when I laughed out loud and, occasionally, wanted to weep. I was honestly sad when I reached the end - so I started all over again. Happily, as one does in all good letters, I still found new things to surprise me. Margo Howard tells us that "letters were my mother's art form," and this book confirms that gloriously. Ms. Howard is no slouch at letter writing either, answering her mother's missives with equal wit, insights, and humanity. Those for whom this will be their first taste of the wit and wisdom of Ann Landers - or Margo Howard, who has followed in her mother's footsteps as an agony aunt - have a treat in store.
... Read more


191. Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love" -The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin (1931-1932)
by Anais Nin
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 015640057X
Catlog: Book (1990-10-01)
Publisher: Harvest/HBJ Book
Sales Rank: 24008
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This bestseller covers a single momentous year during Nin’s life in Paris, when she met Henry Miller and his wife, June. “Closer to what many sexually adventuresome women experience than almost anything I’ve ever read....I found it a very erotic book and profoundly liberating” (Alice Walker). The source of a major motion picture from Universal. Preface by Rupert Pole; Index.
... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars shockingly fabulous!
I have never read a book quite like this one. After I read "Henry and June", I read "Fire" and I plan to read many more of Anais' books. This is a must read for any young woman -- Anais is not afraid of her sexuality -- this diary describes her promiscuous behavior that is traditionally only acceptable for men. It is a truly liberating book. She emphasizes the importance of experience, and living life fully in terms of sexuality, creation and emotion. She was a woman ahead of her time. I highly recommend this book -- I could not put it down -- it describes emotions and desires all women have, but try to repress because of society's rules. If anyone lived their life to it's limits, it was Anais Nin.

5-0 out of 5 stars The sexual awakening of Anais Nin
Anais Nin is the author of over a dozen novels and a very famous diary that is now available in "expurgated" and "unexpurgated" form. All of her works concern one primary theme: women attempting to understand themselves and to make themselves complete human beings after having been psychologically and emotionally stunted in early life. An understanding of Anais Nin's life reveals why this theme preoccupied her: she had a very painful childhood. Her mother married a younger man of lower social pedigree, the parents were in constant conflict (" ... in the house there was always war: great explosions of anger, hatred, revolt. War." - WINTER OF ARTIFICE), her father frequently beat the children and allegedly molested Anais Nin, and her parents eventually separated. The mother took 11-year-old Anais and her two brothers, and the four moved from France to New York. It was on the ship that carried them to their new country that Anais began her diary.

Anais Nin did not keep a diary in the conventional sense, jotting down things that happened to her on a particular day and then offering a few reflections and interpretations. Rather, she portrayed her life in her diary as an unfolding story, positioning herself as the main character of course. The diary became not a mere reflection of her life, but an intense focus of her life. It was as if things had not really happened until she had written them down and read them back to herself. Nin explained that viewing her life as a story made bearable occurrences that would otherwise devastate her. The diary therefore gave her a sense of control over her life (remember, this was the 1930s when women had far less control over their lives than they do now). And as with the fiction, the search for self-understanding and completeness dominated the story she told the diary.

HENRY AND JUNE, based on the diaries 32 through 36, finds Anais Nin in her late 20s and early 30s living outside of Paris with her husband, banker Hugo Guiler. Anais is bored with life and feels unfulfilled, for while Hugo's substantial paycheck can afford a glamorous home, what she longs for is excitement and to be a part of the literary world, not an ornamental and silent companion to social functions. Luckily, she soon meets an unknown writer named Henry Miller. He is opposite to her husband in just about every way: he's older, penniless, irresponsible, and like Anais he is interested in literature, as well as that other Nin preoccupation: sex. (A perhaps revealing detail is that Hugo, though well endowed, occasionally struggled with impotence.) In fact, Miller has been working on a manuscript for about a year. The rest, as they say, is history ... a history revealed in HENRY AND JUNE that I do not want to spoil for the prospective reader. You'll have to get the book. But I must suggest that while reading HENRY AND JUNE it may be beneficial to view the story in the context of Anais Nin's prime preoccupation: the search for completion after having been emotionally stunted in early life. Indeed, on the very first page of the book, Anais tells her cousin, "I need an older man, a father...."

Andrew Parodi

5-0 out of 5 stars And I'm not even done...
I was really excited about reading this book, hearing good things about it. I started to read it and couldn't put it down. I am not done with it yet, but I had to write a review before then. The desciptions Anais Nin puts into her journal are so heartfelt and real, you can't help but feel it's you. Her portrayals of the people she meets are so honest and so enlightening...the only thing I could complain about is her ranting about herself, but other than that it is a journey into a time where you wish you were around in.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rewarding Read
One cannot read this excerpt from Anais Nin's lifelong diaries without a measure of admiration and envy. It describes her "belle vie" in the early thirties in Paris. She has a lovely home, a loving husband, and a circle of intellectual suitors. While undertaking huge liberties and deceptions in the name of literature (she uses her writing as an excuse), she yet does so with an almost childlike need for love and acceptance. In explanation, the reader learns that she was infatuated with her father, who later abandons her. The irony of her seducing and manipulating the psychoanalyst who is also treating her husband and incestuous lover is humorous. The insights into her torrid affair with Henry Miller are fascinating. As in her fiction, she displays a knack for tasteful eroticism. She disarmingly admits to her propensity for embellishing reality. Anais Nin is narcissistic, but who could not be fascinated by a woman of such candor, talent, and complexity?--Sophie Simonet, author of ACT OF LOVE, romantic suspense (Fictionwise)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lie on your bed and swoon....
Here are the feverish and impossibly romantic convulsions of a schoolgirl mind - but I mean that in a good way. Nin is unlikeable yet enchanting - she is some dreamy, exotic species of narcissist, and her constant fawning over herself has the perverse affect of making YOU enthralled by her, too. Nin's reality hovers exquisitely above the pedestrian, grimy one the rest of us inhabit, and if you give yourself over to her absurdly beautiful view of things, she will transport you. You end up feeling like a kind of sighing, envious voyeur as you read through these pages and wish you, too, were an eccentric beauty drifting amid some bygone literary demi-monde.
Lie on your bed and swoon...This is a fantasy/romance novel for those with vague intellectual pretensions... ... Read more


192. Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood
by Sandra Steingraber
list price: $27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738204676
Catlog: Book (2001-10)
Publisher: Perseus Publishing
Sales Rank: 442763
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Both a celebration and a call to arms, this powerful book is the story of one human birth and the frightening ways we are now putting this miraculous process at risk.

A brilliant writer, first-time mother, and respected biologist, Sandra Steingraber tells the month-by-month story of her own pregnancy, weaving in the new knowledge of embryology, the intricate development of organs, the emerging architecture of the brain, and the transformation of the mother's body to nourish and protect the new life. At the same time, she shows all the hazards that we are now allowing to threaten each precious stage of development, including the breast-feeding relationship between mothers and their newborns. In the eyes of an ecologist, the mother's body is the first environment, the mediator between the toxins in our food, water, and air and her unborn child.

Never before has the metamorphosis of a few cells into a baby seemed so astonishingly vivid, and never before has the threat of environmental pollution to conception, pregnancy, and even to the safety of breast milk been revealed with such clarity and urgency. In Having Faith, poetry and science combine in a passionate call to action.

A Merloyd Lawrence Book ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Top priority
Sandra Steingraber, a trained scientist, tells the story of her pregnancy at age 38, weaving it into very readable science. She describes the day-to-day development of the fetus and how we KNOW at exactly what point birth defects are caused and, in many cases, which chemicals cause them. I was horrified to learn how many chemicals are being passed to our children through mothers' milk. And I can't stop telling my friends how the waters of the Arctic are the MOST polluted in the world, just the opposite of what you might think.

This may be one of the most important books you will ever read. Like Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", it should wake us up to the damage we are doing to our environment and to ourselves.

The book is fascinating...and very, very scary. Every American, AND EVERY LEGISLATOR, should read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Call to Arms
This book is amazing, Ms Steingrabers style of writing - hard (and often frightening) facts interspersed with personal vignettes - makes it a pleasure to read. I couldn't put it down. As a childless woman I do wonder though, how a newly pregnant first time mother might react to such startling information; this is not a caution to avoid reading Ms Steingrabers book but rather a suggestion to read it well before conception or to allow time for the full impact of the book to be integrated (and perhaps the panic to recede).

The truth would seem to be that there is no longer any clean air on this planet of ours and pollution of all kinds is a daily reality regardless of where in the world we live, breast fed human babies are at the top of the food chain therefore serious, long lasting action should be taken to protect our offspring from the concentrated amounts of toxins they can potentially receive inutero and postpartum - when you know what's going on, you can call for change. Happy reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars So empowering
I'm a breastfeeding counsellor here in the UK and do my best to keep up to date with research pertaining to anything to do with breastfeeding. This book, which I came upon purely by accident, opened my eyes to a whole new problem. I found the book so informing and so well written. I have a whole new avenue of personal research to investigate now and, I have information to share with parents who want it. I feel empowered because, as the last chapter offers, I have ideas now as to how I can play my part in making the world of breastfed babies, my own and others, a safer place to live. With grateful thanks to Sandra for opening my eyes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Necessary
Sandra Steingraber is my new heroine. Her writing is magnificent, and her concerns very much my own. She manages to explain the inexplicable (we are poisoning our babies, and don't stop even when we see the evidence) in a way that does not frighten as much as persuade. She indeed has faith, and I am so grateful to her for facing these fearful realities during her pregnancy -- as she points out, if pregnant women don't face these things, who will? Her refrain "We shall not abstain" -- asking why it is pregnant women who must restrict themselves, not producers of toxics -- is common-sense political brilliance and unmasks the hypocrisy of a society that pretends to protect the vulnerable with technological might, but is really not interested when facts run counter to the fantasy of omnipotence. Her writing is so vivid that I burst into tears at the end of her labor-and-delivery story, as I do at any filmed depiction of birth. Thank you, Sandra.I'm giving it to all my friends, and sending it to some politicians!

5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful book on the environment and pregnancy
This book was such a joy compared to all the clingy books that track the monthly progress of your pregnancy. Of course, those books fill their need, but I believe that all expectant mothers should read this. I was attracted to the book because I am environmentally-minded. I couldn't stop reading it because it was well-written, intelligent, and touching. There are only a few sections where the science is a little obtuse, but actually, most of the writing is so down-to-earth, that it is easy to forgive some of the "heavier" science. I had a few clues about some of the environmental dangers she writes about, but the book is so well-researched and so good at explaining the problems, that it was quite an education. A good book for ALL people to read, I believe. ... Read more


193. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
by SYLVIA PLATH
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385720254
Catlog: Book (2000-10-17)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 5303
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the decades that have followed Sylvia Plath's suicide in February1963, much has been written and speculated about her life, most particularly about her marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes and her last months spent writing the stark, confessional poems that were to become Ariel. And the myths surrounding Plath have only been intensified by the strong grip her estate--managed by Hughes and his sister, Olwyn--had over the release of her work. Yet Plath kept journals from the age of 11 until her death at 30. Previously only available in a severely bowdlerized edition, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath have now been scrupulously transcribed (with every spelling mistake and grammatical error left intact) and annotated by Karen V. Kukil, supervisor of the Plath collection at Smith College.

The journals show the breathless adolescent obsessed with her burgeoning sexuality, the serious university student competing for the highest grades while engaging in the human merry-go-round of 1950s dating, the graduate year spent at Cambridge University where Plath encountered Ted Hughes. Her version of their relationship (dating is definitely not the appropriate term) is a necessary, and deeply painful, complement to Birthday Letters. On March 10, 1956, Plath writes:

Please let him come, and give me the resilience & guts to make him respect me, be interested, and not to throw myself at him with loudness or hysterical yelling; calmly, gently, easy baby easy. He is probably strutting the backs among crocuses now with seven Scandinavian mistresses. And I sit, spiderlike, waiting, here, home; Penelope weaving webs of Webster, turning spindles of Tourneur. Oh, he is here; my black marauder; oh hungry hungry. I am so hungry for a big smashing creative burgeoning burdened love: I am here; I wait; and he plays on the banks of the river Cam like a casual faun.
Plath's documentation of the two years the couple spent in the U.S. teaching and writing explicitly highlights the dilemma of the late-1950s woman--still swaddled in expectations of domesticity, yet attempting to forge her own independent professional and personal life. This period also reveals in detail the therapy sessions in which Plath lets loose her antipathy for her mother and her grief at her father's death when she was 8--a contrast to the bright, all-American persona she presented to her mother in the correspondence that was published as Letters Home. The journals also feature some notable omissions. Plath understandably skirted over her breakdown and attempted suicide during the summer of 1953, though she was to anatomize the events minutely in her novel The Bell Jar.

Fragments of diaries exist after 1959, which saw the couple's return to England and rural retreat in Devon, the birth of their two children, and their separation in late 1962. An extended piece on the illness and death of an elderly neighbor during this period is particularly affecting and was later turned into the poem "Berck-Plage." Much has been made of the "lost diaries" that Plath kept until her suicide--one simply appears to have vanished, the other Hughes burned after her death. It would seem rapacious to wish for more details of her despair in her final days, however. It is crystallized in the poems that became Ariel, and this is what the voice of her journals ultimately send the reader back to. Sylvia Plath's life has for too long been obfuscated by anecdote, distorting her major contribution to 20th-century literature. As she wrote in "Kindness": "The blood jet is poetry. There is no stopping it." --Catherine Taylor ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Sad
As I read the morbid journals of Sylvia Plath, I find that all of them have a beautiful intensity. Her words, which have a beautiful movement, are an extended description of her inner life. Her mind, illuminated always by poetry and prose, is moved by slight moments to rapture and despair. Even as she describes the raptures of being seventeen, her prose displays a profound melancholy, as though the fires of her nature foreshadow her darkest tendencies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
It's about time that we got the nearly full story of what she really thought and felt. Although we will probably never see those missing journals which were written months prior to her death, still what remains is riveting.

As for the person who mentioned how disturbing her entries are and how she comes across as a 'monster,' well, apparently some people have no appreciation for a) how complicated artistic people are; and b) how we ALL have these thoughts from time to time, whether we are artistic or not. We just don't take the time to write them down in journals for pedantic 'chicken soup' types to thoughtlessly analyze after we're dead.

I do however, agree with the intelligent comment about the Euripedean relationship with that mother. Good use of Greek mythology. I think it was Camille Paglia who pegged the real source of Plath's anger when she described the redoubtable Aurelia Plath as someone who could castrate you from fifty paces. Hilarious and true. Poor Sylvia. I would be [angry] too with a mother like that.

Thank you for these wonderful glimpses into the human condition. If Plath's a monster, then we all are.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL
Her writing is beautiful. She does show remarkable growth in thought after college, and as she reaches her suicide, her writing is unbelievably stunning.

mike

5-0 out of 5 stars What? Nothing to say, Ted?
Oh, that's right, you're dead now, aren't you?

Here, untainted by the interference of her unworthy ex, Ted Hughes, is an intense and revealing series of insights into the mind of this most brilliant woman.

I came to these journals after reading five volumes of the diaries of Virginia Woolf, and some of the parallels are quite chilling.

Whether Plath articulates it or not, the legacy of the Inquisition hangs over her as it has over so many women who are still trying to make sense of a world that is yet to be cleansed of the darker residues of patriarchy.

At the time of her suicide in 1963, women had only had been able to vote, own property and inherit property from their fathers for a pitiful 45 years. Incredibly, the centennial of women suffrage will not be until 2018. But of course, that can't be an issue, can it?

As for people who desperately manipulate threads of her words to 'prove' that she secretly wanted dependence, hinting that all women secretly crave dependence; consider that if women were naturally dependent on men, the patriarchy would never have needed to set up such a vast number of mechanisms to suppress them.

Having read most of her poetry, including the final Ariel poems, and having worked through the journals - a draining experience at times - I still feel Plath's basic Life dilemma is captured in the following hybridized stanza (a merging of lines from two separate stanzas) from Lorelei:-

Worse even than your maddening
Song, your silence. At the source
Of your ice-hearted calling...

The siren's wail is something primal, something heart-stoppingly elemental. The carrier wave for the Great Song, the Oran Mor of the Celts. It even appears in a similar form in Siddhartha, in the river of a thousand voices, ultimately all converging to form Unity.

Like any tortured soul, such as Virginia Woolf - plug in a name - the basic alienation and fear of meaninglessness clearly were there in Plath as with most humans, but her Lorelei references also suggested a fear of her own innate primal power. She had a glimpse of something that simply overloaded her circuits, perhaps like the Kundalini experience that led to the poet Shelley's drowning.

Yes, there in those lines, we have the dilemma. Which is the more terrible, the Silence or the Song? The fear of nothingness or the crushing tidal wave of everydayness? The entire process of Life. She lived vicariously to some degree, placing far too much importance on her relationship with Ted Hughes. A roving, cheating husband, a man without honor, who was simply not worthy of her, or of any decent woman.

Perhaps in her final bleak despair, she forgot that she had existed before him as Sylvia Plath and could have existed after him as Sylvia Plath. She misinterpreted the siren call of her Sisters. They were not calling her down to Death, but to reunification. Ted who? I rather fancy she was the better poet of the two, by a long sea mile.

4-0 out of 5 stars Moving
Everything which Plath wrote in her journals has proceeded to appear profoundly sad; even as she writes of the raptures of her youth, lurking beneath the surface is a profound melancholy.
The journals are a moving account of this tormented poet's life as well as the nearness of her encounters with death and madness. Not merely autobiographical, it is as well a study of the process of the written word. Readers can refer to these journals as a source of artistic inspiration and deep portrayal of psychological pain. ... Read more


194. Silent Witness : The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo's Death
by Mark Fuhrman
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0060853379
Catlog: Book (2005-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 18221
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Book Description

We all watched Terri Schiavo die. The controversy around her case dominated the headlines and talk shows, going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House, and the Vatican.

And it's not over yet. Despite her death, the controversy lingers. In Silent Witness, former LAPD detective and New York Times bestselling author Mark Fuhrman applies his highly respected investigative skills to examine the medical evidence, legal case files, and police records. With the complete cooperation of Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings, as well as their medical and legal advisers, he conducts exclusive interviews with forensics experts and crucial witnesses, including friends, family members, and caregivers.

Fuhrman's findings will answer these questions:

  • What was Terri and Michael Schiavo's marriage really like?
  • What happened the day Terri collapsed?
  • What did Michael Schiavo do when he discovered Terri unconscious? How long did he wait before calling 911?
  • What do medical records show about her condition when she was first admitted to the hospital?
  • What will the autopsy say?

The legal issues and ethical questions provoked by Terri Schiavo's extraordinary case may never be resolved. But the facts about her marriage, her condition when she collapsed, and her eventual death fifteen years later can be determined.

With Silent Witness, Fuhrman goes beyond the legal aspects of the case and delves into the broader, human background of Terri Schiavo's short, sad life.

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195. The Tiger's Child
by Torey Hayden
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0380725444
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Avon
Sales Rank: 20276
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What ever became of Sheila?

When special-education teacher Torey Haydenwrote her first book One Child almost twodecades ago, she created an internationalbestseller. Her intensely moving true story ofSheila, a silent, profoundly disturbed littlesix-year-old girl touched millions. From everycorner of the world came letters from readerswanting to know more about the troubled childwho had come into Torey Hayden's class as a"hopeless case," and emerged as the very symbolof eternal hope within the human spirit.

Now, for all those who have never forgotten thisendearing child and her remarkable relationshipwith her teacher, here is the surprising story ofSheila, the young woman.

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Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Satisfyingly realistic
I first read One Child when I was thirteen, and it was a powerful force in my life, impacting me more deeply than any other story I have ever read. I related somewhat at thirteen to her life at six, and have read the book millions of times since, always wondering what became of Sheila and what her life might be like now. So when I discovered this sequal yesterday, it was like a goldmine. My biggest emotional reaction was deep sorrow, because One Child WAS like a fairy tale that had led us to believe that Sheila would probably be all right now that Torey had given her the wings to fly. But reality tended to beat Sheila up one side and down the other like a spiked club, and she no longer had anyone to help her through it. I look at Sheila as having lived her life very much alone with the exception of the five months in Torey's classroom in Marysville. Is five months really enough to build a sturdy enough platform for this kid? All kids need constant care and attention; kids in healthy households living comparatively idyllic lives still clamor for more and more attention, love and care. Six is not really big enough to take on the world and conquer it and all its horrors alone, it is barely big enough to tie one's own shoes and remember where your mittens are! I can completely see Sheila's point when she accused Torey of offering her a world full of color and warmth and then sweeping it all away. Sheila was abused before Torey came, while Torey was there, and after she left. Torey's subsequent disappointment at finding this relatively human teenager, including dyed hair and common teenish speech patterns, is naive on her part. What did she expect? She hadn't been there; when Sheila was being abused and shifting around in foster homes, where was Torey, and what right did she have to judge Sheila now, at a still-tender thirteen? What right did she have to expect ANYTHING? Sure, it appears as if Torey is this wonderful goddess-type teacher that goes the 800 extra miles for Sheila, but Torey had never had to deal with Sheila's life on a day-to-day basis, could have no idea. The real hero is Sheila, who IS a survivor, who did remarkably well with herself considering she's sprung from horrors most of us can hardly imagine experiencing ourselves. She shouldn't have to feel grateful for what Torey's done for her; as a child, it was the least she could expect from somebody. It is Sheila who created herself, and what an extraordinary person.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Bought This One In Hardcover...
Normally, I do not buy hardcover books. I wait until they are released in paperback or become available at the library. But when I saw the sequel to one of my all time favorite books, "One Child", at the bookstore right after its' release, I snatched it up immediately and ran to the cash register! That night I read the whole book from start to finish without stopping. For years I had wondered what became of Sheila after Torey's last glimpse of her through the school bus window, and now that I had the answer in my hands I could not put it down. It was heartbreaking to learn that the happiness and love that Sheila discovered in Torey's classroom did not last after she left. However, the story of she survived despite her many hardships, even finding some of that happiness again when she and Torey were reunited, was fascinating and often tearjerking. I have read and loved all of Torey Hayden's books. This is one of the best. I would love to see Sheila write her own book from her point of view some day!

5-0 out of 5 stars Sobering & Honest
Having read One Child over and over and over again starting at the age of ten, I was euphoric to come upon The Tiger's Child in a bookstore 15 years later. I had wondered about Sheila my whole life, worked for several years in a preschool in great part due to that astonishing tale. I believe all the magic that was in the first book, because that is the truth about the reality of children. The Tiger's Child was somehow more sad, even if in much subtler & less horrifying ways than the first book. Sheila had left her childhood, and Torey L. Hayden (who was just 24 in the first book!) was not in a position to help her to quite the extent that she had been able to in the earlier years. Torey L. Hayden writes very honestly and does not attempt to soften any of the difficulties in this later period. Her work as a teacher is remarkable & awe-inspiring... I just wish that somehow the world had continued to provide for Sheila as much as Torey had been able to in One Child. I ache that the extraordinary, brilliant light that was Sheila was not left with as purely a happpy ending as the first book leads us to believe is possible...but I strongly recommend reading both stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Satisfying and Heart-Warming
When I first heard about TIGER'S CHILD, I knew that I had to read it to find out what had happened to Sheila. I was not disappointed. I found that Sheila had carried a great deal of anger around with her all these years toward Torey for "showing her the good life and then deserting her just like her mother had." This rather dumb-founded Torey, because she was just doing what all teachers do at the end of a school year--saying good-bye to her students and moving on. Torey had to work very hard in this book to build up a trust level again. Sheila was not going to make this easy. However, the ending was satisfying; and we are left knowing that Sheila will be all right. I don't know how Torey makes her writing such compelling reading. I could not put the book down--even when I needed to look at scenery on a vacation. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a heart-warming read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Revealing and exciting!
I read the prequel, ONE CHILD, over 20 years ago. I was ecstatic to find out that this sequel existed! Finally, I would find out what happened with six year old Sheila, the young girl that captured the hearts of millions! I certainly cannot say her life took any of the turns I had hoped for, imagined, or expected, but every turn was certainly exciting!

I love the way this author is so honest about her own mistakes in life and her ability to work so well with so many special kids inspite of or even because of those mistakes and her willingness to admit them. Her words are so well-chosen and that made this book easy to read and follow, yet the story itself carried my emotions on a roller-coaster ride that was certainly worth the price of the ticket!

Just as ONE CHILD left me wanting to know more, years ago, THE TIGER'S CHILD answered many old questions, yet still left me wanting to know more about how Sheila fairs throughout her lifetime!

I highly recommend reading this book, either as the sequel to ONE CHILD or even as a stand-alone book! ... Read more


196. The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy
by S. A. Tolstaia, Cathy Porter, Sofia Tolstoy
list price: $52.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394528182
Catlog: Book (1987-11-01)
Publisher: Book Sales
Sales Rank: 344578
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197. Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder
by Rachel Reiland
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592850995
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services
Sales Rank: 69032
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of borderline personality disorder.......
This is a very page turning read. I cannot put it down. I thought I was living with two borderlines but after reading this book and the extent of her mental illness and how these people can still function and work is amazing. I know now that my two family members are only mildly afflicted. (Father and Daughter). This woman is full blown and I don't know how her family and her psychiatrist could jump into her tornado with her and ride it out when the tornado always comes back. I think she could have been alittle more self disciplined and tried to control some of this bad behavior, it sounded more like she was a spoiled two year old than an adult. I have read two other books on borderlines and Rachel's case is the most severe yet. Her husband should have removed her children from this toxic environment and left her in the institution until they had her psychosis under control. All in all I do recommend this book but this woman had a more severe case than any I have heard of.

5-0 out of 5 stars Healing From the Inside Out
Rachel Reiland's deep, unflinching account of her psychotherapeutic journey from borderline personality disorder and anorexia to the wholeness that lay ahead is an absolute must-read for those with BPD and their loved ones.

While Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and other Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs (generally touted as the most effective means of treating BPD) approach BPD symptomatically, Reiland's first person observations of healing BPD from the inside out give amazing insight into the fundamental developmental rift that creates "borderline behavior" -- an unmistakable inner rift that those with BPD will resonate strongly with as they read Rachel's book.

As well written as it is honest, this book stands alone in the body of BPD literature in its earnest and encouraging presentation of recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder and the recovery process.

While most may not be able to afford the therapy that Rachel was privileged enough to undergo (three sessions per week with her psychiatrist for the first two years or so), the insights gained into the illness and the healing process will undoubtedly benefit those with BPD who are ready to recover.

**If you are under the care of a therapist, I would recommend asking or apprising your therapist before you begin reading, as some of the content may trigger emotional reactions.**

If you have a loved one suffering from BPD, this book will give you a glimpse of how deep BPD truly is, and how much hope there is if your loved one truly wants to be healed.

Visit www.bpdresourcecenter.org or www.bpdcentral.com for more information on Borderline Personality Disorder. Also recommended (and available here) are Linehan's Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder and Mason & Kreger's Stop Walking On Eggshells. For those with BPD and addiction issues, read The Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders by Santoro and Cohen. For Christians, Behind the Masks: Personality Disorders in the Church by Pate & Pate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Book
Reading this book is like stepping into the family of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is not always a pleasant place to visit, it can be very painful. I would assume that most people who would choose this book do so because of some personal connection to BPD. To watch Rachel and her family struggle through her illness and recovery can touch 'almost' too close to home. But, you find yourself hoping for them all.

Rachel is a storyteller, and this book is written in a beautiful and very readable style. The clinical information that is presented as part of the story is palatable because it is so well ingrained into the actual storyl.

Someday soon I am going to take the time to write a long letter to Rachel Reiland, and to Randi Kreger ("Stop Walking on Eggshells."} These two women have put a tremendous amount of time and energy into giving us all a better understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder.

If you've taken the time to read this review, then I strongly suggest you read Ms Reiland's book. I hope that you find it to impact your own life in the strong, positive way that it impacted mine.

4-0 out of 5 stars I'm Not Supposed to Be Here
Even people who have not been touched by mental illness will enjoy this fascinating, compelling story. Rachel Reiland's honest, insightful recounting of her battle with borderline personality disorder offers a vivid picture of the borderline mind and the devastation it can cause, but also testifies that recovery is possible. Those whose lives are affected by the disorder will find hope in Reiland's courageous story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any BP or Non-BP
"I'm Not Supposed to Be Here" is an excellent read. A very confronting read too - since it not only validates my own experiences of the relationship with my Borderline Ex, but more frighteningly Rachel's story explains how emotional abuse, lack of parental care and the ensuing cover-up campaigns cause so much harm to a child. It is horrifying to see the effects which reach so far into adulthood.

I have a son and his BP mother has sole custody. It is frightening to read parts of Rachel's story in this respect.
Maybe Rachel's book should become required reading for relationship councillors, mental health professionals and those involved in child custody decisions.

What I found especially useful was reading how Rachel's psychiatrist handled the acting out behavior. The firm responses from the psychiatrist in the face of intense provocation served as a valuable example in helping me protect myself during such potentially endless conversations and no-win situations.

Not only is this a book about BPD, it is a story of one woman's tremendous inner strength and, above all, honesty. It is incredibly readable and difficult to put down. This book is a must read for any BP or Non. ... Read more


198. Swimming Lessons : Life Lessons from the Pool, from Diving in to Treading Water (Harvest Book)
by Penelope Niven
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156027070
Catlog: Book (2004-04-05)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 61976
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At age forty-four, Penelope Niven was at a turning point in her life. In need of a change for both body and spirit, she decided to learn how to swim. While discovering the restorative effect of the water, she also began to notice that the lessons she was learning in the pool drew remarkable parallels with the lessons of life. The way in which you first get into the water, for example, is similar to trying anything new-you can jump in feet first, or dive in headfirst, but first you have to have some idea of what you're actually getting into. From floating to treading water, forward strokes to the backstroke, Swimming Lessons combines the familiar lessons of swimming with personal anecdotes and apt observations to stirring effect. Sensible, touching, and personal, this appealing book will be invaluable to any reader facing a life change or simply looking for a little bit of inspiration.

A Harvest Original

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring and Humorous Book by a Multi-talented Writer!!!
With Swimming Lessons, biographer Penelope Niven has proven that not only can she get at the heart of other people's stories but also that she herself is as interesting a subject as anyone she has written about--maybe more so. And as with her many other superb books, Swimming Lessons is written in her signature lyrical style but with the added personal bonus of her generous good humor. I have found myself repeatedly re-reading passages of it for the sheer beauty of the language or for the ready smile it brings to my soul.

For example, Niven advises us to "Learn the constructive art of Checking Baggage." After listing the numerous kinds of bags she routinely takes on vacation, she says, "When I go swimming, I take my purse and a large swimming bag bursting with items I consider essential for preparing to swim, swimming, showering after swimming, and dressing to go home after swimming. I would not think of setting off on a trip or a swim without all my stuff. But I certainly would not think of carrying all my stuff every moment I am traveling or swimming. I load my luggage and shopping bags and cooler in the car. I lock my swimming gear in the locker in the dressing room.

"You don't have to carry all of your baggage all of the time. You can't. If you spend all your energy hauling thebaggage around, you'll be too exhausted to move forward, or even to float. Check the baggage. Compartmentalize... I can't swim and, at the same time, carry my towel, my clothes, my shampoo, my hair dryer, and my car keys. I can't write with all my mind and heart and, at the same time, focus on my concerns about my parents' health; my daughter's grief over her father's death; my grief over his death; my brother's ongoing recovery from a stroke; my students' struggles to get into graduate school, get published, get jobs; and my world's struggle for peace, prosperity, justice, survival. When I write, I write...When I swim, I swim. I entrust the other endeavors of my life to the safety of the locker."

Furthermore, it is Niven's so-called "overjubilance" that strikes a fresh chord in our discordant world, post 9-11. We should be so lucky that there is at least one among us who has the good sense to go overboard with her love and enthusiasm.

Do something good for yourself. If you can't quit smoking, then at least read this book. You'll be overjubilant you did. ... Read more


199. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by MAYA ANGELOU
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
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Asin: 0553279378
Catlog: Book (1983-05-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 4215
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou's childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s.Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women,
Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people--and the times--that touched her life.
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Reviews (255)

3-0 out of 5 stars compared to To Kill a Mockingbird.....
Our 8th grade English class was required to pick an independent reading book. I picked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. At the same time, my class was reading To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is similar to To Kill A Mockingbird in many ways. Both books portray a girl and her brother growing up in a Southern town. The main character represents the author as a young girl learning about prejudice and the hardships of life. Both authors express their views and opinions through the main character. The key difference between the two books is "as simple as black and white." Maya is black and sees the whites as a group of prejudiced rich people. Scout is white and sees how her classmates and her town is prejudiced against Tom Robinson and other blacks. An interesting observation that I made was that although both books are against prejudice, both authors are partly prejudiced themselves. Maya Angelou seems to see all whites as evil and prejudiced, while Harper Lee shows kind whites like Atticus. Lee makes the blacks seem accepting of prejudice and docile while Angelou sees blacks as people who are very aware of their situation and rebel against prejudice as often as possible. I think that each of these books only show half the story. To get a complete picture of growing up in a racist town you have to read them both.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is an enjoyable, easy-to-read short book written by Maya Angelou about her childhood in the segregated deep south. She skillfully decribes both good-times and bad in Stamps, Arkansas where she and her brother, raised by her grandmother and uncle, took on many childhood adventures in and around her grandmother's general store in the Negro section of town. She devotes several chapters to a time when she and her brother lived in Long Beach, California with her fast moving mother and indifferent father. When things go bad, she describes her return to a simple yet orderly life in Stamps.

The reader is touched by the difficulties overcome by Maya Angelou and has a new appreciation for those who were raised in a different place and time. Her upbringing filled with discipline, hard-work and solid roles models had a positive impact on her as a person. She was able to overcome the negative influences.

Most of all, the key to her success is contagious and when finished, the reader is left with a glimmer of hope that if she can do it, so can I.... no matter what my walk of life. Very inspirational book!

5-0 out of 5 stars literary brilliance
<br /> <br /> Ms. Angelou writes with literary brilliance, and "I Know Why The caged Bird Sings" is no exception. Part poetic, part memoir...she brings her life in to full view for all to see, read and feel. She has triumphed.and isn't afraid to tell about it. I rate this highly with books such as "Nighmares Echo" and "The Color Purple" among other wonderful memoirs written in the past year or so.

1-0 out of 5 stars Machiavellian
Not a man to judge others by their Christian names, I opened this book expelling my prejudices and bias. I admit, however, that my history has caught up to me, and I will be unable to complete the undertaking. It is now obvious to me that the author, like the central character of the novel, is an insidious rebel and a Negress who will never belong here. Shut your mind - and your soul - from this treason.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressionable
This is an amazing autobiography. Ms. Angelou is a beautiful story teller. She leads you in with beautiful words, but don't get the impression that it is simply a sweet book because its not. She tells the way it really was for her growing up and all the courage needed to survive.

Also recommending highly: Nightmares Echo (courage and determination in the life of a child of abuse,self-healing)Running With Scissors (deals with abuse,dysfunction,also courageous) ... Read more


200. North of Ithaka : A Journey Home through a Family's Extraordinary Past
by Eleni N. Gage
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312340281
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 3076
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lia revisited
It comes as no surprise that Eleni Gage turns out to be a gifted writer. It runs in the blood, I guess. Her father is the well known Nicholas Gage who wrote, among other fine books, one about his mother Eleni who was murdered by Communist guerrillas in the Greek civil war just after WW II. When I read it a few years ago it left me in a state of shock for about a week.
The present more upbeat work recounts the author's yearlong stay in the village of Lia, close to the Albanian border, where she succeeds in rebuilding the very house in which her grandmother and other villagers were kept prisoners before being brutally murdered more than a half-century earlier.
The author wants to strengthen her sense of rootedness in Epirus while holding on to the values and habits of thought she has acquired as an American woman. She wants to fit into life in her ancestral village without being seduced by a mindset she has been conditioned to reject - or at least question. She encounters lots of customs and practices that can be classed as superstition or magic (or even idolatry) that the locals think are part of Christianity but which she finds only marginally acceptable. Most of the people she runs into treat her with great kindness and become her friends even though none of them are nearly as well educated as she. They are, in fact, mostly old or elderly.
The author experiences some emotional turmoil as the reconstruction process runs into some snags and delays, and as she has to deal with bureaucrats and others whose venality and incompetence would make a less motivated person wonder if it is all worth it. An almost constant presence in the book is the author's earthy Aunt Kanta, the Greek-born American lady who speaks imperfect English, believes everything in America is perfect, and has opinions on every conceivable topic, including why her niece is single and what she should do to get married. Even though Kanta is very in-your-face and sometimes a pain in the neck, she is still lovable. And so are the villagers. And so are the undocumented Albanians who cross the border looking for work.
During the year the author has some fascinating close encounters with groups of people who enrich her experience and teach her a lot about the importance of history and continuity in the life of groups and individuals. A group of uprooted Greek Jews arrive from New York and take her to Ioannina to visit what is left of their cemetery and synagogue. She spends some time with a Gypsy family who are involved in local politics and even gets to attend a Gypsy wedding. She goes on a "field trip" to make contact with the descendents of the Dorians known as Sarakatsani.
The thing I like most about this book, apart from its being very well written and sometimes lyrical, is its spirit of optimism and hope for the future - of humanity.

... Read more


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