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$16.50 list($25.00)
121. With Billie
$10.50 $3.65 list($14.00)
122. Touch the Top of the World: A
$13.57 $11.99 list($19.95)
123. We're Just Like You, Only Prettier
$14.28 $7.58 list($21.00)
124. Simple Path
$50.00 list($25.00)
125. Child Bride : The Untold Story
$9.71 $2.99 list($12.95)
126. It Could Happen To You:Diary Of
$10.20 $7.38 list($15.00)
127. Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the
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128. Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in
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129. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip
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130. Diary of a Provincial Lady (Provincial
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131. A Random Act : An Inspiring True
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132. The Prison Angel : Mother Antonia's
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133. Sex with Kings : 500 Years of
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134. Around the World in 80 Dates
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135. 25 to Life: The Truth, the Whole
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136. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True
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137. Desert Queen : The Extraordinary
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138. Pimp: The Story of My Life
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139. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend,
$15.61 $11.29 list($22.95)
140. The Promise : How One Woman Made

121. With Billie
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375406107
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Pantheon
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122. Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See
by Erik Weihenmayer
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452282942
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 45669
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A vivid and compelling book." (Time magazine)

Erik Weihenmayer was born with retinoscheses, a degenerative eye disorder that would leave him blind by the age of thirteen. But Erik was determined to rise above this devastating disability and lead a fulfilling and exciting life.

In this poignant and inspiring memoir, he shares his struggle to push past the limits imposed on him by his visual impairment-and by a seeing world. He speaks movingly of the role his family played in his battle to break through the barriers of blindness: the mother who prayed for the miracle that would restore her son's sight and the father who encouraged him to strive for thatdistant mountaintop. And he tells the story of his dream to climb the world's Seven Summits, and how he is turning that dream into astonishing reality (something fewer than a hundred mountaineers have done).

From the snow-capped summit of McKinley to the towering peaks of Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro to the ultimate challenge, Mount Everest, this is a story about daring to dream in the face of impossible odds. It is about finding the courage to reach for that ultimate summit, and transforming your life into something truly miraculous.

"I admire you immensely. You are an inspiration to other blind people and plenty of folks who can see just fine." (Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air)
... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Terrific
This is just a terrific book, filled with humor, wisdom, pathos and adventure. The author poignantly describes his childhood descent into blindness, his efforts to ignore it, his initial rebelliousness, and his gradual coming to terms with his handicap. Before long, the reader, like Erik, no longer sees blindness as a handicap, but as one of many hurdles life tosses in our way. It is certainly less of a burden to him than was the sudden, tragic death of his mother, which he movingly addresses and comes to terms with. He finds purpose to his life, he finds love, and he finds friendship and adventure on the mountains that he climbs. Buy this book and give it to any friend who has an inclination toward self-pity, and it may change their life. Read it and be inspired by the resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touch the Top of the World
This is a fabulous book. One minute you are laughing out loud and the next, tears are pouring down your face. The tears are not of sadness but of joy for all the wonderful experiences Erik has had; his relationships with friends and family, his adventures among the cracks and crevices. With great wit, Erik expresses his triumphs along with his challenges. My son has been blind for two years. He lost his sight to genetics, but we had no cue that the family had the gene until his sight started going three weeks before his nineteenth birthday, it only took those three weeks. He just turned 21 on August 2. Unlike Erik, Larry does have the talent of music and travels with his band, Jepetto, around the East Coast. He even has gone back to taking Classical piano lessons. Like Erik he found no encouragement in what his abilities would do for him. TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD really helps you understand the the feeling of blindness, not of the limitations the world puts on you, but of the heights to which you can arise. Please read it, you will not be sorry you did, only sorry if you hadn't read it. I am donating a copy to each of my son's schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Triumphant Life
This is an ease read but surprisingly soul-awakening book for me. There are statements on life lessons strung together like jewels hidden everywhere in this book, from the start to finish, mostly on self-assumed constraints that are common to everyone, sighted or not. I found vicariously the family love, friendship, and community support invigorating. I sensed the humor, strength, commitment, and perseverance Erik W carries with him daily, not just to the mountain top, which makes this book an absolute page-turner. Thanks Erik W for writing this book and share intimately with the readers the details of your journeys and the poeple in your life, we all have a lot to learn and draw from your experiences touched by the top of the world.

1-0 out of 5 stars This man is an ass
I've heard this idiot speak about his experiences, and right away, I'd perceived he was an arrogant jerk who was writing a book for recognition, not to neccesarily inspire other climbers. I was at a conference where his book was touted all over the place, and that's when I knew it wasn't worth buying. Please, people, look beyond the fact that he's blind and that he climbed some of the most difficult mountains in the world, and have a look at his personal life. As one other reviewer said, this guy is a jerk, through and through. I'm not even going to read the book, that's how sure I am that it isn't worth my time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Character named chris at the beginning makes the book
It was a flavorful read. I believe the character chris seems to tie everything together. He is a dashing young buck so to speak. I could read about him for hours. I kept wanting to know what Chris was doing when the minor character Erik was climbing Mt. Everest. My only suggestion for improvement would be to have more of Chris in the book. Otherwise it was a dandy of a book. ... Read more

123. We're Just Like You, Only Prettier : Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle
by Celia Rivenbark
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0312312431
Catlog: Book (2004-01-07)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 16493
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Southern Humor Rises Again
Florence King, Molly Ivins, Bailey White, Jill Conner Brown, and now Celia Rivenbark. The tradition of Southern Belle humorists lives on.

We're Just Like You, Only Prettier is similar to the Sweet Potato Queens books, but not as outrageous. Still, I found myself reading a good portion of this book out loud to anyone who would listen. Even if there is no one else around but the hound dog, you might enjoy reading this book aloud, with a (fake, if necessary) Carolina accent to get the full flavor of the humor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Celia Rivenbark RULES!
Ever since I read the "Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love," I have been hooked on literature for Southern women. When I saw the title of Celia Rivenbark's new book, "We're Just Like You, Only Prettier," I knew this is an author for me. Everything she writes about is humorous and timely, at least for me...having a child when you're a little "more mature," having long pretty nails, taking your precious child anywhere, family, etc. Celia is a hoot! Now I can't wait to read "Bless Your Heart, Tramp." I read "We're Just Like You, Only Prettier" in one sitting. This is a wonderful, entertaining book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Miss Celia is the secret love child of Louis Grizzard
Hilarious southern humor. If this doesn't make you bust a gut laughing, nothing will. She's got the nuances and the southern lingo down pat. She also makes a mean chicken pan pie when she isn't tossing fruit bars in the backseat of her car for her toddler to eat! Can't wait for her next book. Hurry, hurry, Celia, tempus is fugiting!

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh . . . My . . . Gawd!!!
This has to be one of the funniest books I've ever read! Rivenbark is a genius when it comes to observations and has so perfectly captured the South that it's scary. I've had the privelage to have lived there and up north, and let me tell you, it's a completely different country. Rivenbark's South is not the moonlight and magnolias of "Gone With the Wind." It's more like Reed's "Queen of the Turtle Derby" or McCrae's "The Bark of the Dogwood--A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens," in its use of humor. I just can't recommend this book enough. Y'all go buy it now!

5-0 out of 5 stars Precious
Ms. Rivenbark has a delicious sense of humor, I am so glad I bought this and couldn't help finishing it in one day. ... Read more

124. Simple Path
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345397452
Catlog: Book (1995-10-31)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 19746
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Known around the globe for her indefatigable work on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the dying, Mother Teresa has devoted her life to giving hope to the hopeless in more than one hundred and twenty countries. She inspires us all to find a way to translate our spiritual beliefs into action in the world. How has one woman accomplished so much? And what are the guiding principles that have enabled this humble nun to so profoundly effect the lives of millions?
Now, in her own words, Mother Teresa shares the thoughts and experiences that have led her to do her extraordinary charitable work. A candid look at her everyday life--at the very simplicity and self-sacrifice that give her the strength to move mountains--A Simple Path gives voice to the remarkable spirit who has dedicated her life to the poorest among us.
Just as important as her beliefs are how they are put into action in the world, and A Simple Path also tells the story of the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, their purpose and practice, and the results of their tireless work. Through faith, surrender, and prayer, the missionaries live to serve others; they have improved the lives of countless souls and given dignity to the dying. Their mission has also produced a ripple effect, spreading human compassion to communities where there is need.
Through these examples, as well as the uplifting words and guiding prayers of Mother Teresa and those who work with her, everyone can learn how to walk the simple path that Mother Teresa has laid out for us, to help create a truly kinder world for the future.
A Simple Path is a unique spiritual guide for Catholics and non-Catholics alike: full of wisdom and hope from the one person who has given us the greatest model of love in action in our time.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Simple Path but an Extraordinary Book
A Simple Path by Mother Theresa is an inspirational book. Mother Theresa wrote it as an informative narrative of segments of her life. It tells of her many good works and the works of others. Collectively, they share their many tales of heartwarming acts of love for the poor and less fortunate, the diseased and the broken-hearted, and the wounded and lost souls of the world. The sisters heal the wounds of those who have strayed away from the path of God and they urge everyone to help bring people back into the light, back to God.
The focus of the book is to promote serving others. It was once said that the best way to lead is by serving. This is the simple message and the simple path Mother Theresa explains throughout her many encounters with people of every age, race, and religion. She urges the reader to take this path as Jesus took up his cross. "One must not love and expect love in return, because that is not real love," as Mother Theresa once said. Love can be received by serving another and by watching that individual's happiness grow because of one kind act.
Mother Theresa does not want the reader to save the world, but to help in one small way. She says, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." It does not require money, but it does require time to love. A Simple Path describes the life every human should take up, the life of service. This book is inspirational and serves as a spiritual seed, helping spirituality to grow and flourish. It helps one's faith to grow and teaches how to act on faith as opposed to just claiming faith. This book helps to prioritize what is truly important in life, and that is God. In a world that is full of hatred, violence, and misery, it points to God. Mother Theresa shows the way to hope. She leads by serving. She serves by loving. A Simple Path shows the way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why do we make it so stinking hard?
Mother Teresa used to threaten me, the way all good people do. I thought she had nothing to say to me (that I wanted to hear anyway) because she would challenge a part of me that didn't want guilt. How could I relate to a non-stop self-denial works machine? Surely, a part of her had to be dead or dying or in denial. I wanted to find out more. In her book, "No Greater Love", I learned that Mother Teresa was a person who saw Jesus in "the distressing disguise" of not only the poor, but the abused and the cruel and the mean and the unloved. For Mother Teresa, response to that person is response to Jesus. ("When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat...") In "A Simple Path", two paths seem to be explored: the simple life path Mother Teresa herself followed, and the simple path the volunteers of the Missionaries of Charity (the order she founded) follow. The exploration of both pathways was, for me, an eye-opener. Here are people who simply minister to needs, and who do not force feed Jesus to the one in need. The paradox is that many who are ministered to end up turning to God...perhaps because they saw a little bit of God in the person who helped. And Mother Teresa's take on finding God? Pray. "If you find it hard to pray," she says, "you can say 'Come Holy Spirit, guide me, protect me, clear out my mind so that I can pray.'" I didn't realize a works machine could teach me so much. A Simple Path, maybe; a simple woman, never. This review may be wordy, but I'd never have enough space to quote the things she said that stopped me dead. Read this book and discover the depth of a woman who is called a saint, and how she happened by the name. I've learned Mother Teresa can teach me something, and I can still eat chocolate and spend money with no serious guilt. Means she said a few things that went beyond coughing up change for the poor. (I only wonder if she could see Jesus in the distressing disguise of a manic four year old.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I bought this book about 6 years ago. It's one of those books that you pick up and cannot put down. I was totally enthralled with it from the first few pages and every chapter became more and more inspiring. I was not a Christian when I read this book, so it's not just for believers. Rather it is a book for those who long for something more in their lfe, to walk in a deeper yet more 'simple' way. All of the chapters such as the ones on prayer, love, faith etc touched me deeply and even though it's been several years since I read it, I would read it again most definately. I lent it to someone and have never been given it back. I may just have to buy it again! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good reminder
This book is a good reminder of how to love. Many of us discuss, debate and guess at what real love looks like. This book reminds us that love can range from serving to just holding someone who is living their last days. This book often wisely suggests that we could preach less and serve more. Inspiring.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fake
Mother Teresa was a self-aggrandizing fake. How can you all be taken in by her???? ... Read more

125. Child Bride : The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517705850
Catlog: Book (1997-08-12)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 259508
Average Customer Review: 3.39 out of 5 stars
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With three steamy books by the women in Elvis's life already published (1997's Elvis: In theTwilight of Memory by June Juanico; Priscilla Beaulieu Presley's 1991 tell-all, Elvis and Me;and Joyce Bova's Don't Ask Forever: My Love Affair with Elvis), can the world absorb another?Suzanne Finstad, author of Child Bride: The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, certainlyhopes so.

With as many darkly intriguing details as the chambers of Graceland, Finstad--journalist, lawyer, andauthor of two true-crime books--defends her own theories on the complexity and grit of the former Mrs.Presley. Why did she conspire with her mother to keep her paternity a secret? How old was she when shetook up with the King? Suzanne Finstad treats us to her own exhaustively researched version of the facts. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Price of Fame
I don't usually read this kind of book - (the last biography I read before this was of Darwin), but for many of my generation Elvis came on the scene as we were entering pubescence, and represented the sentiments we felt in his songs. There was something remarkable about him - the "good ole boy" honesty as it seemed to us. His downfall and death shook many old fans who had left him behind for a time. Now, we revisit the wonder of who he was, for better and for worse - the tragedy of his short life. This book brings the reader to see Elvis through this significant aspect of his life. Without Elvis, there would not have been a Priscilla Presley. I think the author tried to present a fair perspective, and took a journalistic approach to the writing her book. What is the truth? - who can say - in some aspects it is a matter of perspective, and in others, the guy Currie who introduced her to Elvis, for example, simply bad bad manners because there is a certain aspect of privacy that people deserve of intimate relationships. Who could blame Priscilla for suing about that aspect of the book. It was a very very ugly part of the book. The book certainly has drawn reaction. One thinks - too bad Elvis didn't marry Ann Margret .... Not in any bad vibes of Priscilla, because she is some smart lady, and I think did well by any measure for Lisa, but because Ann Margret is some classy lady and she stood by her man Roger Smith, through sickness and good times, as he did for her. Wishful thinking.. Elvis' fame gave him a tremendous power, and that power prevented anyone from saving him. Who could blame Priscilla for leaving him? Child Bride is a good read through - once, for those who have a deep feeling of who Elvis was. He was a unique man. He died too young. His music lives on.. cliche, but oh, so true...

1-0 out of 5 stars bad
This book is tabloid fodder. Don't read it. It contradicts itself and is terrible all the way around.

1-0 out of 5 stars Jealous author seeks fame
Where do I begin? I began reading this book with an open mind, having heard good and bad things about it. It is bad. Ms. Finstad comes off as a very jealous woman. She sounds like a 12 year old still mad that she didn't marry Elvis. If you are a fan of either Elvis or Priscilla, don't read this book. If I described this book in one word it would be contradictory. Ms. Finstad constantly refers to the "web of lies" that Priscilla has spun. I find it hard to believe that if the web truly exists, why would she be the first to discover it? Wouldn't some one else have uncoverd it years before? There are countless contradictory ideas in this book. She describes how Priscilla was a master of masking her true emotions then a few pages later she says that once Elvis left Germany Priscilla acted happy go lucky so that meant that Priscilla didn't love Elvis. Couldn't she be masking her true emotions so people didn't think that she was deeply sad? That is just one example. I also don't respect the opinions of her sources. All of whom have reason to be jealous of Priscilla. I find it hard to believe that someone you knew for a year when you were 12 can be a judge of your true character. Ms. Finstad can't even get simple things right. She said Elvis was 11 years older when he was 10. She said they married 7 years after meeting when it was 8. Ms. Finstad needs to understand adoption as well. Priscilla was adopted by her step-father so her name was legally chnaged to Beaulieu but Ms. Finstad tries to say that Priscilla was denying her past by not going by Wagner. There are several sources from the book that say how Priscilla never loved Elvis but these same people go onto TV interviews and say they loved eachother but just couldn't make it work. Elvis was not stupid. He would have known if she didn't love him. The virginity issue is always a hot topic. I'll just say that Elvis thought she was a virgin before and after they got married so I'll leave it at that. I can't even remember every little bit of contradiction in the book right now but rest assured that it is filled with it. Don't waste your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Child Bride - The truthful side
I had originally read Priscilla Presleys, "Elvis and Me", and to be honest, I couldnt help but feel that Priscilla had glossed over her story with Elvis. There didnt seem to be any real emotion portrayed throughout the book, just a glossy, storytale fashion that the myth of her and elvis has evolved from. I truly felt that Priscilla was very good at painting the most perfect, sweet image of herself, yet she didnt open up and reveal any raw, honest regrets that she also may have made in the relationship. I admit, I was left throughout the book with many questions for various situations/events in her life with Elvis.So, it came as a surprise when a friend of mine mentioned that there was a book that may answer those doubts that I had.
Suzanne Finstad's account seems to be 100% researched before any information was put into this book and I truly feel that Priscilla Presley was the victim of an overly ambitious mother and father. This book (unbelievably), seemed to answer all those doubts and questions that I had in my head from the first book. The evidence is there to support that Priscilla made the "rape" story up in order to detract what had went on between herself and Curry..after all lets face it, it would take quite an "advanced 14 year old" to be able to hold the attention of a 25 year old man. Also, whilst I completly condem what Curry Grant did, what reason would this man lie for ?? to hurt his family?, to destroy his own character ?, I dont think so. Unfortunatly I found that the evidence in this book supports the fact that the Elvis/Priscilla myth, that Priscilla painted was a (PR), motivated stretch of her imagination. There is some dark truths in this book, I feel, and for those hardened Elvis and Priscilla fans who believe in the Priscilla myth, this book is not for you, however, If you too felt similar opinions about Priscilla's book, This is a must read, backed up by ground breaking evidence and reliable sources (close associates of both). GO BUY IT !

5-0 out of 5 stars I found this to be a very good read..
People are so wrapped in the myth of Elvis and Priscilla, that when anything comes along to refute that, people get very upset. Because from reading some of these reviews, this book was something that diehards didn't want to read about, because they are so used to hearing the usual spin from Priscilla, which they take as the gospel.

People tend to be gulliable when it comes to celebs and believe everything they say. Because if you go back and read her book and then Suzanne's, the inconsistences are very obvious. Plus Priscilla did say she learned PR from the best Colonel Parker and Elvis.

Celebs create lies about themselves all of the time, Priscilla is no diffrent. Some reviews have said that the ex's and the entourage have a ax to grind. But what about her childhood friends, I doubt they had a ax to grind. And you can pretty much tell from reading their stories, which were very well collaborated, that they were telling the truth.

Priscilla always had it in mind to meet Elvis, and she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night. Priscilla had a active (...) life when Elvis was gone. And her parents, seeing Elvis as the big mealticket, sent her back to the States because she was getting to wrapped up in Jamie Lindberg. Even though they were eventually going to follow soon after.

And it was a eye-opener that her parents had a diffrent set of rules for her other boyfriends but when it came to Elvis, anything went. Sometimes Priscilla came home as late as after midnight, and her parents really didn't put a stop to that. And lets not get started on the fact that Elvis was a grown man and Priscilla was still a child, which gets glossed over because Elvis such a legend now. Honestly, how many parents would knowingly let their daughter go over to a adult man's house, let alone live with him. Not many but i know alot would, if the guy was a big celebrity..

Currie Grant's story i believe 100% because he readily admits his wrongs, the fact that he wasn't perfect in the whole situation. And i found it funny that Priscilla sued him and no one else, probably because he was the easiest target because he was shut out of Elvis's world. Plus Priscilla has made enough money off of Elvis's name to pay lawyers for years.

And the interviews with her friends at the time about the Eve comparisons are good, because i believe that Priscilla is a very calculating and intelligent person, discarding those she has no more use for, after she learned all she can from them. Joe Esposito, who numerous people have said is a very nice guy and Rick Stanley, i found to be very truthful to and thought they had alot of good insight.

In regards to Ann-Margaret, who i believe was the love of Elvis's life and Priscilla and Lisa. I read this book in a objective frame of mind and i came away from it thinking that this is in the top 5 of books of anything Presely related. Suzanne Finstad did a very good job writing this book, very well researched. ... Read more

126. It Could Happen To You:Diary Of A Pregnancy and Beyond
by Martha Brockenbrough
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0740726854
Catlog: Book (2002-09-02)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Sales Rank: 47422
Average Customer Review: 4.96 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Martha Brockenbrough's It Could Happen To You is a delightfully funny diary of the author's own pregnancy through the first year of her daughter's life.It is the perfect antidote to all of the patronizing, horribly dull pregnancy books, which are long on advice and short on laughs.It Could Happen To You began as a column Brockenbrough wrote for the Microsoft Network while she was pregnant.During its tenure on MSN, it was the most widely read column about pregnancy and motherhood on the Internet.It's easy to see why.Brockenbrough's amusing approach to pregnancy and motherhood will strike a chord with experienced moms and the newly pregnant alike, who may wonder, as the author did, "Do I really have to wear maternity clothes?"Throughout the book, Brockenbrough shares her joys and her fears, and asks the questions every new mom wants to know, such as, "Why do old ladies keep telling me my baby is cold?" and share the realization that 'When you're a mother, your guilt light goes off the second you start doing something for you, instead of something for your child." A few not-to-be-missed chapters written by her husband, Adam, such as "A Guy's Guide to Baby Holding," provide a comical male perspective on the whole experience.Refreshingly honest and funny, It Could Happen To You is just right for bolstering the most important tool a new parent has - a sense of humor. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars you must read this book!
This book is unique. My wife and I are expecting our first child in a couple of months. She got this book from a friend and insisted that I read it. Boy am I glad that I did. Not only is it hilarious, but its the first pregnancy book I have read with a chapter just for Dad's to be that actually contains useful advice. Martha's husband writes a chapter that had me rolling! This book talks about all the things surrounding pregnancy that other books gloss over. It's the perfect, light, funny companion to the pregnancy instruction books we all know about (i.e. What to expect when you're expecting). Martha has a unique style that really sets her apart. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm buying a copy for all my pregnant friends!
Loved the column (I've read it when I was pregnant), love the book! Any future mom (or woman having second thoughts about motherhood) should read this book.
I cried, I laughed (my husband, my daughter and our pet looked at me suspiciously) I translated favourite parts to anyone who would listen..
Martha, please keep writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just what the doctor (or midwife) ordered....
If the hormonal swings of pregnancy are getting you down, a dose of Martha Brockenbrough could be just what the doctor (or midwife) ordered. It Could Happen to You: Diary of a Pregnancy and Beyond makes the perfect companion to some of the more serious pregnancy reference books - the kind that may be causing you to toss and turn at night. Brockenbrough has the gift of being about to see the humor in everything from morning sickness to labor to mother guilt - and, trust me, that really is a gift. A lot of mamas-to-be lose their sense of humor long before delivery day....

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly funny!
In a world where boring advice books are a dime a dozen, "It Could Happen to You!" is a lovely reprieve. The author's hilarious perspective of in-the-trenches pregnancy and parenthood shows the real side of having a baby. Her witty and sometimes irreverent observations on this eye-opening stage of life provide endless laughs -- and sometimes tears. This book is a must-have for all new moms and those soon-to-be!

5-0 out of 5 stars Are there more than 5 stars anywhere??
This book is absolutely delightful. I read exerpts of it to my husband last night and we were both laughing. This tickled my funny bone absolutely.

Get it, read it, love it like we do.

Happy New Year! ... Read more

127. Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw
by Mark Bowden
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142000957
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 6018
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented access to important players-including Colombian president C&eacutesar Gaviria and the incorruptible head of the special police unit that pursued Escobar, Colonel Hugo Martinez-as well as top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden has produced a gripping narrative that is a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.

"The story of how the U.S. Army Intelligence and Delta Force commandos helped Colombian police track down and kill Pablo Escobar is a compelling, almost Shakespearean tale." (Los Angeles Times)

"Absolutely riveting. . . . Mark Bowden has a way of making modern nonfiction read like the best of novels." (The Denver Post)
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Reviews (126)

4-0 out of 5 stars Second to Black Hawk Down
Killing Pablo is a book that should have been made into a movie. It had every aspect of a good movie needed to succeed. Pablo Escobar, who was at the time, the single most powerful drug trafficker in the world. As he became more powerful, he believed the more people needed to be taken out. Little did he know this was the beginning of his long and violent downfall. Mark Bowden again delivers a book that reads very easy. Full of information about hundreds of people involved with either Pablo's rise or Pablo's fall, Killing Pablo is one of the most informitive books I have read about beginning of the drug wars that have consumed the United States of America for now well over 10 years. With the current escalating situation in South America, Killing Pablo is a great book to gain a better understanding of why exactly there are American soldiers down there. I would recomend this book to anybody who enjoys furthering their knowledge of modern day wars, or who has enjoyed books like this, for example Black Hawk Down, in the past. I give it 4 stars because it is not as good as Black Hawk Down, and doesnt deserve to be given and equal rating. A very well done book though.

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative, yet unfulfilling
For a straight journalistic account of how the U.S. Government joined forces with elements of the Colombian government to hunt down and kill Pablo Escobar, "Killing Pablo" brings the goods. The years long pursuit of the man many considered to be the world's most notorious outlaw was punctuated by epic corruption and fantastic levels of sickening violence. All of this author Mark Bowdon scrupulously documents. The problem with the book is that Bowden has no sources who were truly on the inside of Escobar's empire. This is not surprising given that most of his associates were killed. But without first hand accounts of many of the violent incidents, they become a blur of facts that eventually become mind numbing. By all accounts, Escobar was a cunning and ruthless man, but without first hand accounts, the reader really doesn't get to know him. As a result, Bowden's narrative tends to drag after awhile.

Bowden does an excellent job of humanizing the men, both American and Colombian, who were reponsible for Escobar's downfall. But their stories are just not as interesting. Ultimately, at the end of the book Bowden shows just how futile the drug war has been to date. It would be nice to think that the book might help America rethink its drug startegy. But I think that's being overly optomistic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reading Pablo
I picked up this book because I really liked Black Hak Down. This book is written in the same style that made BHD a great book. There is great attention to detail, personal portraits of the characters, and an ever-evolving storyline. My exposure to Pablo Escobar before this book was just a brief understanding that he was a drug dealer from way back. Other than that I could not tell you much about the guy. But after reading this book, I have a much better understanding of the man and why the U.S. wanted him neutralized.

Great read. Quick read. Must buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars an interesting argument against the drug war
This book, inadvertently, I suspect, is really an argument against the drug war. By now a cliche, this line of thought postulates that, were drugs like cocaine not criminalized in the states, there would be no or little incentive for murderous thugs in Latin America to risk murder and lengthy prison times getting the drug in this country.

Thus, one could argue, quite blithely, that, had the American government wised up and attempted to regulate drug trafficking like any other international business, many of the unsavory elements of the business would depart for greener (more illicit) pastures. The natural consequence of this, of course, would be that millions of dollars otherwise spent on futile attempts at interdiction and eradication would be spent elsewhere, and many of the thousands of people killed both in the United States and Latin America over the past 25 years would instead be alive.

Would that it were true that the United States could hew to the lessons learned in the alcohol trade: once alcohol was legal again in the United States and it became a regulated drug sold only to people legally eligible to buy it, the violence associated with it declined precipitously. In fact, the only violence associated with alcohol use today is domestic violence and drunk driving. Those violent acts, while of course tragic to all those involved in them, are far fewer and far less bloody than the gang wars initiated by Al Capone and his antogonists.

That the same lesson applies in the drug war is sad.

On another note, a number of reviewers on this site have mentioned many apparent parallels between the hunt for Pablo Escobar and the hunt for Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. While it is true that, superficially, there are parallels, such as the US government deciding that its national security in all three instances was at risk with these monsters operating openly, it is nonetheless an unfair comparison. Relatively few Colombians liked Escobar, and he never had the legitimacy of the state behind him, as did Hussein.

Given all that, this is an excellent account of the travails leading up to, and concluding with, the execution of Escobar.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This book was a great read. I had always been interested in the story about Pablo's rise and fall, and this book was very well written, and informative. ... Read more

128. Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail (Oprah's Book Club (Paperback))
by Malika Oufkir
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786886307
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 9572
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller--the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege.

Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.

A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey to freedom. ... Read more

Reviews (197)

4-0 out of 5 stars five stars for story and three stars for style
Malika Oufkir tells us the powerful and tragic story of her life in the book Stolen Lives. She begins the story describing her life as a princess after being adopted by the king of Morocco. She lived an almost unreal life of luxury while at court. The opulence Malika describes is comparable to the time of Marie Antoinette. From the resplendent court, her life is irrevocably altered when her father fails in an assassination attempt and her entire family is placed in prison including her three year old brother.

The family's story is extraordinary. Their triumph of spirit is remarkable considering the duration and horrors which they suffered. We see the importance of unity and belief of oneself and each other. We see incredible love and sacrifice. But we also see how imprisonment can degrade the human spirit and affect the psyche.

We learn in the preface of the book, how Malika came to hire Michele Fitoussi as the co-author of her book. Throughout the book, the reader cannot help but wonder why. It is a shame that such an interesting and compelling story was so poorly written. The author fails terribly in her attempt to describe herself as a sympathetic person prior to her imprisonment. The continual jumping back and forth in time is confusing and annoying to a reader. I also wondered if perhaps the translation was poor, because of the use of certain words and general lack of eloquence from a person who entertained her family with her stories in their darkest hour.

Another book which may interest readers who liked and appreciated Stolen Lives is In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. Readers who appreciate stories about the triumph of the human spirit will enjoy Stolen Lives.

3-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story that deserves a better telling.
"Stolen Lives" needs to be evaluated on two different levels - the moving tale of a family imprisoned under the worst conditions for 20 years and the way this amazing story has been memorialized by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi. The subject is engrossing and important, but the book itself is not well-written. This accounts for the disparity in ratings that the book has received.

It is fascinating to read about Malika'a unique and frequently heartbreaking life. The eldest daughter of a Morococcan general, she was taken from her family and adopted by the King. Western readers will find the tales of her life in the royal household surprising and enlightening. Not only was the lifestyle outrageously lavish, it was also consisted of customs and traditions that are completely different from our own. Malika was allowed to return to her own family as a young teenager. She only had a few years to get to know her father and enjoy life outside the confines of the palace. Her father before General Oufkir was implicated in a coup attempt against the King and was assassinated. The rest of the family - Malika, her mother, her oldest brother, three young sisters and three year old baby brother were summarily imprisoned. For twenty years they lived in increasingly brutal and inhumane conditions, persecuted by the King for their father's crimes and forgotten by the world. Thanks to their uncommon courage and ingenuity, the family was able to survive and eventually escape. It's not easy to read about many of the horrors and indignities that were heaped upon the Oufkirs, but it's important that the world know about their story.

Unfortunately, the book is not worthy of this amazing story. It was written by Malika with the assistance of Michele Fitoussi. The first problem is that the book does not give sufficient background about either the history of Morrocco or General Oufkir's powerful role as one of the King's chief aides. Those unfamiliar with Moroccan history will frequently find themself at a loss for context. Second, given that this is Malika's first person account, it necessarily is a very one-sided version of history. Not that I doubt her version of events - I just would have preferred a more complete and well-researched book that included not only Malika's story but also those of her siblings. Malika frequently portrays herself as the backbone of the family, the strongest member who kept them all from succumbing to madness. This very likely is true, but it would have a much greater impact coming from someone else. Finally, the writing style is very repetitive and immature. While Michele Fitoussi is very sympathetic to Malika's story and deserves much credit for persuading her to tell her story, I have no doubt that a more objective and skilled writer would have improved the quality of the book immensely. Hopefully a serious scholar will undertake a complete telling of the Oufkir's story. I, for one, will be anxious to read it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Poorly Written
After living off and on in Morocco for 7 years in the 90's I'd never actually heard of the Oufkirs but I did hear much of the supposed royal excess. I was always taken the stories with a grain of salt. To see them recounted on the pages of this book was interesting to say the least.

It's too bad that this is so poorly written because the story definitely deserves to be told....please someone tell it with a bit more depth.

5-0 out of 5 stars **Unforgettable**
Some of you may have seen this woman on Oprah a few years back telling of her ordeal. I put off reading this book & had come to the conclusion that I didn't want to read a depressing nightmare of being locked in a remote prison for decades. Then along came a friend of a friend, who encouraged me to read it, that I "needed" to read it.
This book, to me, was life-changing. As I recognize how spoiled us Americans truly are, nothing could've prepared me for this family's struggles.
Malika & her family displayed such amazing gifts of courage & strength that I was blown away. In awe and humbled. Their "tale" was almost just that: a tale. I simply cannot fathom the conditions that these poor people survived in.
As I was continuously mesmerized by their strength during their imprisonment, I was later caught in Malika's greatest feat of all: forgiveness. This woman showed me what a powerful thing it truly is. She forgave with such grace & eloquence that I was just speechless. I speak mainly of her due to the fact that she was "adopted" by the royal family as a child & later cast out in a most horrifying way. As us readers were not given as much detail of her siblings (especially after their release), I can make no assumptions for them. Nevertheless, this family as a whole is an unwavering symbol of love, strength, & survival.
I hope that they are doing well now & thank each one of them for their story.
I hope that I never forget it, for it is a daily reminder of what I have in this life with my freedom & my family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story of the Human Spirit!
I have not done any research to verify if the information in this book is accurate or not. However, it was an excellent read and I highly recommend it! It provided an extraordinary glimpse into the world of human rights abuses and leaves the reader with a deep appreciation for the simple joys that we take for granted.

Malika Oufkir was a teenager in the prime of her life when she was put into horrible prison conditions for twenty years with her family. Her family was being punished for the political actions of her father.

Malika is an excellent story teller and has lives on the inside of the royal family in Morocco so it is very interesting to hear details of her upbringing.

It is extraordinary to hear of the atrocious jail conditions inflicted on this family that was used to such a lavish existence. If you have any interest in human rights or the politics of Morocco then you will be fascinated by this read! ... Read more

129. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D
by Lizzie Simon
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743446607
Catlog: Book (2003-06-18)
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Sales Rank: 47374
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

By all appearances, Lizzie Simon was perfect. She had an Ivy League education, lots of friends, a loving family, and a dazzling career as a theater producer by the age of twenty-three. But that wasn't enough: Lizzie still felt alone in the world, and largely misunderstood. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager, she longed to meet others like herself; she wanted to hear the experiences of those who managed to move past their manic-depression and lead normal lives. So Lizzie hits the road, hoping to find "a herd of her own." Along the way she finds romance and madness, survivors and sufferers, and, somewhere between the lanes, herself. Part road trip, part love story, Detour is a fast-paced, enduring memoir that demystifies mental illness while it embraces the universally human struggle to become whole. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Lizzie Simon, a charming, witty, intelligent, bipolar young woman travels cross country interviewing fellow sufferers. I enjoyed this book, although I kept returning to the cover to look at her pictures, because she is so cute. Bipolar disorder is no joke, but that doesn't stop the author from having a good life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A First in a New Genre about People with Mental Illness
Lizzie Simon experienced her first manic-depressive episode at age 17 in her senior year of high school while studying in Paris. It happened after she received early acceptance to Columbia University. Simon, now a 1998 graduate of Columbia University, quit her $900 a week job as creative producer of New York's Flea Theater at age 23, immediately after she helped them win the esteemed Obie Award. She had unresolved issues in her life, unexplored feelings left behind from the scary time in high school when her mind fell apart and was restored again with Lithium. She went away to college, sought and found success, and the subject of her daily battles with her life-saving pills never came up. She longed for closure. She searched for her sign, her way out.
"I kept receiving signs telling me I had other work to do. It was as if success had made a lot of noise in my head go away about being successful. I wasn't screeching at myself to make more and more. I wasn't basking in the public attention I was receiving or gloating through the streets of Tribecca. No, all of a sudden, it seemed things go really quiet in my head. I longed for a new direction, a new devotion. And then the signs emerged. The detour, my detour, lay ahead," she writes in Detour.
Then, she saw the sign. As she rode the subway back to her Brooklyn apartment, she saw a sign with a woman in a business suit. In big lettering over the woman it read, "For Mentally Illness, Treatment is Working". A few days later in the NYPress' "Best Of" section a commentary was written calling the ad "Best Scary Subway" ad of the year. The stigmatization and prejudice shown on behalf of the Press' editors moved her to write and send an editorial. From this editorial, spawned ideas for a new project aiming at de-stigmatizing mental illness and at the same time unite young sufferers.
"I am creating this project for the terrorized seventeen-year-old who has just been through hell and back. She's on the precipice of the rest of her life but she doesn't have the faith to know it, because all she can see, all anybody is showing her, is the dead end she feels surrounding her. I am making this journey for her, to help her through this, the hardest time in her life...I think she's worth my time, my energy, my art, and my honesty, because I think if she breaks through she'll change the world," she writes.
Detour began another part of her journey with this illness. She interviewed six other young successful people with bipolar disorder all between ages 16 and 30 chronicling their stories and asking them for advice on how they cope and deal with parents, coworkers, teachers, and friends. The story takes place in Simon's fathers's white SUV as she cruises from her parent's home in Rhode Island down the East Coast and out to California in search of her herd-her herd of other successful, high-functioning young people with mood disorders like herself. Along the way, she meets some odd characters, courageous souls, and battles terrifying existential woes, which almost cause her to abandon her quest and go home. She even adds some spice by including her love affair with a bipolar drug addict and fellow New Yorker throughout her book project.
Simon sketches with simplicity, portraying her six interviewees with honesty and sheer determination to survive and even thrive. Her empathetic interviews with other young bipolars as well as her witty insights into her own story make the book come alive. This book defines a beginning in a whole new genre of fiction and creative nonfiction about young people and mental illness. This is a must-have for every young person, their doctor, their friends, and their school counselors.
In 2002, Simon served as an assistant field producer for the MTV special "True Life: I'm Bipolar," which was inspired by Detour and HBO recently optioned for the rights to make the movie.
A recipient of a grant from the Federation for Families for Children's Mental Health, Simon is a frequent guest speaker and freelance writer. She also teaches creative writing classes and is working on a novel with a character who loses her brother to suicide. You can visit her web site at

4-0 out of 5 stars Unusual memoir
Lizzie Simon had everything except peace of mind. Having been diagnosed during her teenage years with bipolar disorder, she'd never quite come to grips with her condition and felt misunderstood and unable to live the normal life she craved. So she took off to travel and found her way home. Detour is a fast-paced memoir, unlike most in this genre of self-absorption, and manages to demystify the aura of mental illness.
It's good, really good. ... Read more

130. Diary of a Provincial Lady (Provincial Lady)
by E.M. Delafield, E. M. Delafield
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0897330536
Catlog: Book (1991-03-01)
Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers
Sales Rank: 198197
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terribly, awfully, wonderful book of life between the wars
This charming book was written in the period between the wars, and tells of the daily trials and tribulations of the Provincial Lady - dealing with the servants, nosy neighbours, the horribly snobbish local 'upper class', the husband who hides behind the paper. Always told with style and wit, we observe life for the lady in question as she tries to balance the accounts (never a success - where does it all go?), help out at the local Women's Institute, keep her wardrobe up to date and deal with such important issues as modern parenting, keeping one's brain active when living outside of London, and the delicate balance of letting the husband know not too much or too little.

The stand-out thing about this book is the character descriptions and her take on everyday life. If anyone ever tells you people were much nicer/politer in the good old days, just refer them to this book, which shows that there was just as many selfish, impolite, venal, self-centred and downright rude people in the 'good old days' as there are today. We just need to hope that we can deal with them with as much style and aplomb as the Provincial Lady would.

4-0 out of 5 stars British Wit. Same women world as we know it...
Am determined to write impressions from this book in the style of "the Provincial Lady" herself. Am doubtful however as to the outcomes of this effort as my highest labors would not reach the dry frank witticism she displays.
Provincial Lady does her best to satisfy the wishes of silent husband (... "Robert, this morning, complains of insufficient breakfast. Cannot feel that porridge, scrambled eggs, toast, marmalade, scones, brown bread and coffee give adequate grounds for this, but admit that porridge is slightly burnt...."), intimidating cook, beloved children (... "Robin - whom I refer to in a detached way as "the boy" so that she shan't think I am foolish about him..., "Vicky,.... Enquires abruptly whether, if she died, I should cry?"), Mademoiselle (the nanny), Gardner and all kinds of friends and neighbors including the tiring Lady Birkenshop, "our vicar's wife" and the hated Mrs. B. ("query: Is not a common hate one of the strongest links in human nature?... answer, most regrettably, in the affirmative.")
This is the same women world. Husband is as usual quiet and does not give any consolation and the Lady struggles to please everyone and not forget herself and her own wishes (and health) on the way. How very sad to discover it was the same (woman) world even 70 years ago ... Book is so very candid and manages to capture the ever lasting nuances of human behavior ("Mem: Candid and intelligent self examination as to motive, etc., often leads to very distressing revelations...."), little lies, social pretenses and the day to day struggles. Funny and entertaining yet can be tiring at times - since the day to day life is indeed tiring . Very very British and thus charming.

4-0 out of 5 stars Witty stay at home mum's life, dated and timeless too
I reread this every year or two, and love it each time. Admittedly,a product of its time and place, capturing life among the genteely-poor gentry in an English village between the wars(WW's I & II). The diary format makes the provincial lady's narration of and commentary on the events around her doubly funny, as she struggles to run her household and not be driven crazy by nice but dull husband, snobbish wife of husband's boss,disputes among servants,quandaries about children, etc.--and to find time to keep a sense of herself as a professional writer. Not deep, but funny and often touching.

3-0 out of 5 stars Charming but Dated
This was a simply written and quite charming novel. Whilst it did give an insight into the lives of a moderately wealthy English family in 1931, it lacked plot and real structure and for this reason I am unlikely to read more by this author at this stage - especially when there are simply too many other great books out there to read. A gentle, easy read but a little disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolute Must! Witty, charming and intelligent
Delafield's Diary of a Provencial Lady is a classic that shares company with the likes of Eudora Welty, Kate Chopin and even Twain. Unlike Welty, Delafield is chatty. But don't let the airy prose fool you. She captures all the wit and humor of a woman's provencial life in England. Where Chopin's Awakening is tragic and dream-like, Delafield's world briskly bumbles along. Her use of present tense almost makes you breathless. Delafield immediately sets a quick pace and you want to read on and on to to keep up with all the "goings on" in the book. The piece is masterfully written and is a must for those looking to expand their literary boundaries. ... Read more

131. A Random Act : An Inspiring True Story of Fighting to Survive and Choosing to Forgive
by Cindi Broaddus, Kimberly Lohman Suiters
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060735147
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 26555
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sometimes life throws a curveball ...
and sometimes it drops a bomb

Cindi Broaddus didn't realize that her life was about to be forever altered as she sat in the passenger seat of a car on a lonely highway, speeding toward the airport in the early morning hours of June 5, 2001. The sister-in-law of Dr. Phil McGraw, a single mother of three, and a delighted new grandmother, she was thinking only of her imminent, well-earned vacation when a gallon glass jar filled with sulfuric acid, tossed from an overpass by an unknown assailant, came crashing through the windshield. In a heartbeat, Cindi was showered with glass and flesh-eating liquid, leaving her blinded, screaming in agony, and burned almost beyond recognition. When she reached the hospital, the attending doctors gave her little better than a 30 percent chance of survival.

But Cindi Broaddus did survive -- and after excruciating years of recuperation and seemingly endless sessions of skin grafts and reconstructive surgery, she emerged from her ordeal in many ways stronger than she had ever been before.

A Random Act is the riveting firsthand account of a brutal and senseless attack and its aftermath. But much more than one remarkable woman's personal chronicle of an unthinkable tragedy and amazing recovery, Cindi's story is one of hope and transcendence, born of a conscious and dedicated determination to turn a nightmarish experience into something positive and uplifting. Her unforgettable journey back to life and a gloriously renewed sense of purpose will serve as an inspiration for every reader, offering eloquent and illuminating truths about love, healing, and the astounding power of choice, while providing an invaluable road map to a new understanding of what truly matters most.

... Read more

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dribble Dribble Dribble
I agree with the other reviewers who mentioned the author pats herself on the back over and over again in this book. It gets SO tiring to read. Between that, and tossing names around (Dr. Phil this, Dr. Phil that) I could hardly get through it.
I feel for what the author went through, but a different writing style might have made all the difference in my opinion of her writings about it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Badly done
I have to agree with the reviewer below who said this was a good story poorly told.

The premise was good, which is why I picked up the book. Unfortunately, the execution leaves much to be desired. The author repeats herself often, particularly the parts about how admirable and wonderful and peaceful and strong she is. If she'd spent more time telling her story than waxing rhapsodic about herself, this could have gotten lots more stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Love Story
What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!I sat down and read this book cover-to-cover.I couldn't stop turning the pages until I reached the end.I am SOOOO glad that I read this book before I read a couple of the reviews on this website!Yes, Cindi mentions Dr. Phil in her story. Not too surprising when you read on the front cover that he wrote the foreward for the book AND he is an essential part of the story.I found it interesting that we get a glimpse of Dr. Phil we don't see on television, that of a concerned, caring, and loyal brother-in-law.He never stopped trying to find the person responsible for this crime.We should all be so lucky to have a brother-in-law who cares so much.I also don't understand how someone who read this book could say that Cindi spends the entire book talking about "how great she is".On the contrary, Cindi spends a great deal of time talking about how wonderful her family, friends, and co-workers were to her during this difficult time.Do you REALLY think all these people would rush to the side of a self-centered braggart?I find that difficult to believe.
Bottom Line:If you are a hopelessly cynical, bitter, negativeperson, you may find reading this book a total waste of time.To everyone else:This is a beautiful book.It speaks to all of us about the power of making positive choices.Thank you, Cindi, for sharing your story.You are an inspiration to all of us.

1-0 out of 5 stars Like nails on a chalkboard
Could this author have spent any more time telling herself and everyone else how great she was? She evencontradicted herself several times to do it. I think she went through a horrible accident and it took a lot of strength to get through it; however, an entire book about how great she is?Even when she mentions other people (Dr Phil, Dr Phil, Dr Phil, and oh, have I mentioned Dr Phil?) she's mentioning them in the context of how great they think she is.And you know? She probably *is* a wonderful person but the writing of this book is so heavy handed and saccharine that the reader ceases to appreciate her strength (which is undoubted).After a while it's almost a drinking game "She complimented herself!Drink!"I think the story would have been a lot more interesting if she had told it with more simplicity and perspective.It wound up being a good story told badly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not much substance, lots of self-congratulation
This book was not so much "inspirational" as "irritating." I appreciate that the author suffered from this random attack, but her story would have been more palatable with a less self-congratulatory tone. Each chapter was packed with anecdotes of how other people told her how great she was, what a "prized" patient she was, how other people respected her so much; it becomes very tiresome very quickly. (Also tedious was the author's frequent mention of her relationship to Dr. Phil McGraw.) ... Read more

132. The Prison Angel : Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail
by MaryJordan, KevinSullivan
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200564
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 4165
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The winners of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting tell the astonishing story of Mary Clarke. At the age of fifty, Clarke left her comfortable life in suburban Los Angeles to follow a spiritual calling to care for the prisoners in one of Mexico's most notorious jails. She actually moved into a cell to live among drug king pins and petty thieves. She has led many of them through profound spiritual transformations in which they turned away from their lives of crime, and has deeply touched the lives of all who have witnessed the depth of her compassion. Donning a nun's habit, she became Mother Antonia, renowned as "the prison angel," and has now organized a new community of sisters-the Servants of the Eleventh Hour--widows and divorced women seeking new meaning in their lives. "We had never heard a story like hers," Jordan and Sullivan write, "a story of such powerful goodness."

Born in Beverly Hills, Clarke was raised around the glamour of Hollywood and looked like a star herself, a beautiful blonde reminiscent of Grace Kelly. The choreographer Busby Berkeley spotted her at a restaurant and offered her a job, but Mary's dream was to be a happy wife and mother. She raised seven children, but her two unfulfilling marriages ended in divorce. Then in the late 1960s, in midlife, she began devoting herself to charity work, realizing she had an extraordinary talent for drumming up donations for the sick and poor.

On one charity mission across the Mexican border to the drug-trafficking capitol of Tijuana, she visited La Mesa prison and experienced an intense feeling that she had found her true life's work. As she recalls, "I felt like I had come home." Receiving the blessings of the Catholic Church for her mission, on March 19, 1977, at the age of fifty, she moved into a cell in La Mesa, sleeping on a bunk with female prisoners above and below her. Nearly twenty-eight years later she is still living in that cell, and the remarkable power of her spiritual counseling to the prisoners has become legendary.

The story of both one woman's profound journey of discovery and growth and of the deep spiritual awakenings she has called forth in so many lost souls, The Prison Angel is an astonishing testament to the powers of personal transformation.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team, the extraordinary and inspiring story of Mother Antonia, the remarkable woman who at middle age found her life's calling by bringing the transformative power of her spiritual guidance to the most hardened criminals
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Prison Angel
Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan have written a rare and intimate book, one that traces the densely complex life of an american housewife from the glades of beverly hills to the cold and violent cells of a mexican prison; rare because journalists seldom plumb inner lives, and intimate because they lived with mother antonia in the prison where she works. this volume is rare as well because as much as it chronicles a life of consumate goodness, it does so within the harsh and often deadly atmosphere of mexican criminal life, the drug wars, vendettas, vengeance and betrayals. i read this book in one sitting; it cannot be put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't put this book down!
Mother Antonia is the essence of love, and yet she makes you laugh, makes you feel cherished, and makes you feel like a better person. She is so spunky and exudes life, and despite her small and short frame, she has stories that are so intense that it scares you, yet amazes you at how someone can love the unlovable so sincerely. This book captures her spirit and her overflowing love so well, and it also shows the other side of her, which is so courageous that she even stands up to some of Mexico's most notorious druglords. I wish that everyone could meet her, and that is why I am so excited that this book exists, so that everyone can have a chance to get to know what she is like. I read this book in a day because I could not put it down. There are so many on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories that it captures you. It made me think, laugh, cry, made me want to make more of my life, made me want to give, and helped me to love more. Mother Antonia is a gift and a blessing to everyone that meets her or reads her story. ... Read more

133. Sex with Kings : 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
by Eleanor Herman
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060585439
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 5074
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them.

Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales.

The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken.

True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Many would suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins."

From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars O my god
This book is amazing it has things that i never realized i mean it so funny,true,and very helpin in school it teaches you more about those time you guys should read it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Page turning historical fun!
Who knew history could be so amusing! Eleanor Herman has intrically crafted a page turning saga of royal mistresses throughout time. This is a very funny, easy to read book with lavish illustrations and well documented research. Never dull, Ms. Herman entertains the reader with laugh out loud stories about hidden lovers, sumptiously decorated suites, set aside wives, ugly woman who captivated kings and great beauties who fought rivals to win the premier post at court. An eye-opening account of the power and intrigue in the daily life of some of history's most famous (and lesser known) women. A summer must read! ... Read more

134. Around the World in 80 Dates
by Jennifer Cox
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416513159
Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
Publisher: Downtown Press
Sales Rank: 3376
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This may well be some of the best airplane reading ever. Part travel guide, part relationship primer, Around the World in 80 Dates mixes wry dating realities with preposterously romantic settings and a slightly more than backpacker budget. Author Jennifer Cox--an experienced travel journalist--gets friends around the world to act as matchmaker for an 80-date spree, and the result is, not surprisingly, highly entertaining.

As with dates everywhere, there are good (hot Swedish guy with a floating sauna), bad (hungover kid fresh from a Metallica concert), hysterically embarrassing (a shared pedicure turning into a poorly translated wart removal ordeal) and amazing (Mr. Soul Mate, Date No. 55). Almost every man goes out of his way to create sort of an ideal date--mostly involving Champagne and boats--and Cox's smirky humor and sincere desire to meet the man of her dreams combine for a sweetly honest--and honestly sweet--exploration of romance.

The romance kicks into high gear with No. 55, which happens over several days at Burning Man. She instantly feels he's "the One," but troops through toward the finish line, even daring to include No. 55 on a later date with No. 63. They sneak time together on a few continents, and it's with him that the serious romance happens (and their first date had nothing to do with either Champagne or boats). A life lesson or two are uncovered amidst the jet lag, and Cox hands those out with hard-earned wisdom that many women will recognize from their own lives. As for whether Mr. Soul Mate really turns out to be "the One," just think of it as a good mystery and don't peek--sometimes the journey is half the fun. --Jill Lightner

Tips andTricks from Jennifer Cox

"Traveling solo gives you
a sense of achievement."
~Jennifer Cox
Traveling Happy
"Traveling solo is brilliant," says Jennifer Cox, a seasoned travel writer and head of PR for Lonely Planet before she set out on her extraordinary journey to find Mr. Right--a quest she recounts in the delightfully witty and insightful Around the World in 80 Dates.

If the idea of traveling companion-free has been tempting you for a while, but apprehension of the unknown, or even the fear of looking like a "loser," has been holding you back, Ms. Cox has some advice that should help get you on your way, safe, happy, and confident.

"Trust your instincts."
~Jennifer Cox
Finding the One
"Take a look in the mirror. Like what you see? Good, then you’re in the right mood for dating." Finding your soul mate takes more than sheer luck or extravagant settings. It's about being in the right state of mind, suggests Jennifer Cox, who, after hitting four continents in six months in search of Mr. Right, came back with a thing or two, or ten, to share with men and women who are looking for that special someone.

From defining your "dating motto" to avoiding "date fatigue," find out how to keep your spirits high even after a date brought you low, and, most important, remember that "the One" is out there. "Don't give up. And don't settle for less than Mr. [or Mrs.] Right."
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars From Los Angeles to Sweden to New Zealand...
I love reading books about traveling and dating - especially when based on a true story.I knew this book fit into both categories and was based on the author's non-fictional account of how she found her true love.

"Around the World in 80 Dates" starts off in the UK where Jennifer is fresh from her latest heartbreak, and takes the reader from beginning to end.You will learn how she conceived of her "Around the World in 80 Dates" idea;You will be taken vicariously through each of her sometimes odd but often interesting dates; You'll see how she ends up meeting "the one"; and much more.

There were definitely some dates that stood out in the book: the handsome, overly confident Frank in Holland; William from Sweden who ended up expecting something from the date that Jennifer wasn't prepared to give him; the good-looking and enigmatic Olivier from France who didn't give Jennifer something she wanted; Davide, who was already happily devoted to a dead woman; Garry from Seattle who she meets at the Burning Man Festival in the hot deserts of Nevada; and many more.Through it all Jennifer has to juggle jet lag, constant travel, coordinating future dates, and keeping in touch with the friends and family who want to know what is going on.

"Around the World in 80 Dates" was an engaging and fast-moving readthat I really enjoyed up until the part where Jennifer seems to find her true love.From there, the story line went sort of downhill. Although she remains determined to carry out her "80 dates" plan, she isn't as enthusiastic, and all she can think about is the man she's fallen in love with.(Not that I could blame her!)But the last fourth of the book was very slow-going and I had to force myself to finish it.

The best thing about this book is getting to go along with Jennifer on her many dates in all kinds of exotic places - from Los Angeles to Sweden to Asia - and many places in between.

Overall, I would recommend this novel to travel and chick lit fans, and anyone who is curious what it is like going on a bunch of first dates.I certainly hope there is more non-fiction chick lit to come from Downtown Press!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not really 80 Dates
It wasn't really 80 dates, Ms. Cox counts Jim Morrison as one and speed dates through 20 in a speed dating event.It's an interesting concept, to try and go all around the world looking for a soul mate and something a lot of single women probably dream of doing.In the end though, the age old adage comes true, you "find" your soul mate without even trying.
The writing is fun in some parts, poignant in others and forgettable when Ms. Cox finally finds "The One".There is an interesting conundrum when she runs into someone who may be "The Other Soul Mate" but she doesn't let that storyline develop.Was she afraid to put "The One" through "The Test"?
All in all, a quick, light read but you find yourself wishing for some more tension, after all, that's what real life (and love) is all about

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun! Fun! Fun!
Live a fabulous live vicariously through 80 Dates Jen as she does all the legwork to find a soulmate.Keep one copy under your pillow, another in the trunk of your car (for passing time between appointments/auditions/stalkings), one on the tank of the toilet and a fourth in your desk at work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
I couldn't put it down.Jennifer Cox spun a terrific story about what she was really looking for--and the method she undertook to find it.She pulled me so deeply into her journey that I was unbelievably discouraged during the low points--and rooting for her every step of the way.
I admired her bravery--and honesty.About what she really was feeling through all of this--about herself, about men and about being willing to make sacrifices for what you really want.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a smart, entertaining read!
I loved this book the moment I read it and have been recommending it to everyone I know since then!!Jennifer's adventure around the world is captivating, her determination to find the right guy admirable, and her dating adventures exciting to follow.I really enjoyed her witty tone and thought she was incredibly brave to take the plunge and put herself out there! 80 times, no less!

On the more practical side, I found her tips for how to survive dating fatigue and how to build a relationship resumé (among other things) very helpful.So if you like to travel or meet new people or have ever thought you're alone in your search for the right partner, this is the book to read! ... Read more

135. 25 to Life: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice, Tom Shachtman, Leslie Crocker Snyder, Tom Schactman
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446530204
Catlog: Book (2002-09-23)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 189175
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She has presided over some of America's most complex and violent cases ranging fromnarcotics to sex crimes to headline-making murder and mob trials. Her toughness in court is legendary and she is known for frequently imposingmaximum sentences (120 years each for five young drug lords). As a result, she must have round-the-clock security as her life has been marked with repeated threats from criminals she put behind bars. Now, Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder has written a riveting account of her years on the bench taking readers behind the scenes and into a courtroom whose trials and rulings have placed a permanent stamp on our legal system. Her true story will inspire and influence many more. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Woman!
This book is more than meets the eye. I found it so intriguing that I read it non-stop over the weekend. Snyder chronicles the steps she took to get to where she is today. Her position of priviledge and honour weren't handed to her on a silver plate. She earned it, with a combination of grace, dignity, intelligence, and tenacity. Given her relatively low salary, especially in comparison to the defense attorneys in private practice, it is a wonder that she continues to work in such a demanding, yet thankless job, especially so when she and her family find their lives constantly threatened by the thugs that she protects society from. It is a gripping tale of how criminals run rampant and destroy the lives of innocent bystanders, and how Snyder does more than her part in ending their tyranny. You might expect a book about law to be dry. Think again! 25 TO LIFE is a gripping outline of Snyder's exciting career. I would compare this woman to Rudolph Guiliani in her leadership abilities. She is a role model to all, especially young women. (It's too bad she practices in NY. We could definately use somebody of her calibre here in Canada, to clean up the urban crime). Great book from a fabulous member of society.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bell-Ringer
This is such an incredible story, I could not put the book down... how could any one person take on the mob, the druggies, and some of the most vicious murderers ever seen in New York City? And while, much of the time, under death threat to her self and family by these creeps who had been getting away with their murders for years... To label her just a Conservative is ridiculous -- she is also liberal, feminist, family, but above all, AMERICAN. New York City and State, and America, owe her a tremendous debt. However, as I neared the end of her incredible odyssey, I wondered why she did not give a solution for the overall "War on Drugs," obviously a losing proposition. But she does! There are hidden powers in high places that should be doing everything possible to save America from this Drug Hell that has engulfed the nation. Time to wake up, folks...

1-0 out of 5 stars not exactly enlightening
The best biographies (and autobiographies) are those that do more than catalog their subjects' achievements -- they chronicle some inner struggle that makes the story interesting on a human level. Reading this book, you wonder why it was written. There seems to be no personal revelation, nothing below the surface. The author sees everything in black and white, and there doesn't seem to be anything more going on than a chronicling of local legal issues that have little relevance to anyone but a few insiders. Snyder's "interior" struggle seems to be her understanding that other people are bad. I guess she has always been perfect. This may be true, and if so I congratulate her, but it just doesn't make for interesting reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a "must read"
It's too bad that the title "In the Belly of the Beast" was already taken because that would have been an appropriate tag for this page turner. Having spent 25 years as a narcotics agent in New York City, I am humbled by the personal danger encountered by Judge Snyder.Courage and intellect such as hers are very rare commodities in this city.The insight that this book provides into the NYC criminal justice system has been previously kept as a dark secret. She is one of the reasons that one can feel safe walking the streets of Manhattan at midnight and we all owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers forget the grafitti ridden days of the 70's and 80's when the judiciary was rife with "Cut em loose Bruces". Watch a re-run of New Jack City to refresh your recollection!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Woman and An Impressive Book
A well written book which goes into the life of a woman who should be the role model for us all. Facing down vicious drug dealers, writing date rape laws, the first woman to prosecute homocide cases in New York, just on her credentials alone, this book is worth a read.

But Snyder goes further and gives us a very personal and interesting glimpse into her life. At times humorous, at times feisty, but always without varnish, we get a real glimpse into the backroom happenings of a major part of our criminal justice system and into someone who seems to be a major player.

Having read the reviews and heard the term "real-life law and order" invoked several times, I can only agree. I would be honored to serve on Judge Snyder's jury and, in my opinion, we need more people like her.

If this helps Snyder to launch a political career, BRAVO, I, for one, would love to have her helping to put more bad guys away!

Well Done Judge Snyder. You are a Class Act. ... Read more

136. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True Story
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609610589
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 10644
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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When he was but 10 years old, Tim Tyson heard one of his boyhood friends in Oxford, N.C. excitedly blurt the words that were to forever change his life: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger!" The cold-blooded street murder of young Henry Marrow by an ambitious, hot-tempered local businessman and his kin in the Spring of 1970 would quickly fan the long-flickering flames of racial discord in the proud, insular tobacco town into explosions of rage and street violence. It would also turn the white Tyson down a long, troubled reconciliation with his Southern roots that eventually led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--and this profoundly moving, if deeply troubling personal meditation on the true costs of America's historical racial divide. Taking its title from a traditional African-American spiritual, Tyson skillfully interweaves insightful autobiography (his father was the town's anti-segregationist Methodist minister, and a man whose conscience and human decency greatly informs the son) with a painstakingly nuanced historical analysis that underscores how little really changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 supposedly ended racial segregation. The details are often chilling: Oxford simply closed its public recreation facilities rather than integrate them; Marrow's accused murderers were publicly condemned, yet acquitted; the very town's newspaper records of the events--and indeed the author's later account for his graduate thesis--mysteriously removed from local public records. But Tyson's own impassioned personal history lessons here won't be denied; they're painful, yet necessary reminders of a poisonous American racial legacy that's so often been casually rewritten--and too easily carried forward into yet another century by politicians eagerly employing the cynical, so-called "Southern Strategy." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars fiction reported as non fiction
As opposed to Tim Tyson, I have lived in Oxford most of my life and therefore truely know of the people, events, locations he supposedly researched extensively to write this book. This is a fictionalized account of an event. A black man was killed by a white man, but Tim Tyson doesn't know the truth as to what led up to it, nor the subsequent events. . I find it interested that the whites are depicted as "terrorists" and the blacks as "military operators".

As I know that many so called "facts" are not so, (names, events, locations, etc.) I have to suspect the remainder of the book. The sad result is to question all books written by him and ALL graduates of the Duke PHD program. Tyson should advertise his future writings as fiction as he would make a good writer of the southern genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars The making of a man committed to peace and justice
This extremely well-written memoir/nonfiction book about a horrible, racially motivated killing in N. Carolina illustrates the author's coming of age in the American South. As a professor in African-American history, the book is grounded in thorough research and historical context. I was even impressed by bibliography at the end of the book. This man has done his research and documented it well.

Tyson not only writes about the tragic event that changed his life (and the history of his hometown) when he was 10, but he also shares some of the history of the Black Freedom movement and the history of his own family, and the way it has affected him throughout his life.

What I thought was particularly interesting was how the U.S. has sanitized the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in particular. When he was killed, Ronald Reagan actually had the gall to imply that he brought it on himself because of his lack of respect for law and order, and he accused the anti-war protestors for the assasination!

I was particularly touched by the stories about Tyson's amazing parents and feisty relatives, and others who stood up for justice and compassion. Tyson also writes openly about his angst and struggles to come to grips with his own prejudices.

I will recommend this book to everyone I know--I believe that it's a book that every American needs to read, to better understand the history of race relations in this country and how far we have yet to go.

5-0 out of 5 stars How The Rights Were Won
"'Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger.'" These are the initial words in _Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story_ (Crown Publishers) by Timothy Tyson. A shock opening is often to be distrusted, but not here; the words are those of a friend to the ten-year-old Tyson himself, and the book explains his efforts to come to an understanding of the 1970 murder and the subsequent revolution in race politics in his then home of Oxford, North Carolina. It lead him to do his master's thesis in history about the Oxford trials, but in this book he has not only given the history and the aftermath of the event in historical context, but has made it a memoir of his own growing up and his family's involvement in race relations. Parts of the story, including Tyson's relationship with his "Eleanor Roosevelt liberal" parents, are told with the love, humor and detail that many readers will associate with _To Kill a Mockingbird_. The struggle between the races is far from settled, but Tyson insists that this story from his time is an antidote to the "sugar-coated confections that pass for the popular history of the civil rights movement."

Brown vs. Board of Education, The Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act made no dent in Oxford. No black officials had entered into the local government. Blacks were employed in menial labor only. The public pool had been sold to become a private one, so that blacks never swam where whites did. Violence by blacks against whites was ruthlessly pursued, but not vice versa. The motivation for such action by whites, Tyson shows, was the same fear that has worked for centuries, that black men would have sex with white women. The trouble in Oxford was sparked by an allegation that Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black veteran, had made a flirtatious remark to a white woman. He was in the store of Robert Teel, probably a member of the Klan. Teel and his son Larry ran down Marrow and shot him in the street as he pled for his life. Mobs the night of the murder firebombed buildings, destroyed stores and "...scared the hell out of most of the white people in Oxford, and some of the black ones, too." The violence was worse when the Teels were declared not guilty. White liberals like Tyson's father had Christian faith that white people would share power rather than having to have it seized from them by black people. He was eventually shifted out of Oxford because of his racial moderation. Tyson clearly admires the stance his father took, but concedes that moderate whites who spoke up and tried to be good examples wound up doing little to really improve racial equality.

Tyson quotes a liberal paper of the time that "discussion is a more promising way to racial accommodation than destruction," but says that there is an uncomfortable, indisputable fact: that in Oxford, whites "... did not even consider altering the racial caste system until rocks began to fly and buildings began to burn." Abolition was not accomplished by simple moral persuasion, nor was integration during the twentieth century. When he returned to the town to do his research for his thesis (including interviewing Robert Teel) he found that the local newspapers covering the period were absent from the newspaper's office, and the microfilms of them were gone from the library. The records of the trial from the courthouse, he was told, had similarly disappeared (but he sneaked into the basement of the courthouse and found them). He eventually delivered his own thesis to the library, which by the time he did so was glad to accept it; but he found later that someone had torn out the pages dealing with Henry Marrow's murder. _Blood Done Sign My Name_ may well be a story that some Americans would rather not hear. This eloquent book is not just a bleak assessment of the times. It is full of love for some very odd family members and friends. Tyson is unsparing about his own slow awareness of racial matters, explaining how he didn't want to drink from a playground fountain after a black boy did, finally taking a drink after letting the water rinse everything out first; "I guess that made me a moderate," he winces. The humane touches of memoir by a masterful storyteller lighten the sad history; the characters are good guys and bad guys still, but drawn realistically: "There is no moral place in this story where anyone can sit down and congratulate themselves," he writes. And finally, "We cannot address the place we find ourselves because we will not acknowledge the road that brought us here." Tyson's book is an eloquent invitation to such acknowledgement.

4-0 out of 5 stars A reminder to remember
"Blood" is a story that doesn't tell us to be pristine in our attitudes about race. In fact, the book reminds us actions speak a whole lot louder than words. Nevertheless, I was thankful that the author has a gift for the written word.

The author's father, a minister and a race liberal, was not typical of his time or place with respect to his racial attitudes. Yet his attitudes were obviously born of his religion and region just as much as the Klan's. Likewise the black community is portrayed as heterogeneous even in the small town South, a fact which is highlighted by the militancy of Vietnam veterans whose path to equality was informed by their military service.

This book impressed on me the importance of being honest about our past. Murders, kidnappings, beatings, riots, and rebellions are not just "excesses" committed by evil and emotional people, sometimes they are tactical. Violence and the destruction of property communicate as powerfully as as sermons or stump speeches. And the because memory of violence survives, reconciliation can only be based on acknowledgement and investigation. Especially in the context of the re-opening of the Emmett Till investigation (not to mention events in Iraq), this book will hopefully inspire fresh local investigations of the violence (South, North, East and West) that fueled the acommplishment of formal legal equality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Freedom is a constant struggle
In BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME, Timothy Tyson details the triumph and the shame inherent in American history, with no quarter given to any assumptions or preconcieved notions. Interweaving his stirring personal narrative with an often disturbing, yet ultimately enriching, examination of the freedom struggle in North Carolina and beyond, Tyson spares no one - not even himself or his family - of his hard and direct analysis. Thus, BLOOD acts as a striking blow against our gauzy reminiscing about the Civil Rights Movement, while simultaneously reminding us of the true value of that movement and the people within it (as well as a reminder that the work isn't nearly done). Tyson's urgent tone is consistent with William Faulkner's assertion that the past "isn't even past," nor was it a series of easily achieved inevitabilities. Funny, brash, unflinching, BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME is the best kind of American non-fiction, one which travels on both sides of a road that, to quote an old bluegrass song, is often mighty dark to travel. A secular sermon of the highest order, helping us to better understand ourselves and leading us to fellowship. ... Read more

137. Desert Queen : The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally ofLawrence of Arabia
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385495757
Catlog: Book (1999-07-20)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2227
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Turning her back on her privileged life in Victorian England, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), fired by her innate curiosity, journeyed the world and became fascinated with all things Arab. Traveling the length and breadth of the Arab region, armed with a love for its language and its people, she not only produced several enormously popular books based on her experiences but became instrumental to the British foreign office. When World War I erupted, and the British needed the loyalty of the Arab leaders, it was Gertrude Bell's work and connections that helped provided the brain for T. E. Lawrence's military brawn. After the war she participated in both the Paris and Cairo conferences, played a major role in creating the modern Middle East, and was generally considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire.

In this incident-packed biography, Janet Wallach reveals a woman whose achievements and independent spirit were especially remarkable for her times, and who brought the same passion and intensity to her explorations as she did to her rich romantic life. Too long eclipsed by Lawrence's fame, Gertrude Bell emerges in this first major biography as a woman whose accomplishments rank as crucial to world history (especially in light of the continuing geopolitical importance of the Middle East) and whose life was a grand adventure. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

2-0 out of 5 stars A tedious rendering of an interesting life
Gertrude Bell was a fascinating woman, doing things that women just didn't do in the early part of this century: meeting Arabian royalty (and bandits and terrorists as well), going places uncharted by European men or women, and becoming something of a heroine to many Arabs of high and low rank. But this book, though it starts off well, becomes rough going fairly quickly. It feels as if Wallach quotes extensively from Bell's letters simply because she had access to them, not because they were always interesting or enlightening (though some were). There is lots of repetition (we must hear about once every two or three pages that she drank "bitter coffee"; the phrase "Young Turks" is defined three times, each time slightly differently, inside of about one hundred pages) and inexact detailing (three fairly detailed maps of the Middle East still leave out a number of sites important to the events of the book). By the end, when Bell was doing her most important political work in the construction of modern-day Iraq, I was skimming over the thick accrual of tedious detail that doesn't really bring Bell to life in the way she deserves.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sweeping biography of a woman ahead of her time
A sweeping, fascinating tale of a woman ahead of her time. This will written, well researched biography was hard to put down. Gertrude Bell herself, a contemporary of Lawrence of Arabia, was a complex, brilliant woman whose life was peppered with many tragedies as well as adventures. Diminutive in size, she scaled mountains, camped in the desert and broke bread with tribal chiefs. She felt more at ease in the Middle East than her own homeland of England, where Victorian women were ruled by social confines. Perhaps it was because of her sex that Arabians allowed her more carte blanche. In a countryland which shuts its women off like trophies, Bell was often treated more like a preistess. She had the audacity to be ultimately feminine and intelligent at the same time, which gave her a special status on foreign soil. Professionally, Bell triumphed, and was accepted as an authority on the Middle East. Her love life, however, as well as relationships with her own family, fell short. If you want to entreat yourself to an adventure of a female "Indiana Jones", I recommend this book. Even if you don't care for Gertrude Bell's character, you will not forget her.

2-0 out of 5 stars A somewhat lame retelling of an extraordinary life
As the crisis in the Middle East continues, I find myself trying to explore how we got here. That search lead me to "Desert Queen" and the story of Gertrude Bell. I had heard of Bell of course. She pops us in a few places in TE Lawrence's "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and she was Churchill's great protagonist at the Cairo Conference. But she lived an extraordinary life, of which her service to the British Empire in the First World War and beyond was only a part. Yes, she was the only female political officer of the war. But before that she journeyed throughout Mesopotamia, the Levant and Arabia, often with only a small group of guides.

The book is well researched and describes her travels. Yet, you feel as if there is something missing. The author spends a lot of time and print discussing Bell's failed love life, and what she was wearing to the conferences and meetings at times seems more important than the meetings themselves. Yes, Bell was a product of her age. She was a militant ANTI-Suffragette, longed desperately for a husband and family, and was, at heart, a spoilt girl of the upper class, who even during the War in Iraq and the anti-British uprisings afterward (sound familiar), was seemingly more concerned about having the latest fashions delivered to her. Given the parallels between the current crisis in Iraq and the British imperial experience, this book could have been even more relevant but the author's focus on Bell's "feminine side" detracted from the essential story.

Still, the book rights a great wrong, and hopefully will rekindle interest in Gertrude Bell's career.

5-0 out of 5 stars A woman beyond her time
This was one of the most fascinating women of her time. Bold, beautiful, and smart. She went where most men wouldn't dare. This book is not only a tribute to Gertrude Bell, but a great insight into the history of Iraq,and the middle east, the people and, why they may not ever be a democracy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe it is true
I agree with other reviewers that the book has some serious stylistic weaknesses. A bit of editing would help the first few chapters. However, as an introduction to the conplicated and confusing history of the area, I found it to be painlessly clarifying. The maps in the front were especially helpful.

I can hardly believe that Gertrude Bell is real. It was a thrill to read about a true adventurer that dared the absurd.That she had such tenacity, dedication to the scholarly, fearlessness, and pluck makes this an especially good book for young women to read. ... Read more

138. Pimp: The Story of My Life
by Iceberg Slim
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 087067935X
Catlog: Book (1987-06)
Publisher: Holloway House Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 26869
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (59)

4-0 out of 5 stars Disgusting, scary, but such an interesting voice.
I've got two completely different opinions about _Pimp_ and Robert Beck himself. One is glowing, the other terrible. Maybe that's what makes Beck and his books so interesting. First, the glowing opinion. Beck's style is like nothing I've ever read before. He claims to have a 175 I.Q. I don't doubt it. No one less brilliant could conjure up the metaphors and images he casually slings as if they were off the top of his head. The book is written in a loose, story-telling style, as if it was never revised, typos and all. Beck makes you feel as if you were standing on a street corner listening to a "fast track pimp" weave his life's yarn. Many times, I would read a sentence several times simply to admire the unique vision Beck gave to an action as simple as getting in or out of a car (a "hog") or thinking about his mother. The terminology is another, brilliantly colorful language (complete with glossary in the back!).Although the story dotes on his early years and then cruises through a couple of decades in a matter of pages, Beck's tale was never slow or anything less than gleaming. That is the glowing opinion. Now the terrible one. I'll try not to seem sanctimonious. To me, Robert Beck is (was) an alarmingly vicious hypocrite and psychopathic criminal. The book begins and ends with his tepid claims that he has seen the error of his ways and regrets his former life. These meager claims are ridiculous when you read the pride, nostalgia, and admiration with which Beck recounts his former life. In one passage in particular, his role model and mentor teaches him an unbelievable method to keep his whores in line. Whip them bloody with a wire coathanger. Beck eagerly tests the method. You can sense the satisfaction with which he regards the successful results. Beck tells us about breaking women's jaws and pummelling them senseless in the same manner he might use to recount old football victories. This is not a repentant ex-pimp. This is a retired pimp who is smart enough to realize that if he pays lipservice to reform and enlightenment, he will sell his books to a much larger audience. He certainly did make a nice pile of "scratch" off the stories he wrote glorifying his former lifestyle ("Long White Con" is the other Beck book I've read-- much more mediocre in style and plot). In the end, I recommend _Pimp_ as a refreshingly unique voice in modern literature. I certainly don't admire Beck's life, nor endorse the lifestyle (as so many other reviewers alarmingly seem to!).

5-0 out of 5 stars Iceberg - a diamond in the rough..
Slim's books could not have been written by anyone else. the genius of them derives from two things, slim's own lengthy and painfull experiance of the ills and games of the ghetto in his era and the poetry and downtrodden virtue of his sole. this is the story of his life and its a story worth telling, many have lived longer and not gone through half as much, the story weaves from an abuzed childhood through life as mean young adolescant and into his early days as an ambitious young pimp keen to hit the "fast track" in Chicago. from here on in it's a tale of abuse, drugs, degradation and manipulation as well as in it's own strange way love. However the story is only half the book and it's through the poetic telling of that story that we really get to meet the engrossing character,enigma and genius of iceberg slim. Slim remoulds street slang and lingo into a rich and textured prose which stands comparison with the very greatest writers, it's a pleasure to read (if a little hard to understand at first), it's also very cool and any young man who reads this book will find slim's slang slipping into his speech in no time. This story is engrossing from start to finish, Slim makes it out of the game in the end and became a writer - be thankfull.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pimp'd
Great Read - the story is amazingly original with the highs and lows of Iceberg's life detailed in an honest & direct manner. Reading this book, you believe everyword...mostly b/c it does not sound that glamorous eventhough the main character becomes enrapt with the lifestyle. Clearly, the reader has to step back and relaize that reading a life-story about a pimp is not the same as supporting prostitution...

4-0 out of 5 stars a little much for the typical reader
Having grown up in the Chicago suburbs and been in high school during the gangster-rap glory years, I was only exposed to the fantasy-end of pimp culture in music videos, etc. Iceberg Slim is not the pimp of the type shown on MTV - this story is full of desperation and regret. There is a real pathological hatred of women that plays out in Slim's foul treatment of his prostitutes. Homo-eroticism abounds in Slim's relationships with other, especially more senior pimps. Slim rots in confinement for some time, and guess what, he doesn't enjoy it. This story is good antidote to the pervasive and unambiguous sexuality that gets portrayed on the rap videos (at least, it was when I last watched one in the mid 90's), which ignore the truly aberrent aspects to the lifestyle that gets shamelessly glorified.

5-0 out of 5 stars MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF THIS BOOK!!!
ATTENTION: Editors, Directors movie makers, get to work on this book as a film. It's your duty to put this book on the silver screen, and if you do it, do it right. Don't leave out anything. This is real-life Pimpin' at it's greatest. No one man has been through as much as Iceberg Slim in the Pimp Game. In, 2006 would be the best time to have it out. But, mark my words this will make people open thier eyes to how trife life can be. THIS WILL BE THE BEST PIMP MOVIE EVER MADE. ... Read more

139. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend, the Music, the 70s in San Francisco
by Joshua Gamson
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805072500
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 591461
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Book Description

A journey back through the music, madness, and unparalleled freedom of an era of change-the '70s-as told through the life of ultra-fabulous superstar Sylvester

Imagine a pied piper singing in a dazzling falsetto, wearing glittering sequins, and leading the young people of the nation to San Francisco and on to liberation where nothing was straight-laced or old-fashioned. And everyone, finally, was welcome-to come as themselves. This is not a fairy tale. This was real, mighty real, and disco sensation Sylvester was the piper. Joshua Gamson-a Yale-trained pop culture expert-uses him, a boy who would be fabulous, to lead us through the story of the '70s when a new era of change liberated us from conformity and boredom. Gamson captures the exuberant life, feeling, energy, and fun of a generation's wonderful, magical waking up-from the parties to the dancing and music.

The story begins with a little black boy who started with nothing buta really big voice. We follow him from the Gospel chorus to the glory days in the Castro where a generation shook off its shame asSylvester sang and began his rise as part of a now-notorious theatrical troup called the Cockettes. Celebrity, sociology, and music history mingle and merge around this endlessly entertaining story of a singer who embodied the freedom, spirit, and flamboyance of a golden moment in American culture.
... Read more

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ™Reviewers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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