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$17.79 $9.48 list($26.95)
1. My Life So Far
$16.47 $14.75 list($24.95)
2. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
$31.50 list($50.00)
3. Chanel and Her World
$17.13 $12.75 list($25.95)
4. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
$16.47 $14.74 list($24.95)
5. Garlic and Sapphires : The Secret
$19.77 $13.87 list($29.95)
6. Them : A Memoir of Parents
$18.48 $17.89 list($28.00)
7. The Peabody Sisters : Three Women
$9.75 $5.85 list($13.00)
8. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts
$9.71 $7.75 list($12.95)
9. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
$19.80 $18.80 list($30.00)
10. Princesses : The Six Daughters
$9.71 $8.05 list($12.95)
11. An Unquiet Mind : A Memoir of
$16.47 $14.99 list($24.95)
12. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around
$16.47 $15.90 list($24.95)
13. Lucky Child : A Daughter of Cambodia
$23.10 $22.65 list($35.00)
14. John Brown, Abolitionist : The
$9.76 $7.76 list($13.95)
15. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir
$16.32 $14.99 list($24.00)
16. The Treehouse : Eccentric Wisdom
$16.47 $16.39 list($24.95)
17. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind
$14.93 $12.02 list($21.95)
18. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
$11.53 $9.45 list($16.95)
19. Embroideries
$10.36 $7.48 list($12.95)
20. We Thought You Would Be Prettier

1. My Life So Far
by Jane Fonda
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375507108
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 294
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Amazon.com

One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

Exclusive Letter from Jane Fonda

Stay in Shape: The Jane Fonda Collection
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The Complete Personal Trainer Series

The Complete Workout and Stress Reduction Program

Fun House Fitness: Fitness for the Whole Family

Jane Fonda: The Essential DVDs

Barbarella

On Golden Pond

Nine to Five

Coming Home

Klute

See more Fonda DVDs ... Read more


2. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
by AnneLamott
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573222992
Catlog: Book (2005-03-03)
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Sales Rank: 106
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Few people can write about faith, parenting, and relationships as can the talented, irreverent Anne Lamott. With characteristic black humor, ("Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours") she updates us on the ongoing mayhem of her life since Traveling Mercies, and continues to unfold her spiritual journey.

Plan B finds Lamott wrestling with mid-life hormones and weight gain while parenting Sam, now a teenager with his own set of raging hormones. Her observations cover everything from starting a Sunday school to grief over the death of her beloved dog, Sadie; lamenting the war to bitterness over her relationship with her now-departed mother.

As she tugs and pokes out the knots in a slender gold chain necklace, it becomes a metaphor for letting go and learning to forgive. "…any willingness to let go inevitably comes from pain; and the desire to change changes you, and jiggles the spirit, gets to it somehow, to the deepest, hardest, most ruined parts." It’s her willingness to show us the knotted-up, "ruined parts" of her life that make this collection of sometimes uneven essays so compelling.

"Everything feels crazy," writes Lamott, adding, "But on small patches of earth all over, I can see just as much messy mercy and grace as ever…."Lamott’s essays will serve as reminders to readers of the patches of messy mercy and grace in a chaotic world.--Cindy Crosby ... Read more

Reviews (78)

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
Honest to Pete - Lamott blows it with this book.I quit reading it when I was half way through as I wondered why I was bothering - why continue to be assaulted like this? Other books by Lamott have been invigorating and fun - this one bashes our President repeatedly (Ok for a chapter - but in almost every chapter?), flaunts the use of vulgarity (just because she's free to do so, doesn't mean she should), and champions rebellion. Lamott is a smart sassy woman - and I love her and I have enjoyed reading about her jaunty walk with Jesus.But this time around I simply wanted to yell at her " Oh, Anne, CUT IT OUT!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Laughed Until I Cried
Annie Lamott is one of the few writers today who write about faith in an honest, straight-forward, humorous way. She doesn't try to portray herself as a model goody two shoes. Her acknowledgment of her own shortcomings, whether in parenting an adolescent, struggling to act on faith, or maintain a decent diet, will keep you smiling and nodding your head in agreement. This book sparkles with honesty and wit. It is a must read!!

2-0 out of 5 stars "It's all about. . . . MEEEEE"
I think you can make fun of George Bush. And I think you can inject a little humor in your own Theological beliefs. I mean look at what we put on television and call it a 'craft,' then host a show with people who only have one name telling us how great one particular show was and how the actors never gave up their 'integrity,' and then tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor. "Friends" ran on network television for what . . . 60 years?

It's just if you have a point, make it. Don't leave the reader confused as to what you were trying to say.

I find this to be mean spirited writing. Ms. Lamott seems uncertain as to what she is going to say and I am then left with uncertainty as to what she said. Or why. Writing about Christ and his teenage years is something I would expect from George Carlin or Moore. I get the feeling that Ms. Lamott wanted to touch on everything that might pull in a few extra readers. Like a director of a poor script, action, violence, skimpy tops on the female stars, "cool" humor between the African American and Caucasian heroes, more violence, more skimpy tops, fast cars. Let's do a little of everything.

Some points Ms. Lamott makes are genuine. They are unfortunately few and far between. 2 stars. Larry Scantlebury

4-0 out of 5 stars Ranting?I think not!
After reading most of the negative reviews of this book, I just have to laugh.Most come from those "upset" with Ms. Lamott's criticism of Mr. Bush and/or her interpretation of religious dogma.

Get over yourself people.First, there is nothing wrong with one critizing your government and or president!Ever since our government was formed, people have bashed the government.Those who challenged government tenets during the 18th century, for example, were not told to cease the criticism or face jail time.Our fore fathers saw debate about issues that effect all of us as paramount to a successful democracy.(It would be nice if all those who do not understand this basic fact, read up on it and become more informed before choosing to voice their opinions on this issue).

Second, there is nothing wrong with one person's interpretation of religious dogma.I found Ms. Lamott's writing to be poignant and funny and her descriptions of Jesus as being a rebellious teenager real and refreshing.What would Jesus do?He would not chastize Ms. Lamott for her humor but probably have a good laugh along with her!

Third, Ms. Lamott is someone who has had alot of pain in her life and is working it out.She is far from perfect.I know many people who exhibit some of her qualities but with alot less reflection on their parts.She yells at her kid, she swears, she has a drinking problem, ... does that make her less of a human being?What is the old saying about judging not?

Join Ms. Lamott for one's person faith journey and leave your judgements at home.You'll be pleasantly surprised!

1-0 out of 5 stars Ugghh
A dreadful, awful, and utterly terrible book.I enjoyed Anne Lamott's previous work but this one did nothing but anger me. Yuck. Read at your own risk. ... Read more


3. Chanel and Her World
by Edmonde Charles-Roux
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865651590
Catlog: Book (2005-03-09)
Publisher: Vendome Press
Sales Rank: 1062
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (1883-1971) is a fashion icon unlike any other. She invented modern clothing for women: at the height of the Belle Époque, she stripped women of their corsets and feathers, bobbed their hair, put them in bathing suits, and sent them out to get tanned in the sun. She introduced slacks, costume jewelry, and the exquisitely comfortable suit. She made the first couture perfume-No. 5-which remains the most popular scent ever created.

In this beautiful volume, the glorious life of the incomparable Coco Chanel shines again through hundreds of illustrations and the lively prose of Edmonde Charles-Roux, her official biographer and close friend. Chanel knew and collaborated with the likes of Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Jean Renoir, and Visconti-even as she matched their modernist innovations by liberating women from the prison of 19th-century fashion and introducing a whole new concept of elegance. The staggering collection of photographs amassed by the over decades of friendship with Chanel sheds new light on one of the great stories of the modern age. AUTHOR BIO: Edmonde Charles-Roux began her journalistic career at Elle and ultimately became editor-in-chief of French Vogue. She has published three novels, among them To Forget Palermo (Oublier Palerme), which won the Prix Goncourt in 1966.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Coco Chanel - The Originator of Modern Women's Fashion
I am so glad this book is back in print.Written by the Senior Editor of French Vogue, who was also a close friend and biographer of Chanel, this is a must have for fashionistas.I own the original version which has all black and white photos.This new version, published 25 years after the original has new color photos and illustrations added.The book has also been revamped with all the new additions, but retains the original text.If you only get one book about Chanel, get this one.It is worth every penny.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Big Beautiful World of Chanel
Visually pleasing and well-written, here is a book that would surely please Mademoiselle Chanel if she were still with us.

Fans of Chanel and "Fashionistas" alike will undoubtedly be delighted with this big, beautiful book and its vast number of Chanel photos, which document Coco's personal world of fashion.

Linda Painchaud-Steinman, Park Edge Books

5-0 out of 5 stars Please bring this book back!
*Chanel and Her World* is a great document of a great woman!I've neverseen another Chanel book with so many pictures, and that's what it's allabout when it comes to one of the century's most important style-makers. It's a CRIME that it's out of print, because I MUST OWN IT. ... Read more


4. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
by GoldieHawn
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152857
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 173
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An inspiring and unconventional memoir from one of the world's most beloved actresses.

Goldie Hawn's life is an ongoing tableau of stories, and she has a born knack for telling them. In this candid and insightful book, Goldie invites us to join her in a look back at the people, places, and events that have touched her. It is the spiritual journey of a heart in search of enlightenment.

With her trademark effervescent humor, Goldie tells us about the lessons she's learned and the wisdom she feels she's been given in the hope of giving something back. Not a Hollywood "tell-all," A Lotus Grows in the Mud is a very personal look at moments private and powerful: her delight in her father's spirited spontaneity; the confidence instilled in her by her mother; the unexpected gifts of comfort from strangers many miles from home; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a parent. This memoir is Goldie's chance to talk about everything from anger and fear to love, compassion, integrity, and friendship, to the importance of family and the challenges of show business.

Goldie writes about her younger self-the little girl who felt like an ugly duckling-and growing up in suburbia dreaming of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go dancing years in New York in the sixties, her phenomenal success on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and then on to the world of Hollywood stardom and such memorable films as the Oscar-winning Cactus Flower, Swing Shift, and Private Benjamin.

A Lotus Grows in the Mud speaks of her relationship with her family-her partner, Kurt Russell; her children, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, and her stepson, Boston Russell-her growing faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn't yet know, and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.
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Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful person...
I was walking thru one of my favorite superstores when I came across this book - the always beautiful woman made me notice the cover but the title made me pick up this book containing steps of her journey thru life.

At first I was a little intimidated or should we say annoyed with the size of this book.Memoirs are normally not this large in size and I immediately wondered what piles of conceit can someone so young in life have to say. I expected this from maybe Oprah but not Goldie.And that was not an attack on neither person but more of an explanation of what I have seen from the work and travels of both women. I later became glad the book contained such volume, for there was no way to tell her tale in short for the tale would have been missing all the reasons life is beautiful.

I have not had the fortune of seeing all of her movies, but I will say I have had the fortune of reading this book.And her spirit is lovely.She does not force her beliefs on the reader but more of explains how she came across these beliefs.

How very unfortunate if you don't find this book enjoyable.I or the rest of the reviewers who are watching the Lotus grow from our own version of mud - will not hold it against you.

For those of you who are open, perhaps spiritual and easily touched, don't let the size of this book intimidate you. It's a good read by a good person.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant to ponder
The cover is nice.Some pages are blue or purple with very attractive motifs and graphics inside.Nice pictures too of Goldie at work, rest and play including snapshots of her children and partner Kurt Russell.

The content is only losely biographic.This is more Goldie Hawn's philosophy of life through the window of her journeys and successes in the movie industry.Co-authored with another it reads very well.

Little subchapters called "Postcards" capturing experiences.There are also poems and thoughts: "Is our smile coded for in our DNA or is it nurtured?" (paraphrased).In this sense the book has some fine quotations.

As a woman who represents openness and seems to be something of a spiritual student this book is great for exploring themes on happiness, relationships, death and being human.Designed to bring out the best in anybody.

This book and its sentiments represent a fantastic contribution to genuinely making the world a better place - not by throwing money at problems but by being well inside.

I liked reading it - ideal as a gift or to dip into though not to be read from cover to cover necessarily.Really well edited - not much gossip, thankfully.

2-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get interested
I don't remember Goldie Hawn from Laugh In.I have seen her in only two movies, The Banger Sisters and Butterflies Are Free, and not in the theater but on tv.The book is pretty on the outside and the colored pages are nice.I couldn't get interested in it so I didn't buy it.

1-0 out of 5 stars silly and oh so predictable
A waste of time for me.I borrowed a copy from my friend.Completely light weight.I guess I expected more depth.Now, who is the stupid one?Depth from Goldie Hawn?Well, I had hopes.She canNOT be as dippy as the girl from Laugh In, but I am afraid she is.At least she maintains that image in this new age-y, let-me-enlighten-you piece of froth."All I ever wanted was to be happy," she recalls from her days as a very small child.Right.I'm sure.

It's easy to pontificate about Buddhism and how material things are really meaningless when you're sitting on $200 million.Give up your money, Goldie, your penthouse in NY, your $10million house in Montana, your home in Canada for your son's convenience, your cars, your "assistants", your jewelery, etc., and move into an ashram and then I'll have a little more respect for her views on "life" as a Buddhist.

As for her childhood memories, they seem very "exact words" and although I have a memory and can recall conversations word for word, as well, I find her recollections a little hard to take, re the one on wanting to be happy:I was a very happy kid too and my childhood was wonderful, but I didn't KNOW it until I was able to understand the concept of happiness, to understand how others lived, and that certainly didn't happen to me when I was five.

I hope it was printed on recycled paper.It's a shame any tree had to die for this.

I think she probably babbled on and a ghost writer did the hard part.And if I was him or her, I'd never let ANYONE know I did THIS book.

5-0 out of 5 stars an amazing book.....

This book was hard to put down. Goldie has a wonderful warm, sincere, and open approach to life which is refreshing. She has welcomed us into her life and shared her intimate thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed every page. I am giving this as a gift to my daughter, and recommending it to my friends.

Ruth Nighswonger (Boca Raton, Fl) ... Read more


5. Garlic and Sapphires : The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
by RuthReichl
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200319
Catlog: Book (2005-04-07)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 109
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Fans of Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples know that Ruth Reichl is a wonderful memoirist--a funny, poignant, and candid storyteller whose books contain a happy mix of memories, recipes, and personal revelations.
Amazon.com Interview
We chewed the fat with Ruth.Read our interview.
What they might not fully appreciate is that Reichl is an absolute marvel when it comes to writing about food--she can describe a dish in such satisfying detail that it becomes unnecessary for readers to eat. In her third memoir, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Reichl focuses on her life as a food critic, dishing up a feast of fabulous meals enjoyed during her tenure at The New York Times. As a critic, Reichl was determined to review the "true" nature of each restaurant she visited, so she often dined incognito--each chapter of her book highlights a new disguise, a different restaurant (including the original reviews from the Times), and a fresh culinary adventure. Garlic and Sapphires is another delicious and delightful book, sure to satisfy Reichl's foodie fans and leave admirerers looking forward to her next book, hopefully about her life with Gourmet. --Daphne Durham

More from Ruth Reichl

Tender at the Bone

Comfort Me with Apples

The Gourmet Cookbook

Remembrance of Things Paris

Endless Feasts

Gourmet magazine


Amazon.com's The Significant Seven
Ruth Reichl answers the seven questions we ask every author.


Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Kate Simon’s New York Places and Pleasures. I read it as a little girl and then went out and wandered the city. She was a wonderful writer, and she taught me not only to see New York in a whole new way, but to look, and taste, beneath the surface.

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: Ulysses by James Joyce. What better place to finally get through it?

Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert. If you’re going to listen to one piece over and over, this is one that doesn’t get tiresome.

How to Build a Boat in Five Easy Steps. Since I’m going to be watching one movie over and over, it might as well be useful.

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: I’m such a good liar, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: I can write pretty much anywhere. But I prefer small, cozy spaces, with a good view over a lake or a forest, and room for the cats to curl up.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: "She’ll be right back."

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: Elizabeth I. She fascinates me. She had a great mind, enormous appetites--and she was a survivor. The most interesting woman of an interesting time, and I have a million questions I’d like to ask her.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: You mean after creating world peace?This is a hard one. But I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.

... Read more

Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Ruth teased me, I wanted more
It took me over half of the book to warm to Ruth's ways. I felt too many times she built up a scenario and left me hanging, wanting to know more. I was desperate to find out what happened... if there was any comeback from the charity couple, how the guy she duped on a date with her sexiest disguise reacted to finding out he had in fact been dining with the NYT critic, what the Chinese restaurant who had diligently faxed menus back & forth felt when she decided to unceremoniously dump them for some other venue, after so much effort to please her.
Its a light read and charming enough, but my appetite was whetted and I craved more gritty details.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
I thought the book was funny.It grabbed me from the first chapter and I laughed through the whole thing.This is a great read and I am up for reading any other books from this writer.Another great one is the glass castle and also Whispers of the wicked saitns.Great reads !!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected
I was extremely disappointed with this book.I expected to read more about the inner workings of NY restaurants, not recycled reviews from the New York Times.I thought it would be interesting to read about how she fooled restaurants with her various disguises.I did not expect to read page after page of where she bought the wigs, how she found the clothes, etc. etc.You can only read "the tastes exploded in my mouth like hundreds of little fireworks" (not a true quote from the book) so many times before you start skipping over the reviews.Save yourself some money and read the actual restaurant reviews from the Times' archives.I wish I had.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great third Memoir. Leaves us wanting more! Buy It.
`Garlic and Sapphires' is the third volume of memoirs by Ruth Reichl. After `Tender at the Bone' which deals with her childhood and teens and `Comfort Me with Apples' which deals with her early journalistic career in San Francisco, this latest volume deals with her five years as the lead restaurant critic for the New York Times.

This volume proves that Ms. Reichl is truly the best culinary memoirist today, and easily the best since M.F.K. Fisher. And, as one who has read more than a few of Ms. Fisher's memoirs, I would easily choose Ms. Reichl's humor and great stories of the modern scene over Ms. Fisher's slightly musty, albeit exquisitely crafted tales of cities and towns in France.

The primary point of this volume is to tell the stories behind Ms. Reichl's various disguises and personas she took on in order to dine at Daniel's and Lespanisse and Le Cirque without being identified as the restaurant critic for the Times. The book starts off with the amazing story of Reichl's flight from Los Angles to New York seated, by coincidence, along side a waitress of a major Manhattan restaurant. It turns out that posted in all restaurant kitchens in New York City was already a photograph of Ruth Reichl with a reward to any staff member who identifies Ms. Reichl in their restaurant.

In spite of all the other things on which Ruth could dwell, she stays remarkably on message. There is only the slightest of references to the great New York Times culinary writer, Craig Claiborne, who was still alive while Reichl was at the Times. And, there was only a slightly more specific reference to R. W. Appel and Amanda Hesser. The only two writing talents cited to any extent are Marion Burros, a friendly colleague who mostly worked out of the Washington bureau and adversary Bryan Miller who left the critic's post and objected to Reichl's overturning a lot of his restaurant opinions. What Miller forgot was that the power of the restaurant critic's column was not based on the writer, but on the newspaper which published the column.

The most important character in this story after Reichl may be `THE NEW YORK TIMES', commonly thought to be the best and most powerful newspaper in the world. This fact makes it almost unthinkable that Reichl would question whether or not she really wanted to work for the Times when she was literally offered the job on a silver platter. There may have been some foundation to her doubts when she saw the Times offices for the first time. In contrast to the light, airy, Los Angles Times offices, the New York offices were crowded and filled with lots of old desks and unmatched chairs. After a full day's interviews plus total willingness from her husband to relocate to New York, Reichl took the job and immediately changed the tone of the paper's reviews.

Reichl's personal philosophy was that reviews were nothing more than informed opinion and taste. This may seem utterly subjective, but actually, it is not far from what you would see in a scholarly work on the nature of aesthetic judgment. One is much better off trusting the opinion of a literary critic who has read 10,000 novels, both good and bad, than of your dentist who may have read 10, all from the same author. The thing that endeared her to her Times editors and publishers was the idea that her columns were written to sell newspapers, not to promote restaurants.

For someone who does not read reviews of major Manhattan restaurants, I was a bit surprised at the incredible difference between the quality of food and service given to a pair of `beautiful people' versus the quality of food and service given to a drab looking old woman. And, if the diner is known to be the critic from the Times, food and service quality goes off the charts. This was the reason for the many disguises. And, it is obvious that more than one was needed, as it was all too easy for an astute restaurateur to connect a person with the byline on a review which can change their gross by tens of thousands of dollars a week. The truly remarkable thing about many of the disguises is how the personality embodied by the wig and clothes became part of Reichl's persona in dealing with people who were not in on the ruse. By far the funniest was the incident when Reichl took on her mother's persona, using her mother's clothes and jewelry. The story is doubly amusing if you have read `Tender at the Bone' where Reichl describes her primary chore was to keep her mother from poisoning any guests by serving spoiled food.

It should be no surprise that Reichl's job had a serious downside. In addition to all the nasty mail from offended restaurateurs and their advocates and the political backbiting at the newspaper, there were the really unpleasant situations where Reichl offered `a dinner with the New York Times restaurant critic' as a prize to be auctioned off for charity. Ruth recounts one especially distasteful episode where the situation went so far as to turn her well-trained chameleon personality into someone who was distasteful to her husband. This job is no picnic. From this encounter comes the name of the book from a line in T. S. Eliot's `Four Quartets', `garlic and pearls in the mud' which echoed the fact that the evening had nothing to do with Reichl's love of cooks, food, or writing.

The book includes the Times reviews Reichl wrote as a result of the meals described in the book. These are fun and interesting, but are really just sidebars to the real action in the main text. My only regret is that Reichl did not find it useful to include photographs of her disguises.

Very highly recommended reading for foodies and non-foodies alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars I ran right out and bought all her other titles
As a foodie and a wine lover, as well as a person who loves New York, this book was like being in heaven at the same time as being a voyuer.I often go to the "starred" restaurants and have my own opinion not only on the food but on how I was treated as a normal everyday person.Having a food critic do the same in costume and actually rate the restaurant based on this makes me want to give her a standing ovation.Hopefully, restaurants around the world have learned something from her and her very equitable way of evaluating restaurants.Ruth writes so very well and entertainly, and you are torn from your own reality into her world of costumes and intrigue.I highly recommend her books if you like food, wine and real life New York restaurants.It may change where you decide to spend your hard earned dollars next time you go out to eat. ... Read more


6. Them : A Memoir of Parents
by Francinedu Plessix Gray
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200491
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 391
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The much-acclaimed biographer's unflinchingly honest, wise, and forgiving portrait of her own famous parents: two wildly talented Russian émigrés who fled wartime Paris to become one of New York's first and grandest power couples.

Tatiana du Plessix, the wife of a French diplomat, was a beautiful, sophisticated "white Russian" who had been the muse of the famous Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. Alexander Liberman, the ambitious son of a prominent Russian Jew, was a gifted magazine editor and aspiring artist. As part of the progressive artistic Russian émigré community living in Paris in the 1930s, the two were destined to meet. They began a passionate affair, and the year after Paris was occupied in World War II they fled to New York with Tatiana's young daughter, Francine.

There they determinedly rose to the top of high society, holding court to a Who's Who list of the midcentury's intellectuals and entertainers. Flamboyant and outrageous, bold and brilliant, they were irresistible to friends like Marlene Dietrich, Salvador Dalí, and the publishing tycoon Condé Nast. But to those who knew them well they were also highly neurotic, narcissistic, and glacially self-promoting, prone to cut out of their lives, with surgical precision, close friends who were no longer of use to them.

Tatiana became an icon of New York fashion, and the hats she designed for Saks Fifth Avenue were de rigueur for stylish women everywhere. Alexander Liberman, who devotedly raised Francine as his own child from the time she was nine, eventually came to preside over the entire Condé Nast empire. The glamorous life they shared was both creative and destructive and was marked by an exceptional bond forged out of their highly charged love and raging self-centeredness. Their obsessive adulation of success and elegance was elevated to a kind of worship, and the high drama that characterized their lives followed them to their deaths. Tatiana, increasingly consumed with nostalgia for a long-lost Russia, spent her last years addicted to painkillers. Shortly after her death, Alexander, then age eighty, shocked all who knew him by marrying her nurse.

Them: A Portrait of Parents is a beautifully written homage to the extraordinary lives of two fascinating, irrepressible people who were larger than life emblems of a bygone age. Written with honesty and grace by the person who knew them best, this generational saga is a survivor's story. Tatiana and Alexander survived the Russian Revolution, the fall of France, and New York's factory of fame. Their daughter, Francine, survived them.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Memoir to Remember
Francine du Plessix Gray who, has written several fine novels as well as complex and satisfying biographies of the Marquis de Sade and Simone Weil, now tenderly explores the lives of her famously mercurial parents. "Them" is a success any way you look at it; the elegant writing and the loving way she examines the life she had with these completely self-absorbed people make this memoir worth reading.

Her parents were Tatiana Yakoleva, a renowned New York designer of hats, and Alex Liberman, who was one of the creators of modern fashion journalism at Vogue. The du Plessix in Francine's name comes from her birth father, a hero of the French Resistance who died early in World War II. Although he never adopted her, Alex Liberman was the father she knew and loved, the man she and her mother always saw as the one who rescued them from the horrors of war. Tatiana had already fled one revolution, leaving Russia to live in Paris as a teenager with her grandmother, aunt, and uncle. In her early 20s, she met the dynamic Russian revolutionary poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky during one of his visits to France. He wrote one of his most beautiful poems to her and begged her to return to Russia with him. But her fear was too great, and she married diplomat Bertrand du Plessix before Mayakovsky could return to again persuade her. Mayakovsky had been under growing scrutiny for his criticism of increasing oppression in the new Soviet Union, and he committed suicide shortly thereafter. His letters were one of the Tatiana's most carefully guarded items when she fled Europe.

Photos from the family's arrival in New York make them look like a tight-knit trio, but Tatiana and Alex were terrible parents. They shuttled off Froshka, as they called her, with all sorts of extraneous family and friends. A friend had to tell her that her father was dead. They failed to tell her when they got married. They were as ambitious and thoughtless as two people can be. But they loved her very much.

What makes this memoirs so remarkable is how warmly du Plessix Gray writes about all this. She does not see herself as a victim, which is probably why she has a close and healthy family life as an adult. Beautiful writing, fearlessness, and compassion make this a memoir that will hold readers captive from start to finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars We cannot choose our parents . . .
"Them" is an engrossing read.Mrs. Gray portrays her parents in their full roundedness with no holds barred when it comes to revealing their faults as well as their virtues.In reading the memoir, I found myself saying "what fascinating people yet how obnoxious. . . how powerful an emotion love is to permit a daughter to see all her parents' faults and still treat them with respect."The book is also a portrait of a time and an industry (magazine publishing) and of people finely attuned to the needs of fashionable society.It's also about Change and how we all become outmoded when our work fails to meet changing fashions. ... Read more


7. The Peabody Sisters : Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism
by Megan Marshall
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
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Asin: 0395389925
Catlog: Book (2005-04-13)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 794
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Book Description

Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody were in many ways our American Brontes. The story of these remarkable sisters — and their central role in shaping the thinking of their day — has never before been fully told. Twenty years in the making, Megan Marshall's monumental biograpy brings the era of creative ferment known as American Romanticism to new life.
Elizabeth, the oldest sister, was a mind-on-fire thinker. A powerful influence on the great writers of the era — Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau among them — she also published some of their earliest works. It was Elizabeth who prodded these newly minted Transcendentalists away from Emerson's individualism and toward a greater connection to others. Mary was a determined and passionate reformer who finally found her soul mate in the great educator Horace Mann. The frail Sophia was a painter who won the admiration of the preeminent society artists of the day. She married Nathaniel Hawthorne — but not before Hawthorne threw the delicate dynamics among the sisters into disarray.
Marshall focuses on the moment when the Peabody sisters made their indelible mark on history. Her unprecedented research into these lives uncovered thousands of letters never read before as well as other previously unmined original sources. The Peabody Sisters casts new light on a legendary American era. Its publication is destined to become an event in American biography.
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8. Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0385496095
Catlog: Book (2000-02-15)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 1493
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."

Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.

Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.

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Reviews (240)

5-0 out of 5 stars Only for those with a wry sense of humor
I can't fault this book, only praise it. For who else has written in such a unique way about a faith journey? Lamott makes it real (for someone of her age [middle-aged] and from a definitely Californian point of view.) But, her observations and the way she writes about them are universal. And funny.

If you can't laugh at yourself, your foibles, and even at God, don't read this--you'll start feeling self-righteous and will be quickly entering a "how dare she?" review. You will, of course, have totally missed the point.

Everyone can learn something about the way LIFE has a sneaky way of surfacing painful and joyous memories and feelings. These emotions are triggered by life's details, which Lamott expertly captures. She finds the most unassuming triggers to release a flood of feelings about various topics. The stories she tells are God-given, precious moments. Perhaps we don't "see" these moments and reflect on them enough in our lives. Is that why Lamott touches us? Thankfully, she remind us that they are there.

Read and savor this book, if you are open to what makes someone an imperfect person--and a Christian.

5-0 out of 5 stars Never written a review or letter to author before....
Have been an avid reader for 30 years, but never before felt compelled to write a review or letter to an author before...This book, perhaps more than any of the thousands of others I have read, struck a chord in my soul. On the recommendation of a friend I had read "Operating Instructions" about three years ago. While thumbing through a Book of the Month Club type catalog I ran across the photo of a white woman in dreadlocks and was struck with admiration for the woman who would present such a public image. I was pleasantly surprised to read that her name was Anne LaMott. I ordered the book "Traveling Mercies" and was delighted and completely engrossed by it. Ms. LaMott puts words to emotion I cannot personally express when she speaks of her "Christian-ish" life-orientation, her likening of her personal experience of coming to the Lord as to that of a stray cat trying to enter her life, and the pain and sublime joy of rearing her Sam. Like Annie,(oddly enough the name my own mother, a story in and of itself, was called as a girl) I came to a personal relationship with God through voyeurism into a congregation of Black believers, and like her, was taught life lessons I didn't know I needed through my interaction in fellowship with them. I thank God for the talent with words he has bestowed upon Anne, ask his blessings upon her and her loved ones, and recommend this book to anyone who finds him/herself surprised at the move of the Holy Spirit in his/her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hooked
This is the book that got me hooked on Anne Lamott. Most poignant and precious are the insights about life as a recovering alcoholic. Raw facts about motherhood were astounding, too. Her word choice at times caused my gut to spasm, but I survived and went on to read all of the book she had previously written. To my delight and the benefit of mankind, Lamott's newest book, Blue Shoe, avoids profanity.

4-0 out of 5 stars my kind of christian
Until I read Anne Lamott I associated the word "Christian" with holier-than-thou, priggish, etc. Now I see clearly that that's just a stereotype. It IS possible for a Christian to be a liberal with a wicked sense of humor.

Lamott isn't afraid to present herself in a less than flattering light whether it's secretly hating her mom or yelling out of frustration at her young son. We all do these things, but most of us prefer to show the world the "good" side of ourselves. Lamott is wonderful when it comes to making the everyday petty irritations of life funny, so that you empathize with her rather than judging.

Lamott writes about children, her friends, relatives and church. She writes about the competitiveness that can develop among parents of young children, and she writes about the path she took to becoming sober. Unlike some reviewers, I don't think it's going to be detrimental to her later relationship with her son when she makes him go to church. There could be a lot worse things she could force him to do.

In one essay, she writes about feeling unattractive after standing with a group of teenage girls waiting for a bus back to her hotel. Then she realizes that no one in the group is probably satisfied with her body, and this is something I've started to tell myself when I find myself in that kind of situation, too.

This atheist gives this book two thumbs up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outside my experience
This book should be an eye-opener for anyone who is prone to believing in "cookie cutter christians"...

Read with an open heart. God will bless... ... Read more


9. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
by Sue Monk Kidd
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006064589X
Catlog: Book (1996)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 1642
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The acclaimed spiritual memoir from the author of The Secret Life of Bees

I was amazed to find that I had no idea how to unfold my spiritual life in a feminine way. I was surprised and, in fact, a little terrified when I found myself in the middle of a feminist spiritual reawakening.

Sue Monk was a "conventionally religious, churchgoing woman, a traditional wife and mother" with a thriving career as a Christian writer until she began to question her role as a woman in her culture, her family, and her church. From a jarring encounter with sexism in a suburban drugstore to monastery retreats and rituals in the caves of Crete, Kidd takes readers through the fear, anger, healing, and transformation of her awakening. Retaining a meaningful connection "with the deep song of Christianity," she opens the door for traditional Christian women to discover a spirituality that speaks directly to them and provides inspiring wisdom for all who struggle to embrace their full humanity.

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Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars One woman's journey into feminist spirituality
Sue Monk Kidd spent approximately her first forty years in the Baptist church, where women are exhorted to submit to their husbands and where she heard the phrase "second in creation, first to sin" countless times. She was disgruntled with the church's stance on women, but never felt moved to rock the boat much, until one day she walked into her daughter's work and found two customers sexually harassing the girl. Something snapped inside her, and she began to question her religion's assumptions about gender and to seek a more feminist spirituality. Her journey took her to ancient mythology, the Gnostic gospels, and to dark places in her own life as her quest caused trouble in her marriage and her religious life. She tells us how she got through her troubles, and her story seems very human and touching. She would feel uneasy, drop the whole subject for months, but her longing always resurfaced. And in the end, she seems to have found peace, and some interesting insights. This book will be interesting to Christian women trying to figure out how to reconcile religion with self-respect. It was also interesting to me, as a pagan of several years and an agnostic before that--it helped me see value in Christianity that I had not seen before.

My only gripe about it is that sometimes Kidd generalizes too much. The book is at its best when she tells her own story, but sometimes she slips into saying things like "A woman feels X when Y happens". Everybody's journey is slightly different.

5-0 out of 5 stars It changed my life
Like Sue Monk Kidd, I was (am) the wife of a Protestant Minister. Unlike her, I was absolutely miserable for twelve years. I was unhappy and unsuited for the role, and found the expectations of the small Methodist congregations impossible to my independent nature. When my husband left the pastorate to take a special appointment primarily because of my nervous breakdown, I felt as if I had failed my religious family and friends. I floundered, confused and depressed for some time until I happened on DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER. The accounting of Ms.Kidd's search for her place in a patriarchal religious south and her discovery of the power available within when embracing her own feminine nature and the sisterhood of other women gave me hope. I knew that I would encounter considerable impediments if I traveled that road so when I met her at a book signing in Atlanta, I had one question: "Is it worth it?" She looked me in the eyes and said one word---"YES!" And it has been.

This book is of immeasureable value for any woman searching for a path to a personal spiritual awakening not filled with the platitudes and martyrdom usually found in Christian Women's books. I would especially recommend it to wives and daughters of Pastors and Ministers who are finding their husband's and/or father's profession personally difficult. Be warned, it is forward thinking and revolutionary, but you may find spiritual depths that give you and your families a new and powerful source of strength.

5-0 out of 5 stars What can be said?
What can be said about a writer as good as Kidd? I have been following Sue Monk Kidd since those days when she was a contributing writer to Norman Vincent Peale's Guideposts magazine. As another woman who has come to embrace the Divine Feminine, I admire her courage in relating her spiritual journey, especially in giving up those associations through which she had acquired fame and recognition. Would also recommend a book titled "The Bark of the Dogwood--A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens" as it is equally well written and full of ideas.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
I was excited to read this book because I think of myself as a feminist and I have a strong interest in feminine divinity. Although Ms. Monk has some pertinent information about patriarchy in the Christian church, the balance of the book was a narcistic view of her years spent in therapy, retreats, libraries, and dream analysis, trying to find her feminist self. My view of the feminine divine doesn't include such self-indulgence. My advise to Ms Monk: "Get over it, get a life."
What a lot of drivel.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST READ!
The way I was led to this book was uncanny...but as I began reading it I thought, "OH MY GOSH - this is MY STORY!" I have been in the "unlearning, awakening" state that Monk Kidd talks about...and it is a LONELY road. The most difficult thing about evangelical christianity is that nobody (especially a woman) can ask any "hard questions" or they are labeled "not a christian" or "backslidden." I was raised in NO religious setting but joined the evangelical movement in my late 20s and was solidly rooted there... until I began an academic journey at age 40. College studies (sociology, women's studies, anthropology) made me thirst for MORE but "the church" didn't like that. I so needed a friend like "Betty" (Sue's friend in the book). I couldn't put the book down but it was a library book and I couldn't write in it either! SO I ordered a bunch of them... so I can re-read and write in mine... and share it with many ladies who I know will appreciate it. ... Read more


10. Princesses : The Six Daughters of George III
by FLORA FRASER
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679451188
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 1717
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dutiful Daughters
Flora Fraser is the next generation in the fine biographical/historical tradition of her mother Lady Antonia Fraser and her late grandmother Elizabeth (Countess of) Longford.Like her forebears, Fraser combines scholarship with an elegant and witty writing style to produce books whichilluminate and engage.

King George III's six daughters tend to get short shrift from historians and biographers who focus on their father, their brothers, and their niece Queen Victoria. The prevailing picture of them is of six mousy women pushed into the background.Fraser has pulled Charlotte, Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia, and Amelia out of the shadows and let us see that they had strong personalities and lives of their own.

The six princesses were victims of circumstance even more than most eighteenth century royal women.Ordinarily they would have been married off to men they scarcely knew almost as soon as they reached puberty in order to strengthen Britain's alliances.George III, however, had been horrified by the ill treatment two of his own sisters received at the hands of unloving husbands, and he was determined that his own daughters would not suffer such a fate.Unfortunately his paternal affections did not extend to allowing his daughters to marry Englishmen they loved, and only meant that he turned down overtures from many foreign princes, usually without consulting his daughters at all. Furthermore, as the princesses reached marriageable age the French Revolution and Napoleonic Warsmeant many possible suitors were now the enemies of Britain and thus out of bounds. Finally, George III's bouts of madness/porphyria attacks made him unable to entertain marriage offers, and his wife Queen Charlotte's deep depression over her husband's malady meant that she could not be a matchmaker either.

Bereft of the chance to be proper wives and mothers (the only acceptable role for nearly all women of the period) the princesses lived under their parents' noses well into middle age.They developed literary and artistic interests and were patrons of British charities, and managed little flirtations and dalliances here and there with gentlemen of the court.One of Augusta's liaisons possibly ended in (an illegal) marriage, while Sophia actually produced an illegitimate child.The princesses were dutiful and loving children to their increasingly difficult parents and were supportive siblings to their rackety brothers, who were also denied the chance to legally marry women they loved.

It was only in middle age that some of the daughters married, Charlotte and Elizabeth to German princelings, Mary to an English cousin.Charlotte probably had the most adventurous life, living in Wurttemburg right through several invasions by Napoleon and having to flee for her life at one point (Fraser's description of her life in temporary exile, accompanied by two kangaroos, is among the most amusing of the many anecdotes in the book.)

The fine human qualities of the daughters are well portrayed here.I felt sorriest for Amelia, whose unrequited love for an English officer lasted until her death in 1810.I was impressed with the lovethe daughters showed for their parents and their brothers, and by the love their brothers gave them in return. (Usually the later Hanoverians are depicted asself-indulgent reprobates devoid of any finer qualities.) Finally, the love and regard the daughters had for each other, going to great trouble to visit when one was ill for example, is admirable.

The final years of the daughters were quiet, marked by illness and decline, but I was glad to see that they were not lonely ones, but rather filled with visits from their surviving siblings and other relations and friends.There is a charming photograph in the book of Queen Victoria with two of her children visiting Mary, the last survivor.It is a fitting end to this story of six women who, though related to some of the wealthiest and most powerful people of their time, enjoyed unassuming and generally unremarked upon lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Six Lives Stories, Well Told
Perhaps best known in the United States as being the British king who wanted the colonies to pay for military protection with things like the tax on tea, George III was King of England from 1760 until 1820. He fathered fifteen children, six of whom were daughters, this is their story.

The King's growing madness is heavily emphasized in this story. And this is fitting because this was a growing part of the lives of the children. Ms. Fraser did a remarkable job with this book. It is based on the extensive letters between Queen Charlotte and the six girls. It is not a typical biography talking of the major events of King George's rule, it is the personal story of this group of women trying to live a semi-normal life amidst life at the court.

It is a fascinating book that looks at a time far removed from ours. ... Read more


11. An Unquiet Mind : A Memoir of Moods and Madness
by KAY REDFIELD JAMISON
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679763309
Catlog: Book (1997-01-14)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 1195
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: "There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness.... It will never end, for madness carves its own reality." This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. "We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized," Jamison writes. "We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities." Jamison's ability to live fully within her limitations is an inspiration to her fellow mortals, whatever our particular burdens may be. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Reviews (207)

5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable
Scouring the bookshelves for something, anything regarding the topic of bipolar illness, I came across Dr. Jamison's brilliant memoir. I had recently been diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar and was unsure of how that would effect my life. I had always been moody and eccentric, how would I learn to live without those highs? How would I get used to losing the endless nights of various projects and explorations. Everything is brighter when you're manic and everything is more enjoyable. Surely I could endure the depressions just to experience the highs. However, when I read Dr. Jamison's book I saw myself reflected in the pages. Things escalate when you're bipolar, and much of the time you have no idea what you are doing or how you appear to others. Dr. Jamison describes the mania with precision. Her words are chilling to the reader who knows exactly what a manic episode is like. She is also very firm in her standing on treatment for bipolars. She advocates a combined approach of psychotherapy and medication. Her arguments are solid and helpful for the family and friends of a person living with bipolar. The novel is well written, informative, and enjoyable. I am filled with awe for Dr. Jamison because she has done so much for those of us living with bipolar disorder. She has inspired me personally because she is such a brilliant woman. This memoir belongs on everyone's shelf who is interested or involved in bipolar disorder.

3-0 out of 5 stars painless, not perceptive
Okay, now let's see. Jamison is blessed with a hyperintelligent, loving family, wonderful colleagues, supportive boyfriends, and amazing doctors. As someone with bipolar, who has none of the above, I found it hard to relate to her memoir. Most people I know with mental illness, despite their innate gifts, are not so lucky. Indeed most people I know without mental illness aren't as lucky either.

As a result of bestowing three to five complimentary adjectives upon most of the characters and glossing over the few painful interactions included, Jamison's book comes off like a Disney World version of manic depression. Indeed it is courageous of her to "come out" like this only if things really aren't as wonderful as she's presented them here.

Tracy Thompson's and Martha Manning's memoirs of depression do a much better job of portraying the pain and frustration of a mood disorder, and were a lot more honest and well-written. AUM does have some evocative descriptions, but look elsewhere for stunning insights and carefully crafted prose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account
<br /> <br /> Having dealt most of my life with Manic-Depression, this is one of the better books to read, both from the Doctor's point of view as well as one that is living with the situation. I wish it would have touched a little more on the why it happens but thankfully there are several boos out there that explain the why's such as: <br /> Skywriting, Brilliant Madness and Nightmares Echo.

5-0 out of 5 stars A found mind.....
I am a 26 yr old woman that has only six months ago been diagnoised with bi-polor...this book was amazing. So many of the same things that Kay speaks of I feel- deeply. My therapist told me to go through and hi-lite all the things that really touch home with me...most of the book is now hi-lighted...it has allowed me another way to talk with my family and friends about all of the issues and obstacles I have faced and struggled with. I recommend this book to anyone that has a family member that has been diagnoised or a close friend. Or if you think you may have some of the symptoms of bi-polor.
It's hard to reach for help if you are bi-polor especially if your manic...it feels really good - but read and look at the reality of not getting help....

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring.
This book is wonderfully written. A great read for anybody interested in, or suffering from Bipolar. ... Read more


12. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table
by LindaEllerbee
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152687
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Putnam
Sales Rank: 127
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The celebrated journalist, producer, and bestselling author takes us on a remarkable culinary journey through "a life lived interestingly, if not especially intelligently."

Linda Ellerbee's first two books were instant classics: And So It Goes, a hilarious, unblinking look at television journalism that spent months as a bestseller; and Move On, a wry, intimate look at a woman in her time that became a milestone in autobiographical writing. Now she takes us both farther afield and closer to home in a memoir of travel, food, and personal (mis)adventure that brims with warmth, wit, uncommon honesty, inspired storytelling . . . and a few recipes as well.

In Vietnam, preconceptions collide with the soup. . . . In France, lust flares with the pbti and dies with the dessert. . . .In Bolivia, a very young missionary finds her food flavored with hypocrisy . . . while at the bottom of the Grand Canyon an older woman discovers gorp is good, fear is your friend, and Thai chicken tastes best when you're soaked by rain and the Colorado River.

From Italy to Afghanistan, from Mexico to Massachusetts, Ellerbee leads us on a journey of revelation, humor, and heart."What can you say about Linda Ellerbee?" Ted Koppel once wrote. "The woman is raucous and irreverent and writes like a dream." Take Big Bites proves it again.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A spectacular tour de force
It is rare to stumble on a book that you know is going to be a classic. Linda's latest reminds me of A J Liebling's already-classic saga of Paris dining, Between Meals. Liebling, too, was a journalist-gourmet. But Linda's book is possibly greater than Liebling's (and his is one of my favourites). Ellerbee has been everywhere and tasted everything. A Texan who was "going large" long before it was fashionable, and who has probably the most interesting address book in the world, her amazing empathy for people and her eye, ear and tastebuds all become the grist for some exquisite writing. Her respect for others, self-mockery, love of adventure and occasional sharp tantrum makes Take Big Bites a genuine literary achievement. Dare I propose that Ellerbee should be taken more seriously as an important American writer(I write this as a Brit). If Ellerbee had not become a TV star, she would have made plenty of reputation for herself with words alone. The charm of her TV scripts was always her clarity and precision - something not common in that industry. This book shows Ellerbee once again in perfect command of her stories. It is a memoir, a cook book, a statement of love for the world and its people, toldin a unique voice. Buy this book and you will feel happier. This is not really a five-star book by the somewhat devalued standard of these evaluations, it is a perfect 10. Did I mention that I love this book?

3-0 out of 5 stars Small Bites Are OK, Too
I remember Linda Ellerbee on Overnight, a late-night TV newscast that was considered ground-breaking at the time, before CNN. The news was serious, but she and her co-anchor, Lloyd Dobyns, seemed to be taking it all with a grain of salt, enjoying their gig while all the grown-up anchors were asleep. It was fun to watch reporters who weren't taking themselves too seriously.

For the most part, Ellerbee maintains that attitude in Take Big Bites, but it's a bit difficult when you've been through a few marriages, breast cancer, and reporting from war zones. Take Big Bites isn't exactly a memoir, it's a collection of essays and memories of places she's been, people she's met, food she's eaten. You can take it in order, or skip around, as Ellerbee has done.

I suggest small bites, contrary to Ellerbee's advice. A little bit of Ellerbee goes a long way. Her first encounter with pho,Vietnamese noodle soup is amusing, and so is her reaction to Singapore. But there is a bit too much homespun philosophy for my taste, as well as James Taylor lyrics. I like JT as much as anyone who came of age in the Seventies, but quoting him this much seems like an odd 'blast-from-the-past'.

5-0 out of 5 stars A delicious must read!
Ellerbee's escapades as she dines her way around the world is hysterically funny. It is a laugh-out-loud read about the life of one of Amercia's great journalists and greater writer.Her personal observations and honesty touch your heart and give a compelling insight into what makes this woman an icon. ... Read more


13. Lucky Child : A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind
by Loung Ung
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060733942
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 5578
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Loung Ung came to America in 1980 as a ten-year-old Cambodian refugee, she had already survived years of hunger, violence, and loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, a story she told in her critically acclaimed bestseller, First They Killed My Father. Now, in Lucky Child, Ung writes of assimilation and, in alternating chapters, gives voice to a genocide survivor she left behind in rural Cambodia, her older sister Chou.

Loung was the lucky child, the sibling Eldest Brother chose to take with him to America. The youngest and the scrappiest, she was the one he believed had the best chance of making it. Just two years apart, Chou and Loung had bonded deeply over the deaths of their parents and sisters. As they stood holding hands in their dusty village while the extended family gathered to say good-bye, they never imagined that fifteen years would pass before they would be reunited again.

With candor and enormous flair, Ung describes what it is like to survive in a new culture while surmounting dogged memories of genocide and the deep scars of war. Not only must she learn about Disney characters and Christmas trees to fit in with her classmates, she must also come to understand life in a nation of peace: that the Fourth of July fireworks are not bombs and that she doesn't have to hide food in her bed every night to make sure she has enough to eat. Her spunk, intelligence, and charisma win out, but Cambodia and Chou are always in her thoughts.

An accomplished activist and writer, Ung has now returned to Cambodia many times, and in this re-creation of Chou's life, she writes the story that so easily could have been hers. Both redemptive and searing, Lucky Child highlights the harsh realities of chance and circumstance and celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging and gripping tale of immigrant experience
Ms. Ung has once again given us a powerful rendering of what it means to survive.Her first book, First They Killed My Father" was extraordinary for its ability to translate the experience of the Cambodian genocide for a public disconnected to the realities of that war.

Her second book is no less a tour de force, giving us an eye into the life of a young girl from a radically different culture (and history of deprevation) trying to come to terms with this American life.She does it remarkably well, with candor and grace.

4-0 out of 5 stars One Flaw keeps me from buying this
This story appears riveting.I want to read the book.I WILL read the book when it is available at my library.I can't give it a bad rating because I haven't actually read it.The book is written in the present tense and I dislike books written that way.I was ready to buy this book tonight, but when something happened years ago, it is just one of those things I can't handle, "What do you want?" he asks."Nothing."I say.That sort of thing. ... Read more


14. John Brown, Abolitionist : The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights
by DAVID S. REYNOLDS
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375411887
Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 1207
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good biography of Brown with important cultural issues
When I was a child the name of John Brown was a grotesquerie.We sang about his body a moulderin' in the grave, but it was generally understood that he was some kind of crazy man who killed some people over slavery, had something to do with the Civil War, and we just shouldn't talk about it.And I am from Michigan rather than the South so this avoidance wasn't based on region.

In the sixties I was about as removed in time from the Civil War as today's young people are from the First World War.That is, the people who were alive during the war were all but past and the children born to those who had lived through the war were now old.Still, some of the received knowledge of the war came from tradition of those who had life experience rather than from books and scholarship.However, with the Great War in our Grandparent's lives, the Second World War in our parent's lives and the echoes of Korea all around us and Vietnam getting under its bloody way, the Civil War just seemed too long ago to worry about in real life.

I took extra time with this book because I wanted to wrestle with the idea of when a cause is important enough to justify personally initiated violence.In our present state of affairs, it is hard to conceive a wrong so great that righting it would involve action outside the political and judicial processes.At bottom, no matter how certain of the rightness and goodness of our cause, there is still some possibility that there is more to the issue than we understand and that those whom we would kill or murder might actually, in the cosmic view of things, not merit the death we would inflict on them.We have doubts enough with the state rendering a judgment of death, how much more would we doubt the rightness of a private judgment that concluded in the death of a human being.

The author, David Reynolds, does a solid job in telling the story of John Brown.We see Brown as a human being within his time.We see his faith in God, his Puritan sense of destiny, and his fury at the injustice of slavery.As we follow him through his life we understand why he acted as he did and the enslavement and misery of four million souls makes his actions in Kansas and at Harpers Ferry make some sort of awful sense.The last two chapters make clear that this author agrees with W.E.B. DuBois that "Brown was right".Reynolds does take on the modern terrorism of the left and the right.He takes on abortion, the environment, the Islamofacists, and more.He argues that Brown was different and exceptional.He notes the power Brown's words and how his cause was taken on by so many leading into, during, and after the Civil War.

Yet, in my own mind, if I grant that Brown is an exception I have to ask what was he exceptional with?And I note it was his eloquence in words.I still cannot help but disqualify his violence as just.His cause in freeing the slaves was certainly just, but if we allow his violence under what premise do we make that allowance?Abortion has taken millions of lives, environmentalism claims they are saving the whole planet, animal rights claims they are sparing billions of animals, and on and on the fever goes until it reaches into insanity.Whose conscience do we grant the privileged position of spilling everyone's blood?

Brown had the passion, conscience, and eloquence that he could have used to make a powerful case against slavery as he did after his trial.He would have had, I believe, and even greater impact against slavery with his preaching than with his sword.Remember, every other country in the world abandoned slavery without the violence of our Civil War.And even if we grant that the War freed the slaves in 1865 while a nonviolent approach would have taken decades longer, we also have to admit it was another century of work and too often bloodshed before the descendants of those slaves got close to the civil rights promised them.And don't forget that the man who did the most to move society to accepting those rights was Martin Luther King who preached nonviolence.Thurgood Marshall won Brown v. Board of Education without guns as well.

Yes, there is more to do.Certainly, there is cruelty and injustice almost more than we can bear in the world.But bear it we must as we work towards a better world.Our methods in that work do matter and we must not become deluded that our personal sense of righteousness actually grants us a special position from which we can deal injustice in the name of a higher cause.

This is a thoughtful book and deserves to be read.You will gain a lot from it and wrestling with these awful events will help you clarify what exactly it is you do believe.

1-0 out of 5 stars There are better biographies of John Brown
Don't waste your time on this book. Find and read Otto Scott's "John Brown and the Secret Six" which has plenty of evidence of the terrorist roots of John Brown and his band.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvellous
Ideal for those of you who want to find out about John Brown, Abolitionist : The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights

5-0 out of 5 stars A Christian Right Wing Terrorist
I'm not so sure that I agree with Dr. Reynolds subtitle.

John Brown didn't exactly end slavery. That took a little over two million men; 359,528 of whom died.

Did he spark the Civil War? Certainly he was one spark. Dr. Reynolds writes that the Civil War might have been delayed, except for John Brown's murderous raids and the seizure of the federal armory at Harpers Ferry. If it had been delayed, might it not have happened?

Seeding Civil Rights, OK! But if so, the growth and maturity of the Civil Rights movement took another hundred years and the actions of a lot of people.

From this you can guess the tone of the book. Dr. Reynolds presents Brown as a Puritan pioneer rather than a crazed fanatic. I wonder if he would present Timothy McVeigh and the Christian Right prople who blow up women's clinics in the same way.

You can certainly say that Dr. Reynolds presents a strong viewpoint almost praising John Brown, yet at the same time he does point out that the actions of John Brown would today mark him as a terrorist. ... Read more


15. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
by Azar Nafisi
list price: $13.95
our price: $9.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081297106X
Catlog: Book (2003-12-30)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 69
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true.

For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran.

Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense.

Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice.
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Reviews (112)

4-0 out of 5 stars A literary tour-de-force
Azar Nafisi's memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran, is the sort of book you should pick up if you want to assure yourself of how well-read you are, or perhaps to remind yourself that you are not well read at all. In the back of Ms. Nafisi's book is a list of recommended reading, some of which deals with Iran, but much of which is the fiction about which she writes in the book.

Having only read some of the novels about which Ms. Nafisi writes, I don't think I can adequately discuss the literary criticism woven throughout the book. The story of the book club itself is often not the main focus, as Ms. Nafisi gives a crash course in Iranian revolutionary history and delves into her personal life as well as that of the women in her book club. The combination of the three is an intriguing and potent conceit; learning how everyday life in Iran affects these women is compelling and evocative. Intertwined with commentary and comparison of some of the great books of western literature makes it even more so.

It would be had to say that one does not learn one thing, if not many things, from this book. Certainly it inspires you to read some of the books Ms. Nafisi writes about, if only to re-read the book and access a new level of understanding.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books
Nafisi details her experiences in Iran from 1979 to 1997, when she taught English literature in Tehran universities and hosted a private seminar on Western literature for female university students. Born and raised in Iran, the author offers readers a personal account of events in the postrevolutionary period that are often generalized by other writers. She was a witness to compulsory veiling, the "cultural revolution" that closed and purged the universities, the Iraq-Iran war (including missile attacks against Tehran), and the Ayatollah Khomeini's death. Nafisi provides readers with a view of Tehran during these tumultuous two decades and describes the ways that individuals resisted and defied the new regime's restrictive policies concerning both women's and men's behavior and dress. Readers interested in Western literature and the ways that key works could be interpreted by those living in different settings and times will find this book fascinating. Specialists on Iran, the Middle East, and Islam will also find the work unique, controversial, and informative. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Most public and academic collections and levels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classical Celebration
<br /> Through turmoil, heartbreak and heartache comes the courageous and celebrated life of women. This will be one of the classics that will be handed down through the generations to come. A beautifully written and prolific book for all to read. <br /> Other reads are: Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart,A Paper Life by Tatum O'Neil <br />

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Style
Excellent style of writing,a story that captures your attention and holds it. I am a fan of Non Fiction works, Particularly that of Memoirs-Autobiographies. This book is meaty and hard to put down. Other Non Fiction works that have caught my attention are- Running With Scissors,One Child and Nightmares Echo

2-0 out of 5 stars didnt like it either
I had a few probs with this book.

1. Nafisi talks at length about the vices of the islamic republic of iran - which i wholly empathize with - however, she fails to give substantial background on the how the country reached this state ie. the radical secularism that plagued the country only a generation before, under the 'shah'. And while this seems like a mere detail, its very significant, as it provides a sociological context for the political ongoings Nafisi writes so much about.
2. she seems a bit whiny to me and kind of passive....
3. maybe its bc i havent read most of the books she mentions, but I found her running commentaries on the books a bit boring and tedious. I felt like i was reading a book report or something.
4. the one thing i expected from this book was a heartwarming narrative of female bonding (think female"dead poets society" or "how to make an american quilt"). instead, i found the relationship nafisi conjurs somewhat empty and unsatisfying. i felt like she was trying to take me somewhere and we never got there.

so i didnt really like this book basically. ... Read more


16. The Treehouse : Eccentric Wisdom from My Father on How to Live, Love, and See
by Naomi Wolf
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743249771
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 2327
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bestselling author Naomi Wolf was brought up to believe that happiness is something that can be taught -- and learned. In this magical book, Naomi shares the enduring wisdom of her father, Leonard Wolf, a poet and teacher who believes that every person is an artist in their own unique way, and that personal creativity is the secret of happiness.

Leonard Wolf is a true eccentric. A tall, craggy, good-looking man in his early eighties, he's the kind of person who likes to use a medieval astrolabe, dress in Basque shepherd's clothing, and convince otherwise sensible people to quit their jobs and follow their passions. A gifted teacher, he's dedicated his life to honoring individualism, creativity, and the inspirational power of art. Leonard believes, and has made many others believe, that inside everyone is an artist, and success and happiness in life depend on whether or not one values and acts upon one's creative impulse. In The Treehouse, Naomi Wolf's most personal book yet, Naomi outlines her father's lessons in creating lasting happiness and offers inspiration for the artist in all of us.

The book begins when Naomi asks Leonard to help build a treehouse for his granddaughter. Inspired by his dedication to her daughter's imaginative world, Naomi asks her father to walk her through the lessons of his popular poetry class and show her how he teaches people to liberate their creative selves. Drawn from Leonard's handwritten lecture notes, the chapters of The Treehouse remind us to "Be Still and Listen," "Use Your Imagination," "Do Nothing Without Passion," and that "Your Only Wage Will Be Joy," and "Mistakes Are Part of the Draft." More than an education in poetry writing, this is a journey of self-discovery in which the creative endeavor is paramount.

Naomi also offers glimpses into her father's past -- from his youth during the Depression to his bohemian years as a poet in 1950s San Francisco -- and the evolution of Leonard's highly individualistic vision of the artist's way. She reconsiders her own childhood and realizes the transformative effect Leonard's philosophy has had on her own life, as well as the lives of her students and friends. The Treehouse is ultimately a stirring personal history, a meditation on fathers and daughters, an argument for honoring the creative impulse, and unique instruction in the art of personal happiness. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Treasurable Tribute
This daughter's tribute to her father is a very compelling and, at times, disturbing read.I say disturbing because Leonard Wolf is both a towering, magnetic intellect and passionately even dogmatically convicted, "all or nothing" personality.As T. S. Eliot said of Samuel Johnson, "he is a dangerous man to disagree with." In the section titled, Do Nothing Without Passion, I did feel much empathy for a poor soul named, Malcolm, against whom I felt, as he was an absent and shunned husband, Naomi and Leonard united.At a climactic moment when Leonard, Naomi, and Malcolm's wife are discussing the wife's marriage, Leonard invokes a passage from Chaucer's, Troilus and Criseyde, to proclaim, "Chaucer is saying that after a while, Criseyde felt no pain at the absence of Troilus. If a string with knots was pulled through a heart, it would hurt!No knots, no pain.You marry someone if you literally cannot live without them; if they have made knots in your heart that cannot ever be released, by time, by distance. About marriage, it means, in plain words: if there is no passion, forget it" Aside from Leonard probably being right, painful as that is to process, I would have to ask both Leonard and Naomi, how would you feel if your wife or husband were the beneficiary of such an exhortation by the well-intentioned in your absence?

As a father of two independent daughters I was yet extremely moved by Naomi Wolf's tribute to her father; thrilled also by the generosity with which she shared so much and so intimately from his views and his life.Leonard Wolf is, I emphasize, a man of intense vibrancy and depth that goes far beyond his horror fiction scholarship. Estimable as his criticism is, I have long known and sought his other many sides as poet, dramatist, and novelist (perhaps this book will spark a Leonard Wolf revival so we can finally enjoy his science fiction poetry and his dramatization of The Rape of Lock among other works that have never been widely available).I also must confess that I came to the book very eagerly and very eagerly biased as I was very blessed to have been a part of his Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, seminar in back in 1971 when I experienced the man first hand.His teaching went way beyond the seminar subject, and it has had a huge impact on my life."No one, absolutely no one, is exonerated from the love experience," I can still his deep, soft voice intoning.He took that observation to an explanation of how Emily Dickinson had so much more to say about love than Walt Whitman did (I sure as hell agree with him on that).

At first glance many of the title headings, such as Use Your Imagination and Identify Your Hearts Desire might appear to be from a book that is just another spin from the vast amount of banality flooding out of the human potential movement.As one reads the accounts in the book, however, one can see how Leonard Wolf lives his values in such a convincing way that one must confront him directly, either to follow or strongly depart.I have discovered that I have learned far more from differing with him, and pursuing the challenge in the difference, than from living comfortably in agreeing with him (I agree with him on many if not most of his views).

Treehouse is a treasure.
... Read more


17. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
by Rachel DeWoskin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393059022
Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A smart, funny, insightful peek into modern China through the eyes of a "foreign babe."

Hoping to improve her Chinese and broaden her cultural horizons, Rachel DeWoskin went to work for an American PR firm in China. Before she knew it, she was not just exploring but making Chinese culture—as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jexi, star of a wildly successful soap opera. A sort of Chinese counterpart to Sex in the City revolving around Chinese-Western culture clashes, the show was called Foreign Babes in Beijing.

Living the clashes in real life while playing out a parallel version onscreen, Rachel forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim that "to get rich is glorious." In only a few years, billboards, stylish bars and discos, international restaurants, fashion shows, divorce, foreign visitors, and cross-cultural love affairs transform the face of China's capital. Foreign Babes in Beijing is as astute and informative as it is witty, moving, and entertaining. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of the mouths of babes ... come the truest words . . .
This is one of the most entertaining and informative books I have read in a very long time.I have been to Beijing once and I now live in thevery multicultural city of Toronto.The author deftly weaves the scripted story of the soap opera in which she acts with her real story on the streets and clubs and offices of Beijing.In a style of writing that is clear but deeply nuanced and humorous, she relates the lives of young men and women in a rapidly changing China, dealing with their own kind of culture shock, even as she deals with hers.

The chapter "Model workers" talks of the emerging, very non-Maoist profession of runway models.Brief, capsule biographies of the author's friends in China who are both typical and extraordinary, painters, actors, and fellow office workers, provided me insights that I will long carry with me.The story is told in part with quotations from her actual conversations, quotations from the show script, lyrics from popular songs, and brief quips about historical women recorded in the ancient "Lives of Eminent Women." Together these constribute to a fine tapestry that reveals many truths about our complex multicultural lives without judgement and with considerable affection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crisp, Clever, Fast-paced, and Funny
This book is both smart and fun. On the one hand it is about an American babe who stars in a Chinese TV soap with funny stories to tell; and on the other, a glimpse into China's vast cultural landscape that is shifting as we speak.The seduction by the foreign babe is a metaphor for the impact of the West on the middle kingdom. DeWoskin has a smooth as silk grasp of language that is kind to the reader. Well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary - Served Hot and Spicy
Rachel DeWoskin arrived in Beijing during the mid-90s, among the first wave of Westerners to see the city since the protests and reprisals at Tiananmen Square a few years earlier. During her stay, China relented from rigid socialism, opened up to foreign capital, and incorporated western business practices. On one level, "Foreign Babes" is the story of this process. DeWoskin's descriptions of these cultural convulsions are pithy and delightful. From the introduction of Coke and McDonald's (and the resulting obesity epidemic), to the latest trends in Chinese rock music and performance art, she was a witness and an insider - the perfect guide.

DeWoskin was not just an anonymous tourist, though, she was a pop-sensation. Starring as an American temptress in China's version of Beverly Hills 90210, her weekly seductions were seen by half a billion people each week. Hundreds of fans mobbed her on the streets of Beijing and followed her through stores, buying whatever random products she put in her bag.

But the heart of "Foreign Babes" is not the fascinating backdrop of Beijing in bloom, or the glamorous and sexy soap opera, but the relationships between the characters. Sparring across a huge divide of language, politics, and culture, they must shed stereotypes and find a personal space in which to understand each other - not as American or Chinese, but as individuals and friends. DeWoskin possesses an astute social sensibility, a pitch-perfect ear for conversation, and the gift of spot-lighting the most awkward - and revealing - moment in any interaction.

Just going to China after college was adventurous. Signing on for the TV-show was audacious. Most impressive, however, was DeWoskin's ability to bridge the gaps and surround herself with friends in a foreign country. Impressive, but not surprising, since the author's warmth and grace are apparent on every page.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Telling Look at Late 1990's Beijing
Having lived for much of the period from 2001 - 2004 in Suzhou, (about 50 miles west of Shanghai), I can categorically say that Rachel DeWoskin's new book, FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA, gets nearly everything right when it comes to Chinese culture and interpersonal relations. Her book is a fascinating account of a city, a country, and a culture in transition. The people around her, and she herself, suffer the contradictions of tradition versus modernity, socialism versus entrepreneurial capitalism, blind patriotism versus Westernization, and government control versus individual freedom, yet everyone zooms ahead to find their own way even as the book's timeline approaches the millennium.

Ms. DeWoskin arrives in Beijing on something of a lark, a college grad with an English degree, a little Mandarin, and a desire for something adventurous. She has taken a position with the Beijing office of an international public relations firm (we later learn that "P.R." sounds uncomfortably like the Chinese word for an unflattering body part) but quickly finds the work empty of content. She unexpectedly gets offered a spot as one of the two foreign female leads in a new Chinese soap opera entitled "Yang Niu Zai Beijing," or "Foreign Babes in Beijing." She is duped into signing a contract for far less than she's worth to the producers (there are still relatively few attractive young Western women in Beijing in 1995), and a series of acting misadventures and cast romances ensue. DeWoskin can barely separate her real-life feelings for her hunky co-star Wang Ling from their respective romantic roles in the soap opera. In the end, "Foreign Babes" is a huge success throughout China, and Ms. Dewoskin is recognized everywhere she goes as Jiexi, the "loose" Western woman who steals a married Chinese man (Wang Ling's character, Tianming) from his wife and takes him to America.

The author eventually quits her P.R. job and takes on a series of small acting and spokesperson roles, and even takes a brief turn as a runway model. Along the way, she meets and briefly profiles four young Beijingers (two female and two male, despite oddly labeling their chapters, "Biographies of Model Babes") and describes their lives, beliefs, and aspirations. Each is fiercely independent and nontraditional, seeking to find their own identity and purpose in a newly-opened society. These four people are sometimes misinformed and often obstinate, even foolishly obstreperous, but there's no doubt they are brave, going where relatively few in their country have gone before.

DeWoskin develops close relationships with each of her four Beijingers, including a live-in relationship with the actor/screenwriter Zhao Jun. The last one-third of the book details her post-Jiexi life, which seems to devolve into clubbing and bar-hopping punctuated by occasional vague hints at working. Two tragedies -- the sudden death of a close Chinese friend juxtaposed against the mistaken U.S./NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade -- bring DeWoskin's relationships and her Chinese life to an abrupt end just as the 20th Century is drawing to a close. It is time to go home, to find her place in her native country.

Ms. DeWoskin tells her story in casual prose with easy pacing. Her writing is sometimes poignant and other times humorous. The reader feels her confusion about Chinese life and language; she doesn't even learn until later that her Chinese name, Du Ruiqiu (Du for DeWoskin, Ruiqiu to sound like Rachel), actually means "Bumper Harvest." She finds huge cultural gaps and differences with everyone around her. She makes repeated cultural faux pas, but muddles through nonetheless, just like any American in her place. Interlaced with her story are bits and pieces of Chinese history and language. Ms. DeWoskin also offers a number of surprisingly on-target, passing observations about Chinese life and culture: the importance of face, women covering their mouths when laughing, lack of winter heating, foreigners' prices, women holding hands but not hugging, and a host of others. Combined, these little bits add to a greater whole, creating a "Beijing atmosphere" that effectively complements her personal story.

It is hard not to see FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA as a coming of age story, both for the naïve, young college graduate author and for the country in which she is perpetually an outsider. She uses China and the Chinese for her own adventure story as surely as they use her for her "exotic" foreignness. This book is also a story about cross-cultural personal relationships, about roles assumed and played out, about what is thought and said, and not said, between any two people, complicated a hundredfold by cultural differences and ways of thinking. In the end, Ms. DeWoskin's confused, conflicted, and ultimately lost relationship with Zhao Jun may well serve as a metaphor for the instability, and perhaps the utter hopelessness, of the larger Sino-American relationship.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting, and impressionistic
A good read, funny at times. In a way, this book is not exactly about the "new new China," but "recent new China," for the described events happened more than 5 years ago, a generational period on the Chinese time scale. DeWoskin is charming, self-deprecating, and going out with interesting people including Cui Jian. Do not look for any substantial, observant description of the capital and its people in this chattery book. She is after all a babe, living a half-real, half-dreamy life in Beijing. Never an insider, she is but a sweet, lovely guest who is invited to watch China and be watched at the same time. ... Read more


18. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
by KorenZailckas
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033766
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 1260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old KorenZailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring howbinge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poetand the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describes her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoningat sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in anunfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all thedepression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between.Zailckas’s unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath theseeming banality of girls’ getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousandsof girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who use booze as a short cut to courage, astand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how theiremotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their sociallycondoned binging.

Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars’ Club, Autobiography of a Face, andJarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman whohas succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtlerepercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is aneye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement. ... Read more

Reviews (67)

1-0 out of 5 stars A LOT OF RAMBLING
I HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH SIDE TRACKING.THE AUTHOR DOES SO MUCH RAMBLING THAT I FORGOT WHERE SHE WAS GOING WITH THE STORY.

5-0 out of 5 stars A courageous memoir and an outstanding book
This book was amazing, engrossing, and highly thought-provoking.It seems so many people, including many "reviewers" on this site, are so quick to label somebody as an "alcoholic" or whatnot.Is the author an alcoholic?Truth is, it really doesn't matter.Zailckas examines her life and her drinking from an intellectual and partly feminist point of view.Her clarity and, more importantly, her objectivity when discussing her own situation and her deep, dark secrets lead me to believe that she is as free from the grips of alcohol as a bird is from prison bars (and I, for one, loved her use of metaphors and similes).Just baring these deeply, deeply personal stories in the hopes of relating to others who have been in or are in her situation is something I find highly admirable.And it worked.As a female college student, I can relate to so much of what she talks about.I can see it in myself and in so, so many of my friends.It is an issue that, in my experience, most girls inevitably face at some time or another.And depending on certain factors, including heredity, self-image and self-esteem, personality, availability, peer pressure and so on, many girls will unfortunately spin out of control and not even realize it until weeks, months, or years of their lives have been washed over with the rank stench of alcohol.I believe she is on to something when she implies that it is indeed a women's issue, an American issue, and a cultural issue.It is all of these things and more.Unless you are in college RIGHT NOW, you have no idea what it is like.Drinking is present and highly encouraged at 95% of the social functions that most college kids attend.It is so easy to abuse it, and nearly no one sees it as dysfunctional.I had begun to ponder this incessantly over the past year and reading this book comforts me that I am not alone, or insane.

This book was intensely personal and yet, at the same time, widely cultural.Zailckas takes a deep look at her alcohol abuse and the effects that it had on her emotional and social development.Society seems to care so much about labels.Is she an alcoholic?I don't know.I am not an addiction counseler, and I doubt any of you who were so quick to label her are, either.The IMPORTANT thing is that she finally realized the detrimental effects of her drinking and had the brains and the willpower to quit.Whatever it took to get her to see that, and however long it took, is irrelevant.We all march to the beat of our own drum.And the fact that she was able to create a beautiful, if sad, piece of writing from it was amazing.The fact that it has reached out to people, in particular, girls like me who desperately needed someone to relate to, nothing short of a miracle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Disturbing
I read through the book in less than two days.The style is comfortable and flows logically through this troubled young woman's adolescence into adulthood.The descriptions of her relationship with alcohol are profound and, often, hard to understand.What would create such a need, in an attractive, articulate young girl who doesn't seem to have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child, to medicate so much pain?One wonders if something might have been left out, but given the frank descriptions of her drinking and sexual encounters when drunk, it doesn't seem likely that she would sugar coat the rest of her life.

I was left with a lot of questions. Here are a few: Although the author spends a signficant amount of time describing her college experience, there is hardly a mention of going to class or studying.How in the world did she graduate?It would have been interesting if she would have discussed the impact her drinking had on her learning and the quality of her work.Another thing that amazed me was her account of her parents.Here is a girl who had her stomach pumped at 16 from alcohol poisoning, who continues to have severe life, health, and safety-threatening issues with drinking through college, and yet her Mother insists on buying her a drink for her 21st birthday celebration, and her Father gives her hard liquour for a Christmas gift that year.I believe it was the same brand that she almost died from at 16.What in the world were these people thinking?Lastly, although she mentions she is Catholic, the only mention of God is when she refers to the "freedom" that comes to you when you stop believing in God.I think there is a lot more there to explore, and maybe in the context of her need to drink.

Overall, a stunning work, and well worth the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought pricking
Not often are we provided with stories that touch a rising problem in society. Binge drinking is a problem society can no longer ignore. It is endemic in countries like the UK, Ireland, and USA, and Cameroon, parts of the world like continental Europe, North America, South East Asia, and Latin America.

Smashed is an amazing story of this problem of alcoholism that is prevalent amongst young women. It is quite a scary book that will make many readers cringe when they read about the problems alcohol caused for Zailckas. This book may be a little bit too much for parents because it certainly is frightening and shocking for them to learn that heavy drinking is common amongst the young at such a young age. But as some one who went through that phase, I can relate to the story. It is a problem that should be confronted.

I like the way Zailckas did the narration. Her voice is strong in the writing and her style is unique. Poetic and fast flowing, one gets the story without drowning in compassion for her. After all, it is a past she shrugged off. That is why I think many people will find it interesting reading about this experience of alcoholism or binge drinking from the perspective of a young woman. It has lots of lessons to be learnt. Anybody can become an alcohol addict at an early stage in life. But with courage, determination and support, anybody can bit the addiction, whether as an alcoholic or a binge boozer.THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,THIS IS ME AND WHERE I AM, THE UNION MOUJIK are other gripping stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Served Up on a Plate
"Smashed" is a authentic slice of life. There are definite similarities to "My Fractured Life", "Dry" and "Nightmares Echo" but with a unique slant. This is an up and down roller coaster life and the writer has the delivery to match ... Read more


19. Embroideries
by MARJANE SATRAPI
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375423052
Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 1676
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Women
Embroideries is a short book by the same author who wrote the two part graphic novel memoir "Persepolis"about her childhood in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. I enjoyed those books because it showed real life in Iran and it wasn't just a scary state of being that is often presented to the American public. (she showed people doing their best to maintain their dignity despite extreme circumstances) I think her latest book is an extension of that. This time the author Marjane Satrapi shares the stories the women in her family tell about love, life, sex, marriage and their place in it all. Many of the stories are absolutely hilarious and others are just plain heart-breaking. The heart-breaking ones make me think of Flannery O'Connor short stories for their slightly macabre tone and people going on with living despite such experiences. It was captivating because if it wasn't for the setting I think some experiences could be universal or common for many women in the world. Again the author shows Western readers that life in Iran isn't all veils and misery as we are often told. Women often get a raw lot there but there is also gentle beauty, broad humour and a close sense of family; where these women share their stories of wild living, love and even the joys of being a mistress. The illustrations are very simple black and white drawings but they reveal much more in subtle moments.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is great
No book made me laugh so much.
It just great; A must read!!! ... Read more


20. We Thought You Would Be Prettier : True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive
by LAURIE NOTARO
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812969014
Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 2404
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The funniest woman alive
I'm appalled at the reviewers who have the audacity to say Laurie's work isn't hilarious. One clearly has no sense of humor if she fails to make you laugh. Sure Laurie pokes mean spirited fun at Camaros, morons in line at Fedex and kids with stupid hairdos but she also thoroughly makes fun of herself which you've got to respect. And you're kidding yourself if you can't relate to some of her tales - we all lose patience with strangers and do idiotic things.

My respect for Laurie doubled when I met her a B&N book signing. She is a great person - as funny and sarcastic as you'd expect from her writing but also genuinely nice - the kind of person who makes a really fun friend. She clearly cares about her readers and delights in meeting the people she has touched with her stories. She also shared the chocolate Twizzlers someone brought her with everyone at the book signing. You gotta love generosity when it comes to candy! ;o)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another humorus home run from Laurie!
I was so happy to get this book, I've been a huge fan of Laurie Notaro for years. She speaks for all of us who are less than perfect but make the most of it. These books keep getting better and better. I can relate to so many of the situations, but could never find the right way to express the details. Laurie not only captures the moment, but makes a hilarious sitcom out of it - in fact I think she deserves a prime time sitcom! Now it's time to wait for the next book. Until then, I'll read this one again! Go buy this book, you'll love it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Notaro rocks
In this latest collection of short stories, Laurie Notaro works her comedic yet magic again. From start to finish, I was cracking up with each new page. Laurie Notaro rocks!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but not as good as the others
This book is funny - it is a good read but I enjoyed her previous books more. Autobiography of a Fat Bride : True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood is probably my favorite. That aside, this is still an entertaining read - it is broken up into short chapters so you can read a bit here and there. Notaro has some really witty observations on life and a sarcastic sense of humor.

2-0 out of 5 stars Alright??
I had just finished a few thoughtful books. I really wanted something light hearted and would make me laugh. This certainly was NOT the right book.

I hate to admit this but I chose this book because of the cover and its title. I thought it would remind me of my life in someway and I could easily identify with it. SO not the case.

Most of the humor is forced. She tries to get us to see what she experienced without realizing we didn't grow up with her. She had a few moments especially in her surgery story but other than that...The worst story (many would most likely disagree with me on this) was her fedex story. Although many of us have been there: stuck in line with a stupid customer in front of us, it doesn't mean that would ruin an entire day. She almost has no compassion on the woman...it seems like everyone is an idiot, a paris hilton or something to that degree...it's like a constant pity party.

What makes me sad is that I forced myself to finish this book. I hate quitting on a book so I forced myself. One should never force yourself to read a book. But I must admit, there were some decent stories hidden in this book. But the bad far out ways the good. ... Read more


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