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181. The John McPhee Reader
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182. Everything & Nothing
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183. The Spiritual Emerson: Essential
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184. How I Got This Way
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186. In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal
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187. Even the Stars Look Lonesome (Random
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188. Break Every Rule: Essays on Language,
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189. Thinking Out Loud : On the Personal,
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190. The Genealogy of Morals (Dover
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191. The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic
192. Seneca: Moral Essays (Lcl, No.
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193. In Fact: The Best of Creative
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194. Paul Harvey's For What It's Worth
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195. Walden and Other Writings (Modern
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196. The Pump House Gang
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197. Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays
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198. Prague: A Traveler's Literary
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199. The Malcontents
200. Complete Essays of Montaigne

181. The John McPhee Reader
by John McPhee
list price: $16.00
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Asin: 0374517193
Catlog: Book (1982-06-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 186084
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The John McPhee Reader, first published in 1976, is comprised of selections from the author’s first twelve books. In 1965, John McPhee published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are; a decade later, he had published eleven others. His fertility, his precision and grace as a stylist, his wit and uncanny brilliance in choosing subject matter, his crack storytelling skills have made him into one of our best writers: a journalist whom L.E. Sissman ranked with Liebling and Mencken, who Geoffrey Wolff said “is bringing his work to levels that have no measurable limit,” who has been called “a master craftsman” so many times that it is pointless to number them.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Walking Around
In this collection, a distillation taken from his many books, John McPhee describes a premier basketball player, Bill Bradley. Also featured is his, McPhee's, headmaster, Frank Boyden, of Deerfield Academy. Boyden practiced a form of management by walking around.

McPhee tells of the famed oranges of Indian River, Florida. Florida was the only wilderness in the world that attracted middle-aged pioneers. After the Civil War more orange growing developed. Harriet Beecher Stowe bought some land at Mandarin. The orange fever of the 1880's attracted a high portion of Englshmen. The land was as fair and as fine as the promoters intimated. There had been a killer freeze in 1835. Then there was the Great Freeze of 1895 which happened in two stages, one in December, and the other in February. The freeze reduced the number of shipped oranges 97%.

In the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the most populous state geographically, there are only fifteen people per square mile. The rivers of the Pine Barrens are cedar water. The people of the pines came to be known as pineys. There is a stigma to the term that has never been eliminated.

Thomas Hoving moved from Parks Commissioner to Director of the Metropolitan Musem of Art. Both Hoving and the writer attended Princeton. James Rorimer invited Hoving to work at the Metropolitan Museum when he was a graduate student in art history at Princeton. He became a curatorial assistant in the medieval department. Rorimer had developed The Cloisters. He was a medievalist.

Hoving traveled with Rorimer through Europe. He learned to trust his first impression in regard to the authenticity of a work of art. One has to be saturated with art to know art history. When Hoving was Parks Commissioner he initiated the Happenings. He sought to create vest pocket parks.

Having traced a superb cross the museum purchased to Bury St. Edmunds, Hoving was able to date the cross, 1181-1190. Collecting, of necessity, is done in secrecy so that the prices do not rise. Following Hoving, there is a piece on Arthur Ashe.

Next the Highlands are treated. Crofters are protected by the Crofters' Holding Act. English is spoken at school and Gaelic is spoken at home. There used to be sheep dog trials. There is a piper on the island of Colonsay, Andrew Oronsay. Pipers were important in the era of the clans. The Highlands sound romantic. The reality is that pastures provide rough-grazing, for example. The present laird feels his father was guilty of misplaced benevolence.

Wilderness preservation is a contentious matter. East of the hundreth meridian there is sufficient rainfall for farming. West of it there is not. David Brower is haunted by the lost worlds of Utah overrun by the existence of the dam at Glen Canyon. He was the first executive director of the Sierra Club.

One of the excerpts was written when Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia. A characteristic of John McPhee's writing is precision. This is a wonderful sampling of his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to McPhee
Here's how you can do it: you can buy all of McPhee's books, or
some, or one, or you can buy this collection of excepts from several of his pieces. Once you buy this one, however, you'll want to buy more. McPhee is one of the finest stylists around today, and take make the most mundane subjects fascinating.

5-0 out of 5 stars The finest reporting and prose in the English language
This collection is an inspiration to any reporter or writer. McPhee gets inside his subjects to such a degree that you feel as though you know them, perhaps, better than they know themselves. The first "Reader" contains sections from many of his best known works. ... Read more

182. Everything & Nothing
by Jorge Luis Borges, Jorge Borges, James E. Irby, Eliot Weinberger
list price: $8.50
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Asin: 0811214001
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 99946
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fiction.Translated by Donald Yates, James Irby, John Fein, and Eliot Weinburger, and with an h an introduction by Donald Yates, Everything and Nothing celebrates the centennial of Borges' birth by compiling his finest fiction. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars 100th anniversary of Borges' birth
The introduction to this celebratory volume "shocked" me - Borges was first published in English in 1962. Within five years, a farm kid like myself was familiar with him. Obviously, he work immediately was recognized as exceptional, out of the ordinary ... This slim volume provides an enjoyable reminder of his other works or a great introduction to the themes and style of Borges.

The volume begins with a handful of stories - the rewriting of Don Quixote, the imagined world, life as chance, spies and detectives. All of which explore language, imagination, reality, labyrinth ... In all, Borges displays a broad education, mingling literature, psychology, philosophy, philology, the occult in a manner both entertaining and provocative.

The stories are followed by essays - a meditation on the Great Wall of China and the destruction of history, a consideration of precursors to Kafka with provocative ideas of how Kafka affects our reading of his precursors, Shakespeare and self-identity, Borges and self-identity. In reading these, one is reminded how thin the line between essay and fiction is in the work of Borges.

Finally, the book closes with transcriptions of two speeches - one on dreams and nightmares, the other on blindness and the poet.

This wonderful selection provides a representative and varied introduction to Borges that is not to be missed. The translations are excellent, the writing superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars the stone and the shell
This beautiful little book contains just a few of Borges' best works from his 1944 work Ficciones (also widely available in the 1964 collection of English translations entitled Labyrinths).

It also includes important later works of Borges, Nightmares and Blindness (transcriptions of two lectures from 1977).

His own worst nightmare involves discovering the King of Norway, with his sword and his dog, sitting at the foot of Borges' bed. "Retold, my dream is nothing; dreamt, it was terrible." Such is the power of describing, of reading this father of modern literature.

In Blindness, he examines his own loss of sight in the context of examining poetry itself. In a story right out of, well, Borges, he discusses his appointment as Director of a library at the very time he has lost his reading sight. (Two other Directors are also blind.)

"No one should read self-pity or reproach
into this statement of the majesty
of God; who with such splendid irony
granted me books and blindness at one touch."

This lecture is a moving (and brief, just 15 pages) ode to poetry . If one wants ironic context, just consider that these lectures on Nightmares and Blindness were delivered in Buenos Aires at the height of the State of Siege of the Argentine Generals.


5-0 out of 5 stars A Finely Pointed Look at Borges
It seems alternately true and false that Jorge Luis Borges lives inside each of his writings in a completely symbiotic or photosynthetic way, feeding off his own product until the man and his work are indistinguishable; the man never seemed to be able to detach himself from his story and simply write, and yet at times his expected voicing disappears and one might believe another author has usurped Borges' pen to complete another metaphysic tale. Borges wore many masks, and that fact is acknowledged by the man himself here, in the tiny, fascinating "Borges and I," in which Stevenson is both invoked and mentioned, crafting a Jekyll-and-Hydean bit of self-awareness with the unmistakable tango twist of Borges' playful Argentinian idiom. Everything and Nothing is a sampler of Borges' finest work from his fiction and nonfiction batteries, which are almost indistinguishable. They overflow with Borges' fascination with logic, labyrinths, language, and the relation between the three (for a fine nonfiction work in this vein, read Poundstone's Labyrinth of Reason) and how they figure in philosophy and metaphysics. For a more whole view of Borges, try the new large collections of his work, but for a tiny glance at the genius of this literary superstar, Everything and Nothing is perfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars The riddle of multiplicity and personal identity
The indefinability of the self and the multiplicity of personal identity are the main lines of thought connecting these 11 pieces of excellent literature, among the finest of Borges's. An author of short fiction stories, essayist and poet -though perhaps too much of a thinker for poetry-, Borges is, without hesitation, one of the greatest writers of all time. This careful, well-thought selection gives a brilliant account of one of Borges's conspicuous, recurrent themes: the difficulty of defining self-identity, since a man's distinctive features, whether mental, physical or even metaphysical, are not unique to him. As in some of the most noted masterpieces of literature, the philosophical substrate provides the background for fascinating and intriguing stories, frequently trespassing the fantastic or the bizarre. So, we witness the struggle of an early 20th Century French novelist to write The Quixote -not a contemporary version of Cervantes's renowned work, but the original -- and succeeding! We have the occasion to come to terms with the strange world of Tlön and its uncanny understanding of reality, as shown by its diverse, odd languages. The Lottery of Babylon gives every man the opportunity to become rich, powerful and exultant...or appallingly miserable and abject -by chance? The Garden of Forking Paths is a legacy of innumerable futures -which, however, does not include all of them. Death and the Compass displays the confrontation of a detective with his murderer, whom he is chasing, in a labyrinth of clues spread throughout space and time. The brief historical and literary essays concerning the elusive and somewhat contradictory character of the Emperor of China, builder of the Great Wall and destructor of books, and the precursors of Kafka, paving the way for something they ignore and being later re-created, explore the indefinability of man's essence, in much the same way as the previous fiction stories, since one never knows quite what are the limits between fiction and fact, both inside and out of Borges's work. Borges and I and Everything and Nothing -the latter is the original title by the author in English, though the work was written, as the rest of the compilation, in Spanish- express succinctly the core argument of the book, raising an uneasy metaphysical question: Whereas man may not know exactly who he is, does God know? Finally, two conferences given by Borges close the volume, turning to episodes from Borges's own life, in order to resume somehow the book's contents by invoking the fantastic worlds of dreams -rather, of nightmares- and of blindness, that suggest a vaster and more weird reality with perhaps blurrier limits than we can possibly understand. However, there is space for man if we are able to accept what we cannot understand, as a starting point for creating our own-made life. ... Read more

183. The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Writings
by Ralph Waldo Emerson, David M. Robinson, David Robinson
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.75
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Asin: 0807077186
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 46160
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Light
David Robinson, once again, has shown through this superb selection of Emerson's essays the spiritual/religious underpinnings of America's premier Romantic. ... Read more

184. How I Got This Way
by Patrick F. McManus
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
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Asin: 080503482X
Catlog: Book (1995-10-15)
Publisher: Owl Books
Sales Rank: 12935
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars McManus at his best
Some of McManus' earlier works are somewhat boring and lack the humor of How I got this Way. This is a more recent book and is the perfect example of McManus' work. Great for your first Pat McManus book. I highly recommend this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pat is the best outdoor humor writer
I have read all but one of Patrick McManus's books and love them all. This one is just as funny as the others. The things he writes about remind me of stories my own father would tell me about his misadventures growing up. If you love hunting, fishing, camping, and/or the outdoors in general, you'll like this book. OK, even if you hate the outdoors, you will still find this book funny.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of his lot
No matter if you are the outdoors type or not this book is funny. Out of all all his books this one is best since he tells of the characters of his youth, plus a little embellishments. Also makes fun of himself most of the time which he is supremely talented at. WOuld also recomend the audio version which gives a touch of humorous sound to the funny words.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patrick McManus is a first rate comedy writer.
Patrick McManus with his hilarious stories make kids and grownups feel write at home. In his book "How I Got this way" he will make you laugh until you shed tears of joy, and read the stories to all your friends and family. This book is so funny I rate it a perfect 10 and I wish I could rate it higher because this book and all the other books he has written are some of the best books I've read. He is one of my favorite authors. If you start reading this or any of Patrick McManus's books you will not be able to put it down. Happy readings ... Read more

by Kevin. Kerrane, Ben. Yagoda
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0684846306
Catlog: Book (1998-08-03)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 78285
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best survey of non-fiction and its development I've seen
As a writer of non-fiction, I'm grateful to the editors of this book. It's the best and most complete survey of the development of non-fiction writing I've found, reaching back to Defoe for examples of techniques we've come to think of as recent developments non-fiction reporting, and moving through the "new journalism" writers to contemporary writers such as Ted Conover and Michael Winerip. The editors have written elegant prefaces not only to the book but to each of the dozens of writers included,giving biographical information, historical context, and information on the writing they've chosen to include (why they chose an early Hemingway column from the Toronto Star, for instance; the importance of Joseph Mitchell's profile on a bearded lady as opposed to his more well-known pieces). I would have liked to have seen something from Ian Frazier's Great Plains or Janet Malcolm's meditation on the art and impossibility of objective biography The Silent Woman, both of which push the craft of non-fiction writing into original territory. Nonetheless, this is a great book for students of non-fiction, non-fiction writers and especially for teachers of non-fiction. And as a collection of great writing, it's also great reading. ... Read more

186. In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0393319075
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 88888
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An exciting new anthology by the editors of the popular In Short, about which Publishers Weekly said: "Even readers skeptical of short-attention-span publishing will find these shorts addictive." In their previous collection Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones coined the term "short" for those creative nonfiction pieces --literary rather than informational, and characteristically short --that are attracting our finest writers. Now, with a more introspective focus, this new collection emphasizes the personal as "a way of seeing the world, of expressing an interior life. It is intimate without being maudlin, it is private without being secret." From Harriet Doerr's recollection of a halcyon time to Josephine Jacobsen's reverie on memory, In Brief offers vivid glimpses into the ways experience can be shaped in language that is fresh and inventive. The seventy-two authors here include the known --John McPhee, Cythia Ozick, James Salter --as well as remarkable new writers. Essays (all under 2000 words) range from Frank McCourt's search for his father in the pubs of Limerick to William Maxwell's thoughts about growing old; from Charles Baxter's early experience of reading to Brady Udall's confession as a liar. Patricia Hampl recalls meals at her grandmother's house, while Jane Brox contemplates the meaning of bread. In each piece, imagination becomes a way to explore reality. The real world we are fortunate enough to live in is revealed as endlessly rich and deep. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
An object lesson in how to cut to the chase; an example of tiny bites of beautiful writing; the art of the flash essay. By whatever name you call it, In Brief is proof that a piece of writing sometimes needn't be more than a paragraph or two in length to move readers and give them something profound, funny, enlightening, or beautiful to take away with them. This refreshing collection of teensy personal essays is a real winner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Too Busy To Read
This is a great book if you like to read but you never feel you have the time.These stories can each be read in a matter of minutes.This was a textbook for my creative non-fiction class and I think there are some great examples of the creative non-fiction format.The only downside I would say is that most of the stories are of a serious nature, so while the stories are short, I wouldn't call it 'light' reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Review of In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal
I find this book an excellent companion to Kitchen's and Jones' first book on the creative nonfiction "short" entitled, In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction.The evolution of creativenonfiction and the "short" is apparent in these pages. No longeris it mandatory that a literary journalist or creative nonfiction writer"immerse" the reader in a person, place or thing.These piecesof creative nonfiction show that writers can make a simple journal entry,letter, or, for that fact, an email, stand on its own -- that even thesmallest episode in our lives, or simple everyday pictures we've taken withour mind's eye, can have "symbolic realities." As a person whoreads and writes prose and poetry, I find the brevity, and yet complexity,of the works appealing. Mary Oliver, who I've enjoyed as a poet, turns apoetic list of items she finds at the beach into a prose piece on beautyand existence.Kimberly Gorall turns a brief childhood conversation withher mother into a statement about womanhood. William Heyen uses one simpleparagraph explaining the habits of an insect to an analogy on creativityand imagination. A bright high school senior, Janice Best (editor of Elan),uses an ingenius email format to try to explain why she writes.All ofthese "shorts" have a similar element -- they start with detail-- an intense focus -- and they end making a statement about our humanexistence. I have been liberated by the form presented in these pages --and plan to teach college students using this book as a reader. But Ibelieve any one who enjoys learning about the 'human condition' will enjoythis book.It's a quick read, but the impact of the material here lasts along time. ... Read more

187. Even the Stars Look Lonesome (Random House Large Print)
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
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Asin: 0679774416
Catlog: Book (1997-08-05)
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Sales Rank: 642094
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The audio version of Even the Stars Look Lonesome, acollection of unabridged essays read by Maya Angelou, plays as if youare spending an evening with the author herself. You'll feel as if, bysome stroke of luck, Angelou had settled down for a pleasant chat overdinner and a glass of wine, telling stories about her family andsharing her powerfully stated opinions about the African Americanexperience, sex versus sensuality, and the ins and outs of growing old.Her reading is lively and intelligent, her words at once lyrical andpowerful, blurring the line between memoir and poetry. Don't besurprised if you find yourself repeatedly hitting rewind, just to savoragain Angelou's wonderful word play and mighty matriarch's voice.(Running Time: 90 minutes) ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this!
it talks about essays of aspects in life and what kind of journey that people are planning to have in their experiences and I think its a very interesting book
Best Book

5-0 out of 5 stars the spoken truth
maya angelou's even the stars look lonesome is an outburst to the african american society. it gives so much hope. her words express a lyrical emotion. her usage of intelligent voice structure titilates the mind.

3-0 out of 5 stars Even The Stars Look Lonesome
The deep and compelling thoughts of life and how to endear every emotion, experience, and disappointment that comes with growing older day by day, were wonderfully displayed in Maya Angelou's Even the Stars Look Lonesome.This book was an intelligent continuation of her best selling book Wouldn't Take Anything from my Journey Now.Taking life one day at a time, and learning from each experience is what this book is all about.The recreating of each memorable happening from love and intimacy to rage and violence, not discounting her remarkable outlook on age, fame, and perhaps the most impotent, the comfort and security you find in a home and a family. The experiences would relate more to elder women looking for advice and insight on common life issues.
In this novel, Maya Angelou has combined a wonderful collection of life experiences that have formed and made her the person she is today.Each chapter reflects an important stepping-stone of her life.The book consists of twenty chapters that are mumbled together and yet stayed in order of the way they took place.
The plot is always changing each chapter is like a different book.Towards the beginning of the novel, love and divorce where the experience of choice and she soon moves in to her times in Africa, and how challenging it is to be an African American Women earning her well deserved respect. Maya Angelou's novel also voices her opinion on age, denial, and anger to an older age group of African American women, using emotionally over powering stories.The chapters are short and moderately easy to get through, if you're good at combing facts and clues to complete the final picture.
Coming to a conclusion of the eye opening novel Even the Star Look Lonesome we feel as though the experiences displayed in this book would better relate to women between the ages of 20 and 80. The reason for that relation is due to the fact not many people have experienced the things talked about until theses ages have been reached. Also the group felt the book was directed towards African Americans and the troubles that race encounters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Maya Angelou's Voice Is One To Be Embraced
When Maya Angelou was a young woman -- "in the crisp days of my youth," she says -- she carried with her a secret conviction that she wouldn't live past the age of 28. Raped by her mother's boyfriend at 8 and a mother herself since she graduated from high school, she supported herself and her son, Guy, through a series of careers and buoyed by an implacable ambition to escape what might have been a half-lived, ground-down life of poverty and despair. "For it is hateful to be young, bright, ambitious and poor," Angelou observes. "The added insult is to be aware of one's poverty." In "Even the Stars Look Lonesome," a collection of reflective autobiographical essays, Angelou gives no further explanation for her "profound belief" that she would die young.

"I was thirty-six before I realized that I had lived years beyond my deadline and needed to revise my thinking about an early death," she recalls. "With that realization life waxed sweeter. Old acquaintances became friendships, and new clever acquaintances showed themselves more interesting. Old loves burdened with memories of disappointments and betrayals packed up and left town, leaving no forwarding address, and new loves came calling."

Angelou, looking at tailights of her 20's, is the nearest thing America has to a sacred institution, a high priestess of culture and love in the tradition of such distaff luminaries (all of them, hitherto, white) as Isadora Duncan and Pearl S. Buck, with a bit of Eleanor Roosevelt and Aimée Semple MacPherson thrown into the mix.

"She was born poor and powerless in a land where/power is money and money is adored," the poet Angelou writes in tribute to another astonishing black woman of our time, Oprah Winfrey. "Born black in a land where might is white/and white is adored./Born female in a land where decisions are masculine/and masculinity controls." Angelou's lifelong effort to escape and expose the "national, racial and historical hallucinations" that have burdened black women in America and replace them with a shining exemplar of power, achievement and generosity of spirit is as miraculous as she says it is, even if one suspects that in "real life" Angelou must be a little hard to take.

"I would have my ears filled with the world's music," she writes, "the grunts of hewers of wood, the cackle of old folks sitting in the last sunlight and the whir of busy bees in the early morning ... All sounds of life and living, death and dying are welcome to my ears." At times Angelou seems more like a blast from Olympus than a woman of flesh and blood.

Reading these essays, I found myself longing somewhat guiltily for evidence of smallness on her part, of pettiness, even -- some sign that even an icon as monumental as she is might occasionally allow herself an irritated moment, a lapse into cynicism, or humor that wasn't so resolutely seasoned and wise.

On the other hand, smallness isn't what Maya Angelou stands for. Ordinary is not what she does. Only a cynic, a smaller mind than Angelou's, could fail to welcome the gifts she offers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
What a Voice! What an inspiration, and great enunciation.The Lady is her usual awesome self in this wise and eloquent sharing of some of her more intimate life experiences.It's impossible to adequately praise Angelou'sability to speak to the heart and soul, whether through her written work orrecorded truth. You'll listen to this over and over again, and will berenewed, and renewed. Enjoy! ... Read more

188. Break Every Rule: Essays on Language, Longing, and Moments of Desire
by Carole Maso
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582430632
Catlog: Book (2000-05)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 130503
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Carole Maso's novels (Ava, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat) have been called postmodern. Avant-garde. You do not devour them, as you might "popular" fiction. You give yourself over to them: to their meanderings, their idiosyncrasies, their eroticisms, their quirky narratives. Maso is tired of the typical New Yorker short story; she bemoans writers' willingness to conform in order to get published; and, yes, she is downright bored by those who think an essay should have "a hypothesis, a conclusion, [and] should argue points." While it is clear from these essays that Maso rails against a white-male publishing establishment, she is not so much a contrarian as simply determined to do it her way--even if she has to move to Europe to escape the influence of others.

From the start, says Maso, "I was never much for ordinary narrative.... Even as a child ... I would wander year after year in and out of our bedtime reading room, dissatisfied by the stories, the silly plot contrivances, the reduction of an awesome complicated world into a rather silly, sterile one." Fiction, she feels, should offer "a place for the random, the accidental, the overheard, the incidental."She sees the novel not as a neat, little self-contained package, but "as a huge, shifting, unstable, unmanageable canvas. Smudged with lipstick, fingerprints, crumpled, tear-stained, many-paged." In these 10 essays, Maso alights on her feelings about language and fiction, the teaching of creative writing ("part of why I'm here is to teach them to be bad, to question, to disobey"), her friendship with the composer Gustave Richter, gay and lesbian writing, and countless other topics. The book meanders. It is idiosyncratic and poetic. No matter your feelings about traditional narrative--and traditional essay form--you can't help but be moved by Maso's ability to live and work outside the lines and by her unbounded passion for language. "When I write sentences I am at home...." says Maso."In the gloating, enormous strangeness and solitude of the real world, where I am so often inconsolable, marooned, utterly dizzied, all I need do is to pick up a pen and begin to write--safe in the shelter of the alphabet--and I am taken home." --Jane Steinberg ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars YES YES YES
Buy this book along with Beckett, Celan, Stevens, Godard, Fassbinder, Diamanda Galas, Kathy Acker, Craig Owens, Pasolini, Thalia Field, James Baldwin, Gladman, Part, Blake, Gomez-Pena . . . and you will have many good friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Gorgeous Call to Arms
Carole Maso is a writer of sumptuous, word-smitten prose. In this, an ecstatic's manifesto, the author declares that the future of the novel (if the form is to have a future) rests in the hands of women, gays, blacks, and all the other heretofore marginalized voices in our literature and our culture. Her words practically quiver on the page and anyone who, like me has had the desire to write but been stymied time and again by their inability and unwillingness to conform to the established bonds of the form will find a heartening warrior-ally in Maso.

5-0 out of 5 stars Words as blooming
These essays about literature (Maso's and other writers's), the act of writing, about Maso's own life are essentially an awakening, an alarm call to a new way of envisioning stories. I'm not familiar with William Carlos Williams, whom she credits as an influence, but I am familiar with Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf, whose influences are apparent in the novels I've read by Maso and in the techniques she uses to express. With each essay I was astonished at the innovative and dazzling approaches to language. In the essay "The Re-introduction of Color", Maso explores her struggle to find her writing self against the pressures of conformity and convention. This book is inspirational, educational, exquisite. Any writers or serious readers looking for ways to shake the trees of literature's stale greats will delight in this collection of essays, and each reader will find herself or himself challenged, seduced, and ultimately released.

5-0 out of 5 stars Glass Shattering Precision
The venerable Carole Maso has just reminded us how literature "can be" and not "ought to be", and detailed her convincing arguments in this book, "Break Every Rule". The stern Rule-Makers would have us believe that, as writers, we can't do this and that, and must adhere to some "nifty" little rules invented by rigid minds. Well, here is a voice so clear that it can shatter glasses, and it is telling us to set ourselves free. How absolutely liberating!

5-0 out of 5 stars Maso succeeds by Breaking Every Rule
In this collection of essays about writing, avant-garde novelist Carole Maso discusses writing, life, music, and many other topics. This collection is a must for anyone who seeks greater insight not only into Maso's own novels (Ghost Dance, The Art Lover, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat, AVA, and Defiance) as well as her collection of erotic etudes, Aureole. It is also an important book that addresses issues of representation and thus can help readers understand other postmodernist writers. These essays are a pleasure to read as they offer illuminations on the nature of art and the creative process. Maso writes what she calls "lyric novels," that is, novels that aspire to the luminous state of poetry. These essays also defy conventional expectations and achieve the lyricism of poetry. In "The Re-introduction of Color," Maso says, "How extraordinary to try and write oneself free." For all their emphasis on beauty, joy, and lyricism, however, these essays avoid flowery sentimentality. Maso attacks the dullness of much contemporary realistic fiction with sharp satire. She criticizes the stultifying effects of publishing conglomerates in limiting the range of writers. "You wonder where the hero went," she writes in another essay. "You ask where is the plot?" Maso urges us to reclaim "our belief that language is capable of a kind of utopia, speaking to myriad versions of inner and outer reality." Several of the essays in this book have been previously published, but even previous fans of Maso are likely to find at least one new gem. This collection should be read by anyone interested in literary fiction and in contemporary avant-garde novelists in particular. ... Read more

189. Thinking Out Loud : On the Personal, the Political, the Public and the Private
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0449909050
Catlog: Book (1994-03-08)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 272723
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"A splendid collection...Eloquent, powerful, compassionate and droll. There is considerable variety in the subjects she addresses....Compelling."
Thinking out loud is what Anna Quindlen does best. A syndicated columnist with her finger on the pulse of women's lives, and her heart in a place we all share, she writes about the passions, politics, and peculiarities of Americans everywhere. From gays in the military, to the race for First Lady, to the trials of modern motherhood and the right to choose, Anna Quindlen's views always fascinate.
More of her views can be found in LIVING OUT LOUD, and OBJECT LESSONS.
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Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars Self-Satfisfied Schmata
Indeed the first reviewer couldn't have said it better. Quindlen suffers from self-involved, self-satisfied writing. She's so taken with her rather mundane reflections, average in their insight, and lackluster "poignent moments" she works so hard to construct, that she cannot see the inviting realm of ideas -- just out there, apparently beyond her reach.

Ho Hum, Anna.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lots about her children
Like most people who talk incessantly about their children, Anna Quindlen is a terrific bore. Over and over again, we learn that her three children are "the greatest joy" of her life. We're happy for her at first, but in the end we just don't want hear any more.

When she finally forces herself to change the subject (or is forced to by her long-suffering editors), she'll write something like "adolescence is a tough time for parent and child alike" or "people are troubled by abortion, even outright opposed" or "they say that traveling broadens the mind and I believe it." Really?

Vladimir Nabokov wrote that it is always the second rate writer who appears to be the old friend, popping up to reassure us with the obvious. And so it is with our friend Anna. In this collection of her New York Times columns from the 1990s, there is never an opinion that surprises or any indication of research done beyond a cursory glance at CNN. When choosing her subject matter, she relentlessly runs with the pack. When all the other columnists are writing about the Gulf War, the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill scandal, and the presidential elections, there she is writing about those events too.

In the introduction, Quindlen tells us that she grew up enamored with the columnist Dorothy Thompson and she seems to have modeled herself after her. In particular, Thompson's supposedly broad range of interests: "what struck me was her willingness to write about the Third Reich one day and nasturtiums the next." However, is Thompson really a good model to follow? If anyone remembers Dorothy Thompson, it is because of "The New Russia," a highly misleading book on Stalin's paradise, based entirely on a canned tour of the country and on press releases that were translated by the Soviets especially for Thompson.

Quindlen does actually stop talking about her children long enough to make pronouncements on foreign affairs. Back in 1992, she calls for the "Eurocentric" United States to do something about the famine in Somalia, even though "there are no easy solutions" to the problem. Luckily, despite the fact that the US has a "peculiar myopic ignorance" and is even a little racist when it comes to Somalia, Anna can sort out the moral issues for us. "We lost sight of the best reason to involve ourselves in foreign affairs-because it is sometimes obviously the moral thing to do, " she writes in the column entitled "Somalia's Plagues." Needless to say, Quindlen has never been to Africa and what she knows about Somalia appears to have come only from the newspapers and from the heads of foreign aid agencies. And it is not too surprising that Quindlen doesn't have anything to say about the subsequent US intervention into Somalia, which was disastrous. But then again, she has a column to write, one about her three children, who are the greatest joy of her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars More political than personal ...
I am a huge fan of Anna Quindlen so I enjoyed this book. However, readers should be advised that if they are searching for the more "personal" side of Ms. Quindlen, her writings on life, love, parenting, that we know from her "Life in the 30's" columns or "Living out Loud" book, they might be disappointed by the heavily political and social commentary in this collection. This is more "Quindlen on politics and the Supreme Court" than it is about life at large.

There is much discussion of Catholicism, abortion rights, and various "hot button" poli-social issues so I would HIGHLY recommend that anyone perusing this selection as a gift is sure to read it themselves first before sending it of to Aunt Gertrude or Grandma.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Perspective
Although Anna Quindlen's views rarely veer off standard liberal-feminist territory, her reasons behind her opinions are refreshing. She deftly weaves her own personal experiences as well as the experiences of others into her commentaries. She does not rely on statistics or historical data, but on real life. It's an unusual approach that allows her words to stick with the reader longer than that of typical opinion writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A humanistic response to America's social issues
I picked up this book after hearing Ms. Quindlen speak at Barnard Collge, our alma mater. While I spoke to her briefly I must embarrassingly admit that I had not read her. After hearing her read one of her essays aloud, I rushed right out and bought the book and preceeded to have several sleepless nights as I fought to finish the book. This is not to say that her prose is hard to get through; quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Her points are made so clearly and judiciously that I was in a constant state of disbelief. It took me awhile to get through because I kept reading and rereading essays, each time thinking, "Wait a minute, that's what I think! (I just couldn't phrase it as well)" I also kept calling my best friend (also a Barnard grad) to read essays, passages, and even single sentences that I thought were amazing.

Above all this collection proves that there is a humanistic point of view that could serve as the basis of a presidential campaign platform, for it represents in its totality the true spirit of the American people. Ms. Quindlen's opinions seem driven by compassion and empathy, not the rules of religious institutions or political parties whose decrees rarely take into account America's pluralist history and unjust past. These essays should be read by all, especially junior high and high school students who are forming their beliefs about ethics, morals, religion, politics, etc. This would be a wonderful book for parents who want to raise intellectually, culturally, and politically aware children to read and discuss with their teens. ... Read more

190. The Genealogy of Morals (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Friedrich Nietzsche
list price: $2.00
our price: $2.00
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Asin: 0486426912
Catlog: Book (2003-04-23)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 18765
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Book Description

Major work on ethics, by one of the most influential thinkers of the last two centuries, deals with master/slave morality and modern man's current moral practices; the evolution of man's feelings of guilt and bad conscience; and how ascetic ideals help maintain human life under certain conditions. This challenging, rewarding work is required reading in philosophy courses worldwide.
... Read more

191. The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose
by Amy A. Kass
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 0253215420
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Indianapolis University Press
Sales Rank: 121352
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Book Description

This collection aims at cultivating and enlightening ourphilanthropic imagination. Addressing us all as philanthropists, present andfuture--as human beings who give and serve, seeking to promote the well being ofothers--its readings lead us to the basic issues we must ponder if we are towield our philanthropic powers well: Why should I give? How should I give? Towhom or for what should I give? What should I give? Can giving be taught? ... Read more

192. Seneca: Moral Essays (Lcl, No. 214)
by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
list price: $21.50
our price: $21.50
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Asin: 0674992369
Catlog: Book (1979-06-01)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 178499
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A secular bible
Seneca's one hundred and twenty four letters to Lucilius constitute a secular bible, an ethical catechism written in a gnomic and epigrammatic style that sparkles as it enlightens. So impressed were the early church fathers with Seneca's moral insights that they advanced (fabricated?) the speculation that he must have come within the influence of Christian teachings. T.S. Eliot sneers at Seneca's boyish, commonplace wisdom and points out that the resemblances between Seneca's 'stoic philosophy' and Christianity are superficial. For those seeking a practical, modern manual on how to do good and how to do well, written in the 'silver point' style that values brevity, concision and memorable expression, Seneca's letters are indeed the Good Book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Primer for Later Philosophic Finishes
The surviving corpus of Seneca's Moral Essays are his earliest works, yet they contain many of his fully developed Stoic ideals.All the essays are generally short, with the exception of Seneca's treatise On Anger; and they are all moral exhortations written in a direct manner and in a style both convincing and charming.The contents of these Essays left their mark upon the writings of the Latin Church Fathers, of which many would have enjoyed seeing Seneca sainted; and they preceded the later burst of Plutarch's voluminous corpus of Moral Essays by just over a century and probably provided the great writer with an excellent model despite the disparity of language with Seneca.In this first volume the treatises included are (1) On Providence (2) On Firmness (3) On Anger (4) and On Mercy, which is addressed to the emperor Nero.These volumes are an important source for Roman Stoicism and they are recommended for students as a primer for the later philosophic finishes that they are destined to face.

4-0 out of 5 stars De Providentia
I am a little surprised that most of these Loeb Classical Library books do not have reviews written about them.I have a few of them and will try to write a few reviews so potential buyers know a little more about these classic works.I originally purchased this particular volume to help me with my Latin classes in college.The red Loeb volumes are Latin and the green volumes are Greek.The english translation is on the right page and the original text is on the left which makes these volumes perfect for anyone studying the languages.A little about this book.... Seneca was a philosopher of the stoic school and wrote several books on his worldview.These moral essays are a combination of his thoughts and ideas written as a letter to his friend Lucilius.They include On Providence, On Firmness, On Anger, and On Mercy.They were most likely written for the emperor Nero who Seneca tutored and ended up becoming one of his closest advisors and some argue he actually ran the empire for awhile.Nero eventually turned on him and Seneca was forced to commit suicide in 65 CE.There are not many books on stoicism and even less on Seneca.One very good volume is Roman Stoicism by E.V. Arnold.Long out of print, but you still may be able to find it somewhere.Another good one is Seneca: The Life of a Stoic by Paul Veyne; this is really the best biography of Seneca.Both very good books if you want to learn more. ... Read more

193. In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction
by Lee Gutkind, Annie Dillard
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0393326659
Catlog: Book (2004-11-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 23381
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Book Description

Twenty-five arresting selections from the groundbreaking journal that defined a genre.

Creative nonfiction, also known as narrative nonfiction, liberated journalism by inviting writers to dramatize, interpret, speculate, and even re-create their subjects. Lee Gutkind collects twenty-five essays that flourished on this new ground, all originally published in the journal he founded, Creative Nonfiction, now celebrating its tenth anniversary. Lauren Slater is a therapist in the institution where she was once a patient. John Edgar Wideman reacts passionately to the unjust murder of Emmett Till. Charles Simic tells of wild nights with Uncle Boris. John McPhee creates a rare, personal, album quilt. Terry Tempest Williams speaks on the decline of the prairie dog. Madison Smartt Bell invades Haiti. Many of the writers are crossing genres—from poetry and fiction to nonfiction—symbolic of Creative Nonfiction's scope and popularity.

A cross section of the famous and those bound to become so, this collection is a riveting experience highlighting the expanding importance of this dramatic and exciting new genre. ... Read more

194. Paul Harvey's For What It's Worth
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0553296760
Catlog: Book (1992-06-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 16913
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, Very Readable
The only reason the fifth star was dropped of Mr. Harvey's book was because the book could have been longer. Paul Harvey has been doing radio a long time, so that should leave more stories available for use. Not that the ones included were bad, they were hilarious.

This book takes about an afternoon to read, and you will continually go back to it. Many of Paul Harvey's stories are on the internet in the form of forwards, but Harvey is not mentioned in them. Here is where you can find most of them.

I would even rate this book as more readable than other news of the weird type columns.

A more extensive collection would be great, but alas, we are left with this. Fortunately, we can still listen to Paul Harvey on the radio. His "For What it's Worth" section will never grow stale.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Review, For What It's Worth
One of the best parts of the daily Paul Harvey News and Comment is the closing piece, "For What it's Worth." The stories are examples of true situations and portray a humorous angle of bumps and mishaps in everyday life. This book is a collection of those radio annecdotes and makes for very enjoyable reading. It's the perfect companion for the morning commute on the train or bus! Once you read a few of them you won't want to stop!

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth it....!
Nobody tells a story like Paul Harvey! I know what your thinking: "I've gotten enough of this kind of thing through junk-email." Let me remind you though that this is from a time before the age of unsolicited, and even worse, unedited internet email traffic. This is the good stuff! And best of all it's edited for read-aloud/radio broadcasting! This is life! This book is made of the stuff people laugh about to themselves. What embarassing and silly stories have they yet to disclose for the welfare of the general public??? Thank Paul Harvey for sharing the stories his For What it's Worth Department collected. This is a modern classic. Read it to your kids around the ol' campfire. ... Read more

195. Walden and Other Writings (Modern Library Classics)
by HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Peter Matthiessen
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
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Asin: 0679783342
Catlog: Book (2000-11-14)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 53017
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Naturalist, philosopher, champion of self-reliance and moral independence, Henry David Thoreau remains not only one of our most influential writers but also one of our most contemporary. This unique and comprehensive edition gathers all of Thoreau's most significant works (including his masterpiece Walden, reproduced in its entirety). Taken together, they reveal the astounding range, subtlety, artistry, and depth of thought of this true American original.

Included in this Modern Library Paperback Classics edition are: Walden, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, selections from Cape Cod and The Maine Woods, "Walking," "Civil Disobedience," "Slavery in Massachusetts," "A Plea for Captain John Brown," and "Life Without Principle."
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Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives
"A good book is the plectrum with which our else silent lyres are struck." ~Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard from 1833 to 1837. He had a complete fascination with the natural world and great literature in general. Life seemed to him to be a playground of thoughts. He draws from a great volume of understanding and his thirst for information seems unquenchable.

If you have read or listened to The Iliad and The Odyssey, you will especially enjoy some of his references. He also weaves verses from the Bible into his writing in an interesting way and you will appreciate his writing more if you have a basic understanding of Homer, Shakespeare, Plato, Chaucer, John Milton, Alexander Pope and Emerson.

Within this book you will meet a man of independent thought who is completely consumed with the sheer delight of discovery. To wander in the woods in solitary thought was a spiritual experience. He was also involved in a philosophical and literary movement which flourished in New England from 1835 to 1860. Both he and Ralph Waldo Emerson were at the center of transcendentalism and influential in American thought and literature.

Thoreau's thoughts flow from one subject to the other throughout this book. The contents include Walden, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Allegash and East Branch, Walking, Civil Disobedience, Slavery in Massachusetts, A Plea for Captain John Brown and Life Without Principle.

Walden - Walden represents our ability to follow our individual dreams all while being willing to be satisfied with less in order to gain greater intellectual freedom.

Thoreau built himself a cabin on the edge of Walden Pond and lived there from 1845 to 1847. During this time he supported himself by surveying and growing vegetables.

He rambled about in the woods and collected his thoughts in detailed journals. His friendships seemed few and far between, however the friends did make seemed to turn into deeply satisfying relationships.

Walden Pond becomes Thoreau's lover. He drinks from her cool refreshment, swims in her enveloping waters, knows her every mood in summer or winter and observes her with the utmost attention as she freezes, melts and dances playfully in the sun. The descriptions of this pond are well-worth reading as he has a talent for capturing her very essence with his extensive vocabulary.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers - Thoreau and his brother made a river voyage in a boat they built. This experience was the basis for his first self-published book in 1849. One minute you are reading about the river and the next you enter an entirely different world of thought about friendship.

"You are the fact in a fiction, - you are the truth more strange and admirable than fiction. Consent only to be what you are. I alone will never stand in your way. This is what I would like, -to be as intimate with you as our spirits are intimate, -respecting you as I respect my ideal. Never to profane one another by word or action, even by a thought."

Cape Cod - Thoreau made the first of four trips to Cape Cod in 1849, and he later delivered lectures about his experiences.

Allegash and East Branch - A journey made in 1857 with Edward Hoar and an Indian guide who brings some humor to the tale. Edward gets lost and we see a side of Thoreau that shows his concern for his fellow human beings. He is normally just so independent.

Walking - Quite humorous at times and explains his love for walking and for letting the wildness in man come out to play.

Civil Disobedience - This essay seems to have been born during the time Thoreau had to stay in a prison because he refused to pay a poll tax. This essay is said to have influenced Gandhi in India and the civil-rights movement led by Martin Luther King.

Slavery in Massachusetts - A lecture given in 1854 at an Independence Day meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Plea for Captain John Brown - In October 1859 the abolitionist Capt. John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and Thoreau spoke in defense of his character.

Life Without Principle - Here he gives his views on rushing off to California in search of gold.

This man's mind was a deep forest and his descriptions of nature are quite inspiring. Where else would I have read about a whale's vertebra being used as a mortar or been so highly entertained by his conversations with an eccentric elderly gentleman?

There are also descriptions of shipwrecks and discussions about survival in the woods. Thoreau's humor will often catch you unaware and if you collect quotes, you will find quite a few.

Since most of us will never build our own homes, cook over a wood fire on a regular basis or take our baths in a pond, this book presents a lifestyle we may never experience. You will rarely find an individual in your own circle of friends who would encourage you to downsize your life in a super-size world.

The uncommon perspective presented in 732 pages will appeal to writers, poets, philosophers and anyone who values their thoughts more than material possessions.

During the week of reading this book, I was inspired to take a trip out to the mountains, walked along a river, and worked in my garden with a new sense of purpose. The world became a vibrant, new environment filled with possibilities.

Intense reading? Yes. A week's worth of reading will inspire you for a lifetime.

If at all possible, read while this book while floating in a boat on a pond or while on a camping trip in the woods.

5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, classic work of American philosophy
Thoreau is sometimes classified as a "nature writer", but his reflections extend into economics, politics, health, recreation, aesthetics, moral issues of personal character, fidelity to principle and self discipline, and to the very nature of reality and perception. He was a dominant figure in the Idealist school of philosophy labeled Transcendentalism. Emerson called Thoreau the truest American. This because of his passionate respect for the dignity of the individual. Years before the Emancipation Proclamation or the Civil War, more than a century before the American civil rights movement or the global push for 'human rights', there was Thoreau's Resistance to Civil Government, which is commonly titled Civil Disobedience. (Mahatma Gandhi acknowledged Thoreau's influence on his life as did Martin Luther King, Jr.). Several decades before the environmental movement was born and ecological awareness began to seep into public consciousness, while John Muir was but an infant, there was Walden. On issues of human dignity, moral consistency, environmental responsibility, even diet and health, he was as an unappreciated light in a gray world of small thinking. In his short life, he had rather few readers and was generally thought of as being a nutty malcontent, as has been the case for so many thinkers of antiquity and of today.
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad," states Thoreau, who like other great Idealist thinkers insists that Truth and the crowd generally stand in opposition to one another. Solitude being the state in which one can "discern his proper objects," Thoreau's record at Walden Pond is a wonderful account of such discernment. In his opening treatise on economy, Thoreau says that philanthropy is esteemed so highly only because we are so selfish. It is in his less provocative yet careful analysis of objects of nature that Thoreau delights his reader. His account of a battle between an army of red ants and an army of black ants is meticulous and absolutely wonderful. This great work of American writing and philosophy is an invitation to hear the music of "a different drummer."
"Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails."

1-0 out of 5 stars Obsolete Editions
Teachers and Thoreau fans beware: this anthology contains heavily redacted versions of Thoreau's works and is not a reliable textual source. The version of _A Week_ is missing huge chunks of vital material, though the editor claims that he has included a complete version. Many titles and smaller details are wrong as well. The source editions for this anthology are pre-WWII. Much has changed for the better in the interim, and you cheat yourself by not ordering a more recent anthology--the Library of America one is excellent, textually impeccable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Different, especially nowadays
How refreshing it was/is to pick up something like this. I had heard about it for such a long time and just refused to buy into the hype. Then again, I've been wanting to move out into the woods and live more simply before I read it. Now that I've finished it, all I can say is, "Don't wait! Read it now!" If you've got any soul left after what the concrete and highways have done to you, you'll love this book.

Also recommended: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, and Bark of the Dogwood by McCrae

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
I find it very sad that so many Americans think this book rubbish. It is pity to acknowledge that this generation of America is so disconnected with its past. This book, if nothing else, stands as a great testament to American individual freedom, which is obviously lacking in this day and age. Walden, along with many of his other writings, is a classic, special not only for its literary merits, but also for the tiny ray of light it sheds in a continent so full of highrises, shopping malls, and concrete. Those who find this book boring or "full of bs", should read it again while camping in the outdoors! ... Read more

196. The Pump House Gang
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0553380613
Catlog: Book (1999-10-05)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 32681
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good set of essays; not Wolfe's best
Tom Wolfe pursues the idea that many Americans and Brits since World War II have been checking out of mainstream status competition in favor of pursuing status within distinct subcultures. This plays out in some interesting ways--most notably Wolfe watches Natalie Wood pursue status in a more traditional way by acquiring knowledge of art and even some Old Masters, while others play their own status game around photographing celebrities, in this case Wood herself. Essays on Hugh Hefner, California surf culture, and London mods are also worthwhile, as is a comic piece on Wolfe's misadventures with an "automated hotel". Wolfe does bog down at times, however, in the minute stylistic details of the groups he covers; if you are not that interested in style in and of itself, your eyes may glaze over those passages. Still, this is a good read for anyone interested in subcultures (especially of the 1960s) and status-seeking.

3-0 out of 5 stars "The Pump House Gang" story only: Close but no cigar.
Because I grew up in La Jolla, and graduated from La Jolla High School, class of 1962, I was only interested in the short story: "The Pump House Gang."

I know most of the characters in the story, and believe that Wolfe did a good job describing them. His account of the La Jollans visiting the Watts Riots was right on. I visited the riot zone myself, and enjoyed the same experiences as Shine, Nelander, and Sterncorb.

Wolfe came as close as any "outsider" has been able to do, in analyzing the La Jolla nut house, the institution where the walls fell down, and none of the inmates left.

5-0 out of 5 stars A social critic a la carte
Tom Wolfe is brilliant in capturing a generation's feel. This collection of short stories describes the socialites, the freaks and the trend-setters. Wolfe's language manages to show the physical as well as the atmosphere within a few short sentences. If you liked his wit in "The Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test" and his observations (social x-rays) in "Bonfire of the Vaities," you will love this collection of social critical essays. ... Read more

197. Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism and Ecology
by Allan Hunt Badiner, Dalai Lama
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0938077309
Catlog: Book (1990-04-01)
Publisher: Parallax Press
Sales Rank: 398640
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

source documents for emerging environmental era ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars for every thinking person and those who wish to be
Everyone I've recommended this book to has loved it. It will either be an introduction of new ideas that are pleasant to think about or a conformation of thoughts the reader already has worded in a way that makes them more accessable. The list of writers contains many sparkling souls. Anyone can read this without being offended, and everyone should read it at least once.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, it will expand your mind
The book's premise is that buddhism is the perfect religion for an eco-centric based society & culture. It does very well in proving the compatibility and similarities between buddhism & ecology. The section on shifting views of perception is highly enlightening. The variety in this book is amazing, there are over 30 contributors. Books like this one, in which the book is merely a collection of essays on the same topic are great because you can read it in one sitting, or read an essay at a time. As you finish the last essay of the book, you will never see Smokey the Bear in the same light again, now there's a teaser!. But seriously folks, this book is great.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written, insightful, thought provoking
Dharma Gaia is a collection of essays offering different perspectives on human/Gaia interaction. These perspectives tie in with Buddhist philosophies to offer readers a sane and well reasoned spiritual approach to ecology. Short introduction by the Dalai Lama, essays and some poetry.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent and original read
Overall, this is an easy read which addresses some complex issues. By the end of the book I developed a greater understanding of both environmental conservation and buddhism. Too many books jump on the "buddha-chic" or "eco-cool" bandwagon, but offer little more than a rehash of general facts - this isn't one of them. ... Read more

198. Prague: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Travelers' Literary Companions)
by Paul Wilson
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1883513014
Catlog: Book (1995-02-01)
Publisher: Whereabouts Press
Sales Rank: 32944
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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The city of Prague has inspired a lot of fine literature, and Paul Wilson has done the English-speaking world a vast favor by compiling this anthology of 23 Prague stories. There are classics by the likes of Franz Kafka, Jan Neruda, and Ivan Klima, and lesser-known works making their English-translation debuts. There are autobiographical pieces, fiction, legend, stories from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, tales from the Soviet regime, and contemporary pieces from the Czech Republic. Ivan Klima's epilogue is titled "The Spirit of Prague," and after reviewing Prague's history--cultural and political--he concludes that paradox is at Prague's heart, and irony and ridicule are its primary tools. Both devices areemployed deftly throughout Wilson's anthology, providing clever, lyrical, and moving snippets of Prague's complex reality. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent collection of pieces from obscure writers and celebrated Czech authors. The book is divided into sections for each part of the city (Old Town, Mala Strana, etc.). I've lived in Prague before and it was so much fun following each author around the city again. I recommend this book for anyone enchanted by the idea of Prague or for those who miss it and want to spend some time there with a bunch of amazing tour guides.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take This Book With You!
As we prepared for our trip to Prague, I ordered this book from but didn't get a chance to read until we actually got there. What a treasure! Each piece made some landmark or moment of history come more vividly alive than any of the standard guidebooks could possibly provide. The division of the book into corresponding areas of the city was a great idea.I always look to literature to gain insight into travel destinations. No single book has ever done a better job than this one. ... Read more

199. The Malcontents
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0762416971
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 150728
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Popular satirist Joe Queenan, "the lunch-pail Voltaire of our times," proves that cynicism in literature flourished long before Generation X in this acerbic compendium of the best satirical writing through the centuries. Now in paperback, it includes engaging, readable works by Wilde, Twain, Machiavelli, Swift, de Sade, Rabelais, Molire, Ben Jonson, Aristophanes, and Jane Austen. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good collection, but...
For starters, I can't fault that there is indeed a vast amount of excellent literature in this book, including full editions of some shorter novels. While some of it is familiar, there's a good amount of obscure or hard-to-find inclusions.

On the other hand...there was almost too much familiar ground. I skipped over probably close to half of it for having already read it. While authors such as Voltaire and Wilde are almost necessary inclusions for a book with this title, why include their best-known books rather than throwing the spotlight onto some of their more obscure works? (Though I admit Jane Austen was certainly served well in that department.) Also, 20th-century authors are shamefully neglected (where on earth was James Thurber, who I personally would consider one of the best if not the best satirist of his time?).

Still, despite the uneven selection, this is overall not a bad collection, though I would use it more as a jumping-off point to authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pick Up A Copy To Own!
The Malcontents is intended as a definitive anthology of the greatest satirical writing the world has ever seen. Yet right from the start, it becomes apparent that the book has one major flaw.

It's not big enough.

That might seem like an odd observation to make about a book that is 1048 pages in length and covers a span of twenty-four centuries worth of writing (Nineteen writers covered in all, going all the way back to Aristophanes). Yet by trying to shoehorn loads of classic satire in (most often in its full incarnations) Joe Queenan may lead readers to believe that there has been no great satire written after the 60s. And that would be a grace disservice to the likes of Philip Roth, Veronica Geng, Fran Lebowitz, Kurt Vonnegut, David Sedaris and so on.

Even counting the period covered, there's still a lot of great stuff missing. We don't see anything from HL Mencken or James Thurber or SJ Perelman or Roald Dahl. So I propose that Mr. Queenan either compile a second volume or get someone else to do so (If you happen to read this Joe, feel free to e-mail about that compiler position).

Putting these obvious objections aside, one must admit that what is included in this anthology is great. We get satirical classics from writers ranging from Voltaire ("Candide") to Jonathan Swift ("A Modest Proposal") to Irish humorist Flann O'Brien ("Selections From The Irish Times). The works cover the gambit from full-length novels (Oscar Wilde's immortal "The Picture Of Dorian Grey") to plays (George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession") to short stories and essays (The seven Mark Twain pieces). There is even a poem thrown in for good measure Alexander Pope's "The Rape Of The Lock").

Most literary connoisseurs will doubtlessly be familiar with much of the material contained here. Yet some of it will come as a surprise. Having been familiar with Jane Austen mainly from high school English classes, I was shocked to discover her early acerbic satirical side. A very worthwhile discover however. And having read "Don Quixote" a long time ago, I was pleased to find that Queenan was right when he observed in the introduction that the writer, beneath his gentle and bittersweet satire, had a sharp disappointment with the world around him. For the record, the only writing Queenan (himself a malcontent) actually does in this anthology is the introduction and the brief bio of each author that precedes a piece.

All of the writing contained in The Malcontents would fall into the category of classic. All classic, all good, even if some of it is overly familiar (Twain's classic "The Literary Offenses Of Fennimore Cooper" for instance). So I can recommend the book to all fans of classic satire, as well as those looking to get a crash course in how to write great satire.

Consider the following from the introduction: "Other writers were chosen because they were masters of getting up people's noses. Rabelias was always in trouble with the church. Moliere was always in trouble with the church. Voltaire was always in trouble with the church. The Marquis De Sade was always in trouble with everybody... Sooner or later we come to believe we are fighting on the same side, that the miscreants he torments and the abuses he denounces are miscreants we want to see tormented and abuses we want to see denounced."

Today, we still see many of the same abuses going on and the same miscreants getting elected to public office and of course the ever-stifling Puritanism that seems to have been cropping up. So we need to keep the malcontents we do have. As long as idiots rule, malcontents will drool. And we're all the better for it (the latter not the former). Don't miss this terrific book! Another recommended Amazon quick-pick is THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez

2-0 out of 5 stars For Whom Is This Book Compiled?
The cover says that this is the "Best bitter, cynical, and satirical writing in the world." That such is the case is highly questionable, but let's not quibble about that. I already own much of this material so I was a bit let down about that.

If you have a decent library of the classics you may well find yourself in my position. Voltaire's Candide; Machiavelli's The Prince; Pope's The Rape of the Lock; Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. They are all sitting on a shelf in my library. What I do not have is Jane Austen's obscure Lady Susan which was not even published until more than 50 years after her death.

I would also note that the selections do not contain any explanatory notes. Many older works use terms and references unknown to the contemporary general reader. If you read Pope's Rape of the Lock in the Norton Anthology of Poetry you will find approximately 75 notes that help the reader understand the classical or eighteenth century references. In "The Malcontents" you get no aids to understanding.

I realize that there may be a certain intellectual snobbery in saying that these works should all be on your bookshelf. I don't think that they need be there, but if you don't already own them, do you want to own them? This book contains a wide smattering of literature from Aristophanes' play The Birds, written around 400BC, to essays by Mark Twain, to short stories by Saki. Whole novels and plays are presented, bulking up the book and limiting the possible variety that could be found in an almost 1100 page volume of satire and cynicism. Indeed only 19 authors are represented.

I really don't think this is a collection that would appeal to the average reader. On the credit page it should be noted that most of this material was taken from Dover editions. As you may know Dover Publications sells very inexpensive copies of the classics. You could get most of the works in this expensive book by purchasing Dover reprints of each of these works for a couple of bucks a piece. And the little Dover books can be easily held when reading in bed, while this compilation can barely be lifted at all.

3-0 out of 5 stars I have all this stuff already
I bought this book sight unseen, knowing neither what was in it, nor having any reviews to go on.But then, the fact that it's a Joe Queenan compilation of funny writing was all I needed to know.How could I go wrong ?

The choices in this book undeniably live up to the claim of being the best bitter, cynical and satirical writing in the world.But they will already be well familiar to anyone who seeks out this genre.

The first item presented is "The Birds" by Aristophanes.A great play, but I have it already.Then there's a short satire by Juvenal.Then "The Prince", by Machiavelli, is presented whole. I already have "The Prince".It's one of the first books I ever bought.Then there are short excerpts from "Gargantua and Pantagruel" and "Don Quixote".I already have these books in complete editions.Then there's "Volpone" by Ben Jonson.Then there's Moliere's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme".Then there's Jonahtan Swift's "A Modest Proposal", which I have read many times by now.Then there's Alexander Pope's "The Rape Of The Lock".Then there's "Candide", by Voltaire, which I have already.Then there's an excerpt from "Justine", by de Sade.Then there's "Lady Susan", by Jane Austen, which I have already.Then there's "The Nose", by Nikolai Googol.

Then there are some lesser-known Mark Twain pieces, which I don't have.That's good, because I already have "Huckleberry Finn" and "Puddnhead Wilson".This is the only author for which Queenan is doing what I think he should, by compiling shorter and uncollected works with which someone might not already be familiar.

Then there are some pieces by Ambrose Bierce, which I have already, in that fairly-priced Dover edition.Then there's "The Picture Of Dorian Gray", by Oscar Wilde.Then there's "Mrs. Warren's Profession", by George Bernard Shaw.Then there are some Saki stories.Finally, there are some pieces by Flann O'Brien.

So for the cost and space of a fat 1200 page book, I only get about 600 pages of stuff I don't have already.If you've never bought any funny books before, this volume might be a good one to start with. But, if you own literature, it's likely that you have most of these works already. ... Read more

200. Complete Essays of Montaigne
by Michel E. De Montaigne
list price: $90.00
our price: $90.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804704856
Catlog: Book (1958-06-01)
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Sales Rank: 573451
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars "A Great Anthology of Montaigne's Essays"
Montaigne's writings are eloquent, rich in allusions and anecdotes, and above all they sparkle with philosophical insights.Immortal names like Cicero, Homer, Virgil, and Horace are cited on every page, and reveal that the classical world of the past and the humanistic world of the present were very real to him.These essays also display Montaigne's mistrust of systematic philosophy, and show his support of faith and divine revelation over human reason. Montaigne's writings played a considerable role in setting the stage for later philosophers, like Descartes, to establish a new system of knowledge independent of the sense perception.This edition is a faithful translation from the original, and preserves beyond others the pristine clarity of Montaigne's ideas.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Original French Essayist
Some authorities consider Montaigne the first essayist. His writing style is clear and his thought has common sense. Yet he is still encumbered by the classics. The ancients weigh on him like a stone. The celbrated erudition he displays in nearly every essay by quoting classical authors and envoking their names frequently is impressive but also distracting. I know that in expressing this opinion I differ from the majority of Montaigne's readers. But I believe that he had to much reverence for the classics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Montaigne as a Model of the Reasonable Use of Reason.
Those who discover Montaigne should count themselves very lucky. There are so many authors competing for our attention today, so many brilliant and less than brillliant men and women both contemporary and of the past, so many poets, novelists, philosophers, thinkers of every stripe, that Montaigne's voice can easily get lost in the general racket, like the voice of a single cricket on a noisy summer's night.

But Montaigne's voice is well worth singling out for special attention, like that one cricket whose song is especially musical, because there has never been anyone quite like him, nor anyone who has produced such a wealth of sensible observations on life and everything that goes to make it up.

We love Montaigne for his humanity, his wisdom, his clear insight into human nature, his tolerance of our weaknesses and failings, his love and compassion for all creatures whether man, animal, or plant, his calm, gentle and amiable voice, his stately and dignified progress as he conducts us through the vast repository of his mind. But above all we love him for his plain good sense.

Despite his distance in time, we can open these essays almost anywhere and immediately become engrossed. Some of what he says, particularly about our weaknesses and failings, may not be particularly welcome to some, though the open-minded will acknowledge its self-evident truth. Montaigne was not afraid to speak his mind, and as a man who was interested in almost everything, his observations range from the curious through to the truly profound.

At one time we find him, for example, discussing the best sexual position for conception, at others such deep notions as that in fact we are nothing; there is a disease in man, the opinion that he knows something; thought as the chief source of ourwoes; in man curiosity is an innate evil; only a fool is bound to his body by fear of death; nature needs little to be satisfied; there is only change; our absolute need for converse with others; how man should lay aside his imagined superiority; how reason is not a special unique gift of human beings, separating us off from the rest of Nature; of how we owe justice to men, and gentleness and kindness to animals, which like us have life and feelings, and even to trees and plants.

And so on through manifold topics, both weighty and light, his observations illustrated by stories contemporary and ancient, drawn not only from his incredibly wide learning, but also from his experience as man of the world.

The examples I've cited seem to me pitifully inadequate as describing or even suggesting the breadth of his thought - just a few examples selected at random that happen to appeal to me. Montaigne is too big to capture in a few words. His mind was as capacious as his enormous book, and he had something to say about almost everything. His is not so much a book as a companion for life.

Montaigne as that single special cricket singing away in the forest of learning along with thousands of others, is not only worth singling out because of his vast repertoire of songs, but even more because of the special way he sang them. What makes him so important and so valuable, especially to us today, is that he was characterized above all, not merely by reason, which is common enough, but by a REASONABLE, AND NOT EXCESSIVE, USE OF REASON. In other words, he knew that reason had its limits, that it was a tool limited in its applicability and useful only for certain purposes, and he had the good sense to know when we should stop.

There is in Montaigne a sanity, a balance, an affability, and a modesty and tolerance that is found in no other European thinker, and that reminds one more of the Taoist sage. But instead of fastening on the truly civilized pattern exemplified by Montaigne, Europe instead chose Descartes, Apostle of the Excessive Use of Reason, and with what results we know.

The Cartesian ideology of Reason fueled and continues to fuel the relentless Juggernaut of Reason now underway that threatens to end up crushing everything beneath its wheels. Montaigne would have been appalled. He stood for something more human.

5-0 out of 5 stars The voice of a good friend
Should I ever be forced to run away from war and disaster with nothing else but one book in a torn briefcase, or find myself at the business-end of a feeding tube in a hospital waiting for my last breather, then Montaigne would be a strong candidate to keep me company in this last and loneliest hour. Not that I have a hard time to choose, there is really only one other book I would consider, and it is most definitely not the bible, but Montaigne always conveyed to me the warmth and comfort of a good friend. Even when he sometimes loses me and prattles away on some obsession of his, it is like listening to your best friend without really listening, you are just glad he is there. What is it about this Frenchman I wonder, that has endured for such a long period of time? Shakespeare too still speaks to us, but often in a somewhat muffled voice, time and distance are beginning to tell Ð but Montaigne, who predated Shakespeare and even provided Hamlet with a few clues and phrases, strikes us still as fresh and modern as ever. He is one of those writers of which I have read every line ever printed; and apart from his essays, the itinerary of his travel to Italy has always been of particular interest to me, because it describes places I used to know intimately. How could times have changed so much, and certainly not always to the better. But in Montaigne this remote period becomes alive again, its comforts (or the lack of it), its smells, its behaviors, and of course the food (Montaigne was French after all) maintain their tangible presence and a glow like the memories of a distant childhood.Essays are supposed to enquire into some topic and come up with something conclusive to say about Ð well except for the real great essayists like Charles Lamb who never get that far to be conclusive on anything whatsoever. Same here. Montaigne is perhaps the earliest example in Western literature after the fall of Rome, of a writer who gives us Ònature seen through a temperament,Ó (Zola) and Montaigne is nothing if not a temperament. Well read people may contest this and point to Franoise Villon or Chaucer as earlier examples Ð I wonÕt argue, but who of these gentlemen is still so very much alive as our Monsieur Montaigne? No dictionary or glossary needed, just snuggle up in your favorite armchair and enjoy. When going through Jean-Yves TadiŽÕs monumental biography of Marcel Proust I was surprised to find so little evidence that Proust should actually have cared very much for Montaigne. Given his time and curriculum it stands to reason that Montaigne had been a must read, too familiar to fuss about. Or the great novelist preferred for once to cover his tracks, because Proust can be seen in many ways, one would be as the other of the 2 greatest French essayists. Authors have pedigrees (their favorite authors) and a reader has preferences (his favorite authors): if given the choice between Donne and Herbert I go for Dryden. (Really! ItÕs a bargain: you get Plutarch, Virgil, and Ovid as a bonus. Donne is just Donne, and Herbert just a case of well-spoken paranoia.) With Montaigne you open a window to the entire heritage of classic antiquity Ð sometimes it is like old gramophone recordings of long forgotten opera stars. In fact I always found Seneca a bearable read only in MontaigneÕs way of quoting him. Which brings us to the question which translation to use. I own both, Donald M. FrameÕs translation of the complete works, and CottonÕs staple translation of the essays. Which of the 2 comes closer to the tone of the original? Because despite a certain brand of bogus criticism in the vain of Northrop Frye and Òpost modern deconstructionÓ an authorÕs voice really matters. He might be many things, one of which is to be the messenger and witness of his own period, its concerns, its paraphernalia, its perspectives and smells, its way to express itself. So, without putting down Mr. FrameÕs seminal accomplishment, I for once shall hold on to my old Hazlitt edition of CottonÕs translation, and put Frame out on sale. It may not be the slickest read around, but at least the pacing and the rhythms of CottonÕs prose are the closest thing you can get of the original and it has earned Montaigne a citizenship in our own language.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Step towards becoming a highly evolved person
Montaigne was the mayor of Bordeaux, an educated man who watched his father die in agony from gallstones and expected to die the same way.He was a man who loved life--wine, women and philosophy, but after the death of his father he retired and began these meditations on life, seeking solace in the great record of human experience found in the classics.Montaigne wrote during the bloody religious wars of the Counter-Reformation--one of his essays describes his near death at the hands of Protestant marauders.The combination of the highly civilised culture of the France of his day and the seething and pitiless violence that was also a fact of life was also a subject that drove him back to the classics.These profound meditations, eternally relevant, will assist anyone who continues to reflect on the wonder and the pity of human existence. ... Read more

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