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    $10.50 $8.43 list($14.00)
    1. The Kite Runner
    $50.39 $46.71 list($79.98)
    2. The David Sedaris Box Set
    $13.60 $13.18 list($20.00)
    3. Last Night
    $18.45 $14.90 list($27.95)
    4. Transgressions
    $16.32 list($24.00)
    5. Specimen Days
    $9.75 $6.20 list($13.00)
    6. Interpreter of Maladies
    $8.40 list($14.00)
    7. The Namesake : A Novel
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    8. Breaking the Cycle
    $9.00 $3.24 list($12.00)
    9. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Oprah's
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    10. Children Playing Before a Statue
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    11. A Perfect Stranger : And Other
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    12. Children Playing Before a Statue
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    13. Babylon Sisters : A Novel
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    14. The 20th-Century Children's Book
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    15. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
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    16. Your Favorite Seuss : A Baker's
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    17. El Codigo Da Vinci / The Da Vinci
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    18. Empress Orchid
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    19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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    20. Reasons to Live : Stories by

    1. The Kite Runner
    by Khaled Hosseini
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1594480001
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
    Publisher: Riverhead Books
    Sales Rank: 11
    Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The timely and critically acclaimed debut novel that's becoming a word-of-mouth phenomenon... ... Read more

    Reviews (107)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting. Fascinating. Powerful.
    In a word or two, this book is riveting, fascinating, powerful. An avid reader, I found this to be the best book that I have read in recent memory. It more than lived up to all the accolades that heralded its US debut. Khaled Hosseini could not have written a more apropos novel than The Kite Runner, a story that is set against the backdrop of the recent historical events and subsequent political upheaval of Afghanistan. And while this story does cover much of the political turbulence that disrupted and destroyed the lives of so many Afghani people, this is a story, which because of its of theme friendship, betrayal and ultimate redemption, will eventually transcend time and place.

    The author presents the reader with a serene, picturesque description of pre-war Afghanistan before the fall of the monarchy and the 1979 Soviet invasion. Hosseini, who portrays Afghans as a generous, gregarious people in a land where perhaps the only things more cherished than custom and tradition is loyalty and honor, has given a face to his country that until the events of September 11, 2001, have remained virtually unnoticed by the rest of the world. The deeply held mores and customs of the Afghan people that Hosseini so skillfully, yet simplistically weaves into his story also serves to enlighten the reader about Afghanistan.

    Finally, it is the storyline itself that is truly memorable. The Kite Runner is ultimately a tale of friendship, betrayal and redemption - about how one person finally atones for the sins of his past. Filled with bouts of harrowing action and blissful calm, the novel verily elicits the entire spectrum of human emotions. Hosseini makes his characters quite real, very human, keeping them true to themselves, their personalities, although it is the protagonist, the primary narrator, whose character flaw is at the heart of this novel. Finally, I must admit that some parts of the story were predictable, but it does nothing to lessen the terrific tale told by Hosseini. The Kite Runner is a beautifully written story that will stay the reader long after many other stories have been read and forgotten.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Kite Runner
    This is a truly magnificent book! Without a doubt one of the very best stories I have ever read, not just because it is so beautifully written, but also because it is an important story. It takes place during the last thirty years of turbulent history in Afghanistan, and deals with a family and their love for each other and for their country. Author Khalid Hosseini no doubt has drawn heavily on his own life experiences to bring us this story. He was born to a wealthy family in Kabul Afghanistan and came to America as a political refugee in 1980. In The Kite Runner, Amir is the son of a prominent Pashtun family; his best friend, Hassan is the son of their servant man and a Hazara, a much hated ethnic minority. Despite their ethnic differences, Amir and Hassan are close friends throughout their childhood, both of them always mindful of Hassan's servant status. The two boys grow and learn, one of them privileged, the other deprived, both of them secure in the bosom of a prominent Pashtun family, both loved by the patriarch of that family, while the winds of change blew ceaselessly over the Afghan landscape. This story traces the lives of Amir and Baba his proud Father, and of Hassan and Ali his Father and faithful servant to Baba. In July of 1973, the people of Afghanistan woke to learn that while their King Zahir Shah was away in Italy, the Afghan monarchy had been ended in a bloodless coup led by the King's cousin Daoud Kahn. For a while there was peace in their lives but it was not to last. Before the end of that decade came first the Russians with soldiers, tanks and helicopter gun ships, and when they left, came the years of wanton destruction by the countless tribal war lords. This was to be ended, they thought mercifully, by the arrival of the Taliban, who at first brought order to the chaos, but later proved to be the most ruthless of killers. Amir and his Father left Afghanistan when the Russians arrived and came to America to settle in an Afghan community in San Francisco. However, the ties to their homeland and to the family they had left behind were to haunt them for years. One day, Amir received a telephone call from a friend in Pakistan and decided he must return. What he found there was a revelation of the awful changes which had been brought to his homeland and its people since his childhood. Don't buy this book because it is about that part of the world which changed our lives, don't buy it because it is a story about Muslims, don't even buy it because it is in a way a modern "Gone With The Wind" a story of a strong family in turbulent times. Buy it because it is a wonderful meaningful story, beautifully, sensitively written, by a man whose first language was not even our language, but who has mastered it as few of us have, and who has shown an unusual understanding of the workings of the human mind in times of great mental and physical stress.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
    This book is absolutely riviting. It is one of the best books I have ever read. The characters will stay with me long after the book has been put down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Exquisitely Written Novel With An Extraordinary Plot
    Khaled Hosseini's powerful and haunting first novel, "The Kite Runner" is the best book I have read this year. It is a story of family relationships, friendship, betrayal, guilt and atonement. Mr. Hosseini also explores, movingly, the horrors of war and the terrible conflicts between classes and ethnic groups that have long plagued the people of Afghanistan. The novel spans the period in Afghani history from the peaceful 70's to the rule of the Taliban in the late 1990's.

    In Kabul, during the winter of 1975, Amir's life changed forever. Those were the last peaceful days of Afghanistan's monarchy. Amir, our young narrator, is the privileged son of a wealthy Pashtun businessman. They are Sunni Muslims. Totally unlike his father, (called Baba, the "Toophan agha" or "Mr. Hurricane"), Amir is very sensitive, introspective, and much more interested in poetry and literature than in football. His mother died giving birth to him and the boy struggles to win his father's affection. Hassan was the closest person to Amir and his constant playmate, but they were not quite friends. The two boys had nursed at the breast of the same wet nurse - a special bond to the Afghanis. They were virtually inseparable. They climbed trees, wandered the streets of Kabul, made mischief, shared secrets, ran kites, and Amir would read while Hassan listened avidly to the wonderful stories. "The Shahnamah," a 10th century epic of ancient Persian heroes, was Hassan's favorite. He was an illiterate servant and his father was Amir's father's servant. They are Sh'ia Muslim, Hazaras. During a kite flying tournament in the winter of Amir's twelfth year, he betrayed Hassan - a defining event that will haunt him always. He will spend the rest of his life trying to atone. The Soviet invasion caused Amir and his father to emigrate to the United States, leaving everything and everyone behind. However, Amir will have another opportunity to prove his loyalty to his childhood friend and gain forgiveness. The story revolves around Amir's internal struggle.

    Mr. Hosseini's characters literally come alive on the page. Their emotional struggles and triumphs moved me deeply. Amir, Hassan, Baba, Ali, and Rahim Khan are so credible that I really became attached to them and miss them, now that I have turned the book's last page. The narrative is beautifully written, poignant, and also very informative about an Afghanistan most foreigners have never seen. Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan émigré living in San Francisco. I look forward to his next book. Very highly recommended.
    JANA

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and timely story
    Khaled Hosseini's debut novel "The Kite Runner" is an expertly crafted and timely novel about Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan grew up together in Kabul and are inseparable playmates and companions. Hassan would do anything for Amir, yet Amir does not consider Hassan his friend because they are of different worlds. Amir is a Sunni Muslim and a Pashtun, a member of the privileged class of Afghanistan. Hassan is the family's servant boy, a Shi'ite Muslim, and a Hazara, the lowest Afghani class. At a critical point in their lives, the cowardly Amir turns his back on Hassan and irreparably destroys their relationship. When the monarchy of Afghanistan is overturned and the Soviets take over, Amir and his father flee to America, leaving Hassan behind. But Amir is haunted by guilt because of his callous treatment of his childhood companion. Years later, when an old family friend is dying, Amir is asked to return to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and he knows that he must use this opportunity to atone for the past, and in doing so, risk his life.

    The book also touches upon the immigrant experience as Amir's father Baba struggles to adjust to the California lifestyle and to an existence without the luxuries and honorable status he enjoyed in Afghanistan. It highlights the difference in customs and ethnic mindset between Afghanis and Americans. Parts of this novel are humorous and parts are touching. Some sections are painful to read, yet they are a necessary and haunting part of the story.

    I cannot recommend this wonderful book highly enough. It is one of the best novels I have read so far this year. The writing style is sparse and simple, yet it packs an emotional wallop. I could smell the kabobs sizzling on the grill, see the kites soaring and battling in the crisp winter sky, and feel the despair of the Afghani people over the loss of their old way of life due to war and oppression. The story is almost allegorical in its universal truths of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption. Not only does it bring to life the turmoil and hardships that Afghanistan has faced, but also it sheds light on the culture and nature of the people behind the news stories.

    Eileen Rieback ... Read more


    2. The David Sedaris Box Set
    by David Sedaris
    list price: $79.98
    our price: $50.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1586214349
    Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
    Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
    Sales Rank: 549
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars You MUST buy this!
    I first heard of Sedaris through This American Life (An amazing Public Radio show) and immediately bought and read his books. David's writing is beyond belief, but hearing David read them (along with his sister Amy and one story read by Ann Magnuson) brings everything to a new level. While the tapes are abridged, the stories he reads, he reads in full. There are different versions than what is read on This American Life, and he sings some different songs than on TAL (in the style of Billie Holiday). Santaland Diaries are even longer than the TAL uncut version. I did prefer Julia Sweeney's rendetion of Merry Christmas(Seasons Greetings) to Our Friends and Family over Ann Magnuson's. This set is 14 hours long (10 Tapes). At the end of most of the books, there is an additional track of David singing or talking/laughing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You Can't Kill the Rooster
    I have absolutely no idea why anyone would write a review saying that David Sedaris' reading takes away from his books. I have always had exactly the opposite experience. Though I have read all his books, I prefer to listen to them because the author's voice is so unique and his delivery so apt. As much as I love reading "You Can't Kill the Rooster", hearing the phrase out loud adds a whole other dimension of hilarity. Obviously, listening to a book is a subjective experience, but I felt compelled to weigh in after reading the previous review. Don't pay any attention to that person, or to me either except for the part where I tell you not to pay attention to the other review. Decide for yourself.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Sedaris is Great, But Definitely NOT UNABRIDGED
    Let me explain my rating. For Sedaris' work, 5 stars plus. My problem is with Amazon listing this as "Unabridged". It is not--it is significantly abridged. What is here is great, as you might expect, but some of my favorites are missing (such as "We Get Along" from Barrel Fever). Funny thing is, nowhere on the item itself does the word "unabridged" appear. Why then does Amazon list it as "unabridged"? Not good--makes me wonder about their other descriptions. Buy it if you love Sedaris, but don't expect everything to be on these recordings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mark Twain of our Time
    No one around today tells a better story or writes a better story that David Sedaris. A previous "reviewer" mentioned that David doesn't know how to read his own material, which is like saying that Don Rickles doesn't know how to deliver an insult. David Sedaris' voice and delivery IS part of his writing. I'm thinking that David's wacky sister Amy wrote the previous review just to get on David's nerves...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better on CD!
    I'm a huge David Sedaris fan. I purchased this box set for my dad (...I love buying gifts that I can borrow...), and listened to a great deal of it over Christmas Break. This is a must own for anybody who is a fan of Sedaris - his work is even better when he reads it (I'm sure anybody who has heard him on NPR, or heard his act in person, can attest to this). I previously read "Me Talk Pretty One Day," and found myself laughing at lines in the audio version (and his Billie Holiday impression is spot-on) that I missed while reading. His tone is sardonic, self-depricating, and perfect for the brand of humor he presents. ... Read more


    3. Last Night
    by JAMES SALTER
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400043123
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-19)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 465
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A reader's writer
    Perhaps somewhere out there in America there are people who live like characters in James Salter novels, but I sincerely hope not. These are unpleasant, haunted and pathological people, and it is Salter's genius that you not only want to spend time with these sociopaths, but want to take them home, hand them a few drinks and listen to them talk. Salter's gift is as adamantine as ever in "Last Night," but unlike in his earlier classics like "Sport and a Pastime" and "Light Years," the erotic edge has been dulled by age and regret. None of the stories has an obvious beginning, end or `dramatic arc,' and the collection is much more interesting for that.Highly recommended for anyone who has stopped believing in happy endings.
    ... Read more


    4. Transgressions
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0765308517
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: Forge Books
    Sales Rank: 11513
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Forge Books is proud to present an amazing collection of novellas, compiled by New York Times bestselling author Ed McBain. Transgressions is a quintessential classic of never-before-published tales from today's very best novelists. Faeturing:

    "Walking Around Money" by Donald E. Westlake: The master of the comic mystery is back with an all-new novella featuring hapless crook John Dortmunder, who gets involved in a crime that supposedly no one will ever know happened.Naturally, when something it too good to be true, it usually is, and Dortmunder is going to get to the bottom of this caper before he's left holding the bag.

    "Hostages" by Anne Perry: The bestselling historical mystery author has written a tale of beautiful yet still savage Ireland today.In their eternal struggle for freedom, there is about to be a changing of the guard in the Irish Republican Army.Yet for some, old habits-and honor-still die hard, even at gunpoint.

    "The Corn Maiden" by Joyce Carol Oates: When a fourteen-year-old girl is abducted in a small New York town, the crime starts a spiral of destruction and despair as only this master of psychological suspense could write it.

    "Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large: Walking the Line" by Walter Mosley: Felix Orlean is a New York City journalism student who needs a job to cover his rent.An ad in the paper leads him to Archibald Lawless, and a descent into a shadow world where no one and nothing is as it first seems.

    "The Resurrection Man" by Sharyn McCrumb": During America's first century, doctors used any means necessary to advance their craft-including dissecting corpses.Sharyn McCrumb brings the South of the 1850s to life in this story of a man who is assigned to dig up bodies to help those that are still alive.

    "Merely Hate" by Ed McBain: When a string of Muslim cabdrivers are killed, and the evidence points to another ethnic group, the detectives of the 87th Precinct must hunt down a killer before the city explodes in violence.

    "The Things They Left Behind" by Stephen King: In the wake of the worst disaster on American soil, one man is coming to terms with the aftermath of the Twin Towers-when he begins finding the things they left behind.

    "The Ransome Women" by John Farris: A young and beautiful starving artist is looking to catch a break when her idol, the reclusive portraitist John Ransome offers her a lucrative year-long modeling contract. But how long will her excitement last when she discovers the fate shared by all Ransome's past subjects?

    "Forever" by Jeffery Deaver: Talbot Simms is an unusual cop-he's a statistician with the Westbrook County Sheriff Department.When two wealthy couples in the county commit suicide one right after the other, he thinks that it isn't suicide-it's murder, and he's going to find how who was behind it, and how the did it.

    "Keller's Adjustment" by Lawrence Block: Everyone's favorite hit man is back in MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block's novella, where the philosophical Keller deals out philosophy and murder on a meandering road trip from one end of the America to the other.





    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Some home runs, and a few base hits
    Reviewing an anthology like this is rather difficult; the best way is probably to divide them into three groups.

    The OK:
    * "Walking Around Money" (Donald Westlake) is the story of hapless thief John Dortmunder; it's amusing, but didn't excite me.
    * "Merely Hate" (Ed McBain, the editor of the anthology), is a compelling story, one of dozens set in the 87th Precinct. It's lucky that his knowledge of Islam isn't pivotal to the story, because there are numerous errors (though not quite as glaring as, say, those in Matthew Reilly's "Scarecrow" or Tom Clancy's "The Teeth of the Tiger").
    * "Keller's Adjustment" (Lawrence Block) is a character study about an unusual assassin. I haven't read anything else by Block, so I can't really say much more.

    The not-so-great:
    * "The Corn Maiden" (Joyce Carol Oates) didn't live up to its billing ("a spiral of destruction and despair"); its language shifts on a dime from educated to stilted, and it's badly edited, too (one character's surname is spelled *four* different ways).
    * "The Resurrection Man" is a fictional biography of a man doing a necessary, but despicable, job in the 19th century. It's fascinating, but rather thin on plot.

    The great:
    * "Hostages" (Anne Perry) is the most "literary" of the works here, but it's still a compelling read about the tragedies of human nature.
    * "Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large" (Walter Mosley) would make a great novel.
    * "The Things They Left Behind" (Stephen King) is an elegy about life, loss, and ultimately hope, in the wake of 9/11. [It's also the shortest novella in the anthology by far.]
    * "The Ransome Women" (John Farris) is an unusual love story, and a perfect entertainment for a rainy night.
    * "Forever" (Jeffery Deaver) introduces Talbot Simms, cop/statistician. He's an intriguing character, and I'd love to see him get a full-length novel of his own.

    All in all, a great read; even the not-so-great novellas are still worth the time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is...BIG!
    Oh. My. God. I passed up buying the complete short stories of Raymond Chandler for this one. McBain, Mosley, King, Westlake, Deaver, and Block sharing the same book? And, mind you, not with any skinny little throwaway, wrote-in-a-weekend, virgin Bloody Mary shorts, but with big phhhhhat novellas. The novella is one of the greatest lost forms of detective fiction -- a dense, polished gem waiting for future generations to find in a dusty magazine pile or anchoring an obese anthology.

    Fitting that Ed McBain -- whose nearly-half century-aged 87th Precinct is still going strong and fresh -- would revive the novella. His own contribution is a new 87th Precinct novel-in-miniature, "Merely Hate," which just simply rocks. The post-9/11 theme of religious and cultural intolerance rockets along with serial murder, terrorism, media satire, and those great McBain cops and characters. The whole squad chimes in in the course of this unexpected marvel, and it all wraps up in the kind of twist McBain's become famous for.

    I moved on to Lawrence Block's new Keller novelette -- another score for my favorite hitman -- and on to Donald Westlake's latest raucous caper for hapless Dortmunder and felonious friends. I'm saving the Stephen King as a sort of creme brulee capper, but so far, my fictional world has been rocked to its foundations.

    I'll buy Chandler next paycheck. ... Read more


    5. Specimen Days
    by Michael Cunningham
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374299625
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-07)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 279
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    Book Description

    In each section of Michael Cunningham's new book, we encounter the same group of characters: a young boy, an older man, and a young woman."In the Machine" is a ghost story which takes place at the height of the Industrial Revolution, as human beings confront the alienated realities of the new machine age. "The Children's Crusade," set in the early twenties century, plays with the conventions of the noir thriller as it tracks the pursuit of a terrorist band which is detonating bombs seemingly at random around the city. The third part, "Like Beauty," evokes a New York 150 years into the future, when the city is all but overwhelmed by refugees from the first inhabited planet to be contacted by the people of earth.

    Presiding over each episode of this interrelated whole is the prophetic figure of the poet Walt Whitman, who promised his future readers, "It avails not, neither distance nor place . . . I am with you, and know how it is." Specimen Days is a genre-bending, haunting, and transformative ode to life in our greatest city-a work of surpassing power and beauty by one of the most original and daring writers at work today.
    ... Read more

    6. Interpreter of Maladies
    by Jhumpa Lahiri
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 039592720X
    Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
    Publisher: Mariner Books
    Sales Rank: 695
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Mr. Kapasi, the protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri's title story, wouldcertainly have his work cut out for him if he were forced to interpret the maladies of all the characters in this eloquent debut collection. Take, for example, Shoba and Shukumar, the young couple in "A Temporary Matter" whose marriage is crumbling in the wake of a stillborn child. Or Miranda in "Sexy," who is involved in a hopeless affair with a married man. But Mr. Kapasi has problems enough of his own; in addition to his regular job working as an interpreter for a doctor who does not speak his patients' language, he also drives tourists to local sites of interest. His fare on this particular day is Mr. and Mrs. Das--first-generation Americans of Indian descent--and their children. During the course of the afternoon, Mr. Kapasi becomes enamored of Mrs. Das and then becomes her unwilling confidant when she reads too much into his profession. "I told you because of your talents," she informs him after divulging a startling secret.

    I'm tired of feeling so terrible all the time. Eight years, Mr. Kapasi, I've been in pain eight years. I was hoping you could help me feel better; say the right thing. Suggest some kind of remedy.
    Of course, Mr. Kapasi has no cure for what ails Mrs. Das--or himself. Lahiri's subtle, bittersweet ending is characteristic of the collection as a whole. Some of these nine tales are set in India, others in the United States, and most concern characters of Indian heritage. Yet the situations Lahiri's people face, from unhappy marriages to civil war, transcend ethnicity. As the narrator of the last story, "The Third and Final Continent," comments: "There are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept."In that single line Jhumpa Lahiri sums up a universal experience, one that applies to all who have grown up, left home, fallen in or out of love, and, above all, experienced what it means to be a foreigner, even within one's own family. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

    Reviews (338)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Between two worlds
    Most of the central characters in Jumpa Lahiri's award winning collection of short stories are products of the great Diaspora of post independence India. Many live out their lives in that place where the ancient traditions of Indian clash with the youthful and brash culture of late twentieth America. Existing between two worlds, they struggle to come to terms with the inherent contradictions and discordant values that arise when Easterners live Western lives. With clear crisp prose, empathy, insight, compassion, and a wonderful grasp of the art of short story telling, Jumpa Lahiri takes the reader on a journey that travels between Indian and America, between the traditional and the modern, between the old world and the new. It is a journey well worth making for along the way you will be entertained, surprised, educated and enthralled. There are no low points in this book, no weak links, no disappointing stories. It is a stunning debut and one must hope, and harbinger of things to come.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Subtle Critique of Globalization
    Jhumpa Lahiri is an ethnic Bengali writer, born in London. brought up in America, who writes in English. As someone caught between the rootless culture of the modern developed world and the more tradition-bound culture of India, she is well positioned to exploit that vague sense of unease that we feel when we turn our back on our roots and traditions.

    The short stories collected in this Pulitzer Prize-winning volume focus on different aspects of the modern Indian experience. Stories like "Sexy" and "This Blessed House" deal with Filofax-toting, young Indian professionals, apparently successful in the academic or computer fields in the USA, but nevertheless unsure of themselves and spiritually cast adrift in their adopted country. Often a contrast is made between traditional lifestyles, which, although far from perfect, seem somehow more real than modern ones. This echoes the way Chekhov used to juxtapose the hollow, glittery lives of the Russian bourgeoisie with the earthy lives of the peasants.

    In "Mrs Sen's" the painstaking method of preparing proper Indian meals, involving a litany of vegetables, is seen through the eyes of a young white boy whose single mother is too busy to look after him. But Lahiri is a good enough writer not to commit herself to narrow cliches about a 'spiritually vacuous West' or a 'soulful India.' Her stories set in the Subcontinent, like "The Treatment of Bibi Haldar," show how superstitious and narrow-minded such societies can be regarding illness and the need for marriage. The women in "This Blessed House" and "A Temporary Affair," by contrast, seem liberated by their lives in America.

    These stories explore the psychological and spiritual fissures opened up by the cultural dissonance of our modern age, and, as such, should strike a chord with anyone dissatisfied with the complexity and shallowness of out modern lives. The ultimate value of these stories is that they offer a subtle critique of globalization.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant prose
    The "Dr. Pirzadeh" story is the best of this collection; it tells the story of the 1971 Bangladesh war of independence from Pakistan from the perspective of an emigrant listening to the news in the evenings. Very touching. The other stories are all very well told.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great collection of short stories!
    Lahiri's book, 'Interpreter of Maladies' is a collection of nine short stories, each of which is unique, rich and refreshingly different from the other. The prose is clear, lucid and elegant. Though no one story resembles the other in the remotest sense, there is an underlying common theme that runs like a red thread through each of them. Each anecdote encapsulates the one-of-a-kind experiences of the first generation of Asian-Americans [from India] who emigrated to the United States in the 1960s.

    In Mrs. Sen's, Lahiri brings out the full flavors of a gastronomic culture-shock that the wife of a mathematics professor experiences when she can't find a single whole fish in the city where they live; how she finds solace in reading letters from her home in Calcutta, how her driving woes in a country where she finds cars are driven on the right and not left, side of the road distress her.

    In The Third and Final Continent, the author recounts the tale of a Bengali bachelor, newly arrived in Boston to work as a librarian in the prestigious MIT library. A Real Durwan and The Treatment of Bibi Haldar chronicle the humdrum, yet tragic lives of an old stairwell-sweeper in a shabby Calcutta apartment. The latter narrates the tribulations a 29-year-old epileptic woman, again in Calcutta, who is unmarried and who never will due to her mental disorder.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Give Her a Chance
    I have never been a great fan of the short story, or of collections of short stories. No matter how much I like an author's work, his or her short story collections are inevitably the hardest for me to get through. I think this has more to do with expectations and momentum than actual content. I expect myself to finish every story I start before I stop reading, and that makes me put pressure on myself-but isn't that the idea of a short story, that you read it in a single sitting? As far as momentum, once I do finish a single story, there's nothing familiar waiting when I turn the page to the next one-it's a whole new world I need to learn, and for me the hardest part of reading a book is starting, so a short story collection presents me with my least favorite part of reading over and over again. Alas...

    Jhumpa Lahiri made it easy for me to forget about my issues with short stories. Her debut collection, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000, has several themes that bind the stories together, and her talent for letting each story unfold is remarkable. I read the first story, "A Temporary Matter," at 5 AM on an airplane, and it was only the fact that I was sitting next to a stoic Canadian man that prevented me from crying at the end. In 20 pages Lahiri made me care about the couple in the story, made me understand their entire past, the tragedies they had survived, and the pain that they now sought to escape and put behind them. The ending, like the ending to each story in the collection, could go either way, but none of the surprises that arrive toward the end of a tale feel forced; they flow almost inevitably from the story, no matter how unlikely they seem until you read them.

    There is not a bad story in this collection. At only 200 pages it presents a week's worth of nightly reading. As you may guess from the author's name, all of the stories feature aspects of life in India or as an Indian living in America, particularly the East Coast. They are windows on a culture that is a quiet presence in Chicago and across most of the nation, a culture that we do not often see into as deeply as Lahiri allows us to in this work. ... Read more


    7. The Namesake : A Novel
    by Jhumpa Lahiri
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $8.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618485228
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
    Publisher: Mariner Books
    Sales Rank: 302
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Jhumpa Lahiri's debut story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, took the literary world by storm when it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Fans who flocked to her stories will be captivated by her best-selling first novel, now in paperback for the first time. The Namesake is a finely wrought, deeply moving family drama that illuminates this acclaimed author's signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the tangled ties between generations.
    The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Ashoke does his best to adapt while his wife pines for home. When their son, Gogol, is born, the task of naming him betrays their hope of respecting old ways in a new world. And we watch as Gogol stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.
    With empathy and penetrating insight, Lahiri explores the expectations bestowed on us by our parents and the means by which we come to define who we are.
    ... Read more


    8. Breaking the Cycle
    by Zane
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1593090218
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-22)
    Publisher: Strebor Books
    Sales Rank: 116420
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    9. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Oprah's Book Club)
    by Carson McCullers
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618526412
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-21)
    Publisher: Mariner
    Sales Rank: 929
    Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the NEW YORK TIMES. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best. ... Read more

    Reviews (80)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Art Takes Effort!
    I was disturbed to read so many negative reviews of Carson McCullers' The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. This book is one of the finest works of literature in the American canon. Oprah's bookclub has lately been doing the admirable work of resurrecting old classics - McCullers WAS, in fact, quite the sensation among her contemporaries. I feel that Heart' is the book around which all of McCuller's other pieces orbit. I'll agree with a few other reviewers in saying that this is not an action book, it is not "funny train station" literature, and the impetus is psychological, and often quite intangible.

    As a master's degree student in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, I love this book. As a high school student, I adored it. People picking up something for fluffy entertainment value should probably not read this book. People looking to experience a different kind of life, to read a beautifully written social commentary, to experience psychological empathy pertaining to the human condition...those people should read this book.

    It's great writing. Don't bash it because it's not your type of reading material.

    To drive my point into the ground, people who enjoy authors in the vein of Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Tennessee Williams, Anne Tyler, Annie Proulx, Katherine Dunn, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, possibly Jeanette Winterson...these readers, and readers looking for great literature, should sample Carson McCullers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Slow going at first, rewarded at the end!
    After hearing everyone's glowing reviews, and being so excited to start reading this book- after reading Part 1 of this book, I was ready to give up. However, I'm glad I picked it up again a few days later & finished it. Still, the book was not quite what I envisioned, and it does not make my list of favorite books. But I realize I'm not much of a "classic novels" reader, so that probably had a lot to do with how I felt about this book.

    I enjoyed the premise of this town full of misfits; a drunk, a bar-keep, a teenage girl who's an outsider, a deaf mute and a repressed black doctor- all of which who made excellent characters. And once the stories of these people really got going, in part 2, I was enjoying the reading. It's just that part one really sets the stage for each of these characters, so it's not very exciting reading. And also, it took me a while to get into Carson's writing style, which is a bit unique- for instance, there were times when her sentence structure was kind of backwards. I'm not sure if this is because that's how they spoke in the 40's, or if it's McCullers's dialect. I will say that this book did have some very poetic thoughts and prose. There were several profound things, and it made the reading all the more worthwhile.

    I do recommend this book for reading- just with the warning that part 1 is slow going, but if you make it that far, you'll be rewarded in part 2 & 3. I don't want to give anything away about this story, so I'll leave it there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heart Wrenching
    Light reading, whimsical - no! Realistic, introspective, entertaining, a wonderful enlightment into the soul - yes! Don't pick up the book if you don't want to think. Otherwise, experience, enjoy and appreciate the brilliance of the characters, the story and the author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No funny train station literature, but a great piece of art
    I enjoyed this book. To those who find it too depressing, I would like to say that anything that deserves to be designated as "literature" irritates the reader. I recommend this book to anyone who looks for reading material that is not just entertaining or funny, but for something that enriches their minds.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Overrated
    Overrated. Just god awful, can't stand it. Ok, I know that isn't really helpful, but I have a feeling that this is one of those books that everyone claims to enjoy becuase they don't want to be accused of "not getting it." The characters were really difficult to care about, and the writing was just blah. Truly overrated (like most Oprah books). ... Read more


    10. Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules : An Anthology of Outstanding Short Stories
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 074327394X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 202
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    From the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim comes a collection of the short stories David Sedaris loves most. Containing the work of both contemporary and classic writers, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES, edited and introduced by Sedaris, gives his legions of fans a glimpse at the writing he finds inspiring - and helps them discover the truth abut loneliness, hope, love, betrayal, and certain, but not all, monkeys.

    David Sedaris fell in love with short stories while living in Odell, Oregon. Sedaris writes, "When apple-picking season ended, I got a job in a packing plant and gravitated toward short stories, which I could read during my break and reflect upon for the remainder of my shift. A good one would take me out of myself and stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit." Featuring such notable writers as Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Lorrie Moore, and Joyce Carol Oates, readers will reconnect with classics, as well discover fantastic but lesser-known writers.


    Included in CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES are:

    • Introduction by David Sedaris
    • "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" by Richard Yates
    • "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter
    • "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield
    • "Half A Grapefruit" by Alice Munro
    • "Applause, Applause" by Jean Thompson
    • "I Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting" by Frank Gannon
    • "Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out" by Patricia Highsmith
    • "The Best of Betty" by Jincy Willett
    • "Song of the Shirt, 1941" by Dorothy Parker
    • "The Girl with the Blackened Eye" by Joyce Carol Oates
    • "People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk" by Lorrie Moore
    • "Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor
    • "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" by Amy Hempel
    • "Cosmopolitan" by Akhil Sharma
    • "Irish Girl" by Tim Johnston
    • "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff
    • Epilogue by Sarah Vowell


    Borrowing the book's name from an Adriaen van der Werff painting, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES is David Sedaris's attempt to share his passion for short stories with a wider audience-and his enthusiasm is contagious. "The authors in this book are huge to me, and I am a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow. 'Pint sized Fanatic Bowing Before Statues of Hercules' might have been more concise, but people don't paint things like that, and besides, it doesn't sound as good."

    David Sedaris is publishing this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York. All of his proceeds, after permission expenses, from CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES will benefit this organization designed to help students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. In the book's epilogue, Sarah Vowell describes the fine work done by 826NYC. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An absolutely beautiful book
    Its so rare to find a compilation of short stories where every one is a delight! The stories are a satisfying mix of old and new, funny, joyful and sad. All of which I found very satisfying. I admit I did cry during a couple, and I don't think it was all hormones. I wish I'd had this caliber of story to read in my English classes. This was also a nice way to be cordially introduced to some new authors to explore.And I admit, as a major David Sedaris fan, there's that little fake intimate thrill of 'Ooooo HE picked these out!'
    And anyway, it makes a really good gift because even if the person dosen't like it, they won't return it because the purchase value benefits a great cause.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of this year's best
    Having been a fan of short story writers for years (Wolfe, Munro, McCrae), I immediately felt a longing to read this collection.And the fact that Sedaris put it together only made me want to delve into these eclectic waters all the more.Now, this said, of course I wasn't in love with each and every story, but I do have to say that of all the collections I've come across, this is one of the best.The only two other short story collections that have knocked me out as much as CHILDREN PLAYING were Munro's RUNAWAY and another titled THE CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae.While all are stellar, the Sedaris bunch is the most varied and well-paced. Of all the stories, "Half a Grapefruit" and "Bullet in the Brain" made the most impact on me.If you like Sedaris (and who doesn't?) trust his judgment on this one and give it a shot.You won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eclectic Short Stories From a Sedaris Perspective
    The next best thing to a new David Sedaris book is a collection of his favorite short stories since they reflect aspects of his character that may not be readily apparent in his often darkly humorous remembrances. He has chosen seventeen diverse stories by both modern and legendary writers, and the net effect is a microcosm of emotions unexpected, sometimes funny (as you would expect) and often poignant. I like how Sedaris in the foreword reverses the perspective you would expect him to have and settles into being a reader like the rest of us. What he does contribute is a strong sense of himself in the presence of these stories by simply liking them enough to include them.

    Being such a fan of his work and being able to relate to a lot of the quandaries he faces in his life, I immediately felt a kinship with many of the authors some of whom I am already familiar. For example, Alice Munro who captured a particularly universal perspective in her recent short story collection about women in transition, "Runaway", has a surprisingly amusing contribution with "Half a Grapefruit" about an insecure girl named Rose who is rebelling against the concept of you are what you eat. Or Jhumpa Lahiri, who won a well-earned Pulitzer Prize for her own anthology "Interpreter of Maladies", of which Sedaris has wisely chosen the title story about the delicate relationship between an insightful Indian interpreter and a bickering Indian-American couple visiting India. Both focus on identity crises in vastly different settings. I certainly am familiar with Dorothy Parker but not with her wonderfully brief and evocative story, "Song of the Shirt, 1941" about a WWII-era seamstress under duress. There's an intense little story called "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff which raises issues of randomness and control at the moment of death in a biting, economic fashion.

    Other stellar stories are by the likes of Flannery O' Connor, Katherine Mansfield, Joyce Carol Oates and Patricia Highsmith. The quirkiest may be Jincey Willett's "The Best of Betty," in which we are witness to the sarcastic decline of a domestic advice columnist. But my favorite may be Amy Hempel's "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried", which deals with the complex reactions to the dying of loved ones. There is even a brief and amusing epilogue by Sarah Vowell acknowledging the charity to which Sedaris is donating the proceeds, a kindred spirit whose ironic death obsession pervades her latest tome, "Assassination Vacation" (she was also the voice of goth-like daughter Violet in "The Incredibles"). There is not a clinker in the bunch. While reading this breezy anthology will not make you want a new Sedaris book any less, it will make you appreciate what great taste he has as a reader.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Short Story Awakening
    In all my years of reading serious fiction, I've neglected short stories. But when I saw Sedaris's name, I was willing to read his introduction to see if I wanted to delve further in this collection of stories by other writers, and I'm thrilled that I did.

    Of all the stories in the collection, I had only read one before-Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation"-so this collection opened up a number of new writers to me that I'll pursue further: Jincy Willett, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Richard Yates, for example.

    Sedaris does a good job of balancing heavily emotional rides, like Joyce Carol Oates's "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," with the humor of Jincy Willett's "The Best of Betty." He's also done a terrific job of blending classic stories with contemporary ones.

    After reading this collection, I'm actually looking forward to reading more short fiction.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Effort, Labor Of Love....without all the work
    David Sedaris is one of my favortie writers and I was looking forward to this piece for some time without knowing what it was about. Truly, I expected a new Sedaris memoir, but what I found was a book full of short stories from people he'd either admired or stories he liked quite a bit. So, he got these abstract pieces together and got them grouped into one book, edited said book and wrote a forward. Under no circumstances should you think that this was a Sedaris work. It just shows how much he loves short stories and aside from the skill in writing the stories within this book, there is nothing else of merit to speak of.

    "Gryphon" is my favorite, which is about a teacher trying to get her students to think outside themselves in her own seemingly clandestine way. It was made into a movie by Max Mabru Films for PBS Wonderworks and is easy to find on video via the writer's website. My only problem with the story is that you never really find out why it has the title it has.

    No matter if the writers are alive or dead, Sedaris picks some solid small literature for his labor of love, complete with the often reveered "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff. Some readers would say that Sedaris was a little off or wrong in including some writers and excluding others, as he admits that some of his favorites did not make it in the book. But, keep in mind who's personal movement this was...Sedaris'. Not yours and not mine, so take it for what it is and enjoy what he has done. But, basically, as a book, all this does is keep you from having to buy the pieces individually, if you have not read them yet.

    But they might even garner new fans, making them have to go out and buy their individual preferences anyway. ... Read more


    11. A Perfect Stranger : And Other Stories
    by ROXANA ROBINSON
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375509186
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 4888
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Collection!
    The thirteen stories in Roxana Robinson's newest collection all share an amazing elegance, clear insight into human nature, and at times, breath-stopping tension.

    In "Family Christmas," a young girl witnesses an event that opens her eyes to an adult world full of complexities, contradictions and class divisions. In "The Face Lift," a woman gets together with an old school friend who possesses a vitality she once envied. The woman soon discovers things are not always what they seem and no one is impervious to danger. The ending of this one is brilliant. In "Choosing Sides," a woman not only finds out her son has fathered a child but that he doesn't want to stick around to parent it. The woman must decide if she wants the child in her life.

    Two of the most riveting stories in the collection, "At the Beach" and "The Treatment," showcase Robinson's command of a story and how much tension it should deliver and when. "At the Beach" captures perfectly the panic experienced by a beach full of people who for one moment fear the worst has happened, and "The Treatment" stars a woman with a terminal illness who eventually feels forced to protect her faith in her body's ability to heal.

    I cannot say enough about how powerful and beautifully written this collection is. A fully satisfying read straight through.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Master of the Form
    Robinson's newest short story collection is sublime. She has that rare ability to notice just the right telling nuance, deviation of tone, or perfect detail that bring her characters to life and to confict and to resolution in a mere handful of pages. ... Read more


    12. Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules : An Anthology of Outstanding Short Stories
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 074327394X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 202
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    From the #1 bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim comes a collection of the short stories David Sedaris loves most. Containing the work of both contemporary and classic writers, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES, edited and introduced by Sedaris, gives his legions of fans a glimpse at the writing he finds inspiring - and helps them discover the truth abut loneliness, hope, love, betrayal, and certain, but not all, monkeys.

    David Sedaris fell in love with short stories while living in Odell, Oregon. Sedaris writes, "When apple-picking season ended, I got a job in a packing plant and gravitated toward short stories, which I could read during my break and reflect upon for the remainder of my shift. A good one would take me out of myself and stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit." Featuring such notable writers as Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, Lorrie Moore, and Joyce Carol Oates, readers will reconnect with classics, as well discover fantastic but lesser-known writers.


    Included in CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES are:

    • Introduction by David Sedaris
    • "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" by Richard Yates
    • "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter
    • "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri
    • "The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield
    • "Half A Grapefruit" by Alice Munro
    • "Applause, Applause" by Jean Thompson
    • "I Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting" by Frank Gannon
    • "Where the Door Is Always Open and the Welcome Mat Is Out" by Patricia Highsmith
    • "The Best of Betty" by Jincy Willett
    • "Song of the Shirt, 1941" by Dorothy Parker
    • "The Girl with the Blackened Eye" by Joyce Carol Oates
    • "People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk" by Lorrie Moore
    • "Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor
    • "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried" by Amy Hempel
    • "Cosmopolitan" by Akhil Sharma
    • "Irish Girl" by Tim Johnston
    • "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff
    • Epilogue by Sarah Vowell


    Borrowing the book's name from an Adriaen van der Werff painting, CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES is David Sedaris's attempt to share his passion for short stories with a wider audience-and his enthusiasm is contagious. "The authors in this book are huge to me, and I am a comparative midget, scratching around in their collective shadow. 'Pint sized Fanatic Bowing Before Statues of Hercules' might have been more concise, but people don't paint things like that, and besides, it doesn't sound as good."

    David Sedaris is publishing this book to support 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring center in Brooklyn, New York. All of his proceeds, after permission expenses, from CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES will benefit this organization designed to help students ages six to eighteen develop their writing skills through free writing workshops, publishing projects, and one-on-one help with homework and English-language learning. In the book's epilogue, Sarah Vowell describes the fine work done by 826NYC. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An absolutely beautiful book
    Its so rare to find a compilation of short stories where every one is a delight! The stories are a satisfying mix of old and new, funny, joyful and sad. All of which I found very satisfying. I admit I did cry during a couple, and I don't think it was all hormones. I wish I'd had this caliber of story to read in my English classes. This was also a nice way to be cordially introduced to some new authors to explore.And I admit, as a major David Sedaris fan, there's that little fake intimate thrill of 'Ooooo HE picked these out!'
    And anyway, it makes a really good gift because even if the person dosen't like it, they won't return it because the purchase value benefits a great cause.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of this year's best
    Having been a fan of short story writers for years (Wolfe, Munro, McCrae), I immediately felt a longing to read this collection.And the fact that Sedaris put it together only made me want to delve into these eclectic waters all the more.Now, this said, of course I wasn't in love with each and every story, but I do have to say that of all the collections I've come across, this is one of the best.The only two other short story collections that have knocked me out as much as CHILDREN PLAYING were Munro's RUNAWAY and another titled THE CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae.While all are stellar, the Sedaris bunch is the most varied and well-paced. Of all the stories, "Half a Grapefruit" and "Bullet in the Brain" made the most impact on me.If you like Sedaris (and who doesn't?) trust his judgment on this one and give it a shot.You won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eclectic Short Stories From a Sedaris Perspective
    The next best thing to a new David Sedaris book is a collection of his favorite short stories since they reflect aspects of his character that may not be readily apparent in his often darkly humorous remembrances. He has chosen seventeen diverse stories by both modern and legendary writers, and the net effect is a microcosm of emotions unexpected, sometimes funny (as you would expect) and often poignant. I like how Sedaris in the foreword reverses the perspective you would expect him to have and settles into being a reader like the rest of us. What he does contribute is a strong sense of himself in the presence of these stories by simply liking them enough to include them.

    Being such a fan of his work and being able to relate to a lot of the quandaries he faces in his life, I immediately felt a kinship with many of the authors some of whom I am already familiar. For example, Alice Munro who captured a particularly universal perspective in her recent short story collection about women in transition, "Runaway", has a surprisingly amusing contribution with "Half a Grapefruit" about an insecure girl named Rose who is rebelling against the concept of you are what you eat. Or Jhumpa Lahiri, who won a well-earned Pulitzer Prize for her own anthology "Interpreter of Maladies", of which Sedaris has wisely chosen the title story about the delicate relationship between an insightful Indian interpreter and a bickering Indian-American couple visiting India. Both focus on identity crises in vastly different settings. I certainly am familiar with Dorothy Parker but not with her wonderfully brief and evocative story, "Song of the Shirt, 1941" about a WWII-era seamstress under duress. There's an intense little story called "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff which raises issues of randomness and control at the moment of death in a biting, economic fashion.

    Other stellar stories are by the likes of Flannery O' Connor, Katherine Mansfield, Joyce Carol Oates and Patricia Highsmith. The quirkiest may be Jincey Willett's "The Best of Betty," in which we are witness to the sarcastic decline of a domestic advice columnist. But my favorite may be Amy Hempel's "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried", which deals with the complex reactions to the dying of loved ones. There is even a brief and amusing epilogue by Sarah Vowell acknowledging the charity to which Sedaris is donating the proceeds, a kindred spirit whose ironic death obsession pervades her latest tome, "Assassination Vacation" (she was also the voice of goth-like daughter Violet in "The Incredibles"). There is not a clinker in the bunch. While reading this breezy anthology will not make you want a new Sedaris book any less, it will make you appreciate what great taste he has as a reader.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Short Story Awakening
    In all my years of reading serious fiction, I've neglected short stories. But when I saw Sedaris's name, I was willing to read his introduction to see if I wanted to delve further in this collection of stories by other writers, and I'm thrilled that I did.

    Of all the stories in the collection, I had only read one before-Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation"-so this collection opened up a number of new writers to me that I'll pursue further: Jincy Willett, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Richard Yates, for example.

    Sedaris does a good job of balancing heavily emotional rides, like Joyce Carol Oates's "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," with the humor of Jincy Willett's "The Best of Betty." He's also done a terrific job of blending classic stories with contemporary ones.

    After reading this collection, I'm actually looking forward to reading more short fiction.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Effort, Labor Of Love....without all the work
    David Sedaris is one of my favortie writers and I was looking forward to this piece for some time without knowing what it was about. Truly, I expected a new Sedaris memoir, but what I found was a book full of short stories from people he'd either admired or stories he liked quite a bit. So, he got these abstract pieces together and got them grouped into one book, edited said book and wrote a forward. Under no circumstances should you think that this was a Sedaris work. It just shows how much he loves short stories and aside from the skill in writing the stories within this book, there is nothing else of merit to speak of.

    "Gryphon" is my favorite, which is about a teacher trying to get her students to think outside themselves in her own seemingly clandestine way. It was made into a movie by Max Mabru Films for PBS Wonderworks and is easy to find on video via the writer's website. My only problem with the story is that you never really find out why it has the title it has.

    No matter if the writers are alive or dead, Sedaris picks some solid small literature for his labor of love, complete with the often reveered "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff. Some readers would say that Sedaris was a little off or wrong in including some writers and excluding others, as he admits that some of his favorites did not make it in the book. But, keep in mind who's personal movement this was...Sedaris'. Not yours and not mine, so take it for what it is and enjoy what he has done. But, basically, as a book, all this does is keep you from having to buy the pieces individually, if you have not read them yet.

    But they might even garner new fans, making them have to go out and buy their individual preferences anyway. ... Read more


    13. Babylon Sisters : A Novel
    by PEARL CLEAGE
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345456092
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: One World/Ballantine
    Sales Rank: 5576
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Catherine Sanderson has it all: a fulfilling career helping immigrant women find jobs, a lovely home, and a beautiful daughter on her way to Smith College. What Catherine doesn't have is a father for her child, or good answers for Phoebe’s probing questions. And B. J., the only man she’s ever loved, doesn’t even know about Phoebe. But now B. J., a renowned reporter, is back in town, and he needs Catherine’s help in cracking the story of a female slavery ring operating on the streets of Atlanta. Though eager to help, Catherine is fearful over the confession she knows she must make — to him and their daughter. Fearful, too, of the sudden interest her newest client, the icy Miss Mandeville — a housekeeper turned tycoon — shows in Catherine’s connection to B. J. What follows rocks Catherine’s world — and the entire city of Atlanta. This story is read by the author. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and quite engrossing
    Before I even picked up "Babylon Sisters", I felt that somehow Miss Ezolla Mandeville was the key somehow; Let me back this up a bit here..You have this lady, Catherine, with a teenaged daughter, who asked her reapeatedly about her father, and Catherine wouldn't tell her; Taking matters into her own hands, she takes one of Catherine's journals, and writes the men in the journal asking for paternity. It brings about some hairy doings, but not the REALL father; yet, he DOES show up in Burghardt Johnson, doing a story on a child prostituion ring going on right there in Atlanta. At the same time,Catherine, who works with newly immigrant women coming into Atlanta, joins up with Ezola to help the womenget jobs,as well as help them on their feet; All the while, there is another side to this story, the plot thickens, and you can't help but get caught up inn the story and how it will end;Personally, I don't care for thefact of one hiding one's parenntage no matter what; Look for the stories of Miriam and Etienne in this book; It will sober you.I loved this book; I reallly did; it enlightened yet entertained me; What I find so charming about Ms Cleage's books is the love, caring and community that is shared in the book. They are refreshing, with a hint of danger, yet so good; Great book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fiction Lover's Feast
    Politically conscious, romantic, comedic and socially aware Pearl Cleage's latest novel, Babylon Sisters, is a definite fiction lover's feast crossing genres and continents in roughly three-hundred pages.

    Educated, sophisticated, and down-to-earth Catherine Sanderson owns her own business called Babylon Sisters which caters to immigrant women in Atlanta by helping them find jobs, employment, and housing. Her daughter, Phoebe, is a bright senior who plans to attend the prestigious Smith College. The only thing missing in each of their lives is a man. For Phoebe it's the father she has always wondered about and just recently gathered enough nerve to ask her mother about. For Catherine it's the only man she's ever really loved-B. J. Johnson-the man who she had a relationship with over eighteen years ago that produced the one thing for which she wouldn't trade anything in the world: Phoebe.

    When Catherine is asked to help locate a missing Haitian girl named Etienne, she stumbles upon a prostitution ring preying on innocent, unsuspecting immigrant girls.Enter B. J. Johnson, world-renown war correspondent and newspaper man, who is doing a piece on female slavery in America. He turns Catherine's world upside-down while the two race against time to uncover the whereabouts of Etienne and uncover who is behind the exploitation of these girls. Meanwhile, Catherine struggles to find the words to tell B.J. about the daughter he doesn't even know exists. The lies and awkward situations abound as Catherine tries to cover-up the identity of Phoebe's father from her daughter until she has had time to tell B.J.

    The voice of the narrator, Catherine Sanderson, is delightfully refreshing in a literary world where books abound with run-of-the-mill narrators. The plot while set in modern-day Atlanta encompasses the globalization ofour community by considering such timely issues as female slavery, the sexual rights of women, and the never ending battle to keep young girls safe in our own communities. The savvy Cleage even sneaks in a few below-the-radar references to American politics. Bravo to a sister who doesn't live or write in a vacuum!

    Reviewed by Deborah L. Lilton of Memphis RAWSISTAZ

    5-0 out of 5 stars PEARL CLEAGE JUST GETS BETTER AND BETTER!
    Pearl Cleage writes novels that make you care and make you think.Babylon Sisters returns us to Atlanta's West End neighborhood where we find our main character "Cat" struggilng to raise her sixteen year old daughter, Chloe.

    I loved this aspect of Babylon Sisters.It's rare to see such a portrait of African American motherhood-- Cat wants to be a supportive mother, comforting her daughter as the girl struggles with her first major heartbreak, only to have the daughter turn the tables. Now, Cat has to navigate the roads into and out of her own bruised heart.

    While the romantic angle and comedy will rope you in, a reader also gets a look into the world of our sisters who are less fortunate than ourselves.A sub plot involves Hatian immigrants who are exploited and forced into sexual slavery.

    As always in Pearl Cleage's novel, the characters (and the readers!) must force themselves to think globally.And the real hero is the Cat who saves herself as she saves those around her.

    Thanks, Pearl Cleage, for once again respecting your readers enough to give us another novel that not only shows your love for our community, your belief in a global sisterhood, but also challenges us to be brave! ... Read more


    14. The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud
    by JANET SCHULMAN
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $25.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679886478
    Catlog: Book (1998-09-14)
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Sales Rank: 1627
    Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Believe it or not, 44 complete read-aloud classics and future classics--from Goodnight Moon to Stellaluna--are packed in this remarkably svelte, positively historic anthology. Flipping through the 308 pages of The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury is like browsing a photo album of beloved friends and family. The familiar faces of Curious George and Ferdinand the Bull peer earnestly from the pages, and scenes from Madeline and Millions of Cats resonate as if you just experienced them yesterday. Think of the advantages of carrying this book on a vacation instead of a suitcase of single titles! (Your kids can always revisit their dog-eared hardcovers when they get home.)

    This impressive collection of concept books, wordless books, picture books, and read-aloud stories was artfully compiled by longtime children's book editor and publisher Janet Schulman. Stories are coded red, blue, and green to designate age groupings from baby/toddler books such as Whose Mouse Are You?, through preschool books such as Where the Wild Things Are, to longer stories for ages 5 and older such as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The reason the book isn't bigger than Babar is because many of the illustrations from each story were reduced or removed to fitthe anthology's format.(Leo Lionni's Swimmy, for example, takes up 5 pages total, compared to its original 29 pages.)Brief biographical notes that are surprisingly quirky shine a little light on the 62 authors and illustrators, and an index helps, too, for the child who likes one story best. We love the idea of being within easy reach of a Star-Belly Sneetch, a William Steig donkey, and a Sendak monster at all times, and we're sure your little bookworms will, too. (Click to seea sample spread from The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury, compilation copyright © 1998 by Janet Schulman, illustrations © renewed 1997 by William Steig.) (All ages) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

    Reviews (66)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful collection of classic stories!
    I bought this book after checking it out at the library and being in awe at the wonderful stories in it. My boys are 2 and almost every night at dinner we read a new story. With classics from Curious George and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to the rhythmic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, there are surely stories to fit every need. The book also lists which stories are appropriate for different ages. Most of the stories are condensed to 4-6 pages with lots of pictures, but some have few illustrations and are great for reading in the car, at dinner, or at bedtime when your child is really sleepy.

    We own several of the individual books and will probably buy more of them for the boys to be able to read and hold. This book is too heavy and awkward for small children to be handling, but it is a convenient way to expose them (and me!) to some of the great stories that have been written over the years. Besides, you'll want to keep it in good shape to hand down to your grandchildren! This collection of stories will make a wonderful gift for new or expecting parents or for older children who love to read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing collections of children's favorites
    Most of the 'greatest hits' collections - whether for a time period or a particular artist seem to always leave out the best song or super-star groups. This Treasury astounded me by collecting 'all' the great authors and stories (at least all of the ones I can thing of). Madeline, Dr. Seuss, Babar, Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, The Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, Stellaluna, Pooh, etc... I am amazed that the editors managed to get the rights to publish all of these incredible favorites!

    The texts of the stories are complete (as far as I can tell), but the illustration have been shrunk so that all of the stories will fit in one volume. Something is lost in the process, but I can imagine that it would be the perfect book for a trip, keeping a any kids' home-away-from-home (like grandma's house), or just to read to discover previously unknown classics (which is what my five year old and I are doing).

    An added benefit is the history - the stories were all written in a historical context and to a greater or lesser extend reflect the society in which they were written. The editors wisely put the year of publication with each story. So when I read them to my daughter I can also comment (when applicable) not only about whether or not I had read the story as a kid, but also set the story in a historical context (take Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, published in 1939, for example).

    Of course, for stories destined to become favorites, the full-sized editions with illustrations are really needed; but for an anthology, this book cannot be beat!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Before you buy, know what you are missing
    This is a good book for reference but if you intend to buy it INSTEAD OF the children's classics it includes, you will be missing out on a lot. Please read the School Library Journal review and Booklist review in entirety before making a decision to buy this, they both touch on the problem of condensing stories and missing illustrations with the effect they have on the stories' impact. It is especially noticable for stories that rely on illustrations for pacing or an element of surprise. I find that my kids, both beginning readers, do not go to this book on their own the same way that they will run to look at any of their favorite individual story books and although we use it, it is usually only as a convenience to me (to avoid hunting down and carrying several goodnight books). If it gets you to read more, great, but for fostering a love of these classics in your kids there is nothing like using the real individual books in their covers, formatted as originally intended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING!
    We have hundreds of children's books, but this is the one we turn to over and over. (Our son is 3 1/2; daughter is 6). Great at story time, and even better when you need some help entertaining the kids (e.g., doctor's office, long trip, snow day at home). The collection is a real treasure of books we knew, and books we discovered for the first time. My prediction: your children will still remember this book when they are reading to your grandkids. By far, our family's favorite.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific collection of classics
    I'm an American journalist living in Germany and raising two bilingual kids. I've had this book for about 3 years now. It has been a wonderful source of bedtime reading for my oldest son, who is now 6. The stories offer a good variety of reading levels, so it has really grown with him. Yes, some of the illustrations are small, but I found that a small price to pay for the convenience of having a single book to grab at bedtime when we are both very tired, but needing a great story. ... Read more


    15. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
    by ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
    list price: $14.99
    our price: $16.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0517220784
    Catlog: Book (2002-09-03)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Sales Rank: 3085
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Over one hundred years have passed since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intoduced his inimitable sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, to the world--and his popularity has never waned. This oversized commemorative volume contains the entire canon of Holmes adventures, both before and after his creator's attempt to dispatch him in print. Just as the character, Holmes, prevails and defies even death, these detective stories featuring him and Dr. Watson have withstood more than the test of time: they defined and changed the way modern crime writers approached detective fiction. ... Read more

    Reviews (97)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
    Thrilled recently to discover the excellent Jeremy Brett filmed episodes of Sherlock Holmes, I then took to reading the original stories and enjoyed virtually every one of them. There are a few plots which nearly duplicate other ones, but the 56 short stories and 4 novels comprise a stunning collection of fiction which evokes the atmosphere of late Victorian era England in a straightforward prose that grabs you instantly and makes you turn page after page and then read story after story. As you get further and further into the world Doyle created, you'll begin to hear the sounds of horse carriages, smell candles and gas lamps, and also, in the manner of Holmes, to begin to truly NOTICE the small details of life which may end up meaning far more than they seem to at first. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most intriguing characters in all of literature. You'll end up wishing you could've met him or, even better, followed him into the bowels of London or into the English countryside as he probes a mystery, running only on adrenalin. I also recommend Doyle's fine book of "Round The Fire" stories.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All the tales of the greatest detective in literary history
    The complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an excellent gift for young and old alike. I first read these stories in Junior High School and loved them then. After reading the complete collection a second time, my appreciation of the excellence of these stories has only increased. Like Dickens's great novels such as David Copperfield, a second and even third visit to The Complete Adventures is both warranted and rewarded. Those people who loved the late Jeremy Brett's characterization of Holmes on PBS's "Mystery," are almost certain to find the stories on which this series is based equally entertaining.

    From our first encounter with Holmes in Conan Doyle's introductory novel, A Study in Scarlet, and his meeting with Dr. Watson, with whom he shared rooms at the now famous 221B Baker Street, we are fascinated by the uniqueness of Holmes's eccentric character, his incredible intelligence in all things concerning the science of deduction, his total dedication to his craft, and the enormous resources of energy and determination he calls on to solve problems no one else can master.

    Holmes is a consulting detective; that is, he is the court of last appeal when the police, government officials, and private citizens can find help no where else. What makes Holmes special is not only his vast knowledge related to crime and the master criminal, like the infamous Professor Moriarty, but his incredible powers of observation and deduction, which he uses in almost every story to amaze Dr. Watson and the various detectives of Scotland Yard who come seeking his help.

    Conan Doyle is a fine writer and he wanted to turn his attention to other projects and so decided to kill off Holmes at a last meeting with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls in the Alps in the highly recommended story, The Adventure of the Final Problem. As we might expect, Holmes is not so easily disposed of. The demand for more adventures prompted Conan Doyle to publish a final volume of stories of the greatest detective in literary history.

    1-0 out of 5 stars The print IS too small!
    The book is oversized but I agree with the previous reviewer that the print is too small--luckily, I found "The Annotated Sherlock Holmes" edited by William S. Baring-Gould at a used bookstore and is the BEST complete Sherlock Holmes collection I have EVER seen and the supplemental material is extensive and staggeringly wonderful--try to find that one (it will probably be in 2 volumes)in the used book section of this site...

    5-0 out of 5 stars The game is afoot!
    The greatest detective in all of literature is between the covers of this excellent edition of the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes. Of all the editions out currently out there, the Doubleday hardcover version is by far the best. With 1122 pages, it's a hefty tome, but packed between the covers, in an edition that won't give you eye-strain to read, are all four full-length novels and fifty-six short stories, plus an excellent introduction by Christopher Morley. This is the version to get.

    There has never been anything quite like Sherlock Holmes; he's in a class by himself. We meet him first in his late twenties, just starting a career as the world's only consulting detective, when he's introduced to his invaluable chronicler Dr. Watson. What is Holmes without Watson? He's not nearly as interesting alone; Watson is an absolute necessity. Holmes needs Watson's obtuseness as a foil for his own razor-sharp brilliance. In some of the later volumes, Holmes narrates a couple of his own cases. They fall flatter than a pancake. Let Holmes stick to what he knows; we must have Watson to show him to best effect.

    There are so many great stories included in this volume that probably no two people's list of personal favorites will match; my own are "The Red-Headed League" and "The Copper Beeches" from "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"; "The Yellow Face", "The Naval Treaty" and "The Final Problem" from "Memoirs", "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" and "The Second Stain" from "The Return", and "His Last Bow" from the volume of the same title. The incomparable "Hound of the Baskervilles" rates as my favorite long novel. Conan Doyle not only gave us some wonderful tales, but some unforgettable secondary characters as well: the pea-brained detectives Gregson and Lestrade; brother Mycroft, even more brilliant as Sherlock and even more eccentric; and the scruffy gang of street kids known as the Baker Street Irregulars.

    Holmes himself is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic characters in all fiction. Why doesn't he have (or seem to want)a life outside of solving crimes? We know he has an off-and-on cocaine problem, not to mention some peculiar habits, such as shooting holes in his parlor walls to spell out VR (Victoria Regina) in bullet pocks (why his landlady didn't throw him out is never explained), and except for the inscrutable Irene Adler, he seems to have a marked aversion towards women. Well, maybe it's just as well that his whole life was detecting and solving crimes, else how could he have been involved in so many delightful adventures?

    As Morley says in his introduction to this volume, we should be grateful to those ophthalmic patients who kept missing their appointments with Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, leaving him with enough spare time on his hands to write these stories. In the lanky figure of his consulting detective, Conan Doyle created one of the most popular characters of all modern fiction. There is no more compelling crime-buster, and never has been, and probably never will be, than Sherlock Holmes.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Doyle's Legacy
    Of all the memorable characters in literature, Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is justly one of the most famous (rivaled by only a small handful of others). In the Complete Sherlock Holmes, you find this peculiar, proper, analytical, brilliant consulting detective. You also meet his equally famous boswell, Dr. Watson, and unforgettable criminals, plots and deductions. There are four novels and fifty-six short stories. Many of them are masterpieces. A few, especially some of the later works, are dated and disappointing (thus only four stars). But do not be too concerned. After you read this series, you will see why the pipe smoking genius of Baker Street has fans throughout the world. Highly recommended. ... Read more


    16. Your Favorite Seuss : A Baker's Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss
    by DR SEUSS
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $23.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375810617
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-12)
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Sales Rank: 615
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    Book Description

    From his very first book to his very last book, here in one big volume are 13 classic Dr. Seuss stories, everyone’s favorites. All of the words and virtually all of the illustrations are included. Each story is prefaced by a short essay by someone whose life was changed by Dr. Seuss or who is simply an unabashed admirer. Also included are photographs of Dr. Seuss, memorabilia, and original sketches from his books. The stories included are: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Horton Hears a Who!, McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, Happy Birthday to You!, Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, Yertle the Turtle, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, The Sneetches, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

    Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) was born March 2, 1904, and died September 25, 1991.

    With introductory essays to each story by:

    Barbara Bader, Author and Critic

    Stan and Jan Berenstain, Creators of The Berenstain Bears

    Audrey Geisel, Widow of Dr. Seuss

    Peter Glassman, Children’s Bookseller

    Starr LaTronica, Children’s Librarian

    John Lithgow, Actor and Children’s Book Author

    Barbara Mason, Kindergarten Teacher

    Richard H. Minear, Author of Dr. Seuss Goes to War

    Christopher Paolini, Author of Eragon

    Charles D. Cohen, Author of The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and

    Nothing but the Seuss

    Pete Seeger, Folksinger

    Christopher Cerf, TV Writer, Composer, and Producer

    Lane Smith, Children’s Book Illustator ... Read more


    17. El Codigo Da Vinci / The Da Vinci Code
    by Dan Brown, Juanjo Estrella
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $13.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 8495618605
    Catlog: Book (2003-11-30)
    Publisher: Ediciones Urano
    Sales Rank: 1958
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    Nº 1 en USA

    ¿ Qué misterio se oculta tras la sonrisa de Mona Lisa? Durante siglos, la Iglesia ha conseguido mantener oculta la verdad… hasta ahora.

    Antes de morir asesinado, Jacques Saunière, el último Gran Maestre de una sociedad secreta que se remonta a la fundación de los Templarios, transmite a su nieta Sofía una misteriosa clave. Saunière y sus predecesores, entre los que se encontraban hombres como Isaac Newton o Leonardo Da Vinci, han conservado durante siglos un conocimiento que puede cambiar completamente la historia de la humanidad. Ahora Sofía, con la ayuda del experto en simbología Robert Langdon, comienza la búsqueda de ese secreto, en una trepidante carrera que les lleva de una clave a otra, descifrando mensajes ocultos en los más famosos cuadros del genial pintor y en las paredes de antiguas catedrales. Un rompecabezas que deberán resolver pronto, ya que no están solos en el juego: una poderosa e influyente organización católica está dispuesta a emplear todos los medios para evitar que el secreto salga a la luz.

    Un apasionante juego de claves escondidas, sorprendentes revelaciones, acertijos ingeniosos, verdades, mentiras, realidades históricas, mitos, símbolos, ritos, misterios y suposiciones en una trama llena de giros inesperados narrada con un ritmo imparable que conduce al lector hasta el secreto más celosamente guardado del inicio de nuestra era.

    " Intriga y amenaza se mezclan en una de las mejores novelas de suspense que he leído jamás. Un sorprendente relato donde los enigmas se suceden a los secretos y éstos a las adivinanzas."

    Clive Cussler.


    " Un inteligente thriller lleno de enigmas y códigos que, sin duda, puede recomendarse con rotundo entusiasmo."

    The New York Times

    ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Un libro sobre un tema polémico...
    Un interesante libro de ficción basado en ubicaciones y eventos que nos parecen familiares. El autor logra de manera muy sutil despertar dudas sobre la integridad de la Iglesia y el interés por las diferentes sectas y herejías derivadas de las iglesias primitivas. Además describe detalles interesantes sobre museos, iglesias y lugares de Francia e Inglaterra. Lo más notorio es que el autor logra ubicar al lector en una terrible decisión: ¿son los evangelios inspiración divina, o el producto de la increíble imaginación del hombre?
    Es una lectura recomendable solo para creyentes con amplio criterio y con fuertes fundamentos cristianos.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Muy buen libro
    El Harry potter para adultos...hace falta decir mas?
    Tienen que leerlo porque esta muy bueno.
    Yo que conozco muy bien Paris tengo que decir que el autor es bastante fiel con los detalles y descripciones que da de los lugares...el louvre, las calles, etc todo concuerda con la historia, que tiene muchos datos historicos que son ciertos (algunos yo los tuve que estudiar en la universidad) y complementan la historia...yo comenze a leer y no pude parar...este libro puede causar adiccion hasta que se terminan las 500 y pico de paginas... y como efectos secundarios uno puede comenzar a recomendar a los amigos para que lean.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Una Narracion no apta para adictos....
    Una Vez QuE La AbReS No La PuEdeS SolTaR!!!
    Esta es una de esas historias que no importa el tamaño uno no siente el volumen del mismo, desde la primer pagina te lleva de la mano pero corriendo! y tan solo de una pagina a la otra la historia se va desarrollando perfecto!
    Sea o no ficcion, vale la pena la lectura debido a los datos historicos que se presentan.

    actualmente estoy leyendo angeles y demonios y tambien igual de interesante, creo que este autor pasara a ser uno de mis "debo leer"

    2-0 out of 5 stars Una novela de ficción que trata de aparecer como verdadera,
    El Codigo Da Vinci es solo una novela de suspenso, que basa su "PLOT", destruyendo las más sagradas creencias de la Cristiandad, al poner en duda la Divinidad de Jesucristo, entre otras muchas cosas. Eso es lo que está de moda para que un libro se venda.

    Sobre este tema se han escrito algunos libros aclarando la verdad sobre lo que Brown llama "hechos verídicos". Antes de ello debo referirme a que éste libro no es ninguna novedad, el autor (Brown) ha sacado parte de su trama de un libro escrito hace más de 20 años (1982) "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" y cuyo título en español es "El Enigma Sagrado", escrito por Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh y Henry Lincoln. La versión que poseo fue publicada en Bogotá en 1988.

    Los libros que critican y aclaran la verdad, son precisos y van directamente al punto, uno de ellos es "The DaVinci Code: Fact or Fiction?", escrito por Hank Hanegraaff y Paul Maier (se consigue en inglés en Amazon) con clarísimos argumentos, históricos, arqueológicos y eclesiásticos desmiente lo que Brown quiere hacer pasar como verdad histórica. Otro libro es "De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code" de Amy Welborn (Se consigue también en Amazon).

    Al respecto dice un lector de Atlanta: En el libro "De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code" su autora Amy Welborn explica claramente por qué ella escribió su libro: "El Da Vinci Code" es una novela, dice ella, pero el autor (Dan Brown) afirma tanto en la novela como en su sitio en Internet que las aserciones históricas que él está haciendo son legítimas. Eso no es así. Pregúntele a cualquier historiador de cualquier tipo por Jesús, María Magadalena y el Priorato de Sion y ellos le dirán que es un disparate.

    Pero Welborn es clara al advertir que su libro es para aquéllos que no parecen entender que el Da Vinci Code es, de hecho, ficción. Y hay personas a las que así les ha pasado - lea las revisiones del lector sobre la novela si usted tiene duda. El punto es... si usted leyó el Da Vinci Code como una novela y disfrutó esa novela, bien. Pero si a usted le queda la duda que si lo que Dan Brown dice sobre la Cristiandad en sus principios es verdad o no - y él hace algunas afirmaciones radicales, como aquella de que los primeros cristianos no creían que Jesús era divino - entonces debe leer este gran libro que contesta esas preguntas clara y sucintamente y da sugerencias buenas y acertadas para un estudio más profundo.

    P. D. - Otro libro que aclara con magnífica fluidez el asunto es: "Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code" por Steve Kellmeyer (También se consigue en Amazon en inglés)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Intriga,Misterio,conspiraciones.
    Robert Langdon Regresa en esta segunda Novela de Dan Brown una ves mas contra una organizacion secreta, un mensaje que solo un experto en simbologia podria decifrar, Brown toma un poco de hechos historicos y los mescla en esta super novel de misterio.

    Esta ves nuestro no muy probable heroe(un profesor de simbologia no es el tipico heroe de una novela de misterios y acertijos)comiensa la busqueda de la respuesta a una conspiracion que se remonta a los tiempo del mismo Jesus, el problema como en la novel a anterior es que muchas Organizaciones estan detras del profesor Langdon y este misterio compromete a 2000 años de tradiciones. El objetivo de la novela es el de entrener tiene sus ataques a algunas organizaciones religiosas que no vale la pena mencionar, lo bueno es que te dan muchos datos que te dejan con ganas de saber mas, bueno nunca olviden que es ficcion y nada mas.

    La novela vale la pena leerla, si te gustan las conspiraciones como la del santo grial que envuelva a la Santa Sede a los Templarios y al Opus Dei esta novela puede que te guste,ademas de estar cargada de muchos datos historicos, arte y simbologia, mas una buena introduccion a ese gran hombre del renacimiento Da Vinci, despues de leer la novela tendras otro manera de ver el arte,este libro es facil de leer, muchos de los temas que se entrelasan soy muy conocido o hemos escuchado en alguna platica de amigos,Si te gusta este libro, quizás te guste "LA HERMANDAD DE LA SÁBANA SANTA" por JULIA NAVARRO

    Para conocer mas creo que el libro de Michael Baigent HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL te puede despejar algunas interrogantes y otras novelas d Dan Brown como Angeles y Demonios tambien nos adentra a las conspiraciones en el Vaticano. Despues de leer la novel me intereso mucho el tema de los simbolos y su significado asi que te recomiendo el "Dictionary of Symbolism: Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them" de Hans Biedermann, te quedaras asombrado. Sobre Leonardo DaVinci existen muchos libros pero para comensar te recomiendo el libro de Frank Zollner de la serie Basic Art(Editorial Taschen)"Leonardo Da Vinci:1452-1519",(Spanish Edition) 96 pag totalemente ilustradas de la vida y la obra. ... Read more


    18. Empress Orchid
    by Anchee Min
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618562036
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-11)
    Publisher: Mariner Books
    Sales Rank: 5553
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    From a master of the historical novel, Empress Orchid sweeps readers into the heart of the Forbidden City to tell the fascinating story of a young concubine who becomes China's last empress. Min introduces the beautiful Tzu Hsi, known as Orchid, and weaves an epic of a country girl who seized power through seduction, murder, and endless intrigue. When China is threatened by enemies, she alone seems capable of holding the country together. In this "absorbing companion piece to her novel Becoming Madame Mao" (New York Times), readers and reading groups will once again be transported by Min's lavish evocation of the Forbidden City in its last days of imperial glory and by her brilliant portrait of a flawed yet utterly compelling woman who survived, and ultimately dominated, a male world. ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Wish it can be more truthful to the history
    I understand this is a novel, so I can't expect a novel to have a lot of truth to it. Yet, since it's based on an empress in Chinese history, I wish it has more facts ties to the story.

    The novel portraits Empress Orchid as a person with compassion to the Chinese people, loves for her husband and her son. Yet, it's simply too far from the truth. It's distractive to read about her compassion and kindness and thinking about her as a ruthless person who is willing to do anything to gain powers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars China during the end of the Ching Dynasty made real
    I have travelled in China a great deal, and love reading about the history and culture as well.I just discovered Anchee Min and I wish I had discovered her sooner. This is a great description of Imperial life during the Ching Dynasty. It makes that time real through seemingly real people, and real events.The places are well described, and the Author writes in a way that draws you into this special culture.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful depiction of Imperial Life
    In my journey through reaquainting myself with Chinese history and culture, I picked up my first Anchee Min book.I wish I had discovered her sooner.This is a wonderful depiction of Imperial life during the Ching Dynasty.I was transported back to that interesting time, so much so that I couldn't put it down, and yet, I found myself savoring each page just to make the experience last longer.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Love in the Forbidden City
    In an interview Min said that she wrote this novel in response to China's popular perception of Tzu Hsi or Empress Orchid. Orchid is a largely misunderstood character in Chinese history, erroneously believed to be responsible for the death of the Ch'ing Dynasty.

    The novel opens with Orchid and her family burying their father. Once a member of the Manchu upper-class, Orchid is now impoverished and lives outside the Forbidden City scraping together a living with her mother and siblings. When she finds out that the Emperor is searching for wives and concubines, Orchid's noble lineage enables her to "apply" for one the positions. Remarkably she is chosen to be a concubine to the Emperor Hsien Feng.

    Life inside the Forbidden City is not as wonderful as Orchid dreamed, however; she lives in a gilded cage with no privacy and is forbidden from visiting her family. Worse yet, as one of the Emperor's hundreds of concubines, it appears that Orchid will never even meet her "husband" and will remain lonely and unloved. When Orchid does manage to make a visit to Hsien Feng's chamber, her life becomes treacherous. In a city of women where bearing a son is everything, Orchid must compete with all the other concubines for her husband's attention, and must avoid the dangerous plots of the other women desperate to raise their own status.

    Add to all this intrigue the fact that China is slowly collapsing, and you get one thrilling work of historical fiction complete with sympathetic and dynamic characters. Set in a tumultuous (and little known) time period, and set against a fascinating and exotic backdrop, Empress Orchid is rich and compelling.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Min tries to repeat her success by writing the same book
    Anchee Min's Becoming Madame Mao was a masterpiece--well-written, with believable and profound characters. Since the success of that book, however, Min has become complacent. Her two books since then, Wild Ginger and the new Empress Orchid, have been an attempt to recreate her breakout novel. (Min's only previous novel before Madame Mao, Katharine, was a promising first novel, but only moderately successful.) They all feature a strong-willed female character living under some form of Chinese oppression, and while there was no small amount of such oppression going on in Chinese history, Min's heroines become indistinguishable after a while. Orchid could be Jiang Ching, or Wild Ginger.

    Still, the writing style is beautiful and well-executed, and the book remains engaging. It is more sprawling and epic than any of her previous novels, sometimes becoming lost in historical detail. Readers of Min would do better to begin with Becoming Madame Mao, but with all its shortcomings, Empress Orchid is still a good read. Hopefully Min will provide readers with something fresh in her next work. ... Read more


    19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    by Betty Smith
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006092988X
    Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 2085
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroitobserver of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter ... Read more

    Reviews (421)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Any Young Woman
    I have read many classic books, but "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is by far the best work of literature I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. As a sixteen year old young woman from suburban America, many may question how I can possibly relate to the unfortunate life led by Francie Nolan. However, this is the beauty of Betty Smith's masterpiece, for EVERY young woman is capable of relating to many of the scenes found in this timeless classic. These include Francie's sexual assault, the favoritism Francie's mother has for brother Neeley, and the close relationship Fancie has with her father, whose alcoholism ultimately leads to his untimely death.

    Despite the hardships Francie is faced with, she perseveres, acquiring a job in order to help her family survive. Although her education must be put on hold for the time being, Francie remains hopeful that the day will come in which she, like her brother, Neeley, will be capable of going off to school.

    Not only is the ongoing story of a young girl growing up in Brooklyn simply timeless, but the metaphor of the tree outside Francie's window that has grown through unfortunate circumstances is absolutely perfect. The tree had been cut down and was even the victim of a bonfire, but it continued to grow and blossom. Just like Francie, the tree beat the odds and rose from nothingness to beauty and strength.

    Never have I read anything and cried at the end simply because it was over. As you read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", you become wrapped up in Francie's life until you feel as though she and you are one in the same. The fact that I have only read this book once astonishes me, and I can guarantee you that I will read it again this summer. The purchase of this book may set you [a few]...dollars, but the experience of reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is absolutely priceless.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Beautiful Books I've Ever Read
    While many novels offer an escape through some fantastical storyline set in a faraway place, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the kind of novel that makes you realize the universality of common feelings, frustrations, and hopes--and the role that sorrow and sacrifice play in the development of character. One of my favorite scenes is that of the Charity Party, when Francie is torn between her desperate longing for the doll being offered to any "poor child named Mary" and her resentment towards the manner in which affluent individuals approach giving. The author allows Francie to be a child--she lies in order to receive the charity doll, knowing that on the stage in front of her neighborhood peers she is both pathetic for taking charity as well as envied for owning such a rich toy. However, despite giving in to her desire, Francie is also a spirit beyond her years. She walks home both clutching her doll and cursing the insensitive givers, cyring out that for once, people should give to the poor without having to say, "I am rich and you are poor." Another remarkable aspect of the book, further demonstrating it's stark realism, was the fact that Francie never places moral judgement on her father. If we contrast A Tree Grows in Brooklyn with Angela's Ashes, we see two opposing manners in which families respond to alcolohic fathers. Francie's strength, we may surmise, is most likely a product of her genuine belief that she led a happy childhood with two loving parents that had her best interests in mind. While she may later look back and realize her father's problems robbed her of some opportunity, her sense of security and love for her father would still remain intact, and judging from the role her father played in the household, Francie seemed to need a tender male role model to counter her mother's harsh pragmatism towards her children. We also see this in Francie's reaction to her ignorant writing teacher's claim that Francie's stories were "ugly," as Francie recognized that these tales (which were about her relationship with her father) were important and beautiful enough to be saved.

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a book that provides deep insight as to how individuals can be stronger, wiser, and more grounded. Above all else, it is an essay on love, trust, and suffering as it relates to the character strength humans need to be survivors. It was after reading this book that I realized for the first time in my life that suffering, though difficult to ride through, really is one of the most positive influences an individual can experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful classic!
    I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was about twelve years old, and I decided to give it a whirl once again. I recommend that adults who loved this book as a child return to it because the magic of reading it is as wonderful and beautiful in your adult years as it was when you were a child. The story of Francie Nolan and her family will most likely have a different and interesting effect on the reader, or at least it had a different effect on me this time around. Francie is a bright young girl growing up in a poor, but hardworking family in 1912 Brooklyn. Although her life is a constant struggle over money, she still manages to eke out much joy. The novel, which does not really have a plot, is rather a collection of vignettes about Francie's life. While so much of her life appeared to be conspiring against her success, she never gave in to defeatism. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an inspiring and beautiful story that people of all ages will love. I cannot recommend this book enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction page-turner!
    I bought this book mainly because I had always seen it on high school book lists but never read it while I was in high school, and thought I should read it. It turned out to be so much better than I'd expected! I couldn't put it down - loved it. Francie is a great character. It's both very interesting to read about her life in Brooklyn in the early 1900's and hear about her conflicts with her mother as she gets older and more independent - a timeless theme. Francie's aunt is probably the most colorful, standout character. Many (particularly in that era) would disapprove of much of her behavior, but she is in the end far more generous and loving than many "religious" people who frown on her.

    The book also has the potential to get kids (and adults too) to think about how they would have coped with the life and situations in the book. For example, how would they feel had they been completely responsible for younger siblings when they themselves were only five years old? Would they have been strong-willed enough to find a way to get to college while still helping her family as Francie did? Some great discussion points. It could also be a good way to connect to family stories from the older generations. ("Wow, Grandma did that too, huh?")

    The book is definitely most appropriate for mature middle school children, high schoolers or adults. Although the language level is not all that difficult, the book is long (although a quick read) and deals with some "adult situations" - the pain of childbirth, sex out-of-wedlock, even a brief touch on methods of ending an unwanted pregnancy, etc. But for all those reasons, it makes a fabulous read.

    Get the book for the rich descriptions of both the neighborhood and the characters, and just overall a great read. (And if you like stories such as this, visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City if ever you're there!)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Touching story; great detail and imagery
    A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is a great touching story of a young girl growing up in poverty stricken early 20th century Brooklyn, New York. This girls name is Francie and the story is about her life from birth to her late teenage years. During this time, the book tells us many stories such as her school, her writings, and her family. The reader also gets to know Francie inside and out, basically from the little details the writer includes that normally would not be important in a story. We learn to sympathize with Francie and relate to her. This book also describes greatly the horrors of poverty for anyone. All in all, this is a wonderful piece of fiction that anyone can learn/relate to in their lives. ... Read more


    20. Reasons to Live : Stories by
    by Amy Hempel
    list price: $13.50
    our price: $12.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060976721
    Catlog: Book (1995-08-30)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 6390
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Hempel's now-classic collection of short fiction is peopled by complex characters who have discovered that their safety nets are not dependable and who must now learn to balance on the threads of wit, irony, and spirit. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Waiting for it
    I bought this book because of all the positive reviews about Hempel's full character development while using few words to accomplish it. I am a fan of the short story genre, but if you are looking for full-bodied, hard-hitting, engrossing entertainment that usually accompanies a short story, then steer clear of this one. Granted, the stories ARE well written...but after reading one, I felt like I got a bit cheated. It was like I was watching a great football drive end in a lost fumble to end the game. I figured I'd keep reading until I was more fullfilled, but most of the stories had a lot of build-up only to be finished with a "well, that's life" type of closing. They get you thinking (mostly about not taking things for granted, who needs that guilt?)...but for my hard-earned dollar I'd rather watch that drive end in a game winning touchdown. Overall, I'd say that Amy is a great writer, but I think I'd rather read a novel if her style can translate into it. It would keep the pages turning without so much disappointment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant.
    I first heard about Amy Hempel from chuckpalahniuk.net as "if you haven't read Amy Hempel you don't know Chuck." So of course i had to get this book. I also bought Tumble Home but havent had a chance to look at it yet. I like the tantalising prose that bring the reader to feel empathy for the protagonist. Love it as much as The Great Gatsby.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love, adore, and venerate this book
    Amy Hempel is a literary goddess. These stories are not "traditional" fiction in the sense that there's not necessarily a beginning-middle-end, not necessarily linear character development. Instead, there is a complete understanding of time, and character *truth*. In the four-page story "Going," we become intimate immediately with the nameless young male narrator simply from his brief description of his recent car crash in the desert. You can understand characters from phrases such as "Then she'll carry herself to the bedroom like a completed jigsaw puzzle" more than you could ever from a lengthy description. Even with her extremely distinctive narrative style (I promise you, once you have read this book, you will be able to recognize her work from a single paragraph), she gives every character in the book a distinctive voice. Every word in Amy Hempel's work is well-chosen, every story so much bigger than it first appears. My favorites are the longer ones in this book ("Tonight Is a Favor to Holly," "In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried," "Today Will Be a Quiet Day"--can we talk about the brilliance of her titles, as well?), but even the two- to four-pagers, like "Why I'm Here," are enough to keep you reeling for days. Read this book. Then read it again. The few hours it takes will be some of the best you've ever spent (and nothing compared to how long you spend contemplating it).

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Reasons to Live" a modern masterpiece
    The short stories in "Reasons to Live" are unlike anything else I have read in fiction. The amount of emotion poured into each story and into each character is astounding for the lack of detail that each tale contains. Nowhere within "Reasons to Live" was I let down or was I not effected by the sheer beauty of Hempel's prose or her ability to bring her characters to life. Amy Hempel truly has the ability to change the way we look at our daily lives, causing us to find meaning even in the smallest details that we would otherwise overlook.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reasons to read "Reasons to Live"
    1. Amy Hempel is one of the best kept secrets of modern fiction. 2. The stories say so much without saying too much. 3. The characters earn your compassion. 4. "In the cemetary where Al Jolson" is buried is the greatest short story I have ever read. 5. If you have ever grieved or felt loss, you will relate to these stories. ... Read more


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