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    $5.39 $2.20 list($5.99)
    1. The Catcher in the Rye
    $13.60 $12.39 list($20.00)
    2. Break, Blow, Burn : Camille Paglia
    $10.46 $7.44 list($13.95)
    3. Their Eyes Were Watching God
    $6.29 $2.44 list($6.99)
    4. Fahrenheit 451
    $7.20 $2.60 list($8.00)
    5. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great
    $98.00 $64.00
    6. Through the Eyes of a Child: An
    $18.45 $14.90 list($27.95)
    7. Transgressions
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    8. Interpreter of Maladies
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    9. The Namesake : A Novel
    $96.20 $85.75
    10. Literature for Today's Young Adults
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    11. Can't Get Enough : A Novel
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    12. The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck
    $8.09 $4.82 list($8.99)
    13. The Fountainhead
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    14. Lolita (Vintage International)
    $16.47 $14.40 list($24.95)
    15. Genevieve
    $9.00 $3.24 list($12.00)
    16. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Oprah's
    $26.40 list($40.00)
    17. Louisa May Alcott: Little Women,
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    18. Children Playing Before a Statue
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    19. The Norton Anthology of American
    $16.29 $9.68 list($23.95)
    20. Babylon Sisters : A Novel

    1. The Catcher in the Rye
    by J.D. Salinger
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316769487
    Catlog: Book (1991-05-01)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 383
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The classic 1951 novel by J.D. Salinger is analyzed.

    The title, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Modern Critical Interpretations series, presents the most important 20th-century criticism on J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye through extracts of critical essays by well-known literary critics.This collection of criticism also features a short biography on J.D. Salinger, a chronology of the author’s life, and an introductory essay written by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. ... Read more

    Reviews (2341)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let me say a few words.
    I was just browsing through the customer reviews of this book, and although I'm sure no one gives a damn about what I have to say (in the rare case that anyone will ever even read this review), I would like to offer my opinions and arguments with those who dislike this book. First of all, the issue of teenage angst is a difficult one to depict in words. It is a difficult one to depict without actually being a teen. Most of the depictions of teenage life these days are rather exploitative. They mostly tell teens how to behave and do not show the true side of adolescence. To those readers who complain that Holden is an "immature malcontent" and so on, teenagers are often immature and often are malcontents. If Salinger led you to believe that Holden is an immature malcontent, then his mission was accomplished. At the current age of 17, I can relate to Holden's character moreso than any other teenager depicted in the media. Although Salinger's style of writing is a little too elementary to be called a "classic," I feel that Holden Caulfield should be the model for teens. Here we have a character who hates change and wants to be a "catcher in the rye." When I see children shooting each other, I feel that this is a noble goal for anyone to have. While you are entitled to your opinion, keep in mind that if the world were full of Holden's "phonies" it would be a conformist nightmare. Thank god for people like Holden.

    5-0 out of 5 stars amazing book to anyone with half a brain
    Reading the bad reviews for this book, it became apparent why these people don't like this book; namely, they're idiots. The one star reviews are full of idiotic mistakes and misinterpretations that make me want to yell at my computer screen (seriously, go check them out; one guy keeps talking about his hike through the Arizona "dessert" [I picture a huge banana split myself]). Frankly, if you can't relate to Holden Caulfield, then you're probably shallow and naïve. Everyone feels like this sometimes or else they aren't paying attention to the world around them. And of course Holden is hypocritical! He's an anti-hero, folks. This is not Salinger's guide to life; it's a novel for pete's sake! I really don't understand how someone can read this and not feel sympathetic towards Caulfield. Sure he's privileged, maybe even spoiled, but he doesn't understand life. Who does? Certainly not people who say they "feel sorry for the trees killed to print this" or that Stephen King's works are better (someone actually said this). Anyway, thought I needed to vent about the bad reviews here, but most are good and I agree with them. Read this book!! [By the way, the person who blamed CITR for the murders of John Lennon et al is seriously can you blame a BOOK for inciting violence in maniacs? Does this person really believe that these psychopaths were perfectly normal human beings before Catcher corrupted them? Please!]

    5-0 out of 5 stars Salinger's a literary genius
    Without a doubt, The Catcher in the Rye is one of the best books I've ever read. Many people observe that this book is about someone who is clinically insane, but I read something completely different in Salinger's work. I view Holden, the main character, as a typical teenage boy with a bit more insight than the
    average person. I see him as someone who looks at the negativity in the world and has a yearning to grasp even one small piece of innocence within it, but is blinded by the depravity that he sees everyday. I think that the book is about Holden trying to preserve innocence before realizing finally that it is impossible, and therefore he needs to find happiness in places where he normally wouldn't look to find it in order to prevent impending insanity. There are many different interpretations of this piece, and all of the interpretations hold weight, regardless of the fact that the various viewpoints are very much in dissent with one another. This is a piece that can be appreciated and understood by anyone, and I would recommend that everyone get their hands on a copy of this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great in High School
    I read this first in high school and thought it a masterpiece. I've read it since and I wasn't quite so impressed. It is however a very important work in our collective catalog and no literate person should miss out on it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book immediately.
    We all know that "Catcher in the Rye" is one of the great classics of all time. No one needs me to tell them that ... Read more

    2. Break, Blow, Burn : Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375420843
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: Pantheon
    Sales Rank: 1269
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Paglia's Commentary Entertains As Well As The 43 Poems...
    ....she is 'right on' these classic poems--To His Coy Mistress should be every freshman's poem and Paglia elucidates why, Lagston Hughes Jazzonia compares Harlem of the Harlem Renaissance to ancient Mesopotamia, and Lady Lazarus works through some serious love/hate of papa and the paternalistic world of letters and Camille breaks it down for us. Plus she throws in Joni Mitchell, Walt Whitman, the ghostly speech from Hamlet, and one of my favorites Shelley's Ozymandias. In her introduction, she describes her personal experiences with the world of poetry from her Italian heritage to well done tv ads (such as the M&Ms commercial) to meeting and being influenced by her college mentors, Bloom and Kessler. I have been entralled by her style of criticism and popular culture reviewing since her days at the Netzine Salon. Here, she is a little subdued from some of those articles, but nevertheless, her passion about these pieces seem to have lifted the literary criticism world out of it's doldrums. Paglia's poetry book should not only help ol' dogs like me to get back into the reading and enjoyment of poetry and literature--(heck, I'm jealous of those kids who have been able to sign up in one of her classes)--but it also should give those kids in Lit 101 a big hand. This is a very good book by a living legend and a great Lady of Letters. Get it. You will enjoy every page.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...But You May Disagree With Her Choices
    I really liked this book. Any book that discusses poetry passionately and promotes its importance in the world is great by me. However, when discussing "Best of" choices, it is entirely a matter of opinion. Poetry is the most subjective and individual kind of writing -- many argue it is the highest form of literature (and I would agree with that). My problem are the choices here. Camille Paglia has her own taste of course, so she's entitled. But of the choices here, in MY opinion, about 10% would fall into the category of "best of."

    I always find Camille Paglia's work engaging, so I would recommend this book. A plus if you're a poetry lover like myself. And, as always, I do appreciate her speaking out against Academia with its stilted, post-post modern tastes. This is a woman with strong opinions and she states them passionately. Buy a copy of Break, Blow, Burn -- try it for yourself. You may feel differently about her choices, agree or disagree, but at the very least enjoy the debate. Another Amazon pick I need to recommend, one I purchased recently and can't stop thinking about is called THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez -- about a poet who can't published. Now there's a character I can relate to!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not the Spicy Meatball I Was Expecting
    Basically, it's very dull.Not the spicy meatball I expected after all the hoopla over Sexual Personae (which I didn't read).I guess I have to complete it although, at times, I feel like I'm taking my spoon of castor oil on Saturday night.And my God!She's more Freudian than I am - I don't feel like such a psycho-interpretive methodoligical dinosaur any more.I'm sure one motive for the anthology is to shock.After 26 "usual suspects" selected from the greatest hits of English poetry, she starts bouncing all over the place - I've not heard of at least half of the 18 remaining poets - then wraps it up with Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock."The essays would each be given A's if submitted by an college graduate student.In that sense, they're "exemplary essays"; but they're written in such a homogenous style, it seems adaptable to any poem from any period.I admit, though, I've learned something new in nearly every essay; but otherwise ... dull.Sorry.If you think June Jordan's Poetry for the People is too scattershot and political or Adrienne Rich's What Is Found There is unfocussed and uncomfortably earnest, this is the book for you.(And I don't care how hard she tried to hide it with her formidable intellect, I have to believe that Paglia loves these poems.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enertaining, Knowledgeable
    Break, Blow, Burn
    By: Camille Paglia

    With Break, Blow, Burn Paglia gives insight and understanding to fourty-three poems. Some we know and love and some we will learn of. When I read poetry I like to see what the poem means to me, where I place myself in it, what it makes me feel orwhat memories it provokes. I don't always break each poem down to see what the author means. I picked this book because of the long list of poets featured. Some I learned of such as John Dunne, George Herbert, Robert Lowell,Wallace Stevens, Theodore Roethke, May Swenson, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut and some I already love such as, Paul Blackburn, William Blake, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Walt Whitman,William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, Gary Snyder, Joni Mitchell, Wanda Coleman, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Langston Hughes , Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath,Jean Toomer and a few others. . I found Break, Blow, Burn to be entertaining as much as it is knowledgeable. The insight Paglia gives to these poems is wonderful. Paglia is a very gifted writer with a trained eye for the passion of poetry.
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    4-0 out of 5 stars Metaphoricly Speaking ....
    Camille Paglia's "Break, Blow, Burn" is the lyric equivalent of Ford's 2005 Mustang!

    (Okay, maybe I would like to have seen ee cummings included.) ... Read more

    3. Their Eyes Were Watching God
    by Zora Neale Hurston
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060931418
    Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 3113
    Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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    At the height of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston was the preeminent black woman writer in the United States. She was a sometime-collaborator with Langston Hughes and a fierce rival of Richard Wright. Her stories appeared in major magazines, she consulted on Hollywood screenplays, and she penned four novels, an autobiography, countless essays, and two books on black mythology. Yet by the late 1950s, Hurston was living in obscurity, working as a maid in a Florida hotel. She died in 1960 in a Welfare home, was buried in an unmarked grave, and quickly faded from literary consciousness until 1975 when Alice Walker almost single-handedly revived interest in her work.

    Of Hurston's fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God is arguably the best-known and perhaps the most controversial. The novel follows the fortunes of Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eaton, Florida. Hurston sets up her characters and her locale in the first chapter, which, along with the last, acts as a framing device for the story of Janie's life. Unlike Wright and Ralph Ellison, Hurston does not write explicitly about black people in the context of a white world--a fact that earned her scathing criticism from the social realists--but she doesn't ignore the impact of black-white relations either:

    It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.
    One person the citizens of Eaton are inclined to judge is Janie Crawford, who has married three men and been tried for the murder of one of them. Janie feels no compulsion to justify herself to the town, but she does explain herself to her friend, Phoeby, with the implicit understanding that Phoeby can "tell 'em what Ah say if you wants to. Dat's just de same as me 'cause mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf."

    Hurston's use of dialect enraged other African American writers such as Wright, who accused her of pandering to white readers by giving them the black stereotypes they expected. Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women. In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston breathes humanity into both her men and women, and allows them to speak in their own voices. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

    Reviews (293)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good read
    "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston is a book about the life of a Negro woman in the 1900s. The story begins with Janie telling about her life, but then the author takes over the book. In the beginning, Janie returns to see some people she used to know sitting on their porch. After they dine with food she brings, Janie begins to tell her story, with Hurston soon taking over the point of view.

    We first hear about Janie's grandmother wanting her to marry Logan Killicks, an older man. She protests her decision, but her grandmother wants her to have someone who can offer Janie the security and protection of his older age and a large potato farm. The marriage occurs in the next chapter, but soon after Janie leaves her new husband to be with another man - Joe Starks.

    Joe and Janie go off to another place in Florida. Joe becomes mayor of a new town, named Eatonville, of all black people. Joe also builds a store in this town. At first, Janie is enjoying this relationship. But after the town starts developing, Janie doesn't enjoy life with Joe as much. This is partly because Joe is becoming the man of the town and Janie feels left out. She is asked by Joe to run the store, as Joe is busy doing town duties as the mayor, such as getting a new street light installed.

    Later, many other events happen in the story, but if I told you anymore I'd spoil the book.

    The author, Zora Neale Hurston, uses the dialog of Negroes in the story. Phrases such as "Aw, Tea Cake, you just say dat tuhnight because de fish and corn bread tasted sort of good" let you imagine the dialect used by southern black people. The characters created by the author really do let us know that they were blacks. We know this because of the way they talk, and because of the life that they are living as explained to us by Hurston.

    One theme of this novel relates to man versus society. In this case, man is Janie and society is the men of the south. Janie finally realizes all the hardships she has been through and how her life has changed. In a nutshell, this novel tells the life a Negro woman trying to live a happy life through difficult times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful language, memorable characters, amazing story
    This book was originally published in 1937 and brought back into print because of an article in MS Magazine written by Alice Walker in 1975. It is considered a classic now, and is often required reading in South Florida high schools, and elsewhere I suspect, as well as being the book selected for Read Together Palm Beach County and for Read Together, Florida, a statewide reading project in 2004. Hurston was a member of the Harlem Renaissance movement, but was abhorred by Richard Wright who criticized her severely. Nonetheless, this book was an alternate pick of the Book of the Month Club when originally published. A short time later, some very ugly charges were leveled against Hurston; she eventually cleared her name but she never really got over it. Her books went out of print and she died, penniless, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Alice Walker found what was presumably Hurston's grave and erected a monument that reads, in addition to her name and dates, "Genius of the South."

    Their Eyes Were Watching God has quite a bit of Hurston's life, and more importantly, her beliefs invested in the main character of Janie Crawford. The novel is framed by Janie's return to Eatonville, the first all black incorporated city in the United States. Everyone in town is gossiping about her, and Janie tells her story to Pheoby, her best friend, and asks her to tell the townsfolk. Janie was raised by grandmother, Nanny, a former slave, who marries her off to an older farmer, Logan Killicks, when she's 16. She's not happy in that marriage and she leaves and marries Joe Starkes, who takes her to the new town of Eatonville. He becomes mayor there, and builds a store that becomes the center of town life. Twenty years later he dies, and she hooks up with the love of her life, Tea Cake, who is much younger than she is. He takes her to the Everglades where they survive the hurricane of 1928 that wiped out the 'Glades, but Tea Cake gets bitten by a rabid dog in the process. After his death, Janie returns to Eatonville, completing the frame.

    This is the story of a strong black woman's search for happiness and independence in a time when neither of those things was easily attainable. It is written in dialect, and is not an easy read. I listened to the beginning of the book on CD, produced by Recorded Books and read by Michele-Denise Woods, which it made it much easier to read on my own. It is also available on audiocassette read by Ruby Dee. Reading it aloud also helps - hearing the dialect makes it much easier to read. It's a terrific story and the language is incredibly beautiful, making the life of Janie Crawford a memorable one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zora as Muse
    Criticized for not writing a protest novel by some of her fellow African-American writers of the time, Zora instead wrote one of the most poetic novels ever written in the United States. Written in the vernacular of her African-American characters while narrated in standard form, this novel is a blues tale which uses both variations of the language to tranport the reader into the heart and soul of Janie, a young African-American woman in the 1930s on a search.

    Musical, heartbreaking, endearing, hilarious, and a novel where the issues of the day enter in horrific ways, this book's title has to best describe Zora as she wrote this book, divinely inspired. There is love, there is marriage, there is separation, there is an irrepressible woman who still speaks to all about the search all meaningful lives undertake.

    Alice Walker so loved this book and this author she restored her grave.

    4-0 out of 5 stars God is with us
    Sometimes it takes forty years of life, many tragedys and three marriages
    before we finally get it right.
    Janie got it right towards the end. Zora Neale Hurston was ahead of her time ... writing about a black female hero, a woman who had opinions, a woman who didn't accept tradition, a woman after my own heart.
    Janie is a black woman with attitude.
    "What does he mean I can't do that, do I not have a mind, an opinion, a soul?"
    Janie is black, not the color to be in the 30s, 40s, 50s, even now, sometimes....but she endures, lives, loves.
    Tea Cake is her shining star; the younger man, the one most likely to leave her, since she's a forty year old has-been...but
    he is her beautiful prince, her young Lolita, her life.
    Janie is a survivor, a woman we all want to be like, a believer in the human experience, a woman...(Watch me Roar!)

    "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is about a woman outliving heartache, humiliation and death...
    She is still living...
    inside every woman who believes life can be caught in mid-air, sucked up, absorbed, and changed
    if one so desires...
    How about you?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Their Eyes Were Watching God
    I was required to read this book in class. Although many of my peers disliked it, I found Their Eyes Were Watching God to be an interesting book. The vernacular dialect made it hard to read but I enjoyed the theme of love throughout the book. I was interested in the lessons that Janie, the main character, learned through each person that she met throughout her journey. I was interested in all of the African-American culture that filled this book. I would not recommend this book to everyone but it would be good for anyone who wants to broaden their horizons. ... Read more

    4. Fahrenheit 451
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345342968
    Catlog: Book (1987-08-12)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 976
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do....
    ... Read more

    Reviews (969)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Burning on the mind
    Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a thought-provoking book about censorship centered around book burning, seemed to get off to a slow start by following the life of the main character, Guy Montag, a firefighter who does not put out fires, but rather burns books for a living. Some of the descriptions given at the beginning of the book were confusing at first, like those of the parlor walls, which really turned out to be futuristic video screens, and the mechanical hound, a robot which is used to track and kill people by the chemical scents they leave behind. However, as I got into the book more, I felt that the almost boring way Bradbury wrote the introduction helps give the reader a sense of what Montag's life was normally like, and allows the reader to see the vastness of the changes he encounters in his lifestyle.
    I also felt that as the plot thickened, Bradbury did an excellent job of giving Guy human qualities, such as making him impulsive and sometimes hot-tempered, and showing how he strove to do what he thought was right. His interactions with other characters are very real, especially those with his boss, Beatty. When Montag starts to regret burning books, and starts to perceive that there is more to the books he burns for a living than he and most other people believe, Beatty senses Montag's change in emotion, and does his best to set him straight, telling him that books are only filled with useless thoughts and people and places created by writers that are long gone. This is the main conflict that leads to the rising action of the novel. Montag is told that books are bad, and thus by human nature becomes even more interested in them. However, the conflict is greater than this, as it is not just Montag versus Beatty. Besides also trying to get his ditsy wife interested in books, Montag faces an internal battle with himself. He has to weigh the consequences of getting caught with books with the rewards of what he could possibly gain by reading. I especially appreciated the effort Bradbury went through to bring the feelings and emotions Montag goes experiences to the reader by his word choice, and the way he showed the reader how Montag was playing a sort of tug-of-war in his mind.
    I think Bradbury did a good job surprising the reader whenever possible, such as with Montag's actions. Just when you begin to think that you might see how Guy will act in a situation, Bradbury twists the outcome, keeping you on the edge of your seat in some cases, or at least wondering what will happen next. Such is the case with Faber; a man Montag becomes friends with who also has interests in the forbidden world of books. Just as Bradbury leads the reader to believe that Faber will be somewhat in control of how Guy responds to the remarks of his boss Beatty, Montag leaves Faber in the dust, taking matters into his own hands and acting on impulse.
    Bradbury uses a serious tone throughout the novel, which helps to bring forth the importance of the subject at hand. I liked the serous way in which Bradbury presents the world Montag lives in, a world without books or leisure reading material. This made me question what I would do if I were in Montag's situation, even though in this day and age it is quite unlikely that books would suddenly be totally banned. It really got me thinking about censorship in general, and how at times in the past we made steps toward making Montag's world a reality by banning books from libraries and bookstores. On the other hand, in brought to light the fact that the bans placed on many books were lifted after such acts were declared unconstitutional, which somewhat renewed my faith in the ability of our government and society to recognize and correct some of its mistakes.
    The novel is still thought provoking, however, because no matter what kind of society we live in today, we can all imagine living in one that is totally different, one we do not feel comfortable in, one that we let our imaginations run wild in creating it, making it painful to think about let alone live in. I enjoyed how the novel made me realize how many freedoms we have nowadays, and how they can easily be taken away.
    Without spoiling the ending, I just want to say that I thought it was very fitting. As Granger says near the end of the novel, "You're not important. You're not anything." Montag and his group would have appeared to be insignificant to any unsuspecting stranger, even though they were the keys to a vast world of knowledge, one they hope someday the world will get to experience again.
    Though I do think that Ray Bradbury did a very good job of writing Fahrenheit 451, I feel that it has a few weaknesses. First would have to be a shortness of description, especially at the beginning of the novel when the reader is trying to form an image of the world Montag lives in. His short initial description of things such as the parlor walls and the mechanical hound left me somewhat confused about what they really had to do with the novel. Another case of confusion occurred with the mechanical snake that was used to empty Montag's wife's stomach and change her blood while she was sleeping after Montag found out that his wife, Mildred, had swallowed some thirty sleeping pills. It is not so confusing how this event happens but rather why it happens, and it does not seem to be important later in the story.
    Despite some weaknesses, the main point of Fahrenheit 451 is clear, and makes the book a definite "must-read."

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Prophetic Novel of Censorship
    Guy Montag is a firefighter who burns things. Specifically books, and the houses they are found in. He lives in a state where books, and possesion of them, is illegal. Guy enjoys his job until the day he meets Clarisse McClellan.

    Clarisse makes Guy doubt his motives and he soon becomes daring enough to break the law and read a book. He finds he loves litereature, he keeps steals books from the houses he's burning and reads them at home. He finally goes as far as to skip work one day, and his Fire Department Captain, Captain Beatty, shows up at his home. He tells Montag that it's normal for a Fireman to go through such doubts at a stage in his life. Then proceeds to go through a long monologue as to the history of banning books. According to him, special interest groups objected to books that criticized, belittled, or undermined their causes. For this reason, books became more and more neutral in order to avoid offending anyone. However, this still wasn't enough. So society agreed to outlaw books.

    Montag is not convinced and begins to plot with a professor he had previously met named Faber. They plan on planting books in the houses of Firemen as a way of discrediting the profession and destroying the governments unit for censorship. However, thing go when the alarm sounds at the firestation and Montag goes to the last house he'll burn in is career, his house.

    Unlike its fellow dystopia-themed predecessor, 1984, much of Fahrenheit 451's depiction of modern society came true almost prophetically. Although not outlawed, literature now holds a narrow audience. And the brainwashing televisions Ray Bradbury depicts aren't far off of today's one-eyed-boxes.

    Ray Bradbury's adjectival descriptions in this book are strong, even at times; on occasion, one could even say they became monotonous. However, the books never crawls forward for to long; the progress, although not quick, still moves fast enough to keep the reader's attention.

    Overall a strong novel censorship. Although not perfectI would recommend Fahrenheit 451 to any reader interested in either mere science-fiction, or one actually interested in a political criticism of censorship. Both will find their time well spent, the latter will definitely get more out of it, as for the previous. . .
    Maybe you would enjoy Star Wars??

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definition of a classic...
    I've heard so many people say they've been influenced by Bradbury (writers and others) and I can see why--this is simply a great novel. Bradbury is really a national treasure. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don't miss him. His stories are priceless. (Especially the one about his anger at people telling him for years that he was crazy to believe man would set foot on the moon in his lifetime. He said he called up every person who laughed in his face the night Neil Armstrong did--and pretty much laughed in their faces!) There is a fantastic one-on-one interview with him in the Walt Disney Tomorrowland-Disney in Space and Beyond DVD (interviewer is Leonard Maltin). His friendship with Disney (a fellow futurist) was fascinating. But it's the sense of wonder and child-like curiosity and optimism (not childish or blind optimism as he clearly understands what can create a dystopia) that make you realize why he is a national treasure. He's inspired me to look to the future, to look up, to look forward, to always be wary and alert to what can go wrong, (and the dangers of closed or lazy minds) BUT not to let any of that stop you--that anything is possible in a world willing to believe, in a free world with open and curious minds.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that continues to touch on modern life
    Though I was long familiar with many of Bradbury's works, I had put off reading "Fahrenheit 451" in favor of other books until a friend lent it to me recently. After reading it, I'm angry with myself for having taken so long to pick it up. This book is a fantastic tale of a future society that abandons intellectual development and destroys its books. Like all great literature, it offers insight into our society today despite having been written over a half-century ago, and it continues to reward reading today.

    This book is more than a seminal work of dystopian literature, however; it is also one of the most elegant meditations on the value of literature in modern society that I have ever read. In envisioning a society that destroys books, Bradbury has to explain what is lost as a result. His answer, as we see in Faber's expositions during Montag's visit, is the exact thing which makes this book worth reading - the insights we gain into our own world and our own lives through reading. Integral to this process, of course, is the fact that people must read them and put what they take from them to good use for a society to thrive; as Bradbury notes, the first step towards the world of his novel was taken when people stopped reading. It is this message which makes "Fahrenheit 451" essential reading, especially in a society where entertainment today bears an ever-closer resemblance to the noise-dominated media depicted in Bradbury's nightmarish future.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Reply to a response
    How does someone miss the point of a REVIEW by such a vast margin? I agree with your and Mr. Bradbury's alarm about the state of politics and culture, but my review was not concerned with his message, but with his storytelling. Just because one agrees with an author's stance does not mean that one has to like the way in which the author conveyed that stance. Mine was a literary critique, not a political one, and those who rate this book so highly simply because of the gravity of the message are deeply misguided. Message aside, it's an awfully cheesy and childish book. Admit it.

    Anyway, I said the DIALOGUE was wooden. The characters were flat. ;) ... Read more

    5. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
    by John Steinbeck
    list price: $8.00
    our price: $7.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140177396
    Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 2142
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. ... Read more

    Reviews (841)

    5-0 out of 5 stars John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men: A Review
    My name is Kelly, and I am a junior in high school and I was recently assigned to read John Stienbeck's novel OF MICE AND MEN. I thouroughly enjoyed reading this book, for many different reasons. For instance, Steinbeck uses a storyline that grabs the attention of all ages, young or old. In the begining, we are introduced to George and Lennie the novel's two main characters. They are fleeing from their former hometown in search of a new job opportunity on a ranch located in the Salinas Valley. The two fathem a dream of owning their own ranch one day with lots of acres and rabbits. They work out a plan to earn money so this dream can be fulfilled. While on the ranch the young childish Lennie is objected to numerous situations, in which they put George in akward posiitions. George's loyalty is constantly tested throughout the novel. With a surprise ending their dream seems to fade away. This book is one everyone should read, because it teaches the meaning of friendship and the "American Dream".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece -- and I will never forget it!
    John Steinbeck wrote this classic gem in 1937. It's been a Broadway play and there have been several adaptations of it in movies and TV. I was generally familiar with the story but this was the first time I actually read the book. Wow! I was completely blown away! This is the story of a two lonely and alienated men who work as farm laborers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is gentle giant, physically strong but mentally retarded. George guides and protects Lennie but also depends on him for companionship. Together, they have a dream to someday buy a little farm where they can grow crops and raise rabbits and live happily ever after. This, of course, is not to be as the title suggests. "The best laid plans of mice and men" is a line in a poem by Robert Burns, which describes how a field mouse's world is destroyed by a plow.

    Steinbeck's narrative voice is seemingly simple in his descriptions of nature of as well as the details of the bunkhouse. His characterizations of the people are magnificent. We meet the other workers, all loners, and appreciate the beauty of the unique friendship between Lennie and George. We meet Candy, the old man who is outliving his usefulness. We meet Crooks, the black stable hand, shunned by the men and therefore turning to books for companionship. We meet the cruel Curley who taunts Lennie into a fight. And we meet Curley's wife, another lonely soul who uses her femininity to get the wrong kind of attention.

    There's tension in every word and I found myself holding my breath, knowing that something awful would happen, my eyes glued to the page, the world of Lennie and George deeply etched into my consciousness. I was pulled right into the story, wanting to shout warnings as I saw the inevitable consequences. The ending was incredibly sad, but yet satisfying. It couldn't have ended any other way. It's a small book, only 118 pages long. But it is a masterpiece and I will never forget it. I give it my highest recommendation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read It Again and Again
    We all read this one in high school, but it is one of those gems that you simply must read again and again. Great story and a great story teller.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A timeless look at society and the nature of friendship.
    Deceptively short and simply written, John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" actually offers any reader quite a lot to think about. The relationship between the two main characters highlights a number of issues relating to the themes of mental illness and friendship. The story takes place in Depression-era California. Lennie is a very large, strong man, but not too bright. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, but because he fails to comprehend his own strength, he frequently does harm to others without meaning to. He loves to pet soft things, like mice and rabbits and puppies, and then becomes distraught when they die, not understanding that he has been too rough with them. Lennie's companion is the brains of the pair, a small man by the name of George. He fills the role of both caretaker and friend to Lennie, and does his best to keep him out of trouble, though he doesn't always succeed.

    The two men are traveling laborers, moving around as the availability of work dictates. To keep Lennie motivated and obedient, George pacifies him with stories of a future bright with luxury and free from worry. They'll buy a small farm, he tells his avid companion, and live off the fat of the land. They'll have their own crops and their own livestock, and go to shows whenever they feel like it. And if Lennie stays out of trouble, he can even have some rabbits of his own to take care of. Captivated by this vision, Lennie does his honest best to obey George and avoid doing anything that might jeopardize their dream. But his best just isn't good enough, and just when their plans look like they might actually be falling into place, Lennie makes the biggest bungle of all, leaving George with an extremely hard decision to make.

    One of the social problems Steinbeck seems to be commenting on here is the place of the mentally ill or impaired in society. What was their place at this point in time? Did they even have a place? This story makes it clear that there really weren't many avenues open to the mentally ill at the time. They could be institutionalized, but such places had little merit during the 1930s, when mental illness was not yet really understood. Patients were treated little, if at all, better than criminals. The other option would be for such people to try to get along in the outside world of "normal" people, as Lennie does. When Lennie's Aunt Clara dies, he is left with no family and so falls in with George, who becomes his new guardian. But the outside world is no more understanding of Lennie's handicaps than the doctors of the time, and provides countless pitfalls of its own.

    The other major theme of the story is friendship. What is true friendship? To what extent does one have responsibility to a friend, and what does this responsibility entail? This is something George must struggle with every day. He feels obligated to care for Lennie and help keep him out of trouble, though he clearly realizes that his own life would be far simpler if he were on his own. In the end, when Lennie commits the ultimate, irredeemable blunder, George must sort through this inner conflict to decide what is best for both of them. Should he continue to protect his companion, or should he save his own skin? And if he chooses to put Lennie's best interests first, what course of action would be the most just? The conclusion he arrives at is both intricately complex and, in another light, quite obviously simple at the same time.

    Aside from these two overriding themes, Steinbeck also gives us glimpses into other issues of the time, among them racism and labor conditions. On the farm where the bulk of the story takes place, one of the characters is a black stable hand. Nicknamed "Crooks" because of his crooked back, this man is estranged from the rest of the workers (all white). The only one who fails to comprehend why Crooks should be treated any differently than anyone else is Lennie, whose simple mind doesn't grasp the idea of racism. We also see what life was like for Depression-era vagrants, moving from place to place in search of work. The living conditions were not ideal (though those in this story are far from the worst imaginable), the food provided often lacked proper nourishment, and employers could treat their hired help in just about any way they pleased. After all, the laborers were lucky to find any paying work at all. Even if they didn't like the conditions, where else could they go?

    I'd definitely recommend this book to any reader. Though times have changed somewhat, the issues Steinbeck comments on are still very relevant today. The ideas presented in "Of Mice and Men" are many and deep, and much time can (and should) be spent contemplating them, but the book remains very accessible. It is a very short story, and can easily be read in one day. The style of writing is simple and direct, while retaining detail and a startling depth of feeling. However, it is by no means a feel-good story, so don't read this one at a time when you're already down in the dumps. While the ending has a very nice sense of resolution, and one is left feeling that George made the best decision he could under the circumstances (or, at least, this is the feeling I was left with), it is still rather depressing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You've got to read this!
    Of Mice And Men Is a well written book, that you can enjoy with the whole family. In the story two friends who seem to be family protect each other through their whole journy. It's a fairly simple book that almost anyone could understan. this book has instances that will keep you thinking, why? In all this is a great book that you and your friends will enjoy. ... Read more

    6. Through the Eyes of a Child: An Introduction to Children's Literature (6th Edition)
    by Donna E. Norton, Saundra Norton
    list price: $98.00
    our price: $98.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 013042207X
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-03)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 44558
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This is a fresh, new edition of one of the most widely-respected sources for introducing future teachers to the wealth of literature available to children. The sixth edition is replete with expanded coverage of key topics, numerous new features, and an enhanced focus on multicultural literature. Its unique two-part genre chapters—one part content, one part methods—once again provide everything instructors need in order to teach the core concepts and knowledge of children's literature content supported by methods to teach it.This book covers what constitutes good use of literature in the classroom and offers readers access to additional material on children's literature and teaching about literature. It covers what to look for in good literature and how to identify the best among what's available.For professionals in the field of teaching or anyoneinterested in children's literature. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough course in literature for children
    I just got finished using this book for a course in Children's Literature, and it was extremely informative.

    Since I am interested in children's literature (to read, and possibly to write), it was great to find out about all the different facets of literature for children, from historical children's lit, to multicultural lit, to award-winning literature.

    If you are a teacher and haven't taken a course on children's literature, this book is a must-read (it even includes helps for the classroom at the end of each chapter). If you want to write for children, check this out -- it's a veritable goldmine of information to get your book noticed & published.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great resource for children's literature
    This book covers a wide range of genres of children's literature. It is written in an easy to read style, and covers everything a teacher or media specialist would need to begin working with children's literature. It was outstanding! The addition of the CD-ROM gives even more resources. I think it is a wonderful book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The very best teacher's reference for children's literature.
    Norton has once again done the impossible-- making her best-selling text on children's literature even better. The newest edition provides concise yet helpful summaries of the finest in children's books, and offers an updated CD-ROM tool to help teachers search and discover just right books. I heartily recommend it to all elementary teachers! ... Read more

    7. 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

    8. 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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    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

    9. 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
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    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

    10. Literature for Today's Young Adults (7th Edition)
    by Kenneth L. Donelson, Alleen Pace Nilsen
    list price: $96.20
    our price: $96.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0205410359
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-19)
    Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
    Sales Rank: 39360
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Renowned authors Alleen Nilsen and Ken Donelson offer a comprehensive, reader-friendly introduction to young adult literature framed within a rich literary, historical, and social context. It also provides teachers with criteria for evaluating books of all genres, from poetry and nonfiction to mysteries, science fiction, and horror. Coverage of timely issues, such as pop culture and mass media, helps teachers connect with students' lives outside the classroom.Young adult literature framed within a rich literary, historical, and social context. It also provides teachers with criteria for evaluating books of all genres, from poetry and nonfiction to mysteries, science fiction, and horror. Coverage of timely issues, such as pop culture and mass media, helps teachers connect with students' lives outside the classroom.Young Adult Literature. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very good resource.
    Literature for Today's Young Adults, by Aleen Pace Nilsen and Kenneth L. Donelson, Sixth Edition. I purchased this book for a class in adolescent literature, and have found to be the book very good and very thorough. The book includes many chapters about modern adolescent literature and their various controversies. Besides being an interesting book, I found it very thorough because it includes varied points of view, and includes many articles written by the authors themselves who write novels for young adults.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Literature for Today's Young Adults
    Having graduated from high school in 1979, I found my insights into teen literature to be prehistoric at best. As a "utility classroom teacher," I have to keep up with a variety of subjects. This book is a great help to anyone who needs to get a grasp of Young Adult literature, an important topic.
    In an age when teens face, more than ever, the difficult issues the world places at their door, (drug and alcohol usage, sexuality, health and family conflict)any teacher entering the reading classroom should be familiar with literature that is current, educational and helpful. This volume provides insight into current authors and trends in Young Adult literature, as well as reviewing "old standards" and interviewing authors. It is an extremely helpful book for anyone who must not only educate but also provide guidance.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Guide to Literature for Young Adults
    Nilsen and Donelson's comprehensive text provides much needed insight and clarification for those who are involved with young adults and books. Focusing on such YA topics as fantasy, New Realism, and adventure, this text leads the reader through the various genres, as well as critiquing various authors and their books. This feature is especially helpful because, as a teacher, I can not read all the authors and books available. By providing these condensed lists and descriptions of current and classic books, as well as lists of Hollywood tie-ins, the authors enable classroom teachers and librarians to survey a larger range of books than they would ordinarily be able to. The authors also cover the issue of censorship, making the distinction between concerned parents and the avid censor. In discussing censors, however, the authors deal rather unfairly with the religious right, ascribing fanatical views to groups devoted to restoring traditional values to the classroom. Conversely, the left is treated in a much more favorable light, while their political biases are downplayed.

    Overall, I found this text to be very useful and intend to further my reading with some of the selections highlighted by these authors.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A guide to literature
    A review of "Literature for Today's Young Adults" Nilson/Donelson 6/6/01

    Because I am not an avid reader, I needed a good guide to the different genres and adolescent novels that are available to and for young adults. I found the Nilson/Donelson text to be a great source of knowledge for me. It was very informative as to what each different novel offered to young adults and the controversy surrounding it. The authors were very descriptive with the information of each novel and author. The text was also helpful in providing me with ideas to use in my classroom of young adults as far as discussion of the issues that each novel dealt with. For a novice like myself is was very helpful! I would recommend this text for any teacher of Young Adult Literature. Especially for the first year teacher!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Literature for Today's Young Adults
    In using the text listed above, I found it to be very helpful in finding out how to interpret different readings for the young adolescent reader. It enabled me to discover the proper way to determine if the book is adequate for a certain age group or if it should be kept for an older audience. The information contained in the book was very helpful. It uses different authors as a way to explain their views on their books. I thoroughly enjoyed the text and would recommend it to any educator that is looking to broaden their horizons and learn more about the adolescent literature arena. ... Read more

    11. Can't Get Enough : A Novel
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385501625
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 3777
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner...
    Again, Connie has delivered a great story line which is the sequel to her best selling novel"P.G. County".Good story telling of greed, jealousy, bitterness, adultry and betrayal.This story will capture your attention and hold it until the very end.Although it's been a while since P.G. County was published, the sequel picks right up where the other book left off and I was able to roll right along with the entire story non-stop.Great writing, great characters and I look forward to her next book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the making of a franchise
    I really enjoyed this follow-up to PG County. It felt just like a soap opera and I loved every last word of it. I truly hope Ms. Briscoe makes a series of these characters.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, How the Tables Turn
    In P.G. County, you couldn't help but feel sorry for Barbara Bentley, but in this book, your cheering for her; In this book, she's gotten sober, sexy and savvy as a part time real estate agent, and a new interest which has turned the tables on her hubby, who know doesn't know what to do; Jolene comes back with a roller coaster of her own; licking her wounds and missing her now the well is dry ex hubby, and plots to get him back from Pearl with no success; And a mysterious countess builds a major mansion in the neighborhood which has everyone guessing her identity; Juicy, racy and bound to keep you turning the pages;

    4-0 out of 5 stars GREAT FOLLOW-UP TO P.G.......!!!
    In this sizzling sequel to the P.G. County the drama continues.Barbara Bentley, THE social scion of Silver Lake has had it with her philandering husband Bradford.All the bling in the world does not take the place of attention and affection...add to that the fact that Barbara is keeping company with a handsome and much younger co-worker, and you have a very vulnerable fifty-one year old woman.Suddenly Barbara is much happier, begins dressing more hip, and begins "working" even more... doesn't she deserve some happiness of her own?So what if what makes her happy is only 38 years old...but what will happen if Bradford finds out?

    Jolene Brown has reached her lowest point ever.She's screwing the company painter who just happens to be an ex-con, she's lost her husband to that fat matronly Pearl Jackson, and she has been ostractized from all social events at Silver Lake.But things may be looking up for Jolene; she's just hit the Maryland lottery for a cool five million, and she's got an agenda to win her husband back.When she finds that he cannot be swayed by money or cleavage, she enlists the help of her ex-con lover Brian in a scheme to ruin the new lady in his life, Pearl.But Brian is greedy and vindictive, and suddenly Jolene finds herself right back where she started...

    Pearl Jackson realizes that her new life with boyfriend Patrick is far from a bowl of cherries..between that horrid ex-wife Jolene and his two teenage girls---to say that their relationship is a challenge would be an understatement.But Pearl seeks solace in her pride and joy....her beauty salon, her very own business. And business is good, until the night that Pearl receives an uninvited guest......

    And through it all, everyone in Silver Lake is waiting to find out who is building that huge new it a celebrity, or royalty, as some are saying?And into the lives of the ladies of Silver Lake steps Baronness Veronique, socialite extraordinaire, the woman that everyone wants to be friends with...but could it be that the Baronness has come to bring even more turbulence to the lives of the ladies of Silver Lake?In true P.G. County fashion, the author brings hot drama to the pages and to her fans in this sequel.


    3-0 out of 5 stars PG County Continued....
    Can't Get Enough, Connie Briscoe's follow up to PG County, returns us to the prestigious Silver Lake community and continues where its predecessor ended.It instantly reconnects with Maryland's Prince George County's most memorable cast of characters who, for the most part, are still rich and still restless - a perfect combination for trouble and drama.Barbara, the wife of philandering millionaire Bradford Bentley, has sobered up and now takes her frustrations out in the gym instead of drowning her sorrows in Belvedere vodka.The results are fantastic - she is feeling good and looking even better.When her real-estate colleague, Noah, 15 years her junior openly flirts with her, he awakens feelings and thoughts that even the most faithful of attention-starved housewives cannot ignore.She wrestles with her feelings for both her husband, Bradford, whose womanizing ways led him to ignore and embarrass her for years by openly conducting affairs with younger women, and Noah, a handsome, attentive and sensual being, who is playing for keeps.

    A newcomer to Silver Lake, a one "Baroness Veronique," befriends Barbara and plays devil's advocate to the blossoming romance between Barbara and Noah.However, it is revealed much later that this royal newcomer has ulterior motives with an interesting twist near the end of the story.The Baroness is the envy of the neighborhood after building a replica of a French chateau directly across the street from the conniving Jolene, the latest former mistress of Bradford.Jolene is a scantily clad pariah, shunned by most of Silver Lake for her involvement with Bradford.However, public scorn only fuels her desire to win back Patrick, her well-respected and admired ex-husband.She stoops low and uses their daughter Juliette in a ploy to seduce him. Patrick, however, is smitten with good-natured Pearl, the sweetheart of the neighborhood and friend to everyone.When Patrick rejects Jolene, she, in an act of desperation, retaliates against Pearl in such a mean spirited and hurtful manner that startles all of Silver Lake.

    There is no peace, even for the "nice guy" as lovable Patrick struggles to raise Lee, his troubled teenaged daughter from a previous relationship.Lee's half-sister, Juliette, adds gasoline to the fire when she starts to exhibit traces of Jolene (evoking a "Mini Me" persona of her man-chasing mother) when she sets her eyes on her Lee's boyfriend.

    Reminiscent to a daytime soap opera, the setting is posh.Everyone is beautiful, possesses an American Express Black card, drives luxury cars and wears designer attire. It seems like owning Armani suits, furs, Jimmy Choo shoes and Mikimoto pearls are an unwritten prerequisite for Silver Lake residents. Briscoe masters the storytelling aspects well by devoting alternating chapters to each main character which allows them to develop nicely while building suspense in an entertaining melodramatic offering.She adds solid doses of scandalous behavior, lying, cheating, double-crossing, and scheming to keep the pages turning until the end.

    Reviewed by Phyllis
    APOOO BookClub
    Nubian Circle Book Club ... Read more

    12. The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck Centennial Edition (1902-2002)
    by John Steinbeck
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142000663
    Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 1401
    Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. ... Read more

    Reviews (463)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Steinbecks Jouneys
    "The Grapes of Wrath" is a powerful indictment of the oppression endured by the migrant families of the American mid-west during the depression years of the 1930's. The mid-west had suffered severe drought. "Dusters" swept across the farmland, skimming off the topsoil, leaving behind a dustbowl, only a few sprigs of wheat surviving. The tenant farms were foreclosed and the families tractored off the land in a ruthless drive to maximise profit. Circe 250,000 migrants, "refugees from the dust", pulled up stakes and headed west on route 66, the road of flight to California, golden land of dreams and opportunity, drawn by the picking work, harvesting oranges and peaches. The flowing in of rootless migrant workers centred on the San Joachin valley, California, and the huge farms there. The overwhelming glut of migrants flooding through the valley swamped the harvesting work available, driving down wages to peanuts level as they desperately scrabbled "to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food".

    This is the destiny that fate held in store for the Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath". Forced off their farm, truck piled high with their belongings, the Joads set forth on a journey 2000 miles haul from Sallislaw in Oklahoma through the western desert states of Arizona and New Mexico and onto the San Joachin valley. The gut-wrenching story of the Joads heroic journey is interspersed with short "relief" chapters on aspects of their route 66 experience, the tricks of used-car salesmen or a snapshot of life in a truck-stop diner, to cite only a couple examples; other chapters function as social on, for example, the stomach turning practice of spraying mountains of oranges with kerosene or dumping potatoes in the river under armed guard to protect market prices, at a time when hundreds of thousands of migrants were literally starving. This structure enables Steinbeck at once to follow closely the fortunes of the Joads and cast a wider eye over what is happening in society during the depression years.

    However, Steinbeck's narrative, in my view, is at its most powerful and compelling on the road,the Joads suffering and misfortune trucking along the endless narrow concrete miles to Bakersfield, California, revealing qualities of guts and resilience in their desperate struggle for survival in the face of death, starvation, hostility, exploitation and harassment. Steinbeck's powerful voice shows the migrants during the hard times of the 1930's depression years, the hardship and oppression endured by thousands upon thousands of families like the Joads, will resonate for generations to come. It is a voice that packs alot to say!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Voice of the Migrants for Generations to come!
    "The Grapes of Wrath" is a powerful indictment of the oppression endured by the migrant families of the American mid-west during the depression years of the 1930's. The farming-belt of the mid-west had suffered severe drought. "Dusters" swept across the farmland, skimming off the topsoil, leaving behind a dustbowl, only a few sparse sprigs of wheat surviving. The tenant farms were foreclosed and the families forcibly tractored off the land in a ruthless drive to maximise profit margins. Circe 250,000 migrants, "refugees from the dust", pulled up stakes and headed west on route 66, the road of flight to California, the golden land of dreams and opportunity, drawn by the prospect of picking work, harvesting oranges and peaches. The influx of rootless migrant workers centred on the San Joachin valley, California, and the huge farms therein, drifting in search of work from squatter camps to government camps to shacks in tied labour camps charging excessive rents and inflated company-store prices. The overwhelming glut of migrants flooding through the valley swamped the harvesting work available, driving down wages to peanuts level as they desperately scrabbled "to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food".

    This is the destiny that fate held in store for the Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath". Forced off their farm, truck piled high with their meagre belongings, the Joads set forth on an epic 2000 miles haul from Sallislaw in Oklahoma through the western desert states of Arizona and New Mexico and onto the San Joachin valley. The gut-wrenching story of the Joads heroic journey is interspersed with short "relief" chapters on peripheral aspects of their route 66 experience, the trickery of used-car salesmen or a snapshot of life in a truck-stop diner, to cite but two examples; other chapters function as social commentary on, for example, the stomach turning practice of spraying mountains of oranges with kerosene or dumping potatoes in the river under armed guard to protect market prices, at a time when hundreds of thousands of migrants were literally starving. This structure enables Steinbeck at once to follow closely the fortunes of the Joads and cast a wider eye over what is happening in society during the depression years.

    However, Steinbeck's narrative, in my view, is at its most powerful and compelling on the road, chronicling the Joads suffering and misfortune trucking along the endless narrow concrete miles to Bakersfield, California, revealing qualities of grit, guts and resilience in their desperate struggle for survival in the face of death, starvation, hostility, exploitation and harassment. Steinbeck's powerful voice depicting the plight of the migrants during the hard times of the 1930's depression years, the hardship and oppression endured by thousands upon thousands of families like the Joads, will resonate for generations to come. It is a voice that packs a powerful punch!

    5-0 out of 5 stars What More Can Be Said
    "The Grapes Of Wrath" is an American Classic. You've got to read this one. Although it isn't as colorful as much of Steinbeck's work, it is a wonderful story of a very important part of our nation's history. It's very much worth your time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Depression
    This novel takes place during the "Great Depression" and gives a general view of the 1930's, but also follows the Joad family as they endure many struggles on their way to find work in California. Like thousands of other families, they encounter hunger, violence, and despair during these troubled years of our history. This was kind of a difficult book to get through, but if you want to learn about the affect the "Great Depression" had on everyday families and the struggles they encountered during this time, then you have found the right book

    5-0 out of 5 stars I learned more form this book than any other.
    As a Junior AP English student, I was bombarded with summer work, and my assignments included chosing a summer book to read from a selected list. I chose the "Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, and was immeadiatly captured in the sad story of the Joads and there turbulent Oddessy. Sad and depressing yes, but hopeless it is not; if anything this book is about hope and compassion and empathy for others, and for many of us, including the characters in this novel, that is a lesson learned the hard way. There will probably never be a writer as talented as John Steinbeck; he has a way of making you not only imagine, but feel what is happening in his story. Steinbeck uses his great skill to show both great beauty and harsh reality, and I hope at the time this book was published that it caused political uproar and brought the people in American aristocracy down to Earth to realize what was occurring. Although people moving from Oklahoma to California are the least of our great nation's worries, the thoughts expressed in this book have the power to open the eyes of Americans to many troubling situations that exist today. ... Read more

    13. The Fountainhead
    by Ayn Rand
    list price: $8.99
    our price: $8.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451191153
    Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
    Publisher: New American Library
    Sales Rank: 857
    Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Get your "A" in gear!

    They're today's most popular study guides-with everything you need to succeed in school. Written by Harvard students for students, since its inception SparkNotes™ has developed a loyal community of dedicated users and become a major education brand. Consumer demand has been so strong that the guides have expanded to over 150 titles.SparkNotes'™ motto is Smarter, Better, Faster because:

    · They feature the most current ideas and themes, written by experts.
    · They're easier to understand, because the same people who use them have also written them.
    · The clear writing style and edited content enables students to read through the material quickly, saving valuable time.

    And with everything covered--context; plot overview; character lists; themes, motifs, and symbols; summary and analysis, key facts; study questions and essay topics; and reviews and resources--you don't have to go anywhere else!

    ... Read more

    Reviews (774)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Overhyped
    This overtly philosophical novel is about Howard Roarke. This book describes the career of a fiercely independent architect, who exemplifies Ayn Rand's objectivism. His career is juxtaposed with a colleague from college, Peter Keating, and is intertwined with other characters, including a unique woman named Dominique, a successful businessman name Wynand, and a famous "intellectual", Tooley.

    Rand thoroughly describes each individual's concept of humanity throughout the book. This is strength, and a flaw. The dialogues are very, very contrived, and at points insulting to the reader's intelligence. Keating and Roarke's rivalry was thoroughly enjoyable. To see such those two in tandem, though extremely overt, was stimulating. The inclusion of other characters, especially Dominique, bored me to death. Even though she provides a sort of bridge between two the two rival philosophies, her intrusion into the story is convoluted and serves little purpose than to occupy pages.

    This book contains a great message. It's almost hard to find anyone who doesn't relate to Howard Roarke's character. It's lack of subtlety, its super preachy and continuous dialogues, annoying other characters, all deter it from making it an enjoyable read. I found myself glued to some pages, while trudging through others. It's best to describe this as an essay containing fictional characters, rather than a classic novel.

    Some people say that this book changed their life. Fair enough, but all the philosophy and messages are presented throughout simple economic principles, historical affairs, and common sense. The only true insight I gained from this was the definition of objectivism. Not worth 700 pages of only mildly interesting reading.

    Would I recommend this book? Probably, it's not that bad, and you can decide for yourself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fountainhead
    I stayed up late nights to read this book. I turned page after page. There is something Ayn Rand has seen through, something she articulates so roundly, that it relieves a burden I hadn't even realized I'd been carrying. I can put my burden down as I read -- she has seen me. I no longer have to scream at the top of my lungs. I love to read her books.

    And there are many, many aspects of human nature which she sees very deeply. Not everyone could have written that rape scene, for example, and gotten it right. She is one of the 20th Century's great authors...... despite the fact that you can mail in a card enclosed in the book and join some save-the-world organization dedicated to her work. I really think they should take out the cards. They only make the right people ignore her and the wrong people read her for the wrong reasons.

    And yet the cards reflect the vestiges of an ideologue which still lives in her. She's a Russian turned Jeffersonian. But I still feel the European ideology thing going on. Most Russian immigrants to the US take up capitalism and its freedom of speech in their own way. But I've seen precious few of them who so genuinely understand and embrace the Jefferson in America - and I've known a lot of Russian immigrants. I was married to one. (For that matter, I've met few Americans who get it consciously, but that's another matter.)

    The ideologue in Ayn Rand shows up, for example, in her categorical condemation of anything suggesting 'spirituality' or 'God' or whatever. I even ran across an erratum somewhere where she apologizes for using the word 'spiritual' in a fit of passion... of course there's no spiritual, she explains. Of course not. No, no, no, no. But her passions spoke true, and her mind couldn't follow them. For she is essentially spiritual and just in denial about it. It's that she can't rationally fit it in with all the stuff that she does see so clearly with 'spirit' and 'God'. And the reason she can't do that is that she can't think of religion as a private matter between a person and God. Religion for her belongs to a state and a society.

    So she puts her head before her heart a little sometimes, and the result is that she lacks the lyrical powers of Emerson, Goethe or Shakespeare. But I'm so happy she lived and worked.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If I had to pick
    If I had to pick only three books, they would be these: Steinbeck's "East of Eden," McCrae's "The Bark of the Dogwood," and this one, "The Fountainhead." All three had, and continue to have, a powerful impact on my life. These are not just great books, but novels of "ideas." By far, the most important of these is Rand's book. It was quite a big deal when it first appeared on the scene many decades ago, and still is for those who read it. Pity that after all these years of exposure to it, things haven't changed that much. There are still the sun-slappers and the self-soilers out there who refuse to see humanity for the wonderful thing that it CAN be. If you're looking for food for thought, this is your book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a tool.
    Ayn Rand brings to light a side of humanity that is often overlooked. America is a stage for countless players described as second - handers. Thank God for those people with passion and convictions. You could be a Roark. This book is a capitalist's survival tool. It is your responsibility to yourself to use it and benefit from the insights it contains. Learn from the mistakes of the villains. This book could have used a better editor (typos, missing words, etc.), however in essence it contains many perceivable truths. After you're done, you'll realize you could have spent all that time creating something instead of loafing around and reading.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The reviews Tell All
    I'm 38 years old and just read The Fountainhead for the first time. That probably gives me a little more life experience than others who have read it, so here's my two cents.

    The characters in this book are somewhat exaggerated, but nonetheless are very, very real, in that they have counterparts in the world we live in. Roark is cut from the same cloth that Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Edison, Thomas Jefferson, the Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, etc., were. They all had a burning passion for one field of human endeavor. They held revolutionary ideas that were met with scorn by the status quo and the chronically insecure. They struggled against overwhelming odds to see their visions become reality. And, in the end, the proved to be benefactors of all mankind.

    Keating, Toohey, and Wynand are all parasites to one degree or another. Keating has no real talent, but is a master of back-stabbing and rear-end kissing. In short, he would be a huge success on "Survivor." However, his lack of talent and integrity ultimately destroy his career, and his desire to please everyone but himself destroys his soul. Anyone who has ever dealt with office politics has met a Peter Keating.

    Toohey cripples the very people he says he wants to "help." He puts them down in subtle ways and loads them with pathological guilt. He uses people's dependence on him to hold up his faltering self esteem, so he dares not allow them to become truly whole and independent human beings. I have met ministers, teachers, social workers and "advocates" of various causes who mirror Toohey quite nicely. Jim Jones is a well known real world example. Tony Soprano's mother on the HBO show is a fictional type of Toohey. The atrocious Disney movie "Pocohontas" was shot full of Tooheyisms.

    Wynand is a pimp. He makes money off of society's shortcomings, all the while making those shortcomings worse. He's like the executives who produce bilge like "gangsta rap" CDs,publish rags like The Enquirer, make stars of people like Britney Spears, and create shows like Jerry Springer.

    Roark is hated and feared by them and people like them, because they would rather cling to the trash at hand than reach up and snatch a pearl.

    I've dealt with Keatings, Tooheys, and Wynands all my adult life. You can find them in business meetings, on church boards, working for government agncies and participating in civic groups. They are real, they are numerous, and they really are a threat to the progress of the human race.

    Ms. Rand felt that the world was full of lazy idiots, and that it is kept going by the blood, sweat and tears of a handful of people with intelligence, passion and integrity. If you read the past reviews, you'll realize she was right. So many of them must have been written by people who didn't give the book the careful reading it deserves, if they actually read it at all.

    If you decide to read this book, be warned now that it's no walk in the park. I spent the first half of it thinking "Roark, chill, dude, it's just a damn building!" It's only later that you understand how architecture is used as a metaphor for all fields of human pursuit. Also, it is subtly revealed towards the end that Roark's real beef with historical architecture is not that it is deficient or worthless, but that nothing has been added to it since its development. The architects of his day paid homage to the past, but did not seek to develop new and improved techniques of their own. In this way, they were living "second hand" off the genius of others.

    Journeying through the Fountainhead is like walking through a field of diamonds that are buried just beneath the surface. There are innumerable treasures waiting to be found, but you must be observant and careful to find them. Be assured, the reward is worth the effort.

    I give the book four stars because it does have some significant flaws. Ms. Rand exercises poor word choice. For example she speaks of the folly of "living for others" when she really means "living for the approval of others." This, plus her use of words like "selfishness" versus "altruism" to describe things like self confidence versus neurotic co-dependency are major problems. It's almost as if she wanted to blur what she was saying just enough to force the reader to think deeply about what they were reading. Or perhaps the fact that English wasn't her first language was a hindrance - I don't know.
    Warning: the initial, violent love scene between Roark and Dominique is probably an extension of her own sex fantasies, which apparently had a strong sado-masochistic element. It is detrimental to the message of the book, and is it's greatest shortcoming. Also, she seems unneccessarily antagonistic towards religion. There is much in the Bible, ex. the parable of the talents, as well as Jesus' admonition to not cast pearls to swine, that dovetails nicely with the book's message. I believe that she over reacted to what she saw happening in her native Soviet Union, throwing out all notions of collective effort and responsibility in favor of an absolute emphasis on the individual.

    Nonetheless, it is extremely well written, especially in its descriptive power. Ms. Rand knew and loved New York City intimately, and that comes forth strongly. Also, its message, if you take the time to properly understand it, is profoundly true, and applicable to the human condition as a whole. All in all, this book is highly recommended. ... Read more

    14. Lolita (Vintage International)
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679723161
    Catlog: Book (1989-03-13)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 2295
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    Despite its lascivious reputation, the pleasures ofLolita areas much intellectual as erogenous. It is a love story with the power to raise both chuckles and eyebrows. Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother.In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert's feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.

    Playfully perverse in form as well as content, riddled with puns and literary allusions, Nabokov's 1955 novel is a hymn to the Russian-born author's delight in his adopted language. Indeed, readers who want to probe all of its allusive nooks and crannies will need to consult the annotated edition.Lolita is undoubtedly, brazenly erotic, but the eroticism springs less from the "frail honey-hued shoulders ... the silky supple bare back" of little Lo than it does from the wantonly gorgeous prose that Humbert uses to recount his forbidden passion:

    She was musical and apple-sweet ... Lola the bobby-soxer, devouring her immemorial fruit, singing through its juice ... and every movement she made, every shuffle and ripple, helped me to conceal and to improve the secret system of tactile correspondence between beast and beauty--between my gagged, bursting beast and the beauty of her dimpled body in its innocent cotton frock.
    Much has been made of Lolita as metaphor, perhaps because the love affair at its heart is so troubling. Humbert represents the formal, educated Old World of Europe, while Lolita is America: ripening, beautiful, but not too bright and a little vulgar. Nabokov delights in exploring the intercourse between these cultures, and the passages where Humbert describes the suburbs and strip malls and motels of postwar America are filled with both attraction and repulsion, "those restaurants where the holy spirit of Huncan Dines had descended upon the cute paper napkins and cottage-cheese-crested salads." Yet however tempting the novel's symbolism may be, its chief delight--and power--lies in the character of Humbert Humbert. He, at least as he tells it, is no seedy skulker, no twisted destroyer of innocence. Instead, Nabokov's celebrated mouthpiece is erudite and witty, even at his most depraved. Humbert can't help it--linguistic jouissance is as important to him as the satisfaction of his arrested libido. --Simon Leake ... Read more

    Reviews (381)

    5-0 out of 5 stars porn, poetry and pyrotechnical language
    If you've only heard of "Lolita" from its reputation as being "pornographic", you are in for a surprise when you read it. Yes, it involves a lecherous, middle aged man chasing after a 12 year old "nymphet". Yes, it is deeply disturbing and makes one queasy at times. It is also a brilliant, funny, witty, literary rollercoaster which will delight you and dazzle you with the beauty of language. Nabakov can make words jump through hoops you never even knew existed, while he explores the dark realms of obsession and longing.

    The narrator, Humbert Humbert, is a fascinating construction. As readers, we find ourselves simultaneously repelled by his actions and sympathetic to his yearning. We are utterly charmed by his wit, intelligence and verbal acrobatics, sometimes to the point where we lost sight of what he's doing to his object of desire, Lolita.

    I would suggest that all readers reaquaint themselves with the concept of the "unreliable narrator" before they sink into Humbert's hypnotic web of logic. When you find yourself sympathizing with Hum about Lolita's "cruelties", try to remember that you are seeing everything through his twisted and self-serving lens. Humbert has rationalized his behavior so deeply and reports it to us so entertainingly, that we find ourselves accepting his interpretations of people and events at face value. However, we must remember that Hum is capable of the most monsterous of deceptions (note how long it takes him to inform Lolita of her mother's demise), and of self deceptions. Read between the lines. Question his reading of events. Pay attention when his reporting is at odds with his interpretations of them. As one example, Humbert tells us that he was seduced by Lolita, giving us the impression that she was sexually mature and a willing partner. Contrast that with his throwaway mentioning of her "performing" for him in exchange for treats, and watching television as he took his pleasure in her. And don't ignore Lolita sobbing each night, as he seems to do.

    Nabokov has created a connundrum for us as readers. He uses the most glorious tricks and delights of the English language to tell his tale of self-deception and rationalization masquerading as "love". Look beyond the circus to the grime beneath it, and appreciate the mastery that gives us both.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Grab your dictionary
    Grab your dictionary

    Nabokov's Lolita tells a beautiful story and does it beautifully. I wasn't very impressed by the 1998 movie with Jeremy Irons but I just loved the book.

    It's a controversial subject indeed, pedophilia, but the book is by no means vulgar. The book is the memoir of Humbert Humbert, a true gentleman, from the Old Continent who never got over his first pre-adolescent affair, at least till he meets his auburn nymphet, Dolores Haze. What follows is a work of art using the English language as the medium.

    What is truly amazing is that Nabokov, a Russian immigrant, would rather write Lolita in Russian, his first language. Nabokov gave my old dictionary quite a workout. Interesting as well is how much autobiographical information there is in the book. I can only imagine how much personal attack must Nabokov have suffered soon after releasing Lolita. Humbert as well as Nabokov is an European immigrant to the United States, both are writers, both play tennis, both traveled the country, both cherish the newly learned language.

    I have the hardbound version by Everyman's Library, which is a high quality edition with some extras such as Nabokov's biography and interview. It's a great book, one the best I have read.

    Leonardo Alves - Houghton Michigan - February 2003

    4-0 out of 5 stars Do NOT call this a love story!
    First of all: Nabokov's chief accomplishment in this novel (other than the oft-noted brilliance of his prose)is to DAMN THE READER who is seduced by it! By creating the persona of Humbert, Nabokov tests the limits of the lure of "European cultured sophistication" making the reader IDENTIFY with, SYMPATHIZE with, and indeed, ANTICIPATE EAGERLY Humbert's quest. If "the heart wants what it wants," and if Humbert wants this one thing passionately enough, "purely" enough (in terms of the singularity of his desire), then surely, he ought to have it.
    This is the dirty bargain the reader makes in Part One. Nabokov's brilliant game works. I freely admit it. He turns the reader into, if not an actual co-molester, at least a willing co-pornographer. If you don't actually close the book in disgust, you are PARTICIPATING in Humbert's crime. What better way to show the reader the amorality of passion. Even the READER can become amoral in his or her "passion" for the "hero" to achieve his "holy grail"!!

    HOWEVER--In part two, Humbert is made to see his true crimes. He realizes fully what he has done to Lolita. He and she were living lives of "pure evil," as he puts it near the end. He ended her life, he says. The reader, too, therefore, should have been able to pull back by this point and "repent" of the crime of vicarious participation in this monstrous evil. I'm sure there are many, many other levels of meaning in Nabokov's work, but this most basic idea of the dangers amoral pleasure (and especially vicarious experience of it by the reader!) is crucial.

    Imagine my surprise, therefore, when in review after review, I am told that this book is essentially a "hilarious love story"! WHAT!?!?! LOVE STORY? What love? I ask you! What love! Humbert himself realizes what his so-called "love" has been--he stalked, he consumed, he destroyed a SOUL. ANY reviewer who dares to use the word LOVE to describe this relationship is STILL in the thrall of Humbert's point of view. But how can ANY morally discerning human being possibly take HIS side of things by the end of the novel? This is an outrage!

    Frankly, I didn't find the novel funny, either--I thought it was alluringly pornagraphic at first, then sickeningly sad later. And I'm one who never turns down a good satire or parody, no matter how "black." But this story was one of heartbreak and despair. What is FUNNY about that?

    But you know what? Call it FUNNY any day--but don't you DARE call the confessions of a self-confessed monster a love story!

    1-0 out of 5 stars This item is the play, not the novel
    The title and author make it look like the novel. However, this item is a play by Edward Albee, based on the work by Nabokov. You can see this if you read the full review. I am rating this a "1" because I wanted the book, not the play. However, the play maybe fantastic, so if a play is what you really want, disregard my review.

    5-0 out of 5 stars unbelievable
    Easily the most amazing book I have ever read. Nabokov's prose is of another world entirely. It would be a blessing if American authors could master the English language with such eloquence. This novel demands an intelligent audience (which is why readers who are closer to the illiterate end of the spectrum have rated this book poorly). If you thought Da Vinci Code was well-written, you do not deserve Nabokov. caveat lector, after having devoured this book, it is quite easy to fall into a state of disillusionment concerning all other available reading material. ... Read more

    15. Genevieve
    by Eric JeromeDickey
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0525948783
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
    Publisher: Dutton Adult
    Sales Rank: 966
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Eric Jerome Dickey, the six-time New York Times bestselling author ofDrive Me Crazy, returns with a sizzling new novel of romance and betrayal.

    Just how well do we ever really know the person sleeping next to us?

    Sometimes we know everything.
    Sometimes we can never know enough.

    In Genevieve, Eric Jerome Dickey has crafted a masterfully twisted tale ofintrigue, hidden identities, and self-discovery. It’s the tale of a man torn between the loveof his beautiful wife and the sudden arrival of his wife’s sister—a mysterious andprovocative woman who offers him the passion he craves, but at a steep price.

    Both women harbor secrets, the answers to which appear to lie in a small Southern townfilled with darkness, danger, and the promise of pain. Soon nothing is as it seems and noone is who they claimed to be, including the man caught in the middle. As the truthbubbles closer to the surface, everyone’s world threatens to fall apart.

    In a story packed with revelations at every turn, Eric Jerome Dickey takes us on ajourney filledwith deception, careening down a highway bound for destiny . . . anddisaster. ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing!!!!
    That's all I can say. To date: I thought THE OTHER WOMAN was his best effort. Not anymore. Having heard an excerpt of this story in Battle Creek, Michigan over the winter, anticipation gripped me as I sat there spellbound, enjoying every word.

    Then, it dropped. I had to take a break from my my own novel writing to take a peek at unquestionably, undisputably, the best out there in terms of African-American Male Fiction.

    Odenville is the setting for many revelations: The admissions of sexual vulnerabilities and the uncontrollable release of all inhibitions, the stark truth that shudders bones when truth of secrets are revealed, and, after confrontingall of this, the answer to the most important question: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?Crafting a story that touches you with insight and intensity, heats you up, makes you culturally aware of where we have been, it makes you wonder if we should reveal all in our quest of finding perfection in imperfection. That what Love should do.

    While I was at my own signing in Maryland over the weekend, I got got into a convo with a friend over this novel, and we both agreed that this was, by far, the best one yet. WOW!

    3-0 out of 5 stars So far it is garbadge to me!!!!!!!!
    Don't get me wrong folks I love EJD, but so far as I have been reading it is boring me, can someone make me feel better and let me know when it is going to pick up b/c i am so ready to find out all these secrets she has.I am on page 97, please tell me in the next 10 pages I will soon be in awe please tell me. Someone personally email or send something threw here b/c so far i am not impressed, it seems to me after Liar's Game everything went downhill for EJD.AND I TRY GIVING HIM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT BUT LATELY I HAVE NOT BEEN IMPRESSED. email is

    5-0 out of 5 stars His Best Yet!!
    I read Genevieve this past weekend and I absolutely loved it~! It is his best work to date. It was intriguing, and captivating from the beginning to end. I have been reading his books since his 1st one and I must tell you that he has gotten better with age. This book shows me that he have achieved a maturity and has honed his writing skills and I can hardly wait for the next one.
    The Story of Genevieve started with suspense... and ended with the story of her life explained in detail.The surprises and twists that the story took made it a page turner.Definitely a must read!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Over the top but emotionally involving
    As usual, EJD makes you feel like you know all his characters, and you really want to know what will happen to them. There's Genevieve, a girl from a trashy town in Alabama who's remade herself into a hotshot Ph.D. who complains when hotels aren't up to her standards; her husband, who feels inadequate because she's frigid; and Genevieve's younger, uninhibited sister, Kenya. When the husband accompanies Genevieve to her hometown for a funeral, he learns a whole lot about what she came from, and falls under Kenya's spell.

    Parts of the book were unbelievable - how could a wife hide so much from her husband? would he really dive into an affair with his wife's sister just like that? - but EJD works his usual magic with vivid descriptions and compelling characters. Another page-turner.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not One of EJD Best
    This is book was full of stereotypes that took away from the novel. Plus the plot of the book was so slow that the time it becomes interesting. I've frankly just stop caring. The novel Genevieve Forbes seems to have the world on a string. Great job,husband and a brand new life. But she just can't escape her past. Her husband is basically a horny idiot. But the surprise ending is the only thing good about Genevieve. ... Read more

    16. 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
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    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

    17. Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men And Jo's Boys (Library of America)
    by Louisa May Alcott
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $26.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1931082731
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-03)
    Publisher: Library of America
    Sales Rank: 530115
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    18. 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
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    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.


    • 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

    19. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Version, Sixth Edition
    by Nina Baym
    list price: $69.60
    our price: $65.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393979695
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 131542
    Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "From the inception of The Norton Anthology of American Literature, three goals have been paramount: first, to present a variety of works rich and substantial enough to enable teachers to build their own courses according to their own ideals; second, to make the anthology self-sufficient by featuring many works in their entirety and longer selections so that individual authors can be covered in depth; and third, to balance traditional interests with developing critical concerns."—Nina Baym, General Editor, from the Preface

    Now in its Sixth Edition, The Norton Anthology of American Literature remains the enduring market leader. The new Shorter Sixth Edition shares with its parent volumes the commitment to broadening the canon while maintaining a representative balance of American literature.

    Thoroughly revised and tailored especially to the one-semester course, the Shorter Sixth Edition builds on the classroom strengths of flexibility, depth, and balance in a strong revision. ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Seminal Survey of American Literature
    To anyone seeking an encompassing overview of American literature, here is your book. This, the latest edition of the Norton Anthology, not only makes for months of good reading but also acts as a good primer for further pursuits in American letters (academic and otherwise.) Besides the countless number of excellent selections, eleven works appear in their entirety. Among them, Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Whitman's "Song of Myself," and Ginsburg's "Howl."

    The anthology also contains several new additions - most notably an intriguing section of Native American trickster tales that provides an interesting counter to Chris Columbus' over-zealous ramblings. As for more contemporary writing, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of deserving writers and poets newly anthologized in this revision: Toni Morrison, Raymond Carver, and Sandra Cisneros just to name a few.

    Yet what makes this anthology truly successful is the breadth and depth of the text as a whole. The selections, the organization, the well-written bits of biographical information... IT ALL FITS PERFECTLY! No doubt other readers will find this anthology as informative, provocative and enjoyable as I do. A definite keeper for my permanent collection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars another daunting literary anthology?
    The misleading title of this anthology is the first thing that comes to mind when receiving it in the mail: "...Shorter Fifth Edition." After lugging it along on my hike to class every morning for the past semester, I have a few issues with that proudly displayed "shorter." There are few books I can think of that aren't shorter than this one. Length (and weight) aside, the comprehensiveness of the anthology is amazing. As an English major, I've read a lot of anthologies, but this one stands out among them. In addition to the standard fare (T. S. Eliot, "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Huck Finn") that we English majors read in class after class, it features a diverse range of refreshing and new entries. Every point of view under the ridiculously broad umbrella of Americanness seems to be represented here: the rarely-seen chants and myths of the Native Americans, the poetry of slaves, and an impressive number of women writers are all accounted for. It's a relief to read an anthology that doesn't just have the same old prose as every other anthology, and for that, I'm more than willing to drag the heavy book to and from campus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing survey of literature that defines America
    The Norton anthology is the definitive collection of American literature. Its selections range from the letters of Christopher Columbus to quintessential American works like Whitman's "Song of Myself" and inherently American movements such as beat poetry. The collection offers a wide spread selection of works, some of which fall outside of your typical definition of "literature." All, however, have been important parts of our artistic tradition and provide literary examples of the coming of age of America. Literature has truly helped to define the American identity. This book is a history lesson, a journey through some of the most beautiful poetry and prose ever written and a testament to the kind of intelligent, passionate people that have formed our country.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Norton Anthology Review
    The Norton Anthology of American literature is a great collection of the most prominent and prolific authors in this young nation's history. The Anthology covers the development of authors in the new world, from the early native American folk tales to the works of Toni Morrison and Allen Ginsberg. The anthology spans poetry and prose and gives the reader a great cross sectional view of American society and its problems. The presence of Native American, Black and Hispanic authors presents a complete line up of works of literature, presented in a pleasant chronological order and introduced by a brief and interesting description of the author's life and works. The introductory description of each author facilitates the contextual placement of the text and its comprehension. The anthology contains several novels such as "Howl", "Sula" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". The presence of these complete works makes the anthology more complete, as they are an important part of the American literary tradition. The selection of authors and of their works is a good one, but presents some flaws. Obviously not being able to include all relevant authors in the American literary tradition, the editors selected a large number of authors, and their most important works. Nonetheless several important texts seem to be missing. Texts by less prolific authors, such as the great new classic "To kill a mockingbird" are missing. Although the anthology gives the reader an introduction on the author and his works it does not stimulate sufficiently through interesting points to be discussed and questions which shed light on hidden or obscure aspects of the texts. The anthology is a great tool for any class, or for the passionate reader. It is ideal if accompanied by a class or group/club in which the texts are discussed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Norton Anthology Shorter Fifth Edition
    This anthology is a must have for anyone interested in not only reading American Literature, but anyone who has an interest in American History. From Christopher Columbus' letters to Tennessee Williams' famous "Stella!" in A Streetcar named Desire, this anthology covers everything. The introductions to the pieces of literature not only tell about the author but the history behind the works. There is something for everyone and though it is huge (2879 pages to be exact)it takes up less room than would owning all of the classics in this anthology. I gave this anthology four stars only due to the akward size and the thin pages that cause you to look through to the other side of the page, blurring the already small type. It is a small price to pay, though, for so many classic works of literature. ... Read more

    20. Babylon Sisters : A Novel
    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

    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

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