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    $14.00
    1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
    2. Stupid American History: Tales
    3. Sudoku
    4. Stupid Christmas
    $6.46
    5. Sh*t My Dad Says
    $18.88
    6. Decoded
    $14.98
    7. Broke: The Plan to Restore Our
    8. Word Morph Volume 1: transform
    $10.99
    9. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest
    $21.94
    10. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics
    $10.99
    11. I Remember Nothing: and Other
    $5.62
    12. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete
    $21.00
    13. Apollo's Angels: A History of
    14. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity,
    $14.50
    15. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor
    $13.77
    16. Kardashian Konfidential
    $8.95
    17. Awkward Family Photos
    $13.51
    18. In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks:
    19. Life
    $25.90
    20. Lost Encyclopedia

    1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
    Hardcover
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 044657922X
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
    Sales Rank: 5
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The eagerly awaited new book from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily Show-anchoring Jon Stewart--the man behind the megaseller America (The Book).

    Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture -- all in a tome of approximately 256 pages with lots of color photos, graphs and charts.

    After two weeks of hard work, they had their book.EARTH (The Book) is the definitive guide to our species.With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.

    Also available as an ebook and as an audiobook.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The anti-coffee table book
    If you've read or heard about America (The Book), know first that this book is fairly different. America (The Book) makes itself out to be a mock textbook, and has many long, hilarious text passages that skewer politics and education at the same time. However, there are also the occasional pages that are infographics, with jokes both in the images and the captions, that take up complete pages.

    Now imagine that the entire book were made out of these commented infographics, with the subject matter shifted from the USA to the entire planet, and aimed at an audience of aliens who find the Earth deserted after the human race spectacularly manufactures its own demise, and you have Earth (The Book).

    If you haven't read America (The Book) - and if not, what are you waiting for? You can grab the paperback for less than $10 here on Amazon - just think of this as the anti-coffee table book. It's a tome that delightfully destroys all aspects of society, from our perceptions of aliens to the planet itself to commerce, religion and culture. It can be picked up occasionally and flipped to a random page, as each joke is encapsulated and confined. Or, it can be read large sections at a time, with every word and picture perused until you can laugh no more. There is at least one brilliant joke per page, and quite often more than that.

    This book pokes fun at anything and everything, and you may find the finger pointing at yourself now and again. If you can't laugh at your own idiosyncrasies and beliefs, skip this book and recommend it to someone with a sense of humor. If you can't take a joke, this book isn't for you.

    The only down side, one that America (The Book) has less of a problem with, is that some of the jokes can't stand the test of time in the long term. In 50 years, the numerous pop culture references throughout the book will be largely forgotten, lost to the winds of time. It's better that way, of course, as their shallowness is a significant reason why this book makes fun of them. So perhaps this won't be one of the great literary classics, discussed and venerated for all time, but there's certainly enough timeless humor in here for it to be funny at least as long as you'll be alive. Get it now, and leave it in a conspicuous place when you're not reading it (the coffee table, perhaps?), so that when we do destroy ourselves, the aliens can see this message.

    Hopefully, they'll get the joke.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great fun!
    Very funny and informative, if you like Jon Stewart you will enjoy the book. As with most material that touches on evolution, it will likely make creationists uncomfortable. A sense of humor is required. Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Jon Needs to Start a University
    This is tremendous fun. It is too bad the country seems to be so idiotically polarized now, because a great many ignorant people are missing out on a good time, merely by insisting to remain willfully ignorant.

    Buy this book and read it. Even if you have to forget who wrote it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better.
    Jon Stewart and the writers at The Daily Show are the best. If you have a sense of humor and understand even a tiny amount of science you will love this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
    Within 3 minutes of opening this book I was laughing out loud. Informative and hilarious. A definite must-have.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great concept, great execution
    This book's concept - explaining extinct human civilisation to visiting aliens - is flat out brilliant. It's presented in bite-sized bathroom chunks and it is always funny.

    My favourite chapter was the one page essay 'Society'.

    "The social contract provided a framework in which human interaction could occur on a reasonably fair basis. Person A was allowed to purchase the slave, but if he stole him he was guilty of a crime and had to repay Person B the dollar value of the human being he had stolen. The social contract itself was also subject to constant change and revision; a society that failed to periodically amend outdated provisions regarding how to dress or how much to subjugate women and minorities could find itself the laughing stock of diplomatic functions, unless it was situated atop reserves of natural resources."

    There's nary a dull page, and it's a big book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very funny!
    I bought this as a gift for my son, who is a big John Stewart fan. I find myself picking it up and laughing out loud. You don't have to agree with Stewart's politics to appreciate his sense of humor. Great gift idea. I now do most of my fiction reading on the kindle, but this is one book that wouldn't translate. Buy it! ... Read more


    2. Stupid American History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions
    by Leland Gregory
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B002HWSXI0
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    America is the home of the brave and, apparently, the stupid and gullible. Satirist Leland Gregory teaches us a lesson in historical hilarity with Stupid American History.

    From Columbus to George W. Bush (that's a lot of material, people), Leland leads us through American history's mythconceptions, exposing idiocy and inanity along the time line. He reeducates by informing us about myths. For example, Samuel Prescott actually was the guy to alert us that the British were coming and not that Paul Revere dude.

    Move over Colbert and Stewart; satire has finally found its rightful place in American history.

    Excerpt from the book:

    "John Tyler was on his knees playing marbles when he was informed that Benjamin Harrison had died and he was now president of the United States. At that time marbles was a very popular game for both children and grown-ups."

    For reasons still unknown, Texas congressman Thomas Lindsay Blanton, a Presbyterian Sunday school teacher and prohibitionist, inserted dirty words into the Congressional Record in 1921. His colleagues overwhelmingly censured him on October 24, 1921, by a vote of 293-0." ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stupid American History
    As a history major, the main reason I requested this book during the ER month was to see what dumb little incidents in history the author could highlight, starting in a chronological order from the very beginning of our history.

    What I got was a mish-mash of historical anecdotes that are in no perceivable order, nor are there any citations given, which any person who has even been to a high school history course knows are a necessity to prove the veracity of what you are claiming. With no discernable way to find out the truth behind all these little vignettes, one must doubt the truth in them.

    Stupid American History? No, I say Irresponsible American Author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Smartly funny
    Leland Gregory has done it again. Gregory, the author of such hilarious bestsellers as "America's Dumbest Criminals," "What's the Number for 911?" and "Great Government Goofs," follows up 2007's "Stupid History" with this ode to homegrown idiocy.

    Did you know, for example, that the brilliant Thomas Jefferson had a dimwitted brother named Randolph? Or that the first motto that appeared on U.S. coins was not "In God We Trust," but "Mind Your Business"? Or that Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who gave his troops strict orders to shoot any unknown or unidentified soldier who approached their lines and ask questions later, was -- you guessed it -- shot and killed by his own troops?

    Only in America. But the really funny thing about "Stupid American History" is that it's also a great educational tool. Seriously. The book debunks many myths (or, as they are called in the subtitle, "mythconceptions") that for decades have been embedded in the national consciousness. Read the true stories of Paul Revere, Abner Doubleday, Henry Ford and the Liberty Bell and you'll both laugh and learn.

    "Stupid" is as smart does. The rest, as they say, is history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Stupidity
    I've been a fan of Leland Gregory's for years, since his "Dumbest Criminals" books and general chronicling of idiots in all walks of American Life. This latest version of Stupid History doesn't disappoint. I love reading one surprising tidbit after another- it's like historical popcorn. Looking forward to his next--

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved it and I'm not stupid!
    I really liked this book. I bought a few extra to give as gifts. Cool. It's like a book version of something you would see on cable. ... Read more


    3. Sudoku
    by MobileReference
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B002UPVVXI
    Publisher: MobileReference
    Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Our best interactive Sudoku puzzles are now available for Kindle! Whether you are a novice to Sudoku or an experienced player this collection will sharpen your mind.

    Each Sudoku volume contains 20 different Sudoku puzzles: five puzzles for each difficulty level.

    The objective of a Sudoku game is to fill a 9x9 grid so that the numbers 1 through 9 occur exactly once in each row, column, and 3x3 box.

    With Mobi Sudoku you can:

    • Check your progress at any time. The number of wrong entries will be reported.
    • Remove errors. Use it if you feel you made too many mistakes and want to keep your correct entries but remove incorrect ones.
    • See the solution
    • Reset the puzzle if you want to start over.
    • Add a clue if you feel that you are stuck. A single number will be added to a randomly chosen empty cell.

    Note: Whispernet wireless needs to be turned on when a new game is loaded. Once a game is loaded, wireless can be turned off to conserve battery power.

     

    NEW!!! MOBI GAMES: WORD MORPH PUZZLES ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR YOUR KINDLE. TRY VOLUME 1 FOR JUST 1 CENT. SEARCH: WORD MORPH

     

    UPDATED!!! THE MOST POPULAR KINDLE USER GUIDE JUST GOT BETTER! THE GUIDE EXPLAINS:
    - Keyboard shortcuts
    - Kindle hidden features such as the preinstalled games Minesweeper and Five in a Row
    - List of Kindle-friendly websites that saves you time typing in long URL addresses
    - How to email from Kindle
    - How to download thousands of free eBooks
    - How to convert your documents to Kindle format
    - How to search the internal dictionary, Wikipedia, and the Internet
    - Shortcuts to Kindle audio player
    - How to use text-to-speech Kindle feature
    - How to choose the default dictionary
    - How to use Kindle as a calculator
    - How to Display the Time and Free Memory
    FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY 0.25 (75% OFF) - SEARCH: MOBI MANUAL

    More eBooks from MobileReference - The Best Books. The Best Prices. The Best Search and Navigation (TM)

    All fiction books are only $0.99. All collections are $5.99 or less
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    Search for any title: enter a keyword and mobi (short for MobileReference); for example: Shakespeare mobi

    Mobi Classics: Over 10,000 complete works by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Dickens, Tolstoy, Rousseau, Spinoza, Plato, Aristotle and others. All books feature a hyperlinked table of contents, footnotes, and an author’s biography.

    Mobi Collected Works: Works of your favorite authors are available as collections that are indexed alphabetically, chronologically and by category, making it easier to access individual books, stories and poems. Collections offer lower prices, the convenience of a one-time download, and they reduce the clutter in your digital library. Search mobi works

    Mobi Travel: FREE 25-Language Phrasebook; Travel Greece; Ireland; Barcelona, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Prague, Beijing, New York & more

    Mobi Reference: The world's largest Encyclopedias in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian; CIA World Factbook, Encyclopedias of Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Trees

    Mobi Study Guides: FREE Weights and Measures, Physics, Math, Languages, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry

    Mobi Medical: Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Medical Encyclopedia

    Mobi Spiritual: The Illustrated King James Bible, The American Standard Bible, The World English Bible, Mormon Church's Sacred Texts, The Qur'an

    Mobi History: Art, U.S. and European History

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars High quality Sudokus!, November 5, 2009
    As a Sudoku expert I can testify that these boards are high quality Sudokus. The book has four levels of difficulty ranging from "Easy" to "Expert". There are five puzzles of each level. Regardless of the level, these puzzles are scrupulously fair.

    Working Sudoku on Kindle is somewhat different than on paper. Rather than writing the numbers on paper, you jump between fields with the joystick. It feels somewhat unusual at first but when you are working your second board, you don't remember you are working on the Kindle.

    My only problem with this book concerns the wireless access. You must turn the wireless on to load the game. If you are in a zone where wireless is unavailable you cannot load a new Sudoku board. I have also tried this Sudoku on my iPhone and it did not work.

    3-0 out of 5 stars OK, if you're an addict..., November 7, 2009
    I downloaded Sudoku Volume 1 for my Kindle DX. If this product is still available for a penny, I'd suggest you download and try it. I thought I'd add a little detail to the earlier reviewer, in case the price has gone up and people might be hesitating.

    After playing a few puzzles, I would personally stick to paper Sudoku. But if you always carry your Kindle everywhere, and you're terrified at the thought of being stuck somewhere without a Sudoku puzzle to play, and you're confident the whispernet will be available when you need it, (i.e., not on an airplane!), then maybe this is your thing.

    The "book" that you download is a short document that contains hyperlinks to the twenty puzzles, plus a few pages of instructions. The game actually runs in your Kindle's web browser; thus the requirement that your wireless be turned on to download the puzzle. The "book" explains that this is because the native Kindle format does not support interactive operations within a document.

    The instructions in the "book" walk you through some required settings changes for your Kindle browser, but I found that you don't really need to read the instructions. When I clicked on one of the puzzle hyperlinks, the browser opened, and the necessary instructions appeared directly on the web page. As I followed each configuration step (there were only two, at least for my DX), the corresponding instruction disappeared from the web page. Nice touch. Upon completing the last config step, the puzzle appeared immediately.

    Once you get a puzzle loaded into the browser, you can turn off the wireless. I turned mine off, played a little, went back to Home, read some books, went back to the browser with wireless still off, and the puzzle was still there, as I'd left it.

    The book says that if you want to return to the puzzle, you are supposed to NOT click the corresponding link in the instruction document again, but instead browse to it from the browser. I ignored that warning and clicked back into the puzzle from the instruction document, and the puzzle was as I'd left it. However, I had my wireless off; I suppose if I had done the same thing with my wireless on, the puzzle might have re-downloaded from the web page and lost my progress.

    Once in the puzzle, the user interface is simple and intuitive. You scroll around the open squares and type in the numbers where you want. A row of buttons at the top and bottom let you check for errors, get a "clue" (randomly fill in an empty space with the correct number), remove errors, solve, or reset.


    Though the interface is simple to pick up, I found the following little quirks annoying:

    - I *think* the puzzle displays a different font for numbers I've filled in vs. those that were filled in at the beginning, but the font difference is very very subtle. This is a big deal because of the next bullet:...

    - The scroll skips squares that were filled in at the beginning of the puzzle, but not ones that you have filled in. If you try to scroll into an adjacent square that was filled at the beginning, sometimes the highlight will skip over the cell; other times it might skip over and then diagonally if that one is open. When you get near having a puzzle complete, sometimes you end up scrolling in a spiral through filled squares to get to the square you want to select.

    - On the DX keyboard, the puzzle will accept literally anything you type into a square - letters, numbers, or symbols. This means that to insert a number, you have to press Alt and then the number key. On the DX, this is a two-handed or two-step operation; awkward lying on a couch. Since the squares can only take numbers, it would be nice to be able to just hit the number key and have the puzzle smart enough to figure out, "Oh, he means 6, not Y".


    I do agree with the earlier reviewer, after playing a couple puzzles, the interface faded a bit into the background. I discovered I can just his Alt and number, then scroll elsewhere, without having to press the enter key first. And now I can find that stupid Alt key really quickly... Of course, you can't pencil in candidate numbers like you can on paper. You can easily type over or change anything you've already entered (or simply hit the Remove Errors button). But, I found myself frequently kind of holding my fingertips in different squares while thinking, "Neither of these boxes can be a 3 because there has to be a 3 somewhere in that row..."

    I also agree with the earlier reviewer, the few puzzles I've played are really pretty good. Some of the cheap paperback collections give the impression that the choice of starting squares was completely randomly generated; you might start with eight 3's but no 4's. The Kindle puzzles I've played start out balanced, just enough overlap to get you started but not really any "gimme's" even in the easy ones.

    That's about it. I will keep it on my Kindle and I imagine I'll play it occasionally for a change of pace. But I will still be tossing a paperback Sudoku into my carry-on or car trunk.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle 3 problems.....(updated 9/6/10)..., November 13, 2009
    This is a nice application and works well on the Kindle 2, the DX, or the PC app.

    The Kindle 3 has an advanced browser, however, the result is that the entire puzzle does not appear on the screen. Scrolling is needed to see the lower row of numbers, which is not acceptable.

    Some work needed, please!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm addicted to Kindle Sudoku, November 8, 2009
    It was easy to download and worked great with my Kindle 2. Yes, it was somewhat irritating to use the tottle switch to get to the space you wanted since it would sometimes not go where you wanted it to. However, my addiction to the game allowed me to overlook that factor. I found that if I had two possible solutions to a square, that I could place both numbers in the square and then later delete the one which did not fit. I would gladly pay full price for Vol. 2 because of the fun I had with vol. I. I would say that the puzzles were more difficult than the puzzles I have experienced on paper! The easy puzzles seemed to be more at moderate level and the moderate level puzzles appeared to be difficult.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Useless, October 11, 2010
    This is neither a game, nor a book. It is a collection of HTML links which open in a browser.
    It is totally unusable on Kindle 3 as sudoku won't even fit on the screen and navigation is a huge pain in the butt.
    Needless to say, you need the internet connection enabled in order to play.
    There are web sites out there which will generate you an endless amount of puzzles which you can print.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, these are fun!, November 12, 2009
    To my suprise, these are fun and neat to do on the Kindle 2! It doesn't take long to get used to doing them on the K2, and they are probably a bit more challenging simply because the lack of pen/paper requires you to do more thinkiing in your head, more remembering. This volume of twenty puzzles is certainly worth the penny I paid, and when I tire of these I'll spend the 99 cents on the next volume. I saw 30 volumes and I'm sure I could rework each volume many times, so there are plenty of offerings. While I'm not a sudoku addict,it is fun to have this game to play on the Kindle, and it is the first game that I've tried on it that worked well and easily (other than minesweeper, which is included with the K2). Downloading the game via the wireless is not a problem at all, and I just turn off the wireless after I download a game. I would recommend these puzzles to anyone who is interested in using the K2 to play a game for an occasional diversion.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not for Kindle 3, October 30, 2010
    If you own a Kindle 3, don't even think about downloading this. It is extremely frustrating to see only 8 lines of the board at a time. Even for free, it is way overpriced.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless on Kindle 3, October 11, 2010
    Uses the browser and doesn't show the whole grid onscreen at once. Why does this even exist?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Might be good if, October 7, 2010
    The latest kindle does not have number buttons. So you have to go into symbols and select a number from there. It's a pain and takes all of the fun out of the game.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for learning how to do Sodoku, November 21, 2009
    Great introduction to Sodoku -- this is perfect for getting your kids interested in these puzzles as well.

    I like the fact that you get help -- which you don't get with hard-copy puzzles. If you are new to sodoku, this is the way to learn.
    ... Read more


    4. Stupid Christmas
    by Leland Gregory
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B004DI62IE
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC
    Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    From absurd 911 calls to presidential philosophizing and foolish felons, Leland Gregory generates the best laughs by exposing the worst of human nature. Following up his New York Times best-selling Stupid American History, Gregory sets his sights on the holidays as he exposes mind-numbing mistletoe maladies in Stupid Christmas: Idiots under the Mistletoe.

    Perhaps it's the spiked eggnog or the multiple family members gathered around crazy-colored, twinkly lights, but the holidays are rife with idiocy by the daft and the dumb. Inside this latest collection, Gregory offers more than 200 accounts of holiday-induced stupidity, including:

    * While smoke billowed out of the store, firefighters had to physically restrain enthusiastic shoppers from entering a Great Lakes Mall store during an electrical fire.

    * In 1995, officials debated over whom to invite to the city's Christmas tree ceremony: President Bill Clinton or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

    * As a joke, Andrew Jackson sent formal invitations to his Christmas ball to a well-known mother-and-daughter prostitute team in Salisbury, North Carolina.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Christmas, As Related By News Of The Weird, December 4, 2010
    If your sense of humor is slightly bent, if tidbits from both current events and historical references tickles your fancy, this is the book for you. All of the stories are only a paragraph or two, but point to the regular foibles of people with a holiday feel.

    You'll find a mishmash of stories, ranging from stupid criminals to overly officious politicians. I don't want to give too much away, but I personally thought that the Baby Jesus equipped with a GPS tracking device was worth the reading time alone.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Criminals and other Dunces, December 2, 2010
    This book is not the kind of book one would read in church or to small children.

    This is an amusing collection of police reports, small-town newspaper articles and little-known factoids about anything related to Christmas. Gregory must have gone through a lot of newspapers, magazines and websites from around the world to find some of these articles. There are anecdotes about criminals getting stuck in chimneys, thieves stealing the wrong gifts, reindeer high on mushrooms, drunken villagers running through town showing off their Christmas jewels, town scrooges, or just plain stupid or quirky people around the world. There are a lot of stories about fake Santas, female Santas, drunk Santas and criminal Santas. Some even are pleasant little stories about Good Samaritans.

    My favorites are the little stories about quirky holiday traditions of other countries: Germans, Swedes, Irish, English, Spanish, etc. If these stories had their own book, it would be a better collection of perhaps not "Stupid Christmas" but "Quirky Christmas."

    This is not a bad collection if you like dirty humor, though. Gregory has written a few winning quips in this book that is typical of his humor and just like his other book "Stupid History." There is nothing here that is obscene or highly offensive (expletives have been left out) but several topics may be unsuitable for the highly religious.

    This would make a nice gift for anyone who enjoys sick or twisted humor, or anyone who collects stories about Darwn Award winners and nominees.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Christmas, December 5, 2010
    This is a collection of snippets of information, all relating to human stupidity and Christmas. You get the politically correct running amok, your dumb thief getting caught, Santa's acting not very christmas like, weird historical facts, funny citations etc.

    I would have liked all facts to be new but found that some of them were familiar, having been already published in other Leland's books.

    There's no lack of stupid people out there, which will allow this author to publish for a long long time.
    It's OK for a light read and a smile.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother, December 6, 2010
    The old adage "You get what you pay for" really applies here. I had hoped for funny stories and instead got a compilation of holiday related news items that didn't even have me cracking a smile. Went ahead and read all of it as I'm awaiting the arrival of my Kindle.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Boring news articles that just spark no interest., December 14, 2010
    I have read Leland Gregory's "Stupid History" book and thought it was fascinating, but couldn't choke down one more story from Stupid Christmas. I got 60% thru the book. I wish I could say it was humorous or fun, but just cannot. I felt it was a waste of my time. He could take the handful of good stories and add them to his Stupid History book on the next addition. Try his other book, "Stupid History"

    Here's what I like: There are a few pieces that are historical and interesting twists, showing the crazy things we don't know about Christmas and how it has changed.

    Here's what I don't like: Out of the 138 stories I read, nearly all of them are just clippings from a news articles or wired stories and have no twist and are only slightly interesting. The author puts a few words into the article to add his own flare and maybe a little humor to the otherwise uninteresting stories. It seems as if the author just pulled random newspapers off the internet and wrote them into the book only adding a few words. I felt as if he really struggled to fill a book and pulled from a period from November to January from various years. Some of the stories really have nothing to do with Christmas. I would have preferred to read 10 really funny crazy stories rather a chocked full book of dull stories. Even my wife was amazed I could read to the 60% point.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, Light, Interesting, December 10, 2010
    Great for a fast read. Each Kindle page has a different crazy story or tidbit about Christmas happenings around the world. I found it fun to open up and read a few pages a day before delving into my other books with deeper subjects. Each page turn would result in me snickering, rolling my eyes, or shaking my head in disbelief at how brainless people's actions can be. In fact, my idea of reading "just a couple of pages for now" would usually result in the reluctance to stop reading it!! The author bases most of his stories on news items found in newspapers from all over the world. While it is on special as a free Kindle download, I would definitely recommend it!! Lighten up, folks, and give it a chance!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover, December 16, 2010
    Don't judge a book by its cover, especially if it's this book and the cover looks good. *Sigh* Not even good enough to finish reading.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid book Stupid Title, December 8, 2010
    i am glad that I didn't pay for this book I did not find the stories funny at all. Got about a quarter ways through it and gave up. It was about a bunch of stupid people doing stupid things at Christmas time. A lot of stories were about crimes that did not pan out. I do not recommend it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Indeed, December 7, 2010
    I had higher hopes but this book is neither interesting nor funny. There's a certain breed of delusional nut jobs running around at this time of year whom the author should have targeted for his stories, which would have made the book entertaining. ... Read more


    5. Sh*t My Dad Says
    by Justin Halpern
    Hardcover
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $6.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061992704
    Publisher: It Books
    Sales Rank: 9
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is "like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair," has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:

    "That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won't screw you. Don't do it for them."

    "Do people your age know how to comb their hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their heads and started fucking."

    "The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."

    More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern's philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny's, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns' kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice.



    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A father and son's love knows no boundaries. Four letter words yes, boundaries no.
    Reading Justin Halpern's book brought back memories of my own father's words of wisdom. Although my father (a southern gentleman by birth) was somewhat more prudent in his use of curse words and references to sex, he never hesitated in telling his children (or anyone else for that matter) exactly what was on his mind. I remember when I introduced him to my first really serious girlfriend, a young woman who was more than a foot shorter than myself. He took me aside and said, "What's the matter, didn't they have one in your size?" However, when we later announced our engagement he was the first to congratulate us and brought out the bottle of Cold Duck that he was saving for such an occasion.

    When the author was 28 years old he was suddenly dumped by his girlfriend and needed a place to live when he made the decision to move back in with his mother and his then retired father. Working from his new "home" as a writer for Maxim Magazine gave him the time (an awful lot of time according to the author) to see his father through new, adult eyes. The terror that he had felt in his youth due to his father's "bluntness" began to be replaced by admiration for the only person that he had ever known who really spoke his mind without self-censorship. It was only then that he began to see the wisdom in his father's tersely worded observations and began posting them on his Twitter page with the same title as this book.

    Because Mr. Halpern Sr. has the gift of being able to "swear with great expertise" I can't quote many of them on Amazon, but here are a few of my favorite PG rated quips:

    ON THE DEATH OF OUR FIRST DOG
    He was a good dog. Your brother is pretty broken up about it, so go easy on him. He had a nice last moment with Brownie before the vet tossed him in the garbage.

    ON MY BLOODY NOSE
    What happened? Did somebody punch you in the face?!... The what? The air is dry? Do me a favor and tell people you got punched in the face.

    ON THE MEDICINAL EFFECT OF BACON
    You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon.

    ON SHOPPING FOR PRESENTS FOR HIS BIRTHDAY
    If it's not bourbon or sweatpants, it's going in the garbage... No, don't get creative. Now is not a creative time. Now is a bourbon and sweatpants time.

    ON BEING ONE WITH THE WILDERNESS
    I'm not sure you can call that roughing it son... Well, for one, there was a (EXPLETIVE) minivan parked forty feet from your sleeping bags.

    ON SILENCE
    I just want silence... Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more.

    If you grew up with a Ward Cleaver type of father (or wish that you did) you may find Mr. Halpern's way of expressing himself to be crude, unfeeling, or even uncaring. Far from it. The author augments the pithy quotes (some recent, other's from his childhood) with brief essays that gives the reader a little more of the back story of this unique father-and-son relationship. Is it ideal? I have learned that, for me at least, the best way to judge someone's parenting is by the adult it produces. Justin Halpern's book reads to me as a love letter to a father that always tells it like it is and who made you who you are.

    My father passed away at age 87 in 2008. At his wake (we are Irish after all so alcohol was involved) his former co-workers, friends and family paid tribute to him by telling our own little stories and quotes from a man who could be described as both taciturn and brutally honest. The recollections from my three brothers, my sons and myself included stories and things that my dad said that to the outside observer might have also seemed acerbic or even caustic, but to us it was the way that he showed us that he cared

    This book is not for those addicted to a PC idea of what a father should be or for those who are easily offended by real life conversation. But if you, like me, value frank and seemingly brutal honesty (especially from someone who brought you into this world) this book will delight you as much as it has me. I only wish that I could give this to my dad for Father's Day. He would have laughed his (BLEEP) off!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Political Correctness Quotient = Zero
    To echo what others have said this book is hilarious. It's also sweet and touching. Justin's dad is a gruff Vietnam vet, retired research doctor who is honest to a fault. He's someone who knows himself and has the courage and a burning need to speak his mind. He also loves his family to distraction. Justin's dad is Jewish and his mom a quiet, loving Catholic and though their child rearing approaches seem as different as their religions they make a good parenting team.

    Here are a few quotes which are NOT the funniest in the book but one's that are relatively lacking in four letter words:

    On Getting an Internship at Quentin Tarantino's Production Company:

    "That is one ugly son of a `gun'.....Oh, yeah, no congratulations. If you see him, try not to stare at his face if you've eaten anything."

    After Justin moves out"

    "You just barge in and take whatever you want, whenever you want it. It's like you're the ********* SS I'm living in ******* Nazi Germany...."

    At the End of the Day, at Least You a Have a Family:

    "So, there you go. Your mother thinks you're handsome. This should be an exciting day for you."

    On a hypothesized life of crime:

    "You always got us. We're family. We ain't going anywhere. Unless you go on a ******* killing spree or something."

    "I would still love you Justy. I would just want to know why you did it," my mom said earnestly.

    All these quotes can seem a bit over the top when you read them out of context but they never come across as glib or hate filled.....just honest. Justin was the youngest of three sons and the last chapter of the book is the story of one of Justin's love affairs gone awry and his dad comforting by telling the story of his first wife's life and death. The best thing about this book, besides the humor of course, is the emotional honestly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great worthwhile read
    I opened this book last night, and didn't put it down until I read it through. A quick, easy read, this book is gut bustingly funny...and it's not just a bunch of hilarious quotes, it's also a good, heartfelt story with family values and moral components intertwined. The language is very raw, so if you are offended by any or all of the entire curse word dictionary, this book may not be for you.

    I found it refreshing that there is someone out there who is all about being completely honest and transparent, and doesn't beat around the bush, especially in society's current state, where everything offends someone somewhere.

    Must read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed to hard that I was afraid I wouldn't be allowed on my flight.
    I picked this book because it came up as a recommendation and recently someone had mentioned the blog wwhich had inspired this book.

    This was a really quick, funny, and touching read. Initially I thought this was just going to be about the outrageous things the author's father spouted, but it became the portrait of a wise. loving dad who seems unable to speak without referencing defecation in some way. When you read the book you really get the idea that the author is learning from his dad, who is admittedly a little rough around the edges, how to be a decent human being. Mr. Halpern doesn't sound like Ward Cleaver, but he values honesty and fair play, and he loves his family, and this is abundantly clear in what a likable person the author seems to be. I think it's also a deft touch that the author lets his fathers words, and the stories surrounding those words, tell the tale without underlining The Point, like some sort of Wonder Years voice over.

    Not every word the senior Halpern utters is politically correct, which is part of the humor, and he obviously embarrassed his son on occasion, but this book seems like a loving tribute to a guy who clearly loves his son even while calling him a dummy. (Believe it or not.)The author's father might not be a model parent by the standards of parenting books, but underneath the abrasiveness is the type of parent that raises kids who know they're loved and supported.

    I truly laughed out loud at least a dozen times, most of them while waiting to board a plane. I was a little concerned they might think I'd spent too much time at the airport bar, but I was having a hard time holding back the most obvious sign of my enjoyment. The title says it all about the language contained inside though, and much of the humor comes from a quite colorful vocabulary. Remember Ralphie in A Christmas Story saying his father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay? That!

    Please note this is a pretty quick read with the print version being 176 pages as I'm aware this might figure into whether or not a potential reader might find it worth the current cost. I thought this was a great read, but folks on a budget or who have a set price might want to wait.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Funniest book I've read in a long time
    I'm sure a most people feel this way, but I think the reason this book is so funny to me is because I can hear all of the quotes coming out of my Dad's mouth as I read them. Justin's story telling method is quick and to the point, which keeps the book all the more engaging and interesting. Typically a book like this would be something you'd read every once in a while... I found myself reading it non-stop and then going back for more when I was done with a "chapter". Great book, perfect light reading, and hopefully not the last we hear from Justin's Dad.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dad Stories are the BEST
    I loved this book. I heard my old man and my grandpa in some of the quotes. I am happy to see that so far all of the reveiws are 5 stars - I am sure there will be a poor review sooner or later, but you can ignore those.
    My dad never used language quite as salty as Justin's dad, but his point was the same. My dad did not say I love you on a regular basis, however, he would show up at your house ready to build a shed, pour a sidewalk, install a patio, or build a deck at 6am ready to roll and wondering what the hell you were doing since you weren't already half done. Which would not have been any good anyway since you would have been doing it wrong. THAT is how a DAD shows love - a Father can only say I love you.
    When I get together with friends, my dad always comes up as a topic of conversation. Stories about my dad are always popular and always end in laughter. This is a book full of dad stories and I am happy to say they are every bit as good (and some quite a bit better than) stories I tell about my dad.
    If you don't think this book is funny and heartwarming, I truly feel sorry for you - you have missed out in life. Justin's dad is not mean, he just tells it like it is. The truth is rarely pretty, and life is not rated G.
    This book is not just random quotes, it has several short, easy to read chapters that tell you a bit about life in the Halpern home and how Dr. Halpern shaped the boys' lives. Each chapter ends with a dozen or so hilarious quotes from Justin's dad.
    I bought one for my dad and one for my wife's dad - this is a can't miss Father's Day gift - provided of course, your Father is also a DAD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!!
    If you like the quotes (and who doesn't???) then you will LOVE this book. There are even more gems from Sam, some of the best yet, plus stories that provide context and touching moments, as well as more hilarity. I seriously couldn't put it down and I will definitely be giving at as a gift all year...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Funniest Book I ever read
    Hysterical. I tried reading it on the subway and I was laughing so hard I was afraid people were going to think I was crazy (Justin's father is thinking "why do you care what other people think, Weenie?").

    Justin is a funny guy and his father is so unbelievably blunt, he is hard to believe. The best part though, was as the book went on, you realized how much of a good guy Sam Halpern is and how much he loved his son and family.

    A story of fatherhood from a man's man perspective. ... Read more


    6. Decoded
    by Jay-Z
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $18.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1400068924
    Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
    Sales Rank: 12
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Decoded is a book like no other: a collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time.

    “Hip-hop’s renaissance man drops a classic. . . . Heartfelt, passionate and slick.”— Kirkus, starred review
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Your Preconceived Notions Will Be Shattered - Read it Before Your Friends Do, and They Will - Five Stars, December 1, 2010


    Bedford Stuyvesant was his country, and Brooklyn was his planet. With these words we are led into a world that you cannot imagine, that no film can do justice to. It requires hundreds of pages to absorb, and with each page you become further and further immersed. The graphic work accompanying the printed message is among the best I have ever seen, and it will help you to understand this very special person.


    Somewhere in every person's life if you can experience transformation from where you were born to what your soul intended you to become, there is always a MENTOR figure. Sometimes it is a teacher, a relative, or a friend, but always someone.


    For Jay-Z it was Slate, who was among the first street rappers, before they even put a name on the movement. He would stand in a circle; he could go 30 minutes just rhyming, as though he was trained for it. The young Jay-Z would stand and just be mesmerized by Slate, who seemed like an ordinary fellow until he stepped into the circle, and Jay-Z would transform himself by uttering the words, I can do that.


    And therein begins a WILD RIDE, from the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to king of the hip hop movement. He would go from drug dealing and drug running to a billion dollar self created empire that would be the envy of any businessman. Years later, Russell Simmons another hip hop master, and mentor to Jay-Z would say, that one grows up wanting to wear a suit, but hip-hop would mean never having to grow up and instead one would wear sneakers to the board room.


    Jay-Z Decoded will have an interesting audience. Yes there will the kids who will own it and never read it, but for those of us, who read this book cover to cover, I promise you that you will not put this book back on the shelf without being affected by it.


    You will understand the hopelessness of ghetto life, of thousands upon thousands of young people who get destroyed before having a change to figure out what they are even involved with. Only a small number will come through the funnel to survive and thrive, and occasionally break out. Jay-Z is one who broke out, and every aspect of this life biography is fascinating to the uninitiated. Here's why?


    * The money is not in the singing, it's in the producing, owning the company.


    * Kids treated automatic weapons like clothing, they would wear them the way they would wear their sneakers.


    * In the hood, it was life during wartime.


    * Rap is the story of the hustler, and it is the story of the rapper himself.


    * Jay-Z starts wearing clothes designed by Iceberg, a European Sportswear designer. Upon meeting the designer, they offer him free clothing. The rap star walks away and builds a billion dollar clothing company from scratch. The story is all here and like the rest of the book, it's a page turner.


    * His views on politics will grip you. He meets Obama the candidate, and astutely figures out that the most important thing the future President brings to the table is that he will help millions of black kids realize that they can aspire to something other than being drug dealers.


    * He tells the future President that in one moment we will go from centuries of invisibility to the most visible position in the world.


    * From housing projects designed to warehouse lives, to knowing that the truth will always be relevant, he will tell you that it's not about brainpower but stamina, self-motivation, willpower, and standing up to the mental and physical challenge of meeting life head-on.


    CONCLUSION:


    I came to this book with an open mind, and I could not have been more pleased with it. From the discussions about Quincy Jones who revolutionized musical arrangements in his lifetime, to Bono and his commitment to use his celebrity and money to transform society, the whole book was an exercise in literary pleasure. It is a demonstration that Dag Hammarskjold the UN Secretary General who gave his life for peace was right when he wrote the following. "It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses". Thank you for reading this review.


    Richard C. Stoyeck

    4-0 out of 5 stars This book is a must have..., November 25, 2010
    This book is definitely one for your collection of good books based on hip-hop. I grew up in the Bronx during the 70's and 80's and a lot of the "rap" traditions and "crack" traditions he writes about are valid and true. Once you read through the book you will learn a few things. My favorite new fact was how Memphis Bleek was originally not going to do Coming Of Age. I won't spoil it for you.

    While the book is great to read, it's also great to look at. The pages are thick. There are pictures on almost every page which relate to that particular topic. The art direction, overseen by Jay-Z, looks really good. Honestly, they should make this book a coffee-table edition.

    Now, the reason I did not give this book a five is for two reasons.

    1. I wanted more. I have a few songs and lyrics from him that I would have like to have seen addressed.

    Example: "...the fire I spit burn down Happy Land / Social Club, we unapproachable thugs..."

    Growing up in the Bronx, I knew what that line meant, but many people don't.

    "Happy Land Social Club was an unlicensed social club in the Bronx. On March 25th 1990, 87 people were killed in an fire set by Julio Gonzalez."
    - Wikipedia

    That line isn't deep but it made me stop and say "Wow! I forgot about when Happy Land got set on fire."

    2. It didn't address one of my 9 year discussion over a line Jay-Z says in You Don't Know (Blueprint).

    "I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I'll sell water to a well/whale."

    Either word works, but I'd like to know the true word. Did he intend to confuse us with a clever play on words?

    Nevertheless, the book is great. The people who gave the book 1 star ratings didn't read the book, as they say in their reviews, so please rate those posts as unhelpful. However, If you actually read the book, and still give it one star, then that's justified.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, December 7, 2010
    So I have read all the hyped up reviews on Decoded and I can sincerely not agree.

    I am not a big Jay Z fan, however, I have always been a big hip hop fan. For years I have been waiting for Jay Z to write an autobiography because he is - no doubt - a fascinating character and of course one of the most important figures in hip hop to date.

    What is missing is some depth. He starts talking about things but he never gets deeper into it. Further, the man has had many beefs with many people over the years but he never has any bad word about anyone. Tupac and him had many differences back when Tupac was still alive, they were literally enemies. But he never gets over mentioning what a great Rapper Tupac was every now and then. Further, talks about his personal life e.g. his dad. There is no emotion when he talks about meeting his father for one last time. Or the part about the Beastie Boys: I am sure when they first came out he wasnt all that thrilled. Which person in the hood thought it was a great thing back then that three white dudes started rapping. Reading the book makes me feel like he is talking about someone else's life.

    Sure, he gives great insight on what hip hop has done for his life and I appreciate that because I can relate. But as far as learning about Jay Z as a person and his personal life, I am deeply disappointed as he remains the mystery that he has come to known to many of us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars For people who don't "get" rap and hip-hop, December 23, 2010
    Chris Rock famously said that certain rap, good rap, you can defend and explain on an intellectual level. Jay-Z is most definitely that kind of rapper, but he has done something that none before him have bothered to do; written a book offering his defense by way of explanation. He deconstructs the objections that many people have to hip-hop, its images of violence, explaining how the story in the music is the story of the life that he lived and the world that he knew. Haters hate rap for the same reasons that they tsk tsk and change the channel when a story about a shooting in the projects comes on the news; because they don't want to hear about the suffering of poor black people, and the struggles faced by those caught in the cycle of poverty that was imposed upon them.

    But honestly, I loved it most for the personal stories; the rags to riches "here's the moment when it all went down and everything changed" reflections. I mean seriously, why couldn't that jerk at Cristal just say "thank you"?

    This is a very good book. I really recommend the Kindle Edition for its ease of flipping back and forth from the endnotes to the lyrics just by touching the number in supertext.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great read for non fans!, December 21, 2010
    This book is pretty amazing. For a fan of jay z it's put a lot of things into perspective of what he was feeling and how he came to create his lyrics. Usually a private guy, he let's you into his head and feelings in different times of his life. Even if your not a fan of Jay Z I would recommend reading this book just to shed more light on rap itself and how much feeling goes info it and how complex it can be, it's just not a bunch of words rhyming. It's poetry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book, December 21, 2010
    I loved the book from beginning to end. Gave me a greater respect for Jay-Z and what he encountered to reach the top of the rap game. Hats off to him!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have for Hip Hop Co, December 13, 2010
    If you are a Hip Hop connoisseurs, this is a must have for the archives. True lyricists and poets can appreciate the technical deconstruction of Jay Z's lyrics. True hustlers can appreciate the evolution of a street hustler to a legit business man. If you are looking for a Jay Z biography, this is not it. Instead, you will find the artist's thoughts about the world around him from his perspective (right or wrong).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, December 6, 2010
    Just like the mogul himself and his lyrics- it's brilliant. It's a part how Shawn Carter became Jay Z, and part what you need to know to understand some of the most widely disseminated poetry of today.
    Don't judge it before you read it- he knows what he's talking about. I loved every word.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting book and writing style, December 2, 2010
    I got this as a christmas present for my nephew who is into the hip hop scene. I skimmed through it and read a chapter or two and was impressed. Jay Z is about 10 years younger than me, but dicuss a lot things I remember from high school (Run DMC, Sugar Hill, Grandmaster Flash, etc). Its interesting to see it discussed from a generation behind me perspective. The prose is put together in an interesting almost melodic way... I guess its what we should expect from a poet / rapper. Anyway, the whole rap scene sort of ended for me when Ice Cube / Dr. Dre / Tu Pac left the building. But I think it will put things into good perspective and sort of give a history lesson to the current set of listeners. If I see it, I will buy an audible version for myself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!, December 1, 2010
    Great book, put together really well. You learn life lessons from this book. Storys of living in New York in the 70'. I think it is a great booand you dont have to be a serious Jay-z fan to like this. Before reading this book I was a fan of Jay-z but after reading this book I am truly a big fan of him. I really recomend you read this I give it a 5 star rating. ... Read more


    7. Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure
    by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe
    Hardcover
    list price: $29.99 -- our price: $14.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439187193
    Publisher: Threshold Editions
    Sales Rank: 16
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    THE FACTS.

    THE FUTURE.

    THE FIGHT TO FIX AMERICA—

    BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

    In the words of Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, the United States is “an empire on the edge of chaos.” Why? Glenn Beck thinks the answer is pretty simple: Because we’ve turned our backs on the Constitution.

    Yes, our country is financially broke, but that’s just a side effect of our broken spirit, our broken faith in government, the broken promises by our leaders, and a broken political system that has centralized power at the expense of individual rights.

    There is a lot of work ahead, but we can’t move forward until we first understand how we got here. Starting with the American Revolution, Glenn takes readers on an express train through 234 years of history, culminating with the Great Recession and the bipartisan recklessness of Presidents Bush and Obama. It’s the history lesson we all wished we’d had in school. (Did you know, for example, that FDR once made a key New Deal policy decision based on his lucky number?)

    Along the way, you’ll see how everything you thought you knew about the political parties is a lie, how Democrats and Republicans alike used to fight for minimum government and maximum freedom, and how both parties have been taken over by a cancer called “progressivism.” By the end, you’ll understand why no president, no congress and no court can fix this problem alone. Looking toward them for answers is like looking toward the ocean for drinking water— it looks promising, but the end result is catastrophic.

    After revealing the trail of lies that brought us here, Broke exposes the truth about what we’re really facing. Most people have seen pieces of the puzzle, but very few have ever seen the whole picture—and for very good reason: Our leaders have done everything in their power to hide it. If Americans understood how dire things really are, they would be demanding radical reform right now. Despite the rhetoric, that’s not the kind of change our politicians really believe in.

    Finally, Broke provides the hope that comes with knowing the truth. Once you see what we’re really up against, it’s much easier to develop a realistic plan. To fix ourselves financially, Glenn argues, we have to fix ourselves first. That means some serious introspection and, ultimately, a series of actions that will unite all Americans around the concept of shared sacrifice. After all, this generation may not be asked to storm beaches, but we are being asked to do something just as critical to preserving freedom.

    Packed with great stories from history, chalkboard-style teachable moments, custom illustrations, and Glenn Beck’s trademark combination of entertainment and enlightenment, Broke makes the case that when you’re traveling in the wrong direction, slight course corrections won’t cut it—you need to take drastic action. Through a return to individual rights, an uncompromising adherence to the Constitution, and a complete rethinking about the role of government in a free society, Glenn exposes the idea of “transformation” for the progressive smokescreen that it is, and instead builds a compelling case that restoration is the only way forward. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Review of the Book - Not My Position Statement
    Broke, the latest release by Beck, is a surprisingly entertaining text to
    be sure. It's engaging, easy to read and designed as an unapologetic
    agenda...Beck style. It's also packed full of information that is sure to
    create a "teachable moment" among even the most vocal opponent. As a college instructor and business writer, Beck is one of the personalities that tends to draw a lot of attention and followers/critics; for that reason I attempt to stay somewhat up to date with what he/others are doing however, I'm not a "fan" of Beck per se. Although I consider him in the realm of "entertainer" rather than serious economic or political leadership, Beck has done a very real service with the publication of this book if for no other reason than the historical and educational value of the first 2/3 of the book. Also, despite the fact that this is an early review of the book (versus my own personal opinion and/or agenda), please note that this is a verified purchase unlike others. If you want to debate the pro's and con's of the "agenda", the tea party, republicans vs democrats, liberals versus conservatives etc...this is NOT that review.

    Basics About the Book

    First of all, this is a 400 pages of facts, figures, charts, explanations,
    history, examples and action-steps. It contains plenty of resources, ample
    visual impact and a clear concise style that encourages the reader to
    continue reading. This is the hardcover version with dust-jacket and I'm
    happy to say that it was well designed for maximum readability and
    audience appeal. Whether you are the type that sits down and reads 400
    pages at once or just likes to browse a bit here and there, this book will
    work equally well. Plenty of conversation with oodles of tidbits and
    factoids.

    Who Should Read

    Beck Critics - Those that dislike Glenn Beck will not be disappointed - he
    provides plenty of fuel to fire-up even the most reserved of his critics.
    In fact, even hard core Beck advocates are likely to take issue with a few
    items here and there due to "spin" so commonly used by Beck when
    interpreting information and data. Like the old adage, there are lies,
    d-mnded lies and statistics...the cited data is often used for/against
    both sides of a debate, definitions are distorted to the benefit of both
    sides and the usual chicanery is alive and well throughout the book. Yes,
    I cringed at times but let's face it, that is a daily event for most
    Americans that haven't already tuned out entirely. Critics of Beck will
    find ample opportunity to criticize the details, the proposed plan of
    action and even the man himself. However, there is a good chance that even
    the most critical opponent of Beck will actually learn something from this
    book! It is interesting and packed full of relevant historical detail as
    well as food for thought.

    Beck Fans - If you enjoy Beck, this may be his best book to date. It's
    packed with information and is unapologetic in the proposed agenda set
    forth. It's funny. It's informative. It's entertaining. It's educational.
    Without a doubt you will want to buy a copy for yourself, a couple to loan
    out to friends and at least one to keep on hand for naysayers and critics.
    Unless they are so closed to anything other than their very own agenda,
    every thinking person is likely to find something of interest in this
    book. Yes, there is slant or angle but that is true of every "side". What
    does come through (quite clearly) is the position taken by Beck and his
    supporters as well as the reasons and rationale. Agree or disagree, it's
    worth reading.

    Teens & Those New to Politics, Economics, Tax Issues etc. - Anyone with an
    open mind is likely to enjoy this book even if you don't agree...or
    actually disagree...with Beck and his conclusions. This would be a great
    tool for teens, home schooler and others that would like to initiate an
    open conversation about what it taking place (or not) in this nation. The
    historical perspective alone is well written, filled with facts and open
    enough to spur endless debate.

    What is Covered

    With over 400 pages packed to the brim, this book provides a big bang for
    the buck! It's roughly divided into three parts:

    Part I - Part I begins with ancient history, the foundation of this
    nation, monetary policy of Hoover, FDR, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II and
    now Obama.

    Part II - Covers the crime of the century, the cover up and "the murder
    weapon".

    Part III - The Plan. This is Becks' call for action, response to critics
    and his understanding of the role religion, government, family etc plays
    in shaping our nation.

    Citations, Resources etc...

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Great National Turning Point
    As a financial planner, I am always advising my clients on sound financial investments and it kills me to see our government (suposedly for the people, of the people, and by the people) got absolutely berserk with spending. Most of the facts and figures in this hefty but easy to comprehend book follow common sense and the news that you've heard recently about our country's debt problems (the $202T is new--I've always heard our unfunded obligations at $50T). It is a great resource though.

    What this non-fiction wake-up call means is that what you've read in the great political fiction (Gods of Ruin is right: we have a government full of power-hugry elites that could give a hoot about "the people".

    The timing of this book is impeccable- out just before midterm elections. It provides a clarion call to readers to put restraints on our government or risk some horrendous fiscal consequences (this section in Broke is excellent). Kudos to Beck for doing this at a major turning point for our nation!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sounds Like A Good Plan
    After reading the free book sample on Kindle, I decided to move on and get the audio book download on Audible. Why? Because, just by reading the sample, I realized that "Broke" reasoning and arguments are not directed to blame anybody or anything in particular. It blames us: the people. The approach of explaining today's struggles from a historical perspective on political systems that once thrived and then failed when people, by some reason and sometimes not willingly, renounced their own freedom is absolutely convincing and agreeable.

    The tale of the working ant and the lazy grasshopper presented in the beginning - and that is of knowledge to the most of us - is a very comprehensible example on how to turn a stimulating and constantly growing environment into something abysmal, allowing government to take part on things that we could manage ourselves. When there's no personal savings, there's no liberty. The whole book develops around this concept which is so simple in theory, yet so difficult to put in practice. We need somebody to remind us about it from time to time.

    To make a case, the book contains in several passages an "interruption" with quick facts comparing past to present data on social and economic indicators which is very hard to disagree if we look around. I believe these fast, non intrusive breaks are quite welcomed and provides to all readers/listeners not only with reasons to keep moving on until the end of the book and let everyone draw their own conclusions, but also the very reason to why this book was written.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Eye Opener
    Glenn Beck's newest book is another eye-opener and perhaps his best. Beck continues to educate America, even though it seems to be politically incorrect with some. This book is easy to read and provides clear facts and figures to prove his point that the USA is financially broke. Not only is our economy broke; we are spiritually broke; our faith in our government is at an all-time low...we are a train wreck! The author doesn't leave us without hope, but provides the facts, so that Americans can start to heal their country and themselves. This is a must read for all voters and those who really care about turning our country around before it is too late.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Glenn's best so far!
    Broke is Glenn Beck's third "text book" styled book. The same high gloss, colored pages are back with all your favorite wit and humor used to tackle serious issues. This book, unlike Beck's others, is much more focused in it's scope. It deals with the past, present, and possible future of the financial state of the Nation.

    A great feature in this book are citations that take up over 50 pages! You may not agree with his conclusions, you may say they are reaching a bit, or paranoid, but you definitely can't say that he is simply pulling all this stuff out of thin air!

    I'd recommend this book to any Glenn Beck fan, and to anyone who has never actually watched his show. If your entire view point on Beck's character is made up entirely by Stewart and Colbert, you owe it to yourself to find out exactly what it is this guy is saying.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How we got here, our current status, and how we can fix it.
    One of the things that I think speaks well of Glenn Beck is the kind of crazed hatred he inspires in the Progressive / Collectivist / Socialist class. I am sure this book will be wildly criticized, with few to zero citations, and the non-arguments against it will be personal attacks against Beck.

    But I have read this book and while no one will mistake it for Milton Friedman, David Ricardo, and Adam Smith, it's head and shoulders better than most anything we are being told by Beck's peers on radio and TV. And given the importance and timeliness of what Beck is saying, I recommend that everyone read and think about what Beck is saying. We need to wake up, people. We are broke. While we might have some cash in our wallets, our long term obligations are frightening. Changes are coming. The only choice we have is to plan and manage them on our own or wait until the train leaves the tracks and disaster forces us to change.

    Part I takes us through the history and how thrift, savings, and productivity were transformed by the Progressives into bad things and what the revaluation of those values has been a big contributor to our current crisis. My only question of the material is whether or not Andrew Carnegie really did make a major contribution to the University of Chicago since it is so closely associated with John D. Rockefeller. Maybe he did. But either way, it is no big deal. Chances are, you will learn a lot by reading this section.

    Part II discusses how honest government accounting went out the window during the Reagan administration and has gotten steadily worse. Beck demonstrates why we have to look at the off book spending to realize that there really was no surplus under Clinton and the deficits were always works than the Feds ever admitted. He also shows how the huge Federal Government spontaneously calls into being lobbyists to work on funneling Federal Spending to their clients in return for helping those in power stay in power. Frankly folks, the number one way to get the Feds out of our lives is to quit asking them to give you stuff. Shrink the demand, shrink the spending, and most of their power goes away.

    Part III is the most controversial because you may or may not share Beck's values and his 8 step plan for restoring the values, as he sees them, that made this country wealthy, powerful, and great. What are they? 1) Realize that we have individual rights and that collective rights are an excuse to grab power and chain people to the government. 2) Realize that we have equality of opportunity and that trying to make equal outcomes is just a government way of grabbing more power to try and do something that cannot be done. 3) Believe in America and her greatness. 4) Refashion government to be closer to the people. Decentralization takes away power from the elitists who want government as free of actual control by the people as they can get it. 5) Give the Progressives a taste of the activism they have been giving us for more than a century. 6) Cut spending everywhere. A little, some more, and a lot. 7) Stop printing money. Create policies that support a sound currency with real value. 8) Live your own life so you are "out of the system". Don't allow yourself to become dependent on the government and vote for those that support liberty and responsibility rather than dependence

    Can we do it? Yes! Will we do it? That remains to be seen. I hope we do.

    Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI

    5-0 out of 5 stars The book is better than 2010 midterm election results
    This book is incredibly informative and I'm recommending anyone interested in the state of the country whether conservative or progressive to read it. There's alot in here that's good for discussion. It's the smash mouth call outs in the margins of the text that make this book punchy and lively. They back up alot of what he says.

    Of course opinion will vary depending on your interpretation so it's up to the reader to decide. But when you have the likes of Thomas Jefferson calling out from the grave in the pages of this book...it's hard for people who disagree with Glenn Beck to counter his proposals and historical accounts of what's happened. Bottom line is I believe progressive thinking is in serious trouble if Glenn Beck is right in his new book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Educational!
    I found that this book taught me a lot of things that I felt I should have already known and didn't. It is written in three sections: the first is our past, and how our Presidents and congresses have brought us to our current financial situation. The second section is all about our current situation, and the many "slight of hand" tricks that are used to make finances look better than they really are, and where that is going to lead us. The third section is how the author feels we need to change things to turn our country around financially.

    First, let me say that I am ashamed that I knew so little about our former Presidents and our own history. Second, I am a bookkeeper, and when I discovered how the accounting in Washington is done I was appalled! Any individual or business who kept books and budgets the way that the government does would be in prison right now. And I never knew! While it is chocked-full of facts and information, I also found the book very entertaining. I had thought it might be dry, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. In honesty, I couldn't put it down.

    Even if you disagree with Beck's positions, suppositions, or suggested actions; the book is a good read if you would like to understand better how the country's finances are figured, and how the figures for their reporting are kept. It certainly makes for a much more educated American voter, when we understand what a politician is saying (or not saying) about our financial futures, and those of our children. When we understand the rules of the game, we know the questions to ask. I HIGHLY recommend this book. ... Read more


    8. Word Morph Volume 1: transform the starting word one letter at a time until you spell the ending word (Word Puzzles Optimized for Kindle) (Mobi Games)
    by Leonid Braginsky
    Kindle Edition (2009-12-16)
    list price: $0.99
    Asin: B00312NM90
    Publisher: MobileReference
    Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    How do you make a flip from a flop? Obviously, by changing the i to an o. This is how you play Word Morph. At each step, you can change one letter to form a new word. The task is to transform the starting word one letter at a time until you spell the ending word.

    For example, here is a puzzle:

    east
    ----
    ----
    west

    You can get from east to west like this:

    east
    past
    pest
    west

    Often puzzles have more than one solution. In the east to west example, you could also do:

    east
    last
    lest
    west

    or

    east
    vast
    vest
    west

    Sometimes the sequences are quite long. For example, here is one way to get from teach to learn:

    teach
    peach
    peace
    place
    plane
    plans
    plays
    slays
    stays
    stars
    sears
    years
    yearn
    learn

    Each puzzle comes with one to three solutions. For most solutions a hint is available.

    The puzzles are divided into several difficulty levels, from Novice to Expert, based on the length of the solution.

    Multiple volumes of Word Morph puzzles are available: search “mobi word morph”.

    Enjoy the game!

     

    NEW!!! MOBI GAMES: INTERACTIVE SUDOKU IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR YOUR KINDLE. TRY VOLUME 1 FOR JUST 1 CENT. SEARCH: MOBI SUDOKU 1

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars These puzzles are witty and challenging!, December 21, 2009
    I downloaded the Word Morph a few days ago and worked on the puzzles on my way to work. These puzzles are a lot of fun. The book has five levels of difficulty ranging from " Novice" to "Expert". There are five puzzles at each level. (The novice has only two puzzles). Regardless of the level, these puzzles are very entertaining.

    The puzzles include pairs of words. You need to keep changing the first word one letter at a time until you generate the second word. What makes the game really amusing is the selection of the words in each pair: "bat - man", "pet - cat", "eye - see" , "card - game", "work - hard", "diver - water". The longer word pairs like "prose - verse" are really challenging. I even had to cheat a few times: in addition to solutions, the book provides a few hints.

    I previously reviewed Sudoku for Kindle. My biggest concern with the Sudoku was the need for wireless access. When mu train is passing a tunnel I am not able to load a new Sudoku board. (Though I am still playing Sudoku on my Kindle and worked through four or five volumes). Unlike the Sudoku puzzles, Word Morph puzzles do not require wireless connection at any time. The book with all the puzzles and solutions downloaded to my Kindle as soon as I purchased it. Finally, I have also tried the Word Morph on my iPhone and on the Kindle for PC. It worked nicely and synchronized with the Kindle.

    1-0 out of 5 stars This is not actually a Kindle Game!, September 30, 2010
    Although you can sort of play it on the Kindle using the Notes feature, this is NOT A KINDLE GAME!!!! This is just a puzzle book. It is not interactive in the sense of the other Kindle Games like Scrabble and Shuffled Row. BE FOREWARNED!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars New game fun for the Kindle, December 29, 2009
    While I've never played Word Morph before, I found this a fun (but not always very easy!) game and the developers did an excellent job of making the game Kindle friendly. Wireless is not needed to play the game, instuctions and samples are clear, workspace is provided via Kindle's notes feature. Also, the levels of difficulty are clearly defined. If you are interested in games for the Kindle and you enjoy word games, this is one to have. NOTE: Amazon will not indicate me as a "verified owner" because I received the book as a "gift" from the publishers when I inquired whether they were working on any games other than the Sudoku that I had tried (and enjoyed). I have no other connection to the publishers/developers and the receipt of the gift did not obligate me in anyway to write a review, positive or negative.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nice waste of time, January 9, 2010
    I downloaded this for free and admit it's definitely worth the price. :) I got it mainly to keep me occupied on an upcoming plane flight. I also have been using it while I walk the treadmill. It's addictive and I like it. I realize there's not a whole lot you can do as far as interactive games on the Kindle, but I think in my mind I was expecting more. It's just like being in the backseat as a kid and playing hangman on a piece of paper. But then again, that always entertained me back in the day... this will too! Again, definitely worth the price and will keep you entertained for a good, long time.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not Interactive at all!!, October 11, 2010
    As shuffle word was so much fun, I was looking forward to other interactive Kindle games... this is NOT one of them. Apparently, you are meant to use the note feature!! That isn't a game, that is a book you are scribbling on!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money, June 6, 2010
    I bought the "Kindle" version of this to use with students....big mistake. There is no real way to use this on a Kindle, and I haven't figured out how to access the "solution" set. If you want this kind of a puzzle book, spring for the paper version.

    1-0 out of 5 stars lame and boring, February 17, 2010
    This is very slow moving and lame....although it is for the Kindle which isn't really supposed to be for games. I'd buy it because it's cheap, and if you happen to be stuck somewhere and severely bored it might pass the time

    2-0 out of 5 stars found it boring, October 4, 2010
    glad i got this free. this really isn't an interactive game. ( you can sort of play it on kindle) . the beginner and novice levels were way too easy ! there was one puzzle in intermediate that i had to cheat at, but i really did not feel challenged until i tried the advanced puzzles. as stated before, im glad i got this free. theres no way id pay for something like this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One penny transactions are rejected by many credit card companies, February 3, 2010
    I tried to buy this and several other new $0.01 games but my credit card companies (two different ones) declined the charges. They do not accept one cent charges because they think it's attempted fraud. How about 5 cents, or free? Thanks!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Solutions are not optimal, January 15, 2010
    I picked an expert level puzzle at random, army - navy, and in less than 5 minutes I found a shorter solution than the one given in the book. To whit, my solution was

    ARMY
    ARMS
    AIMS
    RIMS
    RAMS
    DAMS
    DAME
    NAME
    NAVE
    NAVY

    I suggest future such puzzle designers use a computer to find solutions that are the shortest possible. ... Read more


    9. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary
    by David Sedaris
    Hardcover (2010-09-28)
    list price: $21.99 -- our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316038393
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 24
    Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Featuring David Sedaris's unique blend of hilarity and heart, this new collection of keen-eyed animal-themed tales is an utter delight. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of everyday life.

    In "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In "Hello Kitty," a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In "The Squirrel and the Chipmunk," a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.

    With original illustrations by Ian Falconer, author of the bestselling Olivia series of children's books, these stories are David Sedaris at his most observant, poignant, and surprising.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unique absurdity & preposterous irreverence, not really a kids book
    What we have here is a unique and absurd collection of what appear (on the surface) to be anthropomorphic animal characters- squirrels, storks, cats, toads, turtles, and of course a duck. Each story starts out benign and normal enough, more or less like an Aesop's Fable, but then gets more preposterous as far as animals go and then more and more relevant to life as we live it today.

    If you have ever waited in a line at the DMV or other government office, you will see yourself as perhaps one of this trio- the Toad, the Turtle, or the Duck. Those who are a "Friend of Bill" might see something familiar in a story about a cat with some issues.

    In other words, each story holds up a mirror to our everyday life- but this being David Sedaris it's more a Wonderland or Funhouse mirror. Perhaps the closest I could come would be Aesop's fables written by a very modern Lewis Carrol.

    I found one great quote I may have to use myself "It's not that they are stupid. It's that they are actively against knowledge". How true, and how sad.

    Sedaris says to not expect a Moral for each Fable, but if you read them carefully, you should find some insight. "His morals are not spoon-fed cautionary tales of cause-and-effect but rather seemingly matter-of-fact observations that pack a subtle after shock of insightfully insinuated scrutiny."

    Funny? Yes, but not laugh out loud funny, more wry and sometimes black humor (warning!). I found myself grinning quite a bit.

    The artwork is delightful, being by the well known artist and author Ian Falconer of Olivia the Pig, etc.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shock therapy
    In his previous books, David has shown a unique ability to hold a mirror up to our foibles and fallacies, and to allow us to see and laugh at ourselves, even when we think we are laughing at/with him. Largely through the medium of his family, he has revealed the best and worst traits of human nature, and the best and worst aspects of American values and culture. He has done all this with a light enough touch so that most readers don't feel particularly threatened or defensive. With mordant wit, self-mockery, and painful honesty, he has admitted to the most outlandish (and exaggerated) misdemeanors against the laws of human behavior and good conduct, and we have laughed, recognizing ourselves, our friends, our family members.

    This book is different. The mirror has shattered, and each little tale here is a sharp shard. There is a danger that if you handle the jagged pieces you will cut yourself. The sardonic self-interest of the cat, the anxious spirituality of the brown chicken, the bemused acquiescence of the chipmunk---David has exposed these all-too-human characteristics but he has not given us himself as a human lightning rod to accept and defuse the psychological voltage. The animals in these parables, true to type and operating as they do out of unapologetic instinct, certainly can't absorb any of the shock, and we are left alone, face-to-face with our own pettiness, cruelty, wisdom, ignorance, tenderness, heartbreak. The tales are sometimes laughable and sometimes excruciatingly uncomfortable, and almost always brilliant. As fables, they are simply written---but they are definitely not for children despite the cartoonish illustrations. They are not for adults who wish to remain ignorant of their human failings either. Like all good fairy tales, they are instructional, but only if you pay attention and apply the parallels. The cruelty and darkness that some reviewers mention is a standard function of cautionary story-telling, and it's there to grab your attention; it provides the necessary tension so that the reader is drawn in, either through outrage, fear or discomfort. There is a grotesque element operating here that gentler readers will have difficulty reckoning with. I am one of those, and my first instinct was to say: forget it! But I went back over the parts that had first offended me, and with a second reading found that David's sense of humor was intact, it was mine that had been lacking. His insights remained unflinching and devastating.

    As you read, the pieces of the broken mirror reassemble, and by the end of the book you will be able, once again, to see a reflection. It's you alright, with the tail of a rat, the talons of the owl, the pecked neck of the fowl. Cringe. Laugh(sheepishly). Change your attitude. Think twice. Hold your tongue. Examine your motivations. It's uncomfortable but it's necessary. How else can we become more aware if not through the shock of self-recognition? And how else can we grow unless we see how small we really are?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Watch Out Aesop's... There is a New Sheriff in Town
    Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

    Simply amazing... I read an article from NPR about David with the added opportunity to read some excerpts and I was hooked. This bestiary is packed with delightful insight into everyday characters. Each story starts, with what seems to be, a subtle entertaining moral and before you know the story hits you with an eye opening punch. You will be hard pressed not to find a neighbor, friend, spouse, sibling, parent, or even a complete stranger that has not been represented. I picked up the book with the intentions of getting in some "light" reading time between study sessions; after the first encounter, I continued to read the next one and the next. Before I knew it 2 hours passed and the book had come to an end. Now, I am on my second read through and wishing there was a volume 2.
    ... Read more


    10. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes
    by Stephen Sondheim
    Hardcover (2010-10-26)
    list price: $39.95 -- our price: $21.94
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0679439072
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 46
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award, seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors. His career has spanned more than half a century, his lyrics have become synonymous with musical theater and popular culture, and in Finishing the Hat—titled after perhaps his most autobiographical song, from Sunday in the Park with George—Sondheim has not only collected his lyrics for the first time, he is giving readers a rare personal look into his life as well as his remarkable productions.

    Along with the lyrics for all of his musicals from 1954 to 1981—including West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd—Sondheim treats us to never-before-published songs from each show, songs that were cut or discarded before seeing the light of day. He discusses his relationship with his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations with extraordinary talents such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Angela Lansbury, Harold Prince and a panoply of others. The anecdotes—filled with history, pointed observations and intimate details—transport us back to a time when theater was a major pillar of American culture. Best of all, Sondheim appraises his work and dissects his lyrics, as well as those of others, offering unparalleled insights into songwriting that will be studied by fans and aspiring songwriters for years to come.

    Accompanying Sondheim’s sparkling writing are behind-the-scenes photographs from each production, along with handwritten music and lyrics from the songwriter’s personal collection.

    Penetrating and surprising, poignant, funny and sometimes provocative, Finishing the Hat is not only an informative look at the art and craft of lyric writing, it is a history of the theater that belongs on the same literary shelf as Moss Hart’s Act One and Arthur Miller’s Timebends. It is also a book that will leave you humming the final bars of Merrily We Roll Along, while eagerly anticipating the next volume, which begins with the opening lines of Sunday in the Park with George.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Culture vultures, prepare to feast!
    If you are lucky, you will discover artists whose work speaks to you in a very profound way. For me, it's the paintings of Henri Matisse, the novels of John Irving, the musicals of Stephen Sondheim. I'm an unabashed fan.

    Mr. Sondheim's new coffee table book, Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes, is a gift to us all. Before you even start reading the text, flip through it and you'll see that this is a gorgeous book. It is chock full of photographs--more than 200--many of them full page blowups. There are pictures and artwork from the productions, candid photos from Mr. Sondheim's personal collection, and images of his hand-written notes, lyrics, and sheet music. This book is richly and beautifully illustrated. The only small disappointment is that all images are black and white, but it is truly a minor complaint.

    Once you've feasted your eyes, dive into the text. Almost immediately, you'll see that Mr. Sondheim has written his book with the care and precision with which he writes his songs. There's a slight formality to the tone (with the laying down of copious rules along the way), but at the same time, it's a very candid look at his work, his collaborators, his predecessors, and his life. For musicians or composers, there is much substantive information on his process. And for theater buffs like me, this book is a treasure! Mr. Sondheim's contributions are the apotheosis of musical theater. The shows recounted are theatrical history. Sadly, I'm too young to have seen the original productions of any of these 13 shows, but now I've heard about the drama behind the scenes of Merrily We Roll Along straight from the horse's mouth. I know his two regrets from West Side Story, what he really thinks of theater critics, how he wanted to plot A Little Night Music, and the influence of Hammerstein's Allegro on his career. The truth is, there is just so much packed into this book, it is simply impossible to even begin to summarize the contents.

    This book is specifically dedicated to Mr. Sondheim's lyrics, and what a joy it was to sing, er... I mean, read my way through them. To give you an idea of how comprehensive Finishing the Hat is, every lyric of every song from the original production of Follies is included. Nine songs cut from the show are included, along with the reasons behind the changes. A revised lyric for a later London production is included. And altered versions of "I'm Still Here" (for Barbara Streisand and for the film Postcards from the Edge) are included. And always Mr. Sondheim's thoughts, observations, and occasional criticisms are shared, often through the use of extensive footnotes.

    The book ends at Merrily, 423 pages in, with a provocative statement and the word INTERMISSION. This is indeed the intermission between the volumes of Mr. Sondheim's collected lyrics/memoir, the second of which will encompass the remainder of his storied career. I can only hope the second book is well into its production. As excited as I was to get my hands on this book, it is truly more than I could have hoped for. In the end, it's a fitting testament to an immense talent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable
    I have sat, transfixed, for the previous 2 1/2 days reading this book from cover to cover. Every line is a gem, a brilliant insight to be savored and reflected upon. If you have ever wanted direct access to the mind of one of art's greatest creators, this is it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A "Must-Have" Book
    This is an incredible book to add to your theater collection. Mr. Sondheim really makes you think about the process and understand (just a little in my case) how much work, thought, genius, etc. it takes to produce his shows. It is like taking a master class in your comfy chair.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sondheim Rocks
    A must-have for the Sondheim fan. However, the print is small and faint, and it is not a physically easy read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Gift/Great Personal Purchase
    I must confess to being a life-long Sondheim fan - but this is truly an enjoyable and informative book about someone that I deeply admire. Bought it for a gift - want one for myself now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Bow for Mr. Sondheim
    Stephen Sondheim Will probably forever be regarded as the finest lyricist the musical stage has known - with apologies to librettist W. S. Gilbert or Gilbert and Sullivan fame. He has always taken on stories that encourage - no, force - the audience to relate to his ideas, whether that be in the early stages of his career with the magnum opus West Side Story or with the subsequent Gypsy!, Pacific Overtures, Follies, Sundays in the Park with George, Company, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, etc. But while most everyone knows the lyrics to his large number of hits, few of us know the secrets or gossip or the lyricists real feelings about each of his ventures - until now.

    This book is a very well written compendium of the lyrics (in every phase of their being), notes, ideas, misjudgments, and personal responses to the shows and the people involved with them. Sondheim is brilliant, not only at what he has done for a living, but also as a thinker and philosopher and pundit. Reading this book, as opposed to scanning this book, opens windows of insight into the career and the personality of one of America's treasures. There is so much to enjoy about this book that it will take several readings to absorb it all. It is a welcome addition to the libraries of all those who care about the stage musicals that are one of the few 'unique offerings' of this country to the world of music. Grady Harp, December 10

    5-0 out of 5 stars Provocative, insightful, instructive, humorous.
    He is the master of lyric writing, and he conducts a Master Class in the art for all of us who are interested and enchanted by this craft. He analyzes and overanalyzes himself, and combines it with critiques of other great lyricists. You may agree or disagree with his opinions, but his instructive and self assured manner gives you great insight into this most difficult art.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just a small aside to add to the other reviews
    How could I add anything to the previous reviews? It is all true: the book is brilliant, funny, witty, (funny and witty are not the same things, of course) controversial (if you're a fan of musicals from before 1950), insightful, delightfully opinionated, original...all the things the others have been saying. Listen to them (us)and you will be rewarded handsomely with a magnificent read. And if you already love Sondheim (as I do and millions of others do) you will probably read it more than once, first to just absorb as much as you can as you devour it in a few sittings, then again to discover God in the details. And I agree, the type could probably have been better. So, just as a small suggestion, if you're having trouble reading it, stop complaining, go out and spend a dollar and buy a magnifying glass. A small price to pay for the enjoyment you'll receive. Just a suggestion, mind you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Rigor of Sondheim
    Stephen Sondheim brings the same sense of rigor in his evaluation of his own work and that of his peers as he does to his musical creations. His passion reveals itself through his meticulou craftsmanship. His care in writing Finishing The Hat leaves the reader feeling as energized and refreshed as one feels after hearing his music and lyrics. It will be a wonderful text to refer to and reflect upon during repeated readings. ... Read more


    11. I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections
    by Nora Ephron
    Hardcover (2010-11-09)
    list price: $22.95 -- our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307595609
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 72
    Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cool, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.

    Ephron writes about falling hard for a way of life (“Journalism: A Love Story”) and about breaking up even harder with the men in her life (“The D Word”); lists “Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again” (“There is no explaining the stock market but people try”; “You can never know the truth of anyone’s marriage, including your own”; “Cary Grant was Jewish”; “Men cheat”); reveals the alarming evolution, a decade after she wrote and directed You’ve Got Mail, of her relationship with her in-box (“The Six Stages of E-Mail”); and asks the age-old question, which came first, the chicken soup or the cold? All the while, she gives candid, edgy voice to everything women who have reached a certain age have been thinking . . . but rarely acknowledging.

    Filled with insights and observations that instantly ring true—and could have come only from Nora Ephron—I Remember Nothing is pure joy.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
    I loved Nora Ephron's "I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections". It is a book of musings - some serious, some funny, all interesting. I especially appreciate the way it was written making you feel like you're sitting across from a friend chatting over a cup of coffee. It is a short book but one that definitely hit the spot.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Remember Nora and everything else.
    I know Nora Ephron's writing well, I've been a fan for decades. She and I have grown up together, cried together, gotten divorced and remarried together and laughed together. Finding even a kernel of new writing from her is like bumping into an old friend. When I buy a book by Ms. Ephron I know what I'm getting, it's exactly what I what I'm looking for, and I love the way she says whats on her mind. I've found that she and I are similar in many ways and I'm sure that the rest of her book buying public feels the same. I want to listen to my dear old friend before I fall asleep some nights and sometimes we have a chat in the afternoon or over lunch (I imagine). The mere passage of time produces life lessons. I'm always happy to hear about the stories that have carried us from our past to our present Mostly that stuff is the boring crap that bogs down most writers... but that's the best part of Nora Ephron's writing...... the telling of the story. That's what makes her great and her books worth waiting for. I get to swap stories with my dear old (imaginary) best friend.
    I loved it. And want more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "I have been forgetting things for years."
    Sixty-nine year old Nora Ephron is philosophical, caustic, and occasionally hilarious in her latest book of concise and pointed essays, "I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections." "The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront. I can't possibly keep up," says Ephron. Although she is a famous screenwriter, director, and playwright, in some ways Nora is Everywoman, someone who shares the same concerns as the rest of us. For instance, she feels cornered when a person accosts her whom she does not recognize, but who obviously recognizes her. She bemoans these signs of aging: friends becoming ill and dying, one's contemporaries obsessing over their MRIs and CAT scans, and taking "so many pills in the morning you don't have room for breakfast."

    The author looks back at her career with mixed feelings. The chapter on her love affair with journalism is one of the best in the collection. She recalls the entrenched sexism back in the early sixties when, upon graduating from Wellesley, she could get a job at Newsweek only as a "mail girl" at fifty-five dollars a week. Readers will relish the author's juicy anecdotes about the days when telex machines spewed out dispatches; the media covered up scandals instead of reveling in them; and, as a novice reporter at the Post, she learned her craft from a group of nurturing and talented editors.

    "I Remember Nothing" is a paean to New York, "the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place that you could ever live." It is also a poignant exploration of the power of parents to damage their children, the fragility of marriage, the pain of creating a flop, and the challenges of adjusting to a world in which almost everyone is infatuated with technology. Ephron is by turns proud and self-deprecating, saucy and thoughtful, nostalgic and regretful. She gets it that life is complicated and none of us will ever figure it out completely; we might as well do the best we can with what we have. She includes recipes for living well as well as recipes that you can prepare in your kitchen, and concludes with a list of things that she will miss after she is dead. Leave it to Nora Ephron to put her husband, kids, and waffles on the same list.

    ... Read more


    12. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
    by Max Brooks
    Paperback (2003-09-16)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $5.62
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1400049628
    Publisher: Three Rivers Press
    Sales Rank: 48
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now.Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

    Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack

    1. Organize before they rise!
    2. They feel no fear, why should you?
    3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
    4. Blades don’t need reloading.
    5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
    6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
    7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
    8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
    9. No place is safe, only safer.
    10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

    Don’t be carefree and foolish with your most precious asset—life. This book is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now without your even knowing it. The Zombie Survival Guide offers complete protection through trusted, proven tips for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the living dead. It is a book that can save your life.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Being safe means being prepared!
    This excellent guide will prepare you as well as any book can. The realities of an outbreak of the Solanum-infected is something that will test your physical and psychological limits. However--and with apologies to Mr. Brooks for using this space to editorialize--the only way we can fully prepare, is for the government to finally make the recorded incidents available for public scrutiny and analysis.

    I know from bitter experience how ill-prepared local, state, and federal authorities are to deal with these outbreaks. It is only a matter of time before containment and cover-up are shown-up for the pathetic band-aid type responses they are; and we have a full-scale infestation that will have to be dealt with by the clueless.

    The incident I experienced wasn't covered in the book, which is very surprising, considering how recent it was, the number of people involved, and the fact that it resulted in the death--among many others--of a former Cosby kid. At least a few of Mr. Brook's sources would surely have know about the events in and around Black Creek, Wisconsin in October of 1998.

    My involvement began when I was pulled off the site of my security supervisor position at a nearby Department of Energy facility to support a county SWAT team dealing with a "civil disturbance". This type of order was unheard of, yet me and a few others with sniper training had to respond. This isn't the place for a long narrative, yet I need to give some sort of public account. Screw my security oath; I also took an oath to protect the United States from enemies foreign and domestic, and the only way to do that, I'm convinced, is to reveal the truth.

    Long story as short as possible: a charter flight out of Canada went down in the dense woods surrounding the unincorporated town of Black Creek, and we were given vague instructions to set up a perimeter around that locus and stop, by whatever means necessary, anyone attempting to leave the area. We all thought it was a training exercise and were joking around when the first of "them" lurched out of the woods. You can guess what happened. Our perimeter soon became an inner perimeter as we ourselves were hemmed in, engaged in the fight of our lives. 18 horrifying and surreal hours later, huddled in an abandoned grist mill, the remains of our group were rescued by troops from Fort McCoy. The incident was covered up. Civilians as well as law enforcement and military personnel were threatened into silence, and I can only assume the press was as well. I am aware of some attempts at lawsuits still going on, but I think those are doomed to fail.

    Had we had even a fraction of the knowledge contained in this guide--or even knew the nature of the enemy we battled--we would have fared so much better, and many good people would still be alive.

    The advice in the book is solid, although I have a few thoughts of my own based on my experiences: I don't agree that edged weapons are superior to bludgeons. Blades will stick, splatter infected blood all over, and pose a greater risk to any of your allies in close proximity. You don't want the distraction of crawling around a dimly-lit floor, looking for your buddy's ear, accidently hacked off while you flailed at a horde of creatures. (True story.) Also, If you have the time in advance, use low-grain rounds in your firearms if you're planning on using them indoors. In an enclosed space, the muzzle-flash and noise from rounds like those in a magnum will leave you disoriented and numb after just a short time, severely limiting your combat effectiveness. Finally, wear pathogen-resistant boots. You won't believe the amount of blood that pools at your feet while defending a static position from a major onslaught.

    Mentally toughen up. I realize that advice is a bit non-specific. I really don't have a solid indicator of what will make someone react better than others in those terrifying situations. Combat veterans panicked, with fatal consequences, while an intrepid band of Cub Scouts--clearly camped out at the wrong place at the wrong time--performed admirably.

    Your Uncle Sam IS making small steps toward training its first responders, albeit secretively and obtusely. For example, see the 2005 copy of the FEMA Small Unit Managers Manual, 109-A. They mention "Transient Anomalous Social Disturbances". A roundabout and halfway approach to some sort of level of preparedness. And a close examination of the Department of Homeland Security charter will reveal small clues to a weak effort at defense against the undead. But, bottom line, it is the informed citizenry that will make the difference when the Solanum hits the fan. Get this book and get busy. ... Read more


    13. Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
    by Jennifer Homans
    Hardcover (2010-11-02)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $21.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1400060605
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 49
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year

    For more than four hundred years, the art of ballet has stood at the center of Western civilization. Its traditions serve as a record of our past. A ballerina dancing The Sleeping Beauty today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth-century Italy and France: Her graceful movements recall a lost world of courts, kings, and aristocracy, but her steps and gestures are also marked by the dramatic changes in dance and culture that followed. Ballet has been shaped by the Renaissance and Classicism, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Bolshevism, Modernism, and the Cold War. Apollo’s Angels is a groundbreaking work—the first cultural history of ballet ever written, lavishly illustrated and beautifully told.

    Ballet is unique: It has no written texts or standardized notation. It is a storytelling art passed on from teacher to student. The steps are never just the steps—they are a living, breathing document of a culture and a tradition. And while ballet’s language is shared by dancers everywhere, its artists have developed distinct national styles. French, Italian, Danish, Russian, English, and American traditions each have their own expression, often formed in response to political and societal upheavals.

    From ballet’s origins in the Renaissance and the codification of its basic steps and positions under France’s Louis XIV (himself an avid dancer), the art form wound its way through the courts of Europe, from Paris and Milan to Vienna and St. Petersburg. It was in Russia that dance developed into the form most familiar to American audiences: The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker originated at the Imperial court. In the twentieth century, émigré dancers taught their art to a generation in the United States and in Western Europe, setting off a new and radical transformation of dance.

    Jennifer Homans is a historian and critic who was also a professional dancer: She brings to Apollo’s Angels a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice. She traces the evolution of technique, choreography, and performance in clean, clear prose, drawing readers into the intricacies of the art with vivid descriptions of dances and the artists who made them. Her admiration and love for the ballet shines through on every page. Apollo’s Angels is an authoritative work, written with a grace and elegance befitting its subject.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good history of ballet with a sour aftertaste, December 6, 2010
    Jennifer Homan's book is really two separate books in one. The first is a long, fairly comprehensive history book about ballet. Even if more seasoned balletomanes are already familiar with the basic storyline, Homans is still an excellent historian with a sharp eye for detail. The book is best when talking about the history of ballet: as a court dance in the French royal court, Marie Taglioni's dancing on the tips of her toes to give her an eternally ethereal look, the great era of Petipa at the Mariinsky Ballet, and of course, the giant of 20th century ballet, George Balanchine. Homans is a real historian -- every page is filled with interesting but somewhat arcane facts that shows that she has indeed done her research. What I like about her book is that she doesn't just focus on the big names (Louis XIV, Bournonville, Petipa, Ivanov, Diaghelev, Balanchine, Ashton). Her book is filled with tidbits on the lesser-known figures of ballet. For instance, she devotes quite a bit of space to Ivan Vsevolovsky, the man mainly responsible for bringing together Peter Tchaikovksy and Marius Petipa. Homans also includes a very funny section on the excesses of the Italian spectacle warhorse, Excelsior, which was a huge popular hit but "all but killed Italian ballet." Her description of Excelsior: "boasted a cast of more than five hundred, including twelve horses, two cows, and an elephant." Homans is also careful to link ballet to society at the time, pointing out, for instance, that Marie Taglioni had such a hoarde of Victoria-female admirers because she was plain, demure, yet able to transmit the romantic yearning that females felt into her dancing.

    Part of the joy of the book is the exquisitely chosen pictures and thoughtfully written captions. She shows us the original "five positions" in Louis XIV's court. She includes the original notations of the Italian spectacle ballet Excelsior. She compares the original Mariinsky snowflakes with the Snowflakes Balanchine made for his Nutcracker. By the caption, Homans writes: "The similarities are striking, Balanchine made one important addition: his snowflakes are crowned, emphasizing their Imperial lineage." For this careful, loving overview of the history of ballet, "Apollo's Angels" is to be treasured.

    The second part of the book is a lengthy epilogue in which Homans declares that "ballet is dead." Even though this part if obviously much shorter than the first part, its tone is so different from the previous part of the book that it might as well be a separate book. Homans' careful, academic study on ballet is thrown out the window for Homans' theory that ballet is dead. Not just going through a dry spot choreographically, but dead. Homans decries the lack of exciting choreographers on the horizon (has she seen Ratmansky's work, one wonders). Not just that, but Homans declares of today's performers: "For performers, things are no easier. Committed and well-trained dancers are still in good supply, but very few are exciting or interesting enough to draw or hold an audience. Technically conservative, their dancing is opaque and flat, emotionally dimmed. And although many can perform astonishing stunts, the overall level of technique has fallen. Today's dancers are more brittle and unsubtle, with fewer half-tones than their predecessors." Moreover, Homans declares that ballet is out of step with today's culture: "Today we no longer believe in ballet's ideals. We are skeptical of elitism and skill, which seem to us exclusionary and divisive. Those privileged enough to obtain specialized training, so this thinking goes, should not be elevated above those with limited access to knowledge or art. We want to expand and include: we are all dancers now. Ballet's fine manners and implicitly aristocratic airs, its white swans, regal splendor, and beautiful women on pointe (pedestals), seem woefully outmoded, the province of dead white men and society ladies in long-ago places."

    The arguments are familiar: today's dancers are losing their links with great choreographers and pedagogues. There has been no real great choreographer since Balanchine's death. Yet such a long, bitter epilogue after such a loving history of ballet leaves a sour taste in one's mouth, even if I can agree with some of her points. First of all, I hate to think that such a painstakingly researched book was just to prove a point that ballet is dead. Second of all, I dislike declaring any art form dead. Wasn't it the great works of Marius Petipa in Russia that rescued ballet from the excesses of Italian ballet? It seems narrow-minded, knee-jerk conservative, and somehow deeply mean to declare an art form dead. The author assumes that if people enjoy ballet today, they are somehow ignorant, and that kind of elitist attitude doesn't help anybody. The other issue is that somehow I wonder if the epilogue was tacked on to sell more books, as a lengthy history book about ballet might not garner nearly as much controversy, and thus publicity. Homans is a former dancer, which I suppose gives her opinions weight, and she obviously loves ballet. That is evident in the care in which she writes about ballet history. Yet I can't give this book five stars, simply because of the epilogue, which has now become more well-known than the entire book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gift for the Ballet Lover, November 27, 2010
    Put everything down and read this book! It will hold you spellbound. A beautifully written and produced history of ballet, this is a book that will be treasured by the ballet lover. The author covers ballet's earliest history in 16th century court dance up to the present. There are plentiful illustrations and photographs, and the author's commentary (she is dance critic for The New Republic) is incisive and informed. She writes glowingly of Balanchine and describes his major work. Though I knew much of the history of ballet through my reading, the author's critical lens casts a new light on this evanescent art form. I give my wholehearted appreciation to Jennifer Homans for transmuting the beauty of dance to the printed page.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Glorious!, November 10, 2010
    I just finished Apollo's Angels and I can't say enough in praise of this book. As a dance enthusiast, I have never read a more complete, intriguing, and accessible history of ballet. Ms. Homan's writing is lucid, fresh, and at times astonishing. I fully recommend this book. And, it would make a great Christmas present for any balletomane.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If You Love Ballet, This Is A MUST READ!, November 10, 2010
    A much-needed, gorgeously written, eminently readable, thoroughly researched story of four hundred years of ballet. Much is being made of Ms. Homans' final chapter, which includes an assessment of the current state of the art form. Whether or not you agree with her, that should not detract from what is a major work of performing arts scholarship. Highly recommend!

    4-0 out of 5 stars misjudged, December 24, 2010
    From everything I heard and read prior to receiving and reading this book for myself I expected to be irritated by it. It is extremely well written and some obscure details the author brings out with great clarity. I enjoyed everything except the epilogue and even that is not as bad as what I'd feared. The author clearly thinks that the present moment in ballet is the final death knell. Print matter is supposed to be dead, the theatre is supposed to be dead, classical music is supposed to be dead... It is just to facile an assumption. Some of the points I agree with but cannot see them in such dire terms. Dancers have become universal in their technique and lots of "cookie cutter" dancers are manufactured. Some of this is very regrettable but it is the world we live in now. Globalization is not restricted in dance or anywhere else. Choreography certainly is not at the low ebb she suggests. There will not BE another Balanchine or Ashton. Get over it. So many interesting choreographers are working just now it is impossible to see enough to actually judge. Someone else will come up that grabs everyone's attention and for awhile everyone will love them and then think after that nothing they do is any good any longer. That is our fault as critics in not allowing them to develop freely and being patient in their choreographic life. Everyone wants the next great ballet!!! Great choreographers makes bad ballet sometimes but if even one is good that is enough.

    The actual danger of this book is that someone might not know enough to think for themselves and let the author tell them ballet is dead. More people will go to dance performances than will read this book. When this changes, then worry. Go out and see a ballet.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Mind numbing detail!, December 10, 2010
    At the end of this book you will find 52 pages of notes and bibliography. Homans has done her homework unearthing every scrap of letters, essays, and commentary and cramming them into this book. What she hasn't done is edit them into anything especially readable or meaningful. This is an example of pedantic writing at it's very best (or worst!) If you are willing and able to do the work that should have been done by the author or editor, then you will find much here that is of value -- and more -- and more -- and more...!

    2-0 out of 5 stars If you love ballet, you're out of luck, November 2, 2010
    The author has pronounced ballet a dying, if not already dead art form. She clearly needs to get out more, and see how hard it is to get a ticket to ABT, Royal, POB, or Kirov. Rest assured ballet is alive and well, whether measured by box office receipts, number of little kids taking ballet class around the world, movies made with a balletic theme, or new works being commissioned. A truly dreary piece of academic "scholarship." ... Read more


    14. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages
    by Leland Gregory
    Kindle Edition (2007-05-01)
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B002TZ3D2G
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 324
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    If it would shock you to learn that Benjamin Franklin didn't discover electricity, you'll appreciate this take on hundreds of historical legends and debacles. Historians and humorists alike may be surprised to learn that:

    Samuel Prescott made the famous horseback ride into Concord, not Paul Revere. As a member of Parliament, Isaac Newton spoke only once. He asked for an open window. On April 24, 1898, Spain declared war on the U.S., thus starting the Spanish-American War. The U.S. declared war the very next day, but not wanting to be outdone, had the date on the declaration changed from April 25 to April 21.With these and many other stories, leading humorist Leland Gregory once again highlights both the strange and the funny side of humankind. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Light reading on a weighty topic!
    I really enjoy trivia and I really enjoy history so it was nice to see them combined in a really funny collection. This is a collection of entertaining short, historical tales flavored with pieces of trivia and stupid acts through the ages. Leland Gregory has also peppered these narratives with "punny" jokes that are sure to make you crack a smile.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
    This is a fun book. The entries are one page little-known facts and anecdotes from history. I found the entries to be from slightly interesting to Wow! Plus, there are several laughs thrown in along the way. The one page entries made this perfect bedtime reading for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars totally worth it impulse buy
    I purchased this at my local Borders Books. Unintentionally. They had it up at the register, and being a history fanatic, and a fan of all things trivialesque & stupid, I impulsively purchased the book. I'm so glad I did. As another reviewer said, the book is full of everything from, "Oh, really?" to "OH WOW!" and very 'punny' jokes.

    Totally worth the money. I'm glad it was on display, or otherwise I may have never known of it's existence. ... Read more


    15. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
    by Amy Sedaris
    Hardcover
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 044655703X
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
    Sales Rank: 39
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    America's most delightfully unconventional hostess and the bestselling author of I Like You delivers a new book that will forever change the world of crafting. According to Amy Sedaris, it's often been said that ugly people craft and attractive people have sex. In her new book, SIMPLE TIMES, she sets the record straight. Demonstrating that crafting is one of life's more pleasurable and constructive leisure activities, Sedaris shows that anyone with a couple of hours to kill and access to pipe cleaners can join the elite society of crafters.



    You will discover how to make popular crafts, such as: crab-claw roach clips, tinfoil balls, and crepe-paper moccasins, and learn how to: get inspired (Spend time at a Renaissance Fair; Buy fruit, let it get old, and see

    what shapes it turns into); remember which kind of glue to use with which material (Tacky with Furry, Gummy with Gritty, Paste with Prickly, and always Gloppy with Sandy); create your own craft room and avoid the most common crafting accidents (sawdust fires, feather asphyxia, pine cone lodged in throat); and cook your own edible crafts, from a Crafty Candle Salad to Sugar Skulls, and many more recipes.



    PLUS whole chapters full of more crafting ideas (Pompom Ringworms! Seashell Toilet Seat Covers!) that will inspire you to create your own hastily constructed obscure d'arts; and much, much more!
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Rollicking Good Time from Cover to Cover!, November 4, 2010
    I'm almost never compelled to write online reviews, but I feel like I need to write one for Simple Times because it's an absolute gem! If you enjoyed Amy's first foray into the world of how-to, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, you will love Simple Times. Everything that made I Like You such an immensely entertaining romp is back with a vengeance! It's comprised of the same kind of humor and the exact same kitschy, homemade style that makes I Like You such a blast. Take the brief crafts chapter at the end of I Like You, and imagine if it had continued. That is exactly what Simple Times is: A sequel to--a continuation of--Amy's first book. There are a couple differences, however. I Like You is a very real hospitality guide (in addition to being my go-to cookbook) and contains a lot of genuine information and useful tips in between the jokes. The informational/text portions of Simple Times, on the other hand, are mostly jokes. You will garner some real information from it (particularly the chapters on rabbit care and making sausage, if you're into those things), but by and large, the text is humor. I read it cover-to-cover and was constantly busting up laughing. As far as the crafts go, think of crafts you made in scouts or Bible school as a kid. This is mostly what you'll find in Simple Times. Some are jokes (i.e. using a plastic sandwich bag as a condom), but many are very real, and if nothing else, will act as a springboard for inspiration and ideas... which leads me to the instructions. When flipping through the book, make sure you don't skip reading the craft instructions. Many of them are uproariously funny! Some of the instructions are vague, but that's kind of the point of Simple Times--not necessarily to teach the reader step-by-step, but rather to inspire ideas and imagination. Visually, Simple Times is identical to I Like You. Colorful photos jump off of every page, and Amy portrays an array of characters, from Jesus, to a hormonal teenager, to [my personal favorite] a crotchety old candyman, all with incredible costumes and special effects make-up.

    If you're buying Simple Times with the expectation of a serious, Martha Stewart-esque tome that will teach you how to create extravagant centerpieces for your perfectionist sister's wedding, you will be completely foiled. But that would just be your own fault, because if that's the type of book you're looking for, then what on earth are you doing with an Amy Sedaris book in the first place????? Notice how this book is listed not only in the crafts & hobbies section, but also under PARODIES. Sure, Simple Times is a crafts book, but mostly it's a rollicking good time. If you are unfamiliar with Amy Sedaris, do yourself a favor and look her up before buying this book--or at least take a careful look through the preview here on Amazon. She is first and foremost known as a comedienne, and her brand of humor is not for everyone.

    The only other thing I want to mention is about the audiobook. The audiobook is FANTASTIC. Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello read on it together, and it is crazy entertaining. That said, if you're looking at purchasing the audiobook, make sure you get the hardcover to go with it. Simple Times is all about the visuals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Boozy, Bawdy, And Brilliant--Amy Sedaris Might Be Sniffing The Glue, November 9, 2010
    I have eagerly been awaiting "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" ever since I fell in love with Amy Sedaris' previous masterpiece of entertaining etiquette "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence." How do I love Amy Sedaris? Let me count the ways. But one thing I never expected was to be turning to the woman that unleashed Jerri Blank (the ultimate 46 year old high school freshman) on the world for hosting, household (and in this bit of madness) crafting advice. This boozy and hilarious "how to" guide is both absurdly funny AND seriously practical, especially if you like your crafting on the more ironic side. I understand that some of the "serious" crafters out there are upset by some of the more colorful text, but this is clearly a comedic parody--Sedaris, in both books now, straddles the fine line between insanity and usefulness. Oh well, maybe she stumbles over it as well. Come on--the book is called "Crafts For Poor People!" Shouldn't that be enough warning for the more serious minded amongst us?

    The book is expertly put together and absolutely beautiful. The photos and illustrations are influenced in equal measure by an intoxicated sixties housewife aesthetic and a certain trailer park chic. And Sedaris' whimsy shines in her costumes, characterizations, and bizarrely inappropriate selection of crafting ideas. The anti-Martha Stewart, Sedaris isn't afraid to embrace real life when confronting crafting challenges. A great deal of fun and worth every penny. I was so blown away by "I Like You" that I purchased 5 copies to give out for Christmas this year. I am now going to pick up additional copies of "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" to make it a bad taste gift set! It's time to unleash the genius and the madness of Amy Sedaris on my friends that haven't had the pleasure--and this is the perfect vessel. KGHarris, 11/10.

    5-0 out of 5 stars People....it's our dear Amy, what did you expect?, November 6, 2010
    Listen, I love this book. Love it. I am a child of the sixties, and I grew up with many of the crafts she demonstrates and gently pokes fun at. I mean, I can remember pop cans being turned into wind chimes, pipe cleaner art, pom pom art...I can even recall my (by then) senile grandma gluing glitter to anything and everything she could get her hands on. My own pride and joy was a bullfighting mosaic I fashioned out of corn and dried beans. It was a simpler time...it was fun...but visiting it through Amy's tongue and cheek book is a blast. The pictures are great; the humor jumps out at you off every page. Enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift For Everyone!!!, November 3, 2010
    Excellent book!! Contains lots of gift making ideas especially for those pesky relatives whom you really hate! LOL! It will guarantee that you'll never have to endure another horrific holiday get together in the future!
    BTW: My dog used my copy for a chew toy and it came out the other end as a highly edifying tome about the politics of the 15th century! Multi useful!! I'd recommend it to anyone!

    4-0 out of 5 stars My opinion, December 12, 2010
    This book has beautiful photographs, but the instructions are hard to follow. For instance, the steps for creating fingerless gloves is knit gloves, and then cut the fingers off. But how do I knit them in the first place? I'm so confused. I prayed for instructions, but, as always, my prayers weren't answered.

    I appreciated the sections on crafting with disabilities, but it neglected to cover crafting for the humorless. I think a lot of 1-star reviews would have been 5-star reviews had the author included this important and so often underappreciated group.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amy Does It Again!, November 13, 2010
    For all of those reviewers who complained that this craft book is "too racy" or "not for serious crafters", did you even bother to read the summaries provided on Amazon first? Take a glance at "I Like You", Amy Sedaris's previous book? GOOGLE Amy Sedaris, for God's sake?! The book is titled "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" and yet you were surprised and disgusted when you read it? What did you think you were getting into?

    Amy Sedaris is a crafty lady, but she definitely likes to have fun with her topics and there really isn't any subject taboo to her. This is a fun, hilarious book that will definitely evoke nostalgia for those junky camp crafts and Girl Scout projects. It deftly parodies old craft books, while adding laugh-out-loud details that fans of the acidic humor of Amy (and Paul Dinello) have come to love. Forget the haters; pick this book up if you have even a trace of a sense of humor!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Laughs: 1,001! (Cringes: 999!), November 22, 2010
    SIMPLE TIMES: CRAFTS FOR POOR PEOPLE is a satire on the life and economic times of the "olden days." It's also a parody of today's big, beautiful crafting books, with a thousand (intentionally messy) illustrations showing hundreds of (intentionally lame*) homemade crafts for every personality and room of the house, and using every available material. (*I wonder what it says about me that I'm honestly interested in the thumbtack art and balloon art, the penny bookmark, rusty-nail wind chimes and tampon ghost!)

    Fair warning: This book is by Amy Sedaris, in collaboration with other creatives like Amy Sedaris. It's a bit darker and cruder than I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, her book about entertaining. If you don't know Amy, think Sarah Silverman -- both begin sentences in an innocent, extra-polite voice that lures you in and then veers without warning into a shocking incorrectness that alternately makes you laugh out loud and cringe at the wrong, wrong, wrongness. A chapter here on crafting safety is particularly gruesome ... and hilarious.

    (Review based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outlandishly Hilarious!, December 25, 2010
    First off, if anyone would even open this book at all and not understand that it is satire, complete humor, and entertainment, then they have totally missed the boat.

    This book has made me laugh harder than any book I have ever read. Ever. Just looking at page 137 has made me laugh for 2 days. Stare into that eye and try not to laugh! It's my favorite Christmas present this year and maybe for about the last 20 years! Amy Sedaris is such a beautiful woman and it amazes me how she transforms herself into such frighteningly unattractive, yet hilarious caricatures. It's like her face is literally made of clay and she can mold it into anything.

    She is pure comic genius. There's no other way to describe her. She must be the funnest friend a person could ever have and I am envious of those who are among that group. It's my dream to meet her some day. (Don't worry Amy, I'm not like your "Number One Fan" or anything like that.)

    I have just begun reading the text and I have to keep putting it down to laugh.

    I would have paid ten times the price for this book and it would be worth every penny!

    5-0 out of 5 stars OMG!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!, December 25, 2010
    The hilarious replies to the 1-star reviews actually motivated me to buy this for my wife. This is by far the funniest book I've ever seen! So freakin' hilarious!!!

    HIghly recommended for anyone who digs laughing. :-)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Crafting for Humor, November 9, 2010
    I found myself smiling and chuckling aloud as I read through this book. Almost every page contains color illustrations and photographs showing comedian Amy Sedaris' wacky sense of humor. She tells the reader how to:

    "make something that doesn't exist and nobody has ever thought of or even dared to dream about. An object so exceptional that it cannot be described by words because there is nothing of this earth to compare it to."

    The inclusion of some chapters left me perplexed. "Crafting for Jesus" and "Making Love" appear to be inserted only for shock value. I did not find them at all funny.

    There's a dress code for craft clubs which includes "elastic is good" and "no straw hats." It seems they cause fires!

    Real recipes for fudge, cookies, and sausage are included. You don't need to be a crafters to enjoy this book.

    Note: contains profanity.

    Thank you to Karen Ukraine at Hachette Book Group for my copy. ... Read more


    16. Kardashian Konfidential
    by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian
    Hardcover (2010-11-23)
    list price: $25.99 -- our price: $13.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0312628072
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 142
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Confessions of life as a Kardashian sister—stuffed with family stories, advice, beauty tips and exclusive gorgeous full color photos, personal snapshots and the inside scoop on their life growing up into the gorgeous Dash Dolls

    The stars of not one but two #1 reality television shows, and frequent cover girls on all the weekly celebrity magazines, Kourtney, Kim & Khloé Kardashian live large and glamorous lives. But not everything is on the screen—how they really live, get along (and feud) as sisters is the subject of the Kardashians’ very first book. Kardashian Konfidential is their sisterhood autobiography, full of fun facts about their childhoods (guess who was the ugly duckling?), their beauty and style secrets, the wisdom they learned from their beloved father, and the street smarts they got from their mother that sustain them in life and in business.

    Kardashian Konfidential is bursting at the seams with photos, memorabilia, diary entries, datebook pages, and old Valentines the girls sent to each other, as well as many other artifacts put together just for their book. As glamorous, fun and fashionable as the girls themselves, this is the perfect buy-one-for-me-buy-three-for-friends fan’s book.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superficial!
    I've seen endless amounts of episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and thought this book might be an interesting extension of the Kardashian brand. Although I like the fact that the book has colorful photographs and many pages of text, I am unimpressed with the content. For instance I don't think it's beneficial to include a section on how to do an at-home bikini wax. I also was disgusted by one section in which one of the sisters talks about how she overdrew her bank account one time. She refereed to having lost a few thousand dollars as if it meant nothing to her.
    I would not recommend teenagers reading this book. It seems to only show the superficial, fame-hungry side of the Kardashian sisters. Not to mention it seems to be written at a fifth grade reading level.
    I prefer the TV show since it has actual heart to it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dash Dolls Tell All, Bible!
    This triple mini autobiography is in fact better than I expected. We see so much of these women on television and in magazines that I thought there wasn't much else to tell, but this book instantly blew that theory out of the water. Starting out "famous for being famous" and turning that into family and individual brands takes hard work, and creativity, which whether we like to admit it or not, is something these women have a lot of. Sexy, quirky, fun, flawed, and ultimately human, these women prove tirelessly, purposely and not, that although in the lime light and living lavishly, they are just us like everyone else.

    Kourtney, Kim, and Khlo� made sure there isn't a boring page in this book. The colorful pages are jam packed with photos from childhood and beyond, some brand new and some we might have already seen. For those of you that think Kim is always the center of attention, she does have a few more pages of photos but besides that, the photo layouts are remarkable fair. This collaboration is also filled with family stories, advice, beauty secrets, and keepsakes all with very modern page set ups and designs. This book reads much like a magazine, and in some spots like an actual interview. Fun and freely assembled the aesthetics are very pleasing to the eye, just like these women! This entire project seems honest, light hearted yet sometimes emotional, positive, and definitely not your standard black and white plain font filled text.

    If you are intrigued by the Kardashian women and want to know more then definitely pick up this page turner for the inside scoop. (Don't expect dirty details) These three are easily relatable in so many ways, even more so now that they are aunts, a mother, and a wife. Kourtney speaks of Mason and how he has changed her life, Khlo� talks about her whirlwind romance with Lamar and of best friend/assistant Malika (<-- she should write a book!), and Kimmy cakes briefly brings up her divorce, and how she ultimately loves to be in love. They each talk about their family, each other, and of course lot about themselves. We gain insight on the dynamics of their sisterhood, and how unbreakable their bond is although they feud as most siblings do. They should be proud of themselves because at this point, whether we like them or not, it is irrefutable they are legit, respectable, businesswomen. Hollywood careers don't last forever in which they clearly comprehend, so it is understandable why these sisters are taking on so much, and work hard as more and more opportunities are thrown their way. ... Read more


    17. Awkward Family Photos
    by Mike Bender, Doug Chernack
    Paperback
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $8.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307592294
    Publisher: Three Rivers Press
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Based on the hit website, AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com (“painful, regrettable, horrifyingly awesome snaps of family bonding, you will laugh so hard that people in adjoining offices will ask what’s wrong with you”—Esquire), this full color book features never-before-seen photos and hilarious personal stories covering everything from uncomfortable moments with relatives, teen angst, sibling rivalry, and family vacations from hell. Cringe at the forced poses, bad hair, and matching outfits--all prompting us to look at our own families and celebrate the fact that we're not alone. Nothing says awkward better than an uncomfortable family photograph! ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars What A Hoot!, April 25, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    As you start reading the introduction to this book you'll find yourself chuckling but as you get futher into it you will be laughing out loud to strange looks from your dear hubby or dear children or for that matter anyone within hearing distance. Some of the pictures are just above and beyond hysterical and the captions with them are perfect. I can actually picture myself in some of the circumstances with which the photos had been taken. I'm sure if I went digging through my family photo albums I would find some hilarious moments trapped in motion that will never be forgotten. Oh and I'm sure there will be a few that I wish would be forgotten but good gosh if you can't have a sense of humor and laugh then you're missing out on a major joy in life. This book will give you joy, laughter and a number of looks from those you love or are near to gain there interest. The one thing I suggest is that you have a box of tissues to wipe those tears of laughter and make sure there is a bathroom nearby as you might just piddle by accident. Enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A humorous light-hearted look at our worst family pictures, April 27, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I love the website and I had known about that before knowing there was a companion book. So when I saw there was a book too I knew I'd enjoy it.

    The book takes all the old family photos you remember and displays them with funny and sometimes very apt comments. A very delightful read, and it may bring to mind some of your own less fantastic family portraits. I especially love the ones from teh 1970's. That seems to be the funniest decade to me, and I have some doosies from back then too.

    Over and above the photos there are humorous anticdoes people have sent in about the funny moments that happened in their families, many I think we can all identify with. The dad who makes an awkward joke, the aunt who always says exactly what is on her mind, or the cheap grandparents who regift presents.

    I would recommend this book to anyone. The humor is pretty universal and you won't find much offensive. Just poking fun at family photos and our family quirks.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, but not as funny as the website, April 19, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    It was inevitable that the folks at awkward family photos would convert their popular website into a book. For the most part, it's hilarious. It's more or less just like the website with photo after photo of people of all ages showing off their highly questionable tastes, and then capturing these low moments for eternal posterity. If I had one complaint it would be that the captions seem less creative and biting than those you find on the website. Maybe I'm imagining this, but part of what makes the website so funny is the commentary through the captions, and the book seems to be a little more family friendly.
    Something new that gets introduced in this print version is the authors letting some of the people in the photos make comments on their own pictures. While this is a good idea in theory, it doesn't really work. The random people make pedestrian comments on their own photos, and the book loses a lot of its humor and charm in the process.
    Having said that, if you're a frequent visitor of the website, this book is a must buy. The photos in this book all seem to be exclusive to the print version, and there are some definite classics in here!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun for the whole [AWKWARD] family!, April 27, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Let's face it: Chances are good that somewhere in a shoebox in the crawlspace of your parents' place is a photo you wish no one would ever see. EVER. Be it your once high-style haircut, that "amazing" sweater, that time when the camera snapped at exactly the wrong time to capture your weirdest face ever...

    Well, you're in luck! One quick flip through AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS, and that picture is gonna look a whole lot better!

    This is a case when the title really says it all. The photos contained in this book are truly remarkable in that they put us all on hilarious (and cringe-inducing) display. Based on the popular website of the same name, AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS is an homage to the family album, the one you wished didn't exist. Organized by category (ie: The Family Portrait, Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, The Vacation, Weddings, The Family Pet, etc...), each photo has something to smirk at. See the family black sheep on proud display! Marvel at the horrific matching outfits! Be amazed by the person who really THOUGHT they were cool! Wonder at the oddly inappropriate expression! What father in their right mind would ever wear THAT?! Mullets, mullets, and more mullets! View the pose that at one time SEEMED like a good idea! And the most frequent question of all: "WHAT THE HECK?!"

    The photos range from sublimely delightful to downright painful (in a snort-its-so-funny sort of way). You'll laugh. You'll want to share this with friends so you can suffer together. You'll probably see shadows of yourself in more places that you imagined. Well, at least you'll see your crazy Uncle Chuck.

    Augmenting the photos are spot-on captions, awkwardly affectionate introductions, and some truly funny anecdotes (presumably from visitors to the website) that had me chortling aloud. One has to admire the courage (and remarkable sense of humor) that many of the photo submitters showed, putting their most awkward moments on display. I applaud and thank you all.

    Interestingly enough, with this amazing collection of awkwardness, there's nothing mean-spirited about this book. It doesn't aim to make fun of people, but rather allow us to know that we're not alone. Author/compilers Mike Bender and Doug Chernack gracefully state a goal that this book is sure to accomplish: "It is our hope that this book will bring all our families a little closer together as we acknowledge those special times when we wished we were a lot farther apart." I'd heartily say, well done guys.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great book to help the tense family get togethers, May 5, 2010
    Love the pictures but really love the short stories that are added in. Mike and Doug did an amazing job encouraging people to share their very personal and embarrasing stories. I would love to see what these people look like now. I can't wait to go through my photos and submit them for the follow up book.
    This is a great book to give to your extended family to help the "awkward" family dinners.

    5-0 out of 5 stars hilarious, May 4, 2010
    if you've ever been the subject of a horrific family photo, you will love this book. it documents every painful moment of your awkward childhood, teenage years, weddings and more. if your family is awkward (and they all are) you just might see yourself in one of the genius photos within. enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Funny Book That Makes A Great Gift, May 4, 2010
    If you like the blog, you'll love the book. More zany fun from the guys at awkward family photos. The pictures are hilarious--and it is amazing what people do to their families--and the captions add another level of humor.

    One important note: The major criticism I have seen in the comments is that people are disappointed that the book is in black and white. IT IS NOT!!! Some people must have gotten a pre-publication version because mine is in lovely color. So don't be (accidentally) misled. Read it, look at it, and enjoy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In a word: Awesome, May 4, 2010
    I'm not going to lie, I'm a little biased here, BECAUSE I'M IN THE BOOK, but it's not like I'm getting any money for it so not THAT biased. Even if you've seen the whole website you should STILL get the book because there are EXCLUSIVE photos (like mine) that are not on the website. Obviously the whole thing is hilarious, but especially page 119.

    5-0 out of 5 stars lots of laughs and memories -so good during these trying times, May 4, 2010
    Loved the book- made me laugh and remember so many of my own family's many awkward moments- smiled all the way through- anyone of any age and from any place will be able to relate to so many of these photos and comments- I feel that it is a great gift item and is truly timeless- my face hurt from smiling-I feel like I know many of the people in the book

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good for gift-giving, May 4, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I find the Awkward Family Photo site to be very amusing - you're guaranteed to find a photo that makes you think of a similar circumstance in your own family. The book is a nice encapsulation of the site, with some of the best photos (plus a few that are not on the site).

    I probably would not buy this book for myself since it really does not add any further dimension to the concept than you get by going to the website, but it's a great book for gift-giving, especially for siblings (perhaps with a few of the more applicable photos tagged). It's a pretty slim volume, however - wish there were more to it, or more unique content versus the website. Still, and enjoyable (if not cringe producing) read. ... Read more

    18. In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks: . . . And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy
    by Adam Carolla
    Hardcover
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $13.51
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307717372
    Publisher: Crown Archetype
    Sales Rank: 98
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    A couple years back, I was at the Phoenix airport bar.  It was empty except for one heavy-set, gray bearded, grizzled guy who looked like he just rode his donkey into town after a long day of panning for silver in them thar hills.  He ordered a Jack Daniels straight up, and that's when I overheard the young guy with the earring behind the bar asking him if he had ID.  At first the old sea captain just laughed.  But the guy with the twinkle in his ear asked again.  At this point it became apparent that he was serious.  Dan Haggerty's dad fired back, "You've got to be kidding me, son."  The bartender replied, "New policy.  Everyone has to show their ID."  Then I watched Burl Ives reluctantly reach into his dungarees and pull out his military identification card from World War II.

    It's a sad and eerie harbinger of our times that the Oprah-watching, crystal-rubbing, Whole Foods-shopping moms and their whipped attorney husbands have taken the ability to reason away from the poor schlub who makes the Bloody Marys.  What we used to settle with common sense or a fist, we now settle with hand sanitizer and lawyers.  Adam Carolla has had enough of this insanity and he's here to help us get our collective balls back. 

    In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks is Adam's comedic gospel of modern America. He rips into the absurdity of the culture that demonized the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, turned the nation's bathrooms into a lawless free-for-all of urine and fecal matter, and put its citizens at the mercy of a bunch of minimum wagers with axes to grind. Peppered between complaints Carolla shares candid anecdotes from his day to day life as well as his past—Sunday football at Jimmy Kimmel's house, his attempts to raise his kids in a society that he mostly disagrees with, his big showbiz break, and much, much more. Brilliantly showcasing Adam's spot-on sense of humor, this book cements his status as a cultural commentator/comedian/complainer extraordinaire. 


    ADAM CAROLLA is a radio and television host, comedian, and actor. He is the host of the Adam Carolla Podcast, before which he hosted a weekday morning radio program broadcast from Los Angeles, and syndicated by CBS Radio. Besides these shows, Carolla is well known as the co-host of the radio show Loveline (and its television incarnation on MTV), as the co-creator and co-host of Comedy Central's The Man Show, and as the co-creator and the performer on Comedy Central and MTV's Crank Yankers and is a frequent contributor and contestant on ABC's top-rated program "Dancing with the Stars". Carolla also starred in, co-wrote, and co-produced the award-winning independent film, The Hammer. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two children.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best commentary on how 99% of us really think, November 3, 2010
    If you already know Adam's body of work I don't need to convince you.

    For those looking to judge the book by the cover and are just looking to complain how the 'man show guy' is being a 'sexist pig' - take the time to read the pages and, if you have an open mind, you will find yourself laughing at his takes and actually agreeing with many.

    The book is actually rather well written and organized perfectly to keep the reader entertained. Although it is laid out to be more of a bathroom reader, you will likely find yourself not being able to put the book down and eventually wanting more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done, Ace, November 4, 2010
    50 years? Oh, that we had that long. Unlike most of these "reviewers" I've actually read this book and can honestly say Carolla writes with a jaunty combo of pith and panache that evokes the best of Hemingway, Mailer and Rickles. Makes a great ironic gift for your boss, if your boss is Gloria Allred.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny, November 5, 2010
    Adam Carolla knows what he's talking about. As a white woman in her 20's, even I see the commonsense of his writing-and I can't stop laughing at his hilarious rants! I've been listening to his podcast for a year now and just can't get enough. He's right on target with everything from religion to politics, and I'm thrilled that he has released a book..I even stayed up most of the night reading it.

    I just hope more mainstream society reads it and gets some commonsense knocked into them. This country is a mess, and it would do us well to listen to Adam. Get this book as a christmas gift for friends/family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Different Celebrity View, November 4, 2010
    What makes Adam Carolla unique is that most of his views are diametrically opposed to what we hear from most of Hollywood. He doesn't fit into the predictable mold in these "PC" times where most people with a voice are afraid to really express their thoughts. I find it refreshing and also very funny.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A manifesto from one of the great observational comedians of our time., November 4, 2010
    The media would have us believe that there is some kind of a cultural war going on between the Rush Limbaughs and Michael Moores of the world. But does America really relate to either of those single minded blowhards? Adam, I believe, has his finger directly on the pulse of what the average man thinks of the deterioration of our society. In the same vain of George Carlin and Bill Hicks, the best comedy is truth. Buy the book, download the man's podcast.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Smart and funny, November 2, 2010
    I love funny. Adam Carolla is funny. As a former tradesman, I appreciate a man with a work ethic and who is good with a trowel. His sharp observations remind me of a "jobsite philosopher" who made it big.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I think I'm in love with Adam Carolla, November 15, 2010
    ...and my husband thinks so too. As a loyal fan of Adam's podcast, I can't help but weave his name into so many conversations I have. It's remarkable how he's been able to attract such a large, loyal following via podcast. The more you listen to his podcast, the more you realize how brilliant he is. His humor, the stands he takes and yes, the insults are always spot-on. When he rants about people, he means no disrespect and is an equal-opportunity offender. His loyalty goes beyond just his listeners. The people that surround him in his personal and professional life have been around him for years, you can tell he is a down to earth human being that never went "hollywood."

    I respect his work ethic and appreciate the time he puts into his podcast. It is quite a gift to those of us who need a little laughter in our lives. The book is a perfect extension of the podcast and it will be nice having some of the best of Adam available for future reference. His humor is so much more intellengent that many other comedians. If you want "git her done" or comics that get laughs by looking stoned, you probably won't appreciate this.

    Any women who scoff at the title of his book or his comments regarding women - relax and keep an open mind and let yourself laugh (including if it means laughing at yourself). Besides, it's coming from a man that is funny, smart and could build you a friggin house. How sexy is that?! :D


    Nice Job, Aceman...thank you for all you do.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not a fan of Adam, November 12, 2010
    I'm not a big fan of Adam Carolla, but I was looking for a good read and came across this, had great reviews and at $9, why not. I must say, just from reading the intro I was laughing out loud. Just the way he goes on his 'rants' makes you really think, and in my eyes 90% of the things he is making fun of is true.

    little side story:
    I was reading in Starbucks (kind of funny in itself, reading this there) but as I was reading, some of the topics people were talking about (peanuts and caffeine; two different groups) were in perfect stride with the content I was reading, so it made this book THAT much funnier.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Allow Yourself To Be Won Over, November 9, 2010
    As a teenage girl, "The Man Show" was something I heard of, but never cared to watch. I thought (correctly so) that it was not meant for me. In college, when my brother recommended The Adam Carolla Podcast, I decided not to let that impression preclude the possibility I may enjoy Carolla's work. I quickly became a fervent fan: hundreds of shows and I'm still laughing.

    This book contains some of Carolla's Greatest Hits, and a lot of new gems that catch you by surprise and make you laugh out loud (in that involuntary, embarrassing-if-in-public way).

    If you can't take a joke, then this book may not suit you. Don't, however, be warded off by preconceived notions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOL Funny, December 15, 2010
    I've not read a full book in quite a while. Most of the time I skip around, but this book I read cover to cover in a couple sessions.

    I laughed out loud at regular intervals while reading this book. I'm pretty open minded and found most of it quite comedic and didn't take offense at much. There were a hand full of parts that just got to the point where I felt like they were in poor taste.

    In addition to his running commentary on numerous subjects, he goes on to dole out some advice on life in general. Such as: buy extra scissors, nail clippers, etc. so you don't waste time searching for these $1 objects. He analyzed the time wasted by getting to work a half hour early just to stand around drink some coffee and eat a bagel. He basically said, he makes a point just to get there on time, not early. The extra half hour a day adds up to some 120 hours a work year, (3 full work weeks) and 5,400 hours over the course of a career (135 full work weeks). That extra half hour of nothing time at work adds up to working almost an extra 3 full years full time for nothing over the course of a career. Time that could be spent with your family or doing something you want to do.

    It was a easy fairly quick read and as long as you won't be offended by his pretty blunt humor, I'd say it is worth reading. ... Read more


    19. Life
    by Keith Richards
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $12.99
    Asin: B003UBTX72
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    As lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics, and the songs that roused the world. A true and towering original, he has always walked his own path, spoken his mind, and done things his own way.

    Now at last Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere. Dropping his guitar's sixth string to create a new sound that allowed him to create immortal riffs like those in "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Falling in love with Anita Pallenberg, Brian Jones's girlfriend. Arrested and imprisoned for drug possession. Tax exile in France and recording Exile on Main Street. Ever-increasing fame, isolation, and addiction making life an ever faster frenzy. Through it all, Richards remained devoted to the music of the band, until even that was challenged by Mick Jagger's attempt at a solo career, leading to a decade of conflicts and ultimately the biggest reunion tour in history.

    In a voice that is uniquely and unmistakably him--part growl, part laugh--Keith Richards brings us the truest rock-and-roll life of our times, unfettered and fearless and true.
    Richards' rich voice introduces the audiobook edition of LIFE and leads us into Johnny Depp's performance, while fellow artist Joe Hurley bridges the long road traveled before Richards closes with the final chapter of this incredible 23-hour production, which includes a bonus PDF of photos.



    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars You thought he'd remember nothing? Well, he remembers all of it. 'Life' is absolutely fascinating., October 26, 2010
    Keith Richards. Right, he's the Rolling Stone you notice when Mick Jagger's not shaking and singing. The one who kicked his heroin addiction by having all his blood transfused in Switzerland. Who was --- for ten years in a row --- chosen by a music magazine as the rocker "most likely to die." Whose solution to spilling a bit of his father's ashes was to grab a straw and snort. Whose most recent revelation is about the size of Mick's equipment.

    Yeah, that's the guy. Wild man. Broken tooth, skull ring, earring, kohl eyes --- he's Cpt. Jack Sparrow's father, lurching though life as if it's a pirate movie, ready to unsheathe his knife for any reason, or none. Got some blow, some smack, a case of Jack Daniels? Having a party? Dial Keith.

    When you get a $7 million advance for your memoirs, there's no such thing as a "bad" image. But the thing about Keith Richards is, he wants to tell the truth. Like: he didn't have his blood transfused. Like: he didn't take heroin for pleasure or to nod out, but so he could tamp his energy down enough to work. Like: he and Jagger may not be friends but they're definitely brothers --- and if you criticize Mick to him, he'll slit your throat.

    Why does Keith want to undercut his legend?

    Because he has much better stories to tell.

    And in the 547-page memoir he wrote with James Fox, he serves them up like his guitar riffs -- in your face, nasty, confrontational, rich, smart, and, in the end, unforgettable.

    Start with the childhood. Keith grew up in a gray, down-and-out suburb of London. School: "I hated it. I'd spend the whole day wondering how to get home without taking a beating." By his teens, he'd figured the system out: "There's bigger bullies than just bullies. There's 'them,' the authorities." He adopts "a criminal mind." His school record reflects this: "'He has maintained a low standard' was the six-word summary of my 1959 school report, suggesting, correctly, that I had put some effort into the enterprise."

    His mother is his savior. She likes music, and is a "master twiddler" of the knobs on the radio. When he's 15, she spends ten quid she doesn't have to buy her only child a guitar. (No spoilers here, but much later in the book, you're going to fight tears when he plays a certain song for her.)

    The rest of the book? Keith Richards and a guitar --- and what a love story: "Music was a far bigger drug than smack. I could kick smack; I couldn't quit music. One note leads to another, and you never know what's going to come next, and you don't want to. It's like walking on a beautiful tightrope."

    What music interests him? Oh, come on: the music of the dispossessed --- black Chicago blues. Mick Jagger, who lives a few blocks away and is prosperous enough to actually buy a few records, also loves this music. To say they bond is to understate: "We both knew we were in a process of learning, and it was something you wanted to learn and it was ten times better than school."

    The Rolling Stones form. The casting is quite funny: "Bill Wyman arrived, or, more important, his Vox amplifier arrived and Bill came with it."

    Today bands dream of getting rich. Not the Stones: "We hated money." Their first aim was to be the best rhythm and blues band in London. Their second was to get a record contract. The way to do that was to play.

    Something happened when the Stones were on stage, something sexy and dangerous and never seen before. The Beatles held your hand. In 18 months, the Stones never finished a show. Keith estimates they played, on average, five to ten minutes before the screaming started, and then the fainting, until the security team was piling unconscious teenage girls on the stage like so much firewood.

    Fame. When it comes, there's no way out; you need it to do your work. The Stones at least brought a new look to it; they provoked the press, didn't care what the record company wanted. Only the music mattered. As Berry Gordy liked to say, "It's what's in the grooves that counts."

    "The world's greatest rock band" --- between 1966 and 1973, it's hard to argue that they weren't. Songs poured out of them: "I used to set up the riffs and the titles and the hook, and Mick would fill in. We didn't think much or analyze....Take it away, Mick. Your job now. I've given you the riff, baby."

    Drugs? Necessary. In the South, a black musician laid it out for Keith: "Smoke one of these, take one of these." Keith would move on beyond grass and Benzedrine to cocaine for the blast and focus, heroin for the two or three day work marathon. Engineers would give their all and fall asleep under the console, to be replaced by others. Keith would soldier on. "For many years," he says, "I slept, on average, twice a week."

    With money and success, though, there's suddenly time to think --- in Keith's case, about all the things about Mick that drove him nuts. His interest in Society. His egomania. His insecurity. And his promiscuity: "Mick never wanted me to talk to his women. They end up crying on my shoulder because they've found out that he has once again philandered. What am I gonna do? The tears that have been on this shoulder from Jerry Hall, from Bianca, from Marianne, Chrissie Shrimpton... They've ruined so many shirts of mine. And they ask me what to do! How should I know? I had Jerry Hall come to me one day with this note from some other chick that was written backwards --- really good code, Mick! --- "I'll be your mistress forever." All you had to do was hold it up to a mirror to read it... And I'm in the most unlikely role of counselor, "Uncle Keith." It's a side a lot of people don't connect with me."

    If only it could be so simple as a man and his guitar! But there are other people involved, in close association, with a lot at stake --- and here comes the business story, the drug story, the power story. It's funny and silly. And, after a while, sad. Mick breaks away from the Stones and makes a solo record: "It was like 'Mein Kampf.' Everybody had a copy but nobody listened to it." Mick gets grand. Keith's lost in drugs. From 1982 to 1989, the Stones don't tour; from 1985 to 1989, they don't go into the studio.

    And now they are rich. Beyond rich. Every time they tour or license a song, their wealth mounts -- Keith, by most estimates, is worth at least $250 million. It's ironic, really, for by any creative analysis, the Stones were over after "Exile on Main Street." And yet, here they are, almost four decades later, capable of producing the most lucrative tour of any year.

    Like so many things these days, music is about branding -- and there's no bigger brand than the Rolling Stones. Keith may slag his band mates; he'd never mock the Stones. Because the band is, if his version is accurate, really his triumph. Mick provided the flash, but in rock and roll, a great riff will always trump flash.

    A great riff will also trump time. We love rock for many reasons, and not the smallest is the way it makes us feel young, as if everything's possible and the road is clear ahead of us. And here is Keith Richards, who never grew up and is now so rich he'll never have to.

    His story slows as it approaches the present, and you start to wonder if this Peter Pan life can get to its end without real pain. And you think, well, there's another side to this -- if Mick started writing tonight, he could have his book out before he's 70. But mostly, you wish you could go back to the beginning of "Life" and start again.

    3-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars ... 3 stars ... 2 stars, November 5, 2010
    The first third of the book is absolutely fantastic. Keith Richards chronicles his childhood and the formation of the band with lots of personality and charm. Highly recommended. I really couldn't put the book down.

    The book loses steam in the middle third -- the drugged-out 70s. I wish a little more time was spent talking about the music. When he *does* write about how songs come together, or about musical insights he has (like discovery open tuning), it's great reading. The sections where his son Marlon talks about life on the road with his dad are interesting. But much of the middle just gets bogged down in all the drugs, the drug busts, the cold turkey sessions, etc. Yeah OK, that was his life, but they were still making records, and a better balance of material about the band and the music would have been a nice respite from all the drugs.

    It gets a bit better when he's writing about the late-80s/90s - the split with Mick and their respective solo careers.

    But the final section just falls apart. It reads like the anecdotes that celebrities tell on talk shows. "Ah, the funniest thing happened at my daughter's wedding ...." "The crew found a puppy hanging around near the stage ...." "You wouldn't believe the enormous snapping turtle ...."

    And there are some odd omissions: Bill Wyman is barely mentioned, which is fine, but more explanation is needed. Some of the biggest Stones albums are glossed over in half a page. Great songs like Shattered and Some Girls aren't even mentioned. The mixing and release of Tattoo You is barely discussed (if at all ... I don't recall now).

    So 5 stars for the first third / 3 stars for the middle / 2 for the end.
    Still worth it, especially for Stones fans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars RIVETING ACCOUNT OF RICHARDS' LIFE IN AND OUT OF MUSIC, October 26, 2010
    This memoir, written with the help of writer James Fox, is an intricately detailed account of Keith Richards life, both in and out of music-but mostly in. All the stories are here-the funny, the touching, the horrendous, and the amazing. Some are well known, some weren't even known to Richards-he only hears later, from others who were with him, what went on. And he's put it all in this book. Included are 32 pages of b&w and color photographs (including one of the band, with Jagger driving, in a vintage red convertible, across the Brooklyn Bridge) in two groups, plus photos throughout the book itself chronicling Richards' life. Also of interest is an early diary that Richards kept detailing the bands early gigs and impressions of the music the band played.

    Richards has been known as many things-"the human riff", as some kind of prince of a dark underworld filled with drugs, booze, and skull rings, as "Keef", a rock 'n' roll pirate, as someone who should be dead (several times over) from massive drug use and other lifestyle choices, and as someone hounded by law enforcement-looking to incarcerate this bad example to all the kids. But Richards is also known as a settled (for him) family man. But somehow he's survived it all. And now, with this autobiography, he's letting us into his life. This book looks back at all the times-good, bad, and just plain strange.

    Beginning with Richards' boyhood in post-war England, no stone is left unturned in detailing his young life. A life which changed forever with his discovery of American blues. From that era the book details the formation of THE ROLLING STONES (I would like to have learned more about Brian Jones' in relation to the formation of the group), which changed his life again-a life he continues to the present.

    This book is important, interesting, and at times, harrowing, with a myriad of details surrounding Richards, his band, and anyone caught up in their universe of music, good times, misery, drugs, violence, and just plain weirdness. But the book also shows another side of Keith Richards. The pain he felt (and still feels) when his young son Tara, died while Richards was on tour. The loss of musician and friend/band hanger-on, Gram Parsons. Looking back with regret as people close to him sunk into a hellish pit of drug addiction. And Richards' own account of his years of drug use-especially heroin and the misery he brought on himself, even while he was careful not to go to far over the edge.

    Of course no memoir concerning Richards would be complete without accounts of the ups and downs, over many years, with Mick Jagger. There's a number of fascinating asides and insights concerning their ideas of what direction the band should follow. Unfortunately, but not surprising, Jagger (and the other band members) are not heard from. That's unfortunate because of all the valuable insight concerning Richards' life on and off the stage, and the inner workings of one of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll bands, that his long time band mates could bring to the story. But others who have known Richards over the course of many years were interviewed. People like Ronnie Spector, Jim Dickinson, Andrew Oldham, Bobby Keys, and a number of fellow musicians and friends, all have telling bits and pieces to add to the overall picture of just who Richards is.

    The detail Richards and Fox have put into this well written memoir is almost staggering. Reading about the early days of the band is exciting and fascinating, if for no other reason the era they came up in is long since vanished. The discovery and idolization of musicians like Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo, and other blues greats, trying to emulate the hard scrabble lifestyles of American blues artists, the small scruffy clubs the band played in the beginning, living in abject poverty and squalor, the large concerts in later years, the songs, the albums, the drugs, and the many fascinating (and sometimes disgusting) characters that drift in and out of Richards' life-it's all here. And taken together, this is a story only Keith Richards could live (and survive) to write about in such detail.

    While there have been other decent books on Richards and/or the Stones, for the straight, unvarnished truth, as he sees it and lived it, this is the book that matters. This memoir, written in a Richards-to-you conversational style, is interesting, exciting, gritty, informative, harrowing, and important. And with this book, written in his own words, we can't get much closer to the man and his life than that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Phenomenal - Similar in Quality and Candor to the Beatles Anthology, October 26, 2010
    The other reviewers have already done an excellent job of summarizing the topics he speaks of in the book, so I won't pile on that. I just wanted to emphasize the quality and openness and candor of this memoir.

    Many mocked his quote in the beginning that he truly remembers all of it, but it's abundantly clear that not only does he remember, but he's willing and eager to share it.

    Sure, the $7mm advance helps, but we've all read much-hyped bios that turned out to be self-congratulatory, unimpressive paper weights.

    This is not that. You will learn more about Keith than the most die hard fans do, and learn that he's far more than the caricature of a drug-abusing burned out rock star that the media often paints him out to be.

    I'm blown away.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't try this life at home - but it's sure fun to read about, November 7, 2010
    What a fun biography! What a life!

    Keith Richards is definitely my favorite heroin addict, ever.

    Random observations:

    --He refreshingly avoids recovery-speak in discussing his legendary drug abuse. Consequently this may be one of the best firsthand accounts of it ever written - clear, plain, detailed. I'd rather read this than Aldous Huxley or The Beats. While not encouraging anyone else to try it, he doesn't apologize or lather on phony regrets . He enjoyed it while he did it. A lot of it was just business for touring musicians- something to get you up for the next show on your grueling schedule, and something to mellow off the first drug's hard edges. He figures he stayed alive because he used pure products (often obtained, albeit illegally, from legal prescriptions ), and was meticulous about not overdoing it. There's a jolly scene where he describes himself cutting Turkish heroin exactly 97 to 3. Not 96 to 4.

    -- He's down to earth. More genuine, perhaps, than Jagger, whom he faults for accepting a knighthood after playing the rebel his entire life. (A class thing perhaps - Jagger the middle-class, good-student striver ultimately wanting acceptance by the elites; Richards the son of a factory worker, knowing that's not his bag and not really wanting it.) He'd rather hang with musicians, particularly good ones, than the jet set and Eurotrash.

    --He never turns to Buddhism, rants about politics or devotes himself to saving the planet. For this alone I'd lionize him.

    -- Richards prefers the band to the solo; for him the big moment is when the sound blends and you can't tell who's playing what. He likes hanging with his best buds, most of whom have been in jail. He's comfortable with black people in contexts most whites never reach - Rastafarians in remote villages where most white people would get shot, all-night parties with black musicians on the other side of the tracks after shows in the still-segregated South.

    --He really has led a charmed life, wriggling out of numerous busts where they had him cold - in Canada, Honolulu, Arkansas, and England. He's also survived auto wrecks and fires, physical mayhem and rioting English teenage girls, whom he regarded as scarier than the cops who staked him out for years trying to catch him with drugs.

    --Oh my God: all the women. Sigh. It's good to be king.

    Now for the pontificating. This is one of the most important books in rock history in recent years. Popular culture knows a hell of a lot about the Beatles but far less about the Stones. What folks know about them, they tend to know about Jagger instead of Richards. And what they know about Richards is disproportionately his indestructibility in the face of unbelievable drug abuse.

    Which is a pity. Let's not forget that the Rolling Stones were there at the conception, just like the Beatles. Teenyboppers rioted for them, just like for the Beatles. In 1964, two British polls showed them more popular than the Fab Four. Their rise was seen as heralding the Apocalypse, probably more so than the Beatles. Stones mania in England caught up with the Beatles by 1964 or 1965. The two bands would coordinate their singles' releases so as not to step on each other's hits. By the age of peak cultural and political rebellion, the Beatles were already breaking up while the Stones were just hitting their stride.

    While Lennon and McCartney were the latest pop-standard immortals, the Stones saw themselves as bluesmen. They singlehandedly brought the legacy of the Chicago blues to an enormous worldwide audience, reviving many blues careers. Their merging of early rock and roll and Chicago blues created what you today think of as rock - that big pounding sound filling stadiums. No one has ever surpassed them in its execution. Richards refers to them without braggadocio as the world's greatest rock and roll band, and that's true.

    So much of that can be attributed to Richards, their guitarist for half a century. He was never a glossy pop celebrity. He had bad teeth. He never came across as a virtuoso a la Clapton or Hendrix. But he and Charlie Watts were - I'm stealing a phrase from the book here - the band's engine house, while Jagger sang and danced out front, the band's public face.

    Richards was mesmerized during youth by the blues, but unlike a lot of older blues purists, he also loved rock and roll. The band's early insistence on playing it raised hackles among their base of blues fans; Richards parallels this to folkie disapproval of rock and roll. Richards, Jagger and Brian Jones spent two or three years in poverty singlemindedly pursuing the blues. They dissected every record they could find to replicate its sounds. And they really got it. Early American audiences hearing them on the radio couldn't tell if they were white or black. Richards' life changed when he first heard Elvis singing "Heartbreak Hotel" on a crackling Radio Luxemburg broadcast, but it was Elvis's guitarist Scotty Moore he really idolized.

    He describes how music is made, how he and Jagger wrote songs, how a sound was achieved, recording tricks. His discovery of five-string tuning - removing a guitar's lowest string and tuning the others like a banjo - changed the Stones' sound.

    The personal data intrigues, and not just the inside dope on his relationships with Ronnie Spector, Anita Pallenberg, Patti Hansen, Uschi Obermaier and others. Readers may be surprised to learn Richards was a devoted Boy Scout patrol leader and thinks it shaped him into someone who could run a band. Or that he was in a prize-winning boys choir. Or that he was nervous approaching women. Or that in later life he's become a devoted reader, preferring history (World War II, the Romans) Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" series, and George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman" books. (I salute his excellent taste.)

    The way to view his life is this: it's not a recommendation to everyone else to screw countless women, including gorgeous models, beautiful revolutionaries, black strippers, groupies and bankers' wives. It's not a recommendation to lead a jangled lifestyle for decades abusing every drug available while putting in recording studio sessions measured in days, not hours, without sleep.

    Richards is, more or less, a god in the Greek sense, and we marvel at him because he does things that most of us can't or don't really want to. He's unkillable. He's mega-talented, fabulously rich and famous. He has lived a charmed existence by his own rules. But this life killed or destroyed many around him weaker, less lucky or talented than he. Brian Jones was gone by 1969. Richards is the exception that proves these rules. That's the role of gods and kings.

    Don't try this at home. But it's sure fun to read about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life Rocks, October 28, 2010
    In the early eighties I used to see Keith Richards in various altered states in a hotel on the upper east side of New York City. What amused me then, and still does, is that in the morning the doormen in their crisp red uniforms would be taking his dogs for a walk in Central Park. Mr. Richards, himself, looked as though he might have recently been sleeping under a bridge. At the time, it never crossed my mind that this guy was even literate, much less erudite and, as evidenced by this memoir, insightful. Mr. Richards has written the rock 'n roll story from a musician's perspective and, if he takes a shot, he aims it for the ones who can take it, including himself.

    As he describes taking his seven year old son, Marlon, on the road for a Stones tour while he himself is a strung out mess, he doesn't sugar coat it and, not surprisingly, the years of drug addictiion, the arrests, and the close calls are all part of this story. Some stories are heartbreaking, others hilarious and he gives good anecdote. However, it is Mr. Richards dedication to the music and his fellow musicians that make this doozy of a book soar. Keith Richards, superstar, is still as excited about making music, playing music and learning about music as he was fifty years ago, which is why we're all still listening and what makes this book such a great read.


    4-0 out of 5 stars Superstardom Sarf London Style, October 29, 2010
    It's hard to judge this book. When I was thirteen my sister and I gravitated from Elvis and Cliff to the Beatles and the Stones, buying every LP as it was released. Later at University Beggars Banquet was played more than anything. Many years later I played Exile on Main Street solid for ten years, so much I can hardly listen to it now.

    So I can't be objective, its like reading a book by my cousin. It's very very frank about relationships, about drugs, about occasional violence. There's a lot of stuff about musical technique, just like Miles Davis's autobiography, which it reminds me of. I don't understand most of this not being a guitarist, but the feel of these sections is great. It makes you want to get out all your John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed records.

    The section about Brian Jones is revealing. This is actually the first book about the Stones I have read, so in comparison with the general familiarity from newspaper stories and rumours I had this is great, and Richards has an aura of telling the truth, by and large I would mostly buy what he's saying. There is also a very moving section about Gram Parsons, who seems to have been one of his closest musical associates and friends.

    Earlier, all the stuff about his family is fabulous. Its worth tracking down the full length version of the Andrew Marr interview on BBCi incidentally, where Marr and Keith say his childhood was Dickensian which was exactly what was going through my head when I was reading about his wonderful family. His mother and his maternal grandfather were something else.

    Some of the stuff about about the early sixties blues scene echoes what you can read in, say, a Pete Townshend biography I've read. Incidentally, Richards has almost nothing to say about any of his contemporaries musically, except to some extent the Beatles. But mostly that's about how the Beatles were marketed and about the scene they created. No opinions are expressed about say Clapton, the Who, or Hendrix. But then Richards isn't into judging much, unless someone steps on his blue suede shoes (or gets to the cottage pie before he does - read the book).

    Mostly the book is about the folks he meets as he navigates his way through life which was always a struggle for one reason or another until the end of the seventies when he emerges from heroin and then meets his current wife Patti.

    And of course there's some fascinating stuff about Jagger. I started to skip a little towards the end as I am less interested in their later music. But this is great for Stones fans and also it's a fascinating social record. If you want to know about superstardom south London style go for it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Soul Man, October 31, 2010
    If you're a Stones fan (like me), read the book. It's well written and has a style and flow that picked me up and carried me along. Certain things I was curious about remain unanswered. Mick Taylor's departure? Nonbody knows why, not even Mick Taylor himself, per Keith. Gram Parsons leaving the scene in France? Keith says he really didn't know anything about it.

    LIFE is Keith, the son; Keith, the musician; and Keith, the addict. It's fun to see that the coolest guy on earth actually had a rather normal family, and it's clear how much he loved them. He was born to play music--that should be obvious to anybody with ears--and the way early R & B affected him is a soulful thread that runs throughout his story. His account of the song writing process of the "Glimmer Twins" is hilarious. Who knew all those great songs happened this way! As for addiction, he seems as up-front about it as he can be--the price of admittance to the club he wanted to join. But all addicts live with a measure of denial. He faults Mick for following another star, but who wants to be in business with a heroin addict . . . In Mick's place, I'd have felt betrayed by my friend.

    But then, Mick and Keith's "old lady" . . . well, read the book. It seems an honest effort, from the heart. Like his music.

    (Side note: When I first heard that he was coming out with this, I thought, "Ooohh, I hope Stanley Booth writes it with him." While I can't fault James Fox, part of me still thinks that SB, with his wit and sly phrasing, would've been a natural. I hope he'll write something soon.)




    4-0 out of 5 stars "You can't always get what you want...", December 2, 2010
    I had more trouble assigning this a numerical score than I have had with any of the more than 125+ reviews that I have written for Amazon in the last 10 years or so. It could have been anywhere between 1 and 5 stars, I suppose, depending on the criteria used for scoring. It was loads of fun to read, and contained lots of information that I, as a more than a 40+ year fan of the Rolling Stones and a guitar player myself, found fascinating, informative and interesting. At the same time, and also an inveterate reader of biographies, particularly musical biographies, Life was frustrating and incomplete.

    Yes, I realize that this was an autobiography, and as such, was also a sort of an egobiography, and therefore cannot be rated in the same way as a "normal" biography. There are many fascinating passages, and there is no doubt that as a (semi)chronological record of how Keith Richards remembers the past 50 years, it is a tour-de force description of the ontogenesis of one of the most interesting and influential figures of pop culture of the last half-century. But let's be clear about one thing. This is a Keith auto/egobiography. Those looking for a detailed dissection of the internal dynamics and history of the Rolling Stones are advised to look elsewhere.

    The writing is more than serviceable. Frankly, I was a bit surprised at how well it read. And there are several quotes from many of Keith's buddies and partners in crime. Interestingly however, and in keeping with the overall tone of the autobiography, most of the quotes are NOT from other members of the Rolling Stones, but from others close to Keith including Bobby Keys, Keith's first son, Marlon (named, it would seem after Brando), girlfriends and a number of his non-Rolling Stone bandmates.

    There was enough semi-technical guitar lore (e.g., the genesis of his penchant for open G-tuning with a 5-string guitar from which the low E string had been removed and which has been the bane of many guitarists like myself that could never duplicate the sound of tunes like Honky-Tonk Women or Brown Sugar exactly right) to keep musicians satisfied without overloading non-musicians, as well as a number of examples of how many of the Jagger-Richards tunes were composed.

    But at the center of everything is Keith, always Keith. Jagger comes off as a not very well-endowed and insecure would-be tyrant who played a mean harmonica and liked to practice vocal scales before shows. Very, very little space is accorded to Mick Taylor (perhaps understandable since he had such a short, albeit incredibly important and musically rich stint as the Stones lead guitarist), but also to Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, or Ron Wood. The number of words devoted to each aside, it surprised me somewhat to see that, at least from my reading, Keith seemed to have the most respect (or at least fewest backhanded compliments or outright criticisms) for Mick Taylor and Charlie Watts. He loves Charlie as a drummer!! Still, one has to take everything that was written with a grain of salt since it was so clearly so very, very Keith-o-centric.

    As an autobiography, "Life" suffers somewhat from a somewhat overlapping and confused chronology. Although it is written more or less linearly, there is a substantial amount of overlap and recapping between the chronologically segmented chapters. And despite the great length of the book (550+ pages), I felt that there were a number of large, unexplained holes. Ian Stewart, praised by Keith as and integral member and the heart and soul of the Stones, sort of disappears from the narrative long before he stopped playing with the band. No explanation is given and he only reappears when he dies, despite the fact that he was incredibly integral to Keith's playing and the sound of the Stones from the early days through the time of Brian Jones' death and the addition of Mick Taylor - a period that included some awesome music and piano playing.

    Talk about your bad boys of rock and roll!! Although I am no stranger to the drink or the smoke (or a bit more), I was shocked and awed by the incredible, over-the-top drug and drink-infused atmosphere in which Keith raised (I use the term loosely) his son, Marlon. Marlon appears to have been raised mostly on the road, touring with Keith, with no education in an atmosphere of drugs, guns and money that would have twisted the strongest and most brilliant of minds. Perhaps Keith simply left out all the "normal', family-like child-rearing portions of this kid's life but somehow I don't think so. Marlon appears to have had one of the most horrific and surrealistic childhoods ever documented. Regardless, however, when he did end up in school, he claims to have finished with 4 "A" levels - the American equivalent of finishing High School with a 4.0 average.

    As is often the case with musical autobiographies (or other biographies, musical or otherwise), this one was extremely skewed towards the early salad days of Keith and the Stones. About two-thirds of the book details events through the early 1970's, with the rest compressing the remaining 30 years into 150 pages or so.

    This is the longest review I have ever written for Amazon. But there was a lot to cover. As I said at the outset, your own rating will likely depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for an unbiased biography of one highly influential rock and roller's life, or the history of the Rolling Stones, then I'm afraid this is not it. But it you are a Keith fan, and are looking for insight into who and what this guy is about, then this one's for you.

    JMT

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love the way Richards mixes his own take with contributions from those closest to him, October 27, 2010
    While Keith's claim that he remembers it ALL may be stretching things a bit, the fact is that he remembers an amazingly diverse amount of information. A special feature of the book? The memories of Tom Waits, Patti Hansen (Keith's wife) and others who have known him through the years. Their insights help give perspective to the book.

    Along with plenty of details about the various rifts between Richards and (Mick) Jagger, there are odd little bit of info as well as quirky and fun additions- a recipe for sausages and mashed potatoes, lists of books, and authors that Richard likes. He is a voracious reader and has a massive library.

    In this autobiography, Richards clearly picks what he feels is worth including, leading to some baffling omissions. Chuck Berry is clearly revered by Richards and mentioned regularly, along with plenty of others who have remained his friends or influenced him musically.He also includes recollections of women who have been involved with him (and/or with Mick Jagger) - but Richards also writes very little about Jerry Hall, a woman who had a long-term relationship with Jagger. It is as though she barely existed although I've seen clips of The Rolling Stones in various documentaries and she was clearly on the scene. On the other hand, Marianne Faithful and Patti Hansen get plenty of page time.

    For those who want the scoop on police altercations and drug busts, admissions of massive drug use, info about Keith's use of heroin and how he quit using this very addictive drug, the truth about his relatively recent accident and brain injury...it is all here. Tour info, song inspirations, plenty of musical trivia...also included. At over 500 pages, this may seem lengthy to some readers but I found it well worth the time. After all, just think of the incredibly long career of The Rolling Stones! It is hard to imagine a short volume which includes information about Keith's involvement with the group as well as his private life.

    While I'd recommend reading this in chronological order, each chapter contains a brief summary of events covered in that chapter, allowing readers to pick and choose among chapters, if desired. ... Read more


    20. Lost Encyclopedia
    by Tara Bennett, Paul Terry
    Hardcover
    list price: $45.00 -- our price: $25.90
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0756665949
    Publisher: DK Publishing
    Sales Rank: 153
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Featuring more than 400 pages and over 1500 images, the LOST Encyclopedia will be a comprehensive guide to the characters, items, locations, plotlines, relationships, and mythologies from all six seasons of the landmark series aired on ABC-TV and produced by ABC Studios. Created in full collaboration with ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, this will be the first and only fully licensed and comprehensive reference to all things LOST, and it includes a foreword by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.



    LOST © 2010. ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great content; poor editing, October 15, 2010
    First, an initial statement of possible sources of bias: I am a professional academic and an unapologetic LOST enthusiast (you may read what you like into that conjunction). I ordered the LOST Encyclopedia on May 4 and received it on October 12 following a delay from its original listed release date of August 24, so I've been anticipating its release for a while.

    Second, an executive summary: as a fan of the show, I'm glad to finally have this "encyclopedia" on my bookshelf and think it an excellent resource. Nevertheless, the presentation of the book is somewhat less polished than I would have hoped, leading me to suspect that a second edition may be in the works. Any recommendation that I can give would therefore have to be a guarded one.

    Like the show for which it serves as a reference guide, this book must have been a massive undertaking for everyone involved with little guarantee of pleasing everyone in its audience. I can therefore forgive the omission of some items (no entry for the Hybird, or "Hurley bird," for example) and the lack of linked entries (e.g. "The Hatch: see Swan Station," or "Jeremy Bentham: see John Locke").

    My objections to the book's editing begin with the character entries, which are generally sorted alphabetically by first name. I have no problem with organizing an encyclopedia in this way, as this is hardly an academic text and there are a variety of minor characters whose last names are unknown; however, the glaring exceptions to this rule--John Locke, whose entry is filed under "L," and James Ford, whose entry is filed under "S" for "Sawyer"--happen to be among the most important entries in the volume. Finding those entries will only take an extra few seconds of the reader's time (especially since, as mentioned above, there are no linking entries), but the organization comes across as sloppy.

    Also sloppy are the various textual redundancies. In the "Man in Black" entry, for example, a text blurb entitled "Jacob's Spirit" calls attention to the fact that "The spirit of a young Jacob repeatedly appeared to the Man in Black while he was acting out his end game as Locke..." One page later, immediately facing that blurb, is another blurb entitled "Haunting Reminders" which calls attention to the very same fact using the very same text, the only difference being in the capitalization of a single word. Similarly, the entry for Magnus Hanso ends with a three-sentence paragraph: the first sentence states that "Hanso's death remained a mystery to the outside world [until] DHARMA Initiative member Stuart Radzinsky documented Hanso's final resting place on the Blast Wall Map"; the second sentence states that "Details of Hanso's death remained a mystery to the outside world"; the third sentence states that (you guessed it) "DHARMA Initiative member Stuart Radzinsky documented Hanso's final resting place on the blast wall map." Again, this book constitutes a relatively massive undertaking and it's understandable that various typos would slip through (and there are a number of those), but given the two-month delay in the book's release I would have expected the editors to catch these obvious artifacts of the rewriting process.

    I had initially speculated that the publication delay was a function of the writers' need to rewrite some entries in light of the final episode's controversial revelations regarding the "flash-sideways universe." That was apparently incorrect, as the only reference to the flash-sideways (that I've found, at least) comes at the tail end of Juliet's entry. Instead, all information about that "universe" is relegated to a few text-light and picture-heavy character entries that follow the encyclopedia's index. The entries seem arbitrarily organized (in order: Desmond, Hurley, Ben, Sun, Jin, Sayid, Kate, Claire, Locke, and Jack) and utterly disconnected from the rest of the encyclopedia. To the writers' credit, they call attention to some quotes from the final episode that should help confused viewers figure out where the flash-sideways universe fits into the overall story structure; however, one is left with the impression that someone involved with the book's production was embarrassed by the reception of the final episode and wanted to minimize its influence on the rest of the text. I would certainly hope that delaying publication gave the writers and editors adequate time to integrate this information--if they had wanted to do so. For better or for worse, this storyline is as much a part of LOST canon as anything else and it should have been treated as such.

    Finally, there are several minor factual errors in the text--particularly with respect to the descriptions of the philosophers referenced by the show--but those are more nits to be picked than they are problems affecting the book's presentation. Nevertheless, it's an editor's job to pick those nits before publication.

    Again, I'm glad to own the LOST encyclopedia and will readily admit that fans of the show (be they dedicated or casual ones) won't be able to find a better reference. The content is top-notch, covering both breadth and depth, as detailed in other reviews. If asked whether or not I would recommend that someone else spend $25 on it (much less the $45 cover price), however, I would only be able to answer that anyone considering doing so should take into account the very real possibility that an updated and cleaned-up new edition may be forthcoming. Of course, I also can't guarantee that any such edition will actually see the light of day. As such, I have no regrets on my part, but less risk-averse fans might think otherwise.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A good, if not definitive resource with some noticeable flaws, October 19, 2010
    The LOST Encyclopedia will not bring a bevy of new insights or craved "answers" for fans of the show, but it is a solid catalog of facts and histories from the show's vast mythology. I wouldn't call it comprehensive, but it's an enjoyably casual reference for fans of the show.

    The biggest negative trait of the book is the sloppy editing. Despite being delayed multiple times before its release, the articles still contain numerous typographical errors (I'd estimate one every couple of pages on average), far more than should be acceptable for a professionally published work like this. There are even entries that are OUT OF ALPHABETICAL ORDER: under "D," there are three entries ordered "Donovan," "Dogen" and "Doctors." I know it's something most people won't lose a lot of sleep over, but as an English major I found them impossible to ignore and quite distracting from the flow of the book.

    More important and germane to the nature of the LOST Encyclopedia, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the emphasis placed on some elements of the show in contrast to others. For example, on the same two-page spread, Eddie Colburn, a minor character featured in ONE flashback episode, is given as much attention as Edward Mars, a character who appeared in multiple flashbacks and on the Island. Another example: there's a massive two-page entry dedicated to the RECORD PLAYER in the Swan station. The same amount of space is given to the blast door map, one of the pivotal set pieces of the series. If I had to guess, I'd say that such decisions were made to make the articles fit into neat two-page layouts, with the visual presentation emphasized over the relevance of information.

    As mentioned in a previous review, the alphabetization of the entries is slapdash. If you want to actually look up an obscure element of the show rather than just casually browse the book, you may find yourself taking several guesses on what your query may be titled before you find it. For example, if you want to look up the glowing river alternatively called "The Source" or "The Heart of the Island," you won't find it listed under either of those two names. Instead, it is mentioned in a brief paragraph in the massive entry "The Island," as well as intermittently in other entries. Other aspects of the show that this fan thinks should have entries but do not, based on their importance in the show, include the Whispers, Time Travel, and the Donkey Wheel.

    Now, to the positive. Given the existence of the much more comprehensive fan wiki "Lostpedia," the biggest appeal of The LOST Encyclopedia is not the depth or organization of its entries. Instead, it is the hundreds and hundreds of visual aids that accompany the entries, along with photos of LOST props and locales sprinkled liberally throughout the book. All of the entries on the major Dharma stations feature original diagrams. There are hundreds of close-ups of key props, such as Faraday's journal and maps used by the characters, as well as more obscure pieces like Drive Shaft promotional posters and the contents of Kate's time capsule. Most fans have never had an opportunity to see such components of LOST lore this clearly and up close.

    The encyclopedia also features a number of ancillary elements that exist outside of the show, thus establishing them as canon while also exposing them to fans who may not have seen them before. The entry for Alvar Hanso contains information about Thomas Mittlewerk and Rachel Blake, characters featured only in the LOST Alternate Reality Game "The LOST Experience." The article on the Purge includes a copy of the truce between the Others and the Dharma Initiative, previously available only to those who bought the special edition of the Season Five box set. There are even translations of many of the hieroglyphics featured on sets and props from the show, engravings that would be impossible to discern from screencaps.

    Ironically, the unofficial Lostpedia easily remains the definitive source of information on LOST even after the release of this book. Really, The LOST Encyclopedia functions best as a kind of coffee table attraction, a tome to peruse for the sake of curiosity as opposed to a serious study of the show's mythology. While its numerous textual errors give some entries an unpolished feel, from a strictly visual perspective the book is stunning. It's not easy to produce as many new images from a show as heavily scrutinized as LOST, but the material unique to the book, as well as the conversational tone best suited to enjoyable casual reading, make it worth the buy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No buts-this book is canon, October 12, 2010
    I still highly recommend this book to anyone who loved Lost. If you want a gift for your favorite Lost fanatic, this is the only book you should consider buying. That is because this is the only book written with the help of the Lost producers. It is fact-canon. Other books may theorize what happened in the Lost world but this is the only book that tells you what did happen.

    "No great depth" said the previous review! I was amazed at all the depth and details. Just a few examples: Jacob appreciated Widmore's loyalty and allowed him to rise to leadership with Eloise. Jacob had Alpert strip Widmore of his position and banish him. Danielle arrived on the island after the Purge. Ben planned to fool Juliet into releasing the gas from the Tempest killing herself, the 815 survivors and the freighter crew. Plus it confirms things we suspected like Widmore being the one to execute the Purge of the Dharma Initiative via gas from the Tempest and the one who told his goons to slaughter the Ajira 316 survivors.

    There is very little on the flash-forwards. The 14 or so pages (text is limited to brief recaps) are tacked on the end of the book after the index like an afterthought. Given this is an encyclopedia there isn't much for the writers to say about them anyway but the placement is very odd.

    Know what else is odd? Apparently the editors didn't show up for work! I found too many instances of misplaced and repeated text including this gem in a series of bullets about Shannon; "Loudly whined about Marshal Mars dying too callously." LOL! It is sooo annoying when someone dies callously! That probably should have been "Callously whined about Marshal Mars dying too loudly."

    I also found overall that the text lacked clarity. Many paragraphs were poorly worded and clumsy. In places grammatical errors left the text unnecessarily ambiguous. It's obvious that neither the publisher nor the writers were up to the task of producing this book properly which is sad. Or perhaps the producers are at fault for not choosing writers who could produce clean text under a tight deadline.

    I'm still giving it five stars because the book looks great (all 400 pages), it contains a mountain of information that is all canon (which no other Lost book can claim) and it is relatively cheap for all it contains. For all its faults, it still makes the best gift you can buy for any kind of Lost fan from the causal fan all the way up to the Lost fanatic.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Coffee Table Book, NOT Encyclopedia, November 27, 2010
    First off, let me explain that this is a coffee table book, plain and simple. It is hardly encyclopedic and exhaustive like I had expected. Every page is crammed full of large photos and the text is squeezed in the left over space as an afterthought. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with pictures, but why do they have to dominate the entire thing? I wanted an encyclopedia with lots of information and painfully detailed entries. Instead, they delivered an excersize in photoshop. When I actually saw this thing, I was really surprised how tall and thin it was. I was expecting something squat and fat, more along the lines of a dictionary. The proportions further emphasize the coffe-table-bookedness of this thing.

    If you already own this book and enjoy it, then I do not mean to take away from your enjoyment. I simply would like to warn those who haven't purchased this and who are on the edge to NOT buy it. At the very least, go to Barnes and Noble (like I did) and check it out first. If it's what you want and you are pleased, then I am happy for you. But I will be sticking with my guides by Nikki Stafford, which I can't say enough about. I really hope some day someone will come along and give us the thousand-page treatment this material deserves.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall nice, if not a complete presentattion, November 20, 2010
    Now I will readily admit that I do not actually own the book yet (I'm planning on ordering it ASAP), but I have read some of it at local bookstores and so far I do think it will be worth the purchase, and a nice complementary book to the LOST series. I did notice that some entries were oddly ordered, and although I haven't read much, I did notice an error in Alex's entry -- in reference to the episode "Stranger in a Strange Land" from season three, it stated that Alex opened the door of Jack's cell in the Hydra station so that he could stop Juliet's trial, which was not true -- in the episode "I Do," she unlocked Jack's cell door in the Hydra station which led to him seeing Kate and Sawyer on the monitor, but in the episode about Juliet's trial, Alex actually broke Jack out of one of the cages OUTSIDE of the Hydra station, when Jack asked to see Ben (so that he could save Juliet). I know this may be a minor mistake, and I may not have a right to gripe since I don't actually own this book yet, but as a rabid LOST/Jack fan, mistakes like that rub at me the wrong way. I also don't understand why some minor characters (like the undercover cop in one of Locke's flash back episodes), had a picture in his entry, but other characters (like Ben's childhood sweetheart, Annie) did not. Was it a space issue, or could they not get permission to use them? It was more likely the first, but still, that doesn't seem right to me. Especially since this is an offical encyclopedia.

    Also, I wish that the book had a section devoted to the Flash-sideways - not like the one in the back of the book, but a special one that explains characters only in that world (i.e, Sayid's brother, and David Shephard), and the events that took place. I wasn't expecting answers to be explained that weren't in the show (Lindelof and Cuse are determined to be cagey about those), but a whole season was devoted to the Flash-sideways, and although those stories may have confused/pissed off people, I liked the majority of them, and would've liked them included. To have them omitted feels to me like they weren't a part of LOST - like the writers had "buyer's remorse" a little too late. But it WAS LOST, and they should be in the book! It makes me sad that they weren't.

    And to the reviewer who mentioned the ordering of the characters listed in the Flashsideways - I think it begins with Desmond and ends with Jack because they were the two most important people in the FS. At least, that's what I think...?

    Overall, though, I will gladly get this book in a few weeks if I can. It's a nice looking book, and the LOSTIE in me demands it. =)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but with painful grammatical and other editing errors, October 19, 2010
    This is a great book for any die-hard LOST fan. It includes a number of details and clarifications that have not been offered anyplace else, which makes it indispensable. At the same time, many valuable features that one can find on Lostpedia.com (unofficial Lost encyclopedia online) are missing. Things like full lists of episode titles and summaries of each season, and, especially, timelines, character and mystery statuses. The book is also missing an index, which is quite odd for a publication of this nature, and makes it impossible to cross reference. This would lead me to believe there was not enough room to include all these features, which makes it somewhat curious that Sawyer's reading list, for example, is including twice in the book. Indeed, a number of facts and pictures are duplicated, while others are left out entirely.

    My biggest complaint though is the number of grammatical errors. Someone who wrote or edited the book has a lot of trouble identifying the subject of a sentence. For instance, one sentence reads "Before his father went on the Kahana mission, Michael tried to make contact with Walt." What this sentence means is that Michael's father went on the Kahana mission, but this is incorrect--it was Walt's father, Michael, who went on the mission. This type of incongruent-subject error is very frequent in the book. I've only read about 1/10 of it so far and have found similar mistakes five times already, as well as a number of typos.

    Most books have some mistakes, partly because our eyes tend to see what we know to be correct, so even astute editors miss some of these things. But there's a reasonable limit on just how many mistakes there should be, especially when this book is published by DK, known for its reference and educational books.

    I'm glad I bought the book now, but I'm also hoping for a second, improved edition, at which time I'll sell the current one on Ebay and cut my losses.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Informative Book for the LOST fanatic, October 15, 2010
    I just received my copy of the LOST Encyclopedia last night and while I have only read about 20 entries so far, in no particular order, I can tell I will be very pleased with this purchase. From what I've read so far I am very happy with some of the information I have got from it. It seems there is an entry for every single character that ever had a speaking role on LOST, whether it was a main character or someone who just appeared on the show once and said only 3 words. Almost every location has a detailed entry as well. Another great aspect of the book is that it seems to tie up some small loose ends on the show. While you aren't getting answers for all major mysteries I have noticed loose ends such as why Libby was in the mental institution and if she recognized Hurley was answered to my surprise. I'm excited to read more of the book and I believe it's a must have for any serious LOST fan.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall pleased, October 20, 2010
    As a fanatic of the show who followed all things CANON, I enjoyed the book overall. It's a great overall resource if you want to look something quick for reference. Whenever I thought something was omitted, it would pop up as information under a different entry.

    There are some small errors here and there. But I think they can be taken with a "grain of salt."

    Overall it's a great resource for the show. It doesn't offer "answers", but I felt the clarifications on things can be considered as new information. Such as how Ethan joined the others, that Widmore ordered the purge an JAcob suggested to Richard that he be removed from power, etc. ... Read more


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