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21. A Tale of Two Cities
22. The Art of War
23. Gulliver's Travels
24. Great Expectations
25. The Holy Bible English Standard
$15.59
26. Cleopatra: A Life
27. My Christmas Wish
28. Stupid American History: Tales
29. Last Light (Restoration Series
30. Sudoku
31. Marry Me
32. Troublesome Creek (Troublesome
33. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's
34. The Scarlet Letter
35. Cross Fire
36. Little Women
37. Code Blue
$13.93
38. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide
39. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
40. Grimm's Fairy Stories

21. A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
Kindle Edition

Asin: B004EHZXVQ
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... These well-known and loved lines begin Dickens's most exciting novel, set during the bloodiest moments of the French Revolution. When former aristocrat Charles Darnay learns that an old family servant needs his help, he abandons his safe haven in England and returns to Paris. But once there, the Revolutionary authorities arrest him not for anything he has done, but for his rich family's crimes. Also in danger: his wife, Lucie, their young daughter, and her aged father, who have followed him across the Channel.

This is Dickens’s only novel that lacks comic relief, and one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England. It is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale, much as the cathedral was the 'hero' of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris.

A Charles Dickens Timeline

1812Born February 7 in Portsmouth, England
1824His father John sent to Marshalsea Debtor's Prison for a debt of £40 and 10 shillings

Began working 10-hour days in shoe-polish warehouse to help support family
1833First story, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk," appeared in the Monthly Magazine
1836First book, Sketches by Boz, collected his early journalism and stories

First novel, The Pickwick Papers, began its monthly serialization

Married Catherine Hogarth
1837-39Oliver Twist appeared in monthly installments
1838-39Nicholas Nickleby serialized
1840-41The Old Curiosity Shop
1841Barnaby Rudge
1842American Notes, based on his tour that year of the United States
1843The Christmas Carol, the first of his "Christmas tales"
1843-44Martin Chuzzlewit
1846-48Dombey and Son
1849-50David Copperfield
1852-53Bleak House
1854Hard Times
1855-57Little Dorrit
1857Met actress Ellen Ternan, his longtime companion
1858Separated from his wife, Catherine
1859A Tale of Two Cities
1860-61Great Expectations
1864-65Our Mutual Friend
1867-68Second tour of America
1868-69Farewell reading tour of the British Isles
1870The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished)

Died from a stroke on June 9

1 ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars An Eighth Grader reviews A Tale of Two Cities
This book is incredible. I read it last year (in eighth grade), and I love it. I love Charles Dickens' language and style. Whoever is reading this may have little or no respect for my opinions, thinking that I am to young to comprehend the greatness of the plot and language, and I admit that I probably do not completely appreciate this classic piece of literature. I do read above a 12th grade level, although that doesn't count for a whole lot. It took me a while to get into this book. In fact, I dreaded reading it for a long time. But nearer to the end, I was drawn in by the poignant figure of a jackal, Sydney Carton. In his story I became enthralled with this book, especially his pitiful life. After I read and cried at Carton's transformation from an ignoble jackal to the noblest of persons, I was able to look back over the parts of the book that I had not appreciated, and realize how truly awesome they are. I learned to appreciate all of the characters, from Lucy Manette to Madame Defarge. I also was affected by all of the symbolism involved with both the French Revolution, and the nature of sinful man, no matter what the time or place. My pitiful review could never do justice to this great book, please don't be discouraged by my inability.

5-0 out of 5 stars Turbulent times in London and Paris
The period from 1775 - the outbreak of the American Revolution - to 1789 - the storming of the Bastille - is the turbulent setting of this uncharacteristic Dickens novel. It is his only novel that lacks comic relief, is one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England and is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale, much as the cathedral was the 'hero' of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris. Dickens was writing at a time of great turmoil in his personal life, having just separated from his wife, and no doubt the revolutionary theme was in tune with his mental state.

The result is a complex, involving plot with some of the best narrative writing to be found anywhere, and the recreation of revolutionary Paris is very convincing. The device of having two characters that look identical may seem hackneyed to modern readers, but it is here employed with greater plausibility than in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson or Collins's The Woman in White.

Dickens was inspired to write this story by reading Carlyle's newly published history of the French Revolution. Those events and their aftermath stood in relation to their time much as World Wars I and II do to ours, that is, fading from living memory into history, yet their legacy still very much with us. In many nineteenth-century novels, especially Russian and British works, you get a sense of unease among the aristocracy that the revolution will spread to their own back yard. In the case of Russia, of course, it eventually did.

I have often recommended A Tale of Two Cities as a good introduction to Dickens for younger readers. This is based on my own experiences, because it was a set book in my English Literature class when I was 15 and I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, it is challenging, with its somewhat archaic language and its slow development, but you cannot progress to an enjoyment of great literature without being challenged.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome - my favorite Dicken's novel!
I like all of Dicken's work because of his ability to bring a place and period to life as well as his gift for creating round characters that seem like real people you can reach out and touch. This novel certainly represents these qualities, but has a dark quality with no type of comic relief. It is intense and it captures the psychological and emotional climate of the the French revolution in a visceral way.

This novel which parallels the rise of the French revolution, compares and contrasts life in two cities Paris and London. It also develops a very intricate plot that is difficult to follow if one does not read steadily. In other words, it's not a light plot that you can set down for a few days and pick back up. On the other hand, it's extremely engaging and you won't want to put it down.

When I read it, I actually bought the Cliff's notes because I needed to set the book down for a few days at a time. When I picked it up again, I found the Cliff's notes useful to help me engage again without a lot of looking back through the book for all the twists and turns in the plot and lives of the characters.

This is a great novel in every respect, but it is not a happy one. It captures the harsh reality of the French Revolution in deep way. If you are studying the French Revolution, I would say it's a must read to truly get the spirit of what was going on. I don't believe history books can do it justice, you need the inside view which this provides.

Lastly, if you are simply enjoy a good story, you will like this. Don't expect a "everyone lived happily ever" type ending, however. This is heavy stuff, almost in the spirit of a Russian existentialist novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars One for the ages...
19th-century literature was less concerned with plausibility than literature of a later day. Thus, as characters are unmasked and their secret connections laid bare, the 21st-century reader may find the plot too convenient. A Tale of Two Cities is no different. Should one possess the capacity to look beyond this, however, one would find that Dickens has masterfully captured the bloodlust of the French Revolution from the both the bourgeoisie and plebeian views.

One family must face the barbarous, slaughtering revolutionary mob to save a former aristocrat. The villains are supremely villainous, the hero supremely heroic. Dickens captures the squalor of backstreet Paris, the murderous obsession of its citizens, and the utter helplessness of it's erstwhile elite. It is all tied in a bundle too convenient, but suspension of belief is no hardship given the strength of the story told. A Tale of Two Cities is at one time a history lesson and a powerful literary achievement. It is, as such, required reading and easily merits 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable
This book will forever be one of my favorites. Charles Dickens, in this book more than any of his others, twists and sews the plot in circles, keeping the reader in suspense and a state of unknowing--all while the tension continues to build to a climax.

This is a story of so many topics. While the simple poor find themselves in a revolution attempting to oust the aristocracy for their wealth and luxury in a time of so little, Dickens focuses on the struggle of one man and his beloved friends trying to stay alive. And in their attempt, tales of utter hatred and cruelty take place at the hands of both sides of the Revolution, with the plot stuck between the two. Forgiveness, sacrifice, devotion....the novel strikes upon so many human emotions.

And the ending--the ending you will never forget. It will impact and inspire you. Dickens has a beautiful style of writing for audiences. Reading the words at face value tells a terrific story. But Dickens always has a second or third meaning to them all. In this story he comments upon humanity itself, and in that way, we can all learn something of ourselves.

I highly recommend this novel. Wow.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Cities paints a beautiful while dark story of the French Revolution
A Tale of Two Cities paints a beautiful while dark story of the French Revolution and how it affects an English family. It is, by all standards, a classic. Yet, if you decide to read it and are younger than a high school senior, I suggest reading it with a good dictionary by your side. It is written in the English of over one-hundred years ago and so I would also recommend a version that includes notes on what certain phrases mean as well as a guide to the allusions used in the story. I am not recommending the abridged version, though. Reading it as it was written gives a much different experience that seems more genuine. The copy of the novel that I read was published by Pocket Books and includes explanatory notes and more which I found very helpful.
As I read I saw examples where Dickens (the author), implied satirical messages and themes relevant to the time when the book was written. Then, the situation in England resembled pre-Revolution France. Also, 1848, was known as the "Year of Revolutions". He may have been trying to discourage revolution and encourage solutions through political change, not violence. Dickens also implied, through his words, that a revolution could happen anywhere, even in England. He encouraged his message frequently but it never got old and wasn't monotonous. By using a variety of different situations, Dickens kept his message in the reader's mind. For example, at a burial of a spy in England, a mob forms and turns the burial into show of irreverent mourning and violence. He is implying that under the right conditions any group of people can turn into a violent mob. He also writes that history will repeat itself under the same circumstances. This message would have been very pertinent at the time. These messages about the state and flaws of society were frequent but were well integrated into the story. Many were fun to read due to Dickens' good use of satire and humor.
One complaint that many historians, literary critics, and others have had about A Tale of Two Cities is that the characters and depiction of the social classes are too unrealistic. I, too, thought that some of the characters were somewhat unrealistic, yet I don't believe that Dickens made them that way without reason. One example is in a moment with a member the French aristocracy. While riding at breakneck speed through downtown Paris, this noble's carriage hits and kills a child. In response, he turns to the grieving father and coolly tosses him a gold piece and drives off. I saw this action as very unrealistic, but this isn't supposed to be literal. This noble's action is part of his characterization that is just supposed to show that he is very cold. It is also supposed to symbolize the oppression of the peasants by the aristocracy. The lower class had been oppressed for so long and Dickens sums up their oppression through this one noble's action. Still, some of the characters' actions are unrealistic. After a condemned man is read his condemning sentence, he is perfectly composed and shows no signs of anxiety or emotion but love for his wife. There is no way that any human could be unafraid after that. Despite some unrealistic moments in Dickens characters, his description of the classes and their struggles is excellent. This is probably because of his experience. As a boy, Dickens was a peasant, which explains why his descriptions of peasant life and their strife are so detailed. I personally found Dickens' characters very appealing and his description of French society very enthralling.
If you are unsure if you want to read this book, my advice to you would be: definitely read it. Dickens creates a capturing world with a deep plot, exquisite use of imagery, and striking characters, all in one of the most exciting times in history. Pick it up and you won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
I just finished reading this book in my 9th grade Honors english class, and I have to say that I loved it! It was terribly boring at first--very hard reading! And Dickens IS VERY wordy; or, as my English teacher says, he likes to make his point and than slap you in the face with it several times until you get the point! Aside from that however, I really enjoyed the story. I laughed with my friends over the mini battle between Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, and cried with them at Sydney Carton's courage(he made Charles Darnay look meaningless). Although this classic story is by far one of the best I've ever read (Black Beauty is THE best), I don't think I could have enjoyed it nearly as much without my wonderful English teacher explaining every "difficult" section-- and pointing out the humor that Dickens uses, and which many overlook. To fully enjoy this book, you have to read "between the lines", but if you have the patience to do this, I gaurentee you will love this book as much as I do!

5-0 out of 5 stars The most unforgettable opening and closing sentences ever found in a book!
I will never, the rest of my life forget these two sentences. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...." and at closing "It is a far, far, better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

Wow, this is not your usual Dickens. No quirky characters with strange names and laugh out loud moments, just a darn good story -- the story of two cities, London and Paris. It is difficult to put the plot into words, but when the book begins you are in London at the time of the American revolution and spies (or suspected spies) abound, and the story eventually switches to France prior to and during the French revolution.

Dickens does a marvelous job (as always) of building his story one step at a time and slowly peeling back the layers one at a time. This is not a put down and pick it up a week later kind of a book, it is very intense and complicated and you have to pay close attention. I was just floored at how he sucked me in with his descriptions of the mobs, terror and the madness of the revolution leading you to a nail biting finish. I admit to holding my breath during those last few pages!

Highly recommended, and well worth the time to discover (or rediscover) an old classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Work of Literature
There is so much to say about A Tale of Two Cities that one hardly knows where to begin. The scene of our book is the French Revolution. It is a time in history when the french peasants, horrifically treated by the nobility, revolted and caused what is known as 'the terrors'. It is a time when people can be accused in secret, tried summarily, and then tortured and beheaded. Many, many people were beheaded on a daily basis, sixty, or more, at a time.

A Tale of Two Cities takes this story up by beginning with the story of Dr. Manette, who has spent fifteen years as a secret prisoner in a tower of the Bastille. He is rescued by an old servant, Monsieur Defarge, who turns him over to his daughter Lucie. Lucie, who has always thought her father dead, takes care of her mentally damaged father and helps restore him to his health and sanity.

We also meet Charles Darnay, who Lucie eventually comes to love and marry. Turns out, unfortunately, that Charles is actually living in England under and assumed name, because he is really a french nobleman, much hated in his mother country. When Charles is called back to Paris to clear the name of an old servant he is imprisoned. Much of the story is then spent in the effort to get Charles out of prison, and his family safely out of Paris.

The story is too complicated and wonderfully intricate to describe in full here. There are many other characters which are all important. For those who loves suspence, A Tale of Two Cities holds many surprises and will keep you wondering the entire time. There are loves unrequitted, acts of horror, deep sadnesses, and acts of perfect heroism. This story will bring tears to your eyes.

As a piece of literature, A Tale of Two Cities is unsurpassed. The writing is beautiful! This book begins and ends with two of the most famous lines in all of literature. The words are truely poetic. The prose is full, deep, and perfectly moody. Dickens does an excellent job of painting not just the scenes for us, but the feel of the time. He makes you experience the weight of the drudgery the peasants experienced, the horror of the terrors, the grief of the mourner, and the triumph of the human spirit. Read this book, you cannot be disappointed. Read more


22. The Art of War
by Sunzi
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKSZO4
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars NOT THE BOOK
This is just the cliffnotes to the book. This is not the actual book. Also, very poorly published.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic on the priciples of war
This ancient classic of 13 chapters was written over 2,500 years ago by the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu. It is a must have for military buffs that enjoy reading about the tactics of the most succesful generals. It is rumored that Napoleon used a French translation of the Art of War to his advantage while conquering most of Europe, and he lost when he broke its principles.
The principles that are with in this ancient text can also be used in games of strategy, business conflicts, and the day to day battles of life.
Here are ten principles to give you a sample of the wisdom found in its pages:

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance with out fighting.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

Spies are the most important element in war, because upon them depends an army's ability to move.

All warfare is based on deception.

The general who wins a battle makes many calculations before the battle is fought.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from a prolonged war.

The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals.

In war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. (So they can retreat).

Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained, fight not unless the position is critical.

Taken as a whole this is a book of wisdom and principles on how to win. I rank it in my top ten books I have ever read. It is a must have for any home library. The is a very small book that is quick and easy to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars In some ways outdated, in others, prophetic
A. Overview
The ancient Chinese military general Sun Tzu lays out a blueprint for the effective waging of war. In his classic The Art of War, the successful war campaign largely revolves around two key elements: deception and surprise. Sun Tzu also describes the virtues that are required of effective military leaders, and, drawing from his many years of military experience, he gives wide ranging and insightful advice on knowing oneself, knowing one's enemy, and how to keep the spirits of one's soldiers fixed on victory. Throughout his treatise, his words are piercing, direct, at times witty, and often paradoxical. He writes, for example, "If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant" (I.22). "Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength" (V.17).

1. Virtues Necessary for a Successful War Campaign
The Commander is to be an exemplar of five virtues: wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness (I.9). Discipline among the Commanders and soldiers is the key to victory. One can even determine which side in a war will be victorious by asking "(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?" (I.13).

2. The Law of Deception
The Law of Deception is summarized by Sun Tzu with these words: "All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near" (I.18-19).
Sun Tzu goes to great lengths in justifying this assertion and in giving examples of how to deceive and to detect deception from the enemy. He writes, "Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat" (IX.24), but "Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot" (IX.26). "At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you" (XI.68).

3. Law of Surprise Attack
Surprise is also an important element in weakening the enemy. The military is to "[a]ppear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected" (VI.5), and, "[i]n raiding and plundering, be like fire, in immovability like a mountain" (VII.18). "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt" (VII.19).

4. Effective Warfare
The rest of the treatise focuses on how to wage war in an effective manner. War is to be waged by first knowing oneself and knowing one's enemy. Battle is never undertaken unless one is certain that he will win. Sun Tzu outlines the five principles of victory: "(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign" (III.17).
A successful war campaign is waged efficiently, with the Armed Forces knowing when and how to attack by expending as little effort as possible, for "supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting" (III.2). Few resources are to be expended in an effective war campaign: "The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice" (II.8).
Sun Tzu also seems to hint at a metaphysical plane in which warfare is fought. He writes, for example, that the effective Commander "wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated" (IV.13), as though war is first fought on some metaphysical plane before the victory and defeated is reflected in the visible, physical world.

B. Critique
Some of Sun Tzu's counsel is outdated in the age of terrorism, military insurgencies, and digital and nuclear warfare. Some of it revolves around the size and numbers of the enemy's forces and one's advantage relative to the enemy based on numbers. Similarly, much of his advice is based on obsolete forms of land warfare that are rarely fought in the modern day. He writes, for example, "Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted" (VI.1). This advice will rarely, if ever, be relevant in an age where most warfare is fought in the air or from long range missiles, with forces rarely clashing in land battles.
The advent of nuclear weapons also changes the entire equation of relative forces and makes the numbers of infantrymen almost irrelevant. Similarly, the introduction of insurgencies that blend into local populations have been able to render even large armies of well equipped soldiers ineffective and unsuccessful. Furthermore, the advent of digital and cyber-warfare makes the numbers of enlisted and commissioned soldiers largely irrelevant to foreign attacks.
Though the forms of warfare have changed over the ages, many of Sun Tzu's principles continue to apply. Whether fighting a land battle or an air battle, the laws of deception and surprise attack are still relevant and highly effective. Furthermore, Sun Tzu outlines lessons that are important not only for the battlefield, but also for the general struggles of life. He writes, "You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked" (VI.7). This is advice that should be heeded by businessmen, political leaders, and anyone else in a position that requires defending against an onslaught of attacks or competition.

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23. Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUZ3W
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars No More Excuses - It's Time to Read Gulliver's Travels
I am certain that nearly every person in the Western world (and some beyond it) is familiar with the quintessential scene of "Gulliver's Travels," that of a man tied down to the ground and surrounded by tiny humans. I am equally certain however, that only a very small percentage of these people have actually read Jonathan Swift's satirical novel, first published in 1726. If you consider yourself a serious reader, then "Gulliver's Travels" is essential reading, one of the many classic novels that you simply *have* to read before you die.

Divided into four parts, "Gulliver's Travels" is presented as the historical memoirs of Lemuel Gulliver who narrates his strange adventures in undiscovered countries. In doing so, Swift explores and satirises almost every conceivable issue important in both his time and in ours: politics, religion, gender, science, progress, government, family and our basic ideas of defining humanity. As well as this, the novel is full of wonder and humour (some of it bordering on the vulgar!) and Swift's exploration of imaginary societies and countries is satire at its peak - no one before or since has reached Swift's mastery of this style.

Some of the more direct parodies concern people and events that have long since passed away, and as such an index or extensive background is required in order to fully understand the allusions that Swift is making. However, a far larger portion of the text discusses issues that are still relevant to today's readers, especially in the responsibilities of power and the limits to technological/scientific progression.

Part One: "A Voyage to Lilliput" is the most famous segment of the novel, and the context of the afore-mentioned "hostage episode". After taking leave of his family and country, Gulliver is washed up on the shores of an island inhabited by humanoid beings not more than six inches tall. Though at first suspicious, Gulliver soon earns the trust of the Lilliputian people who enlist their newfound giant in defending them from their enemies on the bordering island of Blefufeu - who likewise are desperate to use the giant in their war against Lilliput. Hmm, a squabble over what is considered a weapon capable of mass destruction. Sound familiar? This ability to place modern day references over older texts and their meanings is what separates literature from books - universal themes and concerns that do not age with time.

In Part Two, Gulliver reaches the polar opposite of Lilliput in "A Voyage to Brobdingnag", a country of giants where he becomes the helpless victim of a greedy farmer who exploits his diminutive stature to his own advantage. Displayed as a freak of nature, the tiny Gulliver is forced to perform circus tricks till he finally comes into the care of the royal court. Despite being cared for by the gentle farmer's daughter Grildrig, Gulliver has to survive wasp-attacks, hungry cats and a malicious dwarf before he is finally seized by a hunting bird and set adrift at sea.

One of the most appealing things about Gulliver's travels in both Lilliput and Brobdingnag is the disorientation he feels on re-entering the company of humans of a normal stature - each time they seem either too small or too big and Gulliver is constantly slouching or tip-toeing in an attempt to reconcile his body to what his mind tells him he should see. The best part is that we share this confusion with him, as we ourselves become accustomed to life in the tiny and giant worlds.

Part Three is the least known of the four parts, and for those who have read the novel, the least popular. I consider this unfortunate as it is more full of variety and wonderment than the other segments, contains some of his sharpest parodies and is my personal favourite `voyage' in the novel. Titled "A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Gluggdubdrib and Japan", it is easy to see that it this episode is filled with Swift's most creative inventions. It is here that Gulliver discovers a floating island, a race of immortals, a university in which they attempt to discover the answers to all things and an island of spirits who summon historical figures up out of the past. With everything from inward-eyed people to Alexander the Great to exploding dogs, Part Three has it all.

Finally, in Part Four, the novel reaches its most critical and thought-provoking statement on humankind in "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms". Gulliver reaches a country inhabited by a remarkable race of horses with the intelligence of humans - perhaps with even *more* intelligence than humans. Also living here is a disgusting race of beings known as "Yahoos" - filthy, greedy, slothful, lecherous creatures who embody every vice known to mankind - and who are suspiciously humanoid in shape and form. Gulliver is faced with a crisis of the soul: does he really come from the race of Yahoos? Will the Houyhnhnms accept him as one of their own or as a Yahoo? And how can he ever return home with the devastating wisdom he has gained? Swift presents a fascinating study on the dark side of humanity and the nobility of animals in the climax of the novel that is the most controversial, the most studied and the most memorable.

"Gulliver's Travels" is not an easy book to read; like all older literary novels it requires the attention and patience of the reader, has complicated and contemporary issues to discuss and a tendency to be a bit long-winded at times. But regardless of this, "Gulliver's Travels" is a fascinating and enjoyable read and one of those books that just *has* to be read during your lifetime - if not for any other reason but to say that you *have* read it. Though the scanty amount of reviews on this page is disheartening, "Gulliver's Travels" is a must-read, pure and simple.

I also recommend the Hallmark adaptation of Swift's novel - NOT to be watched instead of reading the book, but as a surprisingly faithful and intelligent miniseries that accompanies the novel well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice Affordable Edition of this Classic Work
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift is classic work of satire and adventure that hardly needs my recommendation. Instead, let me comment on this edition published by Sterling. It's a nice hardcover with dustjacket and placeholder ribbon. There are a number of illustrations by Scott McKowen and an afterword by Arthur Pober. If you're looking for a inexpensive, but nice edition of Gulliver's Travels, this book would be a good choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I remembered.
All I remembered about Gulliver's Travels was the Golden Book or other children's versions of the story that I read when I was still a wee young thing. The real story is much more thought provoking, and the style is quite interesting. Swift writes about his travels to various countries where he encounters people and customs far different from what he is used to. Nevertheless, he writes from an objective viewpoint without discussing what is wrong or right about any of the cultures he visits.

The last place he visits is a country that is populated by extremely intelligent horses, who after hearing Gulliver's explanation of his own country and government, give their impressions of what is wrong with the English government and monarchy. Very tactful, but it makes the points he wants readers to understand. Many similar ideas to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" come out in the horses' discussions.

A bit long. I thought it might be a bit childish at first. But it was well worth reading from cultural, political and historical points of view.

5-0 out of 5 stars The finest satirical novel written.
Swift's classic satire of English and European governments, societies, and cultures should be required reading of every college student. (Except for those who appear to be in law school as is the earlier reviewer who referred to Swift as being an "18th century Unabomber." Swift may have been conservative in his beliefs and not cared much for individuals such as Robert Boyle, who is satirized in the book, but he was not violent. Perhaps our "law student/reviewer" is offended by Swift's biting satire of lawyers and politicians in part four.) The version I read was an annotated edition by Isaac Asimov and contained many passages that had been deleted by previous publishers. Asimov's comments enable the reader to more fully appreciate Swift's satire. In part one of the novel, a ship's surgeon, Lemuel Gulliver, is shipwreaked and finds himself on the island of Lilliput, the inhabitants all being only six inches high. This section is great satire of English politics and wars. Royal ponp, feuds amongst the populace, and wars are made to look rediculous. In the second part, Gulliver finds himself in Brobdingnag in which he is only six "inches" tall (relatively speaking). This part forms another satire of European governments. In part three, Gulliver visits the flying island of Laputa where shades of ancient scholars can be called up. This section is a satire on philosophers and scientists. Scientists are portrayed as men so wrapped up intheir speculations as to be totally useless in practical affairs. Absurd experiments are described (for example, extracting sunlight from cucumbers (but, extracting energy from cucumbers and other plants is no longer so absurd Jonathan)). Also described in this third part are the Struldbergs, men and women who are immortal but who turn out to be miserable and pitiable. In part four, Gulliver travels to the Land of the Houyhnhnms, horses with intelligence but who have no passion or emotion. The word "Yahoo" originates in this part. READ IT!

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest satirical novel ever
Gulliver's Travels is an excellent book. In it Swift satirizes what he thought were the foibles of his time, in politics, religion, science, and society. In Part One Lemuel Gulliver is shipwrecked on Lilliput where the inhabitants are only 6 inches tall. The rivalry between Britain and France is there satirized. In Part Two he is marooned on the subcontinent of Brobdingnag where the inhabitants are giants. The insignificance of many of mankind's achievements are there satirized. Next in Part Three Gulliver is taken aboard the floating island of Laputa, where Swift takes the opportunity to satirize medicine and science altogether - incredibly Swift did not make up the crazy experiments he describes; all were sponsored at one time or another by the Royal Society. Finally in Part Four Gulliver is marooned by mutineers on the island of the Houyhnhynms, in which Swift takes his parting shot at human society - presenting them in degraded form as the Yahoos. Most people read no further in the book than Brobdingnag - I urge you to read the rest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gulliver's travels
Who would have expected that I would come away from this book liking it so very much? Trying to read it on my own, I failed, but reading it in class helped me to see it in context, and appreciate it as a funny, thoughtful, and sometimes cruel work, a satire that can be real fun and thought-provoking once you get into the right mood for reading it.

Jonathan Swift was an Irish-born Tory who possessive of a famous aversion to humantiy in general. (Or so I am apt to classify him. There is something charming about misanthropes, one can really sympathize with them when one is cranky.) His Captain Lemuel Gulliver ends up stranded in various wondrous and edifying lands. I needn't tell you about Lilliput (six inch high people) and Brobdingnag (giants), but you might have forgotten Laputa, the floating island, and the land of the H----'s (don't bother me with the bloody spelling), those uber-intelligent horses. It's that last part, with the H----'s that is pretty shocking even today. You and me are both Yahoos of a kind, and Gulliver sails back to his people in raft with a sail made from Yahoo-skins. With Yahoo meat as provisions.

But there are lots of disturbing, warped things in this book. I remember passages in Brobdingnag with the most fondness. There Gulliver, reduced to the status of a plaything, is quite helpless, and delightfully so. He is dropped into a bowl of cream by a dwarf and embarrasingly discommoded by a pet monkey. The ladies at the court take a perverse delight in bouncing him up and down on their breasts. Gulliver, being tiny, is able to note the physical human imperfections of his captors magnified--cancerous lumps, blemishes of the skin, moles and wrinkles appear in all their sordidness. And what interesting things these are to read about, in retrospect. I think that we as modern human beings--I mean as Westerners, swamped in our materialism and complacency--need to sample the muck in our "entertainment" sometimes, just to get in touch with reality. Tear yourself away from MTV, from the supermodels and the actors, from semi-kiddie porn anime, and admit that the physicality of our human bodies can be pretty disgusting.

And also the psychology of Us, when we don't study ourselves and our values--

Gulliver himself is a little man, a contemptible nincompoop most of the time. I didn't notice it while I was reading the book, but afterwards, I thought about it, and decided so. When he recommends gunpowder to the King of Brobdingnag, he even comes across as significantly--stupid. (Is there logic in presenting a country of giants with the ability to make gunpowder, when you and the rest of your kind are 1/100th of their size? Derr. Not really. Even if you want to suck up to said king.)

But it's Swift on whom I can't quite place my finger... The more I think about him alongside his book, the more ambiguous he seems. Does he really mean to present the values of the H----'s as Good with a capital G in all particulars? (I was struck with their arrogant bitchiness, myself. Perhaps Swift would dislike me.) How about the Lilliuputian way of raising children, is that meant to be construed as desirable? (I do like it better than the cruel Puritanical strain of childraising, all that honor your mother & father ad nauseum beyond the bounds of compassion kind of crap--but the Lilliputian way doesn't seem to allow for that thing called love, either...)

I dunno. You tell me.

Ahh, but don't tell me Gulliver's Travels is outdated, or boring, 'cause I won't believe you.

5-0 out of 5 stars HUMANS: BIG AND LITTLE, UNWISE AND UNCOUTH
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS can be looked at in at least two different ways. On a stand alone basis, it is a satire written by a misanthrope, but if taken within the context of his overall body of work, it can also be perceived as a satire written by a man with a deep concern for mankind.

Part I and Part II satirize Englishmen, their religion, politics, and their government. Parts III and IV satirize humanity on a much broader scale.

In Part I, we find Lemuel Gulliver shipwrecked on the Island of Lilliput where the average inhabitant is about six inches tall. They are actually small in both body and mind. English religion and politics are satirized by descriptions of those who wear high heels and those who wear low heels, and by the dispute between those who feel their eggs should be broken at the big end and those whose preference is the small end. Like England, through much of history, the Lilliputians are constantly at war with their traditional enemies from across the chanel.

In Part II, Gulliver is again stranded, this time on Brobdingnag, where the size proportions are just the opposite as in Part I. Here, Gulliver is tiny in relation to the inhabitants. Here, too, England, and to some extent all of humankind, are taken to task. After Gulliver has described European manners, customs, and behaviour to the king, the king comments that "I cannot but conclude (that) the bulk of your natives (are) the most pernicious race of odious vermin . . . . to crawl on the face of the earth."

Part III takes on the world of scientists, philosophers, historians, and "projectors." On the flying Island of Laputa, the continent of Lagado, and the Islands of the Sorcerers and Immortals, He meets wise men who spend their lives in speculation but can't handle the practical necessities of life, professors who dedicate their lives to extracting sunlight from cucumbers, and immortals who reveal history to be nothing more than a series of deceptions.

Finally, in Part IV, he finds himself in the country of the Houyhnhnms, who are horses with the power to reason. These horses lead clean and simple lives in contrast to the humans, known as Yahoos, who are filthy, brutal, and uncouth. In the Yahoos, Gulliver recognizes the human race, and after finally returning home, he can never again be comfortable in the company of other humans.

Read by itself, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS is a satire on the foibles, weaknesses, and petty corruptions of the human race in general, and English politicians in specific, as written by a rather bitter misanthrope. That is a correct reading, but not necessarily the only one. Read in the context of many of Swift's other works, particularly his many political pamphlets, I think that it can be perceived as a satirically inventive work written by a man who really cares about the future of the human race.

As an aside, Gulliver's visit to Lilliput has, through the years, enchanted countless numbers of children. It is in this section that we get a peek at Swift's humorous side.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great text that will live on for centuries
Swift's Gulliver's Travels is one of the smartest British novels ever written. It is a funny, sharp, poignant, and startling look at human nature. The most interesting part of the novel is the many conversations between Gulliver and the Houyhnhnm master relating to the causes of war and other aspects of human nature. This novel is a wonderful reflection of human society that really makes the reader question his or her methods or discourse.

5-0 out of 5 stars **SPOILER ALERT** Truly the classic it is thought to be
Gulliver's Travels: my first book ever on the Kindle(tm). Well, first about the mechanics of it all. I know, based on some reviews I have read, some versions of stories are poorly formatted or the font is bad or unadjustable or what have you--thankfully none of those issues was present here. It was a joy to be able to glide through the pages, looking words up at the speed of thought, never losing my place, and not having to stare at a backlit display for a change.
None of this concerning Mr. Swift, though, who wrote this novel without even knowing of a typewriter or electricity. The book begins with Gulliver, an English gentleman of the early eighteenth century, talking of his love for travel at sea; I was beginning to feel as though I were reading Robinson Crusoe again. Things change quickly though as Gulliver lands on the land of Lilliput where the inhabitants are a mere half of a foot in height.
Here begins Swift's parody of human culture that continues throughout Mr. Gulliver's three other tours of duty in the novel. Swift takes a characteristic or two of human nature and satirizes it with each civilization Gulliver encounters. The Lilliputians allow him to poke fun at politics and underhandedness, with every cutting each other's throat to win the king's favor. The Brobdingnagians give note to mankind's frailty, with poor Gulliver fearing for his life at every turn while the giants around him tiptoe to assure his safety.
The third voyage lands Gulliver on an island in the middle of nowhere. He is rescued by the flying island of the Laputians, who are stuck with their heads in the clouds. I should say that Swift has a disdain for those who live lives in the stratosphere of philosophy and mathematics; the Laputians seem to be unable to function at all since their thoughts are always elsewhere.
The forth, final, and most important voyage made by the narrator is to the land of the Houyhnhnms. The Houyhnhnms are hyperevolved horses who live their lives and run their society by rational means only. In that land there, there is a race of humans called Yahoos who live like wild animals. Swift's uses these two species to dichotomize our conflicting natures: the Houyhnhnms are our cognitive, rational faculties--our divinity--, while the Yahoos are the basal, animal-like natural side of us. Neither of these two polar opposites can be reproved for being what it is. However, it is our rational and refined halves that we wish to see have the upper hand. Unable to reconcile these two, the narrator goes a bit mad, and when he returns to England, becomes reclusive.
I was thrilled with this book. Though I found some parts to be a bit slow-moving, the narrator dwelling in picayune details at times, the book truly is a work of art. This definitely opens the doors for Swift as an author to me.

Matt Finizio
[...]
Box off, Life on. Read more


24. Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKSUBC
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman—and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In this gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, the compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.

A Charles Dickens Timeline

1812Born February 7 in Portsmouth, England
1824His father John sent to Marshalsea Debtor's Prison for a debt of £40 and 10 shillings

Began working 10-hour days in shoe-polish warehouse to help support family
1833First story, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk," appeared in the Monthly Magazine
1836First book, Sketches by Boz, collected his early journalism and stories

First novel, The Pickwick Papers, began its monthly serialization

Married Catherine Hogarth
1837-39Oliver Twist appeared in monthly installments
1838-39Nicholas Nickleby serialized
1840-41The Old Curiosity Shop
1841Barnaby Rudge
1842American Notes, based on his tour that year of the United States
1843The Christmas Carol, the first of his "Christmas tales"
1843-44Martin Chuzzlewit
1846-48Dombey and Son
1849-50David Copperfield
1852-53Bleak House
1854Hard Times
1855-57Little Dorrit
1857Met actress Ellen Ternan, his longtime companion
1858Separated from his wife, Catherine
1859A Tale of Two Cities
1860-61Great Expectations
1864-65Our Mutual Friend
1867-68Second tour of America
1868-69Farewell reading tour of the British Isles
1870The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished)

Died from a stroke on June 9

1 ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Best novel EVER!
Another reviewer claims that you have to be at least 21 years old to read this book. Although I don't think it should be "forced" on schoolchildren (they will only hate it) I read this novel when I was a child and I loved it. I have just re-read it now and I enjoy it all the more. This is my favorite novel by Dickens. It is from his later period and is criticized for being too dark - which, however, makes it more perfect for today's sensibilities. Stephen King cites this work as one of his favorites: he believes that it is this book that brought the gothic novel mainstream.

Was there ever a novelist who created more memorable characters than Dickens? Here, we meet perhaps his most intriguing - Miss Havisham. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, I will not spoil it by describing her. The story is similar to parable about the prodigal son - good Pip inexplicably comes into some money and goes off to the corrupting city.

AN IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE: Dickens wrote two ending for this book. His friends thought that the original ending was too downbeat and they asked him to come up with a different one. It is the upbeat ending that is the official ending of the novel. However, most critics agree that the original unpublished ending is better. Most modern editions feature the unpublished ending in an appendix. MAKE SURE YOU BUY A COPY THAT CONTAINS THE ORIGINAL ENDING!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Novels Ever Written
Why do I come here to "review" this? It isn't anyone's book club selection, no. But tonight I want to talk about this incomparably rich and wonderful book, and how as a fourteen year old kid I simply sank into it, taking it slowly week by week, glorying in its mysteries, its great grotesque portrait of Miss Havisham in her rotting bridal finery, its often painful recounting of a young boy's awakening to a seductive world beyond the blacksmith's forge to which destiny has condemned him. This book was about me. It was about wanting to learn, wanting to transcend, wanting to achieve while anything and everything seems hopelessly beyond one's dreams. Of course life changes for Pip. And the world Pip enters was a world that dazzled me and only made my adolescent ambitions burn all the more hurtfully. I think this book is about all who've ever tried for more, ever reached for the gold ring -- and it's about some, of course, who've gotten it. It's also a wondrous piece of storytelling, a wondrous example of how in the first person ("I am, etc." ) a character can tell you more about himself than he himself knows. What a feat. And a very strange thing about this book, too, was the fact that Dickens said more about Pip and Pip's dreams than Dickens knew he was doing. Dickens himself didn't quite realize, I don't think, the full humanity of the character he created. Yet the character is there -- alive, captivating, engaging us throughout with full sympathy. Go for it. If you never read anything else by Charles Dickens, read and experience this book. Afterwards, David Copperfield will be a ride in the sunshine, I assure you. And both books will stand by you forever. For whom am I writing this? For myself perhaps just because Pip meant and still means so much. For some one perhaps who's unsure about this book and needs a push to dive into a classic. Oh, is this book ever worth the effort. -. Enough. Read it, know it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dark, brooding, profound
Great Expectations is one of Dickens's later novels, a work of his artistic maturity. The narrative is symbolic rather than realistic. Although, as in most of Dickens and in Victorian literature in general, the plot relies heavily on coincidence, it is acceptable here because the events are true to the internal, psychological, logic of the story.

After writing A Tale of Two Cities, which was unique among his novels in that it had none of his trademark humor, Dickens set out to make Great Expectations rich in comic elements. This despite, or perhaps because of, being in a depressed state of mind himself at the time. The conventional critical view is that he largely failed in this attempt, but I strongly disagree. The book is hilariously funny in parts and the main character, Pip, exhibits a characteristically British humour-in-adversity throughout his adventures. There is also the host of minor comic characters that we expect from Dickens. And he for once manages pathos without spilling over into bathos, so there are tears as well as laughter here, sometimes both at once.

If you have not yet read any Dickens, this is not a bad book with which to start, although for younger readers (teens) I would recommend Hard Times or A Tale of Two Cities as their first. Great Expectations demands a mature sensibility to appreciate its symbolism and psychological depth. Perhaps because it chiefly concerns the childhood and youth of the protagonist, it is often given to young people to read and is a set text in some High School classes. This is a pity because, in its dark complexity, it is more likely to turn youngsters off, rather than onto, Dickens.


5-0 out of 5 stars Social commentary, mystery, romance and a great story...
I've never read any Dickens of my own free will. I was forced to read "A Tale of Two Cities" in high school and I thought that was enough for me. However, one day, on a whim, I bought a copy of Great Expectations. I'm not sure what I expected, but I certainly didn't expect to love it as much as I did.

Dickens is not a writer to read at a swift pace. Indeed, this novel was written in weekly episodes from December 1860 to August 1861 and, as it was created to be a serial, each installment is full of varied characters, great descriptions and a lot of action which moves the plot along and leaves the reader yearning for more. Therefore, unlike some books which are easily forgotten if I put them down for a few days, Great Expectations seemed to stick around, absorbing my thoughts in a way that I looked forward to picking it up again. It took me more than a month to read and I savored every morsel.

Basically the story is of the self-development of Pip, an orphan boy being raised by his sister and her blacksmith husband in the marshlands of England in 1820.

Every one of the characters were so deeply developed that I felt I was personally acquainted with each one of them. There was Pip's roommate, Herbert Pocket, the lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, and his clerk, Mr. Wemmick. And then there was the wicked Orlick. The dialogues were wonderful. The characters often didn't actually say what they meant but spoke in a way that even though the words might be obtuse, there was no mistaking their meaning. I found myself smiling at all these verbal contortions.

Dickens' work is richly detailed and he explores the nuances of human behavior. I enjoyed wallowing in the long sentences and letting myself travel backwards in time to a different world. However, even with the footnotes, I found myself sometimes confused by the British slang of 150 years ago, and there were several passages I had to read over several times in order to get the true meaning. Of course I was not in a particular rush. I didn't have to make a report to a class or take a exam about the book. This is certainly a pleasure.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read.ting from the secret wealth of Magwitch, who made a fortune in Australia after being transported. Moreover, Magwitch's unlawful return to England puts him and Pip in danger. Meanwhile, Estella has married another, a horrible man who Pip despises. Eventually, with Magwitch's recapture and death in prison and with his fortune gone, Pip ends up in debtors prison, but Joe redeems his debts and brings him home. Pip realizes that Magwitch was a more devoted friend to him than he ever was to Joe and with this realization Pip becomes, finally, a whole and decent human being.

Originally, Dickens wrote a conclusion that made it clear that Pip and Estella will never be together, that Estella is finally too devoid of heart to love. But at the urging of others, he changed the ending and left it more open ended, with the possibility that Estella too has learned and grown from her experiences and her wretched marriages.

This is the work of a mature novelist at the height of his powers. It has everything you could ask for in a novel: central characters who actually change and grow over the course of the story, becoming better people in the end; a plot laden with mystery and irony; amusing secondary characters; you name it, it's in here. I would rank it with A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield among the very best novels of the worlds greatest novelist.

GRADE: A+

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Classic!
I love this book! This is one of my all-time favorite books ever. I had to read it eons ago when I was in ninth grade, and now (14 years later) I am still enjoying it. Every few years I take this one down from my bookshelf to revisit. This is the story of Pip, a small orphaned boy living in poverty in the English countryside with his much older sister and her husband. Pip meets a convict in a graveyard one damp morning and helps him out in the form of some vittles and an iron file. Later in the story, Pip moves from poverty to being a "gentleman" due to the influence of a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. This book tells of his adventures and how Pip's expectations guide him through life. Towards the end of the story, Pip finds out that reality is sometimes very different from what we expect it to be. The characters are what really make this book stand out. Charles Dickens is a master of character development, and his descriptions of Miss Havisham, Wemmick, Joe, and the others is brilliant! The dialogue is great, with the words written the way a commoner would have spoken in England in the 1800's. Another thing I really liked was how all of the characters are inter-related to each other in ways that you may not discover until you get to the end of the novel.This novel will make you laugh and it might make you sad, but it is always entertaining. If you are in high school and reading this book for the first time for English class, keep at it! It may seem difficult at first if you are not used to Dickens, but this book is well worth it! It is truly a gem.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and beautiful book
Charles Dickens's acknowledged masterpiece, Great Expectations, is rightly considered one of the greatest novels of all-time. It depth and breadth are staggering, as it follows its protagonist, Pip, from his early childhood through his later life. During the course of his life, we encounter a vast catalog of raw human emotions: love, hate, jealousy, hope, sadness, despair, anger, pity, empathy, sympathy -- and on and on. The story is treasured and revered for many reasons. One of its main strengths is its plot: after a somewhat slow introductory section, Dickens puts his story in fifth gear and delivers a fast-paced and exciting story that gallops along without ever losing interest or clarity. The incredibly complex plotline, full of separate stories and incidents that seem totally unrelated to each other, but are then all harnessed together as the book heads straight toward its denouement, is also full of constant plot twists, which continue up until, literally, the last paragraph. But, of course, as with all of Dickens's major works, it is the characters that make the book. Like Shakespeare, Dickens preferred to have the story develop through the characters, rather than having the characters be mere set pieces inside of an overriding story. And what great characters they are: the perennially paradoxical but essentially human Pip; the bitter and mysterious Miss Havisham; the beautiful and haughty Estella; the simple and saint-like Joe; the kind and benevolent Herbert; the very human convict, Magwitch -- and all of the other wonderful characters. Dickens excelled in creating well-rounded, very human characters who harbored very real and very complex emotions -- that is, human emotions. We identify with Pip as he winds through his life, because we have been there, too -- the disappointments, the surprises, the loves, the anger, the sadness. In whatever way his story may differ from our own, it is still essentially human, as is ours. For all of his complex and paradoxical emotions and sentiments, Pip is a recognizably human character -- and that is why we love him and this book. A masterpiece for the ages, which will endure for years yet to come, Great Expectations is a great book that can be loved by one and all, for, at its heart, is that grain of simple truth that says so much about what is human in all of us -- whether we have great expectations or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Audio Edition....Will Be Enjoyed By 1st Time Or 50th Time Readers
This review refers to the audio(CD - Brilliance Audio) edition of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens, read by Michael Page

This unabridged audio edition of Dickens' classic superb chronology of "Pip's' journey through life going from a poor boy to becoming a man with "expectations" is simply marvelous. As Pip comes into a small fortune, and becomes a "gentleman" he learns the value and true meaning of friendships and life. But the journey is a long one, with many lessons to be learned along the way before he can find his true self. Dickens has given us a wonderful story, with rich details of the setting and characters that grow and are among the most interesting and magnetic to be found in literature.

I don't need to go on and on about the book itself(although I could easily go over my allotted word count here), if you haven't read it yet ,just know you are in for one heck of a literary treat. It is a story that will transport you to another time and place, and you may not want to come back. I will however, talk about this marvelous audio edition. Michael Page is the reader, and what a reading he gives. Just curl up and listen to this master storyteller. Every voice, every nuance is captured. There is no doubt who is speaking as he gives each character the personality and cultural characteristics as Dickens intended. He even does the women wonderfully, without going over the top. In my mind Miss Havisham has always sounded just the way Page portrayed her, Estella as uppity as ever,the humble Joe, along with all the rest.

The book is an unabridged reading on 16 discs. each discs has 90 very short tracks(about 45 seconds each), I had no trouble starting up where I left off(when I absolutely had to leave off). I just made a mental note(or you could even write it down) of the track number and disc where I stopped it. The sound quality is excellent, and total running time is about 20 hours. Each disc is in it's own paper CD holder with a clear front so you can see the disc number you are looking for.

If you are a fan of this book, this audio edition will give you a fresh read and new appreciation of this fascinating book. If you are experiencing it for the first time, you can't help but to become enthralled. Great to take on long drives or for younger readers to be introduced to classic literature in a most entertaining way.

Enjoy the read...for the 1st Time or the 50th time!....Laurie

more great audio reads:
A Christmas Carol read by Geoffrey Palmer-

Carrie(read by Sissy Spacek)

Back When We Were Grownups(read by Blair Brown)

The Shipping News (read by Paul Hecht)

5-0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece
I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever that Charles Dickens, if he lived today, would still classify as an author's author. He's a master of all the things that make for great writing and storytelling. Dickens has an ear for dialogue most authors would kill their own mothers to possess. He also is a master of creating vivid scenery, another sign of excellence essential to great writing and one which many authors lack. Finally, but not least in importance, Dickens knows character development. He REALLY knows how to develop intriguing characters, to the point where many of his books spawned figures that have become literary archetypes. Not bad for a guy who grew up in extremely adverse circumstances. He even spent some time in a factory sticking labels on bottles after his father's imprisonment for debt. Most people wouldn't recover from such poverty, but Dickens did. He went on to a successful career in journalism before settling down as an author of serial novels. This format, which allowed Dickens to write and release his stories piecemeal, made him a great success with the public. The anticipation for the latest chapter or two of his stories often led to near riots. Not many writers can elicit such a response today.

Many consider "Great Expectations" a seminal work by a master. Millions have read it, most unwillingly, but most consider it one of Dickens's most accessible stories. It's a tale about a youngster named Phillip Pirrip, known throughout the story as Pip, and his rise from relative obscurity to the heights of wealth and privilege. As the story opens, we see Pip lamenting the passing of his parents in the local cemetery. Their deaths resulted in Pip living with an older sister and her blacksmith husband Joe. Life is tough in Pip's village. His sister wields a heavy hand against her younger brother, relatives like Uncle Pumblechook berate him, and they live in a place where convicts often escape from barges floating on the river nearby. In fact, Pip has a frightening encounter with one of these prisoners at the beginning of the book. His actions, undertaken at the command of this felon, result in a series of incidents that lead Pip to the home of the local recluse, a dour old woman by the name of Havisham. This woman, as rich as a lord but as unhappy as one could ever be, takes a liking to Pip and keeps him around for entertainment.

It is during his tenure as Havisham's court jester that Pip comes into contact with several important figures that feature prominently in the story's later episodes. He meets the cold yet beautiful Estella, Havisham's adopted daughter, and falls in love with her. He also makes an initial contact with the old lady's lawyer, the highly successful Mr. Jaggers, and an odd young man named Herbert. All play an integral part in what is to follow, namely the announcement (through Jaggers) that Pip has suddenly come into fortune, or great expectations, that require him to move to London in order to train as a gentlemen. In London Pip spends time with Jaggers, his assistant Wemmick, Herbert, and even Estella. He spends his money, helps his best friend in covert ways, and wonders who in the world set him up with this money and property. Jaggers makes it clear that he isn't supposed to dig too deep concerning the origins of the fortune. Instead, he is to wait until the day when the individual responsible steps forward. When that happens Pip's world as he knows it nearly collapses. He must move heaven and earth to avert disaster while at the same time coming to terms with who he is and what his future holds.

"Great Expectations" is, in a word, great. It contains all of the hallmarks one associates with Dickens. The characters, everyone from Wemmick to Jaggers to Havisham to Joe, sparkle brightly as fully formed individuals living and laboring under very real problems. Atmosphere is divine: Pip's village and London come to life under the writer's pen. Even the author's penchant for examining social ills moves to the fore in a chapter that looks at the horrific conditions in London's main prison. Another real plus is the humor. If you haven't read Dickens, you don't know what your missing in the humor department. This author has an amazing sense of what is funny, and it is nowhere more apparent than in the scene in which Pip and Herbert take in a play starring one of our hero's relatives. This short chapter along with the ones describing Wemmick's abode are absolute masterpieces of hilarity, and they're actually bright spots in what is otherwise an occasionally dark piece of writing. And last, but not least, there is the downbeat conclusion. There are actually two conclusions to "Great Expectations". Make sure you pick up a copy that has both of them.

About the only thing "Great Expectations" lacks is length; it's one of Dickens's shortest novels, which is probably the reason millions of teachers assign this book to their students. That's unfortunate because most kids want nothing to do with this book once it's forced upon them when in fact they could actually benefit from reading it. Why? Because "Great Expectations" teaches us a lot about love and identity, two things that matter quite a bit (or should matter) to young people. The teachers ought to assign something like "Hard Times" and let those who want more seek out "Great Expectations". The prevailing opinion on this book is that it is semi-autobiographical. It doesn't really matter whether the story is about the author's life or not. What is important, I think, is that this story attains a perfection that few books ever reach. That's why it's a classic, I guess. If you haven't read Dickens before, you should start right here. Read more


25. The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV)
by Crossway Bibles
Kindle Edition
list price: $9.99
Asin: B001EOCFU4
Publisher: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible is an essentially literal Bible translation that combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and depth of meaning. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Has Book and Chapter Links
Other reviewers complained that there are no chapter links. I'm not sure if it is new, but the version I downloaded recently has both book and chapter links. At the main table of contents, there are links to all the books of the Bible in a single list. Once you select a book, the first page of each book has links to all the chapters in that book. It works really well that way. I can find any verse in three clicks. And the whole Bible is searchable. That along with the ESV translation means a great addition to any Kindle.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a Great Download
I have a classical studies degree and I must say one of my favorite translations of the bible is the ESV. Not only is it a tight translation, but it also keeps much of the unique sentence structure and flow I so relish in the classical languages.

I must admit that I was very very surprised with this book.
First off it was free so I expected nothing more than a bible that I would have to infinitely scroll through or search to find what I wanted. (However this in not the case) The book and chapter selection is nice and with a couple of clicks on the next page button you can easily get to where you want)

I was also surprised that the book includes footnote links to the measurements and other footnotes. What a great feature. (So if you are wondering how many feet in those cubits simply select the link and find out!)

All in all WAY more than I ever expected in a free book. I definitely did not expect to find such a wonderful version for free.
I would recommend it for anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Super and Natural
The layout of this book makes any verse easy to find. I take it to church regularly and am able to go right to the verse being used in the sermon.

I have compared it to other bibles and keep coming back to this.

Glad I downloaded it.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent Bible and navigation
I have no complaints whatever regarding the translation of this Bible. It's eminently readable, retaining the dignity of the language even while seeking greater clarity.
Regarding the Kindle version, the navigation is easy and straightforward, though not as sophisticated as the TNIV, which has navigation straight to each book, chapter, and verse.
The only complaint I have for both versions is that you can't tell what book you're in. I like to read the Bible from the beginning of the old and the beginning of the new testaments simultaneously. It's very easy to forget what book you're currently in, and there's no way to tell which one it is unless you page back to the beginning of the book and check. If you select "Go to beginning" on the menu, it takes you to the Table of Contents, not to the beginning of, say, Luke.
Since I wrote this review originally, though, I have found an excellent workaround for the above problem. I simply put a bookmark at the beginning of the book I'm reading, and then another one as I work my way through that book. Then, when I come back to say, a bookmark at chapter 10 of I Samuel and have no idea what I'm reading, just check the bookmarks page for a quick reminder.
That removes my last objection, and I up my review to 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite version of the Bible.
I used to be an avid reader of the KJV. I wasn't KJV only, it was just the version I prefered. About a year and a half ago I started looking at other versions of the Bible, and soon found out that I had a much better time understanding what I was reading, when I read from a more modern translation. I was told by many that the NASB was the best literal translation of the Bible, so I tried it out, but found it to be very awkward to read. It was really choppy, and just didn't flow very well at all. Eventually I came upon the ESV and decide to try it out...and it has quickly become my favorite version of the Bible. It has the same literal word for word translation that you would get with the NASB, but it has the kind of poetic flow that you get with the KJV. I would recomend this verison of the Bible to everyone! Read more


26. Cleopatra: A Life
by Stacy Schiff
Hardcover
list price: $29.99 -- our price: $15.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0316001929
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Sales Rank: 7
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protg. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterfully researched and written biography of a great woman
Stacy Schiff took a great risk when she wrote "Cleopatra: A Life." Can a woman branded a "whore" by the Great Bard himself, ever really have a reputation as anything else? Directly challenging 2,000 year old assumptions that were enhanced by the likes of Dante, and director Joseph Mankiewicz, is a tall order for even the most accomplished writer. Ms. Schiff brilliantly rises to the task.

Ms. Schiff brings to vivid life a very different Cleopatra from the one depicted to us by playwrights and movie directors. Instead of a wanton seductress relying solely upon her looks, Cleopatra was one of the most authoritative rulers in the history of humanity, inheriting at the age of 18 one of the greatest kingdoms ever known, during a time in history when women had about the same social stature as farm animals.

Furthermore, Ms. Schiff is a wordsmith extraordinaire. In beautifully constructed prose that reminded me more of Nabokov than your typical biographer, Ms. Schiff paints a lovely, nuanced portrait of a great and vastly misunderstood woman. And what life the author brings to ancient Egypt too! The descriptions of the ancient world in which Cleopatra lived were so vivid that you would think the author was Cleopatra's contemporary, and not her 21st century biographer.

Ms. Schiff had a tough act to follow with herself; all her previous books have won, or been nominated for, just about every pretigious literary award you can think of.
I wouldn't be surprised if she at least gets on the short-list for the Pulitzer with "Cleopatra: A Life."

5-0 out of 5 stars A fuller, deeper, much more interesting take on Cleopatra.
I'm an avid reader and certainly don't mind books by and/or about men, however, I've always wished there were more books about dynamic, interesting women. "Cleopatra: A Life" more than fulfilled this wish. What I knew about Cleopatra before I read this book came from long ago college classes, the movie with Elizabeth Taylor, and a viewing of the play about her and Antony at a Shakespeare festival. I had the vague impression that Cleopatra was first and foremost a woman who would cast an unbreakable sexual spell on any man who was convenient for her to control. I'm so glad and thankful that Stacy Schiff shows us that Cleopatra was so much more than a seductress; Cleopatra had wit, charm and superlative intelligence.

The fact that Cleopatra lived through her 20's is a tribute to her intelligence alone, as I simply could not believe just how commonplace murder was for those with power in the ancient world. Then, to maintain her position as Egypt's sovereign, Cleopatra's circumstances dictated that she had to ally herself with the Romans, the world's greatest power at the time. For a time, Cleopatra maintained the upper-hand in the power relations with two of the most powerful Romans, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony; with both men she had much written about sexual relationships. In the end, Rome became her enemy, and they also became her biographer. After reading "Cleopatra: A Life", I get the sense that the patriarchal Romans couldn't bring themselves to write a narrative showing that two of their greatest leaders were outwitted by a woman. Imagine what a biography of Monica Lewinsky would be like if it were written by ardent supporters of Bill Clinton.

Now, on a separate note, I've read all the reviews thus far for this book, and I've noticed a trend in some of the negative reviews. Although "Cleopatra" was written more for a general audience than Schiff's prior biographies, this is still a work of serious scholarship. I doubt this is a book that most people could easily read at the beach. So with this in mind, if you love the intriguing stories of antiquity, but a book that will demand your attention, then this book is for you. If you want a historical version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" then you probably won't like this book.

In closing, I loved this book. I hope Stacy Schiff's next book is about an overlooked, or misunderstood woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars The elusive, evasive queen; Slandered for 2000 years

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
Cleopatra: A Life
Stacy Schiff

Author Stacy Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize winner and in another case was a Pulitzer finalist. She also won the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American studies, the Gilbert Chiard Prize of the Institute Francais d' Am�rique and three NYT Notable Books, The LA Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, and Economist books of the year. She received Fellowships from: the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, a Director's Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and much, much more.

The copy I received from Amazon for review was a typical advanced, uncorrected, proof, Review copy, which is usually a paperback format. Except that in this case the care given to the paperback cover, complete with a florid display of color in a four folded front and back cover, may be a clue to the coming of a hard cover of opulence. This sort of Review copy is more rare than most and it hints at the possibility of a forthcoming major film on Cleopatra.

As for the content; ah the content... magnifique! One hundred, ten thousand words of unbridled perfection. Stacy Schiff's language is as effusive in was the Queen, which she adorns with deep research - research that blows the cover off more than two thousand years of intentional slanderous inaccuracies. Some by men who hated her, who were, I believe, because of their fear of women of Power, beauty, sexual excellence, confidence and intellect.

In line after line, paragraph after paragraph, the writing, vocabulary, color and tone of the book is perfection. Words flow into sentences four to ten lines long, and in a few cases paragraphs often cover most of a page, ala Henry James, (Turn of The Screw, etc.) and if you are used to reading the classics in any language, you don't mind it a bit, and some may welcome it.

Schiff expands her sentences sometimes into nearly page long paragraphs, with serial descriptions of sumptuously, voluptuous parades, banquets and artifacts. She seduces you into falling head over heels in love, and or lust with the girl queen, whose intellect, competence, strategic and tactical planning are equal to if not superior to that of entire enemy nations.

Cleopatra, a Greek woman, who spoke at least eight languages, played most games as well as or better than her male companions, who were often in awe of her. She who could and did easily charm men with even half an effort, even those who resented, hated and were envious of her (and there were many) made Alexandria the art, cultural and commercial center of the world. Her net worth before her death was valued at roughly $95.7 Billion American dollars, the richest woman in the world, or ever, and among the richest humans (men or women) of all time.

Her nation became a storied and mythical land in which women excelled in many fields and in comparison to Rome, it was a paradise of perfection. In that and the production of art, decorative items, jewels and ship building was unique, her output of grain was stupendous, as were the creation of exotic clothing, jewelry, and brightly colored clothing were unmatched in all of antiquity. It was a storied land of Amazon females which were also exquisitely feminine. In her case more so. And yet by most evidence and descriptions, though she was not not drop-dead gorgeous, she, by velvety soft, articulate and eloquent voice, and quick wit, quick response, with a satiric sense of humor and the ability to tease, roast, attracted men with her vibrantly vivacious force of personality and her amazingly classical education, which was often superior to that of her enemies. The fabled Library of Alexandria's, mythical contents, grew to 500,000 volumes in fantasy, though most present day estimates say it was closer to 100,000 to 250,000 scrolls.

Few males could withstand or compete her charm wit and repartee'. These are good reasons why two of the most powerful men on earth fell deeply in comradeship and love/lust with her. Two men who threw away a kingdom and three quarters of the world, just to be with her, whenever possible. Yet, through all of this, she was not, "the whore queen."

Caesar and Mark Antony were the Charley Sheen of their era, bedding down more women than Hefner, many of which were married to senators and other political and business types. The truth is that despite the slanders of Cicero, Octavian, her rival brothers and sister, Dolabella, Delius, half the women of Rome, and historians of her day later and long after her death, including Lucan, and for centuries afterwords many others using the errors and intentionally reading of motives onto the circumstances surrounding a woman, whose very existence caused them to shrivel in fear of castigation, or swell in lust, despite their fear, even when not in her presence.

With sumptuous language, the author lays out the truth, beneath the rumors and libels. Schiff uncovers, with exhaustive research, the details as far as they can be deduced without eye-witnesses. She tabulates the incredible odds against Cleopatra even surviving her early teens when she was constantly avoiding assassination at the hands of siblings, adults, traitors, greedy and murderous others all around her. She became, of necessity, a skilled and fearless killer in an atmosphere in which at any turn, or step she could be herself murdered. It was an era where one either learns to kill or is killed. Yet she became a teen aged queen of incredible skills and outlived most of her enemies, and if Mark Antony had acted promptly, she and he would have outlived Octavian and reigned until old age, as co-queen of three-quarters of the world, perhaps including Rome as well.

The truth concerning her denigrating title (The Whore Queen), by men whose masculinity was threatened by such female of great competence, is easy to unravel. In their case it was the ebony pot calling the kettle black. Most of her male enemies slept with every senator's wife of beauty or wealth, in Rome. Fear and envy was the motivation of the vast majority of those who slandered her. More importantly, was that there is not a shred of evidence of her sleeping with anyone other than Caesar and Mark Antony. Was she a master of poisons? Was she a killer? Was she seductive? Was she manipulative? Yes to the first three, possibly to the fourth, but she lived in a world far different from ours. A world of murder, especially of females in line for Queenship. Was she guilty of incest? No, there was no such crime in her world, nor did she consummate her marriage to her brothers.

The Mark Antony of the movies and semi-fictional books, was not the Mark Antony of Cleopatra's world. He appeared erratically shifting between competent and ineffective after the death of his mentor Caesar. He failed to eliminate his physically weak chief rival, who was obviously out to destroy him. He seemed to want Rome, Egypt and his position to go away. It appears that the stress of a life of violence, war, intrigue, pressure rendered him inept. He seemed to just want to move away to secret island where love and peace would follow him all the days of his life. He became a fish out of water, and allowed a physical weakling to destroy him. Karma? Tired of warring? Wasted by love and trapped in a world of violence, a soldier who appeared at one time fearless, crumbling and losing his sanity and perspective? Reading between the Schiff lines, I say yes, to all of that.

Of all of the historical biographies, I have read in my life this ranks it the top five-ten. If you read only one such book this year, I urge you to make Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff, the one.

5-0 out of 5 stars "It is indeed most fine, and befitting the descendant of so many kings."

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
As an published author having written (fiction) about ancient Egypt myself, I have to admit I am in awe of this book and its author!

Ms. Schiff went back to the classic sources and considered each as propaganda, exaggerated legend, and/or fact (the latter being an incredibly rare commodity in ancient texts). For the most part, all the ancient sources of information concerning Cleopatra are a mix of all three of the three aforementioned categories. We have very little by way of artifacts and almost nothing of Cleopatra's actual writings (maybe a fragment containing her preferred sign-off, "Let it be done." and possibly a bit of the end of a letter (that may be a copy of the original). Alexandria, the wonder of the world due to the Ptolemies, is now 20 feet underwater and was looted by Octavion immediately after the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. A few statues, pylons, and broken bits of structures have recently been pulled from the Alexandrian harbor, but not enough underwater research has been done to date to provide us with much new information.

Considering all this, it takes great courage for a Pulitzer Prize winning (among MANY other awards) author to tackle such complicated, albeit compelling, subject matter in hope of extracting a logical, accurate-as-possible of not only Cleopatra herself but the torturous times in which she lived. Ms. Schiff refuses to simply reiterate either the oft-repeated Roman propaganda concerning the Egyptian monarch (the Romans despised Cleopatra, in great part due to the manipulations and falsifications of the scheming, obsessive, murderous and ultra-devious Octavion, aka Augustus ) or the glamorously romantic vision conjured and elaborated on by Shaw, Shakespeare, at least 3 spectacular Hollywood films (one silent), and numerous imitators.

This volume not only makes an exhaustive effort to provide us with a clear understanding of the mind and life of one of the world's greatest leaders, male or female, but manages to successfully weave Cleopatra the person into the hellishly confusing context of the treacherous world in which she lived.

This is, admittedly, no light read. If that is what is desired, readers might as well pick up the novel based on the Taylor/Burton cinematic extravaganza of a few decades ago. Ms. Schiff's style is scholarly and intense but not beyond the ken of most educated readers willing to pay attention to what they are reading (turn off the TV and rid yourself of background noise). There's a lot to keep track of, yes, but the story takes place in very complex and confusing times. Murder, even within one's own family was rampant, betrayal was a daily event, and a flash of gold or promise of power could turn a monarch's head so quickly that he barely caught a fleeting glimpse of his most loyal comrade as he wields a deadly weapon furiously over his head.

It would be pointless to try and encapsulate the contents of the book in a short review, so I won't try. I will say I found it to be an admirably fascinating and enlightening read that was amazingly well-researched and stylishly written. Myths are considered and often dismissed as the creations of extremely opinionated authors of and after Cleopatra's time.

Above all, however, this is the first book that struggles (successfully, in my opinion) to reveal to readers Cleopatra the person rather than the myth; she was not only a brilliant ruler but (to the shock of the ancient world) also a woman. Not only was she other than the dazzlingly irresistible vamp and witch of legend, but she possessed a mind, charm, education and wit so incredible that the two greatest leaders of the Roman world were so captivated by her that they were willing, even eager, to risk their lives and their countries just to be her close companion and sometimes lover (neither of them could legally marry her under Roman law). Cleopatra bore these men children, potential heirs to the vast riches of the most powerful empire in the world at that time. As the author points out, she also ushered in a new era that changed and more often than not improved endless aspects of the rest of the world over the subsequent centuries. We cannot truly understand Cleopatra's motives or actual feelings in many instances, but Ms. Schiff has shifted through all of the most reliable if any of them are truly reliable) authoritative works on the life and times of this most illustrious and fascinating ruler in order to present us with a far more realistic, logical and understandable (not to mention enjoyable) picture than has previously seen print. I wildly applaud her for this wonderful, highly successful and important effort. Read more

27. My Christmas Wish
by Ember Case
Kindle Edition
list price: $4.50
Asin: B002ZFGJVC
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Sales Rank: 96
Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Putting the past to rest has never been this much fun.

Tara Walsh has come a long way from paying her dues in a smoky New Orleans club. Her albums sell millions, her tours sell out and she has a hit DVD. Her name is known around the world. Now she’s back home for a holiday charity concert—and to say a proper goodbye to the past. A past named Duncan Rousse.

Five years ago, Duncan pushed Tara away for one reason: to force her to reach for the stars. She deserves the life she’s earned, even though it left him with a broken heart that’s never healed. Having her back in his arms only makes the pain worse, yet the last thing he can do is beg her to stay.

One wild, passion-filled night in the sexy Cajun’s bed has Tara’s body singing with pleasure. But can they both get what they want this Christmas?

Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, second chances, making up for lost time with a sexy Cajun, and Christmas wishes that might really come true.

... Read more

Reviews ... Read more


28. 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
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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


29. Last Light (Restoration Series Book 1)
by Terri Blackstock
Kindle Edition
list price: $14.99
Asin: B000FCKH9C
Publisher: Zondervan
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

What if America suddenly lost all its electrical power, its communications, its transportation, its financial system, its government leadership, and its media? What if an upper middle-class neighborhood of families who hardly know each other's names, suddenly had to form a functioning, self-contained community? How would people in the 21st Century, spoiled by microwaves and fast food, air travel and speeding cars, television and air conditioning, learn to function if they no longer had cars that ran, grocery stores, postal service, running water, computers, big screen TVs? If they had to hunt to eat or grow their own food? If they had to dig wells for water? If they had to learn to wash their clothes in the nearby lake? If they had to establish a neighborhood school and a neighborhood church? And what if the crisis created looters and killers who thought they could rob and murder without consequences? This series combines elements of Growing up Gotti with Little House on the Prairie. After an unexplained catastrophic event in the atmosphere knocks out all electronics in the world, these well-to-do families who've accumulated so many things are suddenly left helpless. Their Mercedes and BMWs sit in their driveways, useless. Their expensive, well-appointed homes have no electricity, no refrigeration, no phones. Even their battery-operated electronics don't work. No one is certain whether the country is under attack. Without communication, there is no way to find out. One family of Christians--the Brannings--realizes the needs of those around them. After wrestling with their own anger, fear and despair, and struggling in prayer with the Lord, they begin to realize that they have a job to do. They begin trying to unite the neighbors in a common effort to survive, and instead of hoarding, they realize that Christ has called them to sacrifice and give. But a couple is found dead in their neighborhood, and they realize that there is a killer among them. As they struggle to protect their own family and property, their 22-year-old daughter Deni falls prey to the killer, and takes off with him across the country, desperate to make her way to the East Coast where she thinks her life will be better. It doesn't take long for her to realize he's the killer and that she's in danger. But getting back home is more difficult than she ever imagined, and she is forced to turn back to Christ in repentance and humility, knowing He is the only One who can help her get home. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting
I have to be honest, I had no idea "Last Light" was written by a "Christian Writer" when I bought this book. To be completely honest if I had known this book was written by a "Christian Writer" I don't think I would have purchased it. I would have been worried that instead of a taut Sci-Fi/Thriller that the book's jacket promised, I would be buying a 300+ page sermon. My normal reading fare falls more along the lines of Stephen King, James Rollins or Dean Koontz, which if they feature a character strong in faith, it's usually a precursor to the evil they do, and tells the reader they are not to be trusted. So when I got home and found I had bought novel by a "Christian Writer" I wasn't exactly thrilled. I started the book, and got hooked pretty quickly. The idea of living without all of our electric and mechanical conveniences was a pretty cool idea. The characters are pretty well drawn, especially the quick tempered Deni, who like it or not we all can relate to very easily. The pace of the book is quick, and the murder mystery carries the story along nicely. I see other reviews that say they didn't care for the murderer storyline, but liked the rest of the novel. I don't quite understand that, as the murder mystery is easily 1/2 the book if not more. Most of the key action revolves around who the killer may be, and neighborhood's reactions to the killer's presence. I believe Mrs. Blackstock gives an honest portrayal of they way people would react in the circumstances surrounding the catastrophic events that take place in her novel. I didn't plan on liking this novel, and there were a few times I felt the book got too "preachy", but "Last Light" kept me turning pages and coming back for more. And though this seems to be the first book in a series, it's not a cliffhanger. The story stands on it's own without leaving you with unanswered questions that require reading the next book in the series. I will most likely pick up the follow up novel, and recommend this book to fans of suspense novels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great Blackstock series launched with "Last Light"
Those who have read any of Terri Blackstock's more than two dozen books can attest to the undeniable fact that she is truly an extraordinary writer. Her suspenseful novels meet or exceed the best of this genre; while remaining true to her deeply held Christian faith (her books are always '...lovingly dedicated to the Nazarene'). "LAST LIGHT," the first of four books planned for her current 'Restoration' series, sets an even higher standard, with her challenging theme of our planet being stripped of its electricity, and other forms of power which most of us take for granted. After reading "LAST LIGHT," the only disappointment is having to wait for the remaining books in what promises to be yet another great series! --RON HOWE (a.k.a. Toby Martin II).

5-0 out of 5 stars Scared Me
I have read most of Blackstock's books and have enjoyed them a great deal. I was very excited when this one came out and started reading it right away. Although the murder mystery part was not as captivating as some of her other novels, I was totally drawn into the Brannings "new" world. It scared me at times just thinking about what could happen and at other times I wondered if that's not what we need to have happen. I loved the book and can't wait for the next one to come out.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific read lots of suspense
I gotta say, Terri Blackstock is quickly becoming my favorite author with each new book that I read. I have read quite a few, and this one is excellent. I couldn't put it down, stayed up late to finish, if you like suspense, you will like this. Also, its great for giving you pause for thought about your own spirituality. As a christian, I am finding the christian suspense genre to be a wonderful reading category on dual layers. Get the book, it will be worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real-to-Life Fiction
If you remember Hurricane Katrina, then you will want to read "Last Light"! Terri Blackstock let her mind wander in late 2004 thinking of the "what ifs" if a major catastrophe were to strike America, only to find herself and her family thrust into that very reality on August 29th 2005 in her home state of Mississippi, along with their neighbors in Louisiana and Alabama. Her all-to-real fictional depiction of devastation will have you thinking what would you do if ever confronted with such a crisis in your community. In addition, as a mystery writer, Terri keeps you turning the pages as you wonder who is responsible for the needless deaths occurring under such horrific circumstances and why. "Last Light" is superb and definitely worth your time to read. Kudos to Terri Blackstock for a job well done!

5-0 out of 5 stars Last Light
I watch for new every title Terri publishes. Each book of her many series stands alone, yet keeps you hungry for the next in a series. As soon as I finished Last Light I immediately ordered Night Light (Book#2.) Others have written about the Last Light story line, basically I concur. But I had a couple of issues with the reality side of such an event. The biggest disconnect with me was the failure of all engines with a computer chip, from cars to home generators. That's certainly true in theory. But I can't believe that even in a smaller community a few bright mechanics or engineers could not tinker with these things and figure out a way to by pass the fried electornics. In Book 2 someone finally gets a brain and realizes that older cars (classics) still run. In the Branning's upscale neighborhood, don't tell me that someone didn't have an old Porche or restored '57 Chevy in their garage. Granted, it would take a lot of tinkering to get a modern SUV running when the chip(s) goes bad, but a couple of shade tree mechanics with a lot of time on their hands and a big incentive to succeed could certainly gerry-rig a bunch of direct wires and fire that sucker up. It might run rough, but it would run. Same for the home generator. For the sake of the story itself, which was about the people dealing with the crisis, it was probably better for the author to ignore these ideas. Still, it hurt my reading enjoyment as I placed myself in the character's shoes. Oh yeah, I went and stocked up on batteries and other "Hurricane items" after reading the book.... just in case! Lou Sauer, Raleigh, NC

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting
The concept of this storyline is fascinating and made me realize just how complacent we have become in the world due to our modern conveniences. The characters are well-written and believable, and you can really fall into the story as if you are there. I find this to be the case often with this author's books. I really appreciate a novel that can bring tears to my eyes due to the realism of the characters.

I also appreciated the Biblical concepts and the way she applied them within the story. When challenged by hardships beyond our comprehension, how would we handle passages like James 1:2-8 or Matthew 5 & 6?

Recommended if you like adventure/suspense/mystery novels. I just ordered book 2 in this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT . . . GONE. NOW WHAT?
I'd heard of Terri Blackstock. Knew she was a Christian fiction writer. Figured she wrote prairie romances.
ZZZZZZ
As I became more involved in the business of writing and trying to create my own fiction, I sought out other writers works to read. I stumbled across this novel, Last Light, and was intrigued by the cover. Picked it up, read the back cover blurb thought it might be really interesting. Read the first few scenes and . . . bought the book.
A man and his adult daughter step off an airplane in Alabama. Moments later everything turns silent. Another plane crash lands on the runway near them. A second plane falls, bursting into a fireball.
How could I not by a book like that? What happened? I had to know.
The story follows the Branning family (specifically the oldest daughter Deni) as they learn to live without modern amenities. All modern amenities. Something has happened which makes all technology expensive doorstops. Various storylines develop to move the story along. The major one is a murder. Suspects abound and the community basically has to take matters into their own hands to catch the killer. This is book one in a series called Restoration, however, the major treads that weaves this story together are tied up by the end making it a somewhat stand alone novel. The only thing really unresolved is the power outage and Deni getting back to DC. The second book in the series, Night Light is out now.
Blackstock's writing as great. Here characters, believable.
If you like stories of technology gone awry and the relational struggles that ensue, this is a story for you. I look forward to seeing how the Brannings fare as the plot thickens over the long haul of a series.
One thing that really impresses me is reviews I've read by those who are no Christian fiction readers. They've had good things to say. I've always believed, and try to practice with my own writing, that if you write a good story (as opposed to a sermon masquerading as a novel) you'll reach a broader audience with a message of hope.
Well done, Terri.
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30. Sudoku
by MobileReference
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.99
Asin: B002UPVVXI
Publisher: MobileReference
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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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.

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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.

 

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... Read more

Reviews ... Read more


31. Marry Me
by Jo Goodman
Kindle Edition
list price: $5.59
Asin: B003VWC1OC
Publisher: Zebra Books
Sales Rank: 133
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Her Heart Was Locked Away

Rhyne Abbot is fierce, brave, and used to a life of isolation on her father's spread on the outskirts of Reidsville, Colorado. But when, overcome with sickness, she collapses, she knows she must return to town if she is to have any hope of recovery. Only there is no place for her but the new doctor's home, and he wants more than just to heal Rhyne. He wants her hand in marriage.

Until One Man Found The Key

Doctor Cole Monroe's hands are already more than full with his orphaned little sister to look after, and yet somehow he can't resist the magnetic pull of Rhyne's bewitching eyes--or her tempting kiss. But convincing her to trust him won't be easy. For Rhyne's heart needs as much tender care as her ailing body. And the only cure is the thing she most fears: to let herself fall in love...

Praise for Jo Goodman and The Price of Desire

"Once again, Goodman delivers a luscious and sensual romance."--Romantic Times ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not fond of Westerns but I'll make an exception for a Jo Goodman novel.
I first became acquainted with Goodman's writing in the early 2000s when she released her Regency England quartet about the Compass Club, 4 men who had been friends since boyhood. All four of these novels have these friends as characters, take place within the same time frame and share some plotline, but each book focuses on one friend, with his point of view, adventures and romance. (These books are LET ME BE THE ONE, EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED, ALL I EVER NEEDED, and BEYOND A WICKED KISS and are very good.) Since then I have Goodman on my auto-buy list. Some of her books are better than others but all are, IMO, far superior to most of the HRs coming out in recent years.

Her last two releases, NEVER LOVE A LAWMAN from 2009 and this new one take place in the 1880s in the small mining town of Reidsville, Colorado. They both work as stand alones but many characters from the 2009 book are in this more recent one and are fun to meet up with again. MARRY ME focuses on a New York medical doctor who moves to Reidsville with his 16-year-old scarred and mildly-troubled sister. His romantic interest is a woman who has lived in the area all her life but has been relatively isolated from society, living on the outskirts of the town. OK, that's really all you should know to fully enjoy the story. Everything should be revealed to you as you are reading about it. You'll find the story's progression satisfying, the writing excellent and the dialogue humorous and very revealing of each character's personality. (BTW, I hope you have not read the Booklist review by Pat Henshaw which Amazon has published here above the Product Detail. It reveals far too much about the story and should have been outlawed.)

Goodman is a skilled writer who writes with humor and obvious compassion for her characters, who are 3-dimensional, realistically-portrayed people. This means that at times she doesn't pull her punches. Real themes such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse, rape and other traumatic experiences can be found in her books. However, they are NOT there to titillate or shock the reader. They are there to show us the resilience of the human spirit as her characters deal with their problems, helped by the friendship, humor and compassion of others.

Another big plus for me in a Goodman novel is that the heroes are really good guys, principled and with strength and depth to their character. And they can control their horndog tendencies, something a lot of heroes in recent HRs have trouble with. This doesn't mean we don't have hot love scenes. We do, but friendship, love and trust grow between the H and h before they act on their physical attraction.

I had a few criticisms of this novel. One with respect to a plotline towards the end. Something to do with the heroine's father which felt contrived to me. And there were two very strange grammatical errors, with the author writing "trodding the boards" instead of "treading" and her use of "forbid" as if it were the past tense of the verb. But that's not enough for me not to like this book a lot. I gave it 5 stars, rather than 4 (Remember I don't like Westerns?) a bit subjectively, because I'd been reading a lot of really bad paperback HRs lately and this one was a welcome change. Read more


32. Troublesome Creek (Troublesome Creek Series #1)
by Jan Watson
Kindle Edition
list price: $12.99
Asin: B000SFBXQ2
Publisher: Tyndale House Pub
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

A charming historical novel set in the late 1800s. Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, Laura "Copper" Grace loves the wilderness of her home in Troublesome Creek. But when her stepmother threatens to send her away to boarding school to become a lady, Copper faces the possibility of losing everything that is precious to her. Copper must come to terms with her family and discover the true meaning of home. Nothing can drag her off the mountain, until the day she realizes that God has other plans for her life.

... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars can't wait for the sequel
I'll just go ahead and use the most over used line in reviews. It was a real page turner. It transplanted me in time and place, to the late 1880's in Appalachia. The scene came alive on the pages. The characters were real and the novel's twists and turns were, for the most part, unpredictable. The reader has no choice but to identify with Copper, the twins and the various other characters. Troublesome Creek did not read like the writer's first novel. I could feel her own real life experiences seep through, in the small, detailed descriptions that made this novel seem so "true to life."

I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel. Does married life fit Copper, especially in the "big" city and not the woods of eastern Kentucky? Keep writing Jan, you've found your niche.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
This wonderful book has it all: tragedy, romance, adventure, history, and a compelling story of a young woman coming of age in the hills of Kentucky.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great read
I thought this book was a delightful read. I, too, liked the unpredictability and the reality of life experiences found in Troublesome Creek. I was strengthened by the characters' reliance on their faith to carry them through whatever life brought their way. I can't wait for the sequel! I can't wait to see what happens to these folks next and I've got a feeling Jan Watson has more to say.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasurable Read
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ms. Watson's style of writing was so refreshing; I loved her descriptions and her dialogues...especially the very amusing comments by Copper's twin brothers! I love how she put everything in this book: sorrow, laughter, mystery, tension, & romance.

This book tells a couple of stories, starting with that of Copper's father and mother. Theirs was a true romance that soon ended in tragedy. However, her father's decision soon after made Copper into the woman she came to be, the woman I so very much enjoyed reading about! The setting happens to be in the hills of Kentucky around 1881. It's not often you find a story depicted in that setting, and that is one of the reasons I loved it so much.

This book was more entertaining than any others I've read in a while. If you have ever read "Christy" by Catherine Marshall, and enjoyed it as much as I did, you'll love this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Leisurely book for a break from life's rush
This first-time novelist captures the reader's heart as pages quickly turn to reveal plot twists and a story of real-life family love. This is how Jan Watson, author of Troublesome Creek, debuts her work as a novelist. Main character Copper, a sixteen-year-old girl from the hills of Kentucky, struggles through her teenage years with her loving, but somewhat sewn askew parents. After an introduction to the existing Brown family, Watson takes the reader into the family's turbulent past, bringing more complexity to the story. Troublesome Creek, the nearby waterfront that Will Brown has loved for so many years proves to be loving and unforgiving all at once. A mountain cat herself, young Copper's outdoor-loving instincts come to battle against her mother's desire for her to become a "proper lady." Threats of boarding school and city life lead Copper to make hasty, unwise decisions that guide her into paths she would never have chosen otherwise. A story of true, tested love and the blossoming of youth into adulthood makes this a gentle but poignant story.

Watson gracefully leads the reader into the plot by the powerful use of flashback. Troublesome Creek is revealed to the reader one piece at a time, but leaves no questions about what is to come. Relationships between characters are unforgettable and feel hauntingly realistic. Although Watson's plot twists are unusual in everyday life, a reader cannot help but empathize when the characters find themselves in painful or awkward situations.

Copper is a young and fiery redhead who loves the mountains, her family, and her hound dog Paw-Paw. As the story progresses, Copper finds herself in love with John, a friend from her childhood. Stepmother Grace and father Will serve her with guidance and stability as she makes decisions as an inexperienced adolescent. Rifts between mother and daughter emerge, as can only be expected in a story of a growing family. But, ultimately, love pulls the family through the rough waters of life, as years around Troublesome Creek transpire.

After finishing Troublesome Creek, a reader comes away changed and in love with life. Although some plot holes and weakly-constructed dialogue mechanically hinder the story's impact, Watson's first novel hits home. The book is appropriate for both young audiences and matured readers because of its unobtrusive and family-friendly content. Written in an easy-to-read vernacular, first-time fiction readers and experienced crowds alike will appreciate the Watson's work. Troublesome Creek is a leisurely book for a day in the sun or a break from the rush of life. -- Michelle Faulconer, Christian Book Previews.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and grabs your attention
This book takes place in the late 1800s and is about a young lady and the challenges of growing up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. The writing is so descriptive; it was like reading in color. I usually only read magazines and technical articles, but this book grabbed me and I kept reading until I finished it. Ed

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read at any age!
I just finished reading Troublesome Creek and I can't wait to hear what happens next with Copper. This was the type of book that when I fell asleep reading it, I dreamed about it. Jan Watson's descriptions of the characters and setting were so real that I felt like I was there at Troublesome Creek. Her description of the budding romance was also so real that my stomach got butterflies right along with Copper. This is a great story that I would recommend to a 13 year old or an 80 year old.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bob Anderson - Walton, Kentucky
This story was refreshing because it is a historical novel that expresses the true culture of the Appalachian people at the turn of the 20th century. Their pride, feeling of community, and ability to be self-suffecient in a hard living area was exactly as it was expressed to me by my mother who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. Jan Watson's story made me feel like I was sitting in my momma's kitchen listening to her many stories of her childhood. Read more


33. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Kindle Edition
list price: $27.95
Asin: B0031YJFCQ
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 5
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy

Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Conclusion to an Almost Perfect Trilogy
Just as Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" is held up as the trilogy to which all fantasy trilogies are inevitably compared, I've little doubt that Larsson's Millenium series will play that benchmark role for mystery thrillers over the next few decades.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" is an incredibly worthy successor to the previous two books in the trilogy. And toward the end, there will be moments when tears are brought to your eyes. Larrson knew precisely how to play with timing, rhythm, and wording to pace the story and its ending just right. I'm hard pressed to even guess how else he could have ended this series.

The story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. Larrson did a very good job of the first part of this book that takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective, then spinning out to others involved and each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. And things just get better as the book moves along.

Frankly, once you hit part three of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. I picked it up just once...just to read a chapter or two in the second half of the book...only to find that three hours had gone by and the book was over.

Larrson's tying up of many loose ends throughout the book - and this is key - throughout the book (not all in the last few chapters like so many other writers) is masterful. And that emphasizes the one tragic aspect of this final book: knowing that we will never again be graced with Larrson's storytelling mastery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex, Satisfying, Clever, Moral; Evil Versus Good
For those of you who have not read the first two volumes of this trilogy, I urge you to start on Volume one and proceed. The characters are so complex and real that an understanding of their background seems to me to be a must. The first two novels set up the reader for this wonderfully clever conclusion. The tale of good versus evil is one that is a history in time, and Stieg Larsson has given us a treat to savour.

The first one hundred pages of the third novel brings us up to date, and then we start the real read. More characters are introduced and at times during this 600 page read, I wondered if I could keep them straight. For the last two hundred pages, this book is very hard to put down. This is a tale of a series of conspiracies and how they come to cloud the Swedish democracy. How did Lisbeth Salander become the abused young woman, and will the people and times trying to destroy her win? And, Mikael Blomkvist, the journalist, will he be able to expose through his words, the wrongs that have been done. Will he regain Lisbeth's confidence?

Lisbeth Salander is in the Intensive Care Unit, she has been shot in the head. Her father is in a room down the hall, reportedly shot by Lisbeth. How did this come to be. Why are the Swedish Secret Service surreptitiously going in and out of his room? Why do we pick on those we do not understand? It is easier for us to believe those that are in power than to question the truth. The theme of the trilogy is that women are equals. There is no unnecessary overt sex and even though there is violence, it is believable. Blomkvist is a hero, he is the main antagonist and the muscle behind the investigation. He is out to assist Lisbeth Salander in becoming the woman she is meant to be instead of the woman who was looked at as the mad lesbian killer. He says, "When it comes down to it, this story is not primarily about spies and secret government agencies; it's about violence against women, and the men who enable it." The characters who surround them are wonderfully sketched out. We can picture in our mind's eye their faces and their countenance. This novel sums up the story of Lisbeth Salander, but leaves us wondering what is to be. Unfortunately, Stieg Larsson. because of his death, won't be continuing the series, it is up to us to find her rightful place.

It is easy to understand why this trilogy of Stieg Larsson's has become such a phenomenon. The search for justice and truth from a young, abused woman who has the nerves and strength of steel gives us all hope. We can believe through this wonderful narrative that the world is indeed a good place.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-13-09

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Third Volume in the Series -- No Spoiling This Volume
This is the third book in what is now a trilogy of novels centered around the character Lisbeth Salander. Salander is unique -- a deeply flawed but also incredibly resourceful individual who will fascinate you. This book begins where the previous volume (The Girl Who Played With Fire) ends, with Salander brought to the emergency room of a hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, with three bullet wounds, including one in her head. One of the persons who tried to murder her later comes into the same hospital into a room two doors from Salander, bearing grievous wounds that Salander herself inflicted.

You will have to read the first two volumes of the trilogy to understand the storyline in this volume. That should be no problem, because the first two volumes were hard to put down. This third volume is the longest in the series, but it reads even faster than the first two. The first half of this volume sets up a situation involving legal charges against Salander that seem irrefutable, especially as police and prosecutorial resources are marshaled against her. Because of the charges against her, Salander is locked into her hospital room with no access to a computer and only very restricted access to information from outside. This lead-in creates tremendous tension, as the reader is allowed to look into the careful measures that Salander's friends and foes are taking to prepare for a courtroom denoument.

If you have already read the first two volumes in this trilogy, you will not need any coaxing to buy this third volume. It contains much less explicit descriptions of sexual behaviors than the second volume contained -- all to the good in my view. I found it to be the most exciting of the three volumes. It is rumored that a fourth volume in the series exists, but it is in need of editing and may also be locked up a long time in litigation regarding the deceased author's estate. Whether a fifth or sixth volume exist in outline form is anyone's guess, but we are unlikely to see anything beyond a fourth volume anytime soon, and even getting at the fourth volume in our lifetime may be a stretch. All of which is to say, get this book and enjoy it. It may be the last we ever see of Lisbeth Salander.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tips on How to Read a Stieg Larsson Novel!

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
It was bittersweet to finish the last novel of Stieg Larsson's about Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". What a unique and fascinating character Lisbeth has been throughout the three novels. This last of the triumvirate begins the very moment that the last one leaves off. I highly recommend that one reads these novels in order for the best effect. I've enjoyed them all thoroughly and found the conclusion to be immensely satisfying.

Others reviewers have summarized the plot, and described the qualities and shortcomings of the novel, but I would like to take a moment to help readers who may be a bit daunted by Larsson's work. So here are my Tips on How to Best Read a Stieg Larsson "Girl" Book:

* Read it in hunks of time. Larsson's books aren't amenable for dipping in and out of in 5 or 10 minute increments. If you do that, you'll spend most of your time backtracking to get back into the complicated flow and plot. It's best to devote some time so that you can keep up with the pace.
* Don't be embarrassed if you need to make a character "cheat-sheet" - it's difficult to remember all the characters and it's cumulative; "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" has all the characters of the first two novels in addition to its own set! Larsson had nothing on Tolstoy for a long list of characters...and with the Swedish names being unfamiliar to the average American reader, it can be even more confusing. Just look at some of the "B" names: Blomqvist, Berger, Bublanski, Bjork, Bjurman, Bodin, Beckman, Berglund, Billinger, Badenbrink, Bladh, Borgsjo...then there is a Niedermann and a Nieminen and a Malm and a Malin...too similar to keep straight. Which are the cops, which are journalists, which are villains, which are heros?
* Don't be discouraged by the techno-babble. The first book has a comprehensive description of International Business standards and practices, the International Banking system, as well as specific Swedish business practices. The second book has a long and technical section about computer systems and hacking processes, the third book goes into great detail about the Swedish Secret Police and Sapo operations and super-secret sub-ops. Don't feel daunted by these, you don't need to understand every nuance to enjoy the story!
* Suspend judgment on the Swedish justice system and some of the "morals" of the characters. It would be, in my opinion, unpleasant to read these books while constantly thinking: "That wouldn't happen in the US!" or "We do things better in the US." so don't. As for the character's "morals"...there are villains who are 100% villains in these books, but there are no "heros" who are 100% heroic or fault free. Sweden never had the Puritans like we did, so their views on sex might be a little different than the average American's. All this is part of what is interesting , educational, and intriguing about these novels.
* Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars If the series had to end, this was the perfect conclusion

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
I came to this novel with great trepidation. I'd loved the first two novels in the series and was understandably saddened by the premature end due to the author's untimely death. Aside from that, I was worried that the novel would end with some terrible cliff hanger as the previous one had. For what it's worth, I'm happy to report that if this series had to end now, I'm completely satisfied with how the story of Lisbeth Salander, Mikeal Blomkvist, et al wraps up.

As mentioned above, The Girl Who Played with Fire ends on a cliff hanger. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest picks up exactly where it ends off. I'd liked the second novel in the series much more than the first because it dealt far more extensively with the eponymous character. That is also the strength of Hornet's Nest. I just can't get enough of Lisbeth Salander. She is endlessly strange, fascinating, endearing, and resourceful.

This final novel strikes the best balance of the three between Lisbeth's story and Mikeal's story, which essentially converge at this point. But other characters get their fair share of narrative time and a subplot involving Erica Berger particularly captured my interest. Every storyline allowed Larsson to show off new facets of his established characters.

One of the most fascinating things about the plot of this book (which obviously I'm being incredibly vague about) was that in another novel, the good guys and the bad guys could have easily switched places. There are no cookie-cutter heroes and villains in Larsson's world. Sure, there are people to root for, but there's a lot of moral ambiguity involved. All of which makes for complex and smart story-telling. And Larsson's plotting is as strong as it ever was. This novel is his best yet.

At nearly 600-pages, I plowed through the book at breakneck speed, my interest never flagging. It is sadly clear to me that Larsson had further stories to tell about his girl. Not every loose thread is tied up, but the important bases are covered. The novel's end was as satisfying as anything you could ask for.

Rest in peace, Stieg.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hornet's Nest and Trilogy
Have been reading since age 4 (am now 68) and mostly fiction for the past 50 years. A novel a week. This trilogy is, in my opinion, the finest series I have ever read and Hornet's Nest may be the very best piece of fiction I have ever read. I found myself purposely slowing down in my reading because I simply did not want it to end. These are not stand alone books. Read them as 1-2-3 and you will never forget the experience. The biggest problem is what to read when you are finished. Everything else pales by comparison by virtually every measure. I envy those of you who have not started the journey or who are looking forward to the second and third novels. I almost look forward to the possibility of Alzheimers so I can read these over and over for the rest of my life. I may do so anyway.

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34. The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUA64
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars "The Scarlet Letter"
Like many reviewers here, I was "forced" to read this book for my English Composition class. However, unlike many reviewers here, I have a much different view of the story. As some people have said before, Hawthorne's book takes a good deal of concentration, effort, and strength to understand. Not only to understand, but to finish. The story can drag sometimes, it is true, and Hawthorne's style of writing occasionally leaves something to be desired (I don't think I've ever seen that many commas, 15 letter words, or page long paragraphs before), but we simply must look past these minor issues. Overall, the plot is highly creative and intense, despite the writing.\

Ok, ok, I agree that the first chapter, "The Custom-House", was pretty bad. In fact, it was so bad and boring that I drifted off to sleep several times while reading it! The first chapter has little relevancy with the story, so, unless you have to, I would suggest skipping that part of the text. The rest is exceptionally good, and the quality of the plot cannot be overlooked. My advice is to just lay off the first chapter; that way you'll be able to enjoy the rest of the book without difficulty.

The story itself deals with sin and adultery, a subject that isn't very popular right now. Hawthorne does an excellent job of telling us about this, but he leaves the reader with many questions floating around in his mind at the conclusion. At the end of the story you're not 100% sure if Hawthorne was condemning the Puritan society, or if he was commending it. He leaves that for the reader to figure out, which is a thing authors seldom do. That's a major reason I believe this work is so unique and timeless.

The story involves a women named Hester Prynne, living in the New World in the late 17th century. She has committed adultery with someone unknown, and, since the Puritan society considered the Bible to be their ultimate source of law, the punishment was quite severe for such an act. Hester is forced to wear a scarlet "A" (for adultery) on her attire at all times, as a sign to everyone that she has sinned deeply. And so she must carry out the rest of her life this way. That's the major gist of the plot, although there's much more. I won't give it anyway, though, you'll have to read the book to find out.

Let's face it: at some time or another we all are going to probably have to read this book, voluntarily or involuntarily. Shouldn't we try to make the best of it? Read it for its enjoyment, anything else would be missing the point.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I enjoyed reading The Scarlet Letter. I was not forced into by a Literature teacher; I picked it up on my own because I heard it was a great American classic; and, indeed, I have to agree. It is truly timeless. It has been almost five years since I have read this book and I can remember the scenes and words so vividly. Hawthorne's dizzying imagery provides an adventure into the life of a Puritan woman, Hester Prynne, that one does not soon forget.

Hester, practically abandoned by her husband is left to take care of herself in a lonely new world. She is flesh and bone with desires and passions like any other human being. Hester commits adultery and is found out by a cruel, judging community. She must wear a Scarlet A on the front of her dress; A for Adultery. Hester refuses to give the name of her lover Dimmesdale so he goes free and untouched by the damning society, but must face the tortures of his own conscience.

Hester is humiliated and must suffer the consequences for her actions but she is not a broken woman. She stands, brave.

Dimmesdale comes through in the end and admits his role in the dangerous game. Hawthorne takes the readers on a spinning ride to get to this point. Read it and know the exact ending for yourself. I recommend it; highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars An intense human drama that transcends literature itself
The Scarlet Letter is truly one of literature's greatest triumphs, its characters and themes reverberating in our collective consciousness more than 150 years after its initial publication. Few novels inspire as much contemplation and feeling on the part of the reader. Hester Prynne, American fiction's first and foremost female heroine continues to haunt this world, inspiring a never-ending stream of scholarly debate. Even in our less puritanical age, some doubtless see her as a villainously great temptress, but to me she is a remarkably brave hero indeed. Her sin is known to all, and she never runs away from it, bearing the scarlet letter on her bosom bravely for all to see; she realizes the true measure of that sin, fretting constantly over the effects it will have on young Pearl, remaining steadfast in her beliefs while at the same time envisioning a new society where women and men can exist on more equal terms, free of the stultifyingly harsh punishments meted out on even the most repentant of souls by Puritanism. She shows her noble spirit by refusing to name her partner in sin and goes so far as to allow the ruthless Roger Chillingworth to torment the man she loves deeply enough to protect him for all time. Little Pearl is somewhat of an enigma, truly manifesting traits of both the imp and the little angel; her questions about the letter her mother wears and the minister who continually holds his hand against his heart reflect an insight that amazes this reader. Chillingworth is a thoroughly black-hearted man; I can certainly understand the blow he sustained as a result of Hester's sin, but his actions and thirst for prolonged revenge on the so-called perpetrator of the wrong he suffered can only be described as roguish and unpalatable.

Of course, the most complex character in the novel (and literature as a whole) is the good minister Arthur Dimmsdale. One is compelled to both like him and despise him. He is basically a good man and an unquestionably fine soldier in the army of the Lord, winning many souls to God with his impassioned sermons. He is more aware than anyone else of his sinful nature, and he punishes himself quite brutally in private in a useless attempt to make up for the public ignominy he lacks the moral courage to call upon himself with a public profession of his deed. Dimmsdale is a coward and a hypocrite. At one critical moment in the latter pages of the novel, he blames Hester for his state of misery, and it is that comment in particular that makes this tragic character a man I can only commiserate with to a limited degree. Even at the penultimate moment of the novel, as he finally bears the mark of his shame and guilt for all his parishioners to see, the very men and women who have viewed him as a saintly man of God rather than the brigand he knows himself to be, he does not openly confess-his words and deeds do make plain the secret of his heart, but it is his lack of a thoroughly bold confession that causes some of his most devoted followers, so Hawthorne tells us, to blindly judge his final act as an illustrative parable on the danger of sin threatening each member of his congregation rather than an admission of guilt and self-condemnation.

It upsets me to see readers who do not appreciate this novel as one of the earliest and best American classics, a novel that contributed greatly to the establishment of a literary culture in the young country. The language is of a more florid style than today's readers are used to, but this novel is in no way boring. Hawthorne paints some of the most vivid scenes of human drama I have ever witnessed; he writes in such a way that you are there in colonial Boston watching the story play out before your very eyes, struggling to come to terms with your own feelings in regard to such complex and sometimes inscrutable characters. The climactic chapter is truly and deeply moving, more than capable of bringing tears to the eyes of the sensitive soul. The Scarlet Letter is just a brilliant, gripping, thoroughly human novel that I wish everyone could appreciate as much as I do.

5-0 out of 5 stars The first masterpiece of American literature
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," might well be Nathaniel Hawthorne's theme in The Scarlet Letter. Certainly, by all community standards Hester Prynne's adultery is a sin. Worse yet Arthur Dimmesdale has triply sinned since he has had carnal knowledge of a member of his flock, and through a deep and abiding cowardice has failed to acknowledge his sin; and what is even worse yet, he allows Hester to bear the weight of public condemnation alone.

However the worse sin of all belongs to Roger Chillingworth, Hester's husband who is not dead at all, but returned in disguise as a physician who has learned the efficacy of various medicinal concoctions from the Indians during his captivity. He pretends to befriend Dimmesdale in order to extract his long and torturous revenge. But it is Chillingworth's character itself more than anything that marks him as the worse of the sinners. He lives only for revenge and to give pain and suffering. He cares nothing for his wife and her child. He cares nothing for anyone, not even himself. He lives only to avenge.

Dimmesdale's sin is that of a weak character. In a sense Dimmesdale is Everyman, the non-heroic. We see the contrast between the proud bravery of Hester and the all too human weakness of Dimmesdale who cannot bring himself to confess his sin, but looks to her strength to do it for him. We see this in the first scaffold scene as he pleads along with Chillingworth for Hester to reveal the father's identity. "Reveal it yourself!" we want to say.

While some have seen Chillingworth as the devil incarnate--and indeed I suspect that was Hawthorne's intent--it might be closer to the truth to see him as the vengeful God of the Old Testament with his lust to mysterious power and his desire to see the sinful suffer. At any rate, Hawthorne's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, one of the pillars of American literature, to be ranked with such great works as Melville's Moby-Dick and Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn--is about sin and the effect of sin; and this is only right since the central tenet of Christianity itself is sin and the forgiveness of sin.

By employing and investigating deeply three types of sin--Hester's from love and even something close to innocence; Dimmesdale's from lust, pride, neglect and cowardice; and Chillingworth's from hate--Hawthorne came up with a most felicitous device for examining the human soul.

The Scarlet Letter is regularly taught at the high school level, but surely this is a mistake. The novel is difficult and challenging even for honors students. The architectured sentences, with their points and counterpoints, their parallel construction, their old school rhetorical cadences are strange and even wondrous to the modern eye. It is a good practice for the teacher and for the student to read aloud Hawthorne's prose so as to grow accustomed to his words the way one must for Shakespeare. If this is done and the edifice of Christianity and especially the fatalism of the Puritan mind brought to bear, then with leisurely pace and a steady concentration, the terrible beauty of Hawthorne's novel might be made immediate.

Although the story itself is compelling, and the prose rich and poetic, the real strength of this great novel is in its characters. How true to life are all of them including even little Pearl who is defiant and willful in her beauty and her promise, so like a heroine-to-be of a modern novel. And how despicable and loathsome is this bent old man who embodies the very soul of the despised! And how attractive on a superficial level is this pretty young pastor whose actions are not the equal of his looks. And how strong and faithful and heroic is Hester who invites both envy and admiration, something like a flawed goddess of yore.

What stuck me when I first read this, and remains with me today, is that it is those who presume to punish sin who are the real sinners. Chillingworth's life is one devoid of human feeling, devoid of any real joy as he lies in the stone cold bed of hatred and revenge. And to a lesser extent so it is with Dimmesdale who cannot forgive himself, who secretly flagellates himself so that his life becomes a hell on earth. On the other hand there is Hester who finds forgiveness and love with good works and in the joy of her beautiful and precious Pearl and in her unstinting love for Dimmesdale and her hope and faith that a better life will come.

This is a deeply Christian novel although it is usually seen as a criticism of Christianity in the sense that the Christian community condemns the least of the sinners while the hypocrisy of its clergy is made manifest. Looking deeper we see that it is forgiveness of sin and the redemption that comes from good works that is exemplified. Hester knows the joy of life because she is a loving and giving person; and on another level she is forgiven because we the reader forgive her. How could we not? And most of the Puritan flock also forgave her since it came to be said that the scarlet "A" she wore upon her person stood not for "Adultery" but for "Able."

It is also good to realize that when Hawthorne published the novel in 1850 the scene of the story was nearly two hundred years removed. Thus Hawthorne looked back at Puritan America from the standpoint of a more secular society greatly influenced by Jeffersonian deism and the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau. In some respects, Hawthorne's brilliant treatment of the ageless theme of sin, guilt and redemption was a serendipitous, even unconscious, artifact of his literary skill. No artist composes a masterpiece without some deep talent at work independent of his conscious efforts.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I loved this book! I could really feel for the characters, who each had a special quality that made them who they were. This is a must-read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is when I fell in love with Nathaniel.......

Just look at a portrait of him as a young man, note the noble brow, the handsome features, the sensitivity, how romantic......... Curl up with this book and let Nathaniel tell you his tale in his beautiful poetic language . This is a book to be read quietly, alone, not in an airport lounge or on the subway, but preferably in a beautiful garden or sunroom with the windows open. Let the beauty of his language flow over you and transport you back in time.

It is over 200 years since Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem Massachusetts, his great great grandfather officiated at the Salem Witch Trials. He was both disturbed and intrigued by his ancestry. One day when working at The Custom House in Salem to make ends meet as a struggling young author, he discovered in one of the upstairs rooms some dusty old boxes, on opening them he found them to contain relics from the past, long since forgotten. Yellowing documents and an intriguing piece of embroidery, a scrap of faded and torn material with the letter A embroidered on it. He picked it up, and while wondering what it was, he held it up to his chest, and at that moment he claims to have felt a burning sensation which caused him to drop the piece of cloth. It gave him inspiration for this story along with documents he found about a woman called Hester Prynne.

The scene he sets so vividly is somewhere around 350 years ago 150 years before he was born. In a time when behavior to which we can hardly be bothered to raise an eyebrow was in that day considered a punishable sin. A disgrace for life. Branded by having to wear a scarlet letter on the chest for all to see.

It is a feminist novel, (Nathaniel Hawthorne supported women's rights). Briefly, the protagonist Hester Prynne has a child from an adulterous relationship and refuses to name the father. Her husband a physician much older than she has never been a "proper" husband to her so she had looked elsewhere for love. The husband vows to find the father of the child, and in exchange for her freedom makes Hester swear she will never disclose who her husband is. Her husband being a physician quickly deduces who the father is from the way he is wasting away under his burden of guilt. He sets about a long period of torment of the young man of which Hester is aware but can say nothing because of her promise. Finally she has had enough and decides to come clean, shaming the devil, (her husband) and redeeming the young man. I do not want to spoil anything by divulging the name of the father of the child in case you do not know.

This is such a simple and brief account it would make Nathaniel wince to read it. There is so much more to the story. It states in the blurb that it is a psychological novel before there was a science called psychology. The way the characters in the story interact with each other, the symbolism, the different values of the day from Nathaniel's day, and then again to this day. The religious aspect in Puritan times, the emotional ups and downs as you empathize with first one and then another of the characters. It is a wonderful story and well deserving of its position as one of America's great classics.


5-0 out of 5 stars The first masterpiece of American literature
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," might well be Nathaniel Hawthorne's theme in The Scarlet Letter. Certainly, by all community standards Hester Prynne's adultery is a sin. Worse yet Arthur Dimmesdale has triply sinned since he has had carnal knowledge of a member of his flock, and through a deep and abiding cowardice has failed to acknowledge his sin; and what is even worse yet, he allows Hester to bear the weight of public condemnation alone.

However the worse sin of all belongs to Roger Chillingworth, Hester's husband who is not dead at all, but returned in disguise as a physician who has learned the efficacy of various medicinal concoctions from the Indians during his captivity. He pretends to befriend Dimmesdale in order to extract his long and torturous revenge. But it is Chillingworth's character itself more than anything that marks him as the worse of the sinners. He lives only for revenge and to give pain and suffering. He cares nothing for his wife and her child. He cares nothing for anyone, not even himself. He lives only to avenge.

Dimmesdale's sin is that of a weak character. In a sense Dimmesdale is Everyman, the non-heroic. We see the contrast between the proud bravery of Hester and the all too human weakness of Dimmesdale who cannot bring himself to confess his sin, but looks to her strength to do it for him. We see this in the first scaffold scene as he pleads along with Chillingworth for Hester to reveal the father's identity. "Reveal it yourself!" we want to say.

While some have seen Chillingworth as the devil incarnate--and indeed I suspect that was Hawthorne's intent--it might be closer to the truth to see him as the vengeful God of the Old Testament with his lust to mysterious power and his desire to see the sinful suffer. At any rate, Hawthorne's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, one of the pillars of American literature, to be ranked with such great works as Melville's Moby-Dick and Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn--is about sin and the effect of sin; and this is only right since the central tenet of Christianity itself is sin and the forgiveness of sin.

By employing and investigating deeply three types of sin--Hester's from love and even something close to innocence; Dimmesdale's from lust, pride, neglect and cowardice; and Chillingworth's from hate--Hawthorne came up with a most felicitous device for examining the human soul.

The Scarlet Letter is regularly taught at the high school level, but surely this is a mistake. The novel is difficult and challenging even for honors students. The architectured sentences, with their points and counterpoints, their parallel construction, their old school rhetorical cadences are strange and even wondrous to the modern eye. It is a good practice for the teacher and for the student to read aloud Hawthorne's prose so as to grow accustomed to his words the way one must for Shakespeare. If this is done and the edifice of Christianity and especially the fatalism of the Puritan mind brought to bear, then with leisurely pace and a steady concentration, the terrible beauty of Hawthorne's novel might be made immediate.

Although the story itself is compelling, and the prose rich and poetic, the real strength of this great novel is in its characters. How true to life are all of them including even little Pearl who is defiant and willful in her beauty and her promise, so like a heroine-to-be of a modern novel. And how despicable and loathsome is this bent old man who embodies the very soul of the despised! And how attractive on a superficial level is this pretty young pastor whose actions are not the equal of his looks. And how strong and faithful and heroic is Hester who invites both envy and admiration, something like a flawed goddess of yore.

What stuck me when I first read this, and remains with me today, is that it is those who presume to punish sin who are the real sinners. Chillingworth's life is one devoid of human feeling, devoid of any real joy as he lies in the stone cold bed of hatred and revenge. And to a lesser extent so it is with Dimmesdale who cannot forgive himself, who secretly flagellates himself so that his life becomes a hell on earth. On the other hand there is Hester who finds forgiveness and love with good works and in the joy of her beautiful and precious Pearl and in her unstinting love for Dimmesdale and her hope and faith that a better life will come.

This is a deeply Christian novel although it is usually seen as a criticism of Christianity in the sense that the Christian community condemns the least of the sinners while the hypocrisy of its clergy is made manifest. Looking deeper we see that it is forgiveness of sin and the redemption that comes from good works that is exemplified. Hester knows the joy of life because she is a loving and giving person; and on another level she is forgiven because we the reader forgive her. How could we not? And most of the Puritan flock also forgave her since it came to be said that the scarlet "A" she wore upon her person stood not for "Adultery" but for "Able."

It is also good to realize that when Hawthorne published the novel in 1850 the scene of the story was nearly two hundred years removed. Thus Hawthorne looked back at Puritan America from the standpoint of a more secular society greatly influenced by Jeffersonian deism and the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau. In some respects, Hawthorne's brilliant treatment of the ageless theme of sin, guilt and redemption was a serendipitous, even unconscious, artifact of his literary skill. No artist composes a masterpiece without some deep talent at work independent of his conscious efforts. Read more


35. Cross Fire
by James Patterson
Kindle Edition
list price: $12.99
Asin: B003UBTX6I
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Sales Rank: 4
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Wedding bells ring

Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories--is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

A murderer returns

The case explodes, and the FBI assigns agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that they are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements--information that only a Washington insider could possess.

Caught in a lethal cross fire

As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars What Alex Cross Doesn't Know Might Hurt Him
Author James Patterson tells the reader something crucial early on, but it's not revealed to the key character, Detective Alex Cross. I found myself wondering exactly how and when Cross would find out for himself. Of course, I'm not going to give you any clues, but this mystery did keep me turning the pages.

The novel is largely about a series of murders in Washington, D.C., Cross's base. The victims include a corrupt politician, a crooked lobbyist, and a venal tycoon. These were people hated by many, but Cross is determined to solve the case. While investigating the murders, he finds a complex math formula in a most unusual place, gets a big lead from a submerged Suburban, and makes a life-long commitment.

Also in the picture is Kyle Craig, Cross's long-time nemesis. Patterson does a good job constructing Craig as a total monster.

This is the twelfth book written or co-written by James Patterson that I have reviewed for this site. It's near the top of the list. The prose is skillfully crafted. The pages fly by.
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36. Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUMPI
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars "Little Women," - The Original
I bought this perennial favorite to add to my barely-started collection of these tiny Collector's Library books (sadly, B&N discontinued publication of these). I love that it's both small and hardcover- perfect for traveling- especially for long hours on the plane or whatnot. I was somewhat disappointed to find that this book contains only part I of Little Women, ending with Chapter 23 ("Aunt March Settles the Question"). Luckily, I have what I call my "home copy" of the book which naturally has both parts...so I don't feel like I've made a mistake in purchasing this one. But I thought I'd let you know that this book only features part I so that you know what to expect! Read more


37. Code Blue
by Richard MD Mabry
Kindle Edition
list price: $13.99
Asin: B004CRT7SI
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Sales Rank: 92
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, Code Blue means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn t brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it s clear that someone there wants her gone...or dead.

Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town...or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Not really a medical thriller...
This book involves a doctor who is being harassed and that's about as "thriller" as it gets. Mabry's book is really a book about re-finding one's faith in God and learning to trust fellow humans and the church in times of crisis. I would not have downloaded the book if I had known that in advance as I thought I was getting a true medical suspense/thriller book. Also, the writing is not as good as it could be although it's a decent first effort. I won't be reading any more books in this series--I read the synopsis for the second book and it sounds exactly like this book with a different set of characters. It would be nice to see Mabry put his obvious wealth of medical knowledge to use in a different plot formula.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect dose of Medical, Suspense and Romance!!!
When I think Christian fiction, I always automatically think female authors, and very rarely do I associate a male author. I think female authors because they create characters that are unforgettable and with whom I can undoubtedly relate to in some way or another. But I must confess and say that I am super pleased with Richard Mabry's work. CODE BLUE is a terrific start to a new medical series written by a highly talented male author.

In CODE BLUE,book 1 in the Prescription for Trouble series, we get a healthy dose of crisis, suspense, faith tested and of course, romance! Inject that with a bit of humor and mix it up for the perfect drug! It will cure any ailment! The characters in this particular story blend well with the plot of suspense. This plot is one that grips your soul and puts you right in the middle of the medical action! I loved the thrill of not knowing what was gonna happen next to Dr. Sewell, and I also loved the feeling that Mabry created by those perfect injections of God's love and faith. It certainly made for better entertainment than those TV medical dramas!

My advice to you? Read CODE BLUE. It's 5 star worthy, like Candace Calvert's Mercy Hospital Series....BETTER than any Grey's Anatomy, ER, or House episode could ever be. I can't wait for a second dose of medical mystery and fast paced thrills with this amazing series! And we'll get that with Prescription for Trouble's book 2: MEDICAL ERRORcoming in September of 2010!

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this one STAT!
Richard Mabry, MD has retired his stethoscope and now writes novels instead of prescriptions. And he has quickly earned a spot on my shelf next to Harry Kraus MD, Candace Calvert, and Hannah Alexander as an author of great medical fiction. Code Blue is so fast-paced, suspenseful, and authentic that I could practically hear the sirens! Dr. Cathy Sewell longs to establish her practice in her hometown, but the obstacles mount. Obstacles such as the sacred "good old boys" club that seems determined to thwart her at every turn. And the fact that someone apparently wants her permanently removed from the scene, causing her to interact more often with the local EMTs as a patient than as a physician. When she treats the local banker for a heart condition and his prescription results in his coming perilously close to death, even those who supported her begin to question her competency. Will her career be resuscitated or will it flatline before it even begins? Grab a copy of this compelling book; it's just what the doctor ordered!

5-0 out of 5 stars Code Blue: Good medicine for readers of medical thrillers
Do you like to settle in at night with a great book? Get ready to lose some sleep if you pick up Code Blue. Each twist and turn of this debut novel is bound to keep readers turning pages as retired doctor-turn-novelist Richard Mabry ratchets up tension chapter after chapter.

Main character Dr. Cathy Sewell returns to her hometown in Texas to start all over, only to face unyielding opposition. People she grew up with seem to hold grudges. And someone might even want her dead. The cast of potential villains is staggering as Dr. Mabry does a great job of casting suspicion upon just about everyone who crosses Cathy's path. Even the man she once loved. She must fight for economic and physical survival as one mishap after another begins to tear her world apart. She begins to question everything--even her relationship with God.

This novelist has taken a lifetime of experiences in the medical field and created a page-turning medical thriller that is hard to put down. This novel is just what the doctor ordered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Code Blue resuscitates Christian Medical fiction single handedly
Dr. Cathy Sewell is finding her hometown reception cool when she returns to practice medicine. Several near misses cause her to wonder if she is being paranoid, a victim of mental illness as her mother was presumably so, or on someones hit list. The list of prospects that would want her gone-in one sense of the term or another-grows and getting to the bottom of who has the most against her takes time, patience, and nerves of steel.

Accented by a host of supporting roles-Will, his parents, Marcus Bell, and the always helpful Jane-Code Blue is an intense ride along side Dr Cathy as she relentlessly tries to establish her practice in spite of the odds stacked against her. I've worked the ER and have participated in treatment scenarios first hand and found my pulse quickened and racing during some of the medical drama's. Not many writers can recreate medical situations so closely that they adequately stir the adrenaline that accompanies the pace. Mabry not only sufficiently describes and stimulates the precise emotions, as a writer, he is superior at creating a fictional recipe of medical drama, thrills, and romance. By page 50 or so, I was so enraptured by the action, characters and plot, I did a speed read to get to the end, and then felt sad to close the last page. As a reader you will fall in love with everything about the book-from characters to story lines. I also appreciate an author that keeps his scenes short because that keeps the pace rolling along. And, need I say it again, am indebted to any author that is not afraid to mention a Christian lifestyle in their novels and incorporate it effectively so that the story revolves around God, not vice versa. I respect Mabry for capitalizing on Christianity by showing love in action, not condemnation.

Code Blue, the first in the Prescription for Trouble series, is a promising start to what I believe will be a long standing writing career for Mabry.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fresh New Voice In Christian Fiction
Cathy Sewell doesn't just find herself a woman doctor in a man's world. She is a family doctor in a town ruled by specialists. And she has to prove herself and her abilities to gain the hospital privileges she needs to best help her patients. But someone doesn't want her to succeed.

I enjoyed watching Cathy prove her worth over and over. But would it be enough?

Richard L. Mabry, MD is a writer to watch. He brings a fresh new voice to Christian Fiction and medical suspense.

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, refreshingly authentic medical mystery!
I admit, as an RN/nursing supervisor, I'm usually skeptical of medical-related fiction. But Dr. Mabry's CODE BLUE had me in the first few paragraphs. His use of medical knowledge and details is accurate, but not overwhelming; in-depth, but not over-powering. The storyline captivated me, too. I really felt Cathy's struggle with learning to trust again, and her relationship with Will was believeable, tender, and inspiring. This is a perfect snuggle-under-the-covers-and-stay-there-'til-you're-finished mystery. I read this in one day becuase I couldn't put it down, and can't wait until his next book is released!

5-0 out of 5 stars quick flowing light thriller!
found it hard to put this book down. fun and inspiring look into a new doctors life in a small town. good character development, and a hard to figure out who done it until the last page turn. Read more


38. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
by Timothy Ferriss
Hardcover
list price: $27.00 -- our price: $13.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 030746363X
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Sales Rank: 8
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Thinner, bigger, faster, stronger... which 150 pages will you read?

Is it possible to:
Reach your genetic potential in 6 months?
Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours?
Lose more fat than a marathoner by bingeing?
 
Indeed, and much more. This is not just another diet and fitness book.

The 4-Hour Body is the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of jaw-dropping personal experimentation. From Olympic training centers to black-market laboratories, from Silicon Valley to South Africa, Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, fixated on one life-changing question:

For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?

Thousands of tests later, this book contains the answers for both men and women.

From the gym to the bedroom, it’s all here, and it all works.


YOU WILL LEARN (in less than 30 minutes each):
How to lose those last 5-10 pounds (or 100+ pounds) with odd combinations of food and safe chemical cocktails.

* How to prevent fat gain while bingeing (X-mas, holidays, weekends)
* How to increase fat-loss 300% with a few bags of ice
* How Tim gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time
* How to sleep 2 hours per day and feel fully rested
* How to produce 15-minute female orgasms
* How to triple testosterone and double sperm count
* How to go from running 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers in 12 weeks
* How to reverse “permanent” injuries
* How to add 150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months
* How to pay for a beach vacation with one hospital visit
       
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There are more than 50 topics covered, all with real-world experiments, many including more than 200 test subjects.

You don't need better genetics or more discipline. You need immediate results that compel you to continue.

That’s exactly what The 4-Hour Body delivers.
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39. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
Kindle Edition
list price: $14.95
Asin: B0015DROBO
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 6
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's The Girlwith the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financialintrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

HarrietVanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty yearsago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hiresMikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction,to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander.Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars This Swedish bestseller deserves to be a blockbuster here too.
A 24-year-old computer hacker sporting an assortment of tattoos and body piercings and afflicted with Asperger Syndrome or something of the like has been under state guardianship in her native Sweden since she was thirteen. She supports herself by doing deep background investigations for Dragan Armansky, who, in turn, worries the anorexic-looking Lisbeth Salander is "the perfect victim for anyone who wished her ill." Salander may look fourteen and stubbornly shun social norms, but she possesses the inner strength of a determined survivor. She sees more than her word processor page in black and white and despises the users and abusers of this world. She won't hesitate to exact her own unique brand of retribution against small-potatoes bullies, sick predators, and corrupt magnates alike.

Financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist has just been convicted of libeling a financier and is facing a fine and three months in jail. Blomkvist, after a Salander-completed background check, is summoned to a meeting with semi-retired industrialist Henrik Vanger whose far-flung but shrinking corporate empire is wholly family owned. Vanger has brooded for 36 years about the fate of his great niece, Harriet. Blomkvist is expected to live for a year on the island where many Vanger family members still reside and where Harriet was last seen. Under the cover story that he is writing a family history, Blomkvist is to investigate which family member might have done away with the teenager.

So, the stage is set. The reader easily guesses early that somehow Blomkvist and Salander will pool their talents to probe the Vanger mystery. However,Swede Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is no humdrum, formulaic whodunit. It is fascinating and very difficult to put down. Nor is it without some really suspenseful and chillingly ugly scenes....

The issue most saturating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that of shocking sexual violence primarily against women but not excluding men. Salander and Blomkvist both confront prima facie evidence of such crimes. Larsson's other major constituent elements are corporate malfeasance that threatens complete collapse of stock markets and anarchistic distrust of officialdom to the point of endorsing (at least, almost) vigilantism. He also deals with racism as he spins a complex web from strands of real and imagined history concerning mid-twentieth century Vanger affiliations with Sweden's fascist groups.

But Larsson's carefully calibrated tale is more than a grisly, cynical world view of his country and the modern world at large. At its core, it is an fascinating character study of a young woman who easily masters computer code but for whom human interaction is almost always more trouble than it is worth, of an investigative reporter who chooses a path of less resistance than Salander but whose humanity reaches out to many including her, and of peripheral characters -- such as Armansky -- who need more of their story told.

Fortunately, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English translation will be followed by two more in the Millennium series: The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Air Castle that Blew Up. I can't wait. Larsson also made a 200-page start on a fourth book, but sadly he succumbed to a heart attack in 2004 and his father decided the unfinished work will remain unpublished.

I recommend this international bestseller to all who eagerly sift new books for challenging intellectual crime thrillers, who luxuriate in immersing themselves in the ambience of a compellingly created world and memorable characters, who soak up financial and investigative minutiae as well as computer hacking tidbits, and who want to share Larsson's crusade against violence and racism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book of the Year

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a masterwork of fine craftsmanhip. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. The characters are too intriguing for this to be the end. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. I cannot wait to read the sequels scheduled for release in the USA in 2009.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an international best seller and is set in Sweden. It takes a little effort to get accustomed to all the Swedish names and places but then the story moves with lightening speed. There are two key plots happening simultaneously. In one, a Swedish financial investigative journalist publishes a libelous attack about a powerful industrialist and is sentenced to jail, fined a ruinous sum, and has his career torn to shreds. Another industrialist, Vanger, hires the journalist to investigate the 36 year old disappearnace of his then 14 year old grand niece. There has been no trace of her in all these years and she is assumed dead. Yet, every year on his birthday, he receives a mysterious gift of a pressed flower, mimicking a gift his missing grandniece used to give him when she lived there. Vanger, an old man, is tormented by the flower gifts, and wants one more chance to find out what happened to her and who killed her. What the journalist uncovers about the Vanger family's hitherto unknown secrets and connections to the Nazis, will have you hanging on the edge of your seat.

The book is titled after yet another character, Lisabeth Salander, a societal outcast and social ward of the State, uncivilized without any desire to obey societal norms, and replete with piercings, tattoos, and a goth/biker appearance. In short, at first glance a totally undesirable and unsympathetic person. She is a researcher with a corporate security firm and ends up working with the journalist. In truth, she is a survivor of abuse in all forms with low self esteem, and an inablity to trust. She is a genius with Asberger's Syndrome, a form of autism, who sees patterns in things ordinary mortals miss and uses incredible computer hacking skills to accomplish her goals. She is fascinating: ruthless and tough to a fault, yet internally vulnerable, struggling to comprehend her own feelings. She has an appeal that draws you to her, rooting for her, and wanting to understand her. Lisabeth is unforgettable, unlike most characters that populate mystery thrillers. There is such depth here.

The book is a thriller on many levels: The story about the Vanger family itself, the journalist's crusade to redeem his reputation, Lisabeth's vendettas and development, and of course, the truth about what actually happened to the missing Vanger heiresss. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down. Utterly stunning. Probably the year's best book. SUMMER 2009: SEE MY REVIEW OF THE SEQUEL, "THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE", ANOTHER OUTSTANDING BOOK.
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40. Grimm's Fairy Stories
by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JML1QG
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Great stories
This is a wounderful fairytale book. Well known stories in their orignal contex. I didn't find anything wrong with the formatting.

5-0 out of 5 stars unabridged brilliance
Because these stories are unabridged, they offer an oppoutunity to explore masterful storytelling at its best. Like many free Kindle books, the formatting leaves something to be desired. Many youngsters today will have difficulty staying with these lengthy tales, but if you caress the stories as you present them they will help lay the same foundations for children today as they have done for many generations. Better for a long car ride then bedtime stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars it is wonderful
this book is wonderful.at first i thought this book is only about faries like ruby the red fairy summer the holiday fairy......things like that.but no it is not.all the stories has happy ending which i like.i like all kinds of story like this.go get one yourself Read more


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