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61. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
$18.88
62. Decoded
63. Sense and Sensibility
$14.98
64. Broke: The Plan to Restore Our
65. Beauty and the Beast
66. The Girl Who Played with Fire
67. Lonestar Sanctuary (Lonestar Series,
$10.15
68. The Heroes of Olympus, Book One:
69. The Iliad
70. Uncle Tom's Cabin
71. 25 Language Phrasebook: German,
$14.29
72. The Immortal Life of Henrietta
73. The People of the Mist
$18.90
74. Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is
75. The Sayings Of Confucius
76. The Bite of Silence
77. Crime and Punishment
78. The Secret Garden
$14.50
79. Full Dark, No Stars
80. Merlin's Harp

61. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
by Gerald Bridges, Jerry Bridges
Kindle Edition
list price: $9.99
Asin: B0046EDOR2
Publisher: NavPress
Sales Rank: 380
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

WHY IS IT EASIER TO OBEY GOD THAN TO TRUST HIM?

Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don't want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us.

But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. When unexpected situations arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we feel confused and frustrated. And before long we begin to doubt God's concern for us or His control over our lives.

Adversity is hard to endure, and can even be harder to understand. If God were really in control, why would He allow the tragic auto accident or crucial job loss? How could He permit cancer in a loved one or the death of a child?

Grappling with His concern for us we ask, "Why is God allowing this?" or "What have I done wrong?"

In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on the topic of God's sovereignty. What he learned changed his life, and he now shares the fruit of that study with you in Trusting God.

As you begin to explore the scope of God's power over nations, nature, and the detailed lives of individuals, you'll begin to acknowledge His loving control. And as you come to know Him better, you'll find yourself trusting Him more completely. Even when life hurts. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Life-Changing
Bridges starts out at the beginning saying that you shouldn't read this book WHILE you are going through hard times, so of course I did. And I was very angry with some things he said at the beginning so I thought I would go through and see what I could "blast" him for. Instead, this book changed my life. He has three main points you MUST learn if you want to know God better: God's Sovereignty, God's Wisdom, and God's Love. One without the other two will leave you right where you are. Learn all three and your life will be changed. As I began to read just how much God does love us, I could accept His wisdom and sovereignty in all things and the "whys" gave way to the acceptance we need in order to not only survive hard times, but be at peace with them. You will learn to Trust God .... even when life hurts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truely a great book
This is the most comprehensive and best of the three Bridges books I have read. The authors purpose is two-fold. First, he wants the reader to glorify God by acknowledging God's sovereignty and goodness in the midst of tragedy. Second, he wants to encourage God's people by showing that God is in control of our lives. Bridges purpose is limited. It is not a theological exploration into the origin of pain and suffering, but a book to help the reader deal with pain and suffering on a level of faith, of trusting in God that things do not just happen.

Although evangelical Christians often give lip service to the sovereignty of God, many are for all practical purposes are Christian deists. They see God as being too distant our unable to intervene in times of trouble. I appreciate that Bridges does not duck the tough issues. He refuses to wrap up all the theological loose ends when discussing the sovereignty of God. Like Tozer, he recognizes that there are some issues to which there are no neat and tidy answers. Unlike many other authors who write on this subject, he does not slavishly follow C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. It is refreshing to read a fresh perspective on the subject rather than merely hearing Lewis arguments parroted again.

Although I was very impressed with the book, there were a few areas that caught my attention. Bridges does not deal comprehensively with the idea of spiritual warfare. I would have also liked to see a fuller discussion on the passive will of God. In fact, it is not mentioned in the first one hundred pages or so. It would have been good to have a fuller discussion of the alternative views of God's sovereignty, but then, that would have doubled or tripled the lengthy of the book.

This is truly a great book. I could hardly put it down, one of the best I have read on the providence and sovereignty of God. I would also recommend Jack Contrell's volume, What the Bible Says About God the Ruler, College Press, 1884. Although not a Calvinist, Contrell writes one of the most persuasive arguments for the sovereignty of God I have read. He also explores alternative views of sovereignty (pagan, existential, deists, etc.) and their weaknesses.

5-0 out of 5 stars You MUST read this book if you are hurting
If you are currently in the midst of deep emotional pain and turmoil in your life, as I am, this book is absolutely essential. I know firsthand what it means to love God but be sure He has abandoned you in the middle of a terrible time. Be assured, He has not, but when you are suffering, it is unbelievably difficult sometimes to trust Him. Where is He? Why doesn't He answer our prayers, if He loves us so much? This book answers that question. It is written along the same lines as Disappointment With God (another great book) by Philip Yancey, but this one goes much more in depth and explains things in a much clearer way, in my opinion, especially for one who is reading it with a mind that is clouded by hurt and pain. Don't turn away from God-- hold on!! He will not leave you with more than you can bear, if you turn to Him to help you bear it. Jerry Bridges shows you how to do this in Trusting God Even When Life Hurts. A truly great and healing book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Encouraging Word...
This is - BY FAR - the best book that I have EVER read on the subject of how to deal with suffering. Mr. Bridges does not simply dwell on the subject of the sovereignty of God, and spend the rest of the book telling people who are suffering that they should just "suck it up" and trust God blindly. The first 7 chapters of the book do deal with the sovereignty of God. But Mr. Bridges goes a step further in the last 7 chapters of the book: he talks about the will of God and the love of God. This book has been such an encouragement to me through some very difficult times. It is a book I highly recommend...and loan out on a very regular basis!

5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful look into the sovereignty of a loving God!
This treatise on the seen and unseen sovereignty of our Lord has totally rearranged my way of thinking! Jerry Bridges forces us to take a long, hard look at the difficult issues of life, and asks the question: Can we (you) trust God?

Often times, our one, two, three, or four-dimensional outlook limits what we can or can't see of God. However, one thing is for sure: God's will will be done. With us, or inspite of us - it will be done! Jerry Bridges has evidently spent many hours on his knees in prayer and meditation to have been given the revelations found within the covers of his book. We should listen and endevor to do what Mr. Bridges advocates, which is to trust God's motivations and intentions for all our lives. In reality, the scenario won't be "limiting" as our natural mind might suppose. Rather, we will be "all" we can be in a great and eternal way if we follow the teachings of Holy Scripture and the admonishments of the author!

This is a great book, and I truely look forward to reading more of Jerry Bridge's work!

5-0 out of 5 stars Do you struggle with trusting God?
One of my greatest weaknesses as a Christian is trusting God during challenges, problems, and hard times. There are so many people in our religious culture saying "God is in control" or "just trust that God will work things out", but how does a person trust God during true difficulties. The author really does take the time to explain what trust is all about and how to overcome our fears or barriers of trusting God. The scripture references are excellent and applicable to anyone's life. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, especially to those who find themselves worrying and be anxious about anything in life. This book changed my life forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars GOD IS IN CONTROL!!
This book teaches (better than any other)that God is in tune and does care and is involved behind the scenes in YOUR life. It is a great book if you doubt God's care or observance during the hard times that life can deal. It provides many scriptures to support that God can be trusted and we can find security in trusting God - regardless of our circumstances.

5-0 out of 5 stars I walked into this book bound but I walked out free...
I originally got this book because - to be quite frank - because I thought it was apropos after having lost my home, all my possessions and having my health seriously compromised this past July in an environmental accident. A reminder to trust God in the midst of all that seemed ... well ... right. Little did I know how important the message in this book would be for me in this moment of my journey.

Warning: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It will challenge you, remind you, move you, undo you, humble you, lift you, convict you and ultimately, change you.

When I started reading the book, I thought I lived in a way that allowed God to function in my life unhindered - or out of the box, if you will. However, I quickly learned that I had actually forgotten how big He is and how sovereign He is. In addition, I came to the brutal reality that I had not let Him out of the box but had actually put him back in the box! Sigh...

I had climbed back up into the front seat, grabbed the steering wheel from God and had taken over for him, yet again. The sad thing is, I hadn't even realized that I had done that.

This book reminded me of so many things: God is sovereign, God loves me unconditionally, God is ALWAYS there even when I can't feel or sense him, God NEVER lies and on and on. I walked into this book,, bound but walked out of it, free.

There is a quote that Jerry Bridges writes at the end of the book that perfectly sums this book up. He says, "Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelms us."

Bottom line, for me personally, is that this book reminded me that this thing called Christianity is a relationship with a real God and it takes a continuous effort on my part as well. I must vigorously work to constantly stand in the midst of unthinkable challenges and situations and trust that God is working everything out for my good.

Jerry reminds us that if we believe God is sovereign, then we must also understand - while living our lives accordingly - that God brings all the good things that come into our life (and we should always give Him thanks for) and (and this was the part that was so challenging for me) that GOD also ALLOWS THE BAD TO COME IN AS WELL. He does if for several reasons. For His glory, for our good or for both - His glory and our good.

Coming to terms with the concept that God allowed the incident that happened to me persnanally in which I lost my home and all my possessions, as well as, the damage that was caused to my lungs, was challenging to say the least. It challenged me on so many levels. It drove me to read Job over and over. I struggled to understand why?

And then something incredible happened. I realized that if He allowed it, He already had the answer on its way. He was already taking care of me. He would lead me forward and show me the way. This horrible situation that happened to me was not mistake, it wasn't fate, it wasn't the cosmos. He already knew. The whole situation had been in His hands the whole entire time. I was never alone - even when every fiber of my being told me I was. Incredible....

"Why it happened" questions suddenly fell to the wayside and were replaced with "what questions". What do you want me to do God?

Beyond my own crisis, this book also put the times we live in and all the craziness that is going on all around us, into perspective for me, as well. I don't have to fret or worry or wonder, because, God is in control of EVERY detail. He knows exactly what He is doing and all I have to do is CHOOSE to TRUST HIM.

For me, there was this ability in that epiphany to just breathe and let go. I was finally able to surrender what happened to with my home, possessions, and health, as well as, what was happening around me. I knew that someone great than me, than greater than all, was in complete control. I could finally let go of the steering wheel and follow.

*I received this book free from NavPress as part of their Blogging 4 Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. Read more


62. Decoded
by Jay-Z
Hardcover
list price: $35.00 -- our price: $18.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1400068924
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Sales Rank: 12
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

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

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

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Into the mind of a fascinating man...
First, I have to say, you don't have to be a serious fan of Jay-Z to enjoy this book. Really, you have to be a student of life and the interesting people who inspire us. If you listen to Jay-Z's music, then you realize it exposes you to very little of Shawn Carter. This book opens that door and shows us how a child of Brooklyn's Marcy projects transforms himself from aspiring rapper to drug hustler to global superstar to corporate mogul. He is the self-made man of American myth, remixed with a bass-heavy beat.

Under the guise of his invented name, Jay-Z has become less person than persona. As he once rapped with characteristic concision: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man." Though he's released a staggering eleven albums in fourteen years, the man behind the business still remains a mystery -- often seen, but rarely heard.

That is what makes Decoded such an unexpected and welcome gift. At over three hundred pages, it is a multimedia, multi-genre extravaganza: part memoir, part coffee table book, part annotated compendium of lyrics, part polemic in the defense of hip hop's poesy. Jay-Z (with the aid of the respected hip-hop journalist dream hampton) intersperses personal anecdotes, rhetorical broadsides, and deep reflections with rich images and typography. From Andy Warhol's striking "Rorschach" on the book's front cover to the interior art, which ranges from Michelangelo's "Piet�" to a vintage Little Orphan Annie button, the book is a visual feast.

What the book isn't -- and what many hip-hop fans have long anticipated -- is a tell-all memoir. Though rich in anecdotes, the narrative is organized thematically rather than chronologically, underscoring the continuities across Jay-Z's career. The themes range from poverty to fame, from sports to politics. At times, these subject-driven sections leave one dissatisfied with the level of revelation and reflection, such as in his cursory treatment of race relations. Combined, though, they provide a penetrating glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest American artist-celebrities.

This book is definitely one of my top reads of 2010. I rank it at #2, right behind Emotional Intelligence 2.0

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


* In the hood, it was life during wartime.


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


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


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


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


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


CONCLUSION:


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


Richard C. Stoyeck

5-0 out of 5 stars Jay-Z Serves!
This is one of the most phenomenal books I have read in many years. Jay-Z's career is broken down from beginning to end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Jaw-Dropping. Revelatory. Game Changer. True To The Culture.
This is a phenomenal book. I'm very happy that Jay-Z has gotten to the point in his life that he can reflect in long form. Be clear that Jay's lyrics have always been laden with reflection, analysis and even self-criticism. But in this format, Jay-Z really does "decode" himself (to some degree), for readers / listeners.

Academics have written great books about Tupac and Nas but Jay often gets overlooked. On the other hand, there are far too many third party journalists who write critically about Rap and distort Rappers words and ideas. I suspect that in the back of his mind Jay-Z was perturbed by this and decided to do it himself. The end result is an unexpected love letter to Rap culture (distinct from Hip Hop culture), and a deeper (also unexpected) acknowledgement of the Black experience in America which Rap chronicles incessantly. Jay raps far more frequently from a hustler's point of view than he does from a self-aware Black male point of view, so to gain insight into his thoughts on race, politics, growing up in the Black Ghetto, and how that inspired him to take risks was supremely fulfilling. For me, it added layers to Jay-Z who is notoriously guarded with media types.

My love affair with Rap started in my early teens 30+ years ago. Those of us who are lovers and scholars of Rap will undoubtedly feel that there are some songs that he really should have decoded, and some subjects that he should have touched, but we have to let Jay be the director on this one. If you love Rap and/or grew up in the Ghetto, you'll feel represented here. Even if you didn't, you should purchase this as a fascinating look into a personality you probably thought you already knew enough about.

If you didn't like Rap before reading this book, maybe you will, afterwards. Honestly, it doesn't it doesn't matter. Rap doesn't need you to love it.

In an Amazon review I wrote for WC & The MAAD Circle's "Ain't A Damn Thing Changed" album, I applauded that group for wrapping their raps with context such that there was no ambiguity. Therein I wrote: "...in the liner notes WC & The MAAD Circle took the time to author a synopsis of each song's inspiration and it's meaning to them ...they forced a focus on the content and stood firmly behind their ideas. Contrast this to the multitudes of rappers who say that they have merely created a character (Too $hort) or that they are just reporting what they've seen (Mobb Deep). No, The MAAD Circle takes full responsibility for what they rap about and this supremely admirable." Jay-Z's "Decoded" is like that, multiplied 300 times. I urge you to buy this book. Read it. Read it again. After all that, you'll probably have Jay-Z firmly framed in the Top 5 Rappers of all time.

Furthermore, anyone who creates a 'Top 10 Rappers Of All Time' list where Jay-Z doesn't place near the top, is likely a fraud. Read more


63. Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKS81O
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.2 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 An Excellent Introduction to Jane Austen's Works
Although SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is not of one Jane Austen's best novels, it is nonetheless a major novel, with the author's then-young talent in full display. Its publication in 1811 marked Austen as a huge literary talent, and its significance reverberates even today as contemporary readers re-discover the works of this author so adept at uncovering the foibles of nineteenth century aristocracy.

The title refers to the two eldest Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, one of whom (Elinor) embraces practicality and restraint while the other (Marianne) gives her whole heart to every endeavor. When the Dashwoods - mother Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and youngest sister Margaret - are sent, almost impoverished, to a small cottage in Devonshire after the death of their father and the machinations of their brother's wife, they accept their new circumstances with as much cheer as they can muster even though their brother and his wife have taken over the family estate and fortune. Their characters, albeit wildly different in their approaches to life, are impeccably honest and intelligent - and their suitors take notice. Elinor falls in love with the shy, awkward Edward, while Marianne's affections are lavished on the dashing hunter Willoughby. As in all Austen's books, love and marriage don't come easily, as affections aren't always returned and social jockeying sometimes takes precedence to true love. In an interestingly twist, the end of this novel brings into question which sister represents which part of the title.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY only hints at the social skewering Austen would use to such great effect in her later novels, and the humor here is only occasional and slight, as this novel adopts a generally serious tone. Parody is largely limited to the gossipy Mrs. Jenkins, who jumps to wild conclusions about situations she knows nothing about. Though arranged marriage and true love figure prominently in all of Austen's novels, this novel focuses almost exclusivity on the prospects of the two main characters, making it less complex than the novels that followed. Reserved Elinor and exuberant Marianne are expertly drawn, with Edward, Willoughby, and Colonel Brandon (whose lovesick hopes for Marianne are dashed again and again) also engaging creations. Except for the first page or two where the circumstances of the Dashwoods are set up through a series of deaths and relations, possibly causing some confusion, this novel is exceedingly easy to follow for contemporary readers.

This novel is an excellent introduction to Jane Austen's works because of its relative simplicity (though readers should not dismiss it as simple) and the use of typical themes and social situations. Book clubs and students might want to explore the influence of money on nineteenth century British society as well as the meaning of the title as it applies to both the sisters and the other characters. It is also interesting to note both the helplessness and the extraordinary power of women in different circumstances.

Just because this is not Austen's best novel, I could not take away a single star because it is such a delightful book. I highly recommend this novel for all readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars The sensible and the sensitive
One of the Dashwood daughters is smart, down-to-earth and sensible. The other is wildly romantic and sensitive.

And in a Jane Austen novel, you can guess that there are going to be romantic problems aplenty for both of them -- along with the usual entailment issues, love triangles, sexy bad boys and societal scandals. "Sense and Sensibility" is a quietly clever, romantic little novel that builds up to a dramatic peak on Marianne's romantic troubles, while also quietly exploring Elinor's struggles.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, his entire estate is entailed to his weak son John and snotty daughter-in-law Fanny. His widow and her three daughters are left with little money and no home.

Over the next few weeks, the eldest daughter Elinor begins to fall for Fanny's studious, quiet brother Edward... but being the down-to-earth one, she knows she hasn't got a chance. Her impoverished family soon relocates to Devonshire, where a tiny cottage is being rented to them by one of Mrs. Dashwood's relatives -- and Marianne soon attracts the attention of two men. One is the quiet, much older Colonel Brandon, and the other is the dashing and romantic Willoughby.

But things begin to spiral out of control when Willoughby seems about to propose to Marianne... only to abruptly break off his relationship with her. And during a trip to London, both Elinor and Marianne discover devastating facts about the men they are in love with -- both of them are engaged to other women. And after disaster strikes the Dashwood family, both the sisters will discover what real love is about...

At its heart, "Sense and Sensibility" is about two girls with completely opposite personalities, and the struggle to find love when you're either too romantic or too reserved for your own good. As well as, you know, the often-explored themes in Austen's novels -- impoverished women's search for love and marriage, entailment, mild scandal, and the perils of falling for a sexy bad boy who cares more for money than for true love... assuming he even knows what true love is.

Austen's formal style takes on a somewhat more melancholy flavor in this book, with lots of powerful emotions and vivid splashes of prose ("The wind roared round the house, and the rain beat against the windows"); and she introduces a darker tone near the end. Still, there's a slight humorous tinge to her writing, especially when she's gently mocking Marianne and Mrs. Dashwood's melodrama ("They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it").

And Marianne and Elinor make excellent dual heroines for this book -- that still love and cherish each other, even though their polar opposite personalities frequently clash. What's more, they each have to become more like the other before they can find happiness. There's also a small but solid supporting cast -- the hunting-obsessed Sir John, the charming Willoughby (who has some nasty stuff in his past), the emotional Mrs. Dashwood, and the gentle, quiet Colonel Brandon, who shows his love for Marianne in a thousand small ways.

"Sense and Sensibility" is an emotionally powerful, beautifully written tale about two very different sisters, and the rocky road to finding a lasting love. Not as striking as "Pride and Prejudice," but still a deserving classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to Jane Austen's Works
Although SENSE AND SENSIBILITY is not of one Jane Austen's best novels, it is nonetheless a major novel, with the author's then-young talent in full display. Its publication in 1811 marked Austen as a huge literary talent, and its significance reverberates even today as contemporary readers re-discover the works of this author so adept at uncovering the foibles of nineteenth century aristocracy.

The title refers to the two eldest Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, one of whom (Elinor) embraces practicality and restraint while the other (Marianne) gives her whole heart to every endeavor. When the Dashwoods - mother Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and youngest sister Margaret - are sent, almost impoverished, to a small cottage in Devonshire after the death of their father and the machinations of their brother's wife, they accept their new circumstances with as much cheer as they can muster even though their brother and his wife have taken over the family estate and fortune. Their characters, albeit wildly different in their approaches to life, are impeccably honest and intelligent - and their suitors take notice. Elinor falls in love with the shy, awkward Edward, while Marianne's affections are lavished on the dashing hunter Willoughby. As in all Austen's books, love and marriage don't come easily, as affections aren't always returned and social jockeying sometimes takes precedence to true love. In an interestingly twist, the end of this novel brings into question which sister represents which part of the title.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY only hints at the social skewering Austen would use to such great effect in her later novels, and the humor here is only occasional and slight, as this novel adopts a generally serious tone. Parody is largely limited to the gossipy Mrs. Jenkins, who jumps to wild conclusions about situations she knows nothing about. Though arranged marriage and true love figure prominently in all of Austen's novels, this novel focuses almost exclusivity on the prospects of the two main characters, making it less complex than the novels that followed. Reserved Elinor and exuberant Marianne are expertly drawn, with Edward, Willoughby, and Colonel Brandon (whose lovesick hopes for Marianne are dashed again and again) also engaging creations. Except for the first page or two where the circumstances of the Dashwoods are set up through a series of deaths and relations, possibly causing some confusion, this novel is exceedingly easy to follow for contemporary readers.

This novel is an excellent introduction to Jane Austen's works because of its relative simplicity (though readers should not dismiss it as simple) and the use of typical themes and social situations. Book clubs and students might want to explore the influence of money on nineteenth century British society as well as the meaning of the title as it applies to both the sisters and the other characters. It is also interesting to note both the helplessness and the extraordinary power of women in different circumstances.

Just because this is not Austen's best novel, I could not take away a single star because it is such a delightful book. I highly recommend this novel for all readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars The epitome of a perfect novel
Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility was a wonderful debut from the author who gave us Pride and Prejudice. Here we follow the adventures of the Dashwood sisters as they find love in an class-conscious Regency England.

The Dashwoods, impoverished when their father dies, are forced to live in a small house in the coutry on 500 pounds a year. With such unfortunate pospects as those, it will be difficult for the elder two, Elinor and Marianne, to find good marriage prospects. Marianne finds herself falling in love with the dashing Willoughby, who ends up being not all that he appears. Elinor, the more sensible of the two, falls for Edward Ferras, a match that seems much more suitable. But again, things are not what they seem, in this delicious tale of love. The young women must use their sense to see what is really there, and their sensibility to see what will be (unfortunately, Marianne uses neither, much to the detriment of the family). Colonel Brandon is the unassuming, unlikely hero who falls in love with Marianne and saves her from death.

Having read this book several times, I can safely say that it gets better and better with every reading. I also recommend the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and others.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Romance Junkie
I don't know which book of Jane Austen, I love more. Sense and Sensibility is just so romantic. Pride and Prejudice is awesome and Emma is just fabulous. To think that Jane Austen wrote those books so long ago just goes to show that women have felt pretty much the same about love for always.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Readers Must!
I had the pleasure of reading two of Jane Austen's books, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and loved both of them. Austen writes in such a romatic way that you wish you could be there in person to experience every word. Anyone who found the book to be boring, needs to re-read it again. It speaks of honesty, integrity and love that is lacking in todays books. Elinor in, Sense and Sensability, was a strong and smart woman while on the other hand, the younger sister, Marianne, was weaker but became a stronger individual because of the strong bond between herself and Elinor. Every young girl should read Austen's work because it protrays love as good and bad and shows that no matter how much someone can love you, there maybe a hidden agenda behind that affection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
The present novel is about two young women, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. They are part of a family living in Sussex. The family is of average financial means or a bit higher than average but the family loses its home when the father dies; and, the mother and sisters move to a smaller cottage in Devonshire. The novel follows the romances and complications of the two girls. Beyond knowing those facts, you should not read any more about the plot until you read the novel, or you will risk spoiling the read. I will not give away the plot, but will only describe the writing style and structure.

I read Austen's "Mansfield Park," then read some analysis by Nabokov from his Cornell "Lectures on Literature" and the comments of Jane Stabler from the introduction of the Oxford version. After that I got a bit excited and read Austen's early writing "Sense and Sensibility," along with the analysis by Margaret Doody in the Oxford version. Yes, I guess I am now an Austen fan, and it is a pity that she did not live longer. "Pride and Prejudice" is my third Austen novel and so far the most fun to read.

Based on the three novels written over two different time periods, it is clear that she developed a certain fixed writing style and a common structure. She uses the early pages to introduce the families, and other characters, and give start the story. She moves characters around from place to place in part for time shifting. She does a wrap up in the last few chapters.

Those opening chapters are an obstacle for most readers. She uses her own vocabulary and has an unusual way of structuring her prose. That structure is a trademark of Austen's writing. Also, she manages to work in a lot of drama and social issues with some humour and irony.

Based on what Nabokov and others are saying, she got her inspiration from Sheridan, Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sir Walter Scott, and the poetry of Cowper. She modulates the complexity of the prose to reflect the characters - such as making the sentences of Sir Thomas Bertram in "Mansfield Park" somewhat elaborate instead of describing how the character is dressed or a similar description to convey qualities and traits, i.e.: she uses the complexity of speech to convey character. Also, she uses lateral shifts and epigrammatic notations and similar literary techniques. These techniques are interesting for some readers but just confusing for others. It is all part of the price of admission to entering the world of Jane Austen, and it is part of the fun in reading her novels.

Overall, once you get past reading and digesting 50 pages or so and have absorbed the Jane Austen vocabulary (words such as felicity, remonstrance, countenance, etc.) and understand the structure of her prose, the book becomes a compelling read. The second Austen novel seems much easier than the first.

This was written by a young Jane Austen and honed for over a decade before being published. By way of comparison, it is an interesting read but less complicated than "Mansfield Park." It not as interesting nor as witty as "Pride and Prejudice." Still, it is a delightful and a pleasant read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding listening!
The audiocassette of "Sense & Sensibility" read by Sarah Badel is truly outstanding. I love S&S anyway, but Ms. Badel's reading has enriched my understanding of it enormously, especially Jane Austen's sparkling dialogue. I don't know how often I laughed out loud (at Mrs. Jennings), or exclaimed with worry about poor Elinor and her carrying of everyone else's burdens. No, I'm not crazy, it's just that Jane Austen read aloud by an expert, articulate, dramatic reader does that to a person. I highly recommend this for those who listen to books on tape; you will cherish every word. Ms. Badel and Maureen O'Brien are the best readers I've encountered yet. Read more


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

THE FACTS.

THE FUTURE.

THE FIGHT TO FIX AMERICA—

BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews

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

Basics About the Book

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

Who Should Read

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

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

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

What is Covered

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

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

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

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

Citations, Resources etc...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI

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

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

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

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

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


65. Beauty and the Beast
by Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQURYO
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.5 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 The classic version
This is the classic version of _Beauty and the Beast_, the one that Disney based the film on. The movie was a surprisingly close adaptation, and fans of the movie will recognize many elements here (such as Beauty's love of reading), though other elements are markedly different (here, Beauty's father is a merchant, not an inventor, though still unusually middle-class for a classic fairy tale; Gaston is nonexistent here, a Disney invention).

It is very short, at only 196 kindle locations, and the text is fairly clear of typos.

If you're a fan of this story, there are a host of other classic fairy tales that follow the same basic model, all of which should be available for free online. Beaumont's version was an adaptation of a longer original version by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. If you're interested in reading other fairy tales with similar if slightly extended plotlines, try looking for "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" or "The Black Bull of Norroway." If you want to get really classical, look up the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius' "The Golden Ass."

5-0 out of 5 stars Swept Away - If Only for A Moment!
This book brought a smile to my face. It is such a good, sweet story. I discovered how well the screenwrtiers followed the original story, yet along with the imagineers at Disne, introduced new characters that fit right in It made me want see the animated film again. It is short and would make a great bedtime story for your kids or for yourself. Definitely worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Than a Romance
"Beauty and the Beast" is classic, I've always known that. But only recently have I read it and been able to take it for what it is. A beautifully simple story about the importances of being virtuous. It's such a sweet romance, but under that is the subtext of the time it was written in.

That traditional belief that good things come to those who wait is what drives the story forward. Beauty is a sincere soul, who loves her family and perseveres through tough times with them, even when she is offered the chance to marry out of her family's poverty. While her sisters are terrible creatures who only live in the hopes that they will be wealthy again someday.

Beast, himself, is an excellent metaphor for why judging a book by it's cover is a terrible practice. And that lesson resounds loud all these years later in today's society. You never know what you are passing up. It's a great children's story that teaches young and old to shelve their discriminating tendencies, and go into things with an open mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars short and sweet
beauty and the beast was my fav movie as a child and i have heard many diffrent versions of the story. this one however is the least dark and being the 'o.g' story i was surprised it was so. considering the nature of most early fairytales.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful short story
Have always known about the Disney version, but never read the book. Was pleasantly surprised at how faithful the film was to the story. I would recommned the story if you love the film. I finished the story in half an hour. Read more


66. The Girl Who Played with Fire
by Stieg Larsson
Kindle Edition
list price: $15.95
Asin: B001NLKT60
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 11
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.
 
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past. 


From the Paperback edition.
... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than "Dragon Tattoo," a high-voltage sequel
This is the second in the late Steig Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy. I was so hooked by the first in the series, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," that I decided to send away to www.amazon.co.uk for this sequel, because I was not willing to wait until July for the U.S. release of an English-language version. These days, the pound has been kicked around as badly as the dollar, so I ended up paying largely what I'd pay in the U.S., and the shipping fee was minimal.
I really couldn't wait to crack the 700-page volume to revisit the characters: Mikael Blomqvist, the heroic investigative journalist; Lisbeth Salander, a petite powerhouse afflicted (or gifted) with Asperger's syndrome; Erika Berger, the fearless editor and Blomqvist's sometime bedmate; and the intrepid staff of the magazine, "Millennium." Whereas "Dragon Tattoo" was largely about Blomqvist and his search for a presumed-dead heiress, this sequel focuses squarely on Salander and her difficult adjustment with society. At the end of the first book, she abruptly walks away from the faithless lover Blomqvist. She continues her aversion in "The Girl Who Played with Fire," ignoring him, hanging up on his cell phone calls, tossing out letters, and otherwise pretending he doesn't exist. He's broken her heart and Lisbeth Salander is not one to forgive.
However, she soon learns she needs friends--plenty of them--as an ever-tightening noose of danger tightens around her, made up of her evil legal guardian Nils Bjurman, a cadre of nasty social-service doctors and psychiatrists, some rogue cops, members of a Hells-Angels-like motorcycle gang, and a shadowy figure known only as Zala. When one of Blomqvist's best reporters and his wife, are gunned down, police find Salander's fingerprints on the gun and the hunt is on--with the entire police force, plus the host of the other bad guys after her.
Larsson keeps the pace breathless throughout the story, which hinges on a seamy sex trafficking trade. Even when he stops to explain what is at stake and how "Millennium" will cover the story, he never slows the movement. You'd think that in a novel of this length there would be myriad subplots, but there really aren't too many threads to follow. Salander's sad past is deconstructed chapter by chapter, and Blomqvist gets to the bottom of police malfeasance and international espionage. But nothing takes the focus off the chase that Salander eludes so brilliantly.
I'm sure there are things that a savvy editor could do to tighten Larsson's prose. He adds a love affair too many and drags out the tense ending to a breaking point. Also, it may not seem odd to Swedes, but Larsson's habit of using the last name for every character becomes extremely confusing, because everyone is an Andersson or an Ericsson or a Nilsson. The sameness becomes mind-boggling. It's impossible to even know the gender of the character.
I know about this problem personally, for my own grandfather changed his last name because there were too many Nilssons in the army. He chose a name that was a little more distinctive. Larsson could have learned a lesson there. Using a few first names now and then also would solve the problem nicely.
But these are nitpicks. I'll be waiting for any news that an English version of the final version of the "Millennium" trilogy is available. These books are just that good.

5-0 out of 5 stars '...Dragon' on Amphetamines
This is the follow up to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I suggest you read that one first, though this novel is reasonably self-contained.

This book opens with Lisbeth Salander enjoying her newly ripped of wealth lazing in a hotel in Granada. No one knows where she is (as usual), and back in Sweden, Millenium magazine are preparing a an expose of the sex slave business in Sweden. The journalist who is preparing the expose is murdered, along with his partner, and Salander's legal guardian. Salander, now back in Sweden is the prime suspect, and the police hunt is on.

To say things get complicated from this point is an understatement. There are multiple investigations (Salander's of course, the police and Millenium's), multiple suspects, more murders, red herrings galore, and just general mayhem. Dark as all this is, it is actually quite funny in places: the police have no idea at all what is going on, despite a well meaning and competant detective in charge.

This is all tremendous fun for the reader. It is as anything remotely boring (and probably realism suffers) has been left out, yet despite the novels sheer page turning ability, (I read this too fast, I will need to read it again), it still has the power to inform.

So buy it, read it once, and then read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wild ride
It's a tragedy for world literature that Stieg Larsson is dead, and we'll never have more than three books with Lisbeth Salander as the heroine. She's an absolutely fascinating creation. This is the second book in the series, and every bit as riveting as The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.

In the eyes of Sweden's social services system, Salander is a deeply disturbed person who needs a guardian to supervise her and handle all her affairs. But unbeknownst to the authorities, she's a world-class hacker with a photographic memory, brilliant at chess, wildly rich from an Internet coup - and a vicious fighter. For relaxation, she has sex with men or women, as the spirit moves her, and reads books on spherical astronomy and higher mathematics. All this in a very small package: Salander stands less than five feet tall and weighs 90 pounds.

The plot of this book is too complex and full of twists and shocks to summarize. But to oversimplify, three people are murdered because of a book two of them are writing about sex trafficking, and Salander, by a quirk of circumstantial evidence, becomes the prime suspect.

Salander is in hiding for much of the book, baffling all the cops, well-wishers and thugs looking for her, while doing her own highly irregular detective work.

In her twenty-five years of life, Salander has come in for a lot of sexual abuse. But she also has a genius for pay back. Her unique display of brains and aggression is utterly satisfying.

The characters in this book are wonderfully drawn, the pace breathtaking and the fight scenes terrific. I can't wait to read the third book in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Second Time Is The Charm
In the first of the series, originally titled in Swedish "Men Who Hated Women", Larsson did a magnificent job in setting up an absolutely unforgettable literary character -- Salander. Where part one of this trilogy fell short was in the too often sideways plotting, i.e. too many red herrings that added little, too many subplots, plus an inability to avoid multiple endings. However, in "The Girl Who Played With Fire (and I would love to know what the original Swedish title is), Larsson, in addition to layering depth to Salander's incredibly unique character, at once creating backstory and thus motivation, he also writes (yes, even at 649 pages in the British paperback edition I read), a very tight plot where virtually all the clues, surprises, and discoveries are well earned. This one is the masterpiece of the two -- so far -- as there is the third and final book to come. Still, it's necessary -- and no less rewarding -- to read "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo first. You'll not be disappointed in either. You'll even learn a bit about Swedish politics, but most importantly about gender politics in the context of a first class literary thriller.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lisbeth Salander Takes Charge
In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander electrified the story, even though she had a relatively small part in the plot; here, in the second novel of the series, she is given center stage to Blomkvist's secondary role, making The Girl Who Played With Fire much tauter, more exciting than the first book. Larsson begins to expose what makes Salander tick, and the result gives her character an interesting vulnerability, one that makes her more human and less crazy.

But let's get one thing straight; even with the more humanizing portrait, you would not want to corner Salander in a dark alley. Nor do you want to give her access to your computer. She is every bit as gritty and clever as she was in the first, and her stark determination to live by her own moral code drives the plot. When a journalist working for Blomkvist and Berger and his PhD candidate girlfriend are murdered, it's bad enough, but when those murders are linked to that of Salander's sadomasochistic guardian, Salander becomes the only suspect. On the lam, she seems to make no attempt to clear her name and instead gets in deeper. Throw in a "blond giant" (similar in many ways to the albino monk of The DaVinci Code), the seedy underpinnings of the sex trade, and returning characters, and you've got a suspenseful, likable, satisfying thriller.

As a pure thriller, The Girl Who Played With Fire is stronger than its predecessor because it has fewer meandering subplots, more unrelenting suspense, and more deftly drawn characters, even if Larsson occasionally resorts to types. The author seems to have found his narrative stride with this. If you liked the first, you'll love the second. I just hope Larssen's third manuscript was polished enough before he passed away to build on his already finely-tuned skills as a novelist.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann Read more


67. Lonestar Sanctuary (Lonestar Series, Book 1)
by Colleen Coble
Kindle Edition
list price: $14.99
Asin: B001UHO7EC
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Sales Rank: 812
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

In the quiet safety of the Bluebird Ranch, old promises resurface and unexpected love brings new hope.

Though tragedy has wrecked her life, Allie Siders holds on to the hope that her five-year-old daughter, Betsy, will speak again. But with a stalker out for revenge, all Allie can think about now is their safety. She must sever all ties and abandon life as she knows it. She heads to the peaceful Bluebird Ranch, nestled deep in Texas hill country, and to the only person who can help them.

The ranch is a sanctuary for abused horses, and also for troubled youths: the perfect place for Betsy to grow and recover. Ranch owner Elijah DeAngelo eagerly welcomes the duo. But Rick Bailey--the ranch foreman and DeAngelo's right hand man--hasn't decided to let his guard down . . . yet.

Promises made long ago soon force Rick and Allie to work together to escape danger. Will they discover love along the way?

... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Top notch!
Tragedy is etched into Allie Siders' life, with the loss of husband in Afghanistan, her parents suddenly and finally the murder of her sister. So traumatised by the shocking losses, Allie's five year old daughter Betsy has not spoken a word in over a year and Allie is desperate to ease her suffering.

Seeking out her husband's best friend, Allie finds herself at the Bluebird Ranch, a place where endangered horses and kids on the edge learn to trust again. Ranch owner, Elijah DeAngelo, is welcoming but the cold reception Allie receives from foreman Rick Bailey has her doubting they can stay.

With threats from an unknown stalker and Betsy's grandparents seeking custody, Allie may have to take an unthinkable way out.

Lonestar Sanctuary is just what the reading doctor ordered! When I long for an uncomplicated and engaging read, Colleen always hits the spot. With effortless prose, sweet characters and intriguing suspense, I enjoyed every page as Allie, Betsy and Rick battled their fears within and without. With the perfect combination of suspense and romance, underpinned with threads of faith, Colleen's latest novel is sure to please.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!!!
LONESTAR SANCTUARY was my second read by Colleen Coble, and it will definitely not be my last. Ms. Coble writes great romantic suspense, and what's even better - she writes great Christian romantic suspense, without beating you over the head with the Christian references.

Allie Siders has dealt with too much death over the last few years. First, her husband was killed in the war in Afghanistan, and her in-laws are determined to gain custody of her daughter. Then her parents died in a tragic plane accident, and her sister was killed during a burglary. As if that wasn't enough, her five-year-old daughter, Betsy, has stopped talking.

Allie has made a life barrel racing on the rodeo circuit. But trouble has a way of finding her, and when a man claiming to be behind her sister's death tries to attack her in her trailer, she decides that it would be in the best interest of both herself and her daughter to leave the rodeo and travel to the Bluebird Ranch.

The ranch is owned by Elijah, a man who holds more importance to Allie than anyone knows, and who also runs a program that uses horses and ranch work to help troubled kids. But even more importantly, the ranch is run by foreman Rick Bailey - the man who was her husband's closest friend during the war, and who is harboring secrets of his own.

When it becomes clear that someone is determined to make Allie suffer for a sin she doesn't even know she committed, both Rick and Allie will have to put their differences aside to keep Betsy safe.

Let me just say, this book is a real page-turner. The suspense is perfectly plotted, and although I wasn't personally fond of people close to Allie dropping like flies, it worked with the story. And as I mentioned, the Christian/inspirational references were well done, without being over done.

The ending was realistic, the dialogue throughout the story was perfectly believable, and I actually enjoyed getting to know these characters. LONESTAR SANCTUARY is a winner! Read more


68. The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan
Hardcover
list price: $18.99 -- our price: $10.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 142311339X
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Sales Rank: 17
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review




After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.


... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars The gods have gone silent...

When I first heard that Rick Riordan was setting another series in the same universe that he had created for Percy Jackson, I was both excited and a little wary. Excited because I had enjoyed that world and felt it had lots of potential for new adventures; wary because I feared the new series might not meet my expectations and that, if it didn't, it might somehow cast a pall over my affection for the Percy Jackson books. I need not have worried. The Lost Hero, the first book in that new series - the Heroes of Olympus - managed to meet all of my expectations and did so in a style that made me glad Riordan had gone ahead with the idea. While having read the Percy Jackson books is not a pre-requisite for enjoying The Lost Hero, I do think those who have done so will be able to immerse themselves in this world much more quickly and will enjoy the book more than those unfamiliar with Percy's story.

The Lost Hero introduces three new main characters - Jason, who has no memory of his life before page one of the story, Piper, a girl with "kaleidoscope eyes" (all together now - Lucy in the sky-yi with diamonds...) who has the gift of persuading people to give her things and Leo, whose clever and creative hands need to be always busy. As the story begins, the three are part of a group from a school for troubled kids on a field trip to the horseshoe shaped Skywalk that curves out over the Grand Canyon. Since the very existence of this Skywalk in real life kind of freaks me out (seriously, have you seen the pictures of it?), I wasn't particularly surprised when freaky occurrences ensued almost as soon as our new heroes stepped onto it.

Readers are pitched head-first into one of the first forays in a new battle the demi-gods will soon find themselves embroiled in. In short order we learn that the gods have gone silent and that Percy Jackson is missing. Jason, Piper and Leo are all having visions, dreams or reawakened memories, many of which revolve around Hera who, we discover, is being held prisoner. Along with a new Great Prophecy (Seven half-bloods shall answer the call/To storm or fire the world must fall/An oath to keep with a final breath/and foes bear arms to the Doors of Death), a new quest must be undertaken by the trio of newbies to find and free Hera.

I appreciate that Riordan continues to give us both strong female and ethnically diverse characters and that he seems able to hit many of the right notes in depicting teenage language, actions and emotions. For me, he has a knack for making his characters seem real and believable and, in The Lost Hero, he once again succeeds in making me care about them. My sympathy for and interest in the trio builds as details of their lives are revealed in the early chapters of the book (each chapter is told from either Jason, Piper or Leo's third person POV) and by the time they head off on their quest, I'm fully invested in seeing them through their adventures.

One of my favorite aspects of The Lost Hero is the inclusion of Roman mythology with the Greek that was the focus in the Percy Jackson series. I found the discussions of the subtle differences in the gods from one culture to the other really interesting and reading about them made me want to learn more about both.

Lastly, for those dying to know, Percy Jackson definitely plays a role in this series. How significant that role will be remains to be seen. Next up in the series is The Son of Neptune, due in the fall of 2011.

Highly recommended. Riordan has laid the groundwork here for another fun and exciting series and I'm already looking forward to the next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Hero: Riordan's Best Book Yet?
Rick Riordan's son told him that The Lost Hero, the first in the author's new Heroes of Olympus series, was his best book yet, even better than break-out sensation Percy Jackson and the Olympians. He was absolutely right. In May, I said The Red Pyramid, the first in new Egyptian series The Kane Chronicles was Riordan's best book yet. I loved the way he had come into his own as an author with a distinguished voice all his own. Unlike with PJ, you weren't comparing things to other popular series such as Harry Potter. This was a Rick Riordan book. It was HIM. I'll say the same thing about The Lost Hero. Riordan has really become a talented storyteller.

One thing I love about Riordan is the way he uses mythology, a genre that's always been dear to my heart. One thing that made The Kane Chronicles so fantastic was the fact that I learned so much about Egyptian mythology. I already knew a lot of the Greek mythology emphasized in PJ and it wasn't as detailed. With The Lost Hero, even though Riordan is delving into Greek mythology once more, he's taking the time to focus on little-known details and facts. There's a lot more information on the Romans, for example, as well as little-known gods and goddesses such as Khione, the goddess of snow.

The new book feels very tight and detailed. By the time the five-book series reaches its conclusion, there will be an epic tale for readers to return to. I like the way Riordan made the decision to split the book into the viewpoints of three different demigods, much as he did with The Kane Chronicles. It really allowed you to get into the head of everyone on the quest, not just one of the heroes. You could see the way they each struggled to come to terms with their new powers and immortal parents in their own way. I anticipate that every book will be this way as we are introduced to each of the seven demigods revealed in the Great Prophecy. I also feel that there's a good chance the next book will feature characters we haven't met yet and that the heroes we've encountered in this volume either won't appear at all, or not until the finale. If this proves to be the case, it will further solidify Riordan's merit as an extremely talented writer; breaking your characters up between volumes writers can make the writing process harder, as seen by struggles that have delayed authors such as George R. R. Martin from releasing material more frequently.

As with his other books, Riordan creates a fast, nail-biting pace from the get-go in his new series and introduces new characters for his readers to fall in love with. There's Jason, whose name brings back memories of one of the greatest heroes of old, Piper, who takes everyone by surprise by having such powerful gifts, especially given her parentage, and finally Leo, a son of Hephaestus with a wicked cool toolbelt and a penchant for fire-breathing dragons. We're also given updates regarding the new of what has become of our favorite heroes and heroines from the first Camp Half-Blood series. The nice thing about The Lost Hero is that you don't have to read the PJ series in order to get into this one. The two series complement one another and work together, but for a first-time reader, things will still make sense.

The series is designed to keep readers on their toes. If you're astute and know your mythology, you'll probably realize who the main villain is early on. Given enough clues, you'll probably realize the truth about Jason as well. There's also a good chance that you may figure out the truth revealed in the final chapter (and the reason Riordan wouldn't reveal the name of the next book at the live simulcast launch party on Tuesday). At the same time, you may be blown away with each new discovery. I tend to be one of those readers who reads too many books for her own good and learned how to read with a critical eye, which makes fooling me harder than most. At the same time, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Some of my theories were very wrong and proven to be from almost the beginning, others developed as the novel progressed and I had an "Ah-ha!" moment, pleased with myself when my suspicions proved true. I was so involved in the novel and fate of all the characters. I wish I had the next book in my greedy little hands already. Scratch that. I wish I had the next two, if we don't get to see these characters again until book three.

If you liked Percy Jackson (or even disliked it due to its similarities to other novels, like some people I know) or enjoy mythology, this book is one of this fall's must-reads. My only hope for the rest of the series is that a closer eye is paid to the editing process. You could tell the book was rushed to press; I'm one of those annoying readers that can be pulled out of the moment when there's a word or comma where there shouldn't be (or something glaringly missing, too). These books are too good to let such neglect mar them and allow for criticism in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back!
First, I highly recommend reading the Percy Jackson books first (but don't bother with the movie -- it kinda sucked). It's not essential for understanding the story, but that way you're able to jump right in and enjoy.

Lost Hero takes place a few years after Last Olympian. Enter Jason, a boy with no memory, and his friends Piper and Leo. They make their way into Camp Half Blood, and are granted a quest to rescue a goddess. But this isn't simply a rehashing of Percy Jackson, for there are surprising complications, and of course, new monsters to face. We briefly get to see Annabeth, who is fiercely searching for Percy Jackson who is missing. And Rachel makes an appearance, and a prophecy or two. This was a fun read, with great characters, and just different enough that you don't feel like you're being told the same story as last time.

Fair warning: Lost Hero is the first in the series, so by reading this, you are setting yourself up for a long wait. This story wraps up one story arc, but throws out teasers of what's to come.

As an aside, I miss the awesome chapter titles from the Percy Jackson books.

These are also great books to listen to. Jesse Bernstein did a great job of narrating the Percy Jackson books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Continuation of Camp Half Blood Story!
People who liked the Percy Jackson books will love this first installment of the new companion series. It follows three new heroes and is set in the same world as Percy Jackson, a couple of years later. Riordan makes a switch from the first person view of Percy to a third person rotating POV featuring the three new heroes: Jason, Piper, and Leo. I really liked this switch. It worked great with the new characters and made them feel equally important to the story. There are also cameos by some favorite PJ characters which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story in this one was pretty cool, but it is clear by the end that the follow-ups will be pretty epic, and now I can't wait to get my hands on them.

5-0 out of 5 stars 9 year old's perspective

My 9 old's comments below.
---------------------------
This book is awesome!It is full of adventure and action! It is a very creative book!
I could read it 100 more times!I hope Rick Riordan writes more "Heros of Olympus"
books!

P.S.[Read the "Percy Jackson and the Olympions" series]

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Start for the Series
This book starts a new series of tales about the Ancient Greek Gods and their modern half-blood children. This series continues the story where the Percy Jackson series ended, and many of the same characters are in it, but so are some new ones. The main addition, Jason, will apparently be the lead character for this series. He enters this story with no memory and much of the book has him trying to figure out who he is. Jason, along with the other new additions Piper and Leo are introduced and developed in this book as they go on a quest to free a trapped goddess. As with the Percy Jackson books, this one is full of non-stop action and includes plenty of set-up for the additional books to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Hero
The incredible tales of mythology in modern times continues as Rick Riordan's "The Lost Hero" has recently become available.

In the Percy Jackson series the whole series focused on a prophecy. This prophecy promised to destroy the world without the help of Percy Jackson. Now in the Hero's of Olympus series instead of one hero, we need seven.

The book starts out with the main character, Jason, waking up on a bus and having no idea where he is or even who he is. Two of his friends, ones he is sure he has never met try to figure out just what happened. But in true Riordan spirit they are soon attacked and the three of them discover that they're not just ordinary kids.

They arrive in Camp Half blood. Unlike Percy, the three children take the news of gods rather well. Especially Jason. The funny thing is, is he prefers to call the gods by their Roman names. Almost as if he is Roman.

All three children are claimed soon after their arrival and it is evident that they are three of the seven from the dreaded prophecy. As they are at camp strange things happen. They all have dreams of Hera, or Juno as Jason calls her. She is trapped. These dreams are also the first time in a month that the gods have communicated with the demigods. Annabeth receives a dream from Hera as well. While the others are confused, Annabeth hopes it will help her find her boyfriend. That's right folks, Percy Jackson has gone missing. It's almost been a month.

While at camp, Jason, Piper and Leo, the new recruits, receive a prophecy from Rachel. For Piper and Leo this means their first quest. But Jason is sure this isn't his first quest.

The enemy is greater than the last, the dreaded Kronos. In fact it is a rather unlikely enemy. And this is only the beginning. The three of them will set off to try to destroy the king of the giants, the abductor of Hera.

They all have insecurities, which makes them all the more likely, ironically. There's Piper daughter of the one Goddess she wishes she weren't. What can she do, if she doesn't even feel comfortable with who her parent is? Then there's Leo. Who would want him around? Nobody ever has before. He may even be the reason his mother is dead. And of course there's Jason. Who was he? Was he even really a hero.

This is a brilliant beginning to what is guaranteed to be an amazing series. Riordan is at his finest. This is a great adventure, one you will not want to miss.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
This book was excellent. It really kept you interested, it makes me wish the next book was already out. I've read my share of literature both classic and modern. In the modern catigory this one definately is a top contender. It is an easy read because it is targeted for a younger audience but still, excellent. I have to admit though I should have seen the ending coming -- it's so easy to forget details in that book that it isn't even funny. I really enjoy the humor that is mixed into the book as well. I would rate it right along side his first series. Read more


69. The Iliad
by Homer
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUHX0
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 3.4 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 Misleading cover image is of wrong version!
If you rely on the user-submitted image of the cover attached to this item, you might think that this is the highly-praised modern Richmond Lattimore translation (which would be one of the great bargains of classic literature!). However, the actual version you download will be an 1864 prose translation by "Edward, Earl of Derby." Not bad, if you like older language, don't mind prose instead of poetry, and can't afford any but the free version, but it certainly isn't Lattimore's translation.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood
With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Each translation can give a different insight and feel to the story. Everyone will have a favorite. I have several.

For example:

"Rage--Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many souls,
great fighters' souls. But made their bodies carrion,
feasts for dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles."
-Translated by Robert Fagles

"Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a heroes did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures for so were the counsels of Zeus fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles first fell out with one another."
-Translated by Samuel Butler

"Rage:
Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades' dark,
And let their bodies rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon--
The Greek Warlord--and godlike Achilles."
-Translated by Stanley Lombardo

"Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men--carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Begin it when the two men first contending
broke with one another--
the Lord Marshal Agam�mnon, Atreus' son, and Prince Akhilleus."
-Translated by Translated by Robert Fitzgerald

"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son of Achilleus and its devastation, which puts pains thousandfold upon the Achains,
hurled in the multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood the division of conflict Atrecus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus."
-Translated by Richmond Lattimore

You will find that some translations are easier to read but others are easier to listen to on recordings, lectures, Kindle, and the like.

Our story takes place in the ninth year of the ongoing war. We get some introduction to the first nine years but they are just a background to this tale of pride, sorrow and revenge. The story will also end abruptly before the end of the war.

We have the wide conflict between the Trojans and Achaeans over a matter of pride; the gods get to take sides and many times direct spears and shields.

Although the more focused conflict is the power struggle between two different types of power. That of Achilles, son of Peleus and the greatest individual warrior and that of Agamemnon, lord of men, whose power comes form position.

We are treated to a blow by blow inside story as to what each is thinking and an unvarnished description of the perils of war and the search for Ar�te (to be more like Aries, God of War.)

Troy - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray]

5-0 out of 5 stars The ground is dark with blood
With many books, translations are negligible, with two obvious exceptions, one is the Bible, and surprisingly the other is The Iliad. Each translation can give a different insight and feel to the story. Everyone will have a favorite. I have several.

For example:

"Rage--Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
Murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many souls,
great fighters' souls. But made their bodies carrion,
feasts for dogs and birds,
and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end.
Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed,
Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles."
-Translated by Robert Fagles

"Sing, O Goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a heroes did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures for so were the counsels of Zeus fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles first fell out with one another."
-Translated by Samuel Butler

"Rage:
Sing, Goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain pitched countless souls
Of heroes into Hades' dark,
And let their bodies rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon--
The Greek Warlord--and godlike Achilles."
-Translated by Stanley Lombardo

"Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men--carrion
for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done.
Begin it when the two men first contending
broke with one another--
the Lord Marshal Agam�mnon, Atreus' son, and Prince Akhilleus."
-Translated by Translated by Robert Fitzgerald

"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son of Achilleus and its devastation, which puts pains thousandfold upon the Achains,
hurled in the multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished since that time when first there stood the division of conflict Atrecus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus."
-Translated by Richmond Lattimore

You will find that some translations are easier to read but others are easier to listen to on recordings, lectures, Kindle, and the like.

Our story takes place in the ninth year of the ongoing war. We get some introduction to the first nine years but they are just a background to this tale of pride, sorrow and revenge. The story will also end abruptly before the end of the war.

We have the wide conflict between the Trojans and Achaeans over a matter of pride; the gods get to take sides and many times direct spears and shields.

Although the more focused conflict is the power struggle between two different types of power. That of Achilles, son of Peleus and the greatest individual warrior and that of Agamemnon, lord of men, whose power comes form position.

We are treated to a blow by blow inside story as to what each is thinking and an unvarnished description of the perils of war and the search for Ar�te (to be more like Aries, God of War.)

Troy - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray]

5-0 out of 5 stars The Iliad of Homer
First I would like to say thanks for making it free to public domain, what a blessing. Second this is the one used in the Great Books class for those who are taking it. I almost missed it because it did not have a cover picture on the search engine.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Greats
What can I say? This is up there on one of my favorites! I had to have it on my Kindle just because of that. Read more


70. Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQU6YU
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.6 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 ... Read more


71. 25 Language Phrasebook: German, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, ... Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, and Thai.
by MobileReference
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.99
Asin: B000OI1JMG
Publisher: MobileReference
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars This book made my traveling much more fun.
This free book is very helpful. It lists a number of very useful phrases classified into 3 categories: basic, problems, and numbers. The basic phrases include "Hello", "How are you?", "My name is", "Is there someone who speaks English?", and about 30 other similar phrases. An active table of contents has links to all categories.

I travel a lot and I take my Kindle 2 with me. This book made my traveling much more fun.

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5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for traveling, unbeatable price!
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5-0 out of 5 stars A must have!
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5-0 out of 5 stars Great free phrasebook
For a free phrasebook, this thing rocks. I travel a lot, and even knowing a few words helps. With the 25 languages, it's essentially a must download for any Kindle user. Granted, this book won't even come close to making you fluent, but it will teach you some words, give you a grasp of the grammar, and will hopefully make you more confident when traveling or even trying to impress someone. Phrasebooks are plentiful, but there rarely stands a good one out there. I like this - I can read this anywhere and learn on the go.

It's wide in scope but limited in depth. That's what additional language books/CDs are for. Read more


72. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Hardcover
list price: $26.00 -- our price: $14.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1400052173
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 11
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 
          
Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Henrietta Lacks
Wow. This book should be required reading for scientists and students of life. The true story of Henrietta Lacks and her family has finally been told, beautifully, in this book. The book encompasses science, ethics, and the story of a family who was terribly wronged in the pursuit of scientific research. I could gush about this book for pages but I'll try first to hit the main points of why this book is so remarkable in list form for the sake of brevity:


1. The author clearly developed a strong relationship with the Lacks family, which was absolutely critical to ensuring the story was told accurately and with the respect to Henrietta Lacks that was so deeply deserved.

2. The storytelling is amazingly moving despite the need to convey a lot of scientific information. It reads like fiction.

3. Ms. Skloot's research into the science is impeccable.

4. The book is FAIR. It presents the unvarnished truth, obtained DIRECTLY from as many prinicpal people involved in the story as is humanly possible. It would have been easier to simplify the story into heroes vs. villians, but Ms. Skloot deftly handles all sides of the story.


For some detail: I have worked with HeLa cells in the past, but did not know even the barest information about the story of Henrietta Lacks until a few years ago. It simply was not common knowledge, until a few less ethical folks released her name and medical records to the public. This obviously should not have been done without the express permission of the Lacks family, which Ms. Skloot obtained. In the past, others have not been as ethical. The book covers Ms. Lacks' early life, how her cells came to be harvested, and what happened to both the cells and her family afterward.

The contributions of HeLa cells to science are absolutely staggering and cannot be over-stated. The sections where the science was described were clear and accurate. With the story of Ms. Lacks' family interwoven, this book was fairly close to perfect. I found myself moved to tears several times because of the fate of the Lacks family and Henrietta's daughter's indomitable spirit. I do not think anyone but Ms. Skloot could have written this book. She worked with the family for over a decade in order to get the story right. This was critical, as the family had been wronged too many times in the past.

Thank you for this astounding work of art. I will be donating to the Henrietta Lacks foundation in honor of the entire family, and I hope many others will read the book and be similarly moved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating, engrossing, fascinating, heartbreaking, englightening...ALL in one stellar book!

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
This is hand's down one of the best books I've read in years and I wish I could give it more stars. It is going to be difficult to capture exactly what makes this book so outstanding and so captivating, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

First of all I want to say I am STUNNED that this is the author's first book. She has poured ten years of her heart, soul, mind and her life in general in this book. What she has given birth to in that long period of labor is worthy of her sacrifice and honors Henrietta Lacks and her family.

Other reviews have given the outline of this amazing story. What I want to stress is that Ms. Skloot has navigated the difficult terrain of respecting Mrs. Lacks and her family, while still telling their story in a very intimate, thorough, factual manner. What readers may not know is that the Lacks family isn't just a "subject" that the author researched. This is a real family with real heartaches and real challenges whose lives she entered into for a very long season. The Lacks' family has truly benefitted from the author's involvement in their life and that is something I am very appreciative of. I believe that Ms. Skloot was able to give Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, a real sense of healing, deliverance, peace and identity that she had been searching for her whole life...that story alone would have made the book for me.

It would have been very easy for the author to come across as condescending or patronizing or possibly as being exploitive as she wrote about a family that is poor and uneducated. Instead the story is infused with compassion and patience as she not only takes the family along with her on a journey to understand their current situation and the ancestor whose life was so rich in legacy but poor in compensation; she educates the family in the process. I get the sense that the author grew to genuinely love Henrietta and her family. I am in awe of this level of commitment.

The author has managed to explain the complex scientific information in a way that anyone can comprehend and be fascinated by. The author's telling of the science alone and the journey of Henrietta's immortal cells (HeLa) would have made the book a worthy read in itself. Ms. Skloot and Henrietta captured me from page one all the way to the final page of the book. I read it in one pass and I didn't want it to end.

The author manages to beautifully tell multiple stories and develops each of those stories so well that you can't help but be consumed by the book. This is the story of Henrietta. It is the story of her sweet and determined daughter, Deborah. It is the story of the extended Lacks family and their history. It is a story of race/poverty/ignorance and people who take advantage of that unfortunate trifecta. It is a story about science and ethics. It is a story that should make each of us reflect on the sacrifices made by individual humans and animals that have allowed us to benefit so much from "modern" medicine. It is a story about hope and perseverance. It is a story about love and healing.

I cannot imagine a single person I know who wouldn't love this book and benefit from reading it. I will be purchasing the final copy of the book and am looking forward to reading the book again.

I am counting the days til Ms. Skloot writes another book and can't wait to attend one of her upcoming lectures. A fan is born!

5-0 out of 5 stars 2010 Non-Fiction Award Winner?

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
As I recall this book was categorized as CANCER, I believe it might be more aptly described as science based non-fiction. In the last two decades I've seen occasional news items alluding to human cells taken from a black woman in the 1950's that have been replicated millions of times. The cells are referred to as HeLa and on the face of it I wouldn't have thought there was much of a story behind the extraction of these cells and their use by the biomed industry. However, this book dispells that rather naive assumption completely and puts a name and a face, a family, and a story behind the contents of many petri dishes and slides. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS explains how the cells were obtained, replicated, distributed, and used without informed consent of the owner and family by John Hopkins and how they benefitted mankind w/o compensation to the family. Author Skloot tells the story of a family victimized by socioeconomic conditions and racism that can't get fundamental things like health coverage while these cells make a lot of money for the health establishment. It is a disturbing read that will stay with the reader long after the book is finished. It may also make the reader take a long hard look at the need for standardized health care in our society among many other things.
The one thing that I found fascinating about this book is how Skloot managed to take a generally dry topic that might have been addressed in a scientific textbook and humanized it on a very personal level by developing a close relationship with Henrietta's family. The input received from the family took this book to a higher level and made it a very personsl story. From my perspective, it was very hard not to get involved with the Lacks family and not feel their sense of betrayal and loss.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
Equal parts history, psychological drama, expose and character study, Rebecca Skloot's gripping debut is a deeply affecting tour de force that effortlessly bridges the gap between science and the mainstream.

Her subject is the multilayered drama behind one of the most important--and in many ways, problematic--advances of modern medicine. Captivated by the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American woman whose cervical cancer cells (dubbed HeLa) were the first immortalized cells grown in culture and became ubiquitous in laboratories around the world, Skloot set out to learn more about the person whose unwitting "donation" of the cells transformed biomedical research in the last century. Her research ultimately spanned a decade and found her navigating (and to some extent, mediating) more than 50 years of rage over the white scientific establishment's cavalier mistreatment and exploitation of the poor, especially African Americans.

Skloot deftly weaves together an account of Lacks's short life (she died at age 31) and torturous death from an extremely aggressive form of cancer; the parallel narrative concerning her cells; and the sometimes harrowing, sometimes amusing chronicle of Skloots's own interactions with Lacks's surviving (and initially hostile and uncooperative) family members. Moving comfortably back and forth in time, the richly textured story that emerges brings into stark relief the human cost of scientific progress and leaves the reader grappling with many unanswered questions about the ethics of the scientific endeavor, past and present. While the goals of biomedical research may be noble, how they are achieved is not always honorable, particularly where commercialization of new technologies is at stake. Skloot offers a clear-eyed perspective, highlighting the brutal irony of a family whose matriarch was a pivotal figure in everything from the development of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine to AIDS research to cancer drugs, yet cannot afford the very medical care their mother's cells helped facilitate, with predictable consequences.

The LA Times book review section named Skloot one of its four "Faces to Watch in 2010," an honor that, based on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is well-deserved.

Five stars--it was hard to put down this compelling, admirable and eminently readable book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic effort about the life of a forgotten woman
Henrietta Lacks was born to an impoverished family of in rural Virginia in 1920. Her family worked on the same tobacco fields that their slave ancestors did during the preceding century, and after her mother died she grew up in her grandfather's dilapidated log cabin that served as slave quarters. She left school after the sixth grade to pick tobacco for ten cents per day on the farms of local whites. Henrietta had her first child with her first cousin Day at age 14, and they eventually married and moved to a small town outside of Baltimore during World War II so that Day could work at Bethlehem Steel for less than 80 cents an hour.

In early 1951, Henrietta went to the gynecology clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital after feeling a "knot" in her womb. After she was taken to a "Colored" examination room, the gynecologist on duty found a firm mass on her cervix that seemed cancerous, but was unlike anything he had ever seen. He sent a slice of the mass for analysis, and Henrietta was soon diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Henrietta returned to Johns Hopkins a few weeks later, where she underwent treatment for cervical cancer. She was given a generalized consent form that gave permission for her doctors to perform any operative procedures necessary to treat her illness. However, she was not told that one of the staff gynecologists was collecting specimens of clinic patients with cervical cancer for a clinical study, and biopsies of healthy and cancerous cervical tissues were taken from her during her initial procedure. The cancerous cells, which were named HeLa after the first two letters of Henrietta's first and last names, proved to be the first human cells that could be grown indefinitely in a nutrient broth, and the Johns Hopkins researchers were overjoyed at this long awaited success.

The treatment she received at Hopkins was state of the art, but was unsuccessful, due to the aggressive nature of her primary tumor, and she succumbed to her illness several months later. The researchers wanted to acquire more specimens from her tumor ridden body by performing an autopsy with biopsies. Her husband, after initially denying a request for an autopsy, was misled into agreeing to allow the Hopkins pathologists to perform a limited autopsy, after he was told that the doctors wanted to run tests that might help his children someday.

The HeLa cell line was provided to scientists and organizations worldwide for minimal cost, as neither the researchers nor Johns Hopkins profited from the first immortal human cell line. However, a number of companies made millions of dollars by mass producing HeLa and selling them at a much higher cost. HeLa was used in numerous important biomedical studies, including the development of the Salk polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-1950s, cancer and viral research projects, and studies of the effects of weightlessness and space travel on the human body by NASA.

During this time Henrietta's husband and children were completely unaware that her cells had been harvested for medical research by the Hopkins doctors. By that time most of them were living in poverty in Baltimore, and were unable to afford basic health insurance. Articles about HeLa began to appear in medical journals and in the lay press, but it wasn't until 1973 that the family accidentally learned about the HeLa cell line. The family was contacted by Johns Hopkins, so that their cells could be analyzed and compared to those taken from Henrietta 22 years earlier. Once again they were misled into believing that the purpose of these tests was to determine if any of her children also had cancer, which caused Deborah, Henrietta's oldest surviving daughter, many years of anguish.

Once Henrietta's name was released in the media, the family was besieged by journalists and others wishing to profit from her story, causing her husband and children to become distrustful and wary.

Rebecca Skloot became interested in Henrietta Lacks after hearing about the HeLa cell line and its forgotten host as an undergraduate student. She spent many months and countless hours attempting to contact the Lacks family, and she slowly but painfully gained the trust of Deborah and her siblings, after she promised to tell the family's story alongside the history of HeLa.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fantastic achievement, given the hurdles that Skloot had to overcome to obtain information from the Lacks family, Johns Hopkins, and the other key actors in this story. In addition to an in-depth history of this ordinary yet quite remarkable family, she provides just the right amount of information about HeLa and what it meant for biomedical research, along with information about informed consent from the 1950s to the present, the effect of race on medical care in the United States and the views of African-Americans toward medical experimentation, and the biology of cancer. The book is meant for a lay audience, but it would be of interest to those with a formal medical background. I found the book to be a bit overly sentimental and personal at times, but this is a very minor criticism of a fabulous book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An astonishing scientific, sociological, racial exploration--and an engrossing work of art

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
Rebecca Skloot's story of Henrietta Lacks and her cancerous HeLa cells is both a fascinating history and an engrossing work of art. The book combines sharp science writing with some of the best creative nonfiction techniques and a heartbreaking story. The result is a stunning portrayal of twentieth century medicine, science, race, and class like nothing I've ever read before.

Skloot skillfully interweaves the saga of a poor young black mother and her children with an elucidation of the almost primitive-seeming medical practices that were once customary, and the culturing and dissemination of the woman's cancer cells (unbeknownst to her or her relatives) around the world. This was a period when even paying patients were seldom if ever asked for consent and frequently experimented on without their knowledge. Skloot brings to life not only Henrietta's tragedy but also her own quest with Henrietta's daughter to find the woman behind the HeLa cells and the incredible accomplishments those cells have made possible. Just about all of us on the planet have benefited, while medical corporations have made billions and Henrietta's children received not one cent.

A disturbing and even haunting aspect of the situation is that the 'Immortal Life' involved here is not that of Henrietta's cells alone but rather of her cells overcome and transformed by the terribly aggressive cancer that killed her. That is what has lived on and been used in thousands of experiments and inadvertently contaminated other cells lines around the world, replicating so much times that one scientist estimated all the HeLa produced (laid end to end) could circle the earth more than five times.

As the author states in her opening, the history of Henrietta Lacks, her cells, and the way the medical establishment treated her family raises critical questions about scientific research, ethics, race, and class. It's also a supremely engrossing story and one that taught me more about race in America, medical ethics, science, and what makes writing matter than anything I've read in years. Original in scope and presentation, personal, thought provoking, and even profound, this is the kind of nonfiction that rarely comes along.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is Immortality really worth the price?

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
Rebecca Skloot has written a book that certainly sounds like it could be science fiction, but in truth it is incredible science. However, it's not only about the science, but more importantly about who is behind it all. She has put a very real face to one of the most important medical research discoveries of our lifetime and given an appropriate name to the HeLa cells used in that research all over the world; Henrietta Lacks.

This book recounts the life of Henrietta, the death of Henrietta and the immortal cells she left behind that became the basis of many life saving discoveries in the medical field. HeLa cells are those which were taken from Henrietta's cancerous tumor many decades ago. They were easily replicated and viable for testing therefore they became an important staple in laboratories doing medical research right up to the present. Many have her cells to thank for their treatment and cures of deadly diseases.

Sounds like a generous donation to the medical community, doesn't it? But, what if Henrietta and her family had no idea any of this had taken place? They didn't know that her doctor had taken the cells, and upon realizing how unique they were, shared and traded them with other researchers. They especially were unaware that these were eventually being sold for a profit among labs and medical companies. Was this a case of explotation or was it simply how science progresses?

The author finds the surviving family of Mrs. Lacks and realizes there is far more to the story than it would first appear. She touches on each of the sensitive topics that present themselves as the family approaches her with so many questions left unanswered. The more I read, the more fascinated I became with the complexities.

The Lacks family are uneducated and living in poverty, struggling to understand how their loved one could have saved so many lives while her own could not be saved. They find it hard to believe their mother has done so much for the medical community, and made some companies millions of dollars, yet they cannot even afford good medical care. They wonder how cells were named after her yet there was no true recognition of her by her full, real name. The children hope that Ms. Skloot will not be another journalist to take advantage of them, but that she will give their mother the place she deserves as a real person, not just a "cell donor". Ms. Skloot does exactly that and I believe they would be very happy with the care she has given to the subject.

It's my opinion that everyone studying medicine & science should read this book to gain insight as to the genuine lives of patients. The understanding that there is much more to a person than their cells, their lab results, their disease, etc., is such an important lesson to be learned. To take a quote from the book, stated by the assistant who helped retrieve the cells while Henrietta was in the morgue, "When I saw those toenails I nearly fainted. I thought, Oh geez, she's a real person. I started imagining her sitting in her bathroom painting those toenails, and it hit me for the first time that those cells we'd been working with all this time and sending all over the world, they came from a live woman. I'd never thought of it thay way".

I would also highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the ethical and legal aspects of the medical and scientific communities. There is also a significant component relating to the Johns Hopkins, the black community and black history. Every aspect was fascinating and eye-opening.

If you are wondering how this could have happened, be warned that it could just as easily happen to any of us tomorrow, as there are still no laws in place preventing any doctor or hospital from keeping and using our tissue, or our children's umbilical blood, or our parents tumors for research once collected. Perhaps it is better that we all contribute to furthering scientific discoveries. But, you might rethink "immortality" after hearing this story. Just one more good reason to read this book. Read more

73. The People of the Mist
by Henry Rider Haggard
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUPZU
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, exciting, and moving
Sir Henry Rider Haggard wrote many great works - "She," "King Solomon's Mines," and this underappreciated treasure, a beautifully written, exciting, and moving tale of adventure, love, sacrifice and a lost civilization in Africa. My favorite character is the African "Otter" who is both funny and heroic, he seems foolish but actually he is far wiser than his white English employers. I first read and loved "People of the Mist" at the age of 15 when is was reprinted as part of that great Ballantine Adult Fantasy series by Lin Carter (which also introduced a new generation of readers to all time fantasy greats like Dunsany, Lovecraft, Cabell, and Clark Ashton Smith). I've read about ten times in the last quarter century and it is still an excellent, sweeping spectacle. Read it, buy it, reprint it. Haggard was the granddaddy of them all, before Burroughs, Mundy and Lamb, before Robert E. Howard, before Buchan and Wilbur Smith, there was Sir Harry.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST READ
A beautiful masterpiece, truly Haggard at his best. It depicts an English youth, who lost his fortune and his fiancee's hand. Swearing with his brother to win back their home, he ends up in Africa, trying to make a fortune. It is only afterwards that he rescues a maid from a slave-dealer (for payment, of course!) falls in love with her, and ends up in a place no one has ever heard of. Narrow escape, love, intrigue, and more make this book great! It's worth every penny!

5-0 out of 5 stars Why don't people write like this anymore?
What a great story! Haggard wrote adventure fiction like no one else. His pace is slow but it feels right. He isn't in any hurry. He sometimes spends a paragraph or two with stunning descriptions, painting a picture in the mind. But the unfolding plot is totally gripping, and I don't mind the time it takes to make it through.

Haggard's characters are lovable. It is what makes his stories so effective. If you don't genuinely care about the characters, then you won't care about all the dangers they encounter. Watching Leonard, Juanna, and Otter face death over and over is gripping because you like them.

Haggard's settings are fantastic! He really knew how to create a vivid fantasy world. His descriptions are carefully integrated into the plot too. At one point in the novel, Leonard (a "guest" of the People of the Mist) is led by natives through a dark tunnel to a wide-open space in pitch blackness. Leonard can hear the sound of water rushing as if far below. He can hear the murmuring of crowds of natives as though from afar. Leonard waits the coming dawn when the natives will perform a ritual. How Haggard slowly doles out information as the dawn slowly breaks is amazing. While it is still dark, Leonard probes around with his foot. He discovers that about 2 feet in front of him is a drop-off. Then as the light begins to dawn, he can see that he is suspended far above the ground with snow capped mountains all around. Then as the light increases, he realizes he is standing on the outstretched palm of a huge monstrous idol he had seen from far off. The palm isn't nearly large enough for comfort, and a hundred feet below him is a river and a crowd of natives. He looks up to discover that his love, Juanna, whom the natives think is a goddess, has been placed a hundred feet above him, on the head of the idol. Once this weird stage is set, the action is ready to begin, and its action you'll never forget.

Haggard was also a thoughtful man. He often has poignant insights into the human condition: desire for love, the nobility of sacrificing yourself for a friend, loyalty, and the impossibility of complete happiness in this life, to name a few.

I have read 5 or 6 Haggard novels now, and People of the Mist may be the best yet. If you like adventure, fantasy, romance, with a touch of philosophy and humor thrown in, you'll love Haggard. My question is, why don't people write like this anymore? And another question, Why hasn't anyone done a film of this story? It would beat out "Indiana Jones" any day of the week.



5-0 out of 5 stars A Lucky Find
This was a lucky find for me. I had never heard of Henry Rider Haggard until I read THE PEOPLE OF THE MIST! It is a beautifully written masterpiece. My favorite character has to be Otter a native of Africa. He is uneducated but has great insight into the problems the group is faced with. The four main characters are so completely developed that you feel like you know them. They confront African slavers and defeat them to rescue and free the slaves from the slave compound. This is the final step that takes the group the the land of The People of The Mist and possibly the treasures of King Solomon's mines!

The descriptions of Africa are beautifully done. The suspense is high and keeps you turning the pages. This is a book worth reading more than once. To think, I may not have bought it not having heard of the book or Henry Rider Haggard, but it was free on Kindle. Thank you, Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books of all time
This is a brilliantly conceived book. It is amazing that it is still such a fun read after 120 years. The most remarkable thing about the book is that there are several very interesting plot twists that are wonderfully constructed, and completely outside the realm of what I would have guessed would happen.

Enjoy!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book, but hard to find
If you like Tolkien, you will like this book. Haggard was one of Tolkien's favorite authors, and this book is Haggard's best, in my estimation.

Was "Tattoo" of "Fantasy Island" based on the character "Otter?" They both say "baas" in reference to their employer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweeps you away to strange lands, and rivets you there!
This is an incredible adventure, complete with terror, tears and laughs! After a brief introduction into the scenario, the pace and mystery picks-up to a 'can't-put-it-down' pace! After lending my tattered copy to someone years ago, forgetting who, and searching for a copy ever since, I've FINALLY FOUND IT!!! Thanks,AMAZON!!!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written
This book, while written in the late 1800's, is beautifully written, and a steal (free for Kindle). Very entertaining despite the ethnocentrism of the era, of which the author cannot escape. Who of us can escape our culture?? Highly recommended. Read more


74. Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips
by Ina Garten
Hardcover
list price: $35.00 -- our price: $18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0307238768
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Sales Rank: 16
Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Ina Garten, bestselling cookbook author and beloved star of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network, is back with her easiest recipes ever.
 
In Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? Ina proves once again that it doesn’t take complicated techniques, special equipment, or stops at more than one grocery store to make wonderful dishes for your family and friends. Her newest must-have cookbook is all about saving time and avoiding stress while having fun in the kitchen.

These are not recipes with three ingredients thrown together in five minutes; instead home cooks will find fantastic Barefoot Contessa recipes that are easy to make but still have all that deep, delicious flavor Ina is known for—and that makes a meal so satisfying. Think Pink Grapefruit Margaritas served with Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs—two classics with a twist. For lunch, Ina makes everyone’s favorite Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich and Snap Peas with Pancetta. For dinner, try Jeffrey’s Roast Chicken (tried and true!); Steakhouse Steaks, which come out perfectly every time and—with Ina’s easy tip—couldn’t be simpler; or an Easy Parmesan “Risotto” that you throw in the oven instead of stirring endlessly on the stovetop. Finally, Ina’s desserts never disappoint—from Red Velvet Cupcakes to Chocolate Pudding Cream Tart.

To top it all off, Ina also shares her best tips for making cooking really easy. She leaves bowls of lemons and limes on the counter not only because they look great but because they also remind her that a squeeze of lemon in a dish brightens the flavors. She shows us the equipment that makes a difference to her—like sharp knives, the right zester, an extra bowl for her electric mixer—and that can help you in your kitchen, too.

Filled with 225 gorgeous full-color photographs, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? is the perfect kitchen companion for busy home cooks who still want fabulous flavor.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Not so easy...
I didn't think it was possible to be disappointed with anything Ina Garten is associated with, but I guess there's a first time for everything. I loved her last book (Back to Basics), but this one just fell flat for me for a few reasons:

1. The recipes aren't neccesarily easy, especially when you have to search for some of the special ingredients (duck fois gras, Tate's Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies, Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup, etc.). Also, "good ketchup such as Stonewall Kitchen"?!? There were just too many instances of blatantly trying to advertise other people's products. I think the only people who will have no trouble finding these specialized ingredients live in New York City, East Hampton or near a Whole Foods store (which for me is a 2 hour drive).

2. Some of the tips are not realistic for regular cooks, especially in these tough economic times (having 2 dishwashers!?!?!). Sure, I'd love to have 2 dishwashers in my kitchen, but unless you regularly host dinner parties with > 10 people or you run a catering business out of your house, what's the point? And who has room in their kitchen for that?

3. Unlike Ina's other books, none of the recipes here made me want to drop what I was doing and start cooking. Also, Ina's other books have included a chapter on breakfast foods, so I was sad when I saw that this book did not.

The book was not a total disappointment. As always, the pictures and layout of the book were beautiful (although I didn't understand the full page individual photos of each of Ina's friends). Also, some recipes, such as Lemon Chicken Breasts, Ultimate Peach Ice Cream and Old Fashioned Banana Cake are really good.

I'm still a big Ina fan and I'll continue to buy her books. I guess not everyone can hit a homerun everytime they step up to the plate. Read more


75. The Sayings Of Confucius
by Confucius
Kindle Edition
list price: $1.99
Asin: B002RKSHP6
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 2.8 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 ... Read more


76. The Bite of Silence
by Mary Hughes
Kindle Edition
list price: $3.50
Asin: B002XOTPZW
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Spartans do it with discipline.

Times Square on New Year’s Eve. A million partiers chanting the final seconds. This year, it’s a countdown to death.

My name is Twyla Tafel and I’ve uncovered an insane plot to unleash berserk vampires on those unsuspecting revelers. I have to stop it, armed only with my great admin skills, my useless art degree—and Nikos, a severely hot vampire who I’d love to photograph as a Spartan king roaring his muscular challenge at the Persians.

But Nikos has issues, if you know what I mean. Roadblocks in his psyche that say stop when all I want is go-go-go. See “severely hot”, above.

Although if I finally break through Nikos’s reserve, I may get more than I bargained for. He’s seriously big, seriously built, and more than just a tad dominant. Still, it’s time to push my limits and find out who I really am, so I’m willing to try…I think. I’m sure. I’m mostly sure. Until he starts stalking me with those sable bedroom eyes and long, sharp fangs—!

Warning: Contains 50% high-voltage sex by volume. 10g seriously hot Greek vampire, 4g curvy, competent heroine, 7g explosive action and gritty language. Made on equipment used to process snarky comments. Some light bondage may occur during handling.

... Read more

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77. Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQU802
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.5 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 A Classic for a Reason
I initially approached this book with a great deal of trepidation. I had never read Dostoyevsky, and was concerned that I would get bogged down in some lengthy, mind-numbingly boring, nineteenth-century treatise on the bestial nature of man or something. I am happy to report this is not the case. Instead, and to my delight, it is a smoothly flowing and fascinating story of a young man who succumbs to the most base desire, and the impact this has both psychologically and otherwise on himself and those around him.

To be sure, the book seems wordy in places, but I suspect this has to do with the translation. And what translator in his right mind would be bold enough to edit the great Dostoyevsky? But this is a very minor problem.

What we get with Dostoyevsky is dramatic tension, detailed and believable human characters, and brilliant insight into human nature. Early in the novel our hero meets and has a lengthy conversation with Marmeladov, a drunkard. This conversation is never uninteresting and ultimately becomes pathetic and heartbreaking, but I kept wondering why so much time was spent on it. As I got deeper into the book, I understood why this conversation was so important, and realized that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. This is also indicative of the way in which the story reveals itself. Nothing is hurried. These people speak the way we actually speak to one another in real life, and more importantly, Dostoyevsky is able to flesh out his characters into whole, three-dimensional human beings.

And what a diverse group of characters! Each is fleshed out, each is marvelously complex. Razujmikhin, the talkative, gregarious, good-hearted, insecure and destitute student; Sonia, the tragic child-prostitute, with a sense of rightness in the world; Petrovich, the self-important, self-made man, completely out of touch with his own humanity; Dunia, the honorable, wronged sister: we feel like we know these people because we've met people like them. They fit within our understanding of the way human beings are.

Dostoyevsky also displays great insight into human nature. Svidrigailov, for example, talks of his wife as liking to be offended. "We all like to be offended," he says, "but she in particular loved to be offended." It suddenly struck me how true this is. It gives us a chance to act indignantly, to lash out at our enemies, to gain favor with our allies. I don't believe I've ever seen this thought expressed in literature before. In fact, it never occurred to me in real life! Petrovich, Dunia's suitor, not only expects to be loved, but because of his money, and her destitution, he expects to be adored! To be worshipped! He intentionally sought out a woman from whome he expected to get this, and is comletely flummoxed when she rejects him. His is an unusual character, but completely realized.

There is so much more to talk about: the character of Raskolnikov, which is meticulously and carefully revealed; the sense of isolation which descends on him after committing his crime; the cat and mouse game played on him by the police detective. I could go on and on. I haven't even mentioned the historical and social context in which this takes place. Suffice to say this is a very rich book.

Do not expect it to be a rip-roaring page turner. Sit down, relax, take your time, and savor it. It will be a very rewarding experience. And thank you SL, for recommending it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful new translation
Crime and Punishment centers upon the story of a young Russian student, Raskolnikov, who plots and carries out a brutal murder. However, this is less than a quarter of the story. The rest centers upon his attempts to come to terms with the philosophical and psycological consequences of his act. Aiding, or hindering, him in this endevor are a series of characters from the kind-hearted prostitute Sonia and her drunken father, the unrepentant scoundrel Svidrigailov, Raskolnikov's best friend Razumihin, and the police detective come amateur psychologist Porfiry Petrovich. Though the story develops slowly, with many detours, Raskolnikov's journey through crime and punishment remains gripping until the very last page.

I first encountered Crime and Punishment in the classic translation by Constance Garnett and loved it for Dostoyevsky's careful balance of character and philosophy. Dostoyevsky's genius lies in his ability to create simultaneously a psychological novel and a novel of ideas. Though each character represents a certain philosophy of life, they never become lifeless or stereotyped. Instead, each is a memorably developed and psychologically deep person, who could easily carry a story in their own right. Dostoyevsky's genius is in the perfect counterpoint between conflict of personality and conflict of philosophy between each of these fascinating people. Dostoyevsky also specializes in garnering the reader's interest and sympathy for the most unlikely characters. This is a novel, after all, with an ax murderer as the protagonist.

However, until I read this new translation of Dostoyevsky, I never realized that besides psychologist and philosopher, Dostoyevsky was also a masterful stylist. Pevear and Volokhonsky succeed in faithfully translating the literal meaning of the original Russian, while still capturing the vivid liveliness of Dostoyevsky's prose. The heat of a St. Petersburg summer night fairly radiates off the page in the first part, while his descriptions of Raskolnikov's cramped bedroom gave me claustrophobia.

Admittedly, this is no beach-read thriller. The Russian names can be confusing, and Dostoyevsky's manages to be both dense and long-winded. Nontheless, this is one of the greatest works of fiction ever written that should be read both as a "classic book" and as a gripping psychological exploration of crime.

5-0 out of 5 stars This soldier's favorite book
If you read one murder novel in the rest of your life, read "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It's only 500 pages but it speaks volumes.

I discovered Dostoyevsky a few months ago while I was deployed to Iraq and my literary world will never been the same.

I found a copy of "The Brothers Karamazov" in a pile of miscellenious books that had been dedicated to troops to boost morale and took it to a literary savvy Lt. Col. I knew. When I showed him my find, he insisted I read Crime and Punishment first. I'm certainly glad I decided to take his advice.

Crime and Punishment tells the story of a brutal murder in pre- revolutionary Russa and the emotional torment of the eccentric murderer, Raskolnikov. The book is as dark and suspenseful as anything I've ever read, but it also manages to convey things on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum like redemption and love. My favorite passage of the book (a hard pick, for sure) is when Porfiry, a jovial but formitable detective, interrogates Raskolnikov.

The deployment is over, but my infatuation with Dostoyevsky's books has just begun. I'm now reading "The Idiot" and enjoying it, though it's too early to see if it matches "Crime and Punishment."

Whether you are deployed to the farthest reaches of the world or sitting comfortably at home, "Crime and Punishment" promises to be an exhilerating read.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's classic, it's free, it's a masterpiece - what more can you ask
Many of the 'classic novels' I have read were originally written in English, and therefore forego translation in modern bindings. Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, although written in the latter half of the 19th century, holds up well to the conversion from the original Russian to English.

Rodion Raskolikov is a student, an author, an intellectual. Like countless others in Russia at the time, he is also very poor. His empassioned mind imagines that a local woman, a pawnbroker is evil, a parasite, for taking the valued trinkets of her neighbors and paying them a pittance in return, and for holding promisary notes over their heads. His rage turns to murder, justifying his actions later on as doing a greater good for many by taking the life of this one person. However, his crime is two-fold, as he is discovered by the woman's sister, still with the murder weapon in his hands, and in a moment of terrified frenzy, murders her as well.

The bulk of this novel, exquisitly written, is the slow realization of Raskolnikov that his crime was just that, a crime, no matter how good his intent. Raskolnikov struggles with the guilt of his actions, even as he time and again proves his worthiness as a person in his actions regarding others, giving up his last bit of money to help another less fortunate than himself, attending to a dying man in the streets, trying to secure a good future for his sister, with a worthy man. Raskolnikov, as the reader discovers, is a good and decent man.

The underlying message of this book seems to be that even a man of conscience cannot commit an unconscienable act without repurcussion, without 'punishment', and that no matter how justified you think you may be in your actions, no matter how many good deeds you may do, with conscience there is always a higher authority to answer to, that of your own mind, and what you can or cannot live with.

Dostoevsky had been described to me as dry, turgid reading. I found it to be nothing of the sort. The story never drags on or belabours a point without logic and qualification. The characters, although the focus of the story is Raskolnikov, are all well realized, and developed.

The story itself remains interesting and engaging throughout every page, with a well crafted conundrum once you reach the epilogue, and leaves the reader, at least this one, with a desire to read more about this man, beyond the final words of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The mind of a killer
Dostoevsky, with his book Crime and Punishment, unknowingly influenced every great writer since. There are many books that stay with a person, days or weeks after reading them, but Crime and Punishment is one of the few that live on forever. After reading the book, my eyes have been opened to the light of the human soul. Raskolnikov, the central character, is an unmotivated, destitute man. He is symbolic of the so called "dirt", that the world tries so desperately to rid. The novels plot is tight as they come, but it is Dostoevsky's supreme insight and reality into the mind of a killer, Raskolnikov, that makes this novel a testament to genius. Some may read this novel to be "well-read", I say read this novel to gain the foothold to the bottom of your own soul. It will help you gain the realization of self, with a better understanding of the society that can bring men down and subsequently lift them up. I will not give away the ending, but read the book not for the ending, but for the journey that it takes you through, the journey into hell.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great novel
This is, of course, one of the great novels of all time. Fyodor Dostoyevsky created a number of truly wonderful works over time, such as "The Brothers Karamazov," "The Gambler," and "The Devils" (or "The Possessed"). The "Translator's Introduction" to "Crime and Punishment" provides useful context. David Magarshack, the translator, observes that (page 11) ". . .the main theme. . .had occupied Dostoyevsky ever since he gave up his career in the army to devote himself to literature." Shortly thereafter, Magarshack quotes Dostoyevsky himself from an earlier work, "White Knights," with the author saying (page 11): "'It is said that the proximity of punishment gives rise to real repentance in the criminal and sometimes arouses remorse in the most hardened heart; it is said to be chiefly due to fear." Thus, there is a psychological element to this novel, whether is approximates reality or not (I have my doubts that a lot of criminals really repent and show remorse, but that is neither here nor there).

The novel itself was important for Dostoyevsky since, as was not uncommon, he was in dire financial straits. He signed a contract to provide a serialization of the work to a literary publication. This is apparent at some points, when different parts of the novel may not fit together so well or when certain strands of discourse aren't fully developed.

The protagonist, Raskolnikov, faces a series of problems. For one thing, he is a student who faces dire poverty and has a difficult time just making ends meet. At another level, he has a sense that special human beings can be above the law and so on to do great deeds. These two factors plus others are interlinked to lead him to murder a pawnbroker to help gain enough money to survive. On being "superman," Raskolnikov says at one point (page 276): "I simply hinted that the `extraordinary' man has a right--not an officially sanctioned right, of course--to permit his conscience to step over certain obstacles, but only if it is absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of his idea on which possibly the welfare of all mankind may depend." And, in a following commentary (page 277): ". . .I maintain that all men who are not only great but a little out of the common. . .must by their very nature be criminals. . . ."

After committing the murder, he begins to come apart, as he suspects that people know of his deed. In another plot twist, after meeting a civil servant, Marmalodov, he comes to be attracted to his daughter, Sonya. He comes to confess to her of his deed. Later, he falls in love with her, but his imprisonment means that they would need to delay a life together. She follows him to Siberia, and the novel ends with hope for the future.

This is one of the great novels, no doubt. There are problems, as noted above, with the development of the story and with its ending (almost deus ex machine). Nonetheless, an interesting psychological analysis of the human mind. Still worth reading long after he completed writing it in 1866. Raskolnikov remains one of the great characters in literature, and his slow unraveling after the murder creates gripping drama.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dostoevski's best book
This is Dostoevski's greatest masterpiece. Supposedly, he was in a prison camp lying on a bunk serving time for fostering radical ideas against the Russian regime when the idea came to him. If your favorite author is John Grisham or Stephen King, you should skip it, because the ideas presented are so deep and masterful, you must peel the layers off each character slowly and painfully to fully understand and comprehend the vision Dostoevski was trying to convey. Crime and Punishment is the one book of Dostoevski's which is different from his other four big novels. In the Possessed, Brothers Karamozov, Idiot, and Raw Youth, Dostoevski usually presents his structure very much like a play. He introduces his characters and like the end of a first act, he has them come together in one room and something dramatic happens, whether it is Natasha throwing money in the fire, or Stavrogin getting slapped in the face. Crime and Punishment does not follow his usual form. The drama occurs in the very first chapters and the rest unfolds itself through that one act. This is a book of religious affirmation, don't forget that when reading, and Dostoevski makes a personal statement at the end which should not be brushed off. The story is thrilling and intellectual, but it's up to you, the reader, to make it so, because the book itself can't do it. It's you actively thinking about the various ideas presented that will create the images needed to absorb the brilliance you keep hearing about. Read more


78. The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKSZT4
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.9 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 One of my favorite books
I read this a couple times when I was a young teenager and now I just read it again 10 years later. It is still one of my favorite books. I love the theme that children need activities and hobbies and exercise to stay healthy, physically and mentally. I wish I had my own secret garden inside a stone wall :)
I think this is a wonderful book for any young child to read. The characters are good and the story is so beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Children's Classic
For those of you who haven't read this, you should.

It's the story of Mary Lennox, who grew up in India, extremely spoiled by the servants, whose only job was to keep her quiet and out of the way of her parents. After her parents die she's sent to live with her uncle in England, a crotchety old man mourning the loss of his wife, who also wants nothing to do with her. Lonely, spoiled Mary explores the manor and the garden, finding all sorts of hidden secrets as well as her own happiness.

A must-read for children and adults. It's the kind of story that just makes you feel warm and comfortable inside.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic!
I'm not sure how this classic escaped me all these years. I am so glad I finally found it. The Secret Garden is such a lovely read. Definitely recommend!

5-0 out of 5 stars really interesting book
I remember reading this as a kid, thinking "wow, cool concept, but this book is totally for girls," then forgetting about it for thirty-odd years. I saw it again scouring through the kindle freebies and thought "hey, I wonder if that's worth a re-read."

It definitely is; there's a *lot* here for an adult mind to think over, and it's really a very thematically complex work for a children's novel. The basic themes -- "exercise and fresh air is good for you," "don't be a spoiled brat," and "don't wallow in self-pity" are, if anything, even more worth reading today than they were a hundred years ago when this was written (at one point while reading this I speculated that if this book were written today, it wouldn't have happened; the kids would just have stayed indoors playing video games).

Beyond that, though, the book touches on a lot of *extremely* complex and interesting topics, enough to give an adult plenty to think about, too. Personally, I found the first part of the book, up to the discovery of the Garden, the most interesting, with its implicit commentary on the British Raj and then on British class issues -- Mary's imperious habits; the way she's cast from India back to England, flotsam of Empire; the poverty of her British servants, those same British servant's clear moral superiority. The latter half of the book was less appealing, and I found myself skimming through a great deal of the author's multi-page paeans to the Healing Power of Nature (which I couldn't help but read in the light of the complicating fact of the author's adherence to, and the novel's lightly-veiled support of, Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science).

All in all, though, this is definitely an interesting book and worth reading, both for children and adults, and a deserved classic. Read more


79. Full Dark, No Stars
by Stephen King
Hardcover
list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1439192561
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 19
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars King delivers
I admit, I'm a fan of SK, but that doesn't stop me from NOT liking one of his books if I find it uninteresting. There have been a few-- like Rose Madder, Insomnia and Bag of Bones-- that I just didn't like and couldn't finish reading. Not that they're bad books, just not to my tastes. FULL DARK, NO STARS is one Stephen King book I'm putting in my great list. It was absolutely enthralling and very, very frightening. I'm not real big on bloated books that are more filler than sizzle, but the short novels in this book are lean and mean. I highly recommend this book.

****************

Now, as far as all the Kindle owners complaining about the price... back in the day, before the convenience of ebook readers and the wonder of having your reading collection all in one 4 ounce e-ink device, if someone could not afford a book they wanted to read, they went to the library and checked it out. They didn't protest in front of the bookstore. They didn't disparage a writer's reputation. They bought it used at a second-hand book shop, waited to find it at a yard sale or borrowed it from someone who is more affluent.

But back in the day, people had a little more pride, and they didn't think they should get everything for free, or next to free, just because they wanted it. Have a little dignity, people! Stop yapping like you think you're the star of your own little reality TV show. If you can't afford it, wait for the price to drop.

The review section is for book reviews, not for pricing complaints.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is not a book to lull you to sleep, unless you enjoy double-checking the locks and looking under the bed before you turn in
Here's my two cents (or my $14.99). These are some of Stephen King's best stories ever, and I've been a fan since I read "Carrie" in Junior High (when is was first published in paperback, kids couldn't afford hardback books back then!). Like most King books, I devoured this one in less than 48 hours. "A Good Marriage" and "Big Driver" are particularly disturbing, maybe because they both have female protaganists whose stories seem very real. Like it or not, Stephen King tells the living s&%# out of a story.

Which brings me the price issue. People are certainly within their rights to bitch about the price of anything-gas,food, education, Ferraris, etc. But for me, fifteen bucks is a small price to pay for something that I really, really enjoy. I spend a lot more on stuff is don't enjoy near as much. I have read and re-read virtually everything King has written. There may come a point in my life when Mr. King dies (morbid, I know, but one of us will go first). Outside of people I actually know, his demise would probably be the only one which would actually leave a personal, lasting void in my life. So I say, live long and prosper, Mr. King. I hope I can give you (or your evil publisher) money for many, many more years.

Oh, and just to make it clear, I will buy the hardback, too. The kindle version is just for convenience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic King
I usually put in my reviews some explanation for why I selected a book. I think/hope it helps folks who are reading the review know if I'm coming from the same place they are -- if I have the same hopes or expectations. There are times when it feels ridiculous to give that explanation. I selected this book because it's written by Stephen King, and while I haven't loved every word and some books have gone unfinished, he's still a darned good bet, isn't he? I think few people don't have some pivotal and lasting memories of either his books or movies made from his books, and my memories span my childhood into middle age, and involve people who are now gone. I also love both short stories and novellas and when I look back at my favorite Stephen King stories, these are well-represented. So, I bought the book and it freaked me out.

The afterword begins: The stories in this book are harsh. You may have found them hard to read in places. If so, be assured that I found them equally hard to write in places.

I thought, thank God. I did find these stories to be hard to read, intense, uncomfortable, heebie-jeebie creating. I was a little concerned that like my newly discovered acid reflux when in the presence of spicy food, my disinterest in roller coasters, and my increased habit of watching scary movies through my fingers, that this was just another sign of getting older. Good to know this stuff was really as intense as I thought.

1922: A man kills his wife over land and that's just the beginning and a fraction of the horrors in this tale. It reminded me a little of A Thousand Acres: A Novel, complete with lots of stuff Shakespeare would be down with -- only different. The murder of the wife is brutal and vividly portrayed, but what happens next is something that the main character Wilf couldn't even begin to imagine, except for the parts he may or may not have imagined. As another Stephen King character once said, sometimes the soil of a man's heart is stonier.

Big Driver: This was a pretty tough read for me in parts. Since a man wrote it, it would be uncharitable to say that the feelings it evoked are a "girl thing," but I do think that part of its effectiveness was being able to put myself in the main character's shoes, especially while she is walking after being assaulted, only keeping enough distance to berate her over certain decisions, but more about that later. The horror here is grounded in the plausible, even if toward the end it goes to a more fantastical place where justice is served in a rather "Rose Madder" way. I don't begrudge Mr. King this story, it was compelling, but Tess's option is not how it works in the real world, fortunately or unfortunately.

Fair Extension: Interestingly enough, I've been reading an anthology called Sympathy for the Devil which contains stories about -- guess. It contains Stephen King's The Man in The Black Suit, for that matter. This story would have fit right in, and would have been a really welcome substitution in many cases. The stories about deals with the devils and fiddles against your soul never get old, because they're about temptation about the darker sides of who we are. They ask the questions, what would you do in that situation, really? For me, this story is about how you can choose to not give up your soul and still give up your soul, how some decisions are a case of six of one, half dozen of another.

A Perfect Marriage: I wonder if Mr. King deliberately went boy-girl-boy-girl on the arrangement of these stories. Like Tess in Big Driver, Darcy finds herself in the middle of the trauma of a lifetime. Interestingly enough, like Tess, she also decides what to do or what not to do based on "what would the neighbors think?" I wonder if that's a coincidence. I think Tess and Darcy would understand each other just fine. Looking over all the stories, I think this is the one that satisfied me the most from start to finish. Any way I can think of to elaborate on that is a spoiler. Almost anyone who has been married a while will understand where Darcy is at in her marriage right before it all comes crashing down.

There was a story called Button, Button by Richard Matheson "back in the day" which was made into a Twilight Zone (the eighties incarnation of TZ) with a different ending. It was also the inspiration for the wildly divergent Cameron Diaz movie, The Box. The short story -- and if you're going to ever read it, stop reading THIS now -- ends with the line "Did you really think you knew your husband?" Darcy can relate and good question -- does any human being know another human being? After reading Perfect Marriage I made it clear to my husband I was on the look-out for secret cubby holes.

Bottom line, loved this, loved all the stories, best King I've read since -- wait, does Joe Hill count? -- I don't know when. The stories will stick with me and join the other King stories and memories. I know there's a battle over price right now. I don't rate books on price, because I figure you can see that for yourself and I want to tell you something you don't already know. I respect that others do feel that some ebooks are over-priced and I agree that we all have to make decisions on what we will and will not pay. I felt this was worth the price, which could be entirely different by the time you read this, and think this is some really impressive work whether you shell out the cash now, wait for the price to lower, or visit your library.

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80. Merlin's Harp
by Anne Eliot Crompton
Kindle Edition
list price: $6.99
Asin: B003TFE0A4
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Sales Rank: 686
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, the way Humans think all Fey live.

Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and greed of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even the peace of Avalon. And while Merlin the mage has been training Niviene as his apprentice, he now needs her help to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. Niviene's special talents must help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love...

"The story glows...a mythical tapestry that is at once completely recognizable yet utterly fresh..."
-Publishers Weekly

"Like The Mists of Avalon, the Arthurian legend from a woman's point of view."
-USA Today

"Readers will be enchanted...the characters and strands of the famous legend are skillfully woven together here."
-School Library Journal

"Take heed: the feminist possibilities of the Arthurian legendary cycle were not exhausted by Marion Zimmer Bradley's bestselling The Mists of Avalon... A riveting good read."
-Booklist

What readers are saying:

"A rather unique look at the legend of King Arthur."

"An exquisite addition to Arthurian literature."

"The writing is lyrical; the plot twists are original. Great!"

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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic
Reading Merlin's Harp, I realized something about novels that portray the interaction between the human world and Faerie. They usually don't tell the stories of fae folk in their own homeland. There are exceptions, of course, but authors tend to focus on faeries stuck in the human world, or humans encountering Faerie. I think I may know why that is. When writing about faeries living in Faerie, it's all too easy to have nothing happen.

Anne Eliot Crompton uses beautiful, if occasionally stilted, language to draw us into her take on Arthurian legend:

"When I was yet a young woman I threw my heart away.

I fashioned a wee coracle of leaf and willow twig and reed, a coracle that sat in the hollow of my two palms. In this I placed my wounded, wretched heart, and I set it adrift on the rain-misted wavelets of the Fey river, and I watched it bob and whirl, sail and sink. Ever since I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, cold as spring rain, the way Humans think all Fey live. Humans I have known would be astounded to learn that I ever had a heart that leapt, brightened, fainted, quickened, warmed, embraced, froze or rejected, like their own."

The narrator is Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. In the ensuing chapters, Niviene endeavors to tell us how she came to the point of throwing her heart away. This ornate, image-rich prose continues, and Niviene meanders and digresses in her tale. She'll mention an old family friend, then backtrack and tell us all about how she came to meet him before going back to the main thread of her narrative.

By combining the flowery style with a narrative that is ever looping back on itself, Crompton conveys a sense of what Faerie is said to be like. It's beautiful and hypnotic, and time doesn't flow in Faerie the way it does in the human realm. The trouble is, it's *too* hypnotic. Lulling. Dreamlike. Reading Merlin's Harp made me sleepy. While falling into an enchanted slumber and waking on the cold hillside is very much in keeping with Faerie tradition, it doesn't help propel one through a novel.

It also doesn't help that not much happens in the first hundred pages or so, which is as far as I got before giving up. Roughly the first ninety pages are taken up with an interpretation of the Lady of Shalott tale, and a rather uninteresting one. The main problem is Gwenevere, who spends this entire sequence drugged and being toddled around like a doll. Sure, she's gorgeous, but can physical beauty alone account for the trouble she unwittingly causes here? I've seen sympathetic Gweneveres and unsympathetic ones, but all the best portrayals afford her some charisma that helps explain why she is so loved.

This is followed by a four-page sequence (I counted) in which Niviene gets pregnant and gives birth to a son, the son grows to the age of five, and then the son goes missing. All in four pages. That was when I decided to give up. If it takes ninety pages for a young boy to break a young girl's heart in favor of a pretty woman in a stupor, and four pages for a fetus to become a five-year-old, the pacing is just a little too strange for me, Faerie or no.

Merlin's Harp contains some lovely language and an interesting perspective on the Matter of Britain, but finally the pacing and the hypnotic effect were too much for me. I recommend it to fans of lush prose who have plenty of coffee on hand.

5-0 out of 5 stars The writing is lyrical; the plot twists are original. Great!
Merlin's Harp is an exquisite addition to Arthurian literature. Anne Crompton's writing is lyrical and beautiful. It leads you into the story and keeps you there. Her very original presentation of well known characters, well known story lines, and even objects such as the Grail is so very intriguing that you do not want to put the book down until you have finished it. Her central character Niviene is delightfully "odd" and fantastical. This is a Niviene no one has seen before. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is one of the few books that really does take you into another world. When you put it down, when you have read every page, you are left with a feeling of amazement and sheer delight in the experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh perspective with new insights !
Merlin's Harp is a great short read (one day ), that will transport the reader back to Arthurian times through the eyes of an important, but not much talked about player. The book reminds me of 'Forest House' by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is light reading, yet keeps your interest. Merlin's Harp will give the reader new insight on Lancelot and Melwas, with a new revelation on Merlin and the Holy Grail

5-0 out of 5 stars Creative - Original - Excellent
If you liked Mists of Avalon, here is another book you will enjoy. The book is based on the perspective of a Fey woman. The first few chapters focus entirely on the life of the Fey and I found it a very interesting perspective. Merlin is introduced as is Guenevere and Arthur and Lancelot - though you don't know this at first. The introduction of characters is subtle and almost elusive. Not until later in the book does the plot twist and turn and bring you to the familiar aspects of the Arthurian legend we all recognize. It is a fast and intriguing read. I also liked her inclusion of Merlin's songs throughout the novel. They brought the poetic oral tradition of the legend into the book to show how the story evolved over time to the tale we know today. I highly recommend this book! Read more


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