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81. Merlin's Harp
82. The Picture of Dorian Gray
83. Port Mortuary
84. Make Mine Midnight
85. Stories Behind the Best-Loved
86. Hell's Corner
87. Crossing Oceans
88. Emma
89. Frankenstein
90. The Judge Who Stole Christmas
91. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
92. The Jungle Book
93. Anna Karenina
94. A Midsummer Night's Dream
95. Aesop's Fables; a new translation
96. Heart of the Wolf
$15.05
97. Guinness World Records 2011
98. White Fang
99. Hide in Plain Sight
100. Slow Hands

81. 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
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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!"

... Read more

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


82. The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQU4TW
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.3 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 Forever young
This sophisticated but crude novel is the story of man's eternal desire for perennial youth, of our vanity and frivolity, of the dangers of messing with the laws of life. Just like "Faust" and "The immortal" by Borges.

Dorian Gray is beautiful and irresistible. He is a socialit� with a high ego and superficial thinking. When his friend Basil Hallward paints his portrait, Gray expresses his wish that he could stay forever as young and charming as the portrait. The wish comes true.

Allured by his depraved friend Henry Wotton, perhaps the best character of the book, Gray jumps into a life of utter pervertion and sin. But, every time he sins, the portrait gets older, while Gray stays young and healthy. His life turns into a maelstrom of sex, lies, murder and crime. Some day he will want to cancel the deal and be normal again. But Fate has other plans.

Wilde, a man of the world who vaguely resembles Gray, wrote this masterpiece with a great but dark sense of humor, saying every thing he has to say. It is an ironic view of vanity, of superflous desires. Gray is a man destroyed by his very beauty, to whom an unknown magical power gave the chance to contemplate in his own portrait all the vices that his looks and the world put in his hands. Love becomes carnal lust; passion becomes crime. The characters and the scenes are perfect. Wilde's wit and sarcasm come in full splendor to tell us that the world is dangerous for the soul, when its rules are not followed. But, and it's a big but, it is not a moralizing story. Wilde was not the man to do that. It is a fierce and unrepressed exposition of all the ugly side of us humans, when unchecked by nature. To be rich, beautiful and eternally young is a sure way to hell. And the writing makes it a classical novel. Come go with Wotton and Wilde to the theater, and then to an orgy. You'll wish you age peacefully.

5-0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a mesmerizing read dominated by two amazing personalities. Dorian Gray is certainly interesting, but I was much more impressed by his friend and mentor Lord Henry Wotton. Dorian is a perfectly nice, well-meaning young man when we first meet him in the studio of the painter Basil Hallward. Hallward in fact is so drawn to the youth that he draws his greatest inspiration from painting him and just being with him. It is the influence of Hallward's friend Lord Henry which leads to Gray's downfall. There are few characters in literature as decadent, witty, and somehow enchanting as Lord Henry. He is never at a loss for words, fatalistic observations of life and people, sarcastic philosophical musings, and brilliantly devious ideas. Among his world of social decadents and artistic do-nothings, his charm remains redoubtable and highly sought-after. Gray immediately falls under his spell, soon devoting himself to living life to its fullest and enjoying his youth and beauty to the utmost. He solemnly wishes that he could remain young and beautiful forever, that Hallward's exquisite picture of him should bear the marks of age and debauchery rather than himself. To his surprise and ultimate horror, he finds his wish fulfilled. Small lines and creases first appear in the portrait, but after he cruelly breaks the heart of an unfortunate young actress who then takes her own life, the first real signs of horror and blood manifest themselves on his portrait. His love for the ill-fated Sibyl Vane is a sordid, heartbreaking tale, and it marks the culmination of his descent into debauchery. He frequents opium dens and houses of ill repute, justifying all of his worst actions to himself, while the influence of Lord Henry continues to work its black magic on his soul. He hides his increasingly grotesque portrait away in an upstairs room, sometimes going up to stare at it and take pleasure in the fact that it rather than he bears the stains of his iniquities. In time, his obsession with his secret grows, and he is constantly afraid that it will be discovered by someone. For eighteen years he lives in this manner, moving among the members of his society as a revered figure who magically retains his youth, but eventually he begins to see himself as he really is and to curse the portrait, blaming its magic for his miserable life of ill-begotten pleasures and loss of moral character. The final pages are well-written, and the climax is eminently satisfying.

Exhibiting the undeniable influence of the French Decadence movement of the late 19th century, this wonderful novel serves as a morality play of sorts. One can understand why its unique nature upset a British society emerging from the social constraints of Victorianism, but this reader is hard pressed to see why this novel proved so damaging to Wilde's eventual imprisonment and punishment. Dorian Gray is no hero, nor does his ultimate internal struggles and yearnings for rebirth inspire one to engage in the sort of life he himself eventually came to regret. The only "dangerous" character in this novel is Lord Henry; his delight in working his evil influence on others as a type of moral experiment and the silver-tongued charm he exploits to aid him in such misbegotten quests have the potential to do harm to a vulnerable mind such as that of Dorian Gray. Lord Henry's evil genius makes him much more interesting than his disciple Dorian Gray. By today's standards, this book is not shocking, and indeed it is much more dangerous to censor work such as this than it is to read it. This book in eminently quotable, and it still manages to cast a magical spell over readers of this day and age. Quite simply, The Picture of Dorian Gray deserves a place on the shelf of the world's greatest literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling Read
I first was introduced to Dorian Gray through a book club, and I thought 'Oh no, Oscar Wilde, here I go, another hard to read boring society book". I was wrong. Within the first two chapters of Dorian Gray I was intrigued and fascinated. This book deals with several issues that are as important now as they are today: the way our culture worships beauty and youth, an admiration that boarders on homosexual love, virtues, the differences between men and women, and what art is and what makes it truly art. Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man, who sees a portrait of himself and says "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young...If only it were the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the portrait to grow old...I would give my soul for that!" The book takes off from there, leading you from a small theater to great parties. While younger readers may find some of the wording as tough as an old gym shoe, anyone older than 13 with an interest in mystery, romance, and how society runs, will find this a pleasurable and haunting read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who wants to look young forever?
Basil, who up until now was a mediocre painter after meeting Dorian Gray a young Adonis, was inspired to create a masterpiece of which he puts himself into. Against Basil's wishes, Basil's friend Lord Henry influences Dorian Gray. Dorian looks at his portrait and realizes that while the portrait will stay young forever, he will grow old; so Dorian makes a wish that if only he could stay young forever and the portrait can age.

At first Dorian does not realize his wishes been granted. He falls in love with a beautiful young actor who is every woman that Shakespeare ever wrote about. Once again, due to Lord Henry's influence, he realizes that she's just a common girl.

Starting with absent-minded acts Dorian slowly sinks into debauchery. Moreover, with every new act his picture becomes more grotesque while Dorian stays is young and as innocent looking as the day his picture was painted.
What will become of Dorian?
What will become of Dorian's painting?
What would you do if you were Dorian?

Oscar Wilde paints a picture himself as he describes Dorian Gray's dilemma. In addition, we as readers travel with Dorian as each decision is made. In some places in the story, Oscar Wilde seems to drag on and on with detail; however we find that this detail is necessary to set the next scene.

Oscar Wilde himself led a risky life that lead to a jail sentence; is attitudes can be seen in the dialogues in this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray Starring: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield

5-0 out of 5 stars "An exquisite poison in the air"

Is your soul a good bargaining chip for perpetual youth and beauty? Young Dorian Gray was led to believe so and impulsively struck that bargain. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is the story of his decline into depravity following that ill-advised trade-off. The story is well-known in popular culture. An artist becomes obsessed with his young model's attractiveness. He and his jaded friend compete for influence over the young man. The friend corrupts young Dorian, encourages him to embrace a life of sensual pleasure and to prize his own beauty. Dorian exclaims that he resents the portrait because IT will keep the freshness of youth -- then the fateful words, that he would give his soul if the picture could decay instead of his own face and body.

Be careful what you wish for! Over the next twenty years Dorian sinks into the depths of moral slime and watches the hidden portrait show all the signs of that immorality, while his own face and figure keep the blush of youth.

Along with the adulation of youth and beauty, Oscar Wilde delves into the theme of art as morally neutral, a principle of the aesthetic school of thought. Can art be moral or immoral? Should it teach us, improve us? That was the common 19th century view but the school of aestheticism believed that the arts had no role in moral enlightenment. The preface of the book lays out this theme in a series of proclamations.

The entire book, like all of Wilde's work, is packed with "sound bites." The corrupting friend, Lord Henry Wotton, is particularly prone to Polonius-like declamations, and Dorian tells him, "You cut life to pieces with your epigrams!" In fact Wilde does that, ripping into polite society and the opium dens of London alike.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" is Oscar Wilde's only published novel. It first appeared in a magazine in 1890 as a shorter work, and was later expanded and edited to remove some of the more blatant homosexual references. His writing is exquisite, his themes repugnant but (dare I say it?) edifying. "What does it profit a man ..."

Highly recommended as a true classic of modern literature. I read this book when I was young and thought I understood it. Now that I'm not so young, I'm sure that I don't.

NOTE: I listened to this book on CD, not tape, but I chose this product link because it's the same production. The Brilliance Audio Library Edition, read by Michael Page, was incomparably presented and added a great deal to my enjoyment of this absorbing book.

Linda Bulger, 2008

5-0 out of 5 stars Oscar Wilde is a Genius
After reading some of the contemporary reviews of this book, I was more than a little curious to see how awful this book really was. I was skeptical that it could be bad, because I'm very familiar with the wit of Wilde. As far as gothic novels go, this book ranks high in the Victorian era. Looking back from a historical perspective, I can see why the critics of the time disliked it. But from today's perspective, it is nothing short of brilliant. Wilde weaves a story like few authors could ever dream of doing, and of course his wit is played out beautifully in this book as well. full of quips and quirks, this book is a must read for anybody who has a love of sharp, intelligent writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wilde at his best, beware not to be poisoned by this book.
Unfortunately I made it through both high school and college without ever having been assigned this book. Over the years I have read plenty of Wilde's works, but for some reason or another, missed this one over and over. I recently sat down, and decided that it was time to give this a read. To be honest, I knew very little about this actual book prior to reading it, other than it involved a picture that aged rather than he in the painting.

I expected to have difficulty reading this book, since it had been such a long time since I had read anything from the Victorian era, however the language was surprisingly simple, and Wilde's wit is as sharp as ever. Almost sharp enough to harm the reader should they not be forewarned or guided through the readings. Should someone of a weaker mind read this book, it would be easy to fall into the trap of Dorian, who himself was poisoned by a book and the words of his friend.

Summary without giving too much away: Dorian Gray is an Adonis-like beauty, young and full of life and innocence at the beginning of our story. His beauty has attracted the obsession of a painter who paints picture after picture of him. Basil (the painter) tries to keep young Dorian pure and in love with life. Henry, a friend of Basil's comes to the studio as Basil paints his master work - a portrait of Doran. Henry fascinates young Dorian in his vile manner of speaking and sarcastic wit. His talk instills in Dorian both a fear of losing his beauty and a lust for all that is selfish and vile in life. Dorian's notable debauchery follows in exquisite detail with Henry always along for the ride to prod young Dorian down the wrong road. Several suicides and a murder or two later, complete madness begins to make its appearance.

Wilde was brilliant in his writing of this book, he captures the time perfectly... the lust of it, the sexuality of it, the debauchery of it... all in the name of truth. In their words they say things that their hearts dare not to believe and their smiles are masks hiding the truth. And what if someone believed in these lies? What if they lived their life according to what they had been told? Then they would be Dorian Gray... and we will see what happens to him. This is a brilliant read, and for those of you who will have to write papers on it... the story is not long, but it is thick with meaning. There are very few stories that I would give 5 stars to, this is one of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally - I got to read this
I have always heard of Dorian Gray, but never got around to reading it until now. Very well written and a wonderful Gothic classic. This freebie is worth downloading. The devil seems to be none other than his so-called friend who points out some truths to the shallow Dorian. That begins his unravelling. I won't be commissioning any portraits of myself - ever! (Reviewed from my Kindle 2). Read more


83. Port Mortuary
by Patricia Cornwell
Kindle Edition
list price: $27.95
Asin: B00466ILUK
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 9
Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

From the world's #1 bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel.

Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell's 18th Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Scarpetta's past merges with the high tech highway she now finds herself on. We travel back to the beginning of her professional career, when she enlisted in the Air Force to pay off her medical school debt and found herself ensnared in a gruesome case of what seemed to be vicious, racially motivated hate crimes against two Americans in South Africa. Now, more than twenty years and many career successes later, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base, where she has been immersed in a training fellowship to master the art of CT-assisted virtual autopsy--a procedure the White House has mandated that she introduce in the private sector.

As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments and MIT, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally. A young man drops dead, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta's new Cambridge home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked insider the Center's cooler. Various 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen. These suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties. She realizes that she is fighting a cunning and cruel enemy that is invisible as she races against time to discover who and why before more people die.

In Port Mortuary, Patricia Cornwell brings Scarpetta together with Marino, Benton, and Lucy in an intimate way that is reminiscent of the early novels, and we welcome a voice we haven't heard in years. The point of view is Scarpetta's, and this is her story.
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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Not her best effort
I am a long time fan of Patricia Cornwell and I wait each year for my book to be delivered so that I can delve back into the world of Scarpetta, Benton and Lucy. That being said, I was disappointed with this book. Disappointed in a way that I cannot quite find words for, which disturbs me greatly. I found it heavy, not in a good way, pedantic, bogged down by pointless material that was at many times inconsequential to the story line and the ending was in no way a resolution to the stress between Benton and Scarpetta.

I do like the fact that the perspective switched back to a first person point of view through Scarpetta's eyes because I think everything should be viewed through her eyes the way they once were. I also thought it was good to shine a measure of light on topics that rarely get talked about in fiction. All of this said, I was still depressed by this book because I know how much better the Scarpetta books can be and I just had a hard time with this book as a whole. And as a final note, I know that hardcore Scarpetta fans will not be deterred just as I wouldn't have been because I just had to know myself, but that said, I found the humanity, the relationships and the basic foundation that makes the series so good to me lacking in this novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars A winner as usual
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is the new director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts. Working with her at the Massachusetts facility is her niece Lucy and Pete Marino. Kay attends a training fellowship at Port Mortuary in Dover Air Force Base where she is learning the latest technology that she can apply at the CFC. While she is at the Delaware installation, her second in command Jack Fielding runs CFC until he freaks out when a corpse starts bleeding.

Knowing Jack cannot cope with the situation, Kay returns home having finished the course anyway. When she arrives at CFC, she finds the inmates running the asylum. Scarpetta takes 3-D virtual technology x-rays, which shows internal injuries unlike any she has seen before. She has no idea what weapon could have caused such damage. Benton is working a case in which a suspect swore he killed a child, but he believes the confession is false as he thinks the victim's death is connected to Scarpetta's odd case. Soon there are two more deaths seemingly separate cases but Scarpetta makes connections that tie her victim to Benton's case and feels all the deaths are linked but her husband is not talking about the cases as he usually does.

Ignoring that Scarpetta as the director would not have time for bench work and follow-up especially on a new Fed-State-MIT venture; her latest forensic inquiry is a fantastic thriller with the lab work as gripping if not more so as the foot work. Told in the first person by the heroine, readers obtain Scarpetta's perspective on the case, her marriage, her new job, Dover (past and present), and her feeling about Lucy and Marino. The story line retains throughout a fast pace and is action-packed even in the lab as Patricia Cornwell interweaves state of the art technology (we've come a long ways from the Body farm) into a strong whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

5-0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY MUST READ - GREAT BOOK!
Scarpetta fans, Ms Cornwell finally returns to the first-person perspective. That alone adds so much to the book. Port Mortuary may very well be Patricia's best. All of the usual characters are there, but this one seems to be all about Kay and Benton, and their relationship. I was really caught up into what was going on in Kay's mind with her seemingly left out of a lot of things and being behind the rest of the group. Plus, all of her questions about Benton and his motives. The amount of work, research, and detail that this author puts into her books is nothing short of amazing. She doesn't just sit in front of a computer and type words. Ms Cornwell devotes months and months to doing the research for each book and leaves no stone unturned or task untried to get the information she wants. Her books are exciting to read because you feel like you are there. As I have said, you can "feel" this book. Loved it. Could not put it down and didn't want it to end. Read more


84. Make Mine Midnight
by Annmarie McKenna
Kindle Edition (2009-11-19)
list price: $2.50
Asin: B002XOTPYI
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

New Year’s resolutions have never looked so good.

New Year’s Eve. The party is rockin’, and Claire is in her usual spot holding up the wall. It’s all right. She’s much happier scribbling in her trusty little notebook than mingling. Especially since those notes turn into the sexy erotic romances she pens in secret. Those two gorgeous gods across the room are perfect hero material and…oh dear, are they headed her way?

Mason and Hunter know she won’t remember them as the scrawny geeks they were in high school. She also doesn’t know they’ve been lusting after her for ten long years, waiting for her to meet a man and have a normal relationship. They’re through waiting. The time has come to make their move—and show her exactly how much they’ve changed.

One night in the middle of a Mason/Hunter manwich, and Claire has enough research material to fill a hundred notebooks. Good thing she’s got OfficeMax on speed dial to order more. Except suddenly her two hunks have this crazy idea that keeping her is selfish. Selfish? She may be mousy, but this mouse is about to roar…

Warning: Threesomes! Light bondage, blindfolds, breakfast made by two hot men who used to be geeks. Parades, cotton candy, more sex, and convincing said men they are WRONG and threesomes are RIGHT.

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Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Sexy but flimsy plot
It's entertaining, but not the next great romance novel.

Con: Plot is flimsy (even for a shorter work). The characters aren't believable, changing their minds for absurd reasons.

Pro: The sex is hot. The flow is easy to follow and the characters humorous.

It's worth the price if you're looking for an entertaining threesome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringin' in the New Year, Menage Style
Great hot short tale of a closet erotica writer finding the two men of her dreams. Fun, sexy, touching. Old schoolmates being reunited has never been this hot. Annmarie McKenna satisfies again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Make Mine Midnight
Claire Crater is at a rocking New Year's Eve party but is she celebrating? No, once again she's sitting against a wall writing in her notebook. Claire is an erotic writer and her characters seriously have a richer love life than Claire ever has. While searching for her next hero, Claire focuses on a man who is gorgeous and seems slightly familiar. No, she would remember if she had ever known anyone who looked like him. Mason Ledbetter along with his best friend, Hunter Morris, went to high school with Claire. They were the typical class nerds and never had the guts to ask her out even though they wanted to. While she still looks the same, they have changed--for the better. Tonight, both Mason and Hunter plan on fulfilling a long-time dream to have Claire between them - not only tonight but forever. After a night of fireworks, reactions make the two decide to give up Claire. Too bad they didn't ask her first because she has other ideas.

What happens when the high school nerds grow up hot and sexy? Make Mine Midnight gives Mason and Hunter their fantasy - a grown up Claire in their bed. Claire is an erotic writer who lives in the worlds she makes up. Mason and Hunter are best friends with one common goal and are ready to achieve it. From the minute Claire re-meets Mason and Hunter at the party, sparks are flying and just get hotter as the night goes on. I was ready to give Claire a high five when she turned the tables on both of her men to show only they matter in any type of relationship. Make Mine Midnight is one erotic and hot meeting between old high school classmates - one that is an instant favorite in my erotic library.

Jo
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed

5-0 out of 5 stars Good menage.
I thougth this was wicked hot! The menage was great and the story fit just fine. I really liked the easy style of reading and the erotic was right on. A real good read and good menage. I would defintely recommend it, along with Male/Female/Male and Romantic Hedonism: Two Erotic Novels. Read more


85. Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas
by Ace Collins
Kindle Edition
list price: $15.99
Asin: B000SF9WZQ
Publisher: Zondervan
Sales Rank: 2402
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Behind the Christmas songs we love to sing lie fascinating stories that will enrich your holiday celebration. Taking you inside the nativity of over thirty favorite songs and carols, Ace Collins introduces you to people you've never met, stories you've never heard, and meanings you'd never have imagined. The next time you and your family sing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' you'll have a new understanding of its message and popular roots. You'll discover how 'Angels from the Realms of Glory,' with its sublime lyrics and profound theology, helped usher in a quiet revolution in worship. You'll learn the strange history of the haunting and powerful 'O Holy Night,' including the song's surprising place in the history of modern communications. And you'll step inside the life of Mark Lowry and find out how he came to pen the words to the contemporary classic 'Mary, Did You Know?'Still other songs such as 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' trace back to mysterious origins--to ninth-century monks, nameless clergy, and unknown commoners of ages past. Joining hands with such modern favorites as 'White Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song,' they are part of the legacy of inspiration, faith, tears, love, and spiritual joy that is Christmas. From the rollicking appeal of 'Jingle Bells' to the tranquil beauty of 'Silent Night,' the great songs of Christmas contain messages of peace, hope, and truth. Each in its own way expresses a facet of God's heart and celebrates the birth of his greatest gift to the world--Jesus, the most wonderful Christmas Song of all. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Sloppy research
For someone with 50 books to his credit--as per the dust jacket--Collins is highly sloppy in the research of this book. As has been previously noted, he just presented a common story about the origins of "Silent Night" without necessarily having done any deep research. And the comments about "The Twelve Days of Christmas" come straight from a silly internet piece, with no basis in fact.

This is common throughout this book. It seems more often than not, Collins has just done some cursory internet research and then slapped it all together and called it good.

Some other screw-ups: Irving Berlin was worried that "White Christmas" wasn't really a good song. Actually Berlin, upon introducing it to his office staff and musical secretary, refered to it as "not only the greatest song I've ever written, but the greatest song ever written." Berlin at one point had plans to make White Christmas the main production number in a major Broadway revue. In performing it for Crosby and studio execs, Berlin got nervous with himself and choked in performing it. You can read about this in Jody Rosen's excellent book on White Christmas, called "White Christmas."

As for his assertions about the meaning and origin of the term Merry in merry Christmas, he gets it wrong again. Ten minutes in the Oxford English Dictionary, available at any decent public library, would have given him the answers.

Better Books on this subject are Rosen's afforementioned book and "The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols" ed. Ian Bradbury.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating book!
I heard about this book by listening to WMBI in Chicago the week before Christmas. They had the author on, telling one Christmas carol song per day. Immediately I purchased the book, and am thoroughly enjoying it!

Ace tells the stories of 31 favorite Christmas songs. They aren't all traditional carols, but include "Mary Did You Know", and a couple of secular-based Christmas songs such as "Silver Bells" and "Rudolph". I would love to know where Mr. Collins got all his information - there is no Bibliography.

The book itself is very attractive - you can see what the cover is like above, but inside, the print is a deep blue, and there are simple drawings and borders using the same blue. This makes it very visually appealing.

The best way to read "Stories Behind the Best-Love Songs of Christmas" would probably be to read one chapter per day for the 31 days before Christmas. But you can also read it straight through, or dip into the chapter that talks about YOUR favorite Christmas song.

As a perfect companion to Ace Collins' book, I recommend "Christ in the Carols" by Christopher and Melodie Lane. In this book, the emphasis is on finding Christ in the carols and how these carols express so beautifully the glorious and mysterious incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Take the time out this Christmas to enjoy the history and meaning of these beloved songs of Christmas! This book would make a wonderful gift!

You might be interested in checking out my other reviews of Christian books adn music. Read more


86. Hell's Corner
by David Baldacci
Kindle Edition
list price: $12.99
Asin: B003UBTX7C
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Sales Rank: 13
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Oliver Stone and the Camel Club return in #1 bestselling author David Baldacci's most stunning adventure yet.

An attack on the heart of power . . .

In sight of the White House . . .

At a place known as . . .

HELL'S CORNER

John Carr, aka Oliver Stone-once the most skilled assassin his country ever had-stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The president has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk, covert mission. Though he's fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes.

Then Stone's mission changes drastically before it even begins. It's the night of a state dinner honoring the British prime minister. As he watches the prime minister's motorcade leave the White House that evening, a bomb is detonated in Lafayette Park, an apparent terrorist attack against both leaders. It's in the chaotic aftermath that Stone takes on a new, more urgent assignment: find those responsible for the bombing.

British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman becomes Stone's partner in the search for the unknown attackers. But their opponents are elusive, capable, and increasingly lethal; worst of all, it seems that the park bombing may just have been the opening salvo in their plan. With nowhere else to turn, Stone enlists the help of the only people he knows he can trust: the Camel Club. Yet that may be a big mistake.

In the shadowy worlds of politics and intelligence, there is no one you can really trust. Nothing is really what it seems to be. And Hell's Corner truly lives up to its name. This may be Oliver Stone's and the Camel Club's last stand.
... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Wild ride of politics and intrigue
I haven't read the other Camel Club books but this stand-alone thriller interested me after reading the highly recommended Gods of Ruin: A Political Thriller. Hell's Corner is the park accross from the white house that is guarded by DC police, Secret Service, and park police and is the hub for tourists and protesters. I wasn't sure why it was called that until all hell broke loose when the protagonist, Oliver Stone (a dig on the director?) was caught in gunfire and an explosion when meeting his band of patriots at the park.

When Stone awakes from getting knocked out, he's got a new mission: find out who was behind the attack at Hell's Corner. He teams up with a Brit and gets help from his Camel Club peeps as he investigates first a Mexican drug cartel, then the Russians. During the investigation, one government bureaucracy after another gets in the way.

If you like "Gods", which has a better premise, you'll like Hell's Corner. It's got political commentary, action, and it's well-written (better than Baldacci's earlier works).

5-0 out of 5 stars You will not be able to put this book down
Oliver Stone has led so many lives he lost count. For all the losses he has suffered there has been the gain in his friends and cohorts known as the Camel Club. A group of people that are as different they come together and make one large, right group. They solve crimes, take care of each other and never fail to have one another's back. But this latest case is one Stone has to handle on his own and no one including him is happy about it even though the President of the United States is asking for his help.

But before Stone can do his work for the President a bomb goes off across the street from the White House creating the scenario where conclusions are drawn, angles are worked and assumptions made. While everyone is running to the right the masterminds are veering to the left and keeping everyone off balance including all the alphabet agencies in Washington, DC. Stone is drafted back into the service of the government with the promise that all past indiscretions would be erased yet the problem for Stone is that his sins have been of such huge proportion he is not sure this is a statement based in fact. But Stone finds himself partnered with an MI6 agent who is as cunning as he is and keeps up even while running after him. The Camel Club goes from upset at being turned away to forcing its way into the investigation and from that moment on the determination to capture the criminal and figure out what is really going on grows to a proportion even Stone can't control.

But the agency he is now working for is throwing him off with smoke and mirrors, bodies are piling up, misconceptions abound and everyone becomes a suspect. Stone wants the nightmare to stop but for every decision he makes that draws a resolution to the case another one shows up to prove to him the last one was way off base and leads blow away with the wind.

Without his group Stone knows he can't solve this case but in this particular situation is the gain of apprehension worth the answer to who did the deed?

This series blows me away every time because the characters have so much depth and they are written with such clarity that you feel they just passed you on the street and said Good Morning. Stone may lead this merry band of misfits but he is not their leader he is a member of a close knit, well thought out group of people that can easily carry any book on their own and have proven that in the past. Mr. Baldacci knows how to write a great story and this one stands out in that it will scare you to realize the fiction he is proposing is probably fact and I hope there is a retired Agent Stone out there protecting us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Give the author a break
I have read all the Camel Club books, and I enjoyed all of the others more than this one. The club takes a back seat in this novel, and it is just Stone/Carr against the world as he plods through this overly complicated plot.

Missing is the personality development and the interactions between the various members of the club, which made Baldacci's other novels so entertaining.

If you are a fan of the Camel Club books, you will have to read this one, just so you will know where all of the characters are starting from in the next novel - but, rest assured, this will not turn out as one of your favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great cutting edge novel from Baldacci
As a very loyal Fan of Mr Baldacci, I bought this book as soon as it came out, but it was very disappointing. The president himself begs an aging (60+ graveyard caretaker who doesn't even speak Russian) to stop the Russian Government from destroying America by flooding the country with drugs. Because NO ONE in the CIA, or any other organization has the special skills to Before he has a chance to do it, He is embroiled in determining who tried to kill the British Prime Minister, To do this he is paired with the Super Sexy British spy(who makes James bond look like a week girl scout, In any good spy thriller, the basic premise should at least be plausible but this goes way beyond the limits of believability. The dialog is boring. that action is boring, the whole book is boring!!!!

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87. Crossing Oceans
by Gina Holmes
Kindle Edition
list price: $11.99
Asin: B003N3UBXW
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Sales Rank: 130
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice. ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Debut
I've read thousands of books in my lifetime, but few have ever stayed with me like Crossing Oceans. Gina Holmes taps into every emotion known to man, and she does it well. She has truly mastered the art of storytelling. The young mother, Jenny, will capture your heart on the first page, as will her daughter, Isabella. But this isn't a simple story by any means. It's deep and complex. You'll go from tears to laughter, and when you turn the last page, you'll wish it wasn't. This is a book you want to go on. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenchingly Beautiful
I am one of the pickiest readers and this book captivated me from page one. Not only is Gina Holme's a terrific writer with beautiful prose, but her story is as real as it gets. It's not often a book can make me laugh out loud and cry all within the same bound pages, but Crossing Oceans did that and more. It's a painfully beautiful story that will keep you awake until 2am just to finish it in one sitting. You won't want to leave her characters. In fact, I want to know them more. I highly recommend this book and I can only say that about less than a handful of fiction books out there. This is one you won't want to miss! Can't wait to read more from this lovely author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tear-Jerking, Poignant, Hopeful Debut
I am always hesitant to review a book written by a friend. Can you imagine how much more apprehensive I was reading the debut novel from not only a friend but a critique partner? A critique partner lives to rip and shred work to point out what's wrong and what needs to be changed to make the work readable.

Though I've critiqued Gina Holmes for years, I had just glimpses into Crossing Oceans and I knew it was a very different style from her previous suspense novels. Her suspense is strong. But how well would her voice translate to women's fiction?

Once I opened her book and began to read I can say that her voice translates with a poignant grace that is rare in a debut novelist. And Crossing Oceans is a story that Holmes was meant to tell.

Holmes tackles a heavy story line with a touch of whimsy and deep, deep melancholy, sometimes in the same paragraph. A young mother, emotionally orphaned when her mother died and father cocooned himself in a cloak of angry grief, finds herself forced to return to the home she had escaped. Jenny has Stage IV metastatic cancer and must reunite with the family she fled for the sake of her little girl's very near future need. With less than a year to repair and restore relationships Jenny tackles the past and the future, the present and the pain, all while attempting to give her daughter, Isabella, memories and love and what life she has available to give.

This is a novel that quickly overcame the author and my relationship with her. The story told itself in a realistic and three-dimensional tale of life and death, sorrow and fear, choices and consequences, pain and beauty, loss and hope. Holmes voice is similar to some of my favorite authors in the Christian fiction genre, Siri Mitchell, Charles Martin, Susan Meissner, Claudia Mair Burney, Lisa Samson and Bonnie Groves.

Crossing Oceans is not an easy read. It is haunting and beautiful and raw. Expect to cry and expect to remember this family long after you turn the last page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Wonderful Read
I read Crossing Oceans in one day. I just could not put it down-- this is totally unusal for me. Will be suggesting to family and friends to read- also unusual for me. Gina Holmes writes with such wit that even while you are tearing up, you are still smiling. A tough subject made real. It is about faith without being sanctimonious (sp?); it is about pain and forgiveness without being depressing. And I think above all it is about love that lasts.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
My eyes are still raw from the many tears that I've shed over the last few hours as I devoured this beautiful haunting debut. In fact, the only time I put it down was to gather myself so I could keep reading on.

This is the story of a young mother dying of cancer, but somehow Gina Holmes manages to take a premise that often results on an over wrought, self-indulgent book and instead write a haunting, gorgeous tale that will make you laugh, sob and swing through every other emotion on the spectrum.

This debut is a masterpiece, well worth your time and money. It will definitely be at the top of the Christmas list for many of the woman in my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Touches Your Soul
I had never heard of this author and the description of the book sounded good. I was afraid it would be sad and morbid but this was one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. It captures you from the first page and you are transported to the space and time to walk with Jenny and "Bella" on Jenny's final journey. I kept hoping there would be a happy ending but knowing the severity of the situation I knew it couldn't happen. But it wasn't sad. Bella wasn't the only one who was prepared when Jenny passed and the epilogue was so unexpected and beautiful.

This is a book that will hold a special place on my book shelf and be read over and over. It is a must read. You won't be sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars well written poignant weeper
Following the death of her mother, a pregnancy in which her lover David Preston dumped her without knowing she was carrying and a fight with her father, Jenny Lucas left Tulleytown, North Carolina vowing to never return. Six years later, she and her daughter Isabella have come home. Her oxygen carrying Mama Peg welcomes her granddaughter and great-granddaughter while her daddy remains hurt and distant until Jenny explains she is dying from cancer just like her mom though a different form of the killer.

Jenny seeks a caretaker for her child as she knows Mama Peg is not healthy enough and her dad failed her. She considers David, but when she goes to tell him he is a father, he is nasty. Ironically his wife Lindsay is nice. Her high school peer Craig Allen who rents a loft is kind to mother and daughter. However, the clock is running out on Jenny and she must decide what is best for her beloved daughter between her father and her former lover; both who failed her when she grieved her mom's death at a time when she needed each of them; she fears they will do again but this time she cannot clean up the mess.

The key to this well written poignant weeper is no miracle occurs saving Jenny, but the right person is there for Isabella if the dying mom can get through the pain of her past to see the future as her dad believes David's dad's misdiagnosed his wife's illness leading to her death. Character driven with a powerful ensemble cast supporting Jenny, readers will appreciate the angst filling an ocean as Jenny worries who will raise Isabella once she dies.

Harriet Klausner
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88. Emma
by Jane Austen
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKSZKI
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.3 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


89. Frankenstein
by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQUZCI
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.1 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 DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION!!!!!!
This "enriched classics" is a bowdlerized version of Mary Shelley's original text. It eliminates passages, changes the diction, abridges the chapters, and changes the entire structure of the novel. Our school bought this edition thinking that the additional notes would be helpful to students studying the text, but there was no indication at all on Amazon's website that this version had been substantially altered by the editors. The book is so bowdlerized that our school bought an entire new set of texts for the students at a considerable finanacial loss for the school. WHATEVER YOU DO, BUY SOME OTHER VERSION OF FRANKENSTEIN. THIS ONE IS A MONSTER CREATED BY SOMEONE WHO HAS NO RESPECT FOR THE AUTHOR. BANTAM, PUFFIN, OXFORD -- THEY ARE ALL FINE. Irene Nicastro, English teacher, The American School of The Hague.

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving, disturbing, depressing, but also touching tale
Much like Bram Stoker's "Dracula", Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is a story we all think we know, but really don't. Very few films have consciously attempted to follow the novel too closely (which shouldn't detract from the excellent James Whale/Boris Karloff film, or its masterpiece-sequel, "The Bride of Frankenstein). Thus, everything popular culture "knows" about "Frankenstein" does not originate from literature, but from films. This is a shame, in a way, because the novel itself is, if not the progenitor, an early vessel of so many archetypes found science fiction and horror.

The basic plot remained intact when transferred to other media. Swiss medical student Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of life (which he never reveals, lest someone repeat the mistake). He then puts together a body, essentially a man, from various corpses. He then becomes horrified by the creature he has built, and abandons. The creature, suffering a great deal of neglect and abuse, still manages to get a thorough education, and learns of his lineage. After murdering Victor's younger brother, and framing the family maid, the creature tells his (admittedly) sad tale to his "father", and then demands a mate. Victor, in a panic, agrees, then thinks better of it at the last moment, destroying the new bride. In retaliation, the creature murders all of Victor's loved ones (including his wife), and leads Victor on a merry chase across the world.

Most probably know that Mary Shelley wrote this book in response to a challenge issued by Lord Byron, during a vacation at Lake Geneva. (Along with this story came John Polidori's "The Vampyre", the first English vampire novel.) Most probably also know that Shelley went on to write other works of imaginative gothic fiction. Still, her modern reputation rests with this book, understandably.

As stated, numerous archetypes (themes, plot lines, characters) are present here. The basic fear of what evil technology may bring along with the good is a central theme, as is the warning against playing God. So is the implicit admonition to be responsible in all things, be it during innovation or being a parent. The creature is, for all intents and purposes, an android-everyone from Gort to C-3PO owe their existence to the Frankenstein monster. And the monster that slays all but one protagonist is a staple of horror, be it traditional monster movies, like "Alien", or more realistic slasher movies like "Halloween".

But, as I noted at the beginning of this review, certain of these elements have been lost in most interpretations. The creature is actually intelligent, and well-spoken, quite different from the inarticulate grunts or slow, half-sentences of the movies (again, no disrespect to Karloff). Further, while the films have made lightening a staple of the creatures creation, Shelley never really explains the process (probably knowing that she might interfere with the plausibility of her work). Finally, one of the staples of the films is the explanation for the creatures "evil" nature. Often, the problem lies with the brain used, which almost invariably is a criminal brain, or is damaged before implantation. In the book, the creature is really a child that's horribly neglected, but with the strength and intelligence to strike back: id without superego, and without restraints.

Thus, "Frankenstein" will be a new experience for readers who have never experienced it. Unlike "Dracula", there aren't any moments where a reader might look up and suddenly realize how quiet it is in the house, or how dark it's gotten outside. In that regard, "Frankenstein" has not aged particularly well. Throughout, however, it is a moving, disturbing, depressing, but also a touching and beautiful tale. Those qualities have withstood the test of time. While it is not always a rollicking adventure, it is a rewarding read.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Relevant Today Than When First Written
Modern readers must jump through a number of hoops to enjoy this legendary novel. Written between 1816 and 1818, this is very much a novel of its era, and both language and ideas about plot are quite different from those of today. That aside, and unlike such contemporaries as Jane Austen, author Mary Shelly has never been greatly admired for her literary style, which is often awkward. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that of our own expectations: while it certainly sent icy chills down the spines of 19th Century readers, FRANKENSTEIN is not a horror novel per se.

While Mary Shelly might have been stylistically weak, her story was not. Nothing like it had been written before, and the concept of a student endowing life upon a humanoid creature cobbled together from charnel house parts was unexpectedly shocking to the reading public. But even more shocking were the ideas that Shelly brought to the story. Having created this thing in his own image, what--if anything--does the creator owe it? And in posing this question, Shelly very deliberately raises her novel to an even more complex level: this is not merely the conflict of man and his creation, but also a questioning of God and his responsibility toward his creation.

In some respects, the book is written like the famous philosophical "dialogues" of the ancient world: a counterpoint of questions and arguments that do battle for the reader's acceptance. More than anything else, FRANKENSTEIN is a novel of ethics and of ideas about ideas, with Mary Shelly's themes arrayed in multiple layers throughout: God, self, society, science; responsibility to self, to society, to the things we bring to society, to the truth; life, integrity, and death--these are the ideas and issues that predominate the book, and any one expecting a horror novel pure and simple is out of luck.

Mary Shelly is a rare example of a writer whose ideas clearly outstrip her literary skill--but whose ideas are so powerful that they transcend her literary limitations and continue to resonate today. And indeed, as science continues to advance, it could not be otherwise so. Mary Shelly could not see into the future of DNA research, laboratory-grown tissues, test-tube babies and the like--but between 1816 and 1818 she wrote a book about the ethical dilemmas that swirl around them. And for all its flaws, FRANKENSTEIN is perhaps even more relevant today than it was over a hundred and fifty years ago.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

5-0 out of 5 stars underestimated classic
The 19th Century bequeathed us four immediately recognizable, vibrant & enduring fictional icons: Shelley's Frankenstein; Stoker's Dracula; Melville's Moby Dick (& Ahab); and Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Each of them has, I fear, suffered a horrible fate: they are so familiar to us, in their many modern incarnations & imitations, that too few people return to the original texts. This may be particularly true of Frankenstein, whose portrayals have been so frivolous and distorted. In fact, in addition to being written in luxuriant gothic prose, the original novel is one of the most profound meditations on Man and his purpose and relation to God that has exists in our literature.

Victor Frankenstein is a young man of Geneva who is fascinated by the sciences and the secrets of life and death:

My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement; but by some law in my temperature they were turned not towards childish pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately. I confess that neither the structure of languages, nor the code of governments, nor the politics of various states possessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world.

While at University in Ingolstadt, his life course is set when he hears a professor lecture on modern chemistry:

'The ancient teachers of this science,'said he, 'promised impossibilities and performed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heavens, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows.'

Such were the professor's words--rather let me say such were the words of the fate--enounced to destroy me.

Victor goes on to discover, through the study of chemistry, the secret of bringing dead flesh to life. Inevitably he tests his discovery and of viewing his creation cries:

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

And so, repelled by the mere appearance, the inevitable imperfection, of his work, Frankenstein rejects the creature utterly. However, unlike the mute stupid monster of the movies, Shelley's monster is articulate and sensitive and longs for companionship, but all of humankind reacts to him with horror. And so he demands that Frankenstein build him a mate. When Frankenstein refuses to provide him with a companion, the creature resolves to destroy those who Frankenstein loves.

Finally, Frankenstein determines that he must destroy the creature and pursues him into the frozen wastes of the North.

It all makes for a rousing adventure, but there is much more here. Frankenstein, through his work, has attempted to become a god, but his creation is a horrible disappointment & so, is banished from him. Meanwhile, his flawed creation, filled with ineffable longing and confusion, wanders in exile seeking the meaning of his existence. And what is the impulse that he settles upon, but another act of creation; a mate must be created for him. The Biblical parallels are obvious, but they work on us subtly as we read the novel. In the end, the uncontrollable urge to create, to imitate God, stands revealed as Man's driving force. And the inevitable disappointment of the creator in his creation, is revealed as the serpent in the garden.

If you've never read this book, read it now. If you've read it before, read it again.

GRADE: A+

5-0 out of 5 stars Gothic at its best
Mary Shelley was the daughter of the famous feminist and author, Mary Wollstonecraft, who is best known for her work The Vindication of the Rights of Women. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a young university student, Victor Frankenstein, obsesses with wanting to know the secret to life. He studies chemistry and natural philosophy with the goal of being able to create a human out of spare body parts. After months of constant work in his laboratory, Frankenstein attains his goal and brings his creation to life. Frankenstein is immediately overwrought by fear and remorse at the sight of his creation, a "monster." The next morning, he decides to destroy his creation but finds that the monster has escaped. The monster, unlike other humans, has no social preparation or education; thus, it is unequipped to take care of itself either physically or emotionally. The monster lives in the forest like an animal without knowledge of "self" or understanding of its surroundings. The monster happens upon a hut inhabited by a poor family and is able to find shelter in a shed adjacent to the hut. For several months, the monster starts to gain knowledge of human life by observing the daily life of the hut's inhabitants through a crack in the wall. The monster's education of language and letters begins when he listens to one of them learning the French language. During this period, the monster also learns of human society and comes to the realization that he is grotesque and alone in the world. Armed with his newfound ability to read, he reads three books that he found in a leather satchel in the woods. Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther, Milton's Paradise Lost, and a volume of Plutarch's Lives. The monster, not knowing any better, read these books thinking them to be facts about human history. From Plutarch's works, he learns of humankind's virtues. However, it is Paradise Lost that has a most interesting effect on the monster's understanding of self. The monster at first identifies with Adam, "I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence." The monster, armed only with his limited education, thought that he would introduce himself to the cottagers and depend on their virtue and benevolence; traits he believed from his readings that all humans possessed. However, soon after his first encounter with the cottagers, he is beaten and chased off because his ugliness frightens people. The monster is overwrought by a feeling of perplexity by this reaction, since he thought he would gain their trust and love, which he observed them generously give to each other on so many occasions. He receives further confirmation of how his ugliness repels people when, sometime later, he saves a young girl from drowning and the girl's father shoots at him because he is frightful to look at. The monster quickly realizes that the books really lied to him. He found no benevolence or virtue among humans, even from his creator. At every turn in his life, humans are judging him solely based on his looks. The monster soon realizes that it is not Adam, the perfect being enjoying the world, which he is most alike. Instead, he comes to realize that he most represents Satan. The monster is jealous of the happiness he sees humans enjoy that he has never attained for himself. The monster tells Frankenstein that he found his lab journal in his coat pocket and read it with increasing hate and despair as he came to understand what Frankenstein's intent was in creating him. The monster curses Frankenstein for making a creature so hideous that even his creator turned from him in disgust.

Shelley's intent here is plain to see. "The fate of the monster suggests that proficiency in `the art of language' as he calls it, may not ensure one's position as a member of the `human kingdom." In a sense, she is showing that both her parents were mistaken when they advocated greater education reform for people. They thought education would make people better, which in turn would improve society for all. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein contradicts this belief.

Starting with the full title of Mary Shelley's book, Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus one can instantly see that mythology was integral to her book. Lord Byron, poet and friend of the Shelley's was writing a poem entitled Prometheus, and Mary was reading the Prometheus legend in Aeschylus' works when she had a dream, which was the impetus for her book. The Greek god Prometheus, is known for two important tasks that he performed, he created man from clay, and he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. The stealing of fire really angered Zeus because the giving of fire began an era of enlightenment for humankind. Zeus punished Prometheus by having him carried to a mountain, where an eagle would pick at his liver; it would grow back each day and the eagle would eat it again.

The presence of fire and light in this gothic story helps to point to the similarities to Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the monster, in Shelley's book. The book uses light as a symbol of discovery, knowledge, and enlightenment. The natural world is full of hidden passages, and dark unknown scientific secrets; Victor's goal as a scientist is to grasp towards the light. Light is a by-product of fire that the monster learned quickly when he is living on his own. The monster experienced fires' duality when he first encountered it in an unattended fire in the woods. He is mesmerized by the fact that fire produces light in the darkness in the woods, but is shocked at the sensation of pain it gives him when he touches it. Victor is defiant of god in the same way that Prometheus was defiant of Zeus. Victor steals the secret of life from god and creates a human out of spare body parts. He does this out of an altruistic wish to spare humankind from the pain and suffering of death. Thus, Victor Frankenstein embodies both aspects of the Promethean myth creation and fire. Victor in a sense has the same experience with the fire of enlightenment similar to his monster; he is "burned" by the fire of enlightenment. Victor also suffers from the classic Greek tragic condition of hubris for his transgression against god and nature.

The book also adopts two other great mythic legends. One is Adam from the Bible. Victor Frankenstein bears striking resemblance to Adam and his fall from grace for eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The other is Satan, a mythic figure that Shelley admired from her readings in Milton's book Paradise Lost. In an interesting juxtaposition of booth myths, she expands on the motif of the fall from grace in her book when she portrays the monster comparing himself to Adam; after he read, Milton's book Paradise Lost. The monster tells Victor, that he at first identifies with Adam God's first creation. "I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence." However, after several incidents of mistreatment that he suffered from the humans he encountered in his travels; the monster soon realized that it is not Adam, the perfect being enjoying the world, which he was most alike. Instead, he came to realize that he most represented Satan. The monster's feelings of hatred and despair stem from the fact that humans found him grotesque to look at and would not accept him as a member of human society. The monster cursed Victor for making a creature so hideous that even his creator turned from him in disgust. Thus, it is obvious for all to see that Shelley's Frankenstein is replete with mythological references and they are central to the plot.

This was required reading for a graduate course in the Humanities. Recommended reading for anyone interested in history, psychology, philosophy, and literature.


5-0 out of 5 stars A complex, poignant examination of human nature
Those who know Frankenstein only from movies and television may well be surprised to read the original book by Mary Shelley. Indeed, one may well look back to the cover to see if the book is in fact Frankenstein because the first pages consist of messages from an R. Walton to his sister concerning his expedition to the northern polar regions. Victor Frankenstein appears as a wretched creature stranded on an ice floe beside the ship. After he is rescued and recovers somewhat, he tells his incredible story to Walton, who in turn preserves the story in writing. Frankenstein reminisces about his happy childhood, particularly the close relationship between himself and his "cousin" Elizabeth, and then explains how his interest in discredited natural philosophy led him to create a living man of his own design. The creature is a hideous, misshapen, giant of a man who so disgusted Frankenstein upon his awakening that he fled his laboratory and residence. The creation process, it should be noted, in no way involved an elaborate machine powered by lightning such as is portrayed in the movies; in fact, beyond the fact that chemicals are involved, we are told nothing of the process. For two years, Frankenstein goes about life with a clinging sense of guilt and nervousness, hoping the creature has perished. When his little brother is murdered, though, he returns home and soon discovers that it was the monster who committed the deed. In an isolated mountainous area, the monster appears before him and explains his actions. Although the creature does nothing more than grunt in the movies, the original Frankenstein was possessed of great eloquence and intelligence, and he tells a moving story about his attempts to make a connection with a society that is revolted at the sight of him. He describes living in a small hovel at the back of a small house for many months, watching the interaction of the family inside, learning how to speak their language and eventually even learning how to read. When he eventually tries to interact with the family, he is assaulted and runs away, and it is at this point that his virtuous and peaceful nature begins to become inflamed into a torrent of hatred for mankind. When he rescues a girl from drowning, he is rewarded with a bullet in his shoulder. Each time he performs a good deed, mankind runs from him in disgust or attempts to harm him. Living in total isolation and loneliness, his one purpose in life eventually becomes tormenting his creator, and many terrible misfortunes ensue for Frankenstein, who himself eventually becomes dedicated to the sole purpose of destroying his tormentor.

Both Frankenstein and his monster are tragic figures. The complete alienation of the creature makes him a very sympathetic character in many respects, and he does perform many kind deeds for humans early on. Frankenstein is an utterly pitiable character utterly destroyed by his mad decision to create the monster; he burdens his soul with responsibility for every crime the monster commits, and his inability to tell anyone his secret for so long destroys him in body, mind, and soul; everyone and everything he cares for is taken from him by his horrible creation. His tendency to bemoan his fate at every turn of the narrative can get rather tiresome, but one cannot question the depth of his turmoil. Both creator and created seem to be mirror images of each other in important ways, their fates clearly tied to one another, each soul deserving both blame and pity. There is much about human nature, both good and bad, revealed in the monster's life as well as Frankenstein's; the novel is a far cry from horror for the sake of horror. This is actually a very complex, compelling story full of human pathos; it is unfortunate that modern media have turned Frankenstein's creature into a simple, heartless, mentally deficient monster for the sake of scares and laughs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gothic at its best
Mary Shelley was the daughter of the famous feminist and author, Mary Wollstonecraft, who is best known for her work The Vindication of the Rights of Women. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a young university student, Victor Frankenstein, obsesses with wanting to know the secret to life. He studies chemistry and natural philosophy with the goal of being able to create a human out of spare body parts. After months of constant work in his laboratory, Frankenstein attains his goal and brings his creation to life. Frankenstein is immediately overwrought by fear and remorse at the sight of his creation, a "monster." The next morning, he decides to destroy his creation but finds that the monster has escaped. The monster, unlike other humans, has no social preparation or education; thus, it is unequipped to take care of itself either physically or emotionally. The monster lives in the forest like an animal without knowledge of "self" or understanding of its surroundings. The monster happens upon a hut inhabited by a poor family and is able to find shelter in a shed adjacent to the hut. For several months, the monster starts to gain knowledge of human life by observing the daily life of the hut's inhabitants through a crack in the wall. The monster's education of language and letters begins when he listens to one of them learning the French language. During this period, the monster also learns of human society and comes to the realization that he is grotesque and alone in the world. Armed with his newfound ability to read, he reads three books that he found in a leather satchel in the woods. Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther, Milton's Paradise Lost, and a volume of Plutarch's Lives. The monster, not knowing any better, read these books thinking them to be facts about human history. From Plutarch's works, he learns of humankind's virtues. However, it is Paradise Lost that has a most interesting effect on the monster's understanding of self. The monster at first identifies with Adam, "I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence." The monster, armed only with his limited education, thought that he would introduce himself to the cottagers and depend on their virtue and benevolence; traits he believed from his readings that all humans possessed. However, soon after his first encounter with the cottagers, he is beaten and chased off because his ugliness frightens people. The monster is overwrought by a feeling of perplexity by this reaction, since he thought he would gain their trust and love, which he observed them generously give to each other on so many occasions. He receives further confirmation of how his ugliness repels people when, sometime later, he saves a young girl from drowning and the girl's father shoots at him because he is frightful to look at. The monster quickly realizes that the books really lied to him. He found no benevolence or virtue among humans, even from his creator. At every turn in his life, humans are judging him solely based on his looks. The monster soon realizes that it is not Adam, the perfect being enjoying the world, which he is most alike. Instead, he comes to realize that he most represents Satan. The monster is jealous of the happiness he sees humans enjoy that he has never attained for himself. The monster tells Frankenstein that he found his lab journal in his coat pocket and read it with increasing hate and despair as he came to understand what Frankenstein's intent was in creating him. The monster curses Frankenstein for making a creature so hideous that even his creator turned from him in disgust.

Shelley's intent here is plain to see. "The fate of the monster suggests that proficiency in `the art of language' as he calls it, may not ensure one's position as a member of the `human kingdom." In a sense, she is showing that both her parents were mistaken when they advocated greater education reform for people. They thought education would make people better, which in turn would improve society for all. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein contradicts this belief.

Starting with the full title of Mary Shelley's book, Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus one can instantly see that mythology was integral to her book. Lord Byron, poet and friend of the Shelley's was writing a poem entitled Prometheus, and Mary was reading the Prometheus legend in Aeschylus' works when she had a dream, which was the impetus for her book. The Greek god Prometheus, is known for two important tasks that he performed, he created man from clay, and he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. The stealing of fire really angered Zeus because the giving of fire began an era of enlightenment for humankind. Zeus punished Prometheus by having him carried to a mountain, where an eagle would pick at his liver; it would grow back each day and the eagle would eat it again.

The presence of fire and light in this gothic story helps to point to the similarities to Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the monster, in Shelley's book. The book uses light as a symbol of discovery, knowledge, and enlightenment. The natural world is full of hidden passages, and dark unknown scientific secrets; Victor's goal as a scientist is to grasp towards the light. Light is a by-product of fire that the monster learned quickly when he is living on his own. The monster experienced fires' duality when he first encountered it in an unattended fire in the woods. He is mesmerized by the fact that fire produces light in the darkness in the woods, but is shocked at the sensation of pain it gives him when he touches it. Victor is defiant of god in the same way that Prometheus was defiant of Zeus. Victor steals the secret of life from god and creates a human out of spare body parts. He does this out of an altruistic wish to spare humankind from the pain and suffering of death. Thus, Victor Frankenstein embodies both aspects of the Promethean myth creation and fire. Victor in a sense has the same experience with the fire of enlightenment similar to his monster; he is "burned" by the fire of enlightenment. Victor also suffers from the classic Greek tragic condition of hubris for his transgression against god and nature.

The book also adopts two other great mythic legends. One is Adam from the Bible. Victor Frankenstein bears striking resemblance to Adam and his fall from grace for eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The other is Satan, a mythic figure that Shelley admired from her readings in Milton's book Paradise Lost. In an interesting juxtaposition of booth myths, she expands on the motif of the fall from grace in her book when she portrays the monster comparing himself to Adam; after he read, Milton's book Paradise Lost. The monster tells Victor, that he at first identifies with Adam God's first creation. "I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence." However, after several incidents of mistreatment that he suffered from the humans he encountered in his travels; the monster soon realized that it is not Adam, the perfect being enjoying the world, which he was most alike. Instead, he came to realize that he most represented Satan. The monster's feelings of hatred and despair stem from the fact that humans found him grotesque to look at and would not accept him as a member of human society. The monster cursed Victor for making a creature so hideous that even his creator turned from him in disgust. Thus, it is obvious for all to see that Shelley's Frankenstein is replete with mythological references and they are central to the plot.

This was required reading for a graduate course in the Humanities. Recommended reading for anyone interested in history, psychology, philosophy, and literature.


5-0 out of 5 stars Very thorough look at Mary Shelley's original work.
This Norton Critical Edition makes an excellent value in literature. If you are a student of literature, this volume will help you gain a thorough knowledge of Mary Shelley's original text (lots of context and critical essays included), as well as editions that followed. It contains her original preface (supposedly much influenced by Percy) as well as her 1830 preface. If you do not know, Mary's monster is not the monster one finds in the movies, nor is Dr. Frankenstein. Further, if you have not read an edition other than the first, you don't know about the incest issue that is in the first edition, but not later editions. As you will find in reviews below, this is not a flawless novel, but it is a must read for any well-read person. What is rarely discussed is the influence of John Locke, whose Essay Concerning Human Understanding Mary Shelley read closely just prior to writing the novel. The influence of his work on hers is substantial. Read in the light of Romanticism's reaction to the Enlightenment and Locke et al gives one a completely different perspective for understanding the work. I think you'll find Mary's philosophy appropriately and interestingly feminine, without being feminist; another surprise, considering her lineage. Definitely a good read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein plus writings contemporaneous of the novel
Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" is a major novel in Western Civilization. I always think of it as representing the paradigm shift from religion to science, embodied in the contrast with the myth of Faust with the story of Victor Frankenstein. The crucial question in this novel is simply which is Frankenstein's createst sin, bringing the creature to life or abandoning it once he had done so. However, this review is not really about Shelley's novel, because if you are a teacher you have already decided whether or not you want to use the novel in your class. The question here is what value this Longman Cultural Edition would have over a regular edition of "Frankenstein."

This Longman Critical Edition includes Shelley's introduction to the 1831 edition and a revision of the section of the novel dealing with the adoption of Elizabeth. There are three main sections to the Contexts part of this volume. First, Monsters, Visionaries, and Mary Shelley puts the novel in the context of what her contemporaries were writing and talking about. Consequently there are other writings of Shelley along with Edmund Burke, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, among others. There are also some descriptions from Richard Brinsley Peake's dramatic adaptation of the novel and even Dr. Spock's chapter "Enjoy Your Baby" from his famous book (interesting choice, you must admit). Second, Milton's Satan and Romantic Imaginations looks at both Milton and the Bible, as well as additional writings from Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Third, What the Reviews Said all dealing with commentaries written between 1818 and 1832.

What this should make quite clear to you is that this Longman Cultural Edition relies mainly on what I would consider primary documents the vast majority of which are contemporarneous with the writing of Shelley's novel. This is a synchronic rather than a diachronic perspective, which is of more value to a class that is considering "Frankenstein" in the context of the time and place in which it was written (i.e., 19th century gothic novels rather than horror literature through the ages). Susan J. Wolfson has edited a volume that will help readers understand the world in which Shelley wrote her classic novel. If doing so is important to your class, or is a perspective you enjoy exploring, this edition of "Frankenstein" will certainly fit your needs. Read more


90. The Judge Who Stole Christmas
by Randy Singer
Kindle Edition
list price: $6.99
Asin: B003Z4JK86
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Sales Rank: 989
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

A Yuletide free-for-all.

It starts innocently enough in the town square of Possum, Virginia.But it ends up as a spectacular national scandal: Can a federal judge outlaw Christmas?

Thomas Hammond and his wife play Joseph and Mary in the annual live nativity scene in their hometown. But a federal judge rules the display unconstitutional — and a Christmas showdown ensues.Thomas refuses to abide by the court order…and ends up in jail.From the courtrooms of Virginia to the talk shows of New York City, the battle escalates into a national media spectacle.Caught in the middle is law student Jasmine Woodfaulk — assigned to represent Thomas as part of her school’s legal aid clinic.

Whatever happened to peace on earth?

Only a surprising series of events — nearly as humbling and unexpected as the origins of the season itself — can reconcile a stubborn father, a crusading law student and a recalcitrant judge.

The Judge Who Stole Christmas,
by acclaimed author Randy Singer, is a charming, warm, and thought-provoking Christmas tale that explores in a fresh way the real reason for the season.
... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Something of value here
First, a disclaimer: I'm Christian, but not A Christian as the religious right has taken over the term. I'm also a lawyer, with a profound appreciation of our Constitution. I'm about as liberal as I can be. And I believe separation of church and state is one of the best ideas the US has ever had.

I read this book 1)to see how the religious right distorts our position to say we are preventing them from celebrating Christmas, and 2) because I like Christmas stories.

The plot involves a man more of action than of words who sets up a creche on the town square with the permission of the town's mayor, and proceeds to pray with and for those who come to see the display. An ACLU lawyer with "slick" hair and appropriately named "Harrod" (!) files suit in the US District Court to stop the display. The judge, also described as markedly unattractive, considers the facts of the case in light of actual recent court decisions on the subject, and, coming down on the side of the ACLU, issues an injunction. The man flouts the injunction (and here the book repeatedly incorrectly substitutes 'flaunts' for 'flouts') and sets up his creche again and again, trying to circumvent established law but only landing himself in jail for contempt of court.

To my surprise, I quite enjoyed the book. Its plot is thin, its characters somewhat weak, its ending maudlin, but it has moments of real humor. I particularly enjoyed the part where the homeless man hastily recruited to play Santa Claus informs the children he dandles on his knee that the measure of whether they are bad or good is how much they give to the homeless! Its explanation of the three Supreme Court cases dealing with Christmas displays on public land was entirely accurate, unbiased, and informative, without being boring. And, as a bonus, its brief but very entertaining section on the history of Christmas made me see the song We Wish You a Merry Christmas in a whole new way!

All in all, it's an easy, enjoyable read and a good choice for anyone who wants to know where our courts stand on the issue of celebrating the religious aspects of Christmas on public land.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is There a Better Gift?
If you're like me, you may be tempted to settle with this book into an armchair, sipping at egg nog while wiggling your toes by the fireplace. Be forewarned. Singer has a way of tossing in humor that'll have you sloshing the nog across your lap. As he does so well in his legal thrillers, the author ties law and Scripture and original characters into a suspenseful story. This time, he adds a Christmas bow on top, just in time to provide a fantastic holiday gift.

It all starts when a simple manger scene in a town square sparks a nationally-followed court case. ACLU lawyers cry "separation of church and state," while churchgoing citizens demand the right to speak freely what they believe. Jasmine Woodfaulk, a law student, is caught in the middle when she chooses to face the imposing figure of Judge Baker-Kline (known as Ichabod, and for good reason). Some will recognize characters from Singer's other books, which will only add to the enjoyment while in no way diminishing it for those who've yet to discover them. Regardless, all readers should be able to recognize something of themselves in these believable, likeable characters. Singer, in his typical fashion, refuses to paint people in simple black and white; rather, he gives them strengths and weaknesses we can all understand.

"The Judge Who Stole Christmas" speeds along with clockwork precision, with nostalgia, and with "good tidings to all." The story touches on politics and legal wranglings, but it more accurately deals with the law of love in our hearts and the call for "peace on earth." Whichever side you might choose in a court battle such as this, Singer's latest will bring a smile to your face and an evening's worth of reading enjoyment. Is there a better gift an author can give?

5-0 out of 5 stars A seasonal winner!
I always love picking up a new Randy Singer novel, and I wasn't disappointed when I finished THE JUDGE WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, a novella that includes many of the quirky characters from his earlier books such as SELF-INCRIMINATION and DYING DECLARATION.

Singer, a Christy Award winner and trial lawyer (think John Grisham), excels in his multi-dimensional characters and even-handed portrayal of the difficult dilemmas faced by Christians. In this novella, he specifically addresses what constitutes the separation of church and state during perhaps the most controversial season of all --- Christmas.

In the small town of Possum, Virginia (yes, Possum, you heard it right!), the Freewill Baptist Church's living nativity on the town square incites the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to serve papers ordering the town to close it down. Rather than complying, the mayor tries "Operation Xmas Spirit," loading up the square with some displays of Santa Claus, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman as a counterbalance to the nativity. It isn't enough, and the wheels of legal action begin to crazily spin.

As the courtroom drama heats up, readers of the earlier novels will rejoice to see that one of Singer's most fully dimensional and intriguing characters, Judge Cynthia Baker-Kline (nicknamed "Ichabod"), is back, combining a "hair-trigger temper with a razor-sharp tongue that could slice up even seasoned litigators." Central to the story is the return of conservative fundamentalist Christians Thomas and Theresa Hammond (from DYING DECLARATION), who play Mary and Joseph in the living nativity scene.

As in all his novels, Singer's bad guys are not all bad, and his Christian guys are not all nice. His character portrayals are something other inspirational novelists could learn a good deal from in making their characters believable, real and engaging. For such a short story, there are a lot of characters and points of view to keep track of. Singer keeps the main plot and subplots moving smoothly. Some readers may find that law student Jasmine "Jazz" Woodfaulk's personal story (involving basketball and her legal career), while interesting, is less compelling than the Christmas conundrums she's trying to mediate in the courtroom.

You'd almost take it as a given that in a Christian novella in which the ACLU faces off against the Baptists (Singer is one himself) that there would be a clear winner implied. But Singer doesn't go for easy clich�s, which has always been part of his appeal. Readers familiar with the Christian world of televangelism will immediately recognize the machinations of the Freddie Hester Evangelistic Association, which attempts to turn the controversy into a fund-raising appeal for its organization and create a media circus, using Theresa Hammond as a pawn. Judge Baker-Kline, who would at first glance seem to be anti-Christian, turns out to have some complex motivations.

The definition of the separation of church and state is rife with minefields, and there is plenty of room for interpretation. Singer does a wonderful job leaving clues along the way without giving away the whole plot twist until the closing pages, and there's a terrific turn in the story that will catch readers off-guard. Enough said.

You'll be able to enjoy THE JUDGE WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS even if you skipped Singer's earlier books. But you'll have a better understanding of some of the characters if you (at the very least) read DYING DECLARATION first. I'm planning on sharing THE JUDGE WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS with my friends and family. A seasonal winner --- don't miss it!


--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. Contact Cindy at phrelanzer@aol.com. Read more


91. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank (Lyman Frank) Baum
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B002RKSDTG
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.3 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 ... Read more


92. The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQU7JO
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

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

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars The Jungle Book - Malvina Vogel Adaptation
Don't get me wrong. Kipling's Jungle Book is Awesome. The problem with this adaptation is that it is not Kipling's Jungle Book. Be careful what you order!! The language and tone of Vogel's adaptation is changed in ways that strip the stories of the sense of pride and self that made the originals such tremendous lessons, and of the subtle darkness that gave them the ring of truth. It's almost worse than Disney's handiwork, because in a certain sense it purports to be the orginal story!

Some examples:

Original Version: Ye choose and ye do not choose! What talk is this of choosing? By the bull that I killed, am I to stand nosing into your dog's den for my fair dues? It is I, Shere Khan who speak!

Adapted Version: How dare you talk of choosing. I, Shere Khan, demand that cub.
***
Original Version: They fed me behind bars from an iron pan till one night I felt that I was Bagheera - the Panther - and no man's plaything, and I broke the silly lock with one blow of my paw and came away.

Adapted Version: After my mother died there, I broke the silly lock with one blow of my paw and escaped.

***
Original Version: He is a man, a man's child, and from the marrow of my bones I hate him!

Adapted Version: Remember, he is just a man.

****
Original Version: "Also, I paid for him with a bull when he was accepted. The worth of a bull is little, but Bagheera's honor is something that he will perhaps fight for," said Bagheera in his gentlest voice. "A bull paid ten years ago!" the Pack snarled. "What do we care for bones ten years old?"
"Or for a pledge?" said Bagheera, his white teeth bared under his lip. "Well are ye called the Free People!"

Adapted Version: And I paid for him with a bull when he was accepted into the pack," added Bagheera. "What do we care about a bull we ate ten years ago" snarled the young wolves. "What do you care about promise either?" snapped Bagheera.

And so on....

Virtually every paragraph is watered down like this. Was this done to make it easier reading for today's reading-challenged youths? Or to introduce PC to this classic (we obviously can't have any talk of "brown men", killing, hatred, or of fighting for principles). Whatever the reason, the entire flavor of the original is changed. Kipling was doing fine without the help.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
My favorite books from childhood have always been Milne's "The World of Pooh" and Kipling's "The Jungle Book". Over the years I have purchased many copies of each as presents. Both can be difficult to find in versions unaltered from the original. I have found this to be particularly true in the case of The Jungle Book. Some folks just don't seem to get that Kipling had a pretty good handle on what he was doing. One does not tamper with a Masterpiece.

This version is the real thing. It reads word for word the same as the tattered, 40-year-old copy that I first read when I was eight years old. Add illustrations by Robert Ingpen that faithfully capture the emotion of the story and you have a real winner. For those who appreciate The Jungle Book as it was BEFORE it was adulterated by Mr. Disney and friends, this is a very worthy effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kipling's Masterful Storytelling, History, and Modern Mythology Come Together
Legends are made from legends. Rudyard Kipling dug deep into the tales of the jungle from his years living in India, and drew from them the kinds of stories that live forever.

"The Jungle Book" is more than how Mowgli, the man cub, learns to live and survive amongst enemies like Shere Khan. The intense mongoose vs cobra "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," also well-known, is here, as are several lesser-known and unrelated adventures.

Richly written, with details and contexts unfamiliar to Western readers, "The Jungle Book" lifts imagination and language beautifully. Poetic, and written in a literary style, it shines above most modern prose.

This is the stuff of afternoon stories read to older boys and girls. Young teens will while away rainy evenings, unwilling to part until finished. Sometimes scary and always exciting, Kipling also uses the book to teach lessons much greater than a jungle in India.

When chapters were first read to me many years ago, I listened gawk-eyed, listening intently for as long as my mother would read. I read it with different eyes now, but no less a young boy as I worry how Baloo will handle the Bandar-Log monkeys.

It isn't perfect. A few scientific details are fudged (wolf pack breeding structure, for example), but nothing that matters in the big picture. Kipling will have you in the palm of his hand, even though it was first published over 100 years ago.

May "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling be as amazing to you as it has been to me.

--Brockeim

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic for Children, Classic for Adults, Classic Influence on later writers
This collection is probably the single best starting place for reading Kipling, especially for younger or teen readers (though the very youngest would probably enjoy his _Just So Stories_ more). These stories are great reads, enjoyable by all ages.

Fans of the movie will find a more complex work here -- not "darker," but more ambiguous; the three stories from this collection that have generally been adapted into other media, and that most readers think of when they think of "The Jungle Book", focus on outcast human infant, Mowgli, who is abandoned as an infant in the jungle and raised by wolves, and primarily tell the story of his search for a "place" within the wolf pack, the Jungle, and the human world, and his outsider status in all three realms. Perhaps because they focus almost entirely on the Indian jungle, or perhaps because they're aimed at children, these stories are also largely free of the undertone (overtone?) of imperialism that runs through much of Kipling's work for adults.

It has, of course, been massively influential on later writers, from Edgar Rice Burrough's _Tarzan_ to Neil Gaiman's _The Graveyard Book_. The various morals contained within the "Mowgli" stories were also taken as a motivational book within the Scouting movement (reading this helped me understand why I had to memorize "Akela" when I was a cub scout).

While only three stories in this collection focus on Mowgli, Kipling did write a second collection, "The Second Jungle Book," which is almost entirely comprised of Mowgli stories, and which I would highly recommend if you like these tales. If you want to read more of Kipling's work for adults, I'd recommend either "The Man Who Would be King" or the short story collection "Plain Tales from the Hills," both of which should be available for free online.

As to formatting of this kindle edition: there are blocks of Kipling's poetry in between the stories, some of which was difficult to read as the formatting had not carried over well to this Kindle edition. Not a critical issue, but Kipling's poetry is excellent and the formatting errors were annoying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learn the Jungle Law, it's still in effect
The story of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungles of 19th century India, charmed me when I was young no less than it does today. Kipling wrote this to celebrate his love of India and it's wild animals as well as to show again some of his frequent themes of honor, loyalty, and perserverance. While his writing may seem 'dated' to some, to others the truths he includes rise above politics and 'current correctness'. Baloo the Bear, Shere Khan the Tiger, Bagheera the Panther, Kaa the Python were all childhood friends of mine, and reading these Jungle Book stories to your own children today will result in their exposure to such old fashioned concepts as sticking by your friends in adversity, helping your family, relying on yourself. Good lessons then, good lessons now. Mowgli learns the value of 'good manners' early on, learns that 'all play and no work' leads to unexpected troubles, learns that thoughtless actions can have devasting consequences. By showing Mowgli in an often dangerous 'all animal' world, we see reflections of modern human problems presented in a more subtle light. Kipling leads children down the jungle path into adventures beyond their day to day imagining and along the way, he weaves subtle points in and out of the stories, he shows the value of 'doing for yourself', of 'learning who to trust'. All of this in a tale of childhood adventure that's never been equaled. The book is over 100 years old now, and there are terms & concepts from the age of Empire that aren't 'correct' today. Parents can edit as needed as they read bedtime stories, but I've found that children learn early on that the world changes, and that some ideas that were popular long ago did not prove to be correct. Explaining this, too, is a part of parenting. Some of our current popular ideas may not stand the test of time, but I suspect that 100 years from now parents will still read the Jungle Book to their children. And the children will still be charmed, thrilled and instructed in valuable life-lessons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kipling for goodness sake! And better than a movie!
You will be sold on Kipling. And you may never settle for the movie afterwards; Jungle Book lives and breaths on its own.

5-0 out of 5 stars WELL BEYOND DISNEY
The Jungle Book

When we say "The Jungle Book" most of us invariably think of Disney's films, both animated and live action, that have become the norm for Rudyard Kipling's immortal children's stories. While the Disney interpretation is fun and enchanting, it makes a dramatic departure from the actual stories and takes considerable creative license in telling just a part of the Kipling stories. Even what we get from Disney falls considerably short of the applicable parts of Kipling's original that Disney used. What? Kaa, the snake, as Mowgli's friend and powerful ally? What? A deeper story of Mowgli's experience as a wolf and his relationships with Mother wolf and Father wolf? Oh yes, much, much more.

Kipling's original masterpiece also includes several other wonderful chapters about the continuing adventures of Mowgli and also adds the marvelous tale of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," the heroic mongoose whose battles with wicked cobras in an Indian garden easily matches Mowgli's showdowns with Shere Khan.

The book also includes the tale of "The White Seal." This short chapter of "The Jungle Book(s)" provides a wonderful commentary, in the form of animal parable, on human society, competition, male ego and human pride. Our hero, Kotick, the white seal, through his fearless explorations and his willingness to fight for a dream, changes the minds of his parents, his peers and his society for the better. The invitation to each of us is very clear to find and free the white seal that exists in all of us.

Don't get balled up in the notion that "The Jungle Book" is just for kids. A look beneath Kipling's wonderful prose reveals, like most great children's classics, that the author is using the unintimidating forum of children's literature to speak to kids of all ages with the hope that somehow we'll all finally get it.

Buy the book, read it, read it to the kids you know and learn the lesson.

Douglas McAllister Read more


93. Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JMLILO
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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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 Eternal Error
According to Tolstoy, the genesis of Anna Karenina was derived from three specific events: (1) An idea for a story Tolstoy developed in 1870 about a woman who deserts her husband for another man, based, in part, on the life of his sister, Marya; (2) a newspaper story concerning the mistress of one of Tolstoy's neighbors, who, feeling only despair at being abandoned by her lover, hurled herself under a train; and (3) a sentence from Pushkin's Tales of the Balkins ("The guests were arriving at the country house..."), that Tolstoy read by chance one day in 1873. Supposedly, this sentence from Pushkin fueled Tolstoy's imagination to such a degree that he completed a first draft of Anna Karenina in only three weeks.

A novel about the meaning of life and the role happiness does or does not play in it, Anna Karenina is the story of a married woman's adulterous affair with Count Vronsky. As foreshadowed in the book's early pages, the affair ends tragically, for both Anna and Vronsky.

The novel (which Tolstoy's contemporary, Dostoyevsky, considered "a perfect work of art"), also tells the story of Constantine Levin, a gentleman farmer whose lifelong pursuit of happiness and fulfillment culminates, not in his long-awaited marriage to Kitty Shcherbatskaya, but with the advice of a simple peasant about "living rightly, in God's way."

From a few simple, yet melodramatic events (and the depths of a dizzyingly fecund imagination), Tolstoy fashioned a beautiful, profound and enduring novel dealing with stark questions of both life and religious faith as seen through the eyes of the farmer, Levin. Also a morality play, Anna Karenina delves deeply into the damaging effects of society's ostracization, especially regarding the characters of Anna and Vronsky.

Many consider Anna Karenina Tolstoy's most personal work and, indeed, many of the novel's scenes do mirror Tolstoy's relationship with his own wife, Sonya. Levin's courtship of Kitty and his expressions of love for her, written with chalk on a table are reflective of Tolstoy's courtship of Sonya. Even more evocative of Tolstoy, himself, is the soul-wrenching scene in which Levin gives Kitty his diaries to read, exposing his very soul to the woman he has come to love so completely.

The final scenes of the novel, especially Levin's intense search for the answer to the meaning of existence are reflective of Tolstoy's own search, dramatically documented in his beautiful memoir, A Confession, and considered by many to be one of the most truthful, agonizing and soul-searching statements of authentic spirituality.

The publication of Anna Karenina coincided with the end of Tolstoy's life of material and emotional luxury. From this point on, he concentrated on a deeper and more mature quest. Although he would go on to write the beautiful novel, Resurrection, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, a true existential masterpiece, Tolstoy's career reached its zenith in the character of Anna Karenina and her seemingly irrational embrace of death. Anna's husband, Karenin, is often overlooked, although he is equally compelling; a complex and emotional character who briefly embraces the doctrine of Christian forgiveness in his emotional denial over the loss of Anna.

No doubt the second most famous line of the book is Vronsky's startling realization: "It showed him (Vronsky) the eternal error men make in imagining that happiness consists in the realization of their desires."

Almost epic in scope and poignantly detailed, Anna Karenina represents the perfect balance of drama, morality and philosophical inquiry. How are we to live our lives, the novel asks, when all the illusions we hold so close to our heart have been stripped away? What are we to believe in and cling to?

With its emphasis on drama over polemic, Anna Karenina thus embodies art of the highest order. In its portrayal of man's timeless struggle to make sense out of life while coming to terms with death, both its theme and its characters remain, now and forever, timeless.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great master
This will not, perhaps, be very helpful to you, future reader, to hear but: in my humble opinion, there is no way to *learn* to like Tolstoy. There's no process of adjustment, no method of accustoming oneself to the prose, the descriptions, the style, the themes. It's either there within you or it's not.

In other words, if you begin "Anna Karenina" and you are not immediately swept up into the story, with its many characters, family tensions, and ornate depiction of Russian society on many levels... If you are ten chapters in and going forward on pure stubbornness... Put the book down. Walk away. This is not for you.

For example: I read in an earlier review that the reader was "bored" by Levin's description of working in the fields with the peasants on his estate. Personally, I find that to be one of the most compelling passages in the entire book. I'm not right while the other reader is wrong, but I will say this: it's a matter of taste. If you are not engrossed by the complexities of this vast and entrenched society, if you do not feel sympathy for Levin, or feel drawn to Anna, or understand the attraction of Vronsky, then do not torture yourself, and move on.

If you're staying, though -- Anna remains, I believe, one of the most interesting protagonists in literature, and precisely because while the reader is almost unwillingly forced to sympathize with her feelings, it is similarly impossible to remove the stigma of blame from her, watching the wreck she makes of her life. Her transformation from the alluring and enchanting woman who so impresses young Kitty, to the sad and scorned woman that Vronsky himself no longer truly loves, in the end, is all of her own doing -- but who among us can say we would have successfully avoided all of her misjudgments?

Contrasted with Anna is Levin, though their lives are intertwined only through friends and relatives and they have no real knowledge of each other -- Levin is Anna's exact opposite. We meet him as an awkward and abrupt, solitary man, with troubled family relations and an unrequited love -- and in the end, after his long journey of self-awareness, we leave him in a place of pure contentment. We warm to Levin and take him to our hearts, perhaps because his choices are the ones we would *like* to think we would make.

If you ask the average American to name a Tolstoy novel, they will generally say "War and Peace", but I've always thought "Anne Karenina" to be the more human story, the more accessible, and perhaps the greater classic because of that. It truly is a matter of taste -- but if it's to yours, you'll have stumbled upon a literary find you'll treasure always.

5-0 out of 5 stars All of life...in one book...the best novel ever written
I picked up this novel while travelling in India, and read for two days straight, the last few hours of which I was standing in a very crowded unreserved train. But it was so unbelievably good that I simply could NOT put it down. The last few hundred pages were a spiritual experience, something I would not say about any other book I've ever read. I had the feeling that I had been transformed in some mysterious way, that life was suddenly far more vast and deep than I'd thought before turning the first page. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone, but especially to those who have a hunger for life and the pursuit of experiencing its deepest, most spiritual aspects.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great summer read!
Don't go through life without reading "Anna Karenina." This novel is excellent on so many levels that you can read it again and again, as I have, and still thoroughly enjoy it. Tolstoy skillfully tells two different stories simultaneously, based on the same theme: How does one find true happiness? Anna makes a choice and tries to bravely see it through, trying all the while to persuade herself that she's found happiness, but you can feel the strain build as the novel nears its climax. Levin nearly drives himself insane in his mental tug-of-war over where his place in life should be, but eventually comes full circle. In their journeys, Anna and Levin cross paths, with fascinating results. I can't stress enough that this book is a must-read. Be prepared to be thoughtful, depressed, elated and emotionally drained.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vanished world, eternal emotions
'Anna Karenina' is not just a window on a vanished time, place, and society - it is a lucid reflection on our own times and a spellbinding work of art. By taking us so intimately into the passions of Anna and the internal musings of Levin (just two out of a huge, colorful cast), Tolstoy creates an unforgettable exploration of happiness and sadness, conflict and peace, morals and emotions, mind and heart. Read this book for its wonderful story, Tolstoy's magically down-to-earth language, the subtly sketched characters - and the thoughts it is sure to provoke long after the last page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime reading
Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina is a masterpiece. If I were stranded on a desert isle, this is one of the books I would want with me. The story is essentially about a woman who leaves her husband for another man, only to come to a tragic end. Yet the main character is not really Anna, but Kostya Levin, almost the antithesis of Anna. And it is this polarization of characters that is one of the sublime features of this novel.

The characters themselves are especially an element that engrossed me. While there are a dizzying number of personalities, each lives "outside" of the story as well as within it - that is to say, even the most minor of characters seems to have a life of their own, only dropping in the story to play a small part before going on about their business. Each character has depth - they are much more than characitures of "good" and "evi", showing their humanity in their follies and in their decisions - for both good and evil.

Tolstoy has an alternative motive in Anna Karenina, though. The story has a barely perceptable religious tone to it, Tolstoy makes a moral statement about how life should be lived, and what a person's role in life should be in order to be "truly happy". This is the result of an epiphany that Tolstoy experienced while writing the novel - an event that changed his life and eventually estranged him from many of his children.

The only problem I foresee readers having is keeping characters straight (as this translation uses names as well as patronymics - meaning "the son / daughter of" as in Stepan Arkadyvitch: Stepan, son of Arkady). Individuals are referred to by name, patronymic or sometimes nickname (Kostya for Konstantin for example.) My recommendation is to write the characters down in order to keep track of them. With this said, I highly recommend this book - the language is beautiful, the plot is riviting, the story line although a bit moralistic is superb, and the characters are vivid and real. Read more


94. A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JMLOJU
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars absolutely my favorite.
i read this, and i just fell in love with it. i think this has become my favorite book or whatever it's concidered as of all time! i love how it's set up on this; it makes it very pleasing to read with a simple layout for it. some of his other plays on the kindle are set up in a more confusing way, but this one is jsut right. i cannot wait until we do julius caeser in my english class!

5-0 out of 5 stars Nota Bene
Nota Bene: Once purchased, my Kindle download page contained this note near the download button: "This title has complex layouts and has been optimized for reading on Kindle DX's larger screen, but can still be viewed on other Kindle devices." This message disappeared after a few minutes.

Regardless, the formatting on my Kindle 2 looks good. I use the smallest font available. There is no Table of Contents and no jogability.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
By far one of my favorite Shakespeare works. I still can't believe how many free books i can get for my kindle!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful after 400 years!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JMLOJU/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_img

A piece of magic on the stage or screen--or on the electronic paper!

This is probably Shakespeare's most delightful comedy, and I'm glad I have read it in several editions and seen various versions of the play on large screen, small screen, and stage. I wish schools would teach this instead of trying to get the kids to understand Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. Even if they don't understand this one, they can tell that it's fun and somewhat vulgar, with Bottom running around in an ass's head and the Queen of the Fairies falling in temporary love with him. "Fairy" might not yet have had its most recent meaning, but Bottom in an ass's head suggested exactly the same thing then that it suggests now

While I was getting my doctorate in English, my Shakespeare teacher worshiped Shakespeare instead of enjoying it for what it was worth. She almost went ballistic when somebody pointed out vulgarities and slapstick in the plays, because we too were supposed to worship Shakespeare instead of analyzing him. Sorry, but I was right and she was wrong. Shakespeare was a very bawdy writer, and he enjoyed being bawdy.

DO NOT see the movie Dead Poet's Society without reading or watching this play first.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
This is a delightful book. A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most magical, romantic and comedic plays. It has been written very well and is a funny story. It revolves around 3 different and enjoyable plots all woven together.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Piece of Literature
Our fall play this year is a mid summer nights dream.This is a perfect way to practice my lines. Read more


95. Aesop's Fables; a new translation
by Aesop
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JML3K0
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 4.4 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 Outstanding!
I've always loved Aesop's Fables and to have them all in one neat collection here on my Kindle for my PC is just great! There ARE capital letters where appropriate, so I'm not sure what the other reviewer here had going on with their version. Rest assured that the problem has now been fixed and it's easy reading. My only complaint is that the individual stories listed in the contents are not click-able and you do have to navigate page by page to get where you need to go. I still believe that this deserves a five star rating though in spite of that just because it is so nice to have all the fables in one place like this for free. You can't beat it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of Aesop's fables
This collection of Aesop's Fables is great because it is a Kindle freebie and allows me to store the fables in a convenient format (though I have several print versions of the Fables in my home library). There is a lengthy introduction by G.K. Chesterton which is insightful and informative, followed by the fables which appear to be a complete collection of Aesop's Fables. The only complaint I have is that the Table of Contents does not allow for the reader to click on a particular title to gain access to it. Instead, the reader has to manually scroll through all the titles in the order listed to get from one story to the next. Fortunately, the fables are relatively short and easy to get through. This is an excellent collection and being a freebie is definitely an added bonus!

5-0 out of 5 stars spectacular
i just love aesop's fables there fantastic. the first time i read the book i was so happy that i read it. it helps me a lot in school. it's a beautiful book. i deffently reccommend it to perants with young children. just to tell you i'm only in fifth class i'm 11 years old.bye.

5-0 out of 5 stars "AESOP'S FABLES: A NEW TRANSLATION"
"A NEW TRANSLATION" MAY INADVERTENTLY GIVE THE IMPRESSION OF A MODERN TRANSLATION. HOWEVER, THIS TRANSLATION IS SURPRISINGLY CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL GREEK IN STYLE, INDICATING IT MAY ACTUALLY BE ONE OF THE EARLIEST. OF COURSE, NONE OF THIS CAN BE EASILY PROVEN, BUT ONE HAS ONLY TO READ AND ENJOY THESE ENLIGHTENING TALES TO DISCERN IN THEIR FLAVOR A FAINT HINT OF ANTIQUITY, THE SCENT OF PRESSED ROSES, AND SOME NOSTALGIA.

ASIDE FROM BEING AMUSING AND DIVERTING, THE TALES ARE MOST INSTRUCTIVE OF THE BENEFITS OF COMMON SENSE, AND OF THE PERILS WHEN COMMON SENSE IS WANTING. WHATEVER THEIR PURPORT, THEY ARE ALL CHARMING. AFTER ALL, WHEN ANIMALS SPEAK, EVERYONE LISTENS. REGINA CLARK

5-0 out of 5 stars Very concise tales that illustrate moral values
This is the 1912 translation made by Vernon Jones. It is still very understandable and there were only a few words that I needed to look up. Thanks to the Kindle's dictionary it is very simple.

I'd forgotten how short each fable was. They average only 1 - 2 paragraphs. I can see the value of fables for teaching our children principles in a very succinct manner. There are roughly 284 fables in this translation.

I once again appreciate the Kindle Freebies. The only drawback with this version is that its table of contents is not hyperlinked, which is not unusual for a freebie. I highly recommend this book to any interested in fables. I plan on reading them to my grandkids when the time comes. Though some of the fables are related to mythology, I think many of the lessons are still applicable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Old Aesop looks new again
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JML3K0/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_img

This translation contains many fables that I have never seen in any other edition, and I have been reading for 62 years. I'm very pleased with it, and highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys folklore and fables. Children can enjoy it, but so can adults. Read more


96. Heart of the Wolf
by Terry Spear
Kindle Edition
list price: $5.99
Asin: B001P5041O
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Sales Rank: 648
Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

“You will be turning pages well into the night.” —Sandy Blair, author of A Highlander For Christmas“A fast-paced, sexy read with lots of twists and turns! A fascinating paranormal world with a hot hero, a smart heroine and dark villains.” —Nicole North, author of Devil in a Kilt Their forbidden love may get them both killed.Bella is a red werewolf, sole survivor of the fire that killed her entire pack. Devlyn is a beta male werewolf in a pack of grays. Forced to flee her adopted gray pack when the alpha male becomes a vicious threat, she struggles to live as a lone wolf, until Devlyn, the gray male who rescued her as a pup, comes to bring her home.When a local red werewolf goes on a killing spree, Bella and Devlyn must flee the murderer, the police and their vengeful pack leader. With the full moon rising, and her heat upon her, Bella can’t resist the pull to her destined mate, even if means Devlyn will have to face the wicked alpha male in a fight to the death...A sizzling paranormal romance based on extensive research on how wolves live and behave in the wild, creating a fascinating world of nature and fantasy.“Warm and sexy; Terry Spear is a great new voice in the paranormal romance genre.” —Cathy Clamp, USA Today bestselling author ... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Good story, but...
I loved the storyline of Heart of the Wolf. I loved the characters.

I didn't love how it was written. The same phrases are repeated constantly, and the fight scenes are short and have a severe lack of description.

I only read all the way through because I wanted to see how things between Bella and Devlyn turned out, but I can honestly say this book has literally put me to sleep more than once.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scorching Paranormal Romance
Heart of the Wolf does not disappoint. The interaction between Bella and Devlyn singes the page and you will find yourself pulling for these two! The story is addictive so if you're looking for an engaging, sexy read with a hot alpha male - this is the book for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hot shapeshifter romance!!
Heart of the Wolf is a sexy werewolf romance with lots of action to keep you on the edge of your seat and riveted throughout the night. I fell in love with the multi-dimensional characters, especially the yummy-hot alpha hero. The complex plot kept me guessing about what would happen next. I've never been to Oregon where the story is set, and I enjoyed seeing Portland and the surrounding area through the author's beautiful descriptions. I highly recommend this book!!!
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97. Guinness World Records 2011
by Guinness World Records
Hardcover
list price: $28.95 -- our price: $15.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 190499458X
Publisher: Guinness World Records
Sales Rank: 29
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Guinness World Records 2011 continues to build on the intriguing, informative, inspiring and instructional records and superlatives that have made Guinness World Records one of the most famous brands and an annual best-seller around the world.Over 110 million copies have sold since the first edition was published in 1955.Nearly 4 million copies are sold every year in more than 100 countries and in 25 languages.Market research has indicated that Guinness World Records is one of the strongest brands in the world, with prompted brand recognition of 98.2% in the English language territories.
What's New in GWR 2011...

More US specific content including spreads dedicated to "American Heroes", "North American wildlife", "Route 66" andextended US sports pages!
New unique design - new decade, new look.A fun, poster-style design reminiscent of the circus, the old wild west and letter pressed WANTED ads!
Records GPS - starting at Greenwich, London - the home of time - we go around the world city by city revealing fascinating records set along the way.
Glossary - improve your vocabulary by learning the meaning of new and unusual words.
As Well as -- New spreads on....
* Space Shuttle- being retired in 2010
* TV's 75 years Diamond Anniversary
* Pop Culture chapter - all your favorite movies, DVDs, comics, graphic novels, manga and so on....
* Mr. World Record Breaker
... Read more

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98. White Fang
by Jack London
Kindle Edition
list price: $0.00
Asin: B000JQV2UM
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review

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

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99. Hide in Plain Sight
by Marta Perry
Kindle Edition
list price: $5.50
Asin: B001R4GNT0
Publisher: Steeple Hill
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

"Please God, if you're listening, keep Rachel safe." She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn. But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone—even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine—was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

... Read more

Reviews

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to the series
Andrea Hampton is used to the safety and security of her big city job. However, nothing will keep her from running back to her sister's side after Rachel is involved in a horrific accident. But helping Rachel and her grandmother open up a bed and breakfast? Ridiculous...and yet that is the position she finds herself in. Carpenter Cal Burke seems willing to help. Just what is going on with this rash of accidents plaguing the inn and its owners?

I read the first two books of The Three Sisters Inn series out of order, but the overall beauty of this series remains intact; HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is the first book and an excellent start to the series.

Marta Perry creates such beautiful settings for her tales. HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is set in the heart of Amish country. The peaceful setting provides a sharp contrast to the increasingly dangerous attacks on the Hampton family. In fact, the atmosphere accentuates the danger that lurks in this seemingly tranquil environment.

Marta Perry develops characters the reader wants to revisit over and over again. Andrea's transformation over the course of the book is a joy to behold. The issues of faith are sensitively addressed through the eyes of both Andrea and Cal. The importance of family and friends is especially notable in HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT.

HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT is yet another fantastic book from Marta Perry. I am quickly becoming a fan of both Marta Perry and the Love Inspired Suspense line as both evoke such strong emotions. Easily recommended!

COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES

5-0 out of 5 stars Romance and Suspense. Good Read
Andrea Hampton is the successful sister; important job, important opinions, important woman. Sister Rachel stayed home with their grandmother and is determined to turn the family home into a bed and breakfast. Andrea doesn't approve. But when Rachel is injured in a hit and run accident, Andrea drops everything to hurry to her bedside. You take care of family.
Unfortunately, Andrea has to swerve to avoid an Amish buggy on a dark road and ends up in the ditch. Calvin Burke rescues her and takes her to the hospital to see Rachel. Andrea is grateful until she learns he is her grandmother's tenant. Not everyone in town wants another bed and breakfast, and things begin to happen, some of them very dangerous. Andrea, who is used to doing everything herself, has to learn who she can trust.
Hiding in Plain Sight is a suspenseful story of intrigue and romance, salted with a strong faith message. Things aren't always the way they seem and it's easy to trust the wrong people. Fans of Marta Perry will enjoy Hiding In Plain Sight. Read more


100. Slow Hands
by Leslie Kelly
Kindle Edition
list price: $4.99
Asin: B001ANYDCM
Publisher: Harlequin
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

This is Maddy Turner's lucky day. The civilized society girl just bid on sexy rogue Jake Wallace at a charity bachelor auction--and won! But Maddy knows Jake's dirty little secret. And it should keep her from trying out her new boy toy. Too bad she can't stop herself from indulging in raw, quite uncivilized sex all the same....

Jake Wallace is utterly bewitched by Maddy--and utterly bewildered. How can this tantalizing woman melt so rapturously under his ministrations one moment, then turn into a haughty queen the next? He's determined to get to the bottom of Maddy's agenda. One slow, delicious inch at a time...

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