"First, I should say that this book is written by a religious Christian woman and, I believe, published by a Christian publishing house; so be warned, if you are not comfortable with references to a Supreme Being and quotations from the Pentateuch/Prophets, etc., and the New Testament, this book will not be one you wish to order.
That said, as a Chassidic Jew, I found this book concise and useful. While I basically ignored any references to Christianity, I found the "Old Testament" sources to be relevant and helpful. In my culture, we have many guidelines and laws about what we say and how we say it, so I am always on the lookout for more inspiration.
This thirty day plan seems well thought out. I honestly doubt that one could tame one's tongue in 30 days; but I think that if, for instance, a family chose to read one section a day at the evening meal and continued for several months, they would see a great improvement not only in the speech of their family members but in the tenor of their home as well.
Not that this book is written exclusively for people who are married and have families. This book could be used concurrently with a day book while at work. I myself found it helpful to copy short phrases based on each chapter so that I can make little signs to put around the house.
If you are looking for a way to elevate your speech, even if it's not necessarily for a religious reason but just because you would like to present a more refined impression, this book can be very helpful. I recommend it highly."
"This book comes from a Christian publishing house, however as a Chassidic Jew I do not recall any strong overt Christian overtones. It is exactly what it says, suggestions for small periods of time when one can take a "time out" from life in a simple way.
I myself am at a stage in my life when I have the opportunity (and seem to need) more than just "5 minutes" at a time for rest and stress relief, but I have had periods of my life when juggling babies and toddlers, etc., that 5 minutes is just about all the time I could muster up to find some time for myself. Trying to think of something to do during those brief, precious moments can eat them up, leaving a person feeling frustrated and unsatisfied. And when one doesn't have more than 5 minutes at a time (more or less), it is impossible to find the time to create a list of things to do during those few seconds.
Thus, I find this to be a very useful book for people who find themselves in such a situation. That this book is written for women is quite pertinent because we are usually the ones who are staying at home with small children or caring for older relatives during the twilight years. However, I don't see much of a problem if a man finds himself in a similar situation and wishes to adapt some if not all of these ideas into his own masculine lifestyle.
Overall, I think this is a pretty well thought out book. If you find you are at the end of your rope taking care of everyone's needs but your own, check it out. It might be just what you were looking for."
"This is a very well written biographical novel of Marie Antoinette. It begins with her birth and early childhood and continues on until the bitter end. Do not let the fluffy, shallow movie deter you from this novel - it IS a gripping read, but doesn't NEED any "updates" to make her life fascinating.
Marie Antoinette, over her life, developed from a Grand Duchess who was rigorously trained by her matriarchal mother to a naive princess plunged into the degenerate, political Court of Versailles. Her early schooling in dance allowed her to perfect the famous "Versailles glide" - a manner of walking in which the women of the Court appeared to glide around the palace with no trace of footsteps.
When she and her husband inherited the crown at a young age, they were intelligent and wise enough to know that they had been given an incredibly weighty responsibility. A woman ahead of her time, M.A. learned to rise above her mother's verbally abusive letters, her husband's ineffectuality in every sphere (including the bedroom) and the self-indulgent hedonism in which the French nobility lived - sublimely indifferent to the incredible poverty of the people they ruled.
Unfortunately for M.A., this was too little too late - and she and her family were destined to suffer the punishment which had been cumulating as a result of generations of misrule."
"This is a well-researched and written fictional biography of a minor player in 18th century British society. Mary Robinson was indeed the mistress of the Prince of Wales, but it was only for a short period of his and her lives. She was well known as a theatrical actress and although she was often in the company of the nobility such as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, it was brought brutally home to her that, common born as she was, she would never really be "one of them." It is likely that her personality as an intelligent, strong willed and passionate woman is the result of what basically can be seen as the trainwreck of her personal life. The severe and undue insults and depravation brought upon her by her love affairs with men was so striking that her daughter determined to remain single all of her life. Robinson was multi-talented - in addition to her theatrical and social skills she was also a writer of plays and books. Unfortunately, this intelligence did not play into her romantic and intimate life.
This book gives quite an accurate portrayal of this courageous yet foolhardy woman, highlighting her talents and abilities while not sugar coating the low points which constantly appeared throughout her life. It gives the reader a view of British society at one of its most scintillating and interesting periods, from within but also from without."
"This is an anthology of some loose, essay-like musings, a short story or two, and what I would call a novella. As such, Niven fans will enjoy these quick glimpses into some of his ideas about "life, the universe and everything" (sorry, but I really couldn't think of a better descriptive phrase!). The title story ("All the Myriad Ways," and if you couldn't figure that out you probably should stay away from this book) is, in my opinion, a sci fi classic that should be given to 6-8th grade students as part of their curriculum.
If you are looking for one of Niven's novels that draw you in, involving interesting characters and their even more interesting lives, this won't fully satisfy. But if you are in the mood for some light reading, or if you just want to get an idea of what Niven is about, then read it by all means."
"This bgok was recommended to me by a friend who is one of the most intelligent and well-organized people I have ever met in my life. When he took on a hobby he REALLY took on the hobby - and roses was one of his passions.
I myself am a dabbling gardener who is also allergic to chemical pesticides. Thus my garden is fairly weedy and pest ridden (I don't have all that much time, and weeding by hand plus spraying cayenne pepper solution on aphids takes a great deal of time!) Yet I do wish to care for my plantings as best I can.
I actually bought this book years before I ever had a garden in which to plant roses, and it helped me decide what type of roses I wanted: the shape, blooming season and habit, climate requirements, etc., are all detailed in this book.
For the wealth of information in this book, which I would rate as possibly the "Bible" of growing roses, it is not a large, heavy book. It is small enough to easily fit into a mid-size to large purse so as to take along to the gardening store.
If you already have roses or if you are planning on buying some in the future, I recommend this book to you."
"This book is suitable for young female readers ranging in age from about 8-11 years old, depending upon their reading abilities and personality. Although this particular book is about Amy, there are a few other books written about Amy's family and neighborhood.
These books are set in a Jewish neighborhood, somewhere in inner-New York City, in the 1950s (well, that's my impression of when they are set). However, even though the characters involved are drawn from a unique and small subset of society, the issues and obstacles addressed in them are universal.
Amy Moves In, as it focuses on Amy, centers mainly on Amy's feelings of sibling rivalry and her difficulty with schoolwork. Amy is the second of two daughters. Laura, the eldest, has been labeled by her family and school as "the smart one." Which leaves Amy, a year or two younger and with blue eyes and blond curly hair, the role of "the pretty one." Each label carries a subtext upon which both girls fixate: If Laura is brainy and Amy is pretty, then it stands to reason that Laura is a bit of a neb (Yiddish slang for nerd) while Amy is a ditzy flake.
The book begins with a clean slate for Amy upon which Amy begins the struggle to figure out who she is and where she fits into the family and the world. It is an honest book to which girls can relate."
"I am so glad I read the reviews, because I also read this book twice. Maybe more. I know that the two story lines are a bit confusing, but there is a message involved.
It's a fast paced thriller, but it's not just that. It, at least in my opinion, explores what heroism is. Or, is it only one thing? How does a person become hero? Voluntarily? Or is s/he just trying to survive? How does it change a someone's personality to be a hero, or does it?
These questions can have multiple "correct" answers.
Still, if you just want well described action and scary aliens, this is a great book for you."
"We all know that Stephen King can spin a fabulous, hair-raising horror story. However, when you look beyond the hype, beyond the blood, gore and juddering bones, many of his works show finely honed artistry.
Bag of Bones is, arguably, King's best work so far, although since the quality of his work is of such high literary caliber, this could be a questionable claim. In it, he combines such frightening images that, as one PBS reviewer wrote, "It scared me so much I couldn't read past the first few pages." (sic - I can't see the review while I am writing this one, so I cannot quote it correctly.)
King's characters are full bodied People, with families and histories and allergies. His houses have dust, the garden weeds, and you don't want to think about what might be underneath the surface of the lake. His villains, frightening enough as they are, are all the more horrific for the fact that it is very easy to identify with their very humanity.
One of King's greatest skills is that he DOES write fine literature for those who wish to seek it - there is amazing symbolism and philosophical discussion of what it means to be an artist/writer and the responsibilities incumbent upon the artist. Yet for those who just want to read a book so scary it will make them wet their pants, this book satisfies completely. He interweaves his artistry into the story so deftly that the reader is never pulled away from the world within the book - on the contrary, his world is so fully drawn, so complete, that it is easy to feel the hot sun on one's back, the warm wood of a deck beneath one's feet and the bone-chillingly frigid water in one of Maine's famously dark watered lakes.
I believe it goes without saying that this is a book one would not want to give to a child, no matter how precocious. There are some very disturbing images of child murder, some graphic sex and a very violent rape in the story.
So if you like to read Stephen King because he's stomping scary - you'll love it.
And if you are a bonehead intellectual who loves to seek the symbolism and resolution of the "anxiety of influence," you'll be astounded."
"I enjoyed this book and most likely will end up reading more of her work. It's not necessarily my favorite genre, but if you like books which follow the history of mankind and how the most trivial item might have a glorious history, you will probably enjoy reading it. I imagine this is the type of book that will more likely appeal to women, because woman are the main characters of the novel, after the "character" of the stone itself.
One thing I especially enjoyed about the novel is the portrayal of humanity as a brotherhood (or, more aptly, a sisterhood. It is also a testament to the intelligence and vision of women.
The book begins with the neonatal stage of humanity and ends in the present day."
"If you enjoy reading this genre of literature, you will definitely enjoy this book. I don't always read books in sequence, but as you can tell, it is part of a series, so if it is very important to you to read things in order, read the first two books first.
I find this type of book enjoyable reading because it is "clean" and describes a lifestyle and culture that is different from my own. It is not complicated or serious fiction - often you can predict how things will turn out in the end, but they almost always have a little turn or two you might not quite have predicted."
"I enjoy medical fiction, so this book appealed to me. It is not a book that I would want to read over and over again, but it is a nice, light book which is entertaining at the same time it educates the reader about medical research and Native American (Blackfoot) history and culture.
The book does take a great deal of its plot from history and from an amalgam of various other fiction, which takes a great deal of guesswork out of solving the mystery. But it still is an enjoyable enough book to spend your time with while at an airport or doctor's office."
"Stephen Baxter is a talented writer whose writing covers many differents areas of what we'd call "science or speculative" fiction. This particular book combines aspects of what I consider social science fiction with a bit of mystery. The protagonist discovers that his family has a centuries old tie with an organization and this connection is involved with his sister leaving the family at a very early age to live in a mysterious "order" or school. His research leads him to discover a group of people who, after co-existing side by side but separately from those of us in the known world, have come to belong to a variant of the human species.
This variant follows various patterns found within nature and does have a certain potentially superior survival mechanism. It is my impression that the book implies that this human variation is possibly a natural evolution of the human state - further, that it is likely that other intelligent species also could have a tendency to evolve in this manner.
For those of us who deeply enjoy Baxter's hard science fiction, this book may come as somewhat of a disappointment. I believe there is/are even (a) sequel(ae) to the book, but as the book left me a bit cold, I have not bothered to even impress the facts upon my consciousness, so I cannot truthful claim whether the concept has been extended by Baxter or not."
"Cassandra Kresnov is a synthetic human created to serve in the League's armed forces. GI's (as these soldiers are known) are designed with special abilities. Most GIs are basically "cannon fodder" and therefore have limited intellectual abilities. Cassandra and her team were part of an elite group within the GIs, with greater intelligence. Of these, Cassandra herself is unique, a truly parallel synthetic human who not only possesses highly superior analytic reasoning capabilities, but has developed emotional and aesthetic sides to her personality as well.
This advanced intelligence creates a paradox within Cassandra - as she ages, she begins to mature and develop. This development sparks rebellion against authority. When Cassandra's eyes are "opened" so to speak, she realizes that life as a common soldier is not the life she would choose for herself.
She leaves the League and tries to integrate herself within a Federation city. Ironically, although the Federation recognizes what the League does not - that she is a sentient being who has the right to determine her own lifestyle and destiny, they also harbor a long-held prejudic and fear of GIs.
As Cassandra tries to incorporate herself into life on the planet Callay, she is torn between past traumas and emotions and her present day difficulty with a culture comprised of people who are, at best, deeply ambivalent about her presence in their community.
This is a high-action book with a very strong female lead and other sympathetic male and female characters."
"This is a very well written fictional biography of Sarah Jennings, a very intelligent and strong willed woman who rose from a childhood lived on the charity of the crown to be a Duchess who, for many years, was a strong political factor in Stuart England. Holloway Scott allows herself enough identification with Jennings so as to portray her life as she herself must have viewed it - yet at the same time retains a certain amount of separation so that we may glimple the underlying text which reveals Jennings' flaws and errors.
The book will satisfy those of us who are sticklers for historical accuracy while presenting a fascinating read. Jennings' life was exciting enough that embellishments are little needed, and Scott's presentations of what may have been intimate moments shared between Jennings and those in her life ring true. Characters do not appear portrayed in anachronistic attitudes, which is a relief compared to the metre of too much of todays' contemporary biographical fiction.
Readers will leave the book feeling quite satisfied with the book and filled with desire to read more of Scott's work."
"I had great expectations when I began to read this book. I am a great fan of historical fiction and since I had enjoyed Lisa See's Snowflower and the Secret Fan, hoped for a deeper insight into the workings of Chinese feminine culture.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It is true that this book is historically quite accurate and does detail the life of this empress intricately. However, the author seemed to hesitate to ascribe motivations and/or emotions to her character. True, we can never really know how someone who lived in the past felt, or what they thought, but it seems to me that the whole point of writing historical fiction is that the author tries to inhabit the character whose life they have chosen. In fact, I read an article about biographers and their subjects which seemed to portray the relationship as a very intimate one. So I was disappointed when Shan Sa writes a sentence similar to, "My sister contracted a terrible female disease and wasted away, all the while blaming me for her death." As one sentence in a paragraph or two, or even a chapter about the sister's death, what her agony was like, how the Empress was implicated and how she felt about those implications and how they influenced those around her, it would be sufficient. But as the entire summation of the event, it leaves me cold. (NOTE: I just made up that sentence as an example of what some of the prose in the book is similar to - it is not an actual line from the book.)
Thus, I found the book disappointing. Due to my lack of emotional involvement in the book, I cannot even remember any historical details about it, except that there was a comet (or maybe two) during the reign of the Empress."
"Lauren Weisberger really hit the big time with her first novel, The Devil Wears Prada, and was most likely encouraged to milk the rebound from Prada with a similar type of novel. In fact, I'm wondering if she can write anything that's really different at this point in time, if ever.
What I find irritating about her books is that the main character is always a spoiled, whiny child who manages to get a job that other people would be infinitely grateful to have - the perks are amazing and the job provides opportunities for tremendous career growth. The pay isn't all that great and the hours are long - but hey, I'd rather have a job like this than work the same amount of time at Burger King and Walmart. But do Weisberger's characters see it this way? No, they'd rather whine about the long hours, "hard work," cattiness and difficult demands than count their obvious blessings. Further, they do this with a sense of righteousness - as if earning a great deal of money working a straight 40 hour week with honest, cooperative co-workers immediately out of college is something they are entitled to have.
In Prada, Weisberger must have been told that her characters were a bit too one-dimensional, because this book is stuffed with characters who have an eccentricity. Only one per character, and their quirkiness seems pulled out of a book of stereotypes.
However, all this said, it was still a fun read. Why? Because a.) it gives you an insight into a world that most of us will never be a part of, with luxurious opportunities and gifts raining from heaven and b.) it allows US to feel self-righteous as we smugly imagine what WE would do if given the same opportunity!
So I would not pass up this book on its shortcomings, because even though it's advantages seem less influential, they make the reading worthwhile.
If you enjoyed Prada on ANY level, this book is definitely for you."
"I have not personally read this book myself, either I bought it for one of my children or, what is more likely, they bought it for themselves. Ann Rinaldi is a well known and respected writer of historical novels for the teen years - readers are more likely to be female. From what I know of Rinaldi, expect a well-researched and well-written book with great appeal. Rinaldi has a series of books and a huge reader base."
"If you are looking for a "textbook" in flower arranging, yet are enough of a beginner that simple explanations are the most helpful, this book is for you. It not only shows how to arrange flowers in a variety of designs, but also explains materials, basic concepts and aesthetic "schools."
It is large and the color photographs show step by step detail. The text is substantial and explains not only the usage and choice of flowers, etc., but also features highlighted boxes of text which give complimentary information. The central aesthetic goals of different styles of flower design are very well described.
This is the sort of book which not only teaches the reader to create a variety of designs detailed in the book, but also allows the reader not only to vary the design details according to his/her own environment. In addition, the reader can use the material to create her/his own designs.
An excellent book for a fledgling flower arranger like myself."
"It's funny that there aren't any reviews of this book, considering how difficult it is to find it on PBS. I got it through my wish list and really enjoyed it. I didn't really want to post it, but I felt guilty because so many other people wanted it too.
Baxter is a favorite author of mine. Because he is a scientist, I am able to engage into his theoretical worlds very easily. This book, which is about a race of manufactured people, is well-written and very descriptive. Even after several years, there are many images which remain in my imagination.
The characters he has created live in one of the layers of a star (sorry, it really has been a while, and I'm not much of an expert of stellar morphology). They've been created and put into this star so as to somehow change it into a type of star beneficial to life forms on the planets which surround.
I feel really bad that I'm so murky on it.
Details aside, I found this book satisfied me scientifically and aesthetically. The characters are interesting - unfortunately I can't say that they are realistic or true to life! But within their universe, their personalities and life experiences are well-crafted.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading speculative hard sci fi. I'm going right now over to Amazon to buy it!"