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Phillis Wheatley: Poeta Afroamericana (Grandes Personajes en la Historia de los Estados Unidos) (Spanish Edition)
Phillis Wheatley: Poeta Afroamericana (Grandes Personajes en la Historia de los Estados Unidos) (Spanish Edition)
by J. T. Moriarty
Edition: Library Binding
Price: $23.95
14 used & new from $14.00

2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, and a bad history., February 10, 2016
I'm not sure what reading level this is intended for. It is too simple in style for the age group that could actually digest and selectively overlook the author's broad, and sometimes ahistorical, assertions about race relations in the American colonies. And it is far too difficult in subject matter for the 6 to 8 year old age range it is targeted for. The book, in fact, says almost nothing about Phillis Wheatley, instead choosing to focus on the injustices perpetrated upon slaves by white Americans. This is an important topic, and could have been addressed in another book. However, this is (in title) a biography of Phillis Wheatley, and Phillis Wheatley is of great historical significance in her own right. She does not serve well as a prop in a badly-constructed social history. This is a shame, because the documentary illustrations, including those of Phillis' poetry, would be an excellent first resource for young historians. If I could justify removing the documentary illustrations from the book and dispensing with the rest of the text, I would.

The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: A Story of Marriage and Money in the Early Republic
The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: A Story of Marriage and Money in the Early Republic
by Margaret A. Oppenheimer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.78
74 used & new from $14.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly-constructed biography, December 14, 2015
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This is an impressively well-written scholarly narrative, and an excellent resource for students (both academic and hobbyist) of 19th-century New York and 19th-century biography.

Those not familiar with the existing writing on Stephen and Eliza Jumel prior to Ms. Oppenheimer's work may not appreciate the truly heavy lifting that this book does. As a figure in New York history, Eliza Jumel is inherently fascinating. (Other readers have outlined her biography sufficiently in their reviews.)

Unfortunately, Eliza Jumel's life and character were exceptional enough for her time that they inspired more heavily-embellished fiction (usually of the bodice-ripper variety) than careful study. Even serious historians who have written about her have tended to rely on the least implausible segments of wholly sensational secondary writing.

What Ms. Oppenheimer has accomplished is the excavation of the original article from over a century of oxidation in bad fiction and (it must be said) misogynistic early 20th century critique. She presents the historical Eliza Jumel, as revealed in private communications, personal records, and legal records. All historical biographers approaching a quasi-mythical subject encounter a formidable challenge. In Eliza Jumel's case, this task could be roughly analogized to retrieving a small, precious stone from a two ton chunk of calcified rock.

This book does not present the emotional character shading of a novel or a more speculative non-fiction biography, but something much more difficult. It lays out, in a remarkably clear and organized way, all the documented dimensions of Eliza Jumel's origins, business activities, and personal relationships. This allows the reader to find their own point of access, or multiple points of access, to the subject's life from verified sources. Very few historians, even excellent historians, are capable of executing such a presentation.

Those hoping for a more narrative biography, consequently, will still greatly benefit from reading Ms. Oppenheimer's study. Her rigorous research, adherence to contemporary records, and discernment of fact and fiction from accumulated layers of legend provide a necessary foundation for secondary interpretations. Those who, in the future, write on Eliza and Stephen Jumel will be able to offer nuanced psychological portraits and more contextualized biographies for their subjects. And given her unique familiarity with the sources, I would hope Ms. Oppenheimer is among them.

Those future works, in all cases, will be heavily indebted (and footnoted) to Ms. Oppenheimer's concise, careful narrative, and ability to present the difficult angles and complexity of a full life in admirable equipoise.

PTI Bookkeeper Spray - 5.3 Oz
PTI Bookkeeper Spray - 5.3 Oz
Offered by Mechling Bookbindery & Bookbinders Workshop
Price: $39.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it is probably better in karma points than the Krylon alternative, September 23, 2015
As another reviewer mentioned, the effectiveness of this product is questionable still. It's been on the market for nearly 20 years, but is essentially a consumer-grade repackaging of a product originally designed to be applied as a colloidal suspension in a room-sized preservation chamber. It leaves a chalky film on paper, which is not appropriate for archival collections, and actually increases the paper's absorption of ambient air pollutants. Unless your collection is actually stored in a protective chamber, this product may actually have long-term detrimental effects on paper items. Yes, it's non-toxic, and if you are married to the idea of using this on an item, it is probably better in karma points than the Krylon alternative. But as a preservation tool, it is of doubtful effectiveness.

Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
Price: $10.77

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, September 28, 2014
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"Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate" is a much-needed book.

Kim's writing addresses a population of adults with Asperger's who have not, thus far, had an articulate voice in Asperger's literature: "good girls" (and "good boys") who quietly make it to adulthood without being diagnosed. Those who have struggled through school and work, taking their challenges upon themselves, and succeeded enough to pass as intelligent people not quite working to their potential, will find this a particularly welcome text. The same traits that keep these "quiet kids" under the radar as children continue to create difficulties into adulthood, and Kim is a knowledgeable and sympathetic guide for this experience.

As it now stands, popular Asperger's literature can be foreign terrain for those in whom intelligence and disability coexist with a overcharged sense of responsibility. The warranted success of memoirists like John Elder Robison and Jeannie Davide-Rivera (alongside more sober but extremely gifted advocates such as Temple Grandin) is creditable to their ability to tell evocative, energetic stories about themselves. While all of these authors are strong narrators, theirs are stories that only a small minority with Asperger's can recognize themselves in. If Temple Grandin's exceptional mind makes her a fascinating person and a patient and talented teacher in the neurology of autism, her personal experience is difficult to identify with unless you are yourself a savant. Robison and Davide-Rivera, conversely, present life with Asperger's as a sort of heedless tear through childhood and adolescence, full of risk-seeking behavior and impulsive experience, followed by a long denouement (after diagnosis) in which those adventures are retold and sifted for clues. Plenty of adults with Asperger's do find kinship with the latter authors' sense of "otherness." Those with a risk-averse experience of autism, however, can start to feel unwelcome in the popular narrative.

Kim's contribution to Asperger's memoir literature is not so much a biography for the "rest of us," however, as it is an adventure memoir of interiority. Both "squeaky wheels" and quiet observers will recognize their own challenges in this book, especially where Kim turns from personal anecdote to practical suggestions for maintaining relationships in adulthood. Her investigations of executive function impairments, control, and shame are some of the best written in any work on Asperger's.

Kim's book, however, is specifically an account of a life spent trying, prior to diagnosis, to observe and mold herself into the right kind of character for every situation and every person, accumulating rules and reactions that felt inauthentic to her own personality. Beyond the challenges of social life and expectations, she describes a permanent well of deep, personal contentment and capacity for wonder.

This emphasis on interiority is what makes Kim's book unique and necessary. Kim captures the richness of adaptation as much as its frustrations. Her descriptions of the elation and the intense, pure joy that she believes is unique to those with autism, for example, is a piece of psychological art few have approached in their Asperger's-centered biographies. Moreover, she treats this hard-won practice of adaptation as a finely-honed discipline, and one that can act as an unexpected reserve of strength when the desire to "make up for lost time" and reclaim years of lost potential is constructively acted on after diagnosis.

Though Kim's book addresses gender very sparingly, its place in the current literature makes this an especially beneficial guide for women on the spectrum.

To oversimplify the current portrayals of women in Asperger's writing, they tend towards two divergent descriptions. On one end is the impulsive, free-spirited, otherworldly Asperger's woman. Davide-Rivera's pride in her tendency to act without consideration of consequences as a young girl falls into this camp, as does Simone's argument that women with Asperger's have near-paranormal talents.

On the other end, there is the controlling-unto-normalcy Asperger's woman, whose herculean self-restraint in adolescence makes her Asperger's symptoms nearly impossible to detect by early adulthood. The well-intentioned argument by Tony Attwood that a young person with Asperger's will ideally move from the home of a "secretary-mother" (who compensates for the executive shortfalls of the Asperger's child), to the home of the "secretary-wife" (who compensates for the executive shortfalls of the Asperger's man) illustrates the latter description well. Both settle for describing coping mechanisms and adopted social identities, without considering the possibilty of a self-aware, self-accepting adult.

Attwood's developmental leap mirrors persistent errors of omission in the wider popular writing on adults with Asperger's. These errors assume that single adults with Asperger's are fated to remain dependent on their parents or caretakers; that men with Asperger's do not (and maybe should not) pursue relationships with men or women with Asperger's; and perhaps most disheartening, that women with Asperger's- unlike men- are on their own after adolescence.

These lacunae cannot be amended in one volume, but Kim has addressed their common theme of dependence in a strong first entry to what will hopefully become a broader genre for adults newly-diagnosed with Asperger's. That is, experience-based guidance for living a relatively "normal" life, constructively seeking out neurological and practical adaptations, and-most importantly- acknowledging the centrality of strong relationships.

Kim anchors her narrative in her relationship with her husband, which not only provides insight into her own story, but acts as a means for portraying lifelong challenges into adulthood. "Maybe you need a minder," Kim writes of herself in the last chapter. "I have one! The problem is, I'm married to him. How uncool-- not to mention unromantic and unsexy and unequal-partnershipy is it when my husband needs to remind me to do all these little things?"

This is an inner struggle, not to mention a source of shame, that many of Kim's readers in relationships will find familiar. Its resolution, within her relationship, is as valuable as her courage in posing it: "I... asked him if he doesn't get tired... He laughed and said, 'Of course, but what am I going to do? We chose each other.'" The ability to communicate this kind of concrete, interpersonal sense of worthiness, with an eye towards fully growing into oneself, is what makes Kim, as much as Grandin and Robison, an exceptional memoirist.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2016 6:52 PM PST

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, comprehensive narrative, March 21, 2005
Jacques Barzun is an unapologetic advocate of great men (and women) and, in one of his most subtle philosophical veins, he has here comprehensively treated Berlioz as such an entity- rather than a style, technique, or eccentric- within the contemporary and personal world that the composer occupied and was occupied by.

The designation of Berlioz, along with Keats, as The Romantic Genius, has cemented his place in the general surveys of musical and 19th century history. Sustained equally by the overly-emphasized program of "Symphonie Fantastique" and the easily recountable breaking of his engagement to Camille Moke- Berlioz as a Personality could be as easily subsumed in a general, genteely eccentric, demi-Napoleonic, bohemian Romantic "character".

Barzun does not reject the singleness of the Romantic era, as he might have done, in questioning the existence of such an all-encompassing character for it; but explains the depth, the real pragmatism and sense of great morality, on all sides, by which the new generations of necessarily market-dependant artists were precluded by the more aristocratic-minded institutions that fostered them. Berlioz stood in the earliest of these generations, and emerges from his environment sympathetically human. If the embodiment of a period in a single person is a cause for endless fascination (and, barring that, assignation), it is also a cause for beaurocratic tedium, financial pandering, and occasional compositions.

Barzun, having managed in one of his more recent works to extradite John Calvin from the morass of that leader's legacy, deserves admiration for the still more formidable task, in this work, of sorting out the arguments of the last two centuries concerning artistic prerogative, if not for happening yet on their solution.

"Berlioz and His Century" consequently retains (like all of Barzun's narratives) both historical importance and present relevance in the full extent of its range, while remembering the real and finite experiences of the individual figures who made their times important and relevant.

Unisex "#1 Pro" Canvas Ballet Slipper
Unisex "#1 Pro" Canvas Ballet Slipper

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The shoe that won't die...., January 23, 2005
Sansha S1C stands as one of the best all-around canvas ballet slipper. Though this has been sometimes christened as 'a bedtime slipper,' for looseness off the foot, it does not obstruct the line on working feet, especially after repeated use. Where Bloch and Capezio tend to require multiple fittings and testing of different styles- especially through mail order- Sansha styles, as long as they are purchased in the correct approximate widths and lengths, will mold to individual feet and stand for years with good care.

The only reservations concern unusual feet and the leather soles' capacity for holding onto everything they pass over for an extended period of time. If you dance in a meticulous studio, the latter is not an issue, but where a stray drop of soda or Gatorade is occassionally spilt, you may want to scuff the soles once a week. Washing does not seem to clean the leather as well as the canvas, and eventual buildup will impede turns. Also, for those with longer toes, the shoe's initial looseness will exacerbate any of the foot's existing difficulty in turns. This is not a problem for those who have already figured out how to compensate for longer toes, but might be frustrating for students who are struggling with it.

No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, versatile leotard, January 23, 2005
This is one of the most breathable, durable, forgiving leotards available. Very flattering construction for pretty much any figure, and especially complimentary to more muscular legs and wider hips. Moreso than any other leotard I've used, this one is conducive to line visibility and correction without making non-ideal ballet bodies look hideous. The V-back is my "two classes back-to-back leotard", as it is extremely comfortable and stands up well to stretching, even after a couple years of use; and it seems to last as long as good care is taken with it.

Stranger Shores: Literary Essays 1986-1999
Stranger Shores: Literary Essays 1986-1999
by J. M. Coetzee
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from $3.05

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Resource, July 22, 2004
This is, overall, an excellent book, and provides exemplary models of both the literary essay and sympathetic criticism. Coetzee also sets the bar at fluency in three languages.

The standout pieces are those focusing on T.S. Eliot, Gass's Rilke, Dostoevsky, and Turgenev. Overall, his treatments of German, South African, and Russian literatures are the strongest, and essays are grouped more or less by subject nationalities. There are also thematic threads running between pieces that give the book a sense of organization by chapter, rather than of separate works grouped together. Coetzee is careful to balance the strengths and weaknesses of each author, referring to collective works to find explanations when they are not readily available in the individual pieces. He is highly sympathetic with the process of writing a novel, and treats most of his subjects in light of this recognition.

Given all this, I was a little baffled when I came to his essay on Brodsky. Though he does acknowledge Brodsky's genius in the final paragraph, the piece as a whole feels like the expulsion of a long-held grudge against the writer. He thoroughly undermines Brodsky's philosophies and politics (whose identical characteristics he supports wholeheartedly when they appear in Borges' and Dostoevsky's works); and does so to the exclusion of an actual discussion of Brodsky's writing.

As a whole, however, this is an excellent collection. For those new to literary criticism, it brings a clear and unique insight to the evaluation of (and creation of) a novel's structure; and for those who are much more well-read in criticism, a clear respect for the author and a unique manipulation of a reader's curiosity and intelligence. I think that's enough caveats for one review:) I definitely recommend this book.

A Life of Solitude: Stanislawa Przybyszewska : A Biographical Study With Selected Letters
A Life of Solitude: Stanislawa Przybyszewska : A Biographical Study With Selected Letters
by Jadwiga Kosicka
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from $2.97

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to the writer, July 5, 2004
The value of this book to its reader depends equally on the reader's respect for Przybyszewska as a writer, and on how seriously they see themselves engaged in their own field. This collection of letters held the same value for me, as a writer, as "Letters to a Young Poet," initially did, and for the same reasons. It transmits a sympathy with being young and caught up in a subject that removes you a little from the world, and assures you that, yes, in removing yourself, you are as brilliant as you think you are.
There is a lot to identify with here, and if Przybyszewska's self-admitted, honest egoism is a little hard to take, I suspect that it is because she broaches many of the same questions that most people ask themselves in their twenties. She surrounded herself with narratives of great legends and, eventually, found herself living in their realities rather than her own. Before this, though, she spent a great deal of time questioning whether or not she could become one of them, and this is the value of her letters. She identified herself, in them, as both a Raskolnikov-type figure, and as the person in history who understood Robespierre better than anyone else. (Just in case you missed the joy of being twenty-one:)
If these identifications feel a little overblown from the outside, though, they are qualified by Przybyszewska's own realization that these identifications are necessary to her commitment to the writing process. "The Danton Affair" is proof enough that this approach- when she managed to finish her projects- met with incredible success. This play, with "Thermidor," shows an incredible grasp of human characters in the middle of events that are constantly threatening to accelerate beyond their control.
That said, she does "play the artist", to an extent; but beyond that reveals a scientific, deductive, and creative mind that extends past simple eccentric isolation. The concern she reveals in her letters regarding her own, similarly obsessive impulses (a reverence for her father that is tempered by revelations of his faults, the decision to be "100% a writer" that is constantly qualified by a mind wanting to investigate everything, including writing, from several angles) solicits a greater respect for the personal toll of her work and the environment she put herself in to complete it. While I question the biographers' suggestion that she had an incestuous relationship with her father, the playwright Przybyszewski, she undoubtedly lived in his shadow, defined her talent largely in terms of his, and seems to have transferred some of his influence to each of her characters.
Kosicka and Gerould identify her printed letters as her most important body of work, and though I would disagree with this, the letters do bring up valuable questions on the individual process, and provide a great insight into the backstage construction of a dramatic world. The biography written by Kosicka and Gerould, despite the these two (I believe) misplaced conclusions, is a good piece in its own right, and provides a solid introduction to the letters and to Przybyszewska's plays.
If the singular subject matter of her works has isolated them from wider recognition, her letters make these works not only recognizable, but highly appreciable for their own, intrinsic literary value.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2014 10:15 AM PDT

The Family Romance of the French Revolution
The Family Romance of the French Revolution
by Lynn Avery Hunt
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.95
90 used & new from $2.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good textbook to hold onto, July 2, 2004
This is one of those books that leads you to purchase many other books, whether or not you can afford them. "Family Romance" was assigned for one of my college classes and I have picked it up several times since, both as a reference for other research and just to read through. The writing is excellent and the points well-supported. It is only an occasional conclusion that reaches beyond the immediate evidence, and these few are bolstered elsewhere in the work. The only thing that might be lacking is further illustration of cited artwork, the majority of which is far from pornographic (with the exception of the chapter on Sade). I would have liked her to expand more on the role of religion in the family model as well, especially in relation to those who saw themselves as martyrs to the revolution. In the former case, though, most of the works can be found in a general survey of Art History, and the summary of the latter points does not detract from the strength of her main argument. She describes her theory of an unconscious, "collective imagination" thoroughly, and connects it to important figures and events, giving it a chronological shape that makes it both easy to follow and convincing. Just don't follow the footnotes until you have a good savings account built up:)

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