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The Wonder Spot
The Wonder Spot
by Melissa Bank
Edition: Hardcover
389 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it..., July 31, 2006
This review is from: The Wonder Spot (Hardcover)
This book left me cold. I was really looking forward to reading it because I love the Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing and count it as one of my favorite books, but it just did not have the magic that Girls Guide did. I got so annoyed with the main character and could not relate to her or find something that I found charming or neat about her. It just seemed like with this book Melissa Banks wrote whatever came off of the top of her head with no rhyme or reason to it.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
by Oliver Sacks
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.98
327 used & new from $1.61

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want Oliver Sacks to be my doctor, July 31, 2006
Oliver Sacks' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" is an incredible and fascinating book--I highly recommend it. The book is divided into a number of stories/clinical tales about various patients Dr. Sacks has seen over the years who have exhibited strange symptoms or ailments due to damage in the right hemisphere of the brain (his summary of the differences between the left and right sections of the brain, and how the disorders of the right half have not been given nearly enough attention by the medical community, is also really interesting). All of the stories caught my attention, but "The Disembodied Lady" was probably the most disturbing. Dr. Sacks is a neurologist who not only knows what he is talking about when it comes to medicine, but he is also deeply committed to his patients and their well-being. He is a humanist in every sense of the word. He is also a great writer--he can explain complicated medical conditions with the greatest of ease and such a sense of compassion. He also wrote the book "Awakenings" on which the movie with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams is based.

Veronica Mars: Season 1
Veronica Mars: Season 1
DVD ~ Kristen Bell
17 used & new from $2.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good series, November 15, 2005
This review is from: Veronica Mars: Season 1 (DVD)
This is a good show. Unfortunately it does not garner much in the ratings department since it is on UPN and up against Lost on Wednesday nights. It's a little bit Buffy (a butt-kicking heroine), a little O.C. (it's set in a fictional wealthy town in southern California), and a little Twin Peaks (the show centers on the murder of Veronica's best friend, Lily Kane). Kristin Bell shines as Veronica. Some of the stand alone episodes could have been stronger, but Veronica's determination to find Lily's murderer keeps the series going. As one reviewer said, the last four to five episodes are really good. Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, has lavished quite a lot of praise on the show. The first season was a great start. Coincidentally, Alyson Hannigan guest starred on the show in the first season, and Charisma Carpenter has become a series regular in the second.

Music From the O.C.:  Mix 2
Music From the O.C.: Mix 2
73 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, June 9, 2005
This is such an excellent music compilation that I felt compelled to write a little something about it on Amazon. The O.C. Mix 2 has such a good variety of independent singers/songs and I have to say that I really like just about every song on the CD. If you're tired of the pop rock you hear on the radio and are looking for something a little deeper, a little more alternative, a little edgier, with genuine feeling and emotion, this is your cd. My favorites are "Trouble Sleeping" (the Perishers), "Smile Like You Mean It" (The Killers), and "Maybe I'm Amazed" (Jem), but really, I like them all, and there are so few cd's to say that about. Josh Schwartz and the O.C.'s music supervisor have done such a great job getting all these artists on the mix cd. I think that the O.C. will continue getting praise not only for being a witty, sharp, funny, touching comedy/drama but also for showcasing some really great music.

Angels in America
Angels in America
DVD ~ Al Pacino
Price: $12.89
90 used & new from $0.20

13 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film, October 18, 2004
This review is from: Angels in America (DVD)
"Angels in America" is, quite simply, an incredible, incredible viewing experience and is well worth six hours of your time. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary Louise Parker, and a bevy of others all turn in outstanding performances. Al Pacino is especially good and brings a lot of verve and ultra right-wing nastiness and awfulness to the real life figure of Ray Cohn. The direction and writing are also excellent, with the dialogue verging on Shakespearan at some points--it's a joy to listen to. The film touches on a multitude of subjects, including what it meant to be gay in 1980s Reagan America. It cemented my view that having a more liberal, left wing perspective somehow makes one more human, because right wing politics oftentimes has no room for tolerance and inclusiveness. Indeed, that seemed the main message of the film--we are all human and in this together no matter what our age, race, or sexual preference. I highly recommend this film.

Before Sunset
Before Sunset
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Offered by Sunday River
Price: $5.50
156 used & new from $0.01

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, October 5, 2004
This review is from: Before Sunset (DVD)
This is easily the best movie I've seen all year. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) pick up where they left off a little under ten years ago in "Before Sunrise"--he's in Paris to promote his book, which just so happens to be about his encounter with Celine all those years ago, and she shows up at the book signing. They then wander the streets of Paris together, and the conversation flows as easily as it did back then. After all those years, there's still such chemistry and connection between them, and in the end, that's what the film is about--how often do we meet people that we truly connect with? The film is basically one long, involving, wonderfully interesting conversation, so if you love gigantic Hollywood action packed sequences, this might not be right for you. However, if you're looking for something introspective and intelligent and peppered with asides about what it means to live a meaningful life, then this is the one for you.

I found "Before Sunset" to be just as romantic as "Before Sunrise" and they don't even share one kiss. The ending was wonderful, to me. I would highly recommend this one!

The Known World: A Novel
The Known World: A Novel
by Edward P. Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.46
1009 used & new from $0.01

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, September 7, 2004
This is an important book, and indeed, should find its rightful place in the American literary canon alongside Toni Morrison's novels and other slavery narratives. Edward P. Jones' "The Known World" centers on once-slave Henry Townsend, who decides to own slaves himself and run a plantation years after gaining his freedom. After his death, his widow is left to run the plantation, and problems arise.

The novel, though, is more about the details of life in the antebellum South, the mode of thinking. And Jones deftly explores the moral complications inherent in a former slave now owning slaves himself. It is amazing how quickly Henry absorbs the "Master" mindset and views his affairs and his world the way his former master does. That's the world as he knows it, what people would aspire to, even though he knows what it's like to be a slave. Most impressive to me was the beautiful writing and imagery--Jones knows how to turn a sentence and convey an insight, wisdom. His writing is so evocative. It is really hard to believe this is his first novel. It's for good reason that he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. This comes highly recommended, and especially recommended for students of American literature.

Elroy Nights
Elroy Nights
by Frederick Barthelme
Edition: Hardcover
67 used & new from $0.01

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, September 7, 2004
This review is from: Elroy Nights (Hardcover)
I bought "Elroy Nights" after reading positive reviews on the back cover, but I only reached halfway after feeling deflated and disappointed with the pace and characters. I don't expect the books I read to have a point or a plot per se, but I do expect them to contain something to consider, mull over, and be worthy of my time and effort.

"Elroy Nights" refers to the title character in the novel, an art professor at a small university in Mississippi. It starts with him feeling discontented with his life with Clare, his wife. This is what pulled me in--the descriptions of Elroy's discontent promise some future insight, or SOMETHING. But I just couldn't sympathize with the main character or find his musings anything but vague and meandering. Nothing really happened and nothing was really noted that made me think it was worth it to keep going. In the end there is nothing really original or wise about this one--avoid it.

Welcome to the Dollhouse
Welcome to the Dollhouse
DVD ~ Heather Matarazzo
Price: $13.69
33 used & new from $9.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film, September 7, 2004
This review is from: Welcome to the Dollhouse (DVD)
This is one of the most disturbing and off-kilter films I've seen in a while. But it's absolutely on the mark about how brutal and utterly awkward junior high can be.

Dawn Wiener (played wonderfully by Heather Matarazzo) is incessantly bullied by her classmates and all but ignored at home. Dawn is a nerd, but she is kind, observant, and makes more intelligent remarks than the rest of the cast put together. That doesn't stop Mom from blaming her for everything and taking perfect little sister Missy's side at every available opportunity. And it certainly doesn't stop her classmates from writing "Weiner Dog" all over Dawn's locker. In the end, there isn't much closure, only the realization that this period in her life won't last forever.

Todd Solondz deftly explores the horrors of being an awkward teenager, and he also delves into the mindset of suburbia. I recommend this one, but in the end thought his "Happiness" was a better film.

The Wedding Banquet
The Wedding Banquet
DVD ~ Winston Chao
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $13.39
61 used & new from $3.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, lovely film, September 7, 2004
This review is from: The Wedding Banquet (DVD)
"The Wedding Banquet" finds Ang Lee in top form, and centers on a gay couple living in Manhattan. One of the men is Chinese, and he feels certain his parents would never accept his lifestyle. So he marries a Chinese woman living in one of his apartment buildings in New York and passes her off as his wife when his parents come to visit. There are little suprises in this film, and a number of funny and poignant scenes. Its main theme is unconditional love and acceptance. I would definitely recommend this film, as well as other Ang Lee films like Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm, in which all, in one way or another, focus on human relationships and our capacity for love.

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