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United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination
United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination
by John J. Newman
Edition: Paperback
233 used & new from $0.06

4 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMSCO US History Book, May 23, 2010
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This was the most helpful book for preparing for the AP US History exam. It was completely worth it.

Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
by Ovid
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.39
161 used & new from $5.00

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ovid's Metamorphoses, September 22, 2009
Ovid made a bold stab at the end of this book when he declares "wherever Rome's power extends over the conquered world, I shall have mention on men's lips, and, if the prophecies of bards have any truth, through all the ages shall I live in fame." I couldn't help but laugh at the audacity. But from an objective standpoint, he was entirely right. And after reading his book, I loved his writing so much that I agree that he should have that "undying name." I'm glad he knew something of his greatness before he died (even though he was exiled).

I suppose it's hard for me to give a review of an ancient text. What am I supposed to criticize? He uses too many Greek names I can't pronounce that sometimes differ in one letter or none? He sucks up to Augustus quite obviously, though perhaps in a sarcastic way? All fair enough for the times. Ovid's writing, of course, is poetic. He was a poet. His characters are never dull - even the ones that would go down in mythology as some of the least deserving of sympathy he turns into humans we can relate to. Scylla (not the one turned into the monster) has a passionate monologue revealing her struggle over helping her love, Minos, or saving her father's kingdom. Eventually she cuts her father's purple lock of hair, thus destroying his kingdom and ending his life. How could someone sympathize with that? But Ovid gives her a voice that shows her inner conflict, and the small, sometimes seemingly logical, steps people take to bad decisions. And he does this for many other characters.

He doesn't always portray the gods in a sympathetic light. He knew they could be jerks, and he went through no pains to hide this view. But sometimes he sounds pious enough so that you can understand the reverence with which the Greeks and Romans looked upon their gods. He covers pretty much all extremes of religious devotion - his stories show the most impious and pious, describe rituals, etc. Those, along with other phrases or sentences when you read carefully, reveal so much about the times and the culture, even beyond the religious field.

Considering this is a book of transformations, it provides stories to explain how many things came to be - the Sahara desert, different seasons, amber, the hyacinth, the woodpecker, etc. I always found that interesting about myths. If myths were often used as a teaching tool, explaining the existence of something would be one key function. And that element is always fun to read about.

Anyway, just read the book. It's worth it. He's one of the authoritative authors for occidental myths. No modern source could beat the value of an ancient author. If you don't have the patience to read the whole thing - I'll admit, it seemed to take forever to finish, but I was determined - get a book with an index, like this version. This has an excellent index and glossary, and the table of contents breaks the original books into the stories contained within them. It's formatted in a great way for reference later. It also has a lined, not prose, format, which preserves some of the authenticity and helps break up parts that would have turned into dense paragraphs in a prose style. I should confess, though, that this was not the translation I used for my cover-to-cover reading: my Latin teacher says that Mandelbaum's is the best, but I was stuck with a Barnes & Noble classics edition. Since then I've used this version as reference and to refresh my memory, but I can't completely comment on accuracy or readability.

I think this book should be a basic part of education, certainly if you have any interest in myths or the classics.

Love's Executioner (Perennial Classics)
Love's Executioner (Perennial Classics)
by Irvin D. Yalom
Edition: Paperback
173 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love's Executioner, September 22, 2009
This book is written by a psychotherapist, who has mainly existential views though he is flexible enough to adjust his practice to meet the needs of individuals. Each chapter follows an intriguing story of one of his patients - an overweight woman who loses almost 100 pounds, a terminally ill cancer patient, a widow, a mother grieving over the loss of her favorite daughter, etc. The cases shed light on the true practice of psychotherapy. It illustrates successful exchanges and frustrations alike, thus providing a realistic expectation for those considering the profession. The author wrote it mainly in a story format, but throughout describes his thought processes that clarify some of the techniques. I read this book in a day because it's written in such an engaging style. Primarily, it showed me what to expect if I were to become a psychotherapist. It also discussed issues in the patients, or even the therapist, that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives. It gave me a better understanding of others, and myself as well.

A Primer of Jungian Psychology
A Primer of Jungian Psychology
by Calvin S. Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.87
110 used & new from $0.36

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to Jungian Psychology, November 24, 2006
Although it may be rather brief, this book does an excellent job with introducing people to the basics of Jungian psychology. For people beginning to learn about Jung's theories, I think this is one of the best starting points, and after reading it I've had a good basis to continue learning more about this subject. It's well-written, easy to understand, provides real-life examples to clarify concepts, and the information is organized in a logical sequence. Altogether it is a wonderful overview.

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