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At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corps Memoir
At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corps Memoir
by Janet Givens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.99
6 used & new from $14.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing from the Beginning, June 23, 2015
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Aside from the beginning, what I found most intriguing was following Janet’s process for handling the conflicts she faced. The writing was clear, and quite methodic in explaining each struggle and impasse before making a determination on how to come to terms with the issue. Beautifully done.

There is just so much else to comment on...from the premise of the Peace Corps work, to the selection of the assignment... the host families and friends befriended, the students, the Kazakhstan tapestry...just so much that I'm sure many scenes will be with me forever. Two scenes however, really resonated. It was the second host family, and the visit with friends where in both instances I, too, wondered what nonverbal cues were the families picking up, and how they were being interpreted that created the disconnect.

Above all, this was simply a book I struggled to put down. Any reader who enjoys travel memoirs, or who are interested in Peace Corps work, will find this memoir a delightful true page-turner. Highly recommended.


Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
by Bret Witter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.49
179 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man's Best Friend, June 8, 2015
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There is so much to admire and respect about this story. First there is Tuesday, which I found his story particularly important to appreciating how valuable he became for Luis. The relationship experienced between the two was more than precious. It is priceless.

The writing style, which transitioned between relaying the challenges of serving in Iraq, with the ‘Tuesday stories’, and the numerous difficulties veterans face once they separate from active service and return 'home' were hard to read, but powerful and well told. I really treasured the telling of Luis’s making amends with his parents. Gosh, I melted reading his father’s regret, something like how I melted every time I got to read another one of Tuesday’s facial expressions. I loved this book. It is an important story. Highly recommended.


Thou Shalt Not Steal: The Baseball Life and Times of a Rifle-Armed Negro League Catcher
Thou Shalt Not Steal: The Baseball Life and Times of a Rifle-Armed Negro League Catcher
by Al Hunter Jr.
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.17
38 used & new from $5.70

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the way you write a memoir!, June 8, 2015
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I couldn’t get enough of the voice, which here is the thing. I’m not a baseball enthusiast. I know nothing about batting averages, or a “bottom of sixth” – “nut hopped” – “throwing inside and tight” – “fingernail cut balls”, or “tomahawked” and what Cash was doing when he “went up the line to meet” such and such “coming huffing and puffing.” But I do know first-rate quality writing and exceptional storytelling, plus having a story to tell. Thou Shalt Not Steal covers all three bases!

Come meet Satch, and Hank, and Jackie, and the early ballplayers who played for the Negro Leagues along with Cash who played ball internationally and nationally; who each time I read say, “this is what happened,” then that’s what I believed happened.

Historical, informative, humorous, candid, charming... there is so much covered in this highly laudable autobiography.


A Song for Issy Bradley: A Novel
A Song for Issy Bradley: A Novel
by Carys Bray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.71
90 used & new from $1.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Two Sides of a Story., June 8, 2015
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This is a tranquil story of faith and belief centered around believable dialogue that adds so much lit to the characters that it brings the story off the page; almost like watching a movie. It was this facet in particular that complemented an otherwise quiet heartbreaking story following a family struggling to endure the untimely tragedy of young Issy.


This Is How It Really Sounds: A Novel
This Is How It Really Sounds: A Novel
by Stuart Cohen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.70
79 used & new from $0.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is How it Really Sounds..., February 26, 2015
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Told with the patience of a saint this tale courts a little bit of many things... fanciful espionage, pokerfaced romance, dark humor, historical relics, dark seedy dealings channeled through detailed language that most who are familiar with skiing, finance and music might appreciate. I liked the easygoing beat of the story, but was challenged by the lilt of the "storytelling." Clever depictions, dressing up a basic premise.


The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (Dover Thrift Editions)
by James Weldon Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $2.70
283 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ex-Colored Man, February 16, 2015
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From start to finish I was drawn to the storytelling which is not just great, but grand. The merits of `Ragtime' music, and the cake-walk, were revealing. The differences described between London and Paris titillating. And on top of the plethora of `race' discussions between the ex-colored man and aristocrats like himself, I was bowled over by the premise and the decision he faced... and ultimately made... and why!

The story encouraged me to look into books such as `Monte Cristo', `The Three Guardsmen', and `Uncle Remus's Stories'; possibly to add to my reading list. It also had me looking up the `Wedding March' tune, which yes, I had heard of, but now can associate the classic classical calypso with this reading.

I must say it again. What an empowering novel! Highly Recommended!


Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Dover African-American Books)
Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Dover African-American Books)
by Harriet E. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.95
71 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars "Our Nig", February 16, 2015
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I loved this `semi autobiography' for its post colonial dialect and tremendous storytelling. Our Nig sketches the tragic story of a seven-year old mulatto girl who is left by her parents in the hands of people who become the young girl's "employers"; and who treat her like an object. The emotional pull on the senses relating to highly offensive affairs was challenging, but put in perspective engaging. While a few of the family members extend some compassion towards the young girl; comforting vestiges such as telling the child "better times are coming" after she's been brutally kicked and beaten by the mistress who extends little compassion towards the child, or anyone else for that matter, it nonetheless was consoling to know that this book likely was the first `novel' written by a black woman.

Highly Recommended.


Grace Revealed: a memoir
Grace Revealed: a memoir
by Greg Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.26
27 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Echo Effect", February 16, 2015
I found the writing style warm, personable and engaging; and the pacing, fast. I read the book in a day... because I couldn't put it down.

Aside from the commendable research and fantastic job purposefully inserting humor, the makings of an affecting reading experience, I as well found Aunt Janina's story and grandmother Jadwiga's letter to her mother, tremendously powerful.

I've tried several times to explain my view of the opening, however having failed on each try tells me to omit my feelings there, only to include how endearing, and ironically symbolic I found Jadwiga's mother's early warning to the family about moving so far East. This is not to say had the family remained further from the border of where Stalin was reigning his terror, that this may have alleviated this event and Greg's grief, but there was an ever so subtle message, or "sign" (for me) lingering between those lines.

Suffice to say, I now have a notebook littered full of notes and comments about the family's tragic experience, and Greg's turmoil putting his life, and this laudable story in perspective for so many unknowing about this time in history. Highly Recommended!


Race and the University: A Memoir
Race and the University: A Memoir
by George Henderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.46
31 used & new from $8.83

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource for Reference, January 22, 2015
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The Good are the citations upon citations of racial incidents, student perspectives, and `rebel' philosophies elegantly conjoined and scholarly threaded through this historical inspection of the overall quality of education at the University of Oklahoma in particular, but education for all of society in general.

Aside from being distracted by the many perspectives and the time it took to wheedle through them all to reach Dr. Henderson's summation on his experience, I nonetheless highly regard and respect this work. The punctilious challenges Henderson takes on from many façades (inclusive of, but not exclusively: students, faculty, leaders, rebels and their philosophies, his bridled anger and personal experiences and perspectives) reveals a courageously impeccable researched understanding of barriers hindering reconciliation between races.


Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood
Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood
by Drew Magary
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.73
63 used & new from $2.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, January 22, 2015
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A great book to curl up with. The writing reminded me a lot of Sedaris's writing, to include the brand of humor...with perhaps a wee bit more passion on the softer side. Loved his parents, and the ending really made for a touching treat.


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