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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars When it touched water, the color ran right out of it. Dye unstable, February 6, 2011
Nice and thick ,beautiful color but when it got wet (the first time I wore it) the color ran right out of it. And the only thing that touched it was water. The sleeves and the neckline --- all the color ram leaving huge pinkish blotches had to return it AT MY COST!!! Very, very disappoited with the quality of this product

Shakespeare (The Illustrated and Updated Edition)
Shakespeare (The Illustrated and Updated Edition)
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.46
42 used & new from $12.83

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE TITLE SHOULD BE "IN AND AROUND SHAKESPEARE", December 2, 2010
A repetitious and (to me) boring social and cultural history - and an incomplete one at that -- of the Shakespearean period is NOT a book "about" Shakespeare.

Bryson notes at the outset -- and endlessly repeats -- that we know virtually nothing about the playwright apart form his plays. After slogging through this book, I still know virtually nothing about Shakespeare apart from his plays. So what was the point of the exercise -- to tell us again and again how very little is known?

The book's content has been written elsewhere, written more completely, written better, and the book has a feel of material lifted from other sources and cobbled together to produce something that sounds like it's full of material lifted from other sources and cobbled together.

The most interesting information Bryson offers was about the defeat Spanish Armada and the endless London plagues. And that information is found elsewhere, too -- in multiple, multiple eslewheres, in fact.

Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years
Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years
by Barbara Leaming
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from $0.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really juicy, although I should take a star away for repetition, September 3, 2010
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Like any good little Catholic girl of the 1960s, I have read and read and read all kinds of books on most of the Kennedys, but have a fascination with Jackie. I must say that when I picked this book up, I expected more treacle and baloney. But it really offers exceptional detail of Jacqueline Kennedy's daily life as First Lady and a straightforward presentation of her torment in light of her husband's exceptionally loose zipper. I was frankly astonished and I didn't think I could be astonished at these people anymore.

Leaming is a pretty good writer, and has done her homework. However, for some reason she repeats various facts CONSTANTLY, as if she was writing for idiots. God, it is annoying.

Nevertheless, I give this one four stars because of the incredible amount of research Leaming includes about the details of day-to-day life, the rather shocking details of drug usage in the Kennedy White House (I found this very alarming), a fresh approach to Papa Joe, Kick Kennedy stories (repeated endlessly, alas)and the analysis of JBK's association with her mother, her husband's paramours, and the tactics she used to keep her sanity in the face of all this (escape, look good, escape, dress well, escape, entertain brilliantly, escape, read another book, escape, escape, escape).

Leaming is a Jackie partisan, so paper doll Jackie stars here hoping to arrest Jack's attention for more than five minutes. I understood, when all was said and done, what HAPPENED to her -- that is, what acted upon her -- but less than necessary about how she actually felt, what she thought, what she believed.

Jackie refused to keep a diary or tell her own story, so we will always be left to guess what really made her tick. I ended thinking tha the two of them, JFK and his wife, were clearly flawed but absolutely in control of their images. They could easily be nothing but really lightweight puff pastries whom we have endowed with our own craving for an Olympian combo of beauty, glamour and brilliance. This book gives us ample reason to pity their pathos while applauding their skill at impression manipulation, but like all the others, it just can't cough up the whole chihuahua -- ie ever WAS a whole chihuahua between them.

The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America
The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America
by Don Lattin
Edition: Hardcover
73 used & new from $0.01

9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming in the analysis department, March 29, 2010
I know it's selling well, but this is a lightweight book. A Wikipedia entry.

Although author has much factual material at his disposal, and frequently repeats it (one wonders at the whereabouts of his editor and pre-publication readers), there is little in-depth analysis or cultural/historical contextualization of the activities in question.

Virtually meaningless and trite observations are given too much space and there is tuch reliance on hearsay, gossip, newspaper accounts and the subjects' self-serving description when it comes tothe motivations involved. These activities, these people did not develop in a vacuum and for this material to have meaning beyond the patently obvious, it needed to be related -- in depth -- to the larger culture and period.

That said, most readers will learn something of the wacky, childish, sneaky, abusive and often unsavory activities of all four of Lattin's iconic "boys" ("The Trickster," "The Seeker," "The Healer," etc.) and the grotesqueries of the era in which they made their mark. After reading this, I disliked both decades even more than when I lived through them.

Andrew Weil, the porky, smug and snakey little "health guru" and grinnin' egoist Tim Leary, whom Weil helped to grind into the dirt (although Leary did plenty of that himself) come off the worse here, and it seems deservedly so. Their positive qualities are listed by their buds but their nasty behavior screams at the top of its lungs.

The author lets others speak but doesn't weigh in himself, which might be okay in a feature news story but not in a book that pretends to treat decades of American life. It suggests that he just can't get his mind around the whole topic, much less its myriad jabbertng parts. So he lets the sensationalist descriptions of the subjects' self-important, hair-brained behavior in a rather sensational time substitute for depth.

I was left hungry for understanding, for a sense of the psychology of the main characters, not just their nuttiness, greed and shallow regrets, but how their rather profound losses affected them (the suicide of Leary's wife and the death of his daughter are quite lightly treated) and how they came to understand their roles and the often faulty assumptions that so defined their lives and times.

Lattin is a newspaper religion writer, after all, not an anthropologist or a sociologist and I'm afraid a scholar with years of research under his belt is what was called for here.

Perhaps my reading suffered from having just finished Blake Bailey's masterful biography of John Cheever. The comparison is of a handful of corn chips eaten on the fly to an eight course meal prepared by a master chef. Of course, Lattin's book is not cheap, it just tastes cheap.

I would like to think the subjects of this book deserved better. Perhaps some of them did. Others I could easily do without. In any case, it will be a cold day in hell before I read ANYTHING about this crew again.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2012 5:14 AM PDT

59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Hardcover
100 used & new from $1.91

134 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO helpful, SO useful -- I am floored!, January 14, 2010
Depressed? Overweight? Angry? Failed every which way but loose? No accident, my friend, but help is here. Pour a cup of tea, grab a comforter and thank god.

I have some grounding in the study of psychology and much of its clinical research over the past 20 years, and know that Wiseman knows whereof he speaks. In addition to my academic study, I've so many books on these subjects that at a garage sale starring my self-help library, someone asked me if I was a psychiatrist. No, I said, I'm just nuts.

Yes, it's true that Wiseman offers jokey (and political) asides that might annoy some readers, but that is nothing compared to the enormously helpful distillation of psychological research offered here and the ease of application to one's own life.

The book is well organized, well written and lucid. It explains in lay terms why common and familiar "self-help" directives simply don't work, have never worked and are really no more than endlessly reiterated (and successfully marketed)myths. He then prescribes remedies that not only work fast, but have been proven by scientific study to provoke lasting change. Some are counterintuitive, some make immediate sense, all are easier than I had any right to expect.

I was quite surprised, not only by how quickly Wiseman's recommendations work, but by the holding power of the changes that ensue. Good work, good book, badly needed and it's about time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2015 8:26 AM PDT

The Christmas Sweater
The Christmas Sweater
by Glenn Beck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.19
667 used & new from $0.01

6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is the worst book but GREAT for a howl!, December 18, 2009
This review is from: The Christmas Sweater (Hardcover)
Rotten little boy. If you have one in your life -- a child, let us say, who doesn't like his mudder's cauliflower casserole with cashews -- give him this book. It will scare the living hell out of him and HE DESERVES IT.

Glenn Beck is a wimpering psychological zero with the writing skills of a raccoon, but he is on the side of God and R.I.G.H.T.

I'm giving both my sons ugly self-knit sweaters covered with knots and snowmen this Christmas.

And a copy of this awful book. THAT'LL show 'em.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2012 2:29 PM PDT

Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd
Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd
by Polly Longsworth
Edition: Hardcover
77 used & new from $0.01

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dickinsons -- Weirder Than a Box of Jacksons, November 1, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great book. Richly detailed, magnificently researched, well-written. This is an Emily Dickinson soap opera starring her brother -- intellectual, lawyer and poor-soul Austin; his working-class, salon-running and ultimately bitter wife Sue, his cute and much younger Bohemian but not-so-psychologically-insightful longtime lover Mabel Loomis Todd, and her handsome, cuckholded-but-understanding husband David.

Then there's the love nest next door presided over by Austin's spinster sisters (the spooky one writes, the workhorse cooks), the snarky gossips of Amherst, and the creepy, decades-long emotional battle twixt Emily-Lavinia (then Mabel) and Susan for dear Austin's heart and soul.

The only thing missing are LaToya and Joe.

You can't go wrong with this one. Wotta mess -- and so lovingly described! It's more than you ever wanted to know about the Belle of Amherst and her dark and squirrely clan. Best taken with a couple of shots of GOOD Tequila.

No Title Available

18 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Deepak, how on earth do you justify this stuff?, November 1, 2009
I wonder how much cash does Deepak Chopra haul in per book? No wonder he is so totally loaded! Each one promises so much and delivers so little.

But surely the NEXT one...$$$$

Well, insofar as this IS the "next" one, it is useless, as usual. Chopra's writing is like candy: gobble a chapter (gee that felt good!!), think you're satisfied, then the worry creeps back in (well, uh, how come if there's life after death, the dead don't come on back to give those of us left so devastated just one little hug...?)

And we're off to the next tape or paperback or blah-blah interview on "Larry King Live" ("You were one of Michael Jackson's closest friends, so why couldn't you help him?" "Vell, Larry, you know dat Michael came to me end I tode him, Michael, you cannot dake deez drugs...")

I am frankly appalled that this man continues to rule this little empire, built as it is entirely upon the much more complex teachings and philosophies of others, which is not to say those are any more "accurate" or "provable" than Chopra's stolen and watered-down versions. I recall transcendental meditatin' Merv Griffin welcoming Chopra's guru, Maharesh Mickey Mousin Yogi (who liked sex with very young girls) to a flower-covered stage in downtown Burbank, lo these many years ago...

We are, like all humans from the beginning of time, pilgrims after reassurance, anxious in the face of our own inevitable annihilation, believing that someone has figured out how it is that we live beyond the death and decay that afflicts every OTHER living thing, and all we have to do is find him/her.

Our agony is most accute when we have lost a loved one, face our own deaths, or are drowning in the despair of the existential condition. And "real" science has repeatedly demonstrated that this is precisely when we are most suggestable.

And hippity-hoppity, if this isn't exactly the state upon which Deepak Chopra (and gamboling along beside him, the Marianne Williamsons, "Eckhart" Tolles and Oprah Winfreys of the world) feeds.

Collectively and individually, they pitch their borrowed assurances at 20 or so bucks a pop (in very, very simple language so you idiots can "grasp" the complexity of it all), and become rich beyond belief from having caught the crest of the psychoeconomic wave. Then they write another book, saying EXACTLY the same thing as the last one -- or in Tolle's case, expounding upon his certainty about cosmic progression, for "Being's" sake -- and sell that as something new!

This book is but one more morsel from the Smorgasbord of Yahoo.

Shame on you, Deepak Chopra, and on your confederation of greedy little friends, too. You muzt be dodally amazed down doo your berry bowels dat anyone dakes you zo zeriously.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2011 3:21 PM PST

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library)
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library)
by Drew Gilpin Faust
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.58
185 used & new from $2.94

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Others have offered descriptions..., September 23, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a bit short on time but I want to thank Drew Faust for this superb book and to recommend it to anyone interested in cultural history, the Civil War era, a damned good read and/or a deep and memorable shudder.

Subject matter, treatment and quality of research aside, Faust writes as clearly as anyone I've ever read -- and I read about two books a week and have been a professional writer for 35 years. So if lucid style matters to you at all, you will be very satisfied between these covers.

Others have described the book in detail so I won't bore you with additional material. I will tell you, however, "This Republic of Sorrow" broke my heart and illuminated much about the divisions in this country -- then and now -- related to states rights claims, race, class and assorted political and social movements.

Fause spins a fascinating tale of how a segmented and largely evangelical nation, drunk on its own righteousness, penny-whistled and cheered its way to a ruinous war both sides were sure would last a few minutes before they emerged victorious.

We know they were wrong about that. What is less well-known is that they were literally gobsmacked by the completely unexpected and terribly brutal deaths of massive numbers of their brothers, sons and fathers, neighbors, teachers and friends. On the battlefield or in military and field hospitals rife with plagues of cholera, typhus, tyhoid fever, diptheria, pneumonia, consumption and god knows what else, the numbers of those who perished and the traumatized state of survivors -- maimed or in tact (love Ambrose Beirce) boggles the mind.

On the homefront, Americans had much to contend with: how to provide "the good death" (so necessory to their peace of mind) to the many thousands hundreds of miles from home, strewn across farm fields, dumped into mass graves, unnamed, uncounted, unknown; how to get these rotting corpses home; how to know where or when and how a child; a husband disappeared into this voracious maw; how to mourn; when to mourn; how to describe to themselves what on earth had happened.

Read it. You will understand your country better, along with the "birthers," the states righters, the "tea partiers," the Klan, and those who find them absurd or dangerous. You will understand what those in Iraq, the Sudan, Vietnam, Korea and on and on have gone through or are going through today.

Now I know why the Europeans are, as a group, so much less naive than we are. They still remember destroying one another by the millions. I hope.

A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
by Michael Barkun
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $5.98

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mulder and Scully agree that you must read this book!, June 2, 2009
Michael Barkun of the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Journalism Barkun was selected the 2003 Distinguished Scholar by the Communal Studies Association in acknowledgement of his career of outstanding contributions to the field.

So you can see right away that he's a lunatic. And the University of California Press -- well, need I say more?

This is an excellent work by a distinguished scholar who has researched and published extensively on Millenarian and apocalyptic groups, political extremism, religious-based violence and conspiracy theories.

I think it is the fact that "conspiracy theories" are usually lumped in there with terms like "extremism" and "apocalyptic" that cause so much rage among the theorists, but while the groups are not the same, they are social responses to similar stimuli. And more popular.

Where once the land of black helicopters, government cabals, alien abductions and at least 30 conspiracy theories per assassination was populated by the wild-eyed or darkly suspicious few, now the phenomenon has woven its way into large and mainstream segments of American society. In fact, it sits in the cubicle next to me and married my cousin.

Barkun helps us to understand why this is happening, and trust me, folks, we do need to know why this is happening.

His work is lucid, well-documented and up to date. Furthermore, his goal is not to smash anyone's dreams of uncovering the REAL causes of 9/11. His work aims at helping us to understand why more and more of us think it's necessary -- or even possible -- for us to do so.

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