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See Jane Date (Red Dress Ink)
See Jane Date (Red Dress Ink)
by Melissa Senate
Edition: Paperback
199 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Desperation never looked so bitter, October 15, 2002
See Jane Date? How about See Jane Whine, or See Jane Complain, or perhaps See Jane Cynically Dissect Everyone
As a main character, Jane is appealing only if you admire petty, immature, professionally resentful women. She makes nasty asides about just about everyone except her two friends, even people who have done nothing but be nice to her (her editor comes to mind), she's still nursing grudges over imagined injuries sustained in high school, and she has the sort of frequent, inappropriate emotional meltdowns common to two-year olds that recast everyone in her life as her mommy, people who have to wipe her snotty nose and make the world a nice safe place for her because she lacks the skills or emotional maturity to do it herself. Yet, despite all this, she ruminates endlessly about why she could possibly still be single. Gee, Jane, I wonder! Could it be that you're not much of a prize yourself?!
I kept looking for something sympathetic about Jane, but there was truly nothing. She came across as desperate and brittle. About the only thing Jane did in this book I found admirable was quit smoking.

Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster
Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster
by Peter Brimelow
Edition: Paperback
76 used & new from $0.01

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the numbers, May 1, 2002
By stripping "Alien Nation" of the emotionalism and bigotry of other works critical of immigration, Brimelow's exhaustive examination of the most current wave of immigration and its implications succeeds in its argument that immigration policy needs to change radically where others have failed. Why? Because, as he argues, it really is about the numbers, not about ethnicity. This is an important distinction, one that raises Alien Nation far above the other books critical of immigration policy that offer little besides xenophobia and hatred.
As an economist, Brimelow is able to neatly sidestep the pathos and sentimentalism currently dominating immigration debate, and dissect the issue rationally. Are we a nation of immigrants? Absolutely, he argues, but America has always had a chance to pause for digestion after each wave of mass immigration which is something missing this time. Historically, he points out, there has never been a precedent for what we're seeing now and he rightly questions why we think a social experiment this radical will be successful. Sure, it might work. But what if it doesn't?
Chapter by chapter he manages to skewer all the arguments held up to keep the current level of immigration where it is unchecked and shows, with concrete proof, what is happening in America today and what will happen if our immigration policy isn't reformed and reformed fast. Anyone concerned about the declining quality of public schools, our overburdened health care system, the stagnation of real wages, the effects of urban sprawl on the environment, and most importantly, the plight of the immigrants themselves needs to read this book. Brimelow makes clear in his book that no one benefits in a system where resources are taxed to the point of scarcity by the sheer number of people relying on them.
Two of the most compelling questions Brimelow raises in response to the knee-jerk defense of multi-culturalism are good ones: what is it about America that immigration crusaders think needs to be transformed? What about America has so alienated them that they think mass immigration is the answer? And what makes us think that if America becomes Balkanized, pieced off into ethnic factions, that we'll fare any better as a nation than Yugoslavia, Palestine, or Lebanon?
Brimelow believes a lot of people would be wise to start asking themselves these questions. Do we want the nation to be just like Yugoslavia? For our sake, he hopes the answer is no.

Stupid White Men ...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
Stupid White Men ...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
by Michael Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $25.95
802 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Bad title, good book, May 1, 2002
For those who might be put off by the title, rest assured, Moore hangs the "stupid white men" appellation only on the Bush administration, even going as far as to designate Condoleeza Rice an Honorary Stupid White Male. This is not to say that Stupid White Men doesn't contain two obligatory chapters that herald his white male guilt, just that he reserves much of his vitriol for George Shrubya, his family and his friends.
And for good reason, which Moore's thorough examination of the 2000 presidential "election" makes clear. He goes on to document, in detail, the many failings of the current administration, the administration that preceded it and concludes what many of us have suspected for years now: we've moved from a democracy to a corporatocracy in which big businesses court favor with our elected officials through generous campaign contributions and other near-bribes.
Despite Moore's legitimate grumblings over Bush, this isn't really an anti-Republican screed because, as he demonstrates, the Democrats have been bought by the same corporate interests. What Moore is really screaming about is not bad Republicans, but the fact that the American people really have no one looking out for their best interests. This book serves as a good call to arms to overhaul the current "two" party system, and usher in a government that is truly BY the people and FOR the people.
My only quibble with the book is Moore's aforementioned white male guilt. He's being a bit unfair in suggesting that only whites are capable of perpetuating injustice (I'm sure those who lived under Ghengis Khan would disagree) and only men are capable of domestic violence. His critique of white male behavior seems particularly ironic in light of his defense of rap music, a lot of which is openly violent, misogynist and racist.
A good read that will both make you laugh and fire you up enough to yell "...YES!" next time your hear The Beatles sing "You say you want a revolution..."

An Introduction to Programming with C++, Second Edition
An Introduction to Programming with C++, Second Edition
by Diane Zak
Edition: Paperback
65 used & new from $0.04

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes the tears out of learning C++, March 19, 2002
Wanna learn C++? Buy Zak's book!
Zak's "Introduction to Programming with C++" is an easy to understand and follow book that will help beginners quickly grasp and begin using the major concepts of C++. The explanations are very thorough, and each lesson contains several programming examples that reinforce the new concept, each explained thoroughly, line by line. By following Zak's lessons and doing a handful of the exercises included at the end of each lesson, an absolute rock bottom beginner will quickly be creating 2 dimensional arrays and whipping up classes just as if they'd been doing it their whole lives.
While this is an outstanding text for learning, it's lousy as reference for later on when you want to quickly review a concept or some syntax. Buy Zak's book first and invest in a good reference book when you're done. You'll be glad you did.

Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There
Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There
by David Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.66
503 used & new from $0.01

18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's the old bait and switch, this time in book form, July 17, 2001
Despite the cutesy title and satiric cover art, this is a book that truly can't find its voice. Brooks bills Bobos In Pardise as "comic sociology" but his treatment of his subject matter is so uneven it left me wondering what he really intended. Trying to be both funny and serious, Brooks falls flat on his face and succeeds at neither.
The title and the description from the back cover led me to believe this book would be a satirical stab at the Bobo agenda: material excess and conspicuous consumption thinly veiled by hypocritical political correctness and environmentalism. (All those SUVs are sooo good for the environment!) What I got instead was a slobberingly reverential tribute to the very thing I expected to be satirized! What's worse, Brooks comes across as some sort of sociological, Bobo groupie, as if rubbing elbows with the new elite somehow makes him one of them.
What really bothered me is that for a work of alleged sociology, Brooks completely ignores the cultural and environmental impact Bobos are having: gentrification, suburban sprawl, endless strip malls peppered with pretentious coffee shops and overpriced kitchen gadget stores, just to name a few. He also conveniently overlooks the fact that Bobo culture is, essentially, the culture of beige, and that as Bobos continue to set the agenga, those of us who remain uncharmed by their bland tastes and entertainments have fewer and fewer options.

Term Limits
Term Limits
by Vince Flynn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
254 used & new from $0.01

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will have politicians looking over their shoulders nervously, July 17, 2001
This novel has all the ingredients of an engaging thriller: a larger than life ex-marine hero who anyone in trouble would want on their side, impassioned and embittered ex-commandos who have moved from protecting the country from its enemies to protecting it from its leaders, a cast of vile, arrogant politicians collectively cast as the antagonist, and a complex (though pretty improbable), makes-you-think plot.
Though the novel isn't perfect--as I said, the plot is pretty improbable and some of the characters are little more than straw figures--it's very fast-paced and pulls you so totally into the inner world of DC's power corridors that you won't notice the book's relatively minor flaws until after you've finished it and had a chance to think it over.
Some of the criticisms of Term Limits seem to be written by people who read the book way too literally. Term Limits in no way celebrates commandos that kill off crooked politicians, nor does the book's hero, Michael O'Rourke, think they've done a particularly noble thing. To suggest that it does colors a good book that's just meant to be entertaining with a mean-spiritedness and cynicism that simply isn't there.

No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
by Naomi Klein
Edition: Paperback
108 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at a can of Pepsi the same way again..., July 16, 2001
In No Logo, Klein tidily dissects her exploration of the abuses of corporations who have foregone products in favor of brands into four sections: no space, no choice, no jobs, and finally--you guessed it--no logo. The first three sections give us ample evidence why we have every right to be sick and tired of being marketed to and what the consequences of it have been for us: instrusive advertising we can't even escape from in public restrooms, branded schools and universities where kids are forced to watch commercials on [TV] and athletes are forced to be moving billboards for [shoe company], the loss of local businesses as mega-corporations like [national video chain] and [national retailer] take over, the loss of some of our freedom as corporations begin to dictate what we can and can't view, read or hear, and finally, the loss of jobs as companies abandon US workers in pursuit of sweatshop labor. Make no mistake: this book will make you mad, and by section four, in which Klein proposes solutions, you'll be more than ready to entertain her ideas.
This is a really good introductory text if you're interested in the down-side of globalization and want a good overview of the causes and conditions as well as what can be done. Klein's book is well researched, organized and presented and she makes her points without being overly pedantic. My only complaint about this book is that certain parts of it are very long-winded and could have easily been clipped from the text without losing anything, particularly Klein's exhaustive examination of sweatshops. Good if you don't mind skimming or skipping long passages....

The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting, And The New Consumer
The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting, And The New Consumer
by Juliet B. Schor
Edition: Hardcover
118 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spending more, but enjoying life less? Read on!, July 14, 2001
Schor articulates perfectly both the nameless discontent that many upwardly mobile Americans have been grappling with and why we're so miserable when we have everything we could possibly want. It's an insidious cycle she aptly calls "work and spend", that nasty trap one finds oneself in when working harder and longer than ever, but still unable to afford the "essentials", no matter how large his or her paycheck may be!
Schor accurately details the enormous, undertow like pressure of consumerism and how it makes us a little crazy with wants and desires. What I particularly liked about her book was that she doesn't blame consumers for their lack of discipline. Instead she focuses on how we got where we are, exploring just how different the "basics of life" are today compared to even twenty years ago and exploding the myth of "you are what you buy".
This is an eye-opening book that will definitely shake you up and make you think about how you spend your money and what it's really buying you. It changed my whole approach to spending and freed me from a lifestyle that I couldn't afford, and thus couldn't enjoy.
Read this book and you may find yourself a little less willing to hand over your credit card and more than willing to keep your dreams of owning a new Lexus just that: a dream.

Babycakes (Tales of the City Series, V. 4)
Babycakes (Tales of the City Series, V. 4)
by Armistead Maupin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.18
286 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read from Maupin, July 14, 2001
Yet another series of adventures for the delightful characters that populate Maupin's books, this time with a bittersweet twist: the reality of AIDS. Because Maupin's Tales of the City books are generally so lighthearted, zany and playful, when the story opens with Michael mourning his lover, it hits pretty hard.
Despite the slight bittersweetness, this installment of the series features all of Maupin's signature flourishes and his wonderful sense of humor.
If your looking for light, breezy stories and likable characters you couldn't find anywhere but San Francisco, then buy this series of books and get started reading. You'll quickly get addicted. For those of you San Franciscans past and present who've never read Maupin, he's worth a look. If nothing else his books will make you remember why San Francisco was once such an interesting and fun place to live and what's sorely missing from it today!

Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must
Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must
by Kalle Lasn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
249 used & new from $0.01

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative, but a little preachy, July 14, 2001
This is an insightful and thought-provoking look into the aggressive way we've been marketed to as well as the cultural consequences. Chapter by chapter, Lasn explores the ways in which advertising, marketing and branding have transfomed us from free Americans to captive citizens of Corporate America (TM), and the way the coroporate machine has eroded the quality of our lives. Corporations, Lasn argues, have grown too big, too unwieldy and too powerful and it's time to for us to recognize that we created these powerful institutions and can therefore take the power back from them.
This is a compelling argument, but his approach to getting there goes too far. He combines his solution--get off the consumer treadmill and quit buying into bogus marketing hype--with too many other concerns and offers it up as a package deal. To Lasn, you can't just become a much more critical consumer and succeed, you must also give up your car, ride your bike everywhere and become a vegetarian. This is where he veers into needless didacticism. His tone is also frequently preachy and his rhetoric a little overzealous.
If you're interested in this topic and you've got the money, this is a good book to have in your library. If you're just looking for one book on the subject, Naomi Klein's No Logo is a much more journalistic, fact-based and witty, and best of all, you can buy her argument and leave the tofu on the shelf. If you're looking for a book that's more directly concerned with curtailing consumerism, you might take a peek at Juliet B. Schor's excellent 1998 work, The Overspent American.

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