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Christin Hardy "Literary Lass from the 'burbs" RSS Feed (Bay Village, Ohio United States)
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The Wasted Vigil
The Wasted Vigil
by Nadeem Aslam
Edition: Hardcover
75 used & new from $0.01

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a tapestry of life amidst injustice and war, November 12, 2008
This review is from: The Wasted Vigil (Hardcover)
It is a rare book that can bring so many amazing attributes to the telling of a life changing story. Aslam accomplishes much in this heartbreaking yet beautiful tale. Numerous books have been published over the last few years that have focused on the Middle East, the Taliban, Muslim Fundamentalists, and the general mistreatment of women and children in that part of the world. I honestly thought nothing new could be said, but Aslam has done a magnificent job of shining a new light on the mayhem and injustice. Taking place in today's Afghanistan, the story includes a diverse band of characters. An English ex-pat, his Afghani wife and daughter, and the stories from their village lend their voices to the tale. An American ex spy, the sister of a dead Soviet from the 80's, an American Special Forces agent, and a young jihadi infuse their backgrounds into the tapestry..each life is significant in creating the final image. The narrative is infused with the details and events of complex and often tragic lives. In his picture on the back cover of the book, Aslam looks to be under 30. His perception and understanding of the human spirit and ability to tell this story without prejudice has completely amazed me. He is too young to have accomplished this wise endeavor! All the characters pulled me into the story, but I was especially interested in the young terrorist. Casa's educational process was "devoid of literature, history and politics" and certainly helped to create this pitiless killer of innocents. He had been separated from his parents at a young age and had no contact with women. How can a soul develop when deprived of all the beauty and complexity that is life? The Special Forces character also revealed prejudices born of these terrible times. Specifically, his inability to see torture as an evil onto itself provided an insightful look at the viewpoint these men have as they try to protect and defend our freedoms. The cultures continue to clash with out much discussion or understanding of each other. This novel in all its melancholy softly protests the outcomes of war. It silently screams at the injustices that have become so prevalent through the actions of extremists and it lends a voice that quietly pleads for the splendor of different lands, traditions, and people to rise up and erase the evil that so often seems to triumph. It is after all our stories that show the truth and beauty that we were all created to celebrate.


Supreme Courtship
Supreme Courtship
by Christopher Buckley
Edition: Hardcover
342 used & new from $0.01

5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pepper wouldn't change her core values..skip this. Plot a "no way", November 3, 2008
This review is from: Supreme Courtship (Hardcover)
Over the past few years, I have become a fan of Buckley and the fun he has had at the expense of political absurdity. I am a confessed reader of heavier fair both fiction and non-fiction and enjoy the time out his lighter books always provide for a good laugh. After sitting on three separate juries over the years, watching the law rob our household blind from my husband's child support payments to a crazy ex --as we supported said child--, and studying the idiocy I remember from all my business law classes, I count myself among the folks that don't find the law and especially lawyers to be at all funny. Still, I was hopeful a new book from CB would fill the humor vacuum. The first few chapters had me laughing out loud. The female court TV babe was a girl after my own heart. She is smart, acerbic, and pretty down to earth. Pepper was a gal I could believe in and like. That is, until the plot development disaster. I hate to second guess an elitist like Chris and since I am a state university grad living in a western suburb of Cleveland, I am sure I don't have the right Yale grad, blue blood-member of who knows who in Manhattan credentials to question such a skilled observer of society et all. It is worth noting, however, that in Texas/Ohio..we see things from a moral perspective that helps to interpret the law. Mostly, those of us bumpkins from flyover land (tightly toting our guns and oh yes religion while we secretly hide our racist roots) would never have supported letting a criminal whose gun malfunctions during a crime sue the gun manufacturer. No Latin or French needed to help us understand the wrongness implied with the supposed Supreme Court ruling the book derives the proceeding story from. Even in real life they don't get it that wrong (except maybe Roe vs. Wade but there I go again being predictably simplistic and obtuse). The elitist know everythings can interpret the law to justify this stupidity but us common sense nut jobs would give this a big thumbs down..no high level interpretation of the law needed. The TV babe would not desert her roots to be accepted by the elites and mass media. Her grandfather would have been proud in the real world..she never would have sold out. Whole plot is based on a real "no freakin' way, dude". I also admit to being offended at his over the top portrayal of Pepper's dad gone Crazy Evangelist Preacher. Note to Chris: the stereotypical Jimmy Joe Bob saving lives and raising $$$ for Jesus (read preying on the poor and unenlightened) is so been there done that. At this point, it is just condescending. Check out the movie "The Apostle" with my hero Robert Duvall. Some authenticity actually exists in the faithful masses. An author should not be so transparent with their daddy rebellion diatribe. Maybe, Mr. Buckley, faith matters. Maybe, your dad had a few points about religion that should not be so easily dismissed. I was pretty irritated with this not-so-fun read and found the writing simplistic and the plot clunky. Perhaps I read this from my perspective of "tired of you insiders making fun of my moral compass and values living here in Ohio not in the beltway." Conceivably, that is because it is the author's intended tone. I think CB should try again in a few years and take more time writing his next (hopefully) funny satirical novel. Skip this and try something else from this usually consistent author. (loved Boomsday and Florence of Arabia)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2009 8:48 AM PDT


Reasonable Rx: Solving the Drug Price Crisis
Reasonable Rx: Solving the Drug Price Crisis
by Stan N. Finkelstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.23
48 used & new from $0.01

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars doesn't solve the drug price crisis, June 19, 2008
After almost 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry that consisted of numerous positions in the selling, marketing, and development of legal drugs, I consider myself a bit of an expert on the drug trade and its "descent into madness." I was working for a top five player when I decided to become a stay home mom for 4 kids. (and coincidently, I am now really broke..the money I made was in a word...nnnice!) The main reason for my exodus was the massive changes in the industry that I had excitedly jumped into post college in 1984. Big Pharma has become what I refer to in passing as "Death Star 2".

The authors have done a stellar job in recapping the history of pharmaceuticals and its role in the medical industry. (As an aside, I am a voracious and varied reader and loved the quotes preceding each chapter!) I honestly believe America should rightly consider this industry a pillar of innovation and life saving products. However, as the book points out, the path to Oz gets very complex when the Emerald City becomes driven by extremely wealthy CEO's and profit demanding investors.

I found the chapters on drug development and the clinical implications especially compelling. The vast changes in how drugs get to market over the last 15 years are accurately detailed in a readable and entertaining format. The problems inherent in the new system are accurately summarized. University and teaching institutions were once the main players in the clinical trial process. By opening up the gates to profit driven physician practices and other sites that were purely in it for the bucks the industry gave them to enroll patients, the science became tainted and the results were skewed in order to sell more drugs. It would have been interesting to also look at the over regulation that was legislated (Senator Dingell) in the late 80's that drastically drove up the cost of trials and produced no improvements in the safety and efficacy of the drugs. The authors do a great job of pointing out the need to address a process in great need of reform.

The authors' solution to solving the dilemma of the outrageous cost of medicine is where I believe the book breaks down. Arguing for governmental regulating agencies (termed non-profit centers) that oversee separate drug development and sales and marketing companies, the authors create another plan for a thinly disguised government take-over of an industry. This scenario will evolve into another tax infused debacle. Perhaps the authors should put Ayn Rand's Atlas ShruggedAtlas Shrugged: 35th Anniversary Edition on their list of must reads. In addition, the expository portion of the book becomes a bit muddier as the actual implementation of the plan is explained. In a nutshell, they use the post office as an example of a successful non-profit company. Seriously?? I do not pretend to have a better solution, but at the end of the day, more government is never a good answer to this libertarian advocate of the free market. A better solution would be for all insurance companies to give a medical expense account to patients instead of the co-pay system (which, incidentally, is the culprit of a big part of the current problem since patients got drugs for $10-20 and had no idea how much they were really overpaying). Let people make some choices as to what medicines they really need and what they actually pay for them. The entire Medicare drug program is indeed a sham as the book points out. Let individuals buy into a supplemental insurance program that offers a similar expense account for the elderly. Make each company fund this as a tax write off. I am making some simplistic solutions in a book review as an alternative to the answer of more Big Government that the book promotes. I see where the authors are currently employed and I consider Ivy League schools sellers of Socialism and this solution smacks of what I expected to hear out of Harvard and M.I.T.

To summarize, this is a great book for an interested reader that wants to get really hot about how screwed up the pharmaceutical industry has become. Just don't assume the solution detailed here will fix our current cluster..um issues.


Say You Will
Say You Will
Offered by Great Price Media
Price: $7.94
150 used & new from $0.18

1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars stop yourself, April 18, 2003
This review is from: Say You Will (Audio CD)
I have been buying music since 1969..I own all types of cd's and love MUSIC. This is not music. It is a bunch of folks older than myself..and I consider myself on the verge of middle age..self indulging fantasies that they can sing and write music. Hitting the intended note seems beyond the reach of the songs on this CD..I wasted 10$ and would love a refund. My kids asked me if the cd was broken. I long for the happy melodies iof Rumours..this one makes Tusk seem like a good idea.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2008 9:25 AM PDT


Old Thomas and the Little Fairy (Picture Books (Dominique & Friends))
Old Thomas and the Little Fairy (Picture Books (Dominique & Friends))
by Dominique DeMers
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Addition to a Child's library, October 9, 2002
I have been reading children's literature for 35 years. We have five shelves of kids picture books in our library. This book stands out as a timeless tale of love, redemption and the soul's need to give love. I disagree on every level with the review listed. The pictures are works of art. Every picture reveals emotion, beauty, and depth. We have three kids..5,6 and 10. This is a family favorite. Let it change your family! The danger is important to the story. It provides a great fromat for a deep discussion on love sacrifice and how lives can be changed.


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