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Paint the Sky with Stars:  The Best of Enya
Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya
Offered by Carlsen Enterprises Inc.
Price: $10.00
397 used & new from $0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not that great, October 8, 1998
I don't know, but when I listen to music featuring vocals, it would be nice to hear them come through clearly. I can't say I'm a big fan of Enya's funky harmonic effect (or whatever that multi-toned effect is) that is applied to the vocal track of almost every one of the songs on this CD. Perhaps this is actually a good thing, since when we do actually hear her voice without the aid of electronic effects, it isn't that great, (okay, but not spectacular) and the lyrics aren't that interesting.

If I was given an Enya CD as a gift, I probably wouldn't return it, but would I actually pay for another one? Not a chance.

by Carl Sagan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19
323 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both the book and movie are worth it, April 19, 1998
This review is from: Contact (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read both the book and the movie, and was impressed by both. Each form of the story did its job well. Since both the book and the screenplay were written by Carl Sagan (who died during filming) the movie does not suffer from the total evisceration of the plot so common in many book-based movies.

One thing movie-watching book-lovers must realize is that it is literally impossilbe to cram all of a 400 page book into a 2 hour movie. Especially if you want to have your movie viewed by someone with the intelligence of your average American. (i.e. The the ones who pen (in another review): "Carl Sagan can't right [sic] worth anything!" and others expound on the glories of the movie, apparently not even realizing that it is a book too.)

I think it is obvious that the movie did not even try to duplicate to plot lines of the book, as that would be too tedious and would not be the best choice for a movie. For instance, Ellie's long affair with the National Science Adviser, while it could have been duplicated in the movie, would have consumed a large chunk of the screen time (much longer than a one-night stand with Joss.) and Ellie's love life was certainly not the point of either form of the story, although in the book, it served to add character depth. The debates with the religous characters in the book would have consumed a good 20-30 minutes of valuable movie time, which needed to be spent in other places.

Now for some biased opinions. I believe that Carl Sagan developed a greater animosity toward religion as he grew older. In the book, he certainly does not view religion as a friend, but he seees to have ambivilence about it. His view seems to be, "If not carried to extremes, what's the harm?" I recently read "Demon Haunted World" (written by him in 1996) I get the impression that he views religion as the enemy of reason and a scourge to be struck from the earth. (Perhaps I exaggerate a little.) In the book, religious groups are connected only fuzzily to the killing of Dummond, et al. In the movie, the bomb is exploded by a wild-eyed, hellfire and brimstone madman. (Although McConaughey's Joss is thrown in in the spirit of moderation.) I read "Contact" after reading "The Demon Haunted World" and seeing the movie. I remember thinking during the movie, (my only Sagan experience beforehand being "The Demon Haunted World") "This is a very 'Sagan' plot." I was not shocked in the least when he had a religious fanatic blow up the machine.

A little sidebar:
One of Ellie's questions on page 367 of the paperback is rather amusing. Look at this passage, near the bottom of the page:
"And the zero's and ones finally stop? You get back to a random sequence of digits?" Seeing a faint sign of encourgement, she raced on. "And the number of zeros and ones? Is it a product of prime numbers?"
Uh, sorry to reduce your sense of wonder sports fans, but if you remember 6th grade math correctly, all non-zero integers are a product of prime numbers.
In conclusion, while the book isn't as epic as the "Odessey", and the movie isn't "Citizen Kane", both are worth experiencing.

The C Programming Language
The C Programming Language
by Brian W. Kernighan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $52.34
208 used & new from $11.57

137 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most elegant programming book I have ever read, November 8, 1997
This book is not "for Dummies". It assumes that you already have some knowledge of structured programming languages (i.e. Pascal). For example, this book spends four well-written pages explaining everything you need to know about functions. If you don't know what a function is, this will clearly not be enough. However, if you do know about functions, this book will not drone on and on for an entire chapter or two on the subject like some of the foot-crunching tomes the size of an encyclopdia.
The book is expensive ($40) for its size (approx. 250pgs.), but it is worth every penny. To quote the authors: "C is not a big language, and it is not served well by a big book."
As a bonus, almost anything you need to know about C can be found in seconds using the excellent index. It should be noted that this is a language reference and will NOT tell you how to use your editing environment or compiler.
In summary, intermediate or advanced programmers should be able to learn C with reasonable proficiency in a short amount of time.

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