A fine collection that illustrates the author’s credo that “change, if you embrace it, can be surprisingly rewarding.”

Sixty, Still Ticking and Fabulous

In Resich’s debut essay collection, turning 60 looks pretty good.

The Honolulu-based author wrote this debut collection of essays in 60 weeks, she writes, as a way of “finding” herself following an amicable divorce after 30-plus years of marriage. She draws upon six decades of her life, during which she earned a physics degree, worked for the United Nations and raised her children as a full-time housewife. A self-described “chatterbox,” Resich exalts in positive, lively confidences about retirement, memory loss, parents, children, gratitude and other topics, as she pursues her quest to live life with “confidence and resolve.” However, she’s no Pollyanna: “I’m hard-pressed to find anything graceful about aging,” she writes, but she knows that someday she’ll look back at today’s photos and think, “Boy, did I look good.” Some essays show how her grounded perspective helped her deal with cancers of the breast and tongue (and the resulting surgery, chemotherapy and recovery). Let friends help you, she urges: “I could never have envisioned that six hours of chemotherapy could be a fun (albeit unconventional) social time spent with a close friend.” Her advice? Never ignore something that you feel “isn’t right”; the doctor’s diagnosis that it’s “probably nothing,” she says, could easily turn into “something.” Other essays offer tidbits about her teenage years in Poland after World War II, when fashionable clothes were scarce, food had to be hunted, and kids from rich families were derided as “banana youth.” Overall, she writes with conversational grace in an easy-to-read, gossipy-girlfriend style. Her stories only rarely delve into the world beyond the personal, but this isn’t a serious limitation, as she’s someone readers will want to get to know.

A fine collection that illustrates the author’s credo that “change, if you embrace it, can be surprisingly rewarding.”

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490430720

Page Count: 166

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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