A hip, humorous confessional written with maturity, panache and sex-positive vibes.

PRUDE

LESSONS I LEARNED WHEN MY FIANCE FILMED PORN

The dream nuptials of a bride-to-be become complicated by a fiance with a penchant for porn.

With great relief, Internet blogger Southwood writes of formally consummating a three-year long-distance relationship by relocating from Vancouver to her boyfriend Robbie’s place in Los Angeles and getting engaged. A restless gal of 28 who’s happy to divulge her sexual repertoire of only “twelve guys and one girl,” this move would be her tenth so far—and hopefully her last. Just days before Southwood’s departure, Robbie, a Hollywood cameraman big on expressive feelings, drops the bombshell that he’s been offered a prized cinematography position with a “reality TV porn” program. Flabbergasted and ambivalent, Southwood agonized over her reaction: Would her latent sexual prudishness spoil their relationship and hijack the wedding, or should she just process the information and deal with it? Their situation worsened before it resolved, and throughout, the author shrewdly ruminates on relationship pitfalls. Southwood’s contemporary analysis revolves around the “ownership” credo of monogamy; these days, she asks, “exactly how much of our significant other’s body and soul do we get?” However, as Robbie’s livelihood put unwanted pressure on their sex life yet concurrently provided a surfeit of hilariously awkward predicaments, the author pauses to shrewdly comment on the male-dominated world of pornography, its effect on early sexual development and infidelity, alongside an explicit cornucopia of porn varieties, sexual positions, terms and conditions, compliments of Robbie’s new job. The main theme running through Southwood’s memoir, however, is not how soul-sucking and unapologetically raunchy the sex industry can be labeled by outsiders, but how much open and unfettered communication is required when one-half of a partnership becomes threatened by the other’s involvement in it.

A hip, humorous confessional written with maturity, panache and sex-positive vibes.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58005-498-0

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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