A chronicle of a life in fishing by an author who seems like good company.

CASTING INTO THE LIGHT

TALES OF A FISHING LIFE

A tackle box full of fishing tips, memories, histories, anecdotes, taxidermy, and even recipes from an angler who found focus and purpose for her life among her fellow fishermen on Martha’s Vineyard.

Though the location suggests a life of leisure among the privileged elite, Messineo endured a hardscrabble upbringing and found herself among the outsider artistic community, working as a waitress and overindulging in drugs and alcohol. Fishing likely saved her life, or at least gave her one, though she doesn’t belabor the redemptive spirit as much as the title suggests. The author also doesn’t wax too poetic, at least once she moves beyond the introduction, where she describes fishing as “the meditative place similar to where gardeners go when they kneel in the dirt and dig their fingers in the soil….Standing in the surf, casting my lure toward the horizon, I feel like I am the woman I’m meant to be….My life becomes meaningful and I feel part of my surroundings.” Comparatively, the rest of the memoir is more nuts-and-bolts description: how and where the author learned to fish, how she went from feeling like an intruder to being accepted as a rare woman in a sport dominated by men, how the ethics and competition of fishing have changed—and how cheaters have occasionally rigged that competition and gotten away with it. Messineo writes about lucky sweaters and about how unlucky bananas are for fishermen. She touches on her marriages and the son she and her husband have adopted, and she treads lightly on the schizophrenia of her fishing mentor, who eventually succumbed to suicide. Whereas many fishing memoirs are often more literary, turning that time with nature into a spiritual pilgrimage and the art of fishing into a metaphor for life, this is more about fishing itself, written for readers who like to fish or think they might like to learn.

A chronicle of a life in fishing by an author who seems like good company.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4764-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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