Occasionally entertaining yet featherweight capers of an overweight woman trying to be cheery and carefree through her...

I REGRET NOTHING

A MEMOIR

How one woman tackled some of the things on her mid-40s bucket list.

For fans of Lancaster’s (Twisted Sisters, 2014, etc.) particular brand of humor, she’s back in full swing with another memoir full of embarrassing moments, comments about her size and weight, and general midlife-crisis events triggered by realizing she has turned 46 and should create a list of things to accomplish before she dies. “As enamored as I am with the idea of listing and then finally scratching some long-standing itches, a part of this idea feels off,” she writes. “Essentially, I’m figuring out what I’d like to accomplish before I ‘kick the bucket,’ which means I’m definitely going to die. Not a fan.” From this point of view, Lancaster prepares her list, starting with a new playlist of music since she had been listening to the same bands for 30 years. The author meanders through a variety of escapades: learning to ride an adult tricycle, studying Italian, traveling to Italy, finding a new hobby, confronting her weight issues and compulsive eating habits, etc. She discusses her dogs, her husband, her friends, her dysfunctional body parts, a possible chance to meet and talk face to face with Martha Stewart, the challenge of doing juice cleanses—basically, just about anything that comes to mind she approaches with the same attitude: somewhat funny, quick, and lighthearted, reminiscent of sitcom humor but lacking any real substance or grit. Readers may laugh in the moment, but the punch line doesn’t carry over in a retelling. For pure entertainment of the lightest fluff, Lancaster is sure to please her many devoted readers; for those looking for words of wisdom on how a woman can navigate the 40-to-50 decade with dignity, while still having fun, they should search elsewhere for sustenance.

Occasionally entertaining yet featherweight capers of an overweight woman trying to be cheery and carefree through her middle-age years.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-47107-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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