A grating collection from a poor-man’s Howard Stern.

HYENA

An explicit collection of stories from the host of The All Out Show on Sirius.

On Angelini’s radio show, guests are likely to do anything. One—“a little punk rock, porn chick”—urinated on him as foreplay, which must have made for great radio. The author originally self-published this book, though apparently there was enough demand to attract a publisher. Nearly every one of these stories involves impersonal sex either aided or thwarted by drugs that overcome the inherent numbness of the act or reinforce it. “Drug sex is great,” he writes. “The only thing better is love sex. But if you can’t get that, drug sex is a nice consolation prize.” There is little or no “love sex” in these pages, though Angelini expresses plenty of love for his daughter, who lives with her mother, whom he misses. He dedicates the book to both of them and claims that he “figured it out too late.” And what did he figure out? It’s hard to tell, though he plainly has something of the romantic in him: “Maybe some lady will pick me up, dust me off, and see me for the man I am and not the whore I’ve been acting like.” By the end of this series of short chapters, there is no sense that he is closer to any sort of transformation, though he seems as benumbed by the depravity of a life without purpose or pleasure as readers will be. As for humor, here’s a taste: “Every time I go to Flint, I end up at LLT’s, this grimy little strip club on Saginaw. They do a five-dollar lap dance, and I know you shouldn’t go bargain hunting for your tattoos or sex workers, but I just can’t turn down a good deal….Five bucks in Flint is like ten bucks in Detroit. It’s the Tijuana of the Midwest.”

A grating collection from a poor-man’s Howard Stern.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1476789309

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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