Moving and deeply personal, Corrigan’s portraits of love and loss urge readers to speak more carefully and hold on tighter...

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STORIES ABOUT THE 12 HARDEST THINGS I’M LEARNING TO SAY

Ruminations about the power of 12 of life’s essential phrases and the difficulty in learning to say them out loud.

Corrigan (Glitter and Glue, 2013, etc.) may be a bestselling author, but she doesn’t always know the right thing to say, especially when it comes to the ones she loves most. In the collection’s titular essay, the author struggles to communicate with her teenage daughter until a childhood friend encourages her to do less talking and more listening, a strategy she implements when her father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. In “I Know,” Corrigan’s experience volunteering at a camp for children who have lost someone to cancer reminds her how comforting physical company—rather than apology—can be during times of tragedy and loss. “I Was Wrong,” the funniest entry in the collection, uses a dog, an unflushed toilet, and a parental meltdown to highlight the power and near-impossible difficulty of admitting personal fault. In the deeply affecting entry “Onward,” moving on from tragedy takes on a new weight. With heartfelt humor and penetrating insight, Corrigan uses the pain, anguish, failure, and occasional successes in her life to explore the vital connection between the words we say and the relationships we develop, both with the people around us and ourselves. Punctuated with her signature warmth and unflinching honesty, her introspective musings gush with empathy for every partner, parent, child, or friend who has said the wrong thing at the wrong time. At times laugh-out-loud funny but overwhelmingly bittersweet, this brief book spans time and experience to drive home a seemingly simple but significant message: finding the right words is a lifelong journey. Other phrases include “I Love You” and “No Words at All.”

Moving and deeply personal, Corrigan’s portraits of love and loss urge readers to speak more carefully and hold on tighter to the people they love.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58837-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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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