A touching, delicious, compulsively readable account of life after love.

CAN'T THINK STRAIGHT

A MEMOIR OF MIXED-UP LOVE

A former Forbes writer drolly details the emotional fallout after her fiancé admitted he was gay.

Not wanting to deceive her any longer, 36-year-old Aaron sat Blakeley down and tearfully admitted he’d been questioning his sexuality for the past two years. Initially amused but eventually shell-shocked, the author shifted into reconnaissance mode, wracking her frenzied brain to recall any signs of Aaron’s homosexuality that she may have missed. Blakeley grasped the brunt of her ex’s emotional and physical duplicity when she found anonymous personal-ad correspondence and gay-porn videos on his personal computer, a discovery which plunged her into “an eerie twilight world populated by those whom life had kicked in the teeth.” An attractive, newly single, 36-year-old woman in Manhattan, Blakeley was prone to crying on the shoulder of her gay friend Tyler and to fits of anger, insecurity and frustration. In attempts to recalibrate herself to single life, she hit the clubs, telling herself to enjoy and not overthink innocent, intermittent dalliances with guys like sensual, soft-voiced Rahil, sexy Pakistani Adi and a few ill-suited men from her profile on Match.com—all while stoking an apprehensive friendship with Aaron (“I love him, and I resent him”). The author was smart to steer clear of emotional ties until she met selfish, 30-something banker James, and all bets (and clothes) were off. Throughout the 320 melodramatic days chronicled in this amiable memoir, Blakeley remains a charming, witty narrator, squandering no opportunity to inject hip, biting sarcasm and hilarious insight into her adventures. Still, a bittersweet aftertaste lingers, reminding readers of “the crippling awareness that you could never know anyone…[that] the person you know best could be the person you know least.”

A touching, delicious, compulsively readable account of life after love.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8065-3330-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Citadel/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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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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