A genial volume about a fun approach to showing others how much they mean to you.

THE THANK-YOU PROJECT

CULTIVATING HAPPINESS ONE LETTER OF GRATITUDE AT A TIME

How writing letters helped the author better appreciate her life.

When freelance writer Kho (The Family Mix: Essays on Family Life From MidlifeMixtape.com, 2013) turned 50, she decided to mark the year by writing 50 letters to her family, friends, and anyone else who had motivated or guided her in her life. One of the first letters she wrote was to her father, an act that gained further significance when he was diagnosed with cancer. Through the act of writing, the author discovered forgotten moments that have shaped her life, making her even more grateful for having lived them, including those that caused pain. When she was done writing, she printed out copies of all the letters so she could read them and relive her thoughts, which reinforced the feelings of love and bounty that she obtained from these people and events. Kho’s personal story is intertwined with guidelines on how to start your own letter-writing project. She lists the obvious choices for such letters—among others, parents, siblings, spouses, children, extended family—but also provides other interesting choices, including a doctor or dentist, favorite artist or musician, or even an ex-partner. She notes that while many of these letters may never be sent to the recipient for one reason or another, it does not negate the positive effect of writing it. Kho also moves beyond people and includes places, hometowns, hobbies, ideas, etc. The last letter, she writes, should be to yourself as you think about all the previous letters you’ve written. Although emails, texts, and tweets have taken over much of life, this old-fashioned method of communication has the potential to increase one’s happiness as well as that of the recipient. Kho’s idea is simple and quaint and will appeal to those seeking to understand “the importance of expressing appreciation.”

A genial volume about a fun approach to showing others how much they mean to you.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6845-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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