FAR AND AWAY

A PRIZE EVERY TIME

From one of rock’s most revered drummers, ruminations on motorcycling, drumming, the joys of fatherhood and the exquisite pleasure of simply enjoying the journey.

As the lyricist for Canadian progressive hard-rock trio Rush, Peart’s (Roadshow: Landscape with Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle, 2007) inimitable way with words is well-known to the band’s fan base, if occasionally derided by music critics. What many may not know, however, is that the self-described “left-leaning libertarian” is equally adept at translating his philosophy into prose, as evidenced by this book, in which he continues to chronicle his unique method of getting to work—eschewing the company of his band mates in favor of motorcycling between concert venues—as a means of exploring the world around him and his place within it. Despite having experienced tremendous tragedy in recent years (including the deaths of his daughter and first wife), the author evinces such tremendous joy in discovering new off-the-beaten-paths, relishing a second chance at fatherhood, and in the simple act of learning, that it’s easy to forgive some of his more awkward attempts at humor—even those missteps tend to come off as oddly endearing, conveying a rare and unselfconscious genuineness. Perhaps the book’s best and moist poignant chapter is “The Best February Ever,” in which the author describes the bucolic setting surrounding his sanctuary in Quebec. His description of nights spent alone sipping Macallan before a roaring fire while losing himself in great books and days spent cross-country skiing over an unbroken winter landscape while focusing on simply appreciating the heart-breaking majesty of the world around him will instantly transport readers to a more relaxed state of mind—and quite possibly drive hordes of peace seekers northward. Not without potholes, but a ride well worth taking for those who seek the journey more than the destination.

 

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-77041-058-9

Page Count: 260

Publisher: ECW Press

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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