A low-key and authentic memoir.

THE DOG STAYS IN THE PICTURE

LIFE LESSONS FROM A RESCUED GREYHOUND

One woman’s story of facing domestic changes in midlife with the assistance of an anxious dog.

As Morse (The Habit, 2011) prepared for her daughter and sons to head off to college, she looked forward to having time to write, visit with friends and spend time with her actor husband, who often spent months at a time away on set—“Life after children was going to be magic.” Then the author fell in love with a rescue greyhound, a retired racing dog, and all her well-laid plans went out the window. With humor and earnestness, Morse describes the two-plus years it took her to adjust to having a needy dog in the house, a dog that followed her everywhere and was distrustful of her husband and two sons for much of that time. Using the dog, named Lilly, as a reference point, Morse meanders through her past and present, sharing anecdotes about when her children were little, moments with her husband prior to kids, her anxiety over flying and her interactions with her Orthodox Christian mother. She reflects on how her husband broke down after he dropped one son off at college, the elaborate genealogy search she conducted on her family's ancestors, and her stress-filled days when she contracted Lyme disease. Lilly is the backdrop for all of these scenes and many more, and she even has her own voice at times, which might throw readers off a bit, but her viewpoint adds an interesting effect to the overall storyline. Lilly served as the anchor that unknowingly helped keep Morse on an even keel as she navigated and transitioned through the emotionally rocky waters of becoming an empty nester.

A low-key and authentic memoir.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1497643932

Page Count: 219

Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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