Will appeal to readers of travel and nature books, as well as those who enjoy reading about social interactions and group...

ALMOST SOMEWHERE

TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS ON THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL

A travelogue chronicling a journey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and along the path to self-discovery.

When Roberts (English and Creative Writing/Lake Tahoe Community Coll.; Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel, 2011, etc.) graduated from college with no plans for the future, she decided to take a monthlong vacation from worrying and embark on a serious hike with two girlfriends. Battling injuries, eating disorders, insecurities and each other, the three women hiked the John Muir Trail in the opposite direction of most hikers, attacking the hardest part of the hike first and ending on an easy note. Though Roberts dealt with many questions about her obsessive journaling, her attention to the exercise pays off in this memoir written almost 20 years after the trip. The writing is mostly engaging and keeps the long days of hiking and fighting interesting to the last page. Even when the constant competition between the girls—over men, how many miles to hike, how much food to eat, who makes the decisions and more—becomes grating, most readers will continue to turn the pages. Though Roberts waxes poetic about feminism and finding happiness outside of a relationship, it is obvious these lessons did not sink in until after the trip ended. Occasionally, these girl-power sidebars feel heavy-handed for a travel memoir, but in general, they flow naturally and honestly from the narrative.

Will appeal to readers of travel and nature books, as well as those who enjoy reading about social interactions and group dynamics. 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8032-4012-4

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Bison/Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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