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Reviews Written by
K. Paynter (Marietta, GA United States)

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Rick Steves Best of Europe 2003
Rick Steves Best of Europe 2003
by Rick Steves
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 1.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Great! But where's Greece?, Feb. 22 2004
This book is really good. It tells some tips that others leave out, such as: an easy way to remember what time it is when using 24 hour time - just subtract 12! For example, 23:30 would be 23-12 = 11:30 American time! Also, regarding shows in London - Steves suggested booking directly through the website of the show and not through a ticket broker. One website I was planning on booking opera tix through wanted $120/ticket...same tickets, direct, were 45 Euros...good savings tip!
I was very disappointed, however, that he did not consider Greece good enough to make it in the "best of" guide. Oh well!

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Edition: Paperback
150 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars for the scenarios, minus the 5th star for whining..., Nov. 9 2003
I grew up in rural North Carolina and Georgia around all the sorts of people and job situations that the author investigated.
She wouldn't last a month if she were really in this sort of situation.
As other readers said before, she totally relied on previous money...but her main "shield" to me was that she knew it was all TEMPORARY. She never faced the dispair of never really having money and not knowing how long such a situation would last.
I did appreciate her enlightening the plight of the workers and the housing conditions, but she herself annoyed the heck out of me. Whining, moaning and groaning about basic work (having been a waitress myself - get over it sister) and being all hoity toity about the jobs that she would even interview for (I mean, hel-lo, if she was truly homeless and out of $$ I don't think she would have been so picky) - it got a little old.
But I do think it was a definitely good, although upper-class and social-class prejudiced, read.

Diary of a Mad Bride: A Novel
Diary of a Mad Bride: A Novel
by Laura Wolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.75
59 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my gosh! A MUST READ for brides-to-be!!!!!, Jan. 18 2002
I am getting married in 99 days (yes, I know the number), and this book was just what I needed. It profiles the neuroses that plague brides-to-be everywhere, such as searching for the perfect wedding-day shoes, dealing with coworkers who JUST DON'T SEEM TO REALIZE THAT YOUR WEDDING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WORK, and caterers who are high on drugs. The author struggles as to whether or not she should wear her mother's wedding IS hideously ugly, but maybe it can be remade? So many wedding trials and tribulations, but in the end, it all works out, as it will for all brides....worth a read!!!

What No One Tells the Bride: Surviving the Wedding, Sex After the Honeymoon, Second Thoughts, Wedding Cake Freezer Burn, Becoming Your Mother, Screaming about Money, Screaming about In-Laws, Maintaining Your Identity, and Being Blissfully Happy Despite It All
What No One Tells the Bride: Surviving the Wedding, Sex After the Honeymoon, Second Thoughts, Wedding Cake Freezer Burn, Becoming Your Mother, Screaming about Money, Screaming about In-Laws, Maintaining Your Identity, and Being Blissfully Happy Despite It All
by Marg Stark
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.81
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, Nov. 27 2001
This is a MUST READ for every bride-to-be. In fact, I plan on buying this for an engagement gift for every friend who gets engaged from now on. It helped me to deal with weird emotions that were running through my head during my engagement, and helped to focus on those issues that no one really likes to talk about...after all the first year is supposed to be the "honeymoon" period!! I highly recommend. GREAT BOOK.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, 30th Anniversary Edition
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, 30th Anniversary Edition
by Julie Andrews Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.63
120 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much like the Wizard of Oz for my taste..., Jan. 24 2001
This may be somewhat of an unpopular opinion, but I encourage you to read it all the way through before "bashing" me for only giving it three stars when it averages a "5."
Ok, so what plot does this sound like? 5 travellers (3 male, one female, one animal) set off to the middle of a fantasy land, seeking its mysterious ruler who has never been seen? Nope, forget Dorothy and the Tin Man. What Julie Andrews has basically done with this story is copy the Wizard of Oz in a far less original manner.
There are weird, freaky characters with bizarre, over-the-top names. There are dangers along the way, with someone (in this case the Prock) determined to stop them from reaching the castle (Wicked Witch, anyone?).
And the book is quite predictable. We all knew full well that they would all find the Whangdoodle in the end, because gosh darnit, this was such a pure and sweet story that its readers just can't handle a sad ending. We all knew that the High-Behind cat that visited Lindy was up to no good. I am normally terrible at predicting what can happen in books, and yet this novel, which encourages readers to "use their imaginations" left little to it as far as the plot.
Another thing that annoyed me was the obvious "morals lessons" that were prevelent throughout the story. Other children's books, such as Harry Potter, slyly weave morality throughout without force-feeding it to kids. No kid wants to hear the Professor give a speech about how, "Sometimes our greed gets the best of us and we do things that aren't always right." It was also full of 50's-style "father knows best" mentality (whether when the kids were all gathered around in the family room with mom and dad, looking up words in the dictionary, or when the professor insisted that they always do what he said without questioning). Granted, this book was published almost 30 years ago, but good grief.
I would have also liked the book better if the three children weren't such boring, predictable little puppets. Get some spirit already, and stop being such goody-goodys!!
Mrs. Andrews did do a good job of not "over-describing" the characters in order that readers might come up with their own mental descriptions.
As much as I have pointed out the shortcomings in this book, it is still a quick, fairly interesting read. Just don't expect spectacular originality or plot twists.

The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
105 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I'll play the Devil's Advocate..., Jan. 23 2001
First off, let me say that this book really held my interest and I enjoyed it (I gave it four stars, didn't I?).
Perhaps, though, I should not have read "A Man in Full" first. There are so many similarities between the two books that I found myself thinking that Wolfe re-wrote "Bonfire" to make "Man," yet based it in Atlanta instead of New York.
Let's see...both books had racial tensions, both concerned lawyers that only looked out for their own interests, both had a strong main character that eventually fell in the end, both involved a lot (and I do mean a lot) of spouse-cheating, both had political figures that were determined to get re-elected at any cost, both had characters that were oh-so-concerned with thrusting out their mighty muscles to impress the women...etc. etc. etc.
A previous reviewer stated that she didn't understand why people did not like the protagonist, Sherman McCoy. Let's see...hmmm...he cheats on his wife, repeatedly...he's a jerk to his fellow co-workers...he has no thought to what the consequences of his actions could do to his young short, he generally thinks with the, er, "contents" of his pants. Granted, Wolfe writes in such a way that you do feel sorry for Sherman at the end, but I think it's important to remember that if he hadn't been cheating on his wife with Maria, then he never would have hit anyone with his car and the whole situation would have been avoided (although granted that would have made for a much less interesting book).
All in all, though, even if "Man" and "Bonfire" are similar, one cannot overlook the original genious of "Bonfire." Wolfe's descriptives of different types of people (the "Pimp Roll," for God's sake, to describe how someone walked) and the vicious observations he makes on society and its shortcomings (and believe me, no one is exempt, not even authors) aid in the creation of an intricately woven piece of literature.

She's Come Undone
She's Come Undone
by Wally Lamb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.53
153 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm..., Jan. 23 2001
I have read only two of Oprah's books so far, and this one is far better than the first (Deep End of the Ocean).
It was definitely interesting, in the sort of way that people want to view car wrecks. I had a hard time identifying with Delores, the main character, at points because a) she refused to help herself and b) she went through so many bizarre life experiences. So I can not say how I would react to many of the situations that she experienced, but I can say that I wanted to reach inside the book, give her a good slap, and scream, "Do something! Anything!"
But the best characters aren't always likeable (look at Scarlett O'Hara). Lamb crafted a book that piqued and held my interest until the very end and helped to show many of the mistakes that women make in the name of supposed "love," "friendship," and family ties.
Definitely worth a read, but be warned - it is depressing at points.

by Louis Sachar
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.09
130 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wow., Jan. 23 2001
This review is from: Holes (Paperback)
I thought this was a really thought-provoking book. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because it could have been a little more descriptive, and at some points, the plot fell together just a little too neatly.
Otherwise, though, it's very interesting. Stanley Yelnats must go to a detention camp to serve a punishment for a crime he didn't commit. He must endure the idiosyncracies of his fellow "campers" and wardens in order that he may survive. But most importantly (in my humble opinion) he forges a friendship with "Zero," a camper who has never been or done anything worthy or useful - at least to ordinary observers.
This is a beautiful tale of human frailty, prejudice, friendship, trust and of promises broken and redeemed. Definitely worth a read, no matter what your age (I am 23).

A Southern Belle Primer
A Southern Belle Primer
by Maryln Schwartz
Edition: Paperback
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious because I live here and see people like this..., Dec 5 2000
This book is quite a jewel. I am a Southerner, born and bred, and yet I can laugh at myself as well as the next person. Each culture has its own idiosyncracies, and this book explores the unsaid rules of the South that slyly keep outsiders at arm's reach. For example, how was Princess Margaret to know that ladies didn't smoke, chew gum in public, or wear white shoes after Labor Day? I certainly am not the extremist pictured in the book, but I did attend the University of Georgia and rushed a sorority, and got to witness girls talking about being in the New Orleans Day parades, and attending the Old South ball, and yes, I was a baton twirler (although according to the book, that would never win you Miss America). It very accurately personifies a particular eschelon of Old South behavior that still exists, and makes some of it seem as rediculous as it really is. Definitely worth a read!!

by Ellen Conford
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe this is out of print!, Oct. 5 2000
Out of nostalgia, I am going through, searching for books that particularly stood out from my middle school years...this book was one of them (along with Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations, also by Conford, and also out of print - tragedy!). Ellen Conford had such a way of identifying with her readers.
In this book, the protagonist finds a lamp, which of course, when she rubs it, produces a genie that grants her every desire. Or so she thinks. For example, when she wishes for the "perfect man," a guy suddenly pops up in her bedroom, bearing flowers in hand.
So saddened am I by the gradual disappearance of my childhood books such as this that I am going to try to track them all down and buy them for my future children. Other "classics" that are out of print (grrr) are This Time of Darkness by H.M. Hoover and the entire Trixie Belden series. Sniff sniff.

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