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Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA)

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Italian Film Posters
Italian Film Posters
by Dave Kehr
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 24.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, May 24 2004
This review is from: Italian Film Posters (Hardcover)
My sister-in-law bought this book for me for my thirty-first birthday, and I love it! There are just some really cool posters in it, and it made me aware of just how much an artform the movie poster is. It makes a great coffee table book, and will be a nice addition on any movie enthusiasts bookshelf!
Stacey Cochran

Disney's World: A Biography
Disney's World: A Biography
by Leonard Mosley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.02
20 used & new from CDN$ 1.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Disney Biography, May 22 2004
This is a great biography of Walt Disney, and in many ways it is similar to Bob Thomas's biography "Disney: An American Original." Both books emphasize Walt's early Midwest childhood, his strict father and good-natured mother, and his experience in WWI in shaping the young man he became. The two biographies are different in their perceptions of Disney, and it could make a difference for you, dear reader, regarding which one you want to read first.
I would describe Mosley's biography as "more realistic" than Thomas's, but I would say that Bob Thomas's was more inspiring to read. Mosley doesn't hesitate to describe Walt as an ill-tempered ringleader who suffered from emotional instability in his early adulthood, whereas Bob Thomas's portrays such behavior in a more favorable light and seems to grant that it is the stuff of genius. One very clear example: Mosley describes Walt's suicide attempt at 31 where Lillian Disney found her husband out cold with sleeping pills and booze, called a doctor, and had Walt's stomach pumped. In Bob Thomas's book, there is no mention of this incident whatsoever.
Both books describe Disney as an inspiration to the people around him, but I think Mosley's goes more in-depth into Walt's character and describes more thoroughly some of the difficulties associated with working with him. What Mosley describes as "overbearing," Thomas would call "entrepreneurial." What Mosley would call "unstable," Bob Thomas would call "emotionally invigorating." The point is: the subject is the same; it's the perception of the subject that's different in the two biographies.
I think both do a great service to the world in representing quite possibly the most influential voice in 20th century entertainment. It's a fascinating reading, and it will excite you to explore your own creativity. Walt Disney was a man that would risk everything to make people laugh, to entertain, to push the medium of film, cartoons, and theme parks to a level unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. He truly was an inspiration, and, of course, I hope this review is helpful to you!
Stacey Cochran

A Time to Kill
A Time to Kill
by John Grisham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.22
119 used & new from CDN$ 3.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time to Kill Should Be Viewed as an American Classic, May 10 2004
This review is from: A Time to Kill (Hardcover)
A reasonable case could be made that John Grisham's A Time to Kill is the single most important work of fiction written in the past twenty-five years. It is the stunningly powerful story of one man's moral retribution in the face of a society hell bent on his humiliation, subjugation, and ultimately, his elimination. Carl Lee is a black man in the white-dominated town of Clanton, Mississippi who murders his young daughter's rapists. It is a chilling act of revenge that any father can identify with, even if they don't have the courage to follow through as Carl Lee does.
Jake Brigance plays a small-town street lawyer in the fictional world of Clanton, who takes on Carl Lee as his client. Jake is white. Carl is black. And the town of Clanton operates as a microcosm for all the racial misunderstanding and hatred in the American South.
It is the most compelling American novel about race since Harper Lee's devastating To Kill a Mockingbird, and one can not help but feel some of the emotional resonance of that American classic as it informs an all-new American classic. That John Grisham has been relegated to "popular fiction" status undercuts the power and profound truth in much of his work. Nowhere is that more evident than in A Time To Kill, the purest distillation of racial misunderstanding in an American novel in the latter part of the 20th Century.
Stacey Cochran

The Middle of the Night: Stories
The Middle of the Night: Stories
by Daniel Stolar
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Stolar is Stellar!, May 10 2004
The opening story ("Jack Landers is My Friend") in Dan Stolar's debut collection of fiction In the Middle of the Night is a sophisticated comedy of manners wherein a thirty-something married Jewish man searches for acceptance from a group of friends he's not even sure that he likes. The story is emotionally provocative and recalls such masters of the form as Cynthia Ozick, Alice Munro, and Raymond Carver.
In the humorous and heartrending story "Home in New Hampshire" a paraplegic woman watches the twenty-year-long disintegration of her marriage to an adulterous husband while her children leave home for college. It is pitch-perfect and emotionally profound.
It's a rare treat, indeed, to discover such a singular talent and voice as Daniel Stolar's. He renders the familiar new and the new familiar. He says what we all have felt but were incapable of saying. And he says it with a clarity and emotional resonance unlike any other short story writer in America. One can not help but cheer for the future of the short story form when it is in the hands of such a capable master as Daniel Stolar. Bravura, stunning, profound. In the Middle of the Night will make you want to stand up and cheer.
Stacey Cochran

Tormented Angel
Tormented Angel
by Jennifer Stires
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.74
6 used & new from CDN$ 15.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Stires Triumphant in Debut Collection!, May 10 2004
This review is from: Tormented Angel (Paperback)
Jennifer Stires has one of the most refreshing and lyrical voices to come along in years. In an era when seemingly anyone can be a poet, Stires rises above, making her own mark. She is definitely one to watch, and her collection Tormented Angel harkens back to such singular elegiac voices as Rita Dove, Sylvia Plath, and Ezra Pound. A bravura performance! Buy this collection, now.
Stacey

Cat Attacks
Cat Attacks
by J. Deurbrouck
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING! Mountain Lions Frequenting This Area --Be Alert--, March 1 2004
This review is from: Cat Attacks (Paperback)
Cat Attacks was a really cool book. All of the stories collected in this volume are true stories of real people who were attacked or killed by mountain lions. It is written in an energetic style that really puts the reader into each of the scenes. There are graphs that describe the number and demographics of recent trends involving human-puma encounters. Probably of most interest though is that fact that the writers of this book do not approach mountain lions from a tree-hugger perspective, which is rare for book on mountain lions. It is an exciting read, and some of the chapter titles may give you an indication of the kind of mountain lion book this is (for example, "Profile of the Killer"; "A Father's Nightmare"; "Hunting the Truth"; "Into the Jaws of Death"; "Stalked"; and "Hard Truths" to name just a few).
Most of the stories are re-created as though you're there on the trail with these people as they're attacked: Barbara Schoener, for instance, when she was attacked and killed near the American River on the Western States Trail. Or there with Cindy Parolin when she wrestled with a cougar to save her six-year-old son. Or the Cuyamaca State Park stories near San Diego with ranger Laura Itogawa where mountain lions seem to be unusually aggressive and have attacked people a number of times.
This book dispels many of the popular myths, most of which ironically, have sprung up because of conservationist efforts in the past fifty years. Because I live in a remote area of Arizona and I often go for long-distance jogs alone, I can not tell you how helpful (and welcome) this book was. Most other cougar books I researched painted the mountain lion out to be a wonderful, beautiful animal and glossed over the very real facts (some times quite literally with beautiful photographs) that this animal has attacked nearly 60 people in the US and Canada since 1986.
Despite the fact that cougar numbers are at their all-time highest in 150 years, the general belief is that the animal is endangered. This book offers a very different perspective in the question as to who really is the endangered species.
Stacey

The Journals of Eleanor Druse: My Investigation of the Kingdom Hospital Incident
The Journals of Eleanor Druse: My Investigation of the Kingdom Hospital Incident
by Eleanor Druse
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.43
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Journal of Eleanor Druse, Feb. 27 2004
In 1996, Stephen King was in Estes Park, Colorado, where filming of "Stephen King's The Shining" TV-mini series was taking place. In a video rental store, he saw a copy of Lars Von Trier's Kingdom Hospital, and he rented it and watched it in the very same town (Estes Park) where, nearly twenty years earlier, he was inspired to write The Shining. (see [...] for a wonderful interview with Kingdom Hospital's director Mark Carliner that explains these origins in detail).
No one was able to secure the rights nor much interest in what Stephen King initially saw as a potential hit-TV show, until fate intervened three years later, and King was struck by a van and nearly died. While recovering from the accident, Stephen King spent a lot of time in hospitals, and Von Trier's idea recurred to him. He wrote 15 hours of television scripts for a new TV show, Kingdom Hospital. Based largely on those scripts, ABC secured the rights to Von Trier's original idea, and preproduction began on the show.
The Journals of Eleanor Druse is a 244-page fictional account of a woman who visits that hospital in Lewiston, Maine, only to discover that the hospital has a sordid history and may be haunted. The story is told in the 1st-person point of view of this old lady who most people think is more than a little daffy. Eleanor claims to hear a young girl crying in the hospital's elevator, and the story takes on a conspiracy tone wherein the doctors do not believe Eleanor (or are trying to cover up what she knows). Keep in mind all of this is told from Eleanor's perspective, and as such the credibility of the narrator itself becomes suspect, which is also part of the fun of the novel.
To me, the most interesting idea King develops in The Journals of Eleanor Druse is the conflict that occurs when someone believes they've experienced a religious event, and scientists tell them that what happened was only the result of chemicals in their brain. In Eleanor's case, she is thought to be epileptic. Some of our very best writers (see Connie Willis's "Passage" and to some degree Carl Sagan's "Contact") in the past few years seem to be exploring that division between what constitutes a religious experience and what is merely a result of too much serotonin in the temporal lobe. Is humanity's belief in God some mass delusion caused by a species with highly evolved imaginative faculties? It's a hell of a question, and one (as a young fiction writer myself) I will probably explore in several novels during the next decade.
The Journals of Eleanor Druse only offers glancing shots at this very profound question, and with blurbs like "Watch Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital on ABC-TV" on the cover of the book, it's tempting to write this book off as an extended ad to help build hype for a TV show. There are very few books that Stephen King has written in the past decade that have genuinely captured my interest, and I only wish the so-called "Master of Horror Fiction" would act more like a Master than the witty used-car salesman he seems content to be.

The Day of the Triffids
The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.72
29 used & new from CDN$ 6.58

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triffids Light It Up!, Feb. 25 2004
Day of the Triffids kicks butt! Two weeks ago I had never heard of John Wyndham, but I found his name in scifi.com's fiction archive, and I looked up his books here at Amazon.
The opening scene in Triffids is mesmerizing. The basic premise of the book is that a meteor shower blinds most of the world population, except for a handful of people. One of lucky ones is Bill Masen, who was in a hospital with bandages over his eyes and was not able to watch the meteor shower. Towards the end of the book, narrator Masen speculates that the meteor shower might have been caused by man-made satellites orbiting Earth, and indeed, the whole apocalyptic vision of the novel voices the concerns any sane human being would have had shortly after WWII and the discovery of the destructive power of atomic energy.
That said, the novel is not at all a doom and gloom book. It is actually quite hopeful, optimistic, and funny. There is a romantic subplot wherein Bill meets a charming woman named Josella Payton, only to be separated from her in the aftermath of the devastating meteor shower. A good part of the book follows Bill's search for Josella through various malevolent organizations that spring up in the months after the meteor shower.
Developing alongside this story line, is the story of the triffids, a kind of six-foot-tall Venus Flytrap with a stinging whip that has the ability to pick up its roots and walk around. In the wake of world blindness, these plants begin attacking people who stumble blindly around London and the English countryside outside of London.
The novel has a very solid ending that made me feel happy to have read the book. It was such a good story I'm going to see if I can get a copy of Wyndham's other classic bestseller, The Cuckoo's of Midwich. I highly recommend Day of the Triffids to any sci-fi fan, as well as to anyone who likes a good old-fashioned white-knuckle yarn. And, of course, I hope this review is helpful to you!
Stacey
PS Do me a favor and click "yes" if you would be interested in seeing a modern Hollywood remake Day of the Triffids.

Philip K Dick Reader Paper
Philip K Dick Reader Paper
by Philip K Dick
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.29
27 used & new from CDN$ 8.66

5.0 out of 5 stars A Pocketful of Miracles, Feb. 19 2004
There's a great line in the short story "Paycheck" that goes: "Rethrick was here all right. And apparently the trinkets were going to see him through. One for every crisis. A pocketful of miracles, from someone who knew the future!" The same could be said of Philip K. Dick's short stories as a whole. For none of the stories in this collection did Philip K. Dick earn more than 250 dollars. "Paycheck" the movie (as of writing this review) has grossed over $53,000,000 worldwide. A pocketful of miracles, indeed.
Philip K. Dick may have been the best _idea_ fiction writer who ever lived. His ideas for plots are at once pulpish, deeply metaphysical, and as original as any 20th century writer, and the stories in The Philip K. Dick Reader are as good an introduction to Dick as any other collection I've been able to find. Here you'll find the original stories that inspired Total Recall, Screamers, Paycheck, The Minority Report, and part of the fun in reading this collection comes with seeing the differences between what Philip K. Dick originally wrote and what was realized on film. But there are many quality stories here, too, that haven't been filmed. A few of them include:
"Strange Eden" -- a wonderfully imagined, eerie story of a space pilot who finds an alluring woman on a peaceful, Eden-like planet where nothing is as it seems.
"Sales Pitch" -- a hilarious story about an automatic sales robot that drives a man over the edge. I couldn't help but think about the 20+ emails I receive each day trying to sell me stuff, on-line pop-up windows, and, to me, the story seems prophetic.
"Exhibit Piece" -- the quintessential Philip K. Dick story; a futuristic museum curator stumbles into a 20th century exhibit only to find that it is utterly real to him. The emotion that Dick employs when the George Miller's co-workers at the museum don't believe his story was heartrending to read.
"Foster, You're Dead" -- turns a satirical eye to the nuclear paranoia of the 50s and 60s, a time when people actually bought bomb shelters for their homes the way you might buy a TV or new washer machine.
The highlight of this collection, though, are the stories "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," "Second Variety," "Paycheck,", and "The Minority Report," which have each been made into highly successful movies. These stories are flat-out as good as any science fiction stories out there. Dick wrote of hugely metaphysical ideas in a language that was prosaic and fun, and he placed his ideas in plots that combined mystery and intrigue as well as any science fiction writer before or since. I highly recommend "The Philip K. Dick Reader" to any short story fan as well as to anyone looking for a solid introduction to the fiction of Philip K. Dick. It is a great collection, one of those rare few you'll come to time and time again. It truly is a pocketful of miracles!
Stacey

The Beatles (The White Album)
The Beatles (The White Album)
Price: CDN$ 36.65
19 used & new from CDN$ 11.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A Life-Saving Double CD, Feb. 12 2004
This CD kept me alive in the winter of 2001-2002. I had no heat, no hot water, no commode, and whole months would go by when I didn't talk to another human being. I had made the crazy move to a remote desert town in Arizona in order to write fiction full time, and everyone that knew me back east thought I had finally gone off the deep end.
While listening to Dear Prudence, I wrote an ad to [an on-line dating service] tears streaming down my face, hoping that some woman would just give me chance. Three weeks later I met my soul mate, and (as they say) the rest is history.
There were a couple of close calls with sleeping pills that winter, but I made it through thanks to the Beatles White Album, prayer, and the eventual love of a good woman (whom I met February 9, 2002). Currently, book negotiations are in the works, and interviews with Pam Houston, George Pelecanos, Joe Bob Briggs, and Poppy Z. Brite are soon to be published by yours truly! Life couldn't be better!
I will always hold this album very close to my heart for helping me through that winter.
Stacey Cochran

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