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Profile for Karen Bierman Hirsh > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Karen Bierman Hirsh (Greenwich, CT)

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Trans-Sister Radio
Trans-Sister Radio
by Chris Bohjalian
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.22
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful and compelling page turner, June 27 2002
This review is from: Trans-Sister Radio (Paperback)
Once again Chris Bohjalian has been able to write a compelling, disturbing and heartwarming novel - from a unique point of view - and has taken what could have become a tawdry subject and written a beautiful, intriguing novel.
Trans-sister Radio is a novel in five parts - as it is told from four points of view and it also uses excerpts of an NPR radio interview. Like the other novels by Bohjalian that I have read - this novel takes place in a small town in Vermont - which makes the topic that much more interesting . Dana Stevens, a college professor meets and falls in love with Allie - the divorced mother of Carly - who is about to leave for college. The romance is going smoothly for both Dana and Allie until he tells her that he is planning on having a sex change at the end of the summer.
This is the story of Dana and Allie's relationship - from falling in love through Dana's operation and how they handle the small mindedness of their neighbors as well as how Allie's ex-husband Will, who is still in love with Allie, and her daughter Carly deal with the situation.
To say that this is an unusual book with a unique topic is an understatement but the reader will find much to enjoy in Trans-Sister Radio. Chris allows each character to develop individually as well as through each of the other characters experiences. As we can "hear" each person's thoughts as well as see how their actions (or in-actions in some cases) effect one another.
I can't say enough about this book - I could not put it down. While the topic may seem hard to swallow - it is well worth reading, whether you would agree or disagree with Dana and Allie's choices. In a lesser author's hands this book would not amount to much, but in Chris's deft and able hands - it is a beautiful book and a fabulous read.

by Julie Kaewert
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome addition to the Plumtree series, June 26 2002
Once again Julie Kaewert brings us back to the world of Bibliomysteries and to the world of publisher Alex Plumtree. Readers of the series who have followed Alex's rise in the world of publishing as well as his blossoming love affair with Sarah will be delighted to see both his career and his personal life on the rise.
Uncatalogued begins with Alex and Sarah deciding to elope and get married in America right before their college reunion at Dartmouth. To make things more interesting, Alex's college sweetheart calls to ask him for some advice on some historical papers she may have found in the newly acquired archives. For Alex, the invitation to look for lost and possibly found papers written by Samuel Pepys, 17th-century diarist and friend of the royal family, is too good to pass up as he is one of a select few Pepys scholars. He is also asked by the publishing society he belongs to in England to get these possibly incriminating papers back as they are rumored to contain some not-so-nice royal gossip that could do serious harm to England if it came to light.
Fans of this series will not be surprised to read all of the twists and turns that this book contains - Alex and Sarah's near death experiences as well as the fun, historical references - even if the action is somewhat over the top - readers will find it all in good fun.
If you pick this or any of Julie Kaewert's "Plumtree" books up and you won't be disappointed, more likely you will be hooked. Alex Plumtree is a bibliophile's dream come true. This is the sixth book in her series and I certainly hope there are many more to come.

A Trip To The Stars: A Novel
A Trip To The Stars: A Novel
by Nicholas Christopher
Edition: Paperback
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put this book down, June 25 2002
Although I had to wait several (ok, more than several) years for Nicholas Christopher to write A Trip to the Stars, the wait was well worth it. Christopher obviously spent the time wisely, researching numerous topics, ideas and folklore. He let his fabulous imagination run wild.

A Trip to the Stars is the fantastic (and fantasy) journey of Loren (who is renamed Enzo) and his aunt Alma (who renames herself Mala). As Amazon has done a wonderful job trying to encapsulate the beauty, wonder and joy of this book in their description above, I won't waste my time trying to do the
Christopher has a melodic voice and an imagination that does not quit. Readers will find themselves transported from New York, to the desert outside of the Las Vegas, to New Orleans and Vietmam and to the mysteries of the extraordinary Hotel Canopus and somewhere in between they will fall in love with Enzo and the unique characters that inhabit his world, a world
that the reader will not want to return from.

Much like Neil Gaiman, Christopher is unique with his novels, not an easy feat in this day and age where a good idea gets reproduced in a hundred different ways. I highly recommend this book - it can be read over and over again and the reader will still feel the excitement and wonderment that they felt the first time they discovered A Trip to the Stars. If you purchase
this book - I promise that you will not regret it.

America the Beautiful: A Novel
America the Beautiful: A Novel
by Moon Unit Zappa
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 24.00
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and fun, June 20 2002
This book was recommended to me as something that would be fun to read but not very deep - take it for what is worth, just that. While the plot revolves around America Throne, professional dilettante daughter of world famous painter Boris Throne, it is not too difficult for the reader to make the leap that this is a thinly veiled "auto-biography" of sorts as Moon Unit's father is the famous/infamous musician and personality Frank Zappa.
Beyond the obvious, America The Beautiful is fun - she could be one of your girlfriends trying to get over being unceremoniously dumped. While the reader alternately laughs and feels sorry for America as she goes back and forth between calling her neer-do-well ex Jasper and begging him to come back to her and telling him off. She reads self-help books and tries to move on.
America's family, her half-there mother and brother Spoonie, is just as entertaining as she is. The reader watches as America learns to move on and meet other men and who knows, maybe the man she is meant to be with after all.
With tons of fun pop-culture references, musical lyrics and witty commentary, America The Beautiful is a good, fun, quick read that would be perfect for a vacation.

Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
by Christopher Moore
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 16.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious , educational and a good read, June 20 2002
Christopher Moore, humorist and author, must have some sort-of death wish - writing about Jesus' first 30 years - the years after his miraculous birth but before the Bible picks up again through to his untimely death. Either way, this book was well worth the damnation of his eternal soul.
The central character, Levi, but his friends call him Biff, is raised from the dead by the not-so swift Angel Raziel, in order to write a new testament to the bible discussing Joshua's, or Jesus as he is known to most, early years. Biff meets and consequently becomes the "messiah's" best friend when Biff comes across Josh "resurrecting" a frog that his little brother keeps bashing in the head with a rock.
Lamb covers the many trials and tribulations of Biff and Josh's escapades - they meet (and subsequently fall in love with) Mary Magdalene (or Maggie), they go on a quest to find the three magi who came to see Jesus' birth and learn some interesting and different things from these wise men and the reader learns how Josh recruits his disciples all while flashing back to Biff in current times trying to sneak a look at the bible (to learn what has happened to his friends) hidden in the hotel's bedside table without arousing the arch-angel Raziel's wrath.
Moore takes pleasure in relating the "human-ness" of Josh - he acts like a boy not a savior while trying to accept his fate as the savior of mankind and teach others "the way". The interesting thing that Moore does with this book is show the boys learning about other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and yoga and to see how these fit into Christianity as it is taught today - it is interesting to see that the religion is made up of parts of each of the other main religions at the time of Jesus.
This book is very well written - in a style that only Moore could get away with - his trademark wit and wisdom can be found sprinkled throughout Lamb. After reading this book, one wonders why no one thought to write something like this before.

Good in Bed
Good in Bed
by Jennifer Weiner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.75
139 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars You will immediately develop a kinship with Cannie Shapiro, June 20 2002
This review is from: Good in Bed (Paperback)
Good In Bed is every woman's nightmare and reality! Readers will completely identify with the topics that range from - the fear of being judged for the way you look (too fat, too thin, not pretty enough...) to the never ending questions of "why didn't my last relationship work" and "will I EVER find someone else" and "did I make a huge mistake, was he supposed to be The One?" Cannie, the book's main character could easily be your best friend or even you.
At the start of Good In Bed (The name of the column, Cannie's ex Bruce is now writing for hotter than hot Moxie magazine), the reader is introduced to Cannie (Candace) Shapiro - an overweight, entertainment reporter for the Philadelphia Examiner. Cannie, who has recently told her boyfriend of 3 years Bruce that she wants to "take a break" discovers that he has used their love life as a basis for his new sex column - the first column is called "Loving a Larger Woman" - Cannie is humiliated and enraged.
Cannie turns to her newly out lesbian mother, best friend and a weight loss support group for help. Along the way she meets Dr. K, Maxie Ryder (Hollywood's hottest new "it" girl) and many others - including Bruce's new "petite" girlfriend. Bruce has let her down just like her father - a plastic surgeon who left his wife and family with no forwarding address - an issue that Cannie must face in order to make peace with herself.
This book must be partially autobiographical - at least it feels that way to this reader. Many of the references to people, places and events are just a tad too real (and thinly veiled) but it does not detract from the great read that Jennifer Weiner provides in Good In Bed.
Not to sound too clichéd but I laughed and cried and cheered Cannie throughout the book - as if she were one of my girlfriends. I really enjoyed reading this and I eagerly look forward to Jennifer's next book. While this isn't "Great Literature" it makes for a great, light read.

The Other Boleyn Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.09
179 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a vacation or a book club read, June 20 2002
This review is from: The Other Boleyn Girl (Paperback)
I could not put this book down. I found myself making excuses at work to steal off somewhere and read this book - even if I only had a chance to read one page. Based on the real life of Anne, Mary and George Boleyn as well as the court of King Henry the VIII - The Other Boleyn Girl is a MUST read.
Mary, Anne's younger sister, is the main character in this novel and Philippa Gregory does an incredible job of bringing her to life and transporting the reader back to England in the 1500's. This fictional book is based on the true fact of Mary's affair with King Henry and the subsequent marriage of Henry and Anne as well as the beheadings of both Anne, George and half of Henry's court - The Other Boleyn girl is well written and fast paced and gives a credible and interesting back story to one of the most celebrated and notorious marriages England's history as well as bringing to light several individuals who have been relegated to the back pages of history - if they are mentioned at all.
From life at the court to life in the fields, The Other Boleyn girl has it all, love, adventure and intrigue. This is by far, one of the best books I have read in ages.

Franklin Flyer
Franklin Flyer
by Nicholas Christopher
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 10.25
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.47

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique story about an average man, June 20 2002
This review is from: Franklin Flyer (Hardcover)
Nicholas Christopher has done it again. He has created an intriguing tale, well drawn characters and a wonderful vacation from reality - all of which make for a fabulous, can't put it down kind of read.
This book follows Franklin Flyer, named after the train he was on that crashed when he was a newborn, from 1939 through to the later years in his life. From New York City to Europe and back. Each chapter is a year in Franklin's life and each year brings new and interesting characters and exploits.
The first chapter introduces you to Franklin and quickly sucks you in, giving you some enigmatic thoughts to keep in mind while reading the book. Christopher once again delves into the topics of fate, destiny and luck and manages to wrap up each and every question and plot line that he introduces Franklin and the reader to. While not as spellbinding as his previous novels, Veronica and A Trip to the Stars, Franklin Flyer is certainly worth reading and enjoying.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan: A Novel
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan: A Novel
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.02
164 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Becky Bloomwood takes on New York Shopping, June 20 2002
Becky Bloomwood's life finally seems to be on the upswing. She is the financial expert on London's top rated morning show, she has finally worked things out with her credit line at the bank and has her finances under control and is happily dating Luke Brandon, head of Brandon Communications and a millionaire to boot.
Fans of Sophie Kinsella's first book - Confessions of a Shopaholic - will really enjoy following Becky's exploits overseas in the Big Apple. Life is perfect for Becky when she discovers, thru secondhand news, that Luke is moving to New York to open a new office for Brandon Communications.
After fearing the worst, Luke invites Becky to join him and helps her arrange numerous interviews in New York. Life could not be more perfect, or could it? Becky discovers Madison and Fifth Avenue paradise, sample sales galore and in the midst of it ends up on the covers of tabloids back in London. As Becky struggles to get her finances back in order her relationship with Luke seems irreparably damaged - so she must fly home to London alone and back in debt. How will Becky manage to get out of this jam?
Once again, Sophie Kinsella has written a fast paced, fun beach read. This book is a must read for anyone that has ever hit their limit on a credit card or walked past a store and bought something that caught their eye. I look forward to hearing more about Becky soon!

Confessions of a Shopaholic: A Novel
Confessions of a Shopaholic: A Novel
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.79
184 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Bridgett Jones Who?, June 20 2002
Move over Bridgett Jones - we have a new "it" girl from England. Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic is a MUST read for anyone who likes to shop or knows someone who does.
Becky Bloomwood, financial journalist and shopper extraordinaire, has a big problem. A BIG line of credit and a very small paycheck. In addition, she can't seem to stop shopping. Told thru Becky's point of view as well as letters from the bank - Confessions is a can put it down kind of book.
The reader, who instantly wants to take Becky under their wing and offer words of advice, is transported to Becky's dull day job as a financial reporter - copying press releases and going to one press conference after another, especially the ones run by the largest financial PR firm in London, Brandon Communications, run by the dashing Luke Brandon and his bitchy side-kicks.
Becky tries to heed the advice of experts and friends and cut down on her unending spending, but falls victim to her own desires. Her uncontrollable shopping and creative responses to the debit collectors bring her nothing but trouble. Who hasn't had this problem?
Just as Becky thinks her world is ending - she unsuccessfully tries to date her roommate's millionaire cousin, things turn around for Becky - but to find out how, you'll have to read the book!
Confessions of a Shopaholic is great fun and a good beach or plane read. I can't wait for Sophie Kinsella to write more about Becky Bloomwood's adventures.

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