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"ltrent@amgen.com" (Moorpark, CA USA)

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Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
by Frank W. Abagnale
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
150 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get past the first 30 pages, you'll be fine., Dec 21 2003
This review is from: Catch Me If You Can (Paperback)
A scan of a number of reviews, say that they found the beginning of the book to come off as very arrogant, etc. I definitely agree with this. It moves quickly enough to be interesting, but my first reaction was "he sure does like the sound of his voice."
But keep reading. While he never completely gets rid of that attitude, by the time you're 50 pages in, you're hooked (likely sooner) and the last 50 pages or so of the book are simply excellent. It's interesting to read the details of how he conned others, as well as his own code of ethics. Also, I'm sure many of these gaps have been filled, yet there are just newer and higher tech ways to scam people. The story about the stewardesses travelling with him, was just astounding. Ultimately he was punished--boy was he---and paid his debt to society. The entire story is very fast paced.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
by Azar Nafisi
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars loved this!, Nov. 9 2003
I absolutely loved this book. In the US, it's difficult to get unbiased information about daily life in Iran. This book delved into the history, and showed both the daily inequities, but also the strength and determination, of its citizens, especially the women. It reminded me that there was a time when Iranian women were on equal status with men, and the historical events that changed that, from one person's perspective. It discusses day to day life, the Iran-Iraq war, and things the women would do to rebel against their situation. These women were intelligent, educated, and had a desire to learn. The author also intersperses her historical discussions, with literary criticisms. The book club members take fiction, and see things that Western readers likely wouldn't, to apply it to their own lives, and gain hope from it.
When I first started this book, I thought it would catapult into my "top 5 ever" list. I still give it 5 stars, but the one part I disliked, was the digression into the past. I would have liked to have heard more about the book club members, and their lives. The way the book is structured, the first quarter, and the last quarter of the book discuss the club, with the middle being about the author. She also moves in and out of time often, and it can be hard to figure out what time period she is discussing.
I hope that you will read this book. It's truly a phenomenal narrative, and one that all Western readers should read to better understand a country that's been propagandized for years.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
by Margaret George
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.87
60 used & new from CDN$ 3.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Good FICTION, Oct. 30 2003
I read this book, after reading Philippa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl". (Excellent, BTW). This seemed like the next obvious book to read. I did enjoy it very much, with the following comments:
1. It is, after all, fiction. George does a wonderful job of drawing us in to Henry's character, yet still remaining somewhat balanced, by letting us see peeks of what others thought of Henry. Hearing his FICTIONAL perspective of events, was interesting.
2. I emphasize fiction, only because I don't like the subtitle being called an autobiography. It is not. George does a good job setting us in the time and place, describing historical events, figures, and extrapolating what may have occurred, but it is fiction, not an autobiography.
3. I found the first 2/3rds of the book better than the last third. I'm not sure if this is because the events interested me more, or if I got tired of Henry's whining, or both. I did find the Anne Boleyn period to be fascinating. For another view (also historical fiction) read "The Other Boleyn Girl".
4. I found his relationship with Thomas More to be fascinating. I would have liked to have heard more about the men in his life, in addition to the women. I also enjoyed his relationship with Katherine Parr, his final wife.
In summary, George does an admirable job of getting the reader acquainted with the time period, the history, and the people around Henry VIII. I recommend this to anyone with interest in historical England.

Strange Fascination
Strange Fascination
by Virgin Books
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 8.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced book about a complicated artist, July 20 2003
This review is from: Strange Fascination (Paperback)
By his nature, David Bowie isn't an easy person to write a book about. He is very complicated, closed, and truly a "chameleon", which is the label many put on him. Buckley does an admirable job. He is obviously a devout fan, but he writes this book with a very balanced view. It is neither complete idolatry, nor is it a "kiss and tell" book. Instead, it is mostly about Bowie's art (music is obviously most of that, but his other forays as well) and how he works. There are tidbits of gossip here and there, as well as an aspect of setting the record straight. His early life isn't covered very much at all, and I would have liked to have heard more about his relationship with his brother Terry. The book goes as recent as 2000. Overall a great read, but I am left with one question....am I really the only one out there who loved the "Glass Spider" album??? I thought it was great!!!

Eldorado
Eldorado
by Emmuska, Baroness Orczy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 10.97
11 used & new from CDN$ 10.97

4.0 out of 5 stars A romping good adventure!, July 6 2003
This review is from: Eldorado (Hardcover)
I've read about half of the Scarlet Pimpernel books, and this one is definitely my favorite thus far. I won't rehash the plot as others said it well here. Briefly, SP must save the Dauphin from the clutches of Robespierre and Chauvelin. Armand has to choose between his honor and his heart, and he chooses, forcing SP to clean up the mess, at great physical cost to himself. There was interesting character development for Armand, and I also liked the scenes with Sir Tony, who is my favorite of the peripheral characters. If you've seen the SP production with Anthony Andrew and Jane Seymour, part of the plot is taken from this book. Try it out! It's a romping good adventure, and not as lackluster or meandering as some of her other titles.

El Dorado
El Dorado
by Baroness Orczy
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite of the Pimpernel books!, June 14 2003
This review is from: El Dorado (Hardcover)
I loved this book. It's definitely my favorite of the Scralet Pimpernel books that I've read so far (about half of them). This book has our usual players, Blakeney, Marguerite, Chauvelin, Armand, and Tony. It's the story how Blakeney rescues--or does he???---the Dauphin from the clutches of the Tower prison. It's also an interesting character study for Armand and Blakeney. Armand is torn between love and honor, and his choice may suprise you. The repercussions of his choice were nearly deadly, and Blakeney pays a high price for them, as does Armand. It's a great read!

The Mystery of the Yellow Room
The Mystery of the Yellow Room
by Gaston LeRoux
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.52
8 used & new from CDN$ 16.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it if you can find it!!, March 10 2003
I've been looking for this story for many years, as it's always listed as being one of the first in the locked room mystery genre, and one of the best. I am so happy to have found it (thank you, internet!!) as I was not disappointed.
Let me say upfront, that if you read Phantom of the Opera, and were disappointed in the writing style, do not shy away from The Mystery of the Yellow Room. I can hardly believe the same author wrote both stories. It's a great read, it flows well, and I could hardly put it down. The characterization and style are very similar to Conan Doyle's works. The locked room mystery kept me guessing. Ultimately all the clues were there, and the ending was "fair", even if I was suprised. I wish there were more tales about our detective, as this first book was fabulous!The ending had a very good twist to it, and is a precursor to some of Dame Agatha Christie's works.
In summary, a great read, a great mystery plot, and decent characterizations. This is worth finding, to see a classic in the locked room genre.

Ethics Of Star Trek
Ethics Of Star Trek
by Judith Barad
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.36
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent overview, March 10 2003
This review is from: Ethics Of Star Trek (Paperback)
This book takes various ethical theories, and then discusses Trek episodes which seem to support that theory. Of course, the recurring question, do the needs of the many outweight the needs of the one? is discussed, as are other ethical theories, from the ancient Greeks forward. Ultimately, the author comes up with a "central ethical theory" for each Star Trek series, based on the characters and what the majority of the stories seem to pivot around. This book is an overview, and didn't keep me wholly interested, but it's a decent read. Warning, it is about ethical theory, and not about modern issues (ie. abortion, religion, homosexuality, etc.) If this is what you are looking for, then you will be pleased, but if you're looking for a book about ethics and modern problems (which I probably was) then you may be a bit disappointed.

Babylon 5: The Shadow Within
Babylon 5: The Shadow Within
by Jeanne Cavelos
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 18.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Great background info; end vague, Jan. 4 2003
This book is generally acknowledged to be the best of the B5 books, although I also like the Psi Corps trilogy very much. This book follows the story of Anna Sheridan and Morden, and their ill fated trip to Z'Ha'Dum. It's a quick read, but it's not fluff. The characters are well developed, indeed we find out pertinent details about Morden (he's a very sympathetic person, actually!) and Anna, as well as background into John Sheridan's first command. I read this in a day; I could hardly keep my hands off of it. The only thing I didn't like was the ending. All along, they were helping explain things from the TV show, and fleshing out the characters, filling in many gaps. At the very end, I found it to be lacking. I do know the ultimate fate of the people, but I couldn't figure out exactly how or what happened. I would have liked a bit more of that. I felt the best parts of the story were the interactions between Anna and Morden, and Anna and John.
There is a very small background that takes place on B5, and Delenn and Captain Sinclair are present, but only for less than 10 pages of the story. The story is primarily about Anna, with the "B" plotline being that of John on the Agamemnon. An excellent read...and so many of your questions will be answered!

Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos
Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos
by William Poundstone
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 4.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, fair read, Dec 30 2002
You can add me to the list of people who was about 7 or so when I first saw Cosmos, and it was a major influence (along with 2 scientist parents of my own) to go into science (not astronomy). Carl Sagan, and the way he made science poetic, influenced me greatly.
I feel that an absolute must in a biography, is fairness. I neither want to read idolatry, nor a muckracking book. This book was fair in its depiction of Sagan: a brilliant scientist, who cared about the world, science, writing, and his own ego. I especially liked the sections on his work with NASA on the various Mars missions; where do we land, what experiments do we perform, and just what do the results mean, anyway?
There was enough information about his background and personal life to keep it interesting, but not so much that it bored me. I was unaware of his first marriage to Lynn Margulis; a famous scientist in her own right.
This biography moved very quickly; I always wanted to pick it back up again. Lastly, you do not need any type of science background to understand this book. It is a biography, not a science text at all.

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