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NotATameLion (Michigan)

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V13 Romantic Pno Cto
V13 Romantic Pno Cto
Price: CDN$ 19.79
21 used & new from CDN$ 9.49

3.0 out of 5 stars lush romantic pieces, Oct. 10 2002
This review is from: V13 Romantic Pno Cto (Audio CD)
For most of us, the phrases "Russian" and "Piano Concerto" bring to mind one name: Rachmaninov. Other names may enter the picture--Tchaikovsky or perhaps Prokofiev. The audience these given to these works are well deserved. Yet what if someone told you there were jewels lost in the shadows of these monoliths? Would you go in search of them?
Those starting out on this search need look no further than this wonderful recording. All three pieces on this disc represent a facet of what is great about the Russian Romantic Piano Concerto.
Hyperion's previous Russian issues (Rimsky-Korsakov, Arensky, Medtner) in their "Romantic Piano Concerto" series have built a solid foundation that might cause one to expect a lot from this recording. Fear not. This disc lives up to and even exceeds those expectations.
Stephen Coombs (who also previously recorded the series' Mendelssohn and Arensky issues) is back. He is a master of this repertoire. Coombs gives a nimble, dreamy reading to Glazunov's not quite languid, melancholy first concerto. In the second concerto, Coombs seamlessly weaves his way through the lush strings and lilting woodwinds in order to present Glazunov's vision of true beauty.
Yet as great as Glazunov's concertos are, the real treat to be found here (as it is on so many of the discs in this series) is in the shorter piece. Goedicke's Concertstuck lives in a very similar musical realm to that of Glazunov's concertos. What sets it apart from Glazunov is that it replaces the guile so often felt in the concertos with a lively and charming mirth.
With Martyn Brabbins, one of the world's most underrated conductors at the helm of the impressive BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, there is little fault one can find with this album.
I give this recording my full recommendation.

The World in Shadow
The World in Shadow
by Theodore Beale
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 4.36

5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best new writers out there, Oct. 7 2002
This review is from: The World in Shadow (Paperback)
Book two in The Eternal Warriors series, "The World in Shadow," shows Theodore Beale in top form as a writer. In my opinion, this book is even better than the first book, "War in Heaven," which I greatly enjoyed.
First of all--the story. Beale brings this second book down to earth. Instead of a rampaging war that crosses the boundaries of planets and time (though that war is still the backdrop), the setting of The Word in Shadow is an average suburban high school.
Jami, Christopher and Holli are confronted by a largely unfelt and unseen threat. They are given the chance to save many lives and eternal destinies. The question is: do they have enough resolve and faith to do so?
The answer will likely surprise you (it did me).
Now--to the writer. I have been most impressed by Mr. Beale as an author. His development from his first novel to his second is phenomenal. What strikes me most is his dead-on ability to catch the dialogue and culture of his characters. There are few writers who come close to his ability at this.
More than that, he is writing not only page-turning stuff, but page-turning stuff with a brain. His depiction of his human villains (or victims--depends how you look at it) does not suffer from the usual one-sidedness one finds in "Christian" literature.
For all these reasons and for the fact that once I got a hundred pages into it, I could not put the book down, I give The World in Shadow my highest recommendation.
One last thing--I also appreciated Mr. Beale's nod to Douglas Adams in the naming of one of the novel's characters.

The Bearer of Gifts
The Bearer of Gifts
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars rekindle the wonder of Christmas, Oct. 7 2002
This review is from: The Bearer of Gifts (Hardcover)
What does Christmas mean to you? As a child, I was one who couldn't get enough of its wonder. Santa was a huge part of this feeling.
Yet time passes, wonder fades. Knowledge drives out belief. The world grows hard and dull.
The greatness of The Bearer of Gifts is that it tells two tales wrapped together in one story. The wondrous truth of Christmas and its meaning are expressed in a fun remaking and retelling of Santa's story. Fused together, this creates an honest little book that haunts the memory even as it delights the soul.
The retelling of the story of Santa Claus is brilliant. Wrapped in the icy mists of its Lapland setting, it is an invigorating blast of cold that gives the tale of Santa a new freshness. Any staleness brought about by the constant retelling of the Santa story is blown away by Steven Kenneth's stark vision.
This Santa story is masterfully woven into the true meaning of Christmas--the Free Gift of God to all people in His Son. Santa leaves his home in Lapland to follow a star across the winter sky. His journeys take him far from home--the foot of a stable.
The Bearer of Gifts is a book that is both simple and profound. Its loving illustrations and spare language make it something truly special. This book peels back layers of obscurity and heartless commercialization that have dulled the meaning of Christmas in the heart of many.
Christmas is a time of wonder. If its wonder has grown cold in your heart, I can think of no greater way to rekindle it than to curl up with this book on a winter's night. I give The Bearer of Gifts a strong recommendation.

Baloney Henry P
Baloney Henry P
by Jon Scieszka
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars a dog that won't hunt, Oct. 7 2002
This review is from: Baloney Henry P (Hardcover)
I was saddened when I did not like Baloney, Henry P. I have come to expect so much from John Scieszka and Lane Smith. I hoped that a book about an alien student trying to explain what happened to his homework (especially when the story begins with the alien child being abducted by other aliens) would be a great platform to showcase the talents of this team. It sadly has not proved so.
Baloney, Henry P. suffers from both poor illustrations and a lack of humor. The plot line is forced rather than well laid out. These are aberrations in the work of Scieszka/Smith.
In the interests of not judging others too harshly (lest I, as a result, am left without excuse) I must point out that the sheer invention and novelty of this book makes it worth reading at least once. The basis for my extremely low rating is that this book is not even close to being up to par with the other work of Scieszka and Smith. It isn't even in the same league as works like The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs.
Unless you are a big fan of Scieszka and Smith, I recommend that you look somewhere else (the aforementioned books or Math Curse). Baloney, Henry P. is not their best.

Math Curse
Math Curse
by Jon Scieszka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.16
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars math? funny???..., Sept. 30 2002
This review is from: Math Curse (Hardcover)
There are few author-illustrator teams that I like as much as John Scieszka and Lane Smith. They have teamed up time and again to create books that both children and adults find humorous and wonder-filled. I have become an admirer of their books. Still--I had serious doubts that anyone could make math fun. Math Curse proved me wrong.
One could scourer the earth and not find a bigger hater and despiser of math than me. It has been a thorn in my side and the bane of my existence.
Yet, surprisingly, Math Curse is just as engaging and funny as any other book by Scieszka/Smith. Smith in particular, does an exceptional job in this book. Some of his best illustrations can be found in these pages. The pages ringed by text are classic.
The message of math curse is a simple one--math is all around us. The main character's teacher makes this point one day in class. The main character spends the rest of this book finding out just how true her teacher's statement was.
The humor of Math Curse comes mainly from nonsensical (yet often true) problems that the main character works out in her head while seeking to cure her "math curse."
Math Curse is a funny, educational book. It is representative of all that is great about the work of this author-illustrator team.
I give it my full recommendation.

Math Curse
Math Curse
by Jon Scieszka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.16
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars math? funny???..., Sept. 30 2002
This review is from: Math Curse (Hardcover)
There are few author-illustrator teams that I like as much as John Scieszka and Lane Smith. They have teamed up time and again to create books that both children and adults find humorous and wonder-filled. I have become an admirer of their books. Still--I had serious doubts that anyone could make math fun. Math Curse proved me wrong.
One could scourer the earth and not find a bigger hater and despiser of math than me. It has been a thorn in my side and the bane of my existence.
Yet, surprisingly, Math Curse is just as engaging and funny as any other book by Scieszka/Smith. Smith in particular, does an exceptional job in this book. Some of his best illustrations can be found in these pages. The pages ringed by text are classic.
The message of math curse is a simple one--math is all around us. The main character's teacher makes this point one day in class. The main character spends the rest of this book finding out just how true her teacher's statement was.
The humor of Math Curse comes mainly from nonsensical (yet often true) problems that the main character works out in her head while seeking to cure her "math curse."
Math Curse is a funny, educational book. It is representative of all that is great about the work of this author-illustrator team.
I give it my full recommendation.

Other Traditions
Other Traditions
by John Ashbery
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 8.42

5.0 out of 5 stars a doorway, Sept. 28 2002
This review is from: Other Traditions (Hardcover)
Every once in a while, I come across a book that opens up new doors for me. They introduce to me to areas of life that I otherwise might never have encountered. Other Traditions by John Ashbery is just such a book.
I have always had a love for, but limited knowledge of, Poetry. It was Edward Hirsch's great book How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry that first introduced me to Ashbery's work. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest living poets. Therefore, I jumped at the opportunity to read Other Traditions.
Other Traditions is the book form of a series of lectures given by Ashbery on other poets. Ashbery writes about six of the lesser-known artists who have had an impact on his own life and work. All of them are fascinating. They are:
-John Clare, a master at describing nature who spent the last 27 years of his life in an Asylum.
-Thomas Lovell Beddoes, a rather death obsessed author (he ended up taking his own life) whose greatest poetry consists of fragments that must often be culled from the pages of his lengthy dramas.
-Raymond Roussel, a French author whose magnum opus is actually a book-length sentence.
-John Wheelwright, a politically engaged genius whose ultra-dense poetry even Ashbery has a hard time describing or comprehending.
-Laura Riding, a poet of great talent and intellect who chose to forsake poetry (check out the copyright page).
-David Schubert, an obscure poet who Ashbery feels is one of the greatest of the Twentieth Century.
The two that I was most pleasantly surprised by are Clare and Riding.
Clare has become (since I picked up a couple of his books) one of my favorite poets. He is a master at describing rural life. I know of no one quite like him. Ashbery's true greatness as a critic comes out when he depicts Clare as "making his rounds."
Riding, on the other hand, represents the extreme version of every author's desire for the public to read their work in a precise way--the way the author intends it to be read. Her intense combativeness and sensitivity to criticism is as endearing as it is humorous.
Other Traditions has given me a key to a whole new world of books. For that I am most grateful.
I give this book my full recommendation.

Beowulf A New Verse Translation Bilingual Edition
Beowulf A New Verse Translation Bilingual Edition
by Seamus Heaney
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.24
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf...a reappraisal, Sept. 27 2002
The first time I read Heaney's Beowulf, I was possibly too shocked by what I saw as the translator's hubris. His renaming of characters and abbreviated notes in the margins put me off. I was not impressed by what I saw as the dumbing down of one of the greatest epics. Yet time has given me some clarity and perspective.
The great value I now see to Heaney's Beowulf is that it speaks to the audience of today. More than just a poem, Beowulf has really become a myth of sorts. Its tale of courage in the grimmest of circumstances is timeless--and in some ways extra-literary. It deserves the wide audience Heaney has given it.
Many of the choices that I felt were quirks in Heaney's translation have actually grown on me. When appreciated for its dynamic inventiveness, Heaney's translation becomes a special thing. The side by side text is an extremely valuable bonus to the student of Old English.
Mea Culpa...I was wrong. Forgive me Seamus. I give this Beowulf my heartfelt recommendation.

Beowulf A New Verse Translation Bilingual Edition
Beowulf A New Verse Translation Bilingual Edition
by Seamus Heaney
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.24
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf...a reappraisal, Sept. 27 2002
The first time I read Heaney's Beowulf, I was possibly too shocked by what I saw as the translator's hubris. His renaming of characters and abbreviated notes in the margins put me off. I was not impressed by what I saw as the dumbing down of one of the greatest epics. Yet time has given me some clarity and perspective.
The great value I now see to Heaney's Beowulf is that it speaks to the audience of today. More than just a poem, Beowulf has really become a myth of sorts. Its tale of courage in the grimmest of circumstances is timeless--and in some ways extra-literary. It deserves the wide audience Heaney has given it.
Many of the choices that I felt were quirks in Heaney's translation have actually grown on me. When appreciated for its dynamic inventiveness, Heaney's translation becomes a special thing. The side by side text is an extremely valuable bonus to the student of Old English.
Mea Culpa...I was wrong. Forgive me Seamus. I give this Beowulf my heartfelt recommendation.

The Girls Won't Leave The Boys Alone
The Girls Won't Leave The Boys Alone
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 24.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 7.03

4.0 out of 5 stars God be praised for the Ladies, Sept. 26 2002
The Girls Won't Leave the Boys Alone is one of the loveliest, liveliest, and pleasurable discs that I own. I knew the Ladies could play--but this disc also shows what wonderful singers they are.
I'm not usually one for recordings that I call "guest-fests." Yet the Ladies have picked such great partners (John McCutcheon, the Clancy Brothers and Arlo Guthrie among them) on this CD that I am most impressed.
Beyond its excellence, you just get the sense that this music was a blast to play. This is artistry and music done at its best--in community and friendship.
The songs are all great. There is not a weak link to be found. My personal favorite is the version of The Mad Puck Goat. Also of special note are Rambling Irish Man (with its excellent grouping of artists) and the absolutely haunting Down by the Glenside.
I give this disc my wholehearted recommendation.

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