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Conan the Librarian (Incognito CA)

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Diary of a Genius
Diary of a Genius
by Salvador Dali
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 16.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Give Us This Day Our Dali..., July 19 2004
This review is from: Diary of a Genius (Paperback)
'Diary of a Genius' is an honest and real study of the world's most acclaimed surrealist painter. Rich in imagery, Dali reveals the canvas of his life with candour, colour and masterful composition. Shadows of self-doubt are subtly juxtaposed beside his brilliant self-awareness, and his reflections are a fusion of form and feeling. Many of the entries are poignant, highlighting the painter's melancholic marriage to mortality towards the end of his life. In his final days, he sought neither separation nor divorce from it, accepting the inevitability that the brush strokes of his being would flourish for only a brief period more. Perhaps the most significant entry revealing Dali's resignation is that appearing on page 136:
'Cordoba - June19 1986
Had lunch today in a fish café on the Plaza del Potro. Table for one. Told the waiter that I had a young man's vision clouded by an old man's eyes. He told me to get glasses. I told him to get stuffed olives. The fish tasted like horse. I was disappointed because it usually tasted like camel. When the bill arrived, I realised I had no money so in lieu of cash I presented a napkin sketch entitled 'Apparition of Ungarnished Paella Being Mocked by Pablo Casals on Beach'. The waiter gave me an inferior Picasso self-portrait on drink coaster in lieu of the change.
I no longer feel at home with human beings so I think I'll move to New York.'
This remarkable book is a work of genius about a genius' work

Braxfield: The Hanging Judge?
Braxfield: The Hanging Judge?
by Brian D. Osborne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.09
6 used & new from CDN$ 15.09

5.0 out of 5 stars No Noose is Good Noose, July 18 2004
'Braxfield: The Hanging Judge?: The Life and Times of Lord Justice-Clerk Robert McQueen of Braxfield' is an insightful biography of a controversial jurist. Brian D. Osborne presents the reader with cruelty personified, even allowing for the less humane times in which McQueen dispensed his callous justice. It is as much a socio-historic treatise as it is a polemic against capital punishment. To add weight to his argument, Osborne compares the brutality of Braxfield to the brutishness of a more contemporary judge, Sir Bayshus Cyst, of the High Court of South Africa. Cyst presided over the court from 1954 till 1962, and his merciless mindset is clearly seen in the passage cited on pages 121 to 125;
'Sir Bayshus Cyst, almost asleep at times, was hearing a case brought against a hairdresser charged with administering a colour rinse to a client without uttering a single word. The client was suing for damages, claiming professional negligence against the hairdresser because idle chatter should have been included in the price. Needless to say, the hairdresser was found guilty, and Sir Bayshus waived damages, instead ordering that the accused be 'hanged by his ponytail until dead'. When the Attorney General heard of the sentence, he instructed the judge to reduce it. Cyst, chastened but showing only slight leniency, did so, ordering that the prisoner be 'denied herbal shampoo till the onset of split ends'. His concluding remarks, '... and let that be a lesson to all such offenders who fail to babble incessantly about star signs, numerology, auras and psychic readings', caused the Johannesburg College of Hairdressing to introduce 'Basic Boredom' and 'Advanced Banalities' into its curriculum.'
'Braxfield: The Hanging Judge?' is a cautionary tale. If we ignore it, we stand condemned.

The Unofficial Guide to Starting a Small Business
The Unofficial Guide to Starting a Small Business
by Marcia Layton Turner
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Comes Up Trumps, July 12 2004
'The Unofficial Guide to Starting a Small Business' is a well-written manual for the entrepreneur whose corporate ambition is focused closer to Everest's base than to its summit. When I recently showed this book to my good friend Donald Trump, he said, "Schwarz, you're right. This is a terrific book, but there's another way to start a small business that just can't fail. Acquire a large business and instal Enron's ex-chairman Kenneth Lay as CEO."

Channeling: What It Is and How to Do It
Channeling: What It Is and How to Do It
by Lita de Alberdi
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Confusing, July 4 2004
'Channelling: What It Is and How to Do It' is a confusing disappointment. Nowhere does the author make reference to the distance a swimmer must cover from Dover to Cap Gris Nez, protection needed to prevent hypothermia or people who have swum it successfully and their recorded times. For all I know, I could well have been reading some ludicrous new age fribble about contacting dead guys.

Heifetz As I Knew Him
Heifetz As I Knew Him
by Ayke Agus
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 24.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tugs at the Heart Strings, June 23 2004
This review is from: Heifetz As I Knew Him (Hardcover)
In 'Heifetz As I Knew Him', Ayke Agus reveals the man behind the instrument. Jascha Heifetz was undoubtedly the greatest violinist of the 20th Century, performing in theaters throughout the world and to audiences enraptured by the beauty of his musical gift. He shared this gift for more than 80 years, acquiring not only lasting esteem but also enduring friendships. Sadly, it was one of these friendships that was responsible for the abiding self-doubt that characterized his later years. As Agus writes on pages 90 to 94;

'In 1972, Leonard Bernstein argued against Heifetz's claim that the terms 'pop star' and 'intelligence' were not mutually exclusive. Their public feud made headlines around the world as Bernstein continued to invade the stages of performers such as Gary Glitter, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and the Sex Pistols, shouting to the audiences, "See? I'm right!" Unable to produce breathing, sentient evidence to the contrary, Heifetz had no choice but to concede defeat in May, 1979. Humiliated and disillusioned, he then fled into self-imposed exile. For the normally ebullient violinist, these were dark, discordant days, and in one of his poignant letters to me, sent from a neo-Kantian sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, Jascha wrote,

'Ayke... my life is now bereft of meaning... there is no pizzi to my cato... you know anyone who wants to buy a cheap fiddle?'

Needless to say, I was furious with Bernstein. He snapped up the violin before I'd even had a chance to make Jascha an offer.'

'Heifetz As I Knew Him' is a passionate tribute to an exceptional individual.

How to Read a Book
How to Read a Book
by Mortimer J. Adler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.82
72 used & new from CDN$ 1.56

1 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huh?, June 23 2004
This review is from: How to Read a Book (Paperback)
I might not be a Fulbright Scholar, but it seems to me that a book titled 'How to Read a Book' has serious retailing problems. Anyone who can read doesn't need to buy it, and those who can't read wouldn't understand a single word of it.

Tune In Tomorrow
Tune In Tomorrow
by Tom Tomorrow
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, June 22 2004
This review is from: Tune In Tomorrow (Paperback)
Last week I read 'Tune in Tomorrow' by Tom Tomorrow. It is a remarkable book; funny, provoking, engaging. All the right elements needed for a timeless work. I would put it in the same stellar company of today's classics such as 'This Week I Married John Wayne Bobbitt' by Dottie Brewer, 'The Weekend Was Murder' by Joan Lowery Nixon, 'Nasty Snips' by Christopher Teague and 'Next Week Will Be Better' by Jean Ruryk.

Culturismo / Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men
Culturismo / Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men
by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 256.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, June 22 2004
'Culturismo' by Arnold Schwarzenegger is simply brilliant. Scintillating text, peerless author. These were the sentiments expressed to me recently while I was having a seafood lunch at the Manhattan Ocean Club with the Chairman of the Pulitzer Committee.
"Schwarz," he continued as our shellfish arrived, "don't tell anyone, but it's between you and Walter Cronkite."
"Walter who?"
"Exactly!" the old boy replied. "Wow, the mussels are good."
"Thanks. I still work out twice a day. And I'll put my shirt back on when Cronkite shows up. I don't want him to feel like TOO much of a loser."

A Good Life
A Good Life
by Ben Bradlee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.78
53 used & new from CDN$ 1.57

5.0 out of 5 stars The Write Stuff, June 21 2004
This review is from: A Good Life (Paperback)
As Executive Editor of The Washington Post from 1968 to 1991, Ben Bradlee not only printed history, he also made it. Momentous events were covered, careers fashioned, reputations ruined and social movements spotlighted. Bradlee was at the center of all this, directing his reporters, dictating policy and discharging journalistic shells whose recoils are still felt even today. Yet Bradlee was not above or beyond the common man. I remember, as a young bodybuilder uncertain of my future, applying for a position on the Post. Unfortunately, my qualifications were insufficient to meet the standards expected of journalists. However, I still have Mr Bradlee's courteous rejection letter which is worth citing:
'Dear Schwarz
My name is Ben and I'm an alcoholi... hang on... wrong place... let me start again.
Dear Schwarz
Having read your application, in which you admitted to an addiction to Teetotalism, I have no choice but to reject it. The tradition of Common Journalistic Insobriety has taken decanters... let's get that right... decades to establish and your flagrant? flagon?... no, I was right the first time... flagrant disregard such tradition proves that you aren't fit for either a by-line at the Post or a bar stool in the Journalists' Club. In short, a pen and pad are not compatible with Perrier Water.
I hope you will receive this letter in the spirit in which it is soaked.
Yours sincerely
Ernest Hemmingwa... no, that's not it... where did I put that bottle... Johnnie Walker... no... it's... Richard Nixo... hey Woodward, make mine a double!...'
'A Good Life' is also a very entertaining read.

Dreams In The Mirror: A Biography Of E E Cummings
Dreams In The Mirror: A Biography Of E E Cummings
by Richard S Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.36
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Reason Without Rhyme, June 20 2004
'Dreams in the Mirror: A Biography of E.E. Cummings' is a precise account of a unique, creative poet. Richard S. Kennedy has made sense of the seemingly incoherent mind that made the literary world spin in a profoundly deconstructed orbit during the period following Cummings' graduation from the Harvard School of Arts and Sciences in 1916. Perhaps the most significant element of Kennedy's book is the previously unpublished Cummings' poem discovered in the dusty closet of a Tunisian Bed&Beakfast he'd occupied in 1931. Titled 'Insanity is Just a Mind of State', it is one of Cummings' most autobiographical works, revealing the poet's life-long regret that he'd never wrestled an alligator. The lament, on page 79, reads:
'i'm mad; say they
but Almonds aren't NUTS!
(is) thE river SEINE in pariS;?'
The human mind is a beautiful thing.

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