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Reviews Written by
Edward Aycock (New York, NY United States)
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Great Urban Folk..1950-'70
Great Urban Folk..1950-'70
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 91.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 86.89

4.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying Compendium, July 20 2001
About 6 years ago, I bought Rhino's "Troubadours of the Folk Era" CD's. They introduced me to many folk singers whom I now know intimately. Taking that one better, Rhino now has this 3 CD set with pictures, liner notes and personal essays. Buyer beware, if you do have the Troubadours CD's, you may be disappointed to learn that many of the same recordings do pop up here. The good news is that there is a wealth of other material here to select from. Joni Mitchell is explained as not appearing due to licensing restrictions in this collection, yet oddly, she appeared on the Troubadour series. Conversely, Dylan appears here although he was not on Troubadours. The times are a'changin' I guess. I do have some minor quibbles with the material selected... "There but for Fortune" is not, in my opinion, the best Joan Baez choice for this collection, as it was released later in the 60's and doesn't have as much of that Washington Square flavor as say, "We Shall Overcome" or any of her broadside ballads do. Also, why do they select "Codine" from Buffy Sainte Marie, which is one of the hardest songs of hers to appreciate at first listening? Also, with lesser known artists such as Judy henske whose older material is NOT available on CD, why do we have "High Flying Bird" yet again, as on Troubadours? It's an amazing song, but for those of us starved for Henske, another selection would have been adequate.
That said, this is still worth having, for its historical impact and musical pleasure. Enjoy!

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.59
148 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Unsparing, and truthful, June 4 2001
I have to agree with the reviewer who says that this story doesn't have much of a plot. It doesn't. I was expecting the entire book to be about the trip to Alabama, and not just the last three chapters. The rest of the book is a bit jerky, as it's highly episodic. While certain events in the book do lead to the trip down South, I have to say that this book does not necessarily form a cohesive whole.
That said, I do give Curtis great credit for writing a book about this era in history, and making it interesting and educational at the same time. Curtis also does not spare the emotions and feelings of the characters either. No longer do we have to read about a bunh of docile people staring great tragedy in the face and making excuses. The characters in this book know that the actionsof the racists are bad, know that the spitting and leering people following the African American children into the schools are wrong. This made a difference to me as I read the book. It was refreshing to hear these characters call this behavior evil and reprehensible. Perhaps for too long many authors have been afraid to pin such adjectives on the perpetrators of these crimes, especially in children's/young adult books, but I am glad that the anger shows, and that these characters are affected and angry by the turn of events. Of course, I would also hope that this book would foster discussion of the events, and the entire Civil Rights era. Curtis thankfully has a post-script at the end of the book, explaining the events in clear, understandable prose that the reader will find just as interesting as the main story. I am glad that this book got the recognition that it did.

The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Edition: Paperback
97 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated first novel from Morrison, June 4 2001
This review is from: The Bluest Eye (Paperback)
I can see how Morrison feels that this effort is not entirely successful. Perhaps the only drawback I see to this novel is that there are a few too many shifts in perspective, and by the time we are ready to have the story end, we get introduced to new characters and have to read all about their history. But that is a small complaint. The rest of this first novel is vintage Morrison. Granted, her voice is still rather new in this book, and the elements don't quite gel as well as they will in future novels, but we get to see Morrison at the beginning of her writing that will eventually lead her down the path to the Nobel Prize in Literature. Of course, this is not always an easy read. In fact, this story is full of ugliness and horror that leaves the reader in need of a long, head clearing walk afterwards. However, many people label this story as being just too depressing, or a real downer. I don't see it that way. Perhaps this is because Morrison tends to distance us from the events at times by telling the story partly through the perspective of so many different narrators. I hardly think this story is too depressing to read. After all, just a few short years ago, Americans (and the world) were lining up to see a movie about a ship that sinks, killing over a thousand. This book is far more developed, and engrossig than that film. Don't listen to the naysayers, read this book, not only for the craftsmanship, but to read the first novel in what becomes for Morrison a brilliant career.

Outside Over There
Outside Over There
by Maurice Sendak
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Inside, Over Here, May 31 2001
This review is from: Outside Over There (Hardcover)
Quite a departure for the beloved author/illustrator of "Where the Wild Things Are"... or is it? This story also deals with monsters, ... but of a different kind. This story would seem to bear more than a passing resemblance to the movie, "Labyrinth", but this book was in the planning stages long before that film made it to production. The artwork in this book is simply entrancing (although it seems a bit faded, I am not sure if that is the desired effect or because of the plates fading after a number of years.) This book is still a great read. There is some concern that it may be a bit too mature for younger readers, but I know that as a kid, I would have found this story fascinating. It's an "Alice in Wonderland" without the sunny golden days, a world in which everything has gone amuck. This is one of the high points of Sendak's work.

Baseball In April:Tenth Ann Ed
Baseball In April:Tenth Ann Ed
by Gary Soto
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Collection, May 31 2001
This is my first introduction to Gary Soto, and I must say that I enjoyed it. Most notable about these books is that they just follow the lives of the various characters in their stories who just happen to be Latino. Except for the glossary at the end of the book, this book was not written to "introduce" us gringo's to another culture. Rather, it's a book about boys and girls who have the same dreams and aspirations that are universal. These characters do not set out to change the world, but rather just get by day by day in the little space of earth that they inhabit. Very well done, perhaps written a bit simply at times, but for the most part, these stories are enjoyable.

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends
George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends
by James Marshall
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.35

5.0 out of 5 stars George and Martha are the best, May 31 2001
I showed this book to a friend of mine when we were both graduate students. He rolled his eyes, but when I came back into the room after having stepped out for a moment, he was laughing at it. A co-worker of mine was looking for some book recommendations, and I suggested this one for his nieces and nephews. He told me he could not make it all the way through the book when he was reading it out loud to them because he was laughing so hard he was crying. Do I need to say anything else to persuade you to buy this book? George and Martha are two of the funniest children's book characters of all time, and James Marshall is a much missed genius of children's stories. Enjoy it. You may even find yourself reading it once the kids have gone to bed.

Angus Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging
Angus Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging
by Louise Rennison
Edition: Hardcover
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Sidesplitting, May 31 2001
At first glance, this book may seem like just a young adult version of "Bridget Jones' Diary", but on closer look, it is a great book in its own right. This book had me in tears of laughter, and I was even happier to learn just as I finished it that Rennison has written a sequel. Georgia is a wonderful throwback to the days when female young adult characters had real spunk... I am thinking of Annabel Andrews, and Harriet the Spy. Her misadventures are ones that we can all relate to, but somehow, these events all seem much funnier when they are happening to somebody else. I also give Rennison credit for her depiction of the parents here as being very real people, and not cardboard cutouts. The fact that Georgia's parents are complex beings frustrates her, and that just adds to the mix. Yes, this book is definitely a must read for all of those on either side of the Atlantic. A previous posting to this list commented that Georgia made "homophobic" comments. As unfortunate as that is, this is most probably the mindset of a young girl, and I did not see any of Georgia's comments as especially mean, just uninformed. There is another, very minor character in this book who could very probably be gay, but Georgia never seems to pick up on that, even though the reader does. Again, I just view it as the fact that Georgia is just very young. I am eagerly awaiting the third book to be published here in the States, but it may take awhile. In the meantime, enjoy this.

Eloise: The Ultimate Edition
Eloise: The Ultimate Edition
by Kay Thompson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.47
39 used & new from CDN$ 4.94

5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time we had all 4 at once, May 24 2001
A few years ago, I was waiting with baited breath for all the Eloise books to be reprinted. It just could not happen fast enough for me. Finally, all 4 were out, and I was happy. Then they came out with this book that collects all four books in one volume for the first time, and I bought this too. Why did I buy this? Well, for one thing, the new Hilary Knight cover is rather fabulous. I am all for new Knight artwork whenever it appears, and this cover was obviously not dashed out but carefully drawn, and it shows. This is definitely worth having for the Eloise fan.

The Hobbit
The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
212 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Fantasy of the 20th Century, May 24 2001
This review is from: The Hobbit (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is quite simply, wonderful. It can stand on its own as a self contained story, but when read in conjunction with the Lord of the Rings, it's deceptive simplicity suddenly falls away. Many people have said you don't need to read this in order to enjoy "Lord of the Rings", and this is true. However, you are cheating yourself if you don't. Many major and key players from LOTR are introduced here, not to mention the extremely important moment when Bilbo Baggins finds a lost ring in the caves under the mountain. This story is less than 100 years old, yet it resonates and feels like Tolkien was basically rewriting old myths. The argument for this can indeed come from some of the source materials that Tolkien used, but as far as I can see, the story is wholly original. It's wonderful that in the age when everything was modern and sleek, Tolkien gifted the world with this age old story. This book may have been written for kids, but I have noticed that many more adults seem to enjoy it than children. It may be Tolkien's overly descriptive language can turn kids off, but this book is definitely worth the read.

The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.96
72 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Faulkner is a genius, May 24 2001
This review is from: The Sound and the Fury (Paperback)
This story is tough to get through, painful to read, and at the end, you can only sit back and take a deep breath and wonder what the heck just happened. And of course, I loved every minute of it. Faulkner's genius in this book is in the way he tells the story of Caddy Compson, but he only tells it through everybody else's eyes. Caddy herself never appears as the narrator of her own tale. There is a lot to say on this book. A lot has been written and debated, but one can only truly experience this book by being patient, and sitting down and spending time with it. This is not a quick read, but it's a great one. Note: there are many websites that do help with the narrative, but I would not recommend reading any of those until you have completed the book itself.

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