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Erin K. Darling "naive cynic" (olympia, wa)
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Chased By The Light: A 90-Day Journey
Chased By The Light: A 90-Day Journey
by Jim Brandenberg
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing, on many levels, March 28 2002
Jim Brandenburg has been among my favorite photographers for years, and I've always been overwhelmed by his ability to capture a moment in time so perfectly. _Chased by the Light_ definitely didn't disappoint me at all; in fact, it gave me an entirely new respect and admiration for this amazing man.
Most folks know that published photographers often shoot dozens or hundreds of rolls of film for every shot that is published, and Jim is no exception to the rule. What he's done with this self-assignment, only one frame per day for 90 days, shows his courage as well as his commitment to his art. I can't imagine the number of beautiful scenes he must have passed up, perhaps in anguish, knowing he could capture it, if only he broke his own rule "just this once." But, he pressed on, searching for His Perfect Moment of the Day. Truly remarkable.
Some of the photos presented in this book are less than perfect; Jim's willingness to publish them as is (apart from a bit of cropping, tone and color correction, he says) demonstrates his love of photography, his humbleness, and his human-ness. Most of the shots are better than many of us could take on our best days, with a full roll - that he is able to take only one picture, and come up with something like his 'Maple leaf in pond" piece is beyond amazing.
His narrative is really what makes the book, though; read any of his books, and you'll find yourself drawn onward by his voice as well as his photos, because he gives you a peek of what goes on behind the lens, who the person is who takes the pictures, and why a particular shot appealed to him (or how he stumbled upon it completely by chance.) Jim's photos makes it look easy, but his words let us know his struggles as well as his passion for his subjects.
It takes remarkable skills to find the wildlife shots he has - his abilities as a tracker must be absolutely incredible. Most of us will never see the animals shown here in their natural, undisturbed settings. Fortunately for us, Jim brings back some of his experiences by which we may experience a vicarious thrill.
I have only a few people in this world whom I call "role models," but Jim Brandenburg is among them. Thanks to this book, I now have even more reason to love this man, his devotion to nature, and his photographs.

Mystery, Alaska
Mystery, Alaska
DVD ~ Russell Crowe
Price: CDN$ 8.98
35 used & new from CDN$ 4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent character-driven movie, March 27 2002
This review is from: Mystery, Alaska (DVD)
I love hockey, and I love David E. Kelley, so it's no great surprise that I also loved "Mystery, Alaska." Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Colm Meaney, Ron Eldard, and Kevin Durand all turn in convincing, heart-warming performances, and the setting (in Banff) is just spectacular.
The story takes places in the fictional town of Mystery, deep in Alaska's mountains. It's incredibly cold there, and the town's favorite pasttime is hockey. The Mystery boys are undefeated on pond ice, and the Saturday game is a huge deal for the little burg. Hank Azaria's character had left Mystery to pursue a writing career, and made the town famous with an article in "Sports Illustrated," which caught the eye of NHL bigwigs. The bigwigs signed the New York Rangers, one of the NHL's long-standing great teams, to come up and play an exhibition game against the Mystery team.
The results of that decision are what drives this movie, and in the end, winning or losing the game itself isn't what's important. It's a story about communities, relationships, and the strong bonds between teammates. Don't let this fool you into thinking it's a chick flick, tho; it's a movie that men and women alike will enjoy. There are laugh-out-loud moments, and lot of big grin moments, and a few very heart-touching ones as well, but nothing overly-sappy.
The DVD extra features are sadly lacking, though, the only one of interest being an exceedingly brief behind-the-scenes featurette, which has a few moments of interest, but generally doesn't have anything overwhelming to offer. I would have loved to have seen some outtakes of skating mishaps and cut-ups. Alas.
I really recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys strong character performances and films such as "Doc Hollywood," which offer an insight into the life of tiny towns.

Four to Score
Four to Score
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
155 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A quick & very funny read, March 25 2002
In _Four to Score_, Evanovich recovers the tremendous wit and sparkle she showed in _One for the Money_. The writing flows easily, and the pages almost turn themselves. The plot isn't overly-complex, and it doesn't feel forced or contrived like _Two for the Dough_ did. The relationships between the main characters crackle as they did in the first book, and everything comes alive once more with Evanovich's pleasant style.
The main plot line in this installment has Stephanie chasing after Maxine Nowicki, who skipped on bail after an ex-boyfriend filed a car theft charge against her. Naturally, things go awry, various things belonging to Stephanie get blown up, and people who have spotted Maxine are turning up dead. The usual cast assists (or hinders) her in her investigations, and the book flows well.
The reader may or may not predict the ending, but it doesn't really matter much, because it's the ride through the story that'll provide the enjoyment here. I'm glad I didn't abandon the series after the unfortunate second book, and the luke-warm third. I really recommend _Four to Score_.

The Book of Poisonous Quotes
The Book of Poisonous Quotes
by Colin Jarman
Edition: Hardcover
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars I was looking for more vitriol, March 25 2002
There are some amusing and chuckle-able quotes in this book, but overall I was hoping for something with more "bite" to it. There are only a few quotes here with practical application, something you could throw out at a moment's notice for a retort. The self-criticism section is probably the best here, and the most memorable quotes are the old film divas' classic one-liners.
The organization by subject is very handy, but overall I was fairly disappointed. Alas.

The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself
The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself
by Veronique Vienne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.68
88 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A great way to begin doing "nothing", March 21 2002
Vienne's words coupled with Lennard's almost otherworldly, sepia-toned photographs, offer the reader a chance to escape the busy world for awhile and relax. Candles and a nice steaming bath would be a near-perfect environment in which to enjoy this brief, simple book, simultaneously reading it and living its message.
There's no astounding, mystical wisdom contained here, only the reminder of things we already know, and perhaps have forgotten in our 9-5, materialism-driven world. Vienne offers several rituals to take time out to enjoy yourself and recharge the batteries that can get so run down in a success-oriented culture. She gives advice on breathing, meditation, bathing, and even on how to cure a common cold.
This little book is a very nice way to spend an hour or so, and its lessons can help us enjoy the rest of our days to come.

What Would Buddha Do?: 101 Answers to Life's Daily Problems
What Would Buddha Do?: 101 Answers to Life's Daily Problems
by Eugene Cash
Edition: Hardcover
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but not overly-simple, March 21 2002
When I picked up this book on a lark, I wasn't sure what to expect, I just thought it was an amusing answer to the ubiquitous "WWJD" slogans. Flipping through it, I was initially disappointed at how simplistic the advice was.
However, after I put the book down for awhile, and then came back to it with no expectations, its simplicity was what seemed to be its charm - short, one-page advice regarding everyday problems that can be extrapolated to other areas of life very easily. Take this one, for example:
"What would Buddha do when he can't resist having dessert?"
Metcalf quotes a few lines from Saraha, Dohakosha 64, and then gives his own paragraph of interpretation, which includes reminding us of oneness and interconnectedness - "don't wolf the chocolate; think of the labor that brought it to you. When we really experience our desires and fulfillments, we realize oneness with the Buddha way."
For the beginning, such as myself, this little book is useful to remind us that Buddhism can be lived all day, every day, even when it seems like there's just no way about something. For the advanced readers, it might help when he or she is struggling with a problem like one named in the book, and needs a point of reference to help them along the way.
Overall, I would say it's not a book to be read front to back, so much as it's a book one refers to in times of need; it's not a book that will clearly teach someone "how to be a buddhist," but it will offer waypoints along the path. For an excellent introduction to buddhism, try (and don't let the title scare you off) _The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism_ - that's an *excellent* starter for those wishing to learn about almost every element of this path.

Three Plums In One: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly
Three Plums In One: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.54
69 used & new from CDN$ 3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun characters & laughter, March 21 2002
_One for the Money_:
The first book I read by Janet Evanovich was _Hot Six_, in which I fell in love with all of the characters, and vowed to read the entire series. The first book in that series, _One for the Money_, didn't disappoint.
Stephanie Plum is someone that nearly any woman can easily relate to, thanks to Evanovich's singular ability to make her characters incredibly human. On nearly every page, there is something to make the reader chuckle in appreciation and self-recognition, and the belly laughs are liberally sprinkled in as well. The wit and humor aren't the only draws to this book, as they were with Dave Barry's _Big Trouble_; Evanovich has a good plot, and she develops it well, cultivating suspense and curiosity throughout the story.
As Plum learns How to Be a Bounty Hunter while chasing after a cop charged with murder, she develops very believable relationships with her partner, (Ranger,) the cop she's chasing, (Morelli,) and sundry other people throughout the book. We follow her as she's chased by a sociopathic champion boxer, lives through really bad financial times, rummages for the keys to the car she's "comandeered" from Morelli after he throws them into a
dumpster, deals with her overly-protective mother, and suffers through numerous embarrassing situations that rarely feel too contrived.
A thoroughly enjoyable and quick read that'll keep you turning the pages. Evanovich writes the way I truly wish I could, and I look forward to the rest of the series.
_Two for the Dough_:
Sadly, _Two for the Dough_ lacked the sparkle of the first story in this book others. The belly-laughs were largely missing, as was a compelling plot. The characters are not as lively, and it felt like the whole thing was forced rather than enthusiastically and easily written.
Grandma Mazur plays a larger role in this book, and is generally enjoyable, but the idiosyncracies that were so entertaining in the first book are overdone and feel contrived here. The chemistry between Morelli and Stephanie doesn't sizzle as convincingly in _Two for the Dough_, and Ranger is almost entirely absent.
This book was fairly disappointing, and I found myself wishing it would end much sooner than it actually did. Still, I have high hopes for the remainder of the Evanovich books, though, because she has incredible talent. I just think _Two for the Dough_ was a bit rushed and that she didn't have a lot of passion for it. Hopefully, her spark and humor will return in _Three to Get Deadly_.
_Three to Get Deadly_:
Thankfully, halfway through _Three to Get Deadly_, Evanovich once again found her fantastic wit and seems to regain her footing in the characters. Stephanie's self-deprecating humor and bumbling about learning to be a bounty hunter buoys the luke-warm plot during the first half of the book; there are some laugh-out-loud moments, and a myriad of snorts and chuckles. I really enjoy the character of Stephanie - I see much of myself in her, and a lot of the laughter was from self-recognition in her assorted neuroses and thought processes. The development of Lula's character was a very nice addition to the story as well.
One thing which disgruntled me during the first half of the book was the almost total lack of the spark that Stephanie had in the first two books; her character virtually crackled with life previously, but here it feels more like plodding until the second half of the story. Additionally, in the first two, she was 5'7" and a basically unapologetic 145 pounds - sturdy, and chuckling at how she was really "not fragile." In _Three to Get Deadly_,
she is 125 pounds and fretting about her weight. 5'7" and 125 pounds is not a weight to fret about! Alas. Pleasantly, though, Ranger is much more a part of this story than he was in the second book, and the tension between Stephanie and Morelli picks up steam again in the last quarter of the story.
I'm hoping Evanovich will continue the tradition of vivid characters who continually surprise the reader in the
other books in the series. Grandma Mazur thankfully drops back into the role where she adds a wonderful element to the story, but isn't a driving part of the plot.
I'm glad there are many more already written, so I don't have to wait. If only Patricia Cornwell and JaneT Evanovich could kind of merge into one fabulous writer, we'd have Evanovich's tremendous sense of humor and character, with Cornwell's ability to write a suitably complex and interesting crime plot.
If you're new to Evanovich, _Three Plums in One_ will definitely give you a taste of her style, to let you know if you'll enjoy the series or not. Having the first three volumes compiled together in one handy volume is a nice way to save bookshelf space, too.
If you haven't read the first book in this series, I really recommend picking it up to learn how Stephanie gets into the whole bounty hunter business. Skipping the second book wouldn't leave much of a gap, as important points are mentioned in _Three to Get Deadly_. _Three_ is worth the time to read, though, and I'm looking forward to _Four to Score_.

Three To Get Deadly: A Stephanie Plum Novel
Three To Get Deadly: A Stephanie Plum Novel
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
152 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Janet got a little of her spark back, March 19 2002
I really loved the first book in this series I read, _Hot Six_, and also enjoyed _One for the Money_. I was horribly disappointed with _Two for the Dough_, though, and endured the whole thing just hoping it would end faster than it did. Thankfully, halfway through _Three to Get Deadly_, Evanovich once again found her fantastic wit and seems to regain her footing in the characters.
Stephanie's self-deprecating humor and bumbling about learning to be a bounty hunter buoys the luke-warm plot during the first half of the book; there are some laugh-out-loud moments, and a myriad of snorts and chuckles. I really enjoy the character of Stephanie - I see much of myself in her, and a lot of the laughter was from self-recognition in her assorted neuroses and thought processes. The development of Lula's character was a very nice addition to the story as well.
One thing which disgruntled me during the first half of the book was the almost total lack of the spark that Stephanie had in the first two books; her character virtually crackled with life previously, but here it feels more like plodding until the second half of the story. Additionally, in the first two, she was 5'7" and a basically unapologetic 145 pounds - sturdy, and chuckling at how she was really "not fragile." In _Three to Get Deadly_, she is 125 pounds and fretting about her weight. 5'7" and 125 pounds is not a weight to fret about! Alas. Pleasantly, though, Ranger is much more a part of this story than he was in the second book, and the tension between Stephanie and Morelli picks up steam again in the last quarter of the story.
I'm hoping Evanovich will continue the tradition of vivid characters who continually surprise the reader in the other books in the series. Grandma Mazur thankfully drops back into the role where she adds a wonderful element to the story, but isn't a driving part of the plot.
I'm glad there are many more already written, so I don't have to wait. If only Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich could kind of merge into one fabulous writer, we'd have Evanovich's tremendous sense of humor and character, with Cornwell's ability to write a suitably complex and interesting crime plot.
If you haven't read the first book in this series, I really recommend picking it up to learn how Stephanie gets into the whole bounty hunter business. Skipping the second book wouldn't leave much of a gap, as important points are mentioned in _Three to Get Deadly_. _Three_ is worth the time to read, though, and I'm looking forward to _Four to Score_.

Two for the Dough
Two for the Dough
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
141 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as the first, but still good, March 16 2002
I first read _Hot Six_ in the Stephanie Plum series, and absolutely adored it. Likewise, _One for the Money_ was fantastic. _Two for the Dough_, however, lacked the sparkle of those others. The belly-laughs were largely missing, as was a compelling plot. The characters are not as lively, and it felt like the whole thing was forced rather than enthusiastically and easily written.
Grandma Mazur plays a larger role in this book, and is generally enjoyable, but the idiosyncracies that were so entertaining in the first book are overdone and feel contrived here. The chemistry between Morelli and Stephanie doesn't sizzle as convincingly in _Two for the Dough_, and Ranger is almost entirely absent.
This book was fairly disappointing, and I found myself wishing it would end much sooner than it actually did. Still, I have high hopes for the remainder of the Evanovich books, though, because she has incredible talent. I just think _Two for the Dough_ was a bit rushed and that she didn't have a lot of passion for it. Hopefully, her spark and humor will return in _Three to Get Deadly_.

One for the Money
One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh-out-loud funny, really solid writing, March 15 2002
The first book I read by Janet Evanovich was _Hot Six_, in which I fell in love with all of the characters, and vowed to read the entire series. The first book in that series, _One for the Money_, didn't disappoint.
Stephanie Plum is someone that nearly any woman can easily relate to, thanks to Evanovich's singular ability to make her characters incredibly human. On nearly every page, there is something to make the reader chuckle in appreciation and self-recognition, and the belly laughs are liberally sprinkled in as well. The wit and humor aren't the only draws to this book, as they were with Dave Barry's _Big Trouble_; Evanovich has a good plot, and she develops it well, cultivating suspense and curiosity throughout the story.
As Plum learns How to Be a Bounty Hunter while chasing after a cop charged with murder, she develops very believable relationships with her partner, Ranger, the cop she's chasing, Morelli, and sundry other people throughout the book. We follow her as she's chased by a sociopathic champion boxer, lives through really bad financial times, rummages for the keys to the car she's "comandeered" from Morelli after he throws them into a dumpster, deals with her overly-protective mother, and suffers through numerous embarrassing situations that rarely feel too contrived.
A thoroughly enjoyable and quick read that'll keep you turning the pages. Evanovich writes the way I truly wish I could, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

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