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Commentaires écrits par
Ruth Edlund "dark goddess of replevin" (King County, Washington:)

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Branding Yourself
Branding Yourself
by Mary Spillane
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 19.95
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.66

2.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointingly Basic, Oct. 21 2003
This review is from: Branding Yourself (Paperback)
I had great hopes for this book, written by one of the consultants who helped make Cindy Jackson (of _Living Doll_ fame, known for having transformed herself into a beauty by an effort of will) what she is today. However, the information contained in this book was very, very basic stuff that repeats itself every few months in fashion magazines: make sure your nails are in good repair before an interview, wear clothes that fit, etc. There really isn't much in this book about what it means to create, convey, and maintain a personal brand identity.
Weirdest tip: if you have clammy hands, carry a can of spray deodorant around and dose yourself before you have to shake hands.

Alphabet Versus The Goddess
Alphabet Versus The Goddess
by Leonard Shlain
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 34.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 12.37

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Alphabet 1, Goddess 0, June 29 2003
This book is impossible to take seriously as science but is a marvelously entertaining read. The thesis of the book is that the act of reading text that represents words phonetically alters the structure of the brain adversely.
Leonard Schlain, a vascular surgeon striving to be the Camille Paglia of cultural anthropology, has built a very detailed polemic from a series of post hoc fallacies. That is, he asks us to believe over and over again that an event happening after an earlier event was *caused by* the earlier event. In this case, he associates the rise of alphabetic literacy with not only with the rise of patriarchal monotheism but with violence and a decline in culture. Now, as much as I might like to believe Woman Good, Man Bad, this book just doesn't offer the empirical support to this position that it would like to.
Aside from the post hoc fallacies, the author makes false generalizations that I could discern in areas of history in which I am competent. For example, the statements that "Prior to the nineteenth century, there had never been a purely religious war fought on Russian soil" and that "[t]hose that involved religioun were more about territoral conquest than ideology" could only be made by one who has not looked deeply enough at what happened to the Old Believers.
Finally, it irked me that Shlain bases his views on assumptions about the right and left brain functions that even he acknowledges may not be true for left-handed people, or women, and even less so (I extrapolate) for left-handed women. As a left-handed woman, therefore, who loves alphabetic literacy, does that make me a gender traitor? An anomaly that does not fit into his elegant theory? In any event, what his theory cannot accomodate, it simply ignores. Ten percent of the population, however, is a pretty big chunk to ignore.
Shlain writes entertainingly and obviously has done research in many areas. In the final analysis, however, he has written a highbrow beach book.

The Write Mood: A Journal for All Your Feelings, Frenzies, Rants, and Celebrations
The Write Mood: A Journal for All Your Feelings, Frenzies, Rants, and Celebrations
by Llene Segalove
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.47

1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 High Concept, Low Content, June 5 2003
Like Segalove's other books, this is a small hardbound mostly blank book which because of its dimensions is hard to write in.
This particular book's high concept is that it has four different sections, each of which has pages tinted a separate color, with the suggestion that you associate pages of a certain color with writing about a certain emotion.
The dedicated keeper of journals could accomplish the same effect,but with more variety, by coil-binding a selection of tinted papers at a local copying store, such as Kinko's. That way, it would be easy to write in the book.

I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story
I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story
by Glen Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 18.95
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not For The Faint Of Heart, May 26 2003
Telling the basic plot of this story won't give anything away: God offers the Devil a deal: come to earth and take over the body of a poor soul who has just committed suicide, stay out of trouble for one month in this body, and gain re-entry into Heaven. The story is told as a confession by Lucifer himself.
From this promising premise, Glen Duncan takes the reader on a verbal rocket ride which ends...well, that doesn't matter, the ride is so enjoyable. Duncan is well-versed in literature going well beyond the obvious Blake (whom Lucifer dubs "Blakey") and Milton, and clearly has a deep knowledge of New York as well as London, modern as well as ancient history. At least in its references this book is surprisingly erudite.
The passages describing Lucifer's embodiment into a human being, and his evolving responses to possessing five senses, are realized fully enough to rate this book worth reading just for that vicarious experience. The author's main achievement, however, is his imagining a fully believable, fascinating, and yes, dammit, likeable Lucifer. At once biting, arch, and occasionally oddly touching, Duncan's Lucifer makes P.J. O'Rourke sound like Mister Rogers.
If you are easily offended by criticism of the Almighty, of organized religion, and just about everything else, this is not the book for you. If you like your humor without cream or sugar (as for example in the film "Dogma"), give this book a try.

Soulcollage: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups
Soulcollage: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups
by Seena B. Frost
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 49.63

7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Marvellous Concept, May 20 2003
This entire book has a single great idea--the use of collage as a potent personal growth tool.
The author describes a college process leading up to the creation of a personal deck of cards consisting of four categories:
--Committee (aspects of the self, such as Inner Critic, Good Little Girl, Drama Queen, you name it
--Community (persons of significance in the life of the persons making the card, whether personal friends or persons of inspiration from history)
--Companion (totemic figures representing chakra forces); and
--Council (archetypical figures such as Death, the Warrior, and other larger forces in one's life).
The process of collecting images to assemble the cards, and working with the cards after making with them in a divinatory or reflective way, provides a way to access one's own inner wisdom while bypassing the verbal part of one's mind. Because the cards are assembled from images that have personal resonance, the deck can have an impact that no purchased tarot cards ever could.
A very interesting way of making powerful personal art of especial interest to those who have no technical training in art.

Letters from Law School: The Life of a Second-Year Law Student
Letters from Law School: The Life of a Second-Year Law Student
by Lawrence, Jr. Dieker
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 19.22
10 used & new from CDN$ 6.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Painfully Accurate, March 3 2003
This fictionalized autobiography in diary form is absolutely spot-on about the trials and tribulations of the second year of law school.
Once one learns to "think like a lawyer," a trite but real occurence sometime in one's first year, then what? Dieker is a poor man's Scott Turow as he drily depicts his struggles to write his way onto a journal, keep abreast of a torrent of reading matter, and, most important, get a summer job which will lead to a real job. One of the best uses of black humor in the book is the rejection letters regularly quoted in the text, each one more unctuous than the last.
The book summoned up the angst of law school for me so effectively that I had a hard time finishing it. That speaks well for the power of the author's writing. Mercifully, he includes an epilogue to assure us that this was long ago and far away and that things turned out all right for him in the end. That's good. By the end of the book, I found I really cared for the protagonist.

The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful
The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful
by Gwen Diehn
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 28.39

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Ideas, Presented Piecemeal, March 1 2003
This book tries to do too much and too little at the same time. It touches on a number of ways to embellish pages in books, whether blank or already written on. For those pursuing these kinds of papercrafts, this is a book about "artist's journals" and "altered books."
This book has a smattering good information on each topic, and the "supplies" section at the beginning is very well thought out, but the organization of this book is very strange. There are little historical essays, which are very superficial, stuck in among technical how-to sections.
Good for a roadmap but not an overview of its subject. It would have to be a lot longer.

Gypsy Heart [Import]
Gypsy Heart [Import]

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Tantalizing, Dec 10 2002
This review is from: Gypsy Heart [Import] (VHS Tape)
This fifty-minute tape contains substantial footage, all very short segments, of Omayra Amaya, who is a young woman with her own flamenco dance company in Boston. The clips are from class and performance. It contains a few precious black-and-white glimpses of Omayra's great-aunt, the immortal Carmen Amaya, considered by some the greatest flamenco dancer of all time, in performance.
Omayra and other family members discuss natural dancers versus classroom dancers, tradition versus experimentation, and other topics of interest to anyone studying any folk dance tradition.
A film of this length that tries to be both dance documentary and in-depth interview ends up being neither. The flashes of insight offered are tantalizing, but nothing more.

Diary Of Anais Nin Volume 5 1947-1955: Vol. 5 (1947-1955)
Diary Of Anais Nin Volume 5 1947-1955: Vol. 5 (1947-1955)
by Anais Nin
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 28.87
23 used & new from CDN$ 2.38

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Anais's Excellent Adventure, Nov. 29 2002
This volume is number five in the original series of Nin's published expurgated diaries. (As the major players in Nin's life have passed away, and libel suits have become a lessening concern, her literary executor has begun releasing additional volumes from the same time periods as the expurgated works containing previously suppressed material, which makes talking about a "series" confusing at times.) Volume Five finds Nin in America after World War II, during the era of the Feminine Mystique, living what has to have been a fairly expensive lifestyle on both coasts, plus Mexico, with no visible means of support. Knowing more of Nin's actual biography than she is willing to divulge in this volume helps in understanding this puzzle--she was married to two men at the time, one in New York, one on the West Coast.
This volume appears to have been written with more care than the 1944-47 volume, perhaps because with Nin's second marriage she was no longer spending as much time compulsively "ensorcelling" younger men. Nin dates her entries by the month or season of the year, and they appear to be written with reflection, rather than in the heat of the moment. This suggests also that the entries may have been more heavily edited, either before they were ever incorporated into the diary or later, for publication. This raises an interesting question for which there is no answer: If a diary is edited by the alteration of text, as opposed to the deletion of uninteresting or controversial matter, should it still be considered a diary? How much editing can be done before a work becomes no longer a diary but a series of essays? It depends on what the definition of "diary" is, of course, but I think there is a good argument that this volume is no longer a bad diary, as volume four was, but a fairly good series of essays.
A number of interesting events happen in Nin's outer life in this volume that are engagingly described. She goes to Mexico and describes her exotic life there quite beautifully. She copes with the death of her mother. She has an interesting literary friendship with James Leo Herlihy more than a decade before his great success as the author of the book _Midnight Cowboy_. She drops acid under laboratory conditions (in 1955!).
Nin doesn't seem as whiny about her inner life as she did in volume four of this series. Her ongoing struggles with lack of literary recognition are thus easier for at least this reader to take in stride than in volume four. Nin also appears to achieve some sort of psychological breakthough with her therapist of that period, Dr. Inge Bogner, and, as Nin describes it, achieves objectivity. Whatever it was, she seems less frantic at this juncture in her life.
Because Nin has a track record of being somewhat slippery, it is always a great temptation to read her diary volumes in tandem with her letters, biographies...and fiction. Therein lies the rub with her constant complaints about her lack of literary recognition. Although I respect her ambition to show psychoanalytic process in her characters, I just find that she mastered the diary genre much more than the fiction forms she attempted. Read Amy Bloom's and Peter Kramer's fiction, not Nin's, if you want intense psychological fiction, but do read Nin's diary.
Verdict: pretty good, but hard to appreciate fully unless you know a lot about Nin and her work.

Cutting Through Fear
Cutting Through Fear
by Tsultrim Allione
Edition: Audio Cassette
9 used & new from CDN$ 32.14

3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well Done Indeed, Nov. 9 2002
The producer of this tape, the company Sounds True, is known for the high quality of its products, and this two-cassette lecture is no exception.
The lecturer, Tsultrim Allione, is one of the leaders of the modern movement to find a feminine face in Buddhism. As a former Tibetan Buddhist nun, she has a great deal of knowledge of Tibetan practices, and this tape is a somewhat simplified adaptation of an ancient practice designed to help the listener deal with difficult situations and emotions. In even more simplified terms, the listener is invited to visualise his or her demons and then feed them to satisfaction. If this appeals to you, this tape will tell you exactly how to do it, and why, in the Buddhist realm, you would want to do so.
Allione's presentation is apparently delivered live, or at least extemporaneously, because she does not appear to be reading from notes, and there are two minor sound difficulties early in the tape where she appears to have turned her head away from the microphone. Allione does not have a particularly appealing speaking voice, enunciating with an odd sort of muffled heaviness most of the time, but the content of her presentation is such that any annoyance at her speaking mannerisms drops away quickly. This tape is both clear and content-rich and I listened to it eagerly several times over the space of a single week.
Well worth a listen.

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