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Michael J. Mazza

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Encyclopedia of Women's Travel and Exploration
Encyclopedia of Women's Travel and Exploration
by Patricia D. Netzley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 112.16
20 used & new from CDN$ 4.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Informative tribute to female adventurers, June 19 2004
"The Encyclopedia of Women's Travel and Exploration," by Patricia D. Netzley, packs a lot of information into more than 250 pages. The bulk of the book consists of alphabetically arranged short articles. Also included are a bibliography and index.
The entries themselves fall into a number of categories: general subjects (Accommodations, Clothing, Culture Shock, Military Service, etc.); places both general and specific (Africa, Asia, Mount Everest, etc.); important books in the field of women's travel; types of female travelers (Missionaries, Pilgrims, Pirates, Queens, Spies, etc.). There is an assortment of other articles on various interesting subjects (Mountaineering, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, etc.).
There are also many entries devoted to individual travelers and explorers. It's truly a multicultural and international gathering of women: Clara Barton (a Red Cross leader), Nellie Bly (journalist), Susan Butcher (American dogsledder), Hsi Kai Ching Yih (19th century pirate of China), Jane Goodall (pioneer in chimpanzee research), Zora Neale Hurston (African-American anthropologist and writer), Margery Kempe (religious pilgrim of the Middle Ages), Junko Tabei (Japanese mountaineer), Edith Wharton (American writer), and many, many, more.
It is fascinating to read of the lives of these women and learn of the huge diversity of reasons that led them to travel or explore. Netzley incorporates bibliographic references into the entries, so interested individuals have starting points for further reading. The book also includes a wealth of black-and-white photos of various women profiled in the book. Overall, this is an informative and enjoyable reference work that celebrates the courage, skills, and passion of generations of bold women.

Listen! Early Poems
Listen! Early Poems
by Vladimir Mayakovsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.95
20 used & new from CDN$ 2.64

5.0 out of 5 stars A voice both mystical and earthy, June 18 2004
This review is from: Listen! Early Poems (Paperback)
"Listen! Early Poems 1913-1918," by Vladimir Mayakovsky, features poems translated into English by Maria Enzensberger. Also included is a foreword by Elaine Feinstein. This 63-page book has been published as Pocket Poets Series No. 47.
This book was my introduction to the voice of Russian poet Mayakovsky (1893-1930). In her interesting introduction translator Enzensberger puts his work in context. She includes a humorous and charming story about the beginning of his poetic career, and also discusses his relationship to the futurist movement. The book reproduces a rich selection of visual materials: photos, lithographs, drawings, and even some of Mayakovsky's own handwritten notes.
Mayakovsky's poetry is fascinating. His voice is full of absurdism and playful humor. Yet the poetry is also touched by a tragic vision; his voice sounds genuinely compassionate towards beings (both human and non-human) that are suffering. The poems raise lofty theological issues, yet remain grounded in very concrete and specific worldly things: smoked sardines, manure, galoshes, etc. A number of pieces deal with poetry itself.
Mayakovsky's language, as rendered into English by Enzensberger, has a wonderfully muscular, meaty, yet musical quality--truly poetry that should be read aloud. At times Mayakovsky's vision and voice reminded me of those of Pablo Neruda and Walt Whitman, whom I see as his poetic soul brothers. At his best, Mayakovsky has a poetic voice that is graced with prophecy and magic.

Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job
Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job
by Katie Davis
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Colorful and cleverly written, June 18 2004
"Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got the Job," by Katie Davis, is a picture book that tells how the title character goes from being "just a regular old fairy" to becoming the world-famous Tooth Fairy. Writer-illustrator Davis combines wacky, cartoony illustrations with a clever and enjoyable text.
The blue-skinned, green-haired Mabel is a character with a lot of visual appeal. The pictures are bursting with bright, bold colors; there are also lots of witty sight gags and other enjoyable details. The book contains positive messages about friendship, responsibility, having pride in one's work, and practicing good oral hygiene. The combination of these educational elements with light-hearted humor makes this book a real gem. I recommend "Mabel" not only for children, but also as a fun gift for any dental professional.

American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings
American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings
by Zitkala-Sa
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.46
38 used & new from CDN$ 6.43

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and important Native American voice, June 16 2004
"American Indian Stories, Legends, and Other Writings" is a collection of pieces by Zitkala-Sa (also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin). The book is edited, with an introduction and notes by, Cathy N. Davidson and Ada Norris. Born on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota in 1876, Zitkala-Sa worked as a writer and activist for Native American causes, and died in 1938.
The editors divide Zitkala-Sa's writings into 4 main sections: "Old Indian Legends," "American Indian Stories," "Selections from _American Indian Magazine_," and "Poetry, Pamphlets, Essays, and Speeches." I really loved the legends, which are Zitkala-Sa's versions of tales that had been passed down orally. These stories are full of magic, transformations, fantastic beings, and amazing feats. Many tales feature Iktomi, a "spider fairy" who is a mischievous trickster.
The section on stories features realistic narratives of Indian lives. All together these stories create a vivid and fascinating portrait, with details about Indian crafts, food preparation, and social customs. The many nonfiction pieces in the book cover a number of topics, such as Native American soldiers in World War I, Native American religion, and Indian political issues. Many of these pieces show the author to be a really forward thinking woman with a global perspective; her acknowledgement of the "universal cry for freedom from injustice" really seems to foreshadow the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great activist-writers of the later 20th century.
The book is full of great supplemental materials: a comprehensive introduction; a lengthy bibliographic list of suggestions for further reading; an informative note on the texts; and endnotes. Zitkala-Sa is truly a fascinating figure. As the book's introduction notes, she "trod the unstable terrain between radicalism, separatism, assimilationism, and intermittent conservatism." The American Indian experience as embodied in her writings shows both fascinating parallels and contrasts with other ethnic American experiences. I consider this book a valuable contribution to Native American studies, women's studies, and American literature; I recommend it highly both for classroom use and individual reading.

Jewelry by Joan Rivers
Jewelry by Joan Rivers
by Joan Rivers
Edition: Hardcover
44 used & new from CDN$ 4.41

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative text, dazzling photographs, June 16 2004
This review is from: Jewelry by Joan Rivers (Hardcover)
"Jewelry by Joan Rivers" features photography by Gordon Munro and Elizabeth Watt. The book is a celebration of jewelry from the perspective of comedian and television personality Joan Rivers. The main sections of the book are as follows: a lengthy introduction; a series of entries on great jewelry designers (Tiffany and Co., Faberge, Cartier, etc.); a chapter with advice on integrating jewelry into one's overall fashion sense; a large section on Joan Rivers' own costume jewelry line, the Classics Collection; and a chapter describing how jewelry is made. Also included are shopping tips, a bibliography and index.
The book combines an interesting text with a wealth of clear, full-color photos that are sparkling with detail. Rivers enlivens the text with enjoyable personal anecdotes. The section on jewelry and fashion includes shots of Joan modeling different clothes-and-jewelry combos, and has an empowering message that encourages readers to create their own style without being stifled by someone else's rules.
There are some wonderful photos of and stories about some of the fine jewelry pieces in Joan's own collection; one of the most dazzling pieces is a necklace, once owned by Queen Marie of Romania, that contains many colorful eggs and charms. The section about how jewelry is made shows, in text and photos, the process from rough design sketch all the way to finished product. It's absolutely fascinating.
The book's largest section is devoted to photos and descriptive text about Joan's own costume jewelry line. The Classics Collection pieces profiled include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches, etc. It's a rich and colorful variety of pieces. Many motifs and elements appear, and there are synthetic/faux gems of many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some pieces are whimsical, some bold and dramatic. If you love photos of jewelry, you'll be in heaven.
I've read many different photo books on both fine and costume jewelry, and this book really stands out in terms of beauty and educational value. And Joan River' passion for jewelry really animates the book overall.

Farewell to Manzanar
Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Houston
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
88 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story of an American family's struggle, June 15 2004
"Farewell to Manzanar" is by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston. In a foreword Jeanne Houston notes that this book, which tells about the internment of a Japanese-American family during World War II, is a true story. "Farewell" is a rich and fascinating chronicle. The Houstons follow the lives of the members of the Wakatsuki family before, during, and after the experience of internment.
The narrative is full of compelling details of the family's experiences. It is particularly intriguing to watch how the internment camp evolved into "a world unto itself, with its own logic"--a "desert ghetto." During the course of the book the authors discuss many important topics: religion, education, anti-Asian bigotry, the impact of the Pearl Harbor attack, the military service of Japanese-Americans during the war, and more.
The Houstons write vividly of the dislocation, humiliation, and injustice faced by the Wakatsuki family. Also powerful is the narrator's struggle to come to terms with her own ethnic identity.
For an interesting companion text, I would suggest "Desert Exile," by Yoshiko Uchida; this book also deals with the internment experience, but from a somewhat different perspective which complements that of the Houstons. I was moved by "Farewell." The book is a profound meditation on both the hope and the tragedy of the United States, in which the "American dream" can become intermingled with American nightmares. I consider this book an important addition to Asian-American studies in particular, and to the canon of multiethnic U.S. literature in general.

Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology
Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology
by Amy Sonnie
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking collection of young voices, June 15 2004
"Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology" is edited by Amy Sonnie and has an introduction by Margot Kelley Rodriguez. This anthology (of 259 + xxvi pages) features the work of over 50 contributors. The editor's note by Sonnie declares that this book is "_by_ and _for_ queer and questioning youth"--it is explained that the word "queer" is employed "as an umbrella term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people." Also noted is that the contributors range in age from 14 to 26.
The selections in the book are very diverse in genre: visual art, poetry, prose, performance pieces, interviews, diary excerpts. The contributors are also a diverse group, representing many different ethnic/cultural backgrounds. There is a first-person statement from each reviewer that prefaces her/his contribution; also featured are photos of most of the contributors.
The book includes "Queer 101," an intriguing glossary of relevant terminology ("ageism," "FTM," "monosexism," "ze," etc.). Particulary thoughtful is the inclusion of a section on resources for queer youth: crisis hotlines, ethnic organizations, religious support groups, etc.
Yes, some pieces are raw and amateurish, and at times the voices sound pretentious or self-indulgent. But overall the collection is thought-provoking, and at times it is very moving. There were many themes in the book that struck me as particularly significant: being bi- or multiethnic; "coming out": being aware of (and resisting) interlocking systems of oppression; anxiety about invisibility and assimilation; etc.
I found certain pieces particularly memorable. In "Different: My Experiences as an Intersexed Gay Boy," S. Asher Hanley notes how an intersex person can be marginalized in both straight and gay society. "Tasting Home," by Uchechi Kalu, is a compelling poem that deals with immigration and bilingualism. "Straight-Out Pain," a poem by Antigona, is about undergoing an exorcism. But I found the most moving piece to be "The Memory of Bathing," by Qwo-Li Driskell; this short but powerful prose piece recounts a political/emotional epiphany he experienced while attending a national HIV/AIDS forum.
One could consider poet-activists Audre Lorde and June Jordan to be the god(dess)mothers of this collection; each woman receives multiple mentions in the course of the anthology, and the book as a whole really reflects the artistic and political principles that each woman lived out in her life and remarkable work. I recommend "Revolutionary Voices" to readers of all ages.

The Oxford Companion to Australian History - revised edition
The Oxford Companion to Australian History - revised edition
by Graeme Davison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 55.32
18 used & new from CDN$ 35.14

5.0 out of 5 stars A mammoth compendium of things Australian, May 28 2004
"The Oxford Companion to Australian History," revised edition, is edited by Graeme Davison, John Hirst, and Stuart Macintyre. More than 700 pages long, the book is full of alphabetically organized articles. The book's preface notes that the articles range in length from 100 to 2000 words.
The "Companion" is truly vast in scope. Subjects covered include Aboriginal topics (art, history, languages, etc.); people (opera singer Harold Blair, Olympic athlete Betty Cuthbert, suffragist Alice Henry, etc.); cities (Adelaide, Hobart, etc.); newspapers (the "Argus" of Melbourne, the "Canberra Times," etc.); religious bodies and movements (the Uniting Church, etc.); important events (the Cape Grim massacre, the Castle Hill Rising, etc.); political parties; various ethnic groups in Australia, and more.
I particularly appreciated the entries on Australian colloquial terms like "Pommy" and "reffo." There are also many articles that address certain big topics in Australian context: agriculture, censorship, feminism, the film industry, literature, social justice, etc. And interspersed throughout are entries on many other interesting topics: the Bunyip (a mythic animal), convict history, "Waltzing Matilda" (a song), Internet resources, pubs, Vegemite (a food), etc.
Also included: maps, a useful subject index, and a 9-page directory of the book's many contributors. Many bibliographic references are incorporated into the individual entries, making this a good starting place for more in-depth reading on particular topics. The "Companion" is an achievement as big and colorful as Australia itself. While this book is certainly a logical choice for the reference section of any good library, it's also a good book for any individual with an interest in or love for Australia.

X-Men Time Fugitive P.1&2
X-Men Time Fugitive P.1&2

5.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed tale of time travel, May 28 2004
"X-Men: Cable--Time Fugitive" consists of a 2-part episode from the animated X-Men adventures. In this story the mutant superhero team gets caught in the conflict between Bishop and Cable, time travelers with their own agendas. The story opens in New York in the year 3999, during a fierce battle.
This 2-parter is very violent and action-packed; lots of mayhem and explosions. The story overall is cleverly structured, and makes good use of the time travel theme. And while I didn't feel that the story attained the epic sweep which it could have had, it's definitely worthwhile for X-Men fans.

by Federico García Lorca
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 6.77

2.0 out of 5 stars A woman's pain, May 28 2004
This review is from: Yerma (Paperback)
"Yerma," the play by Federico Garcia Lorca, has been adapted by Pam Gems in the version I read. Gems also wrote the introduction to the book, in which she praises Lorca as one of Spain's greatest artists of all time. A note before the beginning of the play notes that this adaptation was first presented in Manchester in 2003.
The title character of Yerma is a rural wife who is frustrated because she has not yet given birth to a child. The play follows her conflict with her husband and interactions with other characters. "Yerma" certainly raises some important issues: marriage, gender roles, motherhood, trust, and honor. And there is some wonderfully poetic language. But overall I found this play dull and uninteresting; moreover, the characters never really engaged me. For better examples of Gems' talent, I suggest the fine plays "Marlene" and "The Snow Palace."

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