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Content by Andi Miller
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Reviews Written by
Andi Miller (Caddo Mills, TX)

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Eyre Affair
Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
Edition: Paperback
111 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A literature lover's dream!!!, June 11 2004
This review is from: Eyre Affair (Paperback)
I read Jane Eyre recently, so I had to see what all the fuss was about in regards to The Eyre Affair. My online book discussion groups have been buzzing about it for ages, and I finally understand all the buzz!
Jasper Fforde has written a laugh-out-loud romp through an alternative Britain where fanatical groups form around various writers such as Milton, Bacon, and Shakespeare, time travel is possible, and the extinct Dodo bird is the pet of choice. Thursday Next is our female hero whose job it is to track and destroy the evil Acheron Hades before he murders some of literature's most valued characters.
Fforde works in a lot of sly jokes through unusual names (Braxton Hicks, Millon da Floss), and the abundant literary allusions are enough to delight any book lover. Even if you haven't read all of the works cited in the book (Richard III, Jane Eyre, Martin Chuzzlewit to name a few) there's still plenty for you to enjoy. Fforde has written a delightful mystery for everyone.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
by Azar Nafisi
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.20
211 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality reading..., Jan. 10 2004
I thought this was a really good quality book. I found many parts touching, and I enjoyed the insight into the lives of the students with whom Nafisi met on a weekly basis to discuss controversial literature. Nafisi is a very interesting person and an impeccable writer. My only criticism (and it's more a matter of personal taste than anything)....I got very bogged down in the middle. I wanted to learn more about Nafisi's students. I assumed that they would be the main focus of the book from reading the blurb on the cover. The first and last sections focused mostly on the women's gatherings, but the middle sections focused mostly on the war situation in Iran. Not that that particular part wasn't interesting (in fact it was absolutely necessary to illustrate the state of the Islamic Republic), but I just found myself more captivated by the struggles and opinions of the women. I greatly enjoyed reading the insight into some of my favorite novels including The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice. I also added plenty of works to my growing wishlist based on the commentary between Nafisi and her students.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Edition: Paperback
142 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a journey!!!, June 12 2003
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
Ok, I had my doubts about this one. How could an author really make being lost at sea with a tiger interesting for 300-some-odd pages? Well, I admit it when I'm wrong...this book managed to be amazing.
Pi Patel is an old soul in a young body...a sensitive young man who prescribes to all varieties of religion, and grows up among the animals in the Pondicherry zoo where his father oversees things. While on the way to Canada, the ship carrying Pi, his family, and some of the zoo animals sinks and Pi is left with a lifeboat full of violent creatures, and he must survive the fray.
Life of Pi is a voyage filled with periods of turmoil and serenity. Pi must physically survive, glean the will and tools to survive from his limited surroundings, grapple with his spirituality, grief, and loneliness, and learn to deal with a deadly tiger in a very limited amount of territory. I found the whole book enthralling, especially the ways in which Pi met his needs for food, water, shelter, and dealt with a variety of other problems. There's even a bit of a twist at the end that I found heartbreaking, frustrating, interesting, and ultimately very clever. The book makes you question what is real and unreal and what's worth putting faith in.
The only warning I have for readers: lots of animal violence. With animals in a lifeboat there's bound to be some bloodshed.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Paperback
204 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth the buzz!!!, June 12 2003
I'd heard raves about Tuesdays with Morrie, so I was ready for a let down (due to overhype), but to my great surprise this book enchanted me. Mitch Albom was wrapped up in material things and career concerns until he was reunited with his dying professor. Albom's time with Morrie Schwartz, before his death, is chronicled in this charming little book. The lessons might seem cliché or maudlin in the hands of another writer, but because Albom had such a close relationship with Morrie the professor's personality really comes through in the book. What might've been sappy otherwise comes through with heartfelt meaning and the sincerity with which it was so lovingly passed on to Albom as he talked with his friend in his dying days. This book is not all heavy and filled with seriousness. There's a great deal of humor in Morrie's attitude, lessons, and stories and I found myself laughing out loud several times.
In addition to the great story, I was also impressed with the layout of the book. Albom intermingles old memories from his college days in Morrie's classes among the short chapters dealing with specific life lessons like aging, love, and death. This method of layout made for an engrossing, and very fast-moving read. I blew through the book in only a few hours and was completely satisfied with its well roundedness. There was laughter as well as tears, and I came away from the book feeling enriched.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars A delight!!, March 21 2003
I'd heard a number of good things about this film before I finally picked it up, but I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I instantly fell in love with this amazing little gem of a film.
Amelie is an introspective, thoughtful young woman who is inspired one day to help improve the lives of those around her. Before you start to think this is some schlocky, maudlin film about doing good deeds let me set the record straight. The things that Amelie does to improve her friends' lives are far from normal. Whether she's sending her father's garden gnome on a trip across the world or hypothesizing about a man in a strange set of photographs Amelie's mind is always delightfully at work. She lives in a dream world and an enchanting world it is.
In addition to the vivid and original storyline the film also has a signature visual style. This was my first time viewing a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but it will certainly not be my last. The colors jump wildly off the screen and the cinematography is breathtaking. I can't wait to watch the film without the subtitles and simply take in the visual artistry of it.
"Amelie" is such an inspiring film and one that will stick with you for a long time. It definitely deserves to be watched over and over again.

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Price: CDN$ 5.49
105 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking...., March 5 2003
This review is from: Fallen (Audio CD)
Evanescence is one of the best new bands that I've heard in a very long time. Singer, Amy Lee, has a crystal clear, strong, powerful voice that will reach right down into your chest and wrench your heart. They move between pounding hard rock and simple piano accompaniment, and all the songs are winners. Haunting and inspiring are the best words to describe this music.
Standouts from the album include:
"Bring Me to Life" - this big radio hit is just the beginning of an amazing album.
"My Immortal" - another cut from the Daredevil soundtrack, this is one of the simplest songs on the album. Just Amy Lee's big voice and a piano.
"Tourniquet" - this is my personal favorite. This song is a desperate cry for salvation and such a moving song. There's such a tangible emotional quality to the's amazing when they perform it live. Lee really takes her voice out for a spin on this track and the lyrics are fantastic.
"Imaginary" - another incredibly intense song. It ebbs and flows between soft instrumentation and full-on rock. It's an irresistible combination.
I'm amazed at the songwriting and performance on this album and will definitely be a long time Evanescence fan. They have something very special to offer and a different sound than anyone out right now. I also recommend seeing them live if at all possible.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.55
87 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile!, Jan. 8 2003
I'd been told that this book was similar to The Catcher in the Rye, and it is on some levels. It's structured as a series of letters from the main character (Charlie) to an unknown recipient. Charlie is a delightful main character...introspective, sensitive, insightful, and never angsty (this is the big difference from Catcher). Chbosky tackles pretty much every issue that a teen could possibly face...drugs, alcohol, love, loss, you name it. While I didn't find it to be the most original book, I loved the writing style and there were a ton of great quotes. As a plus for book lovers Charlie reads a good number of well-loved classics and gives his opinions on them as he relates them to his life. Some of the titles include The Fountainhead, The Catcher in the Rye, The Stranger, The Great Gatsby, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Overall very touching and engrossing.

Josh Groban
Josh Groban
Price: CDN$ 8.58
126 used & new from CDN$ 0.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Can't wait for more!, Jan. 6 2003
This review is from: Josh Groban (Audio CD)
This is one of the most uplifting, enticing, and cathartic CD's that I've listened to in a very long time. Josh Groban has a strong, warm voice that brings his words to life and allows the listener to become completely lost in the phrasing and orchestration. Highlights include:
You're Still You - a powerful ballad with great background vocals and high-flying orchestration
Canto Alla Vita - one of the most upbeat songs on the album. Surprisingly this song leans a bit toward techno (in the tradition of Sting's "Desert Rose" and the like). The beautiful harmonies provided by The Corrs really add interest and life to this one, not to mention Groban's "big" voice. A great mix of Italian and English.
Let Me Fall - another ballad, this time a little darker and more desperate. Groban's voice is very dramatic and he does a great job translating emotion into the lyrics.
The Prayer - this time Charlotte Church joins in. Although she's not her best on this particular song, it's still breathtaking.
I eagerly anticipate more of Josh Groban's efforts, and hope that he can skate easily past all the hype surrounding his age and maintain a high level of creativity, passion, and excellence.

Acoustic Soul
Acoustic Soul
Price: CDN$ 5.00
112 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars It grows on you...., Dec 19 2002
This review is from: Acoustic Soul (Audio CD)
India Arie's debut effort is a mellow but powerful blend of folk, R&B, and soul. I received this particular disc for my birthday in November and found that it took me a while to really catch the fever and understand why everyone was raving about this album. On a first listen many of the tracks sound the same, but the more you listen the more the real gems begin to stand out. Like most, I was drawn in by the single, "Video" and am glad to finally say that there are many cuts that are just as good, if not better, than the first single. A few standouts include:
"Strength, Courage, & Wisdom" is a funky, uplifting, mid-tempo contemplation on, surprise, strength, courage, and wisdom.
"I See God in You" is another mid-tempo cut that discusses the worth of another person and all the good qualities they possess, allowing her to see their godlike nature. Arie's voice is superb and soulful on this cut.
"Ready for Love" is the most powerful song on the album. It's a very simple, acoustic ballad in which Arie grieves over a lack of love and wonders why it has evaded her for so long. It's really a touching, haunting song and the best of the best, in my opinion.
Another charming highlight is the Interlude in the middle of the album. Arie lists a great number of her influences like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Charlie Patton, and others. Arie and her guitar are excellent in their heartfelt simplicity.
This is a great album, and I think India Arie will be around for a very long time. It promises to appeal to a large audience and stretches across numerous genres. I urge you, even if you have some doubts, pick up this album and give it a go.

White Christmas
White Christmas
Price: CDN$ 5.00
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.96

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing voice singing the classics we all love!, Dec 7 2002
This review is from: White Christmas (Audio CD)
Martina McBride possesses one of the most incredible voices in music, and on this CD she takes it out for a spin with your favorite holiday classics. I admit, although I'm not a humbug, I'm very picky when it comes to Christmas music. It's easy for a collection to sound cheesy and "Vegas-like," but McBride sings with such passion and warmth that this collection immediately put me in the holiday spirit. Particularly well-done songs include "Do You Hear What I Hear," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "Silent Night." My hands-down favorite has to be "O Holy Night" as Martina's voice soars to such heights that it will bring tears to your eyes, and the orchestration is beautifully done on this one, and all of the other songs as well.

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