Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Bourne Deception by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Deception  by  Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum


 The Bourne Deception 
by 
Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

Shadowy master assassin Jason Bourne spends too much time offstage in bestseller Lustbader's cliché-ridden fourth thriller in the Ludlum franchise (after The Bourne Sanction). Having pushed his latest archenemy, Russian Leonid Arkadin, off a tanker into the ocean, Bourne assumes his foe must be dead. Not long after, Arkadin ambushes Bourne, hitting him with a rifle shot that would've killed a normal man. Seriously but not mortally wounded, Bourne decides to keep his survival a secret. The duel between the pair gets submerged in a plot line about a corrupt U.S. defense secretary's efforts to use the downing of a civilian airliner in Egypt by an Iranian missile as a casus belli. The action sequences and inevitable betrayals are old hat.


The Bourne Sanction by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Sanction  by  Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum


The Bourne Sanction 
by 
Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

Globe-trotting secret agent Jason Bourne returns in the third installment under the helm of Lustbader, who struggles to captivate as convincingly and effectively as Ludlum did in the original novels.


The Bourne Betrayal by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum


The Bourne Betrayal  by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Betrayal 
by
Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

     In Lustbader's workmanlike second novel to continue the saga of Robert Ludlum's amnesiac assassin and spy (after 2004's The Bourne Legacy), Jason Bourne joins the war on terror. Troubled by visions of a woman dying in his arms, Bourne seeks psychiatric help, unaware that the doctor is an imposter who has tampered with the rogue agent's already messy and incomplete memories. That mental sabotage is part of a diabolical plan by Islamic terrorists to strike at Washington, D.C., led by Karim, a human chameleon who has fooled the CIA—and Bourne—into believing that he's actually deputy CIA director Martin Lindros. 
      Aided by an attractive fellow agent who manages to overcome her distrust of Bourne, he races the clock to uncover the traitor within the intelligence community. Lustbader is less successful than Ludlum in dramatizing Bourne's inner torment—a feature that distinguished the character from many similar thriller heroes


The Bourne Legacy by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Legacy  by Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Legacy 
by
Eric Van Lustbader & Robert Ludlum


      Veteran thriller maestro Lustbader (Black Heart, etc.) seizes the reins of Robert Ludlum's bestselling Jason Bourne series, proving that even Ludlum's death can't stop the ex-CIA operative. David Webb, a mild-mannered Georgetown professor, harbors his old Bourne identity deep within his psyche—except in moments of danger. A mysterious assassin, Khan, has targeted Webb. Seeking counsel from his old CIA handler, Alex Conklin, Webb arrives at Conklin's home to find him, along with Webb's psychiatrist and friend, Mo Panov, murdered. Unsurprisingly, it's a setup, and Webb is declared a rogue agent and the prime suspect. His only clue to the real killer is a pad of paper with a faint impression of the notation "NX 20." Meanwhile, in Reykjavik, preparations are underway for the upcoming summit on worldwide terrorism. 
       Even the dimmest thriller reader will immediately intuit that Bourne, pursued by the world's leading intelligence agencies, will end up in Iceland confronting some evildoer out to wreak havoc on the international terror conference. And thus it comes to pass. Lustbader has wisely eschewed mimicking Ludlum's signature style—short punchy paragraphs with lots of exclamation points. His own prose, often cliche-ridden ("Khan felt as if his brain was about to explode. He was shaken to his very foundation"), is perfectly serviceable, effectively conveying the myriad cinematic hairsbreadth escapes, crosses, double crosses, explosions, furious fisticuffs and careening plot twists. It's a hearty serving of meat and potatoes action adventure, just the sort of fare that both Ludlum's and Lustbader's fans relish. 

The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Ultimatum  by Robert Ludlum


The Bourne Ultimatum 
by
Robert Ludlum

The literary faults and stylistic excesses that characterized The Icarus Agenda , The Gemini Contenders and other of Ludlum's works are present in his latest mammoth thriller, but fans will nonetheless cheer the return of his most popular character, David Webb, aka Jason Bourne, the assassin who never was. When the international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal penetrates his civilian identity, Webb must again assume the Bourne persona to protect his wife and small children. In their renewed struggle, the two master assassins uncover the revived existence of Medusa, the sinister alliance that originally led to the establishment of the Bourne identity. In action that moves from the U.S. to Montserrat to Paris before concluding in Moscow, Bourne and his allies prove incredibly inept, barely escaping the Jackal's traps and failing in their repeated attempts to ambush him

The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum



The Bourne Supremacy 
by
Robert Ludlum

Ludlum has never come up with a more head-spinning, spine-jolting, intricately mystifying, Armageddonish, in short Ludlumesque, thriller than this. A Peking leader of seemingly irreproachable reputation, secretly a Kuomintang fanatic, has masterminded a plot to take over Hong Kong via political assassination, the result of which would be civil war in China and possibly global disaster. His principal agent is an assassin-for-hire masquerading as the legendary "Jason Bourne," a one-time secret U.S. agent now, under his real name David Webb, struggling with the aid of a psychiatrist and his loving wife Marie to recover from amnesia. Only one man can destroy the conspiracy: Webb, who must be persuaded to re-assume his Bourne identity, track down the impostor and through him lay a trap for the vile Shengthe "persuasion" to be by way of his abducted wife. The action jolts from the back alleys of Hong Kong and Kowloon to a secret government complex in the Colorado mountains to the seats of power in Peking and even the interior of Mao's tomb. Every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger; the story brims with assassination, torture, hand-to-hand combat, sudden surprise and intrigue within intrigue

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum



The Bourne Identity 
by
Robert Ludlum

Jason Bourne.

He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was flushed out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body riddled with bullets.

There are a few clues. A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium— maybe code words. Initial: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne.

But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators—led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray  by Oscar Wilde


The Picture of Dorian Gray 
by
Oscar Wilde


A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden." As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment."

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth  by Ken Follett


The Pillars of the Earth 
by
Ken Follett


Tom Builder's dream is to build a cathedral, but in the meantime, he must scrounge about to find a lord that will hire him. His search pulls him and his family into the politics of 12th-century England, as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king. Prior Phillip, a man raised in the monastery since childhood, also finds himself drafted into the brewing storm as he must protect the interests of a declining church. Richard E. Grant seduces readers early on with a soft and deliberate voice that is like a loud whisper. However, his full range quickly reveals itself as he delves into characters with animated voices that exert their true essence. Even throughout the narrative, Grant musters a lively voice that imbues energy into the story. The only shortcoming is that the abridgment of Follett's 1989 novel proves to be too choppy. Though the story appears complete, there still remain abrupt moments throughout the tale.

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes  by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


The Return Of Sherlock Holmes 
by
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

After an absence of three years, when Dr. Watson and the world thought he had perished at the hands of his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes returns from his watery grave, his skills of deduction sharper than ever. No case is too slight for his attention. He uses his skills to find an abducted pupil from the Priory School; to save a young girl who is being stalked by 'a solitary cyclist'; and to search for the missing 'three-quarter' of a Rugby team. He rises to the challenge of deciphering the secret code of the 'dancing men' which leads to a sinister connection with America. High society calls for his services as he saves the Government from the threat of war after a top secret document goes missing, and exposes the murky world of the blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton. With colourful cases involving the Mafia and Russian nihilists, Conan Doyle shows he has lost none of his narrative skills in this collection of stories published in The Strand magazine as 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes' between 1903 and 1904. Once again, as in 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Dr. Watson, Holmes's trusted friend and chronicler accompanies him in his pursuit of justice.


The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James



The Turn Of The Screw 
by 
Henry James

The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers

To Kill A Mocking bird by Harper Lee



To Kill A Mocking bird 
by
Harper Lee

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.
Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often.

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Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary  by Helen Fielding


Bridget Jones's Diary 
by
Helen Fielding

In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and "Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way)." In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year's resolution--the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent.
At the beginning of Helen Fielding's exceptionally funny second novel, the thirtyish publishing puffette is suffering from postholiday stress syndrome but determined to find Inner Peace and poise. Bridget will, for instance, "get up straight away when wake up in mornings." Now if only she can survive the party her mother has tricked her into--a suburban fest full of "Smug Marrieds" professing concern for her and her fellow "Singletons"--she'll have made a good start. As far as she's concerned, "We wouldn't rush up to them and roar, 'How's your marriage going? Still having sex?'"
This is only the first of many disgraces Bridget will suffer in her year of performance anxiety (at work and at play, though less often in bed) and living through other people's "emotional fuckwittage." Her twin-set-wearing suburban mother, for instance, suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress, while our heroine herself spends half the time overdosing on Chardonnay and feeling like "a tragic freak." Bridget Jones's Diary began as a column in the London Independent and struck a chord with readers of all sexes and sizes. In strokes simultaneously broad and subtle, Helen Fielding reveals the lighter side of despair, self-doubt, and obsession, and also satirizes everything from self-help books (they don't sound half as sensible to Bridget when she's sober) to feng shui, Cosmopolitan-style. She is the Nancy Mitford of the 1990s, and it's impossible not to root for her endearing heroine. On the other hand, one can only hope that Bridget will continue to screw up and tell us all about it for years and books to come.

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres



Captain Corelli's Mandolin
by 
Louis de Bernieres

Captain Corelli's Mandolin is set in the early days of the second world war, before Benito Mussolini invaded Greece. Dr Iannis practices medicine on the island of Cephalonia, accompanied by his daughter, Pelagia, to whom he imparts much of his healing art. Even when the Italians do invade, life isn't so bad--at first anyway. The officer in command of the Italian garrison is the cultured Captain Antonio Corelli, who responds to a Nazi greeting of "Heil Hitler" with his own "Heil Puccini", and whose most precious possession is his mandolin. It isn't long before Corelli and Pelagia are involved in a heated affair--despite her engagement to a young fisherman, Mandras, who has gone off to join Greek partisans. Love is complicated enough in wartime, even when the lovers are on the same side. And for Corelli and Pelagia, it becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate the minefield of allegiances, both personal and political, as all around them atrocities mount, former friends become enemies and the ugliness of war infects everyone it touches.
British author Louis de Bernières is well known for his forays into magical realism in such novels as The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. Here he keeps it to a minimum, though certainly the secondary characters with whom he populates his island--the drunken priest, the strongman, the fisherman who swims with dolphins--would be at home in any of his wildly imaginative Latin American fictions. Instead, de Bernières seems interested in dissecting the nature of history as he tells his ever-darkening tale from many different perspectives. Captain Corelli's Mandolin works on many levels, as a love story, a war story and a deconstruction of just what determines the facts that make it into the history books.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë



Jane Eyre  
by 
Charlotte Brontë


Early responses to Jane Eyre, first published in 1847, were mixed. Some held the book to be anti-Christian, others were disturbed by a heroine so proud, self-willed, and essentially unfeminine. The modern reader may well have trouble understanding what all the fuss was about. On the surface a fairly conventional Gothic romance (poor orphan governess is hired by rich, brooding Byronic hero-type), Jane Eyre hardly seems the stuff from which revolutions are made. But the story is very much about the nature of human freedom and equality, and if Jane was seen as something of a renegade in nineteenth-century England, it is because her story is that of a woman who struggles for self-definition and determination in a society that too often denies her that right. But self-determination does not mean untrammeled freedom for men or women. Rochester, that thorny masculine beast whom Jane eventually falls for, is a man who sets his own laws and manipulates the lives of those around him; before he can enter into a marriage of equals with Jane he must undergo a spiritual transformation. Should the lesson sound dry, it's not. Jane Eyre is full of drama: fires, storms, attempted murder, and a mad wife conveniently stashed away in the attic. This is very sexy stuff - another reason Victorian critics weren't quite sure what to make of it

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez



Love in the Time of Cholera
by 
Gabriel García Márquez

While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino's death. In substance and style not as fantastical, as mythologizing, as the previous works, this is a compelling exploration of the myths we make of love.

Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland


Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Fanny Hill: Or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
by
John Cleland

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, better known as Fanny Hill, is one of the most notorious texts in English literature. As recently as 1963 an unexpurgated edition was the subject of a trial, yet in the eighteenth century John Cleland's open celebration of sexual enjoyment was a best selling novel. Fanny's story, as she falls into prostitution and then rises to respectability, takes the form of a confession that is vividly coloured by copious and explicit physiological details of her carnal adventures. The moral outrage that this has always provoked has only recently been countered by serious critical appraisal. 


The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 
by 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A man like Sherlock Holmes has many enemies.  Violent murderers, deviant villains, ghosts of old loves, blackmailers and poisonous scribes, to to name but a few.  But none are so deadly, so powerful, as Professor Moriarty.  Moriarty - the only man who can compete with Holmes' genius.  The only man who can, perhaps, ultimately defeat the great detective ...

Persuasion by Jane Austen



Persuasion 
by 
Jane Austen

Anne Elliot, heroine of Austen's last novel, did something we can all relate to: Long ago, she let the love of her life get away. In this case, she had allowed herself to be persuaded by a trusted family friend that the young man she loved wasn't an adequate match, social stationwise, and that Anne could do better. The novel opens some seven years after Anne sent her beau packing, and she's still alone. But then the guy she never stopped loving comes back from the sea. As always, Austen's storytelling is so confident, you can't help but allow yourself to be taken on the enjoyable journey. 

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper



The Last of the Mohicans 
by
James Fenimore Cooper

The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests. 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 
by 
Washington Irving

The San Souci brothers (The Legend of Scarface have retold the story of Ichabod Crane's last days alive, admiring the lovely Katrina and attending, at her father's home, a party where he hears of the Headless Horseman. Like A Christmas Carol, this story has been routinely reworked in strange and terrible ways. Here the artist has provided full-color paintings that show an awkward, frightfully thin Ichabod and the sweetly petite Katrina, set in 18th century surroundings. The pursuit at the end is shown in sweeping, eerie scenes. For those who find Washington Irving's original version hard going, this one is a fine alternative, especially for reading aloud. 

The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Novel by Gaston Leroux


The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Novel 
by
Gaston Leroux

Before the Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, there was Gaston Leroux's original novel "The Phantom of the Opera". I have never seen the production stage, and I knew only a few things of the story, so when I reached the middle of the narrative I was surprised because it is totally different from what I expected. And it was a great surprise.

More than a love story, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a gothic tale of obsession --leading to madness. The Paris Opera House and its hidden rooms, and underground are perfect place to develop a horror story. Leroux noticed this potential. His descriptions of the place are creepy and in the end we start wondering if it is not a true story indeed.

Leroux was very smart, writing a novel like he was only reporting something --and not creating a work of fiction. Therefore there are police reports, newspapers' scraps, witness interviews. More than a narrator, the person who is telling the story is only gathering useful information for the reader.

His characters are real human beings --even the `ghost', than throughout the narrative we realize that he is the one with most human characteristics. Sometimes, Christine is a little stereotypical, mostly when she says she wants to be `the mistress of her faith' or something like it. And so is Raoul --but that doesn't diminish the qualities of this engaging novel.

All in all, this is a French classic that I highly recommend --however one must be patient because the narrative is a little confusing and slow sometimes, but never boring. 

BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer



BREAKING DAWN 
by 
Stephenie Meyer

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever? 

ECLIPSE by Stephenie Meyer


ECLIPSE 
by 
Stephenie Meyer

'Bella?' Edward's soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, and kissed me again. His kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine - like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us. As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob - knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Following the international bestsellers Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer's captivating saga of vampire romance. 

NEW MOON by Stephenie Meyer



NEW MOON 
by 
Stephenie Meyer


stuck my finger under the edge of the paper and jerked it under the tape. 'Shoot,' I muttered when the paper sliced my finger. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then. 'No!' Edward roared ...Dazed and disorientated, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm - and into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realise their troubles may just be beginning .

TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer



Twilight 
by 
Stephenie Meyer

When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town. But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away ? until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward's coldness. He, and his family, are vampires ? and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The alchemist by paulo coelho


The alchemist
by
paulo coelho

 The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sense a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coehlo introduces Santiago, an Andalucian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.
Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.

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The Zahir by Paulo Coelho



The Zahir 
by 
Paulo Coelho

Subtitled A Novel of Obsession, this tale is the philosophical and spiritual chronicle of one man's quest for self-discovery. Stunned by his wife's inexplicable disappearance from their Paris home and immediately suspected of foul play by the authorities and the press, the unnamed protagonist, a best-selling writer, is forced to reexamine both his marital relationship and his own life. What he eventually discovers with the help of a -mysterious stranger named Mikhail--a man he suspects is somehow involved in Esther's disappearance--is that he must first "find himself" before he can ever hope to find his wife. Although Esther is physically and emotionally lost to him, he rediscovers her as he retraces both her footsteps and the disintegration of their visceral connection. Finally able to release the past and his anger, he can accept the uncertainty of the present by traveling to Kazakhstan with Mikhail in search of Esther and the remote possibility of resurrecting a dormant love. As in The Alchemist (1993), Coelho continues to prove himself a contemporary fabulist, spinning irresistible stories while seeking enlightenment at the same time. Interwoven with details drawn from his life, the mesmerizing narrative offers a highly personal meditation on the meaning and the power of love


By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho


By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept 
by 
Paulo Coelho

This first United States paperback of By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept comes after huge worldwide sales of the novel of faith, romance, miracles, and the importance of following the heart's true path. The inspirational tale follows Pilar, a young woman from the Spanish countryside who, sparked by the teachings of a now-mysterious man she has known and loved since childhood, leaves her graduate studies and embarks on a spiritual pilgrimage through the Pyrenees Mountains and reevaluates her life and her future



11 minutes by Paulo Coelho


11 minutes 
by 
Paulo Coelho

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria"-thus begins Coelho's latest novel, a book that cannot decide whether it wants to be fairy tale or saga of sexual discovery, so ends up satisfying the demands of neither. In his dedication, bestselling Brazilian novelist Coelho (The Alchemist) tells readers that his book will deal with issues that are "harsh, difficult, shocking," but neither his tame forays into S&M nor his rather technical observations about female anatomy and the sad but hardly new fact that many women are dissatisfied with their sex lives will do much to shock American readers. In Maria, however, the author has created a strong, sensual young woman who grabs our sympathy from the first, as she suffers unrequited love as a child, learns a bit about sex as a teenager and, at 19, makes the ill-advised decision to leave Rio on a Swedish stranger's promise of fame and fortune. Maria's trials and triumphs-she goes from restaurant dancer to high-class prostitute-would make for an entertaining if rather prosaic novel, but Coelho, unfortunately, does not leave it there. Instead, he embarks on a philosophical exploration of sexual love, using Maria's increasingly ponderous and pseudo-philosophical diary entries as a means for expounding on the nature of sexual desire, passion and love. At the end, the story boils down to a rather predictable romance tarted up with a few sexy trappings.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Don Quixote by Miquel de Cervantes



Don Quixote
by
Miquel de Cervantes

There would seem to be little reason for yet another translation of Don Quixote. Translated into English some 20 times since the novel appeared in two parts in 1605 and 1615, and at least five times in the last half-century, it is currently available in multiple editions (the most recent is the 1999 Norton Critical Edition translated by Burton Raffel). Yet Grossman bravely attempts a fresh rendition of the adventures of the intrepid knight Don Quixote and his humble squire Sancho Panza. As the respected translator of many of Latin America's finest writers (among them Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa), she is well suited to the task, and her translation is admirably readable and consistent while managing to retain the vigor, sly humor and colloquial playfulness of the Spanish. Erring on the side of the literal, she isn't afraid to turn out clunky sentences; what she loses in smoothness and elegance she gains in vitality. The text is free of archaisms the contemporary reader will rarely stumble over a word and the footnotes (though rather erratically supplied) are generally helpful. Her version easily bests Raffel's ambitious but eccentric and uneven effort, and though it may not immediately supplant standard translations by J.M. Cohen, Samuel Putnam and Walter Starkie, it should give them a run for their money. Against the odds, Grossman has given us an honest, robust and freshly revelatory Quixote for our times.

LECTURES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION by Acton

LECTURES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION  by Acton

LECTURES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 
by
Acton

Delivered at Cambridge University between 1895 and 1899, Lectures on the French Revolution is a distinguished account of the entire epochal chapter in French experience by one of the most remarkable English historians of the nineteenth century. In contrast to Burke a century before, Acton leaves condemnation of the French Revolution to others. He provides a disciplined, thorough, and elegant history of the actual events of the bloody episode -- in sum, as thorough a record as could be constructed in his time of the actual actions of the government of France during the Revolution. There are twenty-two essays, commencing with 'The Heralds of the Revolution', in which Acton presents a taxonomy of the intellectual ferment that preceded -- and prepared -- the Revolution. An important appendix explores 'The Literature of the Revolution'. Here Acton offers assessments of the accounts of the Revolution written during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries by, among others, Burke, Guizot, and Taine.

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THE ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION by Aristotle

THE ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION by  Aristotle


THE ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION
by 
Aristotle

Probably written by a student of Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution is both a history and an analysis of Athens' political machinery between the seventh and fourth centuries BC, which stands as a model of democracy at a time when city-states lived under differing kinds of government. The writer recounts the major reforms of Solon, the rule of the tyrant Pisistratus and his sons, the emergence of the democracy in which power was shared by all free male citizens, and the leadership of Pericles and the demagogues who followed him. He goes on to examine the city's administration in his own time - the council, the officials and the judicial system. For its information on Athens' development and how the democracy worked, The Athenian Constitution is an invaluable source of knowledge about the Athenian city-state. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time
by
Stephen Hawking


Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history, wrote the modern classic A Brief History of Time to help nonscientists understand the questions being asked by scientists today: Where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will it come to an end, and if so, how? Hawking attempts to reveal these questions (and where we're looking for answers) using a minimum of technical jargon. Among the topics gracefully covered are gravity, black holes, the Big Bang, the nature of time, and physicists' search for a grand unifying theory. This is deep science; these concepts are so vast (or so tiny) as to cause vertigo while reading, and one can't help but marvel at Hawking's ability to synthesize this difficult subject for people not used to thinking about things like alternate dimensions. The journey is certainly worth taking, for, as Hawking says, the reward of understanding the universe may be a glimpse of "the mind of God."

Audio 4 parts
1, 2, 3, 4,




THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger



THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
by
J.D. Salinger

Novel by J.D. Salinger, published in 1951. The influential and widely acclaimed story details the two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally ill, in a psychiatrist's office. After he recovers from his breakdown, Holden relates his experiences to the reader

The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy  by Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy 
by
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest logicians since Aristotle, and one of the most important philosophers of the past two hundred years. As we approach the 125th anniversary of the Nobel laureate's birth, his works continue to spark debate, resounding with unmatched timeliness and power.
The Problems of Philosophy, one of the most popular works in Russell's prolific collection of writings, has become core reading in philosophy. Clear and accessible, this little book is an intelligible and stimulating guide to those problems of philosophy which often mistakenly lead to its status as too lofty and abstruse for the lay mind. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics, steering the reader through his famous 1910 distinction between "knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description," and introducing important theories of Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Hume, Locke, Plato, and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry by general readers and scholars alike.

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The Bomb and Civilization by Bertrand Russell

The Bomb and Civilization  by Bertrand Russell

The Bomb and Civilization 
by
Bertrand Russell 


 Russell's first response to the news of the devastation caused by the first atomic bomb. Though written hurriedly, and in a frantic moment of history, it announces themes that will dominate Russell's political programme for years to come. The article announces the urgency of the search for a structure of world peace, and it reiterates his faith in scientific progress and his hope that the United States will assume leadership in creating the global structures that are necessary for the survival of the human race. Russell's mood is one which combines the composure of the sage and the panic of the prophetic Cassandra. As a man of science he wishes to reassure the public concerning the scientific achievement. He advises his readers that "The atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination of genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind," that the men whose work made this bomb possible were for the most part "both high-minded and public spirited" and finally that we should not look upon the bomb as a punishment "for impiety in inquiring too closely into the hidden secrets of nature". On the contrary he reaffirms his faith that "Science is capable of conferring enormous boons"

THE ANALYSIS OF MIND by BERTRAND RUSSELL

THE ANALYSIS OF MIND by BERTRAND RUSSELL


THE ANALYSIS OF MIND
by
BERTRAND RUSSELL


Formally this book doesn't contain groundbreaking insights, or better: it doesn't say anything that isn't already under your eyes. Its biggest accomplishment, however, is in the very act of showing how sometimes we don't see what's under our eyes for a sort of mental laziness.

Russell forces us to move away from this laziness and reconsider what we take for granted about ourselves, and does so with his enjoyable style. He seems to possess the rare skill of finding the minimum amount of words and concepts needed to explain (and solve) the problem clearly and accurately. He will never forget to define precisely all the terms needed in the discussion, or to question the limits of the premises in order to understand the scope of the conclusion.

In each chapter he considers a facet of what we call mind and explores it both from the point of introspection and of external analysis of observable behavior. Introspection gives use informations impossible to obtain with other methods, and it is what gives meaning to the problem of mind in the first place, but it has the intrinsic problem of an instrument trying to measure itself. So Russell keeps on correcting this "view from the inside" and the delusions it can create with the stick of behaviourism and objective observation.

On a less technical side, I highly appreciate the intellectual honesty of someone who can freely use the words "contrary to what I once stated".

The only minus I can think of is that after one has understood the method of analysis employed he can probably predict how it will be used by the author to investigate the remaining items of his enquiry. While I was reading the second half of the book I often found myself anticipating his reasoning, and thinking that those last chapters could have been thinner. However the author's highly readable prose makes this a very small problem, and I suggest this book to everyone interested in the subject (anyone should be!)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss


Swiss Family Robinson
by
Johann David Wyss



"Swiss Family Robinson" is the classic tale of a Swiss pastor, his wife and their four sons who find themselves shipwrecked on an isolated tropical island. Along with a couple of dogs, some livestock, pigeons and geese, "Swiss Family Robinson," is the story of a family's struggle to survive in a foreign land isolated from society. Everyday brings a new adventure and a new obstacle to overcome. Above all, "Swiss Family Robinson" is a classic tale of adventure that can be enjoyed by readers both young and old.
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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas



The Count of Monte Cristo 
by
Alexandre Dumas


Edmond Dantes is on the verge of adult life. He has just been made captain of a ship and is about to marry his
beautiful fiancée, Mercedes. But he has enemies who envy him. And he has been foolish. At the dying request of the previous captain of his ship, the Pharaoh, he has carried a letter to the exiled Napoleon who has in turn given him a letter addressed to someone in Paris.
Edmond’s enemies denounce him to the local judge, Villefort, who recognises the name on the letter as his
father’s and is terrified that he will be linked with plots against the monarch. He sends Edmond to the Chateau
d’lf, a prison where men go and never return. 
After some time he makes contact with another prisoner, Faria, who has made a secret pathway under the prison. They meet regularly. Faria teaches Edmond about many things, and tells him about the Spada treasure on the island of Monte Cristo.
Faria dies and Edmond sees his chance. He changes places with the dead Faria, is thrown into the sea and rescued by a smuggling ship. He finally makes it to Monte Cristo and finds the treasure.
He returns to Marseilles a rich man, to find Mercedes at the home of his dying father. The novel ends happily, with Edmond and Mercedes sailing out of the harbour on his new boat.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: 
A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams
by 
Deepak Chopra




Teilhard de Chardin said, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Chopra builds on this powerful thought in this recording that expands his life's work in spiritual approaches to daily living. He explains the laws of pure potentiality, giving, karma, least effort, intention and desire, detachment, and dharma and includes useful suggestions on how to apply these fundamental, natural principles if one is truly searching for purpose and a satisfying life. Ancient Vedic concepts form the basis of this philosophy of living that transcends the Eurocentric theological dogma that seems to preoccupy Western thought, especially among Americans. With Chopra's rapidly growing adherents and his appearance on the glib talk shows, look for this new release to attract attention. The recording, read by the author, is also available in book form (Amber-Allen Pub., 1995), which may appeal to those listeners willing to do the hard work required to successfully implement these principles. For all public libraries.?Dale Farris, Groves, Tex.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc


Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead


Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead
 
This is one of the most incredible books I've ever read. In this "translation" of the Book of Going Forth By Day (the original Egyptian name for the Book of the Dead) Ellis sings the world into existence and exposes the very depths of my soul like no other writer ever has. It is not a literal translation, but more of a contemporary reflection of what the various chapters mean, a very poetic, smoothly flowing meditation on "Becoming Osiris" and living life like the gods we are. If you've ever been interested in Egyptian thought or mythology, you will love this book!
I am Osiris. I walk between the two worlds. I am the maker of myths. I remember all that was and what will be. I am eternal, existing for the millions of years. When you see the sun, remember me, remember your Self. 
 
 

BLOOD and GOLD by Anne Rice



BLOOD and GOLD 
by 
Anne Rice

Time heals all wounds, unless, of course, you're a vampire. Cuts may heal, burns vanish, limbs reattach, but for the "blood god," the wounds of the heart sometimes stay open and raw for centuries. So it is for Marius, Anne Rice's oft-mentioned and beloved scholar. We've heard parts of his tale in past volumes of the Vampire Chronicles, but never so completely and never from his own lips. In Blood and Gold, Rice mostly (but not entirely) avoids the danger of treading worn ground as she fills out the life and character of Marius the Lonely, the Disenchanted, the Heartsick--a 2,000-year-old vampire "with all the conviction of a mortal man."

Plucked from his beloved Rome in the prime of his life and forced into solitude as keeper of the vampire queen and king, Marius has never forgiven the injustice of his mortal death. Thousands of years later, he still seethes over his losses. Immortality for Marius is both a blessing and a curse--he bears "witness to all splendid and beautiful things human," yet is unable to engage in relationships for fear of revealing his burden. New readers to the Chronicles may wish for a more fleshed-out, less introspective hero, but Rice's legions of devoted fans will recognize Blood and Gold for what it is: a love song to Marius the Wanderer, whose story reveals the complexities and limitations of eternal existence.


The VAMPIRE ARMAND by Anne Rice



The VAMPIRE ARMAND 
by 
Anne Rice

In The Vampire Armand, Anne Rice returns to her indomitable Vampire Chronicles and recaptures the gothic horror and delight she first explored in her classic tale Interview with the Vampire (in which Armand, played by Antonio Banderas in the film version, made his first appearance as director of the Théâtre des Vampires). The story begins in the aftermath of Memnoch the Devil. Vampires from all over the globe have gathered around Lestat, who lies prostrate on the floor of a cathedral. Dead? In a coma? As Armand reflects on Lestat's condition, he is drawn by David Talbot to tell the story of his own life. The narrative abruptly rushes back to 15th-century Constantinople, and the Armand of the present recounts the fragmented memories of his childhood abduction from Kiev. Eventually, he is sold to a Venetian artist (and vampire), Marius. Rice revels in descriptions of the sensual relationship between the young and still-mortal Armand and his vampiric mentor. But when Armand is finally transformed, the tone of the book dramatically shifts. Raw and sexually explicit scenes are displaced by Armand's introspective quest for a union of his Russian Orthodox childhood, his hedonistic life with Marius, and his newly acquired immortality. These final chapters remind one of the archetypal significance of Rice's vampires; at their best, Armand, Lestat, and Marius offer keen insights into the most human of concerns.
The Vampire Armand is richly intertextual; readers will relish the retelling of critical events from Lestat and Louis's narratives. Nevertheless, the novel is very much Armand's own tragic tale. Rice deftly integrates the necessary back-story for new readers to enter her epic series, and the introduction of a few new voices adds a fresh perspective--and the promise of provocative future installments.



MEMNOCH the DEVIL by Anne Rice



MEMNOCH the DEVIL 
by 
Anne Rice


The fifth volume of Rice's Vampire Chronicles is one of her most controversial books. The tale begins in New York, where Lestat, the coolest of Rice's vampire heroes, is stalking a big-time cocaine dealer and religious-art smuggler--this guy should get it in the neck. Lestat is also growing fascinated with the dealer's lovely daughter, a TV evangelist who's not a fraud.

Lestat is also being stalked himself, by some shadowy guy who turns out to be Memnoch, the devil, who spirits him away. From here on, the book might have been called Interview with the Devil (by a Vampire). It's a rousing story interrupted by a long debate with the devil. Memnoch isn't the devil as ordinarily conceived: he got the boot from God because he objected to God's heartless indifference to human misery. Memnoch takes Lestat to heaven, hell, and throughout history.

Some readers are appalled by the scene in which Lestat sinks his fangs into the throat of Christ on the cross, but the scene is not a mere shock tactic: Jesus is giving Lestat a bloody taste in order to win him over to God's side, and Rice is dead serious about the battle for his soul. Rice is really doing what she did as a devout young Catholic girl asked to imagine in detail what Christ's suffering felt like--it's just that her imagination ran away with her. If you like straight-ahead fanged adventure, you'll likely enjoy the first third; if you like Job-like arguments with God, you'll prefer the Memnoch chapters



The TALE of the BODY THIEF by Anne Rice



The TALE of the BODY THIEF
by 
Anne Rice


It's been said that Vladimir Nabokov's best novels are the ones he wrote after starting a failed novel. Anne Rice wrote The Body Thief, the fourth thrilling episode of her Vampire Chronicles, right after she spent a long time poring over that most romantic of horror novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to research a novel Rice abandoned about an artificial man. Perhaps as a result of Shelley's influence, The Body Thief is far more psychologically penetrating than its predecessors, with a laser-like focus on a single tormented soul. Oh, we meet some wild new characters, and Rice's toothsome vampire-hero Lestat zooms around the globe--as is his magical habit--from Miami to the Gobi desert, but he's in such despair that he trades his immortal body to a con man named Raglan James, who offers him in return two days of strictly mortal bliss.

Lestat has always had a faulty impulse-control valve, and it gets him in truly intriguing trouble this time. On the plus side, he gets to experience romance with a nun and orange juice--"thick like blood, but full of sweetness." But Lestat is horrified by an uncommon cold, and his toilet training proves traumatic. He's also got to catch Raglan James, who has no intention of giving up his dishonestly acquired new superpowered body. Lestat enlists the help of David Talbot, a mortal in the Talamasca, a secret society of immortal watchers described in Queen of the Damned. The swapping of bodies and supernatural stories is choice, and there's even a moral: never give a bloodsucker an even break