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Antonio Arch (Toronto & Grand Cayman)

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And the Band Played on: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic (Stonewall Inn Editions)
And the Band Played on: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic (Stonewall Inn Editions)
von Randy Shilts
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Heartbreaking, 15. Mai 2000
I still remember a powerful first experience with this book. Even the title conjured up a reaction as it initially reminded me of musicians playing on a sinking Titanic, and both stories (that of the Titanic disaster and unbelievable ignorance, denial and embarrasment that took AIDS from outbreak to epidemic to catastrophe) bring about the same sort of sinking feeling.
Shilts' truly extraordinary book is one of the most incredibly detailed accounts that I have ever read...on any topic, and many of these details are very upsetting but sadly not surprising. The stories of these people, their suffering, the humanity (as well as its staggering absence in many cases) will make many a reader angry. The book has left me with a lot of contempt and pity, not for victims or the pioneers in, but for those in power at the time, who are now directly responsible for the state of the AIDS epidemic today. I hesitate to call them murderers as none of the powers that be would sully themselves by even saying the word "AIDS" in public. Manslaughter, however, is a word that went through my thoughts more than once. What Shilts managed to make perfectly clear is that victims were infected with AIDS and the disease was allowed to spread because the little information that was known was swept under the carpet, particularly a rather posh rug in a genteel drawing room of a grand Washington house (I don't even want to get started on the Reagans). I imagine that "And the Band Played ON" will go down in history as the text book for the AIDS story. The story itself may quite well end up as not only the great legacy of the Conservative Governments of the 1980's, but also the greatest single miscarriage of humanity against itself. The book is a heartbreaking history of a mishap not unlike that of the Titanic, the only difference being that this ship was not only allowed, but encouraged to sink.


The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
von Gavin De Becker
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,10

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Should be required reading...., 12. Mai 2000
for people in a variety of fields, especially those dealing with a lot of individuals on a personal level. This book does not so much teach readers as it does allow them to accept and act upon intuition, acknowledge fear in many situations as a gift, and make good use of adrenaline as a Godsend in getting out of dangerous situations or away from potential violence.
"The Gift of Fear" makes an excellent companion to those interested or working in issues/crisis management as well as to the man/woman on the street.


Queen and I
Queen and I
von Sue Townsend
  Taschenbuch

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4.0 von 5 Sternen I wonder what the Queen thought of this one?, 9. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Queen and I (Taschenbuch)
I sometimes think that Sue Townsend has the ability to take the most everyday of situations and mundane people and put them in witty, funny difficulties; first bringing Adrian Mole to hilarious reality, then a young Margaret Thatcher, Ms. Townsend breathes life, humour and satire into a personality that few might associate with side-splitting humour...the Queen!
What would happen if the Republicans were to win the British elections by a landslide? The story begins with Queen (and Corgi)watching media coverage of such an event on the Master-bedroom telly at Buckingham Palace. The Royal family soon finds itself stripped of wealth, titles, power and the life of leisure. They are forced into life as that of a down and out family, living in a council house and on social assistance (imagine!). Our heroine, formerly Her Majesty the Queen, now Mrs. Liz Windsor is a housewife unable to deal with a seriously depressed husband who rarely leaves his bed and children who despite lives of privelige, have still failed to find their own ways in life. Mrs. Windsor is thus once again forced into the position of head of the household.
This is a work of satire that is so hilarious, so thoughtful and so original that I'm not surprised at Sue Townsend's now world-wide reputation as one of Britain's most important contemporary writers. I recommend it to any Anglophile out there; I also recommend it to the "anti-Anglophiles" as well as both will find much to laugh at


Howards End, 2 Cassetten
Howards End, 2 Cassetten
von E. M. Forster
  Audio CD

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Emma Thompson Brings the book to Life, 26. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Howards End, 2 Cassetten (Audio CD)
Howards End is one of my favourite novels. I find myself applying it's quiet little lessons to my life rather often and have gotten to know it's wonderfully winding structure of a story quite intimately. What amazes me is that I am even more fond of the novel since having heard it read by Emma Thompson on a rather long road trip.
There were several others sharing a car, some of whom freely admit that they might never have picked up the book or seen the film had it not been for the book-to-tape adaption of this novel. We actually listened to it twice and all agreed the the wonderful story was made even more wonderful and lively by Emma Thompson's wonderful way of reading and her witty of portrayal each character.
If you've grown tired of this story, Forster or literature in general, I highly recommend a road trip with these tapes!


Le Divorce (William Abrahams Book)
Le Divorce (William Abrahams Book)
von Diane Johnson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,09

3.0 von 5 Sternen Paris when it Fizzles?, 25. April 2000
I have always wanted to know much more about the French people; their customs, habits, domestic lives, what they do behind closed doors...and while I'm still not certain that this is an accurate portrtayal of the intimate habits that I had hoped to know about, those detailed in this novel are still rather amusing. I was particularly amused by the family's treatment of the mistress in this simulated slice of French life. I had however hoped that there would be less taking place from the point of view of some very select members of the expatriate American community in Paris and with some of the local characters.
I must agree with other reviewers in that I never quite found myself sympathising with any of these characters and often found that Paris itself was oftenmost the aspect of this novel that kept me reading. Until I find the time and the means for an extended stay in France, I hope that these characters might have offered me a realistic portrayal of the circles painted in the novel.


Tasting Pleasure: Confessions of a Wine Lover
Tasting Pleasure: Confessions of a Wine Lover
von Jancis Robinson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,40

3.0 von 5 Sternen Reads Almost like a Classic Adventure Novel!, 25. April 2000
"Tasting Pleasure" is the wonderful story of a girl who combined the proverbial reporter's pad and pencil, youthful curiosity and zest for life, with a talented and trainable palette, to mold for herself an internationally recognised career and the post as the undisputed Queen of Wine. The story itself is a rather exciting one and takes the reader from Robinson's native London to the great winemaking houses of France, to the wine revolution in Mondavi's California to the established houses of Australia.
The truly wonderful aspect of this book is the rather long list of vintages and tastings that the author recants the stories of, most notably the wonderful story of her tasting of a bottle of wine from the cellar of none other than Thomas Jefferson.
Tasting pleaseure is a wonderful story of a woman's quick wit and creativity that brought about a truly amazing career and international recognition. Highly recommended.


The Ghosts
The Ghosts

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Fond Memories of Being Scared..., 18. März 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Ghosts (Taschenbuch)
I have to laugh at my odd compulsion to review and recommend yet another children's book, but I promise this to be a(nother) special case.
I remember reading this novel at about the age of twelve and having to sleep with the lights on after finishing it. It wasn't a particularly scary book, nor is it at all gruesome (especially by today's standards) but was so convinving and well written that I never forgot it. I remember being so impressed with this novel, hoping that I to could one day write something of this calibre. There was also a movie based on the book, called The Amazing Mr. BLunden. Alas, no one has heard of the film and I have no idea how or where to put my hands on a copy.
Fast-forward a decade and a half; when I recently found the book back in print, I couldn't resist buying myself a copy and explaining it as a gift for one of my (as yet nonexisting) children. I was a little surprised to find that I was still charmed by the style and story. It remains a very well written retelling of the English Haunted House story and I realise only now how carefully crafted and creatively explained much of it is.
Buy it for any child who loves a good ghost story. But it for yourself if you are not quite ready to graduate to The Turn of the Screw!


Secret History: A Novel
Secret History: A Novel
von Donna Tartt
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Rare Case of Modern-Day Literature, 18. März 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
For some time I have wanted to write down something about this novel; it seems that every time I think that I may be ready to precis and review The Secret History, it turns out that I am still not quite prepared...not prepared to overview the plot for someone else, or share my reaction to it. It reminds me of one of those rare, wonderful works of art, hanging in a gallery, that one is determined to stand and stare at for as long as possible, so as to take in as much detail as the mind is capable of. I think that this may be one of the most perfectly crafted works that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I can only imagine the length of time that it must have taken Donna Tartt to put together such a flawless and yet completely original plot. There is nothing else that I can even come close to comparing this to.
Having read and discussed this book from within my own special little liberal arts environment, I have heard some truly original reactions to it: "I wonder how I can achieve Dionysian madness?" and "Do you guys want to drive out to the chalet this weekend for a little bachannal I've been planning?" have been two popular reactions, but this is hardly a book about either topic. It seems more a book about diametrically different people, their characters so well crafted that I cannot help empathising with each one of them to some extent. I expect that people will have different reactions to this book, of all varieties and intensities. Regardless, it is a truly extraordinary piece of work that I would recommend to just about anyone. I would even try to convince a few more who might be intimidated by the novel's girth, to disregard it's length, and just read it. You may do what I did and hole yourself away for two days, refusing to answer the phone or the door.


Dolly
Dolly
von Anita Brookner
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,10

3.0 von 5 Sternen Every Family Has one, 11. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Dolly (Taschenbuch)
For years this novel has intrigued me. It is a wonderfully written insight into the sort of relationships that many of us have little understanding of and I was thus not surprised to close it for the first time and ask, "why?". Several years have gone by and I adore the novel no less as I understand its message far better
The novel offers so much in the definitions and boundaries of love and family. After all, I keep asking, why else would Jane go to so much trouble to make Dolly's life happier? Because she loves her; because Dolly has managed over the course of decades to move from the peripheral boundaries of the family to one of the few people who Jane has left in her life, and vice versa. The novel might be of a great help in anyone trying to conceptualise "family" -- the structure, boundaries, applications -- everything. This is a quiet, powerful novel whose role will, I hope, be realised in the years to come as the family structure continues to evolve.


Adrian Mole Diaries
Adrian Mole Diaries
von Sue Townsend
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Dead Symbolic, 7. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Adrian Mole Diaries (Taschenbuch)
I picked up the first of these diaries some twelve years ago, probably because it was an easy way to read someone else's diary. I have never been the same since. I have had a long relationship it seems today, with a collection of characters so insane, bizarre and unique that they seem real to me. The other characters that Sue Townsend has created have also hooked me. Whether she is writing as herself, the oh-so-intellectual Mr. Mole, a young Margaret Thatcher, or a fly on the wall at Bukingham Palace, she manages and wonderfully.
I often hear it whispered that the author is tiring of these characters and intends to retire. I hope that she never will...
I also hope that a hundred years from now, Sue Townsend will be remembered for what she is; one of the most outspoken, daring, hilarious writers ever to come out of Britain, if not one of the most gifted the whole world.


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