Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

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Book Description: Have you ever wanted to rewrite your past?
Three best friends, all with the same birthday, are about to turn forty. Celebrating at a summerhouse in Maine, Leslie Headrick, Madison Appleby, and Ellie Abbott are taking stock of their lives and loves, their wishes and choices. But none of them expect the gift that awaits them at the summerhouse: the chance for each of them to turn their "what-might-have-beens" into reality...
Leslie, a suburban wife and mother, follows the career of a boy who pursued her in college wonders: what if she had chosen differently? Madison dropped a modeling career to help her high school boyfriend recover from an accident, even though he'd jilted her. But what if she had said "no" when her old boyfriend had called? Ellie became a famous novelist, but a bitter divorce wiped out her earnings -- and shattered her belief in herself. Why had the "justice" system failed her? And could she prevent its happening the second time around?
Now, a mysterious "Madame Zoya," offers each of them a chance to relive any three weeks from the past. Will the road not taken prove a better path? Each woman will have to decide for herself as she follows the dream that got away...and each must choose the life that will truly satisfy the heart's deepest longings.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Girl Who Played with Fire

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Book Description: Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West

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Book Description: In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.In Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides gives us a magnificent history of the American conquest of the West. At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Andrew Carnegie

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Book Description: In this magnificent biography, celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the fascinating rags- to-riches story of one of our most iconic business legends—Andrew Carnegie, America’s first modern titan. From his first job as a bobbin boy at age thirteen to his status as the richest man in the world upon retirement, Carnegie was the embodiment of the American dream and the prototype of today’s billionaire. Drawing on a trove of new material, Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this fascinating and complex man, at last fixing him in his rightful place as one of the most compelling, elusive, and multifaceted personalities of the twentieth century.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

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Book Description: On a beautiful spring day, March 25, 1911, workers were preparing to leave the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village when a fire started. Within minutes it consumed the building's upper three stories. Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside. The final toll was 146—123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New York City history until September 11, 2001. Harrowing yet compulsively readable, Triangle is both a chronicle of the fire and a vibrant portrait of an entire age. Waves of Jewish and Italian immigrants inundated New York in the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment factories with cheap, mostly female labor. Protesting their Dickensian work conditions, forty thousand women bravely participated in a massive shirtwaist workers' strike that brought together an unlikely coalition of socialists, socialites, and suffragettes. Von Drehle orchestrates these events into a drama rich in suspense and filled with memorable characters. Most powerfully, he puts a human face on the men and women who died, and shows how the fire dramatically transformed politics and gave rise to urban liberalism.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes: Single-Serving Snacks in Less Than 10 Minutes

Am very disappointed with this book for the price I paid for it. The so-called 101 recipes are actually 90% of the same thing with only one ingredient different, eg. instead of 2 tablespoons carrot juice in one recipe, another recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of apple juice. The cooking instructions for all the 101 recipes are all exactly the same!! This book is very lame and very cheap in terms of content and printing quality. For a few more dollars, one can get a great big cookbook like "Gourmet Today". As far as the cakes go, they don't have the "moist and soft" textures that oven-baked cakes have. I tried many of the recipes in this book, all of them taste like a dry, chewy sponge. There is no way to wait for the cakes to cool down to frost or decorate, cause the cakes turn into a very dry and tough spongy texture if only you let them stand for a few minutes, literally a stone after several hours. The cakes got to be eaten immediately right out of the microwave, but still, they don't taste nearly as good as a traditional cake baked in an oven. I suspect that may be one egg for one serving of a cake is too much egg. Each of the 101 recipes uses 1 egg. Anyway, I have no idea why this book has such a high sales rank on It sells well but it's a very cheaply produced book with tough dry cakes that don't taste good at all!! I feel so cheated.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Atticus By Ron Hansen

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Book Description: Colorado rancher Atticus Cody receives word that his wayward younger son, Scott, has committed suicide in Resurrection, Mexico. When Atticus travels south to recover Scott's body, he is puzzled by what he finds there and begins to suspect murder. Illuminating those often obscure chambers of the human heart, Atticus is the story of a father's steadfast and almost unfathomable love for his son, a mystery that Ron Hansen's fiction explores with a passion and intensity no reader will be able to resist.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In the Name of God

Am still reading this book and learning what exactly happened once the Jews were transported to the death camp in Sorbibor. Am at the part where the author found in the death camp Jewish musicians, dancers and artists, who were trapped and sealed in the same fate like himself. It just broke my heart to see how many people, and most of them self-proclaimed Christians were very involved in the persecution of Jews during the Holocausts. The sad part of the Holocausts was a lot of people who were bright, talented and were making great contributions to the world were killed. It was a loss to the whole mankind in terms of talents and intellectuals, in terms of good genes that were bright, hardworking and non-aggressive. I can't help but wonder what was in those Christian people's mind at that time. When I re-watched this movie - "The Hunchback of Nortre Dame" last night, I was thinking about how many lives were killed under the name of God. I was thinking how many people thought they were all so good and righteous and godly when actually they were only praying for God to forgive their sins and to fulfill their vanity. I wonder how many people actually pray for others, how many actually pray to ask what they can do to help others. I also don't understand why would people follow any religion that promotes persecution of non-believers, that promotes blood shed? Anyway, this song is very meaningful and I hope that everyone of us can live everyday to see clearly what is right and what is wrong. I hope we will stop using God's name to right all the wrongs that we do. I just want anyone to open their eyes and see that, only the God who promotes compassion, peace, tolerance and generosity is the one true God that we should believe.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

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Book Description: In no other period of our country's history has the food scene changed so rapidly. Exciting new ingredients are available everywhere, expanding our culinary horizons. Even casual meals have globe-trotting flavors. We want memorable dishes, and we want them to be healthy for our families and our planet. And with our busy schedules, we want them on the table faster than ever. A new culinary world calls for a new cookbook. Gourmet Today responds to our changing foodscape with more vegetarian recipes, more recipes for popular dishes from every corner of the world, more recipes for stunning meals ready in 30 minutes or less, more simple ways to prepare all the vegetables in the farmers' market, advice on choosing sustainable fish, chicken, and beef, tips on throwing an easy cocktail party, more recipes for flavorful techniques like grilling, and more recipes for the new ingredients flooding our market.
Each of the over 1,000 recipes was selected by editor in chief Ruth Reichl, a best-selling author in her own right, who wrote the introductions to each chapter. Every recipe has been tested and cross-tested in the Gourmet test kitchen so every cook, whether a first-timer or a veteran, gets impeccable results. With menus for holidays and other seasonal occasions, an authoritative glossary of ingredients (plus mail-order sources), and hundreds of sidebars on ingredients and handy techniques from the test kitchen, Gourmet Today is the indispensable book for today's cook.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

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Book Description: De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Food Journeys Of A Lifetime

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Book Description: For pure pleasure, few experiences are as satisfying as a chance to explore the world’s great culinary traditions and landmarks—and here, in the latest title of our popular series of illustrated travel gift books, you’ll find a fabulous itinerary of foods, dishes, markets, and restaurants worth traveling far and wide to savor.On the menu is the best of the best from all over the globe: Tokyo’s freshest sushi; the spiciest Creole favorites in New Orleans; the finest vintages of the great French wineries; the juiciest cuts of beef in Argentina; and much, much more. You’ll sample the sophisticated dishes of fabled chefs and five-star restaurants, of course, but you’ll also discover the simpler pleasures of the side-street cafés that cater to local people and the classic specialties that give each region a distinctive flavor.Every cuisine tells a unique story about its countryside, climate, and culture, and in these pages you’ll meet the men and women who transform nature’s bounty into a thousand gustatory delights. Hundreds of appetizing full-color illustrations evoke an extraordinary range of tastes and cooking techniques; a wide selection of recipes invites you to create as well as consume; sidebars give a wealth of entertaining information about additional sites to visit as well as the cultural importance of the featured food; while lively top ten lists cover topics from chocolate factories to champagne bars, from historic food markets to wedding feasts, harvest celebrations, and festive occasions of every kind. In addition, detailed practical travel information provides all the ingredients you’ll need to cook up a truly delicious experience for even the most demanding of traveling gourmets.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Book Description: In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.
One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat -- demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan -- she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Night Gardener By George Pelecanos

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Book Description: Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa whose body has been found in a local community garden. The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T. C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings. The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams. Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in THE NIGHT GARDENER what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Racism Is Indeed Color Blind

For as long as I've been in America, I've come to learn that "racism" is a big cultural and political issue in this country. It's a big big deal in the media coverage, in political campaigns, in the way businesses are conducted, and also in the way legislation is structured and how the American government should be run. I've always heard about how colored people are discriminated, how colored people are treated unfairly. It seems the war to fight against racism is still going on as strong as ever. As a person of color myself, I never understand why so many people're complaining about how unfairly colored people are being treated. I never felt I was ever treated unfairly just because I'm not white. Whenever I say that, I am told I am not that shade of color so I am not discriminated. Really?? So I am not discriminated because I got the right shade of color? From this book I'm reading now, I have to disagree that color is the basis of racism. I firmly believe that racism is in fact color blind.

This book really opens up my eyes to see that humans have a history of persecuting others who are perceived to be different. I think that it's the perception and prejudice that create racism, not the color. When humans lose compassion and decency, they can do the most evil things to others by just making up any reason to justify their evil acts. Throughout history, people of color aren't the only ones who were discriminated against and persecuted. Millions and millions of people across all cultures and civilizations were at one time slaved, discriminated against and persecuted. While Slavery is the darkest history in America, the Holocaust is the darkest history in the world. It was a time when the world turned mad, when lots of ordinary people became so evil that they would go out of their way to hunt down the Jews for the Nazi, with the unified goal of sending them to death camps. I just want us to remember the darkest days in history, so that we will never lose our decency and compassion ever again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Life and Death in Shanghai

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Book Description: Here is the haunting, inspirational account of Nien Cheng's six-and-a-half years as a political prisoner during Communist China's Cultural Revolution. "A moving affirmation of the capacity for human endurance."--Los Angeles Times.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jazzy Jars

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Book Description: Handmade gifts take a lot more thoughtful preparation than just fashioning the actual gift. After all, packaging, too, indicates a high level of care and special attention lavished on the present--which is the entire focus of Canadian crafter Browning's latest book. First, the basics are introduced, including types of jars to use (old and new) and cleaning tips as well as instructions for different techniques, from painting and decoupage to polymer clay and resin coating. Then, more than 45 one-page patterns, complete with color photographs and directions, follow; most are fairly easy to complete. Of inordinate help, even more so than the jars, are the ideas for filling the packaged jar--like ingredients for a cake, along with the recipe, or a sewing kit sandwiched inside a decorated jar. A good source for those needing inspiration.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Love Walked In

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Book Description: When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs—eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother—goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the café, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life.
Love Walked In, the first novel by award-winning poet Marisa de los Santos, is bursting with keen insight and beautifully rendered prose. Invoking classic movies to illuminate the mystery and wonder of love in all its permutations, Love Walked In is an uplifting debut that marks the entrance of an enchanting literary voice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Discovering Izbica, Poland

One reason I love reading is because books show me places in the world that I had never heard of, or places that only existed at a time long before I came to existence. Through this book I am currently reading, I am coming to learn about this very little town in Poland, Izbica. Today, this little town has a population of 1,933. Once upon a time, it had a population of 6000, mostly Jews. The original Jewish inhabitants were all wiped out during the Holocaust. There aren't many pictures about Izbica that one can find on the internet because this is not a popular tourist spot. Izbica is just a quiet tiny town in Poland that has not much excitement going on. It's a town that seems to have nothing worth for people to talk about. Look at the following picture though, it made me wonder how much Jewish blood flew into this peaceful river decades ago.

Izbica nowadays is almost forgotten by the world because my generation, which grew up in the era of abundance, peace and economic prosperity have come to pay more attention to Hollywood gossip than history. We, as a new generation of this world's keepers and inhibitants, have chosen to ignore the past. But through this book I tumbled upon, (I'm glad I did) I will always remember Izbica, and the many innocent lives which were exterminated in the most chilling atrocity in human history, the millions of muders which had been ignored and forgotten by most of the world. Before I ever get angry with my family or friends again, I will always remember Izbica, where families and friends were torn apart by the brutality of wars and organized massacres. I will always remember how lucky I am when I remember Izbica.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The God of Small Things: A Novel

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Book Description: Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel is a modern classic that has been read and loved worldwide. Equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama, it is the story of an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevokably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Book Is So Good, Am Enjoying It With Lots of Tears!!

After reading a silly, no-brainer chick lit, I 'm swtiching gear to reading the above book on real life and real history. I have only read 47 pages and I can't put the book down! It's such a good story and I really think everybody in this world should read it, particularly the young people, who have not much knowlege about what "Nazi" is, and think it's a movie about a cute dog (one of my cousins thinks this way). In addition to reading some cheesy vampires books, we should read this one, cause we need to prevent history from repeating itself. This book is so educational.

At age 15, the author was thinking while escaping alone and his family torn apart by war, " The crimes I had committed were enormous under Nazi law. I had false documents ---- the penalty: death. I left the ghetto without German permission --- the penalty: death. I was travelling on a train ----- death. I didn't wear the Star of David ----- death. And above all, I was a Jew ---- death." I so very much wish I could help these poor Jewish people. Am still reading and am learning so much.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

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Book Description: This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

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Book Description: Dread, yearning, identity, intrigue, the lethal chemistry between secular doubt and Islamic fanaticism–these are the elements that Orhan Pamuk anneals in this masterful, disquieting novel. An exiled poet named Ka returns to Turkey and travels to the forlorn city of Kars. His ostensible purpose is to report on a wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head-scarves. But Ka is also drawn by his memories of the radiant Ipek, now recently divorced. Amid blanketing snowfall and universal suspicion, Ka finds himself pursued by figures ranging from Ipek’s ex-husband to a charismatic terrorist. A lost gift returns with ecstatic suddenness. A theatrical evening climaxes in a massacre. And finding god may be the prelude to losing everything else. Touching, slyly comic, and humming with cerebral suspense, Snow is of immense relevance to our present moment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

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Book Description: Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for CriticismA New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book of the YearTime magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2007. Newsweek Favorite Books of 2007A Washington Post Book World Best Book of 2007In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. Taking readers into the labyrinth of modern style, Ross draws revelatory connections between the century's most influential composers and the wider culture. The Rest Is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Liars' Club: A Memoir

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  1. Sandy Nawrot

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Book Description: When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir’s impact on her family, this unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as "funny, lively, and un-put-downable" (USA Today) today as it ever was.