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Book reviews for "Fadiman,_Anne" sorted by average review score:

Complete Sonnets of William Shakespeare
Published in Unknown Binding by New Millenium Pr (01 January, 2001)
Author: William Shakespeare
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Do We Own Books, or Do They Own Us?
Why do we keep books on a shelf? According to one of the essays in Anne Fadiman's gem of a book, Ex Libris, it's because they provide a concrete picture of who we are and how we developed. This message really hits home for those of us who have tried to find an out-of-print book that captures a particular time in our past. Fadiman understands this obsession. I originally borrowed Ex Libris from the library, and then found myself climbing up a ladder in a used bookstore to add this must-have volume to my own bookshelves. This is a book whose content I have shared with bibliophiles and nonbibliophiles alike. My husband and I both reacted in horror to Fadiman's story of her distress while combining libraries with her spouse...a merger that we both agree will never occur in our own home. My co-workers laughed and nodded at the description of proofreaders being compared to the person sweeping up elephant dung after a parade. And, another person in my life couldn't understand my excitement of reminiscing about and keeping books read years ago, which she termed "clutter." Fadiman beautifully captures and describes all these and more peculiarities of book lovers.

The Bibliophile Bible.
Lovely, endearing, addictive little book. Every bibliophile should read it at least once. It's a light book but incredibly well written. It compiles about 12 essays, each discussing a different tenet of Ann Fadiman's compulsive book worship. All of us who enjoy reading will find commonalities with Fadiman. The love of book shelfing and re-shelfing, the joy of encountering new words, the frequent visits to bookstores, the reading out loud, etcetra etcetra....she covers practically everything, whilst interweaving into the text humorous anecdotes and personal titbits. The chapter which fascinated me the most was the one about plagiarism in literature, especially the story about the man who published her mother's work in a book under his own name and then dedicated the book to her mum!!! The nerve! I still cant believe it...I would have been mortified if I were in her mother's shoes. If you love books, Ex Libris will keep you entertained for hours...read one or two of the essays every night - you'll be thoroughly amused and oh, for the sesquipedalian-lovers out there, you'll need a dictionary by your side, because you're sure to bump into a few long words that you've never seen before.

slap-the-knee funny, irresistible read!
I laughed so hard at the essay on proofreading (one of her friends described her life as a copyeditor as analagous to that of the person sweeping up the dung behind an elephant in a parade) while waiting to board a plane that when I finally walked on, still reading, a woman in first class grabbed my arm and demanded to know what book I was reading!

Don't be fooled by the Latin title and "serious" cover. These essays are tongue-in-cheek, down to earth, and absolutely hilarious, especially if you're a voracious reader-- or have ever had to do any copyediting.

Fadiman is humble and self-deprecating, describing her family as compulsive proofers-- I loved the example of them gleefully pointing out errors in restaurant menus. But it's impossible not to be bowled over by her turns-of-phrase and her wit.

The essay about how she and her husband married their book collections is also a standout-- and one that anybody can relate to who's ever been through this, whether it be with books, cds or spices!

My only complaint about this book is that it's impossible to put down, and that it's too short. When I got back from my (business) trip I immediately photocopied the essay on proofreading for the head of marketing, the artistic director, and the managing director of the theatre where I work (there had been a crisis in semicolons in my absence). This book is a reference for any teacher, writer, reader or marketer. One of the best reads of the year!


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Published in Digital by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux ()
Author: Anne Fadiman
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The tragic interaction of traditional culture and modern med
Ann Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is another book about the interaction of childhood illness and society. The child, Lia, in Fadiman's book is a Hmong infant, whose family emigrated from Laos to the United States in the 1980s. Lia has a life-threatening epileptic condition, and the cultural chasm between traditional Hmong beliefs and western medicine proves insoluble. Hmong, like many, non-Cartesian peoples, believe that illness, death, and other life circumstances are the result of actions taken in the spiritual plane. They respond to illnesses or conditions with shamanistic medicine and traditional techniques. Lia, living in central California, becomes the object of logical western medicine which has scant regard (or simple open disdain) for the Hmong ways. When the two sides cannot communicate, tragedy ensues as Lia is taken for a time from her parents, her condition deteriorates, and recriminations fly. Anyone looking at the interactions of two cultures -- and the genuine difficulties in cross-cultural communication and collaborations -- would do well to read this non-judgmental, gracefully written book.

A masterpiece of medical anthropology
What makes this rather eclectic work so utterly fascinating? Is it the exceptionally good writing? The universal appeal of an encounter with an a completely alien culture? The meticulous research that continually informs the reader? Fadiman's book catches you and forces you to question your preconceptions, prejudicies, and complacency. The author makes you care, deeply, about what it means to be Hmong -- not an easy feat given the polarity between the Hmong world view and our rationality-based, Western civilized frame of mind. The Spirit Catches You is a must read for anyone whose work involves contact with people from a very different little understood culture. This is a tale of what happened to a beautiful Hmong child when fear and misunderstanding between her parents and the medical community of Merced resulted in a tragic, and very likely avoidable, outcome.

Important and intelligent--a must read!
I can honestly say that this book is one of the best I have ever read. It is thoroughly researched, painfully objective, sublimely beautiful, and an important cultual study of the Hmong (Hmoob is the traditional spelling)in Merced County. As a life-long resident of Merced, California and an English instructor at Merced Community College, I have lived next to and worked directly with the Hmoob people my entire life. I thought that I knew this culture due to my life experience--was I ever wrong! Anne Fadiman illuminated the Hmoob people and their history in a way that made me truly understand how little I actually knew about them and how confusing their transition into American culture was (and still is). As I look at the Hmoob faces in my classrooms, I am filled with respect, admiration, and curiosity for these students. When I walk across our small campus or enter the local Wal-Mart and hear the Hmoob language being spoken, I am overcome with pride that the Hmoob people choose to live in Merced County. As Fadiman points out, our little town does indeed face cultural problems which arise due to the clash of belief systems. However, this book has done much in our community to bridge the cultural gap that exists between our two worlds--American and Hmoob. Thanks Fadiman for letting us know who we are!


The Hours
Published in Digital by Farrar, Straus, ()
Authors: Anne Fadiman and Michael Cunningham
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too contrived
I thought this book did a disservice to Virginia Woolfe by transposing her brilliant and poignant novel (Mrs. Dalloway) onto a modern day plot. Substituting character names, locations, and various major and minor sub-texts (AIDS in place of post-war trauma; a movie star in place of a queen) does not create an original novel (or even a thought-provoking sequel). I don't think you can "cover" literature in the same way you can cover a song.

The other two sections of the book, which dealt with the 50's housewife who read Mrs. Dalloway, and the fictional account of V. Woolfe writing the novel, were much more enjoyable and well done.

Better than the original
While I found "Mrs. Dalloway" enjoyable, and it does help to read it before reading "The Hours," I thought this book was more enjoyable, easier to read, yet just as deep and complex. I loved how the lives of the three women wove together; it made perfect sense at the end. This book really explores why we live, whether live is meaningful, and how we find meaning in it. I think this book is destined to become as much of a classic as the Virginia Woolf novel on which it is based.

A fulcrum of a novel
THE HOURS, Michael Cunningham's riff on Virginia Woolf's envelope-pushing novel MRS. DALLOWAY, is a pretty stunning piece of work in its own right.

Filled with razor-sharp observation and devastating emotional interconnectedness, THE HOURS is a stunning odyssey through a day in the lives of three women, and by extrapolation, every woman and every human being. It would be impossible to read this book and not find little bits and pieces of yourself strewn across its pages.

What's really amazing is that Cunningham is able to stick so close to the themes, structure, and characterization of Woolf's novel, while managing to build, out of seemingly the same pieces, a story all his own.

What THE HOURS does so well is reveal to us the binding emotional ties that unite us all. It makes you see the similarities in ostensibly different lives, different dreams, and different words. Cunningham manages to create a perfectly balanced fulcrum on which a large teeter totter of metaphors is able to swing up and down in powerful arcs.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Published in Digital by Farrar, Straus, ()
Author: Anne Fadiman
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Lacks depth, overlooks history
Friedman's book is very simplistic, views the world through the lens of present economical/political events while ignoring historical trends. Full of now defunct clich├ęs' about the information super highway (internet) and democracy, and rather than seeing our democratic system as unique to the American experience he makes it into a one size fits all. A better book to read is The End of the American Era, which incidentally the author devotes a chapter of the book to Friedman's view of the world.

A must read to understand today's events
Friedman's book is an engaging look at what globalization means in this post Cold War world. By describing the rise of global markets through examining the world through six different "lenses," he is able to take a complex subject and make an understandable and compelling argument for his view that globalization is like the dawn. In his own words "even if I didn't much care for the dawn there isn't much I could do about it."

As the New York Times foreign affairs columnist he is able to bring a wealth of experience and personal observation to the book, and he fills it with interesting, compelling, and sometimes disturbing anecdotes from his travels and relationships with foreign leaders.

He makes a case that through the democratization of finance, information, and technology, we have an increasingly interdependent global economy, fraught with both great rewards, and great dangers. Friedman artfully describes those groups of people who are well positioned for success (and also risk) in the global economy, "gazelles and lions," who have to run every day to eat or to avoid being eaten. The author also describes those people who are not positioned to compete in the global economy (the "Fast World") and see globalization as an unseen and uncontrollable force increasingly threatening the lives and livelihood of both themselves and their children (turtles, trying to avoid becoming road kill).

Friedman explains the danger to a backlash against globalization and gives real suggestions about things to change in our political construct, and things to preserve and strengthen. In his words "America, at its best is not just a country. It's a spiritual value and role model. It's a nation that is not afraid to go to the moon, but also still loves to come home for Little League."

I finished the book with tears in my eyes. The strength of his vision is compelling and this book is the first I have read that has both defined, and accurately caught the start of, this new system of globalization.

Globalization: Central Feature of the Post-Cold War World
Readers familiar with Thomas Friedman's consistently superb work for The New York Times - first reporting from the Middle East and now writing a column on foreign affairs - know him to be exceptionally bright and articulate. Since 1994, Friedman has specialized in covering the intersection between foreign policy and international finance, so he is an ideal interpreter of globalization - the trend toward international economic integration through free-market capitalism. This book is a fine introduction to events profoundly impacting on our world, written in Friedman's characteristically clear and crisp prose. The "Lexus" in Friedman's title stands for "the drive for sustenance, improvement, prosperity and modernization," whereas the "olive tree" "represents everything that roots us, anchors us, identifies us and locates us in the world - whether it be belonging to a family, a community, a tribe, a nation, a religion or, most of all, a place called home." Much of Friedman's book is devoted to the theme of the Lexus and olive tree wrestling with each other in order to find a healthy balance. According to Friedman: "The challenge in this era of globalization - for countries and for individuals - is to find a healthy balance between preserving a sense of identity, home and community and doing what it takes to survive within the globalization system."

In Friedman's view, the "slow, fixed, divided Cold War system" is readily distinguishable from the "new, very greased, interconnected" world of globalization, in which free-market capitalism is spreading throughout the world. According to Friedman: "While the defining measurement of the Cold War was weight - particularly the throw weight of missiles - the defining measurement of the globalization system is speed - speed of commerce, travel, communication and innovation." In contrast to the Cold War's "overly regulated, walled up system," Friedman explains that globalization's three "democratization" - the democratization of information, the democratization of technology, and the democratization of finance - are changing the way business and everything else is done. In Friedman's view, "what is new...is the sheer number of people and countries able to partake of today's globalized economy and information networks, and to be affected by them." According to Friedman, "the Internet offers the closest thing to a perfectly competitive market in the world today." Friedman explains: "In the 1980s the Internet was a novelty. By the 1990s it was a useful technology. By the time the new millennium rolled around it was an indispensable tool for doing business." Friedman writes at some length about what he cleverly calls "the Electronic Herd," which is "made up of all the faceless stock, bond and currency traders sitting behind computer screens all over the globe, moving their money around from mutual funds to pension funds to emerging markets, or trading on the Internet from their basements." According to Friedman: "Countries cannot thrive in today's world without plugging into the Electronic Herd." Friedman explains that, with "the end of the Cold War system and the fall of walls everywhere, there suddenly emerged a vast global plain where investor herds from many different countries could roam freely." Friedman acknowledges that the effects of globalization are not entirely positive. For instance, Friedman acknowledges that the Electronic Herd is "potentially more volatile" than previous models, and that makes markets less stable. According to Friedman, "today, in the globalization era, the ability of the herd to transmit instability from bad countries to good countries has vastly increased." In addition, Friedman predicts that the system of globalization will "both environmental disasters and amazing environmental rescues." The prospect of environmental problems in the new world order is especially troubling. Friedman asks: "Can we develop a method of environmentally sustainable globalization?" He answers: "One hope is clearly that technology will evolve in ways that will help us preserve green areas faster than the Electronic Herd can trample them." Friedman adds: "But technological breakthroughs alone will not be enough to neutralize the environmental impact of the herd, because the innovations simply are not happening fast enough - compared to how fast the herd moves, grows and devours." Friedman places his hope in "super-empowered environmentalists" "who, acting on their own, can now fight back effectively against both the Electronic Herd and governments...[M]ore and more multinationals are realizing that to preserve their global reputation and global brands in the face of Internet activism, they need to be environmentally responsible." Friedman also offers this cautionary observation: "[I]n 2000 we understand as much about today's system of globalization is going to work as we understood how the Cold War system was going to work in 1946." Friedman's point, I believe, is that, although we have been able to give a name - globalization - tothe most powerful force changing the world, that does not mean that we are close to fully comprehending it. Some aspects of the globalized world are fully comprehensible and frightening. Notwithstanding the manifest benefits of globalization, there is an ongoing backlash against it. In particular, Friedman warns about "the real, immediate national security threat" from what he calls "the Super-Empowered Angry Man," such as the Aum Shinrikyo sect in Japan, the Unabomber, Osama bin Laden, and the Ramzi Yousef group in New York. Friedman implies, quite correctly I believe, that, the globalized world may be very exciting, but it also remains a very dangerous place. Friedman obviously believes that most of the globalization process is beneficial, and he probably is correct, but he also is not entirely objective. Friedman is not merely a pundit. He is a proponent for globalization. He writes: "You cannot thrive today without plugging into the Electronic Herd."

This book is excellent, and, all things considered, I believe it is superior to John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge's A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalization, another introduction to globalization which I recently read and reviewed. However, I would recommend either. Whether one is a globalization proponent or opponent or neutral, the system is changing the world, and that behooves all of us to understand it better.


The Best American Essays 2003
Published in Hardcover by Houghton Mifflin Co (2003)
Author: Anne Fadiman
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Ex Libris
Published in Paperback by Alba (2001)
Author: Anne Fadiman
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The Spirit Catches You & You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors & the Collision of Two Cultures, Reader's Guide
Published in Paperback by Farrar Straus & Giroux (Txt) (2002)
Author: Anne Fadiman
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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Published in Digital by Farrar, Straus, ()
Author: Anne Fadiman
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Advances in Case-Based Reasoning: Second European Workshop, Ewcbr-94, Chantilly, France, November 7-10, 1994: Selected Papers (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence)
Published in Paperback by Springer Verlag (1995)
Authors: France Ewcbr-9 1994 Chantilly, Mark Keane, Michel Manago, and Jean-Paul Haton
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