Used price: $9.50
Buy one from zShops for: $9.49
Includes over 800 entries, illustrations, synopses of books and chapters, biographies of Joyce and his contemporaries, bibliography, a very useful index, as well as the text of Jude Woolsey's ruling to lift the ban on "Ulysses." The writing is clear, wide-ranging, and complete without bogging the reader down in minutiae. Not as thorough as the encyclopedic "Ulysses Annotated," but very useful in disentangling Joyce and his works without great effort! Written by a Professor of Theology and English at Molloy College (and vice president of the James Joyce Society), and a professor of English at Marquette University.
Elvis, the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe have received the A to Z treatment in which every aspect of their lives and works have been reordered alphabetically, so it was only a matter of time that the mania would spread to lesser figures in our popular culture, in this case Mark Twain, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.
This series of three books, originally published by Facts On File and now updated and reprinted by Oxford University Press, combines facts culled from the writers' lives and works, shakes them up thoroughly, and recasts them into easily locatable entries. The result is an addictive pleasure, a page-turning odyessy for anyone interested in learning more about their favorite writer.
At 304 pages, the Joyce volume is the smallest of the trio, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up by offering extensive commentaries on "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake." Those who have tried to read these modernist (or post-modernist, the argument still rages) classics have quickly recognized the need for assistance. For "Ulysses," the Joyce volume reprints Joyce's chart that lists each chapter's time frame, location, symbols, technics, organs, art and correspondences to the original. Each chapter is given its own entry, which describes the action, Joyce's intentions, and clairifies points of Dublin's history. As one who attempted "Ulysses" solo, and suffered for his sin, I can speak with authority that this volume would have saved me a great deal of agony. I only wish they had abandoned their schema and combined the chapter descriptions into a single, lengthy appendix.
No detail is too small to escape the editors. There are also entries on Gustave Flaubert, an influence on Joyce's writing style; Throwaway, the race horse whose victory in the Ascot Gold Cup figures in "Ulysses," and the Volta Cinema, Dublin's first movie theater, which Joyce helped to open.
In short, this guide can help the Joyce reader move through the complexities of his work without feeling like you've earned a Ph.D in comparative literature while you're doing so.
Used price: $11.74
Buy one from zShops for: $9.98
Used price: $5.28
Used price: $2.24
Used price: $6.50
Collectible price: $8.47
Buy one from zShops for: $6.98
Also contains a useful 14 page appendix which briefly outlines the basic plot of each "Ulysses" chapter, notes, index, and bibliography. The author is a professor of English and director of the graduate program in English at the University of Miami.
"Black Water" is a work of fiction which certainly brings to mind the Chappaquiddick incident. It opens with Kelly Kelleher, a young woman, in the car with an unnamed older man who is a senator. The car crashes into the murky black water of the book's title. The book as a whole consists of the thoughts swirling through Kelly's mind as she is trapped in the submerged car.
Kelly is certainly not Mary Jo Kopechne. For one thing, the time frame is all wrong. This book takes place in the early 1990s; Kelly has been a worker on Michael Dukakis' failed 1988 presidential campaign, and the Gulf War is mentioned. Still, the unnamed senator seems to be Kennedy. Thus, "Black Water" reads like a time-warped alternative history.
The book functions well as a character study of Kelly, and (indirectly) of the senator. We learn of Kelly's conflict with her parents, her sexual anxieties, and other issues. Oates uses vivid sensory details to bring Kelly's plight in the car to life. At times her prose attains a sort of frenzied poetry. Recommended as companion texts: "Daisy Miller," by Henry James, and "Ariel," by Sylvia Plath.
The entire novel is barely a hundred and fifty pages, separated by thirty-two chapters. The speed and the brevity in which she writes makes it all the more believable, and is in my opinion the best dramatic choice Oates made as far as the convention of the prose. Although these thirty-two chapters were small, they were jam-packed. That question everyone wants to know is in there and seems to be answered, which I can't reveal or I would spoil the book.
The worldview Oates' is two dimensional to me. One part of the view portrays through the accident is something we all know, accidents happen. The main character being a younger female, interested in politics, and interested in starting her life while thinking in almost every chapter, "am I going to die-like this" really wakes the reader up and moves the common "accidents happen" theme to "accidents can happen to you too, at any time." The other most significant and compelling part is shown through a young woman who is violated when she trusts an older man. As she sits trapped in the sinking car, the Senator escapes and physically uses her body as a stepstool, leaving her behind. The most intriguing part of the story for me was that she was convinced he was coming back, and yet this is a smart character. A character who makes a conscious effort to discard anything as silly as a horoscope and one who is approach is intricate in design no matter what the circumstances. So what happened? The complications Oates made within the main character really move your mind in several directions. Any female reader can really relate to the dramatic choices in dialogue and characterization the Oates makes.
The element of fear is something that Oates really plays around with through the entire book. There is the stark fear of death, fear of talking out of turn, fear of consequences from men, fear of leaving a relationship, fear of putting somebody above you in the political world down on your level, and fear of life itself. And the fear that is still surfacing after finishing the novel is the fear of trusting people. The reader watches a spark between a man and a woman as Oates so simply and naturally creates the scene and this so thought harmless afternoon fling turns into a bloodcurdling accident that details the thoughts of the victim and the disbelief-it's amazing.
This novel has an element of truth, or motivation from the 1969 Chappaquiddick Island accident involving Senator Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kepechne, who was in a similar position as Kelly Kelleher. However, it is obvious fiction since no author can rewrite the thoughts of a deceased individual. Nevertheless, the prose by Oates was critical in creating a believable situation.
It all takes place in Kelly Kelleher's viewpoint; at the party, interludes from her past, spliced with the slowly sinking of the rented Toyota and Kelly's body into the black water. Because of this dramatic choice Oates really benefits the reader by revealing the intentions and motivations of the main character in her life and career. A common motif through the novel was that Kelly was an "American girl" which really set a degree of normality to the character, making it all the more realistic to the reader.
This book wasn't the only work of Oates that I have read and I can see a similarity in style and the same dimensional fear and gender inequality. I would recommend this to any gender however; it affects every human in the area of trust and death.
Used price: $7.88
Collectible price: $19.06
Buy one from zShops for: $7.88
Overall, a decent book and makes a handy addition to my library.
The book does have its flaws. I agree with a previous reviewer who found the diagrams and their refference numbers confusing. Also, this book does appear to be written for readers in the UK and seemed a little out of date, or incomplete, from a US perspective. At times the tool descriptions didn't seem complete. I was a little troubled by the fact that the only combo square mentioned was the Stanley (No refference to Starrett, or others. Maybe it's a UK thing). None of these issues I had with the book would prevent me from recommending this book to a friend. The wealth of information contained in its pages more than makes up for any of its shortcomings.
List price: $25.99 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $17.95
Buy one from zShops for: $18.01
These books may serve budget travelers well, but for my money, it's the Frommer's or Moon book.
Lonely Planet was a great starting ground. It gave excellent overviews of all of the major cities, the best of the outback, and the superb national parks. Lonely Planet also publishes guides for every Australian state, a few areas, and many smaller guides to dining, and the cities.
My advice to any traveler to Australia is to read LP Australia before departing. Then, once you have a clear idea of what you want to see, read the LP guides specific to that area. Lonely Planet is by far the best for Australia that I have seen out there.