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After I reading this book for a third time, I had a few thoughts of my own. First, that I wish my father had written down his own thoughts about various subjects (such as those listed in this book's Table of Contents) prior to his death. Also, that I should attempt to do that for my own sons and daughter...or at least audio-record those thoughts. Will they be as inspiring, thought-provoking, etc. as those which Smith assembles in his book? Who cares? That's not the point.
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Good luck to this book and good luck to the homeobox genes.
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For teachers, this is a must-read during African-American History Month in February (as well as any other time of the year).
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It the first time I disappointed from SAMS publishing.
There are many other substantial changes in XP, the most pronounced of which is the appearance of the desktop. This, in combination with the additional functionality, means that more effort is necessary if you are to use it efficiently. I had no trouble making the transition from Windows 95 through all other versions up to and including Windows 2000. However, when I purchased Windows XP, I felt the need to consult a reference manual, so I read this book. It was a wise decision.
This is not a book for experts, the focus is on showing experienced users of GUI systems how the presentation style of XP is structured. With it, you can very quickly learn how to use it, what the differences are and if necessary, how to revert back to the classic view. The sections on how to configure the machine for activity on a network and how to troubleshoot the system to avoid failures and increase security should be read by all but expert users of XP. Microsoft has been justifiably bashed for the lax security of their software, but not all the blame is theirs. Users must spend the time configuring their systems so that at least the screen door is latched to restrict entry.
If you have years of experience in the Windows environment, then you can probably use your instincts to learn the nuances of XP. All others should find a quality resource to consult, and this is one you can reach for with confidence.
Terry McMillan:A Critical Companion begins the process of taking a critical look at McMillan's work and shows us that McMillan is not only a popular writer but is the creator of a new genre in romance literature. In the first part of the book we are given biographical information regarding McMillan. From there her life and the context of her literary works are given a detailed overview. Finally, her books MaMa, Disappearing Acts, Wating to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back are analyzed thoroughly.
How refreshing to see a popular author given such close scrutiny. You find out that her books are not just fly by night romances but encompasses social, political and economic issues dealing with relationships. McMillan's popularity gave rise to urban romance, a genre that was never explored. McMillan also opened the door for Black Romance fiction that was never on the scene in mainstream publishing houses. Her impact as a writer and pioneer of a new genre has been underestimated. This critical companion opens the door for discussion, debate and relection about romance literature, the portrayal of Black male and female relationships and the future of a new genre. It is well worth the reading and having in your own personal library as you explore McMillan's works and their significance.
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In this book, we have a large fragment of what would have been a superb novel. It doesn't have the youthful energy or the tight plotting of Miller's earlier masterpiece. And had he survived to complete and polish it, I suspect it would still lack those qualities. SLATWHW is much more a work of realism. If it moves slowly and wanders loosely, well, real life - and especially real history - are like that, too.
As we now have it, the novel breaks a few implicit contracts. First, we expect the on-again, mostly off-again love story between Brother Blacktooth and the mutant AEdrea to reach some climactic reunion or breakup. Despite the transparently tacked-on final chapter, it does no such thing. Second, we expect the forces of unambiguous evil, the Hannegan empire and its lackey churchmen, to be defeated by the forces of ambiguous good. It doesn't work out that way. Third, the Church with its supposed monopoly on miracles, and AEdrea with her secular wild talent for healing, are on an obvious collision course. No showdown comes. Though the book does have its boring stretches, I think it's this cheating of expectations that accounts for many of the one and two star reviews here.
But for all the strands left untied in the personal hopes and fears of the main characters, Miller leaves no loose threads in the four-dimensional world he has imagined. If you want to get the greatest pleasure out of the book, for instance, don't make the mistake of lumping all the "Nomads" together. Each tribe has its own history, customs, leaders - and by the time you're halfway through, you'll realize there *will* be a quiz.
What kept me reading was the density of the imagined cultural and political detail, and the fully rounded portrayals of the two main characters - Blacktooth and the ambitious Cardinal Brownpony - each full of contradictions, each always recognizably himself. The supporting cast, from the (unfortunately ever mysterious) AEdrea, to the mystical headsman Axe, to the holy fool who becomes Pope Amen II ("We should always be ashamed to speak of God in the third person"), may not be as complex, but they are worth getting to know.
Lurking in the crevices of SLATWHW is a five-star work. If only the hermit of Leibowitz Abbey had loaned Miller a few more decades of his longevity! But as it is, I rate it at three and a half stars. The writing is spotty, and too much stays unresolved. Fans will be left peering into the face of this volume, only to pull away saying, respectfully but sadly, "It's still not him."
I have removed one star for length. I cannot help thinking that if Miller had lived to publish this, it would have been more concise. Still, this book demonstrates what a storyteller Miller was.
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