The Devil's Arithmetic: A Book Review

The Devil's Arithmetic: A Book Review

It was known as a disturbing and horrifying point in history that still raises hair today. It was the Holocaust. Jane Yolen's THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC recaptures the terror and strong emotions of the 1940's. She lures you in with nightmarish scenes that will make your heart stop. Shocking historical tid-bits are yet another one of her clever techniques to draw the reader into the book.

This unique novel is about a Jewish girl named Hannah who lives in the present day. The festive Passover dinner that she celebrates with her family (some being survivors of the Holocaust) turns into a blast to the past. As 13-year old Hannah extends her hand to pull the door open to greet the prophet, Elijah, she finds herself among a modest Jewish household. The members of the tiny shack mistakenly believe her to be one of their relatives. Little does Hannah know that she is reliving the life of her Aunt Eva's old friend, Chaya. The experience opens her mind and nothing is ever the same.

This is a compelling novel. There is so much to learn from it. Many of the frightening moments of the Holocaust are creatively retold in a way that makes you want to feed on all the details. The author uses carefully chosen adjectives ("harsh," "the devil's work," and the "monsters" are some good examples) to form dramatic scenes such as when she brilliantly describes the inhumane and evil practices of the Nazis. The characters are assigned very real personalities so the reader feels as if they had met them. Hannah, for instance, always seems to do what you might do and that happens in the end when she dies for a close friend. Jane Yolen is an extremely gifted and talented author.

I highly recommend this young adults' novel to readers ages 10 and up. It will give children of today sense of appreciation for what they have. THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC by Jane Yolen is simply a must-read book.

Can an Ebook Really Help You to Lose Weight?

See the source image

See the source image

Grrr…..another ebook on how to lose weight, right? Well, sorta. Topportunities reviewed, “100 Weight Loss Tips,” and this ebook is not some fad diet or an ebook full of obvious information. We are more than willing to admit that the information contained in this ebook can be found all over the Internet for free. Do we encourage you to run around the Internet like a maniac and find it all? Your welcome to if you want, but since it’s already been done for you, let’s talk about that instead.

This ebook is 30-pages and covers topics such as changing how you cook, exercising, what to drink, and consistency. Nothing new as far as weight loss books go, right? Right. Now let us tell you what did make this ebook different:

  • The ebook does not claim to help you lose mass amounts of weight in a matter of days. This ebook wants to help you lose the first ten pounds. It helps you to set a realistic goal and gives you tools to make it happen.
  • We love the way this ebook is written. It feels like a conversation with an honest friend who is knowledgeable about weight loss.
  • The ebook is broken up into 100 short and easy to understand tips to help you shake off that first ten pounds.
  • Finally, lots of description and explanation throughout the book let us know that this ebook was written with a lot of research instead of simply being slapped together in order to make a quick buck.

Does Topportunities recommend this ebook? Yes, we do. There was a little bit of doubt when it showed up in our inbox and we are very happy that it passed our review standards.

Already have a copy of this product? Please leave your own review in the comments section below.

How to Select a Good Book

How to Select a Good Book

Selecting a good book can be a challenge but with these steps, you’ll be reading one in no time!

Books are like friends. You never do or make friendship with a person at first sight. Most often, the reason is you do not know much about him and much risk are involved. Likewise you never choose a book from a bookstore or library without much thought. If you do its consequences are many. So you think much before selecting a book, because you need to spend lot time with it. If it’s not worth readable it’s merely a time waste.

A poor selection of a book like the poor choice of a friend leaves you with lot of disappointment and frustration. You may later think that, oh, I would have spent that time with a good friend or a fascinating book how well it would have been.

Here are some simple tips or suggestions to help you in selecting a good book:

List Top 20 Books.

Make a list of all the books you would like to read. Then following the given suggestion select from that list the 20 books you would most want to read. Please remember do not include the Bible or any other religious books in that list if you read that daily in a systematic way.

When you finish reading one of the top 20, select another from your first list to replace the read one. Always feel free to change your mind to replace one book from the already selected top 20 list. Move down some, erase some and include whatever you like according to your choice. This can be done at any time.

How do you select the top twenty from your large reserve list is a big task. Don’t worry here are some suggestion to that.

Select Books That Will Help You.

You would never knowingly choose a friend who would let you down or cheat. So likewise, choose books that inspire you, encourage you, and lift you up.

Choose books that tell you things you want to know and give you something to think or ponder over and to adopt with.

Select books that generate a divine hunger for life that quite often secular books won’t give.

Select Only the Books You Really Want to Read Through

The books that you are forced to read may seem like an unwanted guest at home. You may invite them just because you can’t just avoid. In such cases its better to avoid such books. You only can decide what you want and what you like to read.

Select Only the Books That Have a Good Reputation.

Listen and read reviews about books what others say about it. Check up with your school, college or public librarian about the list of good books that have stood the time. Its better to avoid a “best seller” lists. Best sellers are soon forgotten and bite the dust.

Stick to Your Plan

Overcome the temptation to read books that are not in your planned list. Read a bit every day and you will notice a big difference in the days to come. Best wishes for a happy selection and a happy reading ahead.

Book Review: Devotion a Memoir by Dani Shapiro

Book Review: Devotion a Memoir by Dani Shapiro

Devotion a memoir by Dani Shapiro is a book I wanted to love. Shapiro has written a number of novels and is also the author of Slow Motion the story about her early twenties where she was a mess and then getting her life back on track after her father dies when she is twenty-three. This book also spends a lot of time focusing on the relationship or the lack of relationship she had with her father while he was alive.

Shapiro is a beautiful woman ( as demonstrated on the back page photo) who is married to a screen writer and lives on ten acres in Litchfied County Connecticut one of the richest counties in the United States. She has a wonderful career and a happy marriage and a son who suffered from a life threatening illness when he was an infant but by whatever grace is out there her son recovered and throughout the book which appears to take place over three years he is a happy, healthy, smart and delightful little boy. Ms. Shapiro does not share these traits with her son. She like so many other middle aged women feels the stress of realizing that her life is half over. That her father died to early and he was never able to see her son or her own success. Her mother was never able to love her and remained angry at the world and her fathers family up to and after her death even refusing to be buried in her husband’s family plot.

It is apparent throughout the book that Ms. Shapiro has had a fairly gifted life in terms of not ever really having to struggle for money or acceptance. She was loved and she is successful. Her existential crisis comes in her forties after living through 9/11 and the loss of a number of pregnancy. The author decides to go no a search for the truth. Her search consists of a few yoga retreats, a couple of visits to different temples to find where she and her family fit in being one of the few Jews in her part of Connecticut and reaching out to an aunt whose entire family is orthodox.

She finds some answers but they appear to be answers that are prepackaged and had to be found by her deadline. Whole sections of the book consist of definition of words that she deems important in her search.

As I stated before I really wanted to love this book but I did not it is self indulgent and mediocre. Not once during her search for meaning did she do anything that really had to involve stretching the boundaries of her life and never once did she mention that part of the answer of the search might involve finding something and becoming involved in something that was bigger then herself, her husband and her son.

Her search consisted of yoga retreats, reading, doing yoga in the bedroom of what one can only assume is a mini-mansion on her ten acres of farmland in Connecticut.

I do not know if Ms. Shapiro is really looking for the meaning of life and/or for her place in the cosmos but if she is the “answers” she finds in this book will not long sustain her because they involve nothing outside of herself. If Ms. Shapiro really wants to find meaning in life and rituals I suggest she get out of her fifth avenue, bergdoff Goodman’s privileged life and bring her yoga skills to children and women living in poverty or her writing skills not to the fancy liberal arts college but to a community college anywhere and with anyone that has to look the beast in the eye on a daily basis and still manages to get up and live.

Colin Bell: Reluctant Hero – Book Review

Colin Bell: Reluctant Hero – Book Review

‘In time, Colin will be among the all-time greats who have ever played in this country’ That is what Manchester Citys Assistant Manager, Malcolm Allison said of King Colin when asked. Of course we had already signed the young lad from Bury at the time of this quote. Had you asked him before Bell had signed the paperwork his answer would have been more like this “can’t head it, can’t pass it, he’s hopeless”(Both quotes taken from ‘The Worst Of Friends’ by Colin Schindler).

Of course the latter was an attempt to put off fellow clubs who were interested in signing Colin while he and Joe fought with the City board to release the funds. For 45,000 pounds Colin Bell turned out to be, and arguably still is, the best money City spent. Certainly fans who saw ‘Nijinsky’ play would confirm that all the stories of him were true. He was a shy guy who had the stamina of a middle distance runner and the skills needed to help City reach and compete with the top clubs in Europe.

He could have so easily have gone to Arsenal but fortunately for City fans their manager, Ex England star Billy Wright didn’t see in Bell what our Big Mal saw. Bell went for trials with the North London club before being rejected and told that they hoped he found a side whose standards were not as high as Arsenals. Four years later Colin was flying high in sky blue.

In his debut game, on this day in 1966, Bell scored in an away win against Derby County (even though he may not have known much about it) as Mercer, Allison and now Bell were finally moving City in the right direction, with Bells goal at Rotherham actually securing the promotion.

Colin Bell would go on to become arguably City’s key player and turned out in the sky blue of City just under 500 times, scoring 153 goals. Only two players have scored more for the club, and who knows how many more he could have scored if not for that horrific injury in a 4-0 League Cup win against United with a ‘mistimed’ tackle from Buchan. The levels of fitness that Bell had kept up meant that had the injury not occurred he could have continued for at least another five or six years longer than it did.

He did come back as a substitute against Newcastle on Boxing Day 1977, just over two years after the initial injury but he never returned to his best and would only get 17 games under his belt before eventually being forced into retirement. His comeback though did lift the club who went on a seven game winning streak and he did manage two goals. His last goal however came in Europe in a tie against FC Twente in September 1978 at Maine Road, which fittingly was also the venue for his last League game for City although this time it was a loss against Aston Villa.

Colin Bell later continued his service with City by working with the youth team, but left before returning during the 1990s as the club’s first ambassador. Then when Francis Lee took control of the club there was a falling out and Bell left. Fortunately Bell came back and now acts as a club ambassador and can be seen around the ground on matchday.

When moving to the new stadium in 2003 City fans were polled as to what to call one of the stands, Colin Bell won the poll and now while at the Etihad you will see the Colin Bell Stand. No other section has been given a players name and to date only Joe Mercer has had a similar section around the ground named after him and so on Matchday now you can walk down ‘Joe Mercer Way’ and take your seat in the ‘Colin Bell Stand’ and watch the mighty City.

Banned Books and Ersatz Englishmen

Banned Books and Ersatz Englishmen

When I was nine years old, I was taken to see the brand new movie version of “West Side Story” — and was wowed. Not since Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” had I come home so full of the story and music of a film. (I had driven my cousins, Frankie and Paulie, whose house backed ours, crazy by endlessly singing “I… know… you… I walked with you once… upon… a dream….”) Naturally I asked my parents for the book, and naturally they bought it for me.

It was a book of the screenplay — something not commonly seen in the early ’60s. I read it the way I usually read books back then in the days when my eyes were young: I devoured it and then I devoured it again. I don’t remember which reading I was on when Paulie, the older cousin, wandered in and saw me so engaged.

“Your mom lets you read that?” he asked, not impertinently; he truly wondered whether a child should be reading what he considered adult material. (I think he was 12 at the time; that was practically a grownup.)

I was flabbergasted by his question. It wasn’t that I felt my reading ability or maturity were being challenged; I simply never had heard of someone’s not being ALLOWED to read something! The very concept was mind-boggling to me then, and it still is, today.

What did not boggle but merely tickled my mind about having Frankie and Paulie as neighbors as well as cousins was Paulie’s rather peculiar habit of passing away on a regular basis. My sister and I would pad across the two yards to visit Frankie and Paulie, only to discover Frankie in mourning. Paulie, it seems, had contracted some nameless but swiftly deadly disease and had hula-hooped off this mortal coil. By amazing coincidence, Paulie’s distant twin brother had arrived from England to take his place.

I can’t speak for my sister but although these devilish cousinfolk didn’t fool me for an instant, Frankie-as-mourner was so convincing, and Paulie-as-English-brother was so charming and his accent so exotic, that I just had to go along with the game in order to enjoy the entertainment.

In defiance of all medical convention, not to mention the laws of physics, cousin Paulie himself always managed to resurrect himself some time later that same day, and by some miracle all extra siblings had been exorcised.

I still have my class photo from the fifth grade and I am the only child in it; everyone else looks exactly as I remember them, and since they were (and are) my peers, they look like people-my-age, which is 47 at the moment. They don’t look 47, but they look my age. (Don’t try to figure it out mathematically; that’s not the way it makes sense.) I, in the photo, am nine years old. Since I am no longer nine years old, I, in the photo, am a child. Those other nine-year-olds in the photo are MY age.

I don’t have any photos of Frankie and Paulie (or the English twin). Never having seen them as grownups, I remember them as being MY age, so they are, in my memory, adults.

See what comes of reading grownup stuff too early? You start thinking you ARE one.

Where You Can Find English Bookshops in Madrid

Maybe you're just passing through or maybe you're around for a while. Whatever the circumstances, you suddenly find yourself with an urgent need: books in English, stat. But you're in Madrid! What's a person supposed to do?

Fear not! There are several places in Madrid where you can buy English-language books.

J & J Books and Coffee

This combination bar/used bookstore is a staple for the English-speaking community. Have a mocha or a glass of wine in the cozy café on ground level (the bartenders all speak English!), then head downstairs to browse the stacks. There's a large section of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks, as well as novels, non fiction, and children's literature. You can even trade in your old books for store credit.

More info : Calle de Espiritu Santo 47. Metro stop: Noviciado. Visit their website.

Petra's International Bookshop

This bookstore is tucked in a side street but it's worth the effort of tracking it down. It's crammed full of used books in English, as well as French, German, and other languages. Most employees speak English. Closed on Sundays.

More info: Calle de Campomanes 13. Metro stop: Santo Domingo or Ópera. Visit their website.

Pasajes Libreria Internacional

If it's new books you want, head for Pasajes Libreria Internacional. They have an interesting selection of recent releases in English and many other languages. Closed on Sundays.

More info: Calle de Genóva 3. Metro stop: Alonso Martínez. Visit their website.

El Corte Inglés

This upscale department store chain has stores all over Madrid. Head for the libros (books). Usually there's a small selection of English-language literature, although it varies from store to store.

More info : Visit their website. (In Spanish)

Fnac

Again, it's a chain, this time specializing in media and entertainment. Like El Corte Inglés, the range of English-language books is hit and miss, but there's usually something.

More info: Visit their website. (In Spanish)

Happy reading!

Book Review: "Killing Time" by Linda Howard

I was inspired by Catherine Coulter's book "TailSpin" to read a Linda Howard book; Ms. Coulter has a shootout in a bookstore where one of Ms. Howard's books is plugged by a bullet. I want to thank Ms. Coulter for the mental reminder that Ms. Howard is an excellent author and I really should see if there is anything of hers I haven't read.

I found "Killing Time" at my last trip to the library. It has a paranormal element to the suspenseful who-dun-it novel. I'm not going to explain the paranormal phenomenal because I don't want to spoil the surprise for you. I will tell you it involves a missing time capsule, if you are asking, "So what?" Let me explain further.

The time capsule was buried on January 1, 1985 in front of the Peke County Courthouse in Pikesville, Kentucky, right next to the flagpole. Twenty years later on June 27, 2005, someone digs up it up between 2 a.m. and 2:01 a.m. That's right; in one minute, the capsule is dug up and taken away. There are two witnesses: the security camera trained on the courthouse and the camera across the street on the hardware store.

The videotape from both cameras shows that 2:00 a.m. there was a big flash of light and one minute later the light is gone. Neither video takes shows a person digging a hole nor there are no footprints, however there is a big hole in the ground where the time capsule used to be. So who did it? Why did they do it? Most of all how did they do it?

Knox Davis, the chief county investigator for Peke County is intrigued, which isn't surprising because it isn't in his nature to let a puzzle go unsolved. To add to the puzzle, six chickens were killed at Jesse Bingham's farm and the only clue is several bright flashes of light. There were no footprints at this crime scene either.

If that isn't enough, a fifty-year-old respectable lawyer named Taylor Allen is murdered with a spear in a house that was locked up tight with deadbolts. There are no clues left behind not even footprints. So who did it? How did they do it? Why a spear? Why did they kill Taylor Allen?

Then Nikta Stover shows up with a FBI badge. She was snooping at the Allen house when Knox Davis caught her in the act. She produces the FBI badge to explain her reason for being there. Her badge proofs to be a fake. Who is she? Why is there? What is her interest in Taylor Allen and the time capsule? Who ever she is, she is the third agent her bosses sent to investigate. The first agent died in the line of duty and the second was unable to find any answers. Oh, I should mention that moments after she introduces herself to Knox, Nikta has a sniper shooting at her. Who wants her dead and why?

Read "Killing Time" soon, it is fascinating book with elements of romance, suspense, mystery and the paranormal. Beside you have to read it to find all the answers to the questions. I wish I could tell you more because I would love to talk about some of Ms. Howard's ideas about the…..oops I nearly said too much. Do read this book, it was so good that I need to talk about it some more to somebody.

Other Book Reviews by Genie Walker:

At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
Blow Out by Catherine Coulter
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Alan Dershowitz’s Blasphemy: A Book Review

Alan Dershowitz’s Blasphemy: A Book Review

For those of you who do not know who Alan Dershowitiz is: He is the devil incarnate, or that would be the way he might be portrayed by religious revisionists. However, he is nothing of the sort, being the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He simply believes in individual liberties and in protecting them, which may explain why the revisionists revile him. He is a man of Jeffersonian character and would like to keep our legal system the same.

In Blasphemy: How The Religious Right Is Hijacking Our Declaration Of Independence, Dershowitz dissects the Declaration of Independence, word by contextualized word with regard to mentioning of deity and divinity. Dershowitz explains Jefferson, the man and his views, and why the Declaration was written the way it was and not the way the Christian Right want everyone to believe it was. Since the Declaration was primarily Jefferson’s work, the onus of the wording falls on him. And it is interesting to note that Jefferson in no form speaks of a Christian god anywhere in the Declaration. All his references to divinity or a deity are generic or referring to a natural god, a common enough belief in his time. For Jefferson was a Deist, not a Christian, and found Christianity — the writings in the New Testament — to be just so much drivel (actually, he referred to the new testament as “dung”).

And Jefferson was a man of reason, a learned man born of the same intellectualism that begat Rousseau. And reason was necessary to form a government of laws. And a government of laws, a republic of laws, was what he achieved, along with his fellows in the various congresses of the founders. And that nation born of wanted freedoms and idealistic laws had little or no room for advocating one religion over another. In fact, it was anathema to what they were trying to achieve. So, despite many religious leaders among the congressmen speaking to the contrary, the generic forms remained.

Now the religious right are doing everything within their power to reverse it, revise it, and rewrite it. For thiers is the divine right…

Dershowitz tells a masterful tale of Thomas Jefferson, a man admired by most and derided — and mostly admired — by his enemies (usually Christians). He offers up modern examples of how the religious right in the United States are rewriting the Declaration’s intent, rewriting the history of its drafting, rewriting it to fit their close-minded, authoritarian views. With people like David Barton, an opportunistic religious revisionist who conducts tours of historical Washington and who maintains that the United States is a Christian nation and that the Declaration is a Christian document written by Christians for a new Christian nation and is even more important than the Constitution, it is imperative that Americans understand that the Declaration is a simple, albeit important, document of separation from a tyrannical government. In no way, shape, or form can a document like the Declaration be considered more powerful or dominant over the central document of law of the land.

Blasphemy is a powerful book that simply tells us the facts, as devoid of political or religious slant as can probably be written. It should be required reading for anyone interested in law, especially Constitutional law. It definitely is must reading for anyone on either side of the argument over whether or not the United States began as a Christian nation. And it might just be what is needed to curb the rising tide of Christian sentiment, the anti-Jeffersonian ideology of religious hegemony espoused by today’s evangelical Christians, that will ultimately, if successful, destroy the document and the true intent and genius that made possible the founding of this nation of laws, that protects all Americans and all their liberties…