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Jan is an award-winning journalist who has been the book critic for Glamour magazine and for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Please follow her on Twitter at janiceharayda. My Brilliant Friend. By Elena Ferrante. Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein. Europa, pp. This novel is an antidote to Tuscan sunburn. The good Elena, the narrator, is blond, and the bad Lila is black-haired.

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That echo of stereotypes from myths and legends suggests the nature of the tale. But the plot owes a debt to neo-Gothic melodrama, if not soap opera, without the usual supernatural elements. It opens with a mysterious disappearance that is never credibly explained. From then on the novel unfolds as a grim rush of incidents that befall its young heroines in a city with dead rats on the streets.

Over the next decade, the two will make their way in a world of murder, theft, adultery, mob shakedowns, and more.


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Men embittered by beatings at the hands of their creditors or enemies return home to beat their wives and children, Elena and Lila among them. My Brilliant Friend involves so much of children that the novel should be a moving — if not heartbreaking — coming-of-age tale. Overseas newspapers have said that Neapolitan women have wept on seeing their lives on its pages.

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Like a good Gothic novel, this book is a gripping horror story with characters whose actions often defy belief. Jan is a novelist and award-winning journalist who spent 11 years as the book critic for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. It was then that they began to frighten me. About the author: Elena Ferrante is a pen name for one or more authors who may or may not be female and may or may not live in Italy.

By Karen Abbott. HarperCollins, pp. A hoop skirt can hide a lot of secrets, not all of them sexual. Female spies for both the North and South made unique contributions to the Civil War by taking advantage of the voluminous clothing and other encumbrances of their sex, including the belief that they would pursue activities no riskier than rolling bandages or mending uniforms. Karen Abbott tells the stories of four of these women and their accomplices, who operated mainly in Virginia and Washington, D. C, from — Their strategies included seducing enemy officers, knitting tapestries in a pattern based on Morse code, and arranging for the delivery of a fruitcake that had a secret letter baked into it instead of apples and raisins.

One woman disguised herself as a man to enlist in the Union army. Not surprisingly, she impersonated a female peddler with aplomb as she sneaked past Rebel lines in an attempt to gather facts for Gen.

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George McClellan about the strength of Confederate forces in Richmond. To a lesser degree the label applies to Emma Edmondson, who masqueraded as a man in the 2d Michigan Infantry before she deserted. The book abounds with such memorable details. Jan is an award-winning journalist who has been the book critic for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and a vice president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Meditations on the everyday appeal of a favorite beach.

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Anyone who has seen too many used condoms and empty Red Bull cans on American beaches will find a gentle antidote in A Decade of Beach Walks. In this book George Thatcher collects more than of the popular Scenes from the Beach columns that he has written since for the Sun Herald in Biloxi. Each entry consists of a brief, illustrated meditation on an inspiring sight he has seen during one of his daily walks along Mississippi Sound, such as a blue heron, a scallop shell, or a cluster of acorn barnacles.

The first in a series of occasional reviews of books about the American South. Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. By Frances Mayes.

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Broadway, pp. This memoir describes her childhood and her move back to the South after the Italian sojourn that inspired her Under the Tuscan Sun. Do authors benefit from having unusual names?

If so, T. Coraghessan Boyle would outsell Stephen King. But the myth persists. One had much better be named Jones. Salesmen in New York and Chicago always correct me when I pronounce my own name. Harper Lee responded indirectly in a letter to the Richmond Va. But in a sense, he said, she wrote a Christian book in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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A perennial favorite includes many tales left out of other collections. Stories by Elsie E. Story Revision by Arlene S. Illustrated by Clive Uptton. Warner Press, pp. Ages 3—adult. This episodic approach may have benefits at bedtime, but it fails to convey that the Bible tells a larger story of how God has revealed himself, in words and actions, over time. The fifth edition tells all of the major stories of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation — a total of tales, each with its own title — and has virtues that go beyond its wide scope.

Its tone is conversational but not dumbed-down, which is well suited to reading aloud, and it retains the spirit of the original biblical texts even in its most generous paraphrases. It brims with turbulent events often left out of Bible-story collections: a shipwreck, an earthquake, a victory by thousands of men led into battle by the prophet Deborah. It may not have a snow queen, but it has more than enough action to satisfy many young fans of Frozen. And it is full-bodied enough for adults looking for an easier substitute that Bible-as-history course they never in college, or just an introduction to stories left out of the Old or New Testament highlight reels of their own childhoods.

Walking around helps a manager catch someone doing something right and provides the opportunity to give One Minute Praisings. Then, the manager lets the employee savor the moment, and finishes with a handshake. The third technique is the One Minute Reprimand. Being honest and accountable with those around you involves reprimanding when a wrong has occurred.

The first step is to reprimand immediately and specifically. This is the same as the praise technique, and it holds an important aspect of the goals technique: it enables an understanding of goals and responsibilities and how to complete them correctly. The handshake is important and reinforces that you believe in the person and their abilities. The One Minute Manager is one of the best selling business books of all time. You can differentiate yourself from most managers by actually using them! Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Do You Use It? Posted by Chris Cook on. Tags : accountability , business , coaching , feedback , goals , happiness , In Search of Excellence , Kenneth Blanchard , leadership , manage , One Minute Manager , performance , praise , reprimand , Spencer Johnson , Tom Peters.

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