Just one volume in Nelson’s long story that remains much like its author: funny, inspirational and bawdy, with a well-honed...

ROLL ME UP AND SMOKE ME WHEN I DIE

MUSINGS FROM THE ROAD

Legendary musician Nelson and his friends share a year’s worth of stories, lyrics, riffs and dirty jokes.

At age 79, the prolific Nelson (A Tale Out of Luck, 2008, etc.) shows no signs of slowing down as he continues to travel the world with his “band of gypsies.” This funny, heartwarming collection doesn’t quite capture the experience of being on the road with the circus, but Nelson’s unmistakable voice shines through. The songwriter shares tales from the road, thoughts of the day, early memories, classic lyrics, and recollections of people like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, among a host of lesser-known collaborators. Sister Bobbie Nelson and various children also chime in, while Kinky Friedman offers an affectionate foreword and Nelson’s son Micah contributes some terrific portraits of everyone from Ray Charles to Django Reinhardt. There are some semi-serious moments, but the best characteristic about the book is its sense of being mostly unplanned. Page by page, you might get a list of the best pickers Willie has ever heard, the lyrics and the inspiration for “Shotgun Willie,” or musings on golf, addiction, biodiesel, Farm Aid or the Occupy movement. However, it is neither as immaterial as The Tao of Willie (2006) nor as essential as his autobiography. Like another collection, The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes (2001), how closely readers follow Nelson’s meandering path may largely depend on their own lucidity at the time.

Just one volume in Nelson’s long story that remains much like its author: funny, inspirational and bawdy, with a well-honed sense of humor.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-219364-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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