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Book Review Roundup

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While you were off spending time with family and friends, you may have missed the weekend's reviews of new books. Here they are now in your weekly book review roundup:

"The Red Book", Carl Jung
The New York Times

The book is considered the Holy Grail by many Jungians, who for years had only heard rumors of its existence. For decades Jung's descendants kept the original, leather-bound volume, which Jung worked on between 1912 and 1928, locked in a bank vault.

"Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him", Alanna Nash
The New York Times

Regardless of how Ms. Nash accrued and assembled this material, she manages to collect all the madness, badness and sadness of the Elvis myth in one exhaustive and (let's face it) embarrassingly tempting volume.

"Summertime", J.M. Coetzee
The Los Angeles Times

[H]ere is Coetzee's ingenious contrivance: his female characters are more real, more palpable, than the ghost-figure who stands in for him. Ingenious, yes; except that the protagonist's refusal to protagonize falls as a dulling, tedious burden on what is more a novelized argument than a novel.

"The Restored New Testament - A New Translation With Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas", Willis Barnstone
The San Francisco Chronicle

That's the first thing you notice about this Bible. The names have been changed, and not to protect the innocent. Other Bibles make it too easy to forget the fact that Jesus and his first 12 followers were Jews. This Bible starts by restoring the Jewish names of the purported authors of the familiar gospel stories. Matthew becomes Mattityahu. Mark morphs into Markos, Luke is Loukas. John appears as Yohanan. John the Baptist is renamed Yohanan the Dipper.

"Remarkable Creatures", Tracy Chevalier
The Canadian Press

"It's so big it's kind of funny. ... It's like a cartoon. But that's often the quality of dinosaurs. Everything about them seems to be exaggerated, their teeth, their size, their claws...," says the author of "Girl With a Pearl Earring."

The eye belongs to a plesiosaur and was found in the English seaside town of Lyme Regis in the early 1800s by amateur fossil hunter and seller Mary Anning - the subject of Chevalier's new novel, "Remarkable Creatures."

"Shoptimism", Lee Eisenberg
USA Today

Reading "Shoptimism" is a bit like wandering haphazardly through a large department store with author Lee Eisenberg. Eisenberg, a former editor in chief of Esquire and past executive vice president at Lands' End, taps into the vibe of what makes people buy and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways marketers sell to them.

"Stop Getting Ripped Off", Bob Sullivan and "Unfolding the Napkin", Dan Roam
The Dallas Morning News

Most Americans are financially illiterate. They don't understand the math behind interest and fee calculations, and they don't bother reading the fine print on contracts. If you follow Bob Sullivan's advice, it's unlikely you'll get taken to the cleaners again.

"Immigrant Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and How They Will Save the American Worker)", Robert L. Smith and Richard T. Herman
Beacon Journal

As an immigration lawyer, Herman knew the idea of increased and easier immigration would repulse many who had come to equate the term with illegal foreigners or terrorist groups.

But Herman's experience had taught him something very different about foreign-born men and women who came to the United States seeking the American dream.

They are nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to launch a business.

They are more likely to earn an advanced degree.

They are more likely to invent something and be awarded a U.S. patent.

"Bodies", Susie Orbach, "The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable", John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell, "The Frozen Thames", Helen Humphreys, "The Little Book on Meaning: Why We Crave It, How We Create It", Laura Berman Fortgang, "Why Manners Matter: The Case for Civilized Behavior in a Barbarous World", Lucinda Holdforth
New Jersey Star-Ledger

["Bodies"] is a disturbing little book. Susie Orbach, a psychotherapist who hangs out in London and New York, examines the connection between the brain and the body to get at the psychological pain suffered by those whose body image fails them.

First Sentences from New Books
The San Francisco Chronicle

Crossing the great lawn, I see that the Virginia creeper has turned red and gold, as it does for one week each year, making the old brick of the asylum appear to be alive with flames.

"The Listener," a novel
by Shira Nayman

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