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the 10 best books of the year to read

Monday, June 14, 2010 , Posted by soumaila adamou at 5:36 AM

the 10 best books of the year to read

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3)The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3)Let's start with the question every Dan Brown fan wants answered: Is The Lost Symbol as good as The Da Vinci Code? Simply put, yes. Brown has mastered the art of blending nail-biting suspense with random arcana (from pop science to religion), and The Lost Symbol is an enthralling mix. And what a dazzling accomplishment that is, considering that rabid fans and skeptics alike are scrutinizing every word. 



The Lost Symbol begins with an ancient ritual, a shadowy enclave, and of course, a secret. Readers know they are in Dan Brown territory when, by the end of the first chapter, a secret within a secret is revealed. To tell too much would ruin the fun of reading this delicious thriller, so you will find no spoilers here. Suffice it to say that as with many series featuring a recurring character, there is a bit of a formula at work (one that fans will love). Again, brilliant Harvard professor Robert Langdon finds himself in a predicament that requires his vast knowledge of symbology and superior problem-solving skills to save the day. The setting, unlike other Robert Langdon novels, is stateside, and in Brown's hands Washington D.C. is as fascinating as Paris or Vatican City (note to the D.C. tourism board: get your "Lost Symbol" tour in order). And, as with other Dan Brown books, the pace is relentless, the revelations many, and there is an endless parade of intriguing factoids that will make you feel like you are spending the afternoon with Robert Langdon and the guys from Mythbusters.

Nothing is as it seems in a Robert Langdon novel, and The Lost Symbol itself is no exception--a page-turner to be sure, but Brown also challenges his fans to open their minds to new information. Skeptical? Imagine how many other thrillers would spawn millions of Google searches for noetic science, superstring theory, and Apotheosis of WashingtonThe Lost Symbol is brain candy of the best sort--just make sure to set aside time to enjoy your meal. --Daphne Durham 






Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto [Hardcover]Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto [Hardcover]Author and conservative talk radio host Levin (Rescuing Sprite, Men in Black) takes on the Statist, a liberal straw man, in this collection of polemics against left-wing tenets (like "economic and social justice"), touchstones (like the New Deal) and institutions (strongholds of liberal thought like academia and the mainstream media). With "an insatiable appetite for control" and a veil of "moral indignation," Levin finds the Statist not only in congressional Democrats and President Obama's White House, but in "neo-Statists" like compassionate conservative Michael Gerson, and the Fed and Treasury under G.W. Bush. Many of Levin's arguments reiterate familiar tropes, including a "strict constructionist" view of the Constitution that sees Social Security as patently un-American. Predictably, Levin opposes the extension of health benefits, derides global warming (implicating Obama's "global warming czar" as a leader in "the Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society"), and fights back against immigrants, whom the Statist portrays "as universally more virtuous than the citizen." For those new to the Tea Party, Levin offers a handy roundup of conservative talking points, but anyone paying attention to talk radio over the past few years won't learn anything new. 


Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The necessary book of the Obama era." -- Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator

"Levin has delivered a stalwart conservative manifesto written by a conservative who doesn't want to re-brand and repackage conservatism into liberalism. He draws on founding principles, not polls, to lay out the agenda for the Right -- and to illuminate the fatal flaws of statism." -- Michelle Malkin

"This is quite simply the most important book of our times." -- Scott Miller, The Conservative Post

"This has the answer for everything you've asked yourself about yourself, and why you believe what you believe." -- Rush Limbaugh

"Liberty and Tyranny is Mark Levin: a man who loves his family and country and believes ideas have consequences -- and therefore will fight passionately for what he believes and knows to be true." -- Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review

"While it may present itself as a "conservative manifesto" (and it is that, too) it is also a compelling primer on the most basic principles of the American political order." -- Gary L. McDowell, American Thinker

"Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto couldn't be more relevant or important. It is a masterful restatement of conservative principles that is succinct...and yet comprehensive. It is thoughtful and deep but highly readable. It is timely yet timeless." -- David Limbaugh, TownHall.com

"This is a superbly useful book. It is the perfect companion for the college freshman to fortify the student against what he or she is about to hear. It is an ideal detoxicant for the graduating senior. Most vitally, it should be read by those who do not consider themselves conservatives, because it carefully lays out the central historic, philosophic and constitutional relationship between conservative principles and our individual freedom." -- Tony Blankley, The Washington Times

"If you want to rediscover true conservatism, read Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. If you want to help preserve liberty, buy copies for your kids." -- Terry Jeffrey, CNS News

"It is a rarity that an important book arrives at its perfect moment. Such is the case with Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto...Against this tidal wave, Mark Levin offers not so much a defense as a plan of attack, a clarion call to roll back the seas of Change." -- Andrew C McCarthy, The New Criterio


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"If you believe it's time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all -- then I ask you to read this book...."
In any era, great Americans inspire us to reach our full potential. They know with conviction what they believe within themselves. They understand that all actions have consequences. And they find commonsense solutions to the nation's problems.
One such American, Thomas Paine, was an ordinary man who changed the course of history by penning Common Sense, the concise 1776 masterpiece in which, through extraordinarily straightforward and indisputable arguments, he encouraged his fellow citizens to take control of America's future -- and, ultimately, her freedom.
Nearly two and a half centuries later, those very freedoms once again hang in the balance. And now, Glenn Beck revisits Paine's powerful treatise with one purpose: to galvanize Americans to see past government's easy solutions, two-part monopoly, and illogical methods and take back our great country.

About the Author

Glenn Beck, the nationally syndicated radio and Fox News television show host, is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: An Inconvenient BookThe Christmas SweaterGlenn Beck's Common SenseArguing with Idiots, and the children's version of The Christmas SweaterAmerica's March to Socialism is available now from Simon & Schuster Audio or downloadable from Simon & Schuster Online. He is also the author of The Real America and publisher of Fusion magazine. Visit www.glennbeck.com.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a popular comedian, radio host and red-blooded male, Harvey doesn't have the bona fides typical to most women's relationship self-help, but he still manages a thorough, witty guide to the modern man. Harvey undertakes the tast because "Women are clueless about men," because "Men get away with a whole lot of stuff" and because he has "some valuable information to change all of that." Harvey makes a game effort, taking a bold but familiar men-are-dogs approach: if you're "cutting back" on sex, "he will have another woman lined up and waiting to give him what he needs and wants--the cookie." Several chapters later, however, he introduces the "ninety-day rule," asserting that, actually, he won't always have another woman lined up--and the only way to makes sure is a three-month vetting period. Harvey also tackles mama's boys, "independent--and lonely--women," and the matter of children in the dating world ("If he's meeting the kids after you decide he's the one, it's too late"). Feminists and the easily offended probably won't take to Harvey's blanket statements and blunt advice, but Harvey's fans and those in need of tough (but ticklish) love advice should check it out (especially the hysterical last-chapter Q&A). 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[This] book offers surprising insights into the male mentality and gives woman a few a few strategies for taming that unruly beast.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer )

“Women should listen to Steve Harvey when it comes to what a good man is about. Steve Harvey dispenses a lot of fabulous information about men. It’s more than the average man will usually tell you. Steve Harvey will give it up.” (Aretha Franklin )

“Filled with practical principles, rules and tips, and illustrated with humorous and warm-hearted anecdotes from Harvey’s life and friendships, ACT LIKE A LADY, THINK LIKE A MAN gives readers the real deal about the differences between the sexes and how to bridge them for a mutually rewarding partnership.” (New York Beacon )

“A thorough, witty guide to the modern man....those in need of tough (but ticklish) love advice should check it out (especially the hysterical last-chapter Q&A).” (Publishers Weekly )

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Washington Post

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by Sybil Steinberg

Southern whites' guilt for not expressing gratitude to the black maids who raised them threatens to become a familiar refrain. But don't tell Kathryn Stockett because her first novel is a nuanced variation on the theme that strikes every note with authenticity. In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide.

Newly graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in English but neither an engagement ring nor a steady boyfriend, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan returns to her parents' cotton farm in Jackson. Although it's 1962, during the early years of the civil rights movement, she is largely unaware of the tensions gathering around her town.

Skeeter is in some ways an outsider. Her friends, bridge partners and fellow members of the Junior League are married. Most subscribe to the racist attitudes of the era, mistreating and despising the black maids whom they count on to raise their children. Skeeter is not racist, but she is naive and unwittingly patronizing. When her best friend makes a political issue of not allowing the "help" to use the toilets in their employers' houses, she decides to write a book in which the community's maids -- their names disguised -- talk about their experiences. 

Fear of discovery and retribution at first keep the maids from complying, but a stalwart woman named Aibileen, who has raised and nurtured 17 white children, and her friend Minny, who keeps losing jobs because she talks back when insulted and abused, sign on with Skeeter's risky project, and eventually 10 others follow.

Aibileen and Minny share the narration with Skeeter, and one of Stockett's accomplishments is reproducing African American vernacular and racy humor without resorting to stilted dialogue. She unsparingly delineates the conditions of black servitude a century after the Civil War.

The murders of Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr. are seen through African American eyes, but go largely unobserved by the white community. Meanwhile, a room "full of cake-eating, Tab-drinking, cigarette-smoking women" pretentiously plan a fundraiser for the "Poor Starving Children of Africa." In general, Stockett doesn't sledgehammer her ironies, though she skirts caricature with a "white trash" woman who has married into an old Jackson family. Yet even this character is portrayed with the compassion and humor that keep the novel levitating above its serious theme. 

Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With tens of thousands of products crammed into the walls of the neighborhood supermarket, trying to find a reliable snack, pantry product, or frozen dinner can be a serious challenge for the time-strained consumer. The Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide changes all of that, offering discerning shoppers everywhere a simple plan for finding the healthiest foods for them and their families. Beyond homing in on the best and worst in the world of packaged foods, the Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide scours the aisles to help you pick the most nutrient-packed produce, the leanest, tastiest cuts of meat, exotic cheeses that double as healthy snacks, and the best contaminant-free fish the ocean has to offer. 

Click each image below for a larger view of selections from Eat This Not That! For Supermarkets


Review

Readers Love ETNT: 
“The book was so easy to use. And I said this is a no brainer. I have nothing to do but to go to the grocery store and look at this book. And I dropped 35 pounds within a year. My husband used to call me his ‘full sized woman.’ Of course, he doesn’t say that any more and he can’t keep his hands off me!” – Darlene, ETNT reader.
 
“This book is now a reference book I look at and have fun with, plus I think it has helped me drop a couple of pounds extra with my exercising in the last couple of weeks.”
 
“This book has saved me thousands of extra calories and I did not sacrifice one thing.”
 
“This is a great read and helps you make better choices when eating out to shopping at the grocery store. As I read I did not realize what a small change in your choice could make. I've already lost 7lbs and am very pleased.”


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The third book in this genre-busting series is certain to enlarge Kinney's presence on the bestseller lists, where the previous titles have taken up residence for the past two years. Kinney's spot-on humor and winning formula of deadpan text set against cartoons are back in full force. This time, Greg starts off on New Year's Day (he resolves to "help other people improve," telling his mother, "I think you should work on chewing your potato chips more quietly") and ends with summer vacation. As he fends off his father's attempts to make him more of a man (the threat of military school looms), Greg's hapless adventures include handing out anonymous valentines expressing his true feelings ("Dear James, You smell"), attempting to impress his classmate Holly and single-handedly wrecking his soccer team's perfect season. Kinney allows himself some insider humor as well, with Greg noting the "racket" children's book authors have going. "All you have to do is make up a character with a snappy name, and then make sure the character learns a lesson at the end of the book." Greg, self-centered as ever, may be the exception proving that rule. Ages 8-12. 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For those wondering why tween boys don’t read very much, the answer is that more books aren’t like this. In this third (but not last, despite the subtitle’s implication) series entry, Greg Heffley, the Georgia Nicolson of American middle-school males, is just trying to get through life. In hilarious diary entries, he details his attempts to get along with his brothers; a potential romance; and his dad’s futile efforts to turn him into a jock, which reinforce Kinney’s well-realized theme that grown-ups just don’t get it. While diary may not be the most macho term, as Greg will be the first to tell you, the format certainly hooks the target audience with its printlike font, straightforward language, and copious cartoons. As the book opens, Greg is eschewing New Year’s resolutions: “It’s not easy for me to think of ways to improve myself, because I’m already pretty much one of the best people I know.” And while it is clear to all that he is no saint, he is real, and many kids will agree with that self-assessment. Grades 5-8. --Andrew Medlar

From Publishers Weekly

Telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse braces herself for trouble when another group of supernatural beings goes public in her disjointed [ninth] adventure (after 2008's From Dead to Worse). Following the vampires' lead, the shape-shifters decide to step out of the woodwork and announce their existence to the world. While the initial reveal goes smoothly, the brutal crucifixion of a young werepanther behind the local bar makes Sookie wonder if the people of Bon Temps, La., are as tolerant as she thought. Meanwhile, the FBI is asking questions about Sookie's uncanny ability to locate survivors after an explosion, and trouble is brewing among the secretive fae. Harris tries to cram too much into a single story, and even die-hard fans of Sookie's adventures in print and on HBO's True Blood will complain about the plot gaps. (May) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Louisiana town of Bon Temps—along with the rest of the world—is about to be rocked with some big supernatural news: like the vampires before them, the Were people—humans with the ability to change into animals—are about to reveal themselves to humanity. Psychic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse is apprehensive about the revelation, given the way some people in the small town revile anyone with extraordinary powers, including Sookie herself. While the initial announcement seems to go over smoothly with most people, tragedy strikes when Sookie’s brother Jason’s estranged wife, a werepanther, is found murdered and nailed up on a cross. Jason is the prime suspect, but Sookie has even bigger problems to deal with when she learns that a vicious fairy prince is determined to kill her. Darker and more ominous than earlier entries in the series, Harris’ latest raises the stakes (pun intended) for lovable heroine Sookie and comes up a winner. With HBO’s True Blood, a series based on Sookie’s adventures, renewed for a second season, expect demand for this latest gripping installment. --Kristine Huntley

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos's army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.
In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

About the Author

Rick Riordan is the author of the first three books in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan s Curse. His previous novels for adults include the hugely popular Tres Navarre series, winner of the top three awards in the mystery genre. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons.

Product Description

Lose weight without losing your mind! 

Cook Yourself Thin is a healthy, delicious way to drop a dress size without all the gimmicks. The ladies of "Cook Yourself Thin," a new Lifetime reality show, offer 80 easy, accessible recipes in this companion cookbook that teaches readers how to cut calories without compromising taste.

For some of us, losing weight has always been a struggle. The challenge: figuring out how to cook healthy, low-fat foods that won't leave you hungry, bored, or running for a gallon of ice cream! Cook Yourself Thin shows how to cut calories, change diets, and improve health without sacrificing the foods we love.
Cook Yourself Thin is not a fad diet. It gives skinny alternatives to your cravings. You can't live without your chocolate cake or mac 'n' cheese? You don't have to! (See Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, page 197.) There's never enough time to cook? Cook Yourself Thin keeps it simple─with easy instructions and fun recipes you'll want to make again and again.
What are you waiting for? Cook Yourself Thin!




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