Only when I laugh

May 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

Phil Camp, the crabby protagonist of Bill Scheft’s novel “Everything Hurts,” is a man in pain. “The pain had started nine months ago. Innocently enough. In his left gluteus,” writes Scheft, erstwhile head writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” “That’s right. Pain in the ass.” Phil, a divorced former sportswriter who has accidentally remade himself as a self-help guru, spends his days (and nights) lying on a wrestling mat in his sprawling Manhattan apartment, writing a popular syndicated newspaper column based on his bestselling book “Where Can I Stow My Baggage?” He rises from time to time to limp to doctors and therapists. Nothing helps — until a peculiar man in sandals hands him a dog-eared copy of “The Power of ‘Ow!’ How the Mind Gives the Body Pain,” by one Dr. Samuel Abrun …

In Brief: “Everything Hurts” by Bill Scheft (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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Trump’s power is not in his hair

May 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Donald Trump is all about unlikely success. His glittering urban towers, undulating golf courses, opulently outfitted wives (two former and one current, a fashion model), and prolonged reality TV moment serve as ongoing evidence that his boundless self-confidence can turn seemingly impossible dreams into reality. Now, with his new book “Think Like a Champion: An Informal Education in Business and Life,” written with Meredith McIver, the real estate tycoon and TV star generously fills us in on the secrets of his success — and explains how we, too, can prevail in our career endeavors …

Review: “Think Like a Champion” by Donald Trump (The Barnes & Noble Review)

Pretty music in tough times

May 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Tori Amos has never shied away from thorny subjects. The outwardly lilting, inwardly wrenching songs on the ten studio albums the singer-songwriter has put out in her twenty-year career — her latest, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, is due out May 19th — have dealt with her own rape (“Me and a Gun”) and the three miscarriages she suffered (“Spark,” “Playboy Mommy”) before the birth of her daughter Natashya, now eight. Her gritty-pretty music also routinely reflects on sex and religion, topics that Amos, the daughter of a minister who’s also part Cherokee, has spent years exploring in her own life …

Interview: Tori Amos (Babble.com)

Curiously strong survival tips

May 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Say you’re going on a wilderness expedition and can take with you only what will fit into one compact Altoids tin: What would you take? That’s just one of many thought-provoking survival questions addressed by Richard Wiese in his new book, “Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer.” Wiese, who has served as the Explorers Club’s youngest president and hosted a syndicated TV show, also fills in readers on how to: build their own canoe; start a fire without a match; make an igloo; cook “Road Kill Stew” (no, that’s not a euphemism); survive a moose attack; bake bread in a plastic bag; catch fish with a Coke bottle; chop down a tree; fashion a compass out of a sewing needle, a magnet, and a glass of water; and, well, a host of other useful things to know …

In Brief: “Born to Explore” by Richard Wiese (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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