@Tigus: I've finally started Ed & Am No. 1 ... and am loving every page. Thank you so much, once more!
It is, by this time, a cliche: boring business dude meets a manic pixie dreamgirl who shakes up his days, keeps him up all night, teaches him about love, and then passes into the great beyond. What makes this book still feel marvelously fresh is that the MPDG isn't all that wacky, she's married, and she's already dead at the start of the book. Other than drinking mind-bending Prohibition-era quantities of booze, the adventures themselves are amazingly simple. Topper and his ghost companions enjoy several good meals, but otherwise they spend the summer mostly sleeping rough, swimming in rivers and the Atlantic, canoeing, reading [book:Ulysses|338798] aloud, and just digging the beauty of nature. There is singing and dancing, even a little brawling, but it's so charmingly bucolic. After all, if Topper gets up to 25 MPH in his car it feels fast and dangerous, and it no doubt was since roads were iffy and there were still a lot of farmers with horses about.<br/><br/>I was worried about Topper's wife. Needlessly. Smith is a writer who can produce the banter of Coward, and also spend a lot of time telling us how Topper feels about his cat. I knew it was going to have a happy ending, but I didn't know the ending would be so perfect. The overall effect is charming, but never twee. Highly recommended.
He's no gentleman, but he's all heart. He just doesn't know it yet. American Asshole takes personality clashes on with an arrogant jerk and his headstrong rival. Tenor may be his own worst enemy. His bark, has nothing on his bite. Business is the name of the game and he's about to get schooled in matters of the heart. The battle of the dueling matchmakers takes a knock out punch when the man with no heart discovers he just might have met his match. Mia could be his happy ending, if he tones down his pride and listens to his heart. American Asshole is what happens when love gone wrong, comes right. Electricity is the star of the show and this couple makes sure you feel the burn.
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me covers her childhood in segregated Birmingham, her close-knit family life, education, and rise through professional, educational, and political worlds. I went into this knowing almost nothing about Condoleezza beyond her serving in the White House under President Bush but by the end of this book I felt that I knew her as one knows a friend. I think what I found most surprising is that she still teaches classes (Managing Global Political Risk if you're curious) at Stanford University. This book runs chronologically as most autobiographies do but two of the biggest focuses are her relationship to her parents (she is an only child) and her professional life as an academic and political scientist. She is an accomplished, intelligent, and ultimately fearlessly ambitious woman. She has never married but seems genuinely happy with her single life (sounds familiar). She makes no bones about her many achievements which include but are not limited to being a proficient pianist and fluent Russian speaker. I also appreciated that she included photographs, a chronology of her career, and a glossary of historic events and people during her lifetime. I'd say that this book would be good for anyone looking to learn more about women in politics and/or what it was like for this particular woman who was raised during segregation in the tumultuous city of Birmingham...and still make it to the upper echelons of government. Good for history buffs and political junkies.
What's Up Next: Recovery: Freedom From our Addictions by Russell Brand
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