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Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference: Helping Your Family Live with Integrity, Value Simplicity, and Care for Others, by Susan V. Vogt, Loyola Press, 2002, $13.95, 200 pp. Although the title sounds like this book's goal is to assist parents in raising tomorrow's leaders, the book is actually more sensible than that. It contains creative ways to instill in children personal values of global awareness, anti-materialism, good will and more.

Ramona and Her Father, by Beverly Cleary, Yearling, 1984, $2.80, 186 pp. This time out Cleary paints a portrait of Ramona as the kid who takes it upon herself to keep the family together . . . even when it's not falling apart. Ramona's amusing - as usual - but the hyper-concern she has for her family leaves one to suspect she might be a prime candidate for eating disorders down the road. I wonder how Cleary will write her at eighteen.

Ramona and Her Mother, by Beverly Cleary, Yearling, 1984, $2.80, 208 pp. There's mayhem in the Quimby household. Ramona - quirky, pesky and even a little bratty - is starving for attention. This story is a thoughtful look at how a child can feel left out when both parents work. But it also - at least in Ramona's case - acknowledges how some of that attention can be made up by a person outside the family; in this case a school teacher.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8, by Beverly Cleary, Yearling, 1984, $2.80, 190 pp. To call Ramona pesky would be an understatement; she is, afterall, an eight-year-old. Cleary captures the humor of being eight - somewhere between bad manners and good etiquette - and writes it in a completely believable context. It ain't easy being eight.

Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary, Yearling, 1984, $2.80, 192 pp. The book that started it all, Ramona the Pest introduced little Ramona in all her quirky wonder to the world-at-large. It follows her exploits - if five-year-olds have such a thing - in kindergarten and tenderly reminds the reader that even quirky little kids have feelings too. This is a children's story with a grown-up heart.

Real Boys' Voices, by William S. Pollack, Penguin Books, 2001, $14.00, 392 pp. Got a real boy in your life? Get a copy of Real Boys' Voices. A follow-up to Pollack's Real Boys, it's a compilation of stories and opinions from boys and young men in small towns and cities across America. Poignant and eye-opening.

The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian, by Ann Gentry, Ten Speed Press, 2006, $24.95, 232 pp. Eat like the celebrities do! Gentry, a Hollywood restaurateur, brings her popular vegetarian recipes to your table via The Real Food Daily Cookbook. Accept no imitations.

The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein, by Sandra Mackey, W. W. Norton & Co., 2002, $27.95, 416 pp. Middle East journalism correspondent and frequent visitor to Iraq, Mackey discusses the history of Hussein's nation and why the region isn't necessarily better off without him. Arguably, it wouldn't be the first time the U.S. has ousted a bad ruler only to see him replaced with a worse evil.
Red Azalea, by Anchee Min, Penguin Putnam, 1995, $7.50, 336 pp. Raised in China during the Cultural Revolution, Anchee Min's childhood was anything but idyllic. Fortunately for us, she was blessed with a talent for writing. Red Azalea is Min's personal account of this period. She delivers an enthralling story of physical and psychological survival against a backdrop of totalitarianism. Her writing is rich for its sparseness. It appropriately reads like a rough draft about a period in China's history in which the Maoist government was playing at their own rough draft, still figuring out what Chinese Communism should look like. The literary world is in her debt.

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, by Eric Schlosser, Houghton Mifflin, 2003, $23.00, 288 pp. From the author of Fast Food Nation comes a stinging expose' of America's shadow - some might say free - economy. Reefer Madness focuses on three lucrative industries - pornography, immigrant labor and marijuana - and their effect on the American economy. They're industries on the underbelly of our economic system, but because shadow economy is estimated to make up 20% of the US GNP, assessing mainstream economics may be impossible without an understanding of them.

Refugee, by Piers Anthony, Avon, 1983, $2.95, 312 pp. Hope, the peasant hero of this story, is forced to flee for his life in this sci-fi thriller. Take all the bad traits of human nature and spread them throughout the galaxy, and you've got the setting of this tale. So much for the evolution of species. Volume one of Bio of a Space Tyrant.

The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy, by David Brock, Crown Books, 2004, $25.95, 432 pp. The Republican Noise Machine is unique in its accounting of the rise of the Right due to the author's former profession: a conservative "attack" journalist. Having served in the trenches of Republican demagogues himself, he offers a perspective like no other.

Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie, Warner Books, 1996, $12.99, 306 pp. One evening I turned on the tube, and there on Austin City Limits was a band called Indigenous. That they were a Native American band was nothing unusual in itself; that they were a Native American blues band was nothing short of extraordinary. Once again, an example of life imitating art. In Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie writes of just such a band. The story's hero, Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, can't play a chord until the legendary Robert Johnson shows up on the reservation and passes on his guitar to him. In Thomas' hands - as in Johnson's - the guitar plays magically, and soon a band is formed and they hit the big time (the "big time" in this case what you'd least expect). Reservation Blues is an affectionate look at First Americans, full of dreams, superstition and damn good yarn.

Respect for Acting, by Uta Hagen, MacMillan Publishing Co., 1978, $7.95, 227 pp. Uta Hagen was it in the day. A veteran actor and respected teacher, in Respect for Acting she makes available to a larger audience what she's been teaching in classes and workshops for decades. This book is an excellent building block for professional and amateur actors alike.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams, Pocket Books, 1982, $3.50, 250 pp. This, the second book in the Hitchhiker's series, documents Arthur Dent's travels through the universe after Earth has been obliterated. His adventures take him to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, an eating establishment whose proprietors - through the manipulation of space and time - are able to deliver each night as entertainment, the end of the universe. Whew!

Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, by Rashid Khalidi, Beacon Press, 2005, $14.00, 223 pp. Like a reader of tea leaves, author Rashid Khalidi foresees the outcome of America's perilous - or rather imperialist - path, deciphered not from the leaves of tea, but from the shifting sands of Iraq's tumultuous past.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Reader's Digest, 1991, 318 pp. Having killed off Sherlock Holmes in The Final problem, fans of the super sleuth would not rest 'til such a grave literary injustice was set right. Finally, in 1903 Doyle acquiesced with the publication of The Return of Sherlock Holmes. There are Holmes purists who argue the stories in The Return are inferior to Doyle's earlier works. Upon examination though, Doyle is consistent with the same instinctual attention to detail that Holmes possesses in his earlier cases. Illustrated by David Johnson.

The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Ballantine Books, 1983, $2.95, 544 pp. They're back . . . Sam, Frodo, the Ring of Power and their quest to destroy it. This, Part Three and the final installment of The Lord of the Rings, follows the pair deep into the villainous Sauron's kingdom. The conclusion leaves them savoring life, as they're returned to their homes in three paragraphs what took 384 pages to arrive at. So much for the art of denouement. Includes maps, six appendices and separate indexes to poems and songs, persons, beasts and monsters, places, and things. As if that weren't thorough enough, there's a supplement to the indexes which lists places, persons and things only appearing within songs or poems. Ringheads unite!

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence, by Carol Berkin, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005, $24.00, 194 pp. Colonial ERA: Berkin has filled this tome with unbelievable tales of America's founding mothers, putting them on par with their male counterparts.

Right From Wrong: Instilling a Sense of Integrity in Your Child, by Michael Riera and Joseph Di Prisco, Perseus Publishing, 2003, $15.00, 234 pp. The team that brought us The Field Guide to the American Teenager is at it again. This time Riera and Di Prisco delve into the child psyche in an attempt to analyze the formation of integrity. Hint: it's not the product of luck.

A Right to Be Hostile: The Boondocks Treasury, by A. McGruder, Three Rivers Press, 2003, $16.95, 255 pp. In this collection of McGruder's popular comic strip, the American black perspective is exposed through four years worth of wit, attitude and unique observation.

Rock Til You Drop, by John Strausbaugh, Verso, 2001, $25.00, 259 pp. John Strausbaugh hates front man Mick Jagger almost as much as he hates Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. Strausbaugh has been rubbing elbows with sixties radical rockers for years. If not a mover and a shaker himself, he's on several occasions held the position of the "annointed one" - the guy who gets to engange in intimate conversation with the rockers who built a culture around their music. It's this insider knowledge that makes Rock Til You Drop readable. Although he dedicates too many pages to trashing Jann Wenner for using Rolling Stone as a medium for trashing industry people he doesn't like (hello, earth to Strausbaugh: people in glass houses shouldn't throw rolling stones), his stories are often funny, eye-opening and in any other industry, libelous. Strausbaugh is a media wonk. That is to say, although his book is infused with interesting anecdotes, he has a penchant for joyless disdain, like the comic book guy from The Simpsons. Much of his criticism of todays music industry sound to be coming from the position that money has diluted the purity of the radical sixties rock movement; that it somehow wasn't supposed to evolve into big business and therefore become corrupted. The tour bus may be ablaze in Strausbaugh's ideal world, but in mine it's got a full tank of gas, available seating, and will be stopping at a corner close to home.

Rocks and Minerals, by Joel Arem, Ridge Press, 1978, $2.25, 145 pp. This slim volume covers everything from basic definitions of earthbound gems to the compostion of moon rocks. In between are helpful descriptions for aiding in the identification of specimens, with full color pictures throughout. Helpful tables and index too.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, by Bill Henkin, Hawthorn Books, 1979, $8.95, 222 pp. A companion to the 1975 cult movie sensation, this book contains everything a fan could want. It has movie posters, play bills, bios on cast and crew, reviews, fan mail, fan posturing and in case anybody didn't get the Eddie (Meatloaf) connection, that's explained along with other tid-bits no true fan would be caught without. Sound Greek to you? Find this book. Or at least see the movie, starring Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and - in the earliest role you're likely to catch her in - Susan Sarandon as the virginal heroine.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are dead, by Tom Stoppard, Grove Press, 1967, $3.95, 126 pp. This existentialist classic in three acts is charming, daunting and wholly original. Stoppard uses two characters from Hamlet to paraphrase that tragedy, while setting the audience up for the inevitable question: What is existence? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a beguiling adventure into the dirty laundry of afterlife.

Rosie and Michael, by Judith Viorst, Aladdin Books, 1988, $3.95. The inscription on the inside cover of my copy appropriately reads, "With all my love, your [sic] one of my best friends for life." Appropriate, because Rosie and Michael are best friends, and make a habit of the things best friends do for each other, tolerance not least among them. Illustrated by Lorna Tomei.

Rusty's Story, by Carol Gino, Bantam Books, 1986, 342 pp. Rusty was committed time and time again to mental hospitals. Doctors repeatedly misdiagnosed her as schizophrenic, subjecting her to a life of inadequate treatment for the medical condition she actually had: epilepsy. This is her true story.


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