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When my mother, Angela, was six years old, she felt sorry for the Baby Jesus in the Christmas crib at St. Joseph's Church near School House Lane where she lived.... * * * * Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes is a modern classic. Now he has written a captivating Christmas story about Angela as a child -- often cold and hungry herself -- compelled to rescue the Baby Jesus and take him home. This story is pure McCourt -- genuine, irreverent and moving. It is elegantly illustrated by two-time Golden Kite Award winner Loren Long and is the perfect Christmas story for all ages.
A beautifully written memoir full of Irish wit and pathos, making it stand out among the garden variety of youthful reminisces. Let's face it, a bad childhood is more interesting and McCourt had it in spades. He was born in Brooklyn, but his family went back to Ireland where he grew up on the dole exacerbated by alcoholism (his father's), near starvation, beatings by the schoolmasters, and a brief respite in clinic where he discovered Shakespeare. All of this would be merely stereotype in less capable hands, but McCourt's mastery of language manages to make us understand the gentleness, forgiveness, and humor that accompanies misery and enables its protagonists to survive with dignity. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc. , Portland, Or.
Nearly a decade ago Frank McCourt became an unlikely star when, at the age of sixty-six, he burst onto the literary scene withAngela's Ashes,the Pulitzer Prize -- winning memoir of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Then came'Tis,his glorious account of his early years in New York. Now, here at last, is McCourt's long-awaited book about how his thirty-year teaching career shaped his second act as a writer. Teacher Manis also an urgent tribute to teachers everywhere. In bold and spirited prose featuring his irreverent wit and heartbreaking honesty, McCourt records the trials, triumphs and surprises he faces in public high schools around New York City. His methods anything but conventional, McCourt creates a lasting impact on his students through imaginative assignments (he instructs one class to write "An Excuse Note from Adam or Eve to God"), singalongs (featuring recipe ingredients as lyrics), and field trips (imagine taking twenty-nine rowdy girls to a movie in Times Square!). McCourt struggles to find his way in the classroom and spends his evenings drinking with writers and dreaming of one day putting his own story to paper. Teacher Manshows McCourt developing his unparalleled ability to tell a great story as, five days a week, five periods per day, he works to gain the attention and respect of unruly, hormonally charged or indifferent adolescents. McCourt's rocky marriage, his failed attempt to get a Ph. D. at Trinity College, Dublin, and his repeated firings due to his propensity to talk back to his superiors ironically lead him to New York's most prestigious school, Stuyvesant High School, where he finally finds a place and a voice. "Doggedness," he says, is "not as glamorous as ambition or talent or intellect or charm, but still the one thing that got me through the days and nights. "For McCourt, storytelling itself is the source of salvation, and inTeacher Manthe journey to redemption -- and literary fame -- is an exhilarating adventure.
Now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding. When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age. As Malcolm Jones said in his Newsweek review of Angela's Ashes, "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece.
On the fictional morning of June 16, 1904--Bloomsday, as it has come to be known--Mr. Leopold Bloom set out from his home at 7 Eccles Street and began his day's journey through Dublin life in the pages of James Joyce's novel of the century,Ulysses. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday,Yes I Said Yes I Will Yesoffers a priceless gathering of what's been said aboutUlyssessince the extravagant praise and withering condemnation that first greeted itupon its initial publication. From the varied appraisals of such Joyce contemporaries as William Butler Yeats ("It is an entirely new thing. . . . He has certainly surpassed in intensity any novelist of our time") and Virginia Woolf ("Never did I read such tosh"), to excerpts from Tennessee Williams' term paper "WhyUlyssesis Boring" and assorted wit, praise, parody, caricature, photographs, anecdotes, bon mots, and reminiscence, this treasury of Bloomsiana is a lively and winning tribute to the most famous day in literature.
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