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Best of the Best

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged); The Reduced Shakespeare Company
       I've read Hamlet, and I've seen several different performances of the play, and I am here to tell you that there is NO SHARK in Hamlet!
It's been a long time since I laughed that hard; it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I choked and the tears ran down my face. Tim was laughing almost as hard. Thanks so much to Lisa Sailer, who gave us this great gift! ~ Miriam A. Kilmer

The Secret Life of Bees
       This may be Miriam's favorite movie since Bastard Out of Carolina. All the actors, including Dakota Fanning, are marvelous, and the story is heart-rending.
       Buy it used Amazon.com

If You Sing Songs...; Judy Cook   Unaccompanied Songs and Ballads   Audio CD or Cassette with Lyrics Book
       Is it enough for me to put this recording on my "Best of the Best" web page, or need I rave? ~ Miriam A. Kilmer
See the Song List and order information at the Judy Cook, Folksinger web site.

Far from the Lowlands, Judy's next recording, is equally good. The warmth and power of her voice make the ballads come alive.
Tenting Tonight: Songs of the Civil War
       Annotated Song List  and order information at the Judy Cook, Folksinger web site.

Shoulders of Giants; from their new CD, Shoulders of Giants & Other Astronomy Songs. Shoulders of Giants, (Music and Lyrics by Padi Boyd, © 2008, The Johannes Kepler Project) is one of Miriam's favorite songs. Tim prefers Padi Boyd's Dance of the Planets, also on the same CD as well as on Mixed Messages (2003), (Nominated for a WAMMIE) and on AstroCappella 2.0 (2001). We also love Wheel of Time, The Chromatics' interpretation of Isaac Watts' glorious lyrics.

       I had the pleasure of singing harmony with Elizabeth LaPrelle, a truly extraordinary young folk singer, at the recent FSGW Getaway. My husband was leading "Paddy Lay Back" at a late-night session. He later described the chorus as "a great wall of sound." ~ Miriam A. Kilmer
Lizard in the Spring
       I haven't actually listened to this album, but I've heard Elizabeth sing many of the songs on it live. It's on my wish list.

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir; Frank McCourt.   Scribner (September 1996)   Hardcover
       This is the best book I ever read. Frank McCourt has not forgotten what it is like to be a child in overwhelming circumstances. Apparently I am not alone in my admiration for this moving, tragic, hilarious book. It won the Pulitzer prize.
       I had a great deal of trouble deciding on a favorite passage to quote here: "Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes, you can never get enough of him." ~ Miriam A. Kilmer

The Frank McCourt Gift Package includes hardbacks of both Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.
See Tim Slattery's review below.
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir is available in German, French, and Spanish, and in many formats ~ both paper and audio.

'Tis: A Memoir; Frank McCourt.   Scribner (September 7, 1999)   Hardcover
Review by Tim Slattery
        Angela's Ashes: A Memoir is Frank McCourt's narration of his poverty-stricken childhood in Limerick, Ireland. It's largely a sad story that's brought to life by McCourt's appreciation of the humorous aspect of even the dreariest situations and especially by his marvelous facility with the language. His long, flowing sentences float you effortlessly along through his tale. Many have experiences to compare with McCourt's, but few can tell about them anywhere near as well.
        That unique way with words does not desert McCourt in 'Tis, the sequel to Angela's Ashes. The subject this time is McCourt's adulthood in New York. That ultimately proves less compelling than his childhood, but his writing is so exquisite that it's easy to keep going anyway. As in the first book, the easygoing flow sometimes resolves into crystalline images: the reaction of the Jewish soldier when he finds out the laundry he's transporting dirty linen to is at Dachau; the black warehouseman from Jamaica who is working to put his son through college, and who becomes a sort of mentor to McCourt; the vocational high school where McCourt has his first teaching job; and his stark encounter with the Troubles when he visits Belfast in the early 70's.
'Tis proves that Angela's Ashes was no fluke. McCourt is genuinely a superb writer.
~ © Tim Slattery
       'Tis: A Memoir is available in many formats ~ both paper and audio.        Amazon.com

The Elements of Pop-Up: A Pop-Up Book for Aspiring Paper Engineers; David A. Carter, James Diaz.   Little Simon, 1999   Hardcover Pop-Up

Songs from the Labyrinth [Asia/Australia 2008 Tour CD with Bonus Tracks]; Sting (Artist, Conductor), Edin Karamazov (Artist), John Dowland (Composer)   CD (also available in MP3 format)
The Roulette Masters, Vol. 2; The Fallen Angels (Artists)   Audio CD (June 25, 1994)
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