John Green

<B>Jordan's Wheel of Time springs eternal</B> From its title, <B>New Spring</B>, the new Robert Jordan novel might prompt fans of the best-selling fantasy author to wonder if he has simply expanded on the short story, "New Spring," that appeared in the 1998 anthology, <I>Legends</I>. As luck would have it, though, the short story is merely the final chapter and epilogue of the novel. That leaves 25 other chapters of pure, fresh Wheel of Time excitement, chronicling a climb by Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche (characters familiar to series fans) to the shawl of the always-respected and often-feared Aes Sedai. The novel also reveals much about Lan Mandragoran's past, most notably why he has a right to the throne of the dead kingdom of Malkier and how he became Moiraine's Warder (a man of great capability pledged to an Aes Sedai). Although some of the recent entries in the series have been disappointingly sluggish, readers who had a hard time slogging through <I>Crossroads of Twilight</I> will be pleased with this new pre-Rand adventure. This is The Wheel of Time at its best: political intrigue, powerful characters, dangerous magic and even more dangerous secrets, a book sure to win new loyal followers for Jordan's epic series.

<B>Jordan's Wheel of Time springs eternal</B> From its title, <B>New Spring</B>, the new Robert Jordan novel might prompt fans of the best-selling fantasy author to wonder if he has simply expanded on the short story, "New Spring," that appeared in the 1998 anthology, <I>Legends</I>. As luck would have it, though, the short story is merely […]

Garth Nix, the acclaimed author of fantasy books for children, including the Old Kingdom trilogy and The Seventh Tower series, has created a new world for young readers to explore. The first book in The Keys to the Kingdom series, Mister Monday revolves around Arthur Penhaligon, a seventh-grader who is in for an exciting and revealing journey. Through some rather odd circumstances, Arthur comes into possession of a mysterious and powerful Key that's shaped like a minute-hand. When the forces of Nothing come after the Key and unleash the Sleepy Plague on his town, the magic minute-hand helps Arthur survive. Faced with only one true solution to the crisis, he plunges into the strange world of the Key (a house of unfathomable proportions, ruled by representatives of the days of the week), where he hopes he will find the answers to his questions about the Key and learn how to use its power to save his own world and that of the off-kilter house. Along the way, Arthur meets a diverse assortment of allies and enemies, as well as characters who fall somewhere in between those two categories. From the Fetchers, bowler-hat-wearing dog-men, to Suzy Turquoise Blue, Arthur's newfound friend, to the sinister Mister Monday himself, the "Denizens" of the House are numerous and colorful.

Although there are a couple of light-hearted segments and a few truly funny comments and statements (a la Neil Gaiman), it is clear that Arthur is on a perilous, all-important quest. Nix traps the reader in his world much as the House traps Arthur. At the end of this first book, many questions are answered, but not the largest and most nagging. It is clear that each entry in this series of seven (one presumably titled for each day of the week) will be complete in and of itself, but not so complete that readers won't want to learn more about the larger story, woven like a tapestry throughout each novel. Luckily for young readers, this overall story is, like the House, "too cluttered, complex, and strange to reveal its many details" in just one installment.

John Green, an admitted sci-fi/fantasy geek, writes from New Orleans.

Garth Nix, the acclaimed author of fantasy books for children, including the Old Kingdom trilogy and The Seventh Tower series, has created a new world for young readers to explore. The first book in The Keys to the Kingdom series, Mister Monday revolves around Arthur Penhaligon, a seventh-grader who is in for an exciting and […]

Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership: Nixon to Clinton Just in time for the presidential election comes a new book designed to help the informed reader determine the best qualities for our next leader. In Eyewitness to Power, Washington insider David Gergen weaves personal memoirs and observations about presidential leadership into an interesting narrative of White House politics since 1970.

Gergen is a former speechwriter for Nixon and Ford, a former communications director for Reagan, and a special advisor to Clinton. He is most famous as the originator of political “spin” during his time in the Reagan White House, where he was responsible for orchestrating events such as the D-Day address at Normandy. Gergen's positions afforded him a first-hand opportunity to observe the inner workings of four different White Houses, both Republican and Democrat.

While in many cases Eyewitness to Power is more memoir than analysis, Gergen seeks to position the book as a study of presidential leadership. He describes the qualities of an ideal president: the leader should be secure, self confident, focused on goals, well read in history, persuasive, and knowledgeable about how to use power. Yet candidates and presidents rarely live up to these ideals.

Through Gergen's eyes, the reader gets a behind-the-scenes look at the leadership styles of four recent presidents. Nixon is a brilliant strategist battling the forces of darkness and good; Ford is a decent person seeking to understand how to operate the levers of power; Reagan has a temperament well-suited to his job and knows how to play the leader; Clinton has a brilliant mind and is a superb politician, but lacks the discipline and maturity for the job.

Clearly, Reagan emerges as the president who comes closest to representing the ideal. He is praised for his security of self, his natural instincts, and for sticking with a few, clearly defined goals. Reagan is the most like FDR, Gergen's model president.

For a thoughtful consideration of presidential leadership, read this book before casting your ballot.

John Green is a business consultant based in Nashville.

Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership: Nixon to Clinton Just in time for the presidential election comes a new book designed to help the informed reader determine the best qualities for our next leader. In Eyewitness to Power, Washington insider David Gergen weaves personal memoirs and observations about presidential leadership into an interesting narrative […]

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