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The Blue Circus
Side Street Press
Chicago speak is such a great language and in The Blue Circus, Dennis Foley, a native Southsider, brings that language, the city itself and its rambunctious characters to life. Neighborhood streets, dive bars, and shady city deals dance across the page, spread out like a deck of cards. But Foley holds some of the cards back and delivers them in a timely fashion, causing the reader to shake his head and marvel. This is a wonderful story about the City that Works, or doesn't work, and a family trying to push forward to survive, as only an insider can tell.
The Circumstantial Enemy
John R. Bell
Endeavour Media UK
9781973147206, $9.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 324pp, www.amazon.com
Yakov Efraim, Reviewer
David Ben Efraim, Reviewer
The major players in the Second World War had their stories chronicles profoundly, becoming an essential cornerstone in any education system. Needless to say, covering the entire extent of the war's consequences is something most people simply don't have the time for, which is a shame considering all the intricate stories we have yet to reveal. It takes a special predilection and dedication to delve below the surface of common knowledge, but once you take the plunge a whole new wealth of virgin knowledge awaits. Yugoslavia's involvement in the Second World War is often overlooked and relegated to nothing but a side note, or at most, a paragraph in most history books. Despite the fact that they capitulated quickly and without too much of a fuss, the history of those people doesn't end there... as a matter of fact, for many of them like Tony Babic in John Bell's The Circumstantial Enemy, life is only about to begin.
The book opens in 1941, when the Independent State of Croatia had already been formed. The only independence it really carried was in its name as it served as a puppet state of the Third Reich, and while many people were opposed to the occupation, many others tolerated it, if not outright supported them as opponents of communism. We make the acquaintance of the afore-mentioned Tony, his best friend Goran, and Katarina, the sweetheart that has set both of their worlds alight. With the Luftwaffe always in need of more pilots, Tony finds himself conscripted and sent away to fight the Allies. Meanwhile, Goran and Katarina stay behind, and unbeknownst to him, join the other side of the war: the communist partisans. As they work towards freeing the country from Nazi rule, Tony makes his way through the Italian and North African theateres, ultimately finding himself in a prisoner of war camp in the United States. With the end of the war looming over them, the three friends finally draw closer after years of separation... however, time has taken its toll, and all of them bear the shaping scars of their ordeals.
A Cure for Boredom
Novels which focus on the human elements in a time of war commonly suffer from the same affliction: they fail to create tension or move the plot forward due to the perceived need to develop characters as much as possible. This is one thing which has been bugging me in this genre, and I'm delighted to say that John Bell has avoided this pitfall as masterfully as anyone possibly could. From the very start of the book when we get to meet the three friends we already sense some tension brewing between them, and as we get to know them more and more we realize that despite their closeness their relation is a barrel of gunpowder ready to go off at any moment.
Bookwormex - "The Circumstantial Enemy" by John Bell (Book cover)There are also very few descriptive passages that overstay their welcome, with John Bell throwing in a healthy mix of dialogues and action which keep the plot moving along at a relatively quick pace. The events actually unfold rather quickly over two hundred and seventy pages covering a period of just a bit over ten years, so we seldom have the time to get bored and fall asleep. There are more than a few twists and turns to keep you on your toes, and all of that is accomplished while staying truthful to the historical course of events.
A Window into the Forgotten
In my opinion, the latter parts of the book which deal with Tony's return to his now-communist homeland and reunites with his friends are the most interesting. Bell has certainly done his fair share of research and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the pages once he began to describe this life after the war... a peace the people were forced into just as much as they were thrust into the heart of conflict. We get to hear the ruminations, dreams and hopes of the people affected by this whole ordeal, what it's like to change one oppressor for another. While it may sound a tad counter-intuitive, but this is the part where we really learn that seldom can we identify wartime events through a black-and-white spectrum... in the end, very few are those who don't want to live in peace, it's just that their ideas of prosperity differ from each other.
The author also does a magnificent job at portraying the ever-shifting relationship between the three main characters. While I did wonder a couple of times at the beginning why Goran and Tony were such good friends, in time that concept settled in and it was smooth sailing from there on out. We go through alongside them all of the pain and suffering they endure, the moral and emotional dilemmas they have to face, and the half-disappointing, half-hopeful realities they confront... it's safe to say that by the end of it, the group of three friends expands to accommodate a fourth one.
The Final Verdict
To bring this review to a conclusion, The Circumstantial Enemy by John Bell is without a doubt one of the more engaging and enjoyable historical fiction novels I have had the pleasure of reading recently... and that goes double if we're just taking into account World War II stories. It's eventful, emotional, educative, and engaging every step of the way, from the descriptions of grand historical events to the small banter shared between minor characters. It's a book I highly recommend if you enjoy Second World War novels which focus on the little people and the odysseys they are thrust into.
Marital Advice To My Grandson, Joel
Sweet Memories Publishing
P.O. Box 497 Arnolds Park, IA 51331-0497
9780692998151; LCCN: 2017919313, $10.95 PB, $5.25 Kindle, 152pp,
Ila Turner, Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars
Love, Humor and When NOT to plan your Wedding
I really liked this book a lot. It is applicable to many people, singles, and married. I read this in one sitting, and I didn't want it to end.
This book is written with lots of love. Its funny when it needs to be, and its not at all preachy. The language is not harsh, not going to turn anyone off as some advice books do because you feel like you're in a corner and they're poking their finger at you.
Learning through humor is great. And this author sure has it nailed down. He's truly funny.
I'm way past his target age, and I was laughing, chuckling and nodding my head in agreement throughout the entire book.
Raising a son - going to be best man at a wedding - making wedding plans - you want to know when NOT to plan the wedding - or just want to send your friend a great read - this IS a book to get for yourself and your friends.
Not to leave out the girls either. I am a girl and I found it humorous. Bridesmaids will enjoy reading this as well.
Mari Anne Christie
Whaley Digital Press
9781386870012, $3.99, eBook
B07196T7RH, $3.99, Kindle
9781546730347, $19.99 PB
(dlarge-print paperback - two volumes):
V1: 978-1-548-35525-8, $14.99
V2: 978-1-548-35790-0, $14.99
(e-book library price through Overdrive): Free
(trade paperback): $19.99
(large-print paperback - two volumes): $14.99 each
Page Count: 504
Anna Belfrage, Reviewer
Discovering Diamonds Historical Fiction Reviews
I think I am in love. With a cantankerous, opinionated, brave, intelligent man named Palmer Harrold Wentworth III. Fortunately, we are of an age. Unfortunately, he doesn't exist, and even if he did, he'd have been long dead, seeing as he was born 1805 or so. My infatuation with Mr Wentworth, or Harry as his friends call him, is testament to what a fantastic job Ms Christie has done in presenting her protagonist.
Blind Tribute is not an easy book to read. Set in the United States during the Civil War, it is the story of Harry, born a Southerner but who has spent many years living in the north. As the spectre of civil war looms ever closer, Harry initially refuses to take a stand, torn apart by his ancestral ties to the South and his new family and life in Philadelphia. However, as Harry is the chief editor of a newspaper, he cannot avoid the issue of declaring his opinions forever. When the Confederate Army opens fire on Fort Sumter the die is cast, and Harry has to choose.
One of the first casualties in any war is the truth. This is perhaps even more valid during a civil war, when brother may end up fighting against brother, both of them convinced they have truth on their side. Harry, therefore, decides to dedicate himself to presenting the truth of the war, and to do so he returns to Charleston, determined to be as close as possible to the unfolding events.
Obviously, he does not receive the welcome of a prodigal son. His relationship to his father soured over forty years ago and is not exactly improved by what Wentworth senior perceives as Harry's defection to the Yankees. While not about to deliver any spoilers, let's just say that Harry's time in the south ends most abruptly. I have still to recover from the intensity of those particular chapters.
Harry's experiences in the south leave him a diminished man - in some ways. In others, he grows, having to shed the man he was before the war to emerge another, wiser man. But it is a painful journey of self-discovery Ms Christie subjects her protagonist to, his losses piling up along the way.
That Ms Christie has done extensive research is evident from the first page. In particular, I am impressed by how well she presents the complexities of the war, whether they be political or economic. The conflict, as presented by Ms Christie, is not black and white, it is a multitude of hues of grey, with one notable, very black, exception: slavery. Heart wrenching descriptions of slave auctions, of the punishment inflicted on slaves, turn this reader's stomach - and Harry's.
Blind Tribute is a long book with quite the cast of well-developed characters, all the way from Harry to his utterly obnoxious wife. At times, pace is slow but the hypnotic quality of Ms Christie's flawless prose, the way she paints detailed pictures of her settings, is addictive and I find myself turning page after page after page, entirely submerged in the world of Harry, whether it is the genteel salons of Philadelphia or the abandoned rooms of an old plantation.
Ms Christie has written a book that I will never forget. It has touched my heart, my soul, my intellect, not something I experience all that often. Blind Tribute is, quite simply, the best book I have read in a very, very long time.
Anaphora Literary Press
9781681143675, $20.00 PB
9781681143682, $35.00 HC
9781681143699 $2.99 Kindle, 234pp
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Knowledge-Clifford-Browder/dp/1681143674/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517408998&sr=1-2&keywords=dark+knowledge
Nicole Williamson, Reviewer
Retired Librarian, Lexington Public Library (NC)
I received this copy of the book from the author of Bill Hope, His Story [see the July 26, 2017, entry], I reviewed favorably in the past. This in no way influenced my review.
Set in the years after the Civil War in New York City this book focuses on the Harmony family -- a family who earned their money both from Captaining and from shipping itself. Chris Harmony is a history student who is interested in writing a history of the family, his grandfather Caleb Harmony, in particular. His grandfather was a legend and told him many tales when he was growing up about his exploits. When he died his chest of documents went to Chris's father who never got around to going through them and now he has just died leaving the task to Chris and his sister Sal.
But his uncle Jacob wants the chest when he finds out about it and Chris's interest in digging around in the past. He and his son Dwight try to sneak it out of the house when they come over for Sunday dinner but Chris catches them and the chest stays in the house. What is worth all this trouble to hide from? Chris soon finds out his answer when Jacob's other son Rick comes back from his voyage at sea as a sailor to help him and Sal with the contents of the chest. It looks as though Grandpa Caleb might have owned slaver ships and sold slaves in Brazil and Cuba where it was still legal and possibly even New York where it was illegal. Also, that Jacob was involved too and that their dad owned a part of a slaver ship for a while and that he knew what they were up to and looked the other way.
Dwight, under the guise of helping him, introduces him to the mysterious and charming Mrs. Louise Rivington who entertains men in a kind of salon for those in shipping. Her father was big in the industry and taught her much about shipping and investing. Chris hopes to get answers from her about some of the people whose names have come up in his investigations as well as the names of some ships. The help she gives him is interesting.
This was an excellent book. I really enjoyed reading about the history of the American illegal slave trade. I learned quite a bit about that horrid practice right along with the characters of the book. Chris is quite innocent and a bit of a babe in the woods, but he is not a complete fool as he does not completely trust his cousin or uncle. His sister Sal is a delight to read as she is smart, fresh, sassy, and progressive for her times like taking up shooting lessons. Cousin Rick was another delightful character. He would breeze in shake things up and then sweep back out to sea again. Overall this novel is worth reading and I highly recommend it.
An Urchin of Means
9781946161130, $10.99 PB, $2.99 eBook, 256pp
Dan Grover, Reviewer
One Man Book Club Reviews
I wish I could remember what made me pick up Marking Time, book 1 of April White's Immortal Descendants series. Was it the time travel? The vampires and shapeshifters? The historical fiction? Jack the Ripper? Probably a lot of each of those.
But the biggest reason?
It was FREE. It still is. Right now, on Amazon. It. Is. Free. It costs you exactly nothing. You have no excuse. Except that you're going to love it, and then you're going to have to by the next 4 books--which aren't free......but so worth reading. April White, indie author extraordinaire, writes books that are worth reading.
And with that preamble, I am happy to introduce you to her latest -- An Urchin of Means, Book 1 of the Baker Street Series.
Ringo and Charlie, happily married and fresh off their time-traveling adventures in The Immortal Descendants series, have settled down in their native time and place - late Victorian Era, London. With a head full of the future and a past full of learning to survive alone on the streets, Ringo can't help but be the coolest guy in town. So cool, in fact, that when his buddy Oscar Wilde invites Ringo to join Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle for lunch, Ringo's exploits and skills of observation become source material for a certain famous detective.
Elementary, my dear.
An Urchin of Means is short enough to be read quickly, and the most interesting bits of history are woven seamlessly through the narrative like the fact and the fiction have always belonged together. This is historical fiction at its most fun. I loved it.
Here's my prediction: You're going to give An Urchin of Means a try because it sounds like a fun story. (It is!) You're going to remember An Urchin of Means because of Oscar Wilde.
April let him steal the show, and I'm so glad she gave him the treatment he deserved. Oscar Wilde was a treasured personality who did not deserve the ignominious ending he received. Don't know his history? Look him up. You'll be happy you did.
Just like you'll be happy you gave April White's stories a try.
An Urchin of Means is written to stand alone. You don't have to have read The Immortal Descendants first. Jump right in.
These are books worth reading. -- Happy Reading!
College Success Stories That Inspire: Lessons from Inside and Outside the Classroom
Steven Roy Goodman
9781939282378, $17.95 PB, $3.95 Kindle, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Margaret J. King, Reviewer
Director, Cultural Studies & Analysis
The cost and value of a college education are being seriously debated, while at the same time the Experience Economy is rising. This is an ideal juncture for the response of College Success Stories That Inspire, a testament to the rich potential of college as an individual journey of meaning. Not as an abstraction of the school catalog, nor the cartoon of the college movie - but the many ways in which this key life stage is being lived by students across the country from many backgrounds - some first in the family to graduate.
Washington, DC admissions consultant Steven Roy Goodman has assembled almost one hundred reflective personal statements that express the broad scope of dreams, goals, challenges, outcomes, and futures. Ranged by themes, these cover tough choices, solving problems, learning to adapt, dealing with the unexpected, life-changing mentors, risk-taking, friendship, and more. Gleaned from years of advising students and their families, this casebook emerges to discuss choice of school, grades, sports, politics, family expectations, finances, lifestyles (including Greek), culture gaps, and choosing a major, a minor, and a mentor. Interwoven are time, money, and energy management and the social network.
This collection moves the college discussion from more familiar ways of thinking about college as a trial for top performers on to a richer agenda. This embraces a full repertoire of choice, risk and reward, unexpected opportunities and encounters, choosing a single pathway from many, learning from false starts and mistakes, and the art of being mentored.
Finally, this book is an invitation to view college not only as academic striving but as a course in self-discovery and the examined life, both on-campus and off. Goodman refocuses the fulfilling college career as a universe of choices, showing how they can be recognized and made the most of.
The Other Side of Freedom
Cynthia T. Toney
Write Integrity Press
PO Box 702852, Dallas, TX 75370
9781944120399, $11.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 198pp, www.amazon.com
Cynthia T. Toney's historical novel for teens, The Other Side of Freedom, shows the seamy side of Prohibition-era organized crime from the perspective of a young man whose family becomes its unwitting victims. Finally - good historical fiction that will appeal to male and female readers alike.
In 1920s Louisiana, Sal struggles with questions of right and wrong as an organized-crime ring forces family members into involvement with bootlegging, with heartbreaking results. Keeping the secret will keep Sal and his parents alive, but is it worth the cost of losing contact with friends and his beloved uncle?
Sal and his best friend Antonina take great risks to uncover the mystery surrounding the crime ring. Aided by Hiram, a young African-American farmhand who faces further obstacles caused by the segregation of the time, Sal and Antonina refuse to be intimidated by the crime ring, even after it becomes evident that the criminals are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.
One detail in this novel that particularly fascinated me was the presence of Italian immigrants in Louisiana during this time period. I grew up in northern New Jersey, and my own community had a large influx of immigrants from Italy in the early twentieth century. In fact, a local Italian-American family (only two blocks from where I would later live) provided their home as the center of a labor dispute in 1913. I did not know that besides settling in the Northeast (New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), Italian immigrants also settled in Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana and California, according to the map found at Italian Immigration to America.
I love how the cover image focuses on the very worried eyes of the young man in this novel. The Other Side of Freedom is highly recommended for middle-school readers and young teens studying this period of American history. This would make a terrific classroom read or summer-reading option. [Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. Used by permission.]
(available through IngramSpark)
9780999566800, $15.99 PB, $9.50 Kindle, 276pp, www.amazon.com
Four sisters keep vigil over their dying father and find themselves reminiscing over a bittersweet family history.
Goethe's (River Bow, 2013, etc.) nostalgic and affecting novel is set in the Deep South and follows the lives of Matthew and Margaret Sobral and their four daughters: Rebecca, Elizabeth, Kate, and Emily.
The book opens in the springtime of 1980 in south Louisiana. The girls' mother has recently died, and their father has taken to his bed, stricken by a broken heart. As the daughters watch over their dying dad, they recall their childhood growing up in a progressive family in the racially prejudiced South. Intertwined is the story of their parents' meeting and courtship, she a plucky newspaper reporter and he a genteel headmaster.
The tale's timeline is tacked skillfully and accurately to key historical events of the era. For example, Margaret and Matthew's lives are affected by a GI - who owns the home they are renting - returning from war on the same day that Margaret gives birth to their first child. Similarly, the emergence of Elvis Presley and the John F. Kennedy assassination have significant impacts on the family, further enhancing the tale's vivid realism.
The sisters' conversations paint a rich and colorful portrait of growing up in the South, as they recall playing "Devil in the Ditch" against a unique rural backdrop: "It was so scary, the scariest game I ever played," Elizabeth asserts. And Emily replies, "Because the devil was alive to us....Whatever kid was in the ditch trying to catch us, drag us down, while we jumped back and forth across the ditch, whatever kid that was, truly became the devil."
This capturing of childhood innocence is juxtaposed with deliciously perceptive commentary from the narrator: "Later the sisters will blame their mother for almost everything wrong about them, or their lives. The mothers are the easiest to blame...too meek, too cloying or - in the case of Margaret Sobral - too remote. The mother tends to be the 'sitting duck' for the family shooting gallery." The result is a moving, emotionally intuitive tale, littered with surprises, that brings a branch of the Sobral family tree vibrantly to life.
An articulate and stirring Southern story written from the heart.
9780692943595, $14.95 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 365pp, www.amazon.com
"You never know when a door will open that'll change your life forever."
The lives of doctors Jenny Gordon and Mark Stewart along with Chaplain Joseph Waters are thrown together when a massive earthquake destroys the hospital where they are working. Now, on his first day of work, Mark must mark patients who managed to escape with ribbons: red for immediate attention, blue for beyond help, and yellow for less serious. Mark is torn as he feels he is playing God in the decision of who lives or dies. Jenny is treating all the patients she can, and Joseph, on his second day as the hospital chaplain, is administering last rights. None of these remarkable characters have had an easy past, and it comes to haunt them, especially on this disastrous day.
As time moves on, readers find out about the soured pasts of these three characters and experience them overcome all obstacles together to bring hope, love, spirituality, and healing to as many people as possible throughout the rest of their lives. Through these experiences, these admirable characters also grow spiritually themselves and dispel the ghosts of the past.
Salz has created an inspiring novel focusing on faith and spirituality. She shows readers how by faith one can change their life regardless of circumstance. Mark was once homeless, Jenny always feels inadequate due to her mother, and Joseph has a troubled youth with a criminal record - yet these three fascinating characters change the entire world with their research, work, prayers, and faith as the novel progresses. Salz connects her astonishing characters by drawing on her background as a physician herself, lending validity to her compelling story. She expresses how people can truly transform not only their lives but also the lives of others all around the world by just having simple faith in yourself and those around you.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review.
The House Always Wins
9781944877064, $16.95, 324pp, www.amazon.com
A whirlwind romance leads an unlikely pair of newlyweds to Las Vegas, home of every dream and nightmare they can imagine - from predatory developers to a friendly ghost.
Small-town Michigan reporter Anna Christiansen never does get to interview visiting rocker Rob Lazarus, or even pick up the concert ticket she was told would be waiting for her. But her conversation with Dickweeds bass player Aaron Eisenberg, who takes pity on her, pays much bigger dividends. Sweet, soulful Aaron sweeps Anna off her feet so completely that she quits her job on the spot, bids her parents farewell, packs the bare essentials, and drives off with him to Vegas, the easiest place on the planet to get married.
Settling into a not-terrible new gig, Anna sets about refurbishing the 1950s brick fortress they've bought on East St. Louis Avenue, in the shadow of the Pyke's Peak Casino Hotel. A pregnancy quickly follows, exciting the newlyweds to no end. Unfortunately, they're less pleasantly surprised by the news that Pyke's Peak, in search of more parking space, wants to buy every property on the block and level it and that all the neighbors, with the single exception of Capt. Charles T. Caldwell, a retired Marine, are not only willing to sell, but openly hostile toward Aaron and Anna for holding out.
Attorney Marty Rosen darkly forecasts the scorched-earth campaign that will likely follow before sending them to his journalist friend Ed Scott, who promises to take up their cause shortly before he's drowned on his Hawaii vacation. Their only hope is the counsel and inspiration of the late racketeer Meyer Levin, their resident ghost, who's no more eager than they are to see his storied home knocked down and paved over.
Rouff (Money Shot, 2004, etc.) spins a guilelessly winsome fable whose charming heroine needs to have everything from her ghost's personal history to the ritual significance of her newborn's bris explained to her - which means that the reader gets treated to all these explanations too.
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Sherrill S. Cannon
Strategic Book Publishing
978194650560, $12.50 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 156pp, $12.50
978194650577, $23.50 HC, www.amazon.com
Anita Lock, Reviewer
Award-winning author Sherrill Cannon has a knack for turning feelings into words in her latest book of poems on love and loss.
Cannon's newest has been a long time in the making. A collection of one hundred plus poems geared for a wide range of ages (middle school on) who have experienced the joys and sorrows associated with love, Cannon's writing reflects many, many years of creativity that didn't just pile up in notebooks. According to her website, the former teacher applied her gift of wordsmithing to help others: "As a teacher, I used poetry to help counsel many troubled teens and friends, and have continued this pattern throughout the years."
Now in book form, and appropriately divided into three poignant sections, Cannon invites readers to embrace her words of wisdom through this marvelous journey called life. Subtitled Poems of Love and Loss (Feelings Into Words), Cannon goes a step further by adding Coin Toss? in her Table of Contents. Each carefully weighed section - Heads...Of Love and Friendship; Spinning - Of Related Emotions; and Tails...of Heartache and Anguish - begins to make sense...one poem at a time.
Keeping largely but not exclusively to first-person narrative, her first section centers on light issues, such as friends, lovers, parent and child relationships, God, music, and even the beloved Teddy Bear. But as she moves on to sections two and three, the timbre slowly darkens into areas of loss, such as loved ones moving away and death.
Cannon's assortment of mellifluous poetry, many sprinkled with puns, is replete with free verse, blank verse, couplets, simple 4-line rhymes, alternating rhymes, quatrains, haiku, and concrete poems, just to name a few. Amid the bulk of Cannon's work, though, are sonnets.
While the various poetic forms in A Penny for Your Thoughts do admirably to translate "feelings into words," Cannon capitalizes upon her love theme by using a potent structure to verbalize this amorous mien: the Shakespearean sonnet.
Audiences familiar with The Bard's works will immediately recognize how Cannon effectively captures the varied expressions of this commanding yet fickled four-letter word that is known as "love." Perfect examples of the Shakespearean sonnet include "Music," "Sonnet to Friendship," and "The Road."
(From "Music") "Stop and hear the music in your life - A melody for you to sing along; For it will soothe your heart and ease your strife. If you would only listen to its song..."
Second to the Shakespearean sonnet usage is the Petrarchan. Examples include "A Memory," "Tentative," and "The Transplant."
(From "Transplant") "It really wasn't very long ago, My plant was set into this strange new ground Where everything was different. But it found That even in new sunlight, it could grow..."
There is no vulgarity. Every word spoken is straightforward, intentional, and from the heart. If the reader follows judiciously, he/she will discover that the poems provide plenty to ruminate on and are very therapeutic for those who have unresolved conflict. Quill says: A Penny for Your Thoughts is so much more than another compilation of poems; it is indeed a book of healing.
Dead Scared: The Mortsafeman Trilogy Book 1
ISBN: 9781771279406 $12.99
e-book: 9781771279413 $3.01 Page Count 290 pages
Jack Magnus, Reviewer
Dead Scared: The Mortsafeman Trilogy, Book One is a horror novel for young adults written by Ivan Blake. Being the new kid in school is problematic at best, especially when it's high school, and the town is a small and insular mill town in Maine. Everyone knew everyone else in Bemishstock, Maine, a once thriving industrial center that now had only one manufacturer still operating a plant there, Allied Paper Products of Wisconsin. And while no one could actually say that they enjoyed the stink and air pollution that went along with a paper production plant, the fact that Chris Chandler was the son of the man who was spearheading Allied Paper's move to shut the plant down made him even more despised in school. Chris's very presence symbolized the death of Bemishstock, and the other students, and their parents, were not at all circumspect in their desire to strike back at him. Finding his locker dripping with pig's blood was commonplace, but being hauled up before the sheriff for things he didn't do was driving Chris to a feeling of desperation he would never have imagined before. He still couldn't understand why his father had taken this position with the company; why they moved to this awful town; and why his mom didn't laugh and smile as she used to. Then, the richest, cutest and most popular girl in his class suddenly seemed to notice him, and while he knew her bully boyfriend would probably make him regret it, he couldn't resist the feeling, finally, of being accepted.
Ivan Blake's young adult dark fantasy novel, Dead Scared: The Mortsafeman Trilogy, Book One, is an intense and brooding tale that delivers. There's nothing quite as satisfying as getting wrapped up in a good, old fashioned horror story, and Blake's plot had me instantly hooked. I loved the gloomy New England atmosphere, and was suitably spooked by the creepy defrocked British chiropractor who had a goat farm and a very dark secret. Chris is a grand main character; he's strong, resourceful and someone I'd want on my side in a tough situation. Blake's plot is cunning and dark and has a fascinating historical background, and his characters are believable and complex. His writing is often lyrically lovely, but this never gets in the way of the action and horror that this book is steeped in. I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in Blake's The Mortsafeman Trilogy and most highly recommend Dead Scared. -- Five Stars
Hogan's Hope: A Deaf Hero's Inspirational Quest for Love and Acceptance
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781532014611, $23.99 HC
9781532014604, $13.99; $3.99 Kindle, 152pp, www.amazon.com
What a blessing to read Author Connie Bombaci's book about her life with her deaf dog, Hogan. She adopted him as a rescued special needs dog from her local humane society. But my short, factual sentence does not truly convey the depth of how Hogan impacted his new human and dog family and how they changed his life. Hogan's story may well change your life for the better.
Hogan was born deaf, which is common to the Dalmatian breed. The author named him Hogan, from the Navajo word for home, because that's what this dog was seeking. But there's more to the name "Hogan" because the author wanted to recognize the spiritual component that Hogan radiated.
This spiritual force blazed forth when Hogan, an intelligent, and deep- thinking dog and Connie, a loving, compassionate, but practical and experienced animal person bonded through communication. Ms. Bombaci trained Hogan using American Sign Language (ASL). Hogan learned at least 73 signs, for words you might expect, "sit" and "out", and more novel and sophisticated words, such as "sing" and "mama".
This book is a loving, well-written and inspiring work and it was no surprise to learn that Hogan became a celebrity- appearing on Oprah and other national and local shows. Hogan qualified as a certified therapy dog and there is a touching story about his nursing home visits. Appendices about Hogan and deaf dogs are also included. Here's some great advice, "A tired dog is a good dog."
I highly recommend this book. More than just a nice dog story, this is a testament to love, perseverance, and hope. "Hogan's hope was for everyone to realize anything is possible if you don't give up believing." Hogan's Hope also reminded me, "What I can I give Him, Give my heart." Give your heart the gift of Hogan's Hope.
Wisdom & Wordplay
9781912256266, $12.99, PB, 188pp, www.amazon.com
Words are fun. We often use them in games, or witty quips and phrases. Condensing philosophical observations into one-liners takes great skill, and shows a mastery of language. It is called Aphorism. This book is filled with such skill, and offers a fun dip and dive opportunity when you find a quiet moment to titillate or enlighten your mind.
9780999301814, $27.99 HC
9780999301807, $16.00 PB; $4.99 Kindle, www.amazon.com
In this Jazz Age - set novel, a young, working-class woman falls for the scion of a wealthy hotelier and pays a price. In her debut novel, Ward paints a vivid portrait of Kansas City in the Roaring '20s, name-checking local landmarks such as Swope Park and Petticoat Lane. Her setting is a good choice, more original than Chicago or New York City. She also does a good job portraying the excitement and energy of that era, whether depicting pleasures such as speak-easies and bathtub gin or new, middle-class opportunities for women, including typing jobs. things haven't advanced, though: public accommodations are segregated by race, women make less money than men and are kept out of certain professions, and different rules exist for rich and poor people ...Well-done 1920s Kansas City atmosphere.
Living with Pain without Becoming One
One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067
9781683970286, $14.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Pain is inevitable, universal, and for over one hundred million Americans, it's nearly constant. Chronic pain can be a miserable existence, but it doesn't mean we have to become miserable people. With his own chronic pain ailing him, pastor Craig Selness writes in the pages of "Living with Pain without Becoming One" about pain using a Biblical perspective on living well. The good news of the gospel is that we can continue to do good, continue to be kind and gracious and loving and hopeful, all despite a physical struggle with pain. Pastor Selness' thoughtful, honest, and scriptural words will encourage anyone who hurts or loves someone who does. Inspired and inspiring, "Living with Pain without Becoming One" is unreservedly recommended reading for anyone suffering from a condition of chronic pain, and should be a part of every community library's "Health & Medicine" collection for the benefit of their patrons struggling with chronic pain issues.
The Healthy Living Handbook
Laura Harris Smith
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9780800797881, $14.99, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Laura Harris Smith is a certified nutritional counselor and the founding co-pastor of Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee. In "The Healthy Living Handbook: Simple, Everyday Habits for Your Body, Mind and Spirit" she goes beyond over-hyped diets and complicated exercise routines, to distill the essence of a healthy life into one simple, practical idea: change your habits, change your life. By showing that a truly healthy life is more than physical (it's mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual) The Healthy Living Handbook" gives the reader easy, everyday ways not only to live well, but to live better, in every area of life. Accessible, practical, and grounded in real life, "The Healthy Living Handbook" is not a major lifestyle overhaul; it's just full of simple course corrections that will bring the peace, rest, energy, connection, and clarity longed for. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Health/Medicine & Personal Wellness collections, it should be noted for private reading lists that "The Healthy Living Handbook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.54) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (ChristianAudio, 9781683669876, $19.98, CD).
Lifesaving for Beginners
Red Hen Press
PO Box 3537, Granada Hills, CA 91394
9781597096058, $14.95, PB, 225pp, www.amazon.com
When Anne Edelstein was forty-two, her mother, a capable swimmer in good health, drowned while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Caring for two small children of her own, Anne suddenly found herself grieving not only for her emotionally distant mother but also for her beloved younger brother Danny, who had killed himself violently over a decade before. She finds herself wrestling not only with the past and her family's legacy of mental illness, but also with the emotional well-being of her children. Part memoir and part meditation on joy and grief, "Lifesaving for Beginners" will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to come to terms with their parents, their siblings, their children, and their place in the world. Anne Edelstein has worked in the book publishing business for over 25 years, as an editor and then as a literary agent so it is no surprise that "Lifesaving for Beginners" is an deftly crafted, engagingly presented, intensely personal memoir that is a truly riveting read from beginning to end, and an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.
Light Within the Shadows
Granville Island Publishing
9781926991849, $24.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com
"Light Within the Shadows" is a lively and moving memoir that deftly chronicles Pnina Granirer's life as an artist, wife and mother. Conceived as a play in three acts, it begins in her hometown in Romania, moves to its second act in Israel, and concludes with her life in North America. It encompasses her years in Israel, the USA, France and Canada, and her travels to Japan, Spain and Mexico, all of which inform her understanding of the world which is then reflected in her art. Impressively informative, emotionally resonating, and inherently engaging account of an interesting life lived out in interesting people living in interesting times and places, "Light Within the Shadows" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections.
The Tuscan Child
Lake Union Publishing
9781503951822, $24.95, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com
In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant
fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and
in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an
irreversible betrayal. Nearly thirty years later, Hugo's estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned
home to the English countryside to arrange her father's funeral. Among his personal effects is an
unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation. Still dealing with the emotional
wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to
understand her father's history -- and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon
discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go
of her father's secrets now. An original, riveting, and unfailingly entertaining read from cover to
cover, "The Tuscan Child" showcases author Rhys Bowen's genuine flair for narrative driven
storytelling and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community
library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists
that "The Tuscan Child" is also available in a paperback edition (9781503951815, $14.95) and in
a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Craven Street Books
9781610353137, $14.95, www.cravenstreetbooks.com
From the briny scent of Fisherman's Wharf to the fragrant sage scrub of Imperial County; from the otherworldly starkness of Death Valley to the crashing waves and flexing muscles at Venice Beach, "Crossing California: A Cultural Topography of a Land of Wonder and Weirdness" by former columnist and feature writer for the Sacramento Bee Sam McManis gives readers a first-hand experience. McManis has stalked the tony aisles of the newly minted Broad Museum in gentrified downtown Los Angeles, and quick-footed it through the International Banana Museum along the desiccated shores of the moonscaped Salton Sea. He has inadvertently gotten his car stuck in a tree at a cheesy drive-thru giant Sequoia roadside attraction along the hemp highway between Mendocino and Humboldt, and witnessed, with both fascination and can't-look-away horror, grown men and women, sans children and sans inhibitions, belt out full-throated versions of "Let It Go" at a Disneyland sing-along. All told, Crossing California is a trip. Enhanced with color photographs, "Crossing California" is an inherently fascinating and appreciatively informative reader from cover to cover. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Crossing California" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.46).
The Gospel Of Thomas The Younger
Gary T. McDonald
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
9781945572739, $26.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
In 1945, a trove of ancient papyrus books was discovered in Egypt. Among them was the Gospel of Thomas. This new Gospel, that of Thomas (the Younger), was not found at Nag Hammadi, but also claims to have been written by an eyewitness -- a nephew of the man now called the Christ. Over the course of his long life, Thomas (the Younger) watched the mythology that grew up around the very human man he traveled with and saw die on a cross become the basis for a religion that Jesus himself would never have accepted. Then, in his Gospel, he gave us his uncle's true message along with all the blood-chilling drama of those times. Translator Timothy X. Hardesty, PhD, fully annotates this alternative history of the major players on the first-century stage in this humane, rational, and thought-provoking novel of truly epic proportions and spiritual vision. An inherently fascinating and deftly crafted work of truly memorable fiction, "The Gospel Of Thomas The Younger" is an extraordinary novel by an extraordinary writer and unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Gospel Of Thomas The Younger" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
9781619848405, $17.99, HC, 228pp, www.amazon.com
Friends and family expected Ken Cruickshank to continue playing sports, traveling, engaging in mischief, and raising an active brood after he married his soul mate, Karen. Indeed, all was proceeding to plan until an invisible enemy strengthened its grip on his body and mind. Goals, abilities, and many dreams grew forever affected by progressive disease. After an accident crumpled his weakened body, he dug deep to rediscover the optimism and hope he'd once considered his essence. He realized that the illness he blamed for stealing his identity was also the path to wisdom and a life of fulfillment. A candidly compelling and ultimately inspiring memoir, "Stand Up" is a simply riveting read from start to finish and a very highly recommended addition to community library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stand Up" is also available in a paperback edition (9781619848412, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Granta 142: Animalia
Sigrid Rausing, editor
9781900889125, A$24.99, paperback, 248 pages
As usual, Granta is full of well-written and interesting articles, stories, poems and photography. Issue 142, Animalia, embraces all the ways in which we interact with the animal kingdom.
In John Connell's account of returning to work on his parent's farms in rural Ireland he vividly recreates the difficult, emotional and often hazardous experiences this entails. He is a novice at working on his own, and his description of helping a cow to birth a calf which is stuck in the birth-canal keeps the reader on edge through the whole traumatic process. Diagnosing and treating a lamb with bloat, and failing to save it, is also an emotional roller-coaster for him. And dehorning young calves in bleak February weather, when he is exhausted from days and nights as "a servant to cows", makes him wonder what it is all for.
Helge Skodvin photographs stuffed museum animals which have been prepared for removal to temporary storage - a giraffe lies face-down with cushions under its neck and chest; an Orangutan hangs from a disconnected branch and peers through a window at European trees. Some of these creatures are threatened with extinction in the wild and these specimens may eventually be the last of their kind. Ned Beauman, in his introduction to the photographs, refers to the demise of the last known taxidermied dodo in 1755, 90 years after the living animal had become extinct.
In a totally different story about taxidermy, Steven Dunn imagines a museum of military dioramas in which the specimens are soldiers who have died in battle. He interviews the chief taxidermist, the staff and a museum visitor.
There are stories, fact and fiction, of rat-snipers employed to kill giant rats in an American city; of returned astronauts living, in their space suits, with American families; of the annual deer cull in Scotland; of a future in which "the last children of Tokyo" have never seen a live animal; of swifts which live their whole lives in the air; and of unusual animals - coyotes, speedy the dog, a pet wolf cub, and arch thief and schemer, Rocky the racoon. There are hawks; swine; turtles; fish-farms; a "batshit rooster"; and a magpie with which Esther Woolfson once shared her house. Eliot Ross's black-and-white photographs of big-eyed animals challenge and intrigue the viewer. And Dorothea Lasky imagines poets as snakes - "very snittering creatures".
On a farm, genetically engineered animals chat about life: "No one wants leaner and tastier meat from us any more", the sheep said. "Or rather they want that too but they particularly want our organs...", and Wilhelmina pig ponders what the future might hold for her pretty piglets.
Arnon Grunberg asks if "in order to live, do we have to be prepared to kill?". He visits a slaughterhouse, butcher and meat-packers and ponders, ironically, his reactions to the whole process. He decides that he will not become an animal activist or a vegetarian. And Aman Sethi investigates reports of a man-eating tiger which is killing Indian villagers. He talks to the villagers, conservationists, tiger-hunters and government officials, and discovers the complex arguments which such killings provoke.
All this, and more, make for a varied and often curious but always interesting volume. And even the cover is curious, on the back are definitions of 'animal', 'human', and 'LOLcat'. Good reading!
House of Anansi Press
9781487001117, A$29.99 / $16.95 US paperback, 352 pages
The Break beautifully captures the close-knit support which an extended family gives when a teenage girl is horrifically attacked. It begins, rather confusingly, with a description of The Break (an isolated strip of land on the edge of a small Canadian town) told by a dead woman's spirit. It is not immediately apparent that we are hearing a ghost or that her references to "my Stella" are about her daughter. Later in the book we hear her again: "I used to think spirits envied their lost skin. That ghosts sway in the shadows....But I have never missed my body. Not really". It is contact with other people's bodies she misses: "I miss you my girl, I miss you in my arms" and "I miss, too, your Kookoo's old-lady hands". So this ghost stays close, although other than as a connection to the past - to memories of her own and in the memories of others - she plays no real part in the family's present lives.
Stella, however, is central to the events which unfold, and we first meet her as she is interviewed by two police officers about the violent assault she has witnessed from her kitchen window. There is clearly more to Stella's distress about this attack than she is willing to disclose. But the police, one of whom is a Metis (a person who has one parent of Canadian Indian ethnicity), are initially ready to dismiss the incident as relatively trivial, despite the amount of blood in the snow. Stella, too, is a Metis and part of the power of this story is the way it immerses the reader in an extended family where indigenous custom and culture have nurtured deep connections, and whose members have moved over several generations from reservation life to a marginalised urban setting where drugs, alcohol and violence are ever-present. Tommy, the Metis police officer, feels some sympathy for Stella, but he is new to the job, self-aware of his position as a Metis amongst fellow officers whose casual insults about his mixed race are unintentionally upsetting, so he is unwilling to press for deeper enquiries. His hunches, however, do lead him to discoveries about the case which eventually resolve it.
When Emily, who is just an ordinary teenager wanting to learn about life and testing the limits of family control, is subjected to an horrific attack, Mothers, Aunts, Grandmothers and close women-friends are constantly there for her. Gradually, as the shocking nature of the assault and the reasons for Stella's distress becomes clear, we get to know these women and to learn of their own particular problems and the ways in which they have each learned to deal with them. The men, some good, some bad, come and go. But the strong sense of family connection between these women survives as they support, criticise, argue with and love each other.
The blurb on the front cover of the book quotes Margaret Attwood as saying "I loved this - very tough and real... An accomplished writer who will go far". I agree with this assessment.
Attwood's blog about this book, however, is not as uncritical. She ends it by saying that the book is "a mature debut" but complains that the plot "never really moves"; that there are "way too many narrators"; and that such close family involvement in the teenager's trauma struck her as overbearing. My own response to the book was much more positive. The plot, by which presumably Attwood means the revelation of the puzzles surrounding the assault and Stella's distress about it, is, it seems to me, simply a means of immersing the reader in the lives of those affected by it. The narrators speak for themselves, in their own voices, and from their different and personal perspectives, and I found that interesting and well done. My own difficulty was with the names and the family relationships. Paul, is not a man, but is Pauline, mother of Emily. I had to keep reminding myself that she was sister to Louise and that both of them were the daughters of Cheryl, whose own sister, 'Rain' (Lorriane), died in unfortunate circumstances and now haunts the book. Kookom (sometimes 'Kookoo') is the grandmother - the ancient matriarch of the family who is still an important influence on them all. There is a helpful family tree at the front of the book and I often had to refer to it.
As to the over-protective aspect of Margaret Attwood's criticism, I was envious of the close bond between these strong women and very aware that this ability to rely on family support, whatever the circumstances, is something which super-mobile, modern, Western societies have largely lost. Indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand and, clearly, Canada, seem to have been able to preserve it to some extent. The ghostly Rain tells Stella that she has heard that their native language never had a sense of time, "that past and present and future happened all at once". "I think this is why you don't let me go, because I am still happening", she says. And this sense of family continuity pervades the book.
Katherena Vermette is herself a Metis writer from Treaty One Territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is a poet, and her prose reflects a poet's concern for rhythm, pace and imagery. The Break is her first novel and it has, deservedly I think, won several fiction awards.
Ann Skea, Reviewer
Paint Your Hair Blue
Sue Matthews & Andrea Cohane
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
9781683507277, $19.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Paint Your Hair Blue: A Celebration of Life with Hope for Tomorrow in the Face of Pediatric Cancer", Sue Matthews (with the assistance of her sister Andrea Cohane) takes you through the heartwarming tale of heroic courage and devastating blows that characterized her daughter Taylor's odyssey through the underfunded world of pediatric cancer.
"Paint Your Hair Blue" serves in equal portions as an inspiring tale of the power of love and determination, and a cautionary tale of the need for parents and all caregivers to be their own advocates. It will empower you, no matter what your circumstance, to take control of your own destiny.
Most of us will be touched by cancer in some way during our lifetimes. The reader will discover how Taylor and her family learned to balance the necessity of her continuous medical treatments with the need for her to be a kid and live as normally as possible.
"Paint Your Hair Blue" offers dozens of tips and pointers, gleaned by trial and error, about navigating the maze of pediatric oncology through the lens of a layperson and better understand how to face fears with strength, fortitude and confidence while living life to the fullest.
In the pages of "Paint Your Hair Blue", Sue and her sister Andrea will make you a better warrior in the war on cancer with this story of survival, where love transcends all and where every moment is a celebration of life.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Paint Your Hair Blue: A Celebration of Life with Hope for Tomorrow in the Face of Pediatric Cancer" is an impressively informative and ultimately inspiring read that is unreservedly recommended for anyone having to deal with cancer within themselves or a loved one. While especially and unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Paint Your Hair Blue" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.00).
How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784724115, $34.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: When Diana Henry was sixteen she started a menu notebook (an exercise book carefully covered in wrapping paper). Planning a menu is still her favorite part of cooking.
Menus can create very different moods; they can take you places, from an afternoon at the seaside in Brittany to a sultry evening eating mezze in Istanbul. They also have to work as a meal that flows and as a group of dishes that the cook can manage without becoming totally stressed. The 24 menus and 100 recipes in this book reflect places Diana loves, and dishes that are real favorites.
The menus are introduced with Diana's personal essays is about places or journeys or particular times and explains the choice of dishes. Each menu is a story in itself, but the recipes can also stand alone.
"How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places" is a culinary title that refers to how Italians end a meal in the summer, when it's too hot to cook. The host or hostess just puts a bowl of peaches on the table and offers glasses of chilled moscato (or even Marsala). Guests then slice their peach into the glass, before eating the slices and drinking the wine.
That says something very important about eating - simplicity and generosity and sometimes not cooking are what it's about!
Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout, "How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places" is a simply wonderful read combining interesting commentary with elegant recipes for dishes that would grace any and all dining occasions. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $34.99).
My Days: Happy and Otherwise
Marion Ross with David Laurell
Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
9781496715159, $26.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Before she was affectionately known to millions as "Mrs. C.," Marion Ross began her career as a Paramount starlet in made her film debut in 1953's Forever Female, starring Ginger Rogers and William Holden, and then went on to appear in nearly every major TV series of the 1950s and 1960s -- including Love, American Style, in which she donned an apron that would cinch her career.
Soon after came the fateful phone call from producer Garry Marshall that made her an "overnight" success, and changed her life.
In this warm and candid memoir, filled with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team (from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham "wild child" Erin Moran) Ross shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true.
Marion recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider -- a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross's most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soul mate -- another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.
Of special note is that "My Days: Happy and Otherwise" also features Garry Marshall's final illuminating interview; a touching foreword from her "TV son" Ron Howard; as well as a conversation with her real-life son and daughter. Marion Ross's life story is one of inspiration, persistence, and gratitude. It's also a glowing tribute to all those who fulfilled her dreams -- and in turn, gave millions of movie goers and television viewers some of the happiest days of their own lives.
Critique: Inherently fascinating, impressively informative, refreshingly candid, "My Days: Happy and Otherwise" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections where it will be an immediately and enduringly popular addition. It should be noted for the personal lists of the legions of Marion Ross fans that "My Days: Happy and Otherwise" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as an complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781543613957, $19.99, MP3 CD).
A Scandal By Any Other Name
9781633758896, $12.99, PB, 306pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Julia Bishop has led a very sheltered life. Protected by her family from those who might ridicule her for her secrets, she stays hidden away in the country. But she longs for more, if only for an evening. To kiss a rake in full view of the stable boy. Unchaperoned picnics. Romance. But she knows she'll never experience any of those things. -- That is, until a handsome duke with a mysterious past of his own arrives...
Duke Jasper DeVere left London to grieve his grandfather's death privately, away from the prying eyes and gossips of the ton. Seeking solitude at a friend's country manor, he's surprised he finds himself drawn to the company of the shy beauty determined to present the epitome of proper behavior. -- That is, until the mysterious woman makes an indecent proposal.
Julia can't believe what she's suggested to the duke. Nor that he agrees a distraction is what they both need. But what will happen when Jasper must return to his duties and leave Julia behind? Will the memories of their time together be enough for a lifetime of solitude for either of them? -- Because Julia can never leave her country haven and a duke can never stay.
Critique: A deftly crafted and exceptionally entertaining read from cover to cover, "A Scandal By Any Other Name" clearly showcases author Kimberly Bell's genuine and complete mastery of the romance genre. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Romance collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Scandal By Any Other Name" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
LIVE: 8 Brief Lessons on Life
T. Byram Karasu
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9780761870104, $19.99, PB, 96pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: We all have indistinct outlines of our life's trajectory, but we need to formulate a much clearer guiding principle of existence and learn the art of living. From our accumulated knowledge base, we need some generic guideposts.
"LIVE: 8 Brief Lessons on Life" by psychiatrist T. Byram Karasu (who is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as the Silverman Professor and University Chairman Emeritus Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center) provides these guideposts.
Its lessons evolve from a highly condensed distillation of thousands of years of wisdom and an uncommon common sense. It provides a template for the essence of being, becoming a grown-up, and living a joyful and successful life.
Critique: an extraordinarily well written, organized and presented monograph, "LIVE: 8 Brief Lessons on Life" is a highly detailed and thoroughly documented study that is as thoughtful as it is thought-provoking. An engaging read from first to last, "LIVE: 8 Brief Lessons on Life" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic Contemporary Philosophy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "LIVE: 8 Brief Lessons on Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters
Gloria Origgi, author
Stephen Holmes & Noga Arikha, translators
Princeton University Press
41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540
9780691175355, $29.95, HC, 296pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Reputation is the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the public generally.
Reputation touches almost everything, guiding our behavior and choices in countless ways. But it is also shrouded in mystery. Why is it so powerful when the criteria by which people and things are defined as good or bad often appear to be arbitrary? Why do we care so much about how others see us that we may even do irrational and harmful things to try to influence their opinion?
In "Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters", Gloria Origgi (who is a Paris-based philosophy and Senior Researcher at the Institute Jean Nicod, National Center for Scientific Research) draws on philosophy, social psychology, sociology, economics, literature, and history to offer an illuminating account of an important yet oddly neglected subject.
In the pages of "Reputation", Origgi examines the influence of the Internet and social media, as well as the countless ranking systems that characterize modern society and contribute to the creation of formal and informal reputations in our social relations, in business, in politics, in academia, and even in wine. She highlights the importance of reputation to the effective functioning of the economy and e-commerce.
Origgi also discusses the existential significance of our obsession with reputation, concluding that an awareness of the relationship between our reputation and our actions empowers us to better understand who we are and why we do what we do.
Critique: Ably translated into English by the team of Stephen Holmes and Noga Arikha, "Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters" is an impressively written, organized and presented read that is filled with surprising and unexpected insights. An absorbing, thoughtful and thought-provoking read, "Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Philosophy collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).
Understanding the Multifaceted Management Problems of Refugee Resettlement in the United States of America
Justin B. Mudekereza
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480957244, $14.00, PB, 152pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Professor Justin B. Mudekereza fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 as a result of torture. He was an icon known for his many efforts for social justice, human rights, and development. Coming from a family of forty-four children by his late father, he learned to make peace, share with others, and, most of all, to fight for others whenever they are victims of injustice.
Professor Mudekereza participated in the creation of the Conseil des Organisations de Femmes Agissant en Synergie - COFAS a women's rights movement and worked actively with many other organizations of the civil society. The Justin Mudekereza Foundation assists orphans and vulnerable children, widows, and other needy people in the South Kivu province.
Today, after volunteering for over fifteen months, Professor Mudekereza is the Executive Director of New Neighbor Relief - NNR in San Diego, California. This is a nonprofit organization working to help refugees in their long and difficult journey to start a new life in the United States.
Centering on a social justice theme, Professor Mudekereza draws upon his years of experience, research, and expertise in "Understanding the Multifaceted Management Problems of Refugee Resettlement in the United States of America: The Only War That the United States Is Unlikely to Win" to explain the realities of the life that refugees live upon their resettlement in the United States. There are many problems in the sector of refugee resettlement in the country. Readers of study will come to understand the multifaceted management problems of resettlement in the United States. And as Professor Mudekereza asserts, this is the only social war that the United States is unlikely to win.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Understanding the Multifaceted Management Problems of Refugee Resettlement in the United States of America: The Only War That the United States Is Unlikely to Win" is an invaluable contribution to today's on-going national debate over immigration issues. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, governmental policy makers, immigration reform activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Understanding the Multifaceted Management Problems of Refugee Resettlement in the United States of America" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.00).
The Son Conceived in Drunkenness
Carl A. P. Ruck
2747 Regent St., Berkeley, CA 94705
9781587904233, $59.95, HC, 246pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: An essential aspect of the traditional stories or myths about the Greek heroes has been chronically overlooked in the study of Classical literature and religion, specifically, the pivotal role accorded to magical plants and religious sacraments derived from psychoactive botanical and venomous animal sources, serpents, reptiles, and the like. "The Son Conceived in Drunkenness: Magical Plants in the World of the Greek Hero" by Professor Carl A. P. Ruck (Classical Studies Department, Boston University) remedies this oversight.
Toward the end of the great expansion of consciousness now known as the Psychedelic Revolution of the 60s and 70s, Professor Ruck proposed a new word for such mind-altering substances to free them from the implications of irreverent recreational abuse and the irresponsible marketplace of New Age pseudo-scientific theologies. This word is entheogen, a substance that allows the deity to reside within the human. The most direct mode of access is the simple ingestion or other method of application of the sacrament so that the entheogen forms the mediating pathway between the human and the divine.
Ultimately, this magical club that is the hero's weapon of choice will emerge as the rod of Asklepios, wielded by the modern profession of medicine in the battle waged with drugs and toxins on the frontier of the battle between life and death.
Critique: An erudite work of impressively insightful scholarship, "The Son Conceived in Drunkenness: Magical Plants in the World of the Greek Hero" is a unique and extraordinary contribution to Hellenic Studies. Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, "The Son Conceived in Drunkenness" is especially and unreservedly recommended addition to college and university library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Son Conceived in Drunkenness" is also available in a paperback edition (9781587904240, $39.95).
Etched in Stone
9781944229795 $16.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Christianity is certainly based on faith, but haven't you ever thought how wonderful it would be to have something tangible to point to that corroborates the Sacred Scriptures? That is what Etched in Stone: Archeological Discoveries that Prove the Bible is all about.
Etched in Stone showcases more than 60 archeological discoveries that will make it clear that the stories of the Bible are historical and factual events that occurred at a real time and in real places. Now you can have something tangible to show that
The Israelites really did have to make bricks without straw,
There really was a city called Nazareth,
The walls of Jericho really did fall down,
King David really did exist,
Nebuchadnezzar wasn't just a made-up king,
The Philistines really were the Israelites foes,
Pontius Pilate did rule at the time of Christ, and
Crucifixion was a means of capital punishment,
And much more.
Etched in Stone offers the reader a clear, concise summary of the biblical events surrounding each artifact. The maps at the back show where in the world the artifact was discovered and best of all it gives you something to point to that displays a portion of the physical evidence that God, in His wisdom, chose to leave behind.
Critique: Etched in Stone: Archeological Discoveries that Prove the Bible examines the vast wealth of archeological evidence that corroborates human history as chronicled in the Christian Bible. Written in plain terms to be accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Etched in Stone is a fascinating read from cover to cover and highly recommended, especially for church library collections and Bible study groups. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Etched in Stone is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
New Geographies 09: Posthuman
Mariano Gomez-Luque & Ghazal Jafari, editors
c/o Actar Publishers
355 Lexington Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10017
9781945150722, $29.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Posthuman" is a term that signals a historical condition in which the coordinates of human existence on the planet are altered by profound technological, ecological, biopolitical, and spatial transformations. Engendering new ways of being in the world, this condition challenges long-established definitions of the "human," and by extension, of the human environment.
Interpreting design as a geographical agent deeply involved in the territorial engravings of contemporary urbanization, "New Geographies 09: Posthuman" investigates the urban landscapes shaping the posthuman geographies of the early 21st century, fostering a wide-ranging debate about both the potentials and challenges for design to engage with the complex spatialities, more-than-human ecologies, and diverse forms and habits of life in a post-anthropocentric world.
Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Mariano Gomez-Luque (who is a practicing architect and urban designer from Argentina, a Doctor of Design candidate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a research fellow at both the Urban Theory Lab and the Office for Urbanization) and Ghazal Jafari (who is an architectural designer and researcher, as well as currently being a Doctor of Design candidate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a research fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs) "New Geographies 09: Posthuman" is comprised of contributions by Rosalind Williams, Erik Swyngedouw, Cary Wolfe, McKenzie Wark, Jason Moore, Benjamin Bratton, Luciana Parisi, Eyal Weizman, Shannon Mattern, Rosetta Elkin, Mimi Sheller, and Stephen Graham, among others.
Critique: A deftly presented anthology of impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking scholarship, "New Geographies 09: Posthuman" is a collaborative publication by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Actar Publishers, making it an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition for both college and university library collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn
Peter G. Beidler
University of Missouri Press
113 Heinkel Bldg., 201 S. 7th Street, Columbia, MO 65211
9780826221384, $40.00, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The raft that carries Huck and Jim down the Mississippi River is often seen as a symbol of adventure and freedom, but the physical specifics of the raft itself are rarely considered.
In "Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn", Peter Beidler (Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of English, Emeritus, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) shows that understanding the material world of Huckleberry Finn, its limitations and possibilities, is vital to truly understanding Mark Twain's novel. Professor Beidler illustrates how experts on Twain's works have misinterpreted important aspects of the story due to their unfamiliarity with the various rivercraft that figure in the book.
Huck and Jim's little raft is not made of logs, as it is often depicted in illustrations, but of sawn planks, and it was originally part of a much larger raft. Professor Beidler explains why this matters and describes the other rivercraft that appear in the Mark Twain's classic novel.
In "Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn" Professor Beidler gives what will almost certainly be the last word on the vexed question of whether the lengthy "raft episode" (which was removed at the publisher's suggestion from the novel when originally published), should be restored to its original place.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and seminal work of outstanding scholarship that is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of ten pages of Notes, a six page Glossary, a four page Bibliography, and a three page Index, "Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Literary Criticism collections in general, and Mark Twain supplemental studies reading lists in particular. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented study, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Rafts and Other Rivercraft in Huckleberry Finn" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $33.46).
Willis M. Buhle
American Capitalism: New Histories
Sven Beckert & Christine Desan
Columbia University Press
61 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023-7015
9780231185240, $38.00, HC, 424pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism for two centuries and more.
But an understanding of the history of American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on capitalism change our understanding of American history?
Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Sven Beckert (Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism) and Christine Desan (Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University and cofounder of the Program on the Study of Capitalism), "American Capitalism: New Histories" presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women's rights; slavery and political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics.
Together, these essays suggest as emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, "American Capitalism: New Histories" demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke.
Critique: An impressively presented work of outstanding scholarship in the field of economics, "American Capitalism: New Histories" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a fourteen page Selected Bibliography, a four page listing of contributors and their credentials, and a twenty-five page Index. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Economics reference collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students, economists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "American Capitalism: New Histories" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.39).
A Vision for My Father
Interlink Publishing Group
46 Crosby Street, Northampton, MA 01060-1804
9781566560320, $35.00, HC, 326pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Rajie Cook is an internationally recognized graphic designer, artist, and activist -- and the son of Najeeb and Jaleela Cook from Ramallah, Palestine. In 1967, he co-founded Cook and Shanosky Associates, Inc., a design firm, in New York City.
"A Vision for My Father: The Life and Work of Palestinian-American Artist and Designer Rajie Cook" is memoir in a tribute to his parents, but also evolves into a narrative of how their son made his mark on the international stage of graphic design. For Rajie, art is an organic expression of what moves him, his art activism is his gift to the world.
Sight, what we see and what we think we see, is a major theme in this narrative. On one level, Rajie gives sight back to his father who was blinded in the early 1930's by the ravages of cataract. Najeeb could not share in the excitement of Rajie's starting a graphic design firm that was acclaimed for its excellence. Najeeb could not see the symbols Rajie and his partner created which the world relies upon to navigate transportation symbols and public places. He died before seeing his talented son shake the hand of an American president.
Perhaps Najeeb's greatest legacy was his love for Palestine. Rajie has shared his father's love for the Palestinian people, and began to travel to the Middle East.
Now, using his art as his voice, his camera as a partner, in the pages of "A Vision for My Father" Rajie has lifted the veil of what people see or think they see with regard to the Palestinian people. Some of his photographs are disturbing, his experiences equally unsettling because Rajie narrates the truth as he sees it. The pain of the Palestinian people cries out though Rajie's art and activism the--horror of the Occupation, the brutality of life that Palestinian children experience every day. Rajie wants the world to see what he has seen, and like his father before him, yearns for peace to come to this troubled and tortured region. The image of Najeeb sitting by his radio is replaced by the image of Roger working in his studio, both men wishing for a peace that seems forever elusive.
His assemblages, posters, and artwork have been featured in art shows throughout the United States and internationally. Provocative yet truthful, Rajie's vision is recorded in his art. In his own words, My art will be my voice long after I have gone. It will never be silenced
Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "A Vision for My Father" is a blending of memoir and political commentary that is impressively informative, expressly candid, and inherently engaging from cover to cover. An extraordinary and ultimately inspiring read, "A Vision for My Father" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections in general, as well as the personal reading lists of non-specialist general readers with an interest in the life and work of Rajie Cook and the Palestinian struggle.
Life and Money
Columbia University Press
61 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023-7015
9780231182263, $65.00, HC, 344pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Life and Money: The Genealogy of the Liberal Economy and the Displacement of Politics" by Ute Tellmann (Associate Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Erfurt, Max-Weber-Kolleg) uncovers the contentious history of the boundary between economy and politics in liberalism.
Professor Tellmann deftly traces the shifting ontologies for defining economic necessity. She persuasively argues that our understanding of the malleability of economic relations has been displaced by colonial hierarchies of civilization and the biopolitics of the nation.
Bringing economics into conversation with political theory, cultural economy, postcolonial thought, and history, Professor Tellmann gives a radically novel interpretation of scarcity and money in terms of materiality, temporality, and affect.
"Life and Money" investigates the conceptual shifts regarding economic order during two moments of profound crisis in the history of liberalism. In the wake of the French Revolution, Thomas Robert Malthus's notion of population linked liberalism to a sense of economic necessity that stands counter to political promises of equality. During the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes's writings on money proved crucial for the invention of macroeconomic theory and signaled the birth of the managed economy.
Both periods, Professor Tellmann shows, entail a displacement of the malleability of the economic. By tracing this conceptual history, "Life and Money" opens up liberalism, including our neoliberal present, to a new sense of economic and political possibility.
Critique: A truly impressive work of exceptionally well organized and presented scholarship, "Life and Money: The Genealogy of the Liberal Economy and the Displacement of Politics" is enhanced for the benefit of academia with the inclusion of seventy-six pages of Notes, a twenty-four page Bibliography, and a sixteen page Index. While a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to college and university library Political Science & Economics collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists students, academics, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Life and Money" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $64.99).
c/o Ohio University Press
215 Columbus Road, Suite 101, Athens, OH 45701
9780804011907, $26.95, HC, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The early 1970s saw the birth of the modern comic book shop. Its rise was due in large part to a dynamic entrepreneur, Phil Seuling. His direct market model allowed shops to get comics straight from the publishers, bypassing middlemen. Stores could better customize their offerings and independent publishers could now access national distribution. In this way, shops opened up a space for quirky ideas to gain an audience and helped transform small-press series, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Bone, into media giants.
"Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture" is the first book to trace the history of these cultural icons. "Comic Shop" ranges from their origins to the present day, when the rise of digital platforms has the industry at a crossroads even as sales are robust.
A business reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, Dan Gearino is also a lifelong comics reader with tastes that swing from the classic Legion of Super-Heroes to the work of Michel Rabagliati. For "Comic Shop" he spent a year with stores around the country, with a spotlight on The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Along the way he interviewed those who shaped comics retailing from the early days, including many pioneering women; top creators; and shop owners who continue to push the industry in new directions.
Included is a guide to forty of the most interesting shops around the United States and Canada as a bonus for dedicated comic book fans.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture " is an extraordinary, unique, and inherently fascinating study that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Comic Shop" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
The Day Rommel Was Stopped
Major F. R. Jephson, MC, TD
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
The tide that turned World War II against the Nazi's can be defined as beginning about 21.00 hrs. on 2 July 1942, when Rommel's tanks withdrew for the first time since the fall of Tobruk on 20 June, or arguably since 14 January 1942 at El Agheila.
At dusk on Wednesday 1 July 1942, Rommel broke through the center of the British defenses at Alamein. His tanks had overwhelmed the gallant defense of the 18th Indian Infantry Brigade in the Deir el Shein at the foot of the Ruweisat Ridge. At that moment, and for the next twelve hours, there was no further organized defense between the spearhead of the Afrika Korps and Alexandria. Throughout the next day, only a handful of men and guns stood between Rommel and his prize.
In Cairo, black clouds of smoke from burning files showed that many people believed Rommel would not stop short of the Suez Canal, his stated objective. But, on Friday 3 July at 22.56 hrs., only 48 hours later, Rommel called off his attack and ordered his troops to dig in where they stood. The Delta was saved.
Just a few weeks earlier, the 18th Indian Infantry Brigade, which took the brunt of the initial attack on 1 July, and the guns of the small column known as Robcol that stopped Rommel on 2 and 3 of July, had been in northern Iraq. General Auchinleck's desperate measure, pulling them 1,500 miles from Iraq into the Western desert, just succeeded but it greatly increased the price of failure.
If Robcol had failed, it is doubtful that Rommel would have stopped at the canal; it does not require much imagination to see his forces threatening to link up with Barbarossa in the Ukraine. "The Day Rommel Was Stopped: The Battle of Ruweisat Ridge, 2 July 1942" is vivid account of the battle of Ruweisat Ridge, the beginning of the battle of Alamein, and was written by F. R. Jephson -- an officer who was part of Robcol on the fateful day.
Critique: A truly extraordinary, impressively detailed, exceptionally comprehensive, and inherently riveting read from beginning to end, "The Day Rommel Was Stopped: The Battle of Ruweisat Ridge, 2 July 1942" is a critically important and invaluable contribution to the growing library of World War II literature and an essential, fundamentally indispensable addition to the personal reading list of dedicated military history buffs, as well as both community and academic library collections.
Brian Glyn Williams
University of Pennsylvania Press
3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4112
9780812248678, $65.00, HC, 400pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Counter Jihad: America's Military Experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria" by Brian Glyn Williams (who is the Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and was employed by the CIA to track suicide bombers in Afghanistan in 2007) is a sweeping account of America's military campaigns in the Islamic world.
Revising our understanding of what was once known as the War on Terror, "Counter Jihad" provides a retrospective on the extraordinary series of conflicts that saw the United States deploy more than two and a half million men and women to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Professor Williams traces these unfolding wars from their origins in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan through U.S. Central Command's ongoing campaign to "degrade and destroy" the hybrid terrorist group known as ISIS. Williams takes readers on a journey beginning with the 2001 U.S. overthrow of the Taliban, to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, to the unexpected emergence of the notorious ISIS "Caliphate" in the Iraqi lands that the United States once occupied.
"Counter Jihad" is the first history of America's military operations against radical Islamists, from the Taliban-controlled Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, to the Sunni Triangle of Iraq, to ISIS's headquarters in the deserts of central Syria, giving both generalists and specialists an overview of events that were followed by millions but understood by few. Professor Williams provides the missing historical context for the rise of the terror group ISIS out of the ashes of Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist Iraq, arguing that it is only by carefully exploring the recent past can we understand how this jihadist group came to conquer an area larger than Britain and spread havoc from Syria to Paris to San Bernardino.
Critique: A seminal work of simply outstanding scholarship from beginning to end, "Counter Jihad: America's Military Experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Military History collections in general, and Islamic world military campaign supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Counter Jihad" is also available in a paperback edition (978-0812224207, $26.50) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.31).
Control: MKUltra, Chemtrails and the Conspiracy to Suppress the Masses
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
9781578596386, $19.95, PB, 400pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Freedom of speech. Free exercise of religion. The right to peacefully assemble and to bear arms. Free will is an integral part of democracy, but how free are we really? The NSA, computer chips, surveillance cameras, search engines, social media and major corporations spy on our every move and try to influence our every decision. Big Ag and Big Pharma sell us food, medication and drink of dubious benefits. The media, fake media and out right propaganda try to tell us what to think. Our every computer key stroke and purchase is exploited.
A thorough review the history of government mind and population control and the modern acceleration of attempts to dominate the masses, "Control: MKUltra, Chemtrails and the Conspiracy to Suppress the Masses" by Nick Redfern exposes the efforts of the government, big corporations and the privileged few to manipulate the thoughts, behaviors, and actions of the population. It investigates coercive methods and techniques from chemicals in our air, food and water to tracking our every move, purchase, phone call and touch of a keyboard.
"Control" covers shadowy government programs, unexplained events, and their chilling legacies are illuminated, including MKUltra, chemtrails, HAARP, NSA, CIA, NASA, UFOs, RFID chips, Project Monarch, Montauk Project, government LSD experiments, as well as: Edward Snowden's exposure of the National Security Agency's top secret program of widespread surveillance: NASA and a powerful group control of what we know - or what we don't know - about the secrets of outer space: United States government, military and intelligence us of drones to spy on our every outdoor activity.
Also identified and examined is: The centuries long use of hypnosis and mind-control to keep people in line through sex; The use of high-tech acoustic-weapons to disperse crowds, disable an individual in seconds and the sinister experiments to use them to control and enslave man; Far-reaching programs to monitor and record us in our very own homes through our phones, computers and everyday appliances; Plots designed to depopulate the human race through murderous viruses; A careful plan to dumb down the population by limiting access to the media, banning books, spying on libraries, and denying crucial information on world history, politics and more.
Of special note is the showcasing of: Big Pharma pushing the use mind-altering medicines, such as anti-depressants, mood-altering drugs, anti-anxiety meds, and sleeping-pills to encourage lethargy?and gain control; A ruse designed to take away our freedoms under the guise of a bogus alien attack; and, so much more!
Critique: An inherently fascinating, consistently compelling, exceptionally well organized and presented read from cover to cover, "Control: MKUltra, Chemtrails and the Conspiracy to Suppress the Masses" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Control" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.19).
Michael J. Carson
Duped X3 Liars
9781911175872, $12.00, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Belle Windsor is Nottingham born, middle-class, and thought she had life all mapped out. Then she turned a different corner for the sake of motherhood and got married to a man who left her unemployed, evicted, homeless, and in need of women's refuge. But no number of injunction orders could keep him away -- not even beyond the grave.
Belle moves onto a rough council estate where Sissy (a comforter and friend who also happens to be a high-class, respectable whore) exposes Belle to unconventional means to an end, along with a juicy erotica sexual upper-class scandal.
Belle finally meets her soulmate, a successful New York businessman, Jenson Lancaster, only to have her baby stolen!
Beset with cover ups, closed ranks, and lawsuits, will true love be able to conquer all? Is there any hope for a happy ending to an unhappy life?
Critique: A unique and absorbing story by an author with a genuine flair for narrative driven and multilayered storytelling, "Duped X3 Liars" by Alice-Rose Trent is exceptionally well written, draws upon her own life experiences, and is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Duped X3 Liars" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
W. Edward Blain
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781681776507, $25.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Christmas break is just a couple of weeks away in New York City when Montpelier student Russell Phillips fetches up dead in a dingy Times Square sex theater with his neck gruesomely snapped and the only clue is a torn receipt from the Montpelier School for Boys bookstore. . Headmaster Lane, preferring to view Phillips's death as a suicide, decides to keep the school open for the remainder of the term. But as the nights grow longer and colder (and more corpses begin to surface in connection with the rehearsals for Othello, the winter play) it becomes all too clear that the students and faculty are being stalked by a cool and calculating killer. The local police and school administrators find themselves out of their depth. Even so, many people's suspicions begin to focus on a single suspect -- until he, too, turns up dead.
Critique: A gripping tour de force that brilliantly uses an isolated boarding school campus as the setting for this propulsive mystery, "Passion Play" is a deftly crafted and inherently riveting mystery by a true master of the genre. Edward Blain's "Passion Play" will keep the reader guessing until the final act, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Passion Play" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.73).
Red Adam's Lady
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613739679, $16.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The fair Lady Julitta has a problem. She is not wealthy. She prizes her virginity. And her liege, whom she despises, is intent on rape. Red Adam is the lord of Brentborough castle and a young, impetuous, scandalous, a twelfth-century hell raiser. On one of his nights of drunken revelry he abducts Julitta. Though she fends him off, keeping her virginity, he has sullied her honor. Then, to the astonishment of all, he marries her. "Red Adam's Lady" is a boisterous, bawdy tale of wild adventure, set against the constant dangers of medieval England. It is a story of civil war and border raids, scheming aristocrats and brawling villagers, daring escapes across the moors and thundering descents down steep cliffs to the ocean. Its vivid details give the reader a fascinating and realistic view of life in a medieval castle and village. And the love story in it is an unusual one, since Julitta won't let Adam get closer than the length of her stiletto. Long out of print though highly acclaimed, "Red Adam's Lady" is a true classic of historical fiction along the lines of Anya Seton's Katherine and Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons.
Critique: Grace Ingram was the pseudonym of the late Doris Sutcliffe Adams (1920-2015). She wrote six novels: Desert Leopard, Price of Blood, Power of Darkness, and No Man's Son under her own name, and Red Adam's Lady and Gilded Spurs under the name Grace Ingram. Now this time-lost classic has been brought back into print by the Chicago Review Press for the edification of a whole new generation of appreciate readers. While very highly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Red Adam's Lady" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Thomas & Mercer
9781542048309, $29.95, HC, 450pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew -- a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit -- until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. Just when she thinks she has buried her personal hell forever, Charlotte is swept into a frightening new ordeal. Secretly dosed with an experimental drug, she's endowed with a shocking new power -- but pursued by a treacherous corporation desperate to control her.
Except from now on, if anybody is going to control Charlotte, it's going to be Charlotte herself. She's determined to use the extraordinary ability she now possesses to fight the kind of evil that shattered her life -- by drawing a serial killer out from the shadows to face the righteous fury of a victim turned avenger.
Critique: A simply riveting cliff-hanger of a novel, "Bone Music" by Christopher Rice is one of those reads that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bone Music" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), as well as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781543643138, $15.99, MP3 CD).
Roger E. Carrier
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781543434163, $29.99, HC, 252pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Rarely, and always in summer, a strange carnival will come to a town. The town is never too large or too small and never a city. Furthermore, it is always a place isolated in space and time. Never today but fifty or a hundred years ago when things were as different from today as they are the same.
The owner of this particular carnival is a black woman and devotee of voodoo. But Lady Priscilla conceals this fact, allowing everyone to believe that Wildcat, who runs the carnival's wrestling and boxing show, is the owner. In the South, it is not wise to antagonize the Klan by letting it be known that a black woman has money or power.
When the carnival sets up in a pasture outside Redmond, Arkansas in 1935, Priscilla drinks a cup of belladonna tea and soon finds herself in the land of the dead, where she is given a vision. A dark-hearted man lives in the area and has killed six young women. They are all blondes. And when Birdie, the carnival's beautiful blond trapeze artist, disappears and is held as a sex slave, a mystery begins to unfold.
Create: An engaging and deftly crafted novel that showcases the author's genuine flair for original, detailed and narrative driven fiction, "Cicada Dreams" by Roger E. Carrier is unreservedly recommended and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library general fiction collections. One of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cicada Dreams" is also available in a paperback edition (9781543434156, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Night Trade
Thomas & Mercer
9781477820049, $24.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For sex-crimes detective Livia Lone, a position with a government anti-trafficking task force is a chance to return to Thailand to ferret out Rithisak Sorm, the kingpin behind her own childhood ordeal.
But after a planned takedown in a nightclub goes violently awry, Livia discovers that she's not the only one hunting Sorm. Former marine sniper Dox has a score to settle, too, and working together is the only way to take Sorm out.
Livia and Dox couldn't be less alike. But they share a single-minded creed: the law has to serve justice. And if it doesn't, justice has to be served another way.
What they don't know is that in threatening Sorm, they're also threatening a far-reaching conspiracy - one involving the highest levels of America's own intelligence apparatus. It turns out that killing Sorm just might be the easy part. The real challenge will be payback from his protectors.
Critique: An entertainingly riveting read from cover to cover, "The Night Trade" showcases author Barry Eisler as a master of narrative driven fiction enriched for the reader with unexpected twists and turns throughout. While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Night Trade" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1477820032, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
c/o Hachette Book Group
0446522597, $25.00; 513pp.
A gracious but strong heroine LuAnn Tyler is offered the chance to win the national lottery and $100 million. Her 'vile/rotten' boyfriend is killed in a drug deal gone sour. LuAnn barely survives by beating the killer over the head. She later reads the killer died. LuAnn thinks she killed him. LuAnn chooses to escape Georgia with her daughter and to win the lottery. They are helped by the mastermind of the lottery scam; she escapes from the United States. She agrees never to return.
Fast forward. Ten years have passed. LuAnn and her daughter return from exile. The have a new house and 300 acres in Virginia. The mastermind (Jackson) has accountants and stock brokers who have compounded LuAnn's fortune into an enormous estate (ie. $500 million). An investigative reporter discovers none of the 12 lottery winners for one year has gone bankrupt. He smells a scam; he suspects corruption in lottery headquarters.
Jackson sets out to punish LuAnn for returning to the U.S. Will LuAnn and Matt Riggs (a former FBI undercover agent) survive to bring down the psychopath who is skilled in disguises and murder? Baldacci deserves credit for the interwoven plot, the insight into the psychopathic Jackson and the fast-paced action of this novel.
Winter of the World
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson St, NY, NY 10014
9780525952923, $29.85, 940 pp
Daisy and Boy Fitzherbert; Daisy and Lloyd; Greg and Joanne; Greg and Jacky; Volodya & Zoya, Chuck and Eddie. Young couples and their parents and cousins. They live, love and some die during the 1930s and World War II.
This novel is a graphic description of the brutality of the German Nazi regime and their authoritarian attitude toward life and non-Aryan people. Follett describes the Nazi intimidation of the Social Democrats and the years of killing German/Polish/Russian citizens who are handicapped, deformed, old or Jewish. He also illustrates the Russian efforts to control the people in destitute East Germany 1945-1950.
The history opened my eyes. I did not know that handicapped children were taken to a 'hospital' on the outskirts of Berlin where they were murdered by injection. The history of how Russia built their first nuclear weapon is adequately sketched.
This is the second of the Century Trilogy by Follett. It kept my attention; the history was enlightening; that is great praise for Ken Follett.
Marty Duncan, Reviewer
Only by Death, Book 2 (Ozark Mountain series)
David C. Cook
4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9781434704764, $14.99, www.davidccook.com
Kathy Herman, best-selling Pacific Northwest suspense novelist, writes captivating, hard-to-put-down murder mysteries of moral compromise and life-transforming faith. After a writing pause due to her late husband's failing health she now returns with book two of the long-anticipated "Ozark Mountain" series, "Only by Death." Which she says "...might be the most powerful story I've written."
Due to the contemporary issue of "mercy killing" versus murder and the multi-layered character development of Liam Berne, a man of compromising choices and twelve-year-old Jesse Cummings, a charming and unsuspecting witness to murder, I must agree with her.
The intriguing story is set in the rustic Ozark mountains where we first meet Liam
driving his elderly mother Dixie to what he thought was "a secluded bank of the Sure Foot river."
He had agonized over what he was about to do for weeks. He knew it wasn't legal but wasn't it more kind and humane than vile and immoral? He had convinced himself what he was about to do would help his mother out of a terrible situation and insure he and his sister, Colleen got their parents inheritance instead of the Alzheimer hospital like he knew his mother would want.
Still Liam struggled with these thoughts as he parked the car, walked to the passenger side, took his "mother's fragile, bony hand and gently pulled her to her feet." He held her close for a moment and then walked into the gently flowing river with her and forcefully pushed her head underwater. He held her tight against his chest and said, "Mom, don't fight it...please just let it happen...I'm really doing this for you."
Thus, begins a powerful story of love, trust and deceit with a story based on Romans 8:13 about living according to the flesh or the spirit. All of which makes this so much more than a murder mystery.
Kathy's masterful, multi-layered characterizations of all characters, enhanced by surprising story twists-and-turns, result in murder, kidnapping and suspense that reveals the dangers and costs of moral compromise. "Only by Death" releases April 1 with book three scheduled to release August 2018.
The Kremlin Conspiracy
Joel C. Rosenberg
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781496406170, $18.29, www.tyndale.com
New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, well-known for writing prophetic fiction, releases "The Kremlin Conspiracy" March 6, a fascinating, multifaceted, multi-layered, political thriller that shifts Rosenberg's attention to Russia. A nation of dynamic power struggles, tense political intrigue and collusion where the author "draws parallels to real-world events and growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia."
Oleg Kraskin, Russian President Aleksandr Luganov's trusted advisor and Marcus Ryker, a dedicated American Secret Service agent assigned to the president's protection detail dominate the story in a cast of well-developed characters. With Marcus the "only one able to derail a rush to war" because of an American president distracted by events in North Korea and Iran; a president who fails to recognize the threat of a nuclear-armed Russian president who aspires to be a brutal "21st Century Czar."
Rosenberg's seven-part story richly characterizes Oleg's and Marcus's separate yet parallel lives affording readers a greater understanding of who they are, what they believe in and why they do what they do. From exciting, sometimes tragic life events to highlights of their careers to how their beliefs and life experiences ultimately influence their decisions as their worlds dramatically collide during an international crisis that culminates in a shocking ending!
Add Russian news reports of apartment bombings that fill city morgues with bodies of "sleeping residents," a terrorist attack on America's white house, the murder of Marcus's wife and son and Russia's plan to invade the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and you have a well-researched, action-packed, political thriller only Rosenberg could write.
Porter Goss, former director of the CIA writes, Rosenberg has an "...uncanny talent for focusing his storytelling on real world hot spots just as they are heating up." While U.S. News & World Report called Rosenberg a "modern-day Nostradamus" after his release of "The Last Jihad" in 2002.
Rosenberg keeps his finger on the pulse of current events and never disappoints! If I had any criticism of "The Kremlin Conspiracy" it might be the in-depth characterization in the beginning that kept the stories pace to a simmer instead of a boil. Yet that foundation was needed to understand the events that followed.
Rosenberg once again delivers an incredible high-stakes, fast paced thriller that leaves readers anxiously awaiting the next book due to his skillful plots, masterful characterizations and often headline beating events. Or as former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum writes, Rosenberg delivers "page-turning pictures of worst case scenarios...you pray never" come to pass.
Hear My Heart: What I Would Say to You
Billy Graham & Those Who Knew Him Best
9781476734309, $25.00, http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/howard
Billy Graham, long known as America's pastor, spent a lifetime preaching about his Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ, Christ's message of salvation and life after death. His simple words of wisdom, such as "God loves you" were spoken with humility with their spirit captured in a quote Billy (as he preferred to be known) adapted from D.L. Moody.
"Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God."
"Hear My Heart: What I Would Say to You" offers a compilation of Billy Graham's articles that were "assembled to be released" upon his death. They span his ministry from 1955 to 2014 with words that illustrate his love for Jesus, his passion for the gospel and the biblical convictions he lived by.
The legacy book is divided into six-parts. "When God Calls," "The Power of the Gospel," "Guard Yourself," My Challenge to God's People," Upon Further Reflection," and "The Graham Legacy."
Four of the sections begin with a chapter by those who knew him well such as J.I. Packer, John N. Akers, William Martin and Philip Yancy. While part five features why Billy founded Christianity Today, his views on evangelism and today's "unhealthy tendency toward individualism," his role in the Watergate crisis and what he would do differently if he had it to do over and much, much more.
The last section is a compilation of tributes from family and close friends, such as senior news writer for Christianity Today, Tony Carnes who wrote about Billy and his wife Ruth's friendship with Johnny Cash and June Carter. The story captures their friendship in Christ although Carnes writes, "their backgrounds couldn't have been more different...Johnny came from the wild side while Billy...walked the straight and narrow."
These stories and more from those who knew him best portray a humble, Christ loving man who, unlike many, walked the walk he talked. Readers learn about Billy's passions, his regrets and what he would have done differently. What his message of salvation and being "born again" really meant to him and why it impacted so many.
"Heart My Heart" captures Billy's heart and provides an intimate portrait of a man who loved Jesus, who lived by Jesus' words and a man who introduced his Friend to everyone he met. It's a book to be savored, cherished and shared.
Gail Welborn, Reviewer
University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9780226533766, $18.00, 72 pages
Gewanter's previous books are among my favorites, and this book will join the others. Fort Necessity frames the personal and the political with alter-self poems ranging from irony to humor to sadness to surprise; and political poems that are the blade of the knife. Gewanter chronicles the rise of capitalism as exploiter of all it touches. He not only creates a poetic chronology; but with added insight places notes/sources from newspapers, oracles, history, plus the actual moguls themselves: Carnegie, Rockefeller, and a poke at Herbert Spencer.
This is a magnificent way to add dimension to ideas, when in margins we find quotes from Karl Marx; Death of A Salesman; U.S. Senate report (1989;) the New York Times; Alan Lomax; Maine.gov/corrections; W.B. Yeats; Rockefeller speaking at Sunday school; Polonius; Bruce Springsteen; Charles Darwin; Emma Goldman, etc. Here is the originality of Gewanter - poet, scholar, historian. He interacts with his own writing tracing injustice in the labor force from the late 1800's through America's rise via industrialism, but in poetic terms never thought of before. What is wealth? The book asks, What is labor?
This work is impelling for its bold certainty and strong lyric - but also a platform for humanitarian arguments and a predicate for poetry as investigation. Gewanter's novel approach reveals the underbelly of human exploitation and wealth's indifference that might otherwise be erased from memory by our daily distractions - as many books as there are waiting here on the desk, I had to reread him - for paradoxes, for managing excellent poetry within a social context, and just plain old decency.
Baby born for it. 12 hour workday,
seven days a week. Through the drum-skin
of its mother's womb, it rocks to the whir
of machines: iron rain. Swaddled in
factory rags, toddling among forests
of spindles, the racket echoing
its natal home, till it casts off childish things -
at age six - and takes its place on the line:
a wage-man, a snuff sniffer, on whose shoulders
the factory teeters and grows. To speak of
child slavery is to set everyone else working:
mill owners send their lobbyists
to dandle toys before the legislature,
lawyers are sent to suckle the courts . . .
The animal is one with his activity.
The worker puts his life into the object;
Then his life belongs to the object.
Autumn House Press
9781938769306, $17.95, 70 pages
I'm so glad there are organizations that publish and give prizes or Cundieff might never have been recognized. I would have missed a big moment, for reading this I felt something fresh; so involving that I read slowly, because with Cundieff you have to - tough and scary and unrelenting - language that tightens then loosens undermining everything we knew as ordinary.
Her detachment from reality becomes an attachment to reality for she uses language to make quantum leaps and her imagery makes new suggestions. There are poems within poems - story starts as photography and awakens to a new narrative because she goes where it takes her. She turns words back on themselves so we see them as transcendent goods, not hard facts, becoming literal translations of pure feelings. What is the parity of thought to word? Cundieff lives somewhere in the middle with dark hours and bright fantastic ones all within the same lyric space. There are ideas too from all this intuition. In the poem about Adam and Eve, "Adam In Love," "Adam thinks he would like to fuck the fruit" and later we find Adam fighting time, "knows too much now...the risk of remembering is guilt, my friends." The book has consistent ethos which is unusual for 70-some poems; and although death is a huge character, because Cundieff is Cundieff, the worms will triumph.
EVERYTHING CRUEL IS ALSO REAL
Starts a memory - you in a yellow dress against the condition
of your kite string. Taut, it lifts you to the thinnest white,
unwinding, tethered to you, Like a conversation with in your fists.
This could be the beginning or end of everything. Surely I must be dead,
watching with hollowed-out joy, your physics reaping the late lawn
of its light. I want to give you my hand in place of the wide sky -
the kite spread out against infinity, soundlessness telescoping
through distance. I'm afraid I'll never be as I once was. Later,
when ready to change from your yellow dress, I'll hear one,
extravagant scream. A wasp will fall from the sleeve, clean sting
in your armpit. I smash it with my hand as soon as it lands. You can't notice,
in your screaming, my coming back to life.
Four Way Books
9781945588082, $15.95, 63 pages
"Beneath our lids, other eyes," says Houlihan in a stunning poetry array on the death of her beloved. The sections are Hers, His, Theirs. But every poem is about a couple that cannot be separated, and yet they are. The speaker avoids the ordinary and with perfect craft and words that behave just right, she creates new forms for loss - and loss is gradual here allowing the poems to track demise in the richness of its grain. Grief is unbelievable yet Houlihan has to believe and makes us handle it the way she handled the lathe, page by page. Critics compare her to Emily Dickinson and I think I know why. They each distill language and feeling to a crystalline state that never tells a lie. Reading Houlihan reminds me of why I first loved poetry.
DECEMBER KISSED the year goodbye and tossed us into winter.
I was behind, without you. You went ahead into the lie we kept.
And who knew the whole of it, minded us, cared?
I am hollow as it made me. I am walked and circled and startled.
Is this the way we leave it? Who will give me grit and will
and who will help me live it? It wasn't sleep, it isn't sleep.
I haven't risen, I rise. No one told us, but I tell all.
Do you remember the last cure? It nailed your thinking shut.
Do you remember the ground, our root? All our feet were cut.
I remember how we huddled, shivering, clothes full of snow.
How you then, kingly, all in white, let go.
The Getty Fiend
Introduction by Michel Du Plessis
Les Figues Press
9781934254691, $17.00, 97 pages
Les Figues Press is out to stretch me. Every time a book arrives I inhale, hoping I'm able-bodied enough. This time it's Ken White's exposition in L. A of a "Getty Fiend" - as Michael Du Plessis explains, in the intro, the Museum surely lacked one. The opera has its phantom; Paris its werewolf; Notre Dame a hunchback, and now he claims we have "a contribution to museology and monstrosity." He goes on to explain why it's necessary - not the least of which is for excess. "An invention" is what he calls it and that's a good term. Also, Du Plessis believes White "has reinvented camp" for our century.
In places, it's a little like reading Chaucer (and I believe maybe pretty good Chaucer) and one cannot be afraid. Just start each page as if you belong to this exclusive club of linguists and something will happen; You won't always be sure exactly what happened but it's lots of fun, and the verbiage is intricate as lace. Since lace takes a lace maker, there must be a pattern. So it is with White. His salvation is craft for no matter how extensively he flogs language he arranges it very well. This is not Jabberwocky. This is art the I know when I see it art that may not have a name: part poetry, part theater, part pure lilt - words that probably have rarely been put together with such intentions. I don't know what he puts in his water: embedded in the text are words and ideas bent from some of our great writers, plus Getty displays. Invention is what we started with and we'll stay with that. I like this poem because it offers a clever yet literal meaning to the text:
Ext. Mullholland Drive and Topanga Canyon - Weeks Later - Night
Wilderness, L.A. County. WIND rakes brush, desiccated oak. City
glows over the rise. Down the draw, a wildcat SCREAMS. Community
sleeps the sleep of having a nationally-ranked school system.
THE BEAST trots onto a private full-sized tennis court lit by
Mercury Vapor lamps. From house the TRICKLE of infinity pool.
This Beast is lighter of frame. Darker of eye. Around her, scent
streams eddy byways like dry pigments spilled into a water vat.
FLARE of headlights. Car doors SLAM. CHILDREN'S VOICES.
The Beast skirts chain link, recedes into landscaped treeline.
Four Way Books
9781945588075, $15.95, 82 pages
Moldaw's book is about travel, geographic and spiritual. The two are relational as Moldaw charts a course through marriage and motherhood with a responsibility to see the world as a teachable moment in poetry. The landscape is mapped in "loops;" and, with human responses, nature is a code for the spirit. Some people say the word interesting is a dead word. I disagree. Ii means of interest and, you will be engaged - as Moldaw in her highly intelligent way takes a small Odyssey - small, but hers. She sees and says impressions and signifiers in beautiful decibels that we would not otherwise imagine.
A restless sleeper, the Pojoaque shifts
in its gravel bed and sighs, shrinks into itself,
secretes mud curls. I try to keep everything
I think in my head but each former thought
a new one displaces. By the time I'm home,
I forget them all. Owl guano drips down the
arroyo's side. On the mesa, small precipices,
out-juttings. Horsetail, tamarisk, grow
where they are blown, root in river sand -
also the cow hoof, the plexi camper shell.
Four Way Books
9781935536963, $15.95, 106 pages
Checklists, revelations recognitions, studies, to-do lists, guides, recitations make up Briccetti's roadmap. "I am a ghost/ in minor warehouses..." she says. And warehouses are good storing places for memory and sharpening the senses. Her showcases but not insular, have no walls; there she opens wide her arms to climb the world visually and sensually. Italy's a major source for travel and Briccetti hooks it as if all her life is in there, Manhattan too. She lives the lyric by holding herself in a special "place" and then proves there's nothing she can't do with words to make it ours. The past is best if we can make it the present with immersion into the tiniest details that make the big picture clear. I like the unexpected, for Briccetti must be an artist as well as writer. The page is beautiful to behold, inspired esthetics giving white space a strength and purpose. She takes leaps and lands safely for she knows timing and the calculus for each line. Briccetti has the gift of verbal energy, and with this she writes herself home.
Blue Guide, Rome, Giaicolo
The two-person elevator
that smells of pastries makes my lover so close
joy in him is sealed into my childhood.
Days, dogs off the leash bark at fountains' aerial braids of water.
Nights, streets' incandescence through a shutter.
Visiting my first country I am always a stranger
but distance is familiar and light.
In this happiness we build each other -
Renaissance painters laying down their blue skies,
inventing a way to see the world.
Blue, earthly. Human love, my true.
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393065435, $25.95, 95 pages.
From past experiences, Li-Young Lee renounces violence: the fleeing, the war, the horrors. But to renounce the ugly, he must examine 'the word' and what "words" do and cannot do. The long fifteen-page poem "Changing Places in the Fire" is a dialogue weighing the value and the guilt of living a struggle vs. speaking of it. Much of the book is a love poem balancing the body's needs and its remembrances. Li-Young Lee is known for his ability for reflection and transformation and The Undressing is a cauldron of the worst of the earth and the best. This is his ability: to take the storm inside him and breathe it into words, nature, lovemaking. How dangerous is it to be happy when injustices rage? This struggle is what's 'undressed' through lamentation and through prayer. To replace pain and trauma with poetry is a significant way to live. To gift it to readers, is a holy way to live.
The ash keeps dropping from the incense stick.
I keep turning you over in my mind.
I keep turning you over in my heart.
The stick shorted, burning.
The ash grows
I keep turning you over.
I keep turning you.
I keep turning.
The ash keeps falling, piling up, more
of the silent reduction.
Burning earns such clean wages,
eye of ember, eye of ash hastening.
I keep turning your eyes over
to find your thoughts.
Turning your voice over
to find your meaning.
Turning your body over to find
a place to hide me.
And you keep turning inside me.
Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance
9781571315014, $16.00, 83 pages.
A brilliant poet in content and style, Joudah's stories/poems would break your heart if you could stop reading long enough to let that happen. He speaks of the blood of life and that moves him to scientific inquiries within an architecture of human rights. There are people here too, where Joudah takes responsibility. This means that the difficult cannot be ignored and must be transformed to an attractive instance for the reader, and so compassion relies upon the well-made poem. Presenting poems as active measures of reality allows poetry to speak for itself; in the meantime, Fady Joudah did not know he was becoming a standard bearer for the art.
We hold the present responsible for my hand
in your hand, my thumb
as aspirin leaves a painless bruise, our youth
immemorial in a wormhole for silence
to rescue us, the heart free at last
of the tongue (the dream, the road) upon
which our hours reside together alone,
that this is love's profession, our scents
on pillows displace our alphabet to grass
with fidelity around our wrists
and breastbones, thistle and heather.
And this steady light, angular
through the window is no amulet
to store in a dog-eared book.
A body exists all pages to be
inscribed on another, itself.
The movement through cultures asks for an identity that can only be defined and truly understood through poetry.
Night Unto Night
9781571314895, $15.42, 105 pages.
Collins takes certain months of the year and dresses each day with a poem. This book follows her previous acclaimed Day Unto Day, with similar purpose, and equal elegance.
In sight - as at the bottom of this narrow
street the church - comes the end
of this small month, and where
has it led? In, on, past, back
with my love again, bells
ringing, morning drawing us in
In this little time left, time
to go, time for once
more into this past of brick
and stone, layered with late and later now:
For now, Gracie, tutti, I am almost
at the gate, I'm going through
Cynthia Dewi Oka
c/o Northwestern University Press
9780810136298, $16.95, 92 pages.
Two women beneath a weeping
cherry in full bloom. One brushes
earth with her hair, deciphering
the calligraphy of fallen petals.
The other lifts her face to sun, laced
by branch and flowers like tiny
palms of snow. Almost a postcard
of spring, who could guess
the bounty on their heads, the men
with knives behind, how they listen
for their lives in what will never
be said. Give thanks. If only today
the world is their sons rolling
down hills of grass, the boughs
bending around them like mercy.
Registers of Illuminated Villages
9781555978006, $15.54, 91 pages
Poems against war and oppression in powerfully well-shaped stories.
Apology from A Muslim Orphan
I know you know
how to shame into obedience
the long chain tethering lawnmower
to fence. And in your garden
are no chrysanthemums, no hem
of lace from the headscarf
I loose for him at my choosing.
Around my throat still twines a thin line
from when, in another life, I was
guillotined. I know you know
how to slap a child across the face
with a sandal.
Forgive me. I love when he tells me to be
the water you siphon into the roots
of your trees. In that life,
I was your enemy and silverleaf.
In this one, the child you struck was me.
Kissing the Bee
Bitter Oleander Press
9780986204975, $14.00 84 pages
From the Azores to California, a brilliant migration.
Festo Do Emigrante
They sense the coast near,
hear the foghorn's incantation.
They have crossed the great ocean,
their silver hair blowing in the wind.
Voices pulse through the air,
some speaking American.
At first just a mist, a slight drizzle,
primes their memory,
of waters where their fathers fished.
Forty years gone
till the waves bring them home.
They move down the gangplank,
some smile and carry gifts,
others, heads down, empty handed.
Those on shore don't remember names.
One man throws his arms
around his mother's neck.
She slips his grasp,
believing him a ghost.
They go back down the road
the way they came.
Here is home, they say.
Cowboy Buddha Publishing
9780999479506, $14.98, 58 pages
Readers will love what they want, but no one can escape this poetry spectacle without admitting it's a great moment for poetry. If you wish to see where history meets imagination, gloriously detailed, here's an absorbing world populated by luminaries Peggy Guggenheim, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Ezra Pound, Jackson Pollack, Alexander Calder, D.H. Lawrence, and more. If you want to be stunned by the way a poet finds opportunities - if you cannot believe how the rational mind can storm scene and metaphor - I recommend La Dogaressa.
La Dogaressa Pantoum
Where I was still told to my face that modern art
can only be love... By Jews." - Peggy Guggenheim
Cruel kids throw dead kittens in my garden like rain petals.
I am a Jewess in a town of Catholic ghosts.
My babies do not bark unless there is a reason;
they carry dead kittens like a trophy or a bone.
I am a Jewess in a town of Catholic ghosts.
They taunt me with Dogaressa, think my nose a snout.
They carry dead kittens like a trophy or a bone.
Every night, in Venice, I go to sleep alone.
They taunt me with Dogaressa, think my nose a snout.
I try to ignore them, serve up Warhol soup and crackers.
Every night that it rains I go to sleep alone.
The gardener and I mulch our blossoms with soft striped fur.
I try to ignore them, serve up Warhol soup and crackers.
My babies do not bark unless there is a reason.
The gardener and I mulch our flowers with soft striped fur.
Children play dead kittens in my garden like rain petals.
Albert Murray, Collected Novels and Poems
Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr, and Paul Devlin
The Library of America
14 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022
9781598535617, $45.00, 910 pages
This is the initial publication of Albert Murray's four novels, along with his poems. It's about time to visit the south with him when he was a boy in the 20's and 30's (Train Whistle Guitar, The Spyglass Tree. "Scooter" is the protagonist, winding up in a touring band (book three, Seven League Boots;) and finally in The Magic Keys the writer finds himself and his true vocation in New York City. He's bluesy, folkloric, poetic, learned, musical, writes like an angel, and deserves to be read as widely as Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker and more; critics say Murray is at times both William Faulkner and James Joyce. Murray's first published writing, The Luzana Cholly Kick, is included in the appendix. Before its publication poet Sterling Brown read from this in a lecture at Morris Brown College in Atlanta (1954.) It'll take a while to make the whole journey with the book but well spent. Start with "Notes on the Texts" and Walker's "Chronology" as vital tour guides.
I used to say My name is also Jack the Rabbit because my home
is in the briarpatch, and Little Buddy (than whom there was
never a better buddy) used to say Me my name is Jack the
Rabbit also because my home is also in the also and also of the
briarpatch because that is also where I was also bred and also
born. And when I also used to say My name is also Jack the Bear
he always used to say My home is also nowhere and also anywhere
and also everywhere.
Because the also and also of all of that was also the also plus
also of so many of the twelve-bar twelve-string guitar riddles you
got whether in idiomatic iambics or otherwise mostly from Lu-
zana Cholly who was the one who used to walk his trochaic-sporty
stomping-ground limp-walk picking and plucking and knuckle
knocking and strumming (like an anapestic locomotive) while
singsonsaying Anywhere I hang my hat anywhere I prop my feet.
Who could drink muddy water who could sleep in a hollow log.
BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK
Juan Felipe Herrera
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763692643, $14.53, 144 pages
Irrepressible, unconventional, imaginative, indefatigable Juan Felipe Herrera has developed a "Handbook" for young people, to welcome them to the land of inspiration, without fear. There are exercises in living freely, happily, on paper to "Scribble what you see! Scribble what you hear!" It worked for our former U.S. Poet Laureate and now he's spreading the joy.
"Do you have writing paper at home?
Where do you keep your images? Photos?
Do you remember a family story?
How far back in time to your familia stories take you?"
Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul
Barry M. Andrews
University of Massachusetts Press
PO Box 429, Amherst, MA 01004
9781625342928, $90.00, HC, 188pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: American Transcendentalism is often seen as a literary movement, a flowering of works written by New England intellectuals who retreated from society and lived in nature.
In "Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul", retired minister Barry M. Andrews focuses on a neglected aspect of this well-known group, showing how American Transcendentalists developed rich spiritual practices to nurture their souls and discover the divine.
The practices are common and simple, among them, the keeping of journals, contemplation, walking, reading, simple living, and conversation.
In approachable and accessible prose, Andrews demonstrates how Transcendentalism's main thinkers, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and others, pursued rich and rewarding spiritual lives that inspired them to fight for abolition, women's rights, and education reform. In detailing these everyday acts, "Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul" reveals a wealth of spiritual practices that could be particularly valuable today, to spiritual seekers and religious liberals.
Critique: As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul" is an extraordinarily well researched, written, organized and presented study, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul" is also available in a paperback edition (9781625342935, $26.95).
The Monk's Record Player
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802875204, $23.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1965 Thomas Merton fulfilled a twenty-four-year-old dream and went to live as a hermit beyond the walls of his Trappist monastery. Seven months later, after a secret romance with a woman half his age, he was in danger of losing it all. Yet on the very day that his abbot uncovered the affair, Merton found solace in an unlikely place -- the songs of Bob Dylan, who, as fate would have it, was experiencing his own personal and creative crises during the summer of 1966.
"The Monk's Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966" by Robert Hudson (who is a recognized Bob Dylan scholar, a member of the International Thomas Merton Society) is parallel biography of two countercultural icons, that plumbs the depths of Dylan's influence on Merton's life and poetry, recounts each man's interactions with the woman who linked them together (Joan Baez) and shows how each transcended his immediate troubles and went on to new heights of spiritual and artistic genius.
Readers will discover in this compelling book a story of creativity and crisis, burnout and redemp-tion, in the tumultuous era of 1960s America.
Critique: An absolute 'must read' for the legions of Bob Dylan fans and students of the life and work of Thomas Merton, "The Monk's Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966" is a truly extraordinary study that is as impressively informed and informative as it is inherently fascinating from beginning to end. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections, "The Monk's Record Player" is unreservedly recommended for both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
Red Mountain Press
PO Box 32205 Santa Fe, NM 87594
9780998514079, $18.95, PB, 72pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Denise Low is the second Kansas Poet Laureate and an award- winning author of over 30 books of prose and poetry. She blogs, reviews, and co- publishes Mammoth Publications, which specializes in Indigenous American authors. She teaches professional workshops nationally as well as classes for Baker University's School of Professional and Graduate Studies. She founded the Creative Writing program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught for 27 years.
"Shadow Light" is her newest volume of poetry and showcases her undeniable talent and genuine flair for a verbal imagery that blends a lyrical elegance with an engaging storytelling blend of Native American culture and a universal human observation that is insightful, thoughtful, and thought provoking.
'Where The Dead Go': Snow petals ghost / the northern wind. // Among wild Plums / my father's face kites // in wickerwork limbs / gray-eyed, trapped, // no escape as trains / huff roadside tracks. // Withing twists of this, / a Chill Flounce. // Beneath below within / where does he anchor?
Critique: An inherently beautiful, astute, deftly crafted volume of truly memorable verse, "Shadow Light" is unreservedly and especially recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections.
The Ghosts of Gombe
University of California Press
155 Grand Avenue, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612 - 3758
9780520297715, $29.95, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On July 12, 1969, Ruth Davis, a young American volunteer at Dr. Jane Goodall's famous chimpanzee research camp in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, East Africa, walked out of camp to follow a chimpanzee into the forest. Six days later, her body was found floating in a pool at the base of a high waterfall.
With careful detail, "The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness" reveals for the first time the full story of day-to-day life in Goodall's wilderness camp including the people and the animals, the stresses and excitements, the social conflicts and cultural alignments, and the astonishing friendships that developed between three of the researchers and some of the chimpanzees, during the months preceding that tragic event.
Was Ruth's death an accident? Did she jump? Was she pushed? In an extended act of literary forensics, Jane Goodall biographer Dale Peterson examines how Ruth's death might have happened and explores some of the painful sequelae (an abnormal condition resulting from a previous disease) that haunted two of the survivors for the rest of their lives.
Critique: An impressively informative and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness" is an extraordinary and unique study that is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).
Grow Your Own HRT
Sally J. Duffell
9781844097371, $16.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Grow Your Own HRT: Sprout hormone-rich greens in only two minutes a day" by Sally Duffell was specifically written and intended for women who are feeling menopausal and need some help. Sprouted foods are one of the world's richest sources of plant hormones and not only the densest form of nutrients on the planet but also easy to digest. As we evolved on plant hormones, we have receptors in our cells looking for them and it supports our systems to get them back into our diets.
"Grow Your Own HRT: Sprout hormone-rich greens in only two minutes a day" shows the scientific proof of why some women menopause without problem and how you can become one of them. An expert in the subject, Sally Duffell provides detailed instructions on how to grow hormone-rich plants on your windowsill in just two minutes a day. In addition, the author details how to self-diagnose, how much to take and which sprouts to grow for which symptoms.
"Grow Your Own HRT" shows scientific proof that sprouted foods contain the following: Plant oestrogens; Plant progesterone; Plant sterols; Natural detoxifying nutrients. Plus all the studies on how sprouted foods help: Menopause symptoms; Cancer; Heart disease; Osteoporosis; Dementia; Diabetes; and Autism.
With "Grow Your Own HRT" readers can avoid expensive supplements, changing their whole diet, consume synthetic hormones. Instead they can grow their own HRT the way nature intended as a quick, cheap, natural, and effective self-medication approach.
Critique: Exceptionally informative and impressively 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Grow Your Own HRT: Sprout hormone-rich greens in only two minutes a day" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Alternative Health & Medicine collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Grow Your Own HRT" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).
Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
9780299315504, $34.95, HC, 408pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1904 a young Danish woman met a Sami wolf hunter on a train in Sweden. This chance encounter transformed the lives of artist Emilie Demant and the hunter, Johan Turi.
In 1907 - 1908, Emilie Demant went to live with Sami families in their tents and on migrations, later writing a lively account of her experiences. She collaborated with Johan Turi on his book about his people.
On her own and later with her husband Gudmund Hatt, she roamed on foot through Sami regions as an ethnographer and folklorist. As an artist, she created many striking paintings with Sami motifs. Now her exceptional life and relationships come alive in "Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer", the first English-language biography by Barbara Sjoholm.
In recounting Demant Hatt's fascinating life, Barbara Sjoholm investigates the boundaries and influences between ethnographers and sources, the nature of authorship and visual representation, and the state of anthropology, racial biology, and politics in Scandinavia during the first half of the twentieth century.
Critique: A truly impressive and exceptionally informative biography that is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a four page listing of the Names on Sources and Language; thirty-two pages of Notes to Chapters; a six page Selected Bibliography; and an eighteen page Index. Remarkable detailed and informative, "Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists of academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, as well as both community and academic library biography, anthropology, and Scandinavian history collections.
Women in Doctor Who: Damsels, Feminists and Monsters
Valerie Estelle Frankel
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476672229, $29.95, PB, 253pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Over the past half-century Doctor Who has defined science fiction television from its first season's crude black and white productions to today's impressively produced special effects in full color.
A dedicated Doctor Who fan, Valerie Estelle Frankel is also a gifted storyteller and novelist who teaches English at Mission College who has written an inherently fascinating and compelling volume showcasing the women in this popular series. These are female figures ranging from orphans and heroic mothers to seductresses and clever teachers, all of them flourishing in their respective roles yet rarely surmount them.
Some female companions rescue the Doctor and charm viewers with their technical brilliance, while others only scream for rescue. The villainesses dazzle with their cruelty ranging from the Rani, to Cassandra, to Missy.
Covering all of the series (both classic and new) along with Class, K9, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, novels, comics and Big Finish Audio adventures, "Women in Doctor Who: Damsels, Feminists and Monsters" deftly examines the women archetypes in Doctor Who.
Critique: A seminal work of outstanding scholarship that is as groundbreaking as it is comprehensive, "Women in Doctor Who: Damsels, Feminists and Monsters" is a 'must read' for the legions of Doctor Who fans and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Women in Doctor Who: Damsels, Feminists and Monsters" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).
All the Women in My Family Sing
Deborah Santana, editor
Nothing But The Truth Publishing
9780997296211, $16.95, PB, 366pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Deborah Santana, "All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom" is an anthology documenting the experiences of women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It is a vital collection of prose and poetry whose topics range from the pressures of being the vice-president of a Fortune 500 Company, to escaping the killing fields of Cambodia, to the struggles inside immigration, identity, romance, and self-worth. These brief, trenchant essays capture the aspirations and wisdom of women of color as they exercise autonomy, creativity, and dignity and build bridges to heal the brokenness in today's turbulent world.
This is a unique collections of contributions from sixty-nine authors (African American, Asian American, Chicana, Native American, Cameroonian, South African, Korean, LGBTQI ) who lend their voices to broaden cross-cultural understanding and to build bridges to each other's histories and daily experiences of life.
America Ferrera's essay is from her powerful speech at the Women's March in Washington D.C.; Natalie Baszile writes about her travels to Louisiana to research Queen Sugar and finding the "painful truths" her father experienced in the "belly of segregation;" Porochista Khakpour tells us what it is like to fly across America under the Muslim travel ban; Lalita Tademy writes about her transition from top executive at Sun Microsystems to NY Times bestselling author.
This anthology is monumental and timely as human rights and justice are being challenged around the world. It is a watershed title, not only written, but produced entirely by women of color, including the publishing, editing, process management, book cover design, and promotions. Our vision is to empower under represented voices and to impact the world of publishing in America -- particularly important in a time when 80% of people who work in publishing self-identify as white (as found recently in a study by Lee & Low Books, and reported on NPR).
Critique: An uncommonly rare and inherently compelling read from cover to cover, "All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Women's collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "All the Women in My Family Sing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.19).
A Devil in Scotland
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250095459 $7.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: The dawning of desire is delicious and dangerous.
1806, Scotland. Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone's husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it's too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, Callum is only too happy to leave Scotland forever.
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection or does he blame her for his brother's unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction. But will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?
Critique: A Devil in Scotland is a steamy, salacious, Scottish historical romance, and highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. The blazing hot passion is perfect for keeping warm when curled up in bed on a cold winter night! It should also be noted for personal reading lists that A Devil in Scotland is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
When the Stars Come Out
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250131287 $7.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers' garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa's heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .
Jackson's most meaningful relationship has always been with his car?and he's not afraid to admit it. Still, he can't help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa's past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?
Critique: When the Stars Come out is a heartfelt, passionate romance, sure to delight fans of the genre. Willa has a troubled past, and Jackson finds it easier to connect with automobiles than with people, but their undeniable desire for one another leads each to challenge their own greatest shortcomings. A rapturously beautiful story, When the Stars Come Out is highly recommended. It should also be noted for personal reading lists that When the Stars Come Out is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero
Devon Abbott Mihesuah
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806159102, $29.95, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Nede Wade Christie was in his lifetime and continues down to this very day to be a controversial figure. Was he a violent criminal guilty of murdering a federal officer? Or a Cherokee statesman who suffered a martyr's death for a crime he did not commit? For more than a century, journalists, pulp fiction authors, and even serious historians have produced largely fictitious accounts of "Ned" Christie's life. Now, in a tour de force of investigative scholarship, Devon A. Mihesuah (who is a member of the Choctaw Nation, as well as the Cora Lee Beers Price Professor in International Cultural Understanding at the University of Kansas) offers a far more accurate depiction of Christie and the times in which he lived.
In 1887 Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Maples was shot and killed in Tahlequah, Indian Territory. As Professor Mihesuah recounts in unsurpassed detail, any of the criminals in the vicinity at the time could have committed the crime. Yet the federal court at Fort Smith, Arkansas, focused on Christie, a Cherokee Nation councilman and adviser to the tribal chief. Christie evaded capture for five years. His life ended when a posse dynamited his home (knowing he was inside) and shot him as he emerged from the burning building. The posse took Christie's body to Fort Smith, where it lay for three days on display for photographers and gawkers. Nede's family suffered as well. His teenage cousin Arch Wolfe was sentenced to prison and ultimately perished in the Canton Asylum for "insane" Indians -- a travesty that, Mihesuah shows, may even surpass the injustice of Nede's fate.
Placing Christie's story within the rich context of Cherokee governance and nineteenth-century American political and social conditions, Mihesuah draws on hundreds of newspaper accounts, oral histories, court documents, and family testimonies to assemble the most accurate portrayal of Christie's life possible. Yet Professor Mihesuah admits that for all this information, we may never know the full story, because Christie's own voice is largely missing from the written record. In addition, she spotlights our fascination with villains and martyrs, murder and mayhem, and our dangerous tendency to glorify the "Old West".
Critique: A seminal work of exhaustive and comprehensive scholarship, "Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero" is an impressively informative, inherently fascinating, and unreservedly recommended contribution to both community and academic library American Biography collections in general, and Native American Studies supplemental reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.95).
Lost Opportunity: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914
Simon J. House
Helion and Company
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
9781911096429, $79.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On 22 August 1914, on a World War I battlefield some 100 kilometers wide stretching from Luxembourg to the River Meuse, two French and two German armies clashed in a series of encounters known collectively as the Battle of the Ardennes. On that day, 27,000 young French soldiers died - the bloodiest day in the military history of France (most of them in the Ardennes) - and yet it is almost unknown to English-speaking readers.
There has never been an operational study of the Battle of the Ardennes in any language: at best, a single chapter in a history of greater scope; at least a monograph of an individual tactical encounter within the overall battle. "Lost Opportunity: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914" by military historian Simon J. House fills a glaring gap in the study of the opening phase of the First World War - the Battles of the Frontiers - and provides fresh insight into both French and German plans for the prosecution of what was supposed to be a short war.
At the center of "Lost Opportunities" lies a mystery: in a key encounter battle, one French Army corps led by a future Minister of War - General Pierre Roques - outnumbered its immediate opposition by nearly six to one and yet dismally failed to capitalize on that superiority. The question is how, and why. Intriguingly, there is a six-hour gap in the war diaries of all General Roques' units; it smacks of a cover-up. By a thorough investigation of German sources, and through the discovery of three vital messages buried in the French archives, it is now possible to piece together what happened during those missing hours and show how Roques threw away an opportunity to break the German line and advance unopposed deep into the hinterland beyond. The chimera of a clean break and exploitation that was to haunt the Allied High Command for the next four years in the trenches of the Western Front, was a brief and tantalizing opportunity for General Roques.
The final part of "Lost Opportunities" seeks to answer the question 'why?' The history of both French and German prewar preparation reveals the political, economic and cultural differences that shaped the two opposing national armies. Those differences, in turn, predicated the behavior of General Roques and his men, as well as that of his German opponent. With a clear understanding of those differences, the reader may now understand how the French lost their best opportunity not only to stymie the Schlieffen Plan, but to change the course of the rest of the war.
Critique: An impressively informative, expertly researched, remarkably well documented, accessibly organized and presented study, "Lost Opportunity: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914" is a substantial, significant, and welcome contribution to the growing body of World War I literature that is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of dedicated military history buffs, as well as academic library World War I History collections and supplemental studies lists. Of special note and also very highly recommended is the accompanying "Lost Opportunity: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914: Map Book" (9781911096429) containing 50 newly commissioned color maps.
Wrongful Conviction: From Prevention to the Reversal of Injustice
John A. Humphrey & Kaitlyn M. Clarke
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
2600 South First Street, Springfield, IL 62704
9780398092061, $42.95, PB, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the name of justice, individuals suspected of committing a crime are arrested, and if convicted, are incarcerated for extended periods of time. "Wrongful Conviction: From Prevention to the Reversal of Injustice" provides an understanding of legal remedies, organizational reforms, and policy changes that have been proposed and implemented.
In various jurisdictions, these procedures reduce the likelihood of a wrongful conviction. Legal and organizational reforms and changes in criminal justice policy are considered at three key junctures of the process: (1) the investigation, evidence gathering, and forensic analysis, (2) prosecutorial decision-making, and (3) the judicial review and exoneration of a wrongfully convicted defendant.
Each chapter comprising "Wrongful Conviction" opens with a wrongful case example that illustrates the reform strategies being considered. The investigatory process is studied on each case, and the police process is analyzed in detail.
Part 1 includes the introductory chapter that provides an overview of wrongful convictions, and the investigatory process routinely employed to gather evidence and identify a suspect. The analysis of forensic evidence is explored, including the chain of custody, contamination of the evidence, misinterpretation, and the falsification of forensic reports.
Part 2 focuses on the prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and juries. Plea bargaining strategies, coaching witnesses, violations of the rules of discovery, use of jailhouse snitches, inadequate defense counseling, lack of preparation and adequate resources are examined.
Part 3 analyzes the processes involved in the reversal of wrongful convictions, the judicial review, and obstacles encountered in the exoneration process.
In addition, "Wrongful Conviction" provides a thorough analytical overview of the criminal justice processes involved in wrongful conviction and the reforms that are needed to prevent and reverse injustices. "Wrongful Conviction" will be an invaluable resource for prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, advocates for the wrongfully convicted, criminal justice policymakers, law and society, and will contribute to academic courses in the fields of criminology and justice.
Critique: An extraordinary and impressively informative contribution to both community and academic library Judicial Studies & Criminology collections and supplemental studies reading lists, "Wrongful Conviction: From Prevention to the Reversal of Injustice" is an especially and unreservedly recommended. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Wrongful Conviction" is also available in a digital book format (eBook, $42.95).
A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance
Cathie Brady, David Farrell, Barbara Frank
Health Professions Press
PO Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285-0624
9781938870507, $46.99, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" provides a blueprint for success in today's performance based healthcare system. It presents a tested approach to delivering optimal care to each resident using a proven, coordinated bundle of key practices that include: Leadership that brings out the best in staff; a communication infrastructure to support teamwork throughout an organization; and a high-involvement performance improvement process that delivers quality person-centered care and prevents avoidable declines.
A practical resource, "A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" takes long-term care leaders through the critical steps to achieve staff stability, strengthen coordination of care, and maintain the highest practicable well-being for each resident. It demonstrates how engaging staff in continuous quality improvement produces consistently high-quality care.
Whether care communities are excelling or struggling, leaders can benefit from these performance-improving practices. Filled with candid, impactful personal accounts about implementing quality improvement in nursing homes, "A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" deftly reveals precisely how leaders and their staff can do better, together.
"A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" also features accompanying downloadable, how-to guides that include: Three Steps to Transforming the Medication Pass: Individualizing Care and Managing Workflow; Rethinking the use of Position-Change Alarms; Eliminating Off-Label Use of Antipsychotics: A 10-Step Guide for Nursing Homes; MUSIC & MEMORYSM: Implementation Steps to Maximize Benefits: A Nursing Home Leader's Guide; Common Infrastructure Self-Assessment.
Critique: Exceptionally informed and informative, impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking, remarkably well written, accessibly organized and presented, "A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" will prove to be of particular and practical interest to anyone with managerial responsibilities in today's contemporary health care systems and facilities. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community, college, and university library Healthcare Management collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of healthcare managers, students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "A Long-Term Care Leader's Guide to High Performance" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $44.64).
Windows on Provence
Yellow Pear Press
57 Post Street, Suite 913, San Francisco, CA 94014
9780999160206, $29.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Georgeanne Brennan is the recipient of both a James Beard Award and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. She has written many cooking and gardening books, including My Culinary Journey. She is the founder and owner of La Vie Rustic (lavierustic.com) an online store bringing gardening and cooking products to those dedicated to living in a sustainable French lifestyle. She lives with her husband in both her home in Provence and her lovely small farm in Northern California.
Famous for its radiant light, vibrant colors, beautiful architecture, flavorful foods, and opulent wines, Provence is one of the most visited destinations of the world. Drawing upon her personal experience and impressive expertise, Brennan immerses the reader into the unique and wonderful cuisine and culture of the region in the pages of "Windows on Provence: Musings on the Food, Wine, and Culture of the South of France".
With each photograph and chapter, the reader is transported to the beaches of Nice under a white umbrella, to the twisting streets of Aix-en-Provence, to the 2,000-year-old ruins of Cimiez, and beyond.
Brennan evocatively renders an insider's knowledge of Provence's villages and their ancient customs and traditions. Through rich essays, each examining a unique facet of Provencal culture, she shares her view of the southern region of the country. Brennan's engaging text, together with alluring photographs, takes the reader on an unforgettable tour, from the sun-drenched Côte d'Azur to the craggy mountains of Haute Provence; to lavender, poppy and wheat fields; through markets full of richly-hued fabrics, antiques and seasonal specialties; to harbors filled with fishermen selling the morning's catch; over hills covered in vines; and into centuries-old buildings and castle ruins, all brought to life through the author's eyes.
Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of four distinctive Provencal recipes, as well as indispensable driving tips to help drivers find their way without stress, "Windows on Provence: Musings on the Food, Wine, and Culture of the South of France" is ideal reading for armchair travelers, on-site tourists, for dedicated Francophiles, and for lovers of Provencal craft and cuisine. Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "Windows on Provence" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to personal reading lists and community library travel guide and memoir collections.
Gray Divorce: What We Lose and Gain from Mid-Life Splits
Jocelyn Elise Crowley
University of California Press
155 Grand Avenue, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612 - 3758
9780520295315, $85.00, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After 20, 30, or even 40 years of marriage, countless vacations, raising well-adjusted children, and sharing property and finances, what could go so wrong in a marriage that it would end in divorce?
"Gray Divorce: What We Lose and Gain from Mid-Life Splits" by Jocelyn Elise Crowley (Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) is a provocative look at the rising rate of marital splits after the age of 50 in which Professor Crowley uncovers the reasons why men and women divorce, as well as the penalties and benefits that they receive for their choices.
From the outside, many may ask why couples in mid-life and readying for retirement choose to make a drastic change in their marital status. Yet, nearly one out of every four divorces in the United States is "gray". With a deft eye, Professor Crowley analyzes the differing experiences of women and men in this mid-life transition -- the seismic shift in individual priorities, the role of increased life expectancy, and how women are affected economically while men are affected socially.
Professor Crowley expressively shares the personal positive outlooks and the necessary supportive public policies that must be enacted to best help the newly divorced.
Critique: A seminal work of impressively articulate scholarship, "Gray Divorce: What We Lose and Gain from Mid-Life Splits" is essential reading for academics and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While an unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gray Divorce" is also available in a paperback edition (9780520295322, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.17).
The White Dress Destinations
Beth Chapman, Candice Coppola, Caria Ten Eyck
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764353031, $34.99, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Destination weddings have evolved significantly from the proverbial white-sand-beach ceremony to an intimate, memorable experience in a place that's special to the couple. "The White Dress Destinations: The Definitive Guide to Planning the New Destination Wedding" is simply gorgeous volume illustrating and showing the reader on how to curate a bespoke wedding that both reflects the reader's personal style and capturing the flavor of the selected destination.
Beth Chapman is a bridal stylist, Candice Coppola is an international destination wedding planner, and Caria Ten Eyck is a photographer. In The White Dress Destinations they have collaborated to take the reader to six unique romantic settings, such as Palm Beach, Paris, Barbados, and the Berkshires. They share behind-the-design commentary on how each wedding location inspired everything from attire and accessories to the invitations, program, place settings, and signature drinks.
Intended to spark the imagination, "The White Dress Destinations" is also a comprehensive planning guide filled with tips and essential checklists for creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a bride and her guests.
Critique: A beautifully and profusely illustrated volume enhanced with practical advice, insights, and ideas, ""The White Dress Destinations: The Definitive Guide to Planning the New Destination Wedding" is an inspiring and thought-provoking read from cover to cover that is certain to be an enduringly popular acquisition for personal reading lists and community library collections.
Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City
Nora Fisher-Onar, et al.
711 - 3rd Avenue, Floor 8, New York, NY 10017-9209
9780813589107, $99.95, HC, 212pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City" explores how to live with difference through the prism of an age-old, cutting-edge city whose people have long confronted the challenge of sharing space with the Other. Located at the intersection of trade networks connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa, Istanbul is western and eastern, northern and southern, religious and secular. Heir of ancient empires, Istanbul is the premier city of a proud nation-state even as it has become a global city of multinational corporations, NGOs, and capital flows.
Rather than exploring Istanbul as one place at one time, the contributors to "Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City" focus on the city's experience of migration and globalization over the last two centuries. Asking what Istanbul teaches us about living with people whose hopes jostle with one's own, contributors explore the rise, collapse, and fragile rebirth of cosmopolitan conviviality in a once and future world city. The result is a cogent, interdisciplinary exchange about an urban space that is microcosmic of dilemmas of diversity across time and space.
Critique: A seminal volume of simply outstanding scholarship, "Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City" is enhanced with the inclusion of an Historical Timeline, a two page bibliography of Recommended Further Reading, a two page listing of thematically appropriate Web Resources, a four page listing of contributors and their credentials, and a three page Index. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Middle East Studies, International Studies, Urban Studies, and Political Science collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Istanbul: Living with Difference in a Global City" is also available in a paperback edition (9780813589091, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.45).
Michele Lent Hirsch
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807023952, $26.95, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Miriam's doctor didn't believe she had breast cancer. She did.
Sophie navigates being the only black scientist in her lab while studying the very disease, HIV, that she hides from her coworkers.
For Victoria, coming out as a transgender woman was less difficult than coming out as bipolar.
Michele Lent Hirsch (a writer and editor who specializes in science, gender, and health) knew she couldn't be the only woman who's faced serious health issues at a young age, as well as the resulting effects on her career, her relationships, and her sense of self. What she found while researching "Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine" was a surprisingly large and overlooked population with important stories to tell.
Though young women with serious illness tend to be seen as outliers, young female patients are in fact the primary demographic for many illnesses. They are also one of the most ignored groups in our medical system -- a system where young women, especially women of color and trans women, are invisible.
And because of expectations about gender and age, young women with health issues must often deal with bias in their careers and personal lives. Not only do they feel pressured to seem perfect and youthful, they also find themselves amid labyrinthine obstacles in a culture that has one narrow idea of womanhood.
Lent Hirsch weaves her own harrowing experiences together with stories from other women, perspectives from sociologists on structural inequality, and insights from neuroscientists on misogyny in health research. She shows how health issues and disabilities amplify what women in general already confront: warped beauty standards, workplace sexism, worries about romantic partners, and mistrust of their own bodies. By shining a light on this hidden demographic, Lent Hirsch explores the challenges that all women face.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, expertly researched, deftly written and thoroughly accessible in organization and presentation, "Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine" is a seminal study that should be a part of every community and academic library's Women's Health collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for medical students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $25.99). Librariansshould note that there is a complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Invisible: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seem Just Fine" (Dreamscape Media, 9781520097350, $24.99, CD).
Creating Healing School Communities
Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, Tali Raviv, Lisa H. Jaycox
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828621, $44.95, PB, 140pp, www.amazon.com
School systems are pressured to raise the level of academic achievement, but children who are exposed to trauma often bring a complicated set of needs to the classroom that can impact their willingness to learn, their cognitive function, their ability to form lasting relationships, and even their physical health. For school mental health providers, it can be overwhelming to find the best ways to support students who have experienced trauma and stress: What are the best ways to, understand and assist these vulnerable children?
"Creating Healing School Communities: School-Based Interventions for Students Exposed to Trauma" provides readers with the necessary"trauma informed" tools to intervene on behalf of struggling students and create a beneficial educational environment. School based programs can minimize the impact trauma has on learning and help students who may otherwise not have access to such support to develop the coping skills to manage ongoing and future stress.
With examples of core treatment components and engaging case studies, "Creating Healing School Communities" illustrates how effective school based interventions ensure that students have the opportunity to heal from trauma.
"Creating Healing School Communities" take a holistic approach to trauma informed practices, and provide a practical overview of evidence based interventions using the Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model. Under the MTSS, trauma interventions take place on three distinct levels that address a wide variety of students and differing degrees of trauma exposure: Universal (Tier 1), Targeted (Tier 2), and Intensive (Tier 3). Creating Healing School Communities shows how school mental health professionals, educators, and administrators can work together to help students overcome trauma and excel in the classroom and in life.
Critique: Effective student-based trauma services on the part of school districts has been underscored by the recent spate of multiple victim school shootings making "Creating Healing School Communities: School-Based Interventions for Students Exposed to Trauma" an urgently needed addition to school district, college, and university library collections. Expertly written, informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, and accessibly organized and presented, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Creating Healing School Communities" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $41.04).
St. Martin's Griffin
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250178503, $28.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she's dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She's always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She's heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again. Except one.
Sam Grist is Kate's most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he's not there solely to be the best writer. He's been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years. As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate's life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?
Critique: A deftly crafted and thoroughly gripping novel from first page to last, "Watch Me" explores the subject of intense obsession and illicit attraction in a truly compelling read. Author Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all, making "Watch Me" an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library psychological thriller fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Watch Me" is also available in a paperback edition (9781250144027, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Can We Know Better?
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781853399442, $41.95, HC, 210pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development" by Robert Chambers (Research Associate and Emeritus Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex) is specifically intended for all who are committed to human wellbeing and who want to make our world fairer, safer and more fulfilling for everyone, especially those who are "last." It argues that to do better we need to know better. It provides evidence that what we believe we know in international development is often distorted or unbalanced by errors, myths, biases and blind spots. Undue weight has been attached to standardized methodologies such as randomized control trials, systematic reviews, and competitive bidding: these are shown to have huge transaction costs which are rarely if ever recognized in their enormity.
Professor Chambers contrasts a Newtonian paradigm in which the world is seen and understood as controllable with a paradigm of complexity which recognizes that the real world of social processes and power relations is messy and unpredictable. To confront the challenges of complex and emergent realities requires a revolutionary new professionalism. This is underpinned by a new combination of canons of rigor expressed through eclectic methodological pluralism and participatory approaches which reverse and transform power relations. Promising developments include rapid innovations in participatory ICTs, participatory statistics, and the Reality Check Approach with its up-to-date and rigorously grounded insights. Fundamental to the new professionalism, in every country and context, are reflexivity, facilitation, groundtruthing, and personal mindsets, behavior, attitudes, empathy and love.
Professor Chambers also surveys the past world of international development, and his own past views, with an honest and critical eye, and then launches into the world of complexity with a buoyant enthusiasm, drawing on almost six decades of experience in varied roles in Africa, South Asia and elsewhere as practitioner, trainer, manager, teacher, evaluator and field researcher, as well as working in UNHCR and the Ford Foundation.
Critique: Essential, informative reading for researchers and students of development, for policy makers and evaluators, and for all those working towards the better world of the Sustainable Development Goals, "Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development" is an extraordinary, insightful, and unreservedly recommended addition for college and university library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development" is also available in a paperback edition (9781853399459, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Mystery at Saddle Creek
The Dundurn Group
9781459739512 $12.99 pbk / $8.99 amazon.com
Synopsis: Summer vacation has finally started, and Bird is looking forward to an extended stay with her Aunt Hannah at Saddle Creek Farm. But before she can settle into the routine of riding Sundancer and preparing for shows, the community is thrown into chaos when a local woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police aren't acting fast enough to satisfy the community's calls for justice, so a vigilante group emerges to take matters into their own hands.
Bird finds herself embroiled in the mystery. Who had reason to attack the woman? Does the strange man Bird and Sunny meet in the woods have anything to do with the crime? And how does the reappearance of her grandfather fit into the picture? As Bird struggles to get to the bottom of the mystery, she learns more than she bargained for about her community, her past, and human nature.
Critique: Although Mystery at Saddle Creek is written especially for young adults ages 12-15, the masterfully crafted story of intrigue, deception, and crime will appeal to mystery connoisseurs of all ages and backgrounds. Something is rotten in the community near Saddle Creek Farm! Mystery at Saddle Creek keeps the reader guessing to the end, and is highly recommended for fans of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Mystery at Saddle Creek is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).
One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole
Dr John Bird and Jennifer McCallum
9781539947301, $15.00 paperback
Adventure: a year's commitment to live in an exotic place, with extreme weather, alongside a hearty group of individuals. For most, the South Pole does not readily fit the bill. But for married couple Dr John Bird and Jennifer McCallum, it's the choice of a lifetime, "the road less travelled." In One Day, One Night, they detail their summer and winter over as Polies.
After a call from a colleague requesting a technician at the Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole, laser-experienced scientist Dr Bird consults with his wife, Jennifer, about the possibility of both of them spending a year there. Jennifer is game to join the kitchen staff, despite the interruption in her music training. Hired with only months until start dates, they complete training and prepare in a frenzy.
Jennifer and John take turns writing up their experience. Each begins their chapters with quotes, grounding their reflections in a community of wisdom-seekers. John's segments focus on the science of the station: gathering weather and climate data, ice measurements, and the construction of the new, updated facilities. He explains phenomenon such as the aurora borealis, the mesosphere, neutrinos, and cryogenics, as well as provides portraits of the other scientists and technicians with whom he works. Jennifer concentrates on her work in the kitchen and interpersonal relationships.
At points, the book feels as long as the antarctic winter. The Polies' complaints pile up, especially during the bleak midwinter, when "some people went wacko" (pg 234), overwhelming the more buoyant dramas: the stars, photography expeditions, the 300 club in which people run naked into the -100 degrees after a sauna, and holiday festivities. While the alternating viewpoints reflect an equinamimous relationship between John and Jennifer and an expansive perspective, they do not help focus the narrative.
One Day, One Night is a travelogue and a scientific treatise on a year's worth of information gathered at the South Pole. The cold is palpable, as well as the warmth of the people enduring it for a worthy purpose.
Translated and introduced by Jhumpa Lahiri
214 West 29th Street, Suite 1003, New York, N.Y. 10001
978609454449, $16.00, 176 pp
When Daniele visits the Naples home where he grew up, he confronts who he has become since leaving. Daniele's daughter, now living in the house, has asked him to watch her son, Mario, while she and her husband are at a weekend conference. Both a trick and a treat, Trick by Domenico Starnone, delights the senses as well as inspires existential rumination.
Ailing after a stint in the hospital, well-known illustrator Daniele Mallarico wants to watch his grandson in the house where he grew up even less than he wants to produce plates for a new edition of The Jolly Corner by Henry James. Like James' protagonist, Daniele is haunted by ghosts from his past. He sees them in his grandson, Mario, whose artistic talent already surpasses his own. While Mario plays at art, and succeeds, Daniele struggles to get any satisfactory work done. His publisher calls disappointed with what Daniele has submitted so far. The disapproval stings more than usual, stifling his productivity and sending him questioning the basis for his fame thus far. Mario distracts him, but also forces Daniele to see how his relentless work ethic has left him lonely and resentful.
At the climax of the book, Mario plays a trick on Grandpa, locking him on the balcony in the cold and rain. At once tragic and comic, Daniele becomes the helpless child, the butt of Mario's joke, and Mario the capable adult who eventually figures out how to let his grandpa back in. The scene best conveys the book's delightful and spitty dialogue between Daniele and Mario, as well as Daniele's vivid reflections on aging, the artistic life and identity. He sees all the selves he could have become, of which he's tried to rid himself when he left home, melding together like "muck, alive and insatiable" (105).
The book ends with an appendix: Daniele's artist journal, with paintings in the margins, about his work on The Jolly Corner and his time with his daughter and her family. Not just a supplement, the appendix complements the main text, grounding it in Henry James' themes and Daniele's perceptions. The book stands on its own, but the appendix suggests it would be better understood by reading James.
Playfully toggling between past and present, childish humor and serious soul probing, Trick is Starnone's latest and most endearing novel.
Under the Skin
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
0151006261, $14.95, 2000
Michel Faber's Under the Skin explores what makes victims and perpetrators the same "under the skin." Centered around an awkward Scottish Highlands driver, Isserley, this 2000 speculative fiction release also features her hitchhikers and the workers at the farm where she deposits the men she picks up. Isserley is on a roll harvesting hitchers until the conscientious son of the farm owner, Amlis Vess, arrives. Beautiful, rich and powerful, his entrance marks a twist in the plot. Without a clear climax, the book meanders as mopily as Isserley drives the A9. Amlis influences Isserley to change course at the end, but toward unity or away from it?
Isserley always takes another pass before deciding whom to let into her vehicle. She's looking for a healthy male. Bulky on top, preferably. Once she's let a man in, she makes sure he isn't married or in love or a father. Luckily, the A9 is littered with the unattached and unemployed, or those sliding toward some such undesirable state. Isserley's intentions for these passengers are unclear until several have either been let off down the road or brought back to Ablach farm. The erotic overtones to these encounters evaporate once the farm's purpose becomes obvious. Isserley is simply doing a job no one but she, in her modified state, can do. There is something odd about Isserley besides her funny driving techniques, the hitchers notice. Isserley is a "human" whose body has been made to appear as a "vodsel" so she can do her job. Until Amlis Vess arrives on the scene, she doesn't question what she's doing. In fact, she's grateful to have the job she does, as risky and difficult as it it. But Amlis protests the farm's, and Isserley's, treatment of the vodsel "animals". Told mostly from Isserley's not-one-nor-the-other state, Faber's perspective is elusive. Does he show how these characters are more similar than different?
The novel's success - its elusiveness - is also its failure. Reading to figure out what's going on is pleasurable. Instead of building a climactic plot, Faber slowly reveals who Isserley is and what she does. As the hitchers each try to understand their "captor," Isserley, readers, too, gain bearings and insight into this mysterious topsy-turvy world. However, the suspension of disbelief, the enjoyment of this novel, ends when Amlis raises concerns about his father's business, Isserley's employer. His moral question stands out against the otherwise bumbling, often comic encounters between Isserley and her colorful counterparts. Isserley is distracted by Amlis not only because his ideals counter her work, but also because she's attracted to him. Is this a story of thwarted love or a moral tale? Faber doesn't make up his mind.
The point of building an alternative or parallel literary universe is to shed light on the dominant one. Adopting opposite labels for what are normally categorized as human and animal, Faber questions paradigms but fails to create another viable option. Isserley's fate, which could be considered Faber's "answer," follows the previous trajectory of her life; it makes sense. But it does not persuade.
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
The remarkable creatures in Tracy Chevalier's sixth novel, Remarkable Creatures, are both fossils and the women who hunt them. Mary Anning, based on the real fossilist from Lyme Regis, England, and her fictional friend Elizabeth Philpot, a transplant to Lyme from London, discover bones of "monsters" at first thought to be crocodiles. As they discover specimens never before encountered, they also discover their individual strengths and the strength of their friendship.
Mary Anning is hit by lightning as a child and is thereby set apart for the rest of her life. As soon as she meets her, Elizabeth notices that Mary "leads with her eyes," a trait Elizabeth envies. After her father dies, Mary contributes necessary money to her household selling "curies" she digs out along the coast. Her skill wins her the attention of fossilist Colonel Birch but fails to win his heart. Fossils begin to take a different priority in her life. Meanwhile,
Elizabeth lives with two other spinster sisters, one who leads with her hands and the other with her eyes, with whom she gets on best. It takes a pioneering trip to London, by ship, alone, on Mary's behalf, for Elizabeth to discover how she leads.
The remarkable creatures in Remarkable Creatures defy expectations. No one expects much of poor Mary Anning after her accident, despite her discoveries; someone else gets always the acclaim. Elizabeth does not expect notoriety from her own finds. She knows her limited place in the world, kept afloat by her solicitor brother. The fossils themselves are either ignored or feared as clues to a past that upsets the current Biblical understanding of the creation. But as Mary and Elizabeth learn that fossils are "works of art reminding us of what the world was once like (229), they open to the possibility that they, too, are capable of evolution, of bringing about change. Alternating Mary's and Elizabeth's voices, the novel's point of view is expansive.
This novel is hopeful, both deep and light-hearted. Concerned with the beginnings of the study of the origins of life, it invites an inquiry into beloved beliefs and assumptions. It draws delightful portraits of women resisting conventional roles, as well as the men who support their abilities and independence. Not bound by the past, this historical fiction enlivens our present.
9781786080530, $14.99 paperback
Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Redferne Lane, Sarah Scholefield's debut novel, traces Grace's tumultuous relationship with the Redferne family. Following Ezra Redferne's untimely death, just months after their wedding, Grace drinks and pops pills to blunt her volatile emotions. Hardly living up to her name, Grace struggles to keep her house clean, get to work on time and follow Ezra's oldest brother, Torin's, solicitous advice about self-care. Depicting Grace's reluctant recovery under the care of her small community, Redferne Lane is a tenderhearted and very real story of loss and renewal.
Grace isn't the only one with troubles. Leaving her own Redferne cottage one morning, Grace witnesses Ada, an elderly resident of another Redferne cottage out riding her bike, collide with both Jerome, son of Redferne mansion cleaner, and Eliza, teenage daughter of Noah, the mansion's owner. Grace and Jerome vie to nurse feisty Ada back to health and Eliza and Jerome begin a clandestine romance. Noah's wife is pregnant with her third bouncing boy while uncle Torin comes to live with the growing family. Torin checks in on Grace but isn't sure how close to get, given their history and her downward spiral. The chapters toggle back and forth between past and present, mirroring the way history creeps into current states of affairs.
Through key revelatory interactions with Ada, Jerome, Eliza and Torin, Grace makes peace with Ezra's passing and starts to move forward. She is subtly drawn, revealed through others' affections for her as well as her own clumsy, artsy charm. Through Redferne birthday and holiday parties, family dinners and informal cigarette breaks and after work drinks, the Redferne characters come to earthy and colorful life. The novel is full of compassion and tough love, written in straight forward, yet fleshy language. A redemptive read.
Mari Carlson, Reviewer
The Finest Nines
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781510722712, $19.99, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Over the past few years, perhaps due to an increase in work and family commitments, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of golfers interested in playing nine-hole courses. Although there are close to eight thousand such courses worldwide, how do golfers determine which are the best ones to play?
In the pages of "The Finest Nines: The Best Nine-Hole Golf Courses in North America", dedicated golfer, golf writer and golf historian Anthony Pioppi highlights the twenty-five finest nine-hole courses in North America and details how to play each one. Some of the courses featured include: Whitinsville Golf Club?Whitinsville, Massachusetts; Sweetens Cove Golf Club?South Pittsburg, Tennessee; Birchwood Country Club?Westport, Connecticut; LivingStone Golf Course?Calgary, Alberta; Aetna Springs Golf Course?Pope Valley, California; and so many more!
"The Finest Nines" also includes an interview with course designer and architect Mike Nuzzo about designing a nine-hole golf course in the modern era as well as profiles of courses that have a non-traditional number of holes.
Critique; Informative, illustrated, and an inherently fascinating browse that will have very special appeal to any and all golfing enthusiasts, "The Finest Nines" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Sports/Athletics collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all avid golfers that "The Finest Nines" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Must We Defend Nazis?
Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic
New York University Press
838 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10003
9781479887712, $89.00, HC, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Swirling in the midst of the resurgence of neo-Nazi demonstrations, hate speech, and acts of domestic terrorism are uncomfortable questions about the limits of free speech. The United States stands apart from many other countries in that citizens have the power to say virtually anything without legal repercussions. But, in the case of white supremacy, does the First Amendment demand that we defend Nazis?
In "Must We Defend Nazis?: Why the First Amendment Should Not Protect Hate Speech and White Supremacy", legal experts Richard Delgado (who is John J. Sparkman Chair of Law at the University of Alabama and one of the founders of critical race theory) and Jean Stefancic (Professor in the University of Alabama School of Law) argue that it should not. Updated to consider the white supremacy demonstrations and counter-protests in Charlottesville and debates about hate speech on campus and on the internet, "Must We Defend Nazis?" offers a concise argument against total, unchecked freedom of speech.
Delgado and Stefancic instead call for a system of free speech that takes into account the harms that hate speech can inflict upon disempowered, marginalized people. They examine the prevailing arguments against regulating speech, and show that they all have answers. They also show how limiting free speech would work in a legal framework and offer suggestions for activist lawyers and judges interested in approaching the hate speech controversy intelligently.
As citizens are confronting free speech in contention with equal dignity, access, and respect, "Must We Defend Nazis?" puts aside cliches that clutter First Amendment thinking, and presents a nuanced position that recognizes the needs of our increasingly diverse society.
Critique: Although a seemingly iconoclastic notion, constraints and limitations on our constitutionally based first amendment right of free speech have existed from the beginning of our nation. Just a couple of them are the prohibition against yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre when there is no fire, or lying under oath in a court of law. What Professors Delgado and Stefancic are doing in "Must We Defend Nazis?: Why the First Amendment Should Not Protect Hate Speech and White Supremacy" is deftly and persuasively arguing that it is a reasonable, rational, and democracy supporting constraint on the concept of free speech to curb speech that has the capacity to eventually destroy the fabric of our democracy and result in the kinds of genocides that we saw in World War II and which are currently in progress under the nomenclature of 'ethnic cleansing'. While"Must We Defend Nazis?: Why the First Amendment Should Not Protect Hate Speech and White Supremacy" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Political Science collections and First Amendment supplemental studies reading lists, it should be noted for students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Must We Defend Nazis?" is also available in a paperback edition (9781479857838, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Counter Mentor Leadership
Kelly Riggs & Robby Riggs
Nicholas Brealey Publishing
53 State Street, Suite 9, Boston, MA 02109-3106
9781473657236, $26.95, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The collaborative work of Kelly Riggs (who is an author, speaker, and business performance coach for executives and companies throughout the United States and Canada) and Robby Riggs (who is a corporate consultant specializing in strategic transformation initiatives and driving successful change in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100s), "Counter Mentor Leadership: How to Unlock the Potential of the 4-Generation Workplace":
Discusses today's workplace dynamics, including the changes in communication modes, the influx of technology, and the impact of Millennials and Digital Natives;
Explains how a one-sided approach to leadership focused on "managing" Millennials is grossly insufficient, resulting in an inability to attract and retain critical young talent;
Explores the new challenges of leadership inherent with the explosion of technology-time compression, distractions, complexity and the pace of change;
Reveals how old leadership challenges persist, and explore how the younger generation will expose those challenges more than ever; Details the CounterMentor leadership model and prescribe specific tactics and techniques for addressing both old and new leadership issues.
Critique: Impressively informative, thoughtful, insightful, and effectively organized and presented, "Counter Mentor Leadership" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for business students, business managers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Counter Mentor Leadership" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Bishop's Pawn
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250140227, $28.99, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case. Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis. It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces?the Justice Department and the FBI?are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement's greatest martyr. Malone's decision to see it through to the end from the raucous bars of Mexico, to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, and ultimately into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself, not only changes his own life, but the course of history.
Critique: A deftly crafted, narrative driven, exceptionally engaging and entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Bishop's Pawn" by Steve Barry is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bishop's Pawn" is also available in a paperback edition (9781250194060, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
The Anarchist Thing to Do
9780998470818, $9.99, pbk
0998470813, $4.99, ebook
Michael Raship's first novel, The Anarchist Thing to Do, is an accomplished, delightful and engrossing book, full of gentle comedy, sadness and hope. Its story parallels the social changes spanning the 1960s to the 1980s within the United States, as revealed in the evolution of a radical anarchist family of hippies: parents Kaye and Horton, children Skye and Jude.
Skye narrates the story of her family, commencing with childhood memories of life in a Vermont commune, before a relocation in 1975 to Glendale, momentous in its consequences. In Glendale, Horton and Kaye run the White Elephant, a second-hand store and venue for classes on anarchist political theory and vegetarian cooking, meditation and poetry, even belly dancing.
All families have their internal mythologies, comprising the stories they tell in order to understand themselves and their interrelations. When a family regards itself as outside mainstream society and is fundamentally opposed to all forms of authority, its mythology has to be particularly robust. Thus, Skye begins with a familiar family tale:
The story of my family, as it was told to me and my brother Jude when we were children, began with myth and magic. 'Kaye used to be a genie,' Horton would say to us. 'Honestly. That was how we met.'
Horton and Kaye were anarchists; our family was an anarchist family. These basic facts motivated everything we did. Until Jude and I were six, our whole world had been Far Gone Farm, a hippie commune in the Vermont woods where everybody tried to live according to the political ideals that Horton had outlined in his book, The Principles of Contemporary Anarchism.
The children's complete acceptance of this lifestyle and the commitment to anarchist ideals it entails comes across almost as a state of grace, an edenic innocence amid a corrupt and unjust society. Not at all sinister, it is in fact humorous and strangely moving, in part because the philosophy of anarchism is so anti-authoritarian that nothing feels imposed on anyone. Skye and Jude's journey to adulthood gradually exposes the faultlines running beneath the surface of this way of life, culminating in a more clear-eyed, forensic examination of their parents that leads to partial disillusionment, tragedy, disaffection and then to redemptive reconciliation.
Thematically, The Anarchist Thing to Do is concerned with the passing of time and what it does to a family and a nation. As the political and social triumphs of the 1960s and 1970s - the civil rights movement, feminism, popular protest against the Vietnam War - recede into history, and the era of Reagan and conservatism sweeps all before it, how are ideals preserved and hope kept alive? When exactly do the music and the clothing, the long hair and the drugs, cease to function as revolutionary alternatives and instead become mere exercises in nostalgia disguising powerlessness, defeat and a refusal to engage with new realities?
Only the children can begin to answer these questions. At one point, an encounter between Skye and Jude after they have left their family home in Glendale is described in terms of unlikely survival:
...we regarded one another with the disbelief of survivors meeting again after separate miraculous escapes from calamity.
Skye's first boyfriend is made to bear the weight of her need to escape the past:
I loved and needed him so much that he seemed exempt from generalizations that applied to the rest of humanity.
As these brief extracts indicate, The Anarchist Thing to Do is immensely readable in a way that reminds me of Salinger, whose shorter works are particularly admired by Skye and Jude - I suspect because their descriptions of family life are as eccentric, hermetic and all-encompassing as their own. Embedded in a rich tradition of American storytelling, The Anarchist Thing to Do is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding book, written with great assurance by an author who rarely puts a foot wrong. I thoroughly recommend it.
A Way Out
9781775094227, 46.15, ebook
9781775094210, $16.00, pbk
9781775094203, $26.00, hbk
As Michelle Balge acknowledges in her epilogue to A Way Out, the trouble with mental illness is that so much of it is 'about me, me, me and how I'm insecure, but this is what these illnesses do to you.' It follows that A Way Out does not hesitate to divulge its author's most intimate secrets in her long battle with depression and social anxiety. Such honesty and candour lays bare an individual life in ways that illuminate our own experiences of mental illness: in speaking of herself, she speaks of us all.
Of course, each of us is different, and mental illnesses such as depression and social anxiety strike us in highly specific ways, targeting our individual fragilities and fears with pinpoint accuracy. Yet there are always commonalities - there would have to be, otherwise how could these dreadful conditions be identified, diagnosed and treated in the first place?
One such commonality is the paradoxical feeling that one is simply unworthy to be afflicted. After describing her happy childhood with loving parents and sisters, Michelle asks:
You may be wondering what this middle-class, straight, white girl in an intact nuclear family has to complain about? The truth is I don't have anything to complain about.
'I was just a depressed girl with no real problems.' What did she (I, we) know of poverty, lovelessness, violence and oppression? So many of us with mental illness simply don't deserve it because we have never truly suffered as others suffer, day in, day out. What have we got to complain about? And thus we go round and round, accusing ourselves of self-indulgence and self-pity, making ourselves depressed about being depressed, anxious about being anxious.
Yet Michelle's childhood was not entirely untroubled:
It certainly didn't help that I had severe acne with very oily skin ... I also had braces, glasses, frizzy dark blonde hair and a large nose that I hated.
Adults often make light of these things, forgetting just how awful they are for young people desperate to fit in and be liked. Michelle saw her first therapist at age nine. She suspects that the acne pills she was prescribed might have had something to do with the onset of depression. Mostly, however, it appears to be her genetic inheritance that predisposed her to mental illness, just as it did her mother, her sister and her great-grandfather.
And the problems multiply with the years: arachnophobia sends her screaming from the room; an undiagnosed lactose intolerance has embarrassing social consequences; menstruation causes extraordinary mental anguish; seasonal affective disorder casts its pall over everything. Coupled with the paralysing panic attacks that render her blind and deaf (literally) to the world around her, it's no wonder that
It's exhausting being depressed. Every day it feels like you've run a marathon, but all I ever did was lie in bed or cry or stare into space. Life like that is just existing, not living.
Michelle did her best to hide what was happening to her. The thought of worrying her family and friends with the true extent of her misery was too much to bear. 'They couldn't find out I was hanging on by a thread.' In the worst of her social anxiety she could not leave her room and let herself be seen by others. Self-loathing found nourishment in isolation: 'In my head, everything was my fault.'
Then there are no words, no thoughts, to describe what is going on. 'There are too many feelings to explain, yet I also feel nothing. I am nothing.' To be bursting with feelings and yet to feel hollowed out, empty, is a crushing experience. As Shakespeare's Cominius says of Coriolanus, 'He has become a kind of nothing', and nothing is the worst a person can become this side of death.
Yes, you're consumed by self-hate when on that fence [between life and death], but it's because you believe others are better off without you here.
The agonizing wait for a medication that works is passed in sleeping as much as possible in order to put an end to the day; in internet searches for the best, least painful suicide options; in succumbing to fears of humiliation and ignominy.
Thankfully, medicines, mindfulness, and familial and social support eventually helped lead Michelle out of the wilderness. Despite her illness and her interrupted studies, she graduated from Brock University with an Honours BA in sociology and a concentration in critical animal studies; at the same time, she became an impressive advocate for mental health awareness. She could, at last, know what it is to feel genuinely happy.
A Way Out is a short confession, frank and artless (not a criticism). Men and women - especially students and young women - who feel alone in a struggle with mental illness will find it a helpful book and a hopeful one. Michelle Balge is chiefly concerned with the endogenous aspects of mental illness and only hints at social and cultural factors. This may be because she comes from a happy, close-knit family, and her illnesses seem to have had a genetic cause, among others. For those whose families were less than ideal, or for whom the world's evils are a constant barrage of existential anguish, there may be less comfort in Michelle's story.
Michelle is a vegetarian. She is haunted by her glimpse of a distressed piglet in a video clip about factory farming. I happen to be vegetarian myself and am similarly upset by images of animal suffering, which are horrific in themselves and - to me at least - symbolic of just about everything that is wrong with humanity. To individuals who feel they no longer belong in the world we have made, whose culture seems deliberately to exclude them, who are besieged by anger and powerlessness, it is society itself that is at fault, and their illness is simply a rational response to an intolerable condition. Our home is our sickness.
Similarly, in the modern era, when facts often seem no longer to count and truth is a perishable commodity, we are caught up in what could be called a flight from the ordinary. To be extraordinary is our common pursuit, and we forget that being ordinary is neither a sin nor a crime, and virtue is not a particular friend of the rich and powerful. Ordinary is not a synonym for worthless.
A Way Out speaks of conquering depression and social anxiety. I am unconvinced by this metaphor. It seems to me that it's the illnesses who are the invading army and it is they who conquer. The most we can hope to do is drive them out and patrol our borders, because the enemy is implacable and inexhaustible. Perhaps taking back ownership and control of our own territory is what it means to be truly alive. The photograph of a smiling, accomplished, charming young woman at the end of A Way Out is proof that Michelle is just that.
The Book of Air
Clink Street Publishing
9781911525097, $12.99, pbk
9781911525103, $3.99, ebook
The Book of Air by Joe Treasure is an exceptionally fine novel that discloses its secrets gradually, in triumphantly unexpected ways. The stories it tells gather momentum and significance with each short chapter; it is populated by personages in whom we can believe; it is profoundly intelligent and deeply engrossing. Its allusions and references are delightfully subtle and oblique, conveyed effortlessly by the author's gift for language and ideas. I doubt I shall read a finer novel this year.
The Book of Air presents the reviewer with an impossible dilemma: how to talk about it without giving the game away. By 'game' I don't mean mere plot spoilers - The Book of Air is a novel that positively requires to be read and reread. Rather, the pleasures the novel provides are so intricately bound up as parts to a whole that any choice of things to highlight risks exposing the entire enterprise. So I shall have to talk about The Book of Air by carefully avoiding talking about it.
Joe Treasure has the great gift of making the reader feel intelligent. When realizations dawn as to what exactly is going on, when small epiphanies and powerful revelations are grasped in all their ramifications, it's hard not to be gratified, intrigued and somehow enhanced. This is particularly impressive if, like me, you are not drawn to speculative fiction, or your heart sinks at the sight of a novel that switches between two different stories chapter by chapter. In lesser hands, this latter aspect is so often a gimmick packed with forced associations and overly neat plot devices. In The Book of Air it is redeemed as an intensely literary and naturally expressive structure, entirely unforced and beautifully vindicated.
The Book of Air is about ending and beginnings, the past and the future:
'...the world's about to end all over again. There's no end to the ending of things. Our life is one long sickening plummet into loss and more loss.'
I used to think of myself as walking forward into the future, constructing the future I was walking into. I used to think of myself as not wasting energy thinking of myself as one thing or another, but just doing what had to be done. Now I seem to stand sideways on, watching some version of me that isn't quite me. I notice myself feeling things. Or not. Or more than one thing at a time.
It is a gothic novel inasmuch as it is centred chiefly on a single location - a large country house that has endured as uniquely itself yet is always in transition, in need of rescue.
Either we pay attention, or we abandon the place to the slow invasion of nature, the seep and drip of water finding the weak points, until a dozen winters have split it open like a fallen trunk for woodlice to crawl through and rodents and nesting birds ... The heat's off, the damp's rising. The works of man are rotting from the inside.
Its inhabitants - pre- and post-apocalypse - are unwittingly associated across time. Thematically, this association is the most important aspect of the novel and its principal concern: how, why and in what forms a culture (especially literary culture) is transmitted, interpreted and fragmented, used and misused, twisted and distorted, lost and found, particularly after immense social upheaval. Why has humanity always needed to tell itself stories? Here is one answer, perhaps the only answer:
'Maybe because it's our deepest instinct - to make meaning.'
'Even when there is no meaning?'
The Book of Air is thus of necessity intertextual, and one of its pleasures is to identify its many instances. Byron, the Brontës, the Bible, George Eliot, Hardy, Hemingway, Austen, Conrad, Lawrence, Rhys - these are the few I identified, but there are surely many more. Try as I might, I cannot resist quoting one of the references to another cultural phenomenon: 'In all the empty houses in all the towns in all the world she had to squat in mine.' And it's oddly typical how external coincidence plays into a novel of this kind: two days prior to reading The Book of Air, a film I was watching quoted from Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon (1947), which is also referenced in the novel. It felt to me as if the book was reaching out and claiming my experience for its own.
The gothic frequently encompasses gender power relations: how men seek to exploit, control and confine women, and the mental and emotional consequences of oppression. In The Book of Air Agnes speaks from within the prison of her room: 'This room is memory and I am lost in it ... This room is mad and I am its only thought.' Shades of The Yellow Wallpaper haunt her words.
Illegitimate claims to authority and righteous resistance to its demands reflect forward and back between the two stories of The Book of Air. The will to power - usually subconscious in its causation and explicitly provided with a religious justification - manifests itself over and over again by means of words in a book. Things change in order to stay the same, as Jason realizes:
I wanted to ask her - hadn't she been here before? They give you a book. They say, it's all in here, this is all you need.
The discovery that there is more than one book, that each has a story to tell, that we each have our own books, is The Book of Air's liberating riposte to such dangerous nonsense, the outworkings of which are described in its moving finale.
As some of the extracts above indicate, the dialogue is natural and unforced. There is a great deal of it, but it never feels excessive and it always reveals character in precise, unmistakable ways.
There are occasional typos and, towards the end of the novel, someone should have known the difference between leaks and leeks. These irritations aside, The Book of Air is a major achievement: compelling, surprising, true. A book that must surely endure.
Hairway to Heaven Stories
Cherry Castle Publishing
9780692964385, $TBA, pbk
Many of the short stories in Patty Somlo's Hairway to Heaven were previously published elsewhere. While each story can stand alone, reading them all together in a single volume is an enormous advantage. One of the major accomplishments of Hairway to Heaven is its interconnections and associations, its themes and variations, which gradually resolve themselves - effortlessly, beautifully - into a novelistic whole. Hairway to Heaven is a very good book indeed.
Hairway to Heaven is set in and around Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard (MLK) in Portland, Oregon. Union Avenue, an arterial highway that ran through the city, became MLK only in 1990, in the teeth of much racially motivated opposition. Zoning restrictions and city planning had effectively marginalized and impoverished the area for decades, and in the late 1980s crime rates were high. However, its rich multi-ethnic history includes Native Americans, Germans and Scandinavians, and African Americans. In the 1990s the area began to be regenerated, leading to problems of gentrification and the exclusion of the very populations it was intended to benefit.
Readers are able to glean much of this history from Hairway to Heaven itself, in asides and observations within individual narratives, as characters encounter the infrastructure of daily life in and around MLK, travelling between work and home, exterior and interior, public and private. The streets and the businesses, the houses and the renovated loft spaces - the ubiquitous Portland rain itself - form the world of Hairway to Heaven, evoked casually, naturally and with delightful economy, even when its violence is at odds with individual and community aspirations, as in The Spell:
[Elidio] sat on the porch of the house he would one day build and breathed in the sweet damp air. He ignored the endless sirens wailing up and down MLK Boulevard and the pop-pop-pop-pop of gunfire outside. He failed to notice the thrum of the bass thumping from passing cars.
Major characters in one story often appear as minor characters in another. This simple device serves as the literary equivalent of meeting a friend on the street: a frisson of recognition, a smile of surprise, a moment of community. Every mention of MLK Boulevard has a similar effect, placing us there and adding detail to our mental maps of the neighbourhood. By the end of the book, MLK is as emblematic and evocative as, say, Lake Wobegon or Yoknapatawpha County.
Hairway to Heaven never for one moment suggests that Patty Somlo is making decisions about who to write about next, or that she is deliberately cultivating variety. In lesser hands, the movement from a young African American woman to an Egyptian immigrant to a gay white man to a former baseball star to a homeless Native American would call attention to itself as something self-consciously 'worthy' and 'concerned', even condescending, but which would nevertheless perpetuate the controlling, categorizing, ethnographic gaze of (usually white, male, heteronormative) outsider elites.
Ms Somlo writes as if this is her community, as perhaps it is; as if these people are her neighbours, as perhaps they are. Everyone has his or her dignity, everyone has his or her unique history. Their lives overlap in a multitude of ways, often simply as a result of geography. They live and work and die within a few blocks of one another; their world is small but it is a universe of experience and meaning. Tragedy and heroism and suffering and goodness are enfolded in the normal, the ordinary, the everyday. We are privileged to spend time with such people.
These days, short stories often conform to some kind of template. Many of them read like overly prescriptive models issued by tutors of creative writing - first-person, present-tense tales focused on language and microscopic fragments of experience, lifeless and instantly forgettable. Others divide themselves neatly into three acts, often with an ironizing epilogue meant to upset our readerly assumptions. Hairway to Heaven follows its own path, telling stories that are spare but never slight, conveying sentiment untouched by sentimentality. They have an unobtrusive structure that progresses the narrative. Things happen and we learn the significance borne by people who have seen a lot in their lives.
In the Afternoon Mail is the first of a minority of stories to use first-person narration:
What I can't bear to tell my mother is that America has worn me down. I have made mistakes, yes. Not understanding the freedom I was given here has certainly exacted a price. My mother cannot understand my world, since her life has always gone along a pre-planned path. She would not believe all the choices and opportunities available to a person in America and how easily one can take the wrong steps.
This admission contains some principal themes of the collection, among them belonging and loss, the pull of place and past, the importance of people telling (often hidden, painful) stories, and a sense of treading water so as not to drown. In the Afternoon Mail also has one of many little epiphanies:
I stared at the tall buildings downtown on the river's other side. The city where I'd lived for going on - was it twenty-five years now? I had hardly seen it before. The river was beautiful, as were the boats, the sunlight and people pedaling across the bridge on bikes.
Loss takes various forms. In Angelina, a story told from multiple viewpoints, an abandoned baby is found in a bus shelter:
Jonathan kept telling himself to leave, that the last thing in the world he wanted was to get involved. But these were his neighbors, and he needed to find out how the story would end after all.
The endings to some of these stories occasionally snatch a sacred moment from the jaws of disappointment, defeat or death. The Spell, Pickets and Bein' Good - a story of a young girl with new shoes (they light up!) retrieved from the donation pile at the local family shelter - have particularly affecting conclusions.
Emergency Room is possibly the best in the collection. While people in need of urgent medical attention wait patiently in the local hospital, they gradually coalesce, sharing each other's stories and revealing the eternal truths of the poor and marginalized:
She'd woken up that morning with the curse of women everywhere - a bladder infection. She'd had one before and knew all she needed was a course of antibiotics. Without insurance, the only way to get them was to sit here and wait for someone to see her.
As the wait extends to many hours, throughout the night and into the next day, an old man named William Shine shakes his head, 'letting a weak, sad grin take over his mouth':
'Oh, you know, they always come out,' he said. 'Eventually. They just want you to wait and make you understand.'
'Understand what?' I asked ...
'They need us to know that we nuthin'. Just nuthin'. That's what this country all about ... They say, you mess up, you deal with it.'
There follows a surreal incursion into the menacingly deserted corridors of the hospital, the patients banding together to take matters into their own hands. The doors they push open become metaphors of empowerment and community.
Cowboy is a sensual exploration of a passionate relationship shared by people of very different backgrounds:
Catherine made love to Nganga that night as if he were a beautiful black jaguar she'd decided to ride. She wrapped her thighs around him, letting his heat warm her. From Nganga, Catherine pulled power and energy into her calves and up to her thighs. She rode Nganga, taking his name like a hot lozenge on her tongue and, as the name melted to liquid in her mouth, she swallowed. She let the force of that dark river swirl through her and then pulled out its thick wet sound.
This erotic apotheosis of connectivity appropriately concludes Hairway to Heaven, the significance of whose title is woven into the imagery of this outstanding achievement.
Jack Messenger, Reviewer
Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Blizzard of '95
Mary Ellen Lee
Four Seasons Publishers
9781891929687, $12.98, Paperback, 154 pages, September 2001
Mary Ellen Lee's Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Blizzard of '95 is the second book of the Danny and Life on Bluff Point series.
This semi fictional series is grounded by the authors use of the existent diary writing penned during the childhood of the author's grandfather. Danny, the major character of the chronicles, is patterned upon author Lee's own father; Danny.
Penned on the journal pages; Danny is a ten-year-old fellow who often considers regarding how it might be re about his becoming tall and brawny as is his father. The lad, and only son, who is younger than his eldest sister Ruthie who 'used to be a lot of fun', however, is now more involved with girly stuff, and, is older than his two younger sisters Mary and Carolyn who are just a little young to be a friend to Danny; leaves the lad feeling solitary and lonesome at times.
Via each volume of the historical series, The Reader is permitted to share Danny's life hopes, anticipant imaginativeness and at times somewhat risky escapades as well as his challenges and successes. Therefore, each book actually offers a several smaller narratives while leading up to the primary, spectacular, title, event.
It was during The Blizzard of '95, that Miss Spaulding, the children's teacher, arrives, as was the custom of the time, to stay with the Lee family for three months. In their community, as in others, along with the small regular payment the teacher, often a teenager herself, received for educating the youngsters; each family having children attending the small, local, one room school, each took turns with housing the teacher and making her feel comfortable during the school term.
At first, Danny isn't particularly blissful regarding the teacher being at his house. To me it only meant one more female in a house full of them. He is certain that the kids at school will tease him. Furthermore, he is not very happy to having more of the extra chores needing to be done allotted to himself. Soon, Danny recognizes that although there is more work to be accomplished; he now also has a possibility to show his father that he can take on more responsibility and can contribute more to the caring of the family.
I received this set of kid pleasing, historically factual books for review during the time I was teaching fourth grade, they proved a cracking fit for the youngsters who at the start thought 'Social Studies' to be a bit of a drudge. Journal writing took on a whole new meaning for the youngsters I taught during those two years.
The 'Life on Bluff Point' series provides first-rate reading opportunities through the daily life lessons taught and growing recognition among the middle grade students that the simple tasks needed for day to day living in a time when there were no big box stores; and essential materials from nails, to fuel, to clothing and foods, were most often something made at home.
Initially my students were more than a little stunned to find that even in a day of one room schools, no TV, no video games and family as center of life; children still had fun and good times.
I presented the Danny books during the Teacher Reading aloud time following our lunch break. As we followed the life of Danny and talked about how our lives today differ and often resemble his too, I found my students becoming more interested in his story and our Social Studies activities as well.
A home ostensibly occupied with females, according to Danny, even Clara the cat was a girl, is a well written book presented for middle grades through adults as a view through the eyes of a representative ten-year-old. Times have changed a bit and today's kids do have TV and the like, however, many still have chores and while the tasks may be different from those carried out by Danny; tasks are still chores and teach obligation and family continuity quite as did his.
Scope and characters are well elaborated, we have snow storms and tornadoes and scary times today as did Danny back a generation or two ago, as I read aloud my students frequently offered information regarding analogous times and circumstances relating to those about which Danny had written and I was reading.
Kids were drawn into the narrative quickly despite first feelings that the book might not be worth hearing since there were no monsters, or big trucks, or any of the endless array kids are presented today. Chapters are short, peppy dialogue moves the narrative along. The farm and one room school, family members and locations, all become familiar, and subjects for sketches and discussion and writing.
Danny is pleased that, Miss Spaulding boosts his wonder for history and even tries to assist him in his search for the town founder's cabin. The big event in this particular book is an immense snowstorm during which time something unexpected and sad takes place. My students, as Danny, learned all-important life lessons regarding pleasure and sadness, duty and fidelity.
Enjoyment derived while reading Danny's journals is not restricted only to those who might actually live in a similar situation as found during 1800s Bluff Point; the setting, family dynamics, behaviors and verbiage of the era presented while differing from those of the modern day are really not all that unalike. Siblings tend to fuss, enjoy good times, and help one one another today as then. Kids generally chafe with parental, school, and social restrictions and grumble mightily regarding chores, and dread many school activities until they become more familiar with the activity.
As I began reading the first of the 'Danny' books it was not long before calls for 'just one more chapter' began to ring, and vying for who might first take the book home to read for themselves bespoke that the book had hooked and held my students' complete interest. As we finished book one the class was anxious to begin the second.
While the series is presented as a mid grade offering, I enjoyed reading the series as well. I find we learn so much about the early days of our nation from the journals our forbears young and old alike kept.
My students enjoyed hearing and discussing the daily chapter offering as I read. The life and uncomplicated moral teachings of Danny's time presented by Ma and Pa, is conferred in a non judgmental manner, and has not changed too much from what parents also try to instill in children today.
Reading and listening to my reading regarding Danny permitted my students chance to discuss their family dynamics, including expectations, aspirations, and family rules often lead to initial astonishment followed with growing discernment that each family does have their own rules regarding table manners, behaviors, chores and the like and it is not just the one barmy peremptory family in which I live.
I enjoyed reading Mary Ellen Lee's Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Blizzard of '95, and am delighted to recommend this book and the series for middle grades and all whatever the age who enjoy reading historically factual works, for the school and public library, for the middle grade reading list and book shelf, and as a gift for middle grade students male and female. My students, boys and girls alike enjoyed the Danny series very much.
Danny and Life on Bluff Point: The Blizzard of '95 would make a nice beginning of the new term gift for the Social Studies teacher and the middle grade classroom.
Delphite & Jadite: A Pocket Guide
Joe Keller & David Ross
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764316401, $16.95, Paperback, 160 pages, October 23, 2002
Joe Keller & David Ross authors of Delphite & Jadite: A Pocket Guide A Schiffer Book for Collectors present a handy sized guide regarding some of the beautiful glassware manufactured during the early to mid 1900s.
Authors Keller & Ross, antiques dealers, specializing in 20th century Americn dnnerware note that Jadite, green, and Delphite, blue, comprise some of the most frequently collected Depression Era kitchen glassware.
This particular book having 160 pages contains information and photos regarding pieces frequently found at antique markets and Depression Glass shows.
The Table of Contents lists Delphite items beginning on page 5 and ending on page 49. Include in this section are Delphite Kitchenware, Azure Charm, Azuirite Swirl, Turquoise Blue and Fire-King Kitchenware and Miscellaneous delphite.
I particularly like seeing reproductions of original kitchenware catalog pages, and found Jeanette, and several McKee pages included with photos of actual pieces. Photos of canister sets, refrigerator and kitchen use, mixing bowl sets, measuring cups and pitchers, hand propelled and electric batter bowl sets, as well as lemon and orange reamers, vases and novelty items are included.
The glowing beauty of pale blue to deeper shades of azure and turquoise chaline, delfite and delphite originally sold for comparable cost as did the pretty green jadite pieces. Today Delphite is more expensive and harder to find than than is Jadite.
Jadite Kitchenware & Dinnerware begins on page 62 and finishes the book on page 160. Jadite pieces crafted by McKee and Jeanette Glass Companies have been collected since the first pieces appeared back in the 1930s and 40s. Most of the dinnerware was offered by Fire King and Anchor Hocking beginning in mid 1940s and continuing until late 1960s. I collect some Fire King.
Again, this section includes photos of pretty canisters, kitchenware including leftover refrigerator pieces, tableware, reamers with and without matching pitchers, refrigerator water servers with spouts for filling glass without removing the container from refrigerator, gorgeous ball jugs, rolling pins, vases, occasional dishes and candy dishes, gift pieces, towel bars, and even an electric batter mixer interspersed with reproductions of catalog pages.
Tableware includes photos of pretty Alice pattern, my favorite of the cups and saucers and plates for table use, also included in the dinnerware section are square Charm pattern, Jane Ray, another pretty pattern, which mixes well with Alice.
I find more Jane Ray pattern than Alice during haunts of estate sales, jumble shop and antique shop forays.
McKee Laurel pattern is shown as grill and dinner plates, cut and saucer and platter, candle sticks, children pieces, table shakers, pitcher and creamer and a gorgeous cheese dish.
I restrict my own collecting to Alice and Jane Ray, many collectors like to get a piece or two of various patterns.
Fire King Restaurant ware includes various grill plates and lunch, bread and dinner plates, cups and saucers, mugs and platters.
Other patterns included are Sheaves of Wheat, Shell, and Martha Stewart.
While the information regarding when and where pieces were made is not offered in detail, I found this book has great value for novice and more experienced collectors. Photos of various pieces are clear, large enough to enable the collector a definite understanding of what that pretty piece of green or blue glass may be.
Each picture is offered with a dollar amount collectors may find attached to a particular piece. One thing to remember for those who buy with an eye toward resale, a piece is only going to sell for what someone is ready to spend. These are not hard and fast rules regarding what a piece may cost or bring as a resale item.
Most of us who collect to keep and use or display on a shelf or glass front display case; buy what we like, and have little intention to resale.
I like this particular book, it is well made pages are heavy enough to withstand multiple viewings and tucking into purse to take along on shopping expeditions.
I enjoy just taking my Depression Era books, large and small, out for a quiet afternoon of perusal on a rainy spring day. Smaller books such as this are handy to carry on shopping trips.
Joe Keller & David Ross' Delphite & Jadite: A Pocket Guide A Schiffer Book for Collectors is a dandy book for gifting a collecting enthusiast, or for adding to the personal book collection.
Happy to recommend for the personal library, public library, and book offering at antique and jumble shops.
Delphite & Jadite: A Pocket Guide A Schiffer Book for Collectors by Joe Keller & David Ross, is offered on Amazon, and may even be offered in jumble shop stall; as was my copy.
Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars
McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9785552781812, Hardcover, 194 pages, January 1, 1979
589 page edition occupied with a broad array of recipes to fit every cooking need.
Table of Contents includes an Introduction, 12 chapters of specific recipes and an index.
1 Appetizers, Snacks, Noshes and Such
2 The Main Dish: Meats, Poultry, Fish and Seafood, Sauces and Meatless Main Dishes.
3 Side Dishes: Vegetables, Potatoes, Beans, Pasta and Such
4 All American Sauces
5 Salads and Their dressings
6 Soups to Make the Pot Smile
8 All Manner of Breads
9 The Very Best Pies
10 Prize Winning Cakes
11 Fabulous Desserts
12 Cookies and special Sweets
Product recipes include Thomas J Lipton(R), Inc., Swift(R) & Co., Kraft(R), General Foods(R) Corporation, Del Monte(R) Corporation, Lee & Perrins(R), Inc., General Mills(R), Inc. - Betty Crocker(R), Sun Maid(R) Growers of California, Campbell's(R) Soup Company, and a good many more.
It is in the first sentence of the Introduction that the author lists his reasoning for producing this particular cookbook compendium, 'This is in essence your book - or, to put it more accurately, the cookbook you would have undoubtedly compiled if only you had time for the project. For here are the recipes you meant to save from that jar, can or box top, recipes you and your friend have asked for, a good number your mother's generation requested and even a few of your grandmother's choices.'
And, reading through the recipes upon receipt of the book from my new Father in law many years ago, I found, indeed, these ARE many of the recipes I have cut from backs of boxes, or removed from jars and threw into a box to catalog later. While cataloging never took place, rummaging the box of bits and pieces of labels and cartons did.
From the Party Cheese Ball using old favorite Philly Brand Cream Cheese(R) combined with Cracker Barrel(R) sharp Cheddar to Lipton(R) California Dip to a full page of Quick and Easy Appetizers from Kraft(R), to Chex(R) No Cook Party Mix to a 1940s classic from Pet Evaporated Milk(R) cookbook, Vegetable Rarebit, these are old standbys used by my mom and later by myself.
Easy Does It Swiss Steak the long time favorite from Hunt Wesson(R), Hungarian Goulash another from Pet(R), Campbell's(R), 100 Best Recipes provided Salisbury Steak with onion gravy, while in 1916 Campbell's(R) published Help for the Hostess which included a dandy Meatloaf recipe, and in 1959 offered Souperburgers, I still use the Bisquick(R) Cheeseburger Pie recipe appearing on the back of the Baking Mix box back in 1960, and I use mom's recipe for Tamale Pie developed back during depression days. Recipe from Elam(R) Corn Meal box.
Onion Chuck Steak a cook in foil dish, was an old standby via Lipton(R) onion soup mix for quick, delicious supper prior to crock pot usage and Mueller's(R) lasagna recipe using pasta right from the package and no boiling before arranging in pan cut prep time for busy mom's. I always made 2, put into freezer, and got one out at the end of a busy day at school when sons and their friends were young and then teens.
Fried Tomatoes, Pet(R) Milk recipe, Campbell's(R) Green Bean Bake, Campbell's(R) Scalloped Potatoes, Pepperidge(R) Farm Stuffing Mix combined with cauliflower to create a tasty side dish, more from Pet(R) include Corn Pudding, Carrots in Onion Sauce while Campbell's(R) Twice Baked Potatoes all help add interest to the supper meal.
Sauces are a cinch to create when using recipes and ingredients from Hellman's(R)Best Foods Real Mayonaise, Hunt's(R)Quick Spaghetti Sauce, Pepperridge Farms(R), and Lea & Perrins(R).
When raising children I tried to offer salad for supper nearly every evening, Sunkist(R), Hellman's(R), Lea & Perrins(R), Del Monte(R), The Holland House(R) Cream of Coconut all provided recipes for tasty salads from lettuce and ..., macaroni, chicken, tuna and dressings.
Fall into winter soups have long been a mainstay for my family.
Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars presents recipes for wonderful meal additions, or meal themselves; soups in Section 6. French Onion, Tomato, Potato, Corn Chowder, Cheese, are soups to savor.
And, quick, good tasting, husband and kid pleasing Sandwiches to go with Soups are found in section 7. Lea & Perrins(R) presents a new take on an old standby Peanut Butter with the addition of Bacon and Worcestershire Sauce, French's(R) Prepared Mustard does the same for Egg Salad Filling. One of these hearty Sandwiches and a steaming bowl of Danish Tomato Soup topped with Blue Diamond(R) Almond Growers slivers became a fall staple for my family.
From Burgers perked up with Kraft(R) Shredded Sharp Cheddar to those with a dash of Worcestershire Sauce to a Pepperidge(R) Farms take on the 'penny pies' found on Aberdeen streets way back in the 1700s to Underwood(R) Deviled Ham Brunchwich fare; Section 7 offerings are sure to please finicky and eat anything diners alike.
Section 8 is one I turn to often, I like to make breads, and this section entitled All Manner of Breads has been a boon for my baking. Elam's (R) classic Banana Bran Bread is always popular, as is Del Monte(R) Pumpkin, grated zucchini keeps Kretschmer(R) Super Wheat Germ moist.
Pillsbury(R) Bake Off Contests can be counted on for adding a recipe or two to my 'must try' list. Dilly Casserole Bread is easy to prepare and delicious to eat. Elam's(R) Unbleached White Flour with Wheat Germ kept a Basic Sweet Dough on the back of their box for years, with good reason; it is a dandy foundation for dinner rolls, or breakfast Cinnamon rolls as well as a great coffee cake that can be baked in a ring for special Easter or Thanksgiving mornings.
I like Crumb Coffee Cake, way back in 1968 Domino(R) Sugar presented the recipe I continue to use today.
Fleischmann's(R) Yeast is the leavening used in Sally Lunn, their famous 60 Minute Rolls, Frozen Dinner Rolls and more from this dependable bread baking product.
I relied on many 'homemade' mixes during the years I raised always hungry teenaged boys. Crisco(R) Quick Bread Mix beginning with 10 cups flour and 2 cups Crisco was one such mix always found on my pantry shelf. Orange Juice Muffins made from 2 cups of that mix didn't last long.
Another long standing favorite has been Grandmother's Delicious Gingerbread, also from Crisco(R) test kitchen and found on the label of the can many years ago.
Coconut Breakfast Bread featuring Coco Casa(R) Cream of Coconut proved to be a perfect bread for special days and for the doldrums days of summer as the new school term was considered by less enthusiastic sons and more enthusiastic teacher mom.
Section 9 features 40 pages of Pie recipes, I think I may have tried them all during the past 4 decades. From Libby's(R) Famous Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas to Karo(R) 1945 recipe for Pecan Pie, my mom's specialty, to Argo(R) Corn Starch recipe from the early 1900s for Lemon Meringue, Daddy's favorite, to Eagle(R) Brand Condensed Milk Key Lime Pie, mom substituted lemon juice for lime and made a crushed vanilla wafer crust for the 'cooky pie' my siblings and I adored for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
This section runs the gamut of Chocolate Pie, Shoofly Pie, Fruit Pies, Apple Pie, Southern Coconut pie, something for everyone.
Baked Pies, Bisquick(R) Impossible Pies, and Pies featuring 'surprise' ingredients are all included. Mystery Torte, Nabisco(R) features Premium Saltine Crackers, Knox(R) Unflavored Gelatine is the basis for many delicate pie, Love Apple Pie a Heinz(R) Tomato Ketchup is one of their 100 all time top favorites. Coffee Yogurt Chiffon Pie is a recipe featuring Dannon(R) Coffee yogurt and Knox(R) gelatine, and various pies with a touch of brandy, booze or other alcoholic beverages as well as Ice Cream Pies, Meringue, Pastry from chopped nuts, crushed cooky and flour mixes can all be found on these 3 dozen + recipes.
Prize Winning Cakes beginning on page 431 and ending on 487 sandwich Section 11 between pies and desserts. Chocolate cakes, Angel Food Cake, Glazes and Frostings, Sponge Cake, Gerber(R) Strained Plums with Tapicoa Plum Good Cake, Bacardi Rum Cake, perhaps the first cake to add pudding mix to the batter, Pillsbury(R) Best All Purpose or Unbleached Flour Orange Kiss Me Cake, Dream Whip(R) Topping Mix, Campbell's(R) Tomato Soup, Tomato Spice Cake, Sunsweet(R) Golden Beauty Prune Cake with Mocha Frosting, 1930 Hershey's(R) Old Fashioned Cocoa Mint Cake, with Cocoa Peppermint Icing, Philadelphia(R) Brand Cream Cheese Holiday Gift Cake, 1940s Chocolate Upside Down Cake Hershey's(R) Cocoa, Betty Crocker(R) test kitchens recipe Carrot Cake made using Bisquick(R) Baking Mix, Cheese Cakes, Sun Maid(R) Victory Cake developed back during WW 2, Land O Lakes(R) Butter Apple spice Cake with Brandy Hard Sauce, Hunt's(R) Very Special Spice Cake features an old stand by; Tomato Sauce, Upside Down Cakes, are some of the many recipes found in this section.
Hellman's(R) label recipe Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, Famous Chocolate Wafer Roll(R) super easy to make, delicious to eat, perfect for so many special occasions, Grandma's Upside Down Cake made with Dole(R) Pineapple, Prize Coconut Cake, Baker's(R) Chocolate and Coconut Favorites cookbook 1962, teams Calumet(R) Baking Powder and Baker's Cookie or Angel Flake Coconut are but a few of my own staple cakes for Sunday, after church, noon meal dessert.
As though Pies and Cakes were not enough to end the meal; Section 11 provides an array of desserts. Beginning on page 490 and ending on page 535 we begin to understand our addiction to good, albeit, sweet tasting treats.
From Crepes to Marshmallow Cream Roll, Crisps and Puddings, Mousse, Eagle(R) Brand Condensed Milk 1947 introduced Crunchy Lemon Square, Cobblers, Jam, Sherbets Bavarians, Molds, Creme Brulee, Souffles, Chiffons, Shortcake, Puddings, Fondue, Sun Maid(R) Raisin Brown Betty developed in the 1930 prior to WW2 was a favorite school cafeteria dessert served in California elementary schools well into the 50s and 60s and was one my children adored when made at home.
Included in this section is a group of Pet(R) Evaporated Milk Ice Creams along with two favorite puddings from General Foods(R), Chocolate Tapioca Pudding, and Heavenly Hash were indeed favorites of my sons and their childhood friends.
Hershey's(R) wonderful, appearing in Mom's 1934 Cookbook as well as appearing later on the label, sauces were made and served often during my childhood and my that of my own children.
Sunkist(R) Fresh Lemon Ice Cream continues to please this displaced California native.
Lastly we find ... MORE sweets. Section 12 is simply sweets. Beginning with Peanut Butter Kisses - cookies, using a recipe from Skippy(R) Chunky or Creamy Peanut butter.
Recipes provided by Parkay(R) Margarine, Diamond(R) Walnut Growers, Nestle(R), Kraft(R), Land O Lakes(R), Betty Crocker(R), Bisquick(R), Duncan Hines(R) Cake Mixes, Curtiss(R) Baby Ruth Candy Bars, Blue Diamond (R), Stokely- Van Camp(R), Stokely's Finest(R) Applesauce, Fleischmann's(R) Active Yeast, Planters(R) Walnuts, Kellogg's(R) Rice Crispies(R), Hershey's(R), Domino(R) Granulated Sugar, Rice Chex(R), Baker's(R) Chocolate, Quaker(R) Oats, Eagle(R) Brand Condensed Milk, lead to cookies and candies to suit the most demanding audience.
I like having recipes I have found on labels and have used for years collected and set to print in a nice, well made, hard cover book.
I dislike the bulk and difficulty I face trying to keep the book open and mix up a recipe I want to use.
Recipes run the gamut of soups to sandwiches, main dishes and veggie side dishes along with lots of goodies for desserts and sweets. If I had only this one book in the kitchen I would not need much more help when preparing meals.
Most working women I know have clipped and shared recipes found on back of packages and package labels for the dishes carried to church pot lucks, school Munchy Mondays, or any other situation where a group gathers, shares food and memories and the recipes for the various tasty treats enjoyed by the assemblage.
I happily received my copy as a gift; marked up pages, notes in the margins, high lighter on page edges for easy finding of favorite recipes attest to lots of usage during the 25 years the book has been in my kitchen.
Although I am frequently tempted to carefully remove all the pages from the cover, laminate them and place in a three ring binder to make ease of use easier, I am Happy to recommend Cecil Dyer's Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars for seasoned cooks and non cooks alike.
Cecil Dyer's cook book has a place on the personal cookbook library, Public Library cookbook shelf, for gifting newlyweds, and for helping experienced cooks collate the labels and carton backs they too may have been collecting for years.
2373 West 700 South, Springville, Utah 84663
9781555175825, $14.95, Paperback, 226 pages, December 15, 2001
Doug Hissong's, Positive Impacts is an edifying, self-help publication having chapter work constituting first Interpersonal Skills. The author discusses Focus on Others, Self Esteem and The Power of Expectations.
Hissong presents fundamentals regarding dealings with others. Key 4 Understanding Others presents a frequently neglected concept: that it may be more productive to rather than criticizing others; attempt to detect what is causing behavior in others. How We Make Others Feel and How Others Make Us Feel deals with the age old difficulty regarding interpersonal reactions. Communication is dealt with next. Listening, Asking Questions and Non-Verbal Communication are all addressed in easily understood, straight forward manner.
Part three, Lagniappe provides perception regarding Luck, Giving Back and Purpose by addressing the value of focus in our lives.
Writer Hissong brings years of matter-of-fact 'on the job' experience to his writing. Following his sitting through his share of tedious meetings, and observing as eager novice lost their ebullience Hissong ascertained there must be a better way to communicate and interact in the workplace, at home and in social setting.
Positive Impacts is an influential publication sure to prove helpful to those who anticipate improvement of their own communication, and or, interpersonal skills whatever the setting in which they find themselves.
I found Writer Hissong to have a nice 'folksy' writing style which he puts to good use covering a pastiche of topics emphasizing the implications of great communication skills in all areas of life. The reader is not left at a loss, nor is compelled to investigate vague academia verbiage as they read.
Hissong uses familiar, well comprehended terminology, anecdotes appropriated from his own experiences, and comprehensible spoken communication to state topics and craft an effortless to read, effortless to understand guide for those who sense a deficiency in their own abilities. I particularly like the notion proffered by Hissong; that we need to focus on others and their situation rather than attempting to present ourselves as models to follow.
Positive Impacts is a first-rate guide for those participating in a people line of employment where work place relationships are a major facet of the occupation. As our society moves into becoming more of an information gathering, imparting and storing entity; it is not enough to only know information well. This constructive publication is certain to assist those hoping to modify, perhaps even to ameliorate, their communications ability in various speaking situations including those at work, in the home, and other gatherings.
While reading the book for review I found the author's use of lucid, understandable, real-life linguistic communication approach filled with well-recognized, expedient language, narratives, and personal anecdotes meant to aid building of societal communication skills while explicating theoretically sound methods for boosting and improving communication skill to be helpful, positive and implemental.
By integrating real life stories gleaned from his varied speaking, commercial enterprises, and personal speaking experiences; author Hissong has crafted a clear, usable handbook packed with indispensable fundamentals for interpersonal triumphs meant to fortify the reader's self worth and build upon business and other public presentations skills.
The book is completed with a list of references and a twelve point table Keys to Effective Interpersonal Relationships.
Positive Impacts is a must have for those involved in HR, teaching, delivering presentations, ministers and other church workers, as well as those who feel their communication skills can use a touch up.
I found Author Hissong's straight forward presentment of material to be is a real plus. Positive Impacts forwards keys for accomplishing success while boosting work performance and self esteem.
I do not keep every book sent for review; this is one edition I will keep for my own library.
Enjoyed the Interesting, Useful read, happy to recommend.
The Kings & Queens of England & Scotland
9781906239336, $5.75, Paperback, 2012
The Kings and Queens of England & Scotland, is revised and updated for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II marking the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign and conducted for in world for the year.
The book opens with a Table of Contents
THE FIRST ENGLISH KINGS
THE HOUSE OF NORMANDY
THE HOUSE OF ANJOU
THE HOUSE OF LANCASTER
THE HOUSE OF YORK
THE HOUSE OF TUDOR
THE HOUSE OF STUART
THE HOUSE OF HANOVER
THE HOUSE OF SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA
THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR
KINGS OF SCOTLAND
CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
THE FIRST ENGLISH KINGS
Beginning with 'The First English Kings, Saxons, The House of Wessex, Danes and Vikings 75 BC - AD 20 Writer Costantino provides a bit of early history touching on arrival of Celts, who settled first in Ireland and on the Isle of Man. Later arrivals brought advanced iron making advances, horses and wheeled vehicles.
The Romans played an important role beginning In 58 BC and lasting until AD 410. Britain began gaining independence during the fourth century.
A D 410 - A D 731 was a period marked by collapse of Roman rule, warfare, and chieftain rule, one was Cole of the nursery rhyme Old King Cole. Viking raids beginning about 787 with penetration threatening the coasts for some two centuries. The kingdom of Wessex emerged triumphant from the warring between chiefs; Ecgberht became the First English King 803 - 29.
The not so dark ages in Anglo Saxon during the era in Britain produced much scholarship and great art.
The Anglo - Saxson Kings introduced Alfred the Great 871 - 899, Canute 1016 - 1035, Edward The Confessor 1042 - 1066. Edward died without an heir leading to The Battle of Hastings and the enthroning of King William 1 the first of England's Norman monarchs.
The Normans were originally Vikings who had settled in north-west France in early 10th century. Writer Costantino touches upon the rule of William 1 and his successors rule 1066 - 1154 including mention of rebellions and Danegeld, The Doomsday Book, and Castles.
The listing of Monarchs includes a page having a picture of the Monarch and family history, a nickname, generally where crowned, died, buried
THE HOUSE OF NORMANDY :
William 1 1066-1087 The Conquerer, House of Normandy Parents: son of Robert 1 'the Devil' 6th Duke of Normandy and Arlette of Contevlle. Authority: King of England, and Duke of Normandy Married Matilda of Flanders, Children; 9, Robert 'Curthose', William 1, Henry 1 and Adela Buried: St Stephens Abbey, Caen France
William 2 1087 - 1100 called Rufus (red), Dynasty House of Normandy Parents: 3d son of William 1 and Matilda of Flanders. Authority: King of England with powers over Scotland, Wales and Normandy Marriage: Unmarried, Children: none
Buried: Westminster Abbey
Henry 1 1100 - 1135 Beauclerc Dynasty House of Normandy Parents: fourth son of William 1 and Matilda of Flanders . Authority: King of England and from 1106 Duke of Normandy Marriage: Matilda (Edith) daughter of Malcolm of Scotland, Adela daughter of Count Godfrey 7 of Louvain Children: 3, William drowned in the 'White Ship' shipwreck, Matilda Buried: Reading Abbey, Berkshire
Stephen 1135 - 1154, Dynasty House of Blois Parents: 3d son of Adela (Wm 1) and Stephen Count of Bois Authority: King of England, Count of Boulonge with claims on Normandy until 1145 Married Matilda of Boulogne, children 5, eldest son Eustace Count of Boulonge Buried: St Martin's Priory Dover Kent
THE HOUSE OF ANJOU Plantagenet includes:
Henry 2 1154 - 1189 Dynasty House of Anjou Plantagenet Parents: the eldest son of Matilda (daughter of Henry 1 of England, and Count Geoffery V of Anjou, Authority: King of England, Overlord of Wales, Scotland, eastern Ireland and western France
Married : Eleanor of Aquitaine Children: 11, 3 illegitmate, 5 sons, Richard 1 and John his sucessors Buried: Fontevrault Abbey Maine France
Richard 1 Lionheart, 1189 - 1199, Dynasty House of Anjou Plantagenet Parents: 2d son of Henry 2 and Eleanor of Aquitane, Authority: King of England and ruler of western France
Married: Berengaria of Navarre, the daughter of King Sancho V 1, Children: an acknowledged illegitimate son Buried: initally Fontevrault Abbey Maine France, his heart was buried at Rouen, later reburied in Westminster Abbey
John 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216 Dynasty House of Anjou Plantagenet Parents: the youngest and favorite son of Henry 2 and Elanor of Aquitane, Authority: King of England, with claims to Scotland, Wales, and western France, from 1185 Lord of Ireland
Married; Isabella of Gloucester and Isabella children: 5 Henry 3, Richard, Isabella, and Eleanor, plus 5 illegitimate Buried: Newark Castle Nottinghamshire
Henry 3 1216 - 1272 Dynasty House of Anjoy Plantagenet Parents: the oldest son of Parents John and Isabella of Angouleme, Authority: King of England, with claims on Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Duke of Aquitaine
Married: Eleanor of Provence Berengaria, Children: at least one Edward 1 Buried: Westminster Abbey
Edward 1 1272 - 1307 Dynasty House of Plantagenet Longshanks, Parents: eldest living son of Henry 3 and Eleanor of Provence. Authority: King of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the Isle of Man (from 1290) and Duke of Aquitaine
Married: Eleanor of Castile, Margaret of France, Children: 16 Joan, Margaret, Edward 2 Thomas of Brotherton and Edmund of Woodstock. Buried: Westminster Abbey
Edward 2 1307 - 1327 Edward of Caenarvan, Dynasty House of Plantagenet Parents: 4th son of Edward 1 and Eleanor of Castile. Authority: King of England and Wales, with claims on Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man (until 1313) Duke of Aquitaine
Married: Isabella daughter of King Phillip 3 of France Children: 4 Edward 3 Buried: Gloucester Cathedral
Edward 3 1327 - 1377 Edward of Windsor King of the sea, Dynasty House of Plantagenet Parents: elder son of Edward 2 and Isabella of France. Authority: King of England, and Wales, with claims over Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man (from 1333) and France (13400
Married: Philippa of Hainault, Children: 12 Edward the Black Prince, Lionel of Antwerp, John of Gaunt, Thomas of Woodstock, Edmund of Langley Buriedl: Westminster Abbey
Richard 2 1377 - 1399 Richard of Bordeaux Dynasty House of Plantagenet Parents: 2d & only surviving son of Edward the Black Prince and Joan of Kent Authority: King of England and Wales, with claims over Ireland and France
Married: Anne of Bohemia, Isabella Children: none Buried: Kings Langley, Hertforshire, reburied Westminster Abbey
Plantagent rule 1154 - 1399 was a time of Reforms, Thomas a Becket, 'This Turbulent Priest', The Magna Carta, Early Parliament, The Conquest of Walls, Learning and Chivalry, Seeds of Rebellion: The Hundred Years War and The Peasants' Revolt
THE HOUSE OF LANCASTER
Henry 4 Henry of Bolingbroke Dynasty House of Lancaster Parents: eldest son John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster Authority: King of England and Wales, claims over France and Ireland
Marriage: Mary de Bohun, Joan of Navane Children: 7 Henry V
Henry 5 1413 - 1422 Dynasty House of Lancaster Parents: 2d and surviving son Henry 4 and Mary de Bohun Authority: King of England and Wales, ruling parts of Ireland (Regent in 1420) Duke of Normandy 1417
Married: Catherine of Valois Children: Henry 6 Buried Westminster Abbey
Henry 6 1422 - 1461 deposed 1461 restored 1470 deposed 1471 Dynasty Dynasty House of Lancaster Parents only child of Henry 5 and Catherine of Valois Authority: King of England and Wales, control parts of France until 1453 and Ireland.
Married: Margaret of Anjou, Children: Edward, Prince of Wales
The House of Lancaster 1399 - 1461 was a branch of the House of Anjou Plantagenet was a short lived dynasty having 3 monarchs each named Henry. This was a period of much warring including revolt among the barons, rebellion in Wales, war with France when the Hundred Years war renewed in 1415 and dynastic Wars of the Roses
THE HOUSE OF YORK
Edward 4 1461 - 1483, Dynasty House of York Parents: eldest son of Richard, 3d Duke of York and Cicely. Authority: King of England and Wales, ruling Calais and parts of Ireland
Married Elizabeth of Woodville Children: 10 Elizabeth, Edward 5, Richard
Edward 5 1483 Dynasty House of York Parents: Edward 4 and Elizabeth Woodville.
Authority: King of England and Wales, ruling Calais and parts of Ireland
Marriage, not married Children None Buried Tower of London
Richard 3 1483 - 1485 Dynasty House of York Richard Croakback Parents: he was the 4th surviving son of Richard 3d Duke of York and Lady Cecily Neville Authority: King of England and Wales, ruling Calais and parts of Ireland
Marriage: Anne Neville Children: Edward Prince of Wales Buried: Abbey of the Grey Friars
The House of York 1461 - 1485 was also a branch of the Plantagenet dynasty. The House of York descended from two of Edward 3's sons Lionel and Edmund.
Lionel was the older brother of John of Gaunt founder of the Lancaster line, The York dynasty founded by Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, whose challenge of the rule of the Lancaster king Henry 6 fomented the Wars of the Roses between rival Plantagenets.
It was Richard's son Edward 4 who eventually deposed insane Henry 6 and seized the throne. Lancaster reign was 24 years, produce 3 kings, 2 of whom were crowned.
The York Dynasty was a time of Art and Trade, William Caxton established a moveable type printing press leading to the first book printed in England, 'The Dictes and Sayinges of the Phylosophers," Richard 3 found The College of Arms leading to different heralds being incorporated into a single 'college' which continues to control the issue of coats of arms today. The dynasty's doom was sealed when Edward Prince of Wales died at age 8 in 1484, his mother Anne was too weak, she was consumptive (TB) to bear other children, Richard 3 did not remarry.
THE HOUSE OF TUDOR
Henry 7 1485 - 1509 Dynasty House of Tudor Parents: he was the only child of Edmund Tudor 1st Earl of Richmond and Margaret Beaufort the g grand daughter of Edward 3
Authority King of England and Wales ruling Calais and parts of Ireland
Married: Elizabeth of York eldest daughter of Edward 4 Children: Arthur, Henry 8, Margaret and Mary Buried: Westminster Abbey
Henry 8 1509 - 1547 Bluff King Hal Dynasty House of Tudor Authority: King of England and Ireland, from 1542, Calais and Boulonge from 1544, and Tournai, from 1513-19
Parents: 2d son Henry 7 and Elizabeth of York
Married: Catherine of Aragon, widow of his older brother Arthur, assuring continuance of alliance with Spain divorced Children: mother of Mary Tudor
Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth 1, beheaded
Jane Seymour following birth of son
Anne of Cleves divorced
Catherine Howard executed
Catherine Parr step mother to Mary, Elizabeth, Edward
Edward instructed that should his son Edward leave no heir, he would be succeeded by Mary, and if necessary by Elizabeth
Children: Mary, Elizabeth, Edward Buried: beside Jane Seymour at Windsor
Edward 6 1547 - 1553 Dynasty House of Tudor Parents: only child of Henry 8 and Jane Seymour Authority:King of England and Ireland, Calais and Boulonge until 1551
Marriage: unmarried, Children: none Buried Westminster Abbey
Mary 1 1533 - 1558 'Bloody Mary" Dynasty House of Tudor Parents: only surviving child of Henry 8 and Catherine of Aragon Authority: Queen of England, Ireland, Calais
Married: Prince Philip 2 of Spain, given courtesy title King of England
Children: none Buried Westminster Abbey
Elizabeth 1 1558 - 1603 The Virgin Queen Dynasty House of Tudor Parents only child of Henry 8 and Anne Boleyn Authority: Queen of England, Ireland and Virginia (1587-91)
Married: unmarried Children: one Buried Westminster Abbey
The Tudor dynasty, 1485 - 1603, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England, irony of fate brought the successor to the English throne following Richard 3's death, a Welsh descendant of Owain Tudur.
With the Tudors came a period of increasing peace, it was The Age of Discovery, the 5 Tudor monarchs were not universally popular, they were often detested, however they did much to restore national pride, bring about robust trade and prosperity, the first map of the world was produced, English ship captains Drake and Raleigh began competing with Spanish rivals. Elizabeth 1 granted the first charter to the East India Company with expansion overseas bringing new lands and species of plants. Potatoes, tobacco, cocoa, strawberries and tomatoes were among the new food stuffs changing diet and habits of Englishmen for centuries.
The Tudor reign was also The Age of Dissent, religious upheaval and intolerance across 16th century Europe created much turmoil. It was the time of Henry 8 when 3,000 monasteries housing monks were also sites of artistic workshops, development of medical and herbal knowledge and large scale industry flourished. It was also the time of Martin Luther famous for nailing his theses to the church door in Wittenberg 1517, William Tyndale's New Testament in English was published, and on the orders of Catholic Queen 'Bloody Mary', 300 Protestant martyrs were burnt at the stake.
The Tudor period introduced The Book of Common Prayer and produced The Nine Days Queen.
THE HOUSE OF STUART
James 1 (James 6 Scotland) 1603 - 1625 the 'wisest fool in Christendom' Dynasty House of Stuart Parents: the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stuart Lord Damley Authority: King of Great Britain, Ireland, Virginia from 1607, New England from 1620, and Bermuda from 1609
Married Anne daughter of King Frederick Denmark Children 7 Henry Prince of Wales, Charles 1 and Elizabeth buried Windsor Castle
Charles 1 1625 - 49 Charles, King and Martyr Dynasty House of Stuart Parents: 2d son, 4th child of James 1 (James 6 of Scotland) and Anne of Denmark Authority: King of Great Britain, Ireland, Virginia, New England, Maryland from 1632, Nova Scotia 1628-32, and 5 Caribbean Islands
Married: Henrietta Maria by proxy Children: 9 Henrietta, Mary and James 2 Executed in 1649 Buried : Windsor castle
Charles 2 1660 - 1685 Old Rowley Dynasty House of Stuart Parents: the eldest son of Charles 1 and Henrietta Authority: King of Great Britain, and Ireland, 10 American colonies, Bombay 1661-68, Tangier 1662-84, 7 Caribbean Islands including Jamaica from 1655, Bermuda and Gold Coast Africa
Married: Catherine of Braganza Children: No legitimate heirs, at least 13 illegitimate James Duke of Monmouth Buried Westminster Abbey
James 2 (James 7 of Scotland) 1685 - 1688 Dynasty House of Stuart Parents: 2d son of Charles 1 and Henrietta Maria Authority: King of Great Britain and Ireland, 11 American colonies, 7 Caribbean Islands and Bermuda
Married: Anne Hyde daughter of Edw Hyde Lord Chancellor, 1st earl of Clendon, Maria of Modena (Maria Beatrice d'Este), daughter of Alfonso 4 Duke of Modena by proxy at Modena, then 1673 Dover Kent Children: 15 Mary 1, Anne, James by Maria Beatrice Buried: Church of the English Benedictines, Paris
William 3 1689 - 1702 & Mary 2 1689 - 1694 Dynasty House of Stuart
Parents: Mary (daughter of Charles 1 and Stadholder William 2, 4th Prince of Orange Nassau) & Mary Parents: eldest surviving daughter of Duke of York (later James 2 and Anne Hyde Authority (he) King of England, Ireland, Scotland, reigning jointly with Mary 2, Stadholder of the Netherlands from 24 June 1672, recognized by 7 American colonies, 7 Caribbean Islands, Bermuda and Dutch overseas possesion. Authority (she) Queen of England Scotland and Ireland
Married: Willam and Mary Children: None
Anne 1702 -1714 House of Stuart Parents: 2d daughter of Duke of York, later James 1, and Anne Hyde Authority: Queen of Great Britain, and Ireland, 12 American colonies, 7 Caribbean Island, Gibraltar from 1704, Minorca 1708, Nova Scotia from 1710, New Brunswick from 1713
Married Prince George of Denmark Children none surviving her
The Stuart Dynasty was often a time of plotting against the crown, The Authorized Version of the Bible known as The King James Bible was printed in common language, it was a time of when arts, and architecture flourished, Civil War with roots in the rivalry between parliament and the crown broke out 1642 - 49, Charles 1 was executed, the period between the death of Charles 1 1649 and restoration of the crown to Charles 2 1660, was a time divided into 2 parts: The Commonwealth lasted from 1949 - 53 when Cromwell instituted a system of Repulican government, the Protectorate 1653 -59 when Cromwell became Lord Protector. The Plague and The Great Fire of London cause great misery. The Act of Settlement insured succession to the throne by the Protestant head of the House of Hanover should William 3's sister-in-law heir Anne did not produce an heir. Despite multiple pregnancies, 17, only William Duke of Gloucester survived more than a few months, William died at age 11.
THE HOUSE OF HANOVER
George 1 1714 - 1727 House of Hanover Parents: eldest son of Ernest Agustus 1st Elector of Hanover and Princess Sophia, granddaughter of James 1 Authority: King of Great Britain and Ireland, 12 American colonies, 7 Caribbean islands, Gibraltar, Minorca, New Brunswick, 2d Elector of Hanover from 1698
Married: Sophia Dorothea of Celle divorced Children : George 2, Sophia Dorothea
Buried: Herrenhausen Palace
George 2 1727 - 1760 House of Hanover Parents: George 1 and Sophia Dorothea of Celle Authority: King of Great Britain and Ireland, 13 American colonies from 1731, Gibraltar, Minorca until 1756, parts of West India, Canada from 1757, Indian possessions, in particular Bengal from 1757, 3d Elector of Hanover
Marriage: Caroline of Anspach Children: 3 sons, 5 daughters, Frederick Prince of Wales, Anne, William, Duke of Cumberland, Mary, Louisa
Buried: Westminster Abbey
George 3 1760 -1820 Farmer George, House of Hanover Parents: Frederick Louis Prince of Wales, Princess Agusta of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Authority: King Great Britain and Ireland, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Recognized by 13 American colonies, Most of the West Indies, Canada, Sierra Leone, Gambia, New South Wales, parts of India, Ceylon and other islands, Cape Colony, Gibraltar, Corsica, the Ionian Islands 4th Elector of Hanover, King of Hanover
Married: Charlotte Sophia, of Meclenburg Strelitz Children: 15, George 4, Frederick Duke of York, William 4, Edward, Ernest, Agustus, Adophus
Buried: Windsor Castle
George 4 1820 - 1830 Prinny, House of Hanover Parents: eldest son of George 3 and Queen Charlotte Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, Canada and 4 Australian colonies, Most of the West Indies, Parts of India, Ceylon, and other islands, Malta, Gibraltar, Ionian Islands, 4 West African colonies, 2 South African colonies, King of Hanover
Married: secret marriage to Catholic Mrs Maria Fitzherbert, annulled, Caroline daughter of Charles Duke of Brunswick Children: Charlotte
Buried: Windsor Castle
William 4 1830 - 1837 The Sailor King, Silly Billy House of Hanover Parents: George 3 and Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz
Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, Canada and 4 Australian colonies, and South Australia, Most of the West Indies, Parts of India, Ceylon, and other islands, Malta, Gibraltar, Ionian Islands, 4 West African colonies, 2 South African colonies, King of Hanover
Married: Princess Adelaide of Saxe- Meiningen Children: 2 daughters, did not survive infancy, 10 illegitimate children by his mistress actress Mrs Dorothea Jordan
Buried: Windsor Castle
Victoria 1837 - 1901 'The Grandmother of Europe,' House of Hanover Parents: Edward Duke of Kent George 3's 4th son and Victoria of Saxe-Coburg
Authority: The United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, and Empress of India from 1876, 208 major colonies annexed or leased in Africa, and Asia, New Zealand 1840, and Transvaal 1900
Married: Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Children Victoria, Albert (Edward 7), Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, Beatrice
The Act of Settlement excluded Catholics which meant James Stuart 'The Old Pretender' and legitimate son of James 2 was not permitted to reign, Protestant Sophia, whose mother was as the eldest daughter of James 1, died 6 weeks before Queen Anne in 1741, succession passed to Sophia's eldest son George.
The nearly 2 century, 1741 - 1901 rule, of the House of Hanover was a time of Industrial and, Social Revolution with the rise of the new middle class, The First Prime Minister, The Arts and Sciences Flourished, and much Colonial Expansion was underway.
During the nearly 200 years of the Hanover dynasty Britain saw the end of it's first empire with the American War for Independence and loss of colonial United States in North America, as well as loss of the slave trade.
In 1665 Britain embarked on beginning of it's second empire with rule across India and Australia. The Napoleonic Wars added to Britain's growing colonial holdings.
Hanoverian rule brought both good and bad changes; The Industrial Revolution moved alongside the revolution in agriculture including the reclamation of land, and enclosure. The down side was many of the rural folk could not adapt to the new farming methods and were forced from their land.
The monarchy was not universally held in high regard during part of the Hanover dynasty. German born George 1 arrived at age 54 unable to speak English and knowing little of the people, country or customs of Great Britain. Arriving in England in fall 1714 George did begin to build trust in his subjects; he spent most of his time in England following his arrival.
George 2 was more popular than had been his father, he understood the British people more than had his father. 1739 found Britain embroiled in one war or another.
George 3 was the first of the Hanover dynasty to be born and raised in England. George was told his duty was to marry a suitable foreign princess, he and the German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Streitz were introduced, married 6 hours later; the couple developed true devotion for one another, their marriage lasted 57 years and produced a large family of 15 children.
The successful revolt of the 13 American colonies during King George 3's reign diminished Great Britain's world holdings. In 1788 it became clear George suffered madness, whether insanity or illness no one was certain.
His recovery was welcomed by his family and the nation as a whole. He survived an assassination attempt in 1800, however, a recurrence of the madness in 1801 and again in 1804 made it clear he was no longer capable of leading the country. A final bout of the madness in 1810 left George very frail, blind and deaf. Today it is thought he suffered from porphyria.
George 4 spent 9 years as his father's regent during King George 3's time of incapacitation before he ascended to the throne in 1820. His reign was a time of excess and dissolution, George 4's daughter Charlotte, his only legitimate heir had died at childbirth in 1817, leaving ascension to the throne to George's brother William Duke of Clarence.
Few expected William to be much different than his brother George, however, his blunt manner of speaking, sense of duty, straight forward manner of behavior and lack of extravagance endeared him to his subjects. He seemed determined to be a caretaker monarch holding onto the throne, 7 years, until his niece Victoria came of age, 18, thus thwarting any attempt by Victoria's mother, Duchess of Kent from becoming regent.
THE HOUSE OF SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA
Edward 7 was the sole Saxe-Coburg-Gotha sovereign. The name referred to the German duchy from which Prince Albert, the son of Duke Ernest 1 of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha descended. The name was used until 1917, when anti German sentiment was held by many in Britain.
King George 5 renamed his dynasty as The House of Windsor as a demonstration of British patriotism. Kaiser Wilhelm of German was his cousin.
THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR
Edward 7 1901 - 1910 Bertie House of Windsor Parents: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British Dominions Overseas, Emperor of India
Married: Prince Alexandra of Denmark Children: Albert Victor, George 5, Louise, Victoria, Maude Buried: Windsor Castle
George 5 1910 - 1936 The Sailor King House of Windsor Parents: 2d son of Prince Albert Edward/Edward 7 and Princess Alexandra of Denmark
Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and British Dominions overseas Emperor of India
Married: Princess Mary of Teck daughter of Francis Duke of Teck
Children: Edward 7, George 6, Mary Princess Royal, Henry Duke of Gloucester, George Duke of Kent Buried: Windsor Castle
Edward 8 1936 House of Windsor Parents: George Duke of York, George V, and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, and British Dominions Overseas, Emperor of India, abdicated never crowned
Married: Wallis Simpson American divorcee Children: none
Buried: Frogmore Mausoleum Windsor
George 6 1936 - 1952 House of Windsor Parents: 2d son of George Duke of York, George V, and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary Authority: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland, and British Dominions Overseas, Emperor of India,
Married: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Children: Elizabeth (2) and Margaret
Buried: Windsor Castle
Elizabeth 2 1952 - present House of Windsor Parents: Duke of York/ George 6, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Authority: Queen of the United Kingdom of Britain, and Northern Ireland, and other realms and territories, Head of the Commonwealth, and Head of State for 16 of its members
Married : Philip Duke of Edinburgh Children: Charles Prince of Wales, Anne Princess Royal, Andrew Duke of York, Edward Earl of Wessex
The beginning of the century found Great Britain a waning Empire, embarking on a path to become a Commonwealth.
1901 - Present has been a time of much conflict, at home and abroad. England was drawn into 2 World Wars, saw the abdication and execution of Tsar Nicholas 2, unrest fomented in Ireland leading to partition of the area into the Free Irish State and the province of Northern Ireland.
The Spanish Civil War in 1936 found many Britons joining the International Brigade to fight against General Francisco Franco. Following both World Wars The United States and Russia entered a period of 'Cold War' creating tension across Europe and much of the world until the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989.
Anglo-French forces invaded Egypt in 1956 after the Suez Canal was nationalized. In 1982 Britain went to war with Argentina regarding control of the Falkland Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
The 1900s, often called the second industrial age has been a Century of positive Change along with all the unrest. Telecommunications, air travel, space exploration have all left their mark in Britain and world wide.
Edward 7 had a troubled relationship with his parents who considered him slow and 'backwards', stammered when he spoke, he was given a household in White Lodge in Richmond Park, at age 19 he was sent to Ireland for military training, two years later he married Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
One of his most famous mistresses was Alice Keppel, her grand daughter Camilla Parker-Bowes became the Duchess of Corwall 2d wife of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Edward was 59 when he ascended to the throne.
George 6 joined the royal navy at age 12, rose to the rank of Commander, his brother's death ending his naval career, brought more changes in his life, he was required to take his place in the line of succession and marry his brother's fiancee. George was a constitutional monarch.
1914 found George abandoning the family name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in favor of the name Windsor. The Russian Revolution caused family sorrow when his cousin Alice, her children and her husband Tsar of Russia were murdered by revolutionaries.
The Great Depression caused problems in England as well as elsewhere in the world, by 1931 George 6's health was in decline.
Edward 8, was the uncrowned, 325 day reign, beginning and ending in 1936 when he announced his intention to abdicate and marry America devorcee Wallis Warfield.
Edward 8's abdication brought George 6 to the throne in 1936, his reign lasted until his death in 1952. As his parents 2d son, George had not expected he might one become the Head of the Commonwealth.
During World War 1 George saw active duty, including the 1916 Battle of Jutland prior to his transfer to the Royal Naval Air Reserve, where he became a pilot in 1918, in the Royal Army Flying Corps.
After WW2 George attended Cambridge for a year, was created Duke of York, married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, fathered two daughters following his marriage, began working with a speech therapist and lost the stammer prior to his ascending to the throne.
During WW2 the palace too was put on rationing as was the populace of the nation. George suffered lung cancer developed pneumonia and died 1952.
George 6's death brought his daughter Elizabeth to the crown in 1952.
KINGS OF SCOTLAND
Beginning in 843, monarchs from Kenneth Macalpain to Mary, Queen of Scots are noted.
Molly Martin, Reviewer
Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC
9781944056452, $29.98, 600 pages
Set in the early 20th century, this is a story of loss, love and redemption that is based on true stories.
The Josephson family, recent immigrants from Sweden, have a dairy farm in Minnesota. The parents, Olaf and Ingrid, were part of the social democratic, or socialist, movement in Europe. The right-wing Prussian government would like to wipe socialism off the map, which is why the Josephson's are in America. The parents are visited by Luther, a bounty hunter sent by Prussia. He really wants a list of social democrat members that the Josephson's supposedly have. The parents are killed by Luther's shotgun, forcing their teenage children. Julie and Newt, to flee to a lumber camp up north.
Along with a couple of friends who got involved, Julie and Newt survive for almost a year in the lumber camp (Julie does her best to impersonate a boy). The make the acquaintance of Matias Bauman, who knew the Josephson parents, and was forced to leave Europe for similar reasons. He takes the group to his mansion in Chicago. The labor and socialism unrest in Chicago is growing, along with the horrible treatment of workers by the employers.
Julie's "job" is to hand out socialist pamphlets on the street, while Newt is something of a rising star in Bauman Enterprises. Luther has not forgotten about the Josephson children. He is nearby, just waiting for a chance to kill everyone involved. Does he succeed? Who is still alive at the end?
This is an excellent novel. The author does a wonderful job with the historical research (industrialist J.P. Morgan is one of the characters). The story itself is also well-done. It is very much worth reading.
Doing This ONE Thing Will Change Your Life Forever
9780473414436, 296 pages, $16.95
The author had a difficult, or tumultuous, time growing up in New Zealand. Her father was emotionally distant, perhaps because he honestly didn't know how to be a father. He killed himself when she was 20 years old. In school, she was very insecure, and did not fit in anywhere. She got the idea that other people will help her to be fulfilled as a person, which led to accusations of being emotionally clingy to other people. There was a year of sexual abuse. She was in a multi-year relationship with a gambling addict. It ended, one night, when he died in his sleep. Over time, the author started to get her brain, and her life, in gear, and is now a well-known therapist.
Negative emotions, like anger or depression, are part of daily life; the important part is how a person deals with those emotions. Most times, people will relive the cause of the negative emotions, letting things get worse and worse inside. Some people will fight the emotions, not letting them inside at all. Have you ever tried to suppress a sneeze? A person needs to let the emotions in, let them remain for a while, and then let them go. A hidden cause of bullying is not knowing how to deal with those emotions. A major cause of stress and anxiety is sex. If a person was never taught, or shown, how sex is supposed to feel, they are going to think that they are doing it wrong, or that their partner is not satisfied. This leads to "performance anxiety" or other more physical problems, and the stress spreads outside the bedroom.
This is a very interesting book. The author has experienced a lot of negativity in her life, so she knows what she is talking about. What is this one thing that a person has to do to change their life? Read this book; you'll be glad you did.
Paul Lappen, Reviewer
Absurdimals: Lola Goes to School
9781981879601, $14.99, 30 Pages
The author of this amazing children's book, Gwendolyn Javor is on a mission, and the mission is to reach out to children and through her wonderful storytelling teach them that it is okay to be different. Her passion for the subject has led to the birth of the amazing Absurdimals.
So what are Absurdimals? Well, they are animals who are a mixture of two others, like Lola, the Belephant who is the star of this, the first book in the series. Lola is half bunny and half elephant and this makes her very special, as we can see through the beautiful illustrations of Melissa Spears.
Today is a very special day for Lola, she is very excited because she is going to school for the very first time.
At school she realises they are many different types of animals, but none like her. Rejected by the others because she is different, her happiness turns to sadness as she is told firmly that she is absurd, and just doesn't fit in.
However, wise Principal Hooves comes to the rescue, he sees her distress and gently explains that people call absurd those things which they don't understand, or which are different. He shows her examples of things which seemed absurd years ago but which are accepted now, and explains that deep down all animals are the same.
Emboldened by the principal's words Lola goes back to school the next day determined to embrace who she is. When the other animals see that she is proud of this, and courageous enough to stand by it, they realise that she is right, and that it is okay to be different. Which is good because they are all about to meet some more, very different new friends.
This book contains in its lovely story important messages to children which will help them to gain self-confidence in themselves, and be more understanding when they meet others who are not the same as they are.
Surprise in Auntie's Garden!
9781620862247, $4.95, 38 Pages
This beautiful book is a wonderful way to teach children about nature, and the main characters in it are the author and her niece and God-daughter Erin.
Erin and her auntie have shared a special enjoyment of the garden since Erin was a baby, when looking at the lovely flowers settled her.
.A little older now, Erin discovers a 'worm,' and quickly calls her auntie over take a look. There sitting on some milkweed is not in fact a worm but a caterpillar, and the milkweed is its food.
Eagerly they look at the bright and colorful caterpillar and wonder which sort is it.
Well, when they look it up, and find out, they are so excited! What's more, they learn that the milkweed, although a weed in human eyes, is very important to the caterpillar, indeed, the reason it can be so brightly colored, is because it eats it!
As the summer goes on, and autumn sends the butterflies to their winter feeding ground, Erin's caterpillar remains, yet it has changed into something else.
What could it be, and why isn't it a butterfly yet?
Well through Erin's experience, children learn that that circle of life, and evolution can take time. It is the following spring before Erin and her auntie finally watch a beautiful young butterfly emerge and spread its wings for the first time. However the wait is worth it because the butterfly it becomes is one of the most beautiful and well known.
To discover which type it is, you will have to read this beautiful story with its bright and wonderful illustrated by Heather Varkarokas.
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I read it with my granddaughter and the look of wonderment on her face was priceless. I am sure it will be a firm favourite for many years to come. Highly recommended.
9781974413287, $9.80, 212 Pages
Ajay Kaul is an Engineering Manager who received his degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, and his master's degree in business administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He loves travel and world history, and in this, his memoir, he has used the substantial time he has spent in Mumbai, to gives his readers the chance to see beneath the surface of this city, the financial capital, and Hollywood of India.
His story begins in February of 1993 when he leaves his home in North India, to accept an internship at Tata Consultancy Services, in the impressive Air India Building, an attraction in the Nariman Point business district of Mumbai. Very quickly he falls in love with the city and so when he graduates the following May as a Chemical Engineer he is happy to return to TCS to work.
Through Ajay the reader is treated to a real glimpse of his life in Mumbai. On his first day he has to forget his mother's warnings not to eat the food cooked by street vendors, after all he reasons, everyone does so, why shouldn't he? Just outside his office at his first lunch time he is introduced to Patil, by his mentor Venky. Patil makes pav-bhaji's at his stall, and Ajay becomes a regular visitor. Patil's food is delicious, and soon Ajay discovers that the tale he has to tell about how he became a pav-bhaji seller demonstrates the true entrepreneurial spirit which thrives in Mumbai.
Throughout the book the importance of family, and the support the network of family members provides is clear. However, with the passing of the years, the world becomes a smaller place, and the restrictions with strict religious beliefs put on the younger generations can begin to cause problems. There is so much more free will in the modern world, and inter religion marriages are becoming less common. This problem, along with death, crime, and others, are prevalent in today's society, not only in India but other countries throughout the world. In the telling of this memoir they all have a place.
As we journey with Ajay on the adventure which is his life, we travel to other parts of Mumbai and then farther afield, to the USA when he is accepted into Arizona State University. However, even when he lives in America he is still very much in touch with his family and friends in India, and he loves to visit his beloved Mumbai to catch up with them and watch cricket of course!
In this interesting book, Indian culture, taboos, traditions, food, cricket, and many other things are brought alive by the author, and through his writing we celebrate the amazingly vibrant city which is Mumbai.
Susan Keefe, Reviewer
Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want! -A No-Diet, Weight-Loss Program
Sora Vernikoff, M.A., M.S.
Green Mind Press
9780692850237, $25.48, Paperback 182 pages
Losing weight is a mental challenge, not a physical one.
If you can control your mind and body the weight loss will follow
Being overweight is a problem that affects a large population worldwide. Hundreds of dollars each day go towards diet and exercise plans by consumers hoping to get to their ideal weight. Often, the results leave them depleted of their cash and with no results to show for their efforts.
Salvation comes in the form of EAT WHAT YOU WANT! STOP WHEN YOU WANT - A NO-DIET, WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAM. The author had done extensive research to develop a weight loss management program where you don't have to deprive yourself of the foods that you crave. Instead, it's an eat and stop yourself approach that programs your brain to think that you are full.
This book provides a source of inspiration as you read how the author perfected it on herself. It will educate you on a method that will let you eat, drink, and bloat and allow your mind the ability to stop yourself anytime that you want yourself to feel full. This new approach to weight loss does not involve removing any foods from your diet. You learn how to program your mind to say "No."
Sora Vernikoff has written a very educational and eye-opening book. It provides a technique that incorporates changing your thought process to learn to eat less but think you are full. What sets this method apart from similar titles is that a person can still eat the same types of food and not feel deprived of the foods they love. Also, there is no large investment required for this program. I feel that this weight-loss management program is an effective program that will help you achieve the most weight loss results.
Raw and Thriving: The Ultimate Guide to Getting (And Keeping!) Your Dog Healthy
The solution to a problem is often right in front of us, waiting to be discovered . . .
A life-changing event is about to take the world by storm! It has the power to change the life of you and your beloved pet. The pet food industry has led the consumer to believe their products offer a healthy and nutritious meal for their animals with shiny packages and lively commercials. This couldn't be further from the truth, for this processed food has toxic ingredients that can actually harm your pet.
Salvation comes in the form of Kristin Clark, who has done extensive research to develop an effective raw diet. This alternative approach offers fresher ingredients that focus on the well-being of your animal. It has been proven to help end some of the most troubling diseases that are plaguing your pet.
RAW AND THRIVING is an eye-opening book. It uncovers how pet food industries are tricking their consumers into believing their product has their pet's best benefit in mind. The author has done extensive research and used her skills and professional ability to devise a method that is easy to understand and follow.
Kristin Clark has done a magnificent job in writing RAW AND THRIVING. This book has the potential to help improve the lives of pets worldwide. To say that this book made a positive impression on this reader is an understatement. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. The knowledge is this book was shocking; I was able to find comfort in knowing that she offered a solution to a life-threatening problem. I highly recommend that every pet owner purchase and read RAW AND THRIVING, for the information throughout these pages will help your pet immensely.
Fish from the Sky
Amazon Digital Services LLC
B06ZYZ7WJW, $2.99, Kindle Edition, 271 pages
In the heat of war, a love emerges...
Will this newfound relationship be strong enough to survive a country torn apart?
Abigail Linneman has lived in Cambridge all of her life. She decides she is in need of a break from Cambridge. To earn extra cash, she starts work at a local pub. She loves her job, for it provides her life and excitement that she has been craving.
When the Royal Corps of Signals learned she spoken German, they recruited her. She accepted their offer. There she first noticed Sergeant James Marshall. He was so unlike the other men who she came in contact with, for there was a shyness in him that wasn't present in the others who sought her attention.
James fell in love with Abigail instantly. Together they shared a whirlwind courtship. When James proposed marriage to her, she was unsure if she wanted to marry someone who had such a dangerous career. It took her seven days to say "yes" to his question.
The two spend their wedding night together, and then James military career calls him away to participate in a special operation. Will his mission be a success and he come home to the comforting arms of his new bride?
FISH FROM THE SKY is an outstanding novel! I found myself being enthralled by each of the scenes as they play out before my eyes. This book has the power to reach out and pull you into its pages. Through the author's descriptive words, you are able to feel a magnetic pull that quickly wraps its way around your heart.
Addison Marsh should stand up and take a bow! She has proven to me that she is one magnificent author. With this being my first book that I found by this talented author I quickly knew that her writing was going to earn a spot on my keeper shelf. Each scene is so perfectly constructed, the characters are expertly defined, which makes for an unforgettable reading experience.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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