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Reviewer's Bookwatch

Volume 5, Number 2 February 2005 Home | RBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewers Recommend Alyice's Bookshelf Ann's Bookshelf
Arlene's Bookshelf Bethany's Bookshelf Betsy's Bookshelf
Betty's Bookshelf Buhle's Bookshelf Burroughs' Bookshelf
Carson's Bookshelf Christina's Bookshelf Debra's Bookshelf
Gary's Bookshelf Gorden's Bookshelf Greenspan's Bookshelf
Gypsi's Bookshelf Harwood's Bookshelf Henry's Bookshelf
Lori's Bookshelf Lynne's Bookshelf Magdalena's Bookshelf
Pogo's Bookshelf Robyn's Bookshelf Roger's Bookshelf
Sherry's Bookshelf Smith's Bookshelf Sullivan's Bookshelf
Taylor's Bookshelf Terry's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf
Volk's Bookshelf    


Reviewers Recommend

Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian Hill Village
David Yeadon
Harper Collins
10 East 53rd Street New York, New York 10022
ISBN: 006053110X $25.95 463 pages

Andrew Martino
Reviewer

At what point does a tourist become a traveler?

Seasons in Basilicata: A Year in a Southern Italian Hill Village is a major new work from seasoned traveler and illustrator David Yeadon. The basic premise of the book is to spend all four seasons in places that are off the crowded tourist beat. Seasons in Basilicata is the first in a series of such books. Yeadon's reasons for traveling to Basilicata are revealed to be as literary as they are exploratory.

Yeadon (accompanied for most of the year by his wife, Anne) has done what all serious students of literature dream about: he has followed the trail of one of his favorite books, Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi, to experience for himself the uncanniness of southern Italy, replete with its superstition, poverty, ancient ways, curses, and the supernatural. "Levi's book on Basilicata was our first and most transforming inspiration. His descriptions were Siren calls to us" In a very Catholic country, southern Italy has always suffered a kind of annexation-complex from the rest of the nation. Nonetheless, its allure for Yeadon and his wife is contagious as the reader navigates his or her way through the marvelous strangeness of southern Italy.

Yeadon's writing style is straight-forward and lyrical at the same time. His descriptions of food preparation and consumption are not only informative, especially for those of us who enjoy our food wrapped in the sanitary plastic containers laid out in regimentary formation in supermarket isles, they are celebrations of the art of living. The meals described throughout the book are social events which bring people together in order to talk. Yes talk. Absent are the meals on the run we have become chained to in this velocity-determined culture in the United States. There are no mothers driving minivans rushing to get their kids to soccer practice here. In fact, what Yeadon and his wife are continually rushing off to (sometimes to their dismay, it becomes impossible to refuse) are meals that turn into impromptu feasts

Seasons in Basilicata is a book that defies classification: part travel book, part history, part fiction (so I'm told by a "reliable" source close to the Yeadons), part cook book, part literary criticism. Seasons in Basilicata has an allure that pulls the reader in and reminds us just how unexplored our world still is. More importantly it is a book in the most magnificent way. One does not have to be familiar with the works of Carlo Levi in order to enjoy this meditation, but it helps. The reader only has to bring his or her imagination and willingness to turn himself or herself over completely to what is uncanny while traveling. Part of the travel experience, Yeadon reminds the reader continuously, is the willingness to encounter that which is not planned. The Yeadon's did not have an excruciatingly structured itinerary (which ruins all spontaneity while traveling); this was no ordinary family "vacation." Seasons in Basilicata offers us a glimpse into the real lives of its citizens; citizens who are for the most part poor and forgotten by the rest of Italy. The "southern question," as it has been called, still remains a fundamental stumbling block in the Italian collective identity. The southerners are often considered backwards, superstitious and uncivilized, while the northerners are technologically advanced and civilized.

Seasons in Basilicata is an armchair feast for those who are unable or unwilling to leave behind "responsibilities" for more than a week or two. David Yeadon is a traveler in the most resonant sense. He travels to experience in order to understand. Although his writing is firmly planted in the 19th century era of travel writing as a form of knowledge production, Yeadon, for the most part (at one point he loses patience in a store while an old woman checks out her purchases), is willing to sacrifice the comforts of "civilization" (read velocity and convenience) and wade thoughtfully into a stream that is more calm, more serene.

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Viking/Penguin Putnam
375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 0670894605 $24.95 302 pp.

Anika Paaren-Sdano
Reviewer

In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd describes with accuracy and warmth the journey of an adolescent girl in search of familial love. Lily, our central character, leaves "home," a peach farm in South Carolina, with her African-American nanny, Rosaleen. Her leaving is not so much a running away, as it is the beginning of her trek to find love. Her abusive father, T.Ray, whom she cannot even bear to call Dad, and mysterious objects left by her deceased mother, lead Lily to flee the peach farm and find herself in the home of the Boatwright sisters. Along the way, Lily breaks the law and the unwritten societal rules of the Civil Rights Act era in the South.

Kidd realistically depicts the mixed swirl emotions experienced by the adolescent Lily as she contemplates her mother's death, and her personal memories of her mother. As the story is written in first person, the reader is keenly aware of Lily's innermost thoughts. She experiences great conflict, internally seesaws between hatred and love, as she searches for the answer: did her mother desert her? Did she ever have the intention of coming back to get her? Lily, at times, shows the stubbornness of an adolescent, the innocence and dependence of a child, and the rationality of an adult.

Not only are the characters and story engaging and loveable, but Kidd's description of rural South Carolina in the dead of summer charms a reader as well. She writes of the smells and sounds of the region, the affects of the stifling heat and humidity on human capability and last but certainly not least, the natural process of bee-keeping. Bee-keeping is central to the story, as it is the Boatwright sister's livelihood, but it also serves as metaphor for Lily's search for her mother's love. The book is infused with scenes of nature and organic living. Readers can almost smell Lily's sweat as she works in the honey house, or the South Carolina jasmine in bloom.

In the genre of Southern fiction, especially that which is intended for a female audience, The Secret Life of Bees is a confident and insightful effort by the author. The story and setting are entrancing. The book is nearly impossible to put down, even after a long day at work. The intriguing characters as well as the glimpse into the Southern summer, make for a highly enjoyable, yet intelligent, read.

Dry, A Memoir
Augusten Burroughs
St Martin's Press
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY, 10010
0312272057, $24.95, 293 pp.

Coletta Ollerer
Reviewer

Augusten is a young advertising copywriter who is also gay. In his biography, he walks the reader through the swamp of alcoholism leaving us both horrified and amused

We meet him as his devoted colleagues participate in an intervention where he reluctantly agrees to seek help for his drinking problem. He chooses a facility which caters to gay men called The Proud Institute "A rehab hospital run by fags will be hip. Plus there's the possibility of good music and sex." (p23) After a time in detox he enters into the routine of institutional life: morning affirmations where one reminds onself of one's worth, group therapy, one on one therapy, evening affirmations. He becomes friendly with a Brit named Hayden. He misses his true love who goes by the name Pighead, an AIDs patient and an investment banker.

His counselor at the Institute, Rae, assures him that Rehab is just the start. He will need counseling four times each week for six months, then AA meetings every day. Upon release he begins to see another counselor and attends AA meetings daily. He struggles, "I miss alcohol. Like it's a person. I feel abandoned." (p117)

While attending an AA meeting he meets a dazzlingly handsome gay man, Foster, and finds himself falling in love. The feelings are returned and they embark on a relationship even though a romantic relationship with another alcoholic is strongly proscribed.

We get a glimpse of his heavy duty battle against the tentacles of inebriety when he agrees to meet his friend, Jim, in a bar for the purpose of becoming acquainted with Jim's new girl friend. As he enters the bar he notices that "colorful liquor bottles are lit from below like fine art. They look breathtakingly beautiful. Seeing them, I am filled with longing. It's not an ordinary craving. It's a romantic craving. Because I don't just drink alcohol. I actually love it." (p130) He exits as soon as he is able.

His relationship with Foster continues even though Foster has `slipped' back into his addiction to crack and is on a downward spiral. Pighead is hospitalized. Things are beginning to become uncontrollable and Augusten is sick of AA and is positive he can handle everything without the aid of meetings. He knows Foster is dragging him down and he can't bear the thought of the impending death of his beloved friend, Pighead. He finds himself inside of a bar. "I would like to conveniently sidestep what is happening in my life at the moment." (258) He takes a drink. "An odd thing happens. Instead of getting sloppy drunk I get focused drunk. . . I have the clarity of mind to know that the reason I am drunk and in a dark bar with a strange guy is because I am desperate to control something." (p259)

Since a fair amount of intemperence has appeared in my family, this reviewer appreciated Augusten's bio for the insight it offers into the mind of those who contend with the bottle. I read the book in a day and a half and found it both revealing and entertaining. Augusten is a funny guy in addition to being very smart and gifted. I enjoyed getting to know him.

Deception Point
Dan Brown
Atria Books
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
ISBN#: 0743490304 $24.95 384 pp.

Marty Duncan, Reviewer
www.omagadh.com

Put on the coffee. Get a warm comforter to wrap around yourself. Tell your spouse that you are busy for the next three days. Ignore food and water. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit down to read Deception Point, Dan Brown's scientific thriller. It's a ride you will enjoy in the comfort of your own easy chair.

Deception Point has all of the scientific gadgets that any reader could possibly want: satellites, cell phones, new Army weapons, a gun that spits ice bullets, a nuclear submarine and the proof that there is life elsewhere in the universe. The action begins when a Special Ranger group of four grabs a geologist, throws him in a plane and at 10,000 feet over a glacial rift shoves him out the door, sans parachute. We learn later that the geologist made a low frequency radio call to tell NASA that there was a large meteorite embedded in the Milne Ice Shelf. NASA responds after their PODS satellite spots the meteorite.

Technologists and civilian specialists arrive on the ice shelf to verify the data that the President will announce. It's a discovery that is bound to bolster the President's chances of re-election. How fortunate it was discovered two months before the election. Is it coincidence or careful planning by a senior White House aide?

Pull your comforter around you. You will enjoy the deception and the twists and even the final little slight of hand (in plain view of 30 cameras).

My Sister's Wedding
Hannah R. Goodman
iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln, NE 68512
www.iuniverse.com www.hannahgoodman.com
ISBN 0595312659 $10.95 108 pp.

Franci McMahon
Reviewer

Wish I'd read this book when I was a teen. Perhaps I'd have had a bit more insight into the mysteries of a family complicated by too much alcohol.

Hannah Goodman's ability to tell the tale of My Sister's Wedding is clear. This novel will appeal to all Young Adults, whether there is too much alcohol in their family or not. We all know someone struggling with this particular affliction.

The story is told through the eyes of Madeline, or Maddie, who is a likeable teen who wants answers. She gets her sister out of awful jams and covers for her screw-ups. Her life is coming apart. Maddie's two best friends, Peter and Susan, have dropped her, enmeshed in their own romance. Her average, quirky parents seem to wear blinders. Maddie's boy friend, Justin, is supposedly acting out the grief of the death of his father through drinking. For her sister Barbara is it normal growing pains, or is there a larger problem? No one wants to talk about it, except Bubbie, a real life Grandmother. She's a gem.

The central focus of Maddie's sister Barbara's wedding is where it all hits the fan. Maddie can not tell herself anymore lies. She no longer makes excuses for her sister, or her boyfriend. Breaking the secrets is one of the hardest things to do when you grow up in a family clouded by alcohol.

For the most part the characters all do an excellent job of living the story, but occasionally Maddie wants to explain more than she needs to.

Ms. Goodman lives in Rhode Island and is a High School English teacher and counselor. This is her first novel. I look forward to her new novel about Maddie and her universal family. Ms. Goodman does a great job writing an amusing, lively novel which takes the wool away from our eyes.

Goddess in the Grass: Serpentine Mythology and the Great Goddess
Linda Foubister
Ecco Nova Editions
Victoria BC
www.ecconova.com
ISBN: 0973164824 $19.95 204 pages

Rose Glavas
Reviewer

"The serpent - is it a symbol of evil and pernicious sex, or is it a form of the life-renewing great Goddess?"

This quote is found on the back cover of this title.... the cover of which features the lovely 'Lilith' by John Collier. If you haven't seen it, the painting portrays a naked young woman with long hair being caressed and coiled by a large serpent from foot to shoulder. The imagery is naked and erotic.

Before I got my copy of "Goddess in the Grass", I wasn't really sure what to expect... the title sounded interesting in it's own right.

Once I received it, the described cover got my interest straight away... I couldn't wait to learn more about serpentine mythology and the great goddess. Part of this meant learning about the author - Linda Foubister.

I looked through the title for information about Linda, but wasn't able to find anything about her.... my next step was to search the net. I found the publisher's website at http://www.eccenova.com/goddess_in_the_grass.htm where the author's background as a biologist who has studied snakes, and has combined this study with her interest in mythology is explained. Linda lives in Victoria, B.C. in a grove of oak trees - lucky thing!

"Goddess in the Grass" is her first book. It has a depth and complexity that is well worth investing in particularly if you are interested in a female perspective of mythology through the various cultures and historical periods of time. Linda has done a spectacular job in covering this complex subject in easy to read language and logical layout so that the structure keeps relevant subjects easy to navigate.

The chapters are set out as follows:

The Primordial Serpent Goddess
The Serpent Goddess Overthrown
The Renewing Serpent Goddess
The Fertile Serpent Goddess
The Prosperous Serpent Goddess
The Copulating Serpent Goddess
The Womb of the Serpent Goddess
The Deadly Serpent Goddess
The Two-Faced Serpent Goddess
The Contemporary Serpent Goddess

As can be seen, the various aspects of the serpentine mythology are thoroughly examined from a number of viewpoints.

The dictionary of serpent goddesses is another section of this book I think is worthwhile - this is approximately 50 pages long so is quite detailed. This alone is worth having, so is an added bonus.

I would recommend "Goddess in the Grass" to anyone interested in mythology, women's issues and/or the use of animals as symbols in history and contemporary times. This is an excellent reference book and comparison of serpentine mythology from all parts of the world.

Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (2005-2006)
Joan Rattner Heilman
McGraw-Hill
300 Water Street, Whitby, On
ISBN: 0071438297 $14.95 US $21.95 CAN

Norman Goldman, Reviewer
Bookpleasures.com

No age group represents such an enormous market of potential consumers than those over the age of fifty. According to author Joan Rather Heilman, author of Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (2005-2006), more than a quarter of the population of the United States is over 50, and by the 2020 it is expected to reach one third. It is little wonder why the business community actively courts this sector of the population that controls most of the wealth of the USA.

If you are one of the lucky ones who have reached the "big five O," hold onto your wallets before you fork out money for hotels, car rentals, tour packages, college courses, airfare, entrance admission to parks, restaurants, buses, trains, sports activities, and even shopping. Heilman passes out all kinds of "goodies," as if we are children in a candy shop, with hundreds of tips as to how to stretch your vacation dollars.

Dividing the book into twenty chapters, the author presents excellent insights pertaining to various value-added possibilities. However, as stated by the author, it is essential that if you are over fifty, you must very often ask for these discounts. Most vendors and their representatives will not voluntarily offer them to you.

Most of the book is devoted to savings the over fifty crowd can enjoy from the travel industry. Realizing that this sector of the population is the most ardent travelers, it is only logical that the travel industry would offer all kinds of price reductions. Heilman details the offerings of the various airlines with their names, phone numbers and web sites. Similarly, discounts pertaining to hotels, motels, car rental companies are listed.

Are you looking for some alternative lodging? Did you know that Del Webb Sun Cities, the largest builder of active communities offers a Vacation Getaway program, where you can enjoy low-cost, short vacation stays so that you can sample the lifestyle to see whether you would like to move in? Bear in mind, however, that in order to qualify one partner in a visiting couple must be over the age of 55.

In addition, the reader will discover all kinds of deals concerning trains, buses and boats pertaining to North America and elsewhere. Companies such as Amtrak, Via Rail in Canada, Greyhound Lines, train passes in Britain, France and other European countries offer some kind of a discounts, although requirements as to age may differ.

If you are a sports enthusiast, Heilman presents a comprehensive rundown of assorted clubs, tours, associations, and other institutions that offer different vacation possibilities as skiing, cycling, walking, golfing, even softball, where special privileges and discounts are offered. Names, phone numbers, and website addresses are included.

In addition to being a nifty addition to one's library, this reader friendly book would make a great birthday gift for anyone celebrating his or her big five O.

The Warren Buffett Way
Robert G. Hagstrom
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Wiley.com 800-762-2974
ISBN 0471648116 $24.95 245 pages

Peter Hupalo
Reviewer

The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom provides insight into the investment principles used by America's greatest investor, Warren Buffett.

In 1956, Buffett started his first investment partnership with $100. He cashed out after 13 years with $25 million, achieving a compounded rate of investment return of 29.5% for his investors. Today, Buffett's net worth is about $43 billion.

We learn two different schools of investment thought influenced Buffett. Ben Graham taught Buffett to seek value. Philip Fisher and Buffett's investment partner Charlie Munger taught Buffett to seek quality companies with the potential to grow their earnings.

To determine a stock's value, Buffett examines the business behind the stock and evaluates the company's worth by making an estimate of the future cash flows of the company and then discounting these cash flows back to their present value. Buffett only purchases the company if the purchase price is below its discounted value. This provides Buffett a margin of safety.

Hagstrom explains that Buffett uses a focused approach to investing and often only holds a handful of stocks. And, Buffett invests within his "circle of competence" which usually involves traditional companies Buffett understands. Buffett avoids high-tech investments in companies he doesn't understand. Buffett prefers companies he could hold forever. He avoids businesses without a solid track record or businesses lacking honest and competent management.

Quoting Buffett, Hagstrom writes: "In evaluating people, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. If you don't have the first, the other two will kill you."

The Warren Buffett Way shows how Buffett's investment criteria came into play for several major companies he purchased, including GEICO (Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's company, owns 100% of GEICO), Clayton Homes (mobile homes), The Pampered Chef (kitchenware sold direct at in-house parties), Gillette, and Coca-Cola. The book's appendix lists Berkshire's major stock holdings each year from 1977 to 2003.

Buffett is most likely to purchase entire companies today. Smaller successful investments do little to grow Berkshire Hathaway.

So, can investors today benefit from Buffett's investment approach? Yes and no, argues Hagstrom. For example, Buffett spends a great deal of time reading annual reports to learn about a company.

Hagstrom writes: "It must be said here, with sadness, that it is possible that the documents you study are filled with inflated numbers, half-truths, and deliberate obfuscations. We all know the names of the companies charged with doing this; they are a rogue's gallery of American businesses, and some of their leaders are finding themselves with lots of time in prison to rethink their actions. Sometimes the manipulations are so skillful that even forensic accountants are fooled; how then can you, an investor without any special knowledge, fully understand what you are seeing? The regrettable answer is, you cannot."

Hagstrom shares a few of Buffett's tips for spotting accounting problems and irregularities in financial documents, such as looking for "unintelligible footnotes."

Also, today, the stock market is composed of many more companies. Hagstrom relates the story of Buffett's interview on the show Money World:

"Appearing on the PBS show Money World in 1993, Buffett was asked what investment advice he would give a money manager just starting out. 'I'd tell him to do exactly what I did 40-odd years ago, which is to learn about every company in the United States that has publicly traded securities.'

Moderator Adam Smith protested, 'But there's 27,000 public companies.'

'Well,' said Buffett, 'start with the A's.'"

Further, Hagstrom argues too many desirable investments are in the field of high technology. To those investors wishing to follow Buffett's approach to investing, Hagstrom suggests: " expand your circle of competence by studying intently the business models of the companies participating in the New Economy landscape " Investors who are less willing to spend time understanding business might want to consider indexing their money in a low-cost mutual fund instead.

If you want to understand the investment principles of Warren Buffett, I highly recommend The Warren Buffett Way.

The Elf King-Part I
Jude Hatcher Bangs
Advocate House
an imprint of A Cappela Publishing
www.acappela.com http://www.elfkingbooks.com
ISBN: 0972497978 $14.95 192 pages

Jodi Grant, Reviewer
http://www.acappela.com

WHERE DO ELVES COME FROM?

If you've ever wondered why elves were created or who created them, find out, along with Kai, an orphaned boy who discovers that he is the son of The Elf King.

We follow Kai through exciting adventures as he searches for his heritage and undergoes many trials of character. He is beset by enemies in the form of dragons, trolls and humans. But he is protected and befriended by unicorns, elves, white owls, ghosts and humans (not to mention his own powerful father, the Elf King.).

The Elven characters add an exotic element to this tale of a mythic quest, and the down-to-earth qualities of the humans and half-humans balance the adventure with humor and practical action.

This is a timeless tale. It will appeal to readers of all ages anyone who enjoys traveling to realms beyond the ordinary. In addition to Kai's quest for his identity, there is a romantic sub-plot which will delight and tantalize you; dragons and dungeons to get your heart pumping, and fearies and unicorns to soothe your soul. A must-read for all!

To read an excerpt or find out more about this book, its sequels and the author, please visit http://www.elfkingbooks.com

Suffer in Silence
David Reid
Virtualbookworm
P.O. Box 9949, College Station, TX 77842
1589396480, $16.00, 340 pages, www.davidreidbooks.com

Julie Merritt
Reviewer

Popular culture is saturated with references to Navy SEALs. These silent warriors are the focus of dozens of books, documentaries, movies and video games. To make his mark in a crowded field, new author David Reid needed to produce a truly memorable book. Luckily for us, that's exactly what he did when he wrote Suffer in Silence.

Many authors have delved into the rigors of SEAL training. Thousands of pushups, endless torture in the freezing surf, 120 hours without a wink of sleep -- these are surely the elements of gripping human drama. Nevertheless, I didn't truly appreciate both the horror and the beauty of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training until I found myself entangled in Reid's compelling novel.

While struggling to survive the first few months of SEAL training, Ensign Mark Grey develops a strong bond of friendship with Seaman Murray, an irascible sailor who constantly garners unwanted attention from the instructor staff. Convinced that a particularly fearsome instructor is determined to force him out of training, Murray opts to delve into blackmail in an attempt to save his career. Despite his raunchy sense of humor and fatally flawed judgment, I found myself enthralled by Murray's antics. Grey is an equally sympathetic character, and he brings an unusual sensitivity to one of the toughest places on earth. And as a Tennessee native, I was pleasantly surprised that Reid's description of Seaman Jones (a.k.a. "the Tennessee Wonder") was spot-on.

The one weakness in Reid's novel is the skeletal nature of its plot. Although the central drama of the story unfolds slowly, I was so mesmerized by Reid's engaging characters and crisp descriptions of training that I never lost interest. In a particularly vivid scene at the end of Hell Week, an officer known for his ability to rattle off classical poetry stands high up on the diving platform while the rest of the class engages in a violent melee below. Reid juxtaposes stanzas of poetry with glimpses of the chaos unfolding in the pool. Wielded by a less skilled author, this ruse could easily have failed. However, Reid manages to enhance the mystique of SEAL training by seamlessly melding the sequence with the semi-lucid thoughts of the sleep-deprived students.

Suffer in Silence is not for the feint of heart. You may learn some things that disturb you: the instructors' obsession with pornography and homosexuality is troubling, the students' injuries and infections are gruesome, and a surprise visit by a drunk instructor in the middle of the night results in astounding abuse. Nevertheless, the author paints a fair picture of SEAL training. Despite the endless litany of tortures the instructors employ with glee, the allure of joining ranks with our nation's finest warriors shines through in Reid's novel.

Suffer in Silence is thoughtful, fearsomely honest, and expertly crafted -- a genuine triumph. David Reid is a rising talent, and he will have to create something remarkable to exceed my expectations for his next effort.

The Colonel's Dream
Charles W. Chesnutt
Harlem Moon/Broadway Books
1745 Broadway, New York, New York 10019
http://harlemmoon.com 212-782-9000
Amazon Rating: 4 www.amazon.com
ISBN: 0767919513 $12.95 336 pages

Kim Anderson Ray, Reviewer
www.suburbansista.blogspot.com

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required

Originally published in 1905 and re-released in 2005 with a new introduction by esteemed author, editor, activist, MacArthur Fellow and professor, Ishmael Reed, THE COLONEL'S DREAM is a fine example of turn of the century utopist literature. Charles Waddell Chesnutt was born during slavery, but was a free person of color. He was a prolific writer, producing numerous works, but never received the acclaim of similar writers of his time. Part of that reason may be because, unlike his contemporaries, he chose to write THE COLONEL'S DREAM from the perspective of a white Confederate officer, newly returned from the North as a successful businessman and enlightened philanthropist. People, at that time, were uncomfortable with African-American writers exposing the bigotry of America, only reluctantly accepting it from their own kind, and not even then, if possible.

THE COLONEL'S DREAM takes place in the post-Reconstruction South, a period sometimes referred to as Confederate Restoration or Southern Redemption. The widowed protagonist, Colonel French, returns to his hometown of Clarendon, North Carolina with his young son, Phil, to rest and recuperate following a period of illness in New York. The Colonel is struck by the apathy of the town's residents, both white and black, and sets a plan in motion to restore economic progress to the area. Although he has plenty of money to finance his endeavors, the greater challenge lies in winning over hearts and minds. Surrounding himself with a few loyal followers who agree with his utopian view of what it will take to resurrect the town's economic base, he makes some progress only to be set back numerous times by members of the former lower class of whites who have now risen to power as loan sharks, labor contractors, and political bosses.

The Colonel's nemesis, Bill Fetters, has a firm hold on the convict labor contracts created by this new middle class to control the freed slaves. If a black person could not demonstrate steady employment, which of course there was little of in the depressed South, he or she was arrested for simple offenses like vagrancy, fined exorbitant sums (which they could not pay), then auctioned to the bidder that would pay the fine in exchange for the shortest period of indentured service, i.e., a "new" form of institutionalized slavery. In this manner, Fetters accumulated more and more "workers" for his plantation, acquired great wealth, was elected to the legislature, and loaned money at such high rates that he held the mortgage, and thus the loyalty, of almost every former southern aristocrat, businessman, politician, and judge in the area.

Dethroning Fetters becomes the Colonel's sole purpose in life and contributes to events that lead to personal tragedy and the end of his dream. Although anyone who is even remotely acquainted with American history could predict the outcome of this story, it is still a literary treat in its examination of southern culture and northern industrialism, the fall of the southern aristocracy and the rise of a new middle class representing both lower class whites and independent black entrepreneurs. The most striking example of the latter phenomenon in this novel is Nichols, the town's black barber, who now lives in the Colonel's ancestral mansion and pays an impoverished southern aristocrat to give his daughter piano and voice lessons.

THE COLONEL'S DREAM resurrects a time when our nation was recovering from one of the bloodiest wars in history and struggling to regain its identity as a unified country. Colonel French, although a former Confederate, has become enlightened and feels obligated to share his reformed view of American society with his old friends and neighbors. Aided by his devoted servant and freed slave, Uncle Peter, the Colonel makes a life for himself and his young son in the town of Clarendon and works toward making it a prosperous place to live for both blacks and whites. Unfortunately, everyone is not on his side and the powers-that-be are only interested in maintaining the status quo. It is the Colonel's valiant efforts to lay the foundation for a progressive community that moves the action in this novel and provides the reader with a certain sense of ethos, humanity, and encouragement to see this novel to its final conclusion.

Mysterious Ways
Terry Burns
River Oak
4050 Lee Vance View Colorado Springs, CO 80918
ISBN# 1589190270 $12.99 320 pages

Les Williams
Reviewer

Terry Burns is a 5th generation Irish story teller. Terry has published over 200 articles and short stories as well as a small book of poetry and short stories entitled COWBOY'S DON'T READ POETRY. Two of Terry's inspirational books are DON'T I KNOW YOU and TO KEEP A PROMISE. Also coming out in 2005 is TRAILS OF THE DIME NOVEL.

Amos Turnbuckle spots what he feels will be the perfect disguise to use after his next robbery. So he takes a preaches black-frocked suit off a clothes line. Unknowing to Amos, this pilfering of a preachers clothes will have a far reaching effect on Amos life that he ever imagined. With his new disguise in his saddle bags, Turnbuckle stops the stage headed for Sweetwater, taking money from all the passengers except Judy Valentine.

Leaving the passengers and driver standing by the side of the road, Amos takes the coach further up the trail where he changes clothes and returns to begin his charade. Entering Sweetwater, Amos as expected, is mistaken for the new preacher. Now his life begins to get interesting. Turnbuckle meets Joseph Washington a blind black man, although educated, plays the part of an ignorant ex-slave.

Joseph upon first meeting Amos, knows immediately that Turnbuckle is not a preacher, however, Washington does see the Lord working through Amos in his disguise as a preacher. Amos after a time decides he needs a road stake to get out of Sweetwater before he is discovered for who he really is.

Amos schemes will come back to play an important part in his newly discovered faith in the Lord. Terry Burns throw in some clever plot twists, in particular, Amos preaching on the book of Amos along with the trial of Amos and the verdict handed down by the judge. MYSTERIOUS WAYS is an excellent book worth reading.

Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense
Jean-Claude Koven
Prism House Press
69115 Ramon Road, Suite 1386, Cathedral City, CA 92234
www.prismhouse.com 1-888-600-9689
ISBN: 0972395458 $24.95 436 pages

Mayra Calvani
Reviewer

Who am I?

What is my purpose?

What is the meaning of life?

If you are the type of person who often ask yourself these age-old questions, then this is a book worth considering. In a simple, straight-forward style accompanied by light, fun dialogue, Jean-Claude Koven explores profound metaphysical subjects and presents it in a manner any intelligent reader can understand.

The story begins a week after 9/11, when Larry, a successful LA lawyer, ends up adopting a puppy in the strangest of circumstances. Important to point out is the restless state of Larry's mind at this point, as it symbolizes how many people think and feel in these times:

"Little by little it was dawning on him [Larry] that reality doesn't lend itself to containment in tidy packages. Certainty was receding, replaced by a newborn voice in his psyche that demanded answers to a host of unspoken questions. Despite all his education and apparent success, the life he'd constructed for himself didn't quite make sense to him anymore. Something about it was a complete sham. Whatever he was doing now, whatever he had done in the past, no longer had much relevance. And he had no answers."

One day Larry decides to make a "nature" trip to Joshua Tree National Park with his beloved, and quite inseparable adopted dog, Zeus. On the way, Larry suddenly hears a voice talking to him. Stunned, he realizes it comes from Zeus. Thus Larry's spiritual journey begins A journey that will completely transformed him, heighten his level of awareness and change his old sense of illusion vs. reality.

Larry learns that he is, in fact, a Wanderer, an advance soul from a distant dimension come to earth in love and service to assist the transition into the next paradigm. Through the engrossing, sometimes hilarious dialogues between Larry and Zeus, Larry and a racoon, Larry and a juniper tree, and Larry and stones, metaphysical concepts are explored, among these the Higher Self, Akashic records, Levels of Awareness, densities, chakras, indigo children and reincarnation. Timeless subjects such as religion, science, faith, free will and intuition are also discussed. At the end of the book there is also a helpful and informative glossary with all the metaphysical terms.

This novel should not only be in the shelf of every metaphysical enthusiast, but also in the hands of anybody who desires to enrich his/her spiritual life. All throughout the novel you'll find enlightening words and quotes, like Einstein's "No problem can be solved from the same level of Consciousness that created it." Or "When caught in a fog bank, you can always see more clearly by moving above it." I specially like Zeus' advice at the beginning, when he tells Larry that human beings shouldn't focus so much on the imagined destination and instead learn to enjoy the actual journey in getting there.

Even for those of you who don't believe in concepts like Wanderers, Light Workers, Planetary Servers, reincarnation or chakras, any open-minded, intelligent reader will be able to derive wise tips on how to become a better human being and live a better life.

Bindi Babes
Narinder Dhami
Delacorte Press Random House
1745 Broadway, NYC NY 10019
ISBN: 0385731779 $14.95

Molly Martin, Reviewer
http://www.angelfire.com/ok4/mollymartin

Entertaining Read ... Recommended .. . 5 stars

The narrative told by twelve year old Amber Dhillon opens at school: Coppergate Secondary School where the sisters are known to be too cool and too attractive and too chic. Amber regales her friends with a description of the new trainers she is getting as soon as she persuades her dad to let her get them, while older sister Geena, 14, is showing her new mobile phone to a group of friends. Amber's sort of friend Kim needs help, again. Kim seems to need help a lot. This time she is running from George Botley who is trying to stuff a worm or something down her back. Jazz, aged 11, takes her classes at the lower school. It was just an average day until the girls arrived home after school to find their father was already there. Dad did not come home early. He had the most dreadful news: his sister was come to live with the family.

Merchant Mr Attawal, disagreeable next door neighbor Mrs Macey, head of the lower school Mr Grimwade, teachers Miss Thomas and Mr Agora, a clumsy newspaper boy, inspectors coming to visit Coppergate, Ms Woods and a special assembly, sharing a room and of course Auntie all figure in this entertaining tale. The girls are determined to marry Auntie off, doesn't matter to whom. Just to get her out of the house and out of their hair becomes the main focus of life for the sisters. That, and the assembly and Kim and her problems, and the newsboy who sails his newspaper anywhere but on the porch. Before long the meddling aunt has set about to make friends with the disagreeable neighbor, provide a listening ear to Kim and the newsboy and Mr Attawal and refused to be married off to anyone including the oh so cute school teacher. What are the girls going to do? Just when it seems that Auntie has finally gotten a clue, their rude behavior has worked and Auntie will leave the girls find a most significant letter.

Narinder Dhami has set down a captivating, absorbing anecdote certain to enchant girls in the target audience of 11-15 year olds. The interaction among the sisters, their dealing with having their lives turned topsy turvy first by the demise of their mother and later with the introduction of an aunt they don't really know, don't trust, and don't want to like; is plausible. Conversation between the girls moves the account along in satisfying fashion. The conspiracy and machination undertaken by the girls in trying to marry their aunt off to someone, anyone at all, just to get her out of the house is so similar what might as a matter of fact take place in a comparable life situation.

Filled with generously contrived characters, anticipated strife appropriately determined, snappy colloquy and a ingeniously interwoven tale 'Bindi Babes' is a well written anecdote. Author Dhami dexterously captures the vitality of girls in the target age and composes a vibrating yarn which grabs reader appeal from the first lines and holds interest fast right to the last paragraphs as the Bindi Babes come to perceive that life cannot always run precisely as we wish. Death, transformation, expectancy and longing all play a part in what our lives were, are, and will be.

Banner, engaging work appropriate for the upper middle grades to high school library, the home personal bookroom and home school library. Girls especially will delight in the publication. Written by a British woman Bindi Babes contains colloquialisms sure to fascinate the US American reading audience.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

Jerome and the Seraph
Robina Williams
Twilight Times Books
www.twilighttimesbooks.com www.amazon.com
ISBN: 1931201544 $15.50 171 pp.

Shirley Roe, Reviewer
www.allbooksreviews.com

Brother Jerome slips in the graveyard, hitting his head with a thud. Later he finds himself in a rather strange place accompanied by a dear old friend that he knows is deceased. The situation is most abstruse as there are no cherubs, no angels, no fluffy clouds- none of his expectations of beyond; he soon accedes to his irreversible situation. His greatest surprise is the arrival of his beloved cat, Leo in the afterworld. Leo, who we learn is actually Quant, the cat/lion alter ego, it seems, can travel at will between the two worlds being both alive and dead.

Jerome's ingrained beliefs are challenged, as he learns the answers to life long spiritual questions. He comes face to face with the hound of Heaven as the trill of Pan's flute fills the air.

Brother Jerome and his cohorts, both living and dead are most enchanting characters. Full of human frailties and believable character flaws, they charm the reader with their humorous encounters and escapades.

The author makes reference to several nineteenth century paintings including St. Jerome in the Wilderness, adding a touch of refinement and artistic interest to the book. Amusing, entertaining and charming, Robina Williams has a winner with her bumbling friar and his amazing ginger.

The author lives in north- west England and has an M.A in Modern Languages. This book is the first in the Quantum cat series; she has finished her second book Angelos and is working on the third.

Highly recommended, this reviewer looks forward to the next book in the series.

The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins
Joseph DeMarco
AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
888.519.5121
1418441023 $12.95 148 Pages

Tyler Tradere
Reviewer

This is a well thought out and clever book about the American Drug culture. The author combines a fictional history of the assassin (The Hasan of Sabbah) into everyday comic book folklore, and the result is The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins. The story is a humorous tale that follows Anazasi (an assassin) on his quest for paradise into the dark jungles of Harazin's lair to look for a garden of unearthly beauty, filled with beautiful flowers, alluring animals, and a bunch of exotic naked women. The book is set a thousand years ago, but is really an introspective look at the mind of a 21st century pot smoker. Phish and Dead fans will identify with this quasi-myth about a garden so beautiful and prince so infamous, his very name is synonymous with assassin.

The Big Questions: Paul Davies in Conversation with Phillip Adams
Paul C. W. Davies
Penguin Books Australia Ltd
http://www.abc.net.au/science/bigquestions/
ISBN: 0140259376 $TBA 159 pp.

Tzelee Low
Reviewer

A married couple went hiking in the mountains. In the middle of the night, the husband woke the wife up. Pointing at the night skies, he asked the wife: "What do you think of this?" The wife thought for a moment and answered: "I think that the multitude of stars is breathtakingly beautiful, and that our problems are really small and insignificant when compared to this... Why do you ask?" The husband answered: "Our tent has been blown away."

Reading this book reminded me of this famous joke. Some people look at the night skies and wonder about the beauty and splendour of the stars. Others look at it and wonder: "How did it all begin?"

I must confess that I belong firmly to the former camp. Questions like the beginning of the universe, the riddle of time, or the evolution of the earth never did bother me much. Yet, when I came across this book that promised to explain it all to me, I was immediately intrigued.

What made this book more attractive was the fact that it was adapted from a television series of the same name. In fact, it was a word for word record of the conversations that a popular Australian broadcaster, Phillip Adams, had with world-reknowned physicist Paul Davies. If the content was meant for consumption by average couch potatoes, how hard would it be to understand the concepts by reading them, with all the luxury of time to pause and chew on the difficult passages?

I was not disappointed by the book. While I underestimated the difficulty of the content - there were some places where no matter how long I paused, I did not fully understand what Davies was expounding - the book was pitched at a level that people with an average knowledge of science would be able to understand. In fact, I had many "ah" moments while reading the book. "Ah" moments are what I call moments when the world suddenly became a little bigger when you are able to think about it from a totally new perspective.

What made the book even more interesting was the passion that Davies exhibited when explaining the concepts. While reading this book, I was concurrently reading another book on cosmology that promised to introduce the concepts to beginners with humour, irreverence and wit. I found the Davies book much more interesting, because you could really feel Davies' excitement when he explained certain concepts that he believed in.

And cosmology is very much about belief. It is a special branch of science much scoffed off by some scientists because its theories are difficult to prove, and seem a lot like hocus-pocus to scientists and laymen alike. In fact, the term "big bang" was originally a pejorative - a joke - that a British astronomer came up with while he was heaping scorn on the theory.

There is also a tension between cosmology, theology and philosophy that I found most interesting. These are three branches of human thoughts that entangle themselves like the buttress roots of a tropical tree. What is intriguing is the fact that, contrary to what we would think, Paul Davies is a scientist who believes in God. Instead, it was the broadcaster who was a staunch atheist. In one chapter, they openly discussed the subject of science versus faith. From that chapter, I obtained a fascinating glimpse of the plethora of beliefs that could be derived from these three schools of thoughts.

Reading this book, you will feel like you are eavesdropping on the conversations of two very intelligent human beings. While they are talking, you will be busy having conversations with yourselves too, as their talk will stimulate you to think about things that you have never thought about. That is the beauty of reading a book that inspires you to think.

January's Paradigm
J. Conrad Guest
GreatUnpublished / Booksurge LLC
ISBN: 1588987442 $14.99 342 pages

Zinta Aistars
Reviewer

I hate this man, Joe January. Hate him. Even as my respect for him grows, possibly even a begrudging sort of affection. Who knows? Maybe someday we will see eye to eye and I will be able to say January, you're a helluva man, and I'm enriched to know you.

This is precisely what makes January's Paradigm such a remarkable book. I have read it once, twice, and will read it yet again. January and I have an ongoing relationship, and that's how alive, how real, how tantalizingly, aggravatingly vivid his author has made him.

J. Conrad Guest has created a kind of anti-hero, a Bogey sort of tough guy, a man's man who I suspect, deep in his isolated, walled-in heart, would very much like to be understood, appreciated, and oh shivers, but yes, loved. His motto in life is to move through it unscathed by petty emotion. His relationships are not relationships at all they are brief physical encounters. He cheats on the one woman who matters most in his life, and that is unforgiveable.

Or is it?

Because here is the intrigue of the book, here is Guest's sheer mastery of the art: he has created a character who transcends boundaries of reality and fiction, who pops through the shell of the author's skull and speaks to him, speaks from inside of him, and one man transforms the other and is then transformed himself in the process. He is the strength of a man as well as his most despicable weakness. He is the muscle as well as the whimper. He is the beacon in the storm as much as he is the shadow every man winces to find in himself if he is a man at all. If nothing else, January has courage. The kind of courage necessary to face his own weakness, his own shadow, his inner beast. He has the courage to recognize his cowardice in seeking only the most shallow of encounters with the parade of women in his life. How many men can do so? For all his fist-fighting, damsel-rescuing, tough-talking bravado this is January's true gold. He can look in the mirror, and he is willing to see.

Infidelity is a wound inflicted on so many of our relationships, yet it scarcely draws the attention of anyone, save those involved. So many marriages split at the seams, so many families are broken, so many lies told, so many temptations succumbed to for so little, if any, reward. But have we the courage to understand why? Have we the courage of Joe January?

Society has taken a microscope to the suffering of women caused by infidelity. Women, after all, are the warm-hearted sex that speaks freely of emotional pain, and sheds tears in public forums. Women's emotions are socially acceptable. Men, on the other hand, are encouraged from boyhood to be tough and thick-skinned and to hide their softer emotions. Joe January is very much a man society has created. If he is a man closed off from emotional intimacy, from the ability to love, have we the courage to acknowledge that we have required him to be this way? That we have made this sort of man our hero? While whining about the lack of sensitive men, have we indulged in doubletalk, still stubbornly giving the nod of respect to the man who is mean and hard and difficult to pin down? Have we encouraged the warm-hearted man to wear his heart on his sleeve, while secretly still pining for the bad boy?

J. Conrad Guest has written a novel that reveals this conflicting message society sends to its men. He has created in January's Paradigm a hero who struggles with his emotional barriers. He writes about a male perspective on infidelity. Yes, men hurt, too.

January's Paradigm is the first of a promised trilogy books that will, the author says, stand alone but also show a continued evolution of this intriguing character, Joe January. I am most eager to read the next one, One Hot January. I expect at some point I am going to be won over by this tough character. The process is well underway.


Alyice's Bookshelf

Small Business Taxes Made Easy
Eva Rosenberg
McGraw-Hill
http://taxmama.com
ISBN: 0071441689 $16.95

Eva Rosenberg has written a wonderful handbook for both new and veteran small businesses. She covers everything from home office deductions to hiring employees. She warns you when something may cause an audit, and how to keep your papers organized so you not only have back-up to prove your deductions, but so you don't miss important tax deductions. She talks about the pros and cons of hiring family, and shares resources a plenty. But what I like best about her book, besides the fact that she steers clear of tax-break scams, is the fact that she writes in a conversational tone which makes it easy to understand some of the more complex tax laws.

If you're worried you've forgotten to include something in your tax records, or not sure about how to get started with your recordkeeping, you'll want to pick up a copy of Small Business Taxes Made Easy, today.

Web Metrics
Jim Sterne
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012
http://targeting.com
ISBN: 0471220728 $30.00 212-580-6011

Whether you're a small business owner, a corporate manager, or someone just starting a business venture, Web Metrics is a must-read. Written with a well-balanced mix of technical jargon and a conversational tone, Sterne digs deep and gets to the heart of running, not just a successful website, but a profitable one.

For small and new business entrepreneurs who cannot afford a marketing department, Web Metrics gives an inside look into how experts in leading industries improve their online marketing strategies.

As a small business owner, myself, I dutifully took several pages of notes all geared towards improving customer-company relations, visitor stickiness, ad to buyer conversions, traffic and revenue driven content, and finally, site design and navigation.

Advanced Email Marketing
Jim Sterne
Lyris Technologies, Inc.
2070 Allston Way, Ste 200, Berkley, CA 94704
http://targeting.com
ISBN: 0974439304 $19.95 800-768-2929

Advanced Email Marketing really should have been called, "Email Marketing Strategies for Beginners." I don't say that to be a put down, it's quite the contrary.

This is a fantastic book on understanding the vital role email marketing plays in selling products and/or services. Sterne breaks the concept of email marketing down into bite-size pieces, then explains each piece in great detail using storytelling.

Each chapter advances the story a step further, thus leaving the reader with a more realistic understanding of the whole process. Then to bring home his point, Sterne gives the reader a set of questions to answer all geared towards solving email marketing issues within the reader's own company.

If all business and/or technical books read like Sterne's we'd have a lot more small businesses showing black instead of red.

If you plan to use any form of email to get the word out about your business, products, services, or promotions, you'll want to pick up a copy of Advanced Email Marketing.

The Complete Crockery Cookbook
Wendy Louise
Champion Press, Ltd.
4308 Blueberry Rd., Fredonia, WI 53021
http://www.championpress.com
1891400290 $16.00 262-692-3897

Finally! A crockery cookbook for real people! With the need to be different, unique, and on the best seller's list, many cookbooks include recipes for the more serious chef. Leaving the rest of us too busy, or untalented chefs wishing we'd never bought the cookbook in the first place.

The recipes are truly easy to implement. They require staples and ingredients we already carry in our cupboards, and they truly save both time and money! You just prepare the ingredients, throw everything into the crock pot, turn it on, and walk away. When you return at the end of the day, you have a delicious, great smelling meal waiting to be devoured by everyone in the home.

A Child's Missal
The Patmos Group
967 Bee Hollow Rd., Shohola, PA
http://www.patmos.us
ISBN: 0974174815 $17.95 570-685-5168

Not being a Catholic myself, I have often arrived at the church, with my in-laws, to find myself in awe of the beauty of the Catholic ceremonies. The rituals always seemed to have deep meaning and the stained glass windows always stood out with such vibrancy. Yet, the symbolism and rich culture left me a bit bewildered. That is, until I read A Child's Missal. It is a beautifully illustrated book showcasing the various stages of a Catholic Mass. It explains the different stages of the mass through photographs, paintings, drawings, and short blurbs. In my humble opinion, this visual prayer book would make a great gift for anyone entering the Catholic church, graduating from Catechism, or getting baptized. Finally, it would make a nice conversational piece and/or coffee table book for devout Catholics.

Stop Bullying Bobby! Helping Children Cope with Teasing and Bullying
Dana Smith-Mansell
New Horizon Press
PO Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
http://home.infionline.net/~stopbullyingbobby/
ISBN: 0882822535 $8.95

While I felt the story was "too grown up" to have been told by the seven-year-old narrator, I do believe the story was very well thought out and offers a valuable lesson for both children and adults, alike.

Stop Bullying Bobby shows how verbal and physical abuse can stifle victims while instructing children in healthy, safe ways to protect other children from bullies. It also reminds children that it's okay to be different and that in our differences, we're special and worthy of love and acceptance.

Finally, the book ends with great, short, but concise tips to help parents and teachers stop bullying in their community as well as tips on helping bullied children find protection and safety.

Alyice Edrich, Reviewer
www.thedabblingmum.com


Ann's Bookshelf

The Master
Colm Toibin
Picador
ISBN: 0330364669 A$22.00 359 pages

"Sometime in the night he dreamed about the dead - familiar faces and the others, half-forgotten ones, fleetingly summed up".

So Henry ponders, as this book begins. And in many waysThe Master is like a dream. There is a mesmerizing languor to Toibin's prose; and Henry James, who is 'The Master' of the title, moves amongst familiar faces, family, friends and "others, half-forgotten" in the four years through which we follow him.

It is a strange undertaking for an author to try and resurrect the dead using the deceased one's letters, notebooks and novels. Even with the letters of family and friends, and the pictures drawn by biographers, one can never be sure how genuinely life-like the restoration is. But Toibin is an artist and he has done his work superbly. He also has the grace to call his book a novel (not a biography, as others might), so, we are free to accept his Henry James as an imaginative creation and to regard these four years of his life as a story.

In fact, there is no need to know anything about the Henry James (1843 - 1916) of literary fame, or to have read any of his work, in order to enjoy The Master. Toibin's Henry is a fully realized, sympathetic character. He is educated, sophisticated, well-travelled, but a bit of an enigma. Family and friends, clearly, are important to him, but he guards his privacy and a certain solitude, not fiercely (there seems to be little fire in his blood) but with meticulous care. Through his own thoughts and actions, we come to see him as a person whose emotions are complex; as one who enjoys the privileges of his status as a well-known writer, and can use this status to remain aloof and watchful; and as one who is sensitive to the undercurrents around him and aware, always, of the narrative potential in any situation.

The life of Toibin's Henry follows the pattern of his literary namesake between January 1895, when his first play opens (disastrously) in London's West End, to May 1899, very shortly after the suicide in Venice of his close friend and colleague Constance Fenimore Woolson. He moves between England and Italy; buys Lamb House in Rye as his permanent writing retreat; allows a society friend, Lady Wolseley, to furnish it with treasures for him; and employs the Scot, William McAlpine, as his stenographer. All the time he labours at his writing - looking for themes, planning and imagining his stories, and dictating them sentence-by-sentence to McAlpine. He is a prolific writer.

Yet it is through his thoughts and memories that we come to know him. he thinks often of his family, especially of his dead sister, Alice, and his cousin, Minnie Temple, who also died young. He admires these women for their intelligence and idependence, much as he admires Constance Fenimore Woolson. His thoughts about men, other than those of his close family, are more guarded but his respect for his young "treasure" of a servant, Burgess Noakes, is clear, as his admiration for Hendrik Andersen. It is consistent with Henry's own reticence and self-doubt that nothing about his sexuality is spelled out. We may speculate or guess, as did his friends and acquaintances, but Toibin declines to do this for us.

Toibin realistically recreates the atmosphere, social mores, gossip and style of the Victorian society within which Henry lives and thrives, and it is the curiosity of members of that society about Henry's sexuality which Toibin conveys. That sort of delicate, beautifully imagined and evoked atmosphere pervades The Master and, using all his skills, Toibin has managed to immerse himself in Henry James's life and work until he feels he understands the man and can present him to us.

This is not biography, although Toibin's Henry may very well be as like the Henry James of literature as is actually possible to convey: but it is absorbing fiction. I don't now feel inclined to rush off and read everything Henry James wrote, but I did enjoy The Master, and I will happily read anything else that Colm Toibin's writes.

A Tomb in Seville
Norman Lewis
Picador
ISBN: 0330435388 A$25.00 150 pages

"Didn't you object to having to hold your hands up when you went for a stroll?"

"It was all right if you didn't have far to go. That is to say apart from crossing the Gran Via on one's hands and knees."

Madrid in October 1934 was in the throes of an armed insurrection and Norman Lewis and his brother-in-law, Eugene, were caught in the middle of it. They had arrived in Spain that September with the intention of visiting Seville, but the declaration of a State of Emergency closed the railways and made straightforward travel impossible. Being young and adventurous, however, and having embarked on a "quasi-religious pilgrimage" funded by Eugene's Sicilian father, Ernesto Corvaja, they determined to stay.

Seville, long ago, had been the home of the Corvaja family. There was a Corvaja palace to be found, and the Corvaja tomb in Seville's cathedral to be visited. One of Ernesto's ancestors had, apparently, been part of the entourage of the viceroy Caracciolo, "sent from Spain to Sicily following its conquest" and Ernesto wanted his children to study in Spain and maintain the family's Spanish connections. His son, Eugene, was reluctant: and this visit to Seville was their compromise.

Norman Lewis first wrote of their journey in Spanish Adventure, which was his first published book. Decades later, shortly before his death in 2003 at the age of ninety-five, he wrote A Tomb in Seville. The two books see that journey through Spain in the months before the Spanish Civil War quite differently. The first book was a young man's adventure story, written by a fledgling travel-writer. The last, a re-casting of that journey by a mature writer whose position as "the father of modern travel writing" is, as Julian Evans writes in the Introduction, "unassailable".

Lewis's skill, as Evans rightly notes, lay in "his sensuous and civilized descriptions, his poker-faced wit" and in his fluid, self-effacing style. Lewis was an old-fashioned travel writer in the sense that there was no gimmickry in his story-telling, no conscious search for the exotic, no histrionics: just fascination with the world and the people around him and a wry appreciation of odd situations and unusual characters.

A Tomb in Seville gives the reader a fine picture of Spain and (briefly) Portugal in those early days of civil unrest, when life went on much as usual for most people. The first part of the young mens' journey took them on foot from the French/Spanish border, 110 miles through "old Spain" (as Lewis puts it) to the industrial city of Zaragoza, which was a Communist stronghold. Eugene Corvaja, as a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, made contacts there, and his engagement with the country became rather different to Lewis's, but it gave them both a greater insight into the unrest.

From Zaragoza, they took an "armoured train" to Madrid, arriving in the middle of a gun battle between revolutionaries and infantrymen which stranded them in the station buffet. From that insecure position, they watched people going about their daily business with hands raised or crawling, depending on the frequency of gunfire. Eventually, they, too, hazarded a crossing of the road to the nearest hotel. Most hotels, however, were closed for the emergency, so they find lodgings in a working man's boarding hostel several miles from the station.

From their top-floor room in the hostel, the men had a birds-eye view of the effects of sniping on the streets below and watched machine-gun volleys rake the shops on the far side of their street. Later that day they peered into a butcher's shop and discovered that the volley "had inflicted posthumous lesions on the porkers still suspended on their hooks". The Spanish people, however, seemed to be used to such situations. Buying a newspaper had become a dangerous business and "apart from cafe-visiting there was very little [they] dared do" but rubbish was still being collected from the streets and the trams were still running.

Eugene, keen to meet up with the Liberation Army in a local village, persuaded Lewis to accompany him. They survived an attack by the Assault Guards but Lewis tore his leg badly on barbed wire and needed hospital treatment. So, their stay in Madrid was prolonged and, as things quietened down, they went to a bullfight in the old bullring. Lewis's description of this is as short as it is fascinating: but it is graphic, and one can well understand Lewis's revulsion and his avoidance of "such spectacles" ever after.

Eventually, the two men left Madrid on a battered local bus bound for Salamanca. From there, following local advice, they travelled to Portugal and, after a brief detour to a village where a witch had recently been burned, they made an illegal crossing of the border back into Spain and, finally, reached Seville.

The final chapters of A Tomb in Seville sum up the results of the quest for family memorials and describe the lasting effects which the journey had on Eugene Corvaja. He was "amongst the first from England to enlist in the International Brigade" and participate in the Spanish Civil War and, as Lewis notes in a Postscript, although he escaped injury, "ill-health through periods of semi-starvation throughout the campaign...abruptly shortened his life".

The effect on the journey on Lewis, too, was significant. His marriage to Ernesto Corvaja's daughter did not last, but his love affair with Spain did. A Tomb in Seville is a fine expression of Lewis's life-long fascination with Spain.

Ann Skea, Reviewer
http://ann.skea.com


Arlene's Bookshelf

Fall Guy
Claire McNab
Bella Books
PO Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302
ISBN: 1594930007, $12.95, 173 Pages

Claire McNab's sixteenth addition to the Detective Carol Ashton Mystery series, Fall Guy, finds the Detective Inspector at yet another scene of the crime. However, the victim was neither shot, strangled, poisoned, nor stabbed. Mega-millionaire, wily entrepreneur, and practical joker extraordinaire, Milton Ryce has plummeted to his untimely death when both his main and reserve parachutes fail to open. An expert skydiver who maintained his own equipment, Ryce realizes all too late that his last joke will unfortunately, if not deservedly, be at his own expense. His last conscious thought falling through the clouds was, "This couldn't be happening to him!" [Page 2]

Ashton and her right-hand man, Detective Sergeant Mark Bourke, have been summoned from Sydney to take charge of another high-profile case. Enduring a three-hour car ride to Hash's Creek, they are met by a rather irritating and ineffective Sergeant Huffner, whose lack of proper police procedure does not bode well for a speedy resolution of the case. The investigation is further complicated by a variety of suspects: a drug-addled daughter, a wanna be like Dad son, a mysterious wife, a scheming mistress, a few questionable business partners, and a foppish gossip columnist, just to mention a few.

As the story progresses, various motives surface, additional suspects are added to the list, and new witnesses come forth. Ashton and Bourke work diligently both to shorten their stay in the scorching Australian backcountry and to bring to justice any and all who may be guilty. Add to this scenario, the facts that Ashton's latest love interest, Leota Woolfe of the FBI, has concluded her counter-terrorism assignment and returned to the States, alone, and her elderly environmental activist aunt has "volunteered" Ashton's home for a small gathering of a few hundred sister protesters. As always, the good Detective Inspector has more to handle than just a little thing called murder.

McNab has created a worthwhile addition to her long-running Ashton series. The plotting is deft and the events flow naturally and seamlessly. There are enough plausible twists, turns, and surprises to keep the reader guessing and engaged throughout the course of the novel. The prose is tightly constructed and retains the flavor of previous books in the series. Conflicts are astutely created and satisfyingly resolved. Those readers who have enjoyed McNab's previous entries will be especially pleased with the last few scenes.

Carol Ashton appears more comfortable with herself in the midpoint of her life with this latest installment. After ascertaining some information from the recalcitrant Sergeant Huffner, she responds to Bourke's teasing comment with, "I'm aging fast, Mark. Have to wring every little advantage out of my blond charm while I've still got it." [Page 7] She is still the efficiently calm investigator and competently deliberate interrogator, but the author has exposed and softened some of the emotional edges of this career woman which allows the reader to more fully comprehend the character. Her tendency toward the terse response and sardonic retort still display that Aussie charm and wit. However, McNab has created an intriguing sub-plot involving more of Ashton's personal struggle and her realization that making truthful life-changing decisions may terminate one episode while enabling her to re-visit another.

Fall Guy is an appealing and satisfying mystery experience. The reader is fully engaged from the intensely suspenseful prologue to the reasonable yet unexpected conclusion. McNab has succeeded in expanding her enormously likable major character and again has included those recurring secondary characters that are part of her professional and personal life. At the same time, the reader is introduced to another cabal of the most loathsome and repugnant people which befits the mystery genre. After having read Fall Guy, the reader will be as anxiously awaiting the release of the seventeenth installment in this outstanding series as this reviewer.

Love Letters in the Sand
Sharon Stone
Alyson Books
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078-4371
ISBN: 1555838529, $13.95, 221 Pages

Sharon Stone's first novel, Love Letters in the Sand, opens with L.C. Hackett, a Grammy Award-winning rock star, sitting at the bar in the Bel-Air mansion of her best friend and sister rocker, Mandy Gilbert. Drifting in and out of the spacious rooms are many on the A-list of talented women in the entertainment world. While bemoaning the state of her recent haircut, L.C. first hears and then meets Sydney Sanders, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has just sung a snippet from one of L.C.'s past hits. After a fleeting moment together, Sydney is lost in the sea of revelers. By the end of the evening the two women meet again, have a brief conversation, and L.C. offers Sydney a place to stay instead of her hotel. From this moment on, the lives and aspirations of these women will intertwine, and they will discover that their personal values and priorities may never be the same again.

As these women begin a friendship, it becomes obvious that the seemingly-straight Sydney and the womanizing openly-gay L.C. are destined to have more than a merely uncomplicated platonic relationship. Consequently, as is too often the case, life seldom moves forward without those unexpected and often painful complications. An unscrupulous record producer, a jealous backup singer, dark family secrets, and some startling sexual revelations all conspire to thwart whatever happiness L.C. and Sydney hope to share.

Stone began her career working in Hollywood as a screenwriter, and in several respects, this novel reflects that script style of writing. The two main characters, for the most part, are likable, but appear too superficially developed, too hastily drawn to create any real connection between themselves and this reader. They often seem too self-absorbed, too lacking in insight to fully comprehend the events affecting them and their own reactions to those events. Had the author created a more extensive and meaningful narrative, a more realistic plotline could have been achieved, and this in turn could have provided this reader with a more compelling and significant story. Good editing is a must when preparing for publication. Perhaps a stronger editorial role would have avoided some of the shortcomings found in this book.

Well crafted dialogue in a novel enhances those who speak it; it imbues those characters with a degree of realism that most readers crave. Much of what Sydney Sanders has to say is either quite trite or embarrassingly načve, and this is surprising considering the level of accomplishment Sydney has supposedly attained. For the most part, L.C. Hackett believably manages to talk the talk of a once popular rock star. However, at times, her speeches, too, seem to lack credibility; they are rather glib and void of believable emotion, both of which produce a degree of boredom for this reader.

Thematically, Stone's novel attempts to deal with several important issues: abusive partners, fame at all costs, and the realization of love's power to transcend all obstacles. These are complex issues worthy of careful exploration. This novel, however, tends to gloss over these points in its attempt to be clever and contemporary. If there had been a more substantive treatment of this material, it would most certainly have been a more worthwhile reading experience.

Love Letters in the Sand, is a book which provides a few hours of escapist entertainment. It's easy and light reading which presents a brief glimpse into the often petty world of show business and provides an introduction to a few of the characters who operate in that world. Despite the weaknesses found in this freshman novel, Stone does appear to be a writer with potential. This reader looks forward to her next novel which, hopefully, will reflect a more fully-developed narrative style and a more skillfully woven storyline.

Arlene Germain
Reviewer


Bethany's Bookshelf

Our Hearts' True Home
Virginia Nieuwsma, editor
Conciliar Press
PO Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005-0076
1888212020 $12.95 1-800-967-7377 www.conciliarpress.com

Our Hearts' True Home is an anthology of inspirational stories written by fourteen different women who learned to embrace the Orthodox Christian faith. Each woman's struggle has been uniquely different, yet all share a common experience with God's love and mercy. Black-and-white photographs of the authors intersperse this heartfelt, passionate, and devoted anthology, which awakens compassion and spiritual empathy in the reader.

Beautiful Places, Spiritual Spaces
Sharon Hanby-Robie & Deb Strubel
Northfield Publishing
215 West Locust Street, Chicago, IL 60610
1881273180 $12.99 www.amazon.com

Interior designer Sharon Hanby-Roby is the resident home-decor expert for QVC Home Shopping Network. Deb Strubel is the Director of Foundation Relations for the Institute of American Values. Together, this two experts present Beautiful Places, Spiritual Spaces: The Art Of Stress Free Interior Design, a combination interior design guide and Christian devotional that can show readers just how to create a beautiful and spiritually serene living environment for themselves and their loved ones. Enhanced with a section of color photography, this superbly presented guidebook to stress-free decorating will show women with busy lives and family obligations how to conquer clutter, combine patterns with confidence, gain five minutes of peace, make big changes on a small budget, discover true color personality, and nurture their spiritual needs. Beautiful Places, Spiritual Spaces is especially commended to non-specialist general readers throughout the Christian community who would like to order their living spaces to reflect their efforts to enhance and maintain their spiritual values.

Guilt-Free Motherhood
Julianna Slattery
Faith Communications
c/o Creative Media Resources
PO Box 1865, Sandpoint, ID 83864
0757302262 $12.95 1-800-858-9388

Parenting Without Guilt: How Mothers Can Break Free From Feelings Of Inadequacy by Christian psychologist, public speaker, wife and mother Julianna Slattery directly addresses the all to common pangs of guilt that plague even the most conscientious mother when it comes to raising children in today's secular values dominated culture -- including the necessity for most mothers to be out of the home earning wages from employment. Julianna Slattery believes that guilt is a natural produce of a mother's God-given influence over her children -- a kind of gentle reminder of her stewardship responsibility over the well-being of her children. Guilt-Free Motherhood offers the whole picture of godly wisdom arising from a significantly different approach to motherhood. With sound experienced-based advice, Julianna Slattery will help mothers to keep their faithfulness and focus on the modern challenges of motherhood, and offers practical, applicable tools for replacing guilt with positive action. Enhanced with questions for personal reflection and a 12-week study guide, Guilt-Free Motherhood is especially recommended to the attention of single mothers, working mothers, mothers of children with a physical or mental handicap, mothers having to cope with the illness or even death of a child, and mothers with concerns for their adult children.

Ordinary Losses
Elisa Stanford
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
1557254036 $14.95 1-508-255-4685 www.paracletepress.com

In Ordinary Losses: Naming The Graces That Shape Us, Elisa Fryling Stanford (non-fiction editor for Shaw Books at WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House) deftly explores the losses that are the common experience of young adulthood, with an especial focus upon the healing that comes through naming the losses that accompany each transition from childhood to adult responsibilities. Drawing upon her own life for illustration, Stanford reveals the major life changes presented by marriage, career, and parenthood. Sharing personal stories of her losses and how they shaped her character and views, Stanford shares how the recognition of loss brought her hope and the possibility of redemption. Specific chapters cogently address a range of issues including home, relationships, courage, and identity. Ordinary Losses is welcome and recommended reading for anyone within a Christian community seeking to see "the pattern of God" in the workings of their own personal life history.

Find It In The Bible
Bob Phillips
Howard Publishing Company
3117 North 7th Street, West Monroe, LA 71291-2227
1582293988 $12.99 www.howardpublishing.com

Compiled by marriage and family counselor Bob Phillips, Find It In The bible: Lists, Lists And More Lists is a compendium of listed items drawn from the Old and New Testaments that range from theology and biblical personalities, to wisdom and humor. Ranging from 33 contrasts between Christ and the antichrist; to 59 titles of Christ; to 25 animals in God's "special zoo"; to the 43 kings of Israel and Judah; to 125 counseling helps from the Bible; to 5 major ways God reveals Himself, this 244-page compendium is a great resource and reference which is enthusiastically recommended for ministerial sermons and Sunday School discussions.

Pilgrim's Progress
Tim Dowley, author
Steve Smallman, illustrator
Candle Books
c/o Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
0825472741 $16.99 1-800-733-2607

Pilgrim's Progress is a picturebook retelling of John Bunyan's classic narrative, intended for younger readers yet powerful for all ages. John Bunyan was a Baptist pastor who started to write the original tale when he was jailed in Bedford, England for preaching. Since then his story has become a widely beloved, metaphorical saga of a pilgrim named Christian in search of the Celestial City. Many monsters seek to lead him astray or devour him along his quest - the wicked Judge Hate-good, the giants of Doubting Castle, the diguesed and deceptive Flatterer, and even the Athiest strives to convince him that the Celestial City does not exist. Yet Christian also makes steadfast friends, such as Faithful, who speaks out against unjust laws at the cost of his life, and Hopeful, who keeps Christian's head above the darkest waters. Colorful, slightly cartoony illustrations decorate a story that despite its elements of whimsy, is at its heart a profoundly powerful parable of the many hardships encountered on the road the faithful walk. Highly recommended.

Easy Homeschooling Techniques
Lorraine Curry
God's Gardner
PO Box 95, Boelus, NE 68820
0970996527 $18.95 1-308-996-4497 www.easyhomeschooling.com

Now in an updated third edition, Easy Homeschooling Techniques is a no-nonsense resource by mother and homeschooler Lorraine Curry. Chapters address how to set realistic educational goals, keep high school credits, train homemaking skills, guide young people into careers, and more. Easy Homeschooling Techniques emphasizes the importance of faith in God, and how homeschooling can be used to reinforce God's teachings as well as techniques for worldly survival in young people. A wealth of lists, including classic authors and poets, recommended courses of study through twelfth grade, a sample class schedule planner, lists of useful resources, and much more round out this excellent guide recommended for Christian homeschoolers to consult for a master plan before they purchase costly materials.

Susan Bethany
Reviewer


Betsy's Bookshelf

Sandcastle In A Box
Ted Siebert
Running Press
125 South Twenty-Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-4399
0762418370 $12.95 1-215-567-5080 www.perseusbooks.com

Containing everything anyone would ever need to craft sandcastles on the beach or in a playground sandbox, Sandcastle In A Box: Tools And Tips For Building Classic Sand Sculptures by sand sculpting champion Ted Siebert (who has set a total of six world records in the "Guinness Book of World Records) comes with a mold for making sand cylinders; a window template; a small cone for tower tops; a palette knife; a brush for clearing loose sand; a straw for carving; decorative flag; plastic tool bag; and a 64-page book of simple, easy-to-follow instructions, expert tips, illustrations for building towers, windows, stairs, moats, and other sandcastle features. Also included are informative chapters on the history of sand sculpting; American sandcastle building competitions; sandcastle jargon, and more. From 6 to 66, all you will need for a day's fun-in-the-sun is a pile of sand and Ted Siebert's Sandcastle In A Box!

Easy Does It Dating Guide
Mary Faulkner
Hazelden
PO Box 11, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0011
1592851002 $12.95 1-800-328-0094 www.hazelden.org

Mary Faulkner is a therapist working with people in recovery from addictions and abuse. Owner and director of the Institute of Integrated Healing Arts in Nashville, Tennessee and founding editor of "Recovering Magazine", she draws upon her many years of experience and expertise in Easy Does It Dating Guide to guide the reader through the "traps, triggers, and traumas" of recovering from romantic involvements -- especially the ones that end badly because of alcoholism or addiction. Readers will learn how to know when they are once again ready to start dating; whether it is wise to date other alcoholics and/or addicts in recovery; what happens if they are attracted to a problem drinker or drug users; how much information should be shared about their past; and what's realistic to expect (or not expect) from relationships. The Easy Does It Dating Guide is a powerful and effective tool for getting over relationship fears, getting past roadblocks to intimacy; dealing with false romantic fantasies, and more. If you are in recovery (or dating someone who is), then give Mary Faulkner's Easy Does It Dating Guide a careful reading from cover to cover.

The California Poem
Eleni Sikelianos
Coffee House Press
27 North Fourth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
1566891620 $16.00 1-800-283-3572

The California Poem is a book-length epic poem, sparsely illustrated with black-and-white photographs of the California landscape, that spans the time, science, history, and scenery of the Golden State. The sweeping lyrics, evocative of the resilience and beauty of nature, distinguish this breathtaking celebration of California in free verse. "My goal is to relate the descriptions to living animals / Who is truly flea-bitten here? on hills hanging over beaches thatched / with reticent brush, the yellow intensities shining on cliffs, and below, it's / riffled with blue. Which animal?"

The Keepsake Storm
Gina Franco
University of Arizona Press
355 South Euclid Avenue, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85719-6654
0816523290 $15.95 1-800-426-3797 www.uapress.arizona.edu

Strongly recommended reading from first page to last, The Keepsake Storm showcases the lyrical talents of academician and poet Gina Franco who draws upon an impressive tradition of storytelling in Latino literature to explore the transformative power of compassion. Dealing with such diverse themes as cultural alienation, lost family roots, the ambiguous nature of the self, Gina Franco uses her poetry to reaffirm the power of self-awareness, history, and places. Everything Goes Down a Changeling: A great cloud of tiny insects--ingenious,/the summer light sifted through all those wings/like that, like a thought shifting/over a bog veined in bright water./The air was coming down/with an imminent rain--I could feel it./And you were there, shaking your head,/smiling at the camera though I felt slighted./Everything goes down a changeling, you said./You've got to have it how you can./So it was hopeless already when I noticed/that my legs were running/with blood, with mosquitos thickly drowning,/when you turned from me saying,/well, it's what you wanted.

Voluntary Servitude
Mark Wunderlich
Graywolf Press
2402 University Avenue, Suite 203, St. Paul, MN 55114
1555974082 $14.00 www.graywolfpress.org

Voluntary Servitude is a compilation of the impressively original poetry of Mark Wunderlich (Professor of Literature, Bennington College, Vermont). Hallmarked verse that is a once implacably honest and deftly scripted with a memorable rhetoric, this is a body of work that will linger in the mind long after this slim, 64-page volume has been set back upon the shelf to be read again another day. Lamb: Inside the sheep's hot center, lambs tangle,/soft joints press a tender twin.//I am brought to the barn, soap my arm in a sink./Orion stabs the sky with his arrow of ice.//I unwrap one sister from her awakening sister,/carefully, for the flesh is tender and this is an animal will.//Hand in the cave where blood shapes into an other,/I will bring them forth, bleating into January.//Good shepherd, I will shelter them from fangs,/chase stray dogs with a gun, turn them onto grass in spring.//They will come when I call, press against woven wire/even though I call them to the gleaming hook.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum
Cathy Duffy
Broadman & Holman Publishers
127 Ninth Avenue, North, Nashville, TN 37234
www.broadmanholman.com
0805431381 $21.99 1-800-251-3225

Expert homeschooling curriculum consultant Cathy Duffy presents 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style, a thorough guidebook to designing the proper educational program for one's child. Approaching the topic from a Christian worldview, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum is nonetheless useful for any homeschooling family regardless of faith. The first portion of 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum discusses different types of learning styles, and how to know when one's child should learn what. The bulk of 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum focuses upon individual texts, study guides, and CD-ROM software ideal for giving one's child a firm grounding in phonics, literature, mathematics, history, science, foreign language, and much more. The pros, cons, and unique features of each study aid is discussed in depth, in this superb catalog of the best of the best educational resources.

The American Sign Language Handshape Puzzle Book
Linda Lascelle Hillebrand
Gallaudet University Press
800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695
1563683105 $19.95 1-800-621-2736

The American Sign Language Handshape Puzzle Book is a supplementary resource for classroom or self-teaching American Sign Language. It consists of 54 different puzzles featuring 899 ASL signs, to help students review and strengthen their signing vocabulary. Simple diagrams of signs illustrate the words that belong in the crossword, word search, and four other types of puzzles, all divided into three different skill levels. A complete answer key for every puzzle is included, in this clever and captivating educational tool.

Betsy L. Hogan
Reviewer


Betty's Bookshelf

Guardians of the Flame: To Home and Ehvenor
Joel Rosenberg
Baen Books
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY, 10471
http://www.baen.com
074348858X $24.00 499 p.

Originally, The Road to Ehvenor (1991) and The Road Home (1995) were two separate books. Here, the lucky reader has them both in his sweaty little hands, to be read one after the other, eschewing sleep, regular meals, and social activities until the last page is turned. Seriously, they're that good.

I discovered the Guardians of the Flame series several years ago and devoured each book in the series as quickly as possible, eager to answer the question, "Now what??" Normally, books that contain a lot of violence turn me off, but somehow, Rosenberg's series grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, pushed me into a chair, and wouldn't let me up until I was done with it.

It was wonderful. From the neat trick of taking a bunch of sword-and-sorcery gamers and trapping them in their made-up identities in another world, to the characters Rosenberg developed them into and the adventures he dragged them through, I was hooked. And finding this double book on the shelf last week made my day (and stole a good number of my hours of sleep and productivity...)

It starts out with Walter Slovotsky's nightmare (which repeats throughout): he's caught in a crowd of people he knows and loves as they flee from hell through open gates, with demon hoards right behind them. As his loved one escape, one by one, familiar heroes step forward to stem the flow of evil. Copernicus, George Patton, Joan of Arc, Cincinattus... And then, they need one more to close up the ranks, and Walter's second-best friend (on both This Side and The Other Side, Emperor Karl Cullinane) reaches out to Walter to ask for his help... and before he can decide what he will do, Walter wakes up. Again.

Not getting a good night's sleep is getting old. But then, so is Walter. Of course, the rest of the original group is, too (except poor Jason Parker, who didn't even make it 24 hours on The Other Side, and Karl, now missing and presumed dead), but Doria and Andrea (Karl's wife) still look hot, Louis Ricetti is doing fine (engineers don't care how old they get, as long as they can still make things), and James Michael (AKA Ahira) is aging gracefully. Dwarves do, you know.

Walter, though - his reflexes aren't what they were, his sneakiness has lost a bit of its edge, and it takes him more effort to win a fight... and longer to recover from it. His wife will no longer let him touch her (due to old nightmares of her own) and Aeia, the woman he has his eye on, is not only Karl's adopted daughter, she's being courted by a younger and more attractive baron. His sex life pretty much doesn't exist anymore.

And Karl, the guy that everything and everyone depended on, is gone. Andrea has driven herself almost to the point of madness using magic to try and find him, and his son, Jason, is a bit too young to fill the hole Karl left. He has a bit of growing up and maturing to do before he can come close to filling his dad's shoes, but it's possible that the Slavers' Guild and the rest of his family's enemies won't let him live that long.

And there's Walter, struggling with getting old,and surrounded on every side by danger, evil, and changing circumstances. Does he still have what it takes to protect his loved ones and the world that has become his home? One way or another, he'll do it. Giving up isn't in his nature. A novel about midlife crisis, set in a world totally unlike ours... who'd have thought it would be so good? (Be sure not to miss the words of wisdom that start each chapter, one from a famous person in history and one from Walter Slovotsky himself. They'll make you think, they'll make you laugh, they may even make you head for a pen and a scrap of paper.) Again, Rosenberg has turned out a real grabber.

LightLand
H.L. McCutchen
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
ISBN# 0439395658 $16.95 144 p.

When Lottie Cook's dad makes her a magical StoryBox from the cherry tree her mother planted before she was born, he tells her to keep her memories in it. Instead, Lottie and her best friend, Lewis Weaver, discover it is actually a doorway to another realm, when they're taken through it by a rainbow-colored bird named Umber.

Umber and his friends explain to the children that the people of LightLand, who are made up of real-world memories, are slowly dying. Their memories are being stolen, bit by bit, by the evil Nightking. No one in LightLand seems to know who he is, but if he is allowed to steal the last memory, LightLand and its people will cease to exist. Everyone is convinced that Lottie and Lewis have been sent to break the Nightking's power over the land, but no one is quite sure how, and time is running out. Can they figure out what to do before the Nightking steals their memories, too? And will it help that they know who the Nightking really is?

Betty Winslow
Reviewer


Buhle's Bookshelf

Legacies of the Turf: A Century of Great Thoroughbred Breeders, Volume 2
Edward L. Bown
Eclipse Press c/o Blood-Horse Publications
National Book Network (dist.)
3101 Beaumont Centre Circle, Lexington, KY 40513
158150117X $29.95 www.amazon.com

Award-winning author Edward L. Bown continues his chronicle of the most skilled, wise, and successful racehorse breeders in Legacies of the Turf: A Century of Great Thoroughbred Breeders, volume 2. Picking up where volume 1 left off, Legacies of the Turf covers the last fifty years and traces both equine and human family lines with exacting precision. Black-and-white photographs illustrate the meticulous narration; all equine geneaology material is heavily researched and condenced in tree form at the close of the book. A "must-have" for horse enthusiasts avidly interested in following and learning from generations of human and animal legends.

The Complete Guide To Zoning
Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP, CRE
The McGraw Hill Companies
Two Penn Plaza, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10121-2298
0071443797 $21.95 1-877-833-5524 www.books.mcgraw-hill.com

The Complete Guide To Zoning: How Real Estate Owners and Developers Can Create and Preserve Property Value is a no-nonsense guide to understanding what zoning is and how to use it to protect one's property rights and interests. Zoning and Land-Use Law controls what can be done with land and how it can be developed; The Complete Guide To Zoning offers the lay reader a very short course in the law, the importance of knowing what one has, what one wants, and how to get it, the value of creating and leveraging relationships, when to reach out for support, preparing winning applications and making successful presentations, strategies for winning zoning battles, and much more. Chapters give equal focus to pursuing one's desire to develop land commercially, or the desire to see that adjoining lands to one's residential area are not developed commercially. Written in plain terms, The Complete Guide To Zoning is highly accessible regardless of the reader's legal background, and a "must-read" for property owners everywhere.

Balinese Dance, Drama and Music
I. Wayan Dibia and Rucina Ballinger, authors; Barbara Anello, illustrator
Periplus c/o Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9625931953 $35.00 www.tuttlepublishing.com

Extensively illustrated with over 200 full-color photographs, Balinese Dance, Drama and Music: A Guide to the Performing Arts of Bali takes the reader on a captivating tour of the history, style, and function of Balinese gamelan music, dance, drama, and puppetry. Suitable for all ages, Balinese Dance, Drama and Music covers how performing arts are learned in Bali, the principal Balinese values that artistic media passes on, and discussion of individual forms of performing arts, such as Gameland Gong Kebyar, Lgong Keraton, Baris, Wayang Kulit, and the relatively recent phenomenon of women's and children's performing groups. A bibliography and discography round out this superbly captivating survey, written by expert dancers and choreographers.

Incubation of Reptile Eggs
Gunther Kohler
Krieger Publishing Company
PO Box 9542, Melbourne, FL 32902-9542
www.krieger-publishing.com
1575241935 $38.50 1-800-724-0025

Incubation of Reptile Eggs is a scientific account that collects available information and experience from a wealth of experts concerning the proper incubation of reptile eggs, knowledge that is vital to the success of captive breeding programs that are one defense against species extinction. Charts, full-color photographs, and technical details spell out the crucial importance of temperature, humidity, and special care that must be taken for various species (for example, monitor lizards eat their own eggs). A superb, in-depth resource especially for herpetologists and reptile caretakers.

The Encyclopedia of Restaurant Training
Lora Arduser and Douglas Robert Brown
Atlantic Publishing Group
1210 S.W. 23rd Place, Ocala, FL 34474-7014
www.atlantic-pub.com
0910627347 $79.95 1-800-541-1336

The Encyclopedia of Restaurant Training is a no-nonsense, thorough resource covering the necessary training for all positions in the food service industry, from professional chef to maitre d to bartender and much more. Written in clear, easy-to-understand terms and charts spelling out explicit training instructions, and illustrated with some diagrams (such as a picture of how to properly set a formal table), The Encyclopedia of Restaurant Training spares no effort to be as understandable as possible. No background knowledge in any trade is needed to grasp explicit instructions ranging from a step-by-step breakdown of the hostess' job to the proper order of service for a luncheon handout to how one can go about creating a memorable presentation to food service employees, and much more. A CD-ROM accompanies this absolute must-have for anyone preparing for a career in food service, or charged with the responsibility of training food service recruits.

In The Path Of Hizbullah
Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
Syracuse University Press
1600 Jamesville Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210
0815630530 $24.95 1-800-365-8929 www.SyracuseUniversityPress.syr.edu

Associate professor of political science Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh presents In The Path Of Hizbullah, a thorough examination of the history and present-day situation of the Islamist group known as Hizbullah, or the Party of God. Consisting of mainly Lebanese Shiite Muslims, Hizbullah is well known for using both militant and moderate tactics to pursue its goals. Indeed its changing back and forth between extremes has puzzled those who would study it or those who are forced to confront it. In The Path Of Hizbullah details the crises that led to Hizbullah's emergence, its clerical leadership and hierarchical structure, and examines its shifts between militancy and gradualist pragmatism. Research, statistics, and tables flesh out the close scrutiny of Hizbullah's activities, in this unbiased examination of all that Hizbullah is and speculation upon what Hizbullah will become. A welcome contribution to contemporary Middle Eastern studies shelves.

Willis M. Buhle
Reviewer


Burroughs' Bookshelf

That Toddlin' Town
Charles A. Sengstock, Jr.
University of Illinois Press
1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6975
0252029542 $35.00 1-800-545-4703 www.press.uillinois.edu

The latest volume in the "Music in American Life" series, That Toddlin' Town: Chicago's White Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1900-1950 is an economic history the band business of Chicago prior to World War II. Written by an experienced jazz and dance band researcher, That Toddlin' Town covers big names such as Edgar Benson, Jules Stein and James Petrillo, and more, as well as the endeavors of dance bands, the role of early dance halls, ice rinks, and beer gardens, how dance bands earned popular respect, the impact of the Great Depression, and much more. A thoroughly researched account, featuring an extensive bibliography and index, That Toddlin' Town is a "must-have" for jazz and dance band historians.

Parting Ways
Stephen F. Szabo
Brookings Institution Press
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036-2188
0815782446 $24.95 1-800-275-1447

Parting Ways: The Crisis in German-American Relations is the first in-depth examination of the German-American relationship written since the recent invasion of Iraq. While America's tensions with France over the war has held a higher profile, America's relationship with Germany suffered severe deterioration. Professor of European studies Stephen F. Szabo suggests that the clash between Germany and the U.S. regarding policy in Iraq reflects even greater changes shaping the relationships between the two nations, as the U.S.-German relationship loses strategic importance in the post-cold war era, a new German identity rises within Germany, and the U.S. foreign policy serves the will of what is arguably the most ideological administration since the mid-twentieth century. A meticulous, in-depth study of the cutting-edge political climate, paying special attention to the legacies of the Holocaust on the German psyche - both the older and the younger generations. A "must-read" for anyone closely researching German-American relations, written in detail yet using terminology highly accessible to the lay reader.

Echoes from the Smithsonian
John McCollister, Ph.D.
Spotlight Press c/o Sports Publishing
804 North Neil St., Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820
1582612455 $19.95 1-877-424-2665 www.SportsPublishingLLC.com

Echoes from the Smithsonian: America's History Brought To Life is an engaging anthology of vignettes of American history connected to historical artifacts on display in the Smithsonian museum. Short stories about amazing turning points in the nation and in the lives of its most famous and notable figures, and a handful of black-and-white photographs illustrate such priceless items as the allegedly cursed Hope Diamond, a portrait of President William Henry Harrison (whose determination to brave below-freezing temperatures to give a long inaugural speech led to his contraction of pneumonia and untimely death one month after taking office), to a photograph of the doctor who revolutionized the method of saving lives with blood transfusions, and much more fill this entertaining compilation that can be read all at once or savored a bit at a time. An enjoyable way to skim highlights of America's grand history.

The Ultimate Dimension
Thich Nhat Hanh
Sounds True Audio
413 South Arthur Avenue, Louisville, CO 80027
1591791952 $69.95 1-800-333-9185 www.soundstrue.com

Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, nominated for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr., The Ultimate Dimension is an audio book on CD that examines two classical Buddhist texts, the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Lotus Sutra. From essential Buddhist principles to wondrous interconnection of all that exists, to the "ultimate dimension" that is the infinite realm beyond birth and death, The Ultimate Dimension reminds listeners of the Lotus Sutra's promise - that regardless of one's traditions or background, all beings share the potential to become enlightened. A compassionate, profound audiobook with a quintessential Buddhist message of wisdom, understanding, and learning to open oneself to a higher way.

Irish Secrets
Mark M. Hull
Irish Academic Press/ISBS, dist.
920 NE 58th AVenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213-3786
071652807X $29.50 www.isbs.com

Irish Secrets: German Espionage In Wartime Ireland 1939-01945 by Mark M. Hull (Assistant Professor of History, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri) is a 383-page exploration of why World War II German intelligence basically failed in the Irish State, and offers the documented view that the german effort represented a genuine menace to the Allies (including Northern Ireland) as well as the wartime neutrality of the Irish Republic. So much more than a stodgy historical study, Professor Hull offers the reader a truly gripping and comprehensive account of the intelligence war in Ireland and showcases the story of a brilliant, creative, and ultimately successful Irish Military Intelligence in waging a counter-espionage campaign that would overwhelm the German intelligence operations. Strongly recommended for personal and academic World War II Military Studies collections, Trust Yourself To Transform Your Body draws upon newly released intelligence files in several countries, in-depth interviews Professor Hull was able to conduct with surviving participants, and other previously unpublished primary sources.

The Designed Self
Carolo Strenger
The Analytic Press
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, dist.
101 West Street, Hillsdale, NJ 07642
0881634190 $39.95 www.erlbaum.com www.analyticpress.com

Volume 27 in the "Relational Perspective Book Series" from The Analytical Press, The Designed Self: Psychoanalysis & Contemporary Identities by Carlo Strenger (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University) chronicles academician and psychotherapist Strenger's therapeutic encounters with five extraordinarily gifted young adults caught up in a compulsory web of experimentation in defining themselves. These perpetual self-experiments were constantly reinforced by the media and ranged from career choice to hair color to body shape to gender identity. These case studies reveal that factors in the drive for self-creating empowerment include the absence of a clearly felt authority, issues of sexual attractiveness, personal finances, demands based upon ethnic identity, and more. The Designed Self is a meticulously presented scholarly study which is especially recommended to the attention of academic library Psychology Studies reference collections and adolescent/young adult psychotherapy supplemental reading lists.

John Burroughs
Reviewer


Carson's Bookshelf

Summer Of The Red Wolf
Morris West
Bolinda Publishing
PO Box 307, Shelton, CT 06484
1740935357 $64.00 1-888-235-2019 usa@bolinda.com www.bolinda.com

Dramatically narrated by Stanley McGeagh, Summer Of The Red Wolf by Morris West is the riveting story of one man who struggled to deal with and ultimately overcome the complexities and torments of his everyday life. Traveling to Scotland to fight his own inner demons, he discovers love, honor, and himself along the way. Morris West is an experienced and accomplished novelist whose books have been translated into 27 languages. Summer Of The Red Wolf, which brilliantly showcases those feelings of restlessness and yearnings for self-discovery which so hallmarks contemporary life, is another of his masterfully written, reader engaging novels which tend to linger on the mind long after they are read and put back upon the shelf. Also available in an audiocassette format (1740935233, $64.00, 8 cassettes), this 8 CD Bolinda library edition is a superbly recorded, complete and unabridged production which is confidently recommended for library audiobook collections.

The Longest Winter
Alex Kershaw
Da Capo Press
Eleven Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142
0306813041 $25.00 www.perseusbooks.com

It was freezing on the morning of December 16, 1944 when the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the 394th Infantry, 99th Infantry Division found itself desperately holding up a brutal German attack at a small town called Lanzareth, the point of the main thrust of Hitler's massive and last ditch military offense. By nightfall the men of this beleaguered American platoon had killed over 500 elite German troops while defending a strategically vital hill without reinforcement or artillery support. Outnumbered almost 40 to 1, yet told to "hold at all costs", these valiant American soldiers repulsed three German assaults in a day-long battle. Only when the men had run out of ammunition did they surrender at gun-point -- after which they were taken to German prisoner-of-war camps. There Lt. Bouck and his men (who were eventually separated from their officer) began an ordeal far worse than combat -- surviving the last days of the Third Reich when brutal guards were increasingly trigger happy, Allied bombers raided almost daily, and thin soup was the only sustenance. When Bouck was finally liberated from the prison camp, his entry weight of 180 pounds had dropped to 112 pounds. A gripping true life saga and one that belongs in every World War II Military History collection, The Longest Winter: The Battle Of The Bulge And The Epic Story Of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon is an impressively written military history by author Alex Kershaw, and published on the 60th anniversary of that famous and infamous battle.

Guardians Of The Holy Grail
Mark Amaru Pinkham
Adventures Unlimited Press
PO Box 74, Kempton, IL 60946
1931882282 $16.95 1-815-253-6390 www.adventuresunlimitedpress.com

In Guardians Of The Holy Grail: The Knights Templar, John The Baptist, And The Water Of Life, author and spiritual instructor Mark Amaru Pinkham lays out the history of the Knights Templar and the legendary Holy Grail. During their one hundred year presence in the Middle East, the Templars received the Holy Grail from a lineage of Holy Grail Guardians that had already been in existence for many thousands of years. Originating on Sri Lanka (the island paradise recognized within the Arab world as the true location of the fabled Garden of Eden), this ancient Grail lineage included John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and John the Apostle. Readers will learn of the relationship of John the Baptist and the Mandean from Sri Lanka; the mystery of Baphomet (the Templar "Demon"); the gnostic and sexual tantric rites practiced by the Knights Templar; the alchemy and mystery of the Black Madonna; secrets of the Rosslyn Chapel and the Sinclairs of Scotland; the mysteries of the Freemasons and Johannites; and the Knight Templars of today. Also very highly recommended from Adventures Unlimited Press are two earlier books about the Knight Templars: Charles G. Addison's The History Of The Knights Templars (HKT, $16.95) and Francine Bernier's Templars' Legacy In Montreal (TLIM, $21.95).

Strength Band Training
Todd S. Ellenbecker
Human Kinetics
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61825-5076
0736054936 $17.95 1-217-351-5076 www.HumanKinetics.com

Strength Band Training is co-authored by sports and orthopedic physical therapist Phillip Page (Manager of Clinical education and research for Thera-Band Products) and licensed physical therapist Todd Ellenbecker (Clinic Director at the Physiotherapy Associates Scottsdale Sport Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and who draws upon his 18 years of professional experience as a sports clinical specialist and an orthopedic clinical specialist) and offer health and enthusiasts more than one hundred physical exercises employing resistive bands and tubing. Resistance bands and tubing allows fitness training in minimal time, at very little cost, and can be practiced in virtually any setting, on the road or at home. Individual chapters cover "Strength Training with Elastic Resistance"; "Shoulders and Arms"; "Chest and Upper Back"; Abs and Lower Back"; Hips and Thighs"; Lower Legs and Ankles"; "Combination and Circuit Training"; Power, Agility, and Speed Exercises" "Stretching Exercises"; Functional Training Programs"; and "Training on the Road". Enhanced with a bibliography for further reading, Strength Band Training is highly recommended reading, especially for fitness enthusiasts, professional athletes, fitness trainers and professionals, physical therapists, and non-specialist general readers seeking an inexpensive, versatile, and mobile training regime for their own personal health and physical well-being.

Michael J. Carson
Reviewer


Christina's Bookshelf

Roadworks
Gerard Readett
Writer's Exchange
P.O. Box 372, Atherton OLD 4883 Australia PB 204
ISBN 1876962771 $13.99

Roadworks is about a city from the future that's thrown into gridlock. An African terrorist finds a way to bring the smooth-running city to a halt. Either the greatest humanitarian aid package in history goes to Africa, or he'll kill all Western nation's leaders. Hugh Ryan is an ordinary guy and a transport authority controller. He rises above the chaos created by this narrow-minded terrorist. Order is gone. There are citywide traffic jams, stranded motorists, exploding buildings and malfunctioning parking terminals. Lives are lost, and multitudes threatened. Ryan, the main character, puts his life on the line trying to right the situation. His bravery surprises even himself. The atmosphere is vivid, with tight-wire action and absorbing characters that keep pages turning.

The year is 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. Ryan and his co-workers monitor transport inside the city. They pull up the problem-reporting system, displayed on a massive 5x7 meter flat LCD color screen. On it, is an outline of the city, a graphical representation of their jurisdiction that is their area of responsibility. From this, Hugh and his co-workers see when a train stops, when there is a lot or a little traffic and when air inside the city reaches the allowable pollution percentage if it does, they direct motorists go to P&R (Park and Ride) terminals immediately.

Ryan feels responsible when the system falls apart, even though it's not his fault. He works to enable motorists again, to save them from chemical spills, and exploding buildings. He's an ordinary person, yet begins a series of unordinary heroics. His injuries keep adding up though, and the next one could kill him.

The fact that something like Readett's energized story could happen, adds special interest. Technology is growing at break-neck speed, along with the population. It's only a matter of time before a better way to help city traffic go smoother is planned. This author supplies readers with food for thought, as well as non-stop excitement. Readett's story dares question humankind's reckless urge to use progress to gain power, even if intentions are good.

Readers with a taste for high-action and in the future settings will love this book. More than a first-rate techno thriller. Entertaining. Oh, and it would make a terrific movie.

Doomstalker
Gary Brandner
Fawcett
The Ballantine Publishing Group
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 PB 234
ISBN 0449145778 $3.95

Six-year-old Brian secretly watched and listened to his father, Reverend Harlan Kettering, argue with the large, dark, unearthly form. Moments later, he watched as he died. It was the first in a chain of unspeakable events for Brian, his sister, and mother that would forever twist and haunt their lives.

Time eventually brought a better way of life for forty three year old Detective Sergeant Brian Kettering. He was a damn good cop, married to a woman who took care of herself and her family, and he had a seventeen-year-old son. Then, the dreams and headaches were back. Brian wondered how his luck had all changed. Suddenly, he found his life crumbling around him. His wife, Mavis, of eighteen years began to see another woman, and they weren't quilting together. His son, Trevor, whom he'd never been close to, began to work at a nightclub that soon drew him into a cult. Granted, his family wasn't perfect like the ones on some television sit-coms, but whose was? If that wasn't enough, things became even worse. The unearthly, dark form came back. It showed up everywhere Brian went, murdered his friend, and went after his wife. Somehow he knew it wanted something from him, but what? How could he fix things between he and his family, and save them from the demon dating back to the Egyptian era until he found out?

Doomstalker is tightly written. Even if the supernatural element weren't in the story, it would still be a good work of fiction. Because of this, I've read the book a couple of times. There is little slash and gore, and every page will not put you on the edge of your seat, but that is okay because the plot is strong and the characters especially believable. This story is about an imperfect man in an imperfect situation who attempts to salvage the relationship between himself and his family first.

Christina Francine Whitcher, Reviewer
http://www.CFrancine.bizland.com


Debra's Bookshelf

Journo's Diary
Chris Thomas
Metropolis Ink
5629 Windstone, Cave Creek, Arizona 85331
ISBN: 0957952880 $15.95 266 pages

Twenty-three-year-old Rick Hughes's troubles begin five days before he starts his new job as a journalist (he is the "journo" of the book's title) at an Australian weekend paper, the Weekend Star. His drunken sexual encounter with a 40-something "nice Valkyrie-type called Helga" leaves him walletless and plagued, for months thereafter, by his own stupidity: his "Helga" is in fact a certain Heidi Delsminka, wanted throughout Australia for credit card fraud and armed robbery. Over the next year, while struggling in his job, eating poorly, and vaguely looking for sex, Rick chronicles the problems that ensue from his interlude with Heidi in daily entries in his diary. At the same time he details for readers the minutiae of his life: his argument with a fast food place over the availability of Diet Coke in bottles in the restaurant; evidence that his roommate George may be having sex with chickens on the sly; his vague efforts to determine the identity of the "phantom pant scrubber," someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the men's bathroom at work apparently scrubbing his underwear with steel wool. ("What the hell is wrong with his arse?" Rick writes.) There is much crude talk of bowel movements and their ilk in the book and a fair number of post-Heidi drunken interludes that do not, however, end with Rick pantsless and broke. Rick also includes in his diary the text of the articles he writes for the paper, with increasing competence, on usually uninteresting small-town issues.

Journo's Diary, as its name suggests, is written in the form of a diary, and the book stops when the pages in Rick's diary run out. The book is chapterless, but its organization into journal entries segment it into bite-sized chunks. The book itself is a quick and sometimes funny read, though its pace is slowed by the inclusion of the text of Rick's newspaper articles. These do contribute to our understanding of Rick's life as a disillusioned first-year journalist, but they are not interesting of themselves. Detailing as it does a twenty-something lifestyle--Rick's life is at least more raucous than mine has ever been (though that's not saying much)--Journo's Diary will appeal in particular to the younger crowd, and to anyone who's ever worked as a journalist.

The Finishing School
Muriel Spark
Doubleday
ISBN: 0385512821 $16.95 181 pages

Rowland and Nina Mahler run an itinerant finishing school, College Sunrise, located for the time being in Lausanne, Switzerland. Rowland, an aspiring novelist, teaches the school's nine students creative writing, while Nina--whose fondest desire, strangely enough, is to be married to a scholar--instructs them in etiquette. ("There's no need to jump to your feet if one of your friend's parents comes into the room, far less your own. It looks too well trained.") Problems develop during the year described in Muriel Sparks' The Finishing School when Rowland conceives a powerful jealousy of 17-year-old student Chris Wiley. Chris is at the school to work on his own book, a historical novel about the murder of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, that takes jealousy as its theme. Chris manages to interest publishers and film producers in his unfinished manuscript with unlikely and, for Rowland, maddening ease. With Rowland's marriage suffering as a result of his obsession with Chris and with Chris himself showing signs of instability, with several of the book's characters announcing that the situation is ripe for murder, the end of the school year holds the promise of high drama.

Not that high drama is in fact delivered. Nor will readers care very much how the year wraps up for the College Sunrise students and faculty, for we never come to know the characters of Sparks' short book. Most are one-dimensional creatures whose names one needn't bother remembering from one page to the next. The two characters whose emotions are explored in the book--Rowland and Chris--are only slightly more fleshed out. Throughout, Sparks keeps readers at an emotional distance, "telling" rather than "showing," the reverse of the old saw about writing: "Nina now perceived that Rowland's jealousy was an obsession." Sparks' prose, sometimes stilted, fails to charm. ("The Sunrise group comprised eight, the ninth, Princess Tilly, having a pain in her stomach and so forced to lie on a sofa for some hours, on this her bad day of the month.") When the end comes--an abrupt section in which the characters' fates are revealed a la the film Animal House--one feels that one has read the literary equivalent of empty calories.

An Evening of Long Goodbyes
Paul Murray
Random House
ISBN: 1400061164 $24.95 424 pages

Twenty-four-year-old Charles Hythloday resides at Amaurot, his family's estate some ten miles outside of Dublin, with his sister Bel, an aspiring actress, and their Bosnian housekeeper Mrs. P. Charles wiles away his days in apparent indolence and drunkenness, mourning a love affair gone sour, watching Gene Tierney movies into the night, overseeing the construction of a folly on the property. But to Charles's mind his purpose in life is a serious one: he means to revive "the contemplative life of the country gentleman, in harmony with his status and history." For the first third of An Evening of Long Goodbyes Charles is thus an amusing anachronism, a Wodehousian character thrust into a less polite modern world. This makes for some wickedly funny writing, both in dialogue and narrative. (Out to a seedy pub with Bel and her Golem of a boyfriend Frank, Charles looks around with some unease at his fellow drinkers. "Was I the only one in evening wear?") But one senses that Charles's retreat from society is motivated by an underlying sadness.

Unfortunately, Charles's idyllic lifestyle cannot last. Events conspire to push him out of Amaurot and into productive society, where he engages in activities--paying work, for example--that were previously unthinkable. Charles grows as a human being, developing empathy, for example, and he is eventually compelled to confront the imperfections of his childhood at Amaurot, which he had long glorified.

While Charles's development is interesting to watch, he becomes a less interesting character as he changes from a wry commentator on a society that is alien to him to a productive participant in that society. The book, too, loses charm as it moves from the farce of its early pages to the melodrama of Charles's post-Amaurot life. Still worth reading, a lighter book that kept Charles in tails and gimlets would surely have garnered five stars.

A Son Called Gabriel
Damian McNicholl
CDS Books
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
ISBN: 1593150180 $22.95 343 pages

Gabriel Harkin is growing up in the 1960s and '70s in a working-class Catholic family. Northern Ireland at the time is riven by political and religious differences, and the Troubles form a backdrop to Gabriel's childhood and adolescence. But the more immediate cause of Gabriel's unhappiness during these years is his homosexuality. Bullied for his effeminacy, tormented by guilt when he gives way to what the Church tells him are sinful urges, Gabriel worries too that he is a disappointment to his father, who appears to favor Gabriel's athletic and mechanically-inclined brother James. Gabriel cannot confess his desires, not even to his beloved uncle, Father Brendan, but he does come to realize that his sexual proclivity is not the only secret being harbored in the Harkin family: some disgrace which his parents refuse to discuss evidently lies behind Brendan's entrance into the priesthood.

Damian McNicholl's A Son Called Gabriel is written in the first person and reads like a memoir. As such it will inevitably be compared to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Remarkably, McNicholl's novel does not suffer from the comparison. It is so well written, and the author's portrayal of Gabriel is so vivid, that readers will be hard-pressed to remember they're holding a piece of fiction in their hands. A Son Called Gabriel creates a fully realistic community--Gabriel's parents and siblings and extended family of aunts and uncles and grandparents, the boys who taunt or befriend him at school--and a likable main character with whom readers cannot but sympathize as they watch him grow to manhood. It is a perfect novel. And, quiet story though it is, the book packs a wallop in its final pages when the secret of Brendan's retreat into the clergy is finally revealed.

May the Best Man Die
Deborah Donnelly
Dell
ISBN: 0440241294 $5.99 319 pages

Seattle-based wedding planner Carnegie Kincaid has a lot on her plate. Dry rot has forced a temporary evacuation of her home and office, a rented houseboat moored on the east shore of Washington's Lake Union, and from her interim quarters she is overseeing the final preparations for two end-of-year nuptials. Preparations for the Buckmeister/Frost Christmas Eve wedding aren't unusually problematic, but the blowout Carnegie's planning for New Year's Eve proves to be a trial. For one thing, bride-to-be Sally Tyler--the daughter of renowned conductor Charles Tyler and his superstar CEO wife Ivy--is a spoiled rich girl with the people skills to match. For another, the groom's disagreeable best man turns up dead the morning after the bachelor party, and Carnegie--spying on the debauch for her own reasons through a pair of binoculars--may have witnessed the prelude to his murder.

May the Best Man Die is the third book in Deborah Donnelly's series of Wedding Planner Mysteries. (I have not read the first two books in the series but plan to remedy that fault.) It's a tightly-plotted mystery with a likable protagonist and good, breezy writing: "So, roundly cursing Ms. Tyler and the stack of wedding magazines she rode in on, I climbed into my van [the Vanna White Too, by the way] and drove south." Readers looking for a quick, well-written cozy will find Donnelly's series delightful.

Debra Hamel, Reviewer
http://www.tryingneaira.com


Gary's Bookshelf

It's My Party Too
Christine Todd Whitman
The Penguin Press
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
ISBN 1594200408 $24.95

Whitman, a moderate Republican who was Governor of New Jersey and head of the Environmental Protection Agency 2001 - 2003, makes a solid case against the religious right that has taken over the Republican Party. She goes all the way back to the presidential race of Barry Goldwater 1964, when she says the far right portion of the party began to take power. She goes on to talk about Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others who are the architects of the modern movement that is rigid and uncompromising. She points out these religious leaders are ruining the political party she grew up with and shows how drastically different it is. She makes a very convincing argument also that the party must go more to the center as opposed to where it is presently and is heading. But "It's My Party Too is also about Whitman herself. She tells about the campaign against popular Democrat Bill Bradley, her runs for governor, her stint as head of the Environmental Protection Agency and why more women should be a part of the process. Like Dan Quayle did in his book, Whitman shows how the press can make or break a politician. The writing is interesting and has a lot to say about where the Republican Party should be. I also liked how she shows the difference in campaigns of earlier years that were run with respect of the opponent, as opposed to today where the goal is to destroy the opposition at all costs. My only objection or difference of opinion is when she makes her argument on the one hand that she is so opposed to what has happened to her party, then continues to support the very candidates who spout off the religious right agenda. Maybe I missed something, but to me the two don't add up to the goal she says she wants accomplished of having a more moderate party.

Living History
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Scribner
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020
ISBN 0743222253 $16.00 1-800-456-6798

Those of us who like Hillary Rodham Clinton have a greater respect for her after reading her account of her life in and out of politics. Hillary tells her story in an easy to read format that gives the impression she is in the same room with the reader. In unflinching honesty she is not afraid to tackle any subject. One of the things that impressed me was her retelling of when, how, and why she changed from the Republican Party to become a Democrat. She also demonstrates very well that we all have others who have a great deal of influence on where we go in life. This is what she tried in her other book "It Takes a Village" to show. Instead she was lambasted so fiercely by the negative Republicans who didn't have a clue of what she was talking about or just did not want to join with her because it, they feel would not be proper behavior to work with the opposing party. What also emerges is that she is a fighter for children's issues, seniors, and other social issues other politicians do not want to deal with. These are the qualities that reveal the very best of what the Liberal Democrat Party stands for. She also shows her family values by trying to protect her daughter from the vicious press. Unlike Christine Todd Whitman, there is no confusion on who she is and what she stands for. Hillary is a very positive, remarkable role model, for anyone in this country. We should all be very proud of her many accomplishments.

Murder a la Carte
Prudy Taylor Board
ArcheBooks Publishing
9101 W Sahara Ave, Suite 105-112, Las Vegas, NV 89117
www.archebooks.com
ISBN 1595070303 $27.99

I've read Ms. Board's horror novels and am delighted to say that this is a darling tale that is the first of a series of Clyde Colby mysteries. The novel is fun reading fare for genre fans, but also encompasses the fine art of cooking. The novel is told on several different levels with wonderful likable characters and a plot that just moves along to its revealing end. One of the things I very much enjoyed is that we get to see what it takes to produce a cooking show for television, while at the same time former journalist Clyde Colby now TV star has her crime reporter skills kick in at the first murder and all through the rest of the story as the bodies pile up. As an added bonus there are numerous recipes and they appear to be quite delightful. Board and Colby are off to a wonderful start with this charming first book.

America's Curious Ways, Holidays, Customs and Apple Pie
Beverly Ely
Outskirts Press
www.outskirtspress.com
ISBN 1932672176 $13.95

All yearlong we observe different holidays but how many of us know where and why they began? Author Ely reveals those two criteria and more about our celebrations in an easy to read style that is fun and educational. Veterans Day, our birthday, Halloween are just a few of the ones she deals with. She delightfully has included daylight saving time, income tax day, and Election Day.

Little Girl Lost
Richard Aleas
Hard Case Crime
Dorchester Publishing Co. Inc
200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.HardCaseCrime.com
ISBN 0843953519 $8.99

Mysteries are always interesting but this one for me was a lot of fun. Written in the style of the best private eye stories of the 1940's, Aleas takes the reader on a grand excursion through a world not too many know very much about, while at the same time providing interesting characters and a plot that is easy to follow. PI John Blake finds out that the girl he dated in high school did not pursue her dream of becoming an eye doctor. Instead he finds that she was murdered. For personal reasons he wants to know what happened to her that could get her killed. What he uncovers surprises him into wondering why and how she got herself taken off course of her medical ambition. I look forward to seeing a series of novels of PI John Blake as well as other titles in the Hard Case Crime line.

Policing Needham a Story of Suburban Cops
Lisa Brems
Rivercross Publishing Inc.
6214 Wynfield Court, Orlando, Fl 32819
ISBN 1581410913 $22.50 1-800-451-4522

Brems has detailed Needham, Massachusetts and how its police department evolved and changed over the years to the present time. She begins with an account of a bank robbery in which two police officers were shot and killed by the robbers, and how they were later caught and brought to justice. The crime was so shocking because the killers didn't think a thing about the two men they killed. This particular crime is very much like that of Bonnie and Clyde, but the book is more than just this vicious felony. It is also the story of how a police department has grown and changed, as well as the equipment used to meet the times. The book has a very nice flow that is enhanced by the author's use of actual documents of police reports that give a different perspective for those of us who do not work in the law enforcement profession.

Kipton and Gruff
Charles L. Fontenay
Royal Fireworks Press
First Avenue, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988, USA
www.royalfireworkspress.com Fax: 845 726-3824
ISBN 0880921706 $5.00 845 726-4444

This is the opening story in a series of YA books about the character named Kipton, a 14 year old girl living in an earth colony on the planet Mars. Throughout the series she has adventures that involve a number of science fiction themes and mysteries that she solves. Kipton, with the aid of her stuffed teddy bear named Gruff who thinks and talks, investigates the murder of her Uncle Charlie who was the research director for the science center Marsaire. The pair follow the trail that leads them to many interesting twists and turns until they solve the case.

Winners Don't Quit Today They Call Me Doctor
Dr. Pamela McCauley-Bell
IP Books
P. O. Box 150823, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32715-0823
www.ippublishingonline.com
ISBN 0972991263 $16.95

Though the author endured her fair share of negatives in her life, she never let them take her off course of where she wanted to be. Hers is a simple story that should be an inspiration to those who feel they can't make it. Clearly and concisely McCauley-Bell tells her life and how she was able to get to where she is today a professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Several things that helped drive her along were the belief in herself, parents who were there for her, not letting her pride get in the way and having others who challenged and goaded her to go on. What she shows over and over in her book is that you can make it; you just have to want to and then work toward what you want. This is a fine example of someone who said I can and did.

Planet of the Apes an Unofficial Companion
David Hofstede
ECW Press
2120 Queen Street East Suite 200, Toronto Ontario Canada M4E 162
www.ecwpress.com
ISBN 1550224468 $17.95 416-694-3348

This is the book to have for any fan of the Ape movies and TV show. The author has provided a complete listing of the five movies, episodes of the show, conventions around the nation, the books and merchandise, the man who started it all, and the most recent incarnation a few years ago. There are also many photos that add a lot to the whole Ape phenomena. I found this to be useful resources when watching episodes on DVD for episode story lines and telling a little about many of the actors.

Six Steps for Financial Fitness
Tony Bland
IP Books
P. O. Box 150823, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32715-0823
www.ippublishingonline.com
ISBN 0972991220 $13.95

The author, who is anything but his last name, talks to readers in terms all can understand on how to achieve financial security. Bland deals with making different types of goals and keeping them, picking advisors to work with, having a cash flow, credit, banking. Though the book is just over one hundred pages it is packed with a lot of good information. What I liked here is how Mr. Bland could relay the most, of the time, confusing information and put it into terms I could relate to.

Consequences
Sylvia Masters
Writers Club Press
5220 S.16th St Suite 200, Lincoln, NE 68512
www.iuniverse.com
ISBN 0595141366 $12.95 877-288-4737

Masters heats up a presidential race with this very timely fictional political tale. Presidential candidate Leigh Nalley and a mystery woman slip away from the nominating convention in St. Petersburg, Florida in spite of the fact that he made a statement that said he would remain in seclusion during the convention. A reporter at a local daily stakes out the residence and later photographs the pair leaving the city. So determined is he to get the big story the journalist doesn't care who is harmed by his actions. He has no idea who the woman is or why Nalley left with her, and does nothing to find out. He just knows this is the biggest story of his career. The writing is strong with very believable characters while the real question is, how far will a reporter go to get a story. I found "Consequences" to be a thrilling political story that shows how the mainstream press have become tabloid journalists.

Gary Roen
Reviewer


Gorden's Bookshelf

Blacklist: A V.I. Warshawski Novel
Sara Paretsky
Signet
New American Library a division of Penguin Putman Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 0451209699 $7.99 458 pages

Paretsky is an author who just keeps on writing good gritty detective novels. Detective thrillers fall into three large groupings, the cozy safe suspense, the close to realistic, and the push the limits world shattering fantasy. Paretsky is just close enough to reality that you feel you need to check your shoes for evidence but pushes into the edges of fantasy enough so you feel safe reading the story.

Private detective V.I. Warshawski is hired by a rich corporate client to do a comfort investigation for his elderly mother who is seeing lights in the old family mansion from the window of her retirement home. While investigating the family mansion, V.I. struggles with a young girl trying to break-in and finds a dead reporter floating in the fish pond. V.I. soon enters the corrupt lascivious world of the super rich. She becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit stretching from the communist blacklists in the fifties to the nearsighted actions of the Patriot Act. The death count escalates as the haters of others try to manipulate the actions of the police to their private agendas.

'Blacklist' is a gritty detective suspense novel. Any reader looking for the shamus they remember from the late night movies or from the pulp magazines will be happy to find this novel. The reality of 'Blacklist' is held far enough away so the reader can stay comfortable in the living room chair with only a slight uneasiness when the doorbell rings. 'Blacklist' is an easy recommendation for the mystery reader.

The Hanged Man's Song
John Sandford
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
ISBN: 042519910X $7.99 US 340 pages

John Sandford is best known for his Lucas Davenport novels but I think his Kidd series is much better. Kidd is a hero with flaws and Sandford's stories push to the edge of fantasy. Sandford blends the high tech world of computer hacking with the spice of flawed characters that seem like they might just be real.

A legendary computer hacker, Bobby, is murdered and his laptop is stolen. The secrets on the laptop could send his friends to jail and bring down the government. Kidd, a friend, has to find Bobby's killer and the laptop before the government and before the killer uses the information to destroy Kidd. A race with death from the levies of the Mississippi to the powerful in Washington, DC starts between the murderer and Kidd. The winner will live, hopefully outside of jail.

If you like hard edged stories that bring you breathless to the edge of reality today, you will love 'The Hanged Man's Song.' Characters you identify with, nail biting plot and a story you can pretend to believe in will bring you into the best place a reader can be the alternate world of a great book.

S. A. Gorden
Reviewer


Greenspan's Bookshelf

The Book Unbound
Sian Echard and Stephen Partridge, editors
University of Toronto Press
10 St. Mary Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4Y 2W8
0802087566 $50.00 1-800-565-9523

Originating in a workshop held at the University of British Columbia in September 1999, The Book Unbound is an anthology of essays by scholars and editors discussing how to most effectively use new technological tools and methodologies in studying artifacts of medieval literature and culture. Contemplating texts from multiple periods in English, French, Anglo-Norman, and Latin, each of literary, dramatic, legal, historical, and musical significance, The Book Unbound includes essays about how to edit sung objects, digitizing nearly unreadable fragments, using server-side databases, and much more. A welcome contribution to medieval studies shelves for its insight into modern-day means of scrutinizing historical relics.

Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage
Ramon Gutierrez and Genaro Padilla, editors
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston, 452 Cullen Performance Hall, Houston, TX 77204-2004
1558850589 $17.95 www.artepublicopress.com

Volume one of a five-volume series to be published at the rate of one volume every two years, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage is a collection of articles by leading scholars on American Hispanic literary history. Intended to update both field experts and neophytes on the past and modern-day role of American Hispanic literature, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage covers the histories of various individual Hispanic groups in America, specific genres, the question of canon-formation and socio-literary implications of the literary recovery project, and an introduction to numerous literary sources that chronicle American Hispanic imaginations. Edited by prize-winning historian Ramon Gutierrez and highly acclaimed literary critic Genaro Padilla, these articles along with research notes and bibliographies make for an excellent contribution to literary criticism and Hispanic literature studies shelves, especially in college libraries and curriculums.

Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction
Diane Long Hoeveler and Tamar Heller, editors
The Modern Language Association of America
26 Broadway, New York, NY 10004-1789
0873529073 $19.75 www.mla.org

Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions is an anthology of essays by experienced editors concerning specific issues that address the study of Gothic fiction and literature. Especially intriguing to critics due to its dark portrayal of the bourgeois and the psychological fallout of social conflict, Gothic literature endures in various forms in England, Ireland, the United States, and more, and often includes such motifs as ghosts, castles, animated corpses, and heroines trapped in dire peril. Classical and contemporary authors discussed include Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. Part One of Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction is a brief survey of critical approaches used in teaching literature; Part Two is far more extensive, as it is comprised of the individual writings concerning everything from how to define Gothic literature to specific issues pertaining to teaching African-American Gothic literature to using role-playing and identity-writing to explore Gothic themes, and much more. A superb tool especially for college educators seeking to design a syllabus that balances the challenge of the material with the need to communicate core principles and stimulate critical thought.

Enhancing Teaching And Learning
Jean Donham
Neal-Schuman Publishers
100 William Street, Suite 2004, New York, NY 10038-4512
1555705162 $59.95 1-866-672-6657 www.neal-schuman.com

Now in a newly revised and expanded second edition, Enhancing Teaching And Learning: A Leadership Guide For School Library Media Specialists by Jean Donham (Library Director, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa) is focused upon helping school media specialists to become influential leaders and collaborators in elementary and high school libraries and media centers. All of the diverse elements of successful school library media programs are covered in specific detail, including benchmarks; emerging technologies; collaborative planning, scheduling; collections; literacy; information literacy; student assessment; evaluation; and leadership. Enhancing Teaching And Learning is a veritable compendium of practical strategies and applicable methods for achieving school library goals. All of the contemporary issues relevant to school library and media center operations are addressed including new formats in collections, reading, the Web, information literacy standards, state-mandated tests, data collection and analysis, benchmarking, and so much more. Ideal as a classroom text for Library Science students, and as a field guide for practicing school librarians and media center specialists, Enhancing Teaching And Learning is an indispensable addition to academic library reference collections and professional resource reading lists.

The Way Into Jewish Prayer
Lawrence A. Hoffman
Jewish Lights Publishing
PO Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091
1580232019 $18.99 1-800-962-4544 www.jewishlights.com

The Way Into Jewish Prayer by Lawrence A. Hoffman (Professor of Liturgy Worship and Ritual, Jewish Institute of Religion, Hebrew Union College) provides the reader with an accessibly informative introduction into the reasons for Jewish personal and ritual prayer, and the manner in which these prayers are performed. The six articulated chapters comprising this superbly presented instructional volume include "God and the Jewish People: To Whom Jew Pray"; "Prayer as Discipline and as Art: How Prayer Works"; "The Synagogue Sanctuary: What's What and Why It Is So"; "The Community at Prayer: Who's Who and What They Do"; "The Ideas of Jewish Prayer: What Matters Most"; and "A Prayerful Person at Home and on the Way: When the Ordinary Can Be Sacred". Enhanced with Notes, a Glossary, Suggestions for Further Reading, and an extensive Index, The Way Into Jewish Prayer is a welcome addition to the growing library of Judaic Studies, and is especially commended to the attention of Jewish and Non-Jewish readers seeking to better understand the traditions, meaning, and role of prayer in Judaism.

Dynamic Psychotherapy
Marc H. Hollender & Charles V. Ford
Jason Aronson Inc.
Rowman & Littlefield, dist.
230 Livingston Street, Northvale, NJ 07647
0765702614 $25.00 www.psychotherapylibrary.com

The collaborative effort of Marc H. Hollender (Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee) and Charles V. Ford (Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Alabama-Birmington), Dynamic Psychotherapy: An Introductory Approach is a impressively presented compendium of concise, practical, step-by-step introductions to the basic principles of applied psychotherapy. Especially recommended reading for novice psychotherapists and students of psychotherapy wanting to learn more about dynamic psychotherapy, the emphasis is on the application of psychotherapy rather than psychotherapy's theoretical or conceptual framework. Individual chapters range from the "what, when, and why" of psychotherapy, to the termination of psychotherapy. Enhanced with a Reference section, as well as a name and a subject index, Dynamic Psychotherapy is a work of impressive scholarship made thoroughly accessible to specialist and non-specialist readers alike.

Egypt
Michael Haag
Cadogan c/o The Globe Pequot Press
PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437
1860111637 $24.95 1-800-243-0495 www.cadganguides.com

Michael Haag's Egypt is a substantive compendium of practical travel advice noting more than 240 hand-picked places for the traveler to stay, as well as over 150 quality tested restaurants, bars and cafes. Enhanced with color maps of Egypt and the city center of Cairo, 47 additional maps and site plans, full coverage of the new, state-of-the-art library at Alexandria, and a completely revised chapter on Nubia (including full details of cruise itineraries on Lake Nasser), and with a thoroughly "reader friendly" and eloquent text, Egypt is the complete, comprehensive, dependable, portable, indispensable travel guide recommended to tourists, businessmen, students, and anyone else planning a trip to the fabled lands, cities, and monuments of Egypt.

A Traveller's Companion To Moscow
Laurence Kelly, editor
Interlink Books
46 Crosby Street, Northampton, MA 01060
1566565766 $16.95 1-413-582-7054 www.interlinkbooks.com

Compiled and edited by Laurence Kelly (son of a former British ambassador to Russia and a regular visitor to Moscow for most of his life), A Traveller's Companion To Moscow is a collection of selections from letters, diaries, memoirs and novels tracing the story of Moscow from Neolithic times to its formal establishment in 1147 A.D. as one of many royal hunting camps and fortified settlements (Kremlins), to its history as the city of Moscow invaded by or in thrall to the Khans, the Tartars, the Poles, and the French. This is the story of a turbulent city as recorded through the voices of visitors and residents from Catherine the Great, to Pushkin, Stendhal, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and so many, many others. Also specifically designed and intended as an on-site travel guide for the use of visitors this vibrant, complex metropolis, A Traveller's Companion To Moscow is replete with maps, engravings, notes on history, art, architecture, and city life. Highly recommended reading for armchair travelers and students of Muscovite history.

The Lure Of The Linguistic
Shelley Frisch
Holmes & Meier Publishers
160 Broadway, New York, NY 10038
0841914508 $28.95 1-800-698-7781

The basic assumption of academia and religious leaders from recorded antiquity down to the present day is that language forms the foundation of human thought and societal interaction, and is what fundamentally distinguishes homo sapiens from the other species. The Lure Of The Linguistic: Speculations On The Origin Of Language In German Romanticism by academician and translator Shelley Frisch is a seminal and ground breaking study focusing an impressive scholarship addressing how Romantic speculations on the origin of language blended eighteenth-century European mystical and Enlightenment musings about language to produce lyrical and compelling depictions of its origins and development. The first work of substantive scholarship to bring together divers strands of mystical and Enlightenment speculations on language, The Lure Of The Linguistic descriptive showcases the unique manner in which eighteenth-century thought has shaped our modern twenty-first century understanding of language. No academic library's Linguistic Studies collection can be considered either comprehensive or complete without the inclusion of Shelley Frisch The Lure Of The Linguistic!

Afoot & Afield San Francisco Bay Area
David Weintraub
Wilderness Press
1200 - 5th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-1306
0899972918 $16.95 1-510-558-1666 www.wildernesspress.com

The newest title in the outstanding "Afoot & Afield" series from Wilderness Press, Afoot & Afield San Francisco Bay Area by David Weintraub features no less than 102 memorable hiking trips around the greater Bay Area ranging from a 1.5-mile stroll through Golden Gate Park, to rigorous10-mile treks. From M. St. Helena (near Caistoga) the tallest summit in the North Bay (4339 feet), to the Sonoma coast's Kortum trial skirting the Pacific ocean, to the waterfalls of the eastern Santa Cruz mountains near San Jose, to the Peninsula's Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, this is the ideal guide for hikers, dog walkers, bikers, backbackers, and outdoor enthusiasts. An invaluable, "user friendly" guide to personally exploring the coast, canyons, and ridges around the San Pablo and San Francisco bays and beyond, Afoot & Afield San Francisco Bay Area is the ideal and enthusiastically recommended planner for day trips, weekend excursions, or holiday outings.

War Is All Hell
Randall Bedwell
Cumberland House Publishing
431 Harding Industrial Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37211
158182419X $12.95 1-888-439-2665 www.cumberlandhouse.com

Compiled and organized by Randall Bedwell, War Is All Hell: A Collection Of Civil War Quotations is an impressive and revealing anthology of notable states relating to the American civil war. Drawn from such diverse sources as letters, speeches, diaries, and recorded battlefield pronouncements, these poignant snippets showcase attitudes and observations from both Union and Confederate perspectives. Each individual chapter begins with a brief introduction, highlighting significant events, and describing the progress of the war. In addition to the 462 quotations from persons directly involved with the civil war, Ware Is All Hell is enhanced with the inclusion of dozens of period photographs arranged in accordance with civil war chronology -- adding depth and dimension to the quoted citations from common soldiers to commanding generals. No Civil War Studies collection, academic or personal, can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of Randall Bedwell's War Is All Hell.

Able Greenspan
Reviewer


Gypsi's Bookshelf

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
Doubleday
c/o Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
(212) 782-9000
ISBN: 038551123X, $22.95, 304 pages

"I felt a lot better. I always did, after. Killing makes me feel good. It works the knots out of darling Dexter's dark schemata. It's a sweet release, a necessary letting go of all the little hydraulic valves inside. I enjoy my work; sorry if that bothers you. Oh, very sorry, really. But there it is. And it's not just any killing, of course. It has to be done the right way, at the right time, with the right partner very complicated, but very necessary."
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter is a blood spatter analyst, helping the Miami police capture killers by day, while by night--certain nights, when the moon is right and all preparations are made--he creates his own justice. You see, Dexter is a serial killer of serial killers.

His sister, Deborah, is a Vice Officer on the same police force, and she comes to Dexter for help on the case of a new serial killer that is preying on the Miami prostitutes. Though Dexter is a "nerd cop" (as he puts it) and not an actual detective, he has gained a bit of a reputation for having an special insight into the minds of serial killers. If they--especially Deb!--only knew why...

Dexter is torn between his desire to help Deb succeed and move up the career ladder, and his desire to save this new, artistic and terribly appealing killer for himself. There's never a question that Dexter wants to stop the killer. Or is there?

This killer seems to be calling to Dexter, speaking specifically to him, asking him to come play. And oh how Dexter wants to play! As more bodies pile up, and more "Dexter, come play" messages appear, Dexter struggles to stay sane working on this case. There are times he wonders if he himself could be this latest amazing serial killer, especially as he begins dreaming about the latest killings before they happen!

The result: a disturbingly enjoyable novel, well-written mystery and suspense, lots of laugh out loud dark humor and a hero that I almost feel guilty for liking. But like him I do. Lindsay has created a complex character and a book that deserves a full five stars. Even if I feel a wee bit guilty for recommended it!

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists: A Novel
Gideon Defoe
Pantheon Books
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
ISBN: 0375423214, $15.95, 144 pages

"I should say we'd reach England by Tuesday or thereabouts, with a decent wind behind us. It would be a lot quicker than that if we could just sail straight there, but I was looking at the nautical charts, and it's a good job I did, because it turns out there's a dirty great sea serpent right in the middle of the ocean! It has a horrible gaping maw and one of those scaly tails that looks like it could snap a boat clean in two. So, I thought it best to sail around that."

FitzRoy frowned. "I think they just draw those on maps to add a bit of decoration. It doesn't actually mean there's a sea serpent there."

The galley went rather quiet. A few of the pirate crew stared intently out of the portholes, embarrassed at their Captain's mistake. But to everyone's relief, instead of running somebody through, the Pirate Captain just narrowed his eyes thoughtfully.

"That explains a lot," he said. "I suppose it's also why we've never glimpsed that giant compass in the corner of the Atlantic. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed."

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe

The Pirate Captain, a dashing man very fond of ham, attacks The Beagle thanks to a false tip from Black Bellamy, the pirate with a knife between his teeth and, finding no treasure, becomes involved in an adventure with the not-yet-famous Darwin. Darwin's brother, Erasmus, has been kidnapped by the "blackhearted Bishop of Oxford" to keep Darwin from exhibiting Mister Bobo, who he (Darwin) has trained to communicate with word cards. The Pirate Captain and his crew return to London to assist Darwin in rescuing Erasmus, a feat which forces all the pirates to pretend to be scientists, and some of them to pretend to be scientists pretending to be women.

What do you mean it doesn't make any sense? It's not supposed to! That's the beauty of this little gem: with one outrageous chapter after another, The Pirates! is full of puns, jokes and allusions. It's purposefully written with no sense of historical accuracy, adding an extra layer of fun, and uses every piratical cliche and stereotype to the fullest humorous advantage. Scurvy, a hot air balloon, ham, a grisly murder machine, swashbuckling, an exciting chase scene in the Museum of Natural History, talking primates, breakfast cereal and pirates! What's not to love?

The Pirates! is Defoe's first novel and, for me, is the best comic novel debut I have ever had to fortune to read. Not only was it hard to put down, but it demanded to be read aloud, first by me to my husband, and then by him back to me as he read it! The book cover says that he "wrote the Pirates! to convince a woman to leave her boyfriend for him. She didn't". I just hope that her failure to follow through won't stop him from writing another Pirate Adventure.

Tong Lashing: The Continuing Adventures of Sir Apropos of Nothing
Peter David
Pocket Books
Simon & Schuster, Inc
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY 10020
ISBN: 0743449126, $25.00, 464 pages

Thanks to angering a powerful supernatural being (so what's new?), Apropos is shipwrecked and washes up in the alien country of Chinpan. Everything about Chinpan is different from what Apropos is accustomed to, from their looks to their odd over-developed sense of honor. He stumbles upon a small farming village, made up mainly of the Chin family, and to his surprise, makes himself at home with them as a simple farmer. He is encouraged to study with the village's revered teacher, Chinpan Ali, who begins to teach Po how to empty himself and find peace. Apropos finds himself in the unusual position of being happy and he waits for the axe to drop. Which, naturally, it does.

Chinpan Ali is murdered and Po seeks vengeance biting off way more than he can chew. Again, what's new?! He angers the Hamunri Clan, the criminal organization the Forked Tong, the Tong's Skang Ke family, the Anais Ninjas, and pretty much everyone else he encounters. The Imperior, the head of the Skang Ke family (Skang Kei Ho), an annoying person named Mitsu, and a former acquaintance also make Po's revenge and life more difficult and he goes from one bizarre situation to the next.

Like the first two Apropos books, Tong Lashing is filled with that bizarre humor that makes a Peter David book so darn good. Puns, the outrageous, satire, sarcasm and the just plain funny run rampant, making the reader groan and laugh at the same time.

Unlike the others, Tong Lashing is rather introspective. (Consider the dedication: "to all those who had the chance and passed".) Po begins to change, sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously, and to rethink his prior way of living. Whereas it used to be every man for himself and Po first, others start taking a more important role in his life.

While still enjoyable, and still a four-star book, I want to warn the reader that it IS different from the previous books. Not different in a bad way, but definitely different. There is a more serious tone to this book, with humor taking a back seat to Po's development, with an ending that leaves one confused and thinking, just like Po. If you've read the first two, you need to read this third and possibly final volume of Apropos' life. (I say "possibly final", as David leaves one potential opening for a forth book. I can't help hoping he does, as I wasn't fully satisfied with leaving Po as Tong Lashing did.)

Gypsi Phillips Bates, Reviewer
blueampersand.com


Harwood's Bookshelf

The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America
Kimberly Blaker, editor
New Boston Books
PO Box 195, New Boston MI 48164
e-book can be downloaded free from www.newbostonbooks.com
ISBN 0972549617, $14.35 287 pp.

The Fundamentals of Extremism chronicles in minute detail the Talibanization of America. It exposes both the high profile theofascists whom even moderate religionists recognize as a threat to their freedom to practise the belief system of their choice, and the behind-the-scenes theofascists who pull the visible fanatics' puppet strings. Among the former the most prominent emulators of the Great and Powerful Oz are the unholy trinity of Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and Jerry Falwell. The man behind the curtain, manipulating them like the mindless blockheads they are, is the Catholic Church. Ranking between the loudmouths and the whisperers are James Dobson, a radio propagandist with a following as large as his TV equivalent Robertson, and the Republicanazi moron in the White House, known to those Americans who yearn for the restoration of democracy as Mad King George, Gee Dubya Shrub, and Nim Chimpsky Bonzo II.

While most god addicts, both fundamentalist and moderate, tried to disclaim, or at least minimize, their supposedly omnipotent, omnibenevolent god's responsibility for the World Trade Center atrocity (and more recently the Asian tsunami deaths), the maddest of the mad dogs, Jerry Falwell, in effect embraced bin Laden as the instrument of his god's vengeance against America for its failure to conform to Falwellite fundamentalism. Even fundamentalist extremist George W. Bush repudiated Falwell's remarks while continuing to enforce theofascist policies taken straight out of Falwell's own manifesto.

After Falwell's tirade, Blaker observes that, "This comment tarnished Falwell's reputation even among Christian conservatives [euphemism for theofascists]. People noted how these words could just as easily have come from the lips of Osama bin Laden." (p. 183) She adds, "Both Falwell and Robertson have influenced countless numbers of Americans through media saturation, but they have both opened themselves up to ridicule with periodic outlandish statements that might play well with only Christian conservatives." (p. 182)

In contrast, "While Robertson and Falwell earn high negatives in public opinion polls, respondents regard Dobson as a kind, gentle, indulgent uncle." (p. 183) In fact, "James Dobson displays a hunger for mind control of youth, scarcely different from Pakistan and Afghanistan's Islamic fundamentalists." (p. 7) "Dobson knows exactly how to wield his powers, by threatening to pull out of the Republican Party if the party leaders do not meet his demands." (p. 183)

But while Falwell and his ilk are the obedient Pinocchios, it is primarily the Catholic Church that is the Geppetto. When Blaker wrote some letters to the media drawing attention to the Catholic Church's determination to enslave America to its sectarian taboos, the paranoid response from the ayatollah of the Catholic League that is the American church's propaganda wing could have been orchestrated by the Scientologists, who similarly utilize any tactic available to intimidate and suppress all criticism. The observable reality is that, "The Catholic Church is one of the main organizers and supporters behind the Christian Right. However, it has kept its identity concealed by calling on Baptists and other Christian sects to do its bidding." (p. 13)

But even the Catholic Church would be impotent without puppets in high places to do its dirty work, particularly a puppet who believes that his imaginary playmate talks to him and orders him to commit atrocities. "The Bush administration's objective to exterminate terrorism abroad has called for more of what contributed to such an atrocity [9/11/01] in the first place the intrusion of religion into government." (p. 9)

Bush has consistently undermined the First Amendment's prohibition of an establishment of religion. And how could he do otherwise when he is convinced that his imaginary playmate is preparing to terminate the human race? The archetypal example of godworshipthink was demonstrated when "James Watt, the Secretary of the Interior under Reagan claimed, We don't have to protect the environment. The Second Coming is at hand.'" (p. 38) And Bush's own conviction that he can safely destroy Planet Earth as a human habitat by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Accord can only be explained by his certainty that humankind cannot commit species suicide, because his deus ex machina will intervene to save us in the last act.

In trying to maximize religious indoctrination in schools, Bush is showing himself to be a good puppet of the Christian Taliban. "Jerry Falwell remarked that he was looking forward to the day when all schooling in America is run by churches.' And Reconstructionist author Gary North explained the importance of destroying public schools. Until the majority of Christians pull their children out of the public schools,' North pointed out, there will be no possibility of creating a theocratic republic.'" (p. 187)

Subverting the schools is an essential part of the theofascist conspiracy. "Fundamentalists are also often opposed to colleges, because they see Christians lose their faith with higher education. By not obtaining higher education, fundamentalists never learn to think critically about religion, politics and social issues." (p. 64)

"Teaching creationism and intelligent design' alongside the science of evolution is the equivalent of teaching a math class that two plus two make four, except that it may also make three." (p. 67) And a chapter by Herb Silverman quotes Robert Boston's Close Encounters With the Religious Right, "Creationists are responsible for the dumbing down of an entire generation of American students and have done great damage to science education in this country." (p. 191) Silverman's chapter also spells out multitudes of state laws that violate the First Amendment by barring nontheists from political and government office.

Religious control of schools also contributes significantly to teenage pregnancy. "Perhaps the most disturbing part of this whole right-to-life effort is that they have gone to great lengths to prevent appropriate and adequate sex and family planning education. And they have worked to make birth control difficult, if not impossible, to obtain." (pp. 111-112) . "Providing condoms in schools increases condom use among students who are already sexually active. But it has no impact on those who are not, neither in the amount of sexual activity nor in the number of partners." (p. 69)

Blaker draws attention to the correlation between religious belief and criminal activity. The more convinced an individual is that he has no one to answer to except a god that forgives all offences on request, the more likely he is to commit crimes. "Although the U.S. is the most religious of all industrialized nations,' it has a murder rate five times higher than that of Sweden, six times that of Britain, and seven times the murder rate of France . In Louisiana the churchgoing rate is the highest in the country, yet it has a murder rate greater than twice the national average." (p. 136) While the correlation between religiosity and homicide is observably valid, Blaker might have forestalled possible criticism by acknowledging an equally significant factor, that obtaining firearms in America is far easier than in the other cited countries.

Nonetheless, "A study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons found Catholics, which represent twenty to twenty-five percent of the U.S. population, make up thirty-nine percent of the prison population. Less than one percent of the prison population consists of atheists, who make up between thirteen and sixteen percent of the U.S. population." (p. 98)

The satanizing of all opponents and critics of the Religious Right is not restricted to the most obvious targets of their hatred. "Interestingly, nonbelievers to fundamentalists are not only atheists and adherents of other religious beliefs. They are also liberal and mainstream Christians who do not accept the dogma of Christian fundamentalism." (p. 136)

Blaker's delineation of the Bush administration's conspiracy to abolish education in America and replace it with theofascist indoctrination is frightening, and should be required reading for anyone who still does not grasp that the Christian Taliban is intentionally doing to America what Torquemada did to Spain, Khomeini did to Iran, and Hitler did to Germany. With a talking chimpanzee in the White House, and the theofascist Republicanazi Gestapo wielding absolute power over the Fourth Reich of Greater Texas, the fact that this book can still be distributed is proof that, for all of Mad King George's efforts to exterminate all opposition, the Land of the Free is not dead yet. But it is being systematically strangled. Anyone who does not recognize that the theofascists Talibanizing America are as dangerously insane as the imaginary playmate they created out of the evil they see in the mirror, has not read this book.

The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light
Tom Harper
Thomas Allen Publishers
390 Steelcast Road East, Markham ON, L3R 1G2, Canada
ISBN 0887621694, CAN $5.95 124 pp.

"I will clearly document that there is nothing the Jesus of the gospels either said or did from the Sermon on the Mount to the miracles, from his flight as an infant from Herod to the Resurrection itself that cannot be shown to have originated thousands of years before, in Egyptian Mystery rites and other sacred liturgies such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead." (p. 10) That sentence shows how far Tom Harpur has come since his days as an inflexible dogmatist (although he denies that he was ever a fundamentalist). He is not unteachable.

"Our own potential for Christhood, and for experiencing the indwelling spirit of God here and now, sounds forth a clear and relevant message for everyone. Hope for a truly cosmic faith is kindled and fanned into full flame." (p. 4) That sentence shows that he still has a long way to go.

"What I have written is not intended primarily for scholars, although I hope they will be deeply challenged and learn from it too," (p. 6) Sorry, buddy. Anyone who has anything to learn from Tom Harpur is assuredly not a scholar. This book should be mandatory reading for the Canadian Taliban that in four federal elections has failed to convince voters to give it the power to turn Canada into a totalitarian theofascist ayatollahdom. But it has nothing to offer the educated.

Harpur is aware that good people do good things and evil people do evil things despite religion; whereas good people do evil things because of religion. Yet despite religion's being the observable cause of ninety percent of all man-made evil for at least 3,000 years, he clings to the delusion that the god concept has something positive to offer. Why? Is it moral cowardice? Does he desperately need an afterlife belief to overcome his terror of the permanence of death and get through the day without having to be institutionalized? Is it pragmatic economics? Would acknowledging that his imaginary playmate is no more real than the tooth fairy or the great pumpkin deprive him of his only source of income? Or is he so embarrassed by his immoderate denunciations of Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan for their logical defense of nontheism, that he cannot bring himself to admit that they were right?

Harper knows that the Jesus described in the gospels never existed, and on the question of whether there was ever a historical Jesus onto whose biography the savior-god myths were posthumously grafted, he declares (p. 158), "I have very grave doubts." He acknowledges (p. 12) that "the early Christians did everything in their power, through forgery and other fraud, book burning, character assassination, and murder itself, to destroy the crucial evidence" of Christianity's plagiarism of older religions, "by hunting down and eliminating all traces of its Pagan past." In other words, Christianity's earliest pushers were not simply ignorant of the evidence that what they were perpetuating was a fraud. They deliberately suppressed it. And Harpur is not unaware that this is still happening. The continued publication of bibles that falsify "the gods" into "God" cannot be attributed to ignorance. Harper himself only learned the facts on which this book is based when he was pressured into reading the books of Alvin Kuhn. He could have saved a few years by reading Mythology's Last Gods which is still missing from his bibliography. Is he so embarrassed by his fatuous boast that he would never read a book published by Prometheus, that he prefers to remain ignorant of the information available from no other source?

"Consider this: comparative religions studies reveal that almost every traditional faith the world over rests on a central story of the son of a heavenly king who goes down into a dark lower world, suffering, dying, and rising again . Comparative religion scholars have made lists of thirty to fifty such avatars or saviours, including Osiris, Horus, Krishna ." (p. 37) That information is unknown to the great majority of North Americans, not merely the fanatic Religious Right. When a letter to the editor in an Alberta newspaper drew attention to the "fifty virgin-born resurrected savior gods who preceded Jesus," a convicted hatemonger whom even the Canadian Taliban rejected as an embarrassment to right-wing extremism responded, in effect, that if he had never heard of a fact of history, then it never happened. And subsequent letters made clear that dogmatism based on self-inflicted ignorance had widespread support.

If Harper can recognize that his bible is a work of fiction, and that all claims of a god revealing its existence can be traced to that bible, why does he insist that its "God" concept should be taken seriously when everything else is myth? He justifies his fence sitting in a chapter subtitled, "Myths Aren't Fairy Tales." And if he believes that, I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn that I think will interest him. More useful chapters are, "Christianity before Christianity," "The Greatest Cover-up of All Time," "Horus and Jesus Are the Same," "The Bible History or Myth?" and "Was There a Jesus of History?" So this book has a lot to offer curable believers. But it contains nothing that is not spelled out in far greater detail in Mythology's Last Gods.

William Harwood
Reviewer


Henry's Bookshelf

Letters from the Woods - Looking at Life through the Window of Wilderness
Michael C. Hurley
Ragbagger Publishing
6325-9 Falls of Neuse Rd. - No. 353, Raleigh, NC 27615
www.ragbagger.com; info@ragbagger.com
ISBN 0976127504 $23.95 228+xvi pp.

Like all good nature writing, Hurley's reaches for more than simple narration and description of moments with nature; although these serve as the grounds for the deeper meditations. For Hurley, nature draws out reflections on God's Creation and one's place in the greater scheme of things. But Hurley does not only look beyond himself to see a grandeur nature is the threshold for; he also looks inward to explore how his attachment to nature shaped him throughout his life and instilled in him an sense of closeness to others. "Through these essays I wanted to express to [readers] something of the hidden, eternal meaning of the wilderness through my experiences of it as a child and later as a husband and father." The 33 essays are collected from the author's periodical "Paddle & Portage" which was discontinued when he turned his attention to his law business to support his growing family. Many hazy-edged photographs intermixed with the text put the reader in the mood of the author's writing and evoke experiences with nature.

Eric Voegelin's Dialogue with Postmoderns - Searching for Foundations
edited with an introduction by Peter A. Petrakis and Cecil L. Eubanks
U. of Missouri Press
2910 LeMone Blvd. Columbia, MO
ISBN 0826215645 $37.50 187+ix pp.

"Voegelin's lifelong meditation on transcendence...led him to search repeatedly and consistently for appropriate symbolizations that provide an understanding of the ground of being without resorting to rigid and dangerous concretizations...We have called that a search for foundations without foundationalism." What this means is that the influential mid 20th-century philosopher Eric Voegelin searched for ways to stay in touch with the spiritual, historical, and existential fundamentals giving life substance, meaning, and direction without resorting to the extremes of dogma or totalitarianism. By his own experiences as an emigre from Europe threatened by Nazism and his philosophical interests growing out of them, he had a unique, and fertile, understanding of modernism's yearning for new, enriching dimensions of spirituality and for reliable, meaningful stability behind the era's new forms of politics such as Nazism and Communism and the delusions and conceits of modern individuals. Voegelin makes trenchant criticisms of these and other radical, misguided modernist creeds and styles. Gnosticism as arising in the modern era is one aberrant attempt to gain heightened spirituality he criticized especially. A philosopher, not a political scientist or social critic, Voegelin only rarely refers directly to specific errors and evils of modern culture. But one familiar with the contests of the modern world continuing into this day understands those which his work grapples with. The editors, both with Louisiana universities, collect five articles relating Voegelin's voluminous writings with other major late 19th-century and 20th-century philosophers and thinkers. The names Nietzsche, Ricoeur, Deleuze, and Husserl crop up in different essays. Classical sources of Voegelin's extensive works based on a few simple precepts are also discussed. The essays are rounded out with introductory and closing sections by the editors which provide biographical information on Voegelin and put the project of the book into perspective. The collected academic philosophical articles demonstrate the continuing relevance of Voegelin's thinking on the main, though often elusive, issues of modern culture, politics, and individual lives while also serving as an introduction to this philosopher whose influence continues to grow.

Peaceful Painter: Memoirs of an Issei Woman Artist
Hisako Hibi (1907-1991)
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
www.heydaybooks.com
1890771901 $20.00 75+xiv pp.

Hisako Hibi never had an easy life. She came to the U. S. in 1920 from Japan hoping to find a better life for herself. But in the 1940s, along with tens of thousands of other Japanese-Americans, she was put into a detention camp. After the war, she worked in dress factories after her husband died. The constant changes in her life never gave her the opportunity to pursue her artistic ambitions beyond some brief education in her early years in the U. S. But she picked up enough to paint oil paintings in a bright, bold, somewhat cubist style. Many of these offer views of the detention camps she was held at. Hibi was also an observant, competent writer of English who kept a journal, lengthy passages of which are also included. This Issei woman's daughter has also added photographs to this commemoration of her mother's life which typifies the experiences of Japanese on the West coast during World War II. At the same time, it draws a memorable portrait of this woman who recorded in pictures and words historical and personal incidents in her quiet, determined, accomplished way.

Drawn West - Selections from the Robert B. Honeyman Jr. Collection of Early Californian and Western Art and Americana, from the Bancroft Library
Jack von Euw and Genoa Shepley
Bancroft Library
U. of CA-Berkeley/Heyday Books, PO Box 9145, Berkley, CA 94709
www.heydaybooks.com
ISBN 1890771929 $39.95 197+xv pp.

One finds works by Albert Bierstadt, Currier and Ives, and other familiar artists. But "Drawn West" is most appealing for its view of California in the nineteenth century by little-known artists from all around the world. This gives this collection of Robert Honeyman's now at the Bancroft Library of the U. of California-Berkeley, a unifying factor which allows for much diversity. These aspects of the unique collection are in evidence with the skilled, artistic arrangement of the diverse art work as well as some commercial art and California memorabilia in thematic chapters; e. g., Inhabitants and Travelers, The Land Beheld, Enterprise. This design--better than a chronological presentation for this collection--allows the reader/viewer to take in the single works by numerous unfamiliar artists on a wide range of subjects, some surprising and others educating, in a sensible way without being overwhelmed. Among the subjects are scenes of the Gold Rush, cities and towns, ships and railroads, hunters, Native Americans, settlers, breathtaking nature scenes. Lithographs and oil paintings mix with transportation posters and crude folk-art drawings. The roughly 11" x 11", large-size book with high-quality reproductions on glossy pages does justice to this one-of-a-kind collection that is pleasing and memorable for its distinctive art and its historical value on California.

The Druids - A Study of Keltic Prehistory
T. D. Kendrick
Kegan Paul
London, ENGLAND
www.keganpaul.com, books@keganpaul.com
distributed in U. S. by Columbia University Press
www.columbia.edu/cu/cup
ISBN 0710310854 $144.50 227+xiv pp.

Kendrick's scholarly historical, anthropological, and archaeological study of the Druids and subjects necessarily related to them for an accurate understanding of them--which is to some extent a contingent understanding--was first published in the latter 1920s. He makes no attempt to popularize the Druids, as has been done by so many recent authors of New Age bent singling out the Druids as exemplary models of nature worship. Today, the Druids are popularly identified with ancient Ireland, adding to their mystique by the suggestion that their spirituality remained pure by being so distant from continental Europe and apart from the British Isles. But Kendrick is not swayed at all by popular beliefs or even more solid presumptions about the Druids found among some scholars. "It seems likely, however, that the druidic caste in Ireland was never anything but a very faint reflection of the Gallic system, and one that speedily became isolated and degenerate." In discussing the subjects of Druidic religion and their temples, including the intriguing stone monuments found in England and also places in Europe, he stays in touch with the archaeological evidence complemented by surviving written documents. In trying to answer the question about the pacific nature of a society figuring into the origins of the Druids, he points out that farming tools found in ancient burial sites far outnumber weapons. But he also notes that this is not conclusive, and makes the point that the proportion changes if one regards a certain kind of ax as a weapon. Kendrick's main purpose for the book was "to provide a complete and well-documented summary of the whole of the pertinent material upon which a study of this subject should be properly based." Kendrick's achievement, then, is to lay out the grounds for study of the Druids, not search doggedly for any conclusions or paint a picture rooted in his own spiritual yearnings and romanticism. The author lays this ground out in the broad topic areas of Tradition, Prehistory, History, Religion, Temples, and Origins, with an appendix of passages from Greek and Roman texts in their original languages. Other passages from Greek and Roman writings are quoted in English in the main text. Fifty-one illustrations and maps are mixed in with the chapters. No matter what one's beliefs about the Druids, Kendrick's wide-ranging, authoritative study is a fascinating study of ancient European culture and history.

Collecting Japanese Antiquities
Alistair Seton
Tuttle Publishing
Airport Industrial Park, 364 Innovation Dr., North Clarendon, VT 05759
www.tuttlepublishing.com; info@tuttlepublishing.com
ISBN 0804820945 $50.00 302 pp.

This is not your typical collector's handbook listing objects and possibly briefly describing them and listing going prices. This coffee-table quality book with the title "Collecting Japanese Antiques" is a survey of Japanese art works and cultural items with sections of advice for collectors. The historical and cultural background on the different items favors what would be of interest to collectors. But it is also informative and relevant simply for its artistic, historical, and cultural material. Readers looking for concentrated information on Japanese art and culture accompanied by attractive color photographs would find this work exceptionally suitable. For the collectors it is meant for particularly, there's sections on "Tides and Trends in Collecting," guidance in developing collections of certain items (e. g., baskets), lists of artists, notable regions and schools for certain antiques, and especially desirable objects in certain categories. Seton also moves to the technical subjects of materials, production, and workmanship which are important for collectors not only in appreciating items and assessing their value, but in making a preliminary decision about their age and authenticity. Among Seton's 13 categories of antiques are screens and scrolls, ceramics, furniture, sculpture and metalwork, dolls, and tea ceremony utensils. Seton has lived in Japan since 1972, where he currently teaches Japanese art and poetry. In 1993, he founded the quarterly magazine "Daruma" to cover Japanese art and antiques; which he still edits. "Collecting Japanese Antiques" is a work any collector or lover of Japanese art and antique objects will want for sound education and easy reference, and at times for enjoyably looking at the numerous color photos of the varied Japanese objects.

The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical
Mark N. Grant
Northeastern U. Press
360 Huntington Ave. - 416CP, Boston, MA 02115
www.nupress.neu.edu
ISBN 1555536239 $40.00 365+x pp.

Grant dates the golden age of the Broadway musical between 1927-1966, epitomized by the legendary pair Rodgers and Hammerstein and their musical "Oklahoma," among others. No one would argue with this. But Grant is concerned with more than expounding why this was the golden age. He is also concerned with what happened in Broadway and the general culture toward the end of the 1960s to bring this golden age to an end. He finds his answers in both technological and social changes which practically everyone is aware of, but which readers would not look to as reasons for the decline of such musicals. The spread of electronic music changed what audiences became accustomed to. Rock and other popular music ruined an appreciation for the brightness, simplicity, and style of the type of music and songs of the classical Broadway musical. Along with this, changing tastes in entertainment favored special effects, dancing, and often celebrities as actors over fetching scores and memorable melodies. "Director-Choreographers Co-opted a Writer's Medium" is how Grant puts it. The factors Grant sees as responsible for the decline in the quality--if not always the box office receipts--of Broadway musicals at their best is evident in the way Broadway musicals are advertised and marketed today. The author is a composer and writer who had done concert music and theater pieces performed in the U. S. and Europe. His previous book is "Pen: A History of Classical Music Criticism in America." This is a work combining literary and artistic criticism and history with cultural studies on one of the most characteristic American popular art forms.

The Orvis Ultimate Book of Fishing - Secrets from the Orvis Experts
edited by Tom Rosenbauer
Lyons Press
246 Goose Ln., Guilford, CT 06437
www.LyonsPress.com patrick.straub@lyonspress.com
ISBN 1592285848 $40.00 256 pp. 800-962-0973

The visual elements of color photos of fishermen, flies, and fishes, and detailed illustrations of fly-fishing techniques discussed in many of the 34 chapters by expert fly fishermen make this fishing manual particularly informative as well as attractive. The four-page detailed Index in smaller print is another reason for the manual's particular relevance and usefulness for fishermen. The contents and writing evidence that the editor and the several authors know their prospective readers. With their identification with them, editor and authors know the challenges and questions on fly fishermen's minds, and also understand the allure and satisfactions of this sport. In "How Trout Feed," the editor in one of his articles advises readers, "If water temperatures rise above seventy degrees F. in summer, both insect hatches and trout feeding dwindle." Lou Tabory tells "How to Read a Beach" in salt-water fly fishing for bluefish. The first eleven articles are on the general subjects of casting and flies. Subsequent sections deal with fishing for trout, steelhead (salmon), and bass, with a closing section on salt-water fishing.

Happy Trails - A Pictorial Celebration of the Life and Times of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss
Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Ln., Guilford, CT 06437
www.GlobePequot.com; jane.reilly@globepequot.com
ISBN 0762730897 $24.95 167+vi pp.

The long marriage and professional relationship of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans throughout the 1940s and '50 is presented in a mostly sunny light, as it was in their popular TV series and movies. Not that there aren't some dark moments: Roy Roger's first wife died; and three of the couple's nine children died. But while the sorrows of such moments are not overlooked, it is the strength of Roy and Dale which comes shining through, as when dealing with culprits or problems in their films. The popular, largely pictorial biography contains a number of heretofore unpublished family photos. Fans of these stars of early TV and aficionados of popular culture will take to this book. While not undermining or even threatening the fond popular image of the couple, it presents them as not just stars, but ones who had a life outside of the limelight as well.

The Etruscans Outside Etruria
edited by Giovannangelo Camporeale
translated by Thomas Michael Hartmann
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90049
800-223-3431; www.getty.edu; mcrowley@getty.edu
ISBN 0892367679 $49.95 314 pp.

"The goal of this volume is to provide a survey of the movement of Etruscan culture into the various regions of ancient Italy, the Mediterranean, and continental Europe: to follow as its title states--the Etruscans outside Etruria." Etruria was an area in northwestern Italy. As the Preface notes, there has been much study on the Greek and Near Eastern influences on Etruscan culture, but not much on the influence of Etruscan culture on these--a deficit this work aims to make up for. In keeping with its goal, archaeological evidence in areas outside of ancient Etruria is examined for this Etruscan influence. This examination begins with the broad regions of the Mediterranean and Europe; then continue methodically through 14 specific areas in Italy, including the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily. Most of these areas had Greek colonies. Many questions about Etruscan culture, especially its relationship to early Rome, have been at least partly answered in recent decades. This work of essays by Italian experts in the field and related visual matter takes Etruscan studies to the next level--namely, following the influence of Etruscan culture on a much wider area. As expected with this publisher connected with the Getty Museum, the book has the highest standards of production, design, and content.

The Origins of War - Violence in Prehistory
Jean Guilaine and Jean Zammit, translated by Melanie Hersey
Blackwell Publishing
350 Main St., Malden, MA 02148
www.blackwellpublishing.com
ISBN 1405112603 $29.95

With a "somewhat evolutionary approach," the in-depth, wide-ranging investigation looks to economic changes, environmental use, technological progress, and social structures as not only prompting war at different times, but also as bringing about changes in the ways wars were waged. The authors accept that the penchant for waging war is innate in human beings. This attribute was not engendered at some point in human evolution. The authors show that violence can be seen in archaeological findings of the earliest groups. The earliest violence was the use of techniques in hunting against other human beings. Human sacrifice, and possibly torture, can be seen in cave drawings. Even the development of agriculture and settled communities did not quell the penchant for violence, but in some ways carried it to the next level. The authors have no political or social agenda--they do not go into implications of their well-substantiated postulate that warfare is derived from inherent characteristics of human beings. Zammit is a doctor and paleopathologist whose knowledge of these fields brings a special insight into signs of violence on human remains and psychology and behavior which are the sources of war and go into war when it breaks out. Guilaine's fields are archeology and social science; which allow him to offer unfamiliar, yet plainly pertinent and unassailable disclosures about societies' penchants for war. With their different perspectives, the co-authors hone in on the core human characteristics accounting for the constancy of war in culture.

Pigment Compendium - A Dictionary of Historical Pigments
Nicholas Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin, and Ruth Siddall
Elsevier/Butterworth Heinemann
30 Corporate Dr., Burlington, MA 01803
www.elsevier.com
ISBN 0750657499 $195.00 499+xi pp.

The authors' note right at the start of this encyclopedic work for art historians, conservators, and forensic specialists cites historic complaints that the names artists have recorded for the pigments they used in their paintings, frescoes, etc., are notoriously unreliable. Hence, the hundreds of cross-references to help researchers get to the pigment an artist used in a work despite what he or she may have called it. The reference also works from the standpoint of wishing to confirm a particular pigment by describing in detail its physical and chemical properties. This incomparable art reference for determining important matters of works of art goes beyond such scientific information to include as well historical notes on many of the pigments. The entry "Burnt Ochre" is an example of most of the thousands of entries: It begins with the general comment that the "phenomena that yellow ochre when heated converts to red ochre" has been known since pre-historic times. This is followed by a note that the fourth-century B. C. philosopher Theophrastus wrote a detailed description of the process of "producing burnt ochres." Then comes the physical and chemical information--"The process in action is the thermal transformation of goethite...to iron(III) oxide, whereby the goethite begins to dehydrate...," and so on for about 20 more lines. (The chemical equations in the quote are omitted in this review.) After this comes a few short paragraphs on comments later writers have made on burnt ochre, with the entry ending with remarks on the term for this pigment and related terms. The "Pigment Compendium" is an exhaustive, reliable guide to resolving important matters about works of art using pigments--matters which may involve accurate dating, and in some cases also involve large sums of money for museums or private collectors. Every museum, art library, and serious art collector should have a copy.

Cultured Force - Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire
Barnett Singer and John Langdon
U. of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe St. - 3rd floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress; publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu
ISBN 0299199002 $45.00 483+xi pp.

Singer and Langdon, professors at Canadian universities, reassess French imperialism; which along with the imperialism of other Western nations, has been negatively portrayed in the colonial and postcolonial studies of recent decades. They do so through biographical and historical studies of key French proconsuls in French colonies in Africa and Asia. They do not try to make the simplistic point that French imperialism and colonialism was good, or even desirable. But they aim to balance the picture of this colonialism, and by extension all Western colonialism. While not trying to gloss over brutalities and atrocities committed by colonial masters, the authors note that colonialism also worked to "reduce feudal inequalities, abolish serfdom, establish constitutions, build roads...and extend educational opportunities." This was seen by France--and other colonial powers--as "civilizing backward peoples." But it could also be seen as raising the living standards of the inhabitants of the colonies. Shedding a light on French colonialism by biographically and analytically looking at the specific colonial officials of Thomas Robert Bugeaud of Algeria, Louis-Hubert-Gonzalve Lyautey of Southeast Asia, and others, the authors inject a human dimension, with all of its aspirations and faults, into the subject. This is a scholarly work which reads almost like history for the general reader for dealing with historical characters and seeing historical issues in terms of their personalities and actions. With its balanced, broader view of French colonialism, "Cultured Force" restores an ambiguity to its subject, thus making it a subject of true history and human enterprise rather than an ideological or myopic one.

Great Courage - The First Black Sheriff Elected in the South Since Reconstruction
Lucius D. Amerson, with A. E. Amerson
What's Your Story
PO Box 441224, Ft. Washington, MD 20749-1224
www.sheriffamerson.com; greatcourage@comcast.net
ISBN 0975923803 $17.95 234 pp.

The son of this ground-breaking black sheriff during the days of the Civil Rights struggles in the South recounts the father's character, beliefs, aims, hopes, and experiences. It's not just a story of the expected resistances Lucius Amerson faced in his work as sheriff, but also the unexpected support he received from some others. Author Amerson writes mostly in a true-life style recreating scenes of arrests, racial confrontations, and community interactions. The admirable individuality of Lucius Amerson, a former Army paratrooper and Koren War veteran, is mixed with occasional references to the broader racial tensions and political developments of the 1960s.

Charles Ives and Aaron Copland - A Listener's Guide
Daniel Felsenfeld
Amadeus Press
512 Newark Pompton Turnpike, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
www.amadeuspress.com; mail@amadeuspress.com
ISBN 1574670980 $19.95 156+x pp.

Brief biographies of the two premier American composers are followed by tutorials on their music focusing on better-known, widely-aclaimed pieces. The guide succeeds in making the music accessible without dumbing it down at all or trying to popularize it. Felsenfeld is himself a composer and a music writer bringing to the task not only compatibility with Ives and Copland, but also an educator's understanding of the reader's position in wanting to learn more about them and enhance appreciation of their music. With the book is the treat of a CD offering ample samplings of music, including Copland's complete "Appalachian Spring" and four pieces of Ives', who wrote shorter, intense works.

The Future of Christianity - Historical, Sociological, Political and Theological Perspectives from New Zealand
edited by John Stenhouse, Brett Knowles, and assisted by Antony Wood
ATF Press/Australian Theological Forum
Adelaide, Australia
www.atfpress.com 800-758-3756
dist. in U. S. by International Publishers Marketing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
ISBN 1920691235 $25.00 241+xii pp.

The circumstances, possibilities, and issues concerning Christianity in New Zealand are a microcosm of these elsewhere in the Western world. This multidisciplinary work aims to inform readers of perspectives and realities regarding contemporary Christianity not reflected or suggested in the popular media. Focus on certain anomalies is especially revealing, as well as to some degree predictive of Christianity's possible future depending on how these are resolved. Kevin Ward, a lecturer of Church issues in the modern world, explores how the "fragmentation and religious pluralism" in postmodernism not only limit and distort understanding of beliefs and developments in Christianity, but also shape strategies for Christians wishing to be a part of modern culture. "Believing Without Belonging" is part of the title of Ward's article. Another by Bruce Knox, Executive Director of Bible College in New Zealand, explores the apparent anomaly that "Christian Allegiance Is Declining, Yet Theological Education Is Booming." The role of religion in shaping the New Zealand national identity, even as the nation was "set up more or less decisively independent of any denominational church influence," is another relevant topic; while a couple of other articles take up political solutions for dealing with the desire of Christians to see their beliefs and values reflected more plainly in government policies and activity. The number of articles by theologians, historians, and sociologists, among others, with their fingers on the pulse of contemporary Christian situations and concerns offer a variety of views on the persistent matter of religion in contemporary life and current affairs.

The Early Coptic Papacy - The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity, The Popes of Egypt, Volume One
Stephen J. Davis
American U. in Cairo Press, Cairo, Egypt/420 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10018 www.aucpress.com 800-758-3756
dist. in U. S. by International Publishers Marketing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
ISBN 9774248309 $26.50 251+xvi pp.

The history by an assistant professor of religious studies at Yale follows the Coptic Church from its origins to the coming of Islam about the seventh century mostly through the men heading it. Volumes Two and Three of this series by other authors deal with different stages of this Egyptian Christian Church. This first clearly definable period of this volume laid the grounds for the survival of the Coptic Church down to today even though with the coming of Islam, it was marginalized and its members often discriminated against. In many ways, the study of the Coptic papacy resembles the study of the Catholic papacy and the first years of the Catholic Church. There were similar decisions important in establishing the Coptic Church; the personalities of the early Coptic popes were especially important in creating the internal nature and public image of the Church; and there were theological controversies over basic doctrines and beliefs. "Apostolicity, martyrdom, monastic patronage, and theological resistance" are the four major themes during this formative period for the Coptic Church. "The Early Coptic Papacy" along with the companion volumes substantiates the Coptic Church as a subject in religious studies with its own history worthy of study.

Gregorian Chants - An Illustrated History of Religious Chanting
Colin R. Shearing
Mercury Books, London
www.mercury-books.com 800-758-3756
dist. in U. S. by International Publishers Marketing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
ISBN 1904668526 $35.00 144 pp. music CD

Most of the content is on the Gregorian chants of the Catholic Church. But there is some material on the precedent of religious chanting in early and classical Mediterranean cultures, and also short sections on chanting in the world's other major religions. Gregorian chants getting their name from Pope Gregory of the late sixth century are regarded as the most mature development of Christian chanting. This Pope is "believed to be responsible for arranging the Gregorian chants which became the central pieces in religious services" with his historic reformation of Roman Catholic liturgy. Shearing puts the Gregorian chants in the context of the history of the Catholic Church, and discloses how spiritual and ecclesiastical concerns shaped them. Some technical, musicological, material on them is also included. This heavily illustrated relatively popular treatment of the chants is fortuitous considering their popularity on CDs, which takes them out of their religious context. The CD with this book contains 16 Gregorian chants. Shearing is a writer and lecturer who has traveled widely in pursuit of his spiritual interests.

The Big Book of Cigarette Lighters - Identification and Values
James Flanigan
Collector Books
PO Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42002-3009
www.collectorbooks.com
ISBN 1574324098 $29.95 205 pp.

Colorful photos capturing details of hundreds of all kinds of lighters make this a prime guide for collectors. The captions right beside each photo note material, manufacturer, date, size, and price range--e. g., "Chromium lighter/case, made for king-size cigarettes, by Evans. Circa early 1950s. 4-3/4"h, 2-1/2w. $30.00-50.00." Animals, Art Deco, Beyond the Ordinary, Decorative, Miniatures, and Sets are among the many different categories. The category Miscellaneous Tobacco Accessories for pipe holders, match boxes, cigarette tins, etc., comes at the end. Numerous sharp photos, simple informative captions, and clear organization make this a ready reference for collectors and dealers at all levels. With its many photos arranged orderly, it is particularly useful to beginners to scan through to find out what types of lighters and related items to keep their eyes open for at flea markets and other resources.

Henry Berry
Reviewer


Lori's Bookshelf

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination
Ursula K. LeGuin
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA, 02115
www.shambhala.com
ISBN: 1590300068 $16.95 305 pgs

Having read and enjoyed LeGuin's previous non-fiction works (particularly DANCING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT, and her writing book, STEERING THE CRAFT), I expected an interesting and entertaining volume of essays. What I got far exceeded my expectations. I was enchanted from the first words, and I could hardly wait to read as many of these pieces as I could gulp down each night. When I finished, I was unhappy it was all consumed. I wanted more.

The book is a cornucopia of variety. There are serious essays, playful performance pieces, literary commentary, a long and wonderful poem entitled "The Writer on, and at, Her Work," and even some sketches LeGuin has done. The volume is separated into four sections: Personal Matters, Readings, Discussions & Opinions, and On Writing. The first section gives the reader a glimpse of who Ursula LeGuin is. She talks a bit of her family, of her parents' occupations (anthropologist father and biographer mother), and of her love of libraries and islands imaginary and real. The next two sections cover all sorts of topics. Whether she was discussing awards and gender or the submerged humor of Mark Twain's "Diaries of Adam and Eve" or literacy or rhythm in the works of JRR Tolkien, I felt I was in sure hands. I must admit that I expected the essay, "Stress-Rhythm in Poetry and Prose" to be deadly dull. Instead, I was surprised beyond my wildest imagination to find that for the first time in my entire life, someone had actually explained meter and rhythm so that it made complete sense to me. I had one of those "Aha!" moments, suddenly understanding it in a way that I had never quite managed. (So _that_ is how iambic pentameter works so effectively!) I've been raving ever since about rhythm to all who will listen.

The final section of the book is about writing and was my favorite section. LeGuin addresses many angles of craft and technique. The name of the book, THE WAVE IN THE MIND, refers to an explanation of style that Virginia Woolf once wrote in a letter. Concerning what rhythm is, Woolf had written, "A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind and then, as it breaks and tumbles in the mind, it makes words to fit it" (p. xii). LeGuin obviously agrees with this. She writes that "every novel has its characteristic rhythm. And that if the writer hasn't listened for that rhythm and followed it, the sentences will be lame, the characters will be puppets, the story will be false. And that if the writer can hold to that rhythm, the book will have some beauty. What the writer has to do is listen for that beat, hear it, keep to it, not let anything interfere with it. Then the reader will hear it too, and be carried by it" (p. 183). This is sage advice.

All of LeGuin's ideas and advice every chapter of it is wonderful. I loved this: "Trust your story; trust yourself; trust your readers but wisely. Trust watchfully, not blindly. Trust flexibly, not rigidly. The whole thing, writing a story, is a high-wire act there you are out in midair walking on a spiderweb line of words, and down in the darkness people are watching. What can you trust but your sense of balance?" (p. 234).

The examples, stories, and allusions throughout are clear and strong and elegant. Her Voice is powerful and wise, humorous and reflective. Ursula LeGuin quite clearly displays true genius. This is a book to savor, to keep, to read again and again over the years. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Cinatis: Book I in the Twilight of the Gods series
Ronald L. Donaghe
Two Brothers Press
5341 Dorchester Rd. Suite 16, North Charleston, SC, 29418
ISBN: 159457619X $18.95 585 pages

As with many good fantasy novels, this story begins with a youth who must set out on a Quest. Sixteen-year-old Jeru, the youngest of three brothers, finds his life is turned upside down by a plague that has beset the land of Omoham. Before the onset of the panic, Jeru worked the family farm and dreamed at night of a shadowy man. His life was fairly simple, though it didn't feel complete. Now everyone in the region is fleeing in fear. Jeru's brothers and parents have already left the farm, but Jeru has chosen not to accompany them. Instead, he goes south, to Cinatis, in an effort to discover what is causing the plague and to try to discover why he feels such a disturbance in the earth. Jeru's special gift is as a stone felder. He can feel in the stones under his feet that something evil is quite literally affecting the land.

One thing that becomes apparent as Jeru makes his pilgrimage south is that as fast as his countrymen leave Omoham, the neighboring Ch'turks come in and take over their land and holdings. This doesn't seem right. Then on the road long before he even reaches Cinatis, Jeru is attacked by Ch'turk rogues. Jeru is saved from death by Eril, a mysterious young man who Jeru soon realizes is the one who has been haunting his dreams. The two discover they are soul-mates and form a strong bond. They continue on the journey to Cinatis only to find that things are worse than they had imagined. The Ch'turk's religious orders have posted new rules for the society that can only be described as joyless, discriminatory, regimented, and fundamentalist. They've outlawed relationships like Eril and Jeru's, as well as disallowed the use of any sort of earth gifts, stonefelding included. Jeru's abilities are not ones he has ever had to hide or refrain from using and everything about this is wrong and unnatural for him. The penalty for not following these new rules, though, is death.

At the urging and with the assistance of other powerful characters, Jeru and Eril set out on a quest to learn the truth, and it is this journey of exploration that encompasses Book One of the "Twilight of the Gods" trilogy. The next book will be called GWI'S WAR and is due out very soon, with the third book, WAR AMONG THE GODS, to come later in 2005.

I've been meaning to read this book for a long time, but it is a big one 585 pages and that seemed a little daunting. Once I started it, however, it rolled along smoothly, revealing layer upon layer of information about a captivating world at the precipice of change. Jeru is a worthy protagonist, and his relationship with Eril is richly drawn. The villains are appropriately villainous, the "good guys" are engaging, and the land in which this epic plot takes place is fascinating. I very much look forward to the next installment of this series.

Under the Witness Tree
Marianne K. Martin
Bywater Books
PO Box 3671, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106
www.bywaterbooks.com
ISBN: 1932859004 $12.95 210 pgs

When an estranged great-aunt she's never met dies and leaves Dhari Weston the ancient Grayson house outside Atlanta, Dhari is both curious and irritated. Traveling from Michigan to dispose of the old monstrosity sounds like a lot of extra work, and Dhari's life is already far too full. Her time and energy are taken up by her job as a grant-writer for an AIDS coalition, a less-than-committed girlfriend, and serious problems in her family of origin. Little does she know that she's at the crossroads of change and is about to be sorely tested by new experiences.

Erin Hughes, a professor well-versed in Civil War era architecture and history is brought in to assess Anna Grayson's house, and Dhari feels an unexpected attraction to her. Dhari also meets the elderly Nessie Tinker, descendant of the slaves who worked the land in the 1800s and who eventually became landowners and neighbors to the Graysons. Nessie served as caretaker and friend to Anna Grayson, and unbeknownst to Dhari and Erin, Nessie knows many of the secrets of the past some of which go all the way back to Civil War times that the two women are exploring.

Dhari is gradually drawn in to the mysteries of the old house and its former occupants, but at the same time, her wandering girlfriend and mentally ill mother back in Michigan exert pressures upon her that keep her stressed and worried. Dhari has her own secrets, and as the story is revealed, the reader gradually comes to understand the depth of her pain and the extent to which she has gone to prevent anyone from knowing about it even her girlfriend. When she lets slip to Erin some vital details, Dhari is appalled. "She'd been first-time lucky that Erin Hughes thinks the bones in her own closet shine just as bright white as hers. Most people, however, aren't that honest. They lock their skeletons up behind propriety and self-protection and make choices that to the casual observer seem entirely normal. Just like Dhari Weston. It's the closer inspection, the one that rattles the door, that has to be avoided" (p. 103).

The ways that Dhari ends up "rattling that door" make for an engrossing read. The book itself is slight, but the issues raised and the secrets revealed make for powerful and unforgettable reading. This book was entertaining, and the way the pieces all came together was ultimately quite satisfying. Read it for the tight plot, for the mystery, for the romance just don't miss this engaging story.

GoblinQuest
Jim C. Hines
Five Star of the Gale Group
295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, ME 04901
www.galegroup.com/fivestar/
ISBN: 1594142300 $25.95 330 Pages

Jig is a goblin with little social status. He has been assigned to the lowliest muck duty far longer than others his age, and he can't help but feel shame. He also can't help that he is a clumsy, near-sighted runt, and his cousin Porak and his buddies never let him forget it. Only in his fantasies is Jig a brave and respected warrior, and he longs for the chance to prove himself.

Finally Jig is given the opportunity to guard the mountain tunnels from intruders, which is a scary proposition since so many of the tunnel guards wind up dead. He resolves to do what needs to be done in order to stay alive. Imagine his surprise when he is accosted by a party of treasure hunters made up of two humans, a dwarf, and an elf who are searching for the Rod of Creation thought to be guarded by a dragon named Straum.

Jig is forced to join them for the hunt or die. "Jig knew what a real hero would do. A hero would scream something defiant, wrestle Darnak's club away and use it against the dwarf and the human. A hero might even slay them both before making his escape. Of course, Jig knew all the goblin songs, so he knew what happened to goblin heroes . He had not desire to be a hero. He only wanted to go home, curl up with a hot bowl of lizard-egg soup, and feed dead cockroaches to Smudge" (p. 25).

The prospect of successfully making such a journey with his captors doesn't look good to Jig. He doesn't even know where Straum's lair is, but instead of mounting what would be a suicide attack, Jig reluctantly agrees to help the adventurers find their way around the tunnels. What follows is a series of action-filled, entertaining, and often funny adventures as they battle hobgoblins, worms, a necromancer, and various other foes.

This book will appeal to both adults and young adults. Teens will very much enjoy Jig's quest and his attempt to define himself in a world that doesn't necessarily value his skills. Adults will also enjoy the humor and the upending of various aspects of the fantasy/quest genre. Prepare to be entertained throughout and completely satisfied with Jig's journey by the time you reach the end.

Colder Than Ice
Helen Macpherson
Quest Books
Regal Crest Enterprises
PMB 210, 8691 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, TX 77642-8025
www.regalcrest.biz
ISBN: 1932300295 $18.95 265 pgs

What happens when two driven and independent professional women are forced to work together under circumstances neither can fully control? This is the situation archaeologist Allison Shaunessy and psychologist Michela DeGrasse find themselves in. Part of the problem from the beginning is that Allison craves control in her work life because she doesn't really have it in her personal life. She's been dating an oaf, and she hasn't yet figured out that he's a selfish jerk. She wants to focus on and run the expedition, but the sponsor who put up the money knows Michela and specifies that the psychologist be the one in charge. From the beginning, then, there's a rivalry that's not helped by the fact that seemingly straight Allison is drawn to Michela, who has, unfortunately, just lost her lover to a scheming colleague.

So with both women in their own little barely contained crises, they set off on an trek into a remote part of Antarctica to investigate what might be the remains of the long-lost 1895 Finlayson Expedition. As they prepare and then travel, they are beset with all sorts of obstacles - from the money issues at the outset - to seasickness, illness, frightening weather conditions, stupid, risk-taking behavior, and the threat of violent death.

Both Allison and Michaela are stubborn and wounded in their own ways, and neither is able to see that if they could just drop their guards and open up to one another honestly, they actually have a lot in common. That process makes for entertaining reading as do the twists and turns of the expedition, some of which are not expected. Ultimately, the book is more a romance than an adventure, but this cross-genre novel affords some thrills and more than a few chills.

Lori L. Lake
Reviewer


Lynne's Bookshelf

What Did You Do Today? The First Day of School
Toby Forward
Illustrated by Carol Thompson
Clarion
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.hougtonmifflinbooks.com Ages 4 - 8
ISBN 061849586X $15.00 29 pp.

This charming concept book for pre-schoolers/kindergarteners begins its telling as early as the binding, with anxious illustrations of children and their parents rushing off to school. Who could not get caught up in the fun and frenzy of this exciting day?

What Did You Do Today? The First Day of School is one little boy's tale of this life changing experience, as told to his mother. On the left side of the double-page spreads, our brave hero expresses his thoughts about his day in pictures and simple text. On the right side, illustrations depict his mother's day. This results in a clever comparison of the two as they do their work and still find time to think about each other!

The story is endearing, the watercolor illustrations darling. What a wonderful way to teach children about what their first day of school will be like, while reinforcing that it's okay to miss their mother (who will be missing them too).

Mary Middling and Other Silly Folk: Nursery Rhymes and Nonsense Poems
Rose Fyleman
Illustrated by Katya Bandlow
Clarion
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.hougtonmifflinbooks.com Ages 4 - 8
ISBN 0618381414 $16.00 24 pp.

If you've run out of nursery rhymes or have grown tired of the same old Mother Goose material, you'll enjoy meeting up with Mary Middling (& pig) and the other silly folk in the late British poet Rose Fyleman's fabulously fun picture book. This selection of twenty poems taken from her Fifty-One New Nursery Rhymes (1931) are as fresh as the day they were written, and catchy as a cold in a doctor's sick room. It's hard to decide which of these quirky poems my favorite to read aloud is. So I read them again, and again. Someday, I'll figure it out!

German illustrator Katya Bandlow's colored Chinese ink illustrations give just the right sort of tone and whimsy to Fyleman's short rhymes. With such silliness going on in the words and pictures, children will love hearing these rhymes again and again, as well as seeing them on the page time after time. A low-calorie rhythmic treat for one and all!

Lynne Marie Pisano
Reviewer


Magdalena's Bookshelf

Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with his Son
Peter Carey
Random House
ISBN 1740513258, A$24.95, 122 pgs

Wrong About Japan begins with a series of Saturday morning visits to the video shop and Forbidden Planet comic shop to procure Japanese anime films and manga comics. Carey the father initially comes along as censor, but soon becomes accomplice as he and his son Charley develop a fascination with the unusual and intricate popular art form. Both want more, and Carey arranges a working trip to Japan, where together, the Careys explore their differing notions of cultural meaning, art, and above all, the difficulty of communication, both within and between cultures. As one would expect from an author who can write well about anything, the book is full of the kind of detail which makes for good travel writing: setting, character, anecdote, and scenery descriptions, but this is much more than a portrait of Japan, or a visit log. What makes Wrong About Japan a powerful book are the parallel themes of Carey's desperation to get under the skin of his tall, shy twelve year old son, coupled with his desire to get under the skin of Japanese culture. The tension drives the book forward, and Carey's depiction of himself and his son are as loving and detailed as any character he has created in his extensive body of fiction.

The book is peppered with plates, drawings, and a few personal photos so that even the most manga illiterate readers get a good visual perspective. We learn about visualists, people who dress up in a costume and perfectly recreate characters from fiction or films. We explore Tokyo, watch Kabuki, examine the otaku (a kind of loner unable to interact with other people), and get a good sense of the smells, tastes, and experiences that a foreigner would have in Japan. Carey lines up a series of interviews with well known manga creators, including Hayao Miyazaki (creator of My Neighbor Totoro), Yoshiyuki Tomino (creator of Mobile Suit Gundam), and Hiroyuki Kitakubo (creator of Blood: The Last Vampire). In an attempt to tease out the deeper implications of their work, Carey asks questions about connections with Hiroshima, with children in a post-war world, with the relationship between public and private entertainment, about the meanings of characters, themes and national identity, but his questions seem to be senseless to those who receive them, based on cultural misunderstandings occurring at the deepest level:

Mr Kitakubo responded to my written questions in the same style as every other damn Japanesse I'd questioned. That is, he made it clear that nothing in this country was as I thought it was. My misunderstandings were very interesting, he said. By which he did not mean to claim that his film did not have meanings-of course it did but after a long,e xhausting Q&A it became clear that he would reveal none of them to me. (112)

A similar tension occurs between father and son, although perhaps there is a greater basis for understanding love easing the gap between generations. Nevertheless, underneath the serious attempts at both bonding with Japan and bonding with reticent Charley, is a kind of gentle panic. It is important, we feel, for Carey to connect with his son; for the two of them to do this trip in a way which brings them together before the big ice age of adolescent really gets underway. But Carey Sr arrives in search of a place which is very different from the one Charley wants to explore. Communication is so difficult, at every level, and not just between cultures, but between generations. Carey unwittingly insults Charley's e-friend Takashi, who couldn't understand how Carey's desire to meet Miyazaki would take precedence over an invitation to his grandmother's house. In the name of the "real Japan" which Charley eschews, Carey takes young Charley to a four hour long Kubuki performance: "Bored and restless, the poor boy endured play after play, expecting each one to be the last." (51) and drags him to meet a sword maker, and a war vet, all in the hopes that some point of understanding of the real underlying sense of Japan and its inhabitants' life, might turn their interest in manga into something deeper. Instead, Charley longs for (and thrills to) Sega world, insists on eating at Starbucks and Mr Donut, where they spy Takashi working, shopping for electronic gizmos, brightly coloured sci fi toilets, and sending SMS messages instead of looking at scenery. In other words, he's a normal twelve year old, and Carey his normal, doting father, trying to get through. This struggle, and above all, Carey's almost overwhelming modesty and honesty (which calls to mind Oscar Hopkins from Oscar and Lucinda) as he delicately explores and teases out the relationships between these twin themes about understanding and communication, is what makes this small book such a joy to read, even for those who have neither knowledge nor interest in manga or anime.

Carey isn't really wrong, just a little bit trapped, as we all are, in our selves, our history and our culture. A kind of connection does take place, between Carey and his son most certainly, as they both come to realise their limitations. There is also a moment, and perhaps several moments when language is discarded and beauty provides a point of agreement between West and East:

He took us to the computer and showed a new work that featured the grandmother of the magical animated car-bus that Totoro had ridden on. And, thank God, we had no language. Thank God, there were no questions to ask, just the privilege of sharing the joy of a great artist telling a story to an audience. (116)

This is a charming, sometimes funny, tender story which has many bonuses for lovers of manga, but will appeal to any reader for the rich humanism which is a mark of all Peter Carey's work.

Waiting for Kate Bush
John Mendelssohn
Omnibus Press
ISBN 1844494896 $31.72

It's a cold night. Lesley Herskovits perches on the end of a tall tower block in London, ready to jump. This begins a story ostensibly about Herskovits, who has a serious image problem, imagining himself as grotesquely overweight and ugly, cowardly, and pining after the artist Kate Bush, whose next album shows no signs of appearing 11 years after The Red Shoes. The novel primarily takes places between the ledge, and the final leap, either Herskovits' only act of courage, or his biggest act of cowardice. Living at a boardinghouse for Kate Bush fans, Herskovits sends Bush e-mails, letters, and regular gifts, bags Tori Amos, a "brazen imitator" and peppers his prose with bits and pieces of biographical information. His suffering is compounded by his perceived fear of confrontation, the ruin of his relationship with his daughter "Babooshka," and his sketchy relationships with his landlady, Mrs Cavenaugh, and a fellow Overeater Anonymous member, the beautiful but overweight Nicola. An interesting sub-plot is formed around a television talent show called Fab Lab, a kind of mock Idol for the disabled, where winners get voted for by other members and the studio audience.

Waiting for Kate Bush is funny, and an easy fast-paced read. The characters are full of interesting Dickensian qualities, quirky parallels, and twists which tease out the theme that nothing is quite what it seems. Fame is a fleeting and strange quality, which others seek to feed off, and this is perhaps the thing that ties Herskovit's story to Bush's. Herskovits himself is a former model (the "Marcel Flynn pants bloke" - one thinks of Calvin Klein), whose sense that he hideously ugly and overweight is countered by the reactions of other people to him his landlady's shock when he tells her he can no longer fit outside of his door or make it down the steps for dinner because he is so grossly overweight, or the outrage of other truly fat members when he shows up for a meeting at Overeaters Anonymous. Although there is much of Kate Bush in this novel, it isn't really a biography. Kate is ancilliary a missing character that the other's use to offset their own neuroses. Her music surrounds the book, and is hummed, sung, quoted, and analysed. Her life is chronicled, timelined, and surmised. But she never appears, and the only thing we learn about her, is what we gleam from interviews, or other people's projections:

"I love Kate Bush," I blurted. "Being nearer to her, in fact, is one of the reasons I moved to this country." Their looking at me blankly inspired more bluring. "I find much of her later music inexpressibly beautiful. In my darketst hours, in my moment of peak despair, it gives me a reason to live. A world in which music of such beauty exists can't be intolerable. That's how I look at it." (21)

That said, this is a book which will certainly appeal to Kate fans. The centre of the book contains attractive photographs of La Bush, moving from grammar school years to her most recent public appearance in 2002. Real die-hard fans will probably know most of what the book contains, but for your average, "I like her music," fans, the book will re-invigorate a sense of the music, as lyrics, critical appraisals, and performance highlights are detailed in recount by the obsessive Herskovits. Characters like Cyril, Nicola's father, a tiny hired thug who enjoys being brow-beaten by his huge wife, or Mr Chumaraswamy, Mrs Cavenaugh's other lover, a self-proclaimed anti-bullying vigilante. But no one is exactly as they seem. Bully and bullied are often consentual. Self-image isn't the same as other's perception. Mendelssohn cleverly discredits his narrator early on, and although this is a first person narrative, we can't take the narrator's account as reliable. This creates an interesting tension which leaves the reader wondering about the real relationship between Herskovits and his daughter, or about his relationships with other characters in his life; his wife or his schoolyard experiences:

From the age of 15 until the time the girl who'd become my first girlfriend agreed to go out with me, I was myself a sidekick. Daring to imagine that one of their admirers might notice me, I insinuated myself into the entourages of a succession of good0looking, athletic, confident classmates hating both mysel ffor having done so and them for having things I hadn't, and perhaps never would have. But I didn't come to be perceived as attractive by association.(186)

Unfortunately, this theme is only lightly touched upon, subsumed into the more overt purpose of ensuring that every opportunity to mention Kate Bush is taken, probably, one imagines, so that the large number of consumer hungry Bush fans will buy the book (a good enough marketing strategy). That is a shame though, as there is a reasonably story here, and the way in which the plot twists and the worms turn is probably enough to make this into a decent quality fiction. However, Mendelssohn sacrifices the story for the biography, and for his own musical cleverness, which does a good job of picking up a wide range of musical and cultural icons, interpreting the lyrics of Bernie Taupin (I never thought about how silly the metaphors in most of Elton John's songs until the press savaged Candle in the Wind post-Princess Diana's funeral), or using his "sharp" American wit to slice through everyone's "crap" but his own. So this isn't literary fiction, and can't really be taken too seriously, especially with its ridiculous deus ex machina ending. That's okay. Waiting for Kate Bush isn't meant to be a serious read. It is, instead, a light, fun, easy piece of summer reading by a writer who is very capable and experienced at writing about popular music. Kate Bush fans will snap this up. The rest of us (even those who like Tori Amos as much as Kate Bush) will enjoy it for what it is, and find themselves listening to the Bush back collection with renewed vigour. Too bad Herskovits couldn't wait just a little longer. Apparently a new Kate Bush CD is due for release in March 2005.

Magdalena Ball, Reviewer
http://www.compulsivereader.com/html


Pogo's Bookshelf

The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje
Vintage Books
Random House: Toronto
039428013X / 0679745203 $9.75 302 pp.

http://isbndb.com/d/book/the_english_patient.html

other editions: http://isbndb.com/d/person/ondaatje_michael/subject/italy_fict

Across the internet the Battle Royale rage concerning the identity of the English Patient as that of the Hungarian Count Almasy. Film and book critics alike, divide into sides, bitter opponents of being caught flat-footed, take up their rocks to stone the author for betraying them and false character. They scream, "he lied!" without ever stopping to read the small print in the back of the book:

"While some of the characters who appear in this book are based on historical figures, and while many of the areas are described such as the Gilf Kebir and its surrounding desert exist, and were explored in the 1930's, it is important to stress that this story is a fiction and that the portraits that appear in it are fictional, as are some of the events and journeys." (Acknowledgements)

In May 2004, MI5 opened the files regarding Almasy, renewing the siege on a novel, demanded to be true to life. This is almost as good as the anonymous authority at the Vancouver border demanding of the Booker Prize Winner what kind of fiction he wrote, whether true or not. In the wake of the film, reviewers have had ample time to seek out survivors to recall dim memories to support one side or the other regarding the nefarious activities of Almasy, accused of being a Nazi spy, incompetent bungler, revolting, besotted homosexual as they wish to paint the man, spawning at least another forthcoming book by John Bierman, "The Secret Life of Laszlo Almasy: the real English patient" published by Viking and reviewed by James Holland in "Alone in the Desert," New Statesman, 21 June 2004.

According to the rules of fiction, things aint necessarily so:

Almasy seemed obsessed by two things: the myth of Zerzura and its whereabouts and the legend of Cambyses' 50,000 men engulfed in a sandstorm; but not a fullblown, nasty Nazi spy, willing to trade lives for ready pocket money to defeat the English in North Africa.

Screaming protests at the top of the lungs, The Telegraph printed an article by Michael Smith and Peter Day on 21 May 2004, entitled, "English Patient was 'ugly, gay' Nazi spy," claiming he was a bungling, ill-dress, schnable-nosed klutz better suited for Peter Seller imitations or an O'Toole wouldbe, most incomptetently leading two miscreant fleshpotters across the Libyan desert to Cairo, assidiously watched by those of Bletchley Park for his devious but not deadly manuevers. However, there is no proof of the intent as being an effective operative of the German intelligence or going into the interesting trade of war arena tourism for the sole benefit of pocket money.

Sandy Mitchell dug amongst the desert bones to uncover Brigadier Rupert Harding Newman, for an interview in The Age, "The real Count Almasy," printed on 2 July 2002, to gain enlightenment on the controversial figure and received the personal distaste of Almasy's reputation as a loner and homosexual, but branded as an Abwehr company man handing over maps and intelligence to the Germans as early as 1940, dying of dysentery in a Salzburg sanatorium in 1951.

Each side presents its view, challenging the others to come up with new evidence to prove that a work of fiction should be somehow true relatively hard to do. Strangely, no one seems to demand this same validification fo the other characters, such as David Caravaggio whose name is ostensibly borrowed from a sixteenth century Italian Painter, Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio, 1573-1610, or of the lonesome Hana whose shadow flickers against the broken walls of the Villa San Girolamo. No one doubts the existance of the Villa Medici, the hospital in Pisa, the caged rancour of the mad poet, Ezra Pound or a thousand other things which are all substantiate credible fiction. The furor is about a single man: Almasy. Nor does anyone dare question the rather ridiculous story of how Caravaggio lost his thumbs, after getting caught naked trying to retrieve his camera while interrupting someone's nocturnal gymnastics. Tell me, what kind of man wanders down a hall, ducking into unlocked rooms in his birthday suit?

Yet in close examination of the story, does the English Patient himself ever actually disclose his identity? Even the characters within the book take their various turns, pointing fingers at him, accusing him of being the inscrutable with Caravaggio administering his own devilish concoction of morphine as a truth serum to get the facts from him. He doesn't actually succeed as the English Patient is portrayed with the shifting of his environment, as slippery as sand from one variation to another, sliding through states of half consciousnness and narcotic induced awareness. He rarely even offers anything in direct speech or dialogue, his thoughts presented obliquely. How often have novelists allowed their audiences to go madly on some literary goosechase, trying to identify the familiar voice or face presented to them? Is it not the mark of mastery to concoct a novel to perplex and leave readers intrigued, searching for the missing person hidden behind say, an Iron Mask? The Kipling archives have long been open with people pouring over them, still hazarding guesses over the identities of those heard in Plain Tales from the Hills or the Purun Dass, KCIE, who appears in The Miracle of Purun Bhagat of the Second Jungle Book, and the fingerprinting of Larry Darrell and Elliot Templeton of W. Somerst Maugham's Razor's Edge. Isn't this what is usually classified as "staying power" the mark of an extraordinary tale? Intriguing generations to seek for new angles and insights on history that would otherwise remain long-forgotton or overlooked as the western world remains ungrateful for the contributions of the Indian military or ignorant of the brutal mining and bitter combat of reclaiming Italy?

Are there rules, demanding that a novelist be forthright, validate every detail with a certificate of authenticity or may he,. ahem, mix a potent brew of fact and fiction, possibly concocting composite identities from those dead as well as living at the time?

Who else wandered the Middle East, far more famous in Hollywood than Almasy, well-educated at Oxford with a perchance of making foot tours of deserts and charting medieval castles in search of the solution to a question (presented by Hogarth) whether the pointed arch and vault was transferred into Europe through Arabian influences of the Crusades or vice versa? Are there not previous examples of the Great Game played out in other literary works, such as Childers, Riddle of the Sands (1903) or Conrad, the Secret Agent (1907), Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King (1889) or Kim (1901) or perhaps more legendary, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926) ? Aren't famous generals known to pocket editions of ancient classical works which they consult in times of bombardment and conflict, the ever ready handbooks of assault and pontoon bridges? And certainly, intelligence officers are not unknown for being educated and translating such jewels as Homer's Odyssey, or plotting seven day wars on the basis of Josephus.

"I am a man who can recognize an unmanned town by the skeletal shape on a map. I have always had information like a sea on me. I am a person who if left alone in someone's home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history enters us. I knew maps of the sea floor, maps that depict weaknesses in the shield of the earth, charts painted on skin that contain the various routes of the Crusades." (p18)

Eh? Crusades? Castles? Medieval fortifications? Oxford? Medieval Literature? A person who knows without doubt that there ar no brunettes among the Florentine Madonnas and the personal history of nearly everything that ever happened in Europe. Sounds a bit like a Medieval Literature student going off on Carchemish digs rather than an Austrian car peddlar surviving on bad tourism gigs.

So speculation continues on the identity of the chief hero or villain in the center of the story while ignoring the skill of the artisan who crafted an unforgettable, riveting and intriguing novel.

What makes the illusion so credible is Ondaatje's mastery of weaving myth into contemporary reality, dropping into our world a flaming Icarus:

"I fell burning into the desert... I flew down and the sand itself caught fire. They say me stand up naked out of it. The leather helmet on my head in flames..." (p 5) Overtones of Ovid echo through the lines as the writer uses his craft to convince us of a mirage visible but not quite tangible; the memories of swimmers in a cave, evoking and awakening dim recollections of Mediterranean mosaics and broken villas crumbling from the Roman Empire. The voice alluring, convince and beguiling, leading the reader into the speculative blackhole where historical fact opens, yawning an enigma, the disappearance of a team, an airplane, lost in the desert and never quite adequately explained.

This is the art of a writer, beguiling us to believe what we should recognize immediately as fiction as it twists the story to fit the shape required by the various characters within the book. The sudden appearance of the sapper arising out of the water like a freshwater submarine, following a madonna and exiting equally suddenly on a motorcycle down the winding roads of Italy, skidding off a turn onto a bridge and flying with his steed into the voracious water-- a dim memory awakens the legendary myth of another figure, dying abruptly after the retirement of war.

Why should an audience demand "the facts" from fiction when they gullibly allow political leaders to spew out fiction as plain facts? Consider the myth of WMD, the single determining factor for the invasion of Iraq. or the Inaugural Address, demanding Democracy at all costs, so long as Muslim chaplains can be detained under suspicion without evidence and local taxi drivers rounded up and sent to detention in Cuba on basis of unverified tips of being aiders and abettors of those who destroyed the Twin Towers or secret henchmen of Saddam? And the definition of torture changed and Geneva Convention violations white-washed over What is truth, demands Pilate, washing his hands.

Shouldn't a novelist ply his trade when so many crowing political truths fail? Wanting for footnotes? No, I doubt it, for there shall be years of guessing the identity of the man hidden behind the blackened face, the Icarus of Ondaatje's English Patient. Perhaps like Eliza Doolittle, he's not Hungarian at all

Pogo
Reviewer


Robyn's Bookshelf

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy
Clive Woodall
Ace Books
ISBN: 0441012655 $19.95

A malignant evil is creeping across the land of Birddom. The time for birdsong has passed and survival depends on silence. A dark covenant of magpies, led by a sadistic dictator called Slyekin, plots the demise of lesser birds and the revered Council of Owls. The last of his species, a lone robin named Kirrick is driven by revenge to undermine their total domination. Trying to flee an unrelenting chase, the tiny bird struggles to survive an onslaught of murdering magpies, led by Slyekin's top henchman, Traska. An unyielding foe, Traska haunts Kirrick's every move as the small bird tries to rally others to aid in the fight. But Kirrick is not alone in his quest to save Birddom. Tomar, an elder owl from the Council hopes to foil Slyekin's master plan, but he hasn't heard from Kirrick since the beginning of the attack. Has the little bird accomplished his mission or was it just folly to send such a small creature up against such brutality? A war erupts and another deadly leader emerges. This time a son steps up to take down his father. The division of good verses evil aligns unlikely allies between species and forges some unusual packs. Although evil and hatred run deep, love and goodness simmer below the surface. Heart felt scenes and deep emotions guarantee the reader will feel the intensity of the hunt; understand how deep the evil and the extent to which it can flourish. The violence and some adult scenes are not recommended for younger children, but teens to adult will turn page after page to see how the saga unfolds.

Angelina of Italy
Maya Angelou
Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
Random House
ISBN: 037582832X
ISBN: 0375928324 $3.99

What makes children from different countries uniquely different? Is it their physical features, connection to a vast history, or food? For the little Italian girl Angelina, it's pizza. Angelina loves pizza. In fact, she loves it so much that when she hears about the famous leaning Tower of Pisa, she believes it to be the leaning Tower of Pizza. And that is upsetting because if the leaning Tower of Pizza falls over, the pizza pies stacked on top of each other will never be eaten. "Don't worry, darlinghissima," said Angelina's mama. "The tower is made of marble and concrete and metal." But the words are not comforting to the little girl and the family leaves on a visit to Pisa. When the tower is within reach a guard keeps Angelina from getting closer. Crocodile tears fall from the distressed girl. A scuffle incurs and Angelina is finally able to see the tower up close. The illustrations are simple but favorably depict various details of Italian culture. One unique feature of the Maya's World Series is the collectable cut-out doll printed on the flap.

I Don't Want to Go To Camp
Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Maryann Coca-Leffler
Boyd Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
ISBN: 1563973936, $14.95
ISBN: 1590780744, $8.95

At five years old, you too might dislike the notion of your mother going away from home to attend camp. Especially if you don't know anything about it. Lin and her stuffed animal, Loppy Lamb, discover the wonders of camp through a light-hearted but engaging story that begins with her mother purchasing a sleeping bag and harmonica. Lin's anxiety about the unknown is shown through imaginary conversations shared only with her dear stuffed friend. When her mother mentions Lin will be able to attend camp herself in two years, Lin objects and mom wisely sympathizes, knowing there are enticements to come. Mother invites the family to attend Visitor's Day and Dad, Lin, and Loppy Lamb set out to bake delicious goodies to take with them. Once they arrive, they find mother has made many friends, attended midnight campfires where they enjoy marshmallow mushies, played volleyball and gone horseback riding. By the end of the day, Lin trades friendship bracelets with a new friend of her own, and she realizes camp might not be so bad after all. Illustrations in watercolor and pen paint a delightful and loving world where children feel safe to learn and express themselves.

Robyn Gioia, Reviewer
http://www.robynleslie.com


Roger's Bookshelf

It's Never Too Late to Plant a Tree: Your Guide to Never Retiring
Mel Helitzer and Morrie Helitzer
University Sports Press
PO Box 2315, Athens, Ohio 45701
ISBN 0963038745 $19.95 328 pages

Inspirational, Thought-Provoking, Evidentiary

The subtitle of this book, "Your Guide to Never Retiring," is misleading. Compared to other books in the field of the lives of older citizens, this is not a guidebook. This volume will not tell you how to deal with taxes, medicare, sex, or estate planning. The other phrase on the front cover is the true description: "65 Inspiring Stories That Can Renew Your Life."

The stories illustrate that people after (you pick the age) have all sorts of opportunities available to them to live life to the fullest. There's no reason to stop or even slow down when you reach some chronological milestone. Each of these stories is inspiring unto itself, so you can imagine what a whole book of these anecdotes must be! I enjoyed reading page after page, finding myself eager to return to bed each night to lift this book from my bedside table to learn more.

While the stories are inspiring, they are also instructive. As you learn what people have done with their lives, and look at the positive difference they've made, you'll find yourself challenged to emulate them. Considering carefully the lessons of what they have accomplished and how they did it, you'll see some stepping stones to the path into your later years. Each of us can make a difference some large, some much smaller. Reading this book might energize you to make a more significant difference than you believe is possible at the moment.

Enjoy "It's Never Too Late to Plant a Tree," then take some action to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others.

Running Training Like a Business
David van Adelsberg and Edward A. Trolley
Berrett-Koehler Publishing
ISBN 1576750590 $27.95 218 pages

A Welcome Guidebook

Training has been viewed as an expense in most organizations, a poor step-child to human resources, at best. It's a cost center in the minds of most executives, a necessary (or is it really?) evil.

With the move toward lean organizations, practically every department is expected to be a profit center instead of a cost burden. "If you can't make a positive difference on our bottom line, we'll out-source you" is the attitude of many executives today. So Running Training Like a Business is a book for the times. Like it or not, if you're in the training field, you'd better be reading this book.

Credibility. Trainers, like many professionals, are wary of all the garbage that poses as valid information. They need to cut through the noise to get the real meat, and they don't have a lot of time to wade through extraneous space-filling material that doesn't contribute to what they need to know. The authors understand. They're senior executives at The Forum Corporation, one of the premier global consulting firms on training and training management.

The authors get right into content. No wasted time here. The writing is concise, supported by graphics where needed. Bullet points at the end of each chapter reinforce what needs to be done to achieve solid accomplishment of objectives. It's a good business approach.

The book is organized into three parts: The Business Case for Transformation, Making the Transformation, and The End of the Beginning. The design is a familiar model to professionals engaged in behavioral change, making the content easier to absorb and apply. Organization change is what this book is all about, and the questionnaires in the back of the book will help the reader assess what needs to be done, progress made, and challenges yet to be overcome.

This book may be a bit difficult, in places, for some trainers. That's understandable; many trainers have not had sufficient exposure to the business side of business. There's plenty of training language to build comfort and a sense of familiarity, enabling readers to find a number of jumping-off points to stay with the theme.

As the author of "Lean & Meaningful," I can say that what van Adelsberg and Trolley have presented is very congruent with what we see in today's corporate culture. The role of training will grow in importance, but it must also grow in producing and measuring bottom-line results.

Quantum Organizations
Ralph H.Kilmann
Davies-Black Publishing
ISBN 089106155X $45.00 344 pages

An Organizational Development Treasure

The recurring theme today is transformation. Corporate transformation. Personal transformation. As I see this book, it's an insightful guide to understanding and leading change. It's a full book, with helpful color illustrations---the kind of manuscript that will consume a considerable amount of time to move through. It's a deep intellectual work, not a pop management publication.

Kilmann begins by focusing the reader on current conditions, then a comparison and comprehension of "two dueling paradigms" of where we are and where we're going. The new paradigm is explored using the language and concepts of quantum physics that will stimulate and challenge the minds of organizational development readers.

Most of the book is devoted to an exploration of eight tracks, organized by sections titled Quantum Infrastructures, Formal Systems, and Process Management. The sixth chapter, on Critical Success Factors, intertwines the corporate and the personal with an emphasis on consciousness and meaningfulness. Readers will journey through tracks on culture, skills, teamness, strategy-structure, rewards, gradual process, radical process, and the learning process.

A broad bibliography and index make this deep content book even more valuable.

Roger E. Herman, Reviewer
http://www.hermangroup.com


Sherry's Bookshelf

Justice Denied: A Detective's Dilemma
Joseph A. Horak
Bookman Publishing
Martinsville, Indiana
www.bookmanmarketing.com
ISBN: 1594530955 $19.95 450 pages

Justice Denied is a true story of youth, sex, drugs, suicide, and murder. It is a story of a committed detective and a chief betrothed in the quest for the truth. The author meticulously takes the reader through the days, months and years showing that no stone was left unturned in investigating and trying to bring the killer(s) of two young girls to justice. There is another underlying theme in this book. It is a description of the power and greed in the police department and how personalities get in the way of determining the outcome of such intense investigations.

The investigation started on July 12, 1973. Two pretty young teens at the tender age of 15 were brutally murdered. Diane Compagna and her friend Anne Psoradelis encounter an unsteady situation on July 4th, which seemingly led to their cruel untimely and crude deaths. The reader becomes privy to all activity including the eerie scene of parents combing through and identifying the collected belongings found on the victims and at the murder scene.

Many of the town's people engaged in the gossipy wickedness fueling rumors about the two girls which actually resulted in shedding light on more pertinent information. Lots of fingers wagging at different suspects but most of the leads seemed to sharply point in one direction. Mr. Horack believes he knows and names the person(s) responsible for stamping out the lives of these two young girls. Yet, after all these years, they still have not been able to prove it.

The book is written in a Dragnet style. Very heavy in detailed conversations, emotional aspects, the personal lives of the police, the victim's families, and the suspects.

Mr. Horack wrote this book to have a legacy to these murders. From the beginning when he went 81 days with no help from the numerous friends, his curiosity was peaked and at the same time he became bonded to the families to bring the killer(s) to justice. Now, in 2004, his goal is to give the families some sort of closure if there is such a thing to this type of violent death. The author believes this collection of pertinent and extremely detailed information will carry on and hopefully someone will step forward and put the pieces to this unsolved murder together. Mr. Horack exemplifies the bloodhound never ceasing attitude of a true humanitarian detective.

Betrayed: Murder in the Bahamas
Robert Terwilliger
Spring Trade Publishing
Palm Beach Shores, Florida
www.mymelodyyacht.com
ISBN: 0976557800 $18.95 351 pages

Robert Terwilliger has delivered a suspenseful page turner with a bombshell ending set in islands of rich beauty and history. The handsome young main character, Chino, is a natural master salesman with optimum organizational skills. After joining up with Big Dawg's local drug gang in 1992, Chino's abilities develop as the gang's power and trade grow. He soon calculates a three phase plan to catapult himself into his desired position.

Chino continues to walk the fine line of a high wire without a net in his callous desire to become the kingpin. He cultivates his business into a superior stealing machine by putting education at the top of his list. He makes sure his thieves are adept in their trade which yields him a thriving business with over 200 stolen boats. This activity allowed him to expand his retail drug business from 2 to 9 million dollars a year.

All is well in the stealing and drug business until they take the Edgewater owned by, the not to be messed with, Bob Edwards (Viper).

Add in a government surveillance team, high jacking, murder and there are enough twist and turns to satisfy any mystery crime reader.

This book will treat you to a thrilling Caribbean Cruise with Treat yourself lots of swash buckling adventures. Betrayed is complete with an introduction about pirates to a helpful hints and nautical terms guide.

Adult Content

Miss Bumples Lands on Earth
Jennifer E. Sheehan
Bumples
37 Naromake Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854
www.bumples.com
Ages: 3-8, Order No. Bk03
ISBN: 0970095260 $15.95 32 pages

Miss Bumples, a blue Martian creature with a magic cane, finds herself on Earth. By tapping her head, she instantly and mysteriously understands what the earth characters say to her. Miss Bumples is spunky and fascinating in her resourceful search for a way back to Mars. As she romps and flies to different places, Miss Bumples stumbles upon all kinds of pleasurable characters and adventures.

Miss Bumples takes a young reader on a journey to New York, the ocean, the rain forest, the South Pole, the desert and the jungle. This is a gentle-hearted flight of fancy with wonderful illustrations. Recommended for a child's first read alone or a read aloud with a parent.

Sherry Russell
Reviewer


Smith's Bookshelf

Memories Stir the Heart
Barbara K. McDonald
Infinity Publishing.com
1094 New Dehaven St Suite 100, West Conshohocken, PA 19428
1-877-BUY-BOOK
ISBN 0741407388 $13.95 167 pages

History fans and readers of romantic stories will both be blown away by the historical detail and heartwarming plot of Memories Stir the Heart, by Barbara McDonald. Set in the mid-1800s, a time when the Oregon Trail was the primary means of traveling west, Barbara paints a very vivid picture of life in a wagon train. Her main character's personal struggles as a wife of a less-than-decent man keep the reader interested, as does the final companionship found, and lost, between herself and a cattle-driver named Jesse Hoehne.

As she works through the memories in her wooden chest, Molly Hoehne recalls her pain, sorrow, and joy at each item. While the memories stir her heart, the reader sees the longing and the hope for perfect love. It is a hope that drives her, in the last paragraph of the book, to say, "Well, who knows what tomorrow will bring?" The very fact that the reader is left, after all of the trials of the main character, with the hope of a new day is only the first reason to read and enjoy this debut novel.

Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin
Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE
Marlowe and Company
245 West 17th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10011-5300
646-375-2570
ISBN 1569244367 $15.95 241 pages

This truly is a very practical guide to managing diabetes. Drawing on his experience as a certified diabetes educator, exercise physiologist, and insulin pump trainer/user, Gary Scheiner expertly lays the foundation for diabetes management. Once the foundation is laid, he goes through the process of diabetes management and then takes the reader through the extreme cases management. Far from being a difficult textbook, however, Think Like a Pancreas takes an almost conversational approach to explaining the situation. Even as a person without diabetes, I was able to navigate the book and understand the details with ease.

The book is replete with visual aids as well. Scheiner uses graphs, tables, and flow charts not only in basic instruction, but also for troubleshooting insulin/blood sugar problems. Each chart is laid out in a very informative manner, and even laypersons unfamiliar with studying diabetes (such as a family member or someone newly diagnosed with the disease) will understand the concepts, problems, and solutions.

Not enough can be said about how well this book was written. The author's style, combined with his knowledge on the subject of diabetes is a must for every sufferer's bookshelf. Furthermore, persons with loved ones who suffer from diabetes will also gain a great deal of insight, just as I did, from Think Like a Pancreas.

The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi
William Scott
Wilson Kodansha International
17-14 Otowa 1-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8652
ISBN 477002942X $24.00 287 pages

If you are a student of martial arts or history, and were looking for the same Miyamoto Musashi who slashed his way to stardom in ancient Japanese tomes (writing a few of them himself), then you would find him in the first few chapters of Lone Samurai. In the rest of the book, you'll find the rest of Musashi. Even after living in Japan for over two years, I found the book very insightful. Aside from being perhaps the greatest swordsman who ever lived, he was also a dedicated poet, sculptor, and gardener, as well as knowing the "Way of the Tea; and was adept the recitation of Noh drama, garden design, and perhaps even carpentry."

Wilson points out this made him the true version of the Bushido code warrior, a design and dream of martial arts since the Confucian days in ancient China. Other things learned, for many it may be the first time, is that he had a "Family" in the loosest sense of the word. A courtesan in Edo had attracted his attention, and Miyamoto is known to have made at least one trip to Edo with no military value whatsoever just to see her. He also adopted two young men as his own sons, although the woman who briefly shared part of his life did not raise them.

Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of Wilson's book is that he goes through other literature written about Miyamoto. This is not done out of competition, but rather as a cultural study, and a very intriguing one at that.

Whatever you may already know about the life of Japan's greatest swordsman, you will find yourself intrigued and able to learn more in the pages of Mr. Wilson's work.

S. Daniel Smith
Reviewer


Sullivan's Bookshelf

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
Stephen Greenblatt
W.W. Norton and Company
ISBN# 0393050572 $26.95 430 pages/indexed

Status, that's what Will Shakespeare's father desired. John Shakespeare was a commoner and a glove-maker. But he wanted a coat of arms. A lifelong quest, this mark of status was never bestowed upon him. And his fortune in life never materialized. What little he had tourned sour, perhaps it was his own doing. His son, Will, seems to have quested for that higher social recognition, too. And thanks to his successful playwriting, he got that status.

Will was born in April of 1564. At 18, he married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. They would have three children, a daughter, Susanna, born six months after her parents were wed, and then twins, a boy and a girl. The lad, with the auspicious name of Hamnet, would die before his teens. Those youngsters grew up in a virtual single-parent home with their mother in Will's hometown of Stratford. He himself, early on, had gone to work in the thriving community of London, where he began to write.

In that bustling city, he chummed around with stage actors and other writers, like the brilliant, but volatile, Christopher Marlowe, who would be killed at age 29. Some of these men were quite well educated, coming from wealthy and/or titled families. But, rich or poor, Will's friends all liked to party.

Will collaborated with a few in this group in writing plays that their company of actors, all males in those days so they had to act the female roles, too, enacted. Usually an aristocrat supported the acting ensemble. Often they had their own theater, also. Eventually, Will became part owner of the Globe Theater where his plays were staged.

The times were Elizabethan, named for Queen Elizabeth l, daughter of King Henry the VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. And during these years, England's state religion was Protestant. Catholics were forbidden, on pain of death, to practice their religion. Only a short while earlier, Catholics had been killing Protestants for not following the old time religion.

This had all come about earlier, thanks to Henry the VIII's having lost his argument with the Pope in Rome. He wanted his marriage (or marriages) annuled. After that event, the rotund royal officially made England a nonRoman Catholic nation. Even priests and nuns had to convert to the Protestant religion or leave the country. Most complied. But some didn't. And they paid the highest price.

When Henry the VIII died, his son, Edward VI, keeping his nation Protestant, ruled for a few years. But then his sister, Mary Tudor, a Catholic, became the English monarch briefly. The results were as might be expected. But Protestant Elizabeth was next on the throne. She quickly reversed Mary's edicts.

Against this awkward, not to mention dangerous, background Shakespeare wrote his plays. Being from a formerly Roman Catholic family, he had to be especially careful about subject matter and how his plays were written. Greenblatt has a strong suuspicion that Will's father secretly remained true to his old faith till his death. Perhaps Will, too, speculates Greenblatt, remained clandestinely faithful, though the evidence is scant.

Early on in London, Will seems to have fallen in love with a young male aristocrat, Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton. Shakespeare wrote several flattering, and suggestive, sonnets, apparently to this younger man who appears to have been moved by the heartfelt verses. Of course, Shakespeare would have had serious trouble with authorities if he had ever even tried to consumate this liaison. Greenblatt doesn't think Will ever did.

Greenblatt, throughout his book, speculates on the various motivations behind Shakespeare's plays. Many of them were written without any direct experience with the subject matter or personal knowledge of the characters involved. This is all the more amazing because Shakespeare truly captures realistic characters and their all too human emotions in his plays. A case in point is The Merchant of Venice. Shylock, the Jewish merchant and money lender, one of the primary characters in that play, is not based on any actual Jewish businessman Will might have known. The Jews had been driven out of England years before. The few who remained in England had converted to Christianity or had pretended to do so. Fellow writers who had written plays about Jews, however, may have been Will's reason for doing so. He may, also, have picked up on Jewish stereotypes from those other plays.

Was there a connection between his Hamlet play and the death of Will's only son, Hamnet? Perhaps. But it was not obvious, for in Hamlet, the father dies, not the son.

Of the more interesting facts a reader learns about Shakespeare's plays is that he borrowed heavily from much of the day's written materials. Yes, he reworked story lines, plots, character traits, endings, etc. But his sourcing has been relatively transparent to those authors, including Greenblatt, who have written about Shakespeare down through the years One such conspicious source was Plutarch's Lives, which Shakespeare mined of material for Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, Cariolanus, and Julius Caesar.

Shakespeare was wealthy enough at his death in April 1616 to leave an estate, mostly to his eldest daughter, though not to her husband. All Will left his wife was his second best bed. Could there have been spousal hard feelings? Very likely.

Greenblatt writes, "This is a book [Will in the World], then, about an amazing success story that has resisted explanation: it aims to discover the actual person who wrote the most important body of imaginative literature of the last thousand years. Or rather, since the actual person is a matter of well-documented public record, it aims to tread the shadowy paths that lead from the life he lived into the literature he created."

A Harvard University professor, Greenblatt is a prize winning writer of other books on Shakespeare.

Recommended.

Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights
Alan Dershowitz
Basic Books
ISBN# 0465017134 $24.00, 261 pages/indexed

Dershowitz suggests that the best place to come up with citizens' individual rights in relationship to their government, and to protect people from the majority, is to look at the wrongs governments have perpetrated, or allowed, against their own people: the Holocaust, the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, the toleration of slavery, the Inquisition, etc. From those wrongs and from many others, rights could be discerned, and enacted into law, that would prevent such terrible occurrences from ever happening again.

Dershowitz explains where rights are now derived: "The first classic answer is that rights come from a source external to law itself, such as nature, God, human instinct, or some other objective reality. This theory (or, more precisely, set of theories) is generally called natural law. Our Declaration of Independence explicitly cited natural law--'The laws of Nature and of Nature's God'--as the primary source of the colonists' right to separate from Great Britain. The second classic answer is that rights are internal to law--that they are granted by the law itself. This is generally called positive law."

But the question for both external and internal law is: based on who's nature and/or on who's definition or revelation of Nature's God? In short, who shall be the judge of what nature or God wants humans to have as rights. And as far as positive law, it has to do with existing law, which is, of course, subject to different interpretations, changes over the years, and adjustments made by different political administrations. Not all law currently on the books is or should be the law.

The reason wrongs are a more judicious source for rights is that most everyone can agree that they should be prevented. Thus, there's more consensus, and less Godlike interpretation. Surely, for instance, no one wants any American, or anyone else for that matter, to be a slave, even if some think it's okay. So a basic right for every citizen is to be free and not to be enslaved. That's a right from a wrong.

As is the case in all of Dershowitz' books, the argument is laid out like the lawyer he is: logical, concise, and just repetitive enough for the layman to understand it. He does, however, in the final chapter, go off on a tangent, the 9/11 legal situation and Justice Scalia who follows the policy of reading the U.S. Contitution as unchanging, or as a 'dead' document, and those other Justices on the present Supreme Court who believe this governing document is a living, breathing instrument of law subject to interpretation in the present world. Nevertheless, the concluding portion of the book makes for interesting reading.

The author is a professor of law at Harvard. A resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dershowitz has written numerous other books. He appears as a legal/political commentator often on various TV news and talk shows.

Recommended.

Jim Sullivan
Reviewer


Taylor's Bookshelf

No Such Thing As Luck
Charlie P. Johnston, Jr.
Johnston Publications
PO Box 13, Greenwood, FL 32443
0974333913 $21.95 www.johnstonpublications.com

In No Such Thing As Luck: A Biblical Perspective, Charlie Johnston dismantles such ancient deceptions as fate, destiny, lot, fortune and chance -- all elements of the traditional concept of "luck". Drawing upon a biblical foundation for his enlightening insights into the idolatrous nature and wayward meaning of belief in a "luck factor", a condition that simply does not exist, Charlie Johnston explains in detail the origin and development of luck's meaning from antiquity down to the present day; alerts the Christian reader to the idolatrous nature of a belief in luck; proves that luck is not a source of enduring prosperity; takes the romance quite out of the concept of destiny; exposes false beliefs about luck, chance, fate and fortune; prizes the value of separating truth from and error and shows how to distinguish between the two; and reveals how a Roman goddess named Fortuna established the modern meaning of fortune -- how luck became a lady. Commended to the attention of those who lay blame for what goes wrong in their lives or activities to "bad luck", as well as attributing their successes to "good luck", No Such Thing As Luck should be required reading for any Christian who is concerned about a gambling oriented culture that is hallmarked by casino gambling, poker playing, four-leaf clovers, and "lucky" item fetishes in support of sports teams.

The Bankrupt Spirit
Vivi Monroe Congress
Little Light Productions, LLC
PO Box 540741, Grand Prairie, TX 75054-0741
097480200X $12.95 www.littlelightprod.com

The debut self-help book by Christian author Vivi Monroe Congress, The Bankrupt Spirit: Principles For Turning Setbacks Into Comebacks deals with the common inner state of being she calls "spiritual bankruptcy". Drawing upon the wisdom of Jeremiah 1:10, The Bankrupt Spirit shows how to identify and deal with the catastrophic effects of life events and problems that can damage our divine inheritance of spiritual, physical, and financial well-being. Financial terms are aptly integrated to parallel the bondage (or debt) that occurs when there is a state of brokeness in our ability to draw upon our "faith account" in the Word (or bank) of God and how Christian men and women can overcome life adversities by applying life skills secured through the wisdom of God. The Bankrupt Spirit is an excellent addition to any Christian Living reference collection or Christian Inspirational Studies supplemental reading list.

365 Ways To Know God
Elmer L. Towns
Regal Books
1957 Eastman Avenue, Ventura, CA 93003-8085
0830733418 $19.99 1-800-235-3415 www.regalbooks.com

There are one thousand names for God in the Bible. In 365 Ways To Know God: Devotional Readings On The Names Of God, Elmer L. Towns (Dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University -- a Christian college that he co-founded with Jerry Falwell in 1971) provides reference to 365 of those names. By analyzing God's character as reflected in the naming passages, Dean Towns enables the reader to delve deeper into a personal spiritual commune with God in the form of daily devotionals featuring comprehensible teachings and accessible scripture readings. Highly recommended reading for students of theology as well as non-specialist general readers, and arranged chronologically from January through December, this 400-page compilation is enhanced with additional appendices including "Jesus: Names, Titles, Metaphors, Figures of Speech and Pictures of Jesus"; "Jesus: Preeminent Pronouns of Jesus in Scripture"; "The Father: Preeminent Pronouns of the Father in Scripture"; The Holy Spirit: The Names, Titles and Emblems of the Holy Spirit"; The Trinity: The Names of the Lord (Jehovah) in the Old Testament"; "The Trinity: The Names of the Lord God (Jehovah Elohim; Kurios Ho Theos) in Scripture"; and "The Trinity: The Names of God (Elohim) in Scripture".

The Unknown Life of Jesus
Nicolas Notovitch, author
J. H. Connelly and L. Landsberg, translators
Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press
1831 Industrial Way, #101, Sanger, CA 93657
1884956416 $12.95 1-800-497-4909

A controversial manuscript since its first publication in 1890, The Unknown Life of Jesus is the original text of Nicolas Notovitch's efforts to learn of the years of Jesus' life unaccounted for in the Bible - when he was between the ages of 13 and 29. During Notovitch's travels through India, he learned of ancient manuscripts allegedly documenting Jesus' visit to Buddhist monasteries. Notovitch eventually persuaded a monk to read from these documents, and as an interpreter translated, Notovitch transcribed. The resulting text resembles the Gnostic Gospels, and offer remarkable insights - they portray Jesus as angering the priests of Brahma due to his teachings that all humans are equal regardless of caste, and as one who claimed that within each person resides "a part of the spirit of the Most High". Originally disdained as a hoax by scholars and theologians, The Unknown Life of Jesus has since acquired some credibility as corroborating information surfaced. The Unknown Life of Jesus features explanatory notes and extensive information about Notovitch's journey as well as the original text itself, and is especially recommended for theological and spiritual studies shelves.

Tumultuous Times
Fr. Francisco Radecki, CMRI and Fr. Dominic Radecki, CMRI
St. Joseph's Media
PO Box 186, Wayne, MI 48184
0971506108 $29.95 www.stjosephschurch.net/media.htm

Written by two priests who are identical twins and members of the Congregation of the Mary Immaculate Queen, Tumultuous Times: Twenty General Councils of the Catholic Church & Vatican II and Its Aftermath is an exhaustive look at the history of the Catholic religion. The first half extensively describes the history of the "Twenty General Councils of the Catholic Church" from 325-1870 AD and their role in defining and clarifying Catholic doctrine. The second half scrutinizes "Vatican II and Its Aftermath" (1962-1965), including the New Mass and Sacraments. Emphasizing the importance of constancy in church doctrine despite pressure from outside and constantly changing environments, Tumultuous Times is a resource that reflects the abiding faith of its authors, as well as their passionate conviction that that there can only be one true church. A powerfully written blend of extensive research and deeply held belief in the value of staying true to faith and tradition.

Multiple Paths to Ministry
Lance R. Barker and B. Edmon Martin, editors
The Pilgrim Press
700 Prospect Avenue, East, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100
0829816100 $25.00 1-800-654-5129 www.pilgrimpress.com

Written with various Protestant branches in mind, Multiple Paths to Ministry: New Models for Theological Education asks the question: how can churches and theological institutions prepare ministers for the diverse and changing demands of the twenty-first century? Professors emeritus of the United Theological Seminary and editors Lance Barker and B. Martin affirm that American Protestantism can no longer rely solely on graduate theological schools to provide aspiring ministers with all the preparation they will need. Multiple Paths to Ministry collects essays by diverse authors concerning such topics as alternative paths to ordination, a historical inquiry into the role of the seminary, radical reformation and renewal of ministries in small churches, and much more. A cutting-edge discourse of how to meet the changing needs of those who follow the Protestant faith.

The New Universal Morality
Hua-Ching Ni and Maoshing Ni
Seven Star Communications
13315 Washington Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90066
1887575111 $16.95 1-800-578-9526 www.sevenstarcom.com

The New Universal Morality: How To Find God in Modern Times is a sharp-tongued answer to the scandals riddling modern-day Christian churches, lapses of ethics in big business, shady politics, and more. Scorning the platitudes of conventional religions that are themselves rife with histories of corruption and bloodshed, The New Universal Morality offers truths for living a healthy, positive life cleansed of negative energies. Chapters discuss how spiritual self-discipline can save the world, contemplations on the question "Who is God"?, how to identify with the virtues of God, and much more. Grounded firmly in techniques and traditions that have been used throughout Asian cultures for centuries, and emphasizing the importance of following one's conscience to spiritual fulfillment, The New Universal Morality is a strong, ethics-based answer to the confusing press of conflicting religious exhortations in today's increasingly globalized world.

The Gospel of Mary of Magdala
Karen L. King
Polebridge Press
PO Box 6144, Santa Rosa, CA 95406
0944344585 $20.00 www.amazon.com

The Gospel of Mary of Magdala is a new translation of the recently recovered Christian Gospel of Mary, lost for more than fifteen hundred years. Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University and translator Karen L. King also introduces the reader to this manuscript with a brief history of its recovery. The Gospel of Mary of Magdala offers a radical new interpretation of Jesus' teachings, denounces the view of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, and disputes the claim that Jesus' suffering and execution are the path to eternal life. The Gospel of Mary of Magdala extensively interprets the ancient word, aiding the reader in coming to terms with the archaic text's literal and metaphorical meaning. A "must-have" for both personal and library theology and reference shelves devoted to apocrypha. The Gospel Of Mary Of Magdala is a seminal and strongly recommended addition to academic library collections and critically important reading for students of the earliest centuries of the Christian movement, as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in Christian gnosticism.

Young and Catholic
Tim Drake
Sophia Institute Press
PO Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108
1928832938 $16.95 1-800-888-9344 www.sophiainstitute.com

Veteran Catholic journalist Tim Drake presents Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow's Church, is a positive-minded and heartwarming glimpse into the lives of up-and-coming young Catholic people striving to spread good works, prayer, and the message of their faith. From web-savvy Catholics seeking to evangelize secular culture through the Internet, to the celebration of World Youth Day when thousands of young people gather and pray to show their love for the Pope and Jesus Christ, to teen groups dedicating themselves to Christian service, chastity, and promoting the Church's teachings, Young and Catholic observes the next generation of the passionately faithful taking root and flowering. A brightly optimistic look at the future of a global faith.

Beyond The Next Mountain
Vision Video
PO Box 540, Worcester, PA 19490
Catalog # 4790D, ISBN 156-364-7907, $24.99, 1-610-584-3500, www.visionvideo.com

At the close of the 19th century, the occupying forces of the British Empire cited the Hmar people of northeast India as "the worst headhunters". An appellation that was well deserved. But in 1910 a single copy of the New Testament Gospel of John came into the Hmar village and changed the course of history for the Hmar people. Through that one copy of the Gospel of John, Chawnga (the father of Rochnga Pudaite) was introduced to a "new life in Christ" that was to revolutionize his life and the life of his fellow tribesmen as he and some of them "forsook all and followed Christ". Chawnga believed that Rochunga was God's chosen instrument to bring the Scriptures to the entire Hmar tribe in their own language. Beyond The Next Mountain is a full color, 97 minute, DVD production showcasing the story of Rochunga's personal pilgrimage. This true life saga of one man's dedication to a vision and of seeking God's direction for his life was filmed in India, Hawaii, Scotland and America. The DVD format allows viewing in English, Spanish, Korean, or Hindi with or without English subtitles, chapter titles providing easy scene access, and biographical information on Rochunga Pudaite. Also available in a VHS format, Beyond The Next Mountain is a dramatic and superbly produced feature film which is enthusiastically commended to the attention of Christian communities everywhere.

The Market Driven Church
Udo W. Middelmann
Crossway Books
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
1581345097 $14.99 www.crossway.com

The Market Driven Church: The Worldly Influence Of Modern Culture On The Church In America by Udo W. Middelmann (graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and President of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation) reveals that although America is the single most Christian country on the planet where there are even street signs directing people to local churches, worship services are routinely broadcast on radio and television, politicians attend prayer breakfasts, and even school children regularly proclaim America as "one nation under God", the church is becoming more like the secular American culture than the American culture is like the Christian church community. Middelmann observes that church attendance is most often an individual choice dictated by convenience and pleasure rather than commitment and dedication. Bible knowledge is more a matter of personal edification, "do-it-yourself" spirituality, and idiocencratic private interpretation. In contemporary American culture, the Bible and its message are seen as products to be packaged and marketed, while individual Christian attitudes become more self-serving. Especially recommended to the attention of anyone concerned about the trend toward honoring the mere trappings of Christianity while ignoring the life-changing and culture-altering influence of the Bible, The Market Driven Church is a clarion call for reform and an advocacy for pastor, ministers, priests, parishioners and churchgoers to renew their focus upon the true teaching of biblical, historic Christianity.

How To Relate Science And Religion
Mikael Stenmark
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
255 Jefferson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503
080282823X $28.00 1-800-253-7521 www.eerdmans.com

How To Relate Science And Religion: A Multidimensional Model by Mikael Stenmark (Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Uppsala University, Sweden) introduces the reader to two disparate and seemingly opposing perspectives on the relationship of religion and science. The first is the view that there is no limit to the competency of science to explain ourselves and the world in which we exist. The second view is that religion has a prober role to play in shaping scientific inquiry and interpretation. Professor Stenmark accessibly presents the central issues of the on-going debate between these two views and offers a "multidimensional model" of science and religion that does not automatically give dominance or priority to either perspective. Thoughtful and thought provoking reading, How To Relate Science And Religion is especially recommended to the the attention of non-specialist general readers with an interest in a reconciliation between the two most influential approaches to discovering and explaining the world in terms of logic and of faith, of experimentation and revelation.

Unveiling The Mystery Of Christ
John A Parry
P & P Publishing
PO Box 1051, Warren, MI 48090
0974574015 $14.95 www.truelightbooks.com

Unveiling The Mystery Of Christ introduces the reader to the "Risen Christ". Through an array of Biblical translations, John Parry draws upon fifty-two years of spiritual study and an array of Biblical translations to make plain the Spiritual knowledge that was given to mankind to further our quest for Life Eternal. By transposing the Bible's historical analogies into eternal truths, the reader's perception of life's content is radically altered. New plateaus of Spiritual understanding are accessed and the gate of entry into Life Eternal is revealed. Unveiling The Mystery Of Christ is thoughtful and thought provoking reading recommended to the attention of Christians seeking to understand Christ Jesus and the concept of an "Eternal Mind".

Life And Livelihood
Whitney Wherrett Roberson
Morehouse Publishing
4775 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112
0819221368 $14.95 1-800-877-0012 www.morehousepublishing.com

Life And Livelihood: A Handbook For Spirituality At Work by Episcopal priest Whitney Wherrett Roberson (Associate Pastor of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco) addresses the necessity for spirituality in the setting where most people spend so much of their waking day -- their place of employment. Providing "nuts and bolts" instructions for running a workplace spiritual group, Pastor Roberson covers everything from forming a workplace group to facilitating a meeting, even to the pint of including detailed agendas for 45-minute meetings exploring such issues as to whether or not work can be sacred; the definition of real wealth, and how language shapes values. Thoroughly "reader friendly", Life And Livelihood is strongly recommended for Christians of all denominations, affiliations, and backgrounds wanting to instill Christian values into their workplace activities and relationships.

The Journey from Texts to Translations
Paul D. Wegner
Baker Book House
PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
0801027993 $29.99 www.bakeracademic.com

The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible is a highly detailed explanation of how the Bible that Christians use today came to be in its present form. Explaining how various books of the bible came to be collected into a single canon text, describing how the Bible was passed through generations, discussing how and why early versions were produced, exploring myriad subtle differences in English translations, and more. Black-and-white photographs illustrate this extensive and fascinating documentation, as informative and compelling for lay readers as for professional scholars.

Informed by Faith
Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones
Cowley Publications
4 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
www.cowley.org
1561012637 $15.95 1-800-225-1534

Episcopal priest and award-winning author Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones presents Informed by Faith: A Spiritual Handbook for Christian Educators and Parents, which examines the history and purpose of Christian education, as well as the meaning of being a Christian. Enumerated discussion ideas and "Watering Hole" thoughts for further reflection enhance this guide borne from the author's personal experience in teaching youth, adults, and parents about Christianity and spirituality. Chapters discuss the state of religious education today, teachings that involve death, what it is to find God in all things, and much more. A recommended supplement to Christian studies and educational shelves.

Moral Education in America
Gary J.Quinn
iUniverse.com, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, #100, Lincoln, NE 68512
0595319912 $15.95 iuniverse.com

Moral Education in America: Its Future in an Age of Personal Autonomy and Multiculturalism is a hard-hitting Christian essay intended especially for educators, counselors, parents, and anyone else involved in teaching and administrative roles. Questioning the loss of moral principles that affect learning and behavior in modern education and society, Moral Education in America reflects Christian principles and spirituality but also comes to grips with serious practical questions. Chapters address ethical skill-training, biblical understanding of the human soul, balancing anima, animus, and spiritus, the limits of intuition in a world of reason and authority, and much more. Scriptural quotation and a reasoned understanding of pratical ethical problems complement one another in this welcome discourse of reclaiming moral and spiritual rectitude as a society.

Lifting the Burden
Brendan Byrne, S.J., D.Phil.
The Liturgical Press
St. John's Abbey, PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321-7500
081463026X $19.95 1-800-858-5450

Written by a professor of New Testament at Jesuit Theological College of Melbourne, Australia Lifting the Burden: Reading Matthew's Gospel in the Church Today is a scholarly study of the book of Matthew, in particular looking at how Matthew relates Jesus Christ's interpretation of the Torah as "burden-lifting", as opposed to the "burden-imposing" interpretation of the Toray as held by the scribes and Pharisees. An extensively researched, in-depth dissection of scripture spanning early and later Galilean ministry, Jesus' journey to to Jerusalem, and His sacrifice. Extensive index of scripture and referenced modern authors allow for quick cross-examination in this welcome contribution to Christian and religious studies shelves.

The Veil Will Be Lifted
John Wallace Carter
ACW Press
5501 North 7th Avenue, #502, Phoenix, AZ 85013
189252595X $12.99 jwcarter@usmo.com

In The Veil Will Be Lifted: An Accurate Chronology Of Future Events Based Solely On Correlated Prophecies Taken from Scriptures In The Holy Bible, John Wallace Carter (a retired federal Administrative Law Judge who has been studying Bible prophecy for the past five years) surveys and analyses all of the biblical prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. He puts each of these "still pending" prophecies ranging from rapture of Christians with respect to the second coming of Christ, to the ten nations to be allied with the Anti-Christ, into their proper order of future fulfillment thereby providing the reader with a picture of the future. This is a future in which cataclysmic world shaking events are presented and arranged in the chronological order in which they will occur . Of special interest are Judge Carter's five rules for interpreting Bible prophecies. The Veil Will Be Lifted is thoughtful and thought provoking reading which is recommended to Christians and non-Christians with an interest in biblical prophecy and the future of the human race.

John Taylor
Reviewer


Terry's Bookshelf

A Salty Piece of Land
Jimmy Buffett
Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316908452 $27.95 480 pages

Recommendation: ***

Cleopatra v. Tully

I'm an avid reader AND a parrothead, so I had great expectations for A SALTY PIECE OF LAND.

Bubba does a good job with the story's set up and he ties it up pretty well at the end, but the middle seemed to wander all over the place.

I was much more interested in the crusty Cleopatra's story than Tully's. I wish Bubba had built the story around her, with Tully as an ancillary character.

With that said, I did enjoy the sailing stories and I have an itch to make it to Belize before it becomes too commercialized.

I look forward to more tale tales, but maybe they would be better served in short story form, not held together by anything other than the binding on the book's spine.

I also think Cleopatra's life and adventures deserve another look.

State of Fear
Michael Crichton
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 0066214130 $27.95 603 pages

What They're NOT Telling Us

This book blew me away. Like everyone else on the planet, I've been following the global warming story for years. I embraced the stories/facts/data the media has been reporting. However, I don't think I've ever read/heard/seen as thoroughly researched argument from the other side until STATE OF FEAR.

I'm no scientist, but Crichton's skills at blending fact with fiction sure kept me interested until the last page was turned.

I know there is conflicting data on this issue, but I can't say I've ever been as entertained and educated while learning how to read charts, graphs and digest the information Crichton puts in front of his readers.

I finished this book about 3:00 in the morning, got out of bed, booted up my computer and googled "global warming". I'm going to do some research of my own.

Crichton has hit a home run with STATE OF FEAR. I just hope the "leftists" won't disregard it as right-wing radical propaganda.

Keep an open mind and look up some of the author's references. He gives you a LOT to think about.

Enjoy!

Terry Mathews
Reviewer


Vogel's Bookshelf

Keeping Shadows
David Acton, et al.
Hudson Hills Press
National Book Network, dist.
74-2 Union St., Manchester, VT 05254
1555952518 $70.00 hudsonhills.com

Enhanced with an introductory essay relating the history of photography at the Worcester Art Museum and across central New England, Keeping Shadows: Photography At The Worcester Art Museum by David Acton (Worcester Art Museum curator of prints, drawings, and photographs) and with contributions by Stephen B. Jareckie (Curator of Photographer Emeritus at the Worcester Art Museum) and Ben Charland (curatorial assistant at the Worcester Art Museum) provides a comprehensive survey of the development and history of photography in the United States. Drawing upon the museum's impressive collections of French, German, British, and Soviet photography, Keeping Shadows showcases noted photographers the "pictorial era" of 20th century New England. Originally serving as the catalogue for the autumn 2004 Worcester Art Museum exhibition and its subsequent national tour, Keeping Shadows is a truly seminal work of impeccable scholarship which is most especially recommended for academic library "History of Photography" reference collections.

Developing Semantic Web Services
H. Peter Alesso & Craig F. Smith
A.K. Peters, Ltd.
888 Worcester Street, Suite 230, Wellesey, MA 02482
1568812124 $59.00 www.akpeters.com

The collaborative work of technology innovator H. Peter Alesso and research engineer Craig Smith, Developing Semantic Web Services presents the complete Language Pyramid of Web markup languages, including Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language (OWL) and OWL-Services (OWL-S), along with numerous examples and software demos. Developing Semantic Web Services also describes the semantic software development tools including design and analysis methodologies, parsers, validators, editors, development environments, and inference engines. Additionally, the source code for the "Semantic Web Author", an Integrated Development Environment for Semantic Markup Languages, is included on an accompanying CD-ROM. Reflecting their expertise arising from their many years of extended research experience at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the co-authors have succeed in producing a seminal, essential, professional level instruction manual and reference work.

Journey Into Community
Steve R. Parson
Eye On Education
6 Depot Way West, Larchmont, NY 10538
1930556675 $29.95 1-914-833-0551 www.eyeoneducation.com

Journey Into Community: Looking Inside The Community Learning Center provides the reader with a kind of instruction manual and roadmap of what to expect when a traditional school decides to end its isolation from the community it services. Community Learning Centers will provide teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders with every tool needed to successfully achieve important education goals with such a transition including improved and high levels of student academic performance; after school programs providing enrichment activities in a safe environment; acquisition of essential technological skills by students and other members of the community; expanding leadership opportunities for teachers, students, and community members; and unlocking the storehouse of educational resources present in the community at large in support of the education of the community's youth. Also very highly recommended reading on this seminal and important subject is Steve Parson's earlier work published by Eye On Education: Transforming Schools Into Community Learning Centers.

The Violin Player
John Knoerle
Mayhaven Publishing
PO Box 557, Mahomet, IL 61853
193227801X $24.95 www.amazon.com

When his mother dies suddenly of a heart attack, 44-year-old Walter Sumner must take his place at the head of the family table. Among his responsibilities is the posting of his mother's date of death on the family's GenealoG webpage. But when he goes to do just that, Walter finds that her date of death is already posted there. Stranger still, it was posed before she actually died. As the primary heir to his mother's estate the police consider Walter the prime suspect. Then another family member's death date is posted! Walter must find the person responsible before death strikes again. This is John Knoerle's second novel and continues to demonstrate his genuine storytelling talent. A well crafted mystery., The Violin Player is a treat for dedicated mystery buffs who will enjoy every plot twist, turn, and surprise in this nicely crafted and highly recommended story of suspense.

Power Up
Chris Kohler
Brady Games
800 East 96th Street, 3rd floor, Indianapolis, IN 46240
0744004241 $19.99 www.bradygames.com

Power Up examines video games in general, and Japanese video games in particular, as an interactive storytelling medium. But video games were not always regarded as art - Japanese influence pioneered cinematic techniques that transformed games from primitive, non-story playthings such as the classic Pong to sweeping epic sagas such as the hero's complex journey in role-playing games like Final Fantasy 7. Though non-Japanese games are included in the discussion, Power Up especially examines how storytelling ideas in Japanese videogames have so thoroughly permeated the gaming world, from the first-ever game cutscenes in Donkey Kong onward. Author and dedicated game fan Chris Kohler presents his research of and personal interviews with industry movers and shakers such as Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario), Hideo Kojima (designer of Metal Gear Solid), and many more. The impact of classic series on game storytelling and narrative include discussions of specific series such as a Mario games, Pokemon, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto among others. Black-and-white photographs and screenshots illustrate this fascinating exploration of everything from how videogame music evolved from bleeps and boops to full-symphony orchestras to the adventures that might await any truly hardcore gaming fan who dares to shop in Akihabara. Though Power Up concentrates especially on video game history, references to modern developments up through 2004 keep this survey current. A highly recommended treat for gamers in particular, and a valuable resource for students and researchers seeking to better understand the cultural shifts in video games as a communicative, interactive, expressive artistic medium as vibrant (and popular!) in its own right as books and movies.

Animation On DVD: The Ultimate Guide
Andy Mangels
Stone Bridge Press
PO Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707
188065668X $24.95 1-800-947-7271 www.stonebridge.com

Animation On DVD: The Ultimate Guide is a comprehensive listing of over 1,600 animation and anime films currently available on DVD. While the majority of the DVDs listed are Japanese animation, non-Japanese DVDs from Superman cartoons to Disney movies are also included. A black-and-white photograph of each DVD prefaces every listing; the capsule entries include a summary of the animation contents, a listing of special features and notes whether it is subtitled, fullscreen, has any inserts, and the like. Animation On DVD is divided into two sections, a general animation section with the majority of entries, and a mature/adult section expressly for DVDs rated R or X (note that the DVD photographs of entries in the mature section do include suggestive images inappropriate for young children). The mature/adult section descriptions does contain "laundry lists" of sexual acts within explicit DVDs, in order to inform the reader beforehand what he or she would encounter viewing the DVD in question. An index makes individual titles easy to find, and an easter eggs segment includes hidden tricks one can find in one's DVD collection! Packed cover to cover with useful and practical information for anyone who enjoys animation, whether the casual viewer or serious collector, Animation On DVD is a superb quick and easy browsing reference.

Understanding the Contemporary Middle East
Deborah J. Gerner and Jillian Schwedler, editors
Lynne Rienner Publishers
1800 30th Street, Suite 314, Boulder, CO 80301
1588260623 $23.50 www.rienner.com

Now in its second edition, Understanding the Contemporary Middle East is an anthlogy of essays by learned authors offering introductions to help lay readers and scholars better comprehend the history, geography, politcs, and culture of Middle Eastern societies. From the historical and modern-day role of religion in Middle Eastern society, to the role of women, the structure of politics, and the often violent history of armed conflict within the region, Understanding the Contemporary Middle East presents complex reality in layman's terms. A "must-read" primer for any beginning student of Middle East society, and a vital resource for anyone striving to better understand the setting and driving forces behind world news headlines.

The Horn of Africa as Common Homeland
Leenco Lata
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3C5
088920456X $24.95 www.wlupress.wlu.ca

The Horn of Africa as Common Homeland: The State and Self-Determination in the Era of Heightened Globalization is a sober treatise, written with scholarly attention to detail yet addressing an issue of great immediate concern to far more than scholars. Nation-states established among the Horn of Africa have boundaries that were drawn with little regard to the natural and cultural divisions, creating nation-states that have conflicts within and between them in an overlapping pattern. Author Leenco Lata, who has lived in most of the nations of the Horn of Africa between 1978 and 1993 and experienced the conflicts firsthand, draws the conclusion that the Horn needs to adopt multi-dimensional self-determination. Chapters discuss the political history of the Horn since decolonization, including emerging trends in self-determination, interactive state formation, and the difficulties of nation-building. The Horn of Africa as Common Homeland is vital and timely reading, not only for its identification of severe problems, but for its reasoned, rational, and practical suggestions for solutions. Also highly recommended is Lata's "The Ethiopian State at the Crossroads", a comprehensive study of why transition to democracy did not succeed in Ethiopia.

Edoardo Weiss
Paul Roazen
Transaction Publishers
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8042
0765802708 $34.95 1-888-999-6778 www.transactionpub.com

Edoardo Weiss: The House that Freud Built is the biography of Edoardo Weiss (1889-1970), a favored disciple of Freud and the acknowledged founder of psychoanalysis in Italy. Drawing heavily on interviews that author and professor Paul Roazen personally conducted with Weiss, Edoardo Weiss: The House that Freud Built covers political issues (including the difficulties of accomplishing pioneer psychological work under the government of Mussolini), moral principles in the clinic, Weiss' and Freud's differences of opinion in how to best work with psychotic patients, and much more. An index rounds out this aptly researched biography, which due to its focus on Weiss' achievements in psychoanalysis is an especially vital contribution to personal and library psychology history shelves.

Studies On The Neoplatonist Hierocles
Ilsetraut Hadot
American Philosophical Society
PO Box 481, Canton, MA 02021-0481
0871699419 $24.00 1-800-821-7823 www.amphilsoc.org

Ably translated from the original French by Michael Chase, Studies On The Neoplatonist Hierocles by Ilsetraut Hadot is an informed and informative treatise on the neoplatonist Hierocles who lived in the fifth century A.D. and taught in Alexandria. Drawing upon the surviving fragments of his seven books "On Providencer" and his commentary on the Pythagorean "Carmen aureum", we learn of many important details on the development of neo-platonic doctrines between Iamblichus and Syrianus-Proculs. A seminal work of impressive scholarship featuring extensive notations and comprehensive indexes, Studies On The Neoplatonist Hierocles is an extraordinary and strongly recommended addition to academic library "History of Philosophy" reference collections and supplementary student reading lists.

Paul T. Vogel
Reviewer


Volk's Bookshelf

Low Carb 1-2-3
Rozanne Gold with Helen Kimmel, M.S., R.D.
Rodale Press, Inc.
400 South Tenth Street, Emmaus, PA 18098-0099
159486165X $16.95 www.rodale.com

Low Carb 1-2-3 presents 225 low-calorie, low-carbohydrate recipes that utilize only three ingredients apiece. Simplicity is the key to this light and healthy food preparation guide, written by award-winning professional chef Rozanne Gold. A simple rundown of total carbs, fiber, total fat, saturated fat, protein, and calories accompanies the delicious recipes such as Homemade Turkey Sausage, Wasabi Salmon, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, Iced Cucumber-Yogurt Soup, and much more. Especially recommended for health-conscious cooks short on grocery shopping time.

Spoonfuls Of Germany
Nadia Hassani
Hippocrene Books
171 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
0781810574 $24.95 1-212-685-4371 www.hippocrenebooks.com

There is more to authentic German cuisine than sauerkraut and knackwust! Spoonfuls Of Germany: Culinary Delights Of The German Regions In 170 Recipes, showcases the breadth and diversity of German cooking from the shores of the North and Baltic Seas to the Alps. There are regional recipes for appetizers, main course, side dishes, desserts, sweets, and drinks. Encompassing a wide variety of vegetables, as well as showcasing savory dishes of meat, poultry, seafood, diary products, and more, the regional specialities combine under one cover to present the full spectrum of fine German dining. Of special note is the "Sources for German Mail-Order Food" and a bibliography for further study of authentic German cuisine. From Blueberry Soup with Caramelized Croutons; Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup; Pickled Pumpkin; and Potato Pancakes with Applesauce; to Chicken in Riesling with White Grapes; Pork Roast with Beer Glaze; German Ravioli with Meat or Spinach Filling; and Bavarian Cream with Raspberry Coulis, Spoonfuls Of Germany would make an impressive and welcome addition to any kitchen cookbook collection.

Seafood Cookbook
Carol Ann Shipman
Hancock House Publishers Ltd.
1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, WA 98230
0888395140 $10.95 hancockhouse.com

One of the outstanding titles in Carol Ann Shipman's "Nature's Gourmet" series from Hancock House Publishers, Seafood Cookbook showcases wonderful recipes that are as easy to make as they are palate pleasing and appetite satisfying. Superbly illustrated with color photography of the finished dishes, the seafood-based recipes are organized into sections devoted to Appetizers; Breakfast & Brunch; Soup & Salad"; and Main Course. Enhanced with attention to condiments and cooking tips, the recipes range from Soy Glazed Mushrooms with Smoked Five Spice Shrimp; Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce; and York Harbor Inn Lobster-Stuffed Chicken with Boursin Cheese; to Jamaican Orange Sea Bass; Grilled Tuna with Pineapple-Ginger Marinade; and Open Faced Catfish Sandwich with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce. Also very highly recommended for kitchen cookbook collections are Carol Ann Shipman's other fine titles comprising the "Natural Gourmet" series: Wild Game Cookbook (0888395116, $10.95); Salmon Cookbook (0888395159, $10.95); Berries Cookbook (0888395124, $10.95); and My Personal Cookbook (0888395698, $10.95) which is a blank cookbook into which you can write, record, and paste in your own favorite recipes. All of these thoroughly "kitchen cook friendly" titles are spiral bound so that they can lay out flat upon the kitchen counter.

Maggie's Music
PO Box 490, Shady Side, MD 20764
1-410-867-0642 www.maggiesmusic.com

Two new CD releases from Maggie's Music are a "must" for dedicated fans of celtic music in general, and the Maggie Sanson/Ensemble Galilei in particular. With a total running time of 55 minutes and 56 seconds, Music In The Great Hall ($12.00) showcases superbly performed and technically flawless recordings of Irish airs from the Bunting and O'Carolan Collections, as well as jigs and reels from the Isle of Mann and 15th-century Welsh tunes. Employing impressive instrumental combinations as the dulcimer, recorders, a Celtic harp, and hand drums, Ancient Noels ($12.00) offers up an an unblemished collection of just under an hour's worth of carols, medieval cantigas and Renaissance dances that celebrate Christmas and the Christmas season. Devotees of Irish instrumental and vocal music are encouraged to send for a complete listing of all the outstanding CD recordings which are available directly from Maggie's Music at maggie@maggiesmusic.com

Studio Stories
Dave Simons
Backbeat Books
Hal Leonard Corp., dist.
600 Harrison St., San Francisco CA 94107
0879308176 $24.95 1-866-222-5232 www.backbeatbooks.com

In Studio Stories: How The Great New York Records Were Made: From Miles To Madonna, Sinatra To The Ramones, musician and music history expert Dave Simons surveys more than 30 years of New York City's recording industry during a time noted for its expertise, brilliant improvisation, and off-beat eccentricity resulting in the creation of truly classics records for some of the best known and most popular artists working in such diverse fields as pop, rock, soul, jazz, and folk music. Readers are provided the perspective of producers, engineers, songwriters, and recording artists associated with the New York music industry expansive years between 1950 and 1980. Comprehensive, detailed, authoritative, informed and informative, Studio Stories is a superbly written and presented slice of American music history that is especially recommended reading and a simply outstanding contribution to 20th Century Music History and American Popular Culture Studies.

Santorella Publicatons' Dictonary Of Musical Terms
Jessy Sauchuk, production
Santorella Publications
13 Pleasant Avenue, Denvers, MA 01923
TS220 $7.95 www.santorellapublication.com

Packed from cover to cover with more than 2500 concisely defined music terms and reference charts, the Santorella Publications' Dictionary Of Musical Terms is 109-page dictionary that is a perfect complement to student and professional music theory reference collections. Laid out in an alphabetical sequence, the entries are enhanced with the inclusion of reference charts for Notation; Meters; Key Signatures; Scales; Modes; Intervals; Signs; Seating Arrangements; Composers & Periods. Known primarily for their excellent musical instrument instruction manuals and sheet music publications, this Santorella Publications musical terminology dictionary is an inexpensive yet invaluable teaching aid. Also very highly recommended for academic and personal Music Studies collections is Santorella Publications' Encyclopedia Of Music Knowledge (TS221, $10.95) which is edited by Dr. William F. Lee and includes a "History of Music Timeline" and twenty music reference charts.

Hip Knits
Better Homes and Gardens
Meredith Publishing Group
1716 Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309
069622092X $19.95 www.bhgbooks.com

One of the newest needlecraft titles from the editors and writers of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, Hip Knits: 65 Easy Projects From Hot Designers offers diverse knitting and crochet projects that will please even the most experienced needlecrafter while being presented with such easy-to-follow illustrated directions as to make every "do-it-yourself" design accessible to even the most novice beginner. These projects range from charming baby sets, stylish sweaters and vest, useful totes, warm mittens, imaginative hats, lovely scarves, and more. Each project comes complete with a materials list, step-by-step instructions, and project diagrams. Enhanced with knitting and crochet basics, Hip Knits is a welcome and enthusiastically recommended addition to any needlecrafting reference collection.

1001 Tips For Buying And Selling A Home
Mark Nash
Thomson/South-Western
5191 Natorp Boulevard, Mason, OH 45040
0324232896 $0324232896 $16.95 www.thomson.com www.swlearning.com

1001 Tips For Buying And Selling A Home by real estate broker and author Mark Nash is a compilation of invaluable "insider information" to engaging in a smooth and successful home or estate transaction whether the reader is a buyer or a seller. Comprehensive, "reader friendly", and authoritative, 1001 Tips For Buying And Selling A Home cover all aspects of a home sale from listing to closing. Included in up-to-date information on real estate trends, key internet "do's and don'ts," stress buster advice, as well as important observations and suggestions "from the trenches" of the real estate business. Enhanced with flow charts, bulleted lists of tips and tricks, valuable negotiating tactics, and candid advice to guide sellers and buyers through the step-by-step process from beginning to end, as well as a glossary of real estate jargon and terms, a resource appendix to additional information via websites, organizations, and government agencies, 1001 Tips For Buying And Selling A Home is "must" reference for non-specialist general readers who are in the market to buy or sell their own home.

Carol Volk
Reviewer


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