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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 7 July 2020 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Education Shelf Jobs/Career Shelf
Gardening Shelf Travel Shelf Railroading Shelf
Biography Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Political Science Shelf
Business Shelf Automotive Shelf Sports Shelf
Art Shelf    


Reviewer's Choice

Birder on Berry Lane
Robert Tougias
Imagine Publishing
c/o Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
https://www.imaginebooks.net
9781623545413, $19.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The house of Robert Tougias on Berry Lane may look like a typical Connecticut suburban home, but as his fascinating year-long account in the pages of "Birder on Berry Lane" reveals, its three-acre backyard is teeming with nature's mysteries. Acutely sensitive to the activities of birds, Tougias notes which species are present, which are breeding, and where their nests are. He identifies each species by its song, and brings us on a journey of appreciation as we learn the wonders of bird migration, the sensitive interaction of birds with their habitat, and the hidden meaning of their call notes and songs.

"Birder on Berry Lane" is comprised of intimate and acutely observed writing that reveals the miracles of the ordinary in the subtle changes, season to season, of the ecosystem of the woods, streams, and meadow that make up the sprawling backyard on Berry Lane. We are led to consider, too, the dangers posed by the climate crisis and unthinking human development. The quietly powerful writing tunes our senses to the change of the seasons, the return of warblers in spring, geese flying south in the fall -- all happening on time as they have for eons.

Beautifully illustrated with twenty-five line drawings by Mark Szantyr, "Birder on Berry Lane" is a book of sublime simplicity that teaches an appreciation for what we commonly overlook.

Critique: Impressively informative, expertly organized, effectively presented, and a joy to read, "Birder on Berry Lane: Three Acres, Twelve Months, Thousands of Birds" is a unique and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Aviary Wildlife collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated bird watching enthusiasts that "Birder on Berry Lane" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Robert Tougias is also the author of Birding Western Massachusetts and The Quest for the Eastern Cougar. He also writes nature articles for publications throughout the country. His column "Bird's Eye View" appears regularly in the New London Day Newspaper. He received his education in natural resources at the University of Massachusetts and has worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the US Department of Agriculture.


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

The English Grammar Workbook for Adults
Michael DiGiacomo
Rockridge Press
https://www.getrockridgebooks.com
9781646113194, $19.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mastering English grammar can be a real challenge. But, with a little practice and patience, anyone can discover how to communicate better through self-study in their spare time with the DIY instructional course offered by "The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing" that is specifically designed to help improve writing fluency so aspiring writers can gain confidence while crafting emails, cover letters, conducting daily business, and personal correspondence.

No matter the current skill level may be, this English grammar workbook has everything needed and necessary to learning essential elements of the written language, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, tenses, and beyond. Then what has been learned can be aptly applied to everyday situations such as those related to school, to work, to social situations, to creative writing, to writing online, and more.

Critique: An ideal choice for classroom curriculums or DIY individual studies, "The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing" is very highly recommended for personal, school district, college, and university library collections. It should be noted for personal studies lists that "The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Michael DiGiacomo started teaching English as a foreign language to adults at a private language school in Sendai, Japan, in 1994. In 2010, he formed Happy English, his own ESL tutoring company in New York. He teaches private lessons, hosts a podcast, and has a YouTube channel to help students all over the world learn English.


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Earth Magic
Marie D. Jones
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
www.visibleinkpress.com
9781578596973, $19.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Nature's magic is everywhere. It's in backyards, in the woods, ponds, and even kitchens. You just need to know how to see it. It's finding the well-being drawn from the energies of the Earth and the universe. It's the herbs and plants, symbols and talismans, candles, stones, gems, and crystals, and their special powers and meanings, spells, potions, and animal and spirit guides. Even as it gives us the food, water, and air we need to survive, the Earth offers gifts far beyond the obvious.

"Earth Magic: Your Complete Guide to Natural Spells, Potions, Plants, Herbs, Witchcraft, and More", will guide you through the rites, practices, and traditions people use to connect themselves to the planet, spirits, and energies. "Earth Magic" shows how the laws of the universe and the forces of science can allow you to achieve your desires and intentions by aligning unseen energy. With "Earth Magic" you can find the wisdom in the stars and planets above and the Earth below.

"Earth Magic" also brings balance and harmony to modern life through the healing and uplifting powers nature. A fascinating read, "Earth Magic" shares practical advice and timeless insights. Green living, natural healing, alignment with the Earth and stars and serves as wondrously instructive guide to a universe filled with marvels!

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Earth Magic: Your Complete Guide to Natural Spells, Potions, Plants, Herbs, Witchcraft, and More" is an ideal introduction for DIY metaphysical studies curriculums and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academicians, practitioners, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Earth Magic" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).

Editorial Note: Marie D. Jones is the author of nearly two dozen nonfiction books on cutting-edge science, the paranormal, conspiracies, ancient knowledge, and unknown mysteries, including (from the Visible Ink Press) Celebrity Ghosts and Notorious Hauntings; Demons, the Devil, and Fallen Angels; and The Disaster Survival Guide: How to Prepare For and Survive Floods, Fires, Earthquakes and More; plus PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena; The Grid: Exploring the Hidden Infrastructure of Reality; Supervolcano: The Catastrophic Event That Changed the Course of Human History; and The Deja Vu Enigma. She is a regular contributor to New Dawn Magazine, FATE, Paranoia Magazine and other periodicals.

Horse Magick
Lawren Leo & Domenic Leo
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578636983, $15.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Along with the bear, horses are a primary creature associated with shamanism and traditions influenced by it. They appear in 25,000-year-old cave paintings, such as those at Lascaux. They find a role in the modern African diaspora traditions such as Haitian Vodou, whose devotees are called "horses" for the spirits who ride them during trances.

The spirit of the horse exists in the subconscious minds of humans and takes shape in various forms, whether as a symbol of fertility in the land, as in Celtic mythology, or as a psychopomp, which leads the dead to the next world. The horse has made its way into the current of our collective unconscious as a universal archetype.

The collaborative work of Lawren and Domenic Leo, "Horse Magick: Spells and Rituals for Self-Empowerment, Protection, and Prosperity" is comprised of spells, rituals, chants, and meditations for many purposes, loosely based around equine imagery. Numerous traditions are represented, as are many deities, including Athena, Epona, and Baba Yaga. Readers show note that no contact with actual horses is required in order to appreciate and benefit from "Horse Magick" as part of their metaphysical studies.

Through the use of spells and rituals, readers are able to magickally ride to their chosen destinies and fulfill their desires. Workings involve crystals, candles, and Tarot cards, items easily accessible for most readers.

Critique: Enhanced for both academia and non-specialist general readers with the inclusion of an informative Introduction, a ten page Bibliography, and a seven page Index, "Horse Magick: Spells and Rituals for Self-Empowerment, Protection, and Prosperity" is a uniquely informative and exceptionally well presented study. While especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted for individual reading lists that "Horse Magick" is also readily available in a digital book format ($9.99).

Editorial Note: Lawren Leo is an author and the owner of New Moon Books, Crystals, and Candles, a metaphysical boutique in Pompano Beach, Florida. He contributes to and co-edits the e-zine he founded, The Familiar. He is a spiritual counselor, student of esoteric philosophy, and practitioner of the magickal arts in the tradition of the Golden Dawn.

Domenic Leo holds degrees in French and Spanish literature, linguistics, and ancient Greek, early Christian, Islamic, and medieval art history from Georgetown University, Christie's Education, and New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. He taught art history at Duquesne University, Youngstown State University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division and has lectured throughout the United States, Great Britain, and Europe.

Crystal Zodiac
Katie Huang
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.hmhco.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9780358213048, $20.00, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For anyone new to the benefits of crystal healing and astrology, or for those who have been practicing for years, "Crystal Zodiac: An Astrological Guide to Enhancing Your Life with Crystals" by Katie Huang breaks down their practical, easy-to-use applications, showing how they powerfully work together to prioritize personal growth and mindfulness in the day-to-day.

Readers will learn which crystals to use for their zodiac signs and major planetary placements in their natal charts, how these placements critically impact different areas of their lives, and customized rituals to harness and utilize the energy of each sign.

By understanding the best crystals to use for their astrological profile, readers will become more attuned to their own (and others') communication styles, emotional needs, and love languages, gaining all the tools they need to form or enrich a wellness routine that feels tailor-made for them.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color throughout, is an ideal introduction for the novice metaphysical studies student to the subject of Crystals. Providing an astrological overview of the subject, "Crystal Zodiac: An Astrological Guide to Enhancing Your Life with Crystals" especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and practitioners that "Crystal Zodiac" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete an unabridged audio book (Blackstone Publishing, 9780358310266, $34.87, CD).

Editorial Note: Katie Huang is an entrepreneur and the founder of Love By Luna, a leading astrological lifestyle brand. She is also co-owner of MoonBox, an international subscription box service aligned with the lunar cycle. Featured in Allure, TeenVogue, Buzzfeed, & Time Out London, Katie focuses on developing products that combine style, practicality, and spirituality to encourage mindful living.

The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces
Anjou Kiernan
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9781592339440, $19.99, HC, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces: How to Create Magical Spaces in Your Home for Ritual & Intention" by Anjou Kiernan shows the metaphysical student how to create altars and sacred spaces based on the Wheel of the Year. Simple rituals and DIY projects provide all the tools needed to mindfully reflect upon the seasonal Sabbats and holidays.

Whether building a sacred fire pit for Beltane or Feast Table for the Autumn Equinox, "The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces: How to Create Magical Spaces in Your Home for Ritual & Intention" shows how to honor the sacred doorways of the year and bring magic into our daily lives.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full color photography throughout, "The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces: How to Create Magical Spaces in Your Home for Ritual & Intention" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, making it an ideal and especially recommended instructional guide and manual for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections.

Editorial Note: Anjou Kiernan is the hedgewitch and herbal alchemist behind Light of Anjou, a witchery shop and virtual sacred space for magic and mysticism. She has been toiling in potions and occult writing since the age of 16 and has continued her journey in witchcraft on a magically-minded homestead in the rolling hills of mid-Maine. Her writing and photography of unique altars and sacred spaces have attracted a broad audience and customer base on both Instagram (@lightofanjou) and her online witchery shop (www.lightofanjou.com).She is also the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Witchcraft".

Divine Gifts of Healing: My Life with Spirit
Cat Baldwin
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
www.ozarkmt.com
9781940265698, $10.00, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: What does it look like to live from your soul and higher true self, and not your ego, social agreement, and familial and ancestral lineage? Do we all have gifts beyond this realm? Do you have ascended masters, archangels, spirit guides, and ancestors waiting to assist you?

What would it look like if you did and were in communication/relationship with them -- could see, hear, or sense them and knew they were providing you with divine guidance in living into your soul's purpose, happiness, and joy?

When tragedy strikes, would you trust that it's for your highest good? Or would you be angry, feel abandoned, and lose faith? How would you respond when facing your perpetrator? From ego or your spirit self?

In the page of "Divine Gifts of Healing: My Life with Spirit" readers will journey with Cat Baldwin through the lessons, losses, and teaching guidance co-created with Spirit and the miracles that follow.

What do the Egyptians have to offer us? Do you recall past life experiences? How does your spirit body relate to your organs and your physical well-being? Share in the Forgiveness Workshop from Higher Self Spirit and learn true forgiveness. Share personal healing sessions and experiences provided by Spirit for the healing of humanity and the creation of the New Earth Energies.

Critique: Inherently fascinating and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Divine Gifts of Healing: My Life with Spirit" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Divine Gifts of Healing: My Life with Spirit" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: In practice for 20 years, Cat Baldwin is a vibrational healing practitioner, life/spiritual advisor, mystery school/spiritual teacher, and certified Chios master teacher. As owner of The Wellness Sanctuary Spiritual Teaching and Healing Center, she is the facilitator of programming to heal the four-body system (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual). As an intuitive channel, clairsentient, and clairaudient, she is in communication with her spiritual team of archangel Metatron, Anubis, Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Yeshua, Ben Joseph, and members of the Galactic Council to co-create services for personal sovereignty and soul purpose living.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Christ the Conqueror of Hell
Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
www.svspress.com
9780881410617, $21.00, PB, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Christ the Conqueror of Hell: The Descent into Hades from an Orthodox Perspective" by Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev is in-depth study from an Orthodox Christian perspective on the realm of death and presents a message of hope held by the first generation of Christians and the early church.

Using Scripture, patristic tradition, early Christian poetry, and liturgical texts, Archbishop Hilarion explores the mysterious and enigmatic event of Christ's descent into Hades and its consequences for the human race. Insisting that Christ entered Sheol as Conqueror and not as victim, the author depicts the Lord's descent as an event of cosmic significance opening the path to universal salvation.

Archbishop Hilarion also reveals Hades as a place of divine presence, a place where the spiritual fate of a person may still change. Reminding readers that self-will remains the only hindrance to life in Christ, he presents the gospel message anew, even in the shadow of death.

Critique: An impressively erudite and eloquently informative study, "Christ the Conqueror of Hell: The Descent into Hades from an Orthodox Perspective" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended contribution to the growing library of Orthodox Christian Theological Studies and an important addition to the personal reading lists of clergy, theologians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

Editorial Note: Archbishop Hilarion (Alfeyev), Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, is well known throughout the Orthodox Church as a leading theologian, writer, and musical composer. He holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University and a doctorate in theology from St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris.

Comparison Girl
Shannon Popkin
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825446214, $16.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Do you constantly compare yourself with others? On social media, in your neighborhood, at church, or in the school drop-off lane, do you push yourself to prove that you measure up . . . and then feel ashamed when you don't? Measuring yourself against others isn't healthy. And it isn't God's plan. In fact, the way of Jesus is completely upside down from this measure-up world. He invites us to follow him and be restored to freedom, confidence, and joy.

In "Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World", Shannon Popkin shares what she has discovered about her own measure-up fears and get-ahead pride. With her trademark humor and straightforward honesty, she's created this six-week Bible study to explore the conversations Jesus had and the stories he shared with people who (like us) were comparing themselves.

The essential core message of "Comparison Girl" is to leave measure-up comparison behind and connect with those around you by choosing Jesus's me-free way of living: lifting others up and pouring yourself out!

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World" is an impressively life enhancing, life inspiring, and joyful read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for personal, community, and church library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Comparison Girl" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.53).

Editorial Note: Author and speaker, Shannon Popkin blends her gifts of humor and storytelling with her passion for God's Word. Shannon has been featured on FamilyLife Today, Proverbs 31 and Revive Our Hearts, and is a contributing blogger at www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

God, Evolution & Science
William Stolzman
Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 West 8th Avenue, Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401-2960
http://wipfandstock.com
9781725257870, $41.00, PB, 396pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "God, Evolution & Science: How Our World Evolved from God", William Stolzman presents a new approach for linking God, energy, and our material world in an evolutionary way.

Energy is conservative, and it exists in two forms: potential and kinetic. Scientists have well established that our physical world began as a singular, kinetic "Big Bang." Consequently, before that event, there had to exist a singular, potential, energetic reality, which I name the "Almighty." This potential reality is forward-leaning and thus has the unidirectional dimension of time, which must also be quantized.

Since energy is oriented toward establishing systems, the Almighty must also have a systemic aspect. Stolzman establishes that evolution is not only biological but logical. He shows how from the Almighty logically evolved a quantized, bidirectional, four-dimensional field. By progressively breaking the symmetries of this field, he is able to show how the four forces of physics logically evolved. He subsequently shows how our world as we observe it today logically evolved from the Almighty.

Whether this Almighty is impersonal or personal is discussed at length. Finally, Stolzman also shows that beyond the entropic decay of our world, our physical world will end a "Big Collapse." Nonetheless, because energy is conservative and eternal, the author shows how there remains the logistical possibility of a transcendentally evolved afterlife in the Almighty.

Critique: Erudite, eloquent, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "God, Evolution & Science: How Our World Evolved from God" is an extraordinary read that is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an eight page Glossary, a six page Bibliography, and a two page Index. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Science & Religion, Evolution, Theology collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists, it should be noted for students, scholars, philosophers, theologians, clergy, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in these subjects that "God, Evolution & Science" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: William Stolzman earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and a master's degree in physics and advanced work in philosophy and theology at St. Louis University. He entered the Society of Jesus for thirty years, was ordained a Catholic priest, and worked as Jesuit missionary on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota for twenty years. In retirement, he discovered the Logical Evolutionary Theorem, the Interrelational Logistic of Energy, and Interrelational Philosophy (IPhil), which are the 'foundation stones' of "How our World Evolved from God."

Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus
Barb Roose
www.BarbRoose.com
Abingdon Press
2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., PO Box 280988, Nashville, TN 37228-0988
www.abingdonpress.com
9781501896286, $16.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A Women's Bible Study Participant Workbook, "Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" was written by Barb Roose specifically for those women who are facing a problem in life that they just can't fix, no matter what they do? While Christians are familiar with the phrase "Let go and let God." -- it's easier said than done. Is it possible that giving up on what you can't change is God's path to peace for your life?

"Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" is a six-week Bible study of Jesus in the wilderness in which Barb explores Jesus' time of testing and contrasts it with the Israelites' failures in the wilderness.

"Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" reveals six principles that will equip a Christian woman to let God lead them to victory despite their circumstances as they deal with the problems and pain they are facing including: Recognizing That You Can't Handle It; Stop Following Your Feelings; Giving Up Control and Reach for God; Embracing God's Better Blessing; Letting Go of Fear; Experiencing the Blessings of a Surrendered Life

"Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" also features: A six-week study of Jesus in the wilderness; Helping women find the path of peace through genuine surrender, following the example of Jesus; A workbook that includes five lessons for every week of study; a DVD features dynamic, engaging teaching in six 20-minute segments.

Critique: A complete and thoroughly 'user friendly' workbook oriented course of DIY instruction, "Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" is very highly recommended for both individual and small group bible study curriculums. It should be noted that "Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Formerly the executive director of Ministry at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg, Ohio, Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about helping women apply the truths of God's Word to the practical realities and challenges they face in today's culture, equipping them to win at life with strength and dignity. She enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and retreats across the country, as well as internationally. Barb is also the author of four Bible studies (Surrendered, I'm Waiting, God, Joshua, Beautiful Already) and two books (Winning the Worry Battle, and Enough Already). Additionally, Barb writes a regular blog at www.BarbRoose.com and hosts the "Better Together" podcast.

On Christian Leadership
Paul L. Gavrilyuk, editor
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
9780881416602, $30.00, PB, 416pp, www.svspress.com

Synopsis: Fr Georges Florovsky (1893 - 1979) and Fr Alexander Schmemann (1921 - 1983) profoundly shaped twentieth-century Orthodox theology. Deftly edited, translated into English, and with an informative introduction by Paul L. Gavrilyuk, "On Christian Leadership: The Letters of Alexander Schmemann and Georges Florovsky (1947-1955)" is comprised of their correspondence and provides a unique window into their theological visions, leadership styles, and interactions with their contemporaries.

Most of the letters were written when Florovsky had recently moved to the US to lead and organize the fledgling St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, while Schmemann was still teaching at the St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. The correspondence also reveals the circumstances of Schmemann's move to the US at the request of Florovsky, and offers glimpses into their subsequent collaboration at St Vladimir's Seminary until their tragic rift in 1955.

Reminiscent of the style of Schmemann's journals, the letters lay out the challenges of leadership with brutal honesty and good humor, bearing an eloquent testimony to their authors' dedication to launching a new era of seminary education.

Critique: Offering unique and insightful perspectives, "On Christian Leadership: The Letters of Alexander Schmemann and Georges Florovsky (1947-1955)" is an absorbing read and an unreservedly recommended addition to church, seminary and academic library Orthodox Christianity collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminarians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "On Christian Leadership: The Letters of Alexander Schmemann and Georges Florovsky (1947-1955)" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99, www.amazon.com).

Editorial Note: Paul L. Gavrilyuk is an Orthodox historian and theologian, and the Aquinas Chair in Theology and Philosophy at the University of St Thomas (St Paul, MN). His publications include Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance (Oxford, 2013), and the present correspondence in Russian (Moscow, 2019).

Telling a Better Story
Joshua D. Chatraw
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
www.zondervan.com
www.brillianceaudio.com
9780310108634, $18.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120 - 220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology. (Wikipedia)

The practice of offering reasons for the Christian faith, or apologetics, strikes many unbelievers today as offensive, an attempt to proselytize, while Christians themselves often view apologetics as unsophisticated or even faith-undermining. After all, shouldn't a believer focus on presenting the gospel rather than attempting to argue people to belief?

In "Telling a Better Story: How to Talk About God in a Skeptical Age ", pastor and theologian Joshua Chatraw presents a new and better way to do apologetics, an inside-out approach that is attuned to our late-modern moment and respectful of unbelievers, all the while remaining focused on Jesus. With chapters on cultural understanding, dealing with the difficult issues, and presenting Jesus in a holistic, contextual manner, "Telling a Better Story" offers a roadmap to effective apologetics both for experienced apologists and those new to sharing their faith with others.

Critique: Expressly written for the non-specialist general reader and lay members of the Christian community, and holding great value for seminary students, missionaries, and the clergy, "Telling a Better Story: How to Talk About God in a Skeptical Age" is especially useful, practical, insightful, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation. While especially recommended for personal, community, church, seminary, and academic library Contemporary Christian Studies collections and supplemental curriculum lists, it should be noted that "Telling a Better Story: How to Talk About God in a Skeptical Age" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713503736, $19.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Joshua Chatraw (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the director for New City Fellows and the Resident Theologian at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. His books include Apologetics at the Cross, Cultural Engagement, Truth in a Culture of Doubt, and Truth Matters. He is a fellow with the Center for Pastor Theologians and has served in both pastoral and academic posts during his ministry.

Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction
Ed Cyzewski
www.edcyzewski.com
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513806358, $29.99, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Technology, especially in the form of social media, teaches us to crave the hum and buzz of activity and the dopamine hit of notifications. Yet social media and technology have shortened our attention spans, disrupted our connections with others, and even muddled our spirituality.

In "Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction", contemplative author and Christian retreat leader Ed Cyzewski investigates the crisis of attention that is leading to mental health challenges and extending to our souls. Yet the Christian contemplative tradition (deeply rooted in the spiritual traditions and practices of the church) offers a way forward, grinding the gears of this frenetic activity and thinking to an unspectacular halt.

The underlying message throughout "Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction" is that for all its benefits and promises, technology and social media trains and conditions its users to pursue the exact opposite of contemplative prayer practices every day.

Grounded in current research into the impact of technology, "Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction" will help Christians to rewire their technology addictions and train themselves to be present and aware of God rather than tuned into the constant distractions and deceptions of this digital age. When phones go dark and social media feeds stop scrolling, then can we can step into a deeper stillness and presence with an always present God.

Critique: A timely, insightful, thoughtful, quality of life enhancing, and inspiring read from cover to cover, "Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, church, seminary, and academic library Christian Social Issues and Spiritual Self-Help collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781513806365, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Ed Cyzewski is also the author of "Flee, Be Silent, Pray" and a number of other books. He maintains a newsletter at his website: www.edcyzewski.com

Resurrection
Karl Olav Sandnes & Jan-Olav Henriksen
Pickwick Publications
c/o Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 West 8th Avenue, Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401-2960
http://wipfandstock.com
9781532695872, $37.00, PB, 322pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Christian faith depends upon the resurrection of Jesus, but the claim about Jesus' resurrection is, nevertheless, disputed.

Collaboratively written by New Testament scholar Karl Olav Sandnes and systematic theologian Jan-Olav Henriksen, "Resurrection" develops the conditions for the claim. It carefully analyzes the relevant texts and their possible interpretations and engages with New Testament scholarship in order to show nuances and different trajectories in the material.

The picture emerging is that the New Testament authors themselves tried to come to terms with how to understand the claim that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. But "Resurrection" does not stop there: by also studying the experiential content that gave rise to the belief in the resurrection, Sandnes and Henriksen argue that there is no such thing as an experience of the resurrection reported in the New Testament -- only experiences of an empty tomb and appearance of Jesus, interpreted as Jesus resurrected.

Hence, the resurrection of Jesus emerges as an interpretative category for post-Easter experiences, and is only understandable in light of the full content of Jesus' ministry and its context.

Critique: An erudite and thought-provoking work of meticulous theological scholarship, "Resurrection" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to church, seminary, college, and university library Christian Theology collections in general, and New Testament Criticism & Interpretation supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Resurrection" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

What Does the Bible Say About Life and Death?
John Gillman
New City Press
202 Cardinal Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
www.newcitypress.com
9781565484054, $16.95, PB, 90pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The desire to live an abundant life and to have a good death remains a very contemporary aspiration for all of us in the twenty-first century. "What Does the Bible Say About Life and Death?" by John Gillman is a resource that addresses that desire as well as the complexities around such pressing issues as martyrdom, abortion, suicide, and capital punishment.

"What Does the Bible Say About Life and Death?" includes references to official church statements as well as to current authors. The themes of life and death pulse throughout the Bible in the lives of individuals and communities. The Creator has empowered humankind to work out their lives and grapple with their deaths, setting before them precepts to follow and people to imitate, preeminently Jesus, risen from the dead.

Although the biblical authors do not specifically address such matters as abortion, they do offer perspectives that are relevant to the discussion. Besides this, the Scriptures offer a rich treasury of texts and stories that not only inform but also inspire those who are longing for trustworthy guidance, greater wholeness, and deeper peace in life, as they approach that unknown moment of death that comes for each of us.

Critique: An inherently engaging, impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, eloquent and detailed study, "What Does the Bible Say About Life and Death?" will be of immense interest to all members of the Christian community, lay members and clergy alike. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, pastors, theologians, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "What Does the Bible Say About Life and Death?" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: John Gillman received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (New Testament) from the Catholic University of Louvain (KUL) in Belgium. He has published widely and lectured nationally and internationally. He is a lecturer at San Diego State University and more recently at the Franciscan School of Theology. For many years he has served as a Certified Pastoral Educator (CPE) and a chaplain at major medical centers, a national hospice provider, and an urban ministry program.

Gospels As Stories
Jeannine K. Brown
Baker Academic
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
9781540963123, $39.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jeannine Brown is an expert on the Gospels and a popular writer and teacher. In "Gospels As Stories: A Narrative Approach to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" she shows how a narrative approach illuminates each of the Gospels.

"Gospels As Stories: A Narrative Approach to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" offers a corrective to tendencies to read the Gospels piecemeal, one story at a time. Brown provides hands-on tools and perspectives to help students interpret the Gospels as whole stories.

"Gospels As Stories: A Narrative Approach to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" takes four key areas of narrative analysis and applies them to the four Gospels. Filled with numerous examples that show how narrative criticism brings the text to life, "Gospels As Stories: A Narrative Approach to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" includes pedagogical helps, such as visual aids, sidebars, and further reading suggestions, making it an ideal supplementary textbook that will complement any standard introduction.

Critique: Impressively informative and expertly written, organized and presented, "Gospels As Stories: A Narrative Approach to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" is an extraordinary and welcome addition to church, seminary, community, college, and university library Biblical Studies collections in general, and New Testament Criticism & Interpretation supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and lay members of the Christian community that "New Testament Criticism & Interpretation" is also readily available in a paperback editions (9780801049842, $21.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Jeannine K. Brown (PhD, Luther Seminary) is Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a member of the NIV Committee on Bible Translation. She is also the author of Scripture as Communication and two commentaries on Matthew and is a co-editor of the revised Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

On Earth as It Is in Heaven
Eric Atcheson
Church Publishing Incorporated
445 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.churchpublishing.org
9781640652262, $16.95, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The church is positioned to be an ally of the poor and laborers in their search for social justice and equality, but only if it actively chooses to be. Numerous passages in Scripture convey God's strong disapproval of inequality point toward a religious imperative to speak out. What are the most effective ways to frame and facilitate discussions about poverty, and how can pastors and activists add to their own understandings of the theological and religious history of labor and work?

By critically examining biblical texts, Church history, and present-day events and experiences, with the publication of "On Earth as It Is in Heaven: A Faith-Based Toolkit for Economic Justice", Pastor Eric Atcheson offers ministers, activists, and concerned citizens a faith-based toolkit for understanding and addressing the economic disparities present in their communities, as well as ways to initiate hopeful conversations. "On Earth as It Is in Heaven" is a powerful resource for any of the faithful interested in building a more just and equitable kingdom in the face of increasingly powerful opposition.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "On Earth as It Is in Heaven: A Faith-Based Toolkit for Economic Justice" is an extraordinary, inspiring, and timely contribution to a Christian faith-based approach to striving for economic and social justice in this time of pandemic, economic depression, financial inequality, and systemic racism. While highly recommended for church, seminary, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, clergy, social activists, and non-specialist readers with an interest in the subject that "On Earth as It Is in Heaven: A Faith-Based Toolkit for Economic Justice" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Eric Atcheson is a pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the author of Oregon Trail Theology: The Frontier Millennial Christians Face -- And How We're Ready (Church Publishing 2018). Most recently, he served as the Interim Director of Family Ministries for First Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Washington. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Seattle University

This Is God's Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls
Anna Woofenden
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513804842, $29.99, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "This Is God's Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls" by writer and pastor Anna Woofnden is the story of an audacious journey. It's the story of what happens when people garden, worship, and eat together -- and invite anyone and everyone to join them.

In the pages of "This Is God's Table", pastor Woofenden describes the way that the wealthy and the poor, the aged and the young, the housed and unhoused become a community in this once-empty lot. Together they plant and sustain a thriving urban farm, worship God, and share a weekly meal. Together they craft a shared life and a place of authenticity where all are welcome.

As traditional mainstream Christian churches across the Western world wither, what would it take to find a raw, honest, gritty way of doing church -- one rooted in place, nurtured by grace, and grounded in God's expansive love? What would it take to carry the liturgy outside the gates? What if we were to discover that in feeding others, we are fed?

The underlying message of "This Is God's Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls" is that this is God's table -- All Christians are invited to come and eat!

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "This Is God's Table: Finding Church Beyond the Walls" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community -- but most especially the lay leaders, pastors, ministers, and priests.


The Judaic Studies Shelf

Tribal Blueprints
Nechama Price
Maggid Books
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
9781592645459, $29.95, HC, 308pp, www.korenpub.com

Synopsis: The Jewish nation begins with a collection of twelve brothers and half-brothers, linked through their father, Jacob. From these close familiar beginnings, each develops into a distinct tribe, with unique characteristics and destinies that have indelible imprints on the rest of Tanakh.

"Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel" by Professor Nechama Price examines each of Jacob's sons, revealing their individual stories in Genesis and the impact of their shifting places within the family. How do these individuals evolve? What is the role of each of the four mothers? How does each brothers placement in the birth order of the family influence his behavior? How are the brothers' personalities reflected in future generations?

In "Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel", Professor Price takes the reader on a journey through the biblical narrative, looking anew at the ancient stories of Genesis to uncover a new appreciation for the special role of each of the twelve tribes, who together form the nation of Israel.

Critique: An exceptionally well written work of meticulous scholarship, "Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel" is an extraordinary student and one that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Tribal Blueprints: Twelve Brothers and the Destiny of Israel" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99, www.amazon.com).

Editorial Note: Nechama Price is a Senior Lecturer in Bible and Judaic Studies at Stern College for Women, She is also the Director of Yeshiva University's Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies.

Judges: The Perils of Possession
Rabbi Michael Hattin
Maggid / The Toby Press
c/o Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
www.tobypress.com
9781592645237, $24.95, HC, 236pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Judges: The Perils of Possession", Rabbi Michael Hattin offers a highly readable introduction to the biblical book of Judges that combines imaginative sweep with analytic depth. Utilizing literary techniques, ancient and modern commentaries, as well as current academic research, Rabbi Hattin deftly draws his readers into the book's epic accounts of mighty leaders and their exploits, stories that both shock and inspire. As each successive judge falls farther from the ideal of good governance, an urgent question takes shape: How can the downward spiral be halted?

Critique: A part of the outstanding Maggid Studies In Tanakh series, "Judges: The Perils of Possession" is an impressively informative, exceptionally thoughtful and thought-provoking study and one that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, synagogue, college, and university library Biblical Studies and Judaic Studies collections and supplemental studies curriculums.

Editorial Note: Rabbi Michael Hattin teaches Tanakh and Halakha at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and serves as the Director of the Beit Midrash for the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators.

The Narrow Halakhic Bridge
Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth
Urim Publications
c/o KTAV Publishing House
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, New York 11225
www.UrimPublications.com
9781602804074, $34.95, HC, 511pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Halakhah is the collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the written and Oral Torah.

The role of halakhah is to serve as a bridge between our eternal Torah and the world's changing realities. However, the dizzying pace of developments in postmodern society and the obsession with personal freedom are generating unprecedented gaps between Torah and reality, challenging our obedience to Halakhah, contributing to the erosion of rabbinic authority and causing a growing confusion within our community.

"The Narrow Halakhic Bridge: A Vision of Jewish Law in the Postmodern Age" explores the rigid and flexible elements of the Halakhic system, utilizing close to one thousand texts from rabbis of all generations, and offering a vision for the future of Halakhah in a world of doubt and change.

Critique: An extraordinary work of meticulous and impressively informative scholarship, "The Narrow Halakhic Bridge: A Vision of Jewish Law in the Postmodern Age" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, synagogue, college, and university library Contemporary Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

Editorial Note: Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth served as Rabbi of the Ohel Ari Congregation in Ra'anana and other Modern Orthodox communities in Israel for 15 years, and as the Rabbi of Bnei Akiva of North America. He was the founder and first executive director of Beit Hillel, director of the rabbinic training program of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization and director of its overseas department. He also worked in Israel's hi-tech industry and served as a captain in the Navy Special Forces.


The General Fiction Shelf

Wanting Radiance
Karen Salyer McElmurray
South Limestone Books
c/o The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
www.kentuckypress.com
9781949669145, $24.95, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Miracelle Loving's world comes crashing down when her mother, Ruby, is murdered during a fortune-telling session gone wrong. Not that she had much of a stable world to lose in the first place; the free-spirited mother-daughter duo had never remained in one place for very long. Without the guidance of her mother, Miracelle grows up following the only path she knows, traveling from town to town, sometimes fortune-telling, picking up odd jobs to fill the time and escape the ever-present lostness she can't seem to run far enough away from.

Uncertain of what she wants and, indeed, whether she wants anything or anyone at all, the now thirty-something-year-old finds herself working as a card reader in a Knoxville dive bar, selling fictions as futures, when she is confronted with her mother's ghost voice promising to reveal the truth about her shadowy past. Desperate for answers, Miracelle sets out on a magical road trip unlike any other, in search of her own story and a father she's never known.

Following snowy highways and backroads, Miracelle stumbles across a museum of oddities and a hole-in-the-road town called Radiant, ultimately wandering into the town of Smyte, where she begins waitressing at the Black Cat Diner. Here, she befriends card-playing has-been Russell Wallen, whom she joins for a series of nighttime adventures, long drives, and after-dark visits to a Holy Roller church. This mythical journey uncovers family secrets and forgotten truths, transforming a familiar story of love and betrayal to reveal the binding power of magic and memory.

Critique: Original, inherently absorbing, deftly crafted, and memorably entertaining, "Wanting Radiance" by Karen Salyer McElmurray is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wanting Radiance" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $23.70).

Editorial Note: Karen Salyer McElmurray won an AWP Award for creative nonfiction for her book "Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother's Journey" and the Orison Award for creative nonfiction for her essay "Blue Glass." She has had other essays recognized as "Notable Essays" in Best American Essays, while her essays "Speaking Freely" and "Attics" were nominated for Pushcart Awards. She currently teaches at Gettysburg College and in West Virginia Wesleyan's Low-Residency MFA program.

The Wolf's Trail: An Ojibwe Story, Told by Wolves
Thomas D. Peacock
Holy Cow! Press
www.holycowpress.org
9781513645629, $16.95, PB, 180pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In his novel, "The Wolf's Trail: An Ojibwe Story, Told by Wolves", novelist Thomsa Peacock tells of Zhi-shay', an elder wolf, and a litter of young wolves living somewhere on the side of a hill overlooking the river that flows through Nagahchiwanong in northern Minnesota.

Zhi-shay', who knows the whole story of the parallel relationship between wolves and the Ojibwe going all the way back to the Beginning, is sharing it with his nieces and nephews, and us. Replete with universal lessons, "The Wolf's Trail" is the story of the Ojibwe people, as told by wolves -- of what they were and have become, and the promise of their becoming.

Critique: An instantly absorbing, inherently fascinating, and thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last, Thomas Peacock's new Native American themed novel, "The Wolf's Trail: An Ojibwe Story, Told by Wolves", will prove to be an immensely and enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists, as community and academic library General Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Thomas D. Peacock has won the Ojibwe Waasa Inaabida (Minnesota Book Award), The Good Path (Minnesota Book Award), The Seventh Generation (Children's Multicultural Book Award - National Assn. Multicultural Education). He has also co-authored several other books, including: Collected Wisdom (with Linda Miller Cleary), The Seventh Generation (with Amy Bergstrom and Linda Miller Cleary), and edited another, A Forever Story: The People and History of the Fond du Lac Reservation; To Be Free (on racism, intended for middle and high schoolers from Afton Press) was released in 2010. The Tao of Nookomis (North Star Press) was released in 2016 and won Honorable Mention at the NE Minnesota Book Awards. Beginnings: The Homeward Journey of Donovan Mannypenny was published in Fall, 2018 by Holy Cow! Press. The Forever Sky, an illustrated children's book, was released in 2019 by Minnesota Historical Society Press. His latest book is The Dancers, published by KDP. He is co-owner with his wife Elizabeth Albert Peacock, of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing, specializing in Native children's books written by Native authors and using Native illustrators.

Pale
Edward A. Farmer
Blackstone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
www.BlackstoneAudio.com
9781982673864, $26.99, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The summer of 1966 burned hot across America but nowhere hotter than the cotton fields of Mississippi. Finding herself in a precarious position as a black woman living alone, Bernice accepts her brother Floyd's invitation to join him as a servant for a white family and she enters the web of hostility and deception that is the Kern plantation household.

The secrets of the house are plentiful yet the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest and the appearance of Jesse and Fletcher to the plantation as cotton pickers. These two brothers, the sons of the house servant Silva, awaken a vengeful seed within the Missus of the house as she plots to punish not only her husband but Silva's family as well. When the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game that could get Jesse killed and destroy the lives of the rest of the servants.

Bernice walks the fine line between emissary and accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus's heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her. Once the Missus's plans are complete, families will be severed, loyalties will be shattered, and no one will come out unscathed.

Critique: A compelling and narrative driven story revealing the dark side of human nature and the never ending battle of our 'Better Angels' to break through, "Pale" by author Edward A. Farmer is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pale" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982673802, $29.95, CD).

Cursed! Blood of the Donnellys
Keith Ross Leckie
Douglas & McIntyre
c/o Harbour Publishing
www.douglas-mcintyre.com
9781771622394, $22.95, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the midst of the feuds and famine of Tipperary, Ireland in 1846, Jim Donnelly and Johannah McGee fall passionately in love. She is the beautiful daughter of an affluent estate manager, he the rebellious son of dispossessed peasants. With her father's men in pursuit and a sizable price on Jim's head, they board a ship set for Canada to start a new life and put the troubles of the old country behind them.

Thousands of miles away in rural Ontario, they find the feuds and vendettas of Ireland are very much alive. Jim must make a place for his young family not just with his back, but with his fists.

Fifteen years later, the Donnelly family have become one of the most powerful in Lucan Township, loved by some and hated by others. Jim and Johannah's sons are notorious as both fighters and lovers and torment the townspeople, swinging shillelaghs, burning barns and seducing daughters.

But certain citizens of Lucan have had enough. At midnight on February 3, 1880, a mob of thirty armed men in women's clothing and carnival masks ride out for the Donnelly farm. Sustained by whisky and the blessings of the local priest, their goal is to wipe the Donnelly family from the face of the earth. Yet there is an eye witness and during the trial that follows, it becomes clear that in small town Ontario of the late 1800s, order is valued above truth.

Critique: Based on a true story, "Cursed! Blood of the Donnellys" is a vividly compelling and deftly crafted read from beginning to end. Showcasing author Keith Ross Leickie's impressive flair as a novelist for narrative driven storytelling, "Cursed! Blood of the Donnellys" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community library Historical Fiction collections.

Catherine House
Elisabeth Thomas
Custom House
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9780062905659, $27.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world's best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price.

Students are required to give the House three years (summers included) completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year's incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline -- only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school's enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she's ever had. But the House's strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school (in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence) might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Critique: A masterpiece of narrative driven suspense, "Catherine House" is a riveting read with many an unexpected plot twist and turn that will completely engage the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction and Suspense/Thriller collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Catherine House" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094156934, $39.99, CD). Librarians should note that there is a large print paperback edition of "Catherine House" (HarperLuxe; Large Print, $29.99, 448pp).

The Islanders
Meg Mitchell Moore
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9780062840066, $26.99, HC, 432pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony's debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony's borrowing an old college's friend's crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be.

Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island's beloved whoopie pie cafe. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she's thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies -- and threatening her business.

Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws' dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu's second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he'd work and she'd quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she's beginning to question that deal she made.

Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it.

Critique: A carefully crafted and narrative driven novel of small town romance and suspense, "The Islanders" deftly showcases author Meg Mitchell Moore's impressively original storytelling talents. An impressively absorbing and fully entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Islanders" will be an enduringly popular addition to any and all community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Islanders" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780062840073, $16.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982662097, $39.99, CD).

Another Life
Robert Haller
Blackstone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
www.BlackstoneAudio.com
9781982526061, $26.99, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Laura is a teenage girl who is struggling to fit into her small, sleepy town in upstate New York. Laura is also slowly drifting away from reality and into the secret life she inhabits online.

Paul is a twenty-something wannabe rock star, back home from New York City, broke, jobless, and living with his mother.

April is a math teacher with two kids, running her church's vacation Bible school, and discontent with another summer planning crafts and regurgitating verses.

Ben is a boy stuck at VBS who is still adjusting to the presence of his foster brother, DeShawn, a quiet, brooding kid from Brooklyn.

Over the course of one summer, the paths of these four troubled and struggling people will collide in surprising, often hilarious ways. "Another Life" encompasses questions of identity, religion, race, and family.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Another Life" is author Robert Haller's debut as a novelist, this deftly crafted and inherently absorbing read will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Another Life" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781094091129, $16.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982525903, $29.95, MP3 CD).

The Drive
Yair Assulin
New Vessel Press
www.newvesselpress.com
9781939931825, $15.95, PB, 130pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Drive" by Yair Assulin is a searing novel that lays out the journey of a young Israeli soldier who finds himself at the breaking point, unable to continue carrying out his military service, yet terrified of the consequences of leaving the army.

As the soldier and his father embark on a lengthy drive to meet with a military psychiatrist, novelist Yair Assulin penetrates the torn world of the hero, whose journey is not just that of a young man facing a crucial dilemma, but a tour of the soul and depths of Israeli society and of those everywhere who resist regimentation and violence.

Weary of being forced to be part of a larger collective, can one fulfill a yearning for an existence free of politics, the news cycle and the imperative of perpetual battle-readiness -- without risking the respect of those we love most? "The Drive" is a compelling story of an urgent personal quest to reconcile duty, expectations and individual instinct.

Critique: Deftly crafted by an author with an impressive narrative storytelling skill as a novelist, "The Drive" is an inherently fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking read -- and one that should be a part of ever community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that, ably translated into English by Jessica Cohen for an American readership, "The Drive" by Yair Assulin is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Reckless Love
Beth White
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800726911, $15.99, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the fine tradition established by her Southern grandmama, Aurora Daughtry has recently orchestrated the marriage of her eldest sister and facilitated her middle sister's engagement. She also rejoices in her part in transforming the family's dilapidated plantation manor into a luxurious and lucrative resort hotel. Just when it seems there is nothing left to absorb her considerable talent for managing people, in walks federal deputy marshal Zane Sager.

But Zane is not at Daughtry House for a vacation. He's tracking a killer and collecting two key witnesses to a federal judge's murder. Aurora takes it upon herself to disabuse the cynical lawman of his conviction that the world is out to get him. But just as she's on the verge of cracking Zane's defenses, the man he is after reminds him that no one he loves is safe. Ever.

Critique: An impressively crafted historical novel from first page to last, and with considerable attention paid to contextual detail, "Reckless Love" is another wonderfully entertaining romance from author Beth White. While enthusiastically recommended, especially for community library Historical Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all romance novel fans that "Reckless Love" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Finders
Jeffrey B. Burton
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250244536, $26.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mason "Mace" Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection. He trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid's coming off a taxing year -- mourning the death of a beloved springer spaniel as well as the dissolution of his marriage.

Mace adopts a rescue dog with a mysterious past -- a golden retriever named Vira. And when Reid begins training Vira as a cadaver dog, he comes to realize just how special the newest addition to his family truly is!

Suddenly, Mace and his prize pupil find themselves hurled into a taxing murder case, which will push them to their very limits. Paired with determined Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm, Mace must put all his trust in Vira's abilities to thwart a serial killer who has now set his sights on Mace himself.

Critique: Showcasing his novelist's flare for the creation of interesting characters, lively dialogue, cliff-hanger quality suspense, "The Finders" by Jeffrey B. Burton is a simply riveting and non- stop entertaining read from beginning to end. While especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs (and dog lovers!) that "The Finders" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Attack of the Stuff
Jim Benton
Papercutz
www.papercutz.com
9781545804995 $9.99 pbk / $7.09 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: In what is described as "an 8 year old's fever dream," New York Times bestselling author introduces us to Bill Waddler. Bill is a duck who dreams of being smothered by farting snakes. He also has a special gift. He is able to hear appliances complain. Imagine what toilets would complain about. Bill doesn't need to imagine. While working as a cash-only hay seller (that doesn't accept credit cards), Bill doesn't know that he, and a very confused orange juice sales clerk, are about to save the world. If you could hear this book complain, it would be saying "where have you been all my life?"

Critique: Attack of the Stuff is a colorful, caricature-filled graphic novel for all ages, about the madcap daily life of a duck with the unique ability to hear appliances complain. Crazy, wacky, weird, and hilarious, Attack of the Stuff is delightfully irreverent and a choice pick for school library graphic novel collections, as well as the reading pleasure of anyone needing a splash of pick-me-up humor. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Attack of the Stuff is also available in a Kindle/comiXology edition ($7.09).


The Audiobook Shelf

Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World
Janet Benge & Geoff Benge, authors
Rebecca Gallagher, narrator
YWAM Publishing
PO Box 55787, Seattle, WA 98155
www.ywampublishing.com
9781576589762, $21.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World" is the true story of Isobel Selina Miller Kuhn (December 17, 1901 - March 20, 1957).

As a fourteen-year-old intent on living a "modern" life, the last thing Isobel (nicknamed Belle) wanted to grow up to be was a missionary. But as it turned out, this young agnostic's life was redirected from crisis and doubt to hope and strength.

Convinced that God wanted her to preach the gospel as a China Inland missionary, Isobel and her husband bravely served as Christian missionaries among the Lisu people in remote mountainous regions of China and Thailand. After twenty years of ministry Isobel returned to the United States, writing stirring stories of faith and inspiring generations of readers until her death.

Critique: In a biography that reads with all the narrative flair of a deftly penned novel, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World" by the writing team of Janet and Geoff Benge is ably narrated by Rebecca Gallagher. A part of the Ywam Publications series 'Christian Heroes: Then & Now', "Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World" is a wonderfully inspired and inspiring listening event for ages 10 and up. With a running time of 5 Hours, 56 Minutes "Isobel Kuhn: On the Roof of the World" is unreservedly recommended for personal, family, community, and church library audio book collections.

Lillian Trasher Audiobook: The Greatest Wonder In Egypt
Janet Benge & Geoff Benge, authors
Rebecca Gallagher, narrator
YWAM Publishing
PO Box 55787, Seattle, WA 98155
www.ywampublishing.com
9781576587485, $21.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Lillian Trasher Audiobook: The Greatest Wonder In Egypt" is the true life story Lillian Hunt Trasher (27 September 1887 - 17 December 1961) who founded Egypt's first orphanage. Even those who admired her aspirations as a Christian missionary thought that a lone American woman with no means of support would surely be killed or starve to death. But Lillian (certain of God's guidance) stood by her earlier promise to Him, 'If ever I can do anything for You, just let me know - and I'll do it.'

In the midst of poverty, two world wars, Egyptian insurrections, and deadly epidemics, Lillian faced each day with a heart of trust, modeling the life she hoped her children would someday live in their own homes. During fifty tumultuous years, Lillian, popularly known as the Mother of the Nile, cared for thousands of desperate children, with unwavering faith that God does indeed look after the orphans."

Critique: Brilliantly narrated by Rebecca Gallagher, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of Janet and Geoff Benge's "Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt" is an inspiring biography that, although a work of non-fiction, reads with all the dramatic and entertaining flair of a novel -- and especially recommended for both church and community library collections for children and adults ages 8 to 88! (Running Time: Approximately 4:43 hrs., 4 CDs).

Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender
Janet Benge & Geoff Benge
YWAM Publishing
PO Box 55787, Seattle, WA 98155
www.ywampublishing.com
9781576588772, $21.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Since she was young, Elisabeth Elliot had been intrigued by missionaries who gave up so much to tell others about God's love. With a passion to translate the Bible into new languages, she followed God's call to work among tribes in Ecuador, including the Waorani (Auca), who had killed her missionary husband and four other men in his evangelical company.

Elisabeth kept a detailed journal of her life and missionary service. She returned to the United States after many years in South America, becoming one of the most influential Christian women of our time. A prolific author, speaker, and radio host, she passes on a message of joyful surrender to the world.

Critique: Superbly read by Rebecca Gallagher and part of YWAM Publishing's simply outstanding Christian Heroes: Then & Now inspirational audio book series, "Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender" has a total running time of 5:43 hours on 5 CDs. Although primarily intended for young listeners ages 8-12, "Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender" is also very highly recommended to the attention of Christians of all ages and denominational backgrounds.

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans
Janet Benge & Geoff Benge
YWAM Publishing
PO Box 55787, Seattle, WA 98155
www.ywampublishing.com
9781576587263, $21.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: George Muller (born Johann Georg Ferdinand Muller, 27 September 1805 - 10 March 1898) was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. He was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren movement. Later during the split his group was labeled as the Open Brethren. He cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime, and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was even accused by some of raising the poor above their natural station in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000.

Critique: Although a non-fiction biography, "George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans" by Janet and Geoff Benge is an audio book that is deftly narrated as if it were an fully engaging and expertly penned novel. This is the true life story of a man of God who begain his life as what we could call a juvenile delinquent and his college years as a conman who took advantage of his fellow students to fund his debaucheries, gambling, and drinking. But then encountered the word of God and became as transformed a Christian as Saul of Tarsus had upon the road to Damascuse and became the Apostle Paul.

As absolutely fascinating and inspiring story of how a dissolute youth became one of the most influential and beneficial Christians of his time by preaching and living a simply truth -- that God answers prayers. His unique legacy was the establishment of orphanages (and never asking anyone but God for financial help) when and where none had existed for the ordinary orphaned children of the impoverished and the working class.

A part of the YWAM Publishing 'Christian Heroes: Then & Now' series, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans" is fully and unreservedly recommended listening for all members of the Christian community from 8 to 88.


The Music CD Shelf

Justify
Jan James
janjames.com
Blue Palace Records
$16.99 CD / $8.99 MP3 amazon.com

Justify is the eleventh full-length album performed by blues-rock vocalist and songwriter Jan James. Smooth, passionate, and serious, the music ranges from a love song to a rendition of the Rolling Stones classic "Honky Tonk Woman" to message of hope created in response to the social crisis of suicide, which claimed the life of one of Jan James' former bandmates. Justify is emotional, rapturous, and highly recommended. The tracks are "I'm Always Coming Back", "Justify", "Good Man Down", "Try", "Believe In Me", "Lucky U R", "Different Life", "Never In The Game", "Anything You Want", "Honky Tonk Woman", "Where You Gonna Run To", and "Dangerous Decision". 49 min., 35 sec.

Beethoven's Eroica Symphony for Guitar and Symphony Orchestra
The Great Kat
greatkat.com
Privately Published
$9.98 amazon.com

Beethoven's Eroica Symphony for Guitar and Symphony Orchestra is a music CD by The Great Kat that performs Beethoven's classic symphony as shredded guitar and violin music at intensely high speeds, with the tenacity of a metal virtuoso. A wildly intense new way to experience Beethoven's classic genius, Beethoven's Eroica Symphony for Guitar and Symphony Orchestra is a shocking and mesmerizing audio experience! Highly recommended.


The DVD Shelf

Stuck With You, season one
Starring Tammy Townsend and Timon Kyle Durrett
Urban Movie Channel
https://umc.tv
$16.96 www.us.rljentertainment.com

Stuck With You is a romantic dramady about an unhappily married celebrity couple. In the spotlight, they are a famous pair, a former rhythm-and-blues princess and a leading Hollywood actor whose careers skyrocketed in part because of their popularly beloved marriage, and their tell-all relationship book. Behind closed doors, they lead completely separate lives. They need to market their status as the "it" couple even though each of them craves a divorce. Wry, canny, and at times heart-wrenching, Stuck With You is unforgettably brought to life with the masterful performances of Tammy Townsend and Timon Kyle Durrett. Highly recommended. 6 episodes, 245 min., SDH subtitles.

YMAA Publications
PO Box 480, Wolfeboro, NH 03894-0480
www.ymaa.com

Two instructional DVDs by Tai chi master, instructor, and gold medalist Chenhan Yang offer a user-friendly introduction to learning Chen-style tai chi. "Chen Tai Chi First Form" (9781594397592, $29.95, 184 min.) showcases the 74 postures of the first form with step-by-step instructions, explanations for the purpose behind the movements. "Chen Tai Chi Cannon Fist" (9781594397608, $29.95, 129 min.) details the 43 posture form of cannon fist with multiple demonstrations. Both DVDs are a superb way to learn tai chi, a practice with a storied history dating back to the 1400's, ideal for promoting circulation, vitality, and alertness; both DVDs are highly recommended for both personal and public library mild exercise and martial arts DVD collections.


The Self-Help Shelf

Emotional Intuition for Peak Performance
Jason Gregory
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620559239, $16.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Integrating the wisdom of the ancient sages with modern science, in the pages of "Emotional Intuition for Peak Performance: Secrets from the Sages for Being in the Zone" Jason Gregory explains how world-class artists and athletes reach peak performance -- and how you, too, can harness this "lifestyle technology" to make your actions effortless, enjoy intelligent spontaneity, and reach optimal performance at a peak level.

Drawing on modern cognitive science, Gregory explains dual process theory, which divides mental activity into two spheres: cold cognition, analogous with rational thought, and hot cognition, based on emotional intuition -- a theory anticipated by ancient Eastern thought, especially the teachings of the Chinese sages. Gregory also explains that peak performance is impossible to achieve by relying solely on cold cognition as it cuts you off from the energy reserves necessary to excel. He shows how the athletic concept of being "in the zone" is based on practices that have become energized by hot cognition and thus instinctive.

Outlining a structured training system that blends hot and cold cognition, the author identifies four fundamental habits and routines that lay the foundation for a healthy embodied mind and mindful body and thus are essential for developing peak performance and success. Gregory explains how these training methods are practical applications of ancient wisdom from Zen and Taoist traditions, such as wu-wei, as well as how they are supported by recent medical research. Building on the four fundamentals, he offers practices for cultivating physical and mental intelligence, fasting the mind, and harnessing creativity to achieve your desires.

In conclusion, Gregory explains how, with regular practice, we can use the four fundamentals to create masterpiece days -- and as the masterpiece days compound, you build an unstoppable momentum where success is inevitable.

Critique: As informative and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Emotional Intuition for Peak Performance: Secrets from the Sages for Being in the Zone" is an extraordinary introduction that is impressively 'user friendly' in tone, narrative style, organization and presentation. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Spiritual Self-Help, Cognitive Psychology, and Taoist Philosophy collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Emotional Intuition for Peak Performance: Secrets from the Sages for Being in the Zone" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Dividing his time between Asia and Australia, Jason Gregory is a teacher and international speaker specializing in the fields of Eastern and Western philosophy, comparative religion, metaphysics, and ancient cultures. For several years he studied with masters in Buddhism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Hinduism, and Taoism, traveling to some of the most remote places in the world. He is also the filmmaker of the documentary The Sacred Sound of Creation.

The Jossman Method: Conquering Life's Transitions
Travis Neville
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
www.atlantic-pub.com
9781620237403, $19.95, PB, 88pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: While rebuilding his life from scratch after being divorced and losing his career and home, Travis Neville created a personalized method to ensure happiness. In "The Jossman Method: Conquering Life's Transitions" he draws upon his own life experiences to outline specific, easy-to-achieve behaviors that any regular, flawed person can accomplish daily. These are the lessons he learned the hard way and offers in order to help others find productivity and fulfillment. The underlying message of "The Jossman Method: Conquering Life's Transitions " is that 'happiness is there, we just have to decide to notice it'.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' and encouraging in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "The Jossman Method: Conquering Life's Transitions" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Jossman Method: Conquering Life's Transitions" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).


The Education Shelf

I Is for Inquiry
Bruce Shore, Mark Aulls, Diana Tabatabai, Juss Kaur Magon
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
www.prufrock.com
9781618219879, $34.95, PB, 150pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "I Is for Inquiry: An Illustrated ABC of Inquiry-Based Instruction for Elementary Teachers and Schools" takes a unique approach to helping teachers in the elementary grades create lessons and sustain inquiry in their classrooms. This colorful, illustrated alphabet book explores 26 (including X and Z) key ideas and skills in inquiry-based teaching and learning, such as collaboration, dialogue, evidence, hypothesis, and scaffolding.

Each short individual chapter: Summarizes one inquiry element that can be built into students' experiences; Uses straightforward language and examples; Includes a classroom vignette and suggestions for using the concept; Shares selected references and related Internet-based resources; Helps teachers build self-confidence about teaching through inquiry.

"I Is for Inquiry" will serve as a familiar and fun resource for busy teachers at any point in their careers. Using the inquiry vocabulary and repertoire of concepts, teachers can build curriculum and share ideas with colleagues, making inquiry in the classroom as approachable as ABC!

Critique: Expertly written and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "I Is for Inquiry: An Illustrated ABC of Inquiry-Based Instruction for Elementary Teachers and Schools", making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to professional, school district, college, and university library Elementary School Teacher Education instructional references and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

Editorial Note: Bruce M. Shore, Ph.D., Mark W. Aulls, Ed.D., Diana Tabatabai, Ph.D., and Juss Kaur Magon, D.Phil., have more than a century of combined experience as teachers, administrators, teacher educators, writers, supervisors, and researchers in inquiry-based teaching and learning, reading, mathematics, science, technology, and gifted education. They have worked in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, from primary grades to postdoctoral supervision, and as international workshop leaders and consultants.


The Jobs/Career Shelf

Public Relations For Musicians
Bob Bradley
https://www.bradleypublicity.com
Independently Published
9798642354438, $9.99, PB, 102pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Are you an artist or band looking to get featured online and in print? Do you wonder how other artists get reviews and interviews in your favorite magazine, newspaper, blog or websites? Are you in a band? A solo artist? A rapper? A DJ?

In "Public Relations For Musicians: Your DIY Guide To Getting Featured By The Media", seasoned music publicist Bob Bradley offers his insight into the world of music PR and explains how artists can handle their own media campaigns.

Drawing inspiration from his hundreds of campaigns for major label, independent and celebrity musicians, Bob takes the reader through a step-by-step process that helps musicians take the wheel on their own PR efforts.

Having a publicist or getting signed to a large record deal isn't the only way to earn coverage in great magazines, blogs, newspapers and even on TV. With the help of "Public Relations For Musicians" even the most novice of musicians can have practical insights into the mindset of a media relations pro and get a better understanding of how the process works and apply them into creating and implementing a successful PR campaign promoting their music.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Public Relations For Musicians: Your DIY Guide To Getting Featured By The Media" is impressively comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly'. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Music Business & Marketing collections, it should be noted that "Public Relations For Musicians: Your DIY Guide To Getting Featured By The Media" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Bob Bradley has spent the past 13 + years as a public relations and marketing professional with hundreds of clients within entertainment and other top industries helping his clients push their key offerings to the media and locking critical press to help their business thrive. A musician himself, Bob spent many years touring full-time in the band Scars of Tomorrow signed to Victory Records and currently plays for the Southern California band Fake Figures. Bob also owns the publishing catalog Gas Can Music, which is a collection of hundreds of tracks in multiple genres including rock, indie and hip-hop. Since 2011, the music has and will continue to be licensed across multiple channels in film, TV, video games and web platforms.


The Gardening Shelf

Indoor Green: Living with Plants
Bree Claffey, author
Lauren Bamford, photographer
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
www.thamesandhudsonusa.com
9780500501061, $29.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For centuries, plants have transformed interiors, and today plant-filled homes are filling up our Instagram feeds. With his instructional guide, manual and reference, "Indoor Green: Living with Plants", author and plant retailer Bree Claffey deftly explores the interior worlds of fellow plant lovers and the enduring attraction of houseplants. From the ever-reliable peace lily and beguiling fiddle-leaf fig to the elusive Chinese money plant, "Indoor Green" makes it obvious that even the humblest greenery can transform a home.

Houseplants add romance to any room. Within the pages of "Indoor Green", gorgeous photographs of interiors from across the globe by Lauren Bamford are divided into chapters such as "Plant Music," "How to Grow Fresh Air," and "Plant Portraits," making the magic easy to replicate in one's own home.

Interviews of indoor green enthusiasts appear in this paperback edition of "Indoor Green" alongside the imagery, as well as tips on caring for plants and an index of plant varieties. More than good-looking props, plants are living, growing, joyful things rooted in creativity -- and "Indoor Green" makes it obvious that even the humblest greenery can transform a home.

Critique: An inspiring and informative pleasure to simply browse through one illustrated page at a time, "Indoor Green: Living with Plants" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Home Gardening instructional guides. "Indoor Green" is a 'must' for anyone wanting to improve the decor and ambiance of their home or business office with the presence of living plants.

Editorial Note: Bree Claffey is the owner of Mr. Kitly, an emporium of carefully curated ceramics, housewares, and indoor plants.

Lauren Bamford is a Melbourne-based lifestyle photographer. She regularly contributes to national and international publications including Vogue Living Australia, Kinfolk, and the Wall Street Journal.


The Travel Shelf

Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail
Barney Scout Mann
www.BarneyScoutMann.com
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
www.mountaineersbooks.org
9781680513219, $19.95, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the pages of "Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail", legendary trail angel, thru hiker, and former PCTA board member Barney Scout Mann spins a compelling tale of six hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007 as they walk from Mexico to Canada. This ensemble story unfolds as these half-dozen hikers (including Barney and his wife, Sandy) trod north, slowly forming relationships and revealing their deepest secrets and aspirations. They face a once-in-a-generation drought and early severe winter storms that test their will in this bare-knuckled adventure. In fact, only a third of all the hikers who set out on the trail that year would finish.

As the group approaches Canada, a storm rages. How will these very different hikers, ranging in age, gender, and background, respond to the hardship and suffering ahead of them? Can they all make the final 60-mile push through freezing temperatures, sleet, and snow, or will some reach their breaking point?

"Journeys North" is essentially a travelogue story of determination, compassion, human nature, and the relationships people will inevitably forge when they jointly strive toward a common goal.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, thoroughly engaging, and exceptionally well written blending of memoir and travelogue, "Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library collections.

Editorial Note: Barney Scout Mann has hiked the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails. He has been board chair of the Pacific Crest Trail Association and is president of the Partnership for the National Trails System. Mann has been recognized with a Lowell Thomas Journalism Award and is the co-author of The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail and the author of The Continental Divide Trail: Exploring America's Ridgeline Trail. He also maintains a website at www.BarneyScoutMann.com.


The Railroading Shelf

Amazing Train Journeys
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
www.lonelyplanet.com
9781787014305, $25.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Amazing Train Journeys" showcases 60 of the world's greatest and most unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips like Western Canada's Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide's The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines.

Railroading enthusiasts have always had a soft spot for trains. Dedicated train travelers know that the moment a train pulls out of a station bound for somewhere fantastic is when the adventure truly starts. Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "Amazing Train Journeys" is the culmination of asking more than 200 travel writers for their absolute favourites.

Some are epic international adventures, others short suburban routes along stunning coastline. There are incredible feats of engineering, trains that snake their way through mountain peaks, and even those which have achieved Unesco World Heritage status.

Each profile contains practical information including ticket options, timetables and stops, plus inspiring photos and illustrated maps.

Critique: A 'must' for all devoted train buffs and armchair travelers, "Amazing Train Journeys" is an extraordinary volume and the next best thing from actually riding the rails. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Travel Guide and Railroading History collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Amazing Train Journeys" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.75).


The Biography Shelf

The Change
Lori Soderlind
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299328306, $26.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the throes of a classic midlife crisis, in her memoir "The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour", Lori Soderlind (an award-winning essayist and journalist, and author of the memoir "Chasing Montana: A Love Story") took a sabbatical from her community college job as a journalism professor. She set out to travel across America's rusting heart with her fourteen-year-old dog, Colby, and a used camping trailer. Making pit stops in places like Buffalo and Rockford, she explored a deeply conflicted country going through its own crises and transformations. Even as she struggled with her own impulses, she found life and resilience among the seemingly forlorn, abandoned artifacts of former industrial glory.

With humanity and humor, Soderlind's journey introduces quirky folks along the way, including Swannie Jim of Silo City and his fawn pit bull, Champ. She attempts to channel muckraking journalist Ida M. Tarbell and celebrates complicated characters, including Robert De Niro's heartbroken veteran in The Deer Hunter. Ultimately a romance (of Soderlind's love for America, her dog, the long-term partner she left behind, and the childhood crush she remembers with a big, aching pang) "The Change" offers daring and often hilarious insights into loss and acceptance, especially when it takes a while to get there.

Critique: An impressive combination of thoughtful insight and delightful entertainment, "The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour" is a unique memoir that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and LGBT reading lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour" is readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Roland's Story, Inspired By A Stroke
Roland S. Takaoka
Difference Makers Media
https://differencemakersmedia.com
9780997592153, $14.95, PB, 260pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the pages of his intensely personal and inspiring autobiography "Roland's Story, Inspired By A Stroke: A Memoir of Hope, Healing & Transformation", readers will take an unforgettable journey with stroke survivor, Roland Takaoka. While facing paralysis on his right side, Roland recognizes the importance of focusing on the positive in every situation. He shares his adventures in the hospital, rehab and at home with candor, humor and optimism.

Roland is a keen observer of what happens around him. No one is above his scrutiny: from the busy doctor and nurses, to the therapists and cantankerous patients. Roland's anecdotal stories and personal reflections provide a refreshing example of how one's mind set can triumph over adversity.

Supported by his loving wife, Roland's path leads him to an enlightened therapist, whose knowledge about the Law of Attraction creates a new reality for his life.

Of special note is an informative preface from Roland's close friend, Lynn Sanders, as well as an epilogue by his wife Barbara Peeters. A resource guide is also included to uplift stroke survivors, their families and others facing physical challenges, "Roland's Story" is an intimate, inspiring memoir that touches the heart and soul while offering readers an opportunity to recognize their own unlimited potential.

Critique: A deftly written and inherently engaging read from first page to last, "Roland's Story, Inspired By A Stroke: A Memoir of Hope, Healing & Transformation" is one of those intensely personal yet ultimately universal stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Roland's Story" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: The publication of "Roland's Story" was made possible through the personal and professional efforts of Lynn Sanders who is the Founder/CEO of Difference Makers Media, LLC -- an organization that helps entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders create, tell and share their stories to expand their impact. As an award-winning writer/producer, author, marketing consultant, and media host of "The Difference Makers," Sanders has a mission to inspire people to live life to their highest potential. To make a bigger difference from your stories and get a free Difference Makers Story Guide, visit: www.DifferenceMakersMedia.com

Stepping Stones
Marilea C. Rabasa
She Writes Press
www.shewritespress.com
9781631528989, $16.95, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Addiction is a stealth predator. Unrecognized, it will grow and flourish. Unchecked, it destroys.

Marilea Rabasa grew up in post-WWII Massachusetts in a family that lived comfortably and offered her every advantage. But they were also haunted by closely guarded family secrets. Alcoholism reached back through several generations, and it was not openly discussed. Shame and stigma perpetuated the silence. And Marilea became part of this ongoing tragedy.

From an unhappy childhood to a life overseas in the diplomatic service to now, living on an island in Puget Sound, "Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation" chronicles Marilea's experiences, weaving a compelling tale of travel, motherhood, addiction, and heartbreaking loss. The constant thread throughout this story is the many faces and forms of addiction, phantoms that stalk her like an obsessed lover. What, if anything, will free her of the masks she has worn all her life?

An inspiring, poignant recovery story, "Stepping Stones" is the intimately personal story of how Marilea took on the demons that plagued her all her life -- and defeated them.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and ultimately inspiring read from beginning to end, "Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and the personal reading lists of anyone dealing with an eating disorder in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stepping Stones: A Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Transformation" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Magic Time: A Memoir
Edwin Wilson
Smith & Kraus Publishers
177 Lyme Road, Lyme NH 03755-6610
www.smithandkraus.com
9781575259475, $19.95, PB, 311pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ed Wilson began his career in theatre as the Producer's Assistant of a Broadway play directed by John Gielgud and the film Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook. He produced plays off-Broadway and co-produced the Broadway play Agatha Sue, I Love You and the film The Nashville Sound.

Educated at Vanderbilt, the University of Edinburgh and Yale, he received the first Doctor of Fine Arts degree awarded by Yale. From 1972 to 1995, he was the theatre critic for The Wall Street Journal for 23 years and for 45 years he served on the faculty at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center for nearly half a century. He served as President of the New York Drama Critics Circle, Chairman of the Theatre Development Fund and several Pulitzer Prize juries.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he conducted 90 half-hour television interviews with virtually every important theatre figure of the late 20th century from George Abbott to Jerry Zaks. Called Spotlight, the series appeared on CUNY-TV in New York and more than 200 PBS stations nationwide. It can be seen today on YouTube.

Critique: His personal life story, "Magic Time: A Memoir, Notes on Theatre & Other Entertainment" is the next best thing to a front row ticket to Wilson's engaging, colorful career in the world of the theater. An informative, absorbing, and entertaining read from first page to last, "Magic Time: A Memoir, Notes on Theatre & Other Entertainment" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781575259420, $19.95).


The Needlecraft Shelf

Circus Embroidery
Susie Johns
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945473, $22.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Compiled by Susie Johns, "Circus Embroidery: More than 200 Motifs and Projects to Stitch" is comprised of bright, playful motifs makes a handy resource for any embroidery enthusiast to engage with.

With spreads made up of template outlines on one side and the finished stitched items opposite, it couldn't be easier these needlecraft projects cover every imaginable spectacle that might be seen at a circus of yesteryear. From daring acrobats, tumblers and tightrope walkers to incredible performing animals, enthusiastic needlecrafters will be transported straight back to this exciting world from another era. Also included are embroidery projects based on the tents, signs and caravans that make up the circus infrastructure along with decorative borders, banners and lettering.

Other circus based embroidery projects include: strongmen, acrobats, tumblers, clowns, elephants, train, dancers, musicians, ringmasters, banners, flags, tents, ticket office, signs, big cats and many more!

Critique: A true embroidery fans delight -- and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, ""Circus Embroidery: More than 200 Motifs and Projects to Stitch" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections. It should be noted that ""Circus Embroidery: More than 200 Motifs and Projects to Stitch" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Based in London, England, Susie Johns is an artist and designer who has written dozens of craft books, mostly on knitting, crochet and sewing, including (also from GMC Publications), Knitted Pets, Knitted Woodland Creatures, How to Embroider and Fat Quarter: Bags & Purses.

100 Essential Crochet Stitches
Val Pierce
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945626, $19.95, PB, 136pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Val Pierce developed her skills over the years and her designs now feature in a selection of national magazines in the UK as well as numerous books. Her inspiration comes from the environment around her, using different colors and textures within her knitted and crocheted patterns.

In "100 Essential Crochet Stitches" Val has created an ideal instructional manual for beginners that is also a great reference guide for more experienced crocheter's. "100 Essential Crochet Stitches" will prove to be essential for anyone wanting to hone their crochet skills by providing all the information needed to make a large range of projects. Needlecrafters will enjoy the concise step-by-step instructions and crystal clear photography that carefully explain and illustrate how to create each stitch.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "100 Essential Crochet Stitches" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of both novice and experienced crochet enthusiasts that "100 Essential Crochet Stitches" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The Political Science Shelf

Developmental Politics
Steve McIntosh
www.stevemcintosh.com
Paragon House
3600 Labore Road, Suite 1, St. Paul, MN 55110-4144
https://www.paragonhouse.com/wp
9781557789426, $19.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Trump administration and the current congressional make-up clearly demonstrates and showcases that American politics are badly broken -- that with such factors as voter suppression, 'dark money contributions', Russian social media driven electoral sabotage efforts, and out-of-control special interest lobbying, our democracy is in serious disrepair. Yet to solve the seemingly intractable problem of hyperpolarization, we need to look beyond the grid-locked politics of Washington D.C.

In "Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself", Steve McIntosh shows how this growing rift in the fabric of American society is a cultural problem that requires a cultural solution. He offers a pragmatic yet inspiring approach to our national political dilemma through a new politics of culture -- one that goes right to the heart of this entrenched, complex issue. McIntosh presents a variety of innovative methods through which citizens and political leaders from across the political spectrum can reach agreement and achieve consensus.

McIntosh's proposals for overcoming hyperpolarization are founded on an emerging form of "cultural intelligence" that directly addresses the conflicting values underlying our poisoned politics. This new way of seeing leads to an inclusive vision of social progress in the form of a new American Dream can help revive our collective sense of common cause and thereby restore the functionality of our democracy. "Developmental Politics" provides the fresh thinking we need to transcend America's contemporary political impasse.

Critique: Expertly and accessibly written, organization and presented, "Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself" is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspiringly practical and aspirationally achievable. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in political philosophy and reform that "Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

Editorial Note: Steve McIntosh, J.D. is president of the Institute for Cultural Evolution think tank. Steve is also coauthor, with John Mackey and Carter Phipps, of the forthcoming book: Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business (Penguin 2020). He has authored three previous books on integral philosophy: The Presence of the Infinite (Quest, 2015), Evolution's Purpose (Select Books, 2012), and Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution (Paragon House, 2007). He maintains a website at www.stevemcintosh.com


The Business Shelf

Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos
Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, Steve Berez
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781633698703, $32.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For decades American business leaders have been painfully aware of a huge chasm: They aspire to create nimble, flexible enterprises. But their day-to-day reality is silos, sluggish processes, and stalled innovation. Today, agile is hailed as the essential bridge across this chasm, with the potential to transform a company and catapult it to the head of the pack.

In "Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos" Bain & Company thought leader Darrell Rigby and his colleagues Sarah Elk and Steve Berez provide a much-needed reality check. They dispel the myths and misconceptions that have accompanied agile's rise to prominence -- the idea that it can reshape an organization all at once, for instance, or that it should be used in every function and for all types of work. They illustrate that agile teams can indeed be powerful, making people's jobs more rewarding and turbocharging innovation, but such results are possible only if the method is fully understood and implemented the right way.

The key, they argue, is balance. Every organization must optimize and tightly control some of its operations, and at the same time innovate. Agile, done well, enables vigorous innovation without sacrificing the efficiency and reliability essential to traditional operations. The authors break down how agile really works, show what not to do, and explain the crucial importance of scaling agile properly in order to reap its full benefit. They then lay out a road map for leading the transition to a truly agile enterprise.

Critique: The primary message of "Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos" is that being agile isn't an inherent goal within or of itself. Being agile is simply and essentially a means to becoming a high-performance operation. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Doing Agile Right" is fundamentally an instructional guide and manual suitable and recommended for any company or corporation seeking to be successfully and profitably competitive in today's volatile and competitive marketplace be it local, national, or global. While strongly recommended for corporate, community, and academic library Contemporary Business Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for business students, academia, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers that "Doing Agile Right" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.49).

Editorial Note: Darrell Rigby is a partner in the Boston office of Bain & Company, where he leads the Global Innovation practice. He is a frequent speaker and writer on innovation, agile, and retail and has appeared on CNBC, CNN's Moneyline, and Bloomberg. His research has been published in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, and other publications.

Sarah Elk is a partner in Bain's Chicago office and the global head of the firm's Operating Model practice.

Steve Berez is a partner in Bain's Boston office and a founding member of the firm's Enterprise Technology practice.

Unleashed
Frances Frei & Anne Morriss
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781633697041, $30.00, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Leadership isn't easy. It takes grit, courage, and vision, among other things, that can be hard to come by on your toughest days. When leaders and aspiring leaders seek out advice, they're often told to try harder. Dig deeper. Look in the mirror and own your natural-born strengths and fix any real or perceived career-limiting deficiencies.

In the pages of "Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You", co-authors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss provide a different worldview. They argue that this popular leadership advice glosses over the most important thing you do as a leader: build others up. Leadership isn't about you. It's about how effective you are at empowering other people - and making sure this impact endures even in your absence. As Frei and Morriss show through inspiring stories from ancient Rome to present-day Silicon Valley, the origins of great leadership are found, paradoxically, not in worrying about your own status and advancement, but in the unrelenting focus on other people's potential.

"Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You" provides radical advice for the practice of leadership today. Showing how the boldest, most effective leaders use a special combination of trust, love, and belonging to create an environment in which other people can excel, Frei and Morriss offer practical, battle-tested tools (based on their work with companies such as Uber, Riot Games, WeWork, and others), along with interviews and stories from their own personal experience, to make these ideas come alive.

"Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You" is your indispensable guide for unleashing greatness in other people -- and, ultimately, in yourself. Of special note is an accompanying website at www.theleadersguide.com.

Critique: As informed and informative as it thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You" is enhanced for MBA students and academia with the inclusion of a six page Index and ten pages of Notes. It should also be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.49).

Editorial Note: Frances Frei is a professor at Harvard Business School. She recently served as Uber's first Senior Vice President of Leadership and Strategy to help the company navigate its very public crisis in leadership and culture. Frei regularly works with companies embarking on large-scale change and organizational transformation, including embracing diversity and inclusion as a lever for improved performance. Her TED Talk on the topic of building trust has logged over four million views.

Anne Morriss is a highly sought-after leadership coach and the executive founder of the Leadership Consortium, a first-of-its-kind leadership accelerator that works to help more and diverse leaders thrive. Her collaborators have ranged from early-stage tech founders to Fortune 50 executives to public-sector leaders building national competitiveness. She has spent the last twenty years building and leading mission-driven enterprises, serving most recently as founder and CEO of GenePeeks, which addressed the urgent need for better personal health information.

Lead from the Future
Mark W. Johnson & Josh Suskewicz
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781633697546, $30.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: We all know a visionary leader when we see one. They're bold and prophetic and at the same time pragmatic. They don't just promote change -- they drive it, while inspiring and mobilizing others to do the same. Visionaries like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos possess a host of innate qualities that make them extraordinary, but what truly sets them apart is their ability to turn vision into action.

In "Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking Into Breakthrough Growth", Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz introduce a new way of thinking and managing, called "future-back," that enables any manager to become a practical visionary.

Addressing the many barriers to change that exist in established organizations, they present a systematic approach to overcoming them that includes: The principles and mind-set that allow leadership teams to look beyond typical short-term planning horizons; A method for turning emerging challenges into the growth opportunities that can define an organization's future; A step-by-step approach for translating a vision into a strategic plan that teams can align around and commit to; Ways to ensure that visionary thinking becomes a repeatable organizational capability

As practical as it is inspiring, "Lead from the Future" is specifically intended to be an instructional guide and manual enabling a team to develop a vision and translate that vision into transformative growth for their business enterprise.

Critique: While an invaluable addition to corporate, community, college, and academic library systems & Planning, Strategy & Competition, and Strategic Business Planning collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, "Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking Into Breakthrough Growth" is also available for the personal reading list of MBA students, academia, entrepreneurs, business managers, and corporate executives in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.00).

Editorial Note: Mark W. Johnson co-founded the strategy and innovation management consultancy Innosight with Clayton M. Christensen in 2000. His books include Dual Transformation (2017) and Reinvent Your Business Model (2018), both published by Harvard Business Review Press. He maintains a website page at: innosight.com/team_bio/johnson-mark-w -- He can also be contacted through: linkedin.com/in/markwilliamjohnson, and twitter.com/mark_w_johnson?lang=en

Josh Suskewicz is a partner at Innosight, where he leads consulting engagements in numerous industries, specializing in life sciences and medtech. He has a website page at innosight.com/team_bio/suskewicz-josh -- and can be contacted at linkedin.com/in/josh-suskewicz-64a44212


The Automotive Shelf

Volkswagen Transporter T4: 1990-2003
Richard Copping & Kenneth Cservenka
Veloce Publishing Ltd.
www.veloce.co.uk
9781787114388, $22.28, PB, 96pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Volkswagen Transporter T4: 1990-2003" is the next best thing to having an actual marque expert by your side when studying the VW T4. Readers can easily benefit from Richard Copping and Kenneth Cservanka's years of Volkswagen Transporter ownership and experience as they learn how to spot a bad example quickly, and how to assess a promising one like a professional. Get the right van at the right price!

Packed from cover to cover with good advice ranging from running costs, through paperwork, vital statistics, valuation, and the VW community, to whether a VW Transporter T4 will suit you and your lifestyle, "Volkswagen Transporter T4: 1990-2003 is a complete, comprehensive, and profusely illustrated instructional guide and reference for choosing, assessing and buying the VW Transporter.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Volkswagen Transporter T4: 1990-2003" is the ideal reference and a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Automotive History collections in general, and VW reference lists in particular.

Editorial Note: With some thirty VW titles to his name that range from Beetle books to Buses and Golfs, Richard Copping is regarded as a leading author and marque expert on matters Volkswagen in Britain and beyond. He learned to drive using a VW Beetle and he has owned Volkswagens ever since. A Concours judge, an avid collector of VW literature, and particularly so the oldest and rarest brochures, Richard has a monthly column in Volkswagen Camper and Commercial magazine, as well as regularly contributing features about some of the best VWs to be seen out and about.

Ken Cservenka has owned and repaired various models of Volkswagen since 1969. As well as being an occasional Concours d' Elegance judge, he is well known for his photography. His articles, photography and answers to technical queries have appeared in several well known magazines. He has also provided photography for several books and has co-written books for the Veloce Buyers Guide series.


The Sports Shelf

Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs
Michael Blann
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
www.thamesandhudsonusa.com
9780500023082, $55.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The mountains of Europe represent different things for different people. For the locals they are a way of life; for visitors they represent breathtaking beauty, active holidays, and moments of contemplation. For cyclists, however, these dramatic landscapes represent suffering, agony -- and glory. For over a century, from the Ardennes to the Alps, mountains have provided a setting for the world's great cycling contests, where determination and willpower triumph over terrain and altitude.

Cycling makes us more active and takes us down less-traveled roads, and the mountains of Europe are becoming the primary destination for amateur riders who want to challenge themselves, experience fabled routes, and escape their everyday lives. Featuring over fifteen new cycling climbs from across Europe, this revised and expanded edition of Michael Blann's beautiful coffee table style book, "Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs", is specifically aimed at all those who are inspired by the challenge of mountain riding.

With tributes, personal recollections from leading road cyclists, and a range of new climbs in the Alps and elsewhere, "Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs" is a richly illustrated and informative guide to some of the world's finest climbs will inspire awe and wonder in anyone who wishes to confront the power of the mountains.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover and showcasing numerous and photographically illustrated essays, this newly revised and expanded edition of "Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library European Travel collections in general, and Cyclist Adventure supplemental reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Michael Blann is a former professional cyclist turned photographer who works for the world's leading creative agencies.


The Art Shelf

Mini Chibi Art Class
Yoai
Race Point Publishing
c/o The Quarto Group
www.QuartoKnows.com
9781631067174 $12.99 amazon.com

Synopsis: Chibi is Japanese slang for "short," and popular Instagram anime artist Yoai (@yoaihime) shows you how to draw these adorable doll-like characters in Mini Chibi Art Class. Chibis are mini versions of Japanese anime and manga characters and are defined by their large heads and tiny bodies, both of which contribute to their kawaii, or cuteness, factor.

Here, you'll learn how to create chibis' signature bodies, facial features, and props, including dreamy eyes, fun clothes and shoes, vibrant hair, colorful accessories, and lively backgrounds. You'll also learn how to color and shade your vertically challenged characters for optimal cuteness. This book also features 19 chibi tutorials with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions, inspiration galleries, blank body bases for you to start your own chibi drawings, and uncolored chibis for practicing coloring and shading.

Mini Chibi Art Class is part of a series of adorable mini versions of Race Point art reference books that include Mini Kawaii Doodle Class and Mini Kawaii Doodle Cuties.

Thanks to this take-anywhere crash course, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique chibi world. Mini Chibi Art Class is now in session!

Critique: Mini Chibi Art Class lives up to its title as a user-friendly, easy-to-follow guide to drawing "chibi" caricatures in the style of exaggeratedly cute Japanese cartoons or comics. Using both black-and-white and color images to illustrate its step-by-step guidelines, Mini Chibi Art Class is an excellent "how-to" resource for budding artists of all skill and experience levels. Mini Chibi Art Class is highly recommended, and also makes a superb gift for creative fans of lighthearted pop culture!


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


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