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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 9 September 2021 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Biography Shelf
Art Shelf General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Psychology Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Judaic Studies Shelf Automotive Shelf Business Shelf
Architecture Shelf Travel Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Music Shelf Parenting Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11
Joseph Pfeifer
c/o Penguin/Random House LLC
9780593330258, $27.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: When Chief Joe Pfeifer led his firefighters to investigate an odor of gas in downtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11, he had no idea that his life was about to change forever. A few moments later, he watched as the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Pfeifer, the closest FDNY chief to the scene, spearheaded rescue efforts on one of the darkest days in American history.

"Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is the unforgettable and intimate account of what Chief Pfeifer witnessed at Ground Zero, on that day and the days that followed. Through his eyes, we see the horror of the attack and the courage of the firefighters who ran into the burning towers to save others. We see him send his own brother up the stairs of the North Tower, never to return. And we walk with him and his fellow firefighters through weeks of rescue efforts and months of numbing grief, as they wrestle with the real meaning of heroism and leadership.

This gripping narrative gives way to resiliency and a determination that permanently reshapes Pfeifer, his fellow firefighters, NYC, and America. Ordinary Heroes takes us on a journey that turns traumatic memories into hope, so we can make good on our promise to never forget 9/11.

Critique: A fitting memoir to add to personal reading lists and library collections honoring the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America, "Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is an extraordinary read that is well written, organized and presented. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American History and Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ordinary Heroes: A Memoir of 9/11" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old
Steven Petrow
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
9780806541006, $26.00, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: Soon after his 50th birthday, Steven Petrow (an award-winning journalist and author best known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on aging, health, and civility) began assembling a list of "things I won't do when I get old" -- mostly a catalog of all the things he thought his then 70-something year old parents were doing wrong. That list, which included "You won't have to shout at me that I'm deaf," and "I won't blame the family dog for my incontinence", became the basis of this rousing collection of do's and don'ts, wills and won'ts that is equal parts hilarious, honest, and practical.

The fact is, we don't want to age the way previous generations did. "Old people" hoard. They bore relatives (and strangers alike) with tales of their aches and pains. They insist on driving long after they've become a danger to others (and themselves). They eat dinner at 4pm. They swear they don't need a cane or walker (and guess what happens next). They never, ever apologize. But there is another way!

In "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong", Petrow candidly addresses the fears, frustrations, and stereotypes that accompany aging. He offers a blueprint for the new old age, and an understanding that aging and illness are not the same. As he writes, "I meant the list to serve as a pointed reminder to me to make different choices when I eventually cross the threshold to 'old.'"

Getting older is a privilege. "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old" is an essential DIY guide that reveals how to do it with grace, wisdom, humor, and hope -- and without hoarding!

Critique: An inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking read (and laced with humor) throughout, "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help and Aging collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.06).

A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers
Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis
Southern Illinois University Press
9780809338184, $24.50 pbk / $23.27 Kindle

Synopsis: In 2003 Fred Delcomyn imagined his backyard of two and a half acres, farmed for corn and soybeans for generations, restored to tallgrass prairie. Over the next seventeen years, Delcomyn, with help from his friend James L. Ellis scored, seeded, monitored, reseeded, and burned these acres into prairie. In A Backyard Prairie, they document their journey and reveal the incredible potential of a backyard to travel back to a time before the wild prairie was put into plow rows. It has been said, "Anyone can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie." This book shows us how.

The first book to celebrate a smaller, more private restoration, A Backyard Prairie offers a vivid portrait of what makes a prairie. Delcomyn and Ellis describe selecting and planting seeds, recount the management of a prescribed fire, and capture the prairie's seasonal parades of colorful flowers in concert with an ever-growing variety of animals, from the minute eastern tailed-blue butterfly to the imperious red-winged blackbird and the reclusive coyote.

This book offers a unique account of their work and their discovery of a real backyard, an inviting island of grass and flowers uncovered and revealed. We often travel miles and miles to find nature larger than ourselves. In this rich account of small prairie restoration, Delcomyn and Ellis encourage the revival of original prairie in our backyards and the patient, beauty-seeking soul sleeping within ourselves.

Critique: A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers is the true story of author Fred Delcomyn's decision to restore his two and a half acre backyard from farmland into the tallgrass prairie it once was. A Backyard Prairie tells of a long, involved process that included selecting and planting seeds, managing prescribed fires, and cultivating flowers that would in turn lure prairie insects and animals. Beautiful, full-color photographs on almost every page illustrate this wonderful journey and celebration, highly recommended especially for nature and environmental enthusiasts. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers is also available in a Kindle edition ($23.27).

Editorial Note: Both Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis serve on the board of directors of Grand Prairie Friends, a conservation organization in east-central Illinois involved in prairie restoration projects. Fred Delcomyn, a certified master naturalist and professor emeritus of the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois, is the author of Foundations of Neurobiology along with numerous scholarly articles on insects. James L. Ellis, a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, manages and maintains the University of Illinois Natural Areas . He has published extensively on prairie ecology, conservation, restoration, and management.

Ensemble!: Using the Power of Improv and Play to Forge Connections in a Lonely World
Jeff Katzman M.D., Dan O'Connor
North Atlantic Books
9781623176297, $16.95 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: I know what you're thinking: Hold on...improv? Like getting on a stage in front of an audience? What if that's not my thing?

Don't worry: This isn't a book about becoming an improv-theater expert, and it's not really a book about performing. It's a book about loneliness - about our feelings of disconnection and isolation, ones that we may have been experiencing since long before the pandemic. More importantly, it's a book about becoming unlonely - by borrowing from the collaborative and creative tools of improv.

Authors of Life Unscripted Jeff Katzman, a professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, and Dan O'Connor, multifaceted actor, writer, and director, have created a process they call ensembling that helps us build an ensemble of relationships in our lives and more deeply enjoy the groups we already belong to. This is a process of becoming a little vulnerable with each other, and of embracing the moment in which we find ourselves. Drawing on concepts from narrative improvisational theatre and depth psychology, the authors present us with the skills we need to connect with each other more actively and meaningfully. To ensemble or not to ensemble - that is not a question. With the rise of loneliness and isolation in an increasingly virtually connected society, we must find ways to come together. We must ensemble!

Critique: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, disconnection, isolation, and loneliness were widespread and unfortunate social ills of the modern world. Ensemble!: Using the Power of Improv and Play to Forge Connections in a Lonely World guides the reader to tap into the power of improvisation, mindfulness, emotional regulation and more, all to attune oneself to human dynamics and forge, rebuild, or maintain meaningful connections with others. In a world dominated by remote work and online engaging in improv games like a "scavenger hunt" (participants search for a common item in their own home, then suggest an item for the next participant), one-word-at-a-time games, and other engagements can help group members mesh with one another. Tips, tricks, and techniques from improv can bring family members closer together even when separated by geographic distance. Notes and an index round out this user-friendly resource for promoting community at work or at home. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Ensemble! is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Editorial Note: Jeff Katzman is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, serves as Vice Chair and director of an international program on psychological resilience training, and maintains a private practice. He previously directed Behavioral Health Care services at the New Mexico VA Health Care System and programs for veterans with PTSD in Los Angeles. He holds multiple leadership roles in the American Academy of Dynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis and is a board member of the Mentalizing Initiative in Los Angeles. Katzman has applied improvisational theatre with interdisciplinary hospital teams, psychiatric trainees, psychotherapists, and patients.

Dan O'Connor is a multifaceted actor, improviser, writer, and director working in television and stage around the world. He graduated from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has trained with the American Conservatory Theater and Keith Johnstone since 1986. O'Connor is the founder and producing artistic director of Impro Theatre, and co-founded BATS Improv in San Francisco and LA Theatresports. For 30 years, he has trained writers, actors, and directors in narrative storytelling, and has taught corporate clients to use improvisation as a tool for adaptation and change.

The Education Shelf

Teaching and Learning Across Cultures
Craig Ott
Baker Academic
9781540963109, $32.99 pbk / $21.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Representing the fruit of a lifetime of reflection and practice, this comprehensive resource helps teachers understand the way people in different cultures learn so they can adapt their teaching for maximum effectiveness. Senior missiologist and educator Craig Ott draws on extensive research and cross-cultural experience from around the world. This book introduces students to current theories and best practices for teaching and learning across cultures. Case studies, illustrations, diagrams, and sidebars help the theories of the book come to life.

Critique: Teaching and Learning Across Cultures: A Guide to Theory and Practice is a thoughtful and scholarly examination of cultural differences in learning, written especially to help teachers adapt their methods for better results. Although these lessons have particular implications for theological education, they can be broadly applied to educating students in any field. Chapters analyze factors that are interconnected with cultural worldview, social connections (including the dynamics of individualism versus collectivism), the advantages and limitations of online learning, and much more. It's worth noting that what is commonly considered "cheating" varies between cultures; one example is of students from a more communal culture who determined that their course had too much busywork, and formed "homework cartels" to take turns and copy from the day's appointed homework doer! Teaching and Learning Across Cultures is a "must-read" for anyone tasked with instructing students belonging to an unfamiliar culture, and highly recommended especially for public and college library education collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Teaching and Learning Across Cultures is also available in a Kindle edition ($21.99).

Editorial Note: Craig Ott (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he also directs the PhD program in intercultural studies. He has written or edited numerous books, including The Church on Mission.

Breaking Barriers
Stanley S. Litow and Tina Kelley
Teachers College Press
9780807765586 $24.95 pbk / $18.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Breaking Barriers shows how to redesign high schools so that all students can move on to college and successful careers. In a negation of the American Dream, a child's zip code is currently a far better predictor of success than hard work, intelligence, or resilience. This book tells the story of a school model that focuses on equity and works to prove that all young people can achieve academic excellence given the right support. P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) combines public high schools and community colleges in partnership with employers, providing both opportunity and support for all students. This innovative and effective approach eliminates barriers to replication by engaging all stakeholders.

The first P-TECH, which opened in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, is now a model for school reform. Praised by President Obama and heads of nations, its story is told through the voices of students who have shattered the myths about which students can succeed.

Critique: Breaking Barriers: How P-TECH Schools Create a Pathway From High School to College to Career describes the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) model for education, created to help students earn a free associate degree in order to enter a career in a high-growth field. Breaking Barriers especially focuses upon ways to redesign high schools so that students can more easily move on to college and a successful professional life. The goal is to help students earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, and relevant work experience. Chapters address the rigorous coursework of the P-TECH model, support for learning such as extended schooling or tutoring, interactions with partners of the P-TECH model including colleges and businesses, the lessons that can be learned for broader reforms, and much more. Ultimately, Breaking Barriers is about improving education so that a child's future success is no longer primarily determined by their zip code (i.e., whether they live in a rich or poor area). Breaking Barriers is an invaluable study of a tested model with potential for improving countless lives, highly recommended especially for library Educational Studies shelves. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Breaking Barriers is also available in a Kindle edition ($18.99).

The Equity & Social Justice Education 50
Baruti K. Kafele
9781416630173, $27.95 pbk / $20.49 Kindle

Synopsis: How do you ensure that no student is invisible in your classroom? How do you make the distinction between equity as the vehicle versus equity as the goal for each of your students? What measures do you take to ensure that you are growing as a culturally relevant practitioner? Can your students, particularly your Black students, articulate, beyond emotional reactions, the injustices that surround them?

The foregoing are not trick questions. Rather, they are those that best-selling author Baruti K. Kafele poses and on which he suggests you deeply reflect as a teacher of Black students. The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 will help you understand the importance of having an equity mindset when teaching students generally and when teaching Black students in particular. It defines social justice education and sheds light on the issues and challenges that Black people face, as well as the successes they've achieved, providing you with a pathway to infusing social justice education into your lesson plans. And along the way, Kafele reveals personal experiences from his distant and recent pasts to highlight how important it is that your Black students see themselves in all aspects of education every day.

You, the teacher, play a critical role in your students' success. The questions that Kafele asks in this book will help enhance your own understanding of race, systemic racism, and racial justice and guide you in developing strategies and lessons that speak to Black students in ways that truly support their achievement.

Critique: The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students is written by a distinguished professional educator, for professional educators, and focuses especially on the challenges of helping students who tend to be "invisible", including and especially Black students. The "critical questions" exist to help one reexamine one's own perspectives of race, the harm caused by systemic racism, and adapt one's understanding to better help students of all races achieve their fullest potential. Some of the "critical questions" to explore include "What measures do I take toward increasing my cultural competence?" (this applies when teaching students of any culture other than one's own), "How knowledgeable am I on issues of social justice that directly impact my Black students and students of color?", "In what ways do I help my students find their 'voice' in my classroom?" and much more. A forward-thinking resource that encourages teachers to look critically at themselves and their methods, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 is highly recommended for especially for practicing and aspiring professional educators. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.49).

Editorial Note: Baruti K. Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher, he was named East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and he was a finalist for New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different New Jersey urban schools, including Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school to national recognition. He is the author of 12 books, including ASCD book The Aspiring Principal 50 and his six ASCD best sellers: The Assistant Principal 50, Is My School a Better School Because I Lead It?, The Teacher 50, The Principal 50, Closing the Attitude Gap, and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life.

The Biography Shelf

Prelude to the Past
Rosie Graefenberg, author
Ernest Latham, editor
c/o Histria Books
9781592110377, $39.99, HC, 424pp

Synopsis: "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" written by Rosie Graefenberg and edited by Ernest Latham is the remarkable story of a young Jewish girl growing up in Germany during the years leading up to the First World War and who experienced adulthood during the tumultuous years between the two World Wars becoming one of the most important journalistic figures of the period.

Rosie Graefenberg was no ordinary woman. Born to a prominent German-Jewish family, Rosie enjoyed an adventurous life as she pursued her career in journalism. Her travels led her to spend several years in inter-war France, where she experienced first-hand the attempts at Franco-German rapprochement in the aftermath of the treaty of Versailles. She ventured to French Morocco, Soviet Russia, and into the French colonies in Africa, leaving vivid portrayals of her encounters with these diverse societies and with many of the major political and social figures of the day.

Her life of romance and adventure ultimately led her to marry Franz Ullstein, head of the most-powerful publishing dynasty and key representative of the democratic press establishment in pre-World War II Germany. But an unconventional marriage provoked family intrigues and political struggles that soon thrust Rosie into the greatest scandal the German Republic would endure during its death throes before the establishment of the Third Reich - the Ullstein Affair. Rosie Graefenberg now found herself at the center of European media attention, as accusations of her being a spy brought down the most powerful media mogul in Europe and led to a drawn out legal battle that exposed the weaknesses of the democratic press in Germany for all to see, helping lay the groundwork for the coming Nazi takeover.

In "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman", Rosie Graefenberg provides a masterful, impassioned account of these events, in a fast-paced narrative, revealing many of the surprising motives behind them. Now, for the first time in more than 80 years this tumultuous era comes to life through the eyes of a powerful, passionate, strong, yet vulnerable Jewish woman who not only recorded the events of the era but also helped to shape them

Additionally, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" provides a unique feminine perspective on a highly male-dominated era. With an informative introduction by Dr. Ernest H. Latham, the foremost scholar on the life and work of Rosie Graefenberg, and who later took the name R.G. Waldeck, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is essential reading for anyone interested in European society in the years preceding Hitler's domination of Europe.

Critique: Impressively informative, inherently fascinating, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library European Biography & Journalism collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Prelude to the Past: The Autobiography of a Woman" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781592110414, $24.99).

The Sensitive One: A Memoir
Susan F. Morris
She Writes Press
9781647421618, $16.95, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: At the age of fifty, Susan Morris is diagnosed with breast cancer. Desperate to pinpoint the cause, one night she decides to type a question into her search engine: "What are the risk factors of getting breast cancer?" She's surprised to discover research showing that long-term exposure to stress and traumatic childhood experiences can both increase the risk of breast cancer.

"The Sensitive One" is a deftly braided memoir that alternates between Morris's youth as a sensitive child and then as teenager who shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings as her dad's alcoholism tore at the threads of their home life, and finally as an adult who for a decade-plus has been living a trauma-free life with a caring husband and rewarding career in nursing .-- only to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The Sensitive One" is a story of personal redemption, of a woman who manages to escape harrowing circumstances and start anew. But this deftly crafted memoir is also a story of how our legacy lives within us, and how healing from the adverse effects of childhood can truly take a lifetime.

Critique: A compelling, insightful, informative, and ultimately inspiring read, "The Sensitive One: A Memoir" is a welcome and recommended addition to community library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sensitive One: A Memoir" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Christina Rice
The University Press of Kentucky
663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40508-4008
9780813181080, $29.95, HC, 392pp

Synopsis: By the early 1950s, American actress, singer, and model Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 - February 28, 2011) should have been forgotten. Her career was launched on what is arguably the most notorious advertising campaign in cinema history, which invited film goers to see Howard Hughes's The Outlaw (1943) and to "tussle with Russell." Throughout the 1940s, she was nicknamed the "motionless picture actress" and had only three films in theaters. With such a slow, inauspicious start, most aspiring actresses would have given up or faded away. Instead, Russell carved out a place for herself in Hollywood and became a memorable and enduring star.

"Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend", Christina Rice (a librarian and archivist at the Los Angeles Public Library) offers the first biography of the actress and activist perhaps most well-known for her role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Despite the fact that her movie career was stalled for nearly a decade, Russell's filmography is respectable. She worked with some of Hollywood's most talented directors including Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh, Nicholas Ray, and Josef von Sternberg -- and held her own alongside costars such as Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, Clark Gable, Vincent Price, and Bob Hope. She also learned how to fight back against Howard Hughes, her boss for more than thirty-five years, and his marketing campaigns that exploited her physical appearance.

Beyond the screen, Rice reveals Russell as a complex and confident woman. She explores the star's years as a spokeswoman for Playtex as well as her deep faith and work as a Christian vocalist. Rice also discusses Russell's leadership and patronage of the WAIF foundation, which for many years served as the fund raising arm of the International Social Service (ISS) agency. WAIF raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, successfully lobbied Congress to change laws, and resulted in the adoption of tens of thousands of orphaned children. For Russell, the work she did to help unite families overshadowed any of her onscreen achievements.

On the surface, Jane Russell seemed to live a charmed life, but Rice illuminates her darker moments and her personal struggles, including her empowered reactions to the controversies surrounding her films and her feelings about being portrayed as a sex symbol. This amazingly informative and ground breaking biography offers a fresh perspective on a star whose legacy endures not simply because she forged a notable film career, but also because she effectively used her celebrity to benefit others.

Critique: A simply fascinating, exceptionally well written, and impressively informative biography of a major Hollywood icon, "Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Biography and American Cinematic History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of Jane Russell fans and cinema history buffs that "Mean...Moody...Magnificent!: Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

The Art Shelf

Anime Art Class
Rock Point
c/o The Quarto Group
9781631067648 $21.99 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: In her follow-up to Chibi Art Class, renowned Instagram artist Yoai is back to teach you how to draw the popular Japanese style of anime and manga like a pro.

In Anime Art Class, you will learn how to draw Yoai's signature cute characters, from their bodies and facial features to their dreamy eyes, trendy clothes and accessories, and fun hair.

The 20 tutorials, with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions, guide you from drawing characters in pencil and pen to coloring and shading them in with colored pencils, markers, and watercolor paints. With the addition of lots of drawing tips and tricks and inspiration galleries that you can also use as coloring pages, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique anime world. Anime Art Class is now in session!

Critique: Anime Art Class: A Complete Course in Drawing Manga Cuties lives up to its title as a guide to creating characters in the style of Japanese animation and comics, including facial features, hair styles, clothing and accessories, and more. There are twenty step-by-step tutorials with sample illustrations and instructions for sketching in pencil or pen, as well as coloring and shading. A medley of male and female sample characters show the techniques in practice. Anime Art Class is highly recommended for any aspiring artist interested in learning the basics of how to create delightful and appealing characters! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Anime Art Class is also available in a Kindle edition ($21.99).

Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations
Gabriel Kline
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781589239807, $30.00, HC, 176pp

Synopsis: Specifically written for the benefit of potter makers ranging from the novice to the professional, "Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations: 200+ Surefire Finishes for Low-Fire, Mid-Range, and High-Fire Pottery" by Gabriel Kline is an amazing DIY compendium replete with color-filled page of glazes throughout.

Readers will start by learning the keys to success when applying glazes, then choose the temperature range they want to explore first. Gabriel's collection of well-tested recipes draw on his decades of experience as an instructor and leader of a communal arts studio -- including current and past student favorites as well as a few timeless gems.

In addition to plentiful tiles showing off two-glaze combinations, Gabriel shares multi-glaze combinations developed through years of trial and error. From waterfall blues to eye-popping bursts of red, there's a rainbow of options. The showcased recipes have all been technically edited and each one has a photo. By controlling specific gravity and application, the goal is always getting the perfect coat of glaze recipe after recipe.

Special topics like majolica and raku firing provide welcome detours, and a variety of artist features serve as launching points for new explorations. Stunning galleries from today's top artists provide even more glazing ideas.

Critique: An ideal and unreservedly recommended textbook for pottery glazing curriculums, "Amazing Glaze Recipes and Combinations: 200+ Surefire Finishes for Low-Fire, Mid-Range, and High-Fire Pottery" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an ideal and invaluable addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Pottery & Ceramic Craft collections and supplemental studies lists.

Editorial Note: Gabriel Kline is a professional potter who has taught ceramics classes for nearly two decades. He is the founder and director of Odyssey ClayWorks, an educational institution affiliated with Highwater Clays -- one of the largest clay and ceramic materials companies in the United States. Gabriel serves as the resident artist program director, fostering connections with university programs and up-and-coming artists from around the world. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes and the 500 series.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Georgia O'Keeffe, artist
Catherine Millet, contributor
DAP/Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
9788417173494, $65.00, HC, 316pp

Synopsis: Georgia O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 - March 6, 1986) began her art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York. She moved to New York in 1918, and in 1924 married Alfred Stieglitz. From 1929, O'Keeffe began spending part of the year in the Southwest, which served as inspiration for her paintings of New Mexico landscapes. After Stieglitz's death, she lived permanently in New Mexico, in Abiqui£, later moving to Santa Fe where she remained and painted until her death.

Offering a complete survey of Georgia O'Keeffe's illustrious career, "Georgia O'Keeffe", jointly published by DAP and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, is magnificent new study that ranges from the works produced between 1910 and 1920 that made her a pioneer of abstraction to her celebrated flower paintings and views of New York, which led to her recognition as one of the key figures in modern American art, and culminating with her paintings of New Mexico.

The selection of color plates is accompanied by quotes from O'Keeffe on her art and additional photographic material pertaining to the paintings. The sense of reverence for the world and its forms emerges vividly through O'Keeffe's words. "The unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is big far beyond my understanding - to understand maybe by trying to put it into form," she writes. "To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill."

Also featured are a biography and texts by and featuring erudite and informative commentaries by French art writer Catherine Millet, Georgia O'Keeffe expert Barbara Buhler Lynes, and seven other knowledgeable contributors who are curators from the venues to which the show travels, as well as scholars at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

A stunning beautiful volume showcasing the work of a truly iconic American artist, "Georiga O'Keeffe" is a coffee-table style compendium (3.7 pounds) that is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library 20th Century American Art History collections in general, and Georgia O'Keeffe supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.

Editorial Note: Barbara Buhler Lynes is the curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center. She is the leading expert on the art of painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

David Lynch, Someone Is In My House
David Lynch
Prestel Publishing
9783791387345, $45.00 PB, 320pp

Synopsis: David Lynch has always been in the spotlight as a filmmaker, directing some of the most iconic movies ever made, but as a visual artist, he is less widely known. Lynch delights in the physicality of painting and likes to stimulate all the senses in his work. Now a new coffee-table style (9.75 x 1.18 x 11.81 inches) paperback edition that brings together Lynch's paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture and installation, and stills from his films.

Many of these works reveal the dark underpinnings behind Lynch's often-macabre movies. Others explore his fascination with texture and collage. Throughout, Lynch's characteristic style (surreal, stylish, and even humorous) shines through. An introduction by music journalist and Lynch biographer Kristine McKenna, along with a thought- provoking essay by curator Stijn Huijts, offers fascinating new information and perspectives on Lynch's life and career. This edition of "David Lynch: Someone Is in My House" reveals an unexplored facet of Lynch's oeuvre and affirms that he is as brilliant a visual artist as he is a filmmaker.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of David Lynch fans, "David Lynch: Someone Is in My House" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, college, and university library Contemporary Art & Artists collections in general, and David Lynch supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Kristine McKenna is an American journalist, critic, and curator who has written for Artforum, The New York Times, ARTNews, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone Magazine. Stijn Huijts is the Artistic Director of the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht in the Netherlands.

The General Fiction Shelf

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee
Wagih Abu-Rish
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781626348493, $21.95, HC, 296pp

Synopsis: A sweeping saga of a story, "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" by Palestinian-American author and activist Wagih Abu-Rish begins in 1940s Palestine where twins Rasheed and Rasheeda Dinar work in the family's inn. When Rasheed falls in love with Natalia, a Jewish woman, he applies what he learned from the Jesuit priest who mentored him in his budding relationship but by then relations between Arabs and Jews have become tense. And when those tensions come to a breaking point, Natalia mysteriously disappears, and Rasheed and Rasheeda are chased out of Palestine forced to flee to Beirut, Lebanon. As the years pass and the Dinar family expands and enters the 1970s, their convictions are tested. Until the family reunites and proves that the thin line separating people because of their differences is powerless against the strength of family, love, and loyalty.

Critique: Deftly crafted with impressive attention to historical detail and context, "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" is an inherently riveting read and one that will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to community library General Fiction in general, and Jewish/Palestinian Historical/Cultural Fiction collections in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Replenishing the Sea of Galilee" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Historical Fiction Shelf

Trial by Fire: A Novel
P. T. Deutermann
St. Martin's Publishing Group
9781250273048, $28.99 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: It's March 1945 and the war in the Pacific is approaching its apocalyptic climax. The largest wartime armada ever assembled, Task Force 58, is closing in on Okinawa; once taken, it will finally put American B-29 bombers in comfortable range of the home islands of Japan - and victory.

At the heart of the fleet are 14 Essex-class aircraft carriers, including the USS Franklin, known as "Big Ben" - a 27,000-ton behemoth, home to 3,600 crewmen and 100 aircraft. Just after dawn, while crewmen prepare for battle, a single Japanese Yokosuka D4Y bomber breaks through the clouds and drops a 500-pound semi-armor piercing bomb on Big Ben. The bomb rips through the wooden flight deck before exploding on the hangar deck, amidst two dozen fully fueled and armed fighter-bombers. The resulting explosion engulfs both the hangar deck and all the planes spotted on the flight deck. Bombs cook off and rockets howl in all directions, both on the flight deck and down in the hangar bays. Hundreds of men are forced to leap into the sea to escape the rivers of burning aviation gasoline, leaving the captain with only one third of his crew, of whom there are more dead, wounded and trapped men left onboard than able-bodied sailors.

Trial By Fire is the gripping novelization of how, against all odds, the sailors of the Franklin were able to save their ship, after 3 agonizing days of battling the flames that ultimately claimed the lives of 832 men and injured 300 more. Readers will be astounded and humbled by the heroic actions of a few extraordinarily brave sailors in the face of unending catastrophe.

Critique: Trial by Fire: A Novel is an intense, action-packed work of historical fiction that dramatically portrays the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. The story focuses upon the brave sailors of the USS Franklin, an aircraft carrier with over 3,600 crewmen that suffered a severe bomb attack with catastrophic casualties. Here are recounted true tales of valor, firefighting, and desperation, as the USS Franklin's sailors fought to save their ship and the survivors. Trial by Fire keeps the reader's attention riveted to the very end! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Trial by Fire is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: P. T. Deutermann is the author of many previous novels including Pacific Glory, which won the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction. Deutermann spent twenty-six years in military and government service, as a captain in the Navy and in the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an arms-control specialist. He lives with his wife in North Carolina.

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Love Blooms
Jo McNally
c/o Harlequin Books
9781335949332, $9.99, PB, 352pp

Synopsis: Tonight should be the best night of Lucy Higgins's life. Tomorrow she's finally marrying Owen Cooper. She's been waiting to start a life of wedded bliss, like the happy marriage her parents have. Except she just learned her parents are divorcing and she's freaking out! Owen has been so distant lately, shutting her out. Suddenly this big wedding seems like a really bad idea. Packing up her car, Lucy bolts for Rendezvous Falls and finds work at a flower shop while she gets her life together. The last thing she expects is for Owen to show up, wanting her back.

Owen Cooper's carefully planned out life is ready to begin. He's home from the military to join the family business and marry the sweet girl who captured his heart -- until Lucy runs out on him. That was not part of the plan. Armed with an article that promises to help him win her back, Owen heads to Rendezvous Falls. But from the moment he sees her again, she seems different. Happier, more confident and at ease. Can he convince this new version of Lucy that he's become the man she deserves? He might need a little help from the local book club to accomplish this mission.

Critique: The fourth volume in romance author Jo McNally's acclaimed 'Rendezvous Falls' series, "Love Blooms" is a wonderfully engaging and fully entertaining read by a true master of the genre. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the growing legions of Jo McNally fans that "Love Blooms" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

All Night Long with a Cowboy
Caitlin Crews
St. Martin's Press
9781250750006, $7.99, PB, 368pp

Synopsis: One of the most notorious cowboys in Cold River, Jensen Kittredge always has willing women with sweet smiles vying for a place in his bed. So when the prissy high school librarian sidles up to him in the most disreputable bar in town with a scowl on her face, he has no idea what to make of it. Much less the attraction he feels toward the bespectacled creature who wants something from him... but not that. Yet.

Harriett Barnett doesn't care for dens of iniquity -- or the insolent cowboy she certainly shouldn't find attractive. But one of her students needs her help, and if she needs to corral the infamous Jensen to save him, she will. Trouble is, the town's favorite Kittredge brother is a lot more than she bargained for. Harriett's happy little life is orderly and neat, just how she likes it -- until Jensen blows it all apart with his particular brand of addictive passion. Can a modern-day schoolmarm really tame the wildest cowboy in town? Or is Harriet headed for a terrible fall?

Critique: A simply riveting read from first page to last, "All Night Long with a Cowboy" is the second novel in author/storyteller Caitlin Cres's new 'Kittredge Ranch' series of romance novels. Original and memorable, and while unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fans of romance that "All Night Long with a Cowboy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Fatal Family Ties: An Ancestry Detective Mystery
S. C. Perkins
Minotaur Books
9781250789648, $26.99 hc / $13.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Lucy is just about to tuck into a plate of tacos at her favorite Austin joint, Big Flaco's, when she gets an unexpected visit from her former - and least-favorite - co-worker. Camilla Braithwaite hasn't gotten much friendlier since the last time Lucy saw her, but that doesn't stop her from asking a favor. In her hand is a newspaper feature on an ancestor, a civil war corporal - and a liar, according to the article. Charles Braithwaite is depicted as a phony and a deserter, and Camilla wants Lucy's help clearing his name.

Lucy would prefer to spend her free time with her new beau, special agent Ben Turner, but takes the case, making no promises that Camilla will like the outcome of her investigation. Camilla leads Lucy to the Texas History Museum, where their first clue is a triptych painting, passed down in the Braithwaite family for generations, one panel of which has disappeared. But before Lucy can get much further, a member of the Braithwaite family is murdered in his own bed, and another panel of the painting found missing.

There are no shortage of suspects among the Braithwaite clan - including Camilla herself. This case will take Lucy to Houston and back again as she works to find the truth, and catch an elusive killer.

Critique: Fatal Family Ties: An Ancestry Detective Mystery is a cozy mystery that begins when history-sleuth Lucy reluctantly accepts a request to determine whether the Civil War corporal ancestor of her client is truly a liar and a deserter, or unfairly maligned. The case becomes tangled when one member of distinguished family is suddenly murdered; the suspects include virtually all other family members, and Lucy's own client! Delightfully descriptive, tongue-in-cheek, and sure to keep the reader guessing to the very end, Fatal Family Ties is highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Fatal Family Ties is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).

Editorial Note: S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex. Her first book, Murder Once Removed, was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition, and an Agatha Award Nominee.

The Chase
Lisa Harris
c/o Baker Publishing Group
9780800737313 $15.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing--it's time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that's gone wrong--and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it's never been just about the money. It's about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else--someone close to them--gets hurt... or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn't an option.

Critique: The sequel to "The Escape", The Chase continues author Lisa Harris' "US Marshals" series following two partner US Marshals, Madison James and Jonas Quinn. Tasked with tracking down a suspect connected to a string of bank robberies, they cross paths with ruthless, armed and dangerous antagonists. Then a bank robbery escalates into a hostage situation. The Chase is a critically suspenseful page-turner that will keep connoisseurs of the genre riveted to the very end, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Chase is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Death in Castle Dark
Veronica Bond
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
9780593335871, $7.99, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: Maybe it was too good to be true, but when Nora Blake accepted the job from Derek Corby, proprietor of Castle Dark, she could not see any downsides. She would sink her acting chops into the troupe's intricately staged murder-mystery shows, earn free room and board in the fairy tale - like castle, and make friends with her new roommates, which include some seriously adorable kittens.

But something sinister lurks behind the walls of Castle Dark. During Nora's second performance, one of her castmates plays the part of the victim a little too well. So well, in fact, that no one can revive him. He has been murdered. Not ready to give up her dream gig (or to be the next victim!) Nora sets out to see which one of her fellow actors has taken the role of a murderous real-life villain.

Critique: A deftly crafted 'whodunnit' mystery by an author with a particular flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that immediately engages the readers rapt attention, "Death in Castle Dark" by Veronica Bond is an extraordinarily entertaining mystery from first page to last. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99), this paperback edition of "Death in Castle Dark" is an especially recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife
Ashley Winstead
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
9781728229881, $26.99, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see -- confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby's murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she'd been closest to since freshman year.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather's murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night - and the years' worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Critique: A complex and deftly crafted psychological thriller of a mystery novel, "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" showcases author Ashley Winstead's remarkably impressive narrative driven storytelling style. Original, compelling, cogent, "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" is highly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery & Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Graveyard Fields
Steven Tingle
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643856865, $26.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Davis Reed is plagued by the three "A's": anger, alcohol, and anxiety. A former Charleston police officer, turned private detective, Davis hopes to gain some respect, self and otherwise, by writing a book. His subject: the true story of a B-25 bomber that crashed on Cold Mountain in western North Carolina just after the end of World War II.

From the comfort of a mountain cabin in Cruso, NC Davis spends his days popping anti-anxiety pills, drinking copious amounts of home brewed beer, and not writing a book. But when he discovers a set of keys on a mountain trail, he becomes curious, then obsessed, about finding the rightful owner. With the help of his friend Dale Johnson, a 275 pound local deputy who is full time ornery and part time clever, and Dale's cousin Floppy, a motor mouthed mechanic with a penchant for conspiracy theories and kleptomania, Davis works to uncover the mystery of the keys while navigating a world of small town secrets, shady characters, 80's heavy metal, and murder.

But Davis has his own secrets and even though he's escaped to the mountains some bad business in Charleston is beginning to catch up with him. For an anxiety riddled man looking for peace and quiet Davis somehow stumbles into more chaos and crossfire than any amount of beer and pills can alleviate.

Critique: A cleverly crafted and original novel that is a compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover, "Graveyard Fields" by Steven Tingle is the kind of private eye mystery blended with police procedural elements that makes for blockbuster movies. While especially recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Graveyard Fields" is also readily available in a digital format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666506143, $22.99, CD).

Murder by the Bookend
Laura Gail Black
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643858265, $26.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: The quaint warehouse district of Hokes Folly, NC, is hopping despite the drizzly November chill. The occasion? The mountain town's beloved antiquarian bookstore, Twice Upon a Time, is throwing a bash for its grand reopening. But bookseller Jenna Quinn's peace of mind is shattered when the local library's Director of Antique Books turns up dead in the parking lot with his head bashed in by a glittering pair of vintage glass bookends.

As they examine the murder scene, Jenna and her police detective boyfriend happen upon the only witness -- the victim's dog, who flees the scene leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind. If only dogs could speak, Jenna might be able to make quick work of the murder case and get back to stocking her bookcases.

Alas, finding the killer won't be so easy, even though this is not Jenna's first murder investigation -- indeed, she inherited Twice Upon a Time from her slain uncle. The suspect list is voluminous (the late librarian had not-so-friendly run-ins with numerous guests) but suspicion eventually centers on three unsavory individuals who left the party shortly before the victim did.

Now, Jenna must edit her inventory of suspects from three names to one, before the bloodthirsty bookend-wielder becomes the author of Jenna's own demise.

Critique: A 'whodunnit' mystery lover's delight from first page to last, author Laura Gail Black's "Murder by the Bookend" will prove to be an immensely and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. The second title in the author's acclaimed 'Antique Bookshop' mystery series, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of the growing legion of Laura Gail Black fans that "Murder by the Bookend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666518801, $22.99, CD).

Reading Between the Crimes
Kate Young
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643857428, $26.99, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: What better time than Halloween to dig into a bracing discussion of a diabolical murder mystery? And what better choice for the Jane Doe Book Club than Agatha Christie's Crooked House? Lyla Moody and her friends are soon embroiled in debate over whether the heroine's actions are particularly believable. But not long after the meeting, sleepy Sweet Mountain, Georgia, is rocked by a murder that uncannily echoes the novel in question.

When Lyla and her grandmother arrive at the charity event that Lyla's mother is hosting, they barely have time to hang up their fall jackets before they stumble upon a body in the library. Leonard Richardson, it seems, was robbed and then hit over the head with a brass candlestick--which throws suspicion on Harper Richardson, his young widow and a friend of the Jane Does.

Lyla and the rest of the Jane Does pool their prodigious intellects to clear Harper's name. Peculiarly, all of the clues seem to have been lifted directly from the plot of Crooked House. But as Lyla probes the pages of Christie's classic whodunnit for hints on catching the killer, she uncovers secrets from her mother's past -- secrets that suggest that Lyla's own house may be crooked as well.

Critique: Another 'Jane Doe Book Club Mystery' by novelist Kate Young (a recognized master of the 'whodunnit' crime fiction genre and a member of Sisters in Crime), "Reading Between the Crimes" is a wonderfully entertaining and compulsive page turner of a read. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Reading Between the Crimes" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Designs on the Dead
Emilia Bernhard
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781643854540, $26.99, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: Having successfully solved two previous murders in that City of Lights known as Paris, self-proclaimed private detectives Rachel Levis and Magda Stevens are ready to take on the world. Or at least the 3rd arrondissement. Which is good news when renowned fashion designer Roland Guipure is found lifeless outside his own birthday party in that upscale neighborhood, dead from an apparent overdose.

Rachel thinks its murder, and when it turns out the police agree, the two Americans roll up their sleeves for another murder investigation. And there are plenty of suspects: the angry assistant designer promoted to the top spot as a result of Guipure's death; the lovelorn PA who was crushed by the designer's lack of interest in her; the former boyfriend who lost his meal ticket as a result of Guipure's successful stay in rehab. Not to mention that the designer's murder occurred a few days before that of an American tourist who seems to be connected to him in some mysterious way. Paris is beginning to feel crowded with corpses. Coincidence or just bad luck?

As the clues and suspects pile up, Rachel and Magda rush to find the murderer before another death is cut from the same cloth.

Critique: The third volume in novelist Emila Bernhard's 'A Death In Paris' mystery series, "Designs on the Dead" is another of those deftly crafted 'whodunnit' stories replete with the kind of unexpected plot twists and turns that make for a fully entertaining and compulsive page turner of a read for dedicated mystery buffs from first page to last. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to any and all community library Contemporary Mystery collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Designs on the Dead" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

The Pale Tiger
Mike Harrison
Matthew James Publishing
9781913230074, $17.61, PB, 480pp

Synopsis: Just what is 'The Pale Tiger' Is it a myth? Is it an almost-forgotten sheet of A4 gathering dust in the vaults beneath Beijing? Or is it a a ruthlessly audacious plan to wreak deadly revenge on America with breath-taking historical symmetry?

From the steaming jungles of Hong Kong to the hard-edged clamour of New York and the Autumn chill of the grey streets of London, "The Pale Tiger" by Mike Harrison is a riveting contemporary crime fiction novel that shines the spotlight on some of the existential challenges facing the world today. A full-throated suspense thriller of a read, "The Pale Tiger" plunges its characters into the dark heart of that toxic nexus where power and money warp the best of intentions and fan the worst of them.

Critique; A deftly crafted read by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that is impressively compelling from first page to last, "The Pale Tiger" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Pale Tiger" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Clark and Division
Naomi Hirahara
Soho Crime
c/o Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
9781641292498, $27.95, HC, 312pp

Synopsis: Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki's older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family's reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.

Aki, who worshiped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose's death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.

Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime fiction plot with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

Critique: A deftly crafted suspense thriller of a mystery novel by an author with a particularly effective narrative driven storytelling style, "Clark and Division" by Naomi Hirahara is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Clark and Division" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Red Deception
Gary Grossman, author
Ed Fuller, author
Beaufort Books
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011
9780825309465, $26.95, HC, 532pp

Synopsis: When terrorists bomb bridges across the country and threaten the Hoover Dam, the vulnerability of America's infrastructure becomes a matter of national security. But Dan Reilly, a former Army intelligence officer, predicted the attacks in a secret State Department report written years earlier -- a virtual blueprint for disaster, somehow leaked and now in the hands of foreign operatives.

With Washington distracted by domestic crises, Russian President Nicolai Gorshkov sends troops to the borders of Ukraine and Latvia, ready to reclaim what he feels is Russia's rightful territory. Tensions in Europe threaten to boil over as a besieged American president balances multiple crises that threaten to upend the geopolitical order. With the US at the mercy of an egomaniacal leader, and reporters and covert agents on his tail, Reilly may be the one man who can connect the dots before an even bigger catastrophe unfolds.

Critique: The second volume in the second book in authors Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller's the Red Hotel series, "Red Deception" is another deftly crafted suspense thriller/action adventure novel from first page to last -- and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense/Espionage/Terrorism fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Red Deception" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Vortex: An FBI Thriller
Catherine Coulter
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
9780063004085, $28.99, HC, 400pp

Synopsis: Seven years ago, Mia Briscoe was at a college frat rave with her best friend, Serena, when a fire broke out. Everyone was accounted for except Serena, who was never seen nor heard from again. Now an investigative journalist covering the political scene in New York City, Mia discovers old photos taken the night of Serena's disappearance and begins to uncover a sinister string of events going all the way back to that disastrous party. Working with Sherlock, the secrets begin to unravel. But some very powerful (and very dangerous!) people will do anything to keep them from learning the truth.

CIA Operative Olivia Hildebrandt is a team leader on a mission in Iran to exfiltrate a betrayed undercover operative. She's nearly killed by an exploding grenade and saved by a team member. But by the time Olivia is released from Walter Reed Hospital, that team member and a critical flash drive he was carrying have disappeared. When Olivia is attacked on her first night home, Savich suspects that the strike is a direct result of the compromised mission and the missing team member and flash drive. But what intelligence was at stake and who betrayed them?

Critique: A deftly crafted thriller of a read from first page to last, "Vortex: An FBI Thriller" by novelist Catherine Coulter will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Suspense/Thriller collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Vortex: An FBI Thriller" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780063019959, $9.99), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Butcher Pen Road
Kris Lackey
Blackstone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781982689278, $25.99, HC, 200pp

Synopsis: On Oklahoma's Big Rock Prairie, a deaf boy finds a body in Pennington Creek. Johnston County Deputy Hannah Bond and Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Sergeant Bill Maytubby find a crime scene where nothing seems to fit -- from the dead angler's oversize waders to the kind of fish in his creel. They scour the creekside brush, then hit the road for Texas in a widening search for the killer.

On the Big Rock, a towering bearded man is building a limestone replica of Roman Jerusalem for a Christian passion play. His cronies, who are in league with an interstate fraud ring, want the boy to disappear now.

Flying an ancient rented Cessna, Maytubby takes fire from a suspect he is tailing, while Bond combs river trails for traces of the killer.

While Maytubby and Bond try to protect the deaf boy and his mother from the crime ring, an improbable ally materializes from the prairie oak thickets, wielding a monstrous shotgun.

Critique: An original, entertaining, deftly crafted Bill Maytubby and Hannah Bond mystery by Kris Lackey, "Butcher Pen Road" is a riveting read from beginning to end. Laced with cliff-hanger plot twists and unexpected turns, "Butcher Pen Road" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of police procedural mystery fans that "Butcher Pen Road" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Serpent
David Drake
Baen Books
9781982125578, $25.00, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: Jon of Dun Add has created a civilization where before there had only been isolated pockets of humanity in a shattered cosmos.

Young knight Pal is one of the most respected members of Lord Jon's Hall of Champions. But Pal's greatest talent lies not on the field of battle, though he's no slouch there. He is also a Maker, one who can repair the tools the Ancients had left -- sometimes. Moreover, he has learned to use his warrior dog's ability to predict motion better than any human could, an ability that has saved his skin and won the day more than once.

Now, Pal will need all his talent as a fighter, as a Maker, as a Champion to deal with the monsters the Waste throws at him -- and to deal with his fellow humans. For there are those who would destroy Dun Add, and Lord Jon's vision of a humanity united in peace, from within

Critique: Another deftly crafted science fiction action-adventure story by a true master of the genre, "The Serpent" by David Drake will prove to be an immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of David Drake fans that "The Serpent" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

The Cocktail Workshop
Steven Grasse, author
Adam Erace, author
Running Press
9780762472970, $27.50, HC, 216pp

Synopsis: Now even the most novice of aspiring bartenders can learn to craft a perfect, classic drink, or workshop that creation into a unique, flavor-forward spin with "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own", an indispensable guide to foundational cocktails and the tools to elevate them into master-level creations by cocktail professionals Steven Grasse and Adam Erace.

In this richly illustrated instructional guide, this two-man team behind Philadelphia's beloved Art in the Age guides aspiring mixologists through the fundamentals of 20 essential cocktails. Then, each foundational drink is spun off into creative and customizable riffs on flavors, techniques, and ingredients, called Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master versions. Each classic drink is concluded by a Workshop: how to take your at-home bar efforts to the next level with aging, infusing, garnishing, and more.

Drawing on the building blocks of iconic cocktails like the daiquiri and the old-fashioned, readers will grow their knowledge base as they move through each drink, taking away real skills for their home bar (like the proper way to dry-shake an egg white cocktail or carve a manicured lime twist) and an understanding of the fundamentals of cocktailing: how drinks are created, related, and integrated.

Critique: Enhanced with recipes by Lee Noble, "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own" is the ideal DIY guide to making all manner of cocktails at home or professionally. While highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Cocktail Workshop: An Essential Guide to Classic Drinks and How to Make Them Your Own" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Steven Grasse has created some of the most outrageous booze brands of the twenty-first century: Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Art in the Age Craft Spirits-all seemingly out of thin air. He is the part-owner and creative mastermind behind Narragansett beer, and his agency, Quaker City Mercantile, has brought similar success to beer icons Pilsner Urquell, Guinness, and, most recently, Miller High Life. His first distillery, Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile, opened in 2015 and gained international press and awards within its first year. Steven is also the author of Colonial Spirits: A Toast To Our Drunken History, The Good Reverend's Guide to Infused Spirits, and Evil Empire.

Adam Erace is a food and travel writer, restaurant critic, recipe developer, and co-author of the cookbooks Laurel: Modern American Flavors in Philadelphia and Dinner at the Club: 100 Years of Stories and Recipes from South Philly's Palizzi Social Club. He contributes to more than 50 publications, including Fortune, Men's Journal, Travel + Leisure, and Food & Wine, and his work has been recognized with awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Association of Food Journalists.

Fever-Tree Easy Mixing
Fever-Tree Limited
Mitchell Beazley
Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784727833, $19.99, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: "Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" showcases some 150 cocktails and mixed drinks that even the most novice of aspiring amateur bartenders can make at home in no more than 3 minutes. This means simple ingredients, not too many of them, and things you will have in your cupboard and fridge without having to trawl the internet or specialty drinks aisles.

In a further twist, many recipes offer three variations - simple, sassy and sophisticated -so you can choose whether to go for the speediest when you are short of time, or the souped-up version when you are in the mood to experiment.

Chapters such as Mojitos and Mules offer brilliant spins on familiar classics, No-Low has lots of ideas for alcohol-free drinks and Pitcher Perfect is packed with easy recipes that you can batch and make in quantity to serve to a crowd.

"Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" is a compendium of all the simple, speedy and delicious ideas you would expect from the world's leading premium mixer brand.

Critique: Fever-Tree was founded in 2005 by Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow. The business is founded on a simple premise: to restore taste to mixers by using the highest quality natural ingredients. Profusely and beautifully illustrated in full color throughout, "Fever-Tree Easy Mixing" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library collections.

The Psychology Shelf

Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy, second edition
Mitchell Kossak
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
2600 South First Street, Springfield, IL 62704
9780398081362, $34.95, PB, 184pp

Synopsis: This newly published second edition of "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy: Toward an Understanding of Embodied Empathy" by Professor Mitchell Kossak addresses how the arts in practice and in therapeutic contexts offer expanded ways of being attuned to emotional states and life conditions with individuals, relationships, groups, and communities. Each chapter clearly articulates how to utilize the arts in order to tune in to self, other and a larger mystical, sacred or spiritual presence.

"Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy" allows the reader to intimately enter into the core essence of what artists and arts based therapists experience in their studios and in the practice of expressive arts therapy. Through a solid theoretical grounding that draws on an interdisciplinary understanding of how rhythm, resonance, improvisation, relational-attachment, intimacy, developmental play, transpersonal psychology and multiple intelligences contribute to an embodied experience of empathy, poignant stories from the Professor Kossak's 35 years as an artist and therapist come alive, allowing the reader to experience the spirit and essence of how the arts have been used throughout history to maintain healthy physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Spontaneity, heightened sensitivity to inner states, deep connectivity to self and other, and an awareness of energetic and embodied shifts in consciousness are some of the common links that are explored. "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy" is essential reading for anyone who is interested in how to create shared communal spaces that can help to transcend individual and community trauma, malaise and anxieties, leading to more integrative and meaningful experiences in order to creatively find ways to collectively engaging with the complexities this life continually offers.

Critique: Notably well written, organized and presented, "Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy: Toward an Understanding of Embodied Empathy" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, and Popular Psychological collections in general, and supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Mitchell Kossak, Ph.D., LMHC, REAT, is an associate professor in the Expressive Therapies department at Lesley University. He has been the executive co-chair/president of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) since 2010. He has been a licensed mental health counselor since 1994, and a registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) since 2009. He is the associate editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health and fellow of the Institute for Arts and Health at Lesley University.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The Earth Cries Out
Gary Gardner
Orbis Books
9781626984110 $25.00 pbk / $20.50 Kindle

Synopsis: The Earth Cries Out describes best practices of faith communities responding to the impending climate and sustainability emergency, and presents the next steps for people of belief. Twelve sustainability challenges, ranging from energy and water consumption to land use and socially responsible investing, are each introduced by the cutting-edge sustainability practices of a faith tradition, followed by discussion of the issue's global importance. Far from a litany of sustainability woes, the book is inspired by a vision of communities of faith that are models of sustainable living.

Critique: The Earth Cries Out: How Faith Communities Meet the Challenges of Sustainability is a thoughtful and thought- provoking guide about environmental and global sustainability issues, and the role of faith communities in promoting sustainable practices that will benefit future generations. In addition to keeping the environment from degradation, means to reach out and benefit impoverished communities across the globe are discussed. The Earth Cries Out is a welcome resource in today's modern era, where environmental conservation values of both conscience and faith are needed more than ever. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Earth Cries Out is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.50).

The Land is Not Empty
Sarah Augustine
Herald Press
9781513808291 $16.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: In The Land Is Not Empty, author Sarah Augustine unpacks the harm of the Doctrine of Discovery--a set of laws rooted in the fifteenth century that gave Christian governments the moral and legal right to seize lands they "discovered" despite those lands already being populated by indigenous peoples. Legitimized by the church and justified by a misreading of Scripture, the Doctrine of Discovery says a land can be considered "empty" and therefore free for the taking if inhabited by "heathens, pagans, and infidels."

In this prophetic book, Augustine, a Pueblo woman, reframes the colonization of North America as she investigates ways that the Doctrine of Discovery continues to devastate indigenous cultures, and even the planet itself, as it justifies exploitation of both natural resources and people. This is a powerful call to reckon with the root causes of a legacy that continues to have devastating effects on indigenous peoples around the globe and a call to recognize how all of our lives and our choices are interwoven.

What was done in the name of Christ must be undone in the name of Christ, the author claims. The good news of Jesus means there is still hope for the righting of wrongs. Right relationship with God, others, and the earth requires no less.

Critique: The Land Is Not Empty is a Christian repudiation of an abhorrent set of laws known as the "Doctrine of Discovery", created in the fifteenth century to bestow Christian governments to seize "discovered" lands that were already inhabited by indigenous peoples. The Land Is Not Empty calls for the generational and systemic wrongs done in the name of Christ to be undone in the name of Christ. Chapters outline strategies consistent with the good news of Jesus, to heal the scars of history and forge a stronger societal relationship with God. A thought-provoking, deeply faithful testimony, This Land Is Not Empty is highly recommended especially for community and church library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that This Land Is Not Empty is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

God Is Your Defender
Rosie Rivera
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9780785237723, $24.99, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: The desire for revenge is one of our most basic of human emotions. When we have been hurt or when something has been stolen from us, whether that be our innocence or our good name or a loved one, the desire to retaliate is irresistible. But is it the right response of a follower of Jesus?

As a survivor herself, Rosie Rivera has walked in this tension, a sojourner in the search for healing and wholeness in the light of horrific wrongs. She has wrestled the desire to defend herself, her reputation, and her family while also wanting to let God be her Defender.

"God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is about understanding the motives behind your thoughts and behaviors toward those who have wronged you. It is about the conditions you might have put on forgiveness. It is also about fighting the urge to take over instead of trusting God. As well as learning how to truly rest in the Lord as the One who defends you and actively abiding in his peace.

Backed by biblical examples and personal stories, "God Is Your Defender" guides you to a place of healing as you: Learn the difference between a vengeful spirit and a heart of advocacy; Stop the self-destructive cycle of the desire for revenge; Discern effectively when to take a righteous stand and when to stand back and let God defend you; Experience how to move from an "eye for an eye" mentality to an "I for an I" by exchanging "I am hurt" for "I am healing"; Let go of the pain of the past without ignoring what happened.

"God Is Your Defender" equips you to respond to hurtful situations, from the most minor to some of the most difficult, from a place of empowerment and peace.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is an inspiring, thought-provoking, and spiritually enhancing read that is especially commended to all members of the Christian community seeking to emulate the example of Jesus within the context of their own daily lives. While a strongly recommended addition to community, church, and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists tht "God Is Your Defender: Learning to Stand After Life Has Knocked You Down" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Rosie Rivera is an author, entrepreneur, and the testamentary executor of Jenni Rivera Enterprises, as well as an international speaker, author and an influential public figure. Rosie uses her platform to lift up, motivate, and give hope to sexual abuse victims as a survivor and counselor. Rosie has also co-hosted the top Spanish morning shows such as Despierta America and Un Nuevo Dia and co-hosts along with her husband a marriage podcast called The Power of Us on Revolver Podcast. Additionally, Rosie has participated and starred in reality shows such as I Love Jenni, The Riveras, Mira Quien Baila, and Rica Famosa Latina currently on Netflix.

Brave Church
Elizabeth Hagan
Upper Room Books
PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0003
9780835819367, $15.99, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: In today's deeply divided world where discussions can quickly become heated and uncivil, churches need to learn how to talk about sensitive issues. Our society needs brave churches where people can talk about the real struggles they are experiencing without fear of being dismissed, shamed, or judged.

"Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together" by pastor Elizabeth Hagan was written to help Christian congregations talk about controversial topics with sensitivity to those who see the world and have experienced life differently from themselves. "Brave Church" guides readers to think through how they can foster conversations about such challenging topics as infertility/miscarriage, mental health, domestic violence, racism, and sexuality.

In this 6-week small-group study, pastor Hagan weaves personal and theological reflections with scripture, discussion questions, and real-world examples to move readers from exploration to action. Of special note is that this edition of "Brave Church" includes a Leader's Guide and suggests resources for further reading and action.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together" is an ideal study guide for individual as well as Christian Discipleship small group instruction. While highly recommended for church and seminary library Adult Christian Education collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Brave Church" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Hagan is an ecumenical pastor at heart who has most recently served the Palisades Community Church in Washington, DC, as senior minister. Though first ordained as an American Baptist, Hagan has served United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian (USA), and Disciples of Christ congregations in various pastoral roles. She is a graduate of Samford University and Duke Divinity School. She is also the author of Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility and the executive director of Our Courageous Kids, a foundation serving young adults who grew up in international orphanages with educational and mental health support. She maintains an informative website at

Just Rest
Sonja Corbitt
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
9781646800865, $16.95, PB, 160pp

Synopsis: The desert wanderings of God's 'Chosen People' (and the spiritual lessons and encouragement they offer to us today) come alive in scripture teacher Sonja Corbitt's five-week Bible study on the Exodus account.

"Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is a dynamic study will help you to apply the spiritual lessons of the Exodus into your own life, identify areas of desolation and need, and better understand God's greater purposes in times of adversity and dryness. In so doing, you will experience what it means to invite Jesus to nourish your spirit and guide you to the kingdom promised to all who enter into his rest.

Breaking open both the Exodus and overview of it found in Hebrews 3-4, Corbitt shows how the event is also a powerful metaphor for the spiritual life: everything we need - spiritual, emotional, and physical rest and replenishment - is found not at the end of our journey but in the desert itself. .Everything God desires for us may be found in the "Dew of Heaven," Jesus.

Corbitt reveals that the heavenly sustenance God provided to the Chosen People in the desert is available to us today if we open ourselves to it. Whatever your questions, you will find the answers you seek as you come to understand how God delivered the Chosen People from their waywardness and blessed them with everything they needed to reach the Promised Land. And he will do the same for us if we ask.

Each of the five chapters of this study explores a different facet of the desert experience: Rest in the wandering - God's ways are desert ways: entering the desert; Thoughts at rest: testing in the desert; Emotions at rest: conquering the desert; Body and spirit at rest: emerging from the desert; and the blessings of rest: entering the Promised Land. Each chapter contains summary points, an invitation to respond, and Corbitt's LOVE the Word lectio exercises.

Critique" Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is informative, thoughtful, inspiring, and unreservedly recommended as an individual or small group Old Testament study guide. While appropriate for church and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Just Rest: Receiving God's Renewing Presence in the Deserts of Your Life" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.10).

Editorial Note: Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic author and speaker who has produced several multimedia Bible studies, including Unleashed, Fearless, and Exalted. She also created the LOVE the Word Bible study method. Corbitt is also the host of Evangelista Bible Study on CatholicTV and the Bible Study Evangelista Show on radio and podcast. She is in formation as a Third Order Carmelite. Corbitt is a columnist at The Great Adventure Bible Study blog and a contributor to Magnificat. She has served as director of religious education at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Gallatin, Tennessee, and as executive director of Risen Radio in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Samuel
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
9789657766231, $49.95, HC

Synopsis: The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel offers an innovative and refreshing approach to the Hebrew Bible. By fusing extraordinary findings by modern scholars on the ancient Near East with the original Hebrew text and a brand new English translation. The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel clarifies and explains the Biblical narrative, laws, events, and prophecies in context with the milieu in which it took place. It features stunning visuals of ancient civilizations including artifacts, archeological excavations, inscriptions, and maps, along with brief articles on Egyptology, geography, biblical botany, language, geography, and more. By showcasing material that was unknown to previous generations of Torah scholars, The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel opens a new view into the revolutionary impact of the Tanakh, published for the first time in English.

Critique: This multilingual edition of "The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel: Samuel" by the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is an impressively erudite, informative and insightful extended commentary and a welcome, highly recommended addition to personal, synagogue, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

The Automotive Shelf

Drag Racing in the 1960s
Doug Boyce
9781613255827, $35.99 pbk / $27.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The 1960s were a fascinating decade on the race scene. Relive the memories today through this wonderful new book.

Drag racing has a long and storied history. Many have said that the first drag race happened shortly after the second car was made. While that may or may not be true, racing prior to World War II was mostly centered around dry-lake activities and top-speed runs. After the war, drag racing became organized with the formation of the NHRA, and during the 1950s, many tracks were built across America to accommodate the racers. Technology in the 1950s centered on the manufacturers updating old flathead designs into newer overhead-valve designs, and the horsepower race really started to heat up.

In many forms of racing, the 1960s brought technological evolution. The decade began with big engines in even bigger stock chassis and ended with purpose-built race-only chassis, fiberglass bodies, fuel injection, nitro methane, and blowers. Quarter-mile times that were in the 13-second range in the beginning of the decade were in the 7-second range by the end. New classes were formed, dedicated cars were built for them, and many racers themselves became recognized names in the sports landscape.

In Drag Racing in the 60s: The Evolution in Race Car Technology, veteran author Doug Boyce takes you on a ride through the entire decade from a technological point of view rather than a results-based one. Covered are all the classes, including Super Stocks, Altered Wheelbase cars (which led to Funny Cars), Top Fuelers, Gassers, and more.

Critique: Drag Racing in the 1960s: The Evolution In Race Car Technology is an extraordinary tour of what the sport of drag racing was like decades ago. Drag Racing in the 1960s specifically focuses on a decade of technological evolution, beginning with big engines and gigantic stock chassis and concluding with chassis built exclusively for racing. Vintage black-and-white and color photography brings some of the more eye-popping classic racing cars to vivid life, while the descriptive text dives deeply into the technical details of these cars and the races that pitted them against one another. Drag Racing in the 1960s is highly recommended especially for automotive enthusiasts and racing history collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Dragon Racing in the 1960s is also available in a Kindle edition ($27.99).

Editorial Note: Doug Boyce has written numerous club and magazine articles related to drag racing's golden years. He has an ongoing love of drag racing and the way it used to be. He is the author of Grumpy's Toys, Junior Stock, Drag Racing's Quarter-Mile Warriors: Then & Now, Match Race Mayhem, and 1001 Drag Racing Facts, all best-selling CarTech titles.

Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify
Eric LaClair, author
Susan Anderson, author
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613255476, $36.95, PB, 176pp

Synopsis: If ever a car rolled off the factory floor in the form of a blank slate, the Volkswagen Beetle is it. In fact, after taking delivery of their beloved Bug, many owners began modifications and customizations to personalize their favorite German compact.

Perhaps the most charismatic automobile ever, the Volkswagen Beetle was the longest-running, most-manufactured automobile on a single platform in automotive history. From 1938 to 2003, more than 21.5 million Bugs were assembled, distributed, and sold on nearly every continent in the world. If there's a component that owners can modify, they'll do it, and each custom touch makes them love their Beetle even more.

Airkooled Kustoms, a Volkswagen restoration and modification shop in Hazel Green, Alabama, has served all kinds of classic Volkswagen owners. For those who venture into the world of customization, no modern or historic trend is off-limits. These Volkswagen experts introduce and walk you through some of the most glorious customizations that Beetle owners can make to their rides. In this instructive DIY pages of "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" there is a wealth of practical inspiration, instruction, and more modifications than most owners could ever tackle in a lifetime.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" by the team of Eric LeClair and Susan Anderson is impressively comprehensive and exceptionally well organized, making it an ideal DIY instruction manual for VW owners. While also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99), "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and trade school auto shop instruction manual collections.

Editorial Note: As with the 2019's edition of "How to Restore Your Volkswagen Beetle", for this updated project, Susan Anderson's fingers did the typing. Her mind formed the words after translating the thoughts and expertise of the "real" authors into layman's terms. The 'real author' is Eric "Spook" LeClair, the artist behind the rolling sculptures coming out of the Airkooled Kustoms shop in Hazel Green, Alabama. The expert contributors to this edition of "Volkswagen Beetle: How to Build & Modify" also included John Alba of Grumpy's Metal, Jason Fields of Rare Air, Mfg., Steve "Fish" Fisher of Doug's Buggs and Bunnies, Kerry Pinkerton of Imperial Wheeling Machines, Pete Skiba of Airkewld, LLC, and Don West of West Coast Wipers.

The Business Shelf

Beyond Collaboration Overload
Rob Cross
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
9781647820121, $30.00, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: All too often corporate organizations have created always-on work contexts that are burning people out and hurting performance rather than delivering productivity, innovation and engagement. Collaborative work consumes 85% of employees' time and is drifting earlier into the morning, later into the night, and deeper into the weekend. The dilemma is that we all need to collaborate more to create effective organizations and vibrant careers for ourselves. But conventional wisdom on teamwork and collaboration has created too much of the wrong kind of collaboration, which hurts our performance, health and overall well-being.

Through landmark research with more than 300 organizations, in-depth stories, and tools, "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" by Rob Cross (who is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and the cofounder and Chief Research Scientist of the Connected Commons business consortium) solves this paradox by showing how top performers who thrive at work collaborate in a more purposeful way that makes them 18-24% more efficient than their peers. Good collaborators are distinguished by the efficiency and intentionality of their collaboration -- not the size of their network or the length of their workday.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" must be considered essential reading for any corporate executive charged with the responsibility of maintaining an effective work force at all levels of their business. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Human Resources, Time Management, Business Motivation/Self Help, and Time Management instructional reference collections.

The Observant Leader
Donald Ruhl
Peter E. Randall Publisher
9781937721756 $19.95

Synopsis: The leaders of smaller not-for-profit organizations, because of their limited resources, have to pay continuing attention to issues of the first importance. The Observant Leader provides you with insights into the inner workings of successful leadership in smaller not-for-profit organizations that you can utilize in your own practice as a successful leader irrespective of the organizational setting in which you work.

Critique: The Observant Leader: Warning Signals That Can Cost You Your Job and What to Do About Them is a guide for business leaders and career professionals, drawn from the firsthand experience of smaller non-profit organizations, including but not limited to many chambers of commerce. The Observant Leader lives up to its title with tips, tricks, and techniques of warning signals to watch out for, and how to effectively respond to problems. For example, some warning signs to beware include "Lack of Accurate and Balanced Feedback", "The Board is Large and the Executive Committee is Ambitious", "An Overabundance of Rumors", and much more. The Observant Leader is a "must-read" for any career professional pursuing advancement, and especially for executives!

Editorial Note: Dr. Donald Ruhl is an organizational consultant specializing in not-for-profit organizations. In addition to his teaching experience in two-year and four-year colleges and in universities, Dr. Ruhl has more than thirty years of experience working in leadership positions in not-for-profit organizations. These experiences, along with his chairmanship and membership on a variety of not-for-profit boards, has given him on the firing line expertise to write The Observant Leader. Dr. Ruhl is also the author of two other books: Survival Fundraising and The Happy Volunteer.

The Architecture Shelf

Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930
Jeannine Love
Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781611863499, $59.95, HC, 336pp

Synopsis: An informative and impressively researched study, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful " by Jeannine Denobel Love (an independent art historian focusing on American art and architecture from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century) is a detailed and elegant history of the architectural transformation of Cleveland during its "golden age" -- roughly the period between post - Civil War reconstruction and World War I.

By the early twentieth century, Cleveland, which would evolve into the fifth largest city in America, hoped to shed the gritty industrial image of its rapid-growth period and evolve into a city to match the political clout of its statesmen like John Hay and wealth of its business elites such as John D. Rockefeller.

Encouraged by the spectacle and public response to the Beaux-Arts buildings of the Chicago World's Exposition of 1893, the city embarked upon a grand scheme to construct new governmental and civic structures known as the Cleveland Plan of Grouping Public Buildings, one of the earliest and most complete City Beautiful planning schemes in the country.

The success of this plan led to a spillover effect that prompted architects to design all manner of new public buildings with similar Beaux-Arts stylistic characteristics during the next three decades. With the group plan realized, civic leaders (with the goal of expanding the city's cultural institutions to match the distinction of its civic center) established its counterpart in University Circle, creating a secondary group plan, the first cultural center in the country.

Critique: Ground-breaking, unique, comprehensive, informatively illustrated, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library American Architectural History collections. Indeed, "Cleveland Architecture 1890 - 1930: Building the City Beautiful" would well serve as a template for architectural histories of other major American cities.

Architectural Missionary
Steven C. Brisson
Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781611863970, $46.95, HC, 278pp

Synopsis: The first and most prolific professional architect to reside permanently in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, D. Fred Charlton used the local Lake Superior sandstone to craft the distinctive style found in buildings throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Born in England and trained there as a civil engineer, Charlton came to Detroit in the late 1870s, seeking work as a draftsman. Much like his peers of the time, he had no formal training as an architect and learned his trade by working at several prominent firms. The last, Scott & Company, sent him to Marquette in 1887 to open a branch office. Three years later, Charlton opened his own firm, and over the next twenty-eight years, he designed more than four hundred buildings, including residences, commercial structures, schools, courthouses, and churches throughout the region, which offer an invaluable insight into the tastes of Americans before the World War I and provide a unique vantage point for studying the evolution of the architectural profession.

Deftly adapting national trends, he provided the communities of the Upper Peninsula with modern structures worthy of any place in the nation. Many of his buildings remain to this day, monuments to the skill of this English-born architect who made a place for himself upon the shores of Lake Superior.

Critique: An exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented combination of biography and architectural history, "Architectural Missionary: D. Fred Charlton in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 1887 - 1918" by Steven C. Brisson (who is the director of Mackinac State Historic Parks, and vice chair of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History) will prove to be a welcome study in the architectural history of the upper Midwest. While especially recommended for professional, community, college, and university library American Architectural History collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Architectural Missionary" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $44.60).

The Travel Shelf

100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die
John W. Brown and Amanda E. Doyle
Reedy Press
9781681062983 $19.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Missouri is called the Show-Me State for a good reason. From cosmopolitan rooftop bars to breathtaking mountain views, there are so many amazing things to do here that you could spend a lifetime exploring and still not cover it all. Make your goal easier with 100 Things to Do in Missouri Before You Die, a curated collection of the best from every corner of the state.

Discover architectural wonders beyond the Arch, outdoor escapes like scuba diving in the Bonne Terre Mine, and museums and festivals celebrating everything from ragtime to road trips. Take the time to experience the legacy of George Washington Carver, Daniel Boone, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Harry S. Truman.

Find ideas for exploring the Ozark mountains, Missouri's big cities, unique small towns, and even prehistoric caves. Don't miss insider tips to world-famous attractions, distinctive food and nightlife scenes, cultural creatives in fashion and the arts, and where to shop for everything from fine furniture to fine whiskey.

Local authors John W. Brown and Amanda E. Doyle invite you to buckle up for this nonstop adventure ride around their home state. Special features such as seasonal and themed itineraries make planning a snap, so there should never be a reason for you or your family to say, "I have nothing to do!"

Critique: 100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die lives up to its title with one hundred suggested attractions to visit, culinary delights to enjoy, historical sites to admire, and quality local shops browse. Missouri tourists and residents alike will discover a plethora of places, activities, and delights worthy of a lifelong "bucket list"! Photographs, an index, and a state region-specific suggested itinerary round out this excellent traveler supplement, highly recommended especially for anyone seeking to make the most of a Missouri trip. It should be noted for personal reading lists that 100 Things To Do In Missouri Before You Die is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781838690403, $24.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: When the pandemic becomes history, just where should you go on your next visit to Europe? Packed full with trip recommendations for every time of year - curated with weather, seasonal costs, crowds and events in mind - "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" from Lonely Planet covers every flavor of the European travel experience, from culture-rich city breaks and sun-kissed beach escapes to scenic road trips and adrenaline-fueled adventures.

With more than 300 suggestions for destinations across Europe and the best time of year to experience them, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" fully illustrated, 304-page compendium is the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year. It features unique interactive flow chart in each month's chapter to help you refine your interest. Find out how to escape the crowds in the pastel-hued villages of Italy's Cinque Terre, discover why the slopes of Moritz are the place to be come winter time, and get to know when to explore the highlands and islands of Scotland for the best weather.

Destinations are divided by months of the year, and a key describes where on the continent is best to enjoy adventure, culture and food and drink, where is best to spot species of wildlife, the best places to kick back and relax, and where you get the best bang-for-your-buck. Ultimately, whether you want to wander through sky-high mountain ranges or lose yourself wandering through quaint and cobbled city streets, this trusty and expert-led book will have you covered.

Critique: Deftly organized on a monthly calendar from January through December, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is extraordinarily 'user friendly' for planning everything from day trips, to extended vacations, to year long excursions. Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, packed with basic information, as well as tips, tricks and techniques for getting the most out of on-site visits, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is also a delight for the armchair traveler to simply browse through. Simply stated, "Lonely Planet's Where To Go When Europe" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library European Travel Guide collections.

Guide to Western National Monuments
Mike Endres
Colorado Mountain Club Press
c/o Mountaineers Books (distribution)
9781937052553, $26.95, PB, 344pp

Synopsis: "Guide to Western National Monuments" author Mike Endres showcases 70 of the nation's national monuments across the western United States. These are the best places to visit if you want to hike and camp in spectacular scenery with relatively few people (compared to national parks). The 70 national monuments featured in this guide were chosen for their fascinating history, diverse flora and fauna, as well as opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and camping.

This exceptional guidebook includes: 70 national monuments in 11 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming; Full color maps and stunning photographs; Information on things to do and see, facilities, driving directions, and useful contacts.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, this edition of "Guide to Western National Monuments" from the Colorado Mountain Club Press is an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' resource for planning visits to the selected and showcased national monuments that are true gems in American's national parks and monument system. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Travel Guide collections, it should be noted for travelers and monument visitors that "Guide to Western National Monuments" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.95).

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The History of Tarot Art
Holly Adams Easley, author
Esther Joy Archer, author
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760371244, $49.50, HC, 256pp

Synopsis: "The History of Tarot Art: Demystifying the Art and Arcana, Deck by Deck" is a coffee table compendium that is a profusely illustrated history of how the tarot morphed from a fifteenth century card game to a popular modern activity. Students of the tarot will learn more about the stories behind the art of tarot's most influential decks, like Rider-Waite-Smith and Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot, as well as the female artists whose work was often overshadowed in their time.

"The History of Tarot Art" also takes a close look at the Visconti, Sola-Busca, Tarot de Marseille, Aquarian, Morgan-Greer, Motherpeace, Cosmic, Druidcraft, Wild Unknown, and Deviant Moon decks, alongside dozens of contemporary decks. In many cases, "The History of Tarot Art" reveals how tarot art reflects its era. The Morgan-Greer deck, for example, could only have been born in the 1970s. More recent decks, such as Black Power Tarot and Fifth Spirit Tarot, aim to represent more diverse experiences in regard to race, gender, and sexuality.

"The History of Tarot Art" also provides a wealth of tips for doing your own tarot readings and a cheat sheet on the meanings of the Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, and Tarot de Marseille cards.

Critique: Guided by tarot experts Holly Adams Easley and Esther Joy Archer (who are the co-hosts of the popular Wildly Tarot podcast), "The History of Tarot Art: Demystifying the Art and Arcana, Deck by Deck" is deluxe collector's book that provides a fresh look at the influence of tarot from its beginnings to today. The elegant slipcase, 24 removable Sola-Busca tarot cards, and illustrated fold-out timeline with important dates in tarot development make this package a must-have for any tarot fan. Whether a longtime tarot practitioner or a newcomer to the practice, "The History of Tarot Art" provides a compendium of fascinating new insights -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Tarot supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Iconic Tarot Decks
Sarah Bartlett
Frances Lincoln
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711251717, $25.00, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: The tarot is a treasury of divination, symbolism and self-knowledge. But who created its mysterious art and meaning, and why? What were they seeking? Does it originate in ancient esoteric wisdom or is this a vain fancy of the occultists? How has the interpretation and meaning of the cards evolved?

In the illustrated pages of "Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks", tarot expert Sarah Bartlett presents 50 of the most iconic tarot decks while telling the powerful stories of how each was devised and designed and showcasing their most exemplary cards. Each of the fifty-six decks showcased in this informative compendium holds its own unique symbolism and mystical beginnings: from Visconti-Sforza, the fifteenth-century deck that reveals the fates of two Italian dynasties, to the Sola Busca Tarot, with its esoteric alchemical codex; from the pioneering Rider-Waite-Smith deck to the occult riddles of English Magic Tarot.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, and featuring an inherently interesting introduction to reading tarot, as well as useful tips on deciphering the cards "Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks" is the perfect book for collectors, cartomancers, designers, tattoo artists and anyone interested in the art and mystery of tarot. Very highly recommended for professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Tarot supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted that "Iconic Tarot Decks" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $21.37).

Editorial Note: Sarah Bartlett (D. Psych Astrol) is the author of The Tarot Bible. As astrologer she has worked on Steve Wright in the Afternoon (BBC Radio 2), Cosmopolitan (UK), She and London Evening Standard. Sarah is the author of many books, including The Little Book of Practical Magic, The Witch's Spellbook, The Tarot - Reconnect with You and Secrets of the Universe in 100 Symbols.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Cutting Edge
Francesco Dimitri, author
Mario Alberti, illustrator
Titan Comics
9781787734265, $29.99, HC, 208pp

Synopsis: Scientists, artists, entrepreneurs they are the best of humanity. They are the Cutting Edge! That's why a financial company offers an exclusive group of such pioneers an incredible challenge that will not only push them to their limits but will put their very lives at risk. Only by completing it will these intrepid men and women know what it was all for, and uncover the truth of a deadly conspiracy that threatens the world and involves a struggle between powers they are hard pressed to comprehend. This is where history is changed forever -- at the Cutting Edge!

Critique: The superbly crafted artwork of illustrator Mario Alberti brings author/storyteller Francesco Dimitri's graphic novel with its elements of mystery, fantasy and science fiction come alive in the mind's eye of the reader -- making "Cutting Edge" an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Graphic Novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of dedicated graphic novel fans that "Cutting Edge" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $19.99).

The Audiobook Shelf

The Madness of Crowds
Louise Penny, author
Robert Bathurst, narrator
Macmillan Audio
9781250810670 $39.99, 12 CDs

Synopsis: While the residents of the Quebec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro and share meals together, the Chief Inspector finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request.

He's asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university.

While he is perplexed as to why the head of homicide for the Surete du Quebec would be assigned this task, it sounds easy enough. That is until Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture.

They refuse, citing academic freedom, and accuse Gamache of censorship and intellectual cowardice. Before long, Professor Robinson's views start seeping into conversations. Spreading and infecting. So that truth and fact, reality and delusion are so confused it's near impossible to tell them apart.

Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold. Abigail Robinson promises that, if they follow her, ca va bien aller. All will be well. But not, Gamache and his team know, for everyone.

When a murder is committed it falls to Armand Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team to investigate the crime as well as this extraordinary popular delusion.

And the madness of crowds.

Critique: Now in an unabridged audiobook edition superbly performed by Robert Bathurst, The Madness of Crowds is a psychological thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, on holiday in a quaint, snowy village in Quebec, Canada. When Armand is asked to provide security for a visiting Professor of Statistics, he is shocked to discover the professors horrific views, and begs the university to cancel the lecture. The lecture proceeds in the name of academic freedom, and somehow professor's reality-distorting views aggressively seep into the hearts, minds, and everyday conversations of the local populace, escalating into a murder that Gamache must solve despite being surrounded by the madness of crowds. Intense, gripping, and all too heartrendingly close to modern-day reality, The Madness of Crowds is highly recommended. 12 CDs, 15 hours. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Madness of Crowds is also available in hardcover from Minotaur Books (9781250145260, $28.99) and in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

The Music CD Shelf

Borrowed Time
Joe Troop
Free Dirt Records
$14.98 CD / $8.99 MP3

Joe Troop, the Grammy-nominated bandleader of Che Apalache, presents his new album Borrowed Time, inspired by Joe Troop's travels in South America and his upbringing in rural North Carolina. Both English and Spanish lyrics are present in different pieces of music. Joe isn't also shy about expressing his political affiliations; he is both an American patriot and a forward-thinking progressive, who protested the Trump administration and tapped into his banjo talent to encourage rural America to vote in 2020. The music of Borrowed Time reverberates with hope, inspiration, and solidarity; Borrowed Time is highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of quality multicultural music and masterful banjo playing. The tracks are Horizon, Love Along the Way, The Rise of Dreama Caldwell, Hermano migrante, Sevilla, Purdy Little Rainbows, Monte oscuro, Red White & Blues, Prisionero, Mercy for Migrants, Django's Palace, and Heaven on Earth.

Mad Twenties
Taylor Rae
Privately Published
$15.00 CD

Mad Twenties is an album of original songs created and performed by Taylor Rae. Elements of jazz, blues, and folk are present; Taylor Rae showcases her talent for vocals and acoustic guitar with accompaniment from Dave Francis on bass, Wayne Killius on drums, David Flint on guitar and mandolin, and Chris Note on piano. The songs are emotionally moving and touch upon themes ranging from relationships to the uncertainty of finding one's own path in life. Mad Twenties is highly recommended for connoisseurs of inspirational, soul-searching music. The tracks are Window, Home on the Road, Fixer Upper, Sink or Swim, Letting Go, Never Gonna Do, 5:25, Just Be, Something Familiar, Forgiveness, Wait and See, and Taking Space.

Dave Zinno with Unisphere
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos of America (distribution)
$16.99 CD

Fetish is an original music album created by Dave Zinno and his Unisphere bandmates (Mike Tucker, Eric Benny Bloom, Leo Genovese, Tim Ray, and Rafael Barata) during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. The titular song "Fetish" was inspired by pandemic-related isolation; Zino has jokingly referred to the complex bass of the piece as "Bass Fetish" before it was transformed into a whole song. Fetish is a testimony to collaborative creativity that shines through despite the challenges inherent in adhering to pandemic restrictions. Highly recommended! The tracks are Fetish, Out of the Hole, Unknown Mystery, The Golden Age, So Close So Far, Beatriz, Future History, Melancholy Daydream, Over the Horizon, Into the Whole, Nile, and Meu Fraco e Cafe Forte. 76 min., 26 sec.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Star Trek: Starfleet Is... Celebrating the Federation's Ideals
Robb Pearlman
Smart Pop
c/o Benbella Books
9781637740194 $16.00 hc / $8.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Fully authorized and filled with full-color images spanning the entire canon, Star Trek: Starfleet is... celebrates of Roddenberry's vision. This commemorative book highlights 50 of the key traits of the Star Trek universe and demonstrates, through memorable images and beautiful artwork, how these ideals are personified by everyone from Kirk and Spock, to Picard and Janeway, to Burnham and Mariner, and their voyages to everywhere from Earth to Vulcan, from Q'onoS to the Delta Quadrant, and even to the Mirror Universe and back in time - and how they are actively and sincerely lived by the Star Trek fans themselves.

What is Starfleet? Starfleet is fun. Starfleet is not always logical. Starfleet is adventure. Starfleet is brave. Starfleet is compassion. Starfleet is diverse. Starfleet is evolving.

And it is by sharing their passions, supporting one another through difficult times, celebrating one another's successes, and boldly going into a bright and hopeful future that Star Trek fans show that, above all, Starfleet is family. Starfleet is forever.

A portion of the proceeds from Starfleet Is... will benefit ALS research.

Critique: Starfleet Is... Celebrating the Federation's Ideals is a tribute book in honor of the ideals embodied in the Federation of the science-fiction franchise of Star Trek. Each page of this fully authorized collection reads "Starfleet Is..." followed by a single word, and showcases an appropriate image - usually a full-color screenshot featuring a memorable events or characters from the Star Trek television shows. For example, "Starfleet Is... Diplomatic" is paired with a picture of the less-than-thrilled Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deanna's smiling, notoriously overbearing, high-ranking diplomat mother.

Secrets of the Force
Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
St. Martin's Press
9781250236876, $29.99 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: For the past four decades, no film saga has touched the world in the way that Star Wars has, capturing the imaginations of filmgoers and filmmakers alike. Now, for the first time ever, Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, the bestselling authors of The Fifty-Year Mission, are telling the entire story of this blockbuster franchise from the very beginning in a single exhaustive volume. Featuring the commentaries of hundreds of actors and filmmakers involved with and impacted by Star Wars, as well as writers, commentators, critics, executives, authors, film historians, toy experts and many more, Secrets of the Force, will reveal all in Altman and Gross's critically acclaimed oral history format from the birth of the original film through the latest sequels and the new televisions series.

Critique: Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars lives up to its title as an in-depth compendium about the history of the pop culture phenomenon that is Star Wars. Chapters focus intensely upon the Star Wars movies, including the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the sequels including "The Force Awakens", "The Last Jedi", and "The Rise of Skywalker". Secrets of the Force is expressly an oral history; virtually every page consists of quoted passages from the cast, production crew, pop culture historians, film critics, and others connected to the movies. Secrets of the Force is an absolute "must-have" for Star Wars fans and connoisseurs, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Secrets of the Force is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: Edward Gross has an extensive history of covering film and television as a member of the editorial staff of a wide variety of magazines, including Cinescape, Starlog, Cinefantastique, Sfx, Femme Fatales, Movie Magic, Life Story and Sci-fi Now. He has written numerous non-fiction books and, along with the Fifty-year Mission coauthor Mark Altman, has written more about Star Trek over the past 35 years than just about anyone else.

Mark A. Altman has been hailed as "the world's foremost Trekspert" by the Los Angeles Times. Altman is a former journalist for such publications as the Boston Globe, Cinefantastique and Geek. He is also the writer/producer of the beloved romantic comedy, Free Enterprise, starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack as well as the hit TV series Agent X, Castle, Necessary Roughness and Femme Fatales.

The Music Shelf

Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City, 1964-1972
Carolyn Glenn Brewer
University of North Texas Press
9781574418231, $24.95 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The New Yorker recently referred to Pat Metheny as "possibly the most influential jazz guitarist of the past five decades." A native of Lee's Summit, Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City, Metheny started playing in pizza parlors at age fourteen. By the time he graduated from high school he was the first-call guitarist for Kansas City jazz clubs, private clubs, and jazz festivals. Now 66, he attributes his early success to the local musical environment he was brought up in and the players and teachers who nurtured his talent and welcomed him into the jazz community.

Metheny's twenty Grammys in ten categories speak to his versatility and popularity. Despite five decades of interviews, none have conveyed in detail his stories about his teenage years. Beneath Missouri Skies also reveals important details about jazz in Kansas City during the sixties and early seventies, often overlooked in histories of Kansas City jazz. Yet this time of cultural change was characterized by an outstanding level of musicianship.

Author Carolyn Glenn Brewer shows how his keen sense of ensemble had its genesis in his school band under the guidance of a beloved band director. Drawn from news accounts, archival material, interviews, and remembrances, to which the author had unique access, Beneath Missouri Skies portrays a place and time from which Metheny still draws inspiration and strength.

Critique: Pat Metheny (b. 1954) is a jazz guitarist whose astounding musical accomplishments include twenty Grammys in ten categories. Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City, 1964-1972 is an in-depth examination Pat Metheny's formative years in music with particular emphasis on the environment and mentors who influenced his early years. Chapters explore the origin of Metheny's passion for the guitar, the records he first listened to, and the jazz history of Kansas City itself. Beneath Missouri Skies is extensively researched in addition to the author's own interviews with Pat Metheny; endnotes, a bibliography, and an index round out this welcome contribution to personal and public library music biography collections. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Beneath Missouri Skies is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editorial Note: Carolyn Glenn Brewer is a retired band director and active social historian. She has written for Jam Magazine and previously published Changing the Tune: The Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival with UNT Press. She has played clarinet in bands, chamber groups, and orchestras throughout the Kansas City area.

Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal
Maxwell, author
Alt236, author
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781788403375, $39.99, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: More than any other genre of music, Heavy Metal is steeped in a rich world of symbolism. From death and the devil to mythology and fantasy, its record covers are awash with iconography that carries a complex deeper meaning.

In "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal", more than 80 of these visual themes are explored and explained, accompanied by 300 of metal's most incredible album covers, including Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Rammstein and more. With bespoke illustrations from Rammstein collaborators Fortifem, this unique guide decodes the genre's imagery, ranging from serpents and demons to sigils, castles, zombies, dragons and more.

Packaged in a stunning leather-effect case with foil finishes, "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal" is a beautiful object in its own right, and essential reading for any metalhead.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, informative, illustrated, thoughtful and thought-provoking coffee-table style volume (8.6 x 10.6 inches) showcasing Heavy Metal cover art, "Codex Metallum: The Secret Art of Metal - The Hidden Meanings Behind Metal's Greatest Album Covers" is a unique, memorable, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, college, and university library American Music History collections.

Editorial Note: Maxwell is a metal journalist, Youtuber and former presenter of Hellfest TV. Alt236 is a Youtuber with 180k subscribers - his videos decoding the visual symbols of the paranormal garner upwards of 500k views. Together, Maxwell and Alt236 directed the documentary The Art of Metal.

The Parenting Shelf

Digital for Good
Richard Culatta
Harvard Business Review Press
9781647820169 $28.00 hc / $15.39 Kindle

Synopsis: When it comes to raising children in a digital world, every parent feels underprepared and overwhelmed. We worry that our children will become addicted to online games, be victims of cyberbullying, or get lost down the rabbit hole of social media. We warn them about all the things they shouldn't do online, but we don't do nearly enough to teach them the skills of digital well-being.

It's time to start a new conversation. In Digital for Good, EdTech expert Richard Culatta argues that technology can be a powerful tool for learning, solving humanity's toughest problems, and bringing us closer together. He offers a refreshingly positive framework for preparing kids to be successful in a digital world - one that encourages them to use technology proactively and productively - by outlining five qualities every young person should develop in order to become a thriving, contributing digital citizen:

Be balanced: understand when and how much tech use is healthy
Stay informed: discern between true and false information
Be inclusive: treat others with respect and kindness online
Be engaged: use tech to strengthen family relationships and community connections
Stay alert: exercise caution and create safe digital spaces for others

This practical guide will help parents and children discover the path to becoming effective digital citizens, all while making our online world a better place.

Critique: Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World is a parenting book for twenty-first century. While concerns about the potential harm that the internet can cause (cyberbullying, online game addiction, excessive social media consumption and worse) are widespread, the internet's potential for enriching well-being is less commonly shared. Digital for Good emphasizes five principles of online interaction that need to be instilled in children: being balanced (not letting fascination with tech overwhelm real life responsibilities or activities), staying informed (learning to discern truth from falsehoods online), being inclusive (and respectful to others), being engaged (how technology can empower family relationships and community connections) and staying alert (exercising caution, and taking measures to protect oneself from cybercriminals and worse). Digital for Good is a "must-read" especially for parents, and highly recommended for public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Digital for Good is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.39).

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Measure Up
Josh McAfee and Trisha Garek Harp
Morgan James Publishing
9781631953033 $16.95 pbk / $8.49 Kindle

Synopsis: For those considering career transition, Measure Up helps them create compelling and consistent messaging, resumes, and profiles that will attract the right leaders, peers, and hiring authorities. Within, readers learn how to identify and leverage companies hiring leaders, influencers, and peers in their career search and how to leverage process and technology to connect and communicate. By the end of Measure Up, readers will be able to identify and qualify for potential opportunities and be able to show their value from communication, networking, interviewing to ultimately getting hired at the best career opportunity possible.

Measure Up teaches those considering career transition how to discover lucrative job prospects before anybody else does and gives them the tools and exercises to build their confidence and help them understand, appreciate, and "sell" their true value in the job marketplace.

Critique: Written by expert entrepreneurs, Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss is a "must-have" for every employee in America's modern-day workforce. Chapters help the reader create a better resume and profile, discuss tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication, discuss how to engage in productive networking, and much more. "Every week or two, refresh the resumes you've posted on all the job boards [LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, and so on]. Your resume is heavily ranked based on a timestamp it gets when you submit or post it. So if you posted your resume two weeks ago, then everyone who has submitted a resume since then is going to be listed ahead of you in line. Your resume ends up getting stale. Keep your resume on the first couple of pages of the board resume search results by just changing a couple of words and re-saving it." Measure Up is just as valuable to the gainfully employed as to the job- seeking unemployed, since building one's career can and often does include moving on to better opportunities as they arise! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Measure Up is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.49).

Editor's Note: In addition to being a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss, three-time founder, entrepreneur, tech investor, board member and advisor to high growth companies, Josh McAfee has spent almost thirty years in the recruiting and coaching world consulting with and placing thousands of leaders, sales, and tech-savvy people into high-growth companies. He founded, built, and sold a national tech staffing company and has helped countless leaders of high-growth companies grow their teams with the right people to have a positive impact on their products, culture, and, ultimately, their customers.

Trisha Harp, M.S., C.P.C., is an entrepreneur, researcher, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss, and coach. She has spent the past two decades working with couples, teams, and individuals on mastering advanced communication techniques with the goal of strengthening their relationships both at home and at the office through her company, The Harp Family Institute. To date, Trisha has written five books and is in the process of writing three more. She has been featured in Inc. Magazine,,, Medium, Women 2.0, and the Wall Street Journal.

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

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