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The Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 10 October 2023 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Philosophy Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

The Joy of Costco
David & Susan Schwartz
Hot Dog Press, LLC
9781959505006, $35.00 Hardcover

The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z romps through Costco warehouses around the world, and is written by a couple who has visited some 200 of Costco's 800+ warehouses. One might expect this survey to take the form of a travelogue and consumer manual, but the authors utilize an A-Z format to cover everything from the demise of Costco's relationship with American Express to the benefits of buying hearing aids from Costco (which involve more than a favorable price, and outlines accompanying maintenance services), the history of Costco's Kirkland brand and signature items, and how Costco maintains food safety in its meat departments. Each item on the A-Z list receives intriguing coverage, facts, and history that documents all facets of Costco's operations, from its product lines and company structure to how it maintains and supports its image and transactions. The unexpectedly lively nature of the narrative is supported by boxed sidebars of information, succinct but precise descriptions, and operational facts.

While the primary draw of this book will be to Costco fans and customers, its wealth of business insights will also be intriguing to business readers interested in the box store's background, development, and methods. These audiences will find the celebratory nature of The Joy of Costco to be attractive, with its structure and visuals lending to an unexpectedly easy-to-read title that will appeal on different levels of information and entertainment. For Costco superfans it will make an ideal gift. Libraries and readers need not have a Costco membership card in order to imbibe. All that's required is a basic interest in the company's processes and in the bigger picture of inventory control, product acquisition, and operating a retail chain box store.

The Philosophy Shelf

The Godfather and Philosophy
Joshua Heter and Richard Greene, Editors
Open Universe
c/o Carus Books
9781637700372, $24.95

The Godfather and Philosophy adds to the series 'Pop Culture and Philosophy' by gathering philosophical reflections about the Corleones, a classic Godfather family. One doesn't think of philosophy as applying to Mafia operations, but there's a wealth of insights here that will provoke a different take, from contrasts between Plato and The Godfather to issues of friendship, justice, and codas for behavior. The result is especially recommended for classrooms look at The Godfather in a very different light.

The Audiobook Shelf

Shards of Light Bundle
William Hahn
Independent Bookworm
B08248V7QC, $22.79 Audio

Why listen to the audio version of Shards of Light? In this case, the audio version lends added value not just because it's narrated by author William Hahn, who is intimately familiar, as creator, with every intended nuance of his epic fantasy story, but because the audio version's dramatic flairs lead to understanding and absorption of the tale on a level that print simply can't equal. William Hahn's narration is clear, dramatic, and compelling. It needed to be such, because listening to four books in one audio bundle represents over 22 hours of pleasure (or pain, were it to be read under the wrong voice). Hahn's ability to inject and reflect the underlying dramatic moments and pivot points of the epic fantasy lends a feel to not just the plot, but the characters themselves as he adjusts his voice to capture each character and the interplays between them. As conspirators, seers of the future such as W'starrah Altieri, and new imperial officer Justin, who is just as convinced he has no future, clash, the epic struggles of individuals and kingdoms come alive in audio to bring forth a powerful saga of individuals and traditions on the cusp of change.

From infantry clashes with longbows and the dragging hours of battlefield pauses to "smoking wounds" and the heat of fire arrows and destruction, Hahn brings to life losses for the empire and individuals like as death and slaughter buffet Justin and all around him. The power of an audio version of a book ideally is to bring the story to new life. When this force is applied to a four-book bundle, it takes a strong voice and compelling blend of plot and oral narration to keep readers thoroughly engrossed. The bundled audiobook version of Shards of Light achieves these goals in a manner that sets it heads and shoulders above most fantasy book narratives. What is demanding in print becomes smooth and compelling in audio, making Shards of Light Bundle a top recommendation for those who would listen with baited breath and unflagging interest to an artist as adept at audio drama as he is at putting pen to paper.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

House of Rough Diamonds
Jane Lindskold
Baen Books
9781982192891, $18.00

Book 3 of the 'Over Where' series provides a sword-and-sorcery adventure in which a book wraith has all the books in the Library of the Sapphire Wind worried. This challenges the new House of Rough Diamonds, which faces internal battles over ownership of the Library, enemies which revolve around such control, and new groups of friends and secrets that permeate the Over Where world. The result is a rollicking series of escapades that is especially recommended for prior Over Where readers who will find these latest engagements expand the dilemmas and challenges of this special universe.

Baen Books

Simon R. Green's Very Important Corpses (9781982192730, $18.00) is an Ishmael Jones novel that incorporates a murder mystery with sci-fi elements. Here, the investigator is an alien living among humans, so his strengths and identity blend with a gothic-style mystery to lend unexpected developments and appeal to an intriguing plot. Throw in a Loch Ness locale for the added value of a supercharged story of investigative challenges and surprises.

The anthology They're Here! There Goes the Neighborhood, edited by Hank Davis and Sean CW Korsgaard (9781982192747, $18.00) provides a collection of stories about different types of aliens who may have moved in under the unsuspecting noses of humanity. Stories by such sci-fi greats as Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, and Neil Gaiman presents a satisfying diversity of approaches to the subject which will attract readers who look for more original approaches to the traditional alien invasion theme. Both are attractive library acquisitions for their unpredictable stories and surprising characters.

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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