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The Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 9 September 2021 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

It's Your Funeral!
Kathy Benjamin
9781683692584 $16.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

It's Your Funeral! Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime - Before It's Too Late is an upbeat, consumable book designed to help the reader plan what will happen to them after their death. It's Your Funeral! surveys different possible funeral arrangements, including burial, cremation, or donating one's body; the funeral traditions of major religions; planning a eulogy and music for one's eulogy; potential legacies including one's epitaph, obituary, material legacy (who gets your stuff), digital legacy (what becomes of your digital assets), creating a "bucket list" to fulfill while alive, and much more. It's Your Funeral! is a user-friendly resource that approaches end-of-life matters in an upbeat, relaxing manner, and is highly recommended as a practical planner. It should be noted for personal reading lists that It's Your Funeral! is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Cookbook Shelf

Compiled and edited by Gert Coleman
International Herb Association
9780578822419, $21.95, PB, 262pp

A team of experts contribute to the 'Herb of the Year' nomination of parsley for 2021, creating a culinary and grower's guide that embraces the history of parsley cultivation and usage in recipes and insights gathered from a wide range of sources. There are recipes such as Parsley Jelly (from Pat Crocker's book Preserving); Susan Belsinger's article about sauces where parsley plays a leading role, accompanied by recipes for Italian-Style Salsa Verde and Mexican-style renditions of the same; and educational cooking show host Cooper T. Murray's article on "Partnering With Parsley" which profiles parsley in unusual ways, as in a Strawberry and Parsley Salad or a Parsley-Poached Chicken Salad. The wealth of recipes and culinary and growing insights into this herb creates a blend of history, gardener's guide and cookbook which is peppered with black and white photos and filled with information.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books
P.O. Box 1188, Wake Forest, NC 27588

Five new Baen publications are highly recommended reading for sci-fi enthusiasts.

The Freehold milieu was created by Michael Z. Williamson, but it's expanded in Freehold Defiance (9781982125363, $16.00) by short stories contributed not just by its creator, but by Kevin J. Anderson, Jason Cordova, and other Baen authors who build upon the theme. Here the UN has invaded the Freehold of Grainne, a libertarian world, requiring it to fight against oppressors even though they are outnumbered and outgunned. They are doing what they do best, because war is in their blood and defiance their way of dealing with threats. Military sci-fi readers who enjoy short stories will find this a rousing series of confrontations that expand Williamson's world and its foundations.

John Ringo works with Gary Poole in We Shall Rise (9781982125585, $25.00), which gathers stories from such notable writers as Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, and Brendan DuBois about the zombie uprising. After the Black Tide Apocalypse, the world has changed and nations have fallen. The human race faced extinction, but survived another winter and have largely beaten back the infected. Fans of Ringo's Black Tide Rising series will find plenty of new action and adventure stories in this fine, diverse collection of events.

Eric Flint, well known for his timeslip alternate history 1637 series, is back with another, working with Griffin Barber in 1637: The Peacock Throne (9781982125356, $25.00). Here, an assassinated emperor, the Mughal Empire's resulting struggle over the Peacock Throne, and the time-transplanted Americans who side with Pricess Jahanara face deeping conflict even as the princess becomes enamored with Afghan general Salim Gadh Yilmaz. The survey of political influences, personal harem experiences and Indian backdrop, and special dilemmas created by Jahanara's efforts makes for a story replete with many satisfying twists and turns.

James L. Cambias's The Godel Operation (9781982125561, $16.00) will attract readers interested in AI stories set in the far future. Daslakh is an AI whose favorite human, Zee, loves a woman who is not real. The human race has expanded so far that Zee is convinced his infatuation must be over a real woman who exists somewhere. When he helps Adya, a different girl, escape from a gang of cooks, the two search for an old weapon, with Daslakh helping them in an effort that could threaten humanity if it goes awry. A fine blend of romance and political and social conflict evolves nicely.

David Weber and Richard Fox's Governor (9781982125400, $27.00) tells of Rear Admiral Terrence Murphy, one of the Five Hundred elite members of the Heart Worlds who reside far from the attacks and battles of humans in other regions of the universe. They lead a wealthy, sheltered life in comparison, but Murphy's rise to power sends him into military service elsewhere, there to find that his "governorship" leads him to an effort to stop the killing and change the world around him. Can he attack a status quo position and change his own destiny in the process? Military readers will find this an involving story.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Old Gods & New
John Morrow with Jon B. Cooke
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490984, $26.95,

Comic history collections with a special interest in illustrator Jack Kirby will find this 80th issue of the Jack Kirby Collector magazine focuses on the 50th anniversary of Kirby's best creation. Four different comics on this theme created in 1970 (New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle, and Jimmy Olsen) were left unresolved. Here, they receive fine inspection as this series companion considers Kirby's own words and that of artists and publishers he worked with to consider how Kirby would have wrapped up the series before it was cancelled by DC Comics. Fans of Fourth World scenarios will find this presentation extensively researched, packed with color and insights into hundreds of Kirby's characters and ideas, and absolutely essential reading for both Kirby fans and any definitive comic history collection.

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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