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Dying for Vengeance
PO Box 548, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
9781620064825, $19.95 PB, $6.99 PB, 394pp, www.amazon.com
Dr. Alma H. Bond, Reviewer
Dying for Vengeance by J.M. West is a well written mystery novel with two strong protagonists and several unusual twists of plot. Carlisle Homicide Detective Erin McCoy feels very uneasy as the first woman in Homicide to be partnered with Senior Detective Christopher Snow. That doesn't take very long to change. On their first case, they track a serial killer who is stalking family members swept up in an inheritance dispute. West writes in her Acknowledgments, "This novel is one story among many about a family destroyed by a protracted dispute over a house foreclosure, bankruptcy, and the human drama - the fallout as well as the avarice and moral turpitude so prevalent in American society today." The villain gruesomely murders his victims with toxic chemicals. When the detectives chase after clues and connect the related victims, their mutual attraction blossoms, as Erin nurses Chris after he is shot. A conflict occurs when FBI Special Agent Howard offers McCoy a job if she'll train at Quantico, but Erin returns to Carlisle when she learns she has a rival for Snow's affections.
Speaking of Carlisle, I live there, and totally enjoyed West's frequent references to the town.
Snow's former partner, Reese Savage, returns to the CPD from a position in the Middle-East, fully expecting to resume their former bachelor ways. When he discovers that is not to be, his anger results in a PTSD while he is tailing a suspect. In the meantime, Chief March reassigns McCoy to the K9 Unit. When she becomes a target, she learns that she is dependant on Chris to help preserve her life.
Dying for Vengeance is Jody McGibney West's first murder mystery/romance featuring Detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy in The Carlisle Crime Cases series. Readers who like West's work would do well to meet the Flowers family in her debut novel, Glory in the Flower.
The book is extremely well written for a mystery, as one would expect from a writer who has been a professor of literature for forty years. The book is literature, as well as a thriller. At the same time, it is full of suspense, and kept me sitting on the edge of my seat eagerly awaiting what would happen next. I particularly enjoyed West's use of unusual phrasing, such as, "Snow silently spotted the frozen ground,." "...fluorescent lighting glared ghostly overhead." and "...arthritic branches scraping one another in the wind.". I also like the author's highly literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter which are worthy of a professor of literature, such as the one written by W. B. Yates, "The blood-dimmed time is loosed," quotes one would not expect to find in an ordinary mystery. But then Joan West is no ordinary mystery writer...
Since the book is so well written it is difficult to find much in it to criticize. It perhaps is a little slow moving at times, with too much Indian history in it for my taste. It could probably be improved by shortening it. Nevertheless, despite this possible shortcoming, Dying for Vengeance is a highly readable book which immediately captures the reader's interest and swiftly carries him or her through to a fascinating conclusion. It is an exciting valuable book, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, particularly those readers who like their mysteries wrapped in true literature.
About the Author: Dying for Vengeance is the first in the Carlisle Crime Cases series of murder/mysteries featuring Homicide detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy, by Jody McGibney West, pseudonym for Joan W. West, Professor Emerita of English studies at Harrisburg Area Community College, The Gettysburg Campus. She also taught at Messiah College and Shippensburg University as an adjunct and served as Assistant Director of the Learning Center (SU). She has previously published poetry and Glory in the Flower, her debut novel, which depicts four coeds who meet during the turbulent sixties. West and her husband live near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They have two sons and two grandsons. In her spare time, West volunteers at the Bookery - Bosler Memorial Library's delightful used bookstore, participates in two book groups, and reads voraciously.
Listening to Ayahuasca
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608684021, $17.95, PB, 376pp, www.amazon.com
Used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes of the Amazon rain forest, the mystical brew ayahuasca (a psychoactive traditional spiritual medicine) is now becoming increasingly popular in the West. In the pages of "Listening to Ayahuasca: New Hope for Depression, Addiction, PTSD, and Anxiety", psychologist Rachel Harris draws upon her 35 years of experience and expertise to share her own healing experiences and draws on her original research (the largest study of ayahuasca use in North America) into the powerful medicine's effects on depression, addiction, PTSD, and anxiety. In a wide-ranging and personal exploration, Harris details ayahuasca's risks and benefits, helping readers clarify their intentions and giving psychotherapists a template for transformative care and healing. Impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Listening to Ayahuasca" is very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Alternative Medicine and Contemporary Psychology collections. It should be noted for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject that "Listening to Ayahuasca" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
B06X3RKB37, $4.99, Kindle, Page Count: 481
Clabe Polk, Reviewer
This book will find a special place in the hearts of many readers, especially those, like me, who have adopted children to fill voids in their families and their hearts. Beyond that, however, this story will tug at the heartstrings of the remaining generation who endured World War II, and their children; both as active military and as the children, spouses and parents who anxiously waited for news in the deafening silence back home.
Claire, a young wife with a broken heart who wants a family, is torn by the grief of a stillborn child, the joy of adoption and the fear she will lose her husband to circumstances beyond her control. Ron, Claire's husband is torn by events that leave him with no choices that do not involve separation from Claire and, Hannah, their newly adopted daughter, and which ultimately threaten his life. David, Claire's brother, has fallen in love. He is responsible for the family's well-being in 1945, but who has lost their round trip ticket to the present. Margaret, their neighbor from across the street in the very different Chattanooga of 1945, is torn between her love for a naval officer involved in the Pacific war and growing love for David, and her high regard for the Claire, Ron and Hannah.
And then there is Hannah...who was born under a full moon.
Oh, did I mention, that Claire, Ron and David are from 2017 and Margaret and Hannah are from 1945 Chattanooga, Tennessee; a time and city dominated by concerns about the war?
The result is a riveting story that effectively captures the emotion and anxiety of the times and of the personal emotions and anxiety of the characters. Readers will be particularly pleased with the significance of "Hannah's moon".
Time travel facilitates and complicates the story, but it is only marginally science fiction. This book is about emotions, courage in the face of adverse circumstances and about climbing back on the horse after being thrown. It is well written and edited and should appeal to just about any type of reader. 5-Stars
The Patterns Collection
9781521036709, $25.00, 182 pp, www.amazon.com
Kaye Trout, Reviewer
The Patterns Collection is an anthology of the four photo/haiku poem books on patterns--Patterns in Nature, Patterns in Flowers, Patterns in Trash and Patterns - Man-made. It is a collection of eighty digitally modified photos plus eighty haiku poems.
Victoria Rose's digitally modified photos are unique from many perspectives--subject matter, technique. She takes simple, not particularly interesting or appealing subjects and turns them into art and then adds a little haiku poem for flavor.
All proceeds from her books go to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, CO, and the Fund for Animals, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States.
There's not too much else to say, except vibrant and exciting and definitely worth the price. Besides enjoying it yourself, The Patterns Collection would make a wonderful gift for family and friends for any occasion.
Short Story America
221 Johnson Landing Road, Beaufort, SC 29907
9780988249776, $25.00, HC, www.amazon.com
Niles Reddick, Reviewer
Johnston's collection Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is a well-crafted collection that packs a considerable punch.
Johnston is well-published in literary magazines and journals and has received much recognition for his work. He is also the editor and publisher of Short Story America, the annual anthology, and coordinates the short story festival in beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina.
These twelve eclectic stories move well beyond place and geography in terms of the issues with which the characters deal. As the late literary master Pat Conroy noted, the collection "boldly explores a wide range of both subject matter and genre", and at the same time, Johnston does so with the finesse of a seasoned short story master. There are surprises here that keep readers turning the pages, and the lead story "Friday Afternoon" has been twice optioned as a film. This particular story is similar to Flannery O'Connor's work in the use of the grotesque and the art of surprise.
Whether it's "Marco Polo" written from a child's perspective or a historical account of the hanging of Mary Surratt accused in the conspiracy of President Lincoln's murder in "The Interruption of Thomas Darrow", Johnston's covers a lot of territory. From a surrealistic story such as "The Guest" where the reader isn't quite clear and will have to make up his own mind to what really happened in "Gratuity" (one of my personal favorites) that is about the 'lack of a tip gone bad' and is vaguely reminiscent of Sling Blade, Johnston covers the spectrum of unique characters with their flaws, weaknesses, and desires. In this sense, Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is extremely realistic and will strike a familiar chord in our human experiences.
Johnston's Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is a must read. There are many surprises here and readers will go on multiple journeys that will expand their own consciousness. I was recently privileged to meet Johnston in Beaufort, South Carolina and listened to him talk about his collection and specifically the prospective film based on "Friday Afternoon" and was appreciative of his art and craft.
To read more about T.D. Johnston, please see his website: www.tdjohnston.com
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781512078312, $7.49, PB, 154pp, www.amazon.com
Paul Binford, Reviewer
Little needs to be said about Mark Twain, perhaps the most well known American author. In 1861 his brother Orion was appointed Secretary of Nevada Territory. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, joined him on a stagecoach from Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Virginia City, a trip that took two weeks across the American west. "Roughing It," published in 1872, combines a healthy dose of history with humor and wit, along with numerous anecdotes that will make any reader laugh out loud.
The western states in the mid-1800's was a roadless wilderness populated mainly by Native Americans and a few homesteaders. Describing the stagecoach ride, Twin delivers a number of episodes where the trip might have ended in disaster. The journey is punctuated by short stops at stage stations where there would be a change of horses and some barely edible food. The driver would sometimes be changed, "for they drove backward and forward over the same piece of road all the time." It was common for the driver to drive straight for seventy miles one way, then take another coach going the opposite way for another seventy miles.
The stagecoach spent some time in Salt Lake City, where Twain became acquainted with the Mormons. There are two appendices that refer to the Mormons, both very interesting. One is a history of the church, the other is a detailed account of an infamous incident, "The Mountain Meadows Massacre," in which a group of Mormons disguised themselves as Indians and attacked an emigrant wagon train. He was very opinionated in regards to the Mormons, as he was to Christianity in general.
On arriving in Carson City, the capital of Nevada Territory, he and Orion "took quarters in the 'ranch' of a worthy French lady by the name of Bridget O'Flannigan, a camp follower of His Excellency the governor." It isn't clear at this point how he made his living. It seems that his original intent was just to pay a visit, but he soon decided to "put off (my) return to 'the States' awhile. I had grown well accustomed to wearing a damaged slouch hat, blue woolen shirt, and pants crammed into boot tops, and gloried in the absence of coat, vest, and braces. I felt rowdyish and 'bully'.... ." Eventually, he tries his luck at the main industry in Nevada, silver mining.
He does a great job of describing the "silver fever." There were prospectors constantly on the lookout for latest "silver-bearing lodes and ledges of quartz," and when a likely spot was discovered the prospector would return to town, register his claim, and begin selling stock, or "feet" in the remote desert or mountain yet-to-be-developed mine. The value of these claims skyrocketed, an example being the Ophir Mine, which was valued at a "mere trifle" when Twain arrived, but later was "selling at nearly four thousand dollars a foot!" Often as not these claims would prove to be worthless, and it reminded me of the dot.com bubble in the late 1990's, where huge investments were made on a website that proved to be empty.
The dedication page at the front of the book is to a Calvin Higbie, a partner in one of these ventures with Twain. They both expected to be millionaires when they acquired two hundred feet each of a proven silver-bearing mine. In order to keep their claim, "a fair and reasonable amount of work" was necessary within ten days of their claim. Both Higbie and Twain were out of town those ten days, each expecting the other to do some work. Neither did, and they lost their fortune. It was one of the several times that Twain missed the "silver fever" boat.
"Roughing It" has seventy nine short chapters, each about 5 pages long. Several chapters are devoted to various aspects of the mining business. He describes the network of tunnels that run directly under the main street of Virginia City, at the center of the silver mining district. Plenty is mentioned about the speculators, the lucky ones who staked a claim and got rich. In one year alone - 1863 - "Nevada, (claims to have) produced $25,000,000 in bullion." Yet there was a dark underside (literally) to the whole affair. The Comstock vein ran directly under the streets of Virginia City, where speculators made and lost fortunes. Somebody had to do the dirty work, however, and a chapter is dedicated to those five hundred miners who worked in the tunnels. He throws some light on these men who worked "twelve to sixteen hundred feet under Virginia and Gold Hill, and the signal bells that tell them what the superintendent above ground desires them to do are struck by telegraph as we strike a fire alarm. Sometimes men fall down a shaft...a thousand feet deep." He does not give a rundown of the wages paid to these men.
After several more tries at striking it rich, Twain hit rock-bottom and "went to work as a common laborer in a quartz mill, at ten dollars a week and board." The silver ore was brought to the mill, crushed by large metal stamps and the silver extracted. It was a "tedious and laborious process," and Twain lasted only a week. He told his boss that he had "never before grown so tenderly attached to an occupation in so short a time; that nothing, it seemed to me, gave such scope to intellectual activity...". He asked for an increase in pay, "about four hundred thousand dollars a month," which didn't sit well. He was "ordered off the premises!". Twain showed throughout the book that he was never inclined to make his living at hard labor.
He had been writing letters to the editor of the main newspaper in Nevada, the Virginia City "Daily Territorial Enterprise," and "always been surprised when they appeared in print." One day he received a letter from the editor, a "Mr. Goodman, I will call him, since it describes him as well as any name could do," offering him a job as city editor at twenty-five dollars a week. He took the offer, and proceeded to write articles about such things as "hay wagons in from Truckee", emigrant wagon trains passing through on their way to California, the doings in the courthouse, the returns on silver bullion, Virginia City's Chinatown, school reports and inquests. It has been noted many times that this experience as the reporter, Sam Clemens, was the foundation for the writer, Mark Twain. He learned that he could write, that people enjoyed reading it, and he could make a somewhat honest living out of it. His first published short story (1867), "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was based on a story he heard while reporting for the Enterprise. From that day on, he would never take up a shovel, rather the pen.
Eventually, Twain "began to get tired of staying in one place so long...I wanted to see San Francisco." He condenses the journey to that city like this; "We rumbled over the plains and valleys, climbed the Sierras to the clouds, and looked down upon summer-clad California." Then he is in San Francisco, "a truly fascinating city to live in."
At this point in "Roughing It," his expedition and life in a frontier town is pretty much finished. No longer does he write about the silver mines, the desperadoes, the fortunes won and lost in Nevada. He was in a cosmopolitan environment, and after some ups and downs in Francisco he returned to what he knew best, writing for a newspaper. The final sixteen chapters are (including a sojourn in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) mainly tell about his trip to Hawaii, then called the Sandwich Islands. He was there four months in 1866 as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union newspaper. He based himself in Honolulu and wrote vivid descriptions of the natural beauty of the islands, for example, he describes a landscape as "thickly clad with green grass, and shaded by tall trees, through whose dense foliage the sun could scarcely penetrate; ...I saw luxurious banks of flowers, fresh as a meadow after a rain, and glowing with the richest dyes...".
Twain intersperses his narrative from time to time with similar word-laden descriptions of nature. Not only Hawaii, but Mono Lake, the Rocky Mountains, Lake Tahoe. He writes about the climate in San Francisco, the desolation of the American deserts, as well as about the flora (sagebrush) and fauna (coyotes and the "jackass" rabbit). His descriptions are a bit wordy, but a welcome break from the personal narrative. He also breaks it up with tales of the unique characters who populated the west, such as the notorious outlaw Slade, a General Buncombe, Buck Fanshaw, Old Miss Wagner and her glass eye, and in Hawaii, a Mrs. Beazely and her son. It is likely that these diversions from the main story characterize Twain as a humorous writer as much as anything else.
When he returned from Hawaii, he began his lecturing career. He rented the MacGuire Opera House in San Francisco, printed up some advertising that read: "Doors open at 7 1/2, the trouble begins at 8." He had serious doubts if his performance would be given a good reception, claiming that he didn't eat for three days. He gave away free tickets to acquaintances on the condition that they would laugh out loud at appropriate times, the equivalent of canned laughter on today's situation comedy TV shows. The lecture turned out to be a personal and financial success. "All the papers were kind in the morning; my appetite returned, I had abundance of money."
It is tempting to try to make a psychological profile of Twain, as his writing style leaves him vulnerable to such musings. He is full of contradictions and ambiguities. He writes reverently of the natural world, but when he starts a forest fire on the shore of Lake Tahoe, he casually watches it burn out of control as it "traveled beyond our range of vision...it was wonderful to see...!" He would seem to be sympathetic to the average working man, yet his remarks about the toiling miners deep underground were remarkably lackadaisical. He shows plenty of contempt for Christianity, but when the missionaries arrived in Hawaii, not long after the abolishment of the old "taboo" and human sacrifice belief system, he welcomed their appearance as a way to restore a faith in a more modern system. He relishes the wild independence and individuality of the old west, but the frequent murders and gun-slinging caused him to value the influence of civilized institutions. He describes himself as a "worshiper of the red man," meanwhile compares the Native Americans to the Goshute Indians, whom he encountered in eastern Nevada, as "a silent, sneaking, treacherous looking race."
Question Twain's world-view if you will, and in the end the temptation to psychoanalyze him will just fade away, because he is so damn funny that the point is lost if one does so. I finished the book with a feeling that, with his descriptions of the characters and the dilemmas facing them, the state of humanity has not really changed that much in the last 150 years.
The Spirit of Want, third edition
William H. Coles
Story in Literary Fiction
9780997672992, $2.99, E-book, 302 pages
The year is 1984. Widower, Dr. Luke Osborn works as an eye doctor specializing in retinal surgery for the new Eye Institute. For a new doctor it is a privilege to be apart of mingling with the ultra-rich whose generous donations created this new facility, but Luke feels that he does not belong. He has never possessed that much money or lived twitch extravagance.
This new institute is A. J. MacNeil's dream project as the institute's leader. Naturally at this event, his wife, Agnes as well as his grown daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth astute do. Strangely the two daughters are very different. Lucy is a lawyer who is dark, slim, drunk, and angry. Contrastly, Elizabeth, a teacher, is fair colored, a little overweight, sober, and pleasant.
One of his first conversations with Lucy had her complaining about eye surgery, "It's not just mistakes that piss me off, it's the coverups." Would you want to converse with her if you operated on eyes?
At the party, Luke is offered the position of being the director of clinical research. He is hesitant with accepting this position since he views himself as a surgeon, not an administrator.
As he leaves the party, Luke does have a shock. His vehicle is stripped. Tires, wheels, bumpers, mirrors, and radio are all missing. How will he get to his home, which is two and a half hours away?
Lucy agrees to drive him home. She is somewhat drunk and drives her expensive sports car erratically and way too fast. They swerve to miss a dog, hit a bump and colliding with a tree. Luke and Lucy looked for whatever caused the bump, but do not find anything.
The next day, a woman's body is found. She happens to be a judge's wife. Since she died of blunt trauma. Since the police were not called, the logical conclusion is than Lucy was likely drunk and is being charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Lucy needs Luke to convince the grand jury that she was not intoxicated as she drove to Luke's. This is how their relationship begins and quickly evolves into the two being married privately by a justice of the peace. Did she marry him for love or to control his testimony? Or is Luke marrying the boss's daughter for his career advancement?
Luke comes from a family where his father was domineering, his mother was passive and he has five siblings. He is a little skeptical in beginning this relationship since his first wife killed herself. However, he allows Lucy to quickly take the lead in their marriage.
As a lawyer, Lucy is placed on a case of defending a television evangelist of the Apostolic Church of Christ accused of rape of a minor. Hower Bain is on video surveillance of being alone with the girl. How can anyone defend him?
Hower is separated from his wife, son, and daughter. He states that this is because of their faith differences. Could it be that he is unfaithful?
This case requires Lucy to travel and to spend much time away from Luke.
Lucy does become pregnant and gives birth to Jennifer prematurely, weighing less than three pounds. With two highly regarded professional careers, they decide to hire a nanny to care for their daughter.
However, taking care of Hower Bain seems to be more of a time commitment than a newborn. He is demanding, rebellious, establishing his own rules that are not helpful, such as against his lawyer's advice, giving a five minute television interview. Or is more going on with her commitment to the case?
Luke has his own challenges. Sandra Perez has been dismissed as a fellow. Luke's colleague, Modesto Sanchez, had been ordered to give her a poor evaluation. Apparently, Sandra had witnessed Luke's father-in-law, A.J. causing harm to a patient, completely blinding him, by performing surgery on the wrong eye. He believes Sandra. How does anyone confront his boss and father-in-law who demands loyalty, even if he is in the wrong?
The Spirit of Want is an event-driven account of Lucy and Luke. The pace is extremely fast with the book covering several years. A hidden gem within the story is the artwork reflecting the story created by Betty Harper.
Do some people use others only as long as they receive benefit from the relationship? How do you go on whether you are the giver or the taker? Or could each of us be both at the same time or does it depend on each relationship?
As a former ophthalmic surgeon, he understands his topic. This resident of Salt Lake City, Utah has won numerous awards and nominations in the Sandhill Writers Competition, The SEAK Competition, The William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction.
Read The Spirit of Want for the answers.
Wild Ideas: Creativity from the Inside Out
Standing Place Press
9780996810500, $19.95 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 326 pp., www.amazon.com
A debut self-help guide offers an introspective and encouraging analysis of the creative process.
This manual argues that many steps are necessary to produce a work of art - whether it's a novel, a painting, or a performance - but those procedures are often minimized or overlooked when planning a project: "Our culture's obsession with fame and fortune teaches us to value the products that result from creative acts more than the process itself." Wild aims to rectify this oversight by explaining the elemental stages of a work to help artists who may be stuck at any point along the way. The underlying thesis is that the creative urge is a universal life force that demands expression: "A voice of inspiration inside each of us struggles to be heard."
The book takes the reader through an entire production cycle, breaking it into sections that dissect the process from philosophical, spiritual, and psychological perspectives. Some of the elements discussed include recognizing inspiration, overcoming obstacles, and knowing when to compromise on an artistic vision and when to stand firm. Each part ends with a series of penetrating questions for self-examination. In these pages, Wild uses an effective mix of research, quotations, and observations gleaned from clients she's worked with as a creativity expert and life coach as well as the ups and downs she encountered getting her book written and published.
Her tone is honest and sincere, with insights - such as "If you want to improve the quality of your work, separate your self-worth from the piece you have made" - that come across as authentic and hard-won.
This volume reads like a personalized, guided tour of the creative process, including practical planning advice as well as warnings about unanticipated roadblocks. The intimate, first-person narration speaks directly to the reader, counseling those in the throes of creation to stick to their artistic goals rather than get thrown off track by doubts or the rigors of the projects.
An engaging road map for artistic expression that successfully explores the necessary routes while supporting those who
are taking the trip.
Barbra Streisand On the Couch
Dr. Alma H. Bond, Ph. D.
P.O. Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209
9781610882118, $27.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Tina B. Tessina, Reviewer
As a psychotherapist myself, I have found Dr. Alma Bond's "On the Couch" series fascinating. This newest book is no exception. Being privy to her fictional analyst, Psychiatrist Dr. Darcy Dale, and her famous clients is entertaining and exciting. When this latest volume, a fictionalized account of Dr. Dale's analysis of uber-famous singer, actor, producer and director Barbra Streisand came to my attention, I had to read it right away.
The book is a great read. It is organized like an analyst's session notes, a dated diary of each visit, during which Streisand's remarkable life unfolds. The content is fascinating, the writing is intimate and the dialog realistic. Of course, Streisand is a fascinating character, and I couldn't wait to hear the revelations to come in the next session.
The sessions depicted in the book are full of revelations of insider knowledge and Barbra's feelings about both the good and bad parts of her life: Barbra says: "The writer of the screenplay [for Guilt Trip, a movie starring Streisand] Dan Fogelman, told me that the manuscript was written about his real mother (poor guy) [sic] who was also named Joyce. Dan said with tears in his eyes that she had died a few years earlier. I thought of my own mother, who was always a pain in the ass. When she died, I cried, too." Barbra sprinkles the sessions with Yiddish words from her Jewish upbringing, and there is a glossary of the words in the back of the book, which comes in handy.
This will appeal to anyone who enjoys discovering information about such a celebrity, how she feels about the ups and downs of her life, and other juice details of her storied sex life and stellar career. She also describes various places she has lived, from shabby to fabulous, as well as her beautiful wedding to James Brolin, her current husband.
The book has a can't-put-it-down quality, the juiciness of the gossip, the emotional insights into her joy and pain, and the remarkable triumphs and failures of her long career are completely fascinating. Although the book is fiction, the author lists in a bibliography the numerous books and articles from which she garnered the very factual events and many of Miss Streisand's own words from interviews that she used to create the sessions.
Dr. Bond was a Freudian analyst for thirty-seven years in New York City, until she retired to become a full-time writer. She has written On the Couch novels about Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis, Hillary Clinton as well as Barbra Streisand. She is author of twenty one books.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Barbra Streisand: On the Couch, and I think you will, too.
The Bear and the Nightingale
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9781101885932, $27.00 HC, $12.99 Kindle, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Magic realism meets medieval Russia in Katherine Arden's debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale. The novel tells the story of Vasya, the second daughter of a minor boyar (a member of the Russian nobility), growing up in a village struggling with faith and fear. Vasya's mother died moments after her birth; her father, Pyotr, tries to raise Vasya and her siblings with the help of Dunya, the elderly housekeeper. When Vasya turns seven, Pyotr decides his daughter needs a proper mother and goes to Moscow to find and court a suitable new matron for the family. History and other more enigmatic forces interfere, causing Pyotr to return home with the young, highly devout Anna Ivanovna as a wife. The arrival of Konstantin, a charismatic and passionate orthodox priest who hopes to spread fear throughout her village, becomes the match that ignites the growing tinder pile that is Vasya's life.
Faith and hubris are two of the most prevalent themes throughout the novel. One of the more compelling aspects of the novel is its ability to engage with these core themes in multiple subtle ways. The interactions and motivations of many of the characters seem realistic, yet they almost always engage with these central motifs in a diverse and complex manner. As well, the chyerti, Russian spirits said to protect various aspects of the home and nature, act as mirrors for Vasya and her family; revealing deeply honest truths about humanity and human nature.
Behind the main plot of the novel is a mysterious connective force that brings characters together and can make even the most mundane action have widespread implications. Arden's descriptions of characters, environment, and emotional tensions are perfectly mixed to be grand and powerful, yet concise enough so as to not take away from the narrative. Her approach to the magic of the world makes it seem enigmatic and fundamental to the existence of everything. While never directly addressing the uniqueness and powers of the chyerti, she gives concrete examples to help the reader implicitly trust and understand the strength and limitation of each being.
Katherine Arden has beautifully woven a fairy tale that adults, even those who tend to dislike magic and fantasy, can love. Many attempts at creating a modern fairy tale result in oversimplified plots and quaint, but flat, characters. The Bear and the Nightingale is an exception to this; Arden's world is vast, real and complex in a way that complicates a traditional fairy tale narrative while staying true to the themes of the genre. If fairy tales interest you, pick this novel up. If historical fiction interests you, pick this novel up. If family dramas interest you, pick this novel up. If the plight of a young girl against seemingly insurmountable odds interests you, pick up The Bear and the Nightingale at a bookseller near you.
M. N. Snow
4900 Lacross Road, North Charleston, SC 29406
9781539630661, $14.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 296pp, www.amazon.com
Anthony Avina, Reviewer
An emotional story of hope, love and the power to help, and what people do with that power. That is how I would describe The Helper, a fantastic novel written by author M.N. Snow that explores the story of three people with unique abilities that allow them to help others, and the complicated lives they lead because of it. First, here is the official synopsis:
A tale that combines contemporary, speculative fiction with an ambiguous spirituality. The book explores relationships between lovers, friends, families, and what Powers of Good there may be.
John Sloan is an ex-Marine with a life-long secret that is haunting him. He is a conduit to a healing light that draws him to people on the brink of emotional disintegration, people who are then healed and Helped by this light. His blue-collar world is shattered when he finds that his connection to this anonymous portal has vanished. He is alone, seemingly beyond aid, and in desperate need of a Helping himself.
The book tracks the intersecting lives of John and two other Helpers. His lifelong friend Dusty Hakalla is a mixed-blood Ojibwe, with a secret of his own. His power to Help is remarkable, but was once destructively misused. A career Marine, his scarred childhood and momentary abuse of power have left him jaded and bereft. Deena Morrison, also a Helper, is John's girlfriend. Adopted as an infant, she flees John to find her birth-mother, while carrying within herself her own secret. Another character shadows their lives as narrator, Nan'b'oozoo, the trickster god of Ojibwe legend - at times sarcastic and petulant, at others insightful and humorous.
The novel travels from the gritty Lake Superior port-cities and Indian Reservations of northern Wisconsin to the Jewish neighborhoods of North Miami Beach, Florida - from Parris Island to the war zones of Kuwait and Afghanistan.
The story of John, Deena and Dusty is packed full of emotional stories that jump back and forth through time thanks to the narrative storytelling of the narrator. Watching these characters grow up separately in very different circumstances, and seeing their very different approaches to the gift of Helping was gripping to read. This is an incredibly well-written story, that often reminded me of the same storytelling style of Stephen King, creating eloquent plot lines with realistic characters that spoke of the various types of people you'd expect to meet in these places and time periods written about in the book. Getting to see the impact this force of good has on these individuals, and getting to see protagonist John give so much of himself to others, only to discover he is the one in need of Helping once his power seems to disappear, taking pieces of himself slowly and painfully as well.
Analyzing the impact of war, racism, violence and the struggle to remain good in a world that constantly threatens to overwhelm people with evil and darkness, The Helper is a phenomenal read that deserves to be read. The passion that this story is told with showcases a strong command over the narrative, and author M.N. Snow showcases a talent that is too bright not to be recognized. Filled with romance, friendship and the constant struggle to remain good, this is a powerful book that everyone should get, so be sure to pick up your copies of M.N. Snow's The Helper now!
Advising Chiang's Army: An American Soldier's World War II Experience in China
Stephen L. Wilson
Mill City Press, Inc.
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415, Maitland, FL 32751
9781635051087, $15.95, PB, 309pp, www.amazon.com
George Fry, Reviewer
On Christmas 1941, under the tree I found a boy's U.S. Army uniform (complete with Browning belt) from Santa (courtesy of Sears & Roebuck, Chicago). I put it on, headed for the door, and told my Mom I was off to China to save Madame Chiang Kai-shek from the Japanese. This 5-year-old got no further than the front porch. An older (and wiser) Midwest lad, Phil Saunders, was to be very successful in his mission to China. This delightful book tells his tale.
In October 1943, when Phil Saunders arrived, the Nationalist forces were "underfed, unfit, and underequipped." Having fought Imperial Japan since 1931 (and the Mukden Incident in Manchuria), they had reached a point where "they handed out medals for retreats." All of that was about to change. Of course, given the priorities of Europe and the Pacific, China was "the forgotten theater." Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was hard-pressed to stave off both the Communists (under Mao Tse-tung) and the Japanese. An infusion of American know-how and willpower was urgently needed. Isolated, China was reached by "Flying the Hump" over the Himalayas. American determination was to prevail. Phil Saunders was one of 96 Americans in China when he arrived in Yunnan (southeast quadrant of the Republic). When he came home in September 1945, over 20,000 Yanks were there. Some were famous, as Claire Chennault (the Flying Tigers), Joseph W. (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell and Albert Wedemeyer. Most were nearly anonymous. Together with their Asian allies, these Americans led Chiang to victory.
Often we focus only on the "big names" in military history, but this is a narrative of "GI Joe." An ROTC graduate for the University of South Dakota, given more training at Fort Benning and Camp Wheeler, Georgia, Saunders was a versatile and gifted asset to his Chinese friends. Of course, there were the daily frustrations of climate, food fatigue, travel (by foot over rugged terrain) and language (just which Chinese dialect ought he learn?), let alone loneliness and poor accommodations (one hut was shared with pigs). Through it all Saunders prevailed. Against impossible odds, China won!
This book has it all. There is a love story, a successful academic career, 18 years of military service and distinguished achievement in local and national politics (as a Republican), including a stint as Attorney General of South Dakota. This exciting life receives full justice from an adept author, Stephen L. Wilson, a retired attorney and an Adjunct Professor of History and Political Science at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota. The volume is well researched, carefully documented and richly illustrated with 54 pages of photos and maps.
This book is a vast treasure trove for anyone interested in World War II, Asian history, and in the career of an extra-ordinary American. It's a joy to recommend it to the readers of Military.
Joan's Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive
Joan Y. Edwards
2912 Rankin Terrace, Edmond, Oklahoma 73013
9781940310398, PB, $15.99, Page Count 176 pages, www.amazon.com
9781940310404, HC, $19.99, Page Count 176 pages, www.amazon.com
Shawn Simon, Reviewer
Five Stars on a scale of 1-5
Joan's Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive, by Joan Y Edwards, is a comprehensive handbook for those who are taking care of or may need to take care of an elderly person. So often when one becomes a caregiver to a parent or other relative, they are not at all prepared for the job at hand. Being unprepared can cause stress to the caregiver and to the person being cared for.
With Joan's handbook, this stress, frustration, and exhaustion can be relieved. There is advice for how to handle emotions that are sure to arise and for making sure to provide social outlets for your elder, and so much more. From first deciding the best location for your loved one to the end of life discussions, this book has it all. The book even provides checklists to use and a whole host of resources!
Of essential importance, is making sure your own needs are met. We often forget to care for ourselves when we are caring for a loved one. However we are no good to them, if we are not good to ourselves. What is sometimes difficult to think about are the financial issues to consider after your loved one has passed. Joan's book discusses how to best handle wills, trusts, estates, and more. There is even a section on grieving our loved one.
I especially love the anecdotal stories she shares about her time caring for her feisty, witty elderly mother. Her experiences are what prompted her to write this book. She realized how much she needed to consider before deciding to provide full-time care for her mother. There did not seem to be a comprehensive guide to help her, so she decided to write her own. This is a book everyone should have if they may ever need to care for an elderly person. Joan Y Edwards has thought of everything!"
Out From Calaboose: New Poems
Karen Corinne Herceg
9788182500853, $20.00, 96pp
There is a sensual languidity in Karen Corinne Herceg's new collection Out from Calaboose. The poems seem to start from somewhere deep in the body - a place below skin and bone. Though rooted deep in human emotions - love, loss, pain, and loneliness, there is always something bigger than the individual: the natural world, and even beyond that, a kind of permanent space of peacefulness against the shifting chaos of human flaws. The poems speak to a shifting personae, a "you" that wavers between co-conspirator, collaborator, and confidante (the reader perhaps), but also at times as antagonist - a brutal oppressor: "I fear you'll carve me/like a main course" ("Valentine: 2-14-88). There are many iterations of love, all forms echoing with loss - the loss of a parent, the loss of a partner, the loss of the self, moving between desire and grief.
The collection has five parts, which are linked by the theme made explicit by the book's title. A calaboose is a one-person prison that, in this book is self-fashioned - created out of retained pain. The book uses that pain as a catalyst towards a kind of very subtle transformation that takes place slowly, in the spaces between time and place:
And all the spoils and discount deals
cannot replace the history of my sweater
sitting alone an ancient culture away,
never to come home again. ("In My Travels")
The poems move across a very broad terrain, like a travelogue through space and time, through seasons, and across milestones. Even at its darkest, and it does get very dark at times, there are flashes of humour in the wry commentary; the poems turning back onto themselves:
None of it will
further your career
or keep you warm
or safe from scrutiny.
It will repeat you
into the future
of the already by-gone
Traditions and societal norms are suspect: another type of calaboose. This includes marriage, which is critiqued in poems like "Epithalamium for a New Age", a feminist twist on the idea of praising the bride on her way to the marriage bedroom:
Rather you strip me down
and yoke me stark
pare and parse the lace
Anthropomorphism, which appears throughout the collection, isn't confined to the natural world of sky, cloud, leaf, earth, and morning light, but also within a range of animals that populate the poems. There are indignant cats, cackling birds, mangy dogs, and frost-bidden creatures in the snow. Animals provide a panacea to the emotions they evoke as they remind the reader that these animals are actually shapeshifting humans. The focus tends to work from the personal outwards - a secret, childhood hurt becoming a bleeding earth, to clouds bearing witness, to a universe "observing us with indulgence" ("Nano Thought"). The imagery remains consistently fresh as it moves between love, dysfunction, disorder and loss, though always with the eye towards freedom and transcendence. The constriction created by abuse, loss and the associated anger and guilt is one of the biggest prisons of all. In the section "Loving Hands", the parental pain reaches its apex, as the work takes on a Plathian quality:
my freedom hell-bent granted
a posthumous degree. ("Maternal Elegy")
Here we're faced with the heart of pain: parental abuse, infidelity and secret siblings, and death - the ultimate abrogation, but it is the recognition that the prison starts with these psychological constrictions that begins to open the poetry outwards towards the final section, which is also the title section. The section "Out from Calaboose" functions almost as a response to the previous four parts, the poems forming a series of reimaginings, re-contextualising, and re-sculpting:
If I could thrust my hands outward
ripping through embryonic clay
I would sculpt the lives
we did not have
("Home in You")
Words change the past to something new, and though there's definitely a confessional quality to in the writing, Herceg breaks open the paradigm and provides a metapoetic look at the power of words to change the past through the permanent absolution or opening they leave behind:
And this poem
will still teach
long after I lose
the will for instruction. ("After Me, The Poem")
Out from Calaboose is an ambitious work, rich with mythology, politics, ecology, and psychology. The book moves through darkness and light, trauma, loss, desire, pain, but also, and always, leaning towards freedom from these things. One gets the sense that this freedom lies almost entirely in the power of words - the poems themselves are the keys.
The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate
9781944995133, $15.99, HC, 230 pages, (Ages 9-12), www.amazon.com
Gina Petrie, Reviewer
The School Library Journal
Ten-year-old W.B. wakes one morning to find that his house is floating. "Not floating. Flying," his inventor parents correct him. The year is 1891. The flying house and its contents are off to Chicago to enter a race around the country. W.B.'s parents, P and M, hope to win the $500 prize so that they can hire an assistant for their scientific endeavors, but their plans are thwarted by Rose Blackwood, who hijacks the house and its inhabitants. Rose wants the prize money so that she can break her dastardly brother Benedict out of jail. Told from W.B.'s point of view, the novel is action-packed and adventure-filled. In W.B., Bower has created a likable, relatable main character. Chubby, slightly clumsy, and friendless, W.B. is an only child who feels like a misfit in his own family. He is surprised to learn that the glamorous Rose feels like a failure as well. She is a law-abiding citizen - "I've never even been late returning a library book" - in a family of villains and criminals. Each chapter title is pulled from the final words of that same chapter, creating a nicely rounded narrative effect. Wordplay abounds; for instance, when competitors in the race assault the house with fruit, P exclaims, "Those bananas are a classic sign of gorilla warfare!" VERDICT Readers who enjoyed the movie "Up" and "Wallace and Gromit" will embrace this humorous tale - all while learning about science, language, humanity, and family in the bargain.
Mill City Press
9781635056006, $22.95, PB, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Journaling Fame: A Memoir of a Life Unhinged and on the Record" takes readers inside the turbulent mind and precocious soul of celebrity journalist, Allison Kugel, as she recalls the evolution and fall out from a near paralyzing anxiety disorder while navigating a decade interviewing some of Hollywood's most famous (and infamous) names.
Between numerous celebrity interactions and harrowing memories of youth and adolescents, Allison pieces together the moments of her life that both built her career and fostered her severe panic attacks that threatened to undo it all.
Allison provides an ultimate insider's guide into the celebrity journalism and publicity machines that the public doesn't see, along with shared personal memories of high-profile Hollywood friendships. She pulls no punches when going into excruciating detail about her experiences with anxiety, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Her memoir seamlessly weaves in and out of her professional triumphs and personal struggles with self-examination, humor and irony.
Critique: Candid, intensely personal, informative, deftly written, and an inherently fascinating memoir from beginning to end, "Journaling Fame" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, and will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.
We Are Aztlan!
Edited by Jerry Garcia
Washington State University Press
PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA 99164-5910
9780874223477 $29.95 www.wsupress.wsu.edu
Synopsis: Mexican Americans/Chicana/os/Chicanx form a majority of the overall Latino population in the United States. In this collection, established and emerging Chicanx researchers diverge from the discipline's traditional Southwest focus to offer academic and non-academic perspectives specifically on the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Their multidisciplinary papers address colonialism, gender, history, immigration, labor, literature, sociology, education, and religion, setting the Chicanx movement and experience beyond customary scholarship and illuminating how Chicanxs have challenged racialization, marginalization, and isolation in the northern borderlands.
Critique: A scholarly treasure trove of insight from a multidisciplinary array of experts in history, sociology, and more, We are Aztlan! Chicanx Histories in the Northern Borderlands is an eye-opening and insightful tour of Mexican-American cultural contributions and impacts upon American history. Individual writings include "Empire, Colonialism, and Mexican Labor in Greater Aztlan", "Democratizing Washington State's Yakima County: A History of Latino/a Voter Suppression since 1967", "The Mexicanization of a Northwest Community: The Case of Woodburn, Oregon" and much more. We are Aztlan! is highly recommended especially for public and college library American History collections.
K. V. Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide
K. V. Dominic
Modern History Press
c/o Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615993031, $45.95, HC, 286pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Dr. K. V. Dominic is an English poet, critic, a short story writer, and an editor, as well as a retired professor of the PG & Research Department of English, Newman College, Thodupuzha, Kerala, India.
"K. V. Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide" gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: Winged Reason, Write Son, Write and Multicultural Symphony.
A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic's prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.
Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters.
From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic's keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.
Critique: Providing a comprehensive compendium of Professor Dominic's poetry, "K. V. Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide" is an ideal curriculum textbook and very highly recommended as an addition to college and university library Contemporary Poetry collections in general, and K. V. Dominic supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "K. V. Dominic Essential Readings and Study Guide" is also available in a paperback edition (9781615993024, $29.95) and in a Kindle format ($9.95).
Joachim: The Heretic
M. L. Stainer
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478786443, $12.95, PB, 218pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Reis and his master, the Jewish metallurgist Joachim Gans, return to England after the failed 1585 expedition. It was called "failed" because no large veins of copper were found. Once docked in Portsmouth, Reis hopes to accompany his master to London, to meet with Queen Elizabeth I. But Joachim takes a detour and returns him to his Uncle Allyn's farm in Surrey. Reis gets into trouble and it isn't until Joachim returns for him after a month that he is reprieved. After his meetings in London, Joachim finds himself on the road again with his young apprentice. In the bustling city of Bristol, Joachim plans to develop new ways to make saltpeter, a necessary item for the English Navy.
But trouble begins when Joachim is confronted about his religious beliefs, denying Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He is taken to trial. The trial continues in London with Elizabeth's Privy Council. But the high offices are reluctant to condemn him, for they aren't sure what to do with a Jew. Joachim decides to return to his native land of Bohemia, leaving Reis working on the horse farm of a wealthy gentleman, building a new life for himself.
Critique: The sequel to author M. L. Stainer's "Joachim's Magic" (9781478754978, $16.95 PB, $3.50 Kindle, 233pp), "Joachim: The Heretic" is ideal for young adult readers in grades 5-8. "Joachim: The Heretic" showcases an inherently absorbing and deftly crafted novel that is an impressively engaging and entertaining from cover to cover. As a writer of historical fiction, Stainer reveals a genuine flair for storytelling and an impressive ability as a novelist to draw in readers from first page to last. While very highly recommended, especially for school and community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Joachim: The Heretic" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.50).
Find Your Style
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781467785693, $34.61, Library Binding, 88pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Style can be a flag we wave, a declaration of who we are. In the illustrated pages of "Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image Through Fashion Confidence", Sally McGraw shares awesome tips about understanding the female body type so teenage and young adult women can build flattering outfits, using colors, shapes, patterns, and accessories to their advantage.
Young women will learn how to build their self-esteem by busting media myths about beauty standards and thereby create their own fashion rules that make themselves feel confident. "Find Your Style" showcases girls and young women who are redefining what it means to be stylish, fashionable, and confident in their own unique ways.
The underlying message of "Find Your Style" is that when a young woman looks and feels great, she is telling the world that she is an amazing individual!
Critique: As informed and informative as it is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Find Your Style: Boost Your Body Image Through Fashion Confidence" will prove to be an exceptional and popular addition to both highschool and community library Fashion & Popular Culture collections. For the personal reading lists it should be noted that "Find Your Style" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
Post-Ireland?: Essays on Contemporary Irish Poetry
Jefferson Holdridge & Brian O Conchubhair
Wake Forest University Press
PO Box 7333, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
9781930630765, $29.95, PB, 432pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Ireland has long held a richly deserved reputation as a land of poets and poetry.
Irish poetry presents various routes into which readers can delve: some depend on gender and questions of the place of women, while others use myth, folklore, and religion; landscape eco-criticism and etymologies of place; and concerns of nation-states, regions, and empire. The work of certain members of the younger generation of Irish poets contains what might be termed a post-national, trans-historical urge, or at least a post-Ireland one.
Collaboratively compiled and deftly edited by Jefferson Holdridge (Director of Wake Forest University Press and Professor of English at Wake Forest University in North Carolina) and Brian O Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame where he serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures) the essays comprising "Post-Ireland?: Essays on Contemporary Irish Poetry", are written by established and emerging scholars who recognize both the perpetual search for a sustaining national concept of Ireland, as well as a sense that long-established definitions no longer necessarily apply.
The Irish poets discussed include those who write in the shadow of Irish history cast by the Northern Troubles and those who feel that connections to a wider culture (poetic and political) are equally, or more, significant. Migration (immigration and emigration, internal and external) continues to be an issue. If Ireland is post-nation, does it look toward Europe? America? Boston or Belgium? As Irish society has changed and continues to change, so too has Irish poetry entered into a time of transition. "Post-Ireland?" charts these transitions and sets coordinates for future critical endeavors.
Critique: A seminal body of outstanding scholarship, "Post-Ireland?: Essays on Contemporary Irish Poetry" the fifteen essays comprising this anthology are enhanced with the inclusion of an informative Introduction, a four page listing of Acknowledgments; a twenty-page Bibliography; a six page listing of the contributors and their credentials; and a seventeen page Index. Simply stated, "Post-Ireland?: Essays on Contemporary Irish Poetry" is unreservedly recommended as a core addition to personal, college and university library Irish Poetry collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
The World of the New Testament
Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald, editors
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
9780801098611 $44.99 pbk / $25.43 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: This volume addresses the most important issues related to the study of New Testament writings. Two respected senior scholars have brought together a team of distinguished specialists to introduce the Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman backgrounds necessary for understanding the New Testament and the early church. Contributors include renowned scholars such as Lynn H. Cohick, David A. deSilva, James D. G. Dunn, and Ben Witherington III. The book includes seventy-five photographs, fifteen maps, numerous tables and charts, illustrations, and bibliographies. All students of the New Testament will value this reliable, up-to-date, comprehensive textbook and reference volume on the New Testament world.
Critique: The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts is a superb scholarly resource for students, professionals, and serious-minded lay readers seeking to better understand the context of New Testament writings, and the era in which they were created. A handful of black-and-white photographs, a list of additional resources, and an index round out this "must-have" for public and college library Religious Studies shelves. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that The World of the New Testament is also available in a Kindle edition ($44.99).
The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Volume III
Ezra A. Carman
PO Box 4527, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
9781611213027 $32.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: The Battle of Shepherdstown and the End of the Campaign is the third and final volume of Ezra Carman's magisterial The Maryland Campaign of September 1862.
As bloody and horrific as the battle of Antietam was, historian Ezra Carman - who penned a 1800-page manuscript on the Maryland campaign - did not believe it was the decisive battle of the campaign. Generals Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan intended to continue fighting after Sharpsburg, but the battle of Shepherdstown Ford (September 19 and 20) forced them to abandon their goals and end the campaign. Carman was one of the few who gave this smaller engagement its due importance, detailing the disaster that befell the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry and Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill's success in repulsing the Union advance, and the often overlooked foray of Jeb Stuart's cavalry to seize the Potomac River ford at Williamsport.
Carman also added a statistical study of the casualties in the various battles of the entire Maryland Campaign, and covered Lincoln's decision to relieve McClellan of command on November 7. He also explored the relations between President Lincoln and General McClellan before and after the Maryland Campaign, which he appended to his original manuscript. The "before" section, a thorough examination of the controversy about McClellan's role in the aftermath of Second Manassas campaign, will surprise some and discomfort others, and includes an interesting narrative about McClellan's reluctance to commit General Franklin's corps to aid Maj. Gen. John Pope's army at Manassas. Carman concludes with an executive summary of the entire campaign.
Critique: Exhaustively researched, and enhanced with extensive appendices including an exhaustive biographical dictionary covering all three volumes, The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Volume III: Shepherdstown Ford and the End of the Campaign is part of a three-volume series, including "Volume I: South Mountain" (9781932714814) and "Volume II: Antietam" (9781611211146). The entire set is an in-depth, meticulously researched scholarly analysis, worthy of the highest recommendation for public and college library Civil War collections.
America and the Great War
Margaret E. Wagner
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620409824, $45.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: From August 1914 through March 1917, Americans were increasingly horrified at the unprecedented destruction of the First World War. While sending massive assistance to the conflict's victims, most Americans opposed direct involvement. Their country was immersed in its own internal struggles, including attempts to curb the power of business monopolies, reform labor practices, secure proper treatment for millions of recent immigrants, and expand American democracy.
Yet from the first, the war deeply affected American emotions and the nation's commercial, financial, and political interests. The menace from German U-boats and failure of U.S. attempts at mediation finally led to a declaration of war, signed by President Wilson on April 6, 1917.
"America and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated History" by Margaret E. Wagner (who is a senior writer/editor in the Library of Congress Publishing Office) commemorates the centennial of that turning point in American history. Chronicling the United States in neutrality and in conflict, it presents events and arguments, political and military battles, bitter tragedies and epic achievements that marked U.S. involvement in the first modern war. Drawing on the matchless resources of the Library of Congress, "America and the Great War" includes many eyewitness accounts and more than 250 color and black-and-white images, many never before published.
Critique: Enhanced with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize - winning historian David M. Kennedy, "America and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated History" is an extraordinary history that is exceptionally informative, impressively comprehensive, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. Simply stated, "America and the Great War" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for personal, community and academic library American History collections in general, and World War I supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
Willis M. Buhle
Humanizing the Education Machine
Rex Miller, Bill Latham, Brian Cahill
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781119283102, $32.00, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In world wide rankings, America's education scores are dismal at best. According to various polls, 70% of teachers are disengaged. Add to that the fact that the United States ranks last among industrialized nations for college graduation levels, and it's evident there's a huge problem that needs to be addressed. Yet the current education system and its school buildings (with teachers standing in front of classrooms and lecturing to students) have gone largely unchanged since the 19th century.
"Humanizing the Education Machine: How to Create Schools That Turn Disengaged Kids Into Inspired Learners" directly addresses this tough issue. It describes how the education system has become ineffective by not adapting to fit students' needs, learning styles, perspectives, and lives at home. It explains how schools can evolve to engage students and involve parents. It serves to spread hope for reform and equip parents, educators, administrators, and communities to: Analyze the pitfalls of the current U.S. education system; Intelligently argue the need to reform the current landscape of education; Work to make a difference in the public education system; Be an informed advocate for your child or local school system.
Critique: As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Humanizing the Education Machine" is specifically recommended to the attention of concerned parents and education professionals with an interest in education reforms on a local, regional, and national level. An illuminating resource that provides the data based, 'real-world' information needed to become a full partner in the new human-centered learning revolution, "Humanizing the Education Machine" is especially recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Education Reform Issues collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, education policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Humanizing the Education Machine" is also available in a Kindle format ($13.00).
Freud's Trip to Orvieto
Nicholas Fox Weber
Bellevue Literary Press
c/o NYU School of Medicine
550 First Ave., OBV A612, New York, NY 10016
9781942658269, $26.99, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After a visit to the cathedral at Orvieto in Italy, Sigmund Freud deemed Luca Signorelli's frescoes the greatest artwork he'd ever encountered; yet, a year later, he couldn't recall the artist's name. When the name came back to him, the images he had so admired vanished from his mind's eye. This is known as the "Signorelli parapraxis" in the annals of Freudian psychoanalysis and is a famous example from Freud's own life of his principle of repressed memory. What was at the bottom of this? There have been many theories on the subject, but Nicholas Fox Weber (Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation ) is the first to study the actual Signorelli frescoes for clues.
What Weber finds in these extraordinary Renaissance paintings provides unexpected insight into this famously confounding incident in Freud's biography. As he sounds the depths of Freud's feelings surrounding his masculinity and Jewish identity, Weber is drawn back into his own past, including his memories of an adolescent obsession with a much older woman.
"Freud's Trip to Orvieto: The Great Doctor's Unresolved Confrontation with Antisemitism, Death, and Homoeroticism; His Passion for Paintings; and the Writer in His Footsteps" is an intellectual mystery with a very personal, intimate dimension. Through rich illustrations, Weber evokes art's singular capacity to provoke, destabilize, and enchant us, as it did Freud, and awaken our deepest memories, fears, and desires.
Critical: Enhanced with occasional full color illustrations, "Freud's Trip to Orvieto" is a seminal study that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. A model of well researched and insightful scholarship, "Freud's Trip to Orvieto" is enhanced with the inclusion of nine pages of Source Notes; an eight page listing of Acknowledgments; a one page 'One Last Gem'; and an eighteen page Index. While unreservedly recommended as a core addition to community and academic library Psychology/Psychiatry collections in general, and Freudian supplemental studies reading lists, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Freud's Trip to Orvieto" is also available in a Kindle format ($15.86).
The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Tribune Staff
c/o Agate Publishing
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
9781572842175, $35.00, HC, 344pp, www.amazon.com
After 108 years of trying, last year the Chicago Cubs finally won a world series.
Now the staff of the Chicago Tribune has created "The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs" which is a decade-by-decade look at one of baseball's most beloved if hard-luck teams, starting with the franchise's beginnings in 1876 as the Chicago White Stockings and ending with the triumphant 2016 World Series championship.
For more than a century, the Chicago Tribune has documented every Cubs season through original reporting, photography, and box scores. For the first time, this mountain of Cubs history has been mined and curated by the paper's sports department into a single one-of-a-kind volume. Each era in Cubs history includes its own timeline, profiles of key players and coaches, and feature stories that highlight it all, from the heavy hitters to the no-hitters to the one-hit wonders.
And of course, you can't talk about the Cubs without talking about Wrigley Field. In "The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs", readers will find a complete history of that most sacred of American stadiums, where Hack Wilson batted in 191 runs - still the major-league record - in 1930, where Sammy Sosa earned the moniker "Slammin' Sammy," and where fans congregated, even when the team was on the road, throughout its scintillating championship run.
The award-winning journalists, photographers, and editors of the Chicago Tribune have produced a comprehensive collector's item that every Cubs fan will love.
Critique: Profusely illustrated from cover to cover, informed and informative, comprehensive and encyclopedic, if you are a dedicated Cubs fan you must have your own copy of "The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs". Indeed, no community or academic library with a Sports History section could not be considered complete without a copy of "The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs" in their collection. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all truly committed baseball fans that "The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs" is also available in a Kindle format ($22.60).
Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef
Leonardo Lucarelli, author
Lorena Rossi Gori & Danielle Rossi, translators
267 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016
9781590517918, $25.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In Italy, five-star restaurants and celebrity chefs may seem, on the surface, a part of the landscape. In reality, the restaurant industry is as tough, cutthroat, and unforgiving as anywhere else in the world--sometimes even colluding with the shady world of organized crime.
Leonardo Lucarelli is a professional chef who for almost two decades has been roaming Italy opening restaurants, training underpaid, sometimes hopelessly incompetent sous-chefs, courting waitresses, working long hours, riding high on drugs, and cursing a culinary passion he inherited as a teenager from his hippie father.
In his debut as an author, "Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef", the powerful voice of Leonardo Lucarelli takes us through the underbelly of Italy's restaurant world, and in the process, teaches us that even among rogues and misfits, there is a moral code in the kitchen that must, above all else, always be upheld.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and deftly crafted read from beginning to end, "Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef" as an entertaining, compelling, informative account that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mincemeat" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.99).
Lawrence W. Reed
3901 Centerville Road, Wilmington, DE 19807-1938
9781610171427, $18.00, PB, 296pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A hero is a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character. A hero is a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal. It is not fame, power, money, creative talent, athletic ability, good looks that makes a person a hero. Being a hero springs from character, the critical element that defines a person.
Character is something every one of us can mold; it is simply the sum of the choices we make as we face new challenges and opportunities.
"Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction" by Lawrence W. Reed (President of the Foundation for Economic Education) is a lively, accessible, instructional guide that gives readers a real, flesh-and-blood models of character, courage, and conviction men and women that they won't just admire but can also emulate.
"Real Heroes" includes major historical figures, as well as remarkable people never heard of; figures from the distant past to the present; from the United States, to Europe, to Asia; ranging from statesmen to scientists, athletes to inventors, entrepreneurs to theologians, writers to teachers. The illustrative examples of heroes include: The nineteenth-century American educator who was vilified and threatened for daring to teach black girls; The unsung British activist who fought for decades to end slavery; The courageous Cambodian who alerted the world to Pol Pot's killing fields; The Polish soldier who volunteered to go to the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz to expose Nazi brutality and defend the liberty of his people.
"Real Heroe" includes memorable quotations from each hero and features a bulleted summary of lessons at the end of each profile.
Critique: Informative, thought-provoking, an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction" is a critically important and timely counter to the current tendency in an American superficial popular culture that equates heroes with celebrities, entertainers and sports figures. Simply stated, "Real Heroes" should be a part of every public and academic library's Biography and/or History collection in every community of our country. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Real Heroes" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
Finite Groups: An Introduction
International Press of Boston
PO Box 43502, Somerville, MA 02143
9781571463272, $79.00, HC, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Finite group theory is a topic remarkable for the simplicity of its statements and the difficulty of their proofs. It is used in an essential way in several branches of mathematics -- for instance, in number theory.
Jean-Pierre Serre's mathematical contributions, leading to a Fields Medal in 1954, were largely in the field of algebraic topology, but his later work ranged widely -- within algebraic geometry, group theory, and especially number theory. By seeing unifying ideas, he helped to unite disparate branches of mathematics. One of the more recent phenomena to which he was a principal contributor was the application of algebraic geometry to number theory -- applications now falling into a separate subclass called arithmetic geometry.
In "Finite Groups: An Introduction", Professor Serre provides is a succinct introduction the mathematical concept of Finite Groups that will have great appeal for mathematicians and students alike.
There are ten chapters: Preliminaries, Sylow theory, Solvable groups and nilpotent groups, Group extensions, Hall subgroups, Frobenius groups, Transfer, Characters, Finite subgroups of GLn, and Small groups. Each chapter is followed by a series of exercises.
Critique: A seminal work of outstanding scholarship in the field of mathematics, "Finite Groups: An Introduction" is impressively well organized and presented, making it suitable and especially recommended for college and university library Mathematics collections in general, and Finite Group Theory supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
Michael J. Carson
The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping
Translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash
451 Park Avenue South, 7th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781942993834 $22.95 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Battle-tested project leader at a PR firm and slippery bachelor, Sakuma sees himself as a player. His smug self-regard doesn't seem entirely unfounded, both in love and at work. When is idea for a mini-theme park is dismissed as too costly and vacuous at the last minute by a major client he seems to have met his match.
Katsuragi, an heir and executive at the global car maker, Nissei Auto, is back from a marketing stint in the US with an authentic conviction that everything is a game. Once the man's daughter by a former mistress teams up with Sakuma so she can come into her inheritance in an expeditious manner - Juri is indeed her father's flesh and blood - the game is good to go!
And the name of this game is a kidnapping!
Critique: A dark thriller about pursuing wealth through cold-blooded, criminal cynicism, The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping keeps the reader hooked from first page to last. Written by talented Japanese author Keigo Higashino and superbly translated into English by Jan Mitsuko Cash, The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping is a "must" for connoisseurs of high-stakes suspense! It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
Born of Vengeance
Sherrilyn Kenyon, author
Fred Berman, narrator
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781427282620, $44.99, 19 CDs, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won't rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves. Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman -- the very sister of the woman who testified against him.
Major Ember Wyldestarr in joined the outlaw Tavali the day Kirovar fell into the hands of a tyrant, and she and her sister-team were left on an outpost to die under the barrage of enemy fire. The last thing she wants is to be involved in politics again. But the one thing she wants more than anything is revenge on the tyrant who murdered her parents and forced her and her sisters into exile. Carrying a secret she knows Bastien will annihilate her over, she must find some way to trust her former wingman before he catches on and kills her. Even so, treachery doesn't come easy to a woman who took a loyalty oath to protect her homeworld and comrades-in-arms, especially when Bastien is much more to her than just a former wingman.
Yet as she tries to do right for her family, she learns that Bastien doesn't just hold the key to the fate of Kirovar, he is vital to The Sentella-League war, and to The Tavali. If she doesn't ensure he survives this mission, three nations fall, and time for all of them is quickly running out.
Critique: In this complete and unabridged audio book edition of Sherrilyn Kenyon's science fiction action/adventure story of betrayal, battle, perseverance, the listeners will be riveted from beginning to end with narrator Fred Berman's dramatic presentation. Warning -- readers will be left with a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them looking eagerly toward the next installment of the life and times of Bastien Cabarro and his life-mate Ember Wyldestarr. "Born of Vengeance" is highly recommended to the attention of dedicated science fiction enthusiasts and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition for community library audiobook collections. 11 hours 14 min.
The Axeman of New Orleans
Miriam C. Davis
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613748688 $26.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: From 1910 to 1919, New Orleans suffered at the hands of its very own Jack the Ripper-style killer. The story has been the subject of websites, short stories, novels, a graphic novel, and most recently the FX television series American Horror Story. But the full story of gruesome murders, sympathetic victims, accused innocents, public panic, the New Orleans Mafia, and a mysterious killer has never been written. Until now.
The Axeman repeatedly broke into the homes of Italian grocers in the dead of night, leaving his victims in a pool of blood. Iorlando Jordano, an innocent Italian grocer, and his teenaged son Frank were wrongly accused of one of those murders; corrupt officials convicted them with coerced testimony. Miriam C. Davis here expertly tells the story of the search for the Axeman and of the eventual exoneration of the innocent Jordanos. She proves that the person mostly widely suspected of being the Axeman was not the killer. She also shows what few have suspected - that the Axeman continued killing after leaving New Orleans in 1919.
Critique: More twisted and terrifying than fiction, The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story is a horrifying study of a notorious true-life serial killer case that tormented New Orleans from 1910-1919, and may have continued elsewhere after the killer left the city. Notes, a bibliography, and an index round out this "must" for true crime connoisseurs. For personal reading lists, The Axeman of New Orleans is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.99).
Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects
Dennis E. Hensley, PhD and Diana Savage
Bold Vision Books, LLC
PO Box 2011, Friendswood, Texas 77549
9780997851489, $12.95, www.boldvisionbooks.com
Jerry B. Jenkins introduced Doc Hensley at the 2013 "Writing for the Soul conference with a word of caution: 'fasten your seatbelts!'" He knew Doc's presentation would be "fast-paced, content-heavy, and entertaining" and that's also a perfect description of Doc's new release.
"Finding Success with your Dream Writing Projects" is comparable to taking private lessons from America's "premier teacher of writers," Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Professor of Indiana's Taylor University Communication Department (Professional Writing). Diana Savage, who penned the riveting suspense "Pseudonym" with Hensley last year "organized and complied three years' of his blog posts, columns and articles" for this release.
From the smart listings in the "Table of Contents" with titles like "Take Me Out of the Bawl game," "Take the Free Out of Freelance Writing," and "You as an Author-preneur." To Doc's concise, often humorous and targeted tips, techniques and instructions, this meaty resource is chock full of practical advice for any novice, seasoned writer or a writer anywhere on the writing spectrum.
For example, chapter two begins with the topic of rejection letters, book doctors and rewriting. In this instance Hensley uses rejected novels as an example of why a novel needs to be rewritten because he's learned over the years that "all writing is rewriting."
In addition to "Tips for Terrific Technique" this chapter concerns outside readers who offer "specific feedback" on characters, setting and theme; pacing, chapter length, weak verbs and adverbs, narrative drive, characterizations, dialogue and more. Then offers an engaging example of why writers need to "show, don't tell."
Chapter six, "Spot-on Characters Dialogue and Settings" explains what "odd person out" thinking is, why it's valuable and how he uses it to create "realistic characters" who ask "all the wrong questions" to flesh out his characters.
Every chapter, from procrastination to technique, creativity, brain function and more, teaches the skill of professional writing and there is no better teacher, mentor or guide than Doc Hensley who believes writers can "change lives, captivate minds or alter the course of history."
Although the book's focus is fiction writing, I believe Doc's practical writing advice is applicable to all writing for clarity, readability and writing excellence. If you're in need of inspiration and encouragement and want to improve your wordsmith ability "Finding Success with your Dream Writing Projects" is a must buy!
Deadly Love: Confronting the Sex Trafficking of Our Children
4900 LaCross Road, North Charleston, SC 29406
9781530474547, $15.00, www.createspace.com
Kimberly Davidson uses facts, statistics, case studies and personal experience to expose the growing epidemic of "sex trafficking of our children," the subtitle of her new release "Deadly Love." Where she writes, "sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the United States" as well as worldwide.
Kimberly is a "Christ based," board certified American Association Christian Counselor with degrees in health sciences and a masters in "specialized ministry." She works with victims of sex trafficking to help "heal their souls." Years of experience has taught her awareness and education are the strongest and best weapons to use in the war against human trafficking and that's why she penned this book - to educate and expose how human sex traffickers work.
She begins in Portland, Oregon, a prime area for human trafficking due to the I-5 corridor. Names and locations have been changed; otherwise the book begins with a true story. Kaitlin was a soon-to-be high school graduate just "itching to be all grown-up." She and her older brother Jason, raised by a single mom "too busy or tired" from working long hours which left Kaitlin naive, vulnerable and hungry for attention.
All of which made her the perfect target for a young man named J.P., who used guile, flattery and charm to make the impressionable young girl think, "Wow. This gorgeous guy seems to be interested in me!" She soon found herself telling him her deepest thoughts and dreams and she believed him when he said he could make her "dreams come true." The story of J.P.'s deception and the unthinkable and tragic price Kaitlin and her loved ones paid is eye-opening and riveting.
Yet, Kaitlin's story could be the story of any naive young girl. In these pages the author explores attitudes, issues and situations that make "young people vulnerable to sex traffickers." She defines "root problems," such as the breakup of families, media violence, the growth of pornography, technology, the "emergence of social networking sites" and the growing number of homeless kids and runaway teens that add to the problem. Then she looks at solutions and how to reclaim stolen lives which completes the book.
"Deadly Love" is an interesting, informative, easy-to-read book that belongs on every family's reading list. The lists of "bad guy red tags" and other "safeguards" teaching how to be alert and "socially sensitive" is worth the price of the book.
Gail Welborn, Reviewer
The White House: The President's Home in Photographs and History
In cooperation with the White House Historical Association
Little, Brown and Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316091305, $17.00, www.amazon.com
This is my second book report on the White House. Built during the Presidency of John Adams and renovated multiple times after 1801, the executive mansion has become not just an office for the President of the United States and a living quarters for the First Family, but also a symbol of hope, light, and American power. Vicki Goldberg, with help from the White House Historical Association captures the people and memories in the White House through the years in her photographic and informative book, The White House: The President's Home in Photographs and History.
Goldberg successfully utilizes detailed photographs (photographs are powerful tools in recording history) and informative paragraphs (providing background information for each photograph) to record the story of the famous house and the inhabitants that have lived in it. She splits her book into sections, ranging from portraits of each President, episodes of the First Ladies, stories about the First Family's pets, and many more. I am always lucky these days when I am able and have time to pick up a photographical book- this book in particular made a change to read rather than the wordy volumes I am required to read in my graduate classes. I would highly recommend this book to Presidential history buffs or anyone willing to learn more about America's famous residence.
Michael A. Bellesiles
University Press of Virginia
PO Box 400318, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4318
9780813916033, $39.50 PB, amazon.com
Upon writing my book reviews, I always conduct some background research on the author. Approaching a book, I always like to view the bigger picture, and having the author's background, work experiences, education, and scholarship stored in my vast memory helps me imagine how the book was written. This also helps me figure out why the book was written- was it for a specific purpose or did the author fulfill their ambitions, goals, and excitement within the chapters of their manuscript? When looking at Michael Bellesiles on Google, scandals and mistakes popped up on my screen. Unfortunately, in 2001, Bellesiles was accused of being a fraud for lying about and producing falsified sources in his book published the year before. The author was stripped of the book's awards and position at an academic university. This scholarship scandal tarnished the image of a once-prominent historian. However, mistakes were made and the future moves on. These mistakes were not made in Bellesiles' 1993 book about Ethan Allen.
"Revolutionary Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier" discusses the life of Ethan Allen and how this regular farmer became the growing independent cry for the labor masses in the Early American Republic. In the days after the American Revolution, the Continental Congress was corrupt. All the representatives were from the aristocratic class, bathed in money and deeply enrolled in their self-interests. Minor levels of government corruption played a role in the new American democracy, and many found themselves subject to a government which seemed very similar to the one they had successfully overthrown. The Articles of Confederation gave little power to the people- and the new American government barely could support the infrastructure and political beliefs of the nation. Many farmers and rural laborers were affected by these mini episodes of failure in the nation's political chambers. Ethan Allen, a family man and former patriot of the Revolution, sparked tensions when he united farmers against the aristocratic class in New York. The farmers battled for their rights and lands. As a citizen, he was considered an opposers to government policies and a minor outlaw. To many, he was considered as a friend, a leader, and a champion of the common people.
Bellesiles goes into depth and successfully explains how torn the new nation was after achieving independence. The American Revolution sparked the birth of a democratic infant - although that infant was full of light, dark spots hinged upon the political clouds of America. There were conflicts and tensions between the middle and upper classes (similar to the social divides we see today). This book focuses on that struggle- the struggle between the rich and poor, viewing the tensions from the eyes of Ethan Allen and other farmers and ranchers. It is important to note how Allen changes throughout the story; although he stuck to his roots and helped the team of farmers, there is an inclination to suggest that he was a power-hungry individual. This leads me to questions- is this the definition of an American? Do Americans work together with their partners to complete the job because they are inclined to, but secretly they are naturally power-seeking individuals who wish they could veer onto another path where money, sex, and influence are in abundance?
The book gives perspective from a side of the American Revolution aftermath that is not taught in schools. Upon reading, I hope that the reader will see the divisions the nation had in the midst of the patriotic celebrations. Michael Bellesiles' reputation as a prominent historian from 2001 might have been tarnished with careless mistakes, but his works before that year clearly points out that the author produced multiple quality books. Politics, opinions, and mistakes aside, Revolutionary Outlaws is a detailed book that I would recommend reading.
Joshua V. Chanin, Reviewer
Library of Souls
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781594747588, $18.99, HC, 464pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom. The adventure that began with "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and continued in "Hollow City" comes to a thrilling conclusion with "Library of Souls".
As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he's diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.
They'll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil's Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It's a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.
Critique: The third and concluding volume of author Ransom Riggs' extraordinary 'Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children' series, "Library of Souls" once again blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience. Another masterpiece of original fantasy fiction by a master of the genre, "Library of Souls" is a simply riveting read from cover to cover and a 'must' for community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Library of Souls" is also available in a paperback edition (9781594749315, $11.99) and in a Kindle format ($10.99).
Selected Poems of Angela de Hoyos
Gabriela Baeza Ventura, editor
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858077, $17.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Angela de Hoyos (1940-2009), a native of Coahuila, Mexico, spent most of her life in San Antonio, Texas. She authored several poetry collections and, with her husband, ran a small publishing house, M&A Editions, which published other Chicano authors. Her poetry was translated into more than 15 languages and won awards in Argentina, India, Italy and Germany.
Mostly self-educated, de Hoyos was equally adept at writing in Spanish or English, and many of her poems are written in a skillful combination of the two. Compiled and edited by Gabriela Baeza Ventura, "Selected Poems of Angela de Hoyos" is comprised of 80 previously published poems and several that have never been published. Collectively, the poetry showcased in this volume highlights a vibrant voice that calls for equality and respect for all people, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
In "How to Eat Crow on a Cold Sunday Morning", de Hoyos suggests "you start on the wings / nibbling / apologetic-like" before moving to the dry, tough giblets and on to the gall bladder / that green bag of biliousness / wants to gag your throat / in righteous retribution making you wish that you had learned how to eat / a pound of prudence / instead.
Tension between people men and women, Chicanos and Anglos is a frequent theme in de Hoyo's work. Clear and accessible, her poems about relations between the sexes are universal in their appeal. Many eloquently convey women's issues and feelings. Men, she said / sometimes / in order to / say it / it is / necessary / to spit / the word.
This collection showcases the work of a beloved literary activist who gave voice to marginalized communities. Born in Mexico, de Hoyos spent most of her life in San Antonio, Texas, where she saw firsthand Chicanos loss of language, identity and traditions. The discrimination endured by Mexican Americans runs through her work, and in one of her most well-known poems, "Arise, Chicano!," the poet exhorts her people to free themselves from poverty and oppression. "There is no one to succor you. You must be your own messiah."
Critique: Preserving for future generations an anthology of work by a Chicano literary movement leader, "Selected Poems of Angela de Hoyos" is enhanced with an informed and informative introduction, as well as an eight page appendix of art (include one song sheet), "Selected Poems of Angela de Hoyos" is a seminal and unreservedly recommended addition for personal, community, and academic library Chicano Poetry collections in general, and Angela de Hoyos supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
The Halo Effect
Anne D. LeClaire
Lake Union Publishing
9781503943186, $14.95, PB, 348pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner of lamb tagine, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.
The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will's comfort. Now, there's no safe harbor for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral. Using the townspeople as models, Will sees in each face only a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter's killer.
As Will navigates his rage and heartbreak, Sophie tries to move on; Father Gervase becomes an unexpected ally; and Rain, Lucy's best friend, shrouds herself in a near-silent fugue. Their paths collide in a series of inextricably linked, dark, dangerous moments that could lead to their undoing...or to their redemption.
Critique: Anne LeClaire has a genuine knack for writing deftly created characters and embedding them into inherently fascinating, unpredictable, narrative driven storylines. "The Halo Effect" is a riveting read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Halo Effect" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.82) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781536615203, $9.99, MP3 CD, 11 hours 30 minutes).
Ma Speaks Up
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807060049, $24.95, HC, 198pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living and WBUR's Cognoscenti blog. Her memoir, Jesse: A Mother's Story of Grief, Grace, and Everyday Bliss, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Leone had a recurring role on HBO's hit show, "The Sopranos" as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher's mother. She has also appeared in films by David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles, and Martin Scorsese. She is married to the award-winning actor Chris Cooper.
"Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back" is Marianne Leone's story of her mother who in many senses is a larger-than-life character, someone who might be capable, even from the afterlife, of shattering expectations.
Born on a farm in Italy, Linda finds her way to the United States under dark circumstances, having escaped a forced marriage to a much older man, and marries a good Italian boy. She never has full command of English, especially when questioned by authorities, and when she is suddenly widowed with three young children, she has few options. To her daughter's horror and misery, she becomes the school lunch lady.
"Ma Speaks Up" is a record of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, with the wrong family, in the wrong religion. Though Marianne's girlhood is flooded with shame, it's equally packed with adventure, love, great cooking, and, above all, humor. The extremely premature birth of Marianne's beloved son, Jesse, bonds mother and daughter in ways she couldn't have imagined. The stories comprising "Ma Speaks Up" will speak to anyone who has struggled with outsider status in any form and, of course, to mothers and their blemished, cherished girls.
Critique: Exceptional, original, engaging, compelling, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back" is an impressive and deftly written read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ma Speaks Up" is also available in a Kindle format ($23.99).
Battle of the Sexes
Felix Kramer, editor
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791355733, $60.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited by Felix Kramer (Head of Modern Art at the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany), "Battle of the Sexes: From Franz Von Stuck to Frida Kahlo" showcases an impressive selection of 140 works, including paintings, sculptures, graphic art, photography, and film, tracing the artistic investigations of ever-changing gender roles from the mid-19th century to the end of World War II.
Traditional gender norms codifying males and females as active vs. passive and rational vs. emotional were heavily debated in modern art. While many artists adhered to stereotypes, others sought to subvert them. Drawing from the considerable holdings of the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, and including works from artists such as Edouard Manet, Auguste Rodin, Gustav Klimt, Man Ray, Otto Dix, Claude Cahun, Meret Oppenheim, and Frida Kahlo, this sweeping examination explores the artistic representations of sexuality and gender.
Scholarly essays cover such topics as Adam and Eve, the Femme Fatale in 19th century art, or sexual murder in the works of the Weimar Republic, while others provide perceptive analyses of the battle of the sexes in the oeuvres of Franz von Stuck, Edvard Munch, Lee Miller, and Jeanne Mammen. Dazzling reproductions and brief texts on the works, an extensive bibliography and chronology offer contextual background.
Critique: Offering a flawlessly produced wealth of images, "Battle of the Sexes: From Franz Von Stuck to Frida Kahlo" offers informative insights into the complexity of gender issues and sheds light on the art-historical dimension of an eminently relevant subject of enduring interest to art students and connoisseurs. Inherently fascinating, impressive in scope and comprehensiveness, "Battle of the Sexes: From Franz Von Stuck to Frida Kahlo" is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Art History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617755477, $29.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Prospero's Daughter" by Elizabeth Nunez is a captivating recreation of Shakespeare's The Tempest set on a verdant Caribbean island during the height of tensions between the native population and British colonists. Using Shakespeare's play as a template to address questions of race, class, and power, Nunez turns an intimate eye to an unlikely bond formed between a boy and a girl of disparate backgrounds.
When Peter Gardner's ruthless medical genius leads him to experiment on his unwitting patients (often at the expense of their lives) he flees England, seeking an environ where his experiments might continue without scrutiny. He arrives with his three-year-old-daughter, Virginia, in Chacachacare, an isolated island off the coast of Trinidad, in the early 1960s.
Gardner considers the locals to be nothing more than savages. He assumes ownership of the home of a servant boy named Carlos, seeing in him a suitable subject upon whom to continue his amoral medical work. Nonetheless, he educates the boy alongside Virginia. As Virginia and Carlos grow and come of age together, they form a covert relationship that violates the outdated mores of colonial rule.
When Gardner unveils the pair's relationship and accuses Carlos of a monstrous act, the investigation into the truth is left up to a curt, stonehearted British inspector, whose inquiries bring to light a horrendous secret.
Critique: Deftly crafted, persistently compelling, consistently entertaining, and an enduringly memorable read from cover to cover, "Prospero's Daughter" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Prospero's Daughter" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1617755323, $17.95) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).
World's Fastest Single-Engine Jet Aircraft
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072373, $44.95, HC, 228pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Developed for the Air Force in the early 1950s as a next-generation interceptor following Convair's pioneering delta-wing F-102, the F-106 excelled in every aspect of the Air Defense Command mission. With its advanced Hughes radar system, Falcon air-to-air missiles, and a top speed in excess of Mach 2, the Delta Dart became known as "the ultimate interceptor," able to scramble, launch, find its targets, and blow them out of the sky. The 'Dart was also the lightest-weight aircraft ever powered by a Pratt & Whitney J75 turbojet.
"World's Fastest Single-Engine Jet Aircraft: The Story of Convair's F-106 Delta Dart Interceptor" provides an insightful and in-depth look at the sixth member of the Air Force "Century Series" family of supersonic fighters. From initial concept through early flight test and development and into operational service, every facet of the F-106's career is examined and explained in comprehensive, yet easy-to-read text. All USAF Air Defense Command units that operated F-106s are covered, and aircraft markings and color schemes are included as well.
The Convair F-106 remains to this day as one of the most successful military aircraft ever built. "World's Fastest Single-Engine Jet Aircraft" now gives the reader a thorough and meticulous reference source on the F-106 using excellent photographs and technical illustrations to tell the story of this history-making aircraft, while also providing valuable detailed information for modelers and historians.
Critique: Retired Air Force Colonel Doug Barbier grew up to the sound of F-106s flying out of Selfridge AFB, MI, where a visit on Armed Forces Day 1962 began a lifelong interest in the jet. A U.S. Air Force Command Pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours, he flew the Lockheed T-33, the supersonic Northrop T-38, and logged more than 1,000 hours in the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. Barbier finished his military career flying the F-16, spending many hours sitting Air Defense alert, and making three intercepts of Soviet Tu-95 Bears along the way. Profusely illustrated from cover to cover, Col. Barbier draws upon his years of experience and expertise to produce a historical study that is impressively informative and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation.
Dog Ear Publishing
4011 Vincennes Road, New Augusta, IN 46268-3005
9781457551963, $15.99, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On August 1, 1943, 178 U.S. Army B-24 heavy bombers left the Libyan desert on a mission. But that mission took a wrong turn -- literally. "Heading One-Two-Seven" by Paul Hagan is a title that refers to the final turn of the ill-fated attack on the Axis refineries in Ploesti, Romania, during World War II.
This deftly crafted historical novel not only describes the raid but also addresses the players and intrigue on both sides. The Allied powers were unified against Nazi Germany, but they also had their own agendas, all of which contributed to the climate that led to the raid on Ploesti.
Allied and Axis political leaders made decisions that reflected their view of a postwar world. Military leaders translated those visions into a strategy and the tactics to carry it out. And the husbands and sons of "the greatest generation" made it come to pass.
A work of fiction derived from a factual historical event, readers will follow along as "Heading One-Two-Seven" tells the story of some of those men on the mission of their lives.
Critique: An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Heading One-Two-Seven" reveals author Paul Hagan's genuine flair for dramatic storytelling and impressive adherence to historical background detail. A consistently entertaining novel, "Heading One-Two-Seven" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Heading One-Two-Seven" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).
The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions
McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
9781259859175, $26.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: While every entrepreneur knows that the key to success is business growth, few ever see it happen. Why? Because they know how to plant seeds, but they don't understand that the real work lies in helping that seed grow -- which takes knowledge, persistence, and patience.
"The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions: Essential Daily Exercises and Habits for Becoming Wealthier, Smarter, and More Successful" by Rhett Power (who is a co-founder of Wild Creations, an award-winning start-up toy company named one of Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing US Companies) helps you develop the mindset of a true entrepreneur and provides manageable steps for making your business vision a reality. Informative, inspiring, and based on real-life, hard-earned lessons, it provides common-sense, daily exercises you can jump into on day one.
Aspiring entrepreneurs will learn how to drive sustainable business growth by: Breaking bad habits?and developing good ones; Managing your time and money more effectively; Hiring the right people for the right job; Minimizing the effort required to perform basic tasks; Motivating staff to be mission-focused; Creating "free" time to feed an innovative side
Readers who apply the information and insights that comprise "The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions" will see their business with clarity and purpose beginning with the identification of the issues that really affect their business -- and not the ones that feed anxiety. They will be able to become the kind of calm, optimistic, driven to succeed leader that other entrepreneurs look up to.
"The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions" provides the direction needed to make the best use of time, energy, and creativity. It's not isn't a quick fix. It's work. But it's manageable, it's proven effective -- and it will pay off big in the long term.
Critique: Practical, insightful, 'real-world' based, "The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions: Essential Daily Exercises and Habits for Becoming Wealthier, Smarter, and More Successful" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. While very highly recommended, especially for corporate, community, and academic library Business Management instructional reference collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, aspiring entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions" is also available in a Kindle format ($14.04).
Birgette Possing, author
Gaye Kynoch, translator
University Press of Southern Denmark
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR, 97213
9788776749927, $32.00, PB, 232pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In modern and postmodern times, biography is one of the most popular genres of the day. The Western world is engaged in the lives of ordinary and well-known people, causing biographies to fly off the shelves. In "Understanding Biographies: On Biographies in History and Stories in Biography", the Danish historian and biographer Birgitte Possing (who is also a professor at Rigsarkivet [Danish National Archives] in Copenhagen, Denmarkun) is a study of the essence of biography as a genre, spanning a number of radically different types of life-storytelling. Professor Possing defines biography as a genre, a narrative form and an analytic field, providing guidelines to an understanding of gender, archetypes, narrative traditions, critique and ethics of the field.
"Understanding Biographies" is restricting to a single form or format for understanding 'how to write a biography'. It does not provide simple answers to questions on how, why or upon which sources biographies should be written or read. On the contrary, "Understanding Biographies" shows the numerous styles and wide-ranging conventions around the Western world in which biographies are accomplished.
Professor Possing interprets the biographical renaissance during the last thirty years as completely in keeping with the individualizing zeitgeist around the millennium shift. She identifies and reflects on the traditions that have been applied in international writing and reading of biographies, with examples from a wide range of Western and Nordic countries.
Critique: A model of seminal of erudite scholarship, "Understanding Biographies: On Biographies in History and Stories in Biography" is a deftly written and thoroughly 'reader friendly' study that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Ably translated into English for an American readership by Gaye Kynoch, "Understanding Biographies" is unreservedly recommended, especially for college and university library Literature, Literary Criticism, Biography, and Writing collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
Dolly on Dolly
Randy L. Schmidt
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613735169, $28.99, HC, 416pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: One of the most popular and successful singers in the field of country music, Dolly Parton's personal history is a starkly dramatic, true-life, rags-to-riches story. A dirt-poor Smoky Mountain childhood paved the way for the buxom blonde butterfly's metamorphosis from singer-songwriter to international music superstar.
The undisputed "Queen of Country Music," Dolly has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and has conquered just about every facet of the entertainment industry: music, film, television, publishing, theater, and even theme parks. It has been more than fifty years since Dolly Parton arrived in Nashville with just her guitar and a dream. Her story has been told many times and in many ways, but never like this.
"Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton" by Randy L. Schmidt is comprised of a collection of interviews spanning five decades of her career and featuring material gathered from celebrated publications including Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Playboy, and Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. Also included are interviews which have not been previously available in print.
Dolly's feisty and irresistible brand of humor, combined with her playful, pull-up-a-chair-and-stay-awhile delivery, makes for a fascinating and inviting experience in down-home philosophy and storytelling. Much like her patchwork "Coat of Many Colors," "Dolly on Dolly" harkens back to the legendary entertainer's roots and traces her evolution, stitching it all together one piece at a time.
Critique: Simply stated, "Dolly on Dolly" is a 'must' for the legions of Dolly Parton fans and will prove to be an instant and enduringly popular addition to community library American Biography collections, as well as academic library American Country Music History supplemental studies lists. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Dolly on Dolly" is also available in a Kindle ($15.65).
We Need to Talk about Family
Roberta Garrett, Tracey Jensen, Angie Voela, editors
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
9781443895293, 52.99 Brit. pounds, 399pp, www.cambridgescholars.com
Synopsis: We are the first generation in recent history to not know if our children will have a better life than us. Over the past thirty years, the dream of upward mobility and stable and securely paid employment has dissipated.
"We Need to Talk about Family: Essays on Neoliberalism, the Family and Popular Culture " is collection of eighteen essays by experts that draws together insights from the disciplines of cultural studies, literary theory, psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies, social policy and sociology, in order to explore the complex and contested status of "the family" under neoliberalism.
At one end of the spectrum, the intensification of work and the normalization of long-hours working culture have undermined the time and energy available for private family life. At the other end, the fantasy of the nuclear family as a potential "haven in a heartless world" is rapidly unraveling, supplanted with a hypercompetitive, neo-traditionalist, mobile, neoliberal family seeking to capitalize on the uneven spread of resources in order to maximize the futures of its own children.
As neoliberalism has always been split between socio-economic realities and the expectations of where we "should" be, we are always living with the anxiety of being left behind and the hope that the best is yet to come.
The essays in this collection signal the troubles of the neoliberal family: in particular, the gulf between the practical conditions of family life and the formation of new fantasies. "We Need to Talk about Family" addresses the neoliberal family in a range of contexts: from the domestic, reproductive and bio-political regulation of family life, the representations of the neoliberal family on television and across social media, to the negotiation of family dynamics in maternal memoirs. The work provides a much-needed corrective to the critical emphasis on the macrostructures of the neoliberal
Critique: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by the team of Roberta Garrett (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Arts, Humanities and Digital Industries at the University of East London), Tracey Jensen (Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University, UK), and Angie Voela (Senior Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London), "We Need to Talk about Family" is a model of seminal and erudite scholarship. Of special note is the informative introduction by the three editors (The Fantasies are Fraying: Neoliberalism and the Collapse of a Progressive Politics of the Family). While very highly recommended, especially for college and university library Contemporary Cultural Studies collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "We Need to Talk about Family" is also available in a Kindle format ($65.77, www.amazon.com).
Preventing Credit Card Fraud
Jen Grondahl Lee & Gini Graham Scott
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442267992, $36.00, HC, 250pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Directly or indirectly, everyone in this country is affected by credit card fraud. Every day there are a variety of ways that scams and fraudsters can get your cards and personal information. Today so much business occurs over the Internet or via the phone where no card is present -- but your credit card numbers are employed. What can start as a seemingly legitimate purchase can easily turn into fraudulent charges - or worse, sometimes a physical confrontation, when a criminal steals a credit card from a consumer who meets to pick up a product or receive a service.
In "Preventing Credit Card Fraud: A Complete Guide for Everyone from Merchants to Consumers", bankruptcy attorney Jen Grondahl Lee collaborates with Gini Graham Scott (writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader who specializes in business and work relationships, professional and personal development, social trends, popular culture, lifestyles, and criminal justice) provides a helpful guide to protecting yourself against the threat of credit card fraud. While it may not be possible to protect yourself against all the perpetrators of fraud who have turned scamming Internet businesses into an art, these tips and techniques will help you avoid many fraud schemes.
As a growing concern in today's world, there is a need to be better informed of what you can do to keep your personal information secure and avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud. "Preventing Credit Card Fraud" is an important resource for both merchants and consumers engaged in online purchases and sales to defend themselves against fraud.
Critique: Deftly organized into two major sections (Protecting Yourself as a Consumer or Client; Protecting Yourself as a Merchant or Service Provider), "Preventing Credit Card Fraud" is as impressively informed and informative as it is practical, pragmatic, sensible, timely, constructive, and do-it-yourself applicable for non-specialist general readers seeking to protect themselves and their businesses from credit card fraud. Enhanced with the inclusion of eight pages of Notes, and a six pages Index, "Preventing Credit Card Fraud" should be a part of every community, college, and university library collection in the country. Offering a complete and comprehensive course of credit card fraud avoidance and protection, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all credit card holders and users that "Preventing Credit Card Fraud" in a Kindle format ($19.79).
A Man Called Ove
Washington Square Press
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
978147673802, $16.00, PB, 337pp, www.amazon.com
The more reasons we have to hate Ove, the more we love him. He loves rules more than people. He scowls instead of smiles. And he certainly won't put up with BMW owners. Ove's relationship with himself changes over time, too. Neighbors keep thwarting his suicide attempts with their annoying requests, and he keeps answering their pleas. The Pregnant One and her husband, The Lanky One, can't open their windows. "IT consultant" (whatever that means) Jimmy seems to do nothing but eat and want to talk Ove. Social Services want to take demented Rune away from his wife, Anita. Is Ove willing to bid his old enemy good riddance? Fredrik Backman keeps us in suspense about Ove by going back and forth in time, telling Ove's story backwards and forwards. The past threatens to swallow Ove, but the present also gives him reason to keep going. With heart-warming wit and sentences as spare as Ove's own attempts at dialogue, this story brings color where there is only black and white. It might even inspire readers to adopt a stray cat.
9780648025306, $5.99, Kindle, www.amazon.com
Just as the Travellers become immersed in Saxon community, we readers are taken up into the world of Inceptio (Latin for beginning). Author Rob Shackleford leads us into his story by setting two alternating storylines alongside one another, one about the team of PhD students who accidently create a time travel machine and another about time traveller Michael Hunter encountering a Saxon monastery and adjacent village. The threads converge at the point when the machine has not only earned the group their doctorates, but jobs and notoriety. British, American and Australian military collaborate with the team's academic advisors to elite soldiers, Michael first among them, into a year of Traveller training before departure for first century Britain. The Saxons soon enlist "Lord Michael" and his mates to lead the defense against Viking invaders. Told in a variety of styles - news reports, diary entries, e-mails, candid dialogue and graphic prose - Shackleford's tale will please fans of Secret of Kells as well as The Last King. Fast-paced, it reads like a movie, with the heart of a memoir. More Traveller books are planned.
Signs for Lost Children
214 W 29 St, NY, NY 10001
9781609453794, $19.00 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 368pp, www.amazon.com
The prologue and epilogue of this novel contain their backstory as beautifully as the inro, the ancient Japanese pockets Tom brings home to England. What looks, on the inro's outside, like one carving of four foxes turns out to be four fox compartments with invisible seams. So, too, Sarah Moss weaves a singular plot in the segues between alternating tales of Tom Cavendish's Oriental travels as a lighthouse engineer and Ally, his bride's, career as a new "mad-doctor." Moss gives us readers a taste for the revolutionary courses her characters chart, both in their careers and in their unlikely family life, as we must imagine what transpires between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. Taking her own healing process as a model, newly-minted Dr. Ally Moberley Cavendish gropes to nurture recovery in a way traditional asylums cannot. Meanwhile, Tom is smitten by the mysterious structural as well as a cultural architecture in Japan. Both surrounded by lush landscapes, our heroine and hero present breath-taking portraits of a new paradigm of nineteenth century work and marriage.
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781310423611, $9.95, PB, 202pp, www.amazon.com
I laugh out loud at myself as Simon Williams describes our American foibles from his outsider perspective. But the funnier he is, the more tragic becomes the problem he eludes to many times, that his humor covers up until page 220 of 225. He derides the American health care system as he first experiences in Florida and paints a picture of the DMV reminiscent of Zootopia, peppering episodic tales with references to Monty Python (his shared interest in which helps him pass his physical therapy exams at "uni") and other pop culture icons from the 1980's and 90's. The "rugby gods" shine down on him for the most part, but the Universe also deals him some "s*** to stir." Despite rude patients and divorced workmates, rugby injuries and car trouble, a girlfriend's hijacked photo and bar brawls, he never stays down for long, until serious depression strikes. Having traveled a bumpy road with him, that's when I'm hooked. I ditto his claim that writing is a way of getting back up. Writing and good mates. Two follow-ups succeed TORN.
Amazon Digital Publishing
ASINB01E9UB7Z8, $4.99, Kindle, www.amazon.com
What's worth the risks of time travel, murder, revenge, catastrophic weather and a mother's wrath? A Midwestern beauty with wit to match. When 2017 doctoral student Cameron Coelho lays eyes on journalist Candice Bell's 1925 portrait, he falls in love, plunging into his research on 1920s social norms in the Midwest via time-travel, crime-fighting, and old fashioned courtship. Cameron joins Candice in her investigation into Evansville's dark side, while trying not to get on the dark side of could-be mother-in-law. With mother's permission, the pair travels by rail across the country to gather important time-travel accouterments for Cameron's physicist benefactor and Candice's future relative, impressing and mystifying one another on the way. John Heldt entertains with short chapters packed with punch and conflicts that resolve. The characters are dreamers who "overcome the odds... they make things happen," most notably blending past, present and future with charm and genre-bending creativity. This isn't your average sci-fi; it is his eighth book, third in the American Journey series. As a bonus, the self-published author offers a prediction about 2041.
Mari Carlson, Reviewer
A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781786577603, $11.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: With the guiding help of "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations", adventurous travelers will discover the ultimate collection of film and TV locations with this newest addition to the Lonely Planet's Spotter's Guide series. Featuring locations from more than 100 of the most iconic scenes ever committed to film, "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations" will reveal where the incredible moments from Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Thelma & Louise, Game of Thrones and many more favorites were shot.
With "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations" anyone will be able to explore the real-life locations for some of the most famous productions of all time, filmed in countries including Canada, Australia, Jordan, Croatia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Tunisia and India. Many of these locations effortlessly played themselves, while others were disguised as hostile, alien deserts, futuristic cityscapes, or Jedi hideaways.
While a film's job is make you forget you're watching one, there are certain locations that can transport you right into the world of a movie. If you want to feel like 007 with a license to kill, you can take a boat out to James Bond Island, otherwise known as Khao Phing Kan, in Thailand, home to The Man with the Golden Gun. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Holly Golightly, then enjoy a coffee and a Danish pastry outside Tiffany's in Manhattan. Or perhaps you'd like to celebrate something momentous by running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum like Rocky Balboa.
Whether a film buff, a travel addict, or both, "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations" will help to prove that CGI is never a substitute for the real thing!
Critique: Profusely and colorfully illustrated, each individual site is provided with a succinct description and a little global map pictorial location indication. A simple pleasure to browse through and inspiring to plan travel itineraries with, "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations" is very highly recommended for personal and community library Travel Guide collections. It should be noted that "A Spotter's Guide to Film (and TV) Locations" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.17).
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613252833, $29.95, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Machining is an essential part of high-performance engine building and stock rebuilding, as well as certain servicing procedures. Although you may not own the expensive tooling and machining to perform all or any of the machining required for a quality build, you need to understand the principles, procedures, and goals for machining, so you can guide the machining process when outsourced. Classic and older engines typically require extensive machining and almost every major component of engine, including block, heads, intake, crankshaft, and pistons, require some sort of machining and fitment.
In the illustrated pages of "Automotive Machining: A Guide to Boring, Decking, Honing & More", Mike Mavrigian, editor of Engine Building Professional, walks you through each important machining procedure.
A stock 300-hp engine build has far different requirements than a 1,000-hp drag race engine, and Mavrigian reveals the different machining procedures and plans according to application and engine design. Mavrigian also shows you how to inspect, measure, and evaluate components so you can provide astute guidance and make the best machine work choices.
Machining procedures included are cylinder boring, align boring/honing, decking, valveseat cutting, cam tunnel boring, and a multitude of other services. In addition, multi-angle valve jobs, setting the valveseats, altering rocker arm ratio, re-conditioning connecting rods, and machining and matching valvetrain components are also covered.
Whether you're an enthusiast engine builder or prospective machining student who wants to pursue a career as an automotive machinist, "Automotive Machining: A Guide to Boring, Decking, Honing & More" will provide insight and in-depth instruction for performing the most common and important machining procedures.
Critique: A comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction guide in both organization and presentation, "Automotive Machining: A Guide to Boring, Decking, Honing & More" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, school auto shop, community, and academic library Auto Repair collections. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Automotive Machining: A Guide to Boring, Decking, Honing & More" is also available in a Kindle format ($19.85).
Biometrics in a Data Driven World
Sinjini Mitra & Mihail Gofman, editors
Chapman & Hall
c/o CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781498737647, $129.95, HC, 426pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Dr. Sinjini Mitra (Assistant Professor, Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) department, California State University, Fullerton) and Dr. Mikhail Gofman (Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, California State University, Fullerton), "Biometrics in a Data Driven World: Trends, Technologies, and Challenges" aims to inform readers about the modern applications of biometrics in the context of a data-driven society, to familiarize them with the rich history of biometrics, and to provide them with a glimpse into the future of biometrics.
The first section of "Biometrics in a Data Driven World" discusses the fundamentals of biometrics and provides an overview of common biometric modalities, namely face, fingerprints, iris, and voice. It also discusses the history of the field, and provides an overview of emerging trends and opportunities. The second section of "Biometrics in a Data Driven World" introduces readers to a wide range of biometric applications.
The next part of "Biometrics in a Data Driven World" is dedicated to the discussion of case studies of biometric modalities currently used on mobile applications. As smartphones and tablet computers are rapidly becoming the dominant consumer computer platforms, biometrics-based authentication is emerging as an integral part of protecting mobile devices against unauthorized access, while enabling new and highly popular applications, such as secure online payment authorization.
"Biometrics in a Data Driven World" concludes with a discussion of future trends and opportunities in the field of biometrics, which will pave the way for advancing research in the area of biometrics, and for the deployment of biometric technologies in real-world applications.
From undergraduate and graduate students to researchers and practitioners working in this field, "Biometrics in a Data Driven World" is specifically designed for individuals interested in exploring the contemporary applications of biometrics.
Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of figures, tables, a listing of the contributors, and a seventeen page index, "Biometrics in a Data Driven World: Trends, Technologies, and Challenges" is comprised of seventeen major articles by experts in their fields that, collectively, offer a comprehensively informed and informative contemporary overview and study of biometrics. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, ""Biometrics in a Data Driven World: Trends, Technologies, and Challenges" is unreservedly recommended for professional, corporate and academic library Computer Science & Engineering reference collections and supplemental studies lists. For students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject it should be noted that ""Biometrics in a Data Driven World: Trends, Technologies, and Challenges" is also available in a Kindle format ($93.59).
What Great Teachers Do Differently 14 Things That Matter Most
Dr. Todd Whitaker
711 - 3rd Avenue, Floor 8, New York, NY 10017-9209
9781930556690, $12.99, Paperback, 144 pages, amazon.com
What Great Teachers Do Differently 14 Things That Matter Most, while published in 2004 this education focused, instructional work continues to present ideas that are as inspired and current today as they were back then.
This publication offers a Table of Contents listing chapters planned to lead readers toward improving and increasing their teaching skills, as well as accelerating their perception and ability to meet the goals of being a Great Teacher, and to further fellow teachers as the Great Teachers they are as they each train and prepare the young of our society for taking their place as productive, happy well empowered adults.
Chapter titles include
Why look at Great?
It's People, Not Programs
The Power of Expectations
Prevention Versus Revenge
High Expectations for whom?
Who is the Variable?
Ten Days out of Ten
The Teacher is the Filter
Don' Need to Repair - Always Do Repair
Ability to Ignore
Random or Plandom?
Base Every Decision on the Best People
In every Situation, As Who is Most Comfortable and Who is Least Comfortable
What About These Darn Standardized Tests?
Make it Cool to Care
Clarifying Your Core
Fourteen Things that Matter Most
Dr Whitaker notes in his introduction that this book; is about what great teachers do that sets them apart. Continuing, he says clarifying what the best educators do, and then practicing it ourselves, can move us into their ranks.
During my own happy, fulfilling classroom career; I soon recognized that completing our college course work was the beginning, and not the ending of our studying the elements of teaching. We, fellow teachers and myself, all seemed to take more classes, read books and magazine articles, bounced ideas off our peers, attended workshops and talked with one another in the effort to perfect our skills, better our teaching methods and furnish the best education we could for our students.
I found the proposals, content and hints provided by Dr Whitaker to be supplied in plain verbiage that is easily understood. While I had already taught over 2 decades when I purchased this particular book; it was one I kept in the classroom until I retired.
The book can be read cover to cover as an overall appraisal of the material and then kept on the shelf as a reference for attending to a specific circumstance or area needing clarification, reworking or firming up in our own classrooms.
On the whole, Chapters run generally 6 pages or so, the originative, comprehensible, workable information provided by Dr Whitaker is intended to aide beginner and experienced educators alike.
I like the chapter presentation set-up consisting of a title and then page by page offerings as to what is to be found on the particular page. The format makes it particularly simple to determine a specific topic quickly without need for thumbing through the chapter.
Two chapters in particular were ones I referred to often during my classroom teaching days. Chapter 10 opens with the sentence that great teachers have an incredible ability to ignore. Words to live by I found, knowing what is important and when to look away is something some teachers seem born with, others learn over time, and some never seem to learn.
Dr Whitaker related that as early as 1999 Doug Fiore conducted a study which led to the understanding that the best leaders ignore minor errors. Constant reprimand, I have found, does not lead to quiet well behaving classrooms, but to confusion, peckish students and teachers leading to feelings of less than positive self worth.
At the time this book first appeared author Todd Whitaker was a professor at Indiana State University. Dr Whitaker taught mathematics and business at the junior high and high school levels in Missouri. Following his teaching years he served 8 years as middle school and high school principal as well as serving as a middle school coordinator in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Chapter 1 contains a sentence on the last page of the chapter that I read again each morning soon after my arrival to my classroom. It is the mantra I felt exemplified my belief in teaching, 'This is my 12th, or 24th or 37th year teaching First Grade, but, for these students, it's the first time around.'
The Fourteen Things That Matter Most in the belief of Dr. Whitaker are each summed up in a sentence or two near the back of the book.
Great teachers never forget that it is people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.
Great teachers establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses.
When a student misbehaves, great teachers have one goal: to keep that behavior from happening again.
Great teachers have high expectations for students but even higher expectations for themselves.
Great teachers know who is the variable in the classroom - they are. Good teachers consistently strive to improve, and they focus on something they can control - their own performance.
Great teachers create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools. They treat every person with respect. In particular, they understand the power of praise.
Great teachers consistently filter out the negatives that don't matter and share a positive attitude.
Great teachers work hard to keep their relationship in good repair - to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage.
Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.
Great teachers have a plan and purpose for everything they do. If things don't work out the way they had envisioned, they reflect on what they could have done differently and adjust their plan accordingly.
Before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change, great teachers ask themselves one central question: What will the best people think?
Great teachers continually ask themselves who is most comfortable and who is least comfortable with decision they make. They treat everyone as if they were good.
Great teachers keep standardized testing in perspective; they center on the real issue of student learning.
Great teachers care about their students. They understand that behaviors and beliefs are tied to emotion and they understand the power of em0tion to jump-start change.
Dr Whitaker includes many instructive anecdotes from his personal teaching days as well as some taken from the time he spent as principal. His writing is to the point, suggestions are implemental, WHAT GREAT TEACHERS DO DIFFERENTLY is a useful book for the beginner or veteran classroom teacher.
Happy to recommend WHAT GREAT TEACHERS DO DIFFERENTLY 14 Things That Matter Most for classroom teachers, the personal library, and as a text for seminars and forums
Til the Last Snowflake
Al E. Boy
Amazon Digital Publishing
B00NRZO920, $2.99, Kindle, 530 pages, www.amazon.com
Fawn is bored, bored, bored. The year is 1849, the young daughter of Santa's Reindeer Comet and Vixen, Fawn, spends her days in the stable as her parents practice for the upcoming reindeer competition.
She frets that her parents consider her to be a baby, too immature to go out into the world alone, while Fawn wiles away her hours with nothing to do. She just wants some fun and excitement. And she is ready for anything, she thinks, 'I don't care how dangerous it is.'
Fawn stews that her only interactions during the day are with Elves 1 and 2; The Forgetful Twins, who at age 30 are themselves youngsters too. By luck, one day Vixen overhears the twins discussing the passwords to use in order to depart Santa's Village and get out into the world where high-risk undertakings and exciting adventures are sure to be waiting.
Vixen does-not want to wait to use the passwords and move out into that so exciting world outside where she will is sure to find and begins friendships, and play and ....
From that beginning Readers are carried along with this jejune almost adolescent who is so like many youngsters we all know, not really a baby, but is not quite as grown up and ready to face whatever may await as they may think they are.
The Reader is sure to enjoy reading as Fawn meets Snowboy and Bunny two more youngsters who do become her best friends forever, or at least 'Til the Last Snowflake Falls'.
Fawn and Bunny maneuver Snowboy as he is finding a spot where he can spend the night, ahead of when Bunny returns to her home and family, and Fawn hurries to reach the stable before her parents become aware that she has gone outside the safety of the village for a while.
The first day following their first encounter and deciding to become BFF, best friends forever, Bunny remorsefully divulges that she has lost her family. Bunny actually watched as mom and dad fell victim to a box trap.
And we read with racing hearts as Snowboy just about falls away to melting water dripping from the thawing tree where he has spent the night, more over, we hold our breath as Fawn encounters a hungry wolf, "Good Morning Lunch," he mutters.
And we sigh relief as Fawn is rescued.
The grandfatherly chief Elf, Foddle, and The Forgetful Twins come looking for Fawn. They find the three best friends and take them to the safety just outside Santa's Village where they discover a young polar bear hidden in a magic igloo. He too has also lost his parents. While they are discussing the mysterious goings on the group makes the acquaintance of Dr Mary Weather an animal doctor who has come to the North Pole to study animals.
Foddle warns the youngsters to keep quiet and not reveal that they can all speak.
The narration continues with more missing parents, Terry a young tern is grief-stricken, her whole family of parents and siblings have just vanished. Youngsters, Whitey the polar bear cub and Terry, are moved into the village as elves and Santa and even Santa's special friend Wajic, a wizard try to puzzle out what is happening to the animals living outside the village.
Bunny and Fawn soon join the missing when they venture out one more time in an attempt to locate Bunny's family.
The story continues with introduction of Captain Whitmore Kemp. He is captain of the Life Raft, a humber keel a flat bottom cargo vessel having a very large hold. We also meet his not so bright first mate Higgins.
Comet braves a raging blizzard in resolute endeavor to find his little daughter and the missing Bunny only to become one of the missing himself.
On the pages of Book 1 Til The Last Snowflakes Falls, there is activity aplenty, Snowy the snowboy who becomes a snowman following a larger-than-life roll down a precipitous slope where he gathers much snow on his three parts, proves himself to be a true friend to the end as he aides in the deliverance of not only his friends but of all the missing.
Deception, avarice, a vile tendency to capture and sell North Pole inhabitants to a zoo, parental love, friendship, and a little magic all come together to create a memorable tale well worth the reading.
For more wallop, a number of large, child and adult friendly, illustrations are placed within the text.
All in all, I genuinely enjoyed reading this eBook. I believe middle grade readers who continue some of the exhilaration and charm of prospect of Santa and magic and wonderment will enjoy reading it as well.
Parents and grandparents who have again invigorated their personal stock of wonder and delight in the magic of the old Christmas tale of elves and reindeer who fly and Santa are likely to enjoy reading the narrative along with a youngster or two whilst sitting at computer.
On the other hand, I have learned during many years teaching K 1 age, emergent readers, paper books to hold in the hand, carry home for reading at home with parents and family before tackling the same tale on computer screen; has been more readily received by Little Readers than using eBooks alone.
Thus, I would really like to see Fawn and her friends, developed as a series of 32 pages or so, paperback works for the younger set to be used as read-to books for the 3 -4 and 5-6 set, before they are given the work as an eBook.
I have found nothing instills a love for reading quite so much as cuddling with parents and grandparents and listening to the story or sitting on the rug at the end of the classroom day as teacher holds the book and reads aloud the adventures held between the covers of 'our favorite book.'
Authored by a 40 year mall and store 'Santa', Til the Last Snowflake Falls has come about as a consequence of the questions presented by Little People and the answers 'Santa' gave in response to those questions regarding Christmas, and Reindeer, and Elves and the magic of Christmas.
On the whole I enjoyed Til the Last Snowflake Falls, very much and am happy to recommend the eBook for Middle Grade Readers and beyond. Vocabulary used is within the scope of most middle grade students, illustrations are hand drawn and colored, and add much to the work.
I hope someone reads the book and sees a prospective for it to become a Christmas 'movie'. I think adults and children alike will enjoy it as children's picture book, movie and eBook.
The Living Earth
600 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016
9780735813151, $TBA pbk, www.amazon.com
Age Range: 5 and up
Read to 4 - 8 year olds
Read with Emergent Readers
Read Alone strong 2d - 3d grade vocabulary
With it's eye-attention-getting cover art featuring children playing, grasses thriving and vines sprouted above ground level whilst below the surface of the topsoil an entire new geographical area inhabited with a nest of yellow jackets and a busy earthworm cleaning up the remains of a rotted bit of vegetation; THE LIVING EARTH WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY Eleonore Schmid is a fantastic Science directed book written for the younger set.
The original paperback cover excites the craving for what lies on the pages to come. Beneath the earth's surface is a marvelous world occupied with infinite animals, organisms and roots.
The work occupied with two page spreads high lighting assorted features of our earth's crust and what is located below begins with a showing a visual image of hills and fields, towns and sea coast and rivers emptying into the sea.
Each spread supplies text at the lowermost of the spread with a detailed graphic art of the specific concept introduced. Topics include an account of the respective layers found below the earth's crust, information re surface soil, organisms living just below the surface, the role of earthworms for maintaining the health of soil, below ground lodging mammals along with those who go from on the crust to below the surface, forests and their purpose. Other topics include how the earth contributes to food production for human consumption, chemical and artificial fertilizers, resources such as coal for heating, and electricity, stone for building and oil and natural gas, a glimpse of huge cities with much cement and little open area for plantings. The culminating spread offers the comfort of knowing that if we take care of her and do not misuse her; the earth will continue to give us everything needed for our survival and that of the many plants and animals we have.
I used this first-class book in my classroom for many years. I found K 1 students never grew tired listening as I talked, turned pages, and related the narrative of our earth as a precious living thing.
Children as a rule are transfixed with everything science. This volume opened many doors for discussion. While my students were always interested in the whole book, there were some special pages they enjoyed in particular.
Writer/Artist Schmid's superior art work illustrating her message helps elucidate how our earth is made of many layers. My students were always astounded that the topsoil where we live, walk and play is so thin when compared to the rest of the layers. A two page spread with cows grazing, bushes and a tree as well as an underground river is one that always held student attention while evoking many questions.
The spread regarding topsoil explains composition of the soil layer, and renders an above and below soil level view of grasses, flowering plants and critters that dwell among them. Beneath the soil line is found roots, bulbs and just sprouting seeds.
The page spread featuring the artist's rendering of living organisms, fungi, single celled animals, bacteria, algae and the like is a page Little Learners found particularly enthralling.
An explanation of the crucial role earthworms play in reviving the soil helps Little Learners gain a greater understanding of the creature sometimes thought to be vile, stinking or a mixed bag of other terms six year old use before they begin to realize the role each of us plays, and that touching worms may leave a little remainder, however, we are wash-and-wear and sanforized.
The exemplification of topsoil living on and in the top layer of our earth's crust is an engaged one with worms and grubs at a lower place than the one inhabited with birds, beetles, snails, ants and the like spread above and across the two pages.
Viewing the worm poop always causes a bit of breathless repugnance, nevertheless, when castings are seen first as a component of a picture on the page and then are scooped up with plastic spoons to carry into the classroom where it is ascertained to be little other than plain old before being added to the small pot holding a rooted philodendron cutting; the poop becomes far less icky, and far more understandable in the rhythm of life.
The artwork depicting small mammals living underground in dens, their tunnels and rooms always prove fascinating. Above ground writer illustrator Schmid shows a vista filled with deer, trees, a lake, grasses, a fox carrying a hapless critter for her hungry kit, while rabbits frolic, near a badger sow with two cubs. Below ground level we see the badger tunnels leading to the nursery and three infant badgers, and a storage room filled with food.
Moles and their long tunnels weave in and around the badger and mother rabbit in her nursery where her infants are sleeping.
Other pages show the consequence of careful forestry, food production on farms and ranches, cities and large scale farms. The author advises that while artificial chemical fertilizers and the like may be used, they can be noxious to the soil. A picture of strip mining is shown, and narration includes mention of rock, and coal, and so much that humans find valuable and necessary for life.
A broad city thoroughfare with most of the soil covered in cement is shown along with a hardy dandelion finding a footing in a crack in the cement. Our human need for gardening is manifest as we view a lady tending her plants on a balcony several stories above the street level. Through windows we can see plants in offices or homes. While down on the street itself trees grow in special areas in sidewalks or in large planting pots.
I particularly like the spread displaying a garden, and the bare feet of mom and child. Nasturtiums grow alongside the onions and radishes providing a perfect chance to explain that chemicals that can harm us and the soil will kill many of the pests who might come to eat our foods; the nasturtiums shown growing along the garden sass will discourage pests, supply us pretty flowers for a vase and leaves and flowers can be eaten!
While I purchased my paperback book many years ago from a book store, it is now out of print; however, thrift stores, and other sellers may have a copy.
Today Amazon offers a hard cover edition of the book. While the shown cover is a bit bland, opening the pages is a treat, the cover and pages of the paperback are incorporated in the newer hard cover version. Yard sales, private vendors and jumble shops may have a copy of the original paperback.
I am happy to recommend this excellent book filled with child friendly illustrations and easily understood narrative.
The Many Adventures of Pengey Penguin
John Burns, author
James Coles, illustrator
San Francisco Story Works
9780977422708, $17.95 Hardcover, 198 pages
As do diverse superior narratives of mythic substance this one opens; Once upon a time.
Beatrice, a mother Emperor penguin prepared for her journey from the colony, across the ice to the open sea. She and her husband Fred named their just born egg, Pengey, ahead of saying their words of farewell and off. Beatrice, along with more than two thousand other moms set off for the dangerous trip across the ice to the ocean where they would become plump devouring fish and krill.
Fred, as did each of the fathers left behind in the large colony on the ice, balanced the egg on his feet. The father penguins stayed warm during the extended winter darkness by keeping close together to share their body heat, protect their cherished eggs and wait for the welcome return of their mates.
Fred chatted with his wee Pengey whilst they waited, he told Pengey penguin history tales and sang songs to him. Mom penguins began returning back to the colony where they traded places and caring for duties with their maters. Moms fed their babies.
Fred and Pengey waited and waited for Beatrice. Each of the other little penguins were growing taller. Pengey received so little food he continued go d very small. The other moms did not share food with Pengey, Fred brought as many tiny scraps he could gather.
After a long wait, when approaching starvation himself; Fred recognized the reality that he would have to say goodbye to his little Pengey. Thus, with a commitment to one day return and find him again, Fred dejectedly set out for the sea and food. Sadly watched until Fred was lost to his sight.
Pengey spent his first day without Fred keeping warm finding little to eat, but with the others of his colony, however during the night, an immense storm blew in, tore at the floe and Pengey was left all alone on a small bit of ice berg. Luckily for Pengey, some anchovies washed up on his little bit of ice, Pengey ate some.
With his tummy full, Pengey pondered his options. Then, he set out on the most dangerous mission of his life. It was a task that was going to lead to pengey meeting a large albatross, and a scary leopard seal and some strange beings in the sea that Pengey could not identify.
When very near to death from the deprivation due to lack of food and being alone in the cold, Pengey finally wobbles up to an uninhabited weather station where his situation was to begin to change; not always for the better it seems at times, however never again so hopeless as when he set out on his journey.
Benefaction extended by Wendy, a human; catching a journey as a stowaway on an airliner, choosing some first-class friends; especially a Puffin and a Parrot, and, even his accomplishment of learning human talk all are elements of Pengey's huge adventure.
Pengey is a genteel, curious, natural little emperor penguin who becomes orphaned before he even feathers out. Through means of plucky willpower he ascertains that rather than just sit and wait to perish from freezing temps or lack of food he will set out to at least attempt to locate food enough to keep himself alive.
When faced with the most dismal of circumstances Pengey always ponders his options. He weighs opportunities using his fathers' tales filled with penguin conventional knowledge including life survival instruction presented by Fred during their extensive wait for Pengey's Mom to return.
Pengey toils doggedly with what appears to be almost insurmountable odds during his first days away from his colony; his endeavors are not very triumphant before he chances to meet Wendy who will play a considerable role in his upcoming life.
When Wendy and he become separated Pengey does not give up, rather, he resolves that he will find her no matter the hurdle, but will do so always after pondering his options, and always being vigilant, sincere and very mannerly in the face of what might cause another to simply toss in the towel and bewail the trouble.
The valiant account of Pengey's voyaging to home and safety helps further the life lesson that many steps, and small triumphs may not guarantee instantaneous victory, but can bring the challenging goal into reach.
Some of Pengey's escapades are just plain fun, some are a more than a little hair raising, all are brimming with the moxie, personal charm and resoluteness of the little penguin who is the main character of this one of a kind creative offering.
I do not keep all books I receive for review, John Burns' The Many Adventures of Pengey Penguin is one I will place in my tote bag for use when I begin volunteering or subbing at local schools. The Many Adventures of Pengey Penguin is a publication I would for certain use were I not retired and were still teaching in the K 1 area of the public elementary school system.
The Many Adventures of Pengey Penguin is a magnificently engaging fantasy narrationdesigned in particular to be read by adults to the 4 - 8 year old set and to be read for joy by middle grade readers and beyond. A number of pen and ink, line drawings, offered by will be found scattered among the text. The fanciful tale holds appeal for adults as well as children.
Certain to be a favorite with the younger set, and for anyone who enjoys a first-rate read be they young or old.
ENJOYABLE Read highly Recommended
Molly Martin, Reviewer
Olivia the Spy
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781481457958, $17.99, 40 pages, www.amazon.com
After a five-year absence from the literary stage Olivia, the usually flamboyant dancing pig makes a surreptitious return. In this episode, Olivia and her mother are having issues. Olivia is offended when she eavesdrops on her mother complaining to her aunt about the mess she made out of a blueberry smoothie and the time she turned her dad's shirts pink in the laundry. The plucky little pig goes undercover to investigate what else her mother is saying about her. But when she overhears the words "military school" and "institution" she is devastated and believes her parents are sending her away. One day her mother announces they are going on a special surprise trip. A crestfallen Olivia packs up her "few pitiful possessions" and prepares for the worst. Boy was she wrong! The surprise turns out to be a trip to the ballet where the audacious Olivia inadvertently steals center stage. Falconer's trademark charcoal and gouache illustrations expose the hilarity of the unfolding situation from Olivia's theatrics to her over-active imagination to the priceless expressions on the characters' faces. "Olivia the Spy" is a smart, funny story that shows the perils of eavesdropping and offers a heads up to parents to stop and think about how we talk about our kids.
Then She Was Born
Translated by Lori Hetherington
B01N214BWU, $0.99, 315 pages
Born in a small village in Tanzania, the newborn girl is albino. Unlike the rest of the dark-skinned villagers, her skin is white due to lack of melanin. Her father is horrified and blames her mother who cruelly rejects her. The infant is a zeru zeru, a phantom. She is not even considered a human being. As shocking as it is, many African village tribespeople still cling to superstitious customs in their belief that the birth of a zeru zeru is a curse. But if an albino is killed, then they believe the body parts bring good luck. For that grisly reason, the lives of thousands of African albinos are in constant danger from birth. Nkamba, the grandmother who is haunted by the birth and murder of her own albino daughter years ago, saves the baby girl's life and raises her. She names her Adimu, which means "special" in Swahili. Charles Fielding, wealthy owner of the local mine, and his wife Sarah also develop a bond with Adimu, for decidedly different reasons. From the moment of her birth, readers are captivated by Adimu's plight as well as her irresistible spirit. In this fictional portrayal of the horrors faced by African albinos, Gentili sets up a nail-biting race against the clock to save this beautiful child who is hunted like an animal. "Then She Was Born" is both gripping and gut-wrenching as barbaric tribal customs collide with contemporary ethos and pathos in this unorthodox thriller. A must read!
The Year of the Garden
Written by Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016
9780544664449, $15.99, 128 pages, www.amazon.com
"The Year of the Garden" is a prequel to "The Year of" series by Andrea Cheng, who passed away in 2015. This episode establishes the friendship between Anna Wang and Laura Morgan.
Eight-year old Anna has just moved to a new home in Cincinnati, with her Chinese-American father and her Chinese immigrant mother. Anna and her brother Ken tag along when their mother goes to the Shepherd's house on Saturdays to clean and look after the elderly couple. Mrs. Shepherd gives Anna her old copy of "The Secret Garden" along with a bag full of seeds to plant her own garden. The next day while Anna reads the book under the honeysuckle bush in the yard, a girl named Laura stops by. Upon discovering that not only are they both new to the neighborhood but they are the same age and will be going to the same school, they become fast friends. But there are bumps along the way. When the girls clear a space in the backyard for their secret garden, Laura gets a bad case of poison ivy. After Anna refuses to join the soccer team with Laura, she is jealous of Laura's friendship with her teammates and feels left out. The girls drift apart. Then one snowy day, Anna finds a baby bunny in the garden. Knowing that Laura has more experience with animals, Anna runs to her for help. Thanks to a bunny named Goo their friendship grows and their secret garden blooms. Cheng borrows from "The Secret Garden" theme of physical and emotional growth to show the budding friendship between Anna and Laura. By spotlighting Mrs. Wang's struggle to assimilate into American culture, Cheng gracefully introduces diversity and environmentalism. Barton's delicate pencil drawings in black and gray decorate this early chapter book while highlighting story details, which helps improve reading comprehension skills. "The Year of the Secret Garden" is an engaging guidebook for growing a garden and cultivating a friendship.
Peggy Tibbetts, Reviewer
Surgeon's Story: Inside OR-1 with One of America's Top Pediatric Heart Surgeons
9781935953777, $16.99, PB, 154 Pages, www.amazon.com
Dr Kristine Guleserian is a pediatric heart surgeon, and this fascinating book gives the reader a glimpse into her life, career, cases, and what has made her the incredible person she is today.
Congenital heart disease affects approximately 35,000 new born babies in the US alone each year, although it may not reveal itself straight away, sometimes never.
The problem may be discovered at, or just after birth, however, as medical techniques advance problems can be detected whilst the baby is still in the womb, and, if necessary a medical team can be in place to perform surgery straight away.
Like many remarkable people, Dr G, as she is known throughout the book, is humble and does not seek fame, 'she's a surgeon, not a writer,' the author quotes (despite her numerous medical articles), and so he has the honour of shadowing this amazing lady, and telling her story.
I can promise the reader that they will find this book absolutely fascinating and heart-wrenching, as they follow the medical journeys of some of her young patients, discover the problems they faced, and how they were overcome, by Dr G and her amazing team.
One case in particular, I read with a mixture of dread, fear, anticipation and joy, the life journey of little Rylynn, which started pre-birth in the womb of her mother Andrea. Bonding through the story with her parents, having been the mother of a 13 week premature daughter who was born only weighing .635 of a gram, and is now 29 years old. I found it incredibly easy to slip back through the years to the time when I slept on a bed next to hers, and life echoed to the beeps of various monitors...
However Dr G doesn't just make the dreams and prayers of her patients and their families come true, she also has that amazing capacity, which people in her profession have, of going the extra mile. A shining example of this is in the story of 13 year old Andrew Madden a patient who has a special none medical bond with her, and who attracts the attention of the media by being the 100th heart transplant at the Children's Medical Center.
Getting personal, she recalls her childhood for the author, and we learn that her calling came at a very early age and was influenced by family and childhood incidents. With a passion for learning, and a loved Greek classics, sports, languages and music, this enquiring and knowledge hungry mind meant that she naturally enjoyed studying. This would prove an essential quality in the years to come, as she graduates from Harvard, and spends many years perfecting her knowledge in her chosen profession. To this day she maintains that you can never afford to stop learning.
Indeed as we look at her work, it is enlightening to see her life through the eyes of the patients, their relatives, her teams, and the students who are lucky enough to learn from her.
Whether you have an interest in pediatric heart problems, love the opportunity to peek into someone else's life, or are considering a career in the medical profession, this book makes compelling reading. The volume of information and human interest content will have you riveted to every single page.
Little Bunny's Own Storybook
9781988468037, $7.75 PB / $2.99 Kindle, 24 Pages, www.amazon.com
Genre: Children's Book
This is a lovely story, beautifully illustrated, about very happy Little Bunny. He loved his daily routine, the stroll down the path with his mum and dad, and best of all his visit to the library, where each day he picked a different book to read.
Little Bunny just loved getting immersed into the stories, he could meet animals from all over the world, face imaginary dangers, see people doing amazing jobs, and have great adventures all within the pages of a book.
However one day the library is closed, and poor Little Bunny is so sad. What can he do now, there is nothing which can compare to reading his stories, or is there...
What Little Bunny discovers is that you can make your own worlds if you try, with dramas, adventures, fun and danger in them, all you have to have is imagination, and pens, pencils, and paper of course. Also, when you have made up your own story you can read it to others for them to enjoy.
What a fantastic tool this book is for teachers and parents enabling them to inspire their children's creativity, whatever the reading or writing ability of the child. I read this with my grandson and not only did we have great fun looking at the illustrations, but he was inspired into making up his own little story and enjoyed illustrating it too!
I would highly recommend this children's book, not only for the hours of fun which can be had creating a story and illustrating it, but also because in doing so you are not only widening the child's talents, but also giving them a mechanism for escape into another world.
Marie and Mr Bee
9780993830273, $9.75 PB / $3.49 Kindle, 28 Pages, www.amazon.com
Genre: Children's Book
In this wonderful children's book we meet Marie, who is a lovely happy little girl who just happens to be in a wheelchair, and for me this is a very important element of this book and one which makes it extra special. Millions of children are in wheelchairs and yearn to be treated normally and they want to play the same as other children. Marie sets a shining example, she lives a happy full life, in a cabin in the woods and has some marvellous animal friends who she enjoys playing with.
Being a good girl she does all her household chores first, then she knows she can be free to meet her friends and play games with them.
However, when one day Mr Bee flies in and boasts that he doesn't do any work, Marie begins thinking, why work, after all if Mr. Bee doesn't have to, then why should she?
As the idea takes hold, it seems fantastic, however soon Marie realises that all her friends do important chores and can't just play when she wants them too. Suddenly she starts to understand that although playing is fun, it has its place, everything people do is important, and everyone has responsibilities.
Then when Marie finds Mr Bee hungry and sad, the author uses Marie's kindness and forgiveness to round off this lovely story by illustrating to children the importance of compassion, responsibility, and the wonderful power of friendship.
I read this enchanting and beautifully illustrated story to my grandson and he loved it. Not only is this a wonderful story but it opens doors to discuss potentially difficult things with children, like wheelchair use, and why it is important that they do their chores before play. And finally, who can resist making Marie's blueberry pancake recipe which is at the back of the book.
At Home in the Pays d'Oc
Patricia Feinberg Stoner
9780995746206, $7.99 PB / $6.00 Kindle, 186 Pages, www.amazon.com
People change, and Patricia's husband Patrick, otherwise known as Himself, proves this by holidaying, and then buying a maison secondaire in the Languedoc region of France, after stating emphatically just after they met that he doesn't like France.
This is a beautiful area with something new to admire around every corner, fantastic villages, breath-taking views, wonderful architecture, and gastronomy, whatever you like, it is here. However for confirmed urbanites Patricia and Himself, visiting this amazing region, enjoying the social life, and owning and renovating their second home in Morbignan la Crèbe was fine, as long as they can return to their London flat.
As we join Patricia and Himself on their French adventure, the real life dramas of being an expat in France open up to us, including 'friends' both English and French, the French system and the little idiosyncrasies which make living in this wonderful country such a challenge - sometimes. Of course we also share with them the wonderful events and meals they join in as part of the Morbignan community, and the friendliness of their French neighbours, well most of them...
Sometimes though we can find our lives changing just like that, other changes come more subtly, such as the ones which took place after a little stray brown and white dog, who came to be called Purdey came into their lives. Dog lovers will understand how important the needs and happiness of our canine companions can be, and so they found themselves spending more and more time in France.
The author Patricia, in this captivating book takes the reader on a voyage of discovery, a celebration of the years her and her husband spent enjoying their French home, both for holidays and all the time. Living a life others only dream of is wonderful but are they still living there? You will have to read this enthralling story to discover the answer...
Susan Keefe, Reviewer
Researcher in a Box
9781311002808, $TBA Ebook
Where was this book when I was in high school and college? It would have made my life SO much simpler because all the questions I had on how to write a paper is contained in this one book. This book is exceptional and very easy to understand. It would make the perfect graduation present.
There were facts in this book that is assured to be able to turn anyone into a better researcher and writer. I feel the content in this book revolves around the basics and how you can use reference tools available to you to your advantage.
"Researcher in a Box: A Guide for Students Both Young and Old on How to Research and Write a Well Thought Out Paper" is an excellence source for achieving academic greatness. Often students struggle with writing papers when they enter college. This book will ensure they are provided a solid foundation that will allow them to grow in their studies.
Chris Mason has masterfully captured a very important subject to students all across the world. His own research on the topic has managed to break down what often is a difficult subject to master. To be a skilled researcher a person must first realize that they basics of each paper must be well understood. I highly recommend this book to any high school or college library for I feel that it offers a wealth of priceless information.
The Real Estate Rookie
B06XTYYZ51, Kindle Edition, Non-Fiction
Growing up Bob Boog was surrounded by the talk of Real Estate with both of his parents being Real Estate agents. He swore that one day he would break free from their job obsession and live a life where he wouldn't be forced to endure their shop talk.
Bob moved away to attend college but came home frequently to do his laundry. On one visit he was persuaded by his mother to attend a real estate seminar. He didn't want to disappoint her so he reluctantly attended. He was surprised that the speaker changed his perspective about the Real Estate world. After the event was over, he was convinced that he needed to study to become a Real Estate Agent.
Bob's career as a Real Estate agent was very memorable. He worked hard to try to achieve the covenant title of "Real Estate Rookie" of the year. He found himself caught in several hilarious situations with clients. He quickly found there was never a dull moment in being a Real Estate Agent. In fact, each day was a roller coaster ride of adventure.
"The Real Estate Rookie: A fun, sometimes absurd, uplifting story for anyone who owns, sells, buys, rents, builds or who has even driven by real estate" provides a zany behind the scenes look at how one Real Estate Agent competes in the competitive Real Estate world. I found myself laughing out loud with tears streaming down my face as he related some of his Hallmark moments. I found there was never a dull moment in this book.
Bob Boog has presented a fresh new perspective on the world of Real Estate. I loved the humor that he used to be able to describe a moment he faced in his career. I found his writing to be smooth and entertaining. I highly recommend this book as a break away from normal life.
What if the United States of America Executive Branch was the Only Governing Authority of the USA
Amazon Digital Publishing
B06XSL7YMB, $5.97, Kindle Edition, Fiction, 55 pages, www.amazon.com
"Power has no limits". -Tiberius
To fully understand and appreciate all the United States Federal Government is operated this book will explore in in-depth details how it was in the past, present, and what it could look for the future.
Each chapter steps the reader to a full understanding of how powerful the American Executive Branch is and what it would mean if it were to come to fruition with each state having their own governor. This book also gives an up close and personal look into this fascinating subject.
"What if the United States of America Executive Branch was the Only Governing Authority of the USA: Executive Branch and State Rights?" Allows the reader to stop, think, and consider how their lives would change if the American Executive Branch would be put into existence.
Nathaniel Rainey has done a fantastic job in educating this reader on a subject that I totally did not fully understand. How he makes the reader realize the possibility of each state being ruled by a governor is truly a masterful feat. I feel this book was released appropriately with the state of Union we find our country currently torn.
What if the U.S.A. Congress and U.S.A. Supreme Court Were Combined?
U.S. Congress and U.S. Supreme Court Series
Amazon Digital Services LLC
B06XVLBDD6, $5.97, Kindle, Non-Fiction, www.amazon.com
Think Outside the Box . . .
A thought provoking journey is presented throughout the pages of this informative novel. It provides an up close and educational look at examining the possibility of combining the U.S.A. Congress and the U.S.A. Supreme Court.
If this were to happen our government world would total change as we see it today. In reading this book the reality of this occurring is very feasible. The author presents a very compelling case of why this should be implemented.
"What if the U.S.A. Congress and U.S.A. Supreme Court Were Combined?" provides a fascinating and feasible concept. As I explored this book I realized that the information in this novel is a method that should be given considerable consideration.
Nathaniel Rainey writing style is one with true purpose. With each book that I discover from this author, I grow more intrigued at his talent. This book is one that has true merit in today's troubled political times.
The Routledge Companion to World Literature
Theo D'haen and David Damrosch
711 - 3rd Avenue, Floor 8, New York, NY 10017-9209
0415570220, $148.07, Hardcover, 544 pages, www.amazon.com
In this extremely timely volume of fifty articles emphasising the historical, the disciplinary formations, rhetorical and other aspects of world literature, we learn the indispensable interdependence of literary discourse engaging both, the East and West as well as past in the present. The trend of engaging the East and "the ever-increasing commercialization of popular literature" are discursively brought under erudite focus. In the "Preface", Tagore is acknowledged for his dedicated interest in "the universal values."
John Pizer notes Goethe's appreciation of the Chinese literature for picturizing characters "who think, feel, and act much like" the Europeans. Goethe's fascination with the Persian poet Hafiz and others is also touched upon. The interesting point Pizer makes is the cross-border dialogue in literature in the "popular" literature. This form of literature is hoped to play a role in the global age of "dynamic interchange". Pizer uses the symbols such as the "tree" and the "wave" signifying "unity and diversity." David Damrosch writes about Hugo Meltzl (1846-1908) - a Transylvanian scholar and acknowledges his expounding of the transnational-cum-transcultural literary discourse. Meltzl gained the support of scholars across Europe and Afro-Asia in his scholarly research. Meltzl makes us aware of the German dominance in the field of culture and literature in the region and enlightens us by referring to the "aubade" that were sung in China and are traceable even in the Hungarian folksongs. In the end, thinks Damrosch that the German writers and scholars are the ones whose works gain currency and acceptance throughout Europe at the cost of the writers from the poorer parts of Europe.
The Germans scholars always gave priority to German literature as a transnational voice. Svend Erik Larsen focuses on Georg Brandes (1842-1927) and says that the world literature may be written locally, yet it must transcend the local boundary and become a heritage for the entire humanity. According to Brandes, says Larsen, the native cultures are always in a dialogue with the rest of the world. Sarah Lawall assesses Richard Moulton's views and says that literature and human civilization are interdependent: the more the former grows and enriches more humane a civilization it produces. Bhavya Tiwari notes Rabindranath Tagore's views and says that according to Tagore world literature ought to project world peace "and cross-connections between nations" (p.43). Monika Schmitz-Emans gives a detailed account of Richard Meyer's (1880-1959 ) definition of the World Literature as a flowing stream. Its flow is occasionally dented by history, though. On such occasions it goes underground but starts again "with renewed power." Richard Meyer based his ideas on the works of Goethe and Nietzsche as he had written in detail on these icons of German literature. Dominique Vaugeois notes Albert Guerard's indebtedness to Goethe. Guerard believed that humanity needed a cosmopolitan vision with freely flowing cultural exchanges. Such an approach served the "national cultural self-interest" (p.62). Aamir R. Mufti observes Erich Auerbach's timely concern over the loss of diversity in human cultures in this age. Despite the tide of nationalism and consciousness of one's culture, there are "the same standards and forms of modern life" across the globe (p.73). Zhang Longxi examines Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998) as a Chinese humanist who was deeply influenced by the West and had worked in strengthening global cultural bonds as the best means of serving the constantly narrowing interaction between the humans, from one side of the globe to the other.
Samira Sayeh enlightens us with the insightful thought of Rene Etiemble, for incorporating the Chinese world of letters and literature into the global arena. Etiemble had also written a great deal on the Afro-Asian and Middle Eastern literature. His works manifest the true role of the translations as these had been his major source of scholarly occupation. Along with opening the French readership to the outside world, Etiemble had also worked in detail on Rimbaud and many others in the French literary circles. The rest of the world thus learns a great deal about the French arts and literature from him. Cesar Dominguez concentrates on Dionyz Durisin (1927-1997) and elaborates his theory of comparative literature by saying that neither the national literature nor the world literature can exist or flourish separately. The two are part and parcel of a process of "an open and changing system." Dario Villanueva introduces the academic-cum-thinker Claudio Guillen as one who had lived in many countries before settling in the States. Guillen had advocated that literary knowledge must remain "the systematic study of supranational assemblages", based upon unity and multiplicity. Jonathan Arac reiterates the approaches of Edward W. Said to the present day problems caused by the forces of imperialism. We must decentre the world literature from the "watertight compartments of art or culture or history" (p.119). Helena Carvalhao Buescu comments on the word "Letters" as "learning" and examines the literary role of Pascale Casanova in promoting the scholarly endeavours of the learned for the betterment of humanity or "the whole world" (p.128). Mads Rosendahl Thomsen critically examines the views of Franco Moretti on global literature. Thomsen endorses Moretti's findings that among all the genres of literature, novel stands out as the best vehicle in understanding the global village. Thomsen acknowledges Moretti's "breadth and originality" as a critic. Moretti advocates the need of "distant reading" by which he means the complex nature of the literary works written by the nationals of distant places on the globe. Thomsen suggests that we should not only read more but also cultivate the habit of "close reading" of such "distant" texts.
PART II focuses on "the disciplinary Dimension" of the World Literature. To start with, we learn about the importance of philology as a discipline. Michael Holquist explains the role of the Fertile Crescent in its growth and acknowledges that we can trace the origins of the system of writing from this place. Holquist writes in detail on the importance of philology in the growth and promotion the world literature. Words like cultures grow through human interaction and the more the humans meet more they learn about each other, for the betterment of humanity. Jing Tsu argues in detail on the relation between the world literature which had existed before the establishment of the nation states, and, the literature written in the vogue of the emergence of the nation-states. The latter is full of "national conceits" while the world literature "refracts" the dreams of the global community. Sandra Bermann defines the nature of the world literature and says that, whereas in the past it was discussed under the category of the Comparative Literature or a genre confined to the translations from other languages, whereas these days the concept of world literature has completely changed. The aspirations and desires of the reader have gone beyond the national boundaries and hence a corresponding search for satisfaction in novels and plays or poetry of the global nature. Lawrence Venuti identifies the latest trend of transmitting knowledge through translation.
As more and more people learn about the rest of the world, they encourage the translators to put the texts from other cultures into their own native languages. This tradition has a promising future as in the past because of the "multilingual situations" into which the people find themselves in the global age. Vilashini Cooppan opens our eyes to the fact that today's literature does not exist in an abstract world. Literature is an archive of "intersecting and overlapping histories" (p.202) of the colonial realities still actively influencing the flow of art and fiction in a globalized world. Hans Bertens acknowledges that the post-modern texts written in 1970s or the 80s represent the desirable standards of world literature much more convincingly and hence "will keep on fascinating future generations."
The writers of the subsequent years, on the theme of world literature, says Cooppan "have become sleepers." Robert J.C. Young makes a comparative study of the world literature and the postcolonial literary works. He believes that the idea of world literature can be traced from the contributionmade by Goethe, whereas postcolonial literature began its career from the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978. Both form a "dialogue with each other" along with their respective positions that reflect the roots of different cultures across the globe. Eric Hayot comments on the temper of the twenty-first century literary discourse, pin pointing the urge which pushes the academics to take interest in texts that inspire "transnational affects and imaginations." The taste of the age is more engaging with the "stylistic forms" developing or prevailing across "the boundaries of nation, culture, and time." Basing his argument on the economic impacts of human activity, Jason Frydman argues that literature has also moved about the way the humans have or have had their "border-crossing" from Asia and Africa into the West, and vice versa the Europeans into the North Americas. Frydman bases his argument on the idealism of Hegel and the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels. Cesar Dominguez marks the international appeal of the works like El hablador by Mario Vargas Llosa. Llosa combines the local with the global by basing his novel in Peru but adds the cosmopolitan motifs, among others such as the archetypal theme of Dante's Divine Comedy.
In PART III, Martin Puchner grapples with the most realistic task of defining the limits of the world literature. The more a work connects with the rest of the world bearing in mind the moral values and the cultural mores of the place of its origin, the better. Following the footsteps of Puchner is Peter Carravetta, who takes us back to the origins of the idea of "canon." Alluding to the Baylonian-Assyrian - cum- Semitic and the ancient Greek, Carravetta opines that canon may be a measuring rod but it has to have a "standard" and someone has to verify the standardization based upon proper assessment. Similarly, world literature must develop its own standard if it has to flourish. John T. Kirby elaborates the same point by looking at the issue of the standard because "some find it just as impossible to judge" as to which book qualifies better to be included into the world literature and which does not. We are already into the arena of conflicts of the nature of "power as well as of knowledge." B. Venkat Mani talks about the constructive role as the purpose of the world literature. Mani quotes Susan Sontag as saying that literature "can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us and ours." Literature is a glue to bind people across the boundaries we as humans have created. Thomas O. Beebee informs us the way internet is affecting our views regarding world literature. Most of the article is a timely recapitulation of the important role that internet is playing in shaping interest in global literature and cultural interaction. Reingard Nethersole looks at the role of the libraries both present and in the past in disseminating the knowledge and awareness about other cultures and civilizations.
The age of internet has changed the concept of a library. It should be added that in-depth analysis and understanding of subject demands that a scholar must return to the same libraries and better a library more the information. Here, we are back to the same basic divide between the developed world and its opportunities and the developing world and its problem of lack of such facilities. Ann Steiner informs us quite realistically that the spread of the world literature depends on several factors such as the "sale system, publishing traditions, translations, government support, taxes..." The publisher looks for books that sell. That's why the "popular novels" are gaining popularity throughout the world rather than the academic ones. Francoise Lionnet comments that despite "cosmopolitan sensibilities" affecting the borders between the "particular and the universal", the Francophone literature, for example, shall always sing to the tunes of their own and listen to the voices from the margins doing the same. The latter must remain on the margin for the sake of "a multiplicity of echoes."
Jan Baetens divides literature into categories of the popular and the global. Beatens elaborates that those who advocate the vibrancy of world literature believe that it influences across the board, for its seriousness. Those who favour the popular literature say that it addresses "a very large audience" by catering to their "taste." World literature, however, is growing as more and more well-known authors are being read across the globe. Mariano Siskind writes in detail proving that world literature is flourishing because the writers are rewriting in multiple genres based upon the canons in the past as well as in the present, by concentrating on such themes as the "magical realism", "cosmogonic epics", "bildungsromanos", "travel narratives", "ghosts narratives" and "Ghazal", etc., Zhang Longxi endorses Aristotle for having set the rules for writing plays and epics. World literature must preserve these "qualities" and "values" that are "components of literature."
Literature must stand the test of time and appeal beyond its national or linguistic borders. Peter Hitchcock emphasises on the ethical aspect of literature. Hitchcock notes in detail that in order for a stable world the humans must cultivate a peaceful co-existence. World literature must cultivate morality.
Hitchcock reminds us that European literature promotes ethical and moral values by replacing the puritanical religious hold on its psyche. Sanja Bahun says that world literature is a "site where desire is mobilised" so that we may tell others who we are besides getting to know who they are. World literature, thus, grows on and on by absorbing diverse cultures and levels of "existences" in these cultures. Bruce Robbins expounds how the world literature having access to others can enlighten us with their "experience and sensibility." It cultivates moral bonds that "democratize" humanity by softening the inherited prejudices. It encourages us to "self-scrutiny" and we join the "world's voices" for the betterment of the entire humanity. Debra A. Castillo examines the gender-related literature by examining a set of three writers each both from the developed world and the developing countries and proves that the urge to liberate soul is a common pursuit of these literary figures. This highlights the reason why such authors are popular. Ursula K. Heise reminds us that so far the literature written on the environmental issues has not been promoted at the international level, as much as it has gained popularity at national level in the developed world, in countries such as Britain, Germany, the United States or France. It is time Heise warns that the environmental challenges become a common concern throughout the world. Theo D'haen laments that when viewing the "cross-border flows of immigration...the intra-border phenomena of dialectical or minority-language literatures" we must remember the political realities on the ground or the "political maps delineating nation-states."
A writer's background, thus, is important even if the age of globalization signifies "a montage of overlapping maps in motion" (p. 418) as D'haen quotes from Vinay Dharwadker. Roberto M. Dainotto rivets our attention on the fact that because of the European successes as colonising powers, they claim their literature to be of top order, enjoying a wold-wide recommendation. The fact is, says Dainotto that literature of other parts of the world had also gained such a lofty scale of achievement before the "slipping of world into European literature." Djelal Kadir draws our attention to the names such as Jimenez de Quesada and Vespucci from Latin America. These men of letters are as good as any other European or Western writers and deserve to be acknowledged. Lawrence Buell assesses the international level of the American writers and says that apart from Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper, the world literature hardly acknowledges any other American writer. It is only after the 1950s that "the nation's literati free themselves of the vestiges of postcolonial legitimation anxiety" and start competing with the rest of the world's literature. Nirvana Tanoukhi traces the growth of the African literature and says that before the age of colonialism the writers from most of the African continent were not even noticed. They failed to meet the criteria set for the world literature.
It is during the age of colonialism that African literature developed out of "the heterogeneity (of indigenous and colonial languages), hybridity (of creole languages and dialects), variation (in styles or generic choices), and competition (among national, regional, or ethnic traditions)." Red Chan reviews in detail about the cultural and literary interaction between China, Japan and Korea as the countries as major representatives of the cultures of East Asia. The Confucian school of thought being "the repository of a cultural grammar" of this region, China, therefore, enjoys an upper hand. Though, with the arrival of the European-cum-Western traders, diplomats and missionaries into the region, the hold of China began to melt in the cultural sphere. Vinay Dharwadker gives an insightful analysis of the Indic literary tradition by dividing it like Chan, into different canons. Marga represents thousands of years of "the entire body of the verbal representation, music, dance, theatre, and other arts." Deshi, on the other hand, embodies more modern or "the new mother tongues (including non-Indo-European ones)." The Indic literary canon took a new turn in the second half of the nineteenth century. This was the age when we locate the texts covering as diverse themes as the world literature or Wishwa Sahitya and the national literature or Rashtriya Sahitya. Sandra Naddaff in her celebrated essay hints at the role Galland played by translating the Arabian Nights. Naddaff opens our eyes to the fact that Arabian Nights is one such text which is not confined to any one territory or culture. It has the potential to "circulate well beyond that culture" and hence earn the merit of world literature.
Ronit Ricci, in the last and final article of this worth reading volume, examines the South East Asian literature from the Islamic perspective. Ricci believes that despite the impact of the Sino-Japanese culture and Buddhism, the Islamic countries of this region have been seeking information and inspiration from the Arabic-speaking Middle East. The winds of change have been blowing and the writers from this region are also covering the themes based upon the evolving global canon of the world literature.
Europe and Asia Beyond East and West
Edited by Gerard Delanty
711 - 3rd Avenue, Floor 8, New York, NY 10017-9209
9780415511650, 30.00 Brit. pounds, Paperback, 336 pages, www.amazon.com
Europe and Asia Beyond East and West translates the contemporary pulse of Europe and Asia through the mind of Europe and its assessment of Asia as well as the West with regard to its own interests. Of course, nobody can deny the importance of Asia today. Yet, Europe prides itself as the pioneer of modernity. From this vantage point, Europe believes that they do have the legacy of disseminating progress through secularism and democracy. More the rest follow Europe as a model more the globe shall grow as a harmonious whole.
Chapter 1 is packed with themes that make this study a definitive work. Europe must stay united if Europe wants to save itself from the scourge of "clashes" between Germany and France, as in the past over the centuries. From an alliance of "major" powers, the European Union has expanded to include most of central and eastern Europe. It is now debating over Turkey by asking the question: how would it impact their "identity"? (p.11). How to build new relations with the rest of Asia?
Having mixed creates a "public culture" though not a "supra-state" within Europe. Over the question of Turkey, the cosmopolitans accept her for the membership but not the "old nationals." At the same time, the factors like Europe's colonial heritage and connections with the whole of the world suggest that Europe cannot permit a "closed space." Europe's democratic experience has cultivated a cosmopolitan attitude and the Europeans know how to reconcile their political, economic and historic differences. How far Europe has transformed is noticeable from its commemoration of "the Holocaust." The forces supporting the "right wing" in Europe are also active. Cosmopolitan Europe with well-established institutions is in a sound position to maintain itself as a power between Asia and America. Asia's vastly diverse societies are also changing and look towards Europe. Nevertheless, Europe knows the impact of the selling spree of the cheap stuff inundating her. As the Chinese in particular and the rest of the Asian tigers sell more, Europe reacts by the protectionist measures against trade liberalization. Cheap products from abroad undermine the European services. This amounts to the erection of a Fortress Europe. Such a stance is provocative and the Asians find an excuse to stay disinterested on the issue of the human rights. Ironically, the same rich firms and investing organizations from Europe take advantage of moving capital into the countries where labour is cheap. Such a trend must be reconsidered.
Goran Therborn elicits that the enlargement of the "Common Market" into the European Union in 1990, marked a turning point in the history of Europe. Europe and the "West" are now two separate entities. Despite the EU's common stand with America over the September 11 tragedy, the former is in a better position to bargain with the US. Therborn comments on the divisions between America and the EU over Turkey, the wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. The EU has some reservations over the America "Occidental despotism." Therborn then focuses on the political and cultural legacies of Europe and Asia, drawing on the ancient and modern history. We are also reminded of the enormous diversity of the Asian cultures and values. Therborn suggests that Europe needs to be more creative and cooperative with Asia- a continent which is rising" and progressing. Europe must take into account its falling rate of fertility and the population growth.
Gerard Delanty (ch.3), after commenting on the nature of several different civilizations, says that the best civilization is the one which has the capacity of "adaptation to new conditions" (p.50) and resolves "conflicts." A modern, democratic cultured society is an emancipated society and uses reason without any fear. At the same time by referring to Brague, Hobson and others, Delanty comments that European culture is based on "non-European sources" (p.52), such as the "Eastern." Europe enjoys the benefit of being a civilization that adapts, transforms and influences others for being open and caring.
In chapter 4, Jan Nederveen Pieterse debates "the rise of Asia" and its role in the age of globalization. He mentions the scholars whose works have overturned the traditional "Eurocentric" attitudes. The global South has a group of scholars both in India pioneering the "Subaltern Studies in India" as well as in Africa. Pieterse mentions the role the BRIC is playing in the economy of the world. BRIC may be as powerful as was The Silk Road as a transformer of goods and cultures in the past, yet Pieterse is concerned that just as we have the "Eurocentric biases", the region could be under the clouds of a "retroactive Sinocentrism and Indocentrism" (p.65). In chapter 5 (Part II), Johann P. Arnason assesses the "rise of the West" (by referring to William McNeill and others) and the way the Western ascendancy has been reviewed by the Asia-oriented scholars known as the "rise of the rest."
Arnason argues in detail and says that those who criticise the West in the guise of "struggle against imperialism", forget to note the West "as a distinctive civilization", whose supremacy rests, as in the past, on its unparalleled advancements in technology, economy and political maturity. Furthermore, the roots of the Western civilization are to be found in "Jerusalem" and "Athen." Europe has always been a dynamic continent. From the rise of the kingdoms to the consolidation of the Ecclesiastical hierarchy, the burghers of the "urban communities" in the face of feudalism and Europe's "empire building" ambition - suggest the profoundly active nature of the European psyche. Arnason then talks about Europe's links with the Middle East and Eurasia. Arnason remains unconcerned about the havoc the Mongol hordes caused to the Islamic world and the cities of the beacons of enlightenment, such as Baghdad and other places. The Western Christendom did not come to save these places of human learning. Arnason does not convince us when he says that "the rise of the West" means the "de-stabilization" of "non-Western" world. Commenting on our own age, he reiterates the common concern by saying that we are in a bipolar world which has several centres of power with equally deadly weapons. This threatens the old World Order. Is such an assessment true? One could debate.
In chapter 6, David Inglis and Roland Robertson comment on the role the "Renaissance" has played in the lives of the people living in Eurasia, and the adjacent landmass of the Mediterranean. However, renaissance does not develop in a vacuum. It owes a great deal to the East. This conjures the definition of a "hybrid" kind of renaissance. "Globality" has been going on from antiquity sweeping across the Greek city states, Rome, Geneva, Venice and Istanbul. The pace of movement of doubled and accelerated on and on across the globe during renaissance. Everybody gives credit to Europe for this display of a boundless human spirit.
John M. Hobson (ch.7) inspired by Edward Saeed whom he quotes at length, has reported on the borrowings of the West from the East. Discussing Greece as the foundation of the Western civilization, he says that Greece in fact is itself an Eastern entity because of its indebtedness to the ancient Egypt. Hobson then goes on mentioning that the West gained a great deal from the Islamic places of learning in its backyard such as Spain and Sicily. He acknowledges that the research in the West owes a great deal to the sources available in the Islamic world, India and China. He reminds us the trade routes connecting the West with the East via the Mediterranean. Finally, he throws light on the role of the Ottomans in this marathon of inter-cultural rapprochement and assimilation.
In chapter 8, Thomas W. Gallant traces the history of "the Euro Mediterranean Partnership" and says that the Mediterranean is "the hinge connecting Greater Europe with Asia" (p.121). The Wars between the Hellenic League and the Persians do not draw the hard and fast borders between East and West, for, argues Gallant, there were Greeks who "fought with the Persian army than fought against it" (p.124). Despite these wars, trade, commerce and other contacts continued to flourish and "became even more intensive" (p.124). Back in the eleventh and tenth Century BCE, Greeks became the facilitators of contact between East and West.
In the modern times, the shift of large chunks of population into the cities has changed the scene. The youth has become more nationalistic as well as cosmopolitan as more and more migrate to North and South America, Central and Western Europe. Gallant also touches upon the flooding refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa across the Mediterranean. Jack Goody, (ch.9) after having acknowledged the origins of a more advanced civilization in Asia during the Bronze Age, goes on to argue for the many faceted growth and flourishment of the European civilization. As Europe progressed in multiple stages, Asia regressed, yet, Goody appreciates the dissemination of knowledge by the Muslims to the West. The predominant Christian Europe is not prejudiced against the Muslims.
Tracing the role of the "citizenship" in nation-building, Bryan S. Turner (ch.10) acknowledges the role of the intelligentsia and the learned. The intellectuals of the nineteenth century from both East and West, began to devote their energies on this issue.
This shows their commitment to "political reform" and "social change" (p.159). Masud Kamali (ch.11) comments on the forms of the Islamic societies and the way they interacted socially, politically, culturally and economically over time. Over the centuries these Arab, Persian and Turk centres of power and commerce enjoyed very fruitful "contacts" with the intellectuals and merchants from Europe, China and India. However, with the arrival of France and England into the region, things changed completely as the latter "favoured their own merchants and harmed the bazaris" (p.161). In Part III chapter 12, Chris Rumford reiterates the claim made by the previous commentators of this volume and says that "under the conditions of post-communism" the borders between Europe and Asia "no longer take the form of an East-West division" (p.181). Globalization has changed the situation.
Such a division is no longer "enduring, fundamental or natural" due to Europe's "supranational capabilities" (p.190). William Outhwaite (ch.13) elaborates his point of view by building on the history of Europe and says that this is the continent which practices the "ideas of the brotherhood of man ... the siblinghood of humanity" by emancipating us from the worn-out taboos or the superstitious "traditions and primordial loyalties." The mergence of the German and French coal and steel industries in the ECSC at the end of Cold War, heralds a great age of cosmopolitanism that binds Europe internally as well as outwardly with the rest of the world, both Eastward and Westward. In chapter 14, Fuat Keyman illustrates the position of Turkey in relation to Europe and Asia. Turkey indeed is a bridge between East and West. However, Turkey must democratize itself according to the conditions set by the EU. Because of the trouble along its borders as well as the issue of the Kurds, Turkey has a long way to go before the EU's endorsement. At the same time, Turkey plays a great role in checkmating the Islamic extremism.
In chapter 15, Richard Sakwa explains the relations of Russia with Europe. Sakwa believes that Europe has always questioned Russia's European identity. Historically, Russia has always expanded and annoyed the Nordic powers, Germans and the British. Russian expansion into Eurasia is one such factor challenging the European interests. Can globalization bring about friendly relations? At the moment the odds are heavy due to the problems in the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and the Middle East. In chapter 16, Natan Sznaider explains that although Israel is based upon the Jewish faith, yet "Jewishness is not opposed to the essence of modernity" (p.238). He believes that Israel is a normal state whose streets and bazaars are full of the "symbols of the global homogenizing consumer culture." At the same time, Sznaider acknowledges that the winds released by such a culture are creating cracks among the classes even though the citizens of Israel enjoy the fruits of democracy in a region replete with cultural, religious and historical challenges.
The rest of this highly academic essay draws on these historic challenges and the role Europe plays in the formation of Israel's national identity across Europe. PART IV sums up the overall argument in a succinct and scholarly manner. Cosmopolitanism is sweeping across the globe. Europe's liberal values and tolerance is the linchpin in attracting the rest of the globe. Its academic standards and the social safety network are universally respected. Europe wants to promote secularism and democracy as part of its Cosmopolitan vision. More the rest of Europe emulates these values; more the latter are Europeanized, having based their identity on the universal, global level beyond the parochial, provincial and national, racial prejudices.
Dr. Zulfiqar Ali
James A. Cox
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