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The Journey of Crazy Horse, A Lakota History
Joseph M. Marshall, III
Penguin Group, (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
ISBN 0670033553 $24.95 294 pages
If you are old enough to remember childhood games built on the budding imagination of
rather than lines of computer programming, then you will recall such things as "Cops and
and "Cowboys and Indians." Who among us over the age of thirty-five can forget Saturday movie
matinees where cheers erupted when a bugle heralded the arrival of soldiers coming to save
settlers from attacking 'savages'?
We were learning and playing out our burgeoning perceptions of good and evil. Cops and
were good; robbers and Indians were bad.
This book reminds us that there is another side. Or maybe that much of the American experience
subjective. As the saying goes, "History is rewritten by the victors."
It is one of the reasons Lakota (Sioux) educator-historian Joseph M. Marshall has undertaken this
biography of his childhood hero, Crazy Horse. In describing this revered warrior's life, we are told
(or reminded) of the dishonesties perpetrated by white culture on indigenous people in the name
We tend to hold suspect anything without a lengthy written chronicle to back it up. In an age
computerization allows instantaneous deletion or alteration of a word, this is an ironic attitude.
Thus, we tend to ignore the ancient oral traditions of all tribes. Marshall gently takes us to task
this, by suggesting that the lopsided history we carry in our printed texts is inaccurate because we
have chosen to exclude those who carry the other half of the story.
Marshall gives us the native peoples' view of several major Indian treaties of the mid-nineteenth
century. We ought to feel shame in the face of our forbearers' manipulation of a group whose
simply did not include most of the odd concepts that shaped these pacts. "The whites seemed to
want to say where the land ended and where it began by drawing a picture on a parched hide.
who could find that line on the earth?"
Most regrettable is the fact that of the 371 treaties made with various indigenous people, it is we,
the writers and inciters of those treaties, who have broken all 371. So much for national
Of course in the nineteenth century the American Indian was regarded as being in almost the same
class as black people imported to slavery. Labeling another society 'savage' or 'animal-like'
a convenient pretext for asserting our alleged superiority while promoting whatever the current
By sketching a picture derived from Lakota oral tradition of Crazy Horse's childhood and growth
into a warrior, the author shows us something of the vanished Plains Indian way of life. Their
child-rearing approach was far from 'savage.' All women were considered mothers, aunts, or
grandmothers to a child whether or not there was a direct familial connection. Men were teachers,
particularly when male children began to show curiosity about the knowledge they would need to
function as adults. There were definite positive attributes that were to be cultivated if one was to
stand proud before his own people. These included "generosity, courage, fortitude, and wisdom."
Among Jews, a man is expected to be a mensch, a charitable, ethical, fulfilled person. The Lakota
male had a similar goal to become wica, or complete. Bravery in battle was not always defined by
killing as it was to the white. It was considered a greater show of courage to ride up and touch
enemy leaving him to fight again.
Most military minds now accept that the Plains Indians were, in most cases, superior fighters,
horsemen and tacticians. Their ability to live off the land allowed them to move swiftly using the
element of surprise. (It is impossible to hide the cloud of dust generated by a hundred men
with them a herd of extra horses, supply wagons, and artillery.) These first people were defeated
by lack of civilized attitude, or absent valor, but by sheer force of numbers. Ultimately, what
Horse, Sitting Bull and other leaders had to face was that they simply could not hold back the
inundation of white settlers bent on taking "free" land.
Joseph Marshall brings alive a segment of time and a slice of the population that we descendants
the first Europeans conveniently ignore. This book is a valuable addition to any public or personal
library. We cannot undo the creation of a reservation system that evolved into an economic
home to people who wished only to live close to the land without destroying it. But we should
positive legislation that could return to them confiscated territory or other recompense for what
The Memory of Running
ISBN: 0670033634 $24.95 368 pp.
Rating 4 stars
One could define Smithy Ide as a typical middle-aged loser - unmarried with a dead end job and
nothing to do but eat and get drunk. We see them every day and pay little attention. Ron McLarty
provides us with an extraordinary window into one such person. The Memory of Running is a rare
opportunity to get to know Smithy Ide, the caring, big-hearted man who takes care of his mom
pop and constantly worries about his older sister Bethany, afflicted with the voice of a demon
despite numerous doctors and hospital stays, refuses to let her go.
All through his childhood, Smithy's own life takes a back seat to his sister's illness. As if this
bad enough, his neighbor Norma insists upon intruding in his already dysfunctional family until a
freak accident renders her a cripple.
Smithy experiences an awakening when his mom and pop are killed in a horrible automobile
accident. He returns home to discover a letter addressed to his father concerning matching dental
records and Bethany's body lying unclaimed in a morgue in California. He knows Norma is
him from behind a closed blind in the house next door. He's felt her watching for years. Bethany's
voice echoes through the empty house, 'Don't ever stop running Hook. If you stop, you become a
Well, he did stop running and he did become a fat ass. Retracing his childhood haunts, he jumps
his old bike and rides down to the old fishing holes where he spent much of his time . . . and just
keeps on going all the way to the west coast.
Ron McLarty produces a solid first novel with The Memory of Running. Told in the first person
narrative, it is an insightful tale of the turning point for Smithy Ide, who both loses himself and
himself on a cross country journey to claim his sister's body and reclaim a part of him that had
put on hold for too long. Along the way, he mends the rift between himself and Norma and finds
her a best friend who's loved him in silence for a very long time.
McLarty combines vibrant and real characters, a gripping plot of personal growth, and
descriptions of his cross-country adventure into an absolute joy of words. It has a relaxing start
pulls you into the story until you can't put the book down. The telephone relationship between
Smithy and Norma begins as choppy and unclear dialogue and ends with the understanding of
Norma's pain and Smithy's initial inability to cope with her accident when he was younger. The
with which McLarty pulls the reader from past recollections to present day can be a bit
but the journey is well worth the effort.
Dress Your Children in Corduroy and Denim
Little Brown and Company
1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
0316143464, $24.00, 257 pp
This is a light-hearted tour of the life of a dysfunctional family member, told in vignettes. The
author's shock and aversion, as a 9 year old, when his mother required him to give the neighbor's
children his Halloween candy the day after the holiday because they were not in town on October
31. "I knew it was just a matter of time before she came into my room and started collecting the
candy herself, grabbing indiscriminately, with no regard to my rating system." (p10)
His Dad's unkept promise to purchase a beach home discourages the children. "We grew to think
him as an actor auditioning for the role of a benevolent millionaire. He'd never get the part but
the way that the words felt in his mouth." (p28)
The geeky 12 year old boy's chagrin when he is invited to a sleep-over with three "gregarious and
athletic boys, which meant that we had absolutely nothing in common." (p31) His parents insist
As a sixth grader he comes into contact with members of an "in" group discussing their rejected
peers during a Labor Day Celebration at the Raleigh Country Club. "So complete was their (the
group's) power that I actually felt honored when one of them hit me in the mouth with a rock."
At 13 the author meets his first hippie. The boy gladly gives him his coke and potato chip money,
cents, and continues observing the hippie's 'cool'. "He (the hippie) was a grown-up's worst
and I wanted to be just like him." (p75)
When the author was a young man, his parents invested in rental property. While his mother was
more personable one, he saw that "if a tenant wanted any kind of a break, he soon learned to go
my father, who displayed a level of compassion we rarely saw at home. His own children couldn't
get a dime out of him." (p94) While assisting his father with clean-up of part of the property a
griped loudly about his efforts. "I was dragging a branch toward the curb, and he complained that
doing so, I was disturbing the integrity of his yard, which was alternately bald and overgrown and
had all the integrity of a litter box." (99)
As an adult traveling in a foreign land, the author attempts to get the 'feel' for the country by
probing questions of the natives. In the Netherlands, he spoke to a person named Oscar about the
Dutch version of Santa Claus. Oscar described how Saint Nicholas "arrives by boat and then
transfers to a white horse." (p160) The author asked if he were alone or in the company of elves.
"Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I couldn't help but feel personally insulted when Oscar
the very idea as grotesque and unrealistic. 'Elves,' he said. 'They are just so silly.'" (p160)
The author speaks of meeting the future wife of his brother. "I finally met the girlfriend, a licensed
hairdresser named Kathy. Erase the tattoos and the nicotine patch and she resembled one of those
tranquil Flemish Madonnas, the ubiquitous Christ child replaced by a hacking pug. Her grace, her
humor, her fur-matted sweaters -- we loved her immediately." (p169)
David Sedaris' manner of interpreting the world is thoroughly enjoyable.
Pitch Like A Girl: How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed
ISBN 1594860092 $23.95 346 Pages
Ronna Lichtenberg wrote Pitch Like A Girl: How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed to
help women learn to promote themselves and get what they want in business and in life.
Lichtenberg writes: "A pitch is using your influence, skills, and powers of persuasion to gain
support and to get people to do what you want them to do. Pitching is about enlisting someone's
support for your goals. It's about asserting your vision of what should happen, asking for support,
and making it clear to the other party why it's in their best interests to come along with you for
ride. When you pitch, you are basically saying to someone, 'I need your resources to make my
Lichtenberg points out that we pitch in many situations, not only in business situations, such as
applying for a job, seeking a promotion, or trying to raise capital for a new business, but also in
non-business situations, such as seeking to get the best medical care available or influencing one's
However, many women aren't natural self-promoters, and a lack of pitching skills holds many
Lichtenberg writes: " when we tell ourselves it's okay not to pitch, we give ourselves permission
be smaller, duller, and less complete than we otherwise could be. Yet it's choosing to rip yourself
out of your comfort zone that will make all the difference in your life. If you don't go where the
is, you somehow live a lesser life."
Lichtenberg tells us that research into leadership styles shows men and women lead in different
ways. Successful men tend to distance themselves from those below them in the
and tend to take things relatively impersonally. For successful women, on the other hand,
and power often come from connecting to people. The least successful women executives are
who try to imitate male leadership styles that don't match their inner style.
Pitch Like A Girl: How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed discusses many of the "brain
sex" differences between men and women. For example, MRI brain scans show female brains tend
be better at multitasking. Women were " always doing a zillion things at once: tending our own
and others' children, gathering food and preparing it. Men, as hunters, needed to pay deep
to the one critter that would become dinner. Our brains are still operating on the same
Research shows male brains tend to be stronger at systematizing, while female brains tend to be
stronger at empathizing. Lichtenberg calls those who focus more upon relationship building the
"pinks." Those who focus most upon the task at hand are called the "blues."
Men tend to be blues. Women tend to be pinks. But, Lichtenberg says many people have a
"stripped" style, utilizing the strengths of both blues and pinks. And, some women, such as
Stewart, tend to have a natural blue leadership style.
Lichtenberg writes: " you can even go for rose navy, aquamarine, indigo, fuchsia (just don't tell a
blue guy you think of him as a lovely aquamarine)" (or a cornball yellow). Men tend to have less
color vocabulary than women. We also learn that men tend to interrupt more, being responsible
98% of conversational interruptions.
Lichtenberg says that many women tend to pitch pink to blues and, thus, seem unfocused to the
blues. Lichtenberg suggests that "In any business situation, if you can't detect the color of your
prospect immediately, go blue."
Lichtenberg does a great job discussing motivational differences between men and women. While
men tend to view success in purely financial terms, women tend to have a more complex view of
what being successful means.
To help women learn to be more assertive, Lichtenberg develops the concept of "Me, Inc." which
gives women "a way to toggle mentally out of a relationship perspective, out of responding to
people's feelings, reactions, and desires, long enough to get a fix on what is fair in the
I highly recommend Pitch Like A Girl: How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed to both
men and women who want to improve their pitching skills.
Book Marketing From A-Z: 300+ authors share their best strategies
Francine Silverman Franalive@optonline.net
1094 New Dehaven Street, Suite 100, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
ISBN: 0741424312, $18.95 400 pp.
Liana Metal, Reviewer
Very Highly Recommended
Francine Silverman, a former newspaper reporter and freelance writer, has also authored Catskills
Alive and Long Island Alive. Book Marketing From A-Z was written to assist fellow writers
their book through the experiences of others.
The book is divided into numerous short chapters, all of which are full of tips and best expert
on how to promote your book. The Internet section is exceptionally interesting, as it is a very
popular way of book promoting and caters to a wider audience. All eight subsections are packed
with invaluable information no serious writer can ignore.
Moreover, the information on Special sections, such as Ghost Writing, Resume Writing and Web
Designing are very useful and highly interesting for all writers. The originality of this book lies in
fact that all sections are represented by a variety of writers who tell themselves how they
their book and the results of their attempts. Each entry is enriched by web links the readers can
access and, thus, search the sites of their preference.
BOOK MARKETING From A-Z saves the writer precious time , as it is really a concise guide to
Book Marketing , easy to search and unique in its kind. The information included is undoubtedly
invaluable to writers, as is it first-hand advice from over 300 authors and publicists. There is
reference to all genres in the table of contents at the beginning of the book, so as to facilitate
searching. It is an original book that is not only practical, but encouraging as well; a book that
deserves to be read cover-to-cover!
Noah and the Ziz
Illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn
Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc.
A Division of Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401 USA
ISBN 1580131212; $7.95 32 pp.
Lynne Marie Pisano
Picture Book (Hardback), Ages 5 - 8
The story of Noah's Ark has fascinated people for centuries. Notably, this unusual version of the
story features a lesser-known biblical character, the Ziz. The introduction of this strange bird in
title proved a point of intrigue for me. Supposedly, the Ziz is a monstrous, mythical bird created
God on the fifth day. I don't recall ever hearing about this creature and am not certain why or how
it's connected to Noah's story. No author note clears up any confusion a reader like myself might
The summary relates a story about a huge and clumsy, but well meaning bird. I did not get a sense
this from the text. Instead, I met with a reckless character who rushes too much in spite of Noah's
words of wisdom (the story problem). Of course, this wouldn't be so much a problem to a reader
the summary didn't promise something different. And, while the storytelling was mostly intact,
certain details proved irritating in the reading.
The story has a good moral, although a somewhat heavy-handed one. Most disturbing though, is
that even after the Ziz learns his lesson, he brags about his speed on the last page. While both the
story and the illustrations (drawn in black ink and colored in bold watercolors) strived to please,
they were just not to my taste.
Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom
ISBN: 1412016428 $10.99 233 pages
Shirley Roe, Reviewer
Five-year old Imogene finds herself living alone with her crotchety Aunt Agnes. Imogene and
live in a mansion with a forbidden "east wing" and although the sea is right below the window,
swimming in it is not allowed. Her Mother Elsie has promised to return in five years but her
for leaving is unknown to our little heroine. Imogene's only friend is Sampson, the butler and five
years later the two find themselves down by the sea in the dark of night. Here the adventure
Imogene finds her way to a mysterious land under the sea, much like life on the surface but new
delightful. Here she learns why her Mother had to leave and why she too may never return to the
Canadian author Teresa Saari's vivid imagination brings the characters to life. The magical
under the sea reminds us of Atlantis. Older children will delight in sharing Imogene's adventures in
the Pacific Kingdom both happy and troublesome but always entertaining. Imogene of the Pacific
Kingdom is the winner of the Allbook Reviews Editor's Choice for 2004 in the Children's
Watch for other books in the series. Dager of the Tasman Empire to released late 2004. Available
Business Daffynitions: Humor from the Workplace
ISBN: 0964761858 $9.95 128 pages
Sandra Hosking, Reviewer
Happiness is seeing your boss's face on the side of a milk carton.
Stupidity is a pre-existing condition not covered by insurance.
Quips like these can be found in Business Daffynitions: Humor from the Workplace, a collection
workplace "definitions" by motivational speaker and author, Joe Heuer. Heuer has assembled
than 300 witticisms, puns, and one-liners lampooning cubicle culture from the mail room to the
floor to the boardroom.
Middle managers, for instance, are "people who are out of the loop, but stuck in the
Attention spam is "the time it takes to decide whether an e-mail is worth reading."
Many of the book's mock definitions are certainly worth posting on the cubicle wall or computer
Daffynitions seems to lack organization, however. The definitions aren't listed in any particular
order-alphabetical or grouped by category-making it difficult to find that chuckle-sparking
Although most of the definitions are tightly written, some are cluttered by language, making the
punch line hard to grasp immediately, which invariably ruins the joke. The definition of grumble,
example, is "what employees do both when they do and when they do not receive what's coming
them." And, I'm still wondering how Heuer's explanation of corporate policy connects: "Limping
along until the new system is in place ... ."
Still, Heuer shows his insightfulness with elucidations that are almost too true. That raise you got
last month is only "a monetary amount large enough to increase your taxes, yet small enough to
no effect on your take-home pay," Heuer writes.
Priced at a recommended $9.95, management may not start giving the book away in place of a
coffee mug; however, Daffynitions almost certainly will rise to "pass around" status.
If the book is not enough, Daffynition fans can visit Heuer's Web site at www.daffynitions.com
where they can sign up to receive a new jape each day via e-mail.
Heuer is the founder of JoeSpeaks!, a Wisconsin-based speaking, training, and consulting
He is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of a Regular Joe and The Idiot-Proof Guide to
No Ocean Deep
Yellow Rose Books
PMB 210, 8691 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, TX 77642-8025
ISBN: 1932300368; $18.95; 305 pages
No Ocean Deep is the much anticipated sequel to Cate Swannell's outstanding freshman novel,
Heart's Passage. As Cadie Jones gazes at her sleeping lover, Jo Madison, she thinks, "We have so
many loose ends to tidy up before life settles down for us" (p.5). Little does Cadie realize that the
previous six weeks, which she and Jo have shared, will pale in comparison to what lies ahead for
attractive couple. Set in the Australian tropics where Jo operates a pricey yacht-for-charter
the women soon find their path to happiness and a stable future will take them far from their
spectacularly idyllic Great Barrier Reef to the clamorous activity of Chicago, the home of Senator
Naomi Silverberg, Cadie's former lover, who does not take kindly to rejection. When Cadie
to unconditionally settle things with Naomi and Jo opts to reveal her lurid past to her estranged
family, the course of events far exceeds their wildest imaginings. The Senator from Illinois has had
difficult time in the political arena, and more significantly, her precariously tenuous hold on her
sanity has transformed her into an even more treacherous enemy. For Josie, it has been fifteen
since she left her family in Coonyabby. Secrets furtively kept too long, love twisted into
and horrifying violence ultimately coalesce to create for Jo and Cadie a perilous journey which
alter their lives forever.
Writing a successful sequel for a popular book can be a daunting task. However, Swannell has
managed to do so quite effectively. The beginning of the sequel provides just enough information
the reader which makes having had to have read the first book irrelevant. No Ocean Deep could
well be a stand-alone novel. For those who have read Heart's Passage, they will find the segue
between the books to be seamlessly credible. The opening scene has an easy natural flow to it that
immediately immerses the reader in the action. The main characters' personalities are rapidly
established, and quickly the reader finds Jo and Cadie to be a most congenial, amusing, and
committed couple, two women anyone would desire to know better. They are realistic, round,
three-dimensional characters, and the dialogue between these two women has that special quality
familiarity and intimacy. The playful give and take and the endearing repartee show the reader that
they are indeed intelligent, witty, and caring individuals who belong together.
There is a tranquil, comfortably languid sense to various portions of the book. Swannell manages
capture that laid-back tropical feeling in her setting. "The sun blazed out of a cloudless blue sky
the yacht bobbed gently on a calm jewel-green ocean" (p. 9). She is equally adept at creating a
picture of the Australian outback, "Its harsh lines and dry colors shimmered in the oppressive
(p. 89). The place descriptions along with the occasional Aussie slang envelope the reader; one
easily becomes part of Jo's and Cadie's environment. Swannell is equally adept at creating the tone
and atmosphere of Chicago. From the bureaucratic tedium of O'Hare airport to the congenial
of a taxi driver, the author creates a distinct departure from the first half of the novel.
There is no hidden symbolism here, no profound philosophical commentary. What is here is
good, old-fashioned, straightforward romantic storytelling. When Cadie and the Senator meet
the story assumes a much darker and more malevolent tone and mood. Masterful use of
foreshadowing enables the suspense to build incrementally, and then the reader is squarely in the
midst of this terrifying confrontation. Swannell has created one of lesbian fiction's more perverse
antagonists in the figure of Naomi Silverberg. For her, charming and rational are only a stone's
throw away from diabolical and psychotic. The good senator is indeed someone the reader loves
Swannell's secondary characters are first-rate additions to the storyline. Jo's father, David,
displays all of the emotional pain, ambivalence, and bewilderment of a parent whose child has
inexplicably disappeared and then has re-emerged after fifteen years of no contact. Conversely,
Maggie, Jo's more demonstrative mother, reacts as the reader would hope, "Don't you worry
that. If you're happy, that's all I care about" (p. 94).
No Ocean Deep is a genuine delight to read. It is capably written in a prose style which swiftly
carries the reader from page to page. The sexual scenes are sensual and satisfying, the action
are energetic and suspenseful, the characters are appealing and unpretentious, and the conflicts are
resolved in a satisfying and logical scheme. Cate Swannell's No Ocean Deep is unquestionably
reading. It is that type of novel that captivates the reader with its first few pages and maintains
focused interest throughout the totally compelling journey.
The Intersection of Law and Desire
P.O. Box 3671, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-3671
ISBN: 1932859012; $12.95; 357 pages
In 2004, a relatively new lesbian press, Bywater Books, has re-printed J. M. Redmann's
award-winning novel, The Intersection of Law and Desire, the third installment of the four-book
Micky Knight series. The intervening ten years have neither diminished the emotional power of
book nor rendered it a literary anachronism in any way. Redmann has created a complex and
multifaceted female private investigator unlike others found in this genre. At times brash, aloof,
morose, Micky Knight is a reflection of the Louisiana bayou where she was raised and the seamy
underbelly of the New Orleans which provides her often distasteful livelihood. Quietly vulnerable
ruthlessly straightforward, Micky is an intricate woman whose personal demons color her every
professional action and personal interaction. Through Redmann's carefully constructed
of every nuance of her main character, she has created a woman about whom the reader cannot
remain ambivalent. Micky is no superhero, no Wonder Woman. What she is is a woman beset
petty foibles, exaggerated perceptions, and often sardonically cynical and contemptuous words.
However, despite this seemingly callous fa‡ade, the reader discovers a worthy, valiant, and ethical
woman whose perspective on life is quite simple. When told to let the law deal with an egregious
adversary, Micky responds, "The law? I want justice" (p. 355). This simple statement serves as
thematic underpinning for Redmann's story and proclaims one of the few certainties in the
Micky is working two cases, one involving the young daughter of a friend and the other the
discontented relative of her lover, Dr. Cordelia James. As she delves deeper into what initially
appear to be disparate circumstances, Micky soon discovers that prostitution, drugs,
and an exclusive private club's clientele are all intertwined. Events will spiral beyond her control,
her increasingly tenuous relationship, and cause her to finally verbalize and examine her early
childhood experiences from a new perspective.
Redmann has crafted a multi-layered narrative with outstanding prose. The word choice is rich
evocative of the New Orleans setting. Following a lead, Micky drives through a rough section of
town to locate a bar. "Heart of Desire sat on one corner, a tawdry whore of a bar" (p. 137). The
dialogue is extremely well written, often times poignant, witty, and figurative. To enhance the
characterization the author frequently has Micky reflect her world-weary attitude through a
or self-deprecating comment. Micky is the quintessential hard-boiled private eye doing all the
good detectives do. Yet, when she ventures beyond the scope of her profession, the reader
recognizes an emotionally crippled woman, who at best, is reaching for a lifeline with one hand
cutting it with the other. Redmann has created a profoundly memorable character with whom the
reader genuinely empathizes. Despite her trenchant flaws and human failings, Micky
attempts to put things right, to replace chaos with some degree of order, to save those she can, if
Redmann's stylish depiction of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances has and will
to withstand the test of time. The Micky Knight novels are intricately developed with meticulously
drawn characterizations and thoroughly satisfying action scenes. Micky's casual sexual encounters
the novel serve the reader more to illustrate her inadequacies rather than to titillate. Her intimate
scenes with Cornelia display a range of emotions: tenderness, obligation, humor, and anguish.
and Cornelia are in so many ways complete opposites. Yet, each woman recognizes in the other
essential component each needs to give her life purpose and a measure of joy.
Redmann's use of the first person point of view is a fairly common device used in detective fiction,
but to write the story in any other would certainly detract from the immediacy the reader feels
the protagonist. Micky does have tunnel vision when it comes to certain things in her life, but
through this storytelling device, the reader has a better understanding of her motivation, her
rationale for acting the way she does, even when it is detrimental to her or those around her. The
tone of the story is clearly established through the first person voice. It strips away the layers of
pretense, excess, and perplexity in a way that enables the reader to experience a visceral rather
a passive response. Redmann's superlative pacing keeps the action-oriented scenes swiftly moving
along with twists and turns that are deftly developed. There is a kind of film noir quality to Micky
and her world of crime, deception, and banal immorality. At the same time, Redmann explores
intrinsic qualities like loyalty and compassion that many aspire to yet few achieve. And, it is all
through the steamy haze of the Big Easy and the enigmatic bayou.
The Intersection of Law and Desire is further confirmation that J. M. Redmann is an author of
detective novels which transcend the typical format. Her distinctly literary style sets Redmann
from the others. She has created a memorable persona in the anti-heroine Micky Knight. This is a
character who resonantly affects the reader through Micky's arduous struggles to seek both
redemption and affirmation. If you are searching for that detective story with depth, style, and
quality writing, this novel will not disappoint you. Having read and immensely appreciated all four
books in the Knight series, this reviewer hopes that there will indeed be a fifth installment.
Imperfect Past: Book Three of the Boston Friends' Series
Yellow Rose Books
PMB 210, 8691 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, TX 77642-8025
ISBN: 1932300341; $16.95; 197 pages
Imperfect Past is the third installment of Jessica Casavant's Boston Friends' Series. Jamie
Boston PD detective, and her partner Alex Ryan are investigating the murder of an eight year-old
girl. This heinous crime has affected Jamie far more than most cases, and it's beginning to take its
emotional toll. Her already vulnerable condition is further exacerbated by an additional case, the
murder in a posh downtown hotel of Chief Justice Reynolds, a man whose identity Jamie would
rather not delve into for a variety of personal reasons. Complicate this situation even more when
Jamie discovers that her partner in a casual one-night stand during the night of the murder, Shane
Scott, is now a prime suspect! By withholding evidence and committing various sins of omission,
Jamie attempts to solve these cases on her own. As the events intensify, Jamie Saunders' actions
threaten her relationships, jeopardize her job with the police department, and plunge her
to an unprecedented low. Willing to neither examine her troubling past nor ponder her uncertain
future, Detective Saunders seems to be descending into a morass from which she sees no
One of the advantages of the Casavant Boston Friends' series of books is that the main characters
skillfully float in and out of the plotlines in each novel so that the reader can enjoy them in no
particular order. The close circle of friends presents alternating main characters for each story.
woman has her moment while the others provide supporting details. This enables the author to
explore through her continuing narrative the many plot possibilities for each character.
Casavant's writing style is forthright with the emphasis upon dialogue. As the characters speak to
one another, one has the sense that she is listening to authentic conversation. The tone used,
especially that of Jamie, deftly conveys the conundrum that this woman believes has enveloped
Even incidental speeches in their frank and concise manner serve to move the story along at a
tempo. Credible dialogue augments not only the characters but the actions of those characters.
When Jamie asks Shane a question and is promptly told to "Go to hell," Jamie responds, "Thanks
anyway. I've been there since I first laid eyes on you" (p. 52).
The author has created conflict on several levels throughout her storytelling, and the unexpected
twists and turns experienced by the characters immerse the reader in a web of deceit so absorbing
that one logically discovers along with the detectives just where the pieces fall into the puzzle. Far
too many books solve their mysteries without a hint of credible or legitimate foreshadowing, and
inevitably will cause the reader to feel somehow deceived. Casavant writes a plausible and
The sexual encounters are tastefully explicit. One can sense the uncertainty, ambivalence,
and confusion when Jamie interacts with her partners. The irony of a brief, emotionally
dalliance's affecting the course of so many lives is skillfully written, from the clever barroom pick
to the reaction of Alex to Jamie's involvement. There is a commendable balance of romance and
mystery here which is attributable to Casavant's understanding of pacing.
Imperfect Past is well worth the investment of time for the reader. It is a tightly written novel with
interesting plot devices, likable characters, and pleasing Boston and its environs setting. This is a
worthy addition to Casavant's series. Having read all three installments, with Twist of Fate (Book
One) still my favorite segment, I look forward to the release of the fourth novel in the series.
A Guarded Heart
Yellow Rose Books
PMB 210, 8691 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, TX 77642-8025
ISBN: 1932300376; $16.95; 194 pages
Jennifer Fulton's fourth and thoroughly enjoyable entry in her Moon Island Series is entitled A
Guarded Heart. Lauren Douglas, a closeted lesbian, plays the starring role in the hit daytime soap
opera, Dr. Kate. The twenty-eight year-old actress is also the daughter of a powerful politician,
Congressman Wendall Douglas III. When Lauren is publicly outed by a spurned unfaithful former
lover, her acting career and the public reputation of her father are placed at risk. Making this
awkward situation even more troublesome is a devoted fan of Dr. Kate, a fanatical young man
feels personally betrayed by the revelation of Lauren's sexual identity. So offended is he that he
tracks Lauren to a parking garage, and there, after an irrational rant, he shoots her and flees the
scene. While the gunman is still at large, Congressman Douglas decides to take no further chances
with his daughter's safety. He hires a female bodyguard, FBI Special Agent Pat Rousell, who is
currently on leave from a harrowing serial murder case, and dispatches them to a remote island in
the South Pacific, called Moon Island, where they will remain until the gunman is apprehended.
Lauren and Pat could not be any more dissimilar, but they must now forge some kind of tenable
relationship for the duration of Lauren's exile. These two captivating and competent women will
now face challenges which will forever change their lives.
Jennifer Fulton begins her novel with an amusing scene on the set of Dr. Kate. "Lauren ripped off
her mask and gloves and tossed them on the operating floor. 'Am I removing a kidney or a leg?'
1) The strong opening immediately engages the reader and creates that essential appeal for
continuing reading. In many instances, if an author has not hooked the audience in those first few
pages or even by the end of chapter one, the magic is not going to occur. Fulton manages to
this with humor and an unconventional setting. The storyline flows effortlessly; one scene segues
consistently into the next. This thorough development of plot is enhanced by the author's skill in
blending the narrative portion with the dialogue. Tension and conflict are created and sustained
a tightly controlled technique, suspense is gradually intensified, and the resolutions for the various
conflicts are presented in credible prose, realistic dialogue, and viable action scenes. Fulton
executes that primary requisite of successful writing, the suspension of disbelief.
Lauren and Pat are two engaging women; they are protagonists with whom the reader can
empathize and connect. They are tenacious, capable, assertive women who have both experienced
painful past relationships. Pat comes equipped with the necessary FBI fire power, but more
importantly and detrimentally, with emotional barriers she has developed over a lifetime. On the
other hand, Lauren, despite her bravado and immaturity, is a woman who desperately wants to
the path that will enable her to feel that she has a contribution to make beyond her television role.
She possesses the wherewithal to make that difference, if she only knew what it was she wanted
do with her life. These two women would seem to be an odd couple, but their passionate
reveal something beneath the surface for both of them. As the action escalates toward the climax,
the dangers become more blatant and the shared misinterpretations and preconceptions of intent
become more perplexing. It has become increasingly more obvious that Lauren and Pat each must
make crucial life-altering decisions and each must live with the consequences and possible
A Guarded Heart is a story with several themes, and it is a novel which can be interpreted on
levels. However, it is, first and foremost, an excellent example of the romance genre. Substantial
realistic characters with problematic situations create an intense and dramatic story. Fluid and
believable dialogue strengthens the development of the characterization. Obstacles, both tangible
intangible, provide the necessary impetus for the characters to change, grow, and hopefully
As important as the setting is in a novel, it isn't the lush tropical paradise surrounding Lauren and
Pat that enthralls and satisfies the reader. It is the wondrous metamorphosis each woman
experiences which this reader found often poignant and heartbreaking, but more importantly,
emphatically and profoundly reaffirming.
Sudden Loss of Serenity
PO Box 27, Norwich, VT 05055
ISBN: 189228121X; $12.95; 191 pages
Dr. Claire Winston, a college professor, awakens to a day unlike any other. There has been a
violent murder of a woman; ironically, the body has been discovered in the local cemetery. Claire's
best friend and neighbor, Marlene Lundstrom, fails to keep an early morning appointment with
Then, to make matters even more appalling, she discovers that her teenage daughter, Serenity, is
missing. Soon, Claire realizes that the deceased is Marlene, and there appears to be a connection
between her dear friend's demise and her absent child. Unbeknownst to Claire, apparently both
Marlene and Serenity were involved in a Buddhist group, led by a monk called Sonam, practicing
Chod, the ancient ritual of releasing demons. Events slowly unfold, shocking revelations surface,
the most personal of secrets are revealed, but Serenity has yet to be found. Claire Winston will
discover how little she knew about the two people closest to her, and she will finally be forced to
deal with some personal issues of her own.
Jacqueline Wallen's first novel is a commendable effort. It has an original mystery premise, an
of intriguing characters, elements of suspense, more than a few red herrings, and a realistic
denouement between mother and child. The Buddhist slant and its impact for some of the main
characters are also a refreshing departure from the more common and formulaic mystery plots.
Wallen's writing style moves the storyline along at a swift pace. The first few chapters engage the
reader by not revealing too hastily the important plot elements. Although some may question the
plausibility of the resolution to the crime and this reader might have made an adjustment or two,
is such a minor point that it fails to detract from the overall quality of story.
Sudden Loss of Serenity has several memorable characters, people who are distinctly original and
well-crafted. Claire plays well as the distraught and confused protagonist whose witty retorts
to deflect her true feelings. Sharon Goldstein, the police detective in charge of the investigation, is
low key, sardonic at times, and thoroughly enjoyable. Harry, the distraught widower, plays the
suffering and betrayed husband with enough anger and stupidity to make one experience his
situation. Wallen also captures the essence of speaking to teenage girls when she attempts to get
some answers from one of Serenity's friends. "Prying information out of Allison was like opening
one of those heavy duty shrink-wrappers, she seemed hermetically sealed" (p. 18). The dialogue is
right on the mark. The reader feels she is actually standing nearby listening to these typical
exchanges of teenage ambiguity and equivocation.
The interaction among characters drives the plot much more than the actual crime. This diverse
group of characters sustains the interest of the reader, and as one becomes more familiar with
one realizes that this development of personalities is the central focus of the story. Complex
situations and relationships make for excellent narrative material, and Wallen manages quite
to deliver both.
Sudden Loss of Serenity is a quirky, amusing, fiction delight. This first person narrative is an
enjoyable way to spend a few hours with the citizens of the sleepy little village of Hector's Mill.
conclusion certainly provides a graceful and logical segue to into a sequel. This reader would very
much like to continue getting to know Dr. Winston.
The Trouble Boy
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
ISBN: 0758206178; $14.00; 262 pages
Toby Griffin is a twenty-two year-old Yale graduate with a degree in film studies. However, he is
the first one to admit that instead of finding " .the promised light and truth to those who passed
through its portals," "What I found instead was beer and boys" (p. 3). His parents have given him
ultimatum of one year in which to prove himself in screenwriting, or he must return home to San
Francisco and work in his father's biotech business. At the same time Toby is desperately trying to
achieve his fortune and fame, he is desperate to find the love of his life. At a party, Toby meets
Jaime Weissman, a gay banker, and is introduced to his circle of friends. Jamie tells Toby about a
opening as an online nightlife editor. To say that Toby throws himself body and soul into this new
assignment would be the grossest of understatements. Toby believes that plunging into this
enthralling scene, replete with all the alcohol, sex, and drugs he could possibly desire, is his free
ticket to breaking into the movie business. As he begins to live the New York City life he has
fantasized, he finds that obtaining one's dream may come with a few strings attached. The
he makes could alter the course of not only his superficial life but also the complicated lives of
he knows. The path to some semblance of maturity, self-acceptance, and realistic expectations is a
convoluted one for this young man. Toby's life spirals towards the actualization of the old clich‚,
careful what you wish for.
Tom Dolby has managed to capture the Manhattan scene and the pretentious quest for success at
costs through his often acerbic and witty depiction of Toby, a sort of Everyboy here. His vivid,
convincing, and provocative account of Toby's character flaws, and there are many, is symbolic of
all those eager young gay boys who traipse to the Big Apple to grasp the brass ring, which in the
end, is nothing more than a quest not to wind up alone and forgotten.
Dolby has created in Toby a memorable young man for whom the reader can feel some degree of
empathy. Herein is a shallow, narcissistic, naive, and at times, pathetic individual. Yet through
Dolby's forthright and droll style of writing, the reader still finds Toby a likable person. Despite
questionable and at times self-serving actions, Toby is a protagonist the reader hopes will
all adversaries, especially himself.
The Trouble Boy is a much more than a promising freshman novel. Fast pacing, clever dialogue,
amusing and engaging characters, and a real understanding about which he writes make this book
pleasurable way to spend a few hours. This world of twenty- something gay men clambering to
their places in the economic as well as the social scheme of things is a quest that the reader will
soon forget. Tom Dolby has indeed laid the groundwork for an entertaining sequel.
The Long Ride
Don Regier & Karen Pritchett
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
0825435773 $12.99 1-800-733-2607
Expertly written by Don Regier and deftly illustrated by Karen Pritchett, The Long Ride is
two stories in one "flip it over" book. One one side it's the story of a child's search for his family
when they get separated in a large Chinese city. Flip it over and it's the story of the family's search
for their missing young one! The alagorical message is one of adoption and the family of God.
Bright, detailed color illustrations bring the hustle and bustle of a busy city to life, in this
two-part tale recommended for young readers age 5 and up.
The Coat Of Many Colors
Jenny Koralek & Pauline Baynes
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
255 Jefferson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503
0802852777 $16.00 1-800-253-7521 www.eerdmans.com/youngreaders
Elegantly illustrated by the artwork of Pauline Baynes, The Coat Of Many Colors by Jenny
is a picturebook retelling the Biblical story of Joseph. When his ten brothers became jealous of his
coat of many colors, they decided to teach him a lesson. Joseph was sold into slavery - yet his
astounding gift to interpret dreams would come to the pharaoh's attention, and Joseph taught him
how to protect the land from the threat of famine. One day Joseph and his brothers would meet
again, with repentance filling the brothers' hearts, all of them far wiser than they once were so
years ago. A powerful and timeless legend.
The Legend Of The Sand Dollar
Chris Auer & Rick Johnson
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
0310707803 $15.99 www.zonderkidz.com
Illustrated with a superb elegance of grace and form by Rick Johnson, The Legend Of The Sand
Dollar: An Inspirational Story Of Hope For Easter by Chris Auer is the story of an eight-year-old
girl who learns the story of Easter in the sand dollar. The five holes in the sand dollar shell (only
dead sand dollars wash up on beaches, and live sand dollars shouldn't be collected, the author
in the very back of the book) symbolize the nails and the spear that pierced Jesus Christ, who died
for humanity's sins. And when the sand dollar is broken, there appear five white particles
representing doves and their promise of new life - the promise of Easter. A tender and
story of renewal.
A Hat For Ivan
Max Lucado & David Wenzel
1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
1581344147 $15.99 1-800-323-3890
Max Lucado's books for readers of all ages have made him one of the most popular writers of
for a Christian readership. Engagingly illustrated by David Wenzel, Lucado's A Hat For Ivan is an
original picturebook story that wonderfully captures a very special truth -- everyone was made by
God for a special purpose. This is the story of the hatmaker's son, who sees his father create the
perfect hat for each person. But when Ivan is worried about his future, he tries on all sorts of hats
musician, baker, firefighter - and none of them seem to fit! The feel heavy and ridiculous, and
him feel tired. At the end of the day, his father offers him some choice words of wisdom; there
be a hat - and a life - meant just for him, based on what he most likes to do. Highly
This Old Souse: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery
HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
ISBN 0380978695; $23.95
Writers are often told, "Write what you know." Apparently, Mary Daheim really took it to
heart. Not only does she base many of the characters in her books on family members
(who don't seem to mind), her mysteries are all set in Washington, her home state, with
the Emma Lord series set in Alpine (the Washington mill town Daheim's family lived in
before she was born) and the Bed-and-Breakfast series, starring owner/operator Judith
Flynn and her cousin Renie, set in Daheim's hometown of Seattle.
Seattle isn't just Daheim's hometown, either; she still lives in Seattle, and its scenery, its
weather, its way of life permeate each of her mysteries. Check out the following
paragraphs (both taken from This Old Souse, her latest B&B title) and see what I mean:
"Just three days away from the start of summer, the spring shrubs, trees, and bulbs had faded
The grass was green, the leaves were glossy, and some of the roses were in full bloom. But the
was overcast, the temperature lingered in the midfifties, and there was a 40 percent chance of rain.
was, Judith knew, a typical June day in the Pacific Northwest. [pg. 2]"
"The sun, which had sneaked a peek at the city earlier in the morning, had now gone behind dark
clouds. Renie, however, kept her sunglasses on. Not only did she have a chronic eye problem, she
was a typical Northwest resident who insisted she was so unused to the sun that its irregular
appearances bothered her eyes. Judith never argued [with her]. They lived in a city that bought
sunglasses per capita than any other place in the United States. Renie referred to the locals -
especially the natives - as Mole People. [pg. 89]"
See? Pure Seattle!
In This Old Souse, Daheim's twentieth B&B book, Judith and Renie have their hands full with
husbands (ex-cop Joe and retired psychologist and consultant Bill), cantankerous elderly moms
(Gertrude and Deborah), the B&B's religious zealot maid (Phyliss) and psychotic cat, demanding
careers, and goings-on at their church, Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Despite it all, though, they
to have time to get into lots of trouble. This time, at least, it's Renie's fault.
Ever since she lived in the neighborhood as a child, Renie's been obsessed with the
family that lived in the rundown (and apparently deserted) manse on nearby Moonfleet
Street. Who lives there? Why does no one ever seem to come in or out? What's with the
kids' toys in the front yard, the regular food orders that don't look big enough to feed a
whole family, and the annual package delivered UPS from Austria? Knowing Judith is
temporarily at loose ends with Joe out of town for a few days, Renie talks her cousin into
snooping around behind the scenes.
When Judith agrees, she discovers a dead body in her car's trunk. It's not the first body
she's found, either. In fact, she has such a reputation with Joe's former colleagues that
when she calls 9-1-1 to report a dead body, the dispatcher sighs and says, "Is that you,
Mrs. Flynn?" This time, though, she knows the identity of the victim, and the responding
officers not only don't know her or Joe - they think she is the killer! And when it
becomes obvious that the Blands (who own the house) can't or won't help and the cops
aren't inclined to look any further for the real killer, it's up to Judith and Renie to figure
out who really did it. Now, the question is, can they do it before one of them becomes the
I really enjoy Daheim's B&B books, which combine two of my loves: mysteries and
B&B's. True, This Old Souse was a bit sparse on scenes in Hillside Manor itself, but it
made up for it with a lot of Seattle atmosphere. I'd love to go to Seattle in person some
day, but despite standing invitations from friends who live there, I haven't been able to
afford it yet. Until then, my visits will take place between the covers of a book, and
Daheim's fill the bill nicely.
Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival
illustrations by Jim Grant
Epicenter Press Inc.
Box 82368, Kenmore, WA 98028
ISBN 0972494499; $17.95.
Alaskan author Velma Wallis was born in Fort Yukon, about 140 miles northeast of
Fairbanks, where she grew up in a traditional Athabaskan Indian family, surrounded by
twelve siblings. When she was thirteen, her father died, and she dropped out of school to
help her mother raise the younger children.
When they no longer needed her, Wallis took (and passed) her high school equivalency
exam and moved to an isolated cabin twelve miles away. There, she trapped, fished, and
hunted to survive. She filled the quiet inside of her with the stories she'd been told as a
girl. And she read everything she could get her hands on and dreamed of someday
becoming a writer herself. She was there twelve years.
When she finally did write down a traditional story she'd been raised on, no traditional
publisher wanted it. In the Editor's Afterword, editor Lael Morgan says, "Wallis was an
unknown with no powerful Native backers. She was also female, and the decision-makers
were male. [And although] all agreed that Wallis was a promising young writer, [no one
would publish her book.]"
Why? Fear of public opinion. Famine among the Athabaskans was a touchy subject, and
Wallis's portrayal of it in Two Old Women was too gritty, too realistic. Too cruel. "It
makes Athabaskan people look bad," one Native leader told Morgan. "If you publish it,
you will make Athabaskan people look bad." Despite tribal opinion, Morgan believed
Wallis's book was too important to ignore. She kept trying to get it to market and she
finally succeeded in 1993. Two Old Women was published, and Wallis's dream of
becoming a writer finally came true.
Two Old Women tells the story of two elderly Athabaskans, Ch'idzigyaak (aged eighty
summers) and Sa' (aged seventy-five summers), who are no longer able to provide for
themselves. Instead, they spend their days hobbling around with walking sticks
complaining and wistfully describing how much better things used to be, while being
cared for by younger tribe members.
Then famine comes. As the tribe begins to starve, they no longer have the luxury of
feeding those who cannot provide anything to the tribe in return. Therefore, Ch'idzigyaak
and Sa' are wrapped in blankets and left behind in the snow with their meager
possessions. Even Ch'idzigyaak's daughter and grandson acquiesce, for they fear the
desperation and anger of the hungry tribe.
Ch'idzigyaak and Sa' are devastated. Are they truly no longer valuable to the tribe?
Unworthy to be cared for? It is winter! They have no food, and no weapons except for the
hatchet Ch'idzigyaak's grandson secretly left for them. Perhaps they should just lie down
in the snow and go to sleep, never to wake again. It's a quiet, painless way to go. But then
Sa' says, "They think we are too old and useless. They forget that we, too, have earned
the right to live! So I say if we are going to die, my friend, let us die trying, not sitting."
And as they struggle on, they prove to themselves and their loved ones that age and
infirmities don't have to mean having nothing left to give.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, by Martha Bolton: "There is nothing sadder
than an unfulfilled life. Someone who is well past the halfway point of life, convinced
that they missed out on their true calling. Dreams don't come with expiration dates. Take
advantage of the years that lie ahead of you and do what you were created to do, whatever
that happens to be. Whether it is in education, politics, science, medicine, arts, or any
other field, the world needs what you still have to offer."
Wallis believed the world needed what she had to offer, and like Ch'idzigyaak and Sa',
she never gave up. Since 1993, she's become a best-selling author, with several more
books and a tenth anniversary edition of Two Old Women to her credit. I'm sure she has
more books in her and I hope we get to see them all. However, for those of us facing the
second half of our lives, the most important words she ever writes may be these: Let us
die trying, not sitting.
Carol & Graf Publishers
245 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011
ISBN 0786713909 $25.00 325 pages
This was by far one of the coolest books I've read. A lot of adventure, mixed with a little romance
and much emotion, Buzz Riff (Carroll & Graf Publishers) is the second novel by author Sam
Set in the deep-south, Buzz Riff is a wild story about Top Kiernan, a former employer of Shaw's
Mercantile Marine, who was let go because his adrenaline addiction was getting in the way of his
duties. But if that wasn't enough, Top is now faced with even bigger problems. The research firm
that he now owns is about to go belly up thanks to his former office manager/scorned ex-lover,
has stolen half of his clients and the majority of his money. Six months behind on his mortgage,
decides to take on a job that includes having to recover a stolen confederate flag in hopes of
part of the money needed to avoid foreclosure. But the job is not as easy as Top has anticipated
he finds himself caught in a tangled web that consist of several determined Civil War Memorabilia
collectors, the KKK, redneck bikers, ATF agents, and a right-wing religious organization. If you
a mature reader looking for a novel with non-stop adventure and features very cool characters
sometimes live over the top, then you need to pick up a copy of Buzz Riff and start reading it
Sam Hill is also the author of Buzz Monkey, his first novel and several nonfiction books. His
has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fortune and the Harvard
Review. He lives just outside of Chicago.
Dying in the Dark
Valerie Wilson Wesley
One World Book/Ballantine Books
New York, N.Y.
ISBN 0345468066 $22.95 222 pages
Dying in the Dark is the latest in a series of Tamara Hayle Mysteries by author Valerie Wilson
Wesley. If you are a fan of Wesley and her private investigator character, Tamara Hayle, then we
both have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of her newest novel.
This time around Tamara has been hired to find the killer of her used-to-be-best friend, Celia
who has been in contact with Tamara through her dreams, begging for help. But as Tamara gets
closer to the truth she discovers a little more than she bargained for. In addition to Celia having
several lovers who held lethal grudges, Tamara also stumbles across some ugly secrets that some
people would literary kill to keep them from getting out. But going against her better judgment,
Tamara continues to push forward with her investigation. As always, Wesley does a fantastic job
intertwining information from her previous novels into her latest story. Walking away with a
of familiarity, Wesley keeps the reader well connected to Tamara, thus giving the impression that
is a part of our lives. Tamara could be your sister, mother or even a best friend. Her character
continues to be very believable which makes this novel easy to relate to. The rhythm of Wesley's
writing style was slow in the beginning, but as you continued through the novel, the nonstop
appears to pick up the speed and it quick becomes difficult to put down. Dying in the Dark is
another great piece of work that should be well received by both young adults and mature
Valerie Wilson Wesley is the Blackboard best-selling author of six Tamara Hayle mysteries. She is
also the author of Always True to You in My Fashion and Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do. A
former executive editor at Essence magazine, she lives in New Jersey. For additional information
the author please visit www.tamarahayle.com.
St. Martin Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010
ISBN 0312332688 $19.95 247 pages
Rarely has it been that I have read such a powerful novel that has the capabilities to transcend
generations, but Upstate (St. Martin's Press) by Kalisha Buckhanon does just that. A beautiful
about love, lose and lessons learned is told through the eyes of Natasha and Antonio, two inner
Based on written correspondence between the two main characters, Natasha a high school student
and her sweetheart Antonio, who is serving time in prison, Upstate is a moving work of art that
be appreciated by all readers. Buckhanon impresses us with her usage of language and creativity
while giving the reader a glimpse into the lives of these urban teens as they transition from
adolescence into adulthood. A modern Romeo and Juliet, Upstate offers a fresh and honest
perspective on young love in 2005.
Kalisha Buckhanon is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the NAACP, Illinois Arts
Illinois Young Authors Commission and the Chicago Black Writers Conference. She holds an
in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English language and literature from
University of Chicago. She currently lives in New York. For more information on this author visit
The Lives of Danielle Steel
Vickie L. Bane and Lorenzo Benet
St. Martins Press
Fans of Danielle Steel, best-selling writer, might be surprised by the diminutive author's real
Bane and Benet chronicle Steel's life in the unauthorized biography that runs from Steel's
self-proclaimed unhappy childhood to the early nineties.
In the book, the authors site parallels between Steel's life and her fiction that many of her readers
may not know exists. Quoting a number of Steel's friends, her former husbands and in-laws, Bane
and Genet tell about Steels first marriage to a wealthy banker, her second marriage to a convicted
rapist, then to a recovering heroin addict who couldn't stay clean.
Throughout the second and third ill-fated relationships, Steel was writing for Dell, and her books
were gaining recognition. Those first books dealt with prisons, addictions, pregnancies, and the
of kidnapping, things the author was living at the time.
Steel had two children when she married John Traina, Jr., her fourth husband. He also had two
Steel quickly became pregnant. Despite a history of miscarriages, she became the mother of nine
including her two foster sons.
Bane and Benet write a most informative book with backgrounds on not just Steel but many of
people in "The lives of Danielle Steel."
A New Moon for Emily
Will 27-year-old Emily McAllen ever break away from her father's dominance? Will she be able to
shuck her staid librarian demeanor and live her own life?
Emily longs to quit her job at the library and move to St. John's Island and live with her
grandmother, but before she has a chance to test her own strength, her grandmother dies. When
will is read, Emily is shocked to learn her grandmother left almost everything to her, including the
home on St. John's Island, Nova Scotia.
None of the relatives are pleased, including Emily's father, but especially her Aunt Sylvia, who
demands the house be turned over to her.
As the book unfolds and Emily goes from Indiana to the island, more questions arise. Will Emily's
Aunt Sylvia be able to contest her mother's will and get the house away from Emily? Will Emily
able to make a go of the bed and breakfast she plans for the house, or is she incabable of handling
her own finances, as her father warns?
More complications set in as three men enter Emily's life on St. John's Island. One is attorney
St. John, who read the will that gave the house to Emily. He he is quick to make a move on
He also handles Emily's legal work as Aunt Sylvia tries to take the house.
Mike Yorke, who runs the ferry between the mainland and St. John's Island is another man
interested in Emily, and so is Jared Adams, an accomplished handyman and lobster trapper. Both
friends from when Emily visited her Gram each summer, and both are on hand to help her and ask
In the first chapters of the book, the reader meets many different characters, from family members
island dwellers, but the author introduces the character in a way that doesn't leave the reader
scratching her head wondering who this is and how he or she fits into the story. Each character
his or her place in the framework of Emily's new life and each has a distinct personality.
Staadt takes Emily and the reader through a detailed account of the first days of Emily's life on the
island from the remodling of the old house to going on a lobster run, to what is served for
Ann Staadt lives in Fort Wayne and travels with her husband, Richard. A trip to Nova Scotia,
she saw a rose-colored Victorian house, inspired Emily's story.
A second book, Claire in Love, is soon to be released. It continues the story of St. John's
The Trouble Boy
Kensington Publishing Corp.
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
ISBN: 0758206178 US $14.00 Canada $20.00
Tom Dolby has accurately captured the essence of what makes twenty-something preppy gay men
on the Upper East Side of Manhattan tick in his refreshing and honest novel The Trouble Boy. A
native of San Francisco, Toby Griffin is a privileged Yale graduate who majored in film studies.
Toby confides, "After a sexless four years at boarding school, I was ready to sleep with every
available gay undergrad in the tristate area." [p. 3] Having had his fill of meaningless one-night
stands he is more mature now at twenty-two, and is looking for the one guy that he can spend the
rest of his life with. He moves to the Big Apple with dreams of fame, fortune, and a long-term
relationship. His accomplished wealthy parents - his mother is a famous fashion designer and his
father made his fortune at a firm specializing in biotechnology - have given him one year to prove
himself in NYC, if not he has to go back home and work in his father's business. Talk about
pressure Toby's parents succeeded in their careers while still in their twenties and expect no less
from their progeny.
The Trouble Boy begins with Toby meeting Jamie Weissman who introduces him to the guys who
become his friends in Manhattan. A Princeton graduate, Jamie is an investment banker, hardly the
type of guy Toby would assume was gay. Jamie introduces himself to Toby at the type of party
" where people don't talk to anyone they don't know already." [p. 1]. Jamie tells Toby about a job
opening for a freelance writer at a web site called CityStyle.com. Toby becomes their nightlife
and reviews nightclubs and interviews rent boys. The job has its perks including many
for sex, drugs, and alcohol. Even after landing a job, Toby never loses sight of his dream to
a famous screenwriter despite his parents' desire for him to get a "real job" and have a respectable
career. Toby is determined to succeed and when one job ends, he lands a more lucrative position
the personal assistant to an unscrupulous film magnate, Cameron Cole. Toby feels taking the job
could be just the contact he needs to break into the movie business.
While Jamie lusts after Toby, Toby lusts after a series of boys, from a co-worker Donovon, to a
whole cast of characters including Subway Boy, Loft Boy, Army Guy, and others. The fantasies
domestic bliss Toby conjures up as he sees a potential mate, is an endearing quality of the
ever-hopeful young man. The reader hopes Toby can find true love, but first he has to get his life
together and clean up his act. Will he succeed in business and in love?
When I wasn't laughing out loud, I was grinning from ear to ear at Dolby's wit, humor, and
Even in the face of inner turmoil and catastrophic events, Toby maintains his sense of humor
gets him through sticky situations. Toby is portrayed warts and all, or more accurately, pimples
all. He is not always a very nice person, but he is likeable even though the reader can't help but
notice his shallow, egotistical, juvenile side. Toby makes mistakes but at least he has a conscience
making him all the more human and believable. Hopefully, Toby can be saved from being the
Trouble Boy and from making poor choices.
Dolby intimately tells Toby's story in the first person, except when he switches to the third person
chapter three as Toby has a flashback of his freshman year at college. What at first seemed jarring
proved to be a well thought out tactic that emphasizes Toby's feelings that "it happened to
person, another Toby Griffin." [p. 40]. Who hasn't felt, or wished, that certain life events had
happened to someone else?
With the gay Mecca Upper East Side of Manhattan lingo perfected in Tom Dolby's debut novel,
Trouble Boy, it's hard to imagine not being there along with the characters. Vivid descriptions,
catchy phrases, irresistible jargon all add to the charm of this fast-paced gay boy romp. The
Boy is reminiscent of William J. Mann's The Men from the Boys in that Toby is like so many gay
boys - he's desperate not to end up living alone. He goes from one anonymous sexual encounter
another searching for love and a permanent relationship, most of the time for the wrong reasons
in the wrong places. Dolby's insightful observations are wonderful. One example is when Toby
admits, "Unlike those who had discovered a loss of libido on antidepressants, my libido was as
strong as ever, which made the situation worse. I felt like an injured athlete who could only cheer
team on from the sidelines." [p. 37]. The metaphor was great as Toby describes the sexual side
effects of Paxil.
While The Trouble Boy is classified as gay fiction, straight readers will be able to relate to Toby's
dreams and aspirations quite well. This fun but troubling journey into the gay world should not be
bound by genre. The Trouble Boy is engrossing, believable, and funny. The dialogue rings true,
the pace is quick. It could easily be turned into a screenplay and major motion picture. I give The
Trouble Boy five stars and look forward to the sequel.
Under the Gun
Lori L. Lake
Renaissance Alliance Publishing, Inc.
PMB 238, 8691 9th Ave., Port Arthur, Texas 77642-8025
ISBN 1930928440 $22.95 490 pages
In the second gripping police drama in Lori L. Lake's Gun series, Under the Gun delightfully picks
up where Gun Shy left off and sets the stage for the third novel, Have Gun We'll Travel. Once you
make the acquaintance of the beautiful, big, strong, yet vulnerable Officer Desiree [Dez] Reilly
her partner and lover Rookie Officer Jaylynn [Jay] Savage you won't be able to get enough of this
dynamic duo. The two cops are as different as night and day in looks and personality. Always the
macho cop, Dez, affectionately referred to as "tall, dark, and dangerous," maintains a tough
impenetrable shell and demeanor to hide her fears. "[Jaylynn] liked the fact that there was a
defensive fortress around her taciturn partner, but that the tall cop had let her find the few chinks
the armor so that she had free access to come and go as she pleased." [p. 378] Dez bottles up her
emotions until the pressure becomes so great that an explosion is inevitable, while Jay is not
embarrassed or afraid to show her emotions. "It occurred to [Dez] that one major thing she liked
about Jaylynn was how alive she was. She took on life with zest, whether she was investigating a
crime, talking on the phone, eating something tasty, making love, or crying at a sad movie." [p.
Under the Gun begins with Dez hopelessly in love with the vivacious, white haired bundle of
but as happy as she is with the current arrangement, that's how terrified she is that something
will happen to destroy her bliss. Jay is proving to be an excellent officer with a good head on her
shoulders, but she has an impulsive streak which has Dez nervous on more than one occasion, as
repeatedly gets hurt on the job. It's understandable that the introspective cop, who withdraws and
equates showing emotions with being weak, is afraid of losing the one person who understands
tolerates her moodiness, and who adds meaning, love, and joy to her life. Lake explores their
evolving relationship with rich detail while Dez goes through the biggest transformation of
Dez is so adept at concealing her inner turmoil that even she is not aware she is doing it. Having
suffered serious traumatic events in her life including the loss of her beloved father, also a police
officer, and her partner and close friend Officer Ryan Michaelson, it is only a matter of time until
Dez snaps and ends up suspended with no alternative than to see psychiatrist Marie Montague, or
kicked off the force. Reluctantly, the skeptical secretive officer works with Marie. Can Marie save
Dez from self-destructing, and going to a very lonely and isolated place where she denies her
desire for fear of loss and rejection? Will the astute psychiatrist help Dez learn to bridge the gap in
all of her severed relationships, including the ones with her mother Collette and her brother
Luella is Dez's "confidante, nurturer, and friend." [p. 17] Can Marie help Dez believe Luella when
she says, "You can't hold onto someone so tight that you choke the life out of them." [p. 280]
tries to convince Dez that loving and losing someone is painful, but avoiding love to avoid pain is
not the solution. She also tells her surrogate daughter "You are a strong person, Desiree Reilly,
you deserve to love and be loved. But you have to make a choice to take the chance." [p.
Lori Lake's completely satisfying action/romance novel will engage a full range of emotions that
leave the reader wanting more. No stone is left unturned as all the loose ends are tied up. The
psychological journey of the characters' growth and development, particularly Dez's, is just as
intriguing as the crime drama, murder investigation, and police work. In Under the Gun, Jaylynn's
character is delved into more deeply, we get to know Dez's mother better, and Luella and most of
the other characters are back too. There are a few new characters, including Luella's sister Vanita,
who enrich the story.
A crime drama would not be complete without antagonists. Nielsen is a hateful and despicable
rookie officer who graduated from the police academy with Jaylynn. He has it in for the girls and
rats out on their relationship to Lt. Malcolm, adding another layer to the plot. How will Dez's
colleagues react to the confirmation of what they suspected all along that Dez, the cop they
and respect, is gay? Every character, no matter how small their role, has a place and reason for
in the story. Lake does not rush through her narrative and 490 pages go by in a blink.
I could not recommend Under the Gun, nor praise the skill of Lori Lake any higher. She paints a
vivid picture that allows the reader to jump into the story and become a part of Dez's world.
I won't have to miss my favorite characters for long since Have Gun We'll Travel is now available.
Five stars are not enough for Under the Gun - read it and you will see what I mean.
In Her Presence: A Husband's Dirty Secret
Time and Chance Publishing
P.O. Box 488, New York, N.Y. 10116
ISBN 0974827401 $15.95
A man has the right to do what he wishes to his family, doesn't he? He owns his woman's and
children's bodies too, right?
"It's no one's dam business," says Rufus Poygoode, one of the main characters from Weaver's
This black man owns a sizable amount of acres with a big beautiful house and furnishings, quite a
feat in the 1950's, especially in Mississippi. Rufus realized his luck, and wasn't about to allow
to ruin it. Those girls were lucky to have a father like him. They had food and nicer clothes than
other people of their race. And, why couldn't people leave his family alone? If he thinks his
should stay home and not go to school, who are they to say otherwise? He had their lives planned
out anyway. "A man has a right to rule his house the way he sees fit," says Rufus.
Tara Poygoode realizes something needs to be done. Her grandmother wouldn't help; her fear
beyond reason. The woman did anything her man asked her to. Tara didn't agree with what her
father did to her sisters. So far, he'd left her alone, but why? He'd claimed he wanted her to move
to the main house, and said she needed to learn how to run the farm. Tara did exceptionally well
school, and held dreams of going to college. At first, Rufus didn't tell Tara his true plans, but Tara
found out one horrible day. She decides it's time to devise a plan, one to save her family and
It had to be flawless, because the penalty, it discovered, would be high, and Rufus watched their
Unspeakable crimes know every skin color. This is a story of emotional and physical torture, of
difficult choices, incredible courage; and second chances, and of offense against children and
women. A girl's father should protect her, but Rufus' views are twisted, and his attitude vindictive.
To survive in his house, meant the summoning of enormous strength.
Rudi looked back at Adam. "Shut up, you little runt. It don't matter and girls don't matter, I'm
y'all. I heard Lynn and Jackie talking about how Daddy's their stepfather, and that he shouldn't be
doing nasty to them. But Daddy makes them do him. So you see Adam, it don't matter what girls
think. Ain't nothin' wrong 'bout humpin' no girls. That's what they are made for."
"She's ten and a half. And I'm nine," Lynn confided. Then she crooked her finger and beckoned
Hailey bent down again.
Lynn pushed back Hailey's gray hair, whispering in her ear. "He made Jackie take off all her
He was on top of her. We saw his thing. Jackie woke up the whole house screaming. Then Daddy
and Mama started fighting."
Weaver captures her character's raw personalities. At first, I had a difficult time getting into this
story. I couldn't find a character to like and the writing is a bit rough in places.
Not a tale of beauty. All the characters in the beginning are un-appealing. Morals? They're
to these characters. The concern is only about having sex or getting revenge. After hanging
long enough, along came characters to like. Weaver finally has me then. I cared how things turned
out. Not all readers will wait, particularly if they can't like the theme.
Weaver reveals heinous crimes. Her tale becomes real. I hear her character's screams, tears, and of
living on pins and needles. Rape isn't a pretty thing to write about.
About the Author: Nancy Weaver is a native of Marks, Mississippi, and alumni of State
New York Empire State College, and is working on more novels.
How does this book measure up?
Weaver's ability to tell a story is good, but could be better. Her story itself is excellent. This is
holds her readers.
The theme is disturbing, but worth telling.
The plot provides insight to how some men in the 50's viewed, and still do today, women and
children, and how people knowingly allow children to be harmed, if they gain by it.
Target audience: Recommended for adults who are able to handle tales of abuse, the raping of
women and children, and exploitation. Not a pretty narrative, yet life-like.
The most scathing criticism Weaver offers is of how heads turn the other way to secure
even when the horrendous crime is against children. Despite the prevailing darkness, and the
beginning, 'In Her Presence' has wonderful moments of warmth. The author's most important
accomplishment is her message. It is our business when our neighbor's wife or children are being
neglected or abused. To men, you don't own women and children. This misconception will cause
you to loose them in the end.
I have always been interested in the fair treatment of women and children. This story touches a
sensitive spot in my heart. This account is important, believable, and worth spending time with.
be prepared for a difficult start filled with an unabashed bluntness. An emotional topic with a
Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Ash Tree Publishing
P.O. Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 USA
ISBN 0879836512 $11.95
Ahhh, the life of a wanderer. Is it as romantic as it sounds or a way filled with misery and
Maybe it depends on what you know and who taught you, if anyone.
Levy trusted her instincts and chose to absorb the customs of the wise nomads, the masters from
around the world.
Traveler's Joy is a first-person account of facts, observations, poems, memories, guides, and tips,
based upon these experiences. Levy explains how to stay healthy and strong, provides various
recipes for wounds, fevers, poisonings and stings, and shares her happy, free approach to life.
From the time she was old enough to leave home, Levy wanted to follow the nomad way. Her
travels first began in the late nineteen thirties. She left a northern England university where she
studied veterinary medicine. After being disappointed by modern medicines ability to save animals
she began to think about the healing powers of herbs. Thus, her research began. Eventually, Levy
decided to become a modern "Scholar Gypsy."
Contents of the book include:
* Foreword by Helen Scott Nearing
About fire and weather
Also, sprinkled throughout the book, are lovely poems by various people and peaceful
Excerpt from the book:
"* Aromatic plants scent the air and are unusually strong before wet weather; they are opening
to receive the coming rains.
* House flys swarming indoors in large numbers are a sign rain is due.
* Goats and sheep bleating unduly foretell bad weather, often severe storms.
* Cows lie down for long sessions before storms. They are said to be keeping their udders
* The woodpecker cries with unusual loudness before rain, and owls hoot loud and frequently
a night storm."
What are others saying?
Helen Scott Nearing has written this:
"This book is a joy to travel through. She stays healthy and strong in all situations, but gives
in detail for combating all types of ailments."
Along with all the positive points, this book just might change the way gypsies are believed to be.
These people revealed to Levy unique wisdom, knowledge, hardiness and beauty.
'Traveler's Joy' does what it claims, which is to celebrate the delights of the wanderer's life,
information on how to live simply, enjoy the beauty of it, and Levy's observations made along the
way. It instructs while persuading one to realize the natural abundance around them.
This is the third book I've read by this author. All are thoughtful, enlightening and well organized.
like the way they make me feel, and the simple, teachings. This incredible woman led the life of a
traveler and lived off what nature provided while maintaining her health. She recorded tips and
customs from gypsies throughout the world.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in natural living, traveling, and healing; those
about gypsies from all over the world; or those fascinated by interesting people who've led
interesting lives. 'Traveler's Joy' contains all these elements.
Even if you don't plan to lead the life of a gypsy or nomad, you'll learn many secrets of survival
healthy living. After all, life is a trip and surviving it isn't the only goal. You want to enjoy it along
the way too.
Christina Francine Whitcher
Fire in the Ice
P.O. Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705
ISBN 141373278X $19.95 200 pages
All of her adult life, Deedra Marlan has been married to a man who has stifled her independence
dominated her to the point that she accedes all decisions to him. When Deedra's husband is killed
a car wreck, she finds herself adrift and unsure of herself. Deedra decides to run the restaurant her
husband owned in order to keep occupied and gain more independence. When Josh McKenzie
into the restaurant, she is not prepared for her body's heated reaction to him, nor her instant
rejection of the man.
Josh McKenzie does not hold much respect for women after divorcing his wife, who seemed to
him only for monetary gains. But when Josh meets Deedra, he senses a specialness about her and
becomes determined to make her his own. Which proves to be difficult, as Deedra thwarts his
advances at each and every turn.
Katlyn Stewart provides a fun, tantalizing read with FIRE IN THE ICE, playing to great
the sexual chemistry between Deedra and Josh. The story is heartwarming; a life journey for two
people with diverse personalities who challenge one another in ways neither has faced before. The
mindset of the characters is portrayed with sensitivity, realism and true clarity, the plot paced to
perfection. But one cannot forget the love story, which is the essence of the book, one that will
linger in the mind long after the read is finished.
Holding Hands at Midnight
G. William Gray
P.O. Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705
ISBN 1413743072 $19.95 213 pages
HOLDING HANDS AT MIDNIGHT follows the life of Mark Williams, from a young sailor
World War II to a retired public relations executive. Central to Mark's adulthood are five women.
Each enter and leave at different phases of his life and impact Mark in diverse ways. HOLDING
HANDS AT MIDNIGHT is an evolving love story with a unique perspective. Told from the male
point of view, the story offers an interesting peek into the maturation and emotional growth of a
man through his relationships with women. An insightful, poignant read.
Iokaste: the Novel of the Mother-Wife of Oedipus
Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood
P.O. Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705
ISBN 1413726755 $24.95 307 pages
Most readers are familiar with the tale of Oedipus Rex, as well as the psychological term Oedipus
complex, derived from the relationship between Oedipus and his mother and subsequent wife,
Iokaste. Unlike the Greek tragedy, this book is told from the point of view of Iokaste and takes
tale many levels higher, revealing psychological subtleties within the personas of Iokaste and the
characters surrounding her.
At age 14, Iokaste is chosen by the god Apollo to wed Prince Alphenor, son of King Amphion of
Thebes. When Amphion's wife blasphemes the god Apollo, the oracle predicts doom for her 14
children, and Iokaste's betrothed dies. Laius, son of King Labdakus, who ruled Thebes 30 years
before, returns to Thebes to claim the kingdom and weds Iokaste. On the night of their wedding,
oracle warns Laius that he will be killed by his own son. Laius withdraws from Iokaste, not
she is already with child. When their son is born, Laius binds his feet and instructs he be left on a
mountain to die. Instead, the child is given to King Polybus of Korinth, who recently lost his son.
Polybus names the child Oedipus, meaning swollen feet.
As a young man, Oedipus is told by the Delphic oracle that he will kill his father and marry his
mother. Never having learned he was adopted, Oedipus is distraught over this news and vows
to see his parents again. He meets up with Laius, who is traveling to Delphi to seek the oracle's
counsel, and the two argue. Oedipus kills Laius, unaware that he has set in motion the ultimate
fulfillment of the oracle's prophecy.
With profound vibrancy, IOKASTE magically transports the reader into the ancient world of
mythology. The visual imagery created by the authors is vividly detailed, the mindset of the
characters engrossing. It is interesting to note the politics of the time, constant dedication to the
ritualistic worship of gods, and delegation of all things good and bad to a particular god's mood.
Sphinx is a fascinating character, made more realistic by her portrayal in this book, specifically her
role in the contest of wit to choose the next king of Thebes. The conspiracies and subsequent
rationalizations of Iokaste and her brother Kreon are thought-provoking and insightful.
This riveting story flows fluidly from page to page, written in an engaging style that holds the
reader's attention from the very beginning. This is one book that begs to be read more than once
order to appreciate and absorb each and every nuance of the characters, history, and tale of
It is suggested educational facilities utilize IOKASTE as an introduction to Greek mythology, as
is one book that will instill fascination and respect, leaving no room for boredom.
Christy Tillery French
ISBN: 0316735922 $23.95 311 pages
Denise Mina's novel Deception purports to be a transcription of a diary written by Lachlan
the 29-year-old husband of convicted murderess Dr. Susie Harriot. Lachlan begins the diary on
day his wife is convicted of murdering Andrew Gow, a serial killer with whom she had worked
closely in her capacity as his court-appointed psychologist. Lachlan's diary is in part a record of
attempt to uncover the truth behind Gow's murder--he cannot believe his wife is guilty. It includes
his transcriptions of the newspaper accounts and other documents pertaining to the case that his
had squirreled away in her private--padlocked--study. At the same time the diary records
attempts to cope with normal life in the months following his wife's conviction--the mothers at his
daughter's day care center conspicuously friendly, an "elderly triumvirate" of relatives making a
show of their support by coming to stay with him--uninvited, unwelcome, and ultimately
(Lachlan is kicked out of his bathroom one evening by Susie's aunt, who cannot find the other
bathrooms in his house. "It is not without a frisson of compensatory pleasure that I stood on the
landing, holding my limp newspaper, and watched her lock herself in with the rank stench of my
In the course of the period covered by his diary, Lachlan eventually comes to understand the
of Gow's murder and of his wife's strange, secretive behavior. It is a mystery that will keep
engrossed and guessing until the book's final pages. Mina's Deception is a smart, well-written
thriller. Highly recommended.
All Fishermen are Liars
ISBN: 1401300707 $22.95 228 pages
In her latest book author and fisherman Linda Greenlaw introduces readers to the salty denizens
the Dry Dock Bar in Portland, Maine. Greenlaw's lunch date there with her mentor and friend of
years, Alden Leeman, provides the framework for the series of stories she shares with readers--the
very stories, or so the author alleges (though the book's title may give one pause)--that she and
Alden and hangers on at their table swapped that day at the Dry Dock over a very extended
The stories Greenlaw includes in the book are a mixed bunch--rough seas and unlikely survivals,
noisome deck hands and shiv-wielding mates, a refrigerated dead guy. Many of the stories are
stirring; the rest are at least good reads. Greenlaw writes nicely, and her characterization of her
friend Alden--for whom her affection is palpable--is well done: "I ordered a glass of Chardonnay
waited for Alden to think about what he might like to drink. I knew that he would eventually
rum and Coke, but he did not know this. He never did."
It is not necessary to know anything whatever about fishing or sailing to enjoy All Fishermen are
Liars. Nautical types will surely want to view their world through Greenlaw's lens, but landlubbers
like myself will appreciate the author's readable introduction to an unfamiliar world. She and her
gang of mendacious fishing buddies make for good company for the book's duration.
Faked to Death
ISBN: 1575668882 $5.99 255 pages
The second installment in author Dean James' charming series of vampire cozies finds undead
amateur sleuth Simon Kirby-Jones at a writers' conference hosted by local aristocrat Lady
Kinsale. Simon's host and the clutch of other writers at the conference know him as the author of
two highly respected biographies, but Simon also publishes novels pseudonymously, including a
bestselling series of mysteries under the name Dorinda Darlington. The fun starts when a woman
claiming to be Dorinda shows up at the conference and sets about infuriating her "colleagues." A
corpse or two later, Simon is back to putting his vampiric attributes--acute hearing, the ability to
sense when people are lying--to good use, helping the local constabulary solve a double
The toothsome Watson to Simon's toothy Sherlock is Sir Giles Blitherington, the young lord
hired as an assistant in the first Kirby-Jones mystery, shortly after he moved to the quaint village
Snupperton Mumsley. In Faked to Death Simon is still warding off Giles' incessant but not wholly
unwelcome advances. He is also still remembering to take twice daily the pills that, in this modern
age, allow vampires to live like mortals, gadding about in the sunlight and eschewing the drinking
Perhaps perversely, I'm hoping Simon will forget his medication one day: I'd like to see how the
polite society of Snupperton Mumsley would react should Simon start showing his fangs. I'm also
hoping Dean Jones will continue chronicling Simon's exploits for a long time to come.
Debra Hamel, Reviewer
A Brand New Night For Murder
Arthur Burton, III
ISBN 1413750710, $19.95, pp 204
When special agent Fred Soleos of the American Security Organization is assigned to investigate
string of murders in New York City, he finds that the task is even more daunting than he
Upon arrival, he is partnered with Detective Meyers, a bald-headed, tough-talking, hard-nosed
who is feared by all who know him. As the story unfolds, we learn that Meyers is a bad cop who
little too close to the criminal element of New York. He is also Soleos's number one suspect. So
begins the premise for Arthur Burton's (Savior of the Woods) murder mystery, "A Brand New
Soleos enlists the assistance of Rick, his fellow agent from Washington D.C., in helping to solve
murders. Rick is a young agent full of energy and wit and has just enough tenacity to compliment
Soleos's laid back, experienced approach. When the two of them hit the streets of the Bronx, they
so with vigor and purpose. But can the agents outsmart a cunning and mean-spirited
Reading "A Brand New Night For Murder" may remind you of watching an extended version of
TV's "New York Undercover." Burton paints a descriptive picture of a Bronx city full of
prostitution, drug dealing, and indifference. By the time you arrive at the story's mysterious
conclusion, it may leave you longing for more closure, or better yet, a sequel.
Pen on Fire
ISBN 0156029782, $13.00, pp. 262
If there is a profession that requires ongoing motivation, mentoring, and lifelong learning, it is
writing. Writers face a number of obstacles, including dealing with rejection letters, going through
writer's block, and let's not forget, finding time to write. In "Pen of Fire," author and University of
California Creative Writing teacher Barbara DeMarco-Barrett serves as a catalyst in helping
achieve their goals through discipline and planning.
Although the book is geared towards women writers with busy lives, there's clearly enough useful
information for everyone who is serious about the craft. Barrett draws on her own experiences (as
well as the experiences of other professional writers who've experienced trials and triumphs) when
discussing a wide range of topics, including how to make time for writing on a daily basis,
structuring plot and creating interesting characters, and what to look for when searching for a
literary agent or a publisher just to name a few. What makes the book unique is that every chapter
succeeded with Barrett's "Set the Timer" instructions, allowing the reader to take a more
approach while reading the book. The result is an incredibly motivating and informative book on
craft from a writer with experience, intelligence, and industry know-how.
Though there are so many quotable passages that could be remembered for a lifetime, one of the
best is when the author says "My own experience tells me that to succeed with your writing, you
need a combination of patience, instinct, awareness, and timing. But mostly you need a belief in
yourself and your project, and the willingness to do what it takes to work as long and hard as you
must to get out there."
"Pen on Fire" is just what the marketplace needed, a thoroughly researched, highly motivational,
instructional book that will cater to all writers who love to write. Keep this one on your bookshelf
refer to over and over again.
5307 Arroyo St., Colorado Springs CO 80922
ISBN 1887368752 $12.95
I've been a fan of this author since high school when I read his short story collections as well as
Incredible Shrinking Man" and other novels. I am very pleased to say that this is one of the best
Matheson novels I've ever read. It ranks along with "I Am Legend" for being a page-turner. But
there is also something else that makes this a very enjoyable tale. His characters are very clearly
defined. David Harper a talk show psychologist has a problem; Gannie Woodbury a female
wants to have a session with the doctor. Not only is her name bizarre but also the things she does
are not the acts of a rational person. As the story unfolds David, his wife, and their friends are all
drawn into her web of strangeness. I especially liked the way this novel unfolded very much like
short story "Button Button" But I also enjoyed that Matheson is also commenting on the issue of
differences between the sexes with David's talk show and conversations throughout the novel.
Another aspect that is nice is that this is the first time this publisher has put out a book at such a
price. They usually publish limited collector editions geared to a certain audience. Hopefully this
be the beginning of more titles geared to a mainstream audience reasonably priced.
6922 Hollywood Blvd Suite 1000, Los Angeles, California 90028
ISBN 1555838847 $15.95
Sannello has written a book that is more terrifying than any novel of horror, because everything
tells is true. "Tweakers" is a full expose of the newest deadliest drug to run rampant throughout
gay population at the present time. What he shows is that this new drug that is so easy to make
devastating effect. Some of the negatives are that it is so easy to make, gays who are having sex
after taking this drug are not using precautions like condoms, the high created by the drug can last
for at least 48 hours. Many in the straight population may say "doesn't affect me," true not at this
time but the way this drug infiltrated the gay population shows that it is just a question of time
before it replaces such things as LSD, Cocaine, and Ecstasy for those of the drug culture. The
author also shows how law enforcement is dealing with the problem as well as what society
be doing to cut down this menace.
The Wit and Wisdom of a Regular Joe
ISBN 096476184X $7.00
Heuer is again on the beat to show that there is humor in business that we can all relate to. What I
really like here is that he has found many statements that we have all said and done. Now he has
gathered them into a very funny collection that is the perfect gift for any occasion, where you
to give someone something they can read over and over again and find something new to laugh
about each time it is read.
Sexual Wandering and Pandering Through Life
1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington In 47404-5161
ISBN 1418446998 $19.95
This is a whirlwind tour of one man's female sexual conquests internationally. The main character
a government auditor who travels to military bases all over the world who indulges in world
cultures, as well as has opportunities most of us never have to have sex with women from all parts
of the world. The writing is easy to follow and the story moves along at a brisk pace. As I read
accounts of this man who said he was happily married with children, I can see why. He was not
home long enough to have the normal problems of married life. I think he should have had a tally
sheet or something in the back of the book to tell just how many women he slept with. I also felt
maybe a better title would have been "Confessions of a Government Auditor."
Hyperion Books for Children
1114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690
ISBN 078683661X $16.95
Well, folks, they had to go and do it. Take a perfectly good character and ruin him. I'm referring
James Bond, the super secret agent has been going since the 1950s when Ian Fleming first created
the series of novels that have thrilled many generations in book and movie forms. Now this new
novel begins a new series that takes place long before the first Fleming novel. In fact, Bond is only
14 years old. What I, as a fan of the original Bond works disliked here is that this character is not
very bright and is just not close to the one all of us know and love. This is the same thing that was
done with the Indiana Jones character with the Young Indy TV series that did not last very long.
Hopefully this one won't either. I feel when you re-write someone else's character so drastically,
the TV show "Enterprise" it is only doomed to failure because fans don't accept the concept. I'm
sure this series will find an audience, but I'm sure for those of us who are true Bond buffs that
On the Run I: Chasing the Falconers
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
ISBN 0439651360 $4.99
The parents of Aidan and Meg Falconer made a deal with an agent of the CIA to work for the
government covertly. Something happens and they are tried and sent to prison. Aidan and Meg
a similar fate until, through a fluke, they are able to escape. They are on a mission to find out
really happened to their parents, as they are fugitives from the law. What I enjoyed was how many
people along the way helped the two children escape the law enforcement agents out to return
to the government facility. The characters are believable while the writing is tight in a very fast
paced thriller that is the first of three novels of a series. I look forward to the two other tales and
hope they are as good as this one.
Mr. President a Book of Prisidents
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
ISBN 04394703352 $4.99
This is a fun book that tells interesting things about all 43 presidents. It is an easy to read very
interesting factual recording of many unknown facts most of us did not really know about.
Walker & Company
104 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
ISBN 0802789013 $16.95
I love novels that start from the first page and hold my interest to the last as this one does. It has
solid writing, strong characters involved in conflicts that are resolved by the end of the story, and
lot to say about how our society deals with teenage problems. Jones draws the reader into a
wonderful book for all ages to enjoy.
Ghost Stories of Sarasota
Historic Venice Press
P.O. Box 800, Venice FL 34284
ISBN 0972165517 $12.95
Cool takes the reader all around the Sarasota area of Florida and tells the legends and stories
ghosts, haunted homes and other eerie frights that are not on most tours and writings of this area
the state. There are many photos, some taken by the author herself, that add to the whole idea of
looking for strange things in this area of Florida. This collection of stories is a good resource for
writer telling some kind of eerie tale.
The Other Orlando: What to Do When You've Done Disney and Universal
The Intrepid Traveler
P. O. Box 531, Branford, CT 06405
ISBN 1887140506 $15.95
Everyone who goes to Orlando most of the time visits the theme parks of Disney and Universal
not much else. Well, this book has the lowdown on the other things to do when in Orlando
Sea World, The Holy Land, shopping, Busch Gardens in Tampa, nightlife, and a lot more. This
is crammed with so many good things to do that travelers will just have to come back many times
try the many other things that Central Florida are has to offer.
Florida Spring Training Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit League
The Intrepid Traveler
P. O. Box 531, Branford, CT 06405
ISBN 1887140506 $15.95
This is the most up to date book about the ever-changing spring training major league baseball
is all over the state of Florida. The author tells about each team, its stadium, parking, ease of
players autographs, entertainment in and around each city. Here are just some of the things the
author tells. This is the one book to have for anyone who wants to see a game of professional
baseball during the two months of the pre-season.
Kipton at the Martian Games
Charles L. Fontenay
Royal Fireworks Press
First Avenue, PO Box 399, Unionville, NY 10988
ISBN 0880923962 $7.99
The 14th novel in the series has Kipton solving a murder at the first Martian sports games.
At conventions of SF that I've been to, there are many discussions on should the two genres of
mystery and science fiction be combined. The answer is yes, if it is done well. Many attendees
that authors Andre Norton and Robert Heinlien, who brought so many into the fold of science
fiction, were writing this type of story in the fifties and sixties. Mr. Fontenay does it perfectly,
he also puts the fun back in this type of work. Though the series is geared toward younger
anyone can read these charming novels and enjoy them.
Zolar's Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams
Simon and Schuster (Australia) Pty Ltd
PO Box 33, PYMBLE NSW 2073
ISBN: 0743222636 US $14.00 AUD $24.95 469 pages
Believe it or not I have never owned a dream interpretation book before looking at Zolar's
Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams. I wasn't really sure what to expect.
The first edition of this book sold half a million copies worldwide and this is the first major
of this dream dictionary. The revision includes interpretations for cell phones, computers, beepers
and much more, while the listings for subjects like girdles, gleaners and grenadiers have been
out. Personally I think that they should have been left in - some people still dream about these
topics! A lucky number for each dream category has been added too, although I'm not sure how
these should be used.
Zolar (R. Donald Papon B.A., D.Sc., D. Hom.) has written several popular books on dreams,
metaphysics and the occult including Zolar's It's All in the Stars and Zolar's Book of Dreams,
Numbers, and Lucky Days. He has dedicated much of his adult life to teaching holistic living
incorporating mind, body, and spirit. He received his graduate degrees in holistic health, nutrition,
and his Doctor of Homeopathic Medicine from the Institutum Internationale Homeopathie in
Mexico in 1983. Zolar has served as an adjunct lecturer at the New School, Hunter College, and
Brooklyn College and as a consulting homeopath, with private practices in New York and
for almost two decades. The author lives in Ozona, Florida.
The entries in this encyclopedia are detailed, for example the entry for cigarette include: enjoying
half-smoked, in hands, holding a; lighting a; loose cigarettes; man and woman smoking together;
rolling a; smoking a; stubbing out a, with determination; suddenly repulsive to you; trying to give
women dreaming of smoking a.
As with any system of interpretation, I believe that dream interpretation is a highly individual
subject. I would recommend that if you want to find out more about the author and his style of
interpreting dreams you can visit his website at www.zolar-thoth.org. You can click on the
weaver' section to interpret your dream online.
I would recommend Zolar's Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Dreams to those of you needing help
understanding the various symbolism found in dreams.
The Dictionary of the Esoteric
Simon & Schuster (Australia) Pty Ltd
PO Box 33, PYMBLE NSW 2073
ISBN: 1842930419 $AUD 29.95 344 pages
The author, Nevill Drury is the author of more than forty books on subjects including shamanism,
magic, contemporary art and holistic health. Some of these books have been published in fifteen
Nevill was born in England but has lived most of his life in Australia. He holds a Master of Arts
(Honours) degree in anthropology from Macquarie University in Sydney and has worked in the
industry since 1976. Nevill Drury is also well known for his workshops and lectures on magical
visualisation and shamanic drumming.
Some of the places the author has been involved in include: working as a managing editor for
& Row and for Doubleday in Australia, and as the Manager of Adyar Bookshop in Sydney. Adyar
Bookshop is owned by the Theosophical Society and is the largest metaphysical bookshop in the
Given his extensive and varied involvement in the publishing and 'new age' areas Nevill seems
perfect for putting this title together.
The Dictionary of the Esoteric (Over 3,000 articles on the Mystical and Occult Traditions) is a
fabulous reference book for the student of occult or metaphysical subjects. Not only will you find
things you would expect such as Aries, or Loch Ness Monster, you are also likely to learn about a
few things you've never heard about! A couple of the entries I found interesting, for example,
Alomancy Divination by sprinkling salt. The diviner interprets future events by analysing the
made by this action. Alomancy has probably given rise to the superstition that spilling salt is
Misfortune is averted by casting a small amount of the salt over the left shoulder.
Hesper The name given to the planet Venus after sunset. It is also known as the Evening
This book is comprehensive in its coverage of astrology, tarot, and important figures in the history
of metaphysical development. It is also cross-referenced fabulously so you will have the chance to
explore topics related to your interests as well as what you first wanted to look up!
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the occult, but particularly for
of any topics that come under this umbrella. It is easy to read and navigate and has an extensive
of suggestions for further reading.
The First Edgar Rice Burroughs Omnibus
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Renaissance E Books
P.O. Box 1432, Northampton, MA 01060
ISBN: 1588734048 $4.99 electronic download 2000 pages
Disclosure: I have 4 novels published through Renaissance
Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of the best storytellers of the Twentieth Century. His stories are
simple raw action/adventures. This Omnibus is a collection of four of his lesser known novels.
first novel is 'Beyond Thirty.' It is a classic science fiction tale. The story is more fun than H.G.
Wells but it has as much science and thought placed into its plot. Burroughs lived through World
War I and foretold that the fighting hadn't ended between the European countries. In 'Beyond
Thirty,' Burroughs speculated that the isolationist movement in the US was powerful enough to
the US out of WW II and that the developing war would destroy the social structure of the
for hundreds of years. 'Beyond Thirty' is the story of the re-discovery of Europe by the Pan
American continents. It is pure action with enough science and social commentary to enthrall any
'The Man-eater' is a tale Burroughs was so interested in that he re-told it time and time again in
various forms. The Aesop type story is about a relationship between a carnivorous killer and a
His other versions are stronger tales but this still holds the interest of the reader.
'The Jungle Girl' is the Tarzan style that we expect from Burroughs. I personally like this better
the Tarzan series. The hero is easier to relate to and the jungle action is just as non-stop.
'The Monster Men 'is the final book in the omnibus. In many ways it is a must read for anyone
enjoys Burroughs. It is a blend of the classic jungle hero story and the horror tales of the mad
scientist experimenting on creating life. The ending is a bit contrived but rest of the tale is
'The First Edgar Rice Burroughs Omnibus' gives a strong spectrum of the depth of the writing
of Burroughs. It is a must read for anyone interested in classic storytelling.
The City at the World's End
Renaissance E Books
P.O. Box 1432, Northampton, MA 01060
ISBN: 1588733416 $4.00 187 pages
Disclosure: I have 5 novels published through Renaissance
When I was a high school student, I would visit a musty eighty-year-old building four blocks off
main street of a nearby city. I would bring in a grocery bag full of books and receive a few dollars
for them. I would then spend two or three hours in the crowded building. Stacks of books reached
the ten foot ceilings with narrow footpaths threading a way from one room to the next. The only
lighting was the occasional bare sixty watt light bulb hanging in the middle of each room. Buried
two stacks in on the shelf, I found an old Ace back-to-back double novel for twenty cents. One
had 'Star Kings' by Edmond Hamilton. It was a prize that has affected my reading and writing
'The City at the World's End' starts with a fellow by the name of Kenniston walking down Mill
Street in the Midwestern city of Middletown on a warm summer day. He sees a super-atomic
explode above him. He is thrown to the ground. When he gets back to his feet, he is amazed that
is still alive. The atomic bomb has blasted a hole in space and time and pushed the city of
Middletown millions of years into the future. A future where the sun and the earth are dying.
The science is fifty years old and the psychological aspects of the story are a little extreme but the
quality of the writer comes through and you are swept into a future so far off that only
can get you there. The story isn't the epic tale of 'Star Kings' or the pure fun of 'A Yank in
but it is the solid pulp storytelling typical of the Classic Age of science fiction. It is a story that
should be read by any interested in the burst of writing talent that exploded into American
during the middle of the Twentieth Century and shaped the writing that followed.
S.A. Gorden, Reviewer
Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, MD
Richard Bandler and John Grinder
Grinder, DeLozier Associates
NLP Centre Canada, 5375 Free Crest Court, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3Z6
ISBN 1555520529, $27.95 284 pp.
Sir Cyril Burt achieved unparalleled results in researching the effects of environment and heredity
identical twins. Only after his death did it become clear that the alleged research had never
happened, that Burt lied to further what he perceived to be a greater truth. Sadly, the possibility
must be considered that Milton Erickson did likewise. Not only do the results he claimed to have
achieved involve impossible to believe coincidences and phenomena far beyond anything ever
achieved by anyone else. They also include results that even unshakable believers in hypnotism's
existence concede are unreplicable and should be impossible. If Erickson really accomplished
he claimed in various medical journals, then he was a miracle worker beyond compare. Somehow
Memoirs of a Sword Swallower
Daniel P. Mannix
20 Romolo, Ste B, San Francisco, CA 94133
ISBN 0965046958, $15.99 128 pp.
William L. Gresham
ISBN 1560975113, $14.95 136 pp.
Both of these books present a sympathetic insider's perspective of the freaks and geeks of the side
show carnival industry. Where they separate is that one author allows his protagonist to be
corrupted by the unreality of his make-believe environment, and the other does not. Other than
the books are equally entertaining and equally frightening. Perhaps my years of plodding the
show circuit has biased me in favor of books that evoke memories of the business there's no
like. But I have no hesitation in recommending these classics of a vanishing industry to anyone
interested in the ins and outs of pre-television show business, or simply in entertaining
Pure Fire - Self-Defense as Activism in the Civil Rights Era
Christopher B. Strain
U. of Georgia Press
330 Rochester Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901
ISBN 0820326860 $49.95 254+viii pp.
ISBN 0820326879 $19.95
Strain shifts the perspective on much of the civil-rights activism in the 1960s. For the most part,
African Americans were not so much trying to make a new political order or create new social
economic ground as simply acting in self-defense. This makes sense when one considers that at
time, blacks were subject to institutionalized racism and frequently the targets of violence by
with the tacit approval of the white political and legal authorities. In such circumstances,
"was an essential part of the struggle for citizenship itself." Struggling for equality in education,
employment, opportunity, etc., the various forms of black activism from Martin Luther King's
nonviolent tactics to demonstrations and boycotts to occasional armed resistance cannot be
as anything other than self -defense; which self-defense is recognized in law and is an inherent part
of psychology and behavior of all individuals. The title comes from Malcolm X's comment that he
was urging African Americans to return "pure fire" to whites' hatred and suppression of them.
Strain--teaching history and American studies at Florida Atlantic U.--also notes a statement by a
Robert Williams before a Congressional committee that he urged his followers that "we should
for the enforcement of the Constitution of the United States." Others have noted the character of
self-defense in the civil-rights activism. But Strain goes far beyond simply giving a nod to this. He
explores debates within the black community on the effectiveness and risks of violence in response
to blatant and covert white violence and oppression; recounts the beliefs of proponents of
such as Malcolm X; and assesses the role of advocating violence and instances of committing it in
the changes worked by the civil-rights movement.
The Renewed, the Destroyed, and the Remade - The Three Thought Worlds of the Iroquois and
Roger M. Carpenter
Michigan State U. Press
1405 S. Harrison Rd. - Suite 25, Manly Miles, East Lansing, MI 48823
ISBN 087013728X $27.95 179+xxii pp.
Carpenter follows the various ways the Hurons and Iroquois tribes adapted to the activities and
growing power, and in some cases the example, of the French and English in northeastern
and southern Canada in the early period of contact between them. Carpenter gets behind the
devastating effects of alcohol, disease, warfare, and displacement to disclose and understand how
these tribes tried to make sense of and adjust to these by modifications of their mythologies and
related cultural factors. For instance, when the Indians became involved in fur trading, they "had
transform the beaver from a creature they accorded a measure of respect" because of its place in
their myths and lore into a commodity. Similarly, the author goes into how Christianity affected
Indians' outlook when they did not convert outright to this religion spread by French Jesuits. The
coming of the Europeans also changed the Indians' manner of warfare, from mostly skirmishes
little loss of life to an form of total war where villages were destroyed and their inhabitants taken
into captivity. Carpenter is an assistant professor of history at Canada's U. of Saskatchewan
work sheds light on the impact of Europeans on the minds and behavior of Native American
Most of the scholarship in this area has looked to the external consequences such as drunkenness
migration; whereas Carpenter's gets to the changes in the fundamentals of the Native American's
Transatlantic Rebels - Agrarian Radicalism in Comparative Context
edited by Thomas Summerhill and James C. Scott
Michigan State U. Press
1405 S. Harrison Rd. - Suite 25, Manly Miles, East Lansing, MI 48823
ISBN 0870137271 $29.95 300+x pp.
The topic is taken within a wide context--from South Africa to Prince Edward Island and
from Mexico and the United States to Germany. The period of time covered is wide also--from
1500s to the present. The 11 collected essays treat the movement of "crops and techniques of
cultivation, rumors, radical plebeian ideas, workers, sailors, and prisoners" in spreading political
social ideas throughout this wide area over the several centuries. This is seen as a kind of
cross-pollenization, or a vein of globalization going on in the countries touched by the Atlantic
the Renaissance. In places, some authors discuss how the cultivation of a new crop such as corn
potatoes or tobacco brought to another country or an overseas market for it played a role in the
dissemination and formation of agrarianism. One learns that there are historical and ongoing ways
other than diplomacy, wars, books and the media, and immigration that particular ideas and
perspectives spread in the world. These ideas spread and are shaped both by acceptance of them
resistance to them. Except for a couple, the essays' authors are college professors of history. The
editors are authors of books in the areas of agrarianism and political and social ideas.
Graphic Classics: O. Henry - The Ransom of Red Chief, Gift of the Magi, the Cisco Kid and
Rick Geary, Stanley W. Shaw, Johnny Ryan, and Lisa K. Weber
8778 Oak Grove Rd., Mount Horeb, WI 53572
ISBN 0974664820 $11.95 144 pp.
There's 13 illustrated O. Henry stories altogether, by additional illustrators than the few noted on
cover. The accomplished illustrators bring out in their own distinctive visual styles the diverse
dramatic moments and general tones of the stories. The illustrations also accentuate the
selected text of each tale. With stories ranging from only a few pages to about 20 at most, the
variety of illustration styles can be reviewed and appreciated quickly in this work which fits right
to the current popularity for graphic novels and similar works.
Negotiating for Georgia - British-Creek Relations in the Trustee Era, 1733-1752
Julie Anne Sweet
U. of Georgia Press
330 Research Dr. Athens, GA 30602-4901
ISBN 0820326755 $39.95 267+x pp.
During the short time of the Trustee Era, the leader of the British colony of Georgia James
Oglethorpe worked to establish a mutually beneficial, peaceful relationship with the Creek
whose leader in this was Tomochichi. The activities between the two parties have a resemblance
the diplomatic activities between two countries. On a trip to England to get guidance on the
developing negotiations, Oglethorpe took Tomochichi and other Creeks as representatives of the
Creek nation. The relationship between the Creeks and the Georgia colony eventually worked out
involved trade, land rights, and legal protections; and it was the basis for a military alliance in the
War of Jenkin's Ear against the Spanish over differences in north Florida. The "charter" between
English colonists and the Creeks did not hold up with the coming of the Revolutionary War. In
early 1800s, the Creeks were relocated to Oklahoma. Sweet's account of this exceptional charter,
treaty, between European colonists and Native Americans evidences sophisticated and enlightened
political behavior by both parties. This author is an assistant professor of history at Baylor.
Fratricide in the Holy Land - A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Terrace Books/U. of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe St. - third floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
ISBN 029920250X $35.00 271 pp.
Falk opens by surveying the "large body of scholarly literature on the Arab-Israeli conflict." The
of this scholarship is contained in the bibliography of about 50 pages. Yet the psychology of either
side as accounting for the origins of the conflict or as a basic factor in sustaining it is not dealt
as a particular subject in any book; and is rarely even referred to in the volumes literature. Falk is
Israeli psychologist concentrating in political psychology and psychohistory who goes into this
ignored psychological factor in depth. The psychology of the opposing sides as formed by their
histories, ethnicity, and ties to the land is analyzed, as well as the psychology of leaders of each
particularly Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat. "Psychogeography" is used to clarify the fierce
competing visions for the same relatively small area of the Middle East the Palestinians and
have been fighting over for decades. Falk's chapter on "The Psychology of Suicide Bombers" is
especially timely and informative considering 9/11 and current events in Iraq.
The Cemetery of Chua Village and Other Stories
translated by Rosemary Nguyen and others
321 Jackson St., Willimantic, CT 06226-1738
www.curbstone.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; 800-423-9242
ISBN 1931896127 $14.95 189+xiv pp.
Born in 1943, Doan Le is of a new generation of Vietnamese writers who are turning from
the colonial presence in Vietnam and the Vietnam War with the United States. Multitalented, she
only writes fiction, but has also been recognized for her poetry, paintings, acting, and directing. In
these 10 short stories echoing techniques of Gabriel Marquez, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and others
positing fantastical circumstances to treat aspects of common life and the workings of history in it,
Le depicts unsettling questions and problems of modernity, in Vietnam and elsewhere. With a
particularly inventive, sometimes skewed, imagination and deft sensitivity, she hones in on
in relationships between spouses, generations, and the living and the dead.
Garry Kasparov on Fischer - My Great Predecessors, Part IV
Garry Kasparov, with Dmitry Plisetsky
Gloucester Publishers/Everyman Chess, London
dist. in U.S. by Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Ln., Guilford, CT 06437
ISBN 1857443950 $35.00 496 pp.
The famed Russian chessmaster analyzes chess games of the legendary American Bobby Fisher
against some of his strongest opponents during the years Fisher was recognized as the world's top
chess player. In furnishing much material besides just a simple record of moves and occasional
comments, Kasparov also presents lengthy discussions of the ups and downs of the competition
during the tournaments and individual matches. The exceptional book on chess goes even beyond
this to give a broad picture of the chess world of the time and the play of the noted chessmasters
Samuel Reshevsky, Miguel Najdorf, and Bert Larsen. An invaluable book for serious chess
while also of interest to ones attracted to the excitement and personalities of major chess
tournaments; which in recent years have started to receive some media coverage.
Eastern Arctic Kayaks - History, Design, Technique
John D. Heath and E. Arima
U. of Alaska Press-Fairbanks
PO Box 756240, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6240
ISBN 1889963259 $45.00 161+x pp.
The Arctic regions covered are the coastal areas of Greenland, Hudson's Bay, Baffin Island, and
Labrador. Swedish kayaks are also examined for similarities in construction and for historical
comparisons. The authors also went to museums in western and northern European countries to
study kayaks at these. The authors--both with in-depth backgrounds on the subject--do a sound,
detailed study on historical, present-day, and recreational kayaks. Heath especially was interested
the value of design elements and kayaking techniques of the oldest kayaks for today's recreational
kayakers. For three decades, Arima has been an ethnohistorian with Parks Canada focusing on the
Arctic and northwest coast of North America. Text, photographs, and detailed design drawings of
kayaks work together in relating unique information on the different aspects of kayaks. While the
material covers a broad geographical area and hundreds of years of kayak-making and use in
and transportation, one is struck by the remarkable ingenuity of the design of early kayaks; which
has stood the test of time to be the basis for modern-day kayaks.
Samurai - the Weapons and the Spirit of the Japanese Warrior
Lyons Press/Globe Pequot Press
ISBN 1592287204 $21.95 144 pp.
Sinclaire's work has a nice tie-in with the classic and current Asian movies with samurai or
samurai-like characters. Coming to Japan about the eighth century from the Asian mainland, in
Japan's insular, closed, society, the samurai weaponry took on their own distinctive design and
The samurai class and its weapons both for warfare and ceremonial purposes remained a central,
influential part of Japanese society until World War II. This study is at once comprehensive and
succinct, with the pleasing and informative visual elements of color photographs, including
close-ups, of samurai weapons, scenes from historical art work, and antique tinted photographs.
Most are familiar with the Japanese samurai swords. But the less familiar armor, spears, bow and
arrow, and even guns in the past couple of centuries receive equal attention.
The Man Who Killed Houdini - An Investigation
dist. in U.S. by Independent Publishers Group
ISBN 1550651870 $17.95 260 pp.
Houdini died of a ruptured appendix nine days after being sharply punched in his stomach by a
named J. Gordon Whitehead. At the time, the connection between the punch and Houdini's death
was debatable; as it was debated with respect to the payment of Houdini's life insurance. The
incident was witnessed by two individuals; Whitehead had disappeared. The experienced eclectic
Canadian writer Bell (d. 2003) has been investigating facts and theories concerning Houdini's
for the past 20 years. One of the most tantalizing theories is that Houdini was the victim of a
"spiritualist contract killing." This is based on the growing tensions between popular spiritualists
Houdini, who at times went out of his way to expose their artifices. Bell was able to interview
survivors who had some connection to the incident of the fierce blow Houdini received and its
aftermath. In a popular work that is absorbing from first to last, Bell revives the mystique of
in recounting known facts and his own long, methodical investigation of circumstances
his strange, untimely death.
War Movies - Journeys to Viet Nam, Scenes and Out-takes
321 Jackson St., Willimantic, CT 06226
ISBN 193189616X $15.00 216 pp.
A Marine helicopter gunner in the Viet Nam War, Karlin returns to Viet Nam to work on the film
"Song of the Stork" being made by young Vietnamese filmmakers. The film aims to recapture
parents' experiences and memories of the War. Accompanying Karlin are a group of young
American filmmakers trying to make sense of the war fought by their older generation. Karlin
that many memories are keenly awakened. Working on the film and recalling--visualizing--his own
wartime memories seem equally as real. But it's not as if he's editing his past--for that would be to
try to distort it. Rather, he works to recall his memories clearly; while at the same time, he is
involved in the art of film-making. But Karlin does not become disoriented. The book does not
wander into a postmodern miasma of the hopelessness of knowing anything significant or
about history or personal experiences; nor does Karlin become seduced by the siren call of his
memories, as many writing memoirs do these days. Karlin is the author of six novels. With this
author's skill, discipline, and reflective capacities, "War Movies" illustrates how memory and art
each in their own way and also symbiotically make the past and play into its vitality when one
not shrink from it.
The Sibyl Sanderson Story - Requiem for a Diva, An Authorized Biography
Jack Winsor Hansen
512 Newark Pompton Tnpk., Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
ISBN 1574670948 $29.95 503+xiv pp.
Born in 1864 in Sacramento, CA, Sibyl Sanderson was the first in a long line of celebrity opera
singers running to Maria Callas and Beverly Sills in recent years. Yet, the first of this line of
divas, she was vulnerable in ways that those following her were not--vulnerable both to illusions
created in her own mind and also to the designs of others on her. These others included Gilded
tycoons and European royalty she met as she performed throughout the U. S. and Europe. Her
marriage to a Cuban Lothario named Antonio Terry was especially destructive. With little
protections against the harmful penchants of her own nature or guidance from any cautionary
the new environment of celebrity, media, high financial stakes, and notoriety by association that
many sought from her, Sanderson suffered breakdowns onstage and practically continuous
emotional pain and confusion. She died at 38 from an illness made worse by her ignoring her
doctor's advice; which led some to believe she had intentionally brought on her own death.
is a voluminous biography of this latter 19th-century opera star whose fame in her day has been
eclipsed by others who followed in her pattern of international fame, cult-like adulation, and
impetuousness. With research from papers kept by Sanderson's relatives--often quoting from
these--and a skillful balance of the many sides of her life, it's a basic resource for any study of
Sanderson. Winsor uses his impressive background in music for a biography that is sympathetic
The Blind African Slave, Or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace, As Told to
Benjamin F. Prentiss, Esq.
edited with an Introduction by Karl J. Winter
U. of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe St., Madison, WI 53711
ISBN 0299201406 $65.00 244+xvi pp.
ISBN 0299201449 $19.95
The biography of the slave captured in Africa in the 1700s begins with his capture and goes on to
cover "his adventures in the British navy, travels, sufferings, sales, abuses, education, service in
American war [of Independence], emancipation, conversion to the christian religion, knowledge
the Scriptures, memory, and blindness." Prentiss, who wrote down the slave's story, was a
abolitionist. It's impossible to say how the slave Brace's story is colored by this. In the
Winter points to some known omissions. Brace's Christian faith and knowledge of the Bible seem
begin too early in his story; and with long passages from the Bible liberally and somewhat
inserted in the text, intrude to a questionable, and certainly unnecessary, degree. Prentiss was
attracted to Brace's life story because of how it could promote his abolitionist views rooted in his
Christian faith. Brace was a decent person caught up in events far beyond his understanding or
concern. He enlisted to fight in the Revolutionary War mainly to gain his freedom. After being
for his service, he moved from Connecticut, where he was owned by a cruel slavemaster, to
Vermont, where he continued to bear physical and financial difficulties. The facts of Brace's
moving tale can be readily sifted out from Prentiss's extraneous matter--leaving a rare, memorable
biography of a slave in the North, whose circumstances and options were considerably different
slaves in the South. The circumstances of Brace's capture in Africa and his time in Vermont in the
last years of his life are of particular interest.
Unwrapping the Textile Traditions of Madagascar
edited by Chapurukha M. Kusimba, J. Clair Odland, and Bennet Bronson
UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History and the Field Museum, Los Angeles, CA
dist. by U. of Washington Press
PO Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096
ISBN 0930741951 $40.00 196 pp.
As major Madagascar art forms, shawls, dresses, loose-fitting shirts, and also burial shrouds are
"fundamental to an individual's ethnic, ideological, spiritual, social, political, and economic
identities." These and similar garments have such a place because of the "ease with which cloth
be manipulated." Among some groups in Madagascar, textiles woven by hand and simple,
tools are central in relations between the living and deceased ancestors with the changing of
burial shrouds for new ones. Eleven essays by authors with a surprisingly eclectic
background--including college teachers in archaeology and ethnology, museum curators, a
and a poet--focus on particular topics of this African island nation's textiles attracting wide notice
because of their quality of production, colorfulness, and social significance. An island that has for
centuries been a crossroads of trade and migrations from southern Asia, the Middle East, and
Madagascar textiles are particularly complex and diverse; and because of this historical
they have special meaning for the different groups of the society, as well as for interaction among
groups. Textile traditions in different geographical areas, reviews of collections of textiles, the
of textiles at social events, and the island's silk moths are among the topics. Numerous color
photographs, some close-ups in which the weave of a garment can be seen, make for appreciation
the varied textiles; while other photographs exhibit inhabitants of Madagascar wearing the textiles
social activities or ceremonies.
Afrocuba Works on Paper, 1968-2003
San Francisco State University Gallery
San Francisco, CA
dist. by U. of Washington Press
PO Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096
ISBN 0295984767 $24.95 88 pp.
Bettelheim has put together a gallery of art works by 25 noted younger, contemporary, Cuban
artists. The closing section is on Belkis Ayon, who died in 1999. A representative work of each of
the artists faces a one-page essay on him or her. Many of the pictured works are from the past
or two. The oldest are from the 1970s. It's an eye-opening catalog displaying the liveliness and
imagination in Cuban art works on paper over the past 30 years. One sees that Cuban art has not
been retarded by U. S. efforts to ostracize Cuban under the Castro regime; and that as far as its
goes, Cuba reflects the latest in modern and contemporary art with respect to content and style,
in some cases political and social perspective. The Afrocuban works on paper contain all of the
irony, postmodern collage, and abstract and biological forms of art of any country, while at the
time reflect earthy African roots and the social tensions and artifices of Cuba. A professor of art
history at San Francisco State U., Bettelheim area of concentration is the African Diaspora.
Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side
photographs by Bruce Davidson
text by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bruce Davidson, Ilan Stavans, Jill Meredith, and Gabriele
U. of Wisconsin Press, 1930 Monroe St. - 3rd floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
ISBN 0299206246 $26.95 127 pp.
Davidson has collected varied photographs taken in the course of his relationship with the noted
author Singer based on their mutual fascination with New York City street life. Some of the
are stills from their surrealistic film on one of Singer's short stories. Others are from the portfolio
"The Garden Cafeteria," a rough-hewn eatery in Manhattan's Lower East Side popular with local
Jews. Most of the characters and scenes in the photos could be from Singer's short stories noted
their comical, often somewhat grotesque or fantastical, depictions of Old World Jewry in the
day. For Singer enthusiasts especially, there are several photos of him, and also a short story titled
"The Beard." The story is somewhat about Singer himself, beginning, "That a Yiddish writer
become rich, and in his old age to boot, seemed unbelievable."
End of an Exile: Israel, the Jews and the Gentile World
255 Humphrey St., Marblehead, MA 01945
ISBN 0916288501 $22.95 341+xxviii pp.
Parkes was an Anglican minister who wrote extensively, and influentially, on Jewish-Christian
relations and the situation of Jews in Israel, especially their conflict with the Palestinians. At one
time, Parkes was head of the London Jewish Historical Society, only the second non-Jew to hold
this position. First published by the publisher Micah in 1954, the book was reissued in 1982 with
lengthy commentaries by noted theologians. This third edition adds four more commentaries.
Reinhold Niebuhr and Tony Kushner are familiar contributors. The historical tie of Jews to the
of Israel and the fundamental role of "Palestinian Jewry...in shaping Jewish history" are two of
several avenues pursued in forming an understanding of the vital place of Israel in Jewish history,
religion, and psychology. Parkes' work and the elucidating commentaries aim not at resolutions
the conflict, but for understanding and comprehension of it--and in this, they succeed
On Common Ground - The Power of Professional Learning Communities
edited by Richard DuFour, Robert Baker, and Rebecca DuFour
National Education Service
304 West Kirkwood Ave. - Suite 2, Bloomington, IN 47404-5132
800-733-6786; www.nesonline.com; email@example.com
ISBN 1932127429 $29.95 254+xvi pp.
Twelve essays by leading educators describe the role of professional learning communities (PLCs)
working "to ensure that [students] learn," not only that they are taught. While PLCs take this as
core mission of formal education, there are differences within these groups about how this goal is
best achieved. The principles and practices of PLCs are looked at from the perspectives of school
systems, administrators, teachers, and students. The organization of PLCs for the systematic,
consistent, and coordinated work required for achieving their ends in schools and classrooms is
with particularly in a couple of the articles, and in parts of others. For the variety of articles
by the three editors with much experience in the field of education, who also contribute
jointly-written articles, "On Common Ground" is a prime introduction and handbook on these
groups which are bringing changes to American education.
A History of the Native People of Canada, Volume III, Part 1 (A.D. 500-European Contact)
J. V. Wright
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Quebec
dist. in U.S. by U. of Washington Press
PO Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096
This is the first part of an anthropological text that was divided into two parts to accommodate all
the relevant new material that was surfacing as it was being published. The Part One focuses on
Maritime Algonquin, St. Lawrence and Ontario Iroquois, the Native Americans of the Glen
Meyer/Western Basin, and the Northern Algonquin cultures. The geographical area encompassed
this Part is eastern Canada to the Prairie provinces and northward to the subarctic regions of this
wide stretch of present-day Canada and parts of the United States. The Great Lakes area is also
included. In accordance with a basically anthropological work, the abundant and diverse matter is
divided into scientific-like sections such as cultural origins and descendants, subsistence,
patterns, cosmology, and external relationships for each of the identifiable Native American
The only note of history brought into the material is discussion of the major cultural changes
brought on by the Agricultural Revolution beginning about 500A.D. The pages are numbered
1185 to 1666 since the work is part of a series; although it stands alone in compiling the
anthropological matter in the field it has outlined and picturing much of this in photographic
Consuming Silences - How We Read Authors Who Don't Publish
U. of Georgia Press
330 Research Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901
ISBN 0820326992 $19.95 148 pp.
With an approach that is partly exasperated while offering trenchant analysis at the same time,
Weber searches for what to make of the phenomenon of authors who have stopped publishing yet
continue to draw public attention and receive considerable critical interest. Weber sees this
phenomenon as inextricably related to the major postmodern topic of the death of the author. But
could be more than this or something other than this, such as a shrewd marketing move, terminal
writer's block, or loss of interest in writing. For whatever reasons, J. D. Salinger, Henry Roth,
Olsen, and Ralph Ellison--for prominent examples--published nothing for long stretches, while at
same time aroused widespread public curiosity and saw their reputations grow. The fact of their
writing was integral to their image as authors, interpretations of what they did publish, and their
influence on following generations of writers. With his idiosyncratic perspective, this author who
an assistant professor of English at Ashland U. sheds new light on aspects of postmodern literary
theory and also media gamesmanship.
illustrated by Rachel Smith
Toy Truck Publishing
4602 Lilac Lane North, Lake Elmo, MN 55052
ISBN 0976498324 $16.95 40 pp.
Six-year-old Ellie is flying from Chicago to San Diego to visit her aunt. She is flying by herself for
the first time. There are things that can be done while Ellie is still at home before leaving for her
flight, at the airport, and also on the plane to address any qualms she might have as a young
"flying solo." As expected, her parents play a big part in this. But the parents also have to know
to use others such as siblings and airline personnel to help Ellie avoid or quickly get over any
qualms. Parents talking to her in the right way is important; but most pertinent are calming and
absorbing things Ellie can do or think about at each stage of her journey. Though for young
ages 3-8, parents too can get something out of this book.
The State of Working America 2004/2005
Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and Sylvia Allegretto
ILR Press/Cornell U. Press
512 East State St., Ithaca, NY 14850
ISBN 0801443393 $59.95
ISBN 0801489628 $24.95
This source book with commentary and perspective on general and specific, and sometimes
specialized, economic topics has been published every two years since 1988. Numerous charts and
tables organize the voluminous data and in many cases, allow for informative comparisons and
making out of trends. While basically an invaluable compilation of economic data, the work has
some sociological dimension in that the commentary and perspectives concern the effects of the
economic findings--and regularly infer that average workers and their families are loosing out in
workings and results of the present-day American economy.
Green Rice - Poems
Lam Thi My Da
translated by Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh
321 Jackson St., Willimantic, CT 06226
ISBN 1931896135 $13.95 148+xviii pp.
Vietnamese poetry has less "connective tissue than English"; like most Vietnamese poetry, Lam
"tends to be end-stopped and imagistically contained." This gives many of her lines and sometimes
complete poems of hers something of a haiku-like character. Yet many of her poems are also to
some degree lyrical in tone and development. Both traditional Asian and familiar Western
are contained in Lam Thi's poems showing how the ordinary is inflected--but not mutated,
or erased--by events, no matter how tragic or repressive. The ordinary, not only ordinary acts, but
also ordinary yearnings, shine out of this poetry on the Vietnam War, the secondary status of
in the society, and other historical and cultural subjects and themes of her country.
An Imperfect Lover - poems and watercolors
Introduction by Robert Phillips and Essay by Molly Peacock
6 Horizon Rd. - No. 2901, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
ISBN 0970718675 $14.00 53+xv pp, with 16 pages of watercolors
Though the poet is always open to them and sometimes searching for them, the restorative
and small delights of the world come at unexpected times, unexpected places, and in unexpected
ways. The poems are about the liberty, and in many ways arbitrariness, of grace--a grace that does
not perfect an imperfect world, but which makes it something other than an always disappointing
and often seemingly antagonistic one. At the end of "Teaching a Female to Sing," a bird that "did
not respond with a willing peep," prompts the young girl of the poem to call to her father, "She
sings, she sings...." In the very next poem, "Train Whistle," a plaintive train whistle returns the
to "a home/where I didn't know I was safe." Following the poems is a 5-page essay about Orsani
an "outsider artist"; and after this, 16 pages in color of her bright, whimsical watercolors.
Oberlin College Press
50 North Professor St., Oberlin, OH 44074
ISBN 0932440991 $14.95 72 pp.
The poem "True Confessions" notes "glamour [italicized in original] is a Scottish variant/of
[italicized in original]." In most of the poems, the effect of grammar--mostly as words and
syntax--shifting into glamour is partly, most noticeably, achieved by the appearance of French
and phrases. The combination of vague familiarity and elusive meaning is the effect of glamour
wants to create. This makes for delightful incongruities and exceptional latitudes of emotion and
perception, as when "the French celebrate/birth by touching the lips/of a new baby with
fine/champagne... (from "Starling"); or "Scriabin thought/the musical note C was red..." (from
Accident"). This certain unreliability and superfluity of the senses and effects on one is not
or anarchic, as it would be for many. With Estes' disciplined eye, the shimmering play of surfaces
Costume, Textiles and Jewellery of India - Traditions on Rajasthan
Mercury Books, London
dist. in U.S. by Independent Publishers Marketing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
ISBN 1904668895 $40.00 215 pp.
The Indian clothing expert Bhandari does a tour de force. Nothing is left out--from origins of and
historical influences on Indian garb to materials and manufacture; from basic clothing to the
of ornaments and accessories; from jewelry and bracelets to class and ethnic wear. The often
Indian clothing so noticeable to outsiders does not basically reflect the fashion tastes or
of the wearer, but instead mainly denotes social station and sometimes occupation. As expected,
more sumptuous clothing and jewelry goes with those of higher class. But the typical clothing of
farmers, laborers, and lower-class Indians is also colorful and elaborate in its own way. Rajasthan
northwestern India was chosen as the focus for this one-of-a-kind work because of its historical
cultural significance and the mix of different classes and ethnic groups found there. The Indian
name is derived from Rajputs, or "sons of kings." Bhandari's meticulous text is so fascinating and
endlessly informative that one is hardly conscious of the exhaustive scholarship and research
into it. Often noting measurements, techniques used by the clothing makers, how an article is
and what is signifies, the text nonetheless does not strike one as being technical since it deals with
such a colorful subject. Readers will fall into a pattern of looking at the attractive, rich color
photographs and occasional illustrations and diagrams as they come, and then going to the text to
find what interesting facts and points the author has on the items the men and women are wearing.
Many readers will try to put their growing knowledge to work to guess social status of the
individuals shown and the meanings of their accouterments. The descriptive captions should not
glossed over either. The color photo of one man notes that his "sword denotes his royal lineage,
silk tie [around it] signifying that it is carried in peace." But one of the countless bits of social and
cultural lore one learns is the significance of turbans in family relationships and relationships with
others. A four-page glossary of hundreds of terms testifies to the complexity of Indian clothing.
is a remarkable work with its generous fund of knowledge, skilled organization, and magnetic
White Blind (Bright Red)
Photographs by Uta Barth
Essay by an Tumlir
Site Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
ISBN 0970077475 $30.00
In Tumlir's essay titled "Uta Barth: Figures of Stasis and Flux," he writes, "By purging her
of their ostensible subjects, [Barth] has sought to redirect our attention to a kind of perceptual
that which intrudes all around: in the setting, the outlying objects, the air." In this "purging" of the
subject, Barth's art photographs are quintessentially postmodern. To some, they might seem
in their austerity and spareness. The photographs are a series of leafless tree branches against a
winter sky. But as Barth explains about her art work, she is not making a statement about
rather she is trying to evoke awareness of perception. The tree branches can be seen as neural
networks. Perception can in some ways be compared with the process by which a camera makes a
picture. The depth and relevance of the intended artistic interplay with Barth's photographs
on sophisticated understandings of psychology and physiology along with keen abilities in
introspection, conception, and articulation. They also depend to some degree on inventive
understandings of psychology and physiology--which inventions this artist tries to bring to
Tank Killers - A History of America's World War II Tank Destroyer Force
2114 Darby Rd., Havertown, PA 19083
ISBN 1932033262 $32.95 339+xii pp.
Yeide's "Tank Killers" is "intended...[to be] both a broad history of the Tank Destroyer Force and
representative look into the world of men who fought in the TD battalions." The TDF was formed
the early days of the North Africa campaign when Allied Forces faced the vaunted German
Involved in the war in Europe on all fronts including the Italian campaign, D-Day, and the
of Germany, the TDF always had an eclectic, ad hoc character to it. Faced with the seemingly
incongruous requirements of greater mobility than the German tanks to find them and then
outmaneuver them and at the same time powerful enough weapons to destroy the enemy tanks,
TDF made do with armed Jeeps, artillery, tanks, anti-tank mines and hand-placed explosives. The
Force was filled with personnel with varied specialties and combat experience brought in from
Army units. As important as the TDF was in taking out the deadly German tanks commonly
threatening to stop advancing infantry, the Force was never smoothly integrated into the regular
combat forces. It was disbanded shortly after World War II ended. Yeide is an author of a
work on U. S. tank warfare in Europe whose history of this brief, but crucial Army tank force
contains enough material on individual soldiers, tactics, and combat for any World War II and
military history buff. What is new and most captivating about it, though, is the continuing
and scrappiness of the men of the Tank Destroyer Force as they gained more information about
foe, weapons evolved, and terrains and other conditions changed during the course of the
"Love of Shopping" Is Not a Gene - Problems With Darwinian Psychology
Anne Innis Dagg
Black Rose Books
2250 Military Rd., Tonawanda, NY 14150
ISBN 1551642565 $24.99 210+xii pp.
With advanced degrees in genetics and animal behavior, Dagg challenges a range of assumptions
presumed to be rooted in Darwin's theory of evolution. Many of these assumptions provide the
for the field of sociobiology; they strongly color its point of view, its topics of study, and its
methodology. But Dagg discerns what amounts to ideological or political dispositions or values
behind the assumptions. Contrary to the Darwinian sociobiologists who believe genes are the
practically exclusive explanation for human behavior, Dagg believes from her studies that "human
beings act as they do primarily because of their sex and personality...based to some degree on
heredity"; and in relation to this, "personality is shaped to a huge extent by culture and by [an
individual's] education and experience." Crime, violence, rape, and even the shopping of the title
gone over by Dagg in support of her position in this ongoing debate on how much and in what
genetic inheritance determine an individual's nature and behavior versus the effects of
and experiences. Dagg's investigation of the range of topics--some topical, some long-standing in
her field--casts light on the always engaging and intriguing subject of human nature and
The Mahler Symphonies - An Owner's Manual
512 Newark Pompton Turnpike, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
ISBN 1574670999 $19.95 194+xv pp.
Hurwitz breaks down Mahler's nine symphonies plus his song cycle "The Song of the Earth" into
their parts as these contribute to the whole; and the parts too are broken down for their
development, tone, and instruments. Analyses and commentary mingle with frequent metaphoric,
near-poetic, evocations of musical passages. In the Fifth Movement of Symphony No. 5, "Horn
woodwinds unfold a series of perky little tunes...." In the Second Movement, "As this climax dies
away trailing clouds of strings and horns, the woodwinds slither back in with sinister whirring
scales." Hurwitz also gives attention to the spiritual ideas and the emotions embodied in Mahler's
music. The author of "Beethoven or Bust: A Practical Guide to Learning About and Listening to
Great Music," Hurwitz writes about music in a style that is suitable for readers of all ages from
young adults and up.
Retro Ball Parks - Instant History, Baseball, and the New American History
U. of Tennessee Press
Knoxville, TN 37996-4108
ISBN 1572333510 $29.95 210+xii pp.
A work in the publisher's series Sport and Popular Culture, "Retro Ball Parks" looks at the urban
phenomenon of the building of new, state-of-the-art, baseball stadiums to try to bring back this
as it is viewed nostalgically. These are the stadiums built in cities around the country usually with
some public funds and big tax breaks and other economic favors to the team owners. They are
characterized by costly suites for corporate and well-to-do fans, rising ticket prices for all levels of
regular seats from boxes to bleachers, moveable roofs and other features to provide comfort for
fans, and corporate logos lining the walls of the playing fields. Rosensweig is interested not only
how these stadiums promising revivals of urban centers come to be out of aspects of
culture and political and economic interests; and also in the peculiar, particularly postmodern,
of authenticity regarding baseball such stadiums are supposed to revive. In many cases, new
businesses have sprung up around the new stadiums attempting to replicate neighborhoods that
been torn down to make way for them. Rosenweig's feelings on this phenomenon he covers are
in the title of his introduction--"Cheap Grace." The author did most of his research in Cleveland,
where the Cleveland Indian's Jacobs Field was built as the anchor of the Gateway Developmental
District. "The Gateway serves as a fascinating case study of the cultural shifts enacted by the
transformation of a city's economic base from local commerce and manufacturing to recreational
tourism." Stadiums in other cities are brought in as well, notably the Baltimore Orioles' Camden
Yards, the major urban stadium project giving rise to the others. Rosenweig is a professor of
Inter-Disciplinary Studies at the U. of Virginia.
Vanessa Beecroft - Photographs, Films, Drawings
edited by Thomas Kellein
Hatze Cantz Publishers
ISBN 3775715088 $40.00
Vanessa Beecroft captures the modern-day ambiguities of feminine sexuality and image, as
represented by nudity, like no other artist...more discerningly and more revealingly than any other
artist. Groups of nude women sit around a long dinner table or stand in groups as if waiting for a
bus. At first sight, except for their nudity, they look casual and normal. But longer viewing
stiltedness, as if the women cannot get out of their subtle caricatures to communicate or touch
another in any genuine way. Other works are not so subtle on this central theme of the artificiality
forced on most women in contemporary culture--such as the picture of a woman seemingly
to a hospital bed. The blank white, antiseptic, backgrounds of many of Beecroft's
works and photographs emphasize the speciman-like quality and unreality of the figures in the
foreground. Beecroft's similar group scenes with men in uniforms are ingenious counterpoints to
group scenes of nude women, while also making a point about masculine image. Snapshots and
drawings having the rawness and tentativeness of experiments rather than the more complex
of the larger works nonetheless by their passive, somewhat anesthetized subjects, skewed angles,
provocative colors, affix aspects of Beecroft's main theme. Beecroft was born in Genoa in 1969.
Showing major works along with a variety of lesser works, the book exhibits the distinctive art on
contemporary preoccupations by which this artist has gained her much-deserved recognition.
Baby and Child Heroes in Ancient Greece
Corinne Ondine Pache
U. of Illinois Press
1325 South Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820-6903
ISBN 0252029291 $40.00 234+x pp.
Baby and child figures in Greek mythology have been virtually ignored in favor of the outsized,
colorful, or complex adult characters, But Pache--assistant professor of classics at Yale
U.--discloses from research of Greek literary works and monuments, coins, vases, and other
archaeological relics that young, often little more than infant, characters had an essential part in
Greek mythology. Mostly, they represented "parental fears and sense of guilt" with regard to
children, including untimely deaths. In fact, where adult mythological figures were often related to
particular village or region, certain "child heroes...become Panhellenic figures at the center of
of the most important ancient religious festivals." In this study methodically and extensively
previously neglected and in some cases previously unknown ground, Pache adds new dimensions
Greek mythology and its relation to the psychology and outlooks of the Greek classical
that is one of the primary sources of Western culture.
Heroes of the Kabuki Stage - An introduction to kabuki with retellings of famous plays
Illustrated with woodblock prints by Arendie and Henk Herwig
Hotei Publishing/KIT Publishers, Amsterdam
dist. in U.S. by Stylus Publishing
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20112-0605
ISBN 9074822614 $68.50 359 pp.
The large, coffee-table quality book offers a particularly engaging, different way to learn about the
kabuki theater that has long been an integral part of Japanese society. With full-color pictures of
Japanese woodcuts on nearly every page, it's really an art book on kabuki. One aspect of the
woodcuts relating to the theater are woodcuts of actors. These testify to the important place of
kabuki in Japanese society, while they sometimes served as a sort of publicity. Besides offering a
multi-dimensional treatment covering origins and evolution, playwrights and actors, the yearly
of kabuki, costumes, staging, and music, the work is also a lifelong reference--with its six indexes
for instance. The Dutch authors are steeped in the subject from extensive research and attraction
Japanese prints. Thirty-seven kabuki dramas are reviewed with casts of characters, narratives of
story lines, appropriate woodcuts, and endnotes and references.
The Complete Illustrated History of Skywald Horror-Mood
Headpress, Manchester, United Kingdom
dist. in U.S. by Consortium, St. Paul, MN
ISBN 1900486377 $24.95 256 pp.
Alan Hewetson was the head of the publisher Skywald putting out horror-fantasy comics for a
years in the early 1970s. He died before the publication of this review of his short-lived but
influential publishing company. Skywald's influence is seen today especially in the content and
special effects in popular horror films. It's also seen, though not so clearly or directly, in how
of fear and dread are created in many mainstream movies. Never straying from Hewetson's keen
interest in exploring illustration for the horror genre, the Skywald periodicals had a lasting appeal
only to its dyed-in-the-wool fans. For them, the Skywald comics with sensationalistic, macabre,
imaginative illustrations developed what became known as its distinctive "horror-mood." This
review of the important publisher in the history of this genre contains articles on the horror-genre
style of writing, its art, particular themes, interviews with Hewetson, and memoirs of him and
Skywald. Alternating with these are 19 original illustrated stories effectively evoking Skywald's
distinctive "horror-mood" and demonstrating its range of comic art. For fans of the horror genre
students of this vein of popular culture, the book "stands as a time capsule for an independent
publishing house that had a true visionary [i. e., Alan Hewetson] at the reins."
American Science Fiction TV - Star-Trek, Stargate, and Beyond
Wesleyan U. Press
215 Long Lane, Middletown, CT 06459
ISBN 0819567388 $22.95 308+vii pp.
Johnson-Smith, a lecturer in film and TV at an English university, reaches the conclusion that
earlier periods of science fiction, "modern American sf fiction is neither utopian or dystopian...it
enforces a critique of the Western mythos whilst renegotiating its finer aspects." This Western
mythos centers on the desire for exploration. This desire was seen as far back as the Gilgamesh
of the ancient Babylonians; and it emerged in American culture especially in Westward expansion
and the related romance of the West. It entails a sense of wonder and the hope of encounter with
Sublime--elements undeniably evident in modern TV sci-fi, which are a major reason for their
appeal. But imparting this sense of wonder and picturing the Sublime became possible only when
technology improved from its first days. Only in recent years has TV arrived in an "era where
far-seeing 'tele-vision' can finally live up to its name" by making use of "brilliant colors and
motion" to enhance sf narratives. Today's TV science-fiction shows, notably "Star-Trek," are
contrasted with earlier ones such as "Twilight Zone" creating an atmosphere mainly by
leaving much to the viewer's imagination. The author identifies a new era in science-fiction TV
analyzes the bases of its themes and popular appeal.
Are We There Yet? - A Journey Around Australia
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
7946 Ivanhoe Ave. - Suite 203, La Jolla, CA 92038
ISBN 1929132735 $15.95 32 pp.
A trip by a family with three children around Australia takes in wildlife, seacoasts, natural
formations, and deserts, different inhabitants, tourist spots, and other points of interest. Most of
these are pictured three or four per page. The youngest child, Billy, misses the family pets, and
keeps asking when they are going to get home. The family is glad to be eventually home after the
lengthy trip; but everyone appreciates what they have seen and learned about the large, diverse
continent of Australia. For ages 4-8.
On the Road
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
7946 Ivanhoe Ave. - Suite 203, La Jolla, CA 92038
ISBN 1929132700 $14.95 32 pp.
With only three words per page on about half the pages, the boldly-colored pictures do most of
work in this primer for young readers. And what the pictures show readers 3-5 in this children's
book originally published in England are the different kinds of vehicles they might see while on the
road in their parents' car--cars of all sizes, shapes, and colors, trucks, bicycles, road construction
equipment. Children pick these out in the scenes crowded with varied vehicles. Along some
stretches of road, they might see boats in a harbor, or aircraft in the sky. An absorbing book for
It's Me - A Book and Audio CD
Illustrated by Isabelle Decenciere
363 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049
ISBN 0970380925 $18.95 32 pp.
Young Patricia in this book for ages 4-8 enjoys making believe she is someone else by dressing up
and acting. She first imagines she is Princess Finula-Lily, followed by a scary witch, her mother,
a famous writer. She makes believe she is someone else so often that when she dresses only as
herself, others in her family think she is trying to be a farmer's daughter or a person on one of her
favorite TV shows. It's all in good fun though--everyone, including Patricia, knows she is always
herself. The CD tells the story with amusing sound effects.
Gerhard Richter, Editions 1965-2004, Catalogue Raisonne
edited by Hubertus Butin, Stefan Gronert, and the Dallas Museum of Art
Hatje Cantz Verlag
ISBN 3775714316 $75.00 285 pp.
A recent survey reported in the N. Y. Times on the most popular modern artists based on museum
exhibitions, website hits, and other criteria placed Gerhard Richter third, closely behind Picasso
Warhol. So here is a catalogue raisonne documenting the art of this leading, popular
artist over the past three decades. It is as much an art book on Richter as a work of complete
documentation for reference. Most catalogues are similar to book bibliographies: They simply list
an artist's works over a period time with relevant notes. Often they picture some works, usually in
black-and-white, sometimes with a few in color. But this comprehensive reference on Richter has
more than 200 color photographs of his art works, nearly all of these one per page. The relevant
annotations including measurements, medium, and background run alongside each of the pictured
works. Additionally--again, unlike most catalogue raisonnes--this book has three essays by art
experts on Richter's aesthetics and the various mediums he works in and techniques he uses.
Richter's position as a popular and also influential contemporary artist is based on his imaginative
and revealing treatment of images. This is a basic reference/art book for any private or public
collection on modern art.
Bert Darrow's Practical Fly Fishing - How to Cast and Fish Naturally
Bert Darrow, Foreword by Bob Jacklin
Lyons Press/Globe Pequot
246 Goose Ln., Guilford, CT 06437
ISBN 1592284248 $22.95 196+x pp.
Darrow imparts more than 30 years of fly fishing experience as both a fisherman and teacher. As
his instruction with innumerable individuals at all levels of the sport, he looks outside fly fishing
references and similarities readers can relate to to help them improve their skills smoothly and
quickly. For example, Darrow stresses certain exercises for developing relevant physical motions
and control for fly fishing. Listening to music can help a fisherman develop the right rhythm for
casting. And the mental training practiced by many athletes has also found its way into the
unique teaching method. Flies and equipment receive some attention. But the handbook is of most
interest for its seasoned and thoughtfully worked out guidance by this author who is widely
in the sport and has received much media attention for his attachment to it and ability to teach
its finer points.
The Way to Happiness
De Vorrs Publications
553 Constitution Avenue, Camarillo, CA 93012
ISBN: 0875168043 $8.95, 78 pp.
The Way to Happiness by George Catlin enumerates the questions that seekers of happiness must
ask themselves "to make sense of life" and which lead ultimately to "the spiritual life" (p. 1).
Important questions are "What are we doing here?" (p. 5), "How can one maximize life's
(p. 9), and "Is there a Purpose to life?" (p. 6).
Catlin suggests that if you yearn for happiness, the process to achieve it includes practicing
meditation daily, walking slowly with ease, detachment, and peace, appreciating others and giving
them time and attention, paying off all debts -- not just monetary debts, but the debts of goodwill
and love -- and reading great spiritual texts. He outlines a plan to practice and to achieve all of
goals and challenges readers to come along on this awesome and difficult journey that leads to the
spiritual path or to reject his plan.
He points out that even though we think we are in a free society, "humanity is a species in
because of the highly ingrained addictive thoughts and behaviors, feelings of inadequacy, and
needing to belong to a society that is constantly rushing everywhere, yet nowhere, and having all
these feelings perpetuated and exacerbated by advertising and the possibilities of purchasing a
new and competitive physical life.
In addition, Catlin explains that even with all these negatives, society clings to them because they
familiar and by being familiar offer an odd sort of security. He says that truly to achieve happiness,
seekers of this elusive commodity must review their assets, desire real self-transformation, reject
familiar, and go in search of the unknown beyond the state of thought. Above all, he maintains
"The small self, the personal self, has to surrender for the 'higher Self' to live" (p. 38), and only
"we have had more than enough of one nation imposing its ways on the rest of the world" (pp.
67-68), can we know real peace and happiness. Catlin says that "those who know life's truths
never impose their will on anyone" (p. 68). Indeed, Catlin finishes his heartfelt work by
that the way to happiness is the process of serving others without regard to what one receives in
return. He says it is "a well-worn route to joy" (p. 75) and asks his readers to try it.
Our Health At Risk: What's Going Wrong in Our Health System?
Janice-Ann Priest, Dsc, CNHP, NC, DipHerb, Kn
PO Box 6041, Tauranga, New Zealand
ISBN: 4162460005 NZ$24.95 softcover, 300 pp.
Our Health At Risk: What's going wrong in our health system? by Janice-Ann Priest outlines and
carefully documents the practices of the pharmaceutical industries of New Zealand, Australia, and
the United States and their inextricable links with the inherent problems of the medical industry
public health. Priest explains in a no holds barred monologue that propaganda has long
"blind faith to the medical gods" (p. 5) and conveys that the clever marketing of discomfort and
disease helped to create and uphold what she describes as the one system -- one way monopoly
finally is being challenged through enlightenment.
She explains that these industries too often unite in the wrong-headed masking of symptoms
than exploring to discover the underlying mental and emotional states that can play a role in the
onset of imbalances and blocked energy that can manifest as malfunctions and diseases. She also
exposes the passion and prejudice that drives these industries to downplay natural modalities and
alternative approaches to better health. Priest encourages support of complementary health care
methods that ferret out causes to correct imbalances in a holistic manner to help patients to mend
and to heal and to put them onto a pathway to a finer focus and better health -- mentally,
and spiritually -- and a better life. The author also includes a glossary of literary definitions for
health, a timeline of literary dates and events related to the evolution of health care, and a brief
history of the healing arts including the early history of herbalism, apothecary, and pharmacy and
their influences on the health systems of New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The book
also presents a storehouse of warnings and health care statistics and provides a guide through a
maze of medical information.
Our Health At Risk is must reading for thinkers who cherish their good health and wish to guard
with wise choices from a far-ranging host of natural healing modalities rather than succumbing to
one system -- one way medical myth.
Linda Davis Kyle, Reviewer
The Plot Against America
ISBN 0618509283 $26.00
The Plot Against America is just a little bit unsettling, though perhaps for reasons other than those
intended by Philip Roth. Blurring historical fact and fiction, it takes some time to get used to the
narrative tone of this novel, which has a seven year old "Philip Roth" as its protagonist, and
hero "Charles A Lindbergh" as the key antagonist. Roth's "real" family is also part of the story,
including his artist brother Sandy and his parents, and it is set in a very similar family house in
Newark New Jersey which Roth details in his autobiography. But this is not a memoir. Roth takes
"what if" scenario and carefully develops it, using as much historical fact as he could fit, and then
fictionalises the rest. The plot itself is simple. The year is 1940, and Lindbergh runs an anti-war
campaign for the presidency, and win. What follows is an exploration of what could have
with a Lindbergh president, based on Lindbergh's publicly positive statements about Hitler, the
Service Cross medal presented to Lindbergh by the Nazis, the anti-Semitism expressed in his
and his isolationist, anti-interventionist comments delivered at rallies at speeches.
As a dystopia, the story effectively conveys the possibility that history could easily have been
different, at the same time highlighting the delicacy of the structure of our current
that could change with little warning. There is plenty of polemic in this story, and the sense of
but for the sake of " is intentionally unsettling, but the use of real names in a real context, along
with real historic events, makes it difficult for the reader to fully engage with the story. It is simply
impossible to forget that Lindbergh's anti-war, anti-Semitic address was held in 1941 after the US
joined the war, or that Lindbergh never ran for president, and that FDR was re-elected. Having
that, the relationship to current US policy has been pointed out by many critics, and this is
effectively borne out by the strong narrative voice, of elder "fictionalised" Philip Roth, a thread
which pulls together the past and the present:
The status conferred by economic and vocational advantage inclined them to believe that those
lacked their prestige were rebuffed by the larger society more because of insular clannishness than
because of any pronounced taste for exclusiveness on the part of the Christian majority, and that
neighborhoods like ours were less the result of discrimination than its breeding grounds.
The use of Lindbergh is a clever trick to get attention, and also to allow those who recall his
unpleasant remarks some point of connection (I remember my own grandfather's vindictive
when I told him I was reading the A. Scott Berg biography: "that rabid anti-Semitic "). However
clever, these bits of historical "anti-realism" (as many have called them) and verbal asides make it
difficult to engage with the actual beauty of Roth's writing: his excellent characterisations and
sensual depiction of Newark during the 1940s:
There were no trees for sale in our neighborhood--because there was no one to buy them--and so
the month of December, if it smelled at all, smelled of something a shissing alley cat had tugged
an overturned garbage can in somebody's yard, and of supper heating on the stove of a flat whose
steamy kitchen window was open a crack to let in air from the alleyway, and of the bursts of
coal gas spewed from the furnace chimneys, and of the pail of ashes dragged up from the cellar to
emptied outdoors over slippery patches of sidewalk. (118)
Young Philip Roth is a sympathetic and sensitively drawn character, with whom the reader can
empathise, as he tries to comprehend the way in which his secure world crumbles. Roth adroitly
manages to convey the very realistic way in which he blames and even tortures himself over
such as the death of his downstairs neighbour and friend/nemesis Sheldon's father, and then
The juxtaposition of Sheldon's mother's cozy warmth and young Roth's agony over her death is
of the most moving and masterful scenes in the book; much more powerful than any of the colder
narrations which tell (rather than show) how events transpired as anti-Semitism becomes rife, riots
ensue, Lindbergh disappears, and ultimately the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Contrasted with the
cartoonish Lindberghs, especially Ann Morrow, whose sensible words in the face of governmental
insanity seem as contrived as the difficult ending, which seems designed only to explain the
Lindbergh's "sell-out" in the context of their own family crises (perhaps even parallelling the
but which is so far fetched and even silly to work. Though politically the novel is patchy,
to make its thematic point (however powerful or politically accurate--the polemic would have
worked better as non-fiction), from a novelistic point of view, the Roth family is perfectly drawn,
and the drama which unfolds within it subtly and sensitively handled. Young Philip's fear in the
of what happens, not just outside, but within the family unit is powerful, and drives the suspense
forward. We watch Philip's own minor mishaps as he and a friend follow "goyim" on the bus, as
runs away with his neighbour's clothes and gets kicked by a horse. The family's later
particularly when Philip's father falls out with his wounded cousin Alvin is moves the plot forward
and mirrors the demise of America in a very powerful way:
Blood spattered the length and breadth of our imitation Oriental rug, blood dripping from the
splintered remains of our coffee table, blood smeared like a sign across my father's forehead,
spurting from my cousin' s nose--and the two of them not so much fist fighting, no so much
as caroming, with a terrible bony thwack colliding, rearing back and charging in like men with
antlers branching from their brows, fantastical, cross-species creatures sprung from mythology
our living room and pulping each other's flesh with their massive, snaggletooth horns. (295)
Philip's awakening as he begins to realise that his father and aunt are fallible, and that the world he
lives in is unstable is part of what makes this book work, despite its unsettling, albeit interesting
premise, and the negative impact of the older wiser Philip Roth narrator. As a family drama set in
tumultuous and perhaps immediately relevant setting, this is a serious and significant novel,
Coaching the Artist Within
New World Library
ISBN: 1577314646 $14.95 256 pages
What's a creativity coach? Although perhaps the concept is as old as creativity itself, as a field of
practice, Eric Maisel may have been the originator. A creativity coach is someone who helps those
who are creatively challenged in some way. The scope of this challenge is broad indeed, since it is
the very nature of creative challenges which spur creative responses. In other words, all artists are
creatively challenged at the start and throughout each of their projects. It's when the challenge
becomes so great that the work stops or an emotional crisis ensures that the work of a creativity
coach becomes valuable. Eric Maisel is more than a creativity coach, although he has written a
number of books and countless articles on the topic, and does expensive coaching sessions for
rather famous artists. His latest book, Coaching the Artist Within is more like Anthony Robbins
without the overt hype, and targeted directly towards people who need to be creative. It is
motivational, inspirational, and touches on more than an artist's output.
The book is written in simple, accessible prose and is full of real life stories from Maisel's
practice--tales of rock stars who are feeling dissatisfied with their music, singers who have too
anxiety to perform their best, painters who no longer want to paint in the style their customers
expect, and writers who can't finish their writing. Coaching the Artist Within is designed to turn
reader into his or her own self-creativity coach, and is set out in twelve lessons and a number of
related exercises. These skills include such things as how to become an effective self-couch,
passionately making meaning, getting a grip on your mind, eliminating dualistic thinking,
mental energy, creating in the middle of thing, achieving a centred presence, committing to
goal-oriented process, dealing with anxiety, planning, upholding dreams in the face of reality, and
maintaining a creative life.
It's a misnomer however, to think of these "skills" in the same way as one might think of learning
use a carpenter's saw or learning to speak another language, though Maisel suggests that even
like emotions and beliefs can be dealt with through creating positive habits, mental exercises, and
repetition. The second skill, passionately making meaning is the key which underlies the entire
book--that just getting through a day, finishing a project, or even making good money really isn't
enough. Life is all about deciding that our lives have meaning. Maisel presents this as a deliberate
choice, and a learnt skill through a series of exercises like creating a life purpose statement, and
holding, always, the intention to fulfil that life purpose. This is not subtle, nor is it difficult to
but it also as powerful as religion in providing a sense of purpose to life. There is much of Walter
Pater's classic conclusion to The Renaissance here: "To burn always with this hard, gem-like
to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life."
This is true life coaching, but Maisel is never corny, nor does he preach or ever come near to
didacticism in his writing. In most instances, he shows us what others have had to deal with and
are able to recognise ourselves in the many examples (which are fun and even hedge on the
scattered throughout the book. At the same time, the book doesn't oversimplify, or pretend that
road to self-actualisation is an easy one. This isn't about cheerleading, and there is most definitely
chapter on food combining or how to lose weight. The exercises, though powerful, are
simple, and include such things as keeping a journal devoted to dream upholding, a life plan, a
of pre-performance questions designed to get at the roots of anxiety, dropping everything and
making creativity a priority, centring yourself through a series of breathing and speaking
or using affirmations as substitutes for negative thoughts. If you've read many self-help or
motivational books, you'll probably recognise some of these, however, what make this book so
powerful is the way in which Maisel puts it all into the broader context of creativity being at the
heart of a positive and fulfilled life. Those working in a creative arena will understand and feel
deeply the importance with which Maisel views their work, and the intimacy of his understanding
the problems which can occur. As Maisel himself is not only a coach, but also a novelist who
understands how to use language, this is a book which reads well, handling large and difficult
notions with ease:
We must dream large, and we must also reality-test well. It is imperative that we do both. A
who dreams large but doesn't effectively test reality ends up in a fantasy world. A person who
reality well but doesn't nurture large dreams lives paralyzed in the ordinary world. A peson who
manages to do both occupies the only heaven heavenly enough to suit our creative soul, a heaven
where creative projects are incubated and made manifest in the crucible or reality. (175)
What Maisel presents here is a primer on how to live a life worth living. If you're a blocked artist,
Coaching the Artist Within will certainly help you get to the root of what is troubling you, while
always spurring you forward to do more, more deeply, and more meaningfully. Even if you aren't
blocked, this book is an excellent resource to help you get the most out of life, to work to your
and to create a broader vision to encompass your creativity. It always comes back to the reader,
ultimately this book will have you answering your own questions. This is one for every artist's
bookshelf, and perhaps also for the broader community as well.
Another Universe: Friendly street poets 28
Edited by Kate Deller-Evans and Steve Evans
ISBN 1862546398, $19.95
Friendly Street is a open mike poetry venue in Adelaide. It has been running for 29 years now and
Australia's longest running open poetry venue. Every month, a wide range of brave poets venture
through its doors to perform their poetry to an eager audience. All poets who perform are eligible
submit their work to the annual Friendly Street anthology. The poems in Another Universe are
varied in tone, some light and humorous, some deep and intense. Editors Kate Deller-Evans and
Steve Evans do a very good job with both the selection of and balance between poems, and this
latest edition is an exceptional showcase for new and experienced Australian poets. The scope
from parody to haiku, limerick to free verse. Overall though, the one thing that these poems have
common is accessibility. The poems speak a contemporary language of travelling through a
country, memories of the past, of the nature of poetry, teaching, an ex-husband, death, love, and
many more topics which will be familiar and evocative to the modern reader. There are no rhymed
couplets, no cute bush stanzas, no archaic or high blown language. The poems speak of shared
moments, epiphany, and of the richness, beauty, and sometimes ugliness of everyday life.
Another Universe contains 100 poems by 70 authors, chosen from approximately 400 which were
submitted from those read at Friendly Street in 2003. Although the poems stand on their own,
knowing the context, it is hard not to imagine the poets' voices as they stood reciting and
interpreting in front of the Friendly Street audience. A large number of the poems are also part of
larger collections by their authors, including Erica Jolly's Pomegranates, Patricia Irvine's Leaving
Mickey, Jeri Kroll's Mother Workshops, and Deb Matthews-Zott's Shadow Selves, all published
respected small presses.
Jude Aquilina's "Adelaide, 1970's" is almost a piece of prose, but like the best of poetry it moves
effortlessly through a series of images; conveying perception and motion without the need for
or straight syntax. 1970 doesn't seem like such a long time ago, but this is nostalgia at its best,
without pathos. Aquilina effectively puts the reader into the immediacy of the scene. The ending is
both light and intense, instantly taking us out of a child's present into the memory of an adult:
The milkman rises early to foil the sun and milk-money thieves. Old men ride push bikes with
cartons or kit bags strapped to their carriers. House doors are left unlocked. Asleep on the lawn
A blink and it all turns black and white.(6)
In "The Ex," Kate Bristow does a humorous job of using modern Australian vernacular to convey
both the womanising bludger qualities of an ex-husband with her own sense of exile from the man
with whom she was once tied:
I study his furrowed brow,
Years of experience etched like lough tracks on his face,
Searching for the man I married thirty years ago who said,
'I'll look after you. It would be great to have kids
And buy shoes for them.'
The same man who looked after my widowed mother.
He dientangles the tentacles of the twenty year-old nymph
Suckered to his neck. (15)
Other poems tackle familiar subjects like illness and nature, but the imagery is always fresh and
original, and consistent with my own bias, there is always a sense of the inner world of the poet;
what is lost and found in any moment being explored. A beautiful example of this is Melanie
Duckworth's "First Rain," which, like most of the poems in this collection, are moving without
overly sentimental. Rain is as simple as the shower outside, which "clamours happily/on the
and the tin-/it wants to get in." but it is also metaphorically as complex as the disease which
the subject of the poem:
The bed is kind and carries you
And the rain
Is far away but closer than breathing
When it gets in. (37)
The delicacy and warmth of this sad poem allows the reader to identify with the woman in pain
the narrator who has to watch and care. The rain is both cleansing and deadening, and its endless
pattering simultaneously transitory and permanent. Similarly in Steve Evan's "Dachau," there is a
strong sense of dignity in the midst of tragedy, and of the longing for normalcy--the everyday
decisions and trivia that we take for granted. Again the reader is forced to face both the horror of
the Holocaust as it reaches it conclusion, and its ongoing relationship to everyday life in a way
is moving but still devoid of any overt attempts at drawing out sympathy:
you'll rise when ready
Dust off the years
Collect your clothing from the heap
And dress without embarrassment
Among the naked crowd
These are poems which become instantly personal to the reader, intimate without being insular.
poems taking on the subject of death and survival are among the best in the book, looking hard at
those things otherwise too painful to bear, such as Louise Nicholas' "The Tree," which explores
loss of a child:
As though you never whirl round from the stove -
the silent hall
the empty shelf
The stench of flowers and sympathy cards (72)
The book is full of these exquisitely painful moments, but they are offset and even intensified by
jokey light notes of such farce as Geoff Kemp's "Footy Poem," or Stephen Lawrence's
"Partnershipping." The editors do a very good job of balancing the intense and touching with light
parody, creating a very pleasurable anthology for the reader. Some poetry, even good poetry,
the reader to work hard, uncovering meaning from obscurity, but Another Universe isn't like that
all. These poems were clearly designed to be understood quickly, sharing their meaning in a
hit from poet to reader. It is as if they were being read to us. The ease of understanding is not
generally due to simplicity though. With a few minor exceptions, most of these poems are as
complex and powerful as the human psyche, and bear repeated readings. It is exactly what a good
poetry collection should be.
For more information visit the web site at: http://www.friendlystreetpoets.org.au/fs27.htm
Write Any Book in 28 Days
No ISBN, CD-ROM, $49.95
In the introduction to his self extracting HTML course, Nick Daws promises that you will create a
book length work of fiction or non-fiction in a matter of weeks. This is rather a hefty promise,
especially considering that most book length fiction and some of the better quality non-fiction
some years to create. The basic thesis of Daw's course is that the faster you write, the higher your
profit level. While this may be true for some kinds of non-fiction, and also is a possible way to
produce a reasonable beginning draft, it doesn't necessarily follow that faster is better. Some of
best books of all time have taken many years to write, partially because the author revised,
reworked, and rewrote until they had a novel that was a work of art. Even some of the examples
Daws cites, such as Harry Potter, are for books that took several years to produce. There is really
no way around it. Quality takes time, and few novelists would disagree with that. Despite the
misleading premise, this is actually a decent course, full of innovative sound-bitey, but easy to
ideas for getting that first draft out as quickly as possible, which is not a bad way of working if
are that way inclined. As Daws clearly explains, writing fast can tap into the illusive and creative
right brain. It also will give you more time for that crucial, but slow left brain activity of revising,
which is probably the key thing that distinguishes good writing from bad.
The course itself is much like an e-book, but produced in an HTML format which is set up in easy
follow chapters, with live links, occasional music and navigational buttons. Daws provides
encouragement to would be authors, debunking the myth that writers are a special breed of
or that there is such a thing as the elusive muse. Anyone can write, we all can find the time if we
desire, ideas are easy to come by, and most people have enough personal experience and wisdom
write a book about anything. All of this is probably true to a degree, although like much in this
course, is probably something of a copywriter styled simplification.
Practicing what he preaches, Daws' course is written in simple conversational language, and is
easy to follow, with recaps at the beginning and ends of each self-contained module. He presents
number of easy tricks which can help make the writing process simpler, including things like
in conversational style (which may or may not be appropriate for a novel, stylistics being one of
more complex aspects of literary quality fiction), "the Q&A method" or asking yourself questions
and arranging them in an appropriate order, freewriting (which taps into "right brain intuition"),
to get ideas for your book from the many "seeds" within yourself or from other books, people and
situations you come across, the use of acronyms for unique book themes, ways of coming up with
good title, how to come up with plot ideas, and how to make use of The Hero's Journey plot
Each concept is contained on a single well spaced screen page, and is written in clean, relaxed
copywriter's prose which will put beginning or nervous writers at ease. Additional chapters cover
writing of non-fiction, outlining through the use of chapters, turning chapters into blueprints, the
of freewriting, the use of transitions, lists, keywords, and tips on improving style, characterisation,
narrative voice, how to show and not tell, researching, and fast editing.
Some of these topics just skim the surface of these serious topics, such as getting published, plot
creation and character development, setting and description, stylistics, and editing, and are
in much greater detail in other books, such as James Frey's How to Write Damn Good Fiction or
Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages, The Plot Thickens or for self-publishing, anything by Dan
Poynter. However, for the beginning writer, or a writer who wants a reasonably complete
which is more like an outline for working quickly, this is a good place to start. The writing is
clear, and concise, with a range of memory aids (like the 4 C's, Hero's Journey models, WAYS
("write as you speak), and PACE (People, Action, Conversation, Emotion) to ensure that you are
able to put the principles into practice immediately. Each section contains a series of easy
which effectively demonstrate the chapter's principles. Experienced writers (particularly
writers of literary fiction) will probably find this course overly simplistic, since advanced narrative
patterns may not necessarily correspond to the "WAYS" principle, and certainly all sentences
need to be short (unless you are writing web copy, which is something Daws clearly excels in).
Some of the greatest novels ever written have lengthy paragraphs and interesting linguistic
to convey meaning which may be more complex than simple prose can convey--Joyce's Ulysses
Wolff's The Waves for example. However, writers who are at Joyce or Wolff's level, are probably
well beyond any course. For the majority of new authors, this course will provide a decent
which will cover, in brief, all of the elements needed to pull together a fast, and reasonably
comprehensive first draft of either a fiction or nonfiction (though I daresay it works better for
non-fiction, something which Daws appears to have more experience in than fiction).
This course presents a very effective way to break through writers block, and will take that very
daunting task of writing a whole book, and make it seem both achievable, and even relatively
straightforward. It is. Daws is absolutely right in suggesting that there is nothing mystical or elite
about writing a full length book. A book model can make the drafting process much easier and
a few mental tricks and tips can help flesh out the parts, just the same way as if you were using a
in the blank software system like New Novelist. Of course, the first draft is only just the start--a
difficult lesson for first time book writers, and one which will most certainly sort the wheat from
chaff. The fast editing chapter does grossly simplify and underestimate the multi-drafting process
writing good literary quality fiction and non-fiction (though, and I'm showing my biases here, it
be perfectly fine for formulaic romance, chick-lit, thriller or sci fi genres). The advice and
given in this course are all sound ones, which actually cover a fair amount of territory for the
number of words used. In other words, it is a concise, but reasonably solid course which will get
writers writing, in a structured and organised way. I am aware of two other products which are
reasonably similar to this one on the market, Steve Manning's Write a Book Now, which sells for
whopping $297 (plus $19.95 shipping!), and Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write which sells for
$29.95. Parnell's e-book is pithier in content, but while it covers similar ground, it doesn't have the
same funky HTML course-like format, which may work better for some people, so the $49.95
for Write Any Book is probably not a bad investment for a new novelist or author. As an outline
motivational guide for writing a first draft, the course delivers reasonable value. However, a first
draft is still a long way off the kind of work that needs to be written in order to find a commercial
publisher (obviously anyone can publish their own e-book, or use a vanity press, without worrying
about the quality of their final work). The real work, and the real craft, especially in a novel, is in
re-writing, and after your 28 days is up, there is going to be plenty of additional hard yakka.
no point in glossing this over. That said, the first draft is still a good starting point, and it is still
exciting to finish the draft and have a good clear understanding of what you are trying to say and
how you are planning to say it. This book will help get you there.
The course comes with a number of "bonuses". These include a list of high paying short story
markets in the US and UK, a list of some US and UK publishers, a list of websites for posting
screenplays, a list of some potential book titles (you might like to come up with something
to your own book though!) - these are all one pagers of mostly publicly available information.
is also a copy of Script Smart Gold script templates for the US and UK, WriteSparks Lite (which
also available free from http://ewritersplace.com), and Cynergy Script Editor.
Magdalena Ball, Reviewer
Alfred A. Knopf
Random House Children's Books
a Division of Random House, NY, NY
ISBN: 0375824685 $15.95 144 pp.
Donuthead was a must-read for me as I also am crafting a tale told from within the mind of a
middle-school-aged boy. And of course I was fascinated by how another author would bring to
the murky depths therein. I found Donuthead to be a quick, delightful read for adults as well as
children. Never has an obsessive-compulsive disorder been displayed with such charming hilarity.
Franklin Delano Donuthead has progressed to the fifth grade defying an untimely death and
of ruthlessly attacking germs by avoiding cars and bodies of water (the number one and two
of death in children). Plus, as he says, "I never play with matches or firearms; never climb trees,
ladders, or fences; change the smoke detector batteries every three months; do not drink liquids
are stored under the sink or put any plastic bags over my head."
And if that weren't enough, in order to live to see the sixth grade, Franklin protects himself from a
world filled with germs by dousing with hydrogen peroxide, using sanitary gloves and repeating
"Happy Birthday" song as a mantra three times to ensure sufficient time to wash his hands. Low
accident statistics and weekly calls to Gloria Nelots, the chief statistician for the National Safety
Department in Washington, give this young man great comfort.
But then what can you expect from a fellow who has to endure a last name like Donuthead,
slightly wacky mother dreams of her son playing third base for the New York Yankees and who
a sperm donor for a father?
And who could imagine that a new girl in school, Sarah Kervick, a tough, dirty little pile of germs
with matted blonde hair and warts, could manage to open some of the locked doors at the
Donuthead household and create a more "regular" family as well?
Sarah begins by smashing her fist into the class bully's nose, ignoring Franklin's pleas to "try to do
little as possible. It's important not to respond. That could escalate the tensions." Franklin's
accident-avoidance techniques clash with Sarah's no-holds-barred aggression. And then, when his
mother befriends her, Sarah enters Franklin's after-school world as well. But good things start
happening to Sarah, Franklin and his mother when they open up to each other as human beings,
which allows their dreams to come a little closer to reality. Perhaps the most warming aspect of
book is that it shows the positive effect kindness and understanding has on individuals.
This well-crafted story loaded with humor and humanity is an excellent read for children from
middle elementary on to adults. Sue Stauffacher has also written two other books for children,
Angel and Other Stories, a collection of folk tales, and S'gana, the Black Whale, about a
boy and a killer whale. A new book named Harry Sue is due out the summer of 2005, and its
line seems to display the same delightful quirkiness and warmth as Donuthead.
We Should Do This More Often
2375 Telstar Drive, Suite 160, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
ISBN: 1578568595 $12.99 203 pp.
I have heard Lorilee Craker speak twice. She is a warm and engaging person with a deliciously
quirky sense of humor that convinced me her books would be both entertaining and amusing. And
with two daughters awash in the early stages of child care, I meant to take a quick look back at
active period, perhaps congratulate myself that I survived it and then pass this book on to my
What I found was a sassy, yet thoughtful review of a very serious problem; that is, the loss of
passion and companionship a marriage can suffer when a baby enters the picture. The author's
research is not scientifically documented or analytically presented; but, much better, consists of
feedback from a group of women friends possessing small children and, yes, from her own
as well. For such an up-close-and-personal subject, friendship is essential for a true response. And
confidentiality is afforded to all but the author herself.
The reader is introduced to a fictional couple, Debra and Trevor Arbuckle, who are in love, in
with each other and share multiple interests. As we follow them through the birth, babyhood and
toddlerhood of two children, we see them grossly neglecting their marriage due to the
task of caring for their offspring, which eats up a good deal of their time and physical strength.
Weight gain, a matronly appearance and viewpoint and misfired and mismatched romantic signals
complicate the problem. We see them truly becoming two ships passing in the night instead of
partners, a surefire recipe for marriage disaster.
Interwoven in Debra and Trevor's story are helpful tips culled by the author and her friends on
to avoid such a precarious marital situation from developing. As the author states bluntly, "If
one of those people who think you can recapture romance while still in the presence of your
children, well, I'll just tell you: you can't!" And suggestions follow: a parents-only trip to a
"where macaroni and cheese is not on the menu and they don't hand out crayons" or enjoying "the
enchanting, mysterious luster of a yearly overnight or weekend away."
The author's style is playful, but does not mask the importance of making a marriage happy,
cooperative and responsive to each partner's needs. It is no small statement that the extra care a
couple takes of their marriage will have a more beneficial effect on the children than if one or both
the couple focuses solely on their children and excludes the needs of their mate. And even though
have no more children to rear, I'll have to admit that I gained some knowledge about the workings
of a marriage that my husband can only benefit from. I believe anyone involved in a marriage, man
and woman alike, will learn much from reading this book.
Lorilee Craker has written other books: When the Belly Button Pops, the Baby's Done, O For a
Thousand Nights to Sleep and See How They Run written concurrently with the author
pregnancy, caring for a baby and dealing with that "active period" of chasing toddlers. I can't wait
Twilight Times Books
P.O. Box 3340, Kingsport TN 37664
ISBN: 193120134X $19.50 422 pages,
Two objects resembling asteroids approach earth. They collide in a flash of green and blue light.
falls on a Columbian jungle, the other on Washington.
In the Columbian jungle, John Jacob Connard, US Special Forces veteran, better known as
is on a mission to eliminate a drug lord. He is shot and mortally wounded. Upon waking, he
discovers his wounds have miraculously healed and an alien voice in his mind is 'talking' him.
In Washington, Lara Picard, environmental lawyer and mother, has a serious biking accident,
enough to end her life. Yet, as she is rushed to the hospital, she can feel her own wounds
mysteriously healing as if by magic. And just like Connard, she now seems to share her mind with
Alien, intelligent entities have invaded the consciousness of the two protagonists.
One is good and wishes earth to step into the next level of consciousness. The other is evil and
nothing but human destruction. But which is which? What exactly are they? And why do the
computers at the Global Consciousness Project suddenly seem to go berserk?
An impressive, ambitious first novel. The first of a triology, Monkey Trap is an action-packed,
suspenseful, fascinating extraterrestrial story that will keep you reading compulsively until you
discover the conclusion. Its originality sets it apart from the rest of SF novels being published
days. If you enjoy action stories with a strong touch of mysticism and scientific detail, you'll love
Book Marketing From A-Z
1094 New DeHaven St., Suite 100, West Conshohocken PA 194428-2713
ISBN: 0741424312 $18.95 400 pages
You've written a novel. You've had it published. Unfortunately, unless you're a megastar author
Anne Rice or Stephen King, chances are your publisher isn't going to do much in terms of
your book. But what is an author to do? You can sit and wait for your book to become a
but chances are a million against one that this isn't going to happen. Or you can take a serious,
part in the marketing of your book and achieve the highest success possible.
Francine Silverman's Book Marketing From A-Z is filled with original concepts and resources to
help you along the way and make the process less difficult. An informative compilation of ideas
tips from over 300 authors, in it you will find links to promo and review sites, free-subscription
newsletters, ezines and magazines that accept articles, contests, free downloads and much more.
Topics are arranged alphabetically for easy access. Everything from the importance of book
to pitching the media to the necessity of author websites can be found between these pages.
An absolute page-turner! I got it in the mail on a Wednesday afternoon and finished it by
evening. I simply couldn't put it down. As an author, I found myself scribbling on the margins,
underlining key words and taking notes. Later on I spent several hours at the computer checking
long list of links and adding them to my promo folders. I also subscribed to some very helpful
newsletters. The drawback? It left me hungry for more. This is a book you'll definitely want to
on your reference shelf. Highly recommended for authors who want to successfully market their
The Blue Ribbon Day
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
1255 Avenue of the Americas, NYC NY 10020
ISBN: 0385501420 $9.95
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4.5 stars
Ellie McSnelly and Carrie O'Toole are best friends as they race down the hall of Brookhaven
Tomorrow is a big day it is the day to try out for Soccer. Both girls are so excited they cannot
think. On Monday Carrie was glad she had taken a chance and tried out that is until she read the
sign listing the girls who made the team. Carrie's name was not on the list. Mom's words
'Everybody's a star, a brilliant creation, the trouble is find the right constellation' do not offer
much consolation. By morning Carrie was ready to go on with life. The science fair is only a week
away. Carrie's lab partner Lazlo has an idea and Carrie has one too. The pair set about producing
fun project, but will it work, and can they enter it into the fair. It worked, it worked! And, Ellie
the first to come see.
Writer Couric and Illustrator Priceman have collaborated to produce an excellent tool for children
who may not yet feel themselves in their right constellation. A lesson we all must learn is that no
of us excels at all things. Sometimes our friends do well at something and we do well at another.
Disappointment depicted by writer Couric is indisputable and real. Learning to deal with
disappointment is something we must all learn.
Couric utilizes a worthy methodology to extend to youngsters a feasible technique for dealing
the ups and downs faced by all in life. Rather than Carrie bemoaning her misfortune she sheds a
tears while snuggled on Mom's lap, dusts herself off and goes on. That is an excellent lesson for
all and the sooner we can learn it, the better equipped we are to face future disappointments and
future successes. Ellie and Carrie remain friends as each excels at something she does well. The
cheer one another and share both upset and joy.
As both a school teacher and a parent I like the fact that in the book 'Mom' offers sympathy and
encouragement, she does not go screaming to the school to demand that Carrie be made part of
team. Mom helps restore her disappointed daughter's self confidence but does not interfere with
reality of life. Mom allows Carrie the comfort she needs and the encouragement to go on. There is
good lesson to be gleaned from this insouciant caper through the ups and downs of childhood. We
each have special gifts, some we share with our friends, and some are unique to us. Sharing one
another's ventures helps makes us each a more rounded person as we develop an awareness and
insight that different talents make life more interesting for us all. Boosting the self esteem of our
friends through caring understanding is a good example set before both uncertain and self assured
children alike in this charming little book.
Illustrations provided by Majorie Priceman fit to perfection the breezy prose set down by writer
Couric in this sure to please book meant for children in primary to middle grades. Vocabulary
is 'child friendly', a bit beyond the younger children, but well within the scope of understanding for
children from ages 4 - 10. The Blue Ribbon Day is a book I would use in my own
Grade classroom. A read to book for the younger set, read with some help for first and second
graders and read alone for the third - fifth grade group.
The Blue Ribbon Day is a good addition for pleasure reading, classroom unit work on self esteem,
the home and school library and for home schoolers seeking a good, sensible approach to guiding
children toward both self acceptance and developing empathy for others.
Enjoyed the read. Happy to recommend.
2 X 4 Projects for Outdoor Living
Stevie Henderson & Mark Baldwin
a division of Sterling Publishing Co. Inc / Lark Books
387 Park Avenue South, New York City, NY 10016
ISBN: 1402714653 $9.94
Informative Read .. Recommended 5 stars
The work is a how-to book filled with glossy photos, step by step directions and a layout of
objects to be made using simple tools, easily gotten wood and a minimum of building
What caught my eye first is the lovely porch swing on the cover of the publication. The swing
appears usable and used in addition to being sturdy and very, very inviting.
A 23 page section describing materials in simple terms: adhesives, fasteners, together with wood
a variety of tools sets the tone for the work. Clear illustrations are provided to explain the term
toenailing and how to set a wood plug over a screw for beauty's sake. Advantages of using screws
for fastening pieces rather than pounding nails is explained. Tables are provided detailing the
pennyweight of nails together with their relative length as well as nominal size for wood and the
actual dimensions of the wood. Illustrations provided are both hand drawn as in the good
of warped, cupped, split and knotty wood in addition to the photo profiling applicators, sealant,
and finishes to use to complete projects. Good clear photos are provided showing simple, easily
tools needed for the projects along with how to use the nail sets, hammers, screwdrivers and
while working. A table of recommended basic tools to be assembled is a boon to those of us who
may want to actually try a project but not have a lot of experience or expertise in doing so to
Projects for consideration include a birdhouse table for the patio, a free standing patio screen,
chair, an outdoor storage center. Gardeners will enjoy taking a peek at the glistening vine covered
Tuteur while envisioning it in their own garden. The plans for the porch swing are ones I do
to use come spring. Plans for each project comprise 4 to 6 pages beginning with a large full page
photo of the completed project. In the case of the swing the following page begins with a table
outlining materials, hardware, cutting list for the wood and a note on materials explaining why
specific hardware to be used to hang the swing is not provided. The note makes good sense, lists
chain and bolts used by the author and offers suggestions to consult someone in the know at the
local supply center.
A detailed explanation for building the swing seat, back and sides is accompanied by good line
drawings and large photos that an even all thumbs builder (myself included) should find easily
Other project plans include a portable deck made in 16 inch squares, an Adirondack Sofa to place
the deck, and a canopy to shade the deck. There is a trellis and fountain to provide soothing
as you gaze out at the trellis arbor, outdoor bar, a table tray, hurricane lamp, mini gazebo,
table, picnic table and benches, covered trash container all made by you and placed in your
Written in clear, easily understood, ordinary language Handyman Writer's Henderson and Baldwin
have put their talents to good use to produce a well conceived book meant for the do-it-yourselfer
wannabe who lurks beneath the surface in many of us. The numerous illustrations, clear directions
and photos of finished projects hold reader interest fast from that swing on the cover to the last
fountain trellis project.
This is not a nice little book to flip through, consign to the bookshelf and forget. 2 X 4 Projects
Outdoor Living is meant to be used. Cover and pages are sturdy enough to carry out to the
site, prop up and refer to often. The reader is allowed to make copies of the plans if they wish per
the fine print at the front-piece of the book. I plan to tackle the moveable patio squares first and
move on to another project when my confidence builds. Perhaps that porch swing will be hanging
my porch come mid summer.
My only question would be: are there other books in a series? I can think of some indoor projects
might like to attempt.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend. A good addition to the home library, or home school
as a book to whet the interest of young men who may be reluctant to read a 'story' book.
Eddie &the Gang with No Name: Running with the Reservoir Pups
1745 Broadway NYC, NY 10019
ISBN: 0385732449 $15.95 272 pp.
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative opens with an explanation that Eddie's dad was killed by dragons, no actually he
killed in a submarine accident, well no and after several more explanations we learn that Eddie's
dad is not dead at all. Eddie is dismayed to learn that the life he has enjoyed is ending, his parents
divorcing, he and his mother will be moving to the city where his mother begins to work as a
in the Royal Victoria Maternity Hospital. To say that Eddie is less than enchanted would be mild.
Before long Eddie meets a group of boys who spatter cars with mud then offer the owners a
rate for washing the cars. When Eddie runs into the same group of chancers at the hospital where
mother works things really begin to get interesting. The Reservoir Pups are as crafty a group of
street boys as you might meet. A leg-less boy named Captain Black, a hospital security guard
Scuttles, a new man in his mother's life, Alison Beech, a bold kidnapping scheme, a body washer
down in the morgue, the Andytown Albinos, a near miss, a desperate plan and a bitter truth all
part in this fast paced work.
Irish writer Colin Bateman presents an exhilarative, spine tingling work filled with all the zestful
agitation, whimsical cast of characters and explosive tension necessary to hold the target audience
absorbed from beginning paragraph to ending lines. Eddie &the Gang with No Name: Running
the Reservoir Pups is a well-written publication filled with generously drawn players and a
interwoven, precarious story line. Snappy dialogue, potent and at times astonishing scenarios are
presented with drollery and smartness. Writer Bateman has captured the fun and excitement of the
age in his often awkward hero Eddie. Eddie is so typical a boy that he seems real.
Eddie's reasonable, predictable hurt and distraction following his parents' divorce, and his learning
confront with and make sense of his feelings are presented in a believable manner. From his
beginning to form new relationships and Eddie's own need to carve out a new life for himself
Bateman presents each new theme in manner that kids in the target audience can understand. The
struggle Eddie faces in having is whole life disrupted is something kids facing the same situation
identify with, and chuckle along with Eddie as he struggles to make sense of things he cannot
Good book for the school, home school, and home library. The work will fit as nicely in a unit on
facing life as it will for pleasure reading. Therapists will find use for the book in helping youthful
clients who may be facing many of the situations as is Eddie following a divorce and the need to
move and leave behind the comfortable life they have known. Parental affair, divorce and the need
for finding friends and learning a whole new set of rules and discipline for life are presented in
The setting for the book is England, and some of the language used will have an English flavor
which kids will find intriguing.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
P.O. Box No. 62 TADCASTER North Yorkshire LS24 9WP United Kingdom
ISBN 0954861809 9.95 U.S. 5.95 Brit. pounds http://www.merlinskin.org/
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative opens with a determined bearded man in a red cape shouting orders as a battering
is moved into place. Without warning in the inner quartz cave where Merlin and others have slept
for eons a horrendous battering resounds. Merlin is aroused from his slumber by the precipitate
invasion of his rocky domain. Without warning the men preparing to forward the ram once more
became aware of an apparition before them. Fleeing in terror Merlin is left to ponder what to do
next. He knows the intruders will return. To stop the invaders was going to take more power than
Merlin alone might muster. Merlin calls out to his blood lines. The planet nearest to his quartz
cavern is earth where youngsters who have no knowledge of their kinship reside.
Responding to the call sent out by the Wizard; fifteen year olds Francis Steel, and Zoe Bellamy
along with Zoe's friend Allison, Curtis Brown 14, and thirteen year old Jude Plunkett are
to gather in a forest area. Drawn to an ancient stone gateway the teens descend into a musty
darkness. A sudden topple into an unseen body of water leaves the group wet, cold and out of
The land of Greensward is dominated by an evil ruler; Calupsis. The teens have no idea where
are, how they have arrived nor the importance of their visit. Fellow travelers, strange homes on
wheels - wandahomes- pulled by mammoths, a bird who babbles all, cheerful Moorfolk,
subterraneous caverns, a village named Meander, friends who will help, and those who will not,
dreams directed by Merlin himself, wondrous mythic creatures, knights, a special key, Pits of
Gloom, kidnapping, slavery all abound in this absorbing tale of Merlin's descendants.
On the pages of Merlin's Kin Writer Coles has crafted an enthralling, fast paced narrative sure to
gratify the 10 - 15 age group target audience. Coles sets in place an intriguing premise: what
take place should the Wizard Merlin need aid and call upon descendants for help, and the author
then sets about spinning a tale certain to thrill the most discerning reader. Occupied with tumult,
potent ingeniously interwoven plots within a plot, stratagems, snappy dialog, machination and
wondrous creatures Merlin's Kin is filled with the elements of a first rate fantasy. Forceful
motivations, treachery, friction aptly determined abound against a backdrop of sights and sounds,
fragrance and sensation designed to draw the reader straight into the tale. Characters are richly
fleshed, acceptable and believable. Dialog is tart, at times gritty and hard hitting.
This audacious account is a pleasure read awash with change and spins and awe and remarkable
mythic creatures. Vocabulary used is British dialect. Younger readers will enjoy the challenge in
trying to figure out various terms they have not seen before. Older readers will find the dialect
adds to the charm of the tale.
Good addition to the classroom pleasure reading 'book report' list, personal and home library and
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
James M. McGrew
Cameo Publications, LLC
PO Box 8006 Hilton Head Island SC 29939
ISBN: 0974414964 $19.95
Interesting Read .. Recommended 4 stars
In the words of the writer Think Safe is a book filled with 'practical measures to increase security
home, at work and throughout life.' Think Safe is a work of 19 chapters covering a wide variety
topics including: 'Section 1 - 6 chapter' filled with Safety Precautions for Parents, 'Section 2 - 3
chapters' offering Safety Precautions for Women, 'Section 3 - 2 chapters' Safety Precautions for
Elderly, 'Section 4 - 2 chapters' Safety Precautions at Work, 'Section 5 - 2 chapters' dealing with
Consumer Fraud Prevention, 'Section 6 - 3 chapters' filled with information pertaining to General
Safety Precautions, 'Section 7 - 1 chapter' Protecting the Home. The book includes a residential
survey for reader use to assess their own home security, or lack thereof.
I found Chapter 4: offering informative guides for parents and baby sitters, Chapter 11 filled with
Financial and Fiduciary Abuse information: covering topics including Pigeon Drops, Bank
Fraud, Home Repair Fraud, Caregiver Theft, Internet Fraud and Ponzi/Pyramid Schemes as well
Chapter 19 filled with methods for protecting the Home to be of particular interest and value. As
woman I will re read Section 2 many times. And Section 5 dealing with Consumer Fraud
is going to be another section I visit often. As I age; Section 3 dealing with Safety Precautions for
the Elderly will become more important to me.
Author McGrew comes with impressive credentials. He served as a law enforcement officer and is
the president and CEO of an investigative and security consulting firm located in San Jose, as well
having over 30 years experience in planning, implementing and managing security programs in
private and public sectors. Writer McGrew who earned a Masers degree in Administration of
from San Jose is a Certified Protection Professional, Certified Fraud examiner and a licensed
Think Safe is not a story book, it is rather a jam packed work devoted to guiding the reader
protecting themselves in all aspects of life whether as new parents, middle aged to elderly, on the
job, or gender related. There truly is something for everyone in this jam packed work. McGrew
offers statistics, helpful hints and plain common sense presented in easily understood language
without sounding overly professorial or scare mongering.
This is not a book meant for pleasure reading, but is meant to aid the reader into a safer, more
productive way of life.
I found much of value in the read, and am happy to recommend. This is one book that I will be
keeping for my own personal library.
The Little Guides: CATS
Paul McGreevy (Editor)
Fog City Press
814 Montgomery Street SF CA 94133
ISBN: 1875137653 $TBA
Informative Read ..Highly Recommended 5 stars
The Little Guides: CATS is a 320-page work divided into three sections. Part 1: 55 pages 'All
Cats,' presents a synopsis of the modern 36 species cat family. The biological chronicle of felines
together with an overview of cats in general is presented. 'Cats in the Wild' offers a discussion of
'big' cats including: lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, pumas, cheetahs, lynxes and the smaller 'wild
including servals, ocelots and feral cats. In the section on smaller cats the reader is introduced to
some species they may never have heard of before: kodkod, pallas' cat, oncilla, clouded leopard of
Asia, the jaguarundi and the margay. These latter critters are about the size of domestic cats and
in all parts of the world.
Section two: 145 pages: is the 'Cats as Pets' segment and includes information important to those
who choose to be owned by a domesticated cat. This division is divided into chapters. 'You and
Your Cat,' presents information for how to choose the perfect cat for your home, information
regarding pedigree and non pedigree, discussion of the 'settling in' time for the newly introduced
and pro and cons for house cat vs outdoors cat are all presented. The chapter titled 'Caring for
offers the reader information needed for housing the cat, litter pan choices, feeding bowls,
and carrying cages. 'Your Cat's Health,' lists characteristics of the healthy and unhealthy cat, and
describes various vaccinations to consider essential for good cat health. Parasites and how to deal
with them is presented. Some common problems pertaining to cat health are listed. Types of food
available for cats are discussed with advantages and disadvantages of each presented. Bathing and
grooming the cat is discussed. Good diagrams are included showing how to administer
Other chapter headings in this section include: 'Cat behavior,' 'About Breeding,' and 'Showing
Section three: 70 pages: offers more detailed information pertaining to particular breeds of cats.
Longhaired and shorthaired breeds are discussed. Breeds are listed alphabetically beginning with
Abyssinian, progressing through American Shorthair and American Wirehair, Burmese,
Havana Brown and Tonkinese. Discussion of the breeds includes information pertaining to their
history, a general physical description, pictures of the breed, a set of pet facts including need for
grooming, temperament, best suited to indoor or outdoor life, and climate preference. A helpful
glossary is included.
Editor McGreevy presents a good concise overview of cats in general and pets and pet care in
particular. The book is filled with good clear illustrations of the various types of animals
the feline family.
As a cat owner and cat lover myself I particularly enjoyed this book. The Little Guides: CATS is
detailed enough to fit the needs for veterinary classroom use as well as being simple enough for
those of us who are not trained in veterinary science.
Excellent choice for cat owners or one considering becoming a cat owner. The sections on cat
with illustrations of waterers, feeders, carriers, types of beds and feeding bowls provide the new
owner with a clear view of what is needed to provide well for the new addition to the household.
Need for neutering, noting that two cats are happier than one and aging are all addressed in terms
readers will understand.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
The Little Guides: Birds
Joseph Forshaw (Editor)
Fog City Press
814 Montgomery Street SF CA 94133
ISBN: 1875137734 $16.95
Informative Read ..Highly Recommended .. 5 stars
As with others in the Little Guide series The Little Guides: Birds is a 300+ -page work divided
sections. Part 1: THE WORLD OF BIRDS presents a three section overview for
UNDERSTANDING BIRDS. In section one birds are introduced with pictures of tiny humming
bird and much larger ostrich presented on the same page to indicate the wide diversity of the
Origins of Birds, Naming of Birds, Bird Anatomy, Feathers and Plumage, Flight, and Habitat, are
discussed in detail from pages 11 - 26. Section two: begins on page 27 with an overview of bird
behavior. Finding food, Displays, Songs and Calls, Territory and Pair Formation, Nests and Eggs,
and information regarding Migration, complete the section. Section three: pages 43 - 56 offers
detailed information pertaining to integration of Humans and Birds. Basic Birding, Identifying
Photographing Birds, and Birds Under Threat complete Part 1 of the book.
Part Two: KINDS OF BIRDS gets down to specifics regarding birds, how to recognize and
understand the various groups common to the world around us. Waterbirds, are found on pages
87, Seabirds and Shorebirds 89 - 123, Birds of Prey 124 - 161, Flightless and Ground Dwelling
Birds 162 - 183, Other Non-Passerine Birds including those Driven to Extinction 184 - 125,
Passerine 126 - 287, Finches and Seedeating Passerines 289 - 307.
A Classification Table and Index round out the work.
Using language easily understood by novice and experienced birder alike Editor Forshaw presents
good concise overview of birds in general and specific birds, their habitat, habits and needs in
particular. The book is filled with good clear illustrations of the various types of birds comprising
avian group. Because I live in a migration route for the Canadian Goose I particularly enjoyed
reading the section on Migration. The pages pertaining to Birds of Prey help me understand better
the Hawks who fly over my pasture.
As a person who is known to set out suet cakes, feeders of seed and water for the birds in my
yard I particularly enjoyed this book. The Little Guides: Birds is detailed enough to fit the needs
use by the more advanced bird enthusiast as well as being simple enough for those of us who have
an interest in but are not widely experienced in birding. The section on Non Passerine birds helps
know what plants and commercial foods are needed for my own backyard bird feeding/habitat
The Little Guides: Birds is an excellent choice for anyone who has an interest in the birds who
our planet . The sections on bird behavior, finding food and habitat are particularly useful for the
reader who would like to the offer birds a place to live and prosper in their own back yard.
A good addition to the home and personal library as well as the high school biology department
library. Middle grade youngsters will use the book with some guidance from parents, teachers,
leaders and the like.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
The Balloon Boy of San Francisco
Dorothy Kupcha Leland
PO Box 73892, Davis CA 95617
ISBN 0961735740 $16.95
ISBN 0961735791 $9.95
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative opens on a fog shrouded day in San Francisco. It is March 31, 1853 and the steam
ship Independence has wrecked off the Lower California coast. Ready Gates and other newsboys
hurry to tell the city of the loss. The Gates family came to San Francisco hoping for a better life.
date the fortune they hoped to find remains elusive. Ready's mother toils making cushions for area
churches while his father works as a brick mason. Mr Gates and Ready have a plan up their
to change their lives for the better. Before Ready can set out to pan for gold with his father Mr
Gates is grievously injured and Ready must give up all hope for leaving the life he desperately
to put behind him. Ready continues to hawk the news for 'The Alta California,' before changing
and working for Pat Hull at 'The Whig.' Ready seems to be everywhere the action is; he meets
actress Lola Montez, sneaks onto a riverboat in an effort to evade paying a fare, runs into old
and makes new ones, helps track down a missing gold miner and is in the middle of everything
on. One fateful day Ready begins a journey he never expected to make.
The discovery of gold served to prompt San Francisco into becoming a thriving city overflowing
with activity and people in addition to the city serving as an important hub with numerous ties to
rest of the nation. Set five years after the discovery of gold The Balloon Boy of San Francisco
depicts a vivid peek into every day life in this busy, exhilarative city on the bay. Writer Leland has
done her research well to provide details necessary to bring to life the colorful gold rush era in
appealing narrative telling of red haired Ready, Joseph, Gates and the eye-popping, unexpected
journey he made as is recorded in early California and other of the nation's newspapers.
The Balloon Boy of San Francisco begins with fourteen year old Ready Gates rushing to pick up
latest newspaper issue to hawk on San Francisco streets. The tale ends with the reader learning
Ready Gates was an actual person and his most amazing flight is listed in a book published by the
Smithsonian Institute. Without sounding 'teacherage', talented writer Leland employs an easy
reading, writing style to furnish enough minutiae essential for providing an excellent history lesson
for youngsters in the middle grades. From the outset reader interest is held tight with flowing
of many colorful characters, burning buildings, sinking ships, gold fever and kidnappings. Lola
Montez, street preaching, daguerreian artists, rivalry from other newsboys who are as desperate
Ready to earn money for their families and a most amazing balloon flight all serve to further
understanding for some of the picturesque past of one of the most fascinating cities in our
Enterprise, harsh reality of daily life and adventure abound on the pages of this fast paced tale
peopled with appealing characters, zesty dialog, and richly drawn backdrops against which the
history of early California comes to life. As a native Californian who was myself born in the bay
area, I particularly enjoyed this fascinating, well-written tale. The Balloon Boy of San Francisco is
an excellent choice for pleasure reading, classroom 'California' unit work, the homeschool
curriculum as well as home and school libraries.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs my life with animals
PO Box 151 Frederic MD 21705
ISBN: 1413701221 $16.95 http://www.amazon.com
Interesting Read . Highly Recommended 5 stars
Not a story book per se, Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs my life with animals recounts
Kostro's life long love affair with critters. Written in 42 chapters Curious Creatures - Wondrous
Waifs my life with animals opens with 'A Snake, a Rat, and Two Alley Cats', moves on to give the
reader a peek into other animals who have enriched author Kostro's life and ends with 'Memories
Will Have to Do.' In addition to the many critters Kostro has known he weaves a bit of his own
family history into the work as he outlines his childhood home and the grandparents, parents and
others who peopled his world. We are introduced to Kostro's childhood companion, Tiger, a
Shepherd - Collie mix, maybe in Chapter 2. Kostro's obvious love for the dog and the dogs
adoration of his family is clear to the reader. Tiger is reintroduced in Chapter 8 and we weep with
Kostro while reading chapter 9 as we face the loss of this wonderful animal to old age and death.
Another dog, Pepper, death of grandparents, a kamikaze bee, life with Buddy, marriage, lost love
and divorce and the Christmas cat are subjects for other chapters.
On the pages of Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs my life with animals writer Kostro has
a lovely read for all lovers of animals large and small. Kostro skillfully weaves several threads into
the varying accounts of pets and other critters he has known. Family relationships, death,
and hope and love reborn, a little boy growing up in simpler times and today facing a life far
different than that he had known as a child, critters, critters, critters, are all addressed with skill
Readers will grab for a tissue when reading about Tiger's demise, and will laugh as Kostro
his mischievous childhood adventures. Pepper, a Schnauzer/Doxie mix is presented as a most
This is not a story book, but a book of chapters to be read and then re read in bits and pieces and
smidgens and gulps as the mood dictates. Kostro's command of language is excellent. His writing
straight forward and easily read. Each chapter follows on another, but each will stand alone for a
brief read as we wait for the train to pass by, or grab a quick break at our desk for a mini read and
cup of coffee.
Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs my life with animals is an excellent book for the home,
and personal library. Junior High Schoolers will enjoy hearing the chapters read aloud as much as
they enjoy reading them for themselves or to younger siblings and while mentoring middle or
primary grade youngsters. Little folks will enjoy hearing the chapters paraphrased-read to them.
Home schoolers will find the work valuable for tweaking interest in both boys and girls of middle
grades to high school.
Thoroughly enjoyed the read. I do not keep all books I receive for review. As a pet lover myself,
having truly enjoyed the read; Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs my life with animals IS one
book I will be keeping for my own library. Happy to recommend.
Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules for Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell Books
Ground Rules Press: Cameo Publications LLC
PO Box 8006 Hilton Head Island SC 29938
ISBN: 0974496618 $19.95 www.amazon.com
Enlightening Read .. Recommended 5 stars
The narrative Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules for Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell
Books is a work of 161 pages separated into ten chapters designed to guide the reader in
winning Media Kit for their book. Chapter one leads the reader into an understanding of the
Kit and why it is important for writers to incorporate into their plan for selling books. Chapter
offers hints on how to write dynamic cover letters. In Chapter three the reader will discover how
formulate a captivating Press Release. Chapter four offers hints for writing and use of mock book
reviews. The authors bio how-to is covered in Chapter five. Chapter Six instructs in preparing and
using a Book Sell Sheet. How to prepare a Catalog Sheet for your book is covered in Chapter
while the freebies every one wants are discussed in Chapter eight. Chapter nine instructs the
in how to prepare a dazzling magazine/news article. Chapter ten is the wrap up for the book.
Dawn Josephson who is both an author and marketing - communications expert presents an
informative work meant to guide the novice, and not so new writer through the steps needed to
prepare promotional piece creation for marketing their own books. Writing used in the book is
presented in plain and understandable terms for writers who may be struggling to break into the
writing - sales world. The helpful hints offered work equally to promote newsletters, books, all
The, at times tricky, job of preparing a book press kit is presented in a practical, comprehensible
approach the reader can use to prepare their own professional, affordable Media Kit. I particularly
enjoyed the format used, points, ground rules, frequently asked questions were all presented in
understandable language. Offering examples of what to do as well as what not to do when writing
cover letters offered in Chapter two were especially informative. Sales do not just happen. Reality
authors, especially those new to the industry, must be willing to promote their own books if they
to be successful. The strategies offered on the pages of Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules
Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell Books work equally when preparing your kit for fiction,
how-to or real life works.
For this review I received a copy of the book itself, as well as an informative, well-organized
kit. Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules for Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell Books is an
excellent reference work for new authors as well as being an additional tool for more
writers who like to keep on the cutting edge of timely information. This publication takes a
workable approach to understanding, generating, and utilizing a book Media Kit to drive book
Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules for Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell Books is a must
have for the author office book shelf.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend. I do not keep all books I receive for review. This is one
Maggie and Kate: A Friendship Begins
Peggy A Schmuldt
Illustrator: Ian P Campbell
6E 2333 Government Street Victoria BC V8T 4P4 CANADA
ISBN 1412044227 $16.00 www.trafford.com
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The chronicle presented in Maggie and Kate: A Friendship Begins recounts the story of two little
girls: Maggie and Kate as they begin Kindergarten. Even though they only live two blocks apart,
girls do not know one another before the First Day of School. Maggie will be taking a beloved toy
with her on that first day and, she is happy and excited and unafraid when she thinks about
Kindergarten. Kate, on the other hand, is scared. From the moment Maggie shares her favorite
Rootbear, the two girls become fast friends. Before long Maggie is invited to Kate's birthday
Maggie sets out on a search for the perfect gift for her best friend. During the party Kate saves
Maggie's gift for last to open. It WAS the perfect gift!
Author Peggy Schmuldt, the Library Lady at Du Jardin School in Bloomingdale, Illinois teams
sixth grader Ian Campbell to produce an appealing work sure to please the target audience of 3 -
year olds. While both children followed in the tale are little girls, the narrative is one with which
folks of either sex can identify. Artwork a la the crayon drawing style of Syd Hof is sure to prove
In addition to pleasure reading/listening time on the rug during story-time, Maggie and Kate: A
Friendship Begins, has a place in classroom unit work on emotions and how to deal with them.
Maggie's self assuredness and Kate's worry are feelings I often encountered on the first day of a
Kindergarten or First Grade session. Writer Schmuldt has captured to perfection the emotions
folks cannot always voice. Artist Campbell's illustrations add to the work. Maggie and Kate: A
Friendship Begins is a 'read to' work for the target audience and a 'read alone' for student mentors
third grade and beyond reading level.
Enjoyed the read. This is a book I would use in my own Kindergarten or First Grade classroom. I
am happy to recommend the book for the home pleasure library, school library and for home
schoolers as well as for therapists working with young children who cannot always realize or
what it is they are feeling.
Maggie and Kate: A Friendship Begins the first illustrated children's book written by author
Schmuldt and illustrated by artist Campbell. I am happy to know more in the series are coming.
increase interest among the boys in the classroom, I would suggest the writer consider adding two
little boys to the mix as the series continues.
Brendell Rogue Thief
Double Dragon Publishing
P.O. Box 54016 1-5762 Highway 7 East Markham Ontario L3P 7Y4 Canada
ISBN: 1554042186 $5 -$6, various eBook formats
Entertaining Read .. Highly Recommended 5 stars
The narrative opens in Hannis Bay where Brendell is breaking into the Thief Guild offices.
intends to right the wrong played upon his father. It was not a rogue thief, but a contract through
the guild that caused a thief to steal everything Brendell had sent to his father, money, mementos,
everything. After sending warning letters to each of his siblings Brendell set out to become a
consultant and prevent the guild from carrying out its contracts. The contract on Galus Norr in
Banik's Cove is Brendell's first destination. A run in with members of the Assassins Guild, capture
and the puzzlement deepens before an invitation to join the Assassins Guild comes as a bit of a
surprise. Brendell meets Guild master Garoff Cistonarov, receives his first assignment and begins
ride to Houff. More danger, more problems and capture by the Thief Guild follow. A surprise
meeting with an old crony, carping among the guilds, and Brendell thrown into a dungeon; what
more could possibly take place? Brendell will soon discover he does not want to know the
In this exciting sequel to Brendell: Apprentice Thief Writer Welch has crafted a well-written,
intricate account over flowing with zestful deception, potent emotions, and precarious stratagem
ingeniously interwoven to grant the reader a spine tingling journey from opening page to ending
paragraph. Welch's invariably busy, creative mind offers a fast paced work filled with engaging
characters, snappy dialogue and absorbing yarn all set against a framework of staggering spectacle
and reverberation, fragrance and ambiance sure to draw the reader straight into the tale and hold
interest fast to the end. The reader is caught up in the action, we breathe the smoke of campfires,
experience Brendell's heart pounding attempts to escape and shiver at each re-capture. Brendell's
torment following the perfidiousness of his Guild is predictable, comprehensible and quite
Infuriated and feeling forsaken by his guild Brendell's determination to exact retribution is
the reader can fully understand. Conflict abounds. Exhilarative accomplishments, well fleshed
characters, a splendidly masterminded storyline: writer Welch proffers a razor sharp, focused
narrative with drollery and eclat in this thrill packed work.
Brendell Rogue Thief is a banner book for the home pleasure library as well as the upper middle
grades through high school reading list. Readers will relish reading Brendell Rogue Thief equally
before a blazing winter fire, or as a way to enjoyably pass a long summer afternoon spent sipping
iced tea and reading out on the porch.
Enjoyed the read, very happy to recommend.
Melanie in Manhattan
Alfred A Knopf
530 E72d NYC, NY 10021
ISBN: 0375930280 $10.85 www.amazon.com
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 5 stars
The narrative opens with Melanie's diary entry dated March 31. It is a Brand-New Diary, Melanie
on-board a boat as part of a party hosted by Mr Martin's boss. Melanie, her parents, little brother
and others are all out to see the Statue of Liberty. Life for Melanie is almost perfect. She is in fifth
grade, has a best friend, Cecily and a boy in Spain that she likes. Melanie has just gotten her first
kiss, mice Milkshake and Pancake have produced a family of ten offspring. The one fly in the
ointment is Suze, the new girl at school. Well, of course there is another irritation; brother Matt
Brat is always underfoot, full of silly sayings and rhymes and just in general being a bothersome
brother. Suze the Ooze and her meddling, bragging and always trying to horn in with Cecily, is
moving right to the top of the list of Melanie's major annoyances. Jumping baby mice, a trip to
Lincoln center, Friday email from Miguel in Spain, Central Park in bloom, detention, and a boy
named Justin all are part of the tale. A trip to the Bronx Zoo, too much rain, a stop at the Met,
telephone call from Miguel comes just at the right time. The end of the year dance, Field Day at
school, buying a first bra, in fact buying three, Miguel comes to New York, Cecily spends part of
vacation with her dad and Melanie has a new special friend round out the book.
Melanie in Manhattan is another festive read sure to please girls in the target reading group of
year olds. Once again Author/Parent Weston demonstrates her deftness as an accomplished
Clearly Weston knows and effortlessly captures the essential quality of this age group. Melanie in
Manhattan is an easily read, delightful account. As with all of her Melanie books author; Weston
nimbly weaves a realistic portrayal of childhood/growing up angst, a touch of geography, along
mention of artistic work; this time it is with works of Spanish artists in addition to at times
or disatisfying interpersonal relationships.
The format of diary entries filled with sketches, high spirits, a child-like, hand drawn map of
Manhattan, fun and chatter predictable from an eleven-year-old girl are a continuing pleasure to
read. The reader is caught up in the narrative immediately. Melanie is a typical 'almost teen girl'
is learning to deal with changing emotions surrounding boyfriends, sharing friends, home and
In her diary Melanie sets down her hopes, anguish, anger and happiness in her diary.
Writer Weston gently guides the reader into an understanding that Melanie, the reader and likely
all at one time or another have faced each of the feelings, situations and problems Melanie is
Girls ages 9 - 14 may not always want to talk with parents or teachers about their roiling
Reading Melanie's life may well help these girls realize they are not so different, odd or 'out of it'
when their own lives may seem to mirror many of the ups and downs as Melanie is
Melanie in Manhattan is a book sure to fit well into the classroom 'free reading' program, a home
library and pleasure reading for middle grades. Look forward to reading others in the series.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Dare to Dream!
Sandra McLeod Humphrey
59 John Glenn Drive Amherst, New York 14228-2197, USA
ISBN: 1591022800 $14.00 www.amazon.com
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative presented on the pages of Dare to Dream! is not a story book per se, rather Dare to
Dream! profiles twenty five men and women from our past and present on the 113 pages of
clinical psychologist writer Humphrey's upper middle grade/YA inspirational work. Each personal
sketch is divided into separate sections devoted to the childhood, as well as adult life and
accomplishments. A black and white photo of the person profiled is included. The heroes gracing
writer Humphrey's work run the gamut of inventors, sports figures, men, women, famous and not
well known, diverse religious and racial backgrounds, writers, poets, singers and philosophers are
Little known as well as more commonly realized facts concerning each hero writer Humphrey
characterizes are presented in clear, direct manner certain to fascinate young readers. Youngsters
will learn that as a boy inventor Thomas Edison nearly perished when he fell into a grain elevator
because he want to see how the elevator worked. Helen Keller became a suffragette working
equal rights for women and better pay for working class workers. Norman Vincent Peale,
leader/public speaker was terribly shy as a child and single mother Maya Angelou, writer/poet
struggled for years to care for her child and build a career. During his last year of high school Ben
Carson, who became a noted surgeon, had only a single ten dollar bill when each college
required a ten dollar deposit. He was able to apply to only one school, luckily Yale accepted him
then he went on to gain an academic scholarship ensuring the costs of his education would be
Baseball players on steroids, millionaire basketball players and hip hop stars who espouse
denigration of women or a complacent attitude, money or power driven CEOs, too often today
children lack bona fide heroes. ... Writer Humphrey's inspired work Dare to Dream! offers a
potential option by setting down the lives both present-day and past of superlative individuals,
whose lives and life lessons we all do good to appreciate and follow.
Through the four page vignettes showcasing the lives of dignitaries such as Thomas Edison,
Einstein, Jim Thorpe, Heather Whitestone, and Eleanor Roosevelt Humphrey enlighten young
readers toward understanding that those we call heroes were/are everyday people whose strength
character allowed them to accomplish exceptional acts. Beginning with dedication to their dreams,
each persevered to master impediments standing between them and the fulfillment of those
Racial discrimination, shyness or feelings of inferiority, physical handicap, educational
were impediments to overcome but not impediments to prevent these heroes from achieving their
Dare to Dream! has a place on the classroom shelf, in the home library and therapist's collection.
Upper middle grade youngsters will find the fast paced, easily read vignettes engaging, interesting
and absorbing for pleasure reading and as part of unit work concerning particular heroes in our
society. Vocabulary used by writer Humphrey is well within the scope of upper middle grade
youngsters. Dare to Dream! is a 'read to' book for youngsters in grades 2 - 3- 4 and read alone for
grades 5 - 12.
Dare to Dream! is a book I would read aloud, with some modification in my own
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
The Pearl of Living: A Man's Journey
Eric D Maze
Illustrator Victor Pettiford
Plaza II Suite 340 Philadelphia, PA 19113
ISBN: 1413465692 $17.99 www.Xlibris.com
Pleasurable Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The Pearl of Living: A Man's Journey is not a story book per se, rather it is a book of poetry, art
work and essays. Writer Maze says, "The main reason I wrote this poetry book is to give to all of
my friends a remembrance of me when I am no longer on this earth. If poetry readers are a lot like
me, then you wouldn't really care who wrote it, you would just like to read it because it is poetry.
That is the true love of the poetry word."
Poet/writer Maze presents his debut accomplishment in what I found to be a rather singular
Each verse composition is showcased upon or beside the colorful, nicely wrought artwork
by illustrator/artist Victor Pettiford. In addition, each poem is enhanced with an essay laying out
motivation behind the writing of the ode. I found the methodology of presentation to be
enlightening, interesting and an all together outstanding technique of delivery.
LIFE CHANGES AND REBIRTH OF A NEW PERSON is the section designation for first six
compositions. 'Heaven's Stream' is a down to earth tribute written to co-workers who we learn
the poet's friends as well. Family veneration is advanced in the stanzas of 'Father,' 'The Ghostly
and 'Mom'. The section labeled ROMANTIC LESSONS OF THE HEART contains three works.
Ethereal 'Friendship' with its unicorn illustration is an especially moving piece.
NATURE also is a section composed of three odes. I particularly liked empyreal 'The Flight of the
Red Tail Hawk.' Both the lyric and the accompanying artwork are outstanding. Imposed upon the
picture of a majestic hawk in flight six stanzas carry the reader into the dusky haze of evening sky,
trees, and moonlight. FUNPOEMS begins with 'Terror of the Night' and Ghastly Ghouls.
couplets are a divertissement read entitled 'Bugsy the Bunny.' We discover whimsical 'Willow
was written based on a tree standing near the author's home.
The Pearl of Living: A Man's Journey is a forty four page book of poetry with a little something
everyone on its pages. The book is meant to be read and then pulled out for a re read of one or
works as the desire and notion strikes. I particularly like the author's technique of the verse and
by side essay explaining the how and why of the poem. The work will lend itself well to the
homeschool library for high school age readers as they begin to explore the world of poetry for
With The Pearl of Living: A Man's Journey Poet Maze and Illustrator Pettiford have done
themselves proud. I hope there will be other volumes to follow. The book will make a good
to the home and school pleasure reading library.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
A Woman's Voice: Sarah Foner, Hebrew Author of the Haskalah
translated by Morris Rosenthal
Dailey International Publishers
Wilbraham, MA 01095
ISBN 0966625129 $21.95 302 pp.
Six works of Sarah Foner are translated from Hebrew into English by Morris Rosenthal, her great
grandson. Sarah Menkin Foner was the first woman writer in Hebrew before Hebrew became
revived as the national language of Israel. Eschewing Yiddish, excluded her from the popular
magazines, but established a place for her within literature as she used her thorough knowledge of
rabbinic literature to strengthen her writing through allusions and quotations following the
of rabbinic literature. her short memoir, "A Girl Can't Be a Gaon," published in New York (1919),
recounts how she persuaded her father to become educated in Hebrew so that she would not be
standing and reciting prayers from the siddur by rote:
"In this house lived Miriam, who earned her bread by helping women to bake and clean and to do
sorts of housework. I opened the door and found Miriam standing and praying. Her head was
wrapped in a wide, multi-colored kerchief. The kerchief was tied on both sides of her head, and
therefore her head looked as big as a bucket.
I stood to the side without disturbing her prayers and listened closely to every word coming out
her mouth. She was reciting the Shacharit3 prayer, and after the prayers she said in Yiddish, "May
blessings and success fall on my little head (kepeleh), Amen, Selah." When I heard her last words
wanted to laugh out loud, but I was afraid that she would tell my father that I laughed, so I
restrained myself. But as I walked home together with Miriam, strange thoughts and ideas began
trouble my heart. " (p74)
Her mother was learned in Hebrew and stuidied the weekly parashah with the commentaries of
Rashi and ibn Ezra on Shabbat. Defiantly, Sarah demanded to learn Hebrew in a proper manner so
that she would not be ashamed of taking her place in the schul, rather than sitting and gossiping in
the ladies' galerie. Her father sent her to study Talmud where she was the lone female amongst the
male students. Learning Torah or Talmud is not a passive activity, but that of argument and
sharpening the student's mind and his ability at repartee. Her mastery of argument is apparent
through the interweaving of rabbinic literature into her text and the fluidity of the narrative. She
techniques of dialogue skilfully to demonstrate argument and draw conclusions, exploiting the
knowledge she gained in her studies..
Moreover, she portrays people vividly, bringing them to life in detail with their blemishes and
The local characters of Dvinsk ar as brightly colored as a painting from Marc Chagall, filled with
restlessness and action. We meet Friedlander, the wealthy Gaonim who gives a wedding party to
whom all the poor are invited; but we see also the impoverished who struggle through each day in
the midst of squalor and injustice. nor does she whitewash the animosities within Judaism, the
between the Gaonim, the followers 0of the Vilna Gaon and the Hassids:
"In every house, in every study hall and in every store and street, nothing was heard besides,
"Mitnaged and Hassid, Hassid and Mitnaged." At first the women made mistakes since they didn't
know which butcher shop was Mitnaged and which was Hassidic, and so they mixed up the
products. Then there were great problems such as when a man came home from work and sat
to eat, and while eating asked his wife where she got the meat. She told him Yitzchak Fagin's
butcher shop, which was the Hassidic butcher shop. He cried out loudly, "Oy, Oy, You have fed
unclean meat!" Or if a woman bought meat from the butcher shop in the house of Leible Kermis,
which was the butcher shop of the Mitnagdim, a Hassid would be leaping to his feet and crying
"Oy, Oy, You have fed me traif meat!" (p17)
In a time of radical change, reform was not only within the Jewish communities, but imposed by
outside forces as tolerance edicts demanded that Jews enter the public school systems and be
admitted to gymnaziums. Previously, a young man could expect to spend his youth on rabbinic
studies or learning Talmud and Torah, but suddenly he was yanked out of his microcosm of
and swept into the macrocosm of the swirling sea of change without. The nineteenth century
brought with it widespread industrializaiton as well as colonial wars. With the assimilation of Jews
into mainstream society came also the problems of military conscription and national identity.
Foner uses the social issues of her times within her writing to create conflicts between characters
and social values. In "The Children's Path," she uses the age-old formula of a farmer with four
each choosing a vocation. We know instinctively the stories of the man with three sons who sent
them off to seek a fortune or win a princess. The eldest had a black horse and a purse of gold; the
second, a chestnut and a purse of silver and the last a hobblehorse made from a broom. We know
certain formulas from childhood, anticipating the outcome and cheering the underdog as he
overcomes the obstacles put in his way. Foner, too, uses formulas, but she dismisses the
Although the outcome may be predictable, the argument is not. Skilfully, she incorporates the use
dialogue from rabbinic literature to set up her four contrasting characters, selecting their
carefully: rabbi, farmer, soldier and lazybones. The setting is in the period of the Second Temple.
Although she manipulates the general details of Josephus to fit her needs, the story is not about
history, but about personal goalss and the problems involved in ethics and personal obligations.
conflicts existed then as now: Hellenism versus Judaism; state versus the individual; personal
versus political demands and the problem of loyalty. When does being loyal suddenly become
a traitor to yourself or your faith?
In the aftermath of World War II dissipating from public memory, Foner eminds us of the vibrant
that preceded the horror of the Shoah, recalling many now legendary names: Rabbi Israel
the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Vilna Gaon all take their places in her dramatic life. Through
eyes we can glimpse the source of modern Judaism with its diversity as factions clash in the past.
Her works are significant not only for their historical value or for their feminist and Zionist
but because she can so aptly capture the internal struggles of a people escaping nearly two
years of domination of Christianity to discover their own identities as Jews in the modern world.
conflicts as as much internal as external. The bitterness of religious animosity between Christianity
and Judaism is exposed in the poignant story of the German convert who studied with Rabbi
Horowitz. Being a Jew did not mean only being a second class citizen or serf, in many places in
Europe it emant exclusion from professions and universities.Conversion to Judaism often meant
making very painful decisions and relinquishing the past.
"My father was the palace administrator (Kammarharar) for King Wilhelm in Germany, but due to
illness he was given leave and returned to his estate in Landsberg, not far from Berlin. His name is
Erlich. My father is Lutheran and my mother is Catholic." (p56)
The story of the German convert tells so clearly the bitterness that exists today and the struggles
many, many people who were abandoned and orphaned as a result of the Nazi persecution. People
survived, but they grew up without the benefit of their heritage, orphaned by history. Throughout
Europe, young people search for their identities. In Eastern Europe, after so many years of official
atheism, Jewish communities are reviving, but there are many more overgrown graveyards than
rabbis to teach the younger generation. The conflicts are the same, but only placed in a different
The Snow Falcon
St. Martin's Press
ISBN 0312254202 $23.95 341 pp.
Michael Somers returns to Little River Bend after a stint in prison for armed assault. Grown,
divorced with a bad smudge on his past, he returns to his hometown in faint hope of recovering
dreams of youth by confronting the past and setting his life straight. Small towns devoid of city
bustle are filled with malicious gossip twisting newspaper reports into new stories. His return isn't
exactly welcoming with his first visit to the graveyard beside the church to pay respects to his
parents, and his second to the local attorney, Carl Jeffrey, who puts on the smiley face and offers
him a bit of friendly advice in a neighborly way with the frosty proposal of buying out his parent's
property and settling elsewhere. The city elders are interested in keeping their noses clean and
Michael seems to be a threat to the neighborhood, tarnishing their local image.
Michael, determined to make a go of recovering the past, settles into a hostile community that
changes the facts into fantasy good enough to The Shining 2 with Jack Nicholsen gone mad with
another murdrous ax rampage. Judged gulty until proven otherwise.
On parole, Michael has scarcely enough money to keep his stomach fed with the additional
restrictions regarding access to firearms. Kept under scrutiny of the local town gossip, he finds
getting his footing secure is nearly a impossible as climbing the stairway to heaven. Although jobs
open up occassionally, they miraculously close when he appears for the interview. Dogged not to
defeated, he renovates his father's old store, hoping to have a respectable front within the
Stuart Harrison examines the conflicts that become prevelant within small town communities and
difficulties of returning to the past. Small town gossip alienates and ostracizes Michael from ever
making a viable living within the community which is more than happy to spread rumors of the
without considering the resonable doubts of their basis. The townfolk remember him as the
son of the hardware store owner with the crazy mother. Double pain is inflicted through casual
remarks and slights as he is stigmatized first for his mother's eccentricities and neurosis and then
hisfather's inexplicable behavior at her death. Caught like a fly in a spider's web, Michael became
victim of his mother's delusions in the war between acrimonious parents, each desperately trying
impose their perceptions on the child. Isolated from his father through the twisted mind of his
mother, Michael can remember his father only as a silent figure, tending the store or closeted in
study building ship replicas. Even on days after school, when he worked for his father, silence
dominated the duialogue between them, alienating whatever trust and love there might exist. With
Michaels exit for college, came the vow never to return
Mistakes easily repented are not so easily repaired. Not until locked in a cell, confronted with his
own self-destructiveness, does Michael begin to question his perception of the past, regretting his
isolation from his father and the loss through his sudden death. In returning to his hometown,
Michael hopes to put some ghosts to rest through obtaining a more objective understanding of his
childhood and the gulf that separated his parents. Unyielding in gossip, the locals make the task
doubly difficult as they are more than happy to dig up their sordid details of the past, attacking
Michael as a jailbird come home to roost.
Given the freedom from prison, Michael appraises life and society with deeper appreciation,
recognizing the irreplaceable value of life. The wilderness becomes his refuge from the haunting
questions that pursue him. By accident, he crosses the plight of a wounded gyrfalcon targeted for
taxidermy's illegal trade. Recognizing the desperate helplessness of the wounded falcon under a
poacher's rifle sight, Michael rescues the bird, bringing it to the attention of the local vet.
Together, they share their captivity and frustration, in need of escape from being targets of an
inhumane society. The wounded gyrfalcon attracts the attention of the neighbor's boy. Intrigued,
visits regularly to watch the healing and training process before releasing it into the wild.
to the falcon, Jamie begins to open up, following Michael about during training sessions and
to hold the falcon on his fist. Although mute, his admiration and emotions are found on paper as
gives them artistic expression. His mother, widowed through a hunting accident, remains aloof,
courted by the local cop, Coop. Coop finds the town a bit crowded, but has no intention of
Never ambitious, he has his life, the not quite stright, but also not quite crooked cop, who seems
know all the doings in town without imposing strict law when leniency is needed.
The conflicts of the social order of the town add depth to a simple tale of recovery, presenting the
profiles of the reigning order who see themselves as the town's moral police and the lower strata
survives through shady dealings and hard living. The contrast between the levels of society and
veiled moral hypocrisy of the upper class is reflected in teh gossip spewed about meant to
stonewallo or railroad the unwanted returning prodigal son. And although Coop is the center of
law, the law often goes around him, with a wink and nod. The characters are those found in any
small town: the righteous few who declare the morals for the rest, invading the town library to rip
out the select pages of a book; the abandoned wife, left struggling with her nest of kids, working
extra hours in greasy jobs; the landowners with their real estate wars, each poaching on the other's
territory. Although big-time mobsters may not reside in an isolated village, oftentimes the
of control, graft and power are nearly identical, but just barely on the right side of the law.
Harrison shows great insight and sensitivity to the plight of the falcon and Michael Somers
by his past. Through using the falcon, Harrison is able to create a sympathetic character in
challenging our superficial judgments on moral character. Does being in jail, or completing a
term make a person a jailbird? Or does a society, which imposes unrealistic demands on its
do a double axe on the person who finally snaps from the unrelenting pressure? Lyrical and fluid,
writing presents questions that are not easily answered regarding the breakdown of family
relationships and their impact on children later in adulthood, confronting their own marital
Convincing in the portraits and conflicts of the players, the book would be an excellent choice for
adaption to film as it is filled with the pathos of Jamie, struck mute through the trauma of his
death and the struggles of mother to regain secirity in the town as a real estate agent. None of the
characters are stereotyped or come off as badly written cariacatures for late night television. They
each have a story to tell and struggles which make them credible without black and white lne
drawings to identify the hero and villain. Solidly written, the plot is never exposed like the rotting
bricks beneath a flaky facade. Their lives are naturally interwoven into the natural pattern of small
town life, with fleeting moments grabbing a coffee, sitting in a bar or getting stuck in snow. The
for Michael is to regain freedom which he learns from training the falcon how to fly again.
The Kingfisher Children's Encyclopedia: Fully Revised and Updated
Sarah Allen and Jennifer Justice, editors
ISBN: 0753457679 $24.95
The nice thing about a single volume encyclopedia is the easy browsing; especially if page after
reveals over 2000 enticing pictures and eye-catching color. Underneath each main heading (such
ABORIGNE) is a concise definition. Did you know the term "aboriginal" is used to describe the
native inhabitants of any county, but the original people of Australia have come to be known as
Aborigines? Next, lays the vast assortment of easy to understand facts, expertly arranged in
paragraphs of self-contained sections. The more than 35,000 indexed references range from topics
such as the Antarctica, Balloon and Airships, the Crusades, Food, the Human Body, Migration,
Nuclear Power, Plastics, Video, and Zoology. At the back of the book you'll find FACTFINDER,
place where pages of information cover presidents and states, biographies of famous figures and
highlights of the last 100 years. The numerous topics providing fast facts and good basic
will make this encyclopedia one the kids will love to mull over.
Bridge Building: Bridge Designs and How They Work
Capstone Press (hardcover)
ISBN 0736838813 $23.93, 64 pages
Red Brick Learning (paperback)
7825 Telegraph Road, Bloomington, MN 55438
ISBN 0736838538 $8.75 1-952-224-0511
Remember when you were a kid and you stepped carefully across a log that lay between the banks
of the creek? It was a game to keep from falling into the water. If you were one of those people
rose to the challenge, you crossed one of the first recognized walkway tools, the beam
A more sophisticated beam bridge made of beams, rope, a deck, and piers was built by the
Europeans over 4,500 years ago. Their walkways covered rivers and marshes as long as 1 mile
kilometers). Photographs and well researched bridge details help the reader understand the
fascinating history of how bridges have evolved. Historical details show us why the arch bridge
important, why the Inca's built a suspension bridge across a deep gorge, how the beam bridge was
improved with trestles, trusses, and cantilevers and how things can go terribly wrong in a section
highlighting bridge disasters.
Incorporated into the well designed interior is the inclusion of vocabulary words. One problem
putting a glossary at the back of the book is the readers' willingness to stop and flip. Many have
known to shrug off the notion and continue on uninformed. That problem has been solved by
unobtrusive, bold faced vocabulary words at the bottom of each page. My students took to the
instantly, quoting interesting facts and sharing pictures.The Table of Contents and Index make it
easy to find specific information.
The Sea of Trolls
Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 0689867441, $17.95
Old world charm combined with richly detailed mythology makes for a lengthy but satisfying
adventure. Those who like their tales told in a hurry will be disappointed. This is a story with
layers of emotion and depth. The year is A.D. 793 along the coast of the North Sea. Eleven year
Jack knows life only as a simple farm boy. His deeply religious father expects perfection from a
and when Jack falls short, his rebukes are forthcoming. The family is surprised when a Druid Bard
asks to take Jack as an apprentice. An apprentice needs to have courage, skill, wit, and
something Jack didn't know he possessed.
He quickly discovers there is much to learn about life and a supernatural power known as the life
force. His apprenticeship had just begun when he and little sister Lucy are captured by
Thorgil and Olaf One-Brow, a giant driving his ship of beserkers on a raid across coastal towns.
saga unfolds making this novel a delicious blend of Scandinavian folklore and a complex magical
world of dragons, trolls, giant spiders, troll beasts and much more. It is worthy of a second
so you can absorb the intricate details provided by masterful storytelling.
Robyn Gioia, Reviewer
Why Men Earn More
Warren Farrell, PhD
ISBN 0814472109 $23.00 270 pages
The premise of this book is that a major influencer on the amount of money women - and men -
is determined by the occupation chosen. Some jobs pay a lot more because they are less desirable
and less popular among job-seekers. Others will pay much less because they involve easier work,
better working conditions, less education and training, and more flexibility. These jobs are often
by women, who could increase their income by moving to the higher paying positions. These
opportunities are described in the book.
Based on his premise that if you "choose the right field, the higher pay will come," Farrell
with 25 ways to increase your income. While a lot of this knowledge is not rocket science, I've
seen it presented so succinctly. This book is quite well organized, very easy to navigate and
The six chapters in Part One, with the 25 reasons, are a fine book without anything else. But,
more! Part Two delivers eight more chapters on a wide range of factors that differentiate men
women in the marketplace. Farrell slices through the myths to provide new perspectives including
a chapter on jobs where women are paid more than men for the same work. Facts and feelings are
intertwined to create a fascinating read that is hard to put down. A lot of questions in this field are
addressed head-on, like "Isn't the issue more than comparable pay; isn't it comparable
This book will be popular, and frequently cited. Now that I've read it to create this review, I'm
sending this book to my daughter who is about to receive her masters degree. As a proud father,
told her for years that she deserves more. Now I can give her a book that documents that
RV Living in the 21st Century
ISBN 1418443158 $16.95 281 pages
Comprehensive, conversational guide.
For anyone considering or experiencing the RV lifestyle, this book is a wide-ranging tour of
you need to know. Peggi McDonald, a Canadian with extensive (20 years on the road) RV
knowledge; been there, done that. She shares the kind of information and advice that enable
to build their competence and confidence as pat-time or full-time RVers.
The book is written in a conversational style, rather than technical. It's easy to understand,
appreciate, and absorb. The pages are filled with tips that will reduce ignorance and risk for
experienced people, as well as for the newbie. Everyone can learn from the depth and breadth of
insight shared by the author.
This book was written by a Canadian who travels in the United States and Canada. Readers will
benefit from the multi-national perspective she brings to the subject. Her writing is seasoned with
personal stories that illuminate her points and express the human side of this lifestyle. It's a
counterbalance to all the do-this-and-do-that advice that is essential in this kind of a guide.
Readers will gain valuable knowledge about the RV world, life on the road, protection of life and
property, full-timing, and communication. If you make a list of all the questions you might have -
before you read the book, you'll discover that most of your concerns will be addressed as you
your way through this resource.
Great learning opportunity and gift for people considering this increasingly popular lifestyle.
Roger E. Herman
The Road To Assisi
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
155725401X $12.95 www.paracletepress.com
Now in a new edition edited and with an introduction and annotation Jon Sweeny, The Road To
Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis was first published in French in 1894, as the first
attempt at a modern biography of St. Francis, one of the most beloved figures of Christian history.
Author Paul Sabatier struggled to answer the question: who was Francis the man?
research reveals the a fully human portrayal of a man who was nonetheless gentle, passionate,
and who desired to live as Jesus once taught his disciples. An extraordinary work that covers
Francis' weaknesses as surely as his strengths, enhanced by the annotation and sidebars that place
events of Francis' life in historical context. Highly recommended for individual reading as well as
biography shelves, and a must-have for library collections.
Black Church Beginnings
Henry H. Mitchell
255 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
0802827853 $18.00 1-800-253-7521 www.eerdmans.com
Henry H. Mitchell is a retired professor of history and black church studies: his Black Church
Beginnings: The Long-Hidden Realities Of The First Years fills a gap in history in considering the
struggles of African Americans to establish churches within the boundaries of slavery in the
American colonies. The black church phenomenon began in the mid-1700s and its history is
followed in a coverage which ends in the 19th century. Successes and failures alike are profiled in
this strongly recommended and highly valued contribution to Black Studies, American History,
Christian Religious Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
The Penguin Atlas of Food: Who Eats What, Where and Why
Erik Millstone and Tim Lang
ISBN: 0142002240 $20.00 128 pages
As industrialization and technology take over our lives, we become more sedentary. Through the
riches of our country, we can afford more meat, dairy products and processed foods; thus,
contributing to our poor health, "over-nutrition", otherwise known as the Western Diet.
Erik Millstone works at the University of Sussex in Science Policy. He has been working on
food-related issues for almost 30 years. Tim Lang is a professor of food policy at City University
London. He is, also, a consultant to the World Health Organization. With the aid of Axel
a professor of Applied Geography at Freiburg University, they have formulated this educational
book about "who eats what, where and why".
While rich industrialized countries thrive in excess and develop diseases from over-consumption
(such as, diabetes), these countries are also feeding a bulk of our grain to feed livestock, when
40 million people a year die of starvation.
This book is filled with statistics, bar graphs, charts and miscellaneous graphics that help aid in
understanding of food's role in modern life. The book is divided into five parts: Contemporary
Challenges (feeding the population, environmental challenges, disease, nutrition and more);
(mechanization, genetic modification, pesticides, sustainable farming and more); Trade (animal
transport, fair trade, tariffs and more); Processing, Retailing and Consumption (staple foods,
Organic food, fast food, alcohol and more); and World Tables (agriculture and
This is not a cookbook, nor a glamorous journey through each country's cuisine, however.
Upon studying this book, I ponder the ideas of vegetarianism for a healthier way of life, and as an
objection towards the feeding of livestock in lieu of providing grain for starving nations. I, also,
think of how we have looked for ways on simplifying our lives with remote controls, garage door
openers, email, kitchen appliances, washers and dryers, and how ultimately, we have complicated
more. This reminds me of a movie I once saw: The Gods Must Be Crazy. Although this movie
on a more comedic approach of two wildly different cultures in South Africa, still it does
demonstrate what both cultures have gained and lost due to industrialization.
Information found in this book can help educate the reader on how the food on their plate came to
be and at what cost to society. For anyone that eats, and that is everyone, we should all read this
book and become more educated on how we are contributing, both positively and negatively, to
The Jamlady Cookbook
Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfeld
Pelican Publishing Company
ISBN: 1589802357 $35.00 288 pages
The Jamlady Cookbook is a very thorough reference guide for canners, gardeners, chefs and new
cooks. It provides mouth-watering photographs, hundreds of recipes for jams, preserves, jellies,
many other homemade products.
The author, Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfeld, was raised by parents who ran a commercial
greenhouse. Later, as an adult, she received her Bachelor's Degree as well as two Master's
She completed training through the Food and Drug Administration. Using her teaching skills,
an educator for over 23 years, she has dedicated her life to educating home cooks on how to can
safely. This is her first book.
This book is so nice. There are over 400 recipes, color photographs deliciously displayed, and a
of information. The book is very easy-to-read; the recipes are easy-to-understand and a wonderful
book for anyone, especially gardeners who are looking for new ideas to can their bounty!
Some of the information you will find in this book are: processing methods and trouble shooting;
definitions of jams, jellies, preserves, butters, marmalades, conserves, spreads and chutneys;
for jams, jellies and preserves, including sugar free versions; a recipe section on how to bake with
your new "jams"; many butter recipes; and an excellent appendix showing the pH of foods and
Some of the wonderful recipes you will find in this lovely book are: Wine Jelly, Orange
Hot Mango Jam, Pumpkin Butter, Cherry Vanilla Preserves, and Red Pepper Marmalade. I was
impressed with the unusual recipes and tantalizing combinations! I plan to try the Cantaloupe
The Jamlady has her own website. There you can purchase some of her creations. She offers
and locations to find her if you would like to purchase her products in person. She even gives her
email address if you have any questions. Some of the products you can purchase through her site
are; Hot Crocodile Chutney, Strawberry Butter, and Jalapeno Pepper Jelly.
This cookbook is well worth the price of $35.00. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Having
this book inspired my creativity and made me want to try all the recipes. In fact, after getting this
book, I plan to buy it as Christmas gifts this year, and start a small garden next year so I can try
more recipes with my own produce!
Jennifer A. Wickes, Reviewer
The Rings of My Tree
Jane E. Cunningham
ISBN: 1595263489 $13.95 160 pgs.
The monsters and beasts in my childhood bedtime stories were not imaginary. They were flesh
blood and in human form, and usually they wore the uniforms of the Red Army. They marched in
parents' memories, relentless and cruel, driving them from their homes in Latvia during World
II. My parents were refugees, displaced to camps in Germany in the 1940's while awaiting
for their immigration to the United States. Although I was born in the States, I have known two
homes, two cultures, two languages, two histories, and the stories on which I was raised have
become a part of my ethnic inheritance.
Reading Jane E. Cunningham's book about another Latvian woman's personal journey as a
from Latvia to the United States during the war was like hearing the stories of my parents all over
again. What amazed me, however, were the accuracy of perception and a to-the-core
of an experience the author could not have shared. Cunningham, after all, is not Latvian. She is an
Irish-American living in Connecticut, a teacher, and no closer to the Latvian experience than,
crossing the street, as it turned out. For 45 years, Cunningham has known and befriended her
neighbor, Mirdza Vaselnieks Labrencis. Now a woman in her mid-eighties, Mirdza has shared her
stories about her home in Latvia and her journey to America with her most attentive neighbor,
resulting in this slender but powerful book. Cunningham has even written it as a first-person
- a daring move, but one at which she was surprisingly successful. In nearly every detail and
perception, the story is Mirdza's. It is also the story of most all Latvian refugees.
In the preface, Cunningham notes of Mirdza: "She has entrusted her story to me to record for
anyone who thinks freedom is an automatic entitlement or that punishment is a direct result of
something you have done." The trust is well placed. Cunningham captures the nuances of this
woman's personality and experience precisely and movingly, this survivor who walks now with a
limp as a reminder of war injuries, but a spirit of quiet joy and intensified appreciation for the gift
life so nearly lost. "I have been spared for some reason," notes the elderly woman. "I don't think
God would be happy with me if I wasn't happy back."
Born in 1920 in this tiny country on the Baltic Sea, Mirdza recalls a childhood that flourished in
freedom. The thought that she would lose that freedom and everything she had thus far known as
her life by 1939, when the Soviets forcefully occupied the Baltic States - Latvia, Estonia,
was incomprehensible, unimaginable. When the first rumblings of war to the east could be heard,
young Mirdza was attending school in the town of Dobele (where my own father was born and
I was privileged to visit at about the age which Mirdza here describes). While the rulers of larger
more powerful countries gathered to negotiate away the land, liberty, and lives of these small
nations, she played cards and read favorite books and giggled in youthful innocence with her
as yet unaware of what was to come.
The Baltic nations knew oppression. One of the oldest countries still in existence today, Latvia
bloody and harsh history of one Superpower after another taking control of its land and enslaving
people. Dating in its official history from the early 1200's, but with cultural roots even further
Latvia had by World War II known only 20 years of independence. Two decades out of seven
centuries. Perhaps the cruelest of oppressors, however, was the one clamoring at her borders
"There was a lot to learn about making concessions in life," Cunningham writes in Mirdza's voice
about her predecessors and their lessons in survival. "They were survivors. They knew how to be
happy and celebrate even the smallest treasures in life, for they had learned to cultivate happiness
from oppressed soil."
Mirdza quickly begins to learn these same lessons for herself as Communists overtake Latvia.
Ulmanis, then president, disappeared into Russia, presumably to his execution, on the night of
11, 1940, along with thousands of other Latvians. Overnight, the Communist Party became the
government allowed, and anyone who was a threat, or was perceived as a threat to this brutal
was deported to Siberia, usually to their death. Town officials, newspaper journalists, municipal
workers, church leaders, leaders of educational institutions, teachers, business owners,
anyone with a voice that was known to be outspoken was added to the list of those destined for
deportation, and, in most cases, death. Joseph Stalin had used his sickle, emblem on the red flag
Soviet Russia, to "decapitate Latvia's freedom."
"Latvians of my generation remember the dates of June 14-15, 1941, the way Americans
December 7, 1941. These two days and the week after mark the first official Soviet Mass
Deportation of Latvian from their homeland, taking them to either their execution or the Siberian
hard labor camps Only Communism would reign from now on Each day and night we lived in
fear, holding on to all that we were - Latvians of good character who lived by the Golden Rule.
Thousands of good-living citizens were literally rounded up on that June night by Soviet armed
guards and put, sometimes thrown, into trucks and hauled away to be shoved into cattle cars at
train station for their ride to Siberia well educated, civil people who paid the ultimate price
because of Stalin's egomaniacal, despotic fervor for our fertile land and its gateway to the Baltic
Sear. The Soviet sphere was not a matter of race, creed or color. It was political ideology gone
berserk." (pg. 11)
Yet another crucial understanding of this tiny country's position in the war that Cunningham
to Mirdza's story is the bloodied rock and hard place in which Latvia found itself during the
German-Soviet War between Stalin and Hitler. How to choose? Which way to run? How does
survive in this hell between two crazed despots? Flung between one army and the other, those left
behind after the Soviet deportations either fled as refugees or marched into battle. While few had
sympathy for the German side in the war, many felt that they had a better chance of survival, and
better chance to regain their freedom, with the Germans than with the Russians. Germans would
swallow the country's culture, turning it into everything German. Many believed, however, and
rightfully so, that to side with the Soviets could only mean mass death and deportation. To those
caught in the middle of this grist, learning to trust no one, to always watch one's back, to reveal
nothing, became the means of survival, which continued throughout the Soviet years (Latvia
regained her independence from Soviet Russia in November 1991).
Mirdza's story tells of her time under Communist and German rule, learning to "roll with the
punches" of two Superpowers as they moved their borders back and forth across Latvia. "As
fervently as we were not Communists, we were not German National Socialist collaborators or
sympathizers either. Latvia was forcibly occupied When your country is no longer your country
and army trucks and tanks go up and down the road where only a few cars and horses with
used to drive, it is impossible to forget that life is moment by moment, breath by breath always on
the edge of disaster. No one was safe." (pg. 19)
A decision had to be made. To stay and or to go. Both options were a life risk. Both involved an
to life as Mirdza and her people had known it. Eventually, Mirdza joined many and became a
refugee. "Latvians were becoming like lemmings going to the sea to save themselves from the
barbaric Russian bear." (pg. 24) Mirdza was separated from her family, believing them all lost to
war, a young woman alone, running for her life.
To survive - "where there is life, there is hope" - Mirdza undergoes a psychological shifting in her
spirit and in her psyche. "Inside my still anesthetized cocoon, the soul of the self is changing. This
forced-by-war metamorphosis was a lonely place to be, and yet it seemed to be a place of
unconscious, unfolding change that surfaced through a new, foreign determination that surprised
Survival is a funny thing tied to self-respect. The greedy monster ministers of war had separated
my family, killed some of my friends, issued a warrant for my life, bombed my house raped and
pillaged my country and took away the normal use of my left side the caterpillar in my mind was
losing its slow-crawling legs and I have no idea when the wings of courage developed, but there
a flapping inside of me." (pgs. 31-32)
Pushed to its limits, human nature shows its true colors and true fiber. A frightened girl emerges a
strong, determined young woman, doing what she must to survive and to establish some
of a new life for herself. It is not in her nature to be bold, Cunningham writes of her heroine, nor
the nature of a nation to be subjected to the depravity of war. Those who cannot adapt - die.
who find wings and tap into a core wisdom of resilience - live. Mirdza makes a decision to
To survive one does what one must, sometimes shutting off the mind, other times shutting off the
heart. When required, both are called back into action. Cunningham writes of Mirdza's life in
German refugee camps with a compassionate honesty, never glossing over Mirdza's very human
moments of weakness, but letting her moments of personal heroism quietly shine in their own
illumination. When Mirdza meets a Latvian man in 1948, she marries him, sensing that two
better than one. At the birth of her first child in 1950, her battered heart opens fully to allow her
feel the first real love she has known - as a mother for her son.
When a sponsor offers Mirdza and her family an opportunity to immigrate in 1950 to the United
States, she knows a sustaining gratitude. "It took a lot of love for people in the allied countries to
sponsor the displaced persons after the war, and it was not an act of kindness that we took for
granted." (pg 132)
But Mirdza finds that being an immigrant carries with it a stigma that blinds those who will not
From those who cannot see beyond the fatigue and poverty of the refugee, who cannot fathom
other cultures are no less valuable than their own, in America she encounters a new kind of
and another variation of oppression. "Maybe because I was born in freedom and raised in a
household of properness and had a good, solid education in many disciplines, it did not occur to
that I would ever be considered less valuable than anyone else or discriminated against simply
because I was a displaced victim of war. I never once thought that some Americans or anyone in
world could think less of someone who had never done anything wrong to them." (pg. 132) The
family sponsoring the Latvian immigrants eventually asks if they might have Mirdza's son (they
childless), as if to immigrants a child would mean any less than merchandise to barter, and they
offered acres of land in exchange. With all that war does to the survivor, values as deep seated as
mother's love, however, are unchanged, and Mirdza and her family eventually break away from
sponsors and form a new life in a new home on their own. Hard work does not slow them; their
debts are soon paid, and with time they have a home of their own.
Mirdza's family continues to feel the sting of discrimination. Because of her foreign accent, she is
assumed to be uneducated. Because of her background in a different culture she is assumed
Finding a community of other Latvian immigrants becomes a lifeline to sanity. In her home, she
senses the ostracization of her neighbors, but in her Latvian community she relaxes into creating a
home in exile. When at last one neighbor crosses the street to knock on her door and speak to her,
take the time to get to know her and listen to her story of survival - Mirdza's warmth
It is this story that becomes her bridge to acceptance in her home away from home. Many years
later, Mirdza is able to connect with her father, for long years thought killed in the war, but still
in Soviet Latvia. A correspondence begins between one world and another that cannot always
cultural differences. When the time comes that Latvians from behind the Iron Curtain are allowed
travel to the United States, Mirdza is eager to show off her new home. So much to see, she notes,
historic sites, great cities, immeasurable abundance. But for those who are coming from the
Union, it is the American grocery stores that hold the greatest fascination.
"With eyes practically popping out of her head in the produce department of a super-size grocery
store, my normally reserved sister whispered her questions to me in Latvian: 'How can you just
around this orange lying on the floor? Why do Americans just let food lie on the floor and not
up? Why is there one entire aisle for dog and cat food? Are American animals that difficult to
Why is there a pharmacy in a grocery store? How many kinds of shampoo do Americans need?'
the time we got back to my house not only was I exasperated from trying to explain capitalism,
realized that her world and mine could never mesh again. The war and development of an evil
ideology had truly separated our daily lives Instead of being bowled over by American
I think she was disappointed by our careless treatment of it." (pg 156)
On the other hand, Mirdza also realizes that her sister from Soviet Latvia cannot comprehend the
constant and typically smiling American face. Smiling now herself, Mirdza acknowledges, "I
answer her through my own lasting grin. I was so American Smiles come from freedom."
In 1994, Mirdza returns to a free Latvia, 50 years after leaving as a refugee. She visits the graves
her parents. She visits her sister, whose now pleasant and quiet, easy-paced life in free Latvia
little comparison to her own in the United States. War changes everything. Perhaps the only thing
the two sisters have in common anymore, aside from their roots and their language, is that both
teach their children to count the years of a tree by the growth rings in its wood.
Cunningham's account of a story so far, surely, from her own as an Irish-American living in
Connecticut is testimony of the ability to bridge two cultures and two very different perspectives
life to form very human bonds of friendship. This slender volume is highly recommended for
willing to take a moment to appreciate what makes us all different and what makes us all the
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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