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Volume 31, Number 11 November 2021 Home | IBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Education Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Business Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Art Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Automotive Shelf General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Western Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Audiobook Shelf Library CD Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Beer Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Gardening Shelf Poetry Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Travel Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
World History Shelf Biography Shelf Judicial Studies Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Architecture Shelf Mythology Shelf
Aviation Shelf Parenting Shelf Literary Studies Shelf
Human Sexuality Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Just Not That Likable
Christine Finnegan
Post Hill Press
9781642939804 $28.00 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Gloria Romero - former California Senate Majority Leader and Professor Emeritus of Psychology - shatters the glass ceiling in a sweeping takedown of gender bias at the workplace and the price women and society pay for the virulent, double standard of "the likability factor" that persists in the workplace. She exposes the link between success and likability that 21st-century women leaders face in politics and the workplace.

In a book both accessible and enlightening, Senator Romero stands as a woman unafraid to break down barriers for women. As the first female Majority Leader of the upper house in California's State Legislature, she authored major reform laws in public education, criminal justice, governmental ethics, and transparency.

Just Not That Likable is the story of a trailblazer who understood that while the 20th-century sexism of unequal pay for equal work had been outlawed and anti-discrimination laws had become common, there was still a hidden likability penalty and the so-called "double bind" applied to successful women. The book features the most comprehensive review to date of what is known about the "double bind" faced by women executives and leaders: they are expected to exhibit strength and lead, but are penalized as being "abrasive" or exhibiting characteristics stereotyped as being masculine. Drawing on her own life as well, Senator Romero's journey leads her to the realization that when women smash through the persisting ceiling - still with us in the 21st century - the shards cut. Too deep and too often, these practices and behaviors shut down opportunity for our daughters, sisters, and each other. Just Not That Likable recognizes that our workplaces must promote practices, policies, and cultures which confront and disassemble this double bind for women.

Critique: Former California Senate Majority Leader and Professor Emeritus of Psychology Gloria Romero presents Just Not That Likable: The Price All Women Pay for Gender Bias, a candid examination of the double bind that constrains working women today. A woman has to exhibit self-confidence, strength, and leadership to advance in her career, yet these traits are seen as "masculine" and potentially make a woman less "likable", and therefore less able to network or form mutually beneficial business relationships. This double standard harms all women in the workplace, keeping them in lower-paid positions where they aren't as frequently required to assert themselves - indeed, the ability to assert oneself may run counter to a woman's unconscious social conditioning. Just Not That Likable is thought-provoking and salient examination of a persistent problem, and promotes practices, policies, and cultures to address discrimination and make the workplace better for both men and women. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Just Not That Likable is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Marjorie Lin Kyriopoulos
Epigraph Publishing
9781954744158, $18.95, PB, 266pp

Synopsis: "HeartStrings" by Marjorie Lin Kyriopoulos is a deeply personal and compassionate memoir that chronicles the history and lives of her Greek-American family in Marjorie's own creative way. Based upon actual events and interviews with family members, Marjorie explores how tragic events can have a ripple effect on past, present, and future generations in surprising and unexpected ways. From stories about immigrant experiences in the early 1900s to Marjorie's personal journey of growth through the tumultuous and radical changes of the 1960s up to now, "HeartStrings" is a reminder that the past is deeply rooted in the present. Through stories, poetry, and photographs, Marjorie illustrates how trauma is often carried unconsciously from parent to child, and into the future.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "HeartStrings" is a deftly crafted and deeply personal life story and one that is compelling thoughtful and thought-provoking. Showcasing author Marjorie Lin Kyriopoulos (mother, grandmother, teacher, writer, freelance photographer) genuine flair for narrative drive storytelling that deftly presents the times, the tragedies, and the people that shaped her understanding of the world and of herself, "HeartStrings" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Memoir/Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "HeartStrings" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Long Game
Dorie Clark
Harvard Business Review Press
20 Guest Street, Suite 700, Brighton, MA 02135
9781647820572, $28.00

The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-term World comes from a business thinker and career expert who applies the basics of long-term strategies to best business practices. Her book talks about difference between short- and long-term thinking processes, explores how smarter choices evolve from stepping back and taking time to consider bigger pictures, and how to adopt tolerance and patience for longer outcomes that serve better purposes than quick relief or satisfaction strategies. The result is a 'must' for businesses and innovators who are in it for the long haul.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Memory into Memoir: A Writer's Handbook
Laura Kalpakian
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826363114, $19.95, PB, 208pp

Synopsis: A memoir is any nonfiction narrative writing based in the author's personal memories. The assertions made in the work are thus understood to be factual. While the memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre has become differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells the story of a particular event or time, such as touchstone moments and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist. (Wikipedia)

"Memory into Memoir: A Writer's Handbook" provides a lively instructional guide and DIY manual for anyone looking to wrestle the unruly past onto the page. In thirteen chapters, Laura Kalpakian provides tools to develop narrative form, scenic depiction, character development, and dialogue. There are chapters devoted to excavating the Family Story and the slippery Truth, especially when telling stories not solely your own.

In "Memory into Memoir: A Writer's Handbook" Kalpakian also explores the use of letters, diaries, and photographs, and she offers tips for research, publishing choices, and the uses of music. With a broad exploration of technique and development, and a range of reference, Memory into Memoir includes examples, extensive resources, and animating prompts.

Critique: An exceptional comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Memory into Memoir: A Writer's Handbook" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community library, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections. For aspiring and experienced writers alike, "Memory into Memoir" it should be noted that "Memory into Memoir: A Writer's Handbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Laura Kalpakian is the author of thirteen novels and four collections of short fiction. Kalpakian is also the winner of an NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award, the Anahid Award for an American writer of Armenian descent, the PEN West Award, and the Stand International Short Fiction Competition.

The Social Issues Shelf

Handbook of Migration and Global Justice
Leanne Weber and Claudia Tasreiter, editors
Edward Elgar Publishing
9781789905656 $240.00

Synopsis: This timely Handbook brings together leading international scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and geopolitical perspectives to interrogate the intersections between migration and global justice. It explores how cross-border mobility and migration have been affected by rapid economic, cultural and technological globalization, addressing the pressing questions of global justice that arise as governments respond to unprecedented levels of global migration.

Chapters analyze the key issues arising from tensions between international and national priorities, duties and laws, as well as visions for human coexistence and harmony. Featuring chapters written by researchers, political activists and contributors with lived experience of migration injustice, the Handbook explores central topics including failures in refugee protection, worker exploitation and violence against migrants. Looking ahead, it also discusses possible pathways to achieve global justice in and through migration, in terms of geopolitics, subjective experience, human rights and redistributive justice, global solidarity and political activism.

Combining empirical case studies with cutting-edge theory, this Handbook will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students of migration, human rights and public policy. The application of the global justice concept to issues of migration and border control will also be useful for policy makers, practitioners and NGOs in these areas.

Critique: Handbook of Migration and Global Justice is an anthology of scholarly, extensively researched essays by a variety of independent scholars discussing economic and humanitarian crises connected to global migration. Individual writings include "Temporary labour and worker exploitation: Southeast Asian migration to Malaysia", "Contested global social justice: social services for migrants without international protection", "Refugees, Europe, death", "Immigration workplace raids and the politics of cruelty: the case of Postville, Iowa", "Racialized citizenship: challenging the Australian imaginary", and "Global justice and the governance of transnational migration". Handbook of Migration and Global Justice is an invaluable addition to college and university library Social Issues collections, worthy of the highest recommendation.

Pretreatment In Action
Jay S. Levy
Loving Healing Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
9781615995950, $39.95, HC, 162pp

Synopsis: Jay Levy's "Pretreatment In Action: Interactive Exploration from Homelessness to Housing Stabilization" by Jay S. Levy, MSW (and who has spent more than thirty years working with individuals who experience homelessness) provides the reader with a wonderfully crafted, detailed step-by-step manual with real-world scenarios on how Pretreatment and the Stages of Engagement play out in the actual work in dealing with a social issue here in the United Sates that is growing worse in every major American city. The vignettes are rich with descriptions that clearly come from a deep repertoire of experience working in the field that gives the reader confidence they are being guided by someone who has been in their shoes. The thoughtful questions and space to reflect add a helpful workbook touch to the feel of the text, and matches the grittiness of the material being covered.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Pretreatment In Action: Interactive Exploration from Homelessness to Housing Stabilization" must be considered essential reading for every citizen and governmental official concerned with and/or dealing with the growing problem of homelessness in America. While highly recommended as a core addition to community, college, university, and governmental Contemporary Social Issues collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of community activists, social workers, governmental policy makers, students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Pretreatment In Action: Interactive Exploration from Homelessness to Housing Stabilization" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781615995943, $27.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

The End of Bias: A Beginning
Jessica Nordell
Metropolitan Books
c/o Henry Holt
9781250186188 $28.99 hc / $14.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Unconscious bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behavior that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, the workplace, education, policing, and beyond. But when it comes to uprooting our prejudices, we still have far to go.

With nuance, compassion, and ten years' immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell weaves gripping stories with scientific research to reveal how minds, hearts, and behaviors change. She scrutinizes diversity training, deployed across the land as a corrective but with inconsistent results. She explores what works and why: the diagnostic checklist used by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital that eliminated disparate treatment of men and women; the preschool in Sweden where teachers found ingenious ways to uproot gender stereotyping; the police unit in Oregon where the practice of mindfulness and specialized training has coincided with a startling drop in the use of force.

Captivating, direct, and transformative, The End of Bias: A Beginning brings good news. Biased behavior can change; the approaches outlined here show how we can begin to remake ourselves and our world.

Critique: The End of Bias: A Beginning draws upon both the science of the brain and social sciences to examine how human hearts and minds can change for the better. In particular, the End of Bias is about finding ways to counter unconscious bias - the prejudices that are so deeply ingrained or entrenched that those who hold them may be unaware of their own actions. What are the most effective ways to combat racial, gender-based, or other stereotypes? Chapters show case studies of successful practices, as well as offering general principles to promote inclusion and avoid excessive homogeneity. The End of Bias: A Beginning is a welcome addition to public and college library Social Issues collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The End of Bias is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

Editor's Note: Jessica Nordell is a science and culture journalist whose writing has appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, the New Republic, and many other publications. A former writer for public radio and producer for American Public Media, she graduated from Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The End of Bias: A Beginning is her first book.

A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege
Daniel P. Horan
Ave Maria Press
9781646800766, $17.95 pbk / $13.49 Kindle

Synopsis: Growing up, Fr. Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M., never thought much about race, racism, or racial justice except for what he read in history books. His upbringing as a white, middle-class Catholic shielded him from seeing the persistent, pervasive racism all around him. Horan shares what he has since learned about uncovering and combating racial inequity in our nation and in our Church, urging us to join the fight.

In the spring and summer of 2020, US cities erupted in protests and racial tensions ran high following several high-profile killings of Black women and men at the hands of white police officers. As America watched and listened, many of us became dislodged from our comfortable assumptions about race. Horan recognized this unnerving dynamic as a doorway to the awakening and spiritual conversion he has been undergoing for much of his adult life. In A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege, Horan speaks prophetically to what has become a gnawing unease for so many.

As a white man, Horan shows his fellow white Catholics how to become actively anti-racist and better allies to our Black brothers and sisters as we work against racism in our culture and in the Church. He offers us the hope and surety of the Gospel, the wisdom of Catholic tradition, and some practical ways to educate ourselves and advocate for justice.

Critique: Professor of theology, philosophy, and religious studies Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M. presents A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege, a thoughtful examination of how Catholics - especially white Catholics - can better advocate for justice and equality, in a society harmed by systemic racism. A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege cross-examines the difficult problem of systemic racism, perpetrated discrimination enacted by society as a whole, evidenced by such horrifying statistics as the substantially higher risk of death for black women from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth (primarily due to reduced access to health care, and discrimination within the health care system). One of the first steps an individual can take to combat racism is to learn how to listen, and not reflexively dismiss the experiences and testimonies of nonwhite people (no matter how uncomfortable hearing them out may be). Though written from a Catholic perspective, A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege is highly recommended for readers of all faiths. It should be noted for personal reading lists that A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.49).

Editorial Note: Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M., is director of the Center for Spirituality and professor of philosophy, religious studies, and theology at Saint Mary's College. He previously served as the Duns Scotus professor of spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is a columnist for National Catholic Reporter and the author of thirteen books, including A White Catholic's Guide to Racism and Privilege, The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton and Catholicity and Emerging Personhood, which received a 2020 Excellence in Publishing Award from the Association of Catholic Publishers.

The Education Shelf

The College Wellness Guide
Casey Rowley Barneson
Princeton Review
9780593450390, $15.99 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Every year, nearly two million students arrive at college campuses, ready to embark on the best four years of their lives. Yet the reality is that the current cohort of students is one of the most stressed, anxious, and depressed ever. These stressors have real effects on students' grades, social life, and physical health. And the stakes are high! Students with the right community and support services have better outcomes, from increased chances of on-time graduation, to greater ability to take on head-start opportunities (like internships) that have deep impact on post-college life.

The Princeton Review is proud to introduce The Campus Wellness Guide, an innovative new book that provides a mix of information, resources, and self-assessment activities to help students reach and maintain their overall health. The book includes:

Information on how to assess your college fit academically and socio-emotionally
Self-assessment activities that students can use to ID their specific stressors and ways to alleviate those issues
Sections on physical, mental, and social wellness, each with data-backed insights and research to help define the issues and strategies for handling
Proactive activities for student use, with reflection prompts to help develop roadmaps toward a healthier status quo
Wellness highlights, e.g., information on colleges with exceptional track records in specific wellness issues
Resources for national and college-specific help

Critique: The College Wellness Guide: A Student's Guide to Managing Mental, Physical, and Social Health on Campus lives up to its title as an easy-to-use reference and resource for college students. Chapters offer self-assessment quizzes to help one identify stressors, practical strategies for looking after one's own well-being, recommendations for making the most of school resources including counselors and support staff, tips for maintaining a social network, and much more. The College Wellness Guide is designed for personal use, encouraging its reader to fill out plans, checklists, and questionnaires. Thoroughly user-friendly from cover to cover, The College Wellness Guide is a superb supplement for any prospective student, and also makes an excellent back-to-school gift! It should be noted for personal reading lists that The College Wellness Guide is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

The Money/Finance Shelf

Iceland's Secret
Jared Bibler
Harriman House
9780857198990, $29.95 Hardcover/$18.95 Kindle

Iceland's Secret: The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Con is not your usual travelogue, but a financial review that ideally should be in any financial or international business or economics collection. It explores the lesser-known history of Iceland's 2008 financial collapse that took down the nation's banks, economy, and the author, Jared Bibler's, livelihood. It almost destroyed the nation.

That Iceland's Secret was able to be published to expose an underlying con game in its entirety is testimony not only to the perseverance of Bibler in uncovering truths and facts, but to a writer who captures not just the financial but the social, political, and cultural milieu of the nation and its responses. Even more absorbing than the financial secrets themselves are the reactions of Iceland's people and government to the biggest economic crisis in its history. These elements support a story that is eye-opening and revealing, adding the personal touches needed to make it accessible and appealing even to readers without any prior understanding of the 2008 events or Icelandic culture.

From stock market manipulations to Bibler's personal involvement in a high-profile investigation, readers receive an insider's view tempered by the reactions of citizens and officials around him. These elements contribute to an expose that is powerfully presented and tailored to appeal to a wide audience; especially those involved in financial circles, whether they trade in the stock market, are involved in banking regulations and processes, or are facing moral and ethical accountability for financial choices. While Iceland's Secret is recommended for financial collections, anyone interested in Nordic modern history and affairs will find it an exceptional read.

Unlike most business books, it's very accessible to the lay reader and even incorporates a sense of intrigue and action that makes it a top recommendation for general-interest collections, as well.

Activate Your Money
Janine Firpo
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781119777083, $29.95, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: "Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World" by Janine Firpo provides the foundational support women need to talk to each other about their money, invest to grow their wealth, and to take the actions required to shift their assets into alignment with their values. Written for smart, savvy women who want to feel financially empowered, "Activate Your Money" delivers the depth of information needed to make informed decisions across your entire portfolio. Starting with checking and savings accounts and proceeding asset class by asset class, this book provides you with core knowledge, as well as concrete examples about how and where you can invest your money in the things you care about.

"Activate Your Money" is specifically designed to help you use that strength to attain better financial outcomes for yourself and your family. "Activate Your Money" will also help you to find communities of support and position you to share your knowledge with other women and enable the next generation of smart, confident values-aligned investors.

Of special note is that "Activate Your Money" has a companion website that contains downloadable tools you can use to take action and a curriculum that guides women through the process of starting and running their own values-aligned investment clubs.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented for the financial planning benefit of the non-specialist general reader, "Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Financial Management & Planning collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.00).

Editorial Note: Janine Firpo is a seasoned values-aligned investor and social innovator, with a long history of working at the intersection of women and their money. In 2017, she left a 35-year career in technology and international development to focus on helping women find the confidence to take control of their money and use it to change the world. During her career, Janine held senior positions at Hewlett-Packard, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, she supports women-led businesses through her role as lead investor in the Next Wave Impact Fund and board chair of Zebras Unite.

The Business Shelf

The Family Office
William I. Woodson and Edward V. Marshall
Columbia University Press
9780231200622, $35.00 hc / $19.24 Kindle

Synopsis: Family offices are private organizations that assume the daily administration and management of a wealthy family's personal and financial affairs. Historically, these repositories of great wealth were shrouded in secrecy, their activities conducted behind closed doors. Recently, family offices have acquired a considerably higher public profile: they represent a mere 7 percent of the world's ultra-high-net-worth population, yet control a staggering 50 percent of the wealth. As only a select few families now hold a disproportionate amount of global wealth, there are significant social implications to how such assets are managed and used.

This book provides an insider's view for anyone looking to understand family offices and how to best serve and advise them. The veteran practitioners William I. Woodson and Edward V. Marshall offer a thorough guide to family offices: why wealthy families create them, what they do, and how to manage them effectively. They present these insights through a series of problem-based learning cases that follow a single family's journey from the time of a significant liquidity event; through the creation, staffing, and management of their family office; and on to its succession.

Each case study is supported by detailed background reference material. The cases and background materials are drawn from the authors' practical knowledge, network of industry experts, and experience advising family offices large and small. They shed light on the unique issues that ultrawealthy families face and the solutions they adopt to address them throughout the life cycle of a family office. This book is the definitive resource for practitioners and students, as well as family principals, advisers, service providers, and all others who engage with the world of family offices.

Critique: Part of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing series published by Columbia Business School Publishing, The Family Office: A Comprehensive Guide for Advisers, Practitioners, and Students is an educational resource about the practical institution of the family office - a private organization tasked with managing the personal and financial affairs of wealthy families. As wealth has grown more concentrated in a small number of households, family offices have become more prominent in their economic and practical influence. The Family Office is an insider's testimony by professionals in the field of wealth management; chapters discuss case studies, leadership and staffing requirements of family offices, strategies that family offices use for investments, risk management, and philanthropy, and much more. The Family Office is a "must-have" for college library School of Business collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Family Office is also available in a Kindle edition ($19.24).

Editorial Note: William I. Woodson is a lecturer on wealth management at Columbia University School of Professional Studies and serves on the advisory board for the Stanford University Global Family Office Initiative. He is the former head of a family office and ran the family office practices for Citi Private Bank and Credit Suisse.

Edward V. Marshall is a family office expert, author, consultant, and speaker. He is the global head of the family office practice at Dentons, the world's largest law firm. Marshall has held leading family office roles at Credit Suisse, Citibank, and Boston Private, and he is a guest lecturer on the family office at New York University's Stern School of Business.

Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook
Antonio Nieto Rodriguez
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
9781647821258, $29.99, $49.50, HC, 352pp

Synopsis: We're now living in the project economy. The number of projects initiated in all sectors has skyrocketed, and project management skills have become essential for every leader and manager. Still, project failure rates remain extremely high. Why? Leaders oversee too many projects and have too little visibility into them. Project managers struggle to translate their hands-on, technical knowledge up to senior management. The result? Worthy projects are starved of time and resources and fail to deliver benefits, while too much investment goes into the wrong projects. To compete in the project economy, you need to close this gap. In the pages of "Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects", project management expert Antonio Nieto Rodriguez shows you how.

A comprehensive guide, "Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects" presents a new and simple framework that will increase any project's likelihood of success. Packed with case studies from many industries worldwide, it will teach you how to manage your organization's projects, strategic programs, and agile initiatives more effectively and push the best ones ahead to completion.

Critique: Timely and timeless, "Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects" is exceptionally well organized and presented, making it an ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for novice entrepreneurs and seasoned corporate executives alike. While highly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Contemporary Business Management collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781647821258, $29.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).

From Impressed to Obsessed
Jon Picoult
McGraw-Hill Education
9781264258789 $28.00 hc / $26.60 Kindle

Synopsis: If you're aspiring to satisfy your customers, then you're aspiring to mediocrity. That's the fascinating premise of From Impressed to Obsessed, a book that will fundamentally change how you think about creating a successful, beloved business.

Acclaimed customer experience expert Jon Picoult explains why building customer loyalty requires leaving indelible positive impressions on everyone you work with - not just shaping their experiences, but also shaping their memories.

Picoult explores the cognitive science behind great customer experiences, pinpointing the breakthrough, psychology-based strategies that both industry leaders (like Apple, Disney, and Southwest Airlines) as well as fast-growing startups (like BILT and Framebridge) use to shape people's perceptions and sculpt unforgettable impressions - thereby turning more sales prospects into customers, and more customers into obsessed brand ambassadors.

No matter what kind of constituency you serve - customers or colleagues, individuals or institutions, employees or employment candidates - this book will help you do it with distinction. Picoult's message is particularly relevant for managers, as he shows the parallels between how great companies cultivate engagement with customers, and how great leaders accomplish the same with their workforce.

Critique: From Impressed to Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans is a guide for business professionals, team leaders, supervisors, and much more. Author Jon Picoult draws upon cognitive science to examine precisely what makes a customer's experience (or an employee's experience) so resoundingly positive as to build lifelong loyalty. Especially happy customers may transform themselves into "brand ambassadors", who promote their experience to others via word-of-mouth (or social media in today's digital age)! From Impressed to Obsessed is an incalculably valuable resource, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that From Impressed to Obsessed is also available in a Kindle edition ($26.60).

Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives
Minal Bopaiah
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
9781523090259, $19.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Even the most passionate advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion have been known to treat equity as the middle child - the concept they skip over to get to the warm, fuzzy feelings of inclusion. But Minal Bopaiah shows throughout this book that equity is critical if organizations really want to leverage differences for greater impact.

Equity allows leaders to create organizations where employees can contribute their unique strengths and collaborate better with peers. Bopaiah explains how leaders can effectively raise awareness of systemic bias and craft new policies that lead to better outcomes and lasting behavioral changes. This book is rich in real-world examples, such as managing partners at a consulting firm who learn to retell their personal stories of success by crediting their systemic advantages and news managers at NPR who redesign their processes to support greater diversity among news sources. This slender book expands DEI past human resources initiatives and shows how leaders can embed equity into core business functions like marketing and communications.

Filled with humor, heart, and pragmatism, Equity is a guidebook for change, answering the question of how that so many leaders are asking today.

Critique: Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives lives up to its title as a practical-minded guide to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within one's organization. Chapters address how leadership can engage more effectively, the role of media and marketing in creating equity, countering bias in entrenched systems, and much more. "Observable behaviors are critical in designing organizations where everyone can thrive, but they are not enough. You must make sure that the organization's system and processes reinforce desired behaviors and, if possible, do so invisibly." Equity is a welcome addition to the college library Business and Leadership shelves, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Equity is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Editorial Note: Minal Bopaiah is the founder of Brevity & Wit, a strategy and design firm that helps organizations achieve the change they wish to see in the world through a unique approach that combines human-centered design, behavior change science, and the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Bopaiah has written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review and and has been a featured guest on numerous podcasts and shows, including the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU. She has also been a keynote speaker for many conferences, inspiring thousands with her credible, authentic, and engaging talks.

The Cookbook Shelf

Dining with the Dead
Mariana Ruiz & Ian McEnroe
Rio Nuevo Publishers
9781940322384 $35.00

Synopsis: Dining with the Dead is an unforgettable cultural and culinary odyssey. Traditional, celebratory Mexican food is the soul of this one-of-a-kind cookbook. Make tamales, pozoles, pan de muerto, and many other festive, iconic dishes. Learn about altars, sugar skulls, and decorations. Unlock the essence of chiles, make scratch tortillas, and perfect the king of the moles.

Highlights include 112+ delicious recipes, 540+ beautiful and mouthwatering photos, how to find them and treat ingredients, photographic step-by-step instructions, the origins of Dia de Muertos, and more.

Critique: Dining with the Dead is more than a lavish, full-color illustrated cookbook of traditional Mexican recipes for celebrating the Day of the Dead. Dining with the Dead also draws the reader into Mexican cultural traditions for honoring loved ones who have passed on, including the origins of the holiday, altars and ofrendas (offerings), what it means to hold a night vigil at a cemetery in Mexico, and more. Connoisseurs of homemade Mexican cuisine will especially appreciate the step-by-step instructions for finding and preparing special ingredients. Dining with the Dead is an excellent resource for cooks seeking to broaden their cultural appreciation and understanding, and a treasure to simply page through. Highly recommended!

One Tin Bakes Easy
Edd Kimber
Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780857839787, $22.99, HC, 176pp

Synopsis: Whether the family want cookies or cakes, pastries or desserts, something fruity, chocolatey or nutty, baking just got even easier for the kitchen cook with Edd Kimber's "One Tin Bakes Easy"! Beautifully illustrated throughout, this is the ideal 'go-to' cookbook for easy to make cakes, traybakes, bars and bites the range from gluten-free to vegan and beyond!

Every individual baked good showcases in "One Tin Bakes Easy" can be made in the 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) tin. "One Tin Bakes Easy" also offer guidance on baking in an 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square tin as well as a loaf tin, making these perfectly simple bakes for even the most novice of bakers to try -- whatever equipment is on hand.

Only a minimal skill is needed to whip up something sensational with this compendium of culinary ideas for bakes made in one-bowl or with 5-ingredients, as well as popular options for vegan and gluten-free treats. "One Tin Bakes Easy" is packed cover to cover with versatile, achievable and indulgent recipes that will be called upon time after time again.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "One Tin Bakes Easy" will prove to be an immensely popular addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted the "One Tin Bakes Easy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Edd Kimber won the first series of The Great British Bake Off in 2010. He is the author of The Boy who Bakes (2011), Say it with Cake (2012), Patisserie Made Simple (2014) and the best-selling One Tin Bakes (2020). He has appeared on Sunday Brunch, Market Kitchen and Perfect, as well as the BBC Good Food Show and other shows around the country. He is a contributing editor to Bake from Scratch magazine, a go-to baking writer for Olive magazine, a baking teacher at Leith's School of Food and Wine, as well as a QVC presenter and a brand ambassador for KitchenAid and Nordicware. Edd has a popular blog at, where he shares his innovative baking recipes, which are always loved by his loyal following.

Pennsylvania Good Eats
Brian Yarvin
The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200, Guilford, CT 06437
9781493055715, $21.95, PB, 240pp

Synopsis: Pennsylvania is filled with all sorts of unique and delicious foods. Historic dishes like scrapple and buckwheat cakes form part of an edible record. Smoked sausages, fried noodles, and the component parts of a pizza are all history on a plate.

A unique approach to creating a culinary treasury of palate-pleasing, appetite-satisfying recipes "Pennsylvania Good Eats: Exploring the State's Favorite, Unique, Historic, and Delicious Foods" by Brain Yarvin visits food landmarks across the state ranging from farmer's markets, artisan shops, and roadside restaurants.

"Pennsulvania Good Eats" also covers old dairymen selling off to young organic growers, ethnic areas popping up around college campuses, trained chefs seeking out new locations for fine dining restaurants, and new artisans reaching back to recreate foods that we used to think were dead and gone.

Critique: Thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' in organization and presentation with full color illustrations throughout, and also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.50), "From farmer's markets, artisan shops, and roadside restaurants" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections.

The Art Shelf

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature
Angelica Daneo, author
Christoph Heinrich, editor
Ortrud Westheider, editor
Michael Philipp, editor
Prestel Publishing
9783791379258, $35.00, PB, 280pp

Synopsis: Capturing fleeting natural impressions played a central role in the art of Claude Monet (14 November 1840 - 5 December 1926). He deeply engaged with the landscape and light of different places, from the metropolis of Paris to the Seine villages of Argenteuil and Giverny. "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" is a lavishly illustrated study that explores the development of Monet's art from the 1850s to the 1920s, focusing on the places, both at home and on his frequent travel, from which he drew inspiration for his painting. In addition, "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" traces the critical shift in Monet's art that occurred when he began to focus on series of the same subjects such as grainstacks, poplars, and the water-lily pond at his meticulously designed garden in Giverny.

Critique: Impressively informative with its exceptionally well written commentary, "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" will enhance the reader's appreciation of Monet's art and is the next best thing to being able to view his work as displayed throughout many a museum gallery. Now available in a coffee-table style paperback (9.5 x 1.03 x 11.88 inches", "9.5 x 1.03 x 11.88 inches) is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Art History collections in general, and Claude Monet supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular.

Watteau at Work: La Surprise
Emily A. Beeny, author
Davide Gasparotto, author
Richard Rand, author
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606067352, $24.95, PB, 88pp

Synopsis: The painting La Surprise by Jean Antoine Watteau (baptized October 10, 1684 - died July 18, 1721) belongs to a new genre of painting invented by the artist himself -- the f te galante.

These works, which show graceful open-air gatherings filled with scenes of courtship, music and dance, strolling lovers, and actors, do not so much tell a story as set a mood: one of playful, wistful, nostalgic reverie.

Esteemed by collectors in Watteau's day as a work that showed the artist at the height of his skill and success, La Surprise vanished from public view in 1848, not to reemerge for more than a century and a half.

Acquired by the Getty Museum in 2017, it has never before been the subject of a dedicated publication. Marking the three hundredth anniversary of Watteau's death, "Watteau at Work: La Surprise" considers La Surprise within the context of the artist's oeuvre and discusses the surprising history of collecting Watteau in Los Angeles.

"Watteau at Work: La Surprise" is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from November 23, 2021, to February 20, 2022.

Critique: The collaborative work of Emily A. Beeny (former associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, is curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco); Davide Gasparotto (senior curator of paintings and chair, curatorial affairs, at the J. Paul Getty Museum); and Richard Rand (associate director for collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum), "Watteau at Work: La Surprise" is the next best thing to being able to personally visit the exhibit -- and will informatively enhanced the experience of those who can attend the exhibit on site. Beautifully illustrated, "Watteau at Work: La Surprise" is highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Art History collections.

The Life of Lambert Lombard (1565); and Effigies of Several Famous Painters from the Low Countries (1572)
Dominicus Lampsonius, author
Edward H. Wouk, translator/editor
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606067406, $60.00, PB, 176pp

Synopsis: Lambert Lombard (c. 1505 - August 1566) was a Renaissance painter, architect and theorist for the Prince-Bishopric of Li ge. During his career he worked for Jan Gossaert in Middelburg and trained Frans Floris. Lombard was born in Li ge, where in 1532 he became court painter and architect. A few paintings and many drawings have been preserved. In 1537 he was sent to Rome by Erard de La Marck, prince-bishop of Li ge, to buy works of art, and he discovered the wonders of the Italian Renaissance. On his return he brought not only works of art, but also the new ideas concerning art and the position of the artist, to Li ge. (Wikipedia)

Dominicus Lampsonius's The Life of Lambert Lombard (1565) is the earliest published biography of a Netherlandish artist. This neo-Latin account of the life of the painter, architect, and draftsman Lambert Lombard of Li ge offers a theoretical exposition on the nature and ideal practice of Netherlandish art, emphasizing Lombard's intellectual curiosity, interest in antiquity, attentive study of the human body, and exemplary generosity as a teacher.

This volume offers the first English edition of The Life of Lambert Lombard, complemented by a new translation of the inscriptions Lampsonius composed to accompany the Effigies of Several Famous Painters from the Low Countries (1572), a cycle of twenty-three engraved portraits of Netherlandish artists developed in collaboration with the print publisher Hieronymus Cock.

Together, "The Life of Lambert Lombard (1565); and Effigies of Several Famous Painters from the Low Countries (1572) established frameworks for a distinctly Netherlandish history of art. Responding to a growing sense of Netherlandish cultural and political identity on the eve of the Dutch Revolt, these texts proposed a critical alternative to Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists and its Italian model of art historical development, celebrating local ingenuity and skill. They remain the starting point for any history of the northern Renaissance.

Critique: An exceptionally informative, beautifully illustrated, and unique contribution to Renaissance Art History collections, "The Life of Lambert Lombard (1565); and Effigies of Several Famous Painters from the Low Countries (1572)" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library European Art History & Biography collections.

Editorial Note #1: Dominicus Lampsonius (1532 - 1599) was a Flemish polymath humanist, poet, and painter, who worked as Latin secretary to a succession of Catholic bishops, including the embattled English Cardinal Reginald Pole.

Editorial Note #2: Edward H. Wouk is reader in art history and visual studies (1400 - 1800) at the University of Manchester and the author of Frans Floris (1519/20 - 1570): Imagining a Northern Renaissance (2018).

Rubens: Picturing Antiquity
Anne T. Wollett, editor
Davide Gasparotto, editor
Jeffrey Spier, editor
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606066706, $40.00, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: For the great Peter Paul Rubens ( 28 June 1577 - 30 May 1640), the classical past afforded lifelong creative stimulus and the camaraderie of humanist friends. A formidable scholar, Rubens ingeniously transmitted the physical ideals of ancient sculptors, visualized the spectacle of imperial occasions, rendered the intricacies of mythological tales, and delineated the character of gods and heroes in his drawings, paintings, and designs for tapestries. His passion for antiquity profoundly informed every aspect of his art and life.

Showcasing some 170 color illustrations, "Rubens: Picturing Antiquity" by the editorial team of Anne T. Woollett (curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum), Davide Gasparotto (senior curator of paintings and chair, curatorial affairs, at the J. Paul Getty Museum; and Jeffrey Spier (senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum) specifically addresses the creative impact of Rubens's remarkable knowledge of the art and literature of antiquity through the consideration of key themes.

The lively interpretive essays comprising "Rubens: Picturing Antiquity" explores the formal and thematic relationships between ancient sources and Baroque expressions: the significance of neo-Stoic philosophy, the compositional and iconographic inspiration provided by exquisite carved gems, Rubens's study of Roman marble sculpture, and his inventive translation of ancient sources into new subjects made vivid by his dynamic painting style.

Critique: Exceptionally well presented and impressively informative, making "Rubens: Picturing Antiquity" very highly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Art History collections in general, and Rubens supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular, "Rubens: Picturing Antiquity" is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa from November 10, 2021, to January 24, 2022.

Poussin and the Dance
Emily A. Beeny, author
Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, author
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606066836, $30.00, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: Scenes of tripping maenads and skipping maidens, Nicolas Poussin's dancing pictures, painted in the 1620s and 1630s, helped him formulate a new style. This style would make him the model for three centuries of artists in the French classical tradition, from Jacques-Louis David and Edgar Degas to Paul Cezanne and Pablo Picasso.

"Poussin and the Dance" by the team of art experts Emily A. Beeny and Francesca Whitlum- Cooper is the first published study devoted to this theme and situates the artist in seventeenth-century Rome, a city rich with the ancient sculptures and Renaissance paintings that informed his dancing pictures.

Tracing the motif of dance through his early Roman production, "Poussin and the Dance" examines how these works helped their maker confront the problem of arresting motion, explore the expressive potential of the body, and devise new methods of composition. The essays investigate how dance informed nearly every aspect of Poussin's artistic production, notably through his use of wax figurines to choreograph the compositions he drew and painted. This publication also considers Poussin's dancing pictures within a broader context of seventeenth-century European culture, collecting, and patronage.

This volume, "Poussin and the Dance", is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the National Gallery, London from October 9, 2021, to January 2, 2022 and at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from February 15 to May 8, 2022.

Critique: With its magnificently reproduced artwork and accompanying impressively informative commentaries, "Poussin and the Dance" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Art History collections in general, and Poussin supplemental studies curriculum lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Emily A. Beeny, former associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, is currently the curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Francesca Whitlum-Cooper is the Myojin-Nadar Associate Curator of Paintings, 1600 - 1800, at the National Gallery, London. She also edited "Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life" (2019).

The Needlecraft Shelf

Embroidery for Everyone
Kelly Fletcher
becker&mayer! Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760372234, $19.99, PB, 128pp

Synopsis: In the pages of "Embroidery for Everyone: Easy to Learn Techniques with 50 Patterns!" author and embroidery expert Kelly Fletcher brings enthusiasm and joy for the needlecrafts through both traditional techniques and innovation. With easy-to-follow instructions, "Embroidery for Everyone" guides the reader through an array of stitching techniques and decoration ideas.

The patterns offer a wide range of subjects to choose from: Cute animal patterns; Boho chic borders and motifs; Winter snowflakes and snowmen; Thanksgiving turkey; Springtime bunnies and flowers.

"Embrodery for Everyone" also covers how to embellish clothing, create beautiful needlecraft art with nature and folk images, and make handmade heirloom seasonal decorations. With a plenitude of patterns to choose from, "Embroidery for Everyone" features something for everyone!

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Embroidery for Everyone: Easy to Learn Techniques with 50 Patterns!" is ideal for the beginning novice and will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular instructional guide for personal and community library needlecraft collections.

Critique: Kelly Fletcher is a professional needlework designer and the founder of Kelly Fletcher Needlework Design. She is the author of the internationally published Embroidered Home, contributing artist to Margaret Rowan's Handsewn and Petra Harms' Stitch it Yourself, and the designer, writer, and stitcher behind the Embroidery Designs range of hand embroidery kits. Kelly is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she creates content for magazine, book, and kit publishers worldwide, and creates ebooks and hand embroidery patterns for her online shop. She favors creative surface embroidery, with its many stitches, and puts a contemporary spin on traditional stitches and techniques to create fresh designs that appeal to modern embroiderers. She maintains an informative website at

The Automotive Shelf

Muscle Car Special Editions
Duncan Brown
CarTech Inc.
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613255797, $42.95, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: In the late 1960s. Special edition muscle cars were essential to keep pace for dedicated car buffs. Joel Rosen and other independent car builders (such as Carroll Shelby, George Hurst, Dick Harrell, Mr. Norm, and Jim Wangers) did what the factories couldn't do: take the muscle car and turn it into a tire-burning monster.

Although the Pontiac GTO established the muscle car category in 1964, a host of corporate safety restrictions restrained factories from offering turn-key race cars off the showroom floor. Independent car builders enhanced appearance and amplified performance in an attempt to do what the manufacturers wouldn't. Motion Performance issued a written guarantee: Phase III cars would run 11.5 at 120 mph down the quarter-mile!

Some of the most iconic nameplates in automotive history were applied in this era with names that included Cheetah, Black Panther, Royal Bobcat, Super Hugger, Manta Ray, Super Snake, Deuce, Fast Track, and The Machine. How did manufacturers stealthily promote these special edition muscle cars as "halo cars" while pretending not to endorse them? What happened to these innovators when factories assimilated their ideas? "Muscle Car Special Editions" by muscle car historian Duncan Brown covers them all.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, Duncan Brown's "Muscle Car Special Editions" is a visual treat and an extraordinarily well presented history. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library American Automotive History collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated muscle car fans that "Muscle Car Special Editions" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $40.80).

Editorial Note: Duncan Scott Brown's desire to preserve car history inspired his website: The site profiles people who kept their classic domestic 1960s and 1970s cars with a technical examination of the patterns of wear on original vehicles. The website quickly expanded to quirky areas that caught on with readers, such as the Gas Logs section and, of course, The Dealerships. Readers have generously contributed their memories and photos of long-lost dealerships from the Big Three plus AMC to the website.

The General Fiction Shelf

Hold My Place
Cassondra Windwalker
Black Spot Books/Vesuvian Media
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distribution)
9781645481003, $15.95 Paper/$4.99 Kindle

Horror fans who enjoy novellas and shorter works that pack a punch with fewer words than many will find Hold My Place a satisfying blend of romance and ghost story. It holds the appeal of the classic Rebecca, but is entwined with an unexpected sense of wry humor and observation.

The first-person narrator is a librarian. And before you think "dull," keep in mind that Sigrun cultivates an interest in the paranormal that defies the usual image of the mousy, shy librarian personality: "I have a weakness for paranormal romance. So what? Librarians have the most degenerate taste in literature there is. Why do you think we're forever trumpeting the cause of banned books?"

Sigrun is deeply attracted to a beautiful man and initially redirects her passion into a gourmet cooking class, where "Here I am, two weeks later, abusing beignet dough in a class of nine other no doubt equally infatuated women. How humiliating." Despite all her reading of paranormal literature, she never anticipated that this man's entry into her life would bring with it a threat that rivals any of the reading she's done on the subject.

As readers move into the events that unfold during the course of this ill-fated romance, they will find Cassondra Windwalker a worthy opponent to the genre's often-formula productions. Hold My Place is anything but ordinary or predictable, despite its firm roots in the horror world. Part of the reason why this works especially well is Windwalker's creation of a feisty character unafraid to expression her passion in different ways, already savvy in the possibilities of the paranormal world, and yet vulnerable to its lure and challenges. This flawed hero brings all the events to life using a brevity of words and nicely paced action that draws readers in, leaves them laughing at unexpected descriptions, and creates a compelling story filled with romantic twists.

Readers who look for well-balanced blends of horror, passion, and unexpected humor will find that Hold My Place cultivates a sassy sense of fun that is a satisfying alternative to more staid and predictable genre reads.

Beneficence: A Novel
Meredith Hall
David R. Godine, Publisher
9781567927092, $16.95 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: In the midst of a nearly perfect life, Doris Senter is thankful but wary. "We can't ever know what will come," she says. When an unimaginable tragedy turns the family of five into a family of four, everything the Senters held faith in is shattered. The family is consumed by sorrow and guilt. Slowly, the surviving family members find their way to forgiveness - of themselves and of each other.

Few writers know the human heart and the burden of grief as New York Times bestselling author Meredith Hall (Without a Map). This is a radiant novel of goodness and love - both its gifts and its obligations - that will stay with readers long after the last page. With a rare tenderness and compassion, Beneficence shows broken hearts becoming whole as this family reclaims their love and peace.

Critique: Beneficence: A Novel is a story about a family of five that suffers heartrending loss, leaving them a family of four. Grief and devastation break their faith in everything about their lives. Beneficence is about the difficult journey to find forgiveness for themselves and each other. Thoughtful and poignant, Beneficence is a profoundly moving read, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Beneficence is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

The Running Trees: Stories
Amber McMillan
Goose Lane Editions
9781773101699, $19.95 pbk / $15.44 Kindle

Synopsis: A fervently comic debut, The Running Trees leads readers into a series of conversations - through phone lines, acts in a play, and a rewound recording of a police interrogation - to reveal characters in fumbling bouts of brutality, reflection, isolation, and love.

The relationship between two siblings disintegrates after one asks the other for the pen; a professor and his former student get drinks years after a "romantic" encounter; a book club meets only to find that they have wildly different opinions about a new memoir about their town; and a long-haired feline contemplates existence and consciousness while his cohabitant licks his own butthole.

Whimsical, unconventional, humorous, and always pitch-perfect, The Running Trees explores how we desperately try to communicate with each other amid the gaps in meaning we create.

Critique: The Running Trees: Stories is an anthology of unique stories that are almost entirely dialogue-based. Some are presented like short stage plays; others resemble telephone conversations, and all delve into the chaotic, tangled aspects of imperfect yet quintessentially human characters. A brisk read that lingers long in the memory, The Running Trees: Stories is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Running Trees: Stories is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.44).

Editorial Note: Amber McMillan is the author of the memoir The Woods: A Year on Protection Island and the poetry collection We Can't Ever Do This Again. Her work has also appeared in PRISM international, Arc Poetry Magazine, and the Walrus.

Beyond the Tides
Liz Johnson
c/o Baker Publishing Group
9780800737375 $15.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

Synopsis: When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster-fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should inherit it instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross take over. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg must work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought... and their dreams aren't what they expected.

Bestselling author Liz Johnson invites you back to Prince Edward Island for a brand-new series about family, forgiveness, and the kind of love that heals all wounds.

Critique: Part of the Prince Edward Island shores series set in a beautiful island and its sunlit waters, Beyond the Tides is the story of a bitter rift, with the possible promise of reconciliation. Ten years ago, Oliver ruined Meg's chance for a science scholarship at an Ivy League school - not out of malice against her, but in a moment of anger over mistreatment from his own father. In the present day, Meg's father has to decide what will become of his fishing fleet business. Oliver has the drive and aptitude to run the operation; Meg has no interest in fishing, but her sense of outrage will not let her stand by and let the man who took away her dreams be rewarded. When Meg's father decides that the two of them must run the business together for a trial period, will it be a recipe for disaster - or will each of them learn from the other? An emotional and witty story, featuring flawed characters who must learn to reconcile their own shortcomings, Beyond the Tides is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Beyond the Tides is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Editorial Note: Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, A Glitter of Gold, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love's Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories.

The Walnut Creek Wish
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing
9781643527413, $16.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Welcome to Walnut Creek, Ohio, where Orley and Lois Troyer own an antique store they call "Memory Keepers." Though knowledgeable in antiques and their repair, their real talent is in mentoring folks who are hurting and don't even know it. Enter Jeff, a restaurateur, and Rhonda, a hotel manager, who recently moved to Amish country for the slow pace, but the change of scenery puts even more stress on their already strained marriage. Will an antique sled be the last straw, or will it lead to unexpected revelations and the fulfillment of dreams?

Critique: The first volume of the Creektown Discoveries series set in a quiet Ohio small town, home to an antique store with owners who have a talent for promoting emotional healing. The Walnut Creek Wish is a thoughtful novel about married couple looking for a slower-paced life. Yet their restful environment does not alleviate the strains on their marriage. Rhonda, a hotel manager, feels pressured both by her work and her infertility, while Jeff, a restauranteur, doesn't understand why his wife is so troubled and spends his spare time outfitting the garage with antiques. An emotional story about connections and understanding, The Walnut Creek Wish is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Walnut Creek Wish is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Editorial Note: New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. With over 11 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery
Amanda Cox
9780800737412, $15.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiance's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Critique: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is novel that recounts stories of two times in parallel. In the present, Sarah Ashby and her grandmother Glory Ann make a plan to save Old Depot Grocery; in the 60's, Glory Ann is pregnant with the child of her deceased fiancee and pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper. Powerful themes of love, the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the importance of bringing hidden secrets to light rather than allowing them to fester form the core of this emotionally moving novel, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Editorial Note: Amanda Cox is the author of The Edge of Belonging. A blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, she holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling, but her first love is communicating through story. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

The Singing Forest
Judith McCormack
9781771964319, $16.95, PB, 302pp

Synopsis: In a quiet forest in Belarus, two boys stumble across a long-kept secret: the mass grave where Stalin's police secretly murdered thousands in the 1930s. The results of the subsequent investigation have far-reaching effects, and across the Atlantic in Toronto, Leah Jarvis, a lively, curious young lawyer, finds herself tasked with an impossible case: the deportation of elderly Stefan Drozd, who fled his crimes in Kurapaty for a new identity in Canada.

Leah is convinced of Drozd's guilt, but she needs hard facts. She travels to Belarus in search of witnesses only to find herself asking increasingly complex questions. What is the relationship between chance, inheritance, and justice? Between her own history (her mother's death, her father's absence, and the shadows of her Jewish heritage) and the challenges that now confront her?

Critique: Beautiful and wrenching by turns, and showcasing author Judith McCormack's genuine flair for creating a deftly crafted and memorably original novel, "The Singing Forest" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Singing Forest" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Boundaries of Their Dwelling
Blake Sanz
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road. Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609388072, $16.00, PB, 210pp

Synopsis: Moving between the American South and Mexico, the award-winning short stories comprising "The Boundaries of Their Dwelling" by Blake Sanz explore how immigrant and native characters are shaped by absent family and geography. A Chilanga teen wins a trip to Miami to film a reality show about family while pining for the American brother she's never met. A Louisiana carpenter tends to his drug-addicted son while rebuilding his house after a slew of hurricanes. A New Orleans ne'er-do-well opens a Catholic-themed bar in the wake of his devout mother's death. A village girl from Chiapas baptizes her infant on a trek toward the U.S. border.

In the collection's second half, we follow a Veracruzan-born drifter, Manuel, and his estranged American son, Tommy. Over decades, they negotiate separate nations and personal tragicomedies on their journeys from innocence to experience. As Manuel participates in student protests in Mexico City in 1968, he drops out to pursue his art. In the 1970s, he immigrates to Louisiana, but soon leaves his wife and infant son behind after his art shop fails. Meanwhile, Tommy grows up in 1980s Louisiana, sometimes escaping his mother's watchful eye to play basketball at a park filled with the threat of violence. In college, he seeks acceptance from teammates by writing their term papers. Years later, as Manuel nears death and Tommy reaches middle age, they reconnect, embarking on a mission to jointly interview a former riot policeman about his military days; in the process, father and son discover what it has meant to carry each other's stories and memories from afar.

Critique: Elegant, original, engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and thought provoking, "The Boundaries of Their Dwelling" showcases author Blake Sanz's genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that holds the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover. "The Boundaries of Their Dwelling" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Short Story & General Fictions collections.

Editorial Note: Blake Sanz has published fiction in Ecotone, Puerto del Sol, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and elsewhere. He teaches writing at the University of Denver.

The Historical Fiction Shelf

M MacKinnon
DartFrog Books
PO Box 867. Manchester, VT 05254
9781953910769, $16.99 print/$3.99 ebook

Drumossie presents the first book in the Echoes in Time series, and opens with a preface set in 1746, during the aftermath of a battle. A wounded Highlander awaits his demise on the battlefield on Drumossie Moor. But, he's destined to survive this living hell, and this will affect generations to come. Fast-forward to present-day Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, where twenty-seven-year-old Fiona's dreams of terror have just awakened her - for the third time. Fiona isn't used to suffering such vivid dreams, especially of murky threats that include smells and sensations she's never been exposed to. And somewhere in that dream is a memory of one who meant something special to her...someone she knows she's never encountered in real life.

As the story unfolds, M MacKinnon injects history into the story that follows battles, tragedy, reawakening, and impacts on future generations. The history of Scotland comes to life under her hand as Fiona finds the past not as distant as she'd imagined and faces a force that changes her present-day world. As the lives of 1745 eighteen-year-old Eilidh MacLean and twin brother Rory (her "partner in all things") are also explored, M MacKinnon's ability to juxtapose different people, history, and cross-purposes makes for a moving account that is vividly portrayed and hard to put down.

Part of what makes these stories come alive is M MacKinnon's descriptive turns of phrase: "Eilidh fell into the chair like a marionette whose strings have been cut." As Eilidh is charged with preventing the murder of Prince Charles and other events that will bring down her world, Fiona finds herself in present-day Scotland, at a gloomy exhumation of a body in the cemetery. This portends an investigation of the past that could change everything - especially the isolated life of Ewan MacArthur. The impact of the Battle of Culloden echoes through time, and a mystery and an evil force are resurrected that carry four characters into new peril and dangerous situations in a bid for freedom that moves from the killing fields of Drumossie Moor to the impact of Eilidh's choices. These bring love and healing to Scotland's descendants even as an old evil awakens with a thirst for revenge.

M MacKinnon cultivates the strong ability to smoothly intersect events of past and present, juxtapose evolving love with growing evil threats, and present all four characters in three-dimensional form that lends each a realistic flavor. Whether readers choose this title for its murder mystery, romance, or historical components, each genre fan will be attracted to and entranced by Drumossie's vivid story, which pairs well with the psychological and historical details.

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Christmas in Silverwood
Dorothy Dreyer
Rosewind Books
c/o Vesuvian Books
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distribution)
9781645480532, $14.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook

Romance readers who enjoy Hallmark-style stories of unexpected love will relish the down-home feel and evolving tale of Holly and Nick, who are on different trajectories in their lives when they find each other after a near-accident in a small town. Christmas in Silverwood cultivates a sense of discovery and recovery set against a snowy Christmas season backdrop, and explores set paths changed by interpersonal relationships and new opportunities. From a small town's obsession with an annual holiday tree-decorating contest to broken spirits and lonely individuals who find in each other unexpected solutions to life problems, Dorothy Dreyer paints a compelling portrait of love that takes the time to spice its presentation with atmosphere. As various characters interact, from those who embrace the Christmas spirit to others who would rather be alone, Dreyer builds scenic beauty, evolving romance, and moments that encourage inspiration. The crux of Holly and Nick's experiences and evolving relationship stem from a simple observation: "Sometimes we're disappointed about things because we're looking at them the wrong way."

Christmas in Silverwood explains how a set course in life can be turned upside down to create a different approach and perspective. In the course of exploring romantic and interpersonal connections, it creates a heartwarming read about change and flexibility to make for not just a satisfying holiday read, but an affectionate insight into the origins of love and connection. Romance and holiday readers will find Christmas in Silverwood just the ticket for a cold night's read by a roaring fire.

The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance
Lucy Morris
Mills & Boon
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9780263289633, $TBA, HC, Large Print, 384pp

Synopsis: When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed longship, he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. A challenging wife for a warrior Viking, this high-status ice queen is not the comfortable female companion this warrior chief is seeking, but maybe the bittersweet pain in Gyda's eyes hides another woman beneath? -- The one he tasted that first night, when she kissed him with such pent-up longing?

Critique: A deftly written historical romance set in the Viking age, "The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance" author Lucy Morris adroitly blends her appreciation of Scandinavian myths, legends, and culture with the universal passions of strong men and even stronger women! "The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance" is a compelling and rewarding read from first page to last -- making this large print edition from Mills & Boon unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Historical Romance collections.

A Daughter's Christmas Wish
Victoria Cornwall
Linford Romance Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444847635, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 328pp

Synopsis: Christmas, 1919. A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose: the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honor his friend - or if there is another reason.

Critique: As an author of historical romance, Victoria Cornwall is among the very best. "A Daughter's Christmas Wish" is an impressively original, wonderfully entertaining, and emotionally satisfying read so well scripted that it will keep the reader's total and rapt attention from cover to cover. This large print paperback edition from the Linford Romance Library is especially recommended for personal reading lists and community library Historical Romance collections alike.

Breakfast At The Butterscotch Bakery
Angela Britnell
Linford Romance Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444847710, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 256pp

Synopsis: Following a skiing accident, Connie is laid up in Switzerland with a badly broken leg. Stepping into the breach, her sister has promised to run her business, the Butterscotch Bakery, during her convalescence. After all, Kaley's a capable computer programmer, and it's not exactly rocket science to rustle up a few cupcakes and it? But baking's not as simple as it looks - and when Kaley comes unstuck, handsome customer Jacca is there to lend a hand!

Critique: A romance lover's delight, "Breakfast At The Butterscotch Bakery" by Angela Britnell is a original, extraordinary and a wonderfully entertaining read from first page to last. This large print paperback editon of "Breakfast At The Butterscotch Bakery" from the Linford Romance Library collection is especially appropriate and fully recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fans and will prove to be an immediately popular addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections.

The Christmas House
Victoria James
Alcove Press
9781643857725, $16.99 pbk / $13.99 Kindle

Synopsis: It's Christmas in the small town of Silver Springs which is bursting with holiday spirit. The downtown shops boast twinkling lights, and the town square features an enormous Christmas tree. Every Christmas Eve for the past fifty years, Ruby Harris, the owner of the historic B&B, The Christmas House, has opened her doors to strangers in need, showing them the compassion once denied to her.

When Ruby invites her family home for the holidays, including her two adult grandchildren, Charlotte and Olivia, she hopes they will be able to put the past behind them. However, her plans for reconciliation implode as the women unravel secrets from the past that force them to confront the impact they've had on their dysfunctional family. As Charlotte grows closer to Wyatt, the neighbor next door and a friend from the past, old memories resurface that the women would rather forget. They're reminded of a man they want to forget.

As the clock inches closer to the New Year, can the magic of the season bring the family closer? Or will a surprise guest threaten their tentative truce and test newly formed bonds?

This light-hearted Christmas tale draws inspiration from Victoria James's own historical fixer-upper, offering plenty of warmth and holiday cheer.

Critique: The Christmas House is a heartwarming, holiday-themed romance novel. When Ruby Harris, owner of the historic bed-and-breakfast The Christmas House, invites her family home for the Christmas season, she hopes that they will be able to mend their disgruntled rifts. But hurtful family secrets threaten to push the family apart again, even as the New Year approaches, and then a surprise guest throws all their plans into disarray. The Christmas House is delightful, thought-provoking, cheery and cozy, perfect for curling up to read with a thick blanket and hot cocoa. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Christmas House is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).

Editorial Note: Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover), and illustrated it herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design opening her own business.

Home For a Cowboy Christmas
Donna Grant
St. Martin's Press
9781250820266, $8.99, PB, 352pp

Synopsis: Christmas 'tis the season' -- for everyone except Emmy Garrett. She's on the run after witnessing a crime. But when it becomes clear that trouble will continue following her, the US Marshal in charge takes her somewhere no one will think to look -- Montana. Not only is Emmy in a new place for her protection, but now, she's stuck with a handsome cowboy as her bodyguard -- and she wants to do more than kiss him under the mistletoe.

Dwight Reynolds left behind his old career, but it's still in his blood. When an old friend calls in a favor, Dwight opens his home to a woman on the run. He tries to keep his distance, but there's something about Emmy he can't resist. She stokes his passion and turns his cold nights into warm ones. When danger shows up looking for Emmy, Dwight risks everything to keep her safe!

Critique: With all the elements of a truly steamy romance by a master of the genre, "Home for a Cowboy Christmas" wonderfully showcases author Donna Grant's genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling. Very highly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, "Home for a Cowboy Christmas" is a compelling read from cover to cover for all dedicated romance fans.

The Western Fiction Shelf

Law and Outlaw
William Vance
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419560, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 336pp

Synopsis: The old woman was dying. That meant a lot of things to Will Titus. It meant sorrow, for she'd raised him from a pup. It meant one fewer good person in a world where they were rare enough already. But mostly, it meant the eventual arrival of Bart Laney. Bart was almost a brother to Will -- but a brother gone wrong. You see, while Will had chosen a U.S. Marshal's badge, Bart had gone down the outlaw trail.

Critique: Complete and unabridged, this large print paperback edition from the Linford Western Library series of William Vance's extraordinary western novel, "Law and Outlaw" is a fully action packed drama of twists and turns and surprises from cover to cover -- making it a welcome and recommended addition to the personal reading lists of dedicated western novel fans and community library Western Fiction collections.

The House of Gold
Max Brand
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419683, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 536pp

Synopsis: "The House of Gold" by Max Brand is the story of an honest thief, James Geraldi, who embarks upon three of his greatest adventures, including a quest for the elusive Golden Horus, a gold statue inlaid with four perfect emeralds and a large, flawless yellow diamond. Whether he's seeking a treasure, protecting an innocent girl, or handling other thieves who may not be quite so honest, Geraldi remains a classic and unforgettable figure of the West.

Critique: Bringing back these three timeless tales of western bravado for a new generation of appreciative readers, "The House of Gold" are Max Brand western stories at their very best and this large print paperback edition form the Linford Western Library series is unreservedly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collections.

Death's Tally
Bradford Scott
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419577, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 272pp

Synopsis: Oil and bullets are the boon and bane of Sanderson City. When Walt Slade arrives to put a lid on the violence, the town is set to blow sky-high in his face. A lit fuse, a shotgun blast in the dark and the ace undercover Texas Ranger is plunged into a searing sixgun showdown with a greed-crazed pack of killers.

Critique: You can practically smell the gunsmoke rising from the pages of Bradford Scott's deftly crafted western novel, "Death's Tally". A simply riveting read from first page to last, this large print paperback edition of "Death's Tally" from the Linford Western Library series is especially commended to the attention of all western fans and community library Western Fiction collections.

Match Race
Fred Grove
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419546, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 464pp

Synopsis: Quarter horse racing presents a thrill few men in the Old West can resist. Dude McQuinn, Coyote Walking, and Billy Lockhart are no exception, riding from town to town, matching and trading racehorses. Dude is the straight-talking front man, Coyote the jockey, and Billy the doctor, concocting potions that can cure a horse of anything - at least temporarily. But Billy is being watched by a strange man in a black bowler hat - a man who knows a secret about his past.

Critique: Memorable characters, unexpected plot twists, "Match Race" by Fred Grove is a fun read from first page to last. This large print paperback edition from the Linford Western Library series is highly recommended reading and will prove to be a welcome addition to both personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collectons.

The Deuce of Diamonds
Charles M. Martin
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419539, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 392pp

Synopsis: Roaming Reynolds and Texas Joe find themselves helping out a couple of old ranchers who are being plagued by rustlers. Reynolds suspects that local cattle baron Griff Tyson, owner of the Deuce of Diamonds spread, is behind the trouble. But Tyson is quite a gunfighter himself, able to shoot playing cards out of the air. Will Reynolds and Joe prevail against him?

Critique: A class western of good guys verses the bad guy (and his minions), "The Deuce of Diamonds" by Charles M. Martin is a quality read from first page to last and this large print paperback edition from the Linford Western Library collection is certain to be a welcome and prized addition to the personal reading lists and community library collections.

The Lawless Border
Allan Vaughan Elston
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419522, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 384pp

Synopsis: It was just one year ago that the O'Hara brothers planned to buy themselves a ranch, settle down, and raise some stock. But that was before Milton disappeared the night after he won forty-four hundred dollars at a poker game. Certain that his brother was hijacked and murdered for his winnings, Lynn vows to investigate. When he arrives in Tucson, there's one man left on his list -- and he finds himself face-to-face with the ugly muzzle of a six-gun!

Critique: You can almost smell the gun smoke wafting up off the page in Allan Vaughan Elston's superbly crafted western novel "The Lawless Border". Originally published in 1969, this large print edition of "The Lawless Border" from the Linford Western Library series is a compelling, entertaining, and recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all western novel fans and community library Western Fiction collections.

Borders To Cross
Parker Bonner
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419515, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 240pp

Synopsis: It's clear that Dan Mason had a hand in killing his cousin Bill in order to gain control of the family ranch, the Lazy M. But Cal Holland is determined to steer clear of another man's fight -- that is until the fight is brought to his own doorstep. Mason sends a hired killer after him. And if this wasn't already enough to stir him to action, Cal discovers that the life of Bill's sister Nancy is also threatened by Dan's ambitious greed.

Critique: Originally published in 1969, "Borders to Cross" by author Parker Bonner is a puls- pounding read from cover to cover. Now available to a new general of western action/adventure enthusiasts and unreservedly recommended for community library collections.

Ride The Red Trail
Lewis B. Patten
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419720, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 368pp

Synopsis: "Ride The Red Trail" is comprised of a trio of short novels presenting western author Lewis B. Patten at his exciting best. In the title story, Lew Harvey was forced to leave home because of a shooting incident. Now a letter from his former girlfriend has summoned him back. His parents are about to be driven off their spread and they need his help, but his father hasn't forgiven Lew...and more gun trouble may be on the way. In "Summer Kill," a man seemingly without enemies is murdered on a nighttime trail ride, and it falls to his two sons to track down the killer. And "Rustler's Run" tells the story of young Burt Norden, who has been doing a man's job running the N Bar Ranch since his father's death. But now he may really have to prove himself. Rustlers have swept into the area and there's a confrontation brewing with a local hardcase.

Critique: A prolific author of American Western novels, Lewis Byford Patten, was born and died in Denver, Colorado (January 13, 1915 - May 22, 1981). He often published under the names Lewis Ford, Lee Leighton and Joseph Wayne. He used the last two names when writing in collaboration with Wayne D. Overholser. In all three stories, originally published in the 1950s, Lewis Patten creates Western truly entertaining and memorable action/adventure western stories that are as fresh to a new general of readers as they were to dedicated western fans of 70+ years ago. This large print paperback edition of "Ride The Red Trail" from the Linford Western Library is enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and community library Wester Fiction collections.

Lone Rider From Texas
Peter Dawson
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781785419706, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 448pp

Synopsis: This large print paperback edition of "Lone Rider From Texas" is an anthology comprising seven western action/adventure stories by Peter Dawson and were originally published in the age of the pulp magazine in the 1930s.

Among these stories is that of a young man is in a quandary when all the evidence in two murder cases points directly at his father. A guard is forced to choose between a seemingly impossible love and complicity in a stagecoach robbery. A Texas cattle rancher rides into New Mexico to learn why he has been implicated in a theft. An outlaw father who endeavors to save the life of his lawman son.

Critique: Peter Dawson is the nom de plume used by Jonathan Hurff Glidden. He was born in Kewanee, Illinois, in 1907 and studied English literature at the University of Illinois. He wrote over a dozen Western novels and published over 120 short novels and stories in magazines. He died in 1957. Dawson was a master of the western genre and this collection of his stories are true action/adventure gems with many a surprising twist or turn. Bringing a new generation of appreciative readers to the attention of the talent and imagination of a writer like Dawson, "Lone Rider From Texas" is recommended as a welcome and popular addition to both personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Tokyo Zangyo
Michael Pronko
Raked Gravel Press
9781942410256, $24.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook

Tokyo Zangyo adds to the Detective Hiroshi series set in Tokyo with another story of intrigue that both adds to the others while standing nicely on its own, for newcomers.

Here, Detective Hiroshi investigates the death of a top manager in a Tokyo company. And this is where Michael Pronko's own familiarity with Japan's culture comes into play; because the story's ability to capture the milieu of corporate life and business concerns excels in creating realistic backdrop that brings not just Hiroshi's efforts, but his world to life. Political and economic concerns blend into the investigative focus to inject a full-bodied feel to the story: "If we can't get all the information on Onizuka, our investigation could drag on for longer, possibly interfering with PR for your overseas expansion. We want this case closed as much as you do," Hiroshi said.

From personal interactions within the company and between different layers of authority to Hiroshi's personal involvement with Ayana, a woman who tries to support him and keep him together, Pronko excels in dialogues and interactions that go beyond investigative circles alone. These romantic, social, and political interplays keep the story unpredictable and multifaceted as events play out to challenge Detective Hiroshi on more than one level. There are also atmospheric references that bring Tokyo's backdrop to life: "Hiroshi looked away at the lights of Tokyo spreading like fallen, cooling stars all the way to the horizon. Overhead, the skyglow that hung over Tokyo blocked the real stars."

In addition to the homicide investigation, readers who enjoy learning about Japanese cultural influences and processes receive a wealth of insights that are neatly woven into the intrigue. The resulting interplay between characters, a sense of place, and a murder mystery that plays out on an especially involving stage will keep both prior readers and newcomers to Detective Hiroshi's world thoroughly engaged and guessing to the end. Pronko is masterful at bringing all these elements to life in the richly depicted Tokyo Zangyo. This makes it not just highly recommended for mystery readers, but a standout in the genre. Its added value of social inspection and Japanese business pressures will educate readers about that nation's perspective even as it builds a blossoming, compelling mystery.

The Stone Chamber
Kate Ellis
Charnwood Large Print / Thorpe
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
9781444847673, $TBA, PB, Large Print, 390pp

Synopsis: On a summer's evening, Robert and Greta Gerdner are shot dead at their isolated home in the Devon countryside. DI Wesley Peterson suspects the execution-style murders might be linked to Robert's past career in the police - until Robert's name is found on a list of people who've been sent tickets anonymously for a tour of Darkhole Grange, a former asylum on Dartmoor. When his friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, finds the skeleton of a woman buried in a sealed chamber dating back to the 15th century at his nearby dig, Wesley wonders whether there might be a connection between the mysterious stone cell and the tragic events at Darkhole Grange. With the clock ticking, Wesley must solve the puzzle before the next person on the list meets a terrible end.

Critique: One of those compulsive page turner whodunnit mysteries with more plot twists and turns than Coney Island rollercoaster, "The Stone Chamber" is a mystery lover's delight and clearly establishes author Kate Ellis as a complete master of the genre. Original, entertaining, and with commendable attention to detail that plays fair with the reader, this large print paperback edition from Charnwood Large Print is especially recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery fans and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Driftless Gold
Sue Berg
Little Creek Press
9781942586968 $18.95

Synopsis: A migrant worker is discovered buried in a local quarry with an antique gold coin in his pocket near La Crosse, Wisconsin. Lt. Jim Higgins begins to unravel a murder that will take him back into Wisconsin's early history. During the investigation, Higgins meets a local archaeological savant and treasure hunter who tells him a wild tale about a U.S. Army payroll that was stolen on the way to Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien in 1866. The payroll has never been recovered. Is the coin on the dead man part of the stolen treasure?

Critique: The debut detective mystery of author Sue Berg, Driftless Gold is set near La Crosse, Wisconsin, with roots reaching back to a stolen U.S. Army payroll. A murder, with an old coin found on the victim, draws Lt. Jim Higgins into a race against time before the killer strikes again. A page-turner that keeps the reader guessing to the very end, Driftless Gold is enthusiastically recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre.

Shoot the Moonlight Out
William Boyle
Pegasus Books
9781643138251, $25.95, HC, 320pp

Synopsis: Southern Brooklyn, July 1996. Fire hydrants are open and spraying water on the sizzling blacktop. Punk kids have to make their own fun. Bobby Santovasco and his pal Zeke like to throw rocks at cars getting off the Belt Parkway. They think it's dumb and harmless until it's too late to think otherwise. Then there's Jack Cornacchia, a widower who lives with his high school age daughter Amelia and reads meters for Con Ed but also has a secret life as a vigilante, righting neighborhood wrongs through acts of violence. A simple mission to strong-arm a Bay Ridge con man, Max Berry, leads him to cross paths with a tragedy that hits close to home.

Fast forward five years: June 2001. The summer before New York City and the world changed for good. Charlie French is a low-level gangster-wannabe trying to make a name for himself. When he stumbles onto a bowling alley locker stuffed with a bag full of cash, he brings it to his only pal, Max Berry, for safekeeping while he cleans up the mess surrounding it. Bobby Santovasco - with no real future mapped out and the big sin of his past shining brightly in his rearview mirror - has taken a job working as an errand boy for Max Berry. On a recruiting run for Max's Ponzi scheme, Bobby meets Francesca Clarke, born in the neighborhood but an outsider nonetheless. They hit it off. Bobby gets the idea to knock off Max's safe so he and Francesca can escape Brooklyn forever. Little does he know what Charlie French has stashed there.

Meanwhile, Bobby's former stepsister, Lily Murphy, is back home in the neighborhood after college, teaching a writing class in the basement of St. Mary's church. She's also being stalked by her college boyfriend. One of her students is Jack Cornacchia. When she opens up to him about her stalker, Jack decides to take matters into his own hands.

Critique: A simply riveting and original crime novel featuring a roster of deftly crafted and memorable characters, as well as more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, "Shoot the Moonlight Out" by William Boyle is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shoot the Moonlight Out" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Deception Island
Janice Boekhoff
Lost Canyon Press LLC
9781948003087, $16.99

Sci-fi and thriller readers who enjoyed Jurassic Park (and also the first book in Janice Boekhoff's Jurassic Judgment series) will find Deception Island a fine continuing saga of genetic manipulation gone awry. In this future world, Costa Rica is overrun by dinosaurs. As if this isn't enough, Oakley Laveau is also struggling to understand why her mother tried to kill her. Apparently, not just dinosaurs are on the receiving end of genetic manipulation, placing Oakley in the center of a struggle to survive that pits her against forces that would destroy her freedoms and sacrifice her for a greater good.

It turns out that Oakley Laveau's initial banishment to Extinction Island for her supposed involvement in a murder she didn't commit is only the opening salvo of the struggle, and discovering the truth behind her genetic makeup and origins was just the beginning. As she moves through a world of captive dinosaurs, examines who has manipulated her and why, and faces a jungle adventure replete with Indiana Jones-style action (but with a Jurassic Park overlay), readers will find the action, intrigue, and premises unpredictable despite their seemingly unsurprising backdrop.

Janice Boekhoff's ability to create a thriller format that incorporates sci-fi elements but heavily rests upon intrigue and survivalism will expand the audience of Deception Island to those who normally don't pursue the sci-fi genre. As Oakley faces self-discovery on a level that challenges her perception not just of herself but the world and her place within (or outside) it, readers receive a compelling, fast-paced action story filled with unexpected twists and turns to keep them guessing. One might think that prior familiarity with its predecessor, Extinction Island, would be a requirement in order to easily absorb the milieu of Deception Island; but Boekhoff provides recaps that are so seamlessly wound into this story that even prior fans won't balk at receiving information they already know. Ultimately, the question boils down to "why were we created?" The answer will surprise many.

The Audiobook Shelf

Night Court
Ashley Fontainne, author
Rebecca Roberts, narrator
Blackstone Audiobooks
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781504692960, $29.95, MP3

Synopsis: Judge -- Merry watches, her presence cloaked by the shroud of nightfall. Nothing moves except her eyes which focus on her target. No remorse. No regret. No second guessing the decision to end the lives of the monsters who turned her into a killer.

Jury -- The peddlers of death from potent chemicals are found guilty. Death is the punishment for their crimes. All appeals denied. Sentencing to commence immediately. The leeches who sucked out the life of addicts with each snort, puff, swallow, and injection will now pay the ultimate price.

Executioner -- The idyllic world of Merry Marie Hall, once the loving wife of Harold and mother to their only child, Joshua, is over. Extinguished when Joshua overdosed and Harold died of a heart attack at the funeral. Now Merry hunts down the guilty parties, and one by one, carries out her personal vigilante court's orders.

Critique: A non-stop thriller of a read written by Ashley Fontainne and ably narrated by Rebecca Roberts, "Night Court" is a full throated 'theatre of the mind' experience. A complete and unabridged MP3 edition from Blackstone Audiobooks (6 hours, 5 CDS), "Night Court" is a truly exceptional and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library audio book collections.

The Library CD Shelf

Dave Eggar
Domo Music Group
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Awakening is a solo piano collection composed and performed by music artist Dave Eggar. The mellifluous themes inspire creativity and hope, shining as the audio soundscape equivalent of a beautiful sunrise. Awakening is a treasure for piano music connoisseurs, and highly recommended for public library music collections. The tracks are Awakening, Faded Memory, Through the Glass, Beyond, Forest Afternoon, Diamonds, My Simple Gift, Russian Winter, Arise, Fallen Leaves, Bristol Morning, Coming Home, Earth Story, and New Dawn.

You Are There
Shawnn Monteiro
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos (distribution)
$17.86 CD / $8.99 MP3

You Are There showcases the lush jazz singing of Shawnn Monteiro, supported by masterful performances of associates on trumpet, piano, trombone, drums, and bass. The charged, intensely passionate music crested with dulcet beauty of Monteiro's vocals makes You Are There a rapturous listening experience, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are Dearly Beloved, Inside a Silent Tear, Let's Eat Home, You are There, How Deep is the Ocean, You'll See, The Shadow of Your Smile, Autumn Leaves, Alone at Last, Never Let Me Go, I Hear Music / How High the Moon, and My Old Friend.

Sundar Music
$15.00 CD / $7.00 digital

Award-winning Toronto world-jazz group Avataar presents Worldview, an original album that draws upon jazz and the musical traditions of India, Africa, and Brazil to call for more humanitarian treatment of children. The songs reflect upon nostalgia, homesickness, and lament horrific tragedies including the death of a trafficked three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up in Italian shores, and the Sandy Hook massacre of 2012. Worldview is emotional, profound, utterly unforgettable, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Worldview", "Ekkriis Spirito [Reclaimed Spirit]", "Chrysalis [Emergence]", "Innocents [12/14/12]", "Song Song", "Blue As It Ever Was", "A Safe Space for Children [For All]", and "Little Kurdi [For Alan Kurdi]".

Full Bloom
Nancy Shoop-Wu
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Full Bloom is a new-age violin and vocal album by Nancy Shoop-Wu, who composed, arranged, performed and sang, with support Derek Nakamoto on piano and Cello (Qiele) Guo on cello. Adventurous, expressive, and far-reaching, these songs are brimming with a longing for adventure, and ignite an internal sense of discovery. Full Bloom is highly recommended for personal enrichment, and also makes an excellent gift. The tracks are Full Bloom, Night Rainbow, Dreams, Flying Away, Beautiful, Olinda Winds, Angel Above Me, Serenade, Golden Leaves, and Morning Paradise.

Hiding in Plain Sight
Dino Govoni
Whaling City Sound
c/o Naxos (distribution)
$TBA CD / $8.91 MP3

Hiding in Plain Sight is a jazz album featuring Dino Govoni on tenor saxophone, Alex Sipiagin on trumpet and flugelhorn, Henry Hey on piano, Michael Pope on acoustic and electric bass, and Jeff 'Tain' Watts on drums. The smooth, versatile, evocative music takes the listener on an auditory pleasure cruise. Hiding in Plain Sight is a treasure for jazz connoisseurs, highly recommended. The tracks are Stories Passed, Cobalt, Falling Ahead, Thinkers Anonymous, Ask Again, Sublimate, Point Turn, Appels to Apples, and Edge Walker.

Small Town Dreamer
Daryl Mosley
Pinecastle Holdings, LLC
$TBA CD / $11.49 MP3

Small Town Dreamer is an album of twelve original songs by folk music artist Daryl Mosley, offering portraits of small town life in America. Soul-stirring guitar and Daryl's memorable vocals distinguish these nostalgic, empathetic, and evocative songs. A treasure for connoisseurs of Americana, Small Town Dreamer is highly recommended. The track list is "Transistor Radio", "Hillbilly Dust", "The Last of His Kind", "Bringing Simple Back", "He's With Me", "The Waverly Train Disaster", "You Are the Reason", "I Can't Go Home Anymore", "The Way I Was Raised", "Mama's Bible", "Here's to the Dreamers", and "Sing Me a Song About a Train".

The Multimedia Shelf

WoodSongs 5: A Folksinger's Compendium & van Gogh Reader
Michael Johnathon
Privately Published
9780578952499 $20.00 pbk / $4.99 digital

Synopsis: WoodSongs 5 is the fifth volume in a series about art, music & rural living from Michael Johnathon, one of America's most popular folksingers, songwriters and host of the radio & TV broadcast the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. WoodSongs 5 is a celebration of Vincent van Gogh's passion, vision, and his struggle to push forward even though rejected by the art world of his time.

WoodSongs 5 (176 pages, full color) explores the world of Vincent van Gogh, Pete Seeger, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Hank Williams, John Denver, Billie Holiday and many other "creatives," the poets, painters, dreamers and time travelers, world-wanderers and highway vagabonds, rail riders and drifters who dream what is unseen so others can appreciate what has been created. They are 5-string politicians, 6-string therapists, banjo barristers, acoustic lovers and penny-pinching peacemakers... because those who sing together can not fight. They are still there. Still writing, searching, singing, trying to get this world in tune.

A beautiful gift for every artist, painter, songwriter and lover of art.

Critique: The fifth in a creative and expressive series celebrating art, music, and the joys of rural life, WoodSongs 5 is a delight to browse. Like all books in the series, WoodSongs5 includes The Painter CD album and a free gift of the Songs of Rural America symphony album on CD. WoodSongs 5 is awash with creativity, color, and passion as it brings the reader on a journey through the timeless works of Vincent van Gogh, Pete Seeger, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Billie Holiday and more. WoodSongs 5 is highly recommended, and makes an excellent gift for anyone who loves art or music. It should be noted for personal reading lists that WoodSongs 5 is also available in as an ebook ($4.99).

The Beer Shelf

World Atlas of Beer
Tim Webb, author
Stephen Beaumont, author
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784726270, $39.99, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: As craft brewing continues to go from strength to strength across the world, and now in a newly updated and expanded third edition, "World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World" by the team of Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont continues to be the definitive and essential guide to beer for the true connoisseur.

A coffee table style volume (9.3 x 1.15 x 11.8 inches), "World Atlas of Beer" covers the rich, multi-faceted traditions of Belgium, the Nordic legend that is Finnish Sahti, the relatively new phenomenon of the New England hazy IPA, why Australia's lower-strength beers are one of its great successes, and so much more! With thousands of breweries now operating around the globe, and more opening every day, "World Atlas of Beer" is the expert guide to what is really worth drinking.

Country by country "World Atlas of Beer" considers a vast range of brewing techniques, beer styles and traditions. Detailed maps describe crucial trends in major territories and features such as matching beer with food and how to pour different kinds of beer complete the picture.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color, this impressively comprehensive and exceptionally organized and presented third edition of the award winning "World Atlas of Beer: The Essential Guide to the Beers of the World" is a 'must' for all dedicated beer drinkers and will be an enduringly popular and welcome addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections.

Editorial Note #1: Tim Webb began writing about better types of beer when most of what could be said had to be reported in the past tense. During six years on the board of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) he ran Britain's national beer festival and co-founded CAMRA's publishing company. He has written Good Beer GuideBelgium continuously since 1992 and has won awards for beer writing in four countries. In a career spanning over 40 years he has witnessed and chronicled the return of the craft of beer brewing, perhaps the most extraordinary consumer-led revolution of modern times.

Editorial Note #2: Stephen Beaumont is recognized internationally as one of the leading writers on beer in the world today. He is the author or co-author of ten additional books about beer, including The Beer & Food Companion, and two editions of The Pocket Beer Book, and a contributor to many others. Through his 26 years of covering the global beer scene, Stephen has written literally hundreds of articles and columns for publications as diverse as Whisky Advocate, Playboy and the Celebrator, and hosted tastings, dinners and educational events around the globe, from Mexico City to Burton-on-Trent and Philadelphia to Beijing. He may be found online at and on Twitter at @BeaumontDrinks.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Our Spiritual DNA
Carmel Niland
Findhorn Press
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644112632, $18.99, PB, 272pp

Synopsis: Guided by renowned mystics, in the pages of her new book, "Our Spiritual DNA: Twelve Ascended Masters and the Evidence for Our Divine Ancestry", author Carmel Niland suggests that, just as we carry physical DNA that shapes us across generations, we also carry an energetic code or spiritual DNA that links us back to the very source of our origins (God) a divine ancestry that throughout the centuries conveys itself in patterns of behavior, character traits, and life purpose, connecting each individual to a specific Ascended Master.

The God essence expresses itself through archetypal energies in us, represented by 12 Ascended Masters who hold the 12 strands of our spiritual DNA. Thus, every person on this earth, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary, is an aspect of one of these Masters. Focusing on Mother Mary and St. Germain, Our Spiritual DNA explores the role, energies, and essence of these 12 Masters by examining some of history's most important figures who have been instrumental in shaping our world. Hitherto unknown details about the lives of personalities like Queen Nefertiti, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Merlin, Isabelle of Castile, and Dante emerge in channeled conversations with the author's spiritual guide, The Gatekeeper.

Revolutionizing the Western view of reincarnation, "Our Spiritual DNA: Twelve Ascended Masters and the Evidence for Our Divine Ancestry" is astounding and unique book allows you to trace your own spiritual DNA through the reincarnations of the Ascended Masters, understand your spiritual and genetic connection to God, and realize that we are all divinely connected across gender, race, and time.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Our Spiritual DNA: Twelve Ascended Masters and the Evidence for Our Divine Ancestry" is a singularly impressive study that will be of special interest for all students of the metaphysical sciences. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library New Age Channeling, Angels & Spirit Guides, and Spiritual Self-Help collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Our Spiritual DNA: Twelve Ascended Masters and the Evidence for Our Divine Ancestry" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Conversations with the Goddess
Dorothy Atalla
Pharos Press
9780984447305, $17.95, PB, 292pp

Synopsis: On a January day in the depths of mid-western winter Dorothy Atalla expected more of the same: snow, ice and gray skies. But when she lay down on her living room carpet to relax with music, she had an experience which changed her life. Inexplicably, a vision of a radiant and beneficent female presence appeared to her. This astonishing event was only the beginning of a journey she could never have imagined in her wildest dreams. That vision foreshadowed the dialogue with a deity which is the essence of "Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power".

"Conversations with the Goddess" swiftly evolves from a personal story into a universal story in which a feminine Presence speaks about the role of the sacred Feminine in the future. She also speaks of the past, revealing a panoramic view of a time in which the Goddess was revered not only at Petra but also throughout the ancient world.

Her story is a multiplicity of strands which she deftly weaves together, creating a tapestry that spans immense time frames in earth's evolution. As her tale progresses, people from the deep past step forward to tell about their lives and their relationship with the Goddess. And a fascinating group of characters they are from Zillah, slave woman, to Hayyan al-Shubri, high priest who serves the chief goddess of Petra.

Woven into the dialogues are lively commentaries about Petra as a cosmic power point, women as agents for planetary evolution, and restoration of ancient Goddess knowledge and women's mysteries. Other threads in this weaving are also relevant to modern women: woman's innate spiritual power, earth's powers and the powers of woman, symbolism in female artifacts and the consciousness which created them, what the dark Feminine really is, correction of misperceptions about the nature of the Great Goddess, and a path toward balance of the divine Feminine and the divine Masculine.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, memorably unique, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout, While "Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Delaware, Dorothy Atalla received an endowed fellowship for a Master's degree in English Literature. Her studies led to ancient history, archaeology, depth psychology, quantum physics, transpersonal psychology and the evolution of consciousness, and the study of ancient religion and mythology.

The Gardening Shelf

The Living Soil Handbook
Jesse Frost
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781645020264, $29.95, PB, 304pp

Synopsis: Discovering how to meet the soil's needs is the key task for every market gardener where a home gardening amateur or a professional farmer. "The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower's Guide to Ecological Market Gardening" by Jesse Frost is comprehensive guide, in which he shares all that he has learned through years of experience and experimentation with no-till practices on his home farm in Kentucky and from interviews and visits with highly successful market gardeners in his role as host of The No-Till Market Garden Podcast.

The Living Soil Handbook is centered around the three basic principles of no-till market gardening: Disturb the soil as little as possible: Keep it covered as much as possible; Keep it planted as much as possible.

"The Living Soil Handbook" then guides readers in applying those principles to their own garden environment, with their own materials, to meet their own goals. Beginning with an exploration of the importance of photosynthesis to living soil, Jesse provides in-depth information on: Turning over beds; Using compost and mulch; Path management; Incorporating biology, maintaining fertility; Cover cropping; Diversifying plantings through intercropping; Production methods for seven major crops

Throughout, "The Living Soil Handbook" emphasizes practical information on all the best tools and practices for growers who want to build their livelihood around maximizing the health of their soil.

Critique: Nicely illustrated throughout, "The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower's Guide to Ecological Market Gardening" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. A comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional manual and guide, "The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower's Guide to Ecological Market Gardening" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Gardening/Horticultural/Agricultural collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower's Guide to Ecological Market Gardening" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $21.59).

Editorial Note: Jesse Frost, aka Farmer Jesse, is a certified organic market gardener, freelance journalist, and the host of The No-Till Market Garden Podcast. He is also a cofounder of, a website where he helps collect the best and latest no-till insights from growers in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Europe. He and his wife, Hannah Crabtree, practice no-till farming at Rough Draft Farmstead in central Kentucky.

The Poetry Shelf

Small Bibles for Bad Times: Selected Poems and Prose
Liliane Atlans
Dryad Press
9781942134688, $21.95, PB, 176pp

Synopsis: Very ably translated from French into English by Marguerite Feitliz, "Small Bibles for Bad Times: Selected Poems and Prose of Liliane Atlan" by the late Liliane Atlan is an inherent fascinating and compelling volume that showcases the poet's genuine flair for thoroughly originality and the kind of word smithing that invokes both an emotional and a cerebral response in a two language edition from Dryad Press with French on the left side and English on the right.

Critique: Erudite, compelling, memorable and unique, the poetry and prose of Liliane Atlans will prove to be welcome and appreciated addition to personal reading lists of all dedicated poetry fans, as well as community, college, and university library Poetry collections.

Editorial Note: Liliane Atlan (January 14, 1932 - February 15, 2011) was a French Jewish writer whose work often focused on the psychological effects of the Holocaust.

The Self-Help Shelf

Hear Yourself
Prem Rawat
c/o HarperCollins
9780063070745 $26.99 hc / $13.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The cacophony of modern life can be deafening, leaving us feeling frazzled and uneasy. In this warm, wise book, Prem Rawat teaches us how to turn down the noise to "hear ourselves"-to listen to the subtle song of peace that sings inside each of us. Once we learn to truly "hear ourselves" and the voice of peace within, then we can hold on to that as we face all the noise of the world.

The culmination of a lifetime of study, Hear Yourself lays out the crucial steps we can use to focus on the voice within. Take a walk in nature and listen for the sounds of harmony, Prem Rawat suggests, or set aside a few minutes each day to feel gratitude, which comes from the core of our being. He challenges us to embrace our thirst for peace and let go of expectations for how it should feel. With one straightforward yet deeply profound question, he helps us to focus - to be present: Am I conscious of where I am today and what I want to experience in this world?"

If we allow ourselves to listen, what we hear is the extraordinary miracle of existence - an experience that transforms our relationship to life and everything in it. Packed with powerful insights and compelling stories, Hear Yourself introduces readers to an ancient line of practical wisdom that enlightens us to a simple way to listen. By doing so, Prem Rawat reveals, we can "profoundly change our understanding of ourselves, those around us, and our lives."

Critique: Hear Yourself: How to Find Peace in a Noisy World is a self-help guide to listening within, and better understanding oneself. Listening to one's inner voice is a practice drawn upon ancient wisdom, yet as profoundly impactful today as it was millennia ago. Author Prem Rawat offers tips, tricks, and techniques to clear one's mind, focus, and truly listen when surrounded by raucous cacophony. Hear Yourself is an excellent, mind-expanding read, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Hear Yourself is also available in a Kindle edition ($13.99).

The Travel Shelf

Lonely Planet Florida
Fionn Davenport, Anthony Ham, Adam Karlin, Vesna Maric, and Trisha Ping
Lonely Planet
9781787015692 $24.99

Synopsis: Lonely Planet's Florida is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Snorkel in the Keys, explore the magic of Walt Disney World resort, and marvel at Miami's art deco masterpieces; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Florida and begin your journey now!
Inside Lonely Planet's Florida Travel Guide:

Up-to-date information - all businesses were rechecked before publication to ensure they are still open after 2020's COVID-19 outbreak

NEW pull-out, passport-size 'Just Landed' card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info - all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel

Planning tools for family travelers - where to go, how to save money, plus fun stuff just for kids

What's New feature taps into cultural trends and helps you find fresh ideas and cool new areas our writers have uncovered

NEW Accommodations feature gathers all the information you need to plan your accommodation

Color maps and images throughout

Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests

Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots

Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices

Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss

Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, people, music, landscapes, wildlife, cuisine, politics

Over 65 maps

Covers Miami, The Everglades, the Florida Keys & Key West, Southeast Florida, Orlando & Walt Disney World, the Space Coast, Northeast Florida, Tampa Bay & Southwest Florida, the Panhandle

Critique: Up-to-date with information about businesses that are open (with reasonable precautions) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lonely Planet Florida is jam-packed cover to cover with recommended restaurants, tourist destinations, outdoor activities, hotels, and much more. Tips, advice, color maps, and a section on the Everglades round out this handy "must-have" for Florida vacationers and business travelers alike. Highly recommended!

Lonely Planet Best of Costa Rica
Jade Bremner, Ashley Harrell, Brian Kluepfel, and Mara Vorhees
Lonely Planet
9781787015340, $24.99

Synopsis: Lonely Planet's Best of Costa Rica is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Lounge on sugar-white beaches in Southern Nicoya, spot sea turtles in Tortuguero, and catch the surf off deserted beaches on the Costa Ballena; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Costa Rica and begin your journey now!

Up-to-date information - all businesses were rechecked before publication to ensure they are still open after 2020's COVID-19 outbreak

Color maps and images throughout

Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests

Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots

Essential infoat your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices

Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss

Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, people, music, landscapes, wildlife, cuisine, politics

Covers San Jose, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio, Volcan Arenal, Montezuma, Peninsula de Osa, Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Playa Samara, and more

Critique: Lonely Planet's Best of Costa Rica: Top Sights, Authentic Experiences lives up to its title as a treasury for anyone interested in visiting this beautiful nation filled with diverse species and natural wonders. This up-to-date guide showcases businesses that have remained open (with appropriate precautions) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and includes extensive contact information, recommendations, full-color photography, suggested itineraries, budget- friendly options, and much more. Lonely Planet's Best of Costa Rica is a "must-have" for tourists and armchair travelers alike, highly recommended.

The Christian Studies Shelf

The Complete Encyclicals, Bulls, and Apostolic Exhortations: Volume 2
Pope Francis
Ave Maria Press
9781646801138, $27.95 pbk / $20.99 Kindle

Synopsis: When Pope Francis puts pen to paper, people around the world pay attention. Between 2017 and 2020, the Holy Father published six groundbreaking documents with topics ranging from the importance of scripture to Catholic social teaching, and from injustice in the Amazon to the role of religion in building world peace. These seven documents - letters, apostolic exhortations, an encyclical, and a statement cosigned by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb - are gathered in one volume for the first time.

Volume 2 includes:

Gaudete et Exultate, March 19, 2018: In his apostolic exhortation Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today's World, Pope Francis reissues the universal call to holiness, challenges us to recognize the "saints next door" we encounter in daily life, and provides a practical meditation on how we can respond to the Lord's invitation to become his disciples.

Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, February 4, 2019: This document emphasizes the important role of religion in building world peace and the rights of freedom, justice, and full citizenship for all people - including women. It was cosigned in Abu Dhabi by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, during Pope Francis's apostolic visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Apperuit Illis, September 30, 2019: This apostolic letter, Instituting the Sunday of the Word of God, reflects on Vatican II's teaching on the importance of the scriptures and encourages all Catholics to embrace the Bible as part of their rich spiritual heritage.

Christus Vivit, March 25, 2019: Christ is Alive is the post-synodal apostolic exhortation to young people framed on three key principles: God loves you, Jesus saves and suffers with you, and Jesus is alive.

Querida Amazonia, February 12, 2020: The 2020 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Beloved Amazon addresses injustice and exploitation in the Amazon region, outlines challenges to caring for creation and respecting the cultures of indigenous peoples, and renews consideration of how the Church's mission can and should take shape in the twenty-first century.

Fratelli Tutti, October 4, 2020: All Brothers and Sisters: On Fraternity and Social Friendship is Pope Francis's third encyclical and the only one written between 2017 and 2020. This seminal work challenges us to take a fresh look at the great ideals of the Church's social teaching and put them into practice on a new - and more personal - level.

Patris Corde, December 8, 2020: The apostolic letter With a Father's Heart declared 2021 the Year of St. Joseph, and provides an extended meditation on the various facets of Joseph's fatherhood.

Critique: The Complete Encyclicals, Bulls, and Apostolic Exhortations: Volume 2 is the second volume of Pope Francis' complete writings from 2017 to 2020. As the current leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis commands a singularly high level of attention from theological scholars and faithful Christians worldwide. This volume of his writings includes testimony on the role of religion in building world peace, freedom, and justice; encouragement for Catholics to study the Bible as part of their spiritual heritage; testimony about injustice and exploitation in the Amazon region; and much more. It is worth noting that Pope Francis' writing is thoroughly accessible to readers of all faiths and backgrounds. Volume 2 is an absolute "must-have" for Catholic church libraries and Religious Studies shelves. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Volume 2 is also available in a Kindle edition ($20.99).

Editorial Note: Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to parents of Italian descent. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969, ordained auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, installed as bishop in 1998, and elevated to cardinal in 2001. He was elected by the College of Cardinals in March 2013 as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and took the name Francis for St. Francis of Assisi. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first non-European pope in more than twelve centuries.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Hidden History of American Healthcare
Thom Hartmann
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
9781523091638, $17.00 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Other countries have shown us that affordable universal healthcare is not only possible but effective and efficient. Taiwan's single-payer system enabled the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down the economy saving the country a fortune as well as thousands of lives during the pandemic. This resulted in just twelve deaths, while more than 500,000 have died in the United States.

Author Thom Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current "sickness for profit" system. Modern attempts to create versions of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn, including Obamacare. There is a simple solution: Medicare for All. Hartmann outlines the extraordinary benefits this system would provide the American people and economy and the steps we need to take to make it a reality. It's time for America to join every industrialized country in the world and make healthcare a right, not a privilege. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Hidden History of American Healthcare is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Critique: The Hidden History of American Healthcare: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich is a fierce indictment of America's for-profit healthcare system, which has evolved to extract as much money as it can out of sick people and let them die if they can't pay. Modern attempts to transform healthcare into a human right have been repeatedly hamstrung. Author and progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartmann advocates Medicare for All as the solution to save lives, relieve financial pressure from America's poorest and most vulnerable population, and eliminate the enormous siphon of privatized profits out of money spent on health care. The Hidden History of American Healthcare is highly recommended for both personal and public library Social Issues collections.

Editorial Note: Thom Hartmann is a four-time winner of the Project Censored Award, a New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two books, and America's #1 progressive talk radio show host. His show is syndicated on local for-profit and nonprofit stations and broadcasts nationwide and worldwide. It is also simulcast on television into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes.

The World History Shelf

Ancient Rome: Infographics
Nicolas Guillerate, author
John Scheid, author
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500252628, $29.95, HC, 128pp

Synopsis: Compiled and written by the team of data designer and graphic artist Nicolas Guillerate and historian John Scheid, "Ancient Rome: Infographics" tells the story of a great empire through graphic design. This innovative approach to history offers readers a new way to conceptualize ancient Rome from the birth of the empire to the Punic Wars, and from the Roman political system to the role of women, slaves, and public entertainment. Cleverly designed infographics bring alive the complex history and structure of this ancient empire for the general reader while still satisfying demands for the rigorous approach of a historian.

Drawing on the best international sources, "Ancient Rome: Infographics" charts ancient Rome's social, political, and cultural histories with breathtaking data visualizations. The result is an extraordinary new approach to Rome's history, and is sure to appeal to those looking for an overview of the period and to history buffs alike.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color throughout, impressively informed and informative, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in structure and presentation, "Ancient Rome: Infographics" is an extraordinarily well organized and comprehensive study and one that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, highschool, community, college, and university library Ancient Roman History collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.

The Biography Shelf

General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America's Unsung Strategist in World War II
John McLaughlin
9781612000695, $24.95 pbk / $16.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Like many heroes of the Second World War, General Albert C. Wedemeyer's career has been largely overshadowed by such well-known figures as Marshall, Patton, Montgomery, and Bradley. Wedemeyer's legacy as the main planner of the D-Day invasion is almost completely forgotten today, eclipsed by politics and the capriciousness of human nature.

Yet during America's preparation for the war, Wedemeyer was the primary author of the "Victory Program" that mobilized US resources and directed them at crucial points in order to secure victory over the Axis. In the late 1930s he had the unique experience of being an exchange student at the German Kriegsakademia, the Nazis' equivalent of Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff School. As the only American to attend, he was thus the only ranking officer in the US who recognized the revolutionary tactics of Blitzkrieg once they were unleashed, and he knew how to respond.

As US involvement in the European conflagration approached, Wedemeyer was taken under the wing of George C. Marshall in Washington. Wedemeyer conceived the plans for US mobilization, which was in greater gear than realized at the time of Pearl Harbor. The Victory Program, completed in the summer of 1941, contained actual battle plans and called for the concentration of forces in England in preparation for an early cross-channel invasion into France. However, to Wedemeyer's great disappointment (reflecting Marshall's), he was not appointed to field command in the ETO once the invasion commenced; further, he had run afoul of Winston Churchill due to the latter's insistence on emphasizing the Mediterranean theater in 1943.

Perhaps because of Churchill's animosity, Wedemeyer was transferred to the Burma-China theater, where a year later he would replace General Stilwell. Ultimately, Wedemeyer's service in the Asian theater became far more significant, though less known. Had the US political establishment listened to Wedemeyer's advice on China during the years 1943-48, it is possible China would not have been lost to the Communists and would have been a functioning US ally from the start, thus eliminating the likelihood of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Despite Wedemeyer's key position at the crux of modern history, his contributions have been overlooked in most accounts of World War II and the Cold War beyond. In this work we gain an intimate look at a visionary thinker who helped guide the Allies to victory in their greatest challenge, but whose vision of the post-war world was unfortunately not heeded.

Critique: General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America's Unsung Strategist in World War II is a fascinating military biography about a lesser-known World War II strategist whose contributions were nonetheless crucial. Chapters portray his early life, and meticulously chronicle his vision and involvement in the war effort. Unfortunately, his anticipation of the post-war world - in particular, the conquest of China by its own Communist faction - was ultimately disregarded. General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America's Unsung Strategist in World War II is a "must-have" for public and college library Military Biography and Military History collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that there is also a Kindle edition ($16.99).

Editorial Note: John Joseph McLaughlin is a retired attorney who returned to school and received his doctorate in History at Drew University in 2008. His dissertation was on General Albert C. Wedemeyer which he has expanded into a book length biography. Dr. McLaughlin is the Moderator of the New Jersey World War II Book Club which hosts monthly lectures at the Millburn Library by authors and historians interested in World War II.

Who Could Have Imagined... Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny
Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire, CRNA, APRN
Radiance Words Press
9780578935881, $14.95 Paper/$.99 ebook

Readers of memoirs who look for stories of adversity, transformation, and immigrant experience will find all these elements and more in Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire's Who Could Have Imagined... Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny. It's hard to envision less of an early path to the success that evolved: thirteen-year-old immigrant Allie became pregnant and yet grew to become not just a doctor, but a successful mother and wife. Her story isn't just about personal achievement, however. It's about cultivating a mindset that leads to revised options and better possibilities. She presents the "how" of this approach as she traces a different path chosen after her early decisions involved marrying the father of her child, who was twice her age, and convincing a court that this was a good idea. One big attraction to this memoir is its candid reveal of the emotions that ran through the author's mind even at the age of twelve.

These reflections and insights explain both the logical and emotional roots of her decisions, serving as the foundation for understanding how this critical thinking process was influenced early on in life, and how it began to change. As spiritual and social elements come into play, Allie's story of renewal and growth takes on a different tone as she matures: "No matter how many times I tried to get into a comfortable routine, something unexpected would happen that would force me to reconsider my life. Of course, not all these unexpected changes were bad."

These spiritual influences represent some of the wellsprings of her transformation as Allie travels the world and becomes involved in HOPE Worldwide, an organization that helps the poor across the globe. Readers interested in learning about the juxtaposition of challenges and opportunities that influenced not just Allie's course, but her perspective on life, will find Who Could Have Imagined far more than a memoir alone. It's a blueprint to cultivating a more aware lifestyle that leads to real change and better living, and deserves a place in any inspirational, self-help, or memoir collection as a testimony to the strength of belief and the power of perseverance, as well as how to " your heart to a whole new way of seeing the world."

The Judicial Studies Shelf

Research Handbook on Corporate Restructuring
Paul J. Omar and Jennifer L.L. Gant, editors
Edward Elgar Publishing
9781786437464 $310.00

Synopsis: This timely Research Handbook examines the increasingly economically vital topic of corporate restructuring. Reflecting a shift in the global approach to insolvency towards a focus on rescuing viable businesses rather than liquidation, chapters consider all areas of the law closely connected to corporate insolvency, rehabilitation and rescue, as well as the introduction of the EU Preventive Restructuring Directive and other reforms from around the world.

Featuring international expert academics, practitioners and judges, the Research Handbook takes a thematic approach, exploring national and international models for rescue, stakeholders in insolvency, corporate structures and organizational models, specialist process issues, and institutional support, as well as interdisciplinary and cross-field aspects of insolvency and restructuring. Contributions analyze issues from a broad variety of perspectives, including the economic and social aspects of insolvency, and provide a comparative discussion of topics that will further inform global academic debate in this area.

Scholars and students of corporate and insolvency law, commercial law, and law and economics, will find the inter-disciplinary legal, theoretical and jurisprudential discussion invaluable. The analysis of current reform agendas, practical and alternative solutions to common problems, and comparative approach will also be of interest to practitioners and policymakers.

Critique: Research Handbook on Corporate Restructuring is an anthology of erudite, extensively researched essays about legal theory and practice with respect to corporate restructuring (such as when insolvency or bankruptcy cause major changes, or even force a corporation to dissolve). Each essay is by a different expert and experts; topics include "The evolution of corporate rescue in Canada and the United States", "Reforms in adverse economic climates: how reforms take place in the Eurozone", "The position of shareholders in a restructuring", "Franchisees as externalities of insolvent franchisors", "Pension rights and funds", "Overlooked human rights concerns in restructuring and insolvency context", and much more. Research Handbook on Corporate Restructuring is a "must-have" for college and university collections as well as the reading lists of professionals in the field. Highly recommended.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Directing Great Television
Dan Attias
Michael Wiese Productions
9781615933297 $29.95 pbk / $26.59 Kindle

Synopsis: Sharing his own process honed over a decades-long career, Emmy-nominated director Dan Attias brings you into the actual experience of directing series television. Whether it's the high-stakes pressure of solving a last-minute problem on set, or the joy of pulling off a perfect shot by the skin of your teeth, Attias brings you right into the director's chair, sharing his knowledge and taking you through the process one challenging episode at a time. Offering a fundamental focus on story, and eschewing industry language for plain talk, Attias offers in-depth guidance how best to work with actors, how to "speak" through the camera, how to work with a showrunner, and how to be ready for the many ways a director will be challenged, large and small.

Directing Great Television is a fascinating window into television's best shows, compelling to directors and non-directors alike. Attias's book transcends other filmmaking guides by detailing his journey to a surprising place of self-discovery, one with applications beyond entertainment.

Critique: Award-winning film and television director Dan Attias, who has worked in the industry since 1984 and has taught numerous acting and directing workshops, distills his wisdom in Directing Great Television: Inside TV's New Golden Age. Directing Great Television is written to be accessible to readers from all backgrounds, deliberately avoiding an excess of industry jargon for plain terms. Attias shows what it's like to be in the director's chair, from coping with unexpected pressures and emergencies, to coaching actors, dealing with difficult personalities, and insights into the human condition that potentially transcend the craft of directing. Directing Great Television is a thoroughly fascinating read for lay television connoisseurs and aspiring directors alike, highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Directing Great Television is also available in a Kindle edition ($26.59).

Editorial Note: Dan Attias has worked as a director in the film and television industry since 1984. As a director of series television, he has received the Directors Guild of America award for outstanding direction of dramatic television for The Wire, and has been nominated for multiple Emmy awards for his comedy directing. He continues to work on some of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed American television shows, including Homeland, The Americans, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Previously he has directed The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, True Blood, Entourage, The Killing, True Detective, The Walking Dead, Bloodline, Friday Night Lights, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Lost, and The Boys, among many others. He has taught acting and directing workshops in the United States, and has conducted master classes in Italy, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.

The Architecture Shelf

Almost, Not
Leslie Van Duzer
ORO Editions
9781951541774 $35.00

Synopsis: Almost, Not: The Architecture of Atelier Nishikata is the story of a remarkable architecture practice in Tokyo. Partners Reiko Nishio and Hirohito Ono have built just four residential works, until now remaining little-known outside of Japan. But the extraordinary, almost-ordinary quality of their work warrants the spotlight. It has much to teach students of architecture and experienced architects alike. This book is a hybrid between an architectural monograph and a magic instruction book.

Author Leslie Van Duzer, a former magician's assistant and author of four monographs on 20th-century architecture, draws parallels between the effects and methods of architects and magicians. The introductory essay, "Almost, Not," presents an overview of Atelier Nishikata's approach, describing the effects engendered by their architecture and the methods behind the them. The essay is followed by four detailed project descriptions that elaborate on the strategies behind the work. These texts are richly illustrated with process work, diagrams, detailed drawings, and photographs, including before and after views of the renovated spaces, and views post-inhabitation. The volume closes with a lengthy interview with the architects to help flesh out the methods behind their madness.

Critique: A blend of architectural monograph and magic instruction manual, Almost, Not: The Architecture of Atelier Nishikata is an extraordinary architecture book that explores what the methods of a residential-works architectural practice in Tokyo, and the methods of stage magicians, can contribute to the greater understanding of architectural form, function, and practical use. The essay writing scrutinizes the visual and practical effects of the strategies behind the architecture, and the detailed illustrations (including diagrams, drawings, photographs, images of process work, before and after views of renovated spaces, and more) beautifully illuminate the aesthetic result. Almost, Not is a welcome contribution to college and trade school library Architecture shelves, highly recommended.

The Mythology Shelf

Egyptian Mythology
Garry J. Shaw
Thames & Hudson
9780500252284 $24.95 hc / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Join Egyptologist Garry J. Shaw on an entertaining tour up the Nile, through a beautiful and fascinating landscape populated with a rich mythology: the stories of Horus, Isis, Osiris, and their enemies and allies in tales of vengeance, tragedy, and fantastic metamorphoses. Shaw retells these stories with his characteristic wit, and reconnects them to the temples and monuments that still stand today, offering a fresh look at the most visited sites of Egypt.

The myths of ancient Egypt have survived in fragments of ancient hymns and paintings on the walls of tombs and temples, spells inked across coffins, and stories scrawled upon scrolls. Illustrations throughout bring to life the creation of the world and the nebulous netherworld; the complicated relationships between fickle gods, powerful magicians, and pharaohs; and eternal battles on a cosmic scale.

Shaw's evocative descriptions of the ancient ruins will transport readers to another landscape - including the magnificent sites of Dendera, Tell el-Amarna, Edfu, and Thebes. At each site, they will discover which gods or goddesses were worshipped there, as well as the myths and stories that formed the backdrop to the rituals and customs of everyday life. Each chapter ends with a potted history of the site, as well as tips for visiting the ruins today. Egyptian Mythology is the perfect companion to the myths of Egypt and the gods and goddesses that shaped its ancient landscape.

Critique: Expert Egyptologist Garry J. Shaw presents Egyptian Mythology: A Traveler's Guide from Aswan to Alexandria, a captivating tour of the gods, goddesses, creation stories, netherworld sagas, heated divine clashes and more in Egyptian Mythology. Written to be thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and interspersed with black-and-white illustrations and maps, Egyptian Mythology is a treasure for armchair travelers and lay historians, as well as tourists interested in making the most of a visit to this storied nation. Egyptian Mythology is highly recommended both for personal and public library Mythology collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Egyptian Mythology is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Editor's Note: Dr. Garry J. Shaw studied archaeology and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. He has taught Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, the University of Liverpool, the Egypt Exploration Society, and currently teaches online Egyptology as a part-time tutor for Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education. He has appeared on various television and radio programmes, regularly writes for magazines and newspapers, including The Art Newspaper and Timeless Travels, and has worked for archaeological projects in Egypt and Turkey.

The Aviation Shelf

Flying Catalinas: The Consoldiated PBY Catalina in WWII
Andrew Hendrie
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate
9781399013093, $26.95

Synopsis: The consolidated PBY Catalina was probably the most versatile and successful flying boat/amphibian ever built, serving not just with the US Army, Navy and Coast Guard during the Second World War, but also with the air forces of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with the Danes, Free French and Norwegians as well as in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia and elsewhere.

With a remarkable lifting capacity and endurance, this long-range twin-engine aircraft could absorb a great deal of punishment and still return home after flights lasting an entire day and covering thousands of miles. It was employed as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft, as a bomber and torpedo-bomber, as an anti submarine weapon, as a mine layer, as a special operations machine and as a search-and-rescue craft by day and night. It ferried stores, mail and people - many of them sick and injured - across the world's oceans.

In this book Andrew Hendrie tells the story of the "Flying Cats", of their achievements and exploits, of the heroism of many of the crews and the problems they had to endure.

Critique: Flying Catalinas: The Consoldiated PBY Catalina in WWII is an in-depth, extensively researched study of this extraordinary flying boat/amphibian, used not only by the US Army Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard during World War II, but also by the air forces of a multitude of other Allied powers - Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more. A wealth of vintage black-and-white photographs enhance the chapters about Catalinas deployed in a vast array of different locations, with detailed historical records of the outcome. A wealth of appendices and an index round out this superb reference and resource highly recommended for personal and public library Aviation and Military History collections.

The Parenting Shelf

Why Is My Child in Charge?
Claire Lerner
Rowman & Littlefield
9781538149003, $24.95 hc / $17.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Through stories from her practice, Claire Lerner shows parents how making critical mindshifts - seeing their children's behaviors through a new lens - empowers parents to solve their most vexing childrearing challenges. This process puts parents back in the driver's seat, where they belong and where their children need them to be. These real life stories provide a roadmap for how to tune into the root causes of children's behavior and how to create and implement strategies that are tailored to the unique needs of each child and family. Through these stories, Claire provides a treasure trove of practical solutions that are based in science and which work in real life.

Why Is My Child In Charge? picks up where other books have left parents hanging. Most parenting books offer solutions that sound good on paper but don't work in practice. They are aspirational rather than achievable, or they offer one-size-fits-all approaches that don't meet the needs of an individual child. They can compound parents' feelings of frustration and thus, can be counterproductive. Case by case, Claire unpacks the individualized process she guides parents through to solve the most common challenges such as throwing tantrums in public; delaying bedtime for hours; refusing to participate in family mealtimes; and resisting potty training. Employing a relatable story-telling approach, Claire elucidates:

The faulty mindsets that pose obstacles to parents seeing the situation more objectively
The essential mindshifts that enable parents to quickly identify the root causes of the problem
The development of an action plan tailored to each unique child and family

Why is My Child in Charge? is like having a child development specialist in your home. It shows how you can develop "win-win" strategies that translate into adaptable, happy kids and calm, connected and in-control parents. It will help you be the parent you want to be.

Critique: Licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist Claire Lerner, MSW presents Why Is My Child in Charge?: A Roadmap to End Power Struggles, Increase Cooperation, and Find Joy in Parenting Young Children, a no-nonsense, plain-terms resource for parents of young children. Drawing upon examples from the author's own practice, Why Is My Child in Charge? offers parents practical, experience-tested advice for dealing with tantrums, physical aggression, sleep problems, potty training, mealtime, and much more. Why Is My Child in Charge? is absolutely invaluable for especially for new parents, and highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Why Is My Child in Charge? is also available in a Kindle edition ($17.99).

Editorial Note: Claire Lerner, MSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist. She served as the Director of Parenting Resources at ZERO TO THREE for more than eighteen years. Lerner has been a practicing clinician for over thirty years, partnering with parents to decode their children's behavior and solve their most vexing childrearing challenges. She also provides training to local preschools and pediatric residents. Lerner is the author of hundreds of parenting resources, including books, blogs, podcasts, and videos. She writes a column for PBS Kids, and her work has been published by several parenting publications. She has also served as a content expert for numerous national daily newspapers.

The Literary Studies Shelf

Reverse Colonization
David M. Higgins
University of Iowa Press
9781609387846, $38.99 pbk / $31.16 Kindle

Synopsis: Reverse colonization narratives are stories like H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, in which technologically superior Martians invade and colonize England. They ask Western audiences to imagine what it's like to be the colonized rather than the colonizers. David Higgins argues that although some reverse colonization stories are thoughtful and provocative, reverse colonization fantasy has also led to the prevalence of a very dangerous kind of science fictional thinking in our current political culture. It has become popular among groups such as anti-feminists, white supremacists, and far-right reactionaries to appropriate a sense of righteous, anti-imperial victimhood - the sense that white men, in particular, are somehow colonized victims fighting an insurgent resistance against an oppressive establishment. Nothing could be timelier, as an armed far-right mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an effort to stop the presidential election from being "stolen from them."

Higgins shows that this reverse colonization stance depends upon a science fictional logic that achieved dominance within imperial fantasy during the 1960s and has continued to gain momentum ever since. By identifying with fantastic forms of victimhood, subjects who already enjoy social hegemony are able to justify economic inequality, expansions of police and military power, climatological devastation, new articulations of racism, and countless other forms of violence - all purportedly in the name of security, self-defense, and self-protection.

Critique: Reverse Colonization: Science Fiction, Imperial Fantasy, and Alt-victimhood is a critical literary analysis of science fiction narratives about humanity being colonized by alien races. Author David Higgins reveals the disturbing connection between such works and a victimhood-mentality that justifies violence in the form of expanded police and military power, continued environmental destruction in spite of the threat of man-made climate change, expressions of racism, and more. A troubling cross-examination of dark interpretations of science fiction literature from H.G. Wells' classic "War of the Worlds" to 1960s-era pulp stories and beyond, Reverse Colonization is an erudite and scholarly addition to public and college library Literary Studies shelves. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Reverse Colonization is also available in a Kindle edition ($31.16).

Editorial Note: David M. Higgins is senior editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches in the English department at Inver Hills Community College.

The Human Sexuality Shelf

The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide
Dr. Brooke Ah Shay
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
300 Park Avenue South, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010
9781922417398, $16.95, HC, 120pp

Synopsis: It's not breaking news that our understanding of those parts of our bodies involved with procreation are often left in ignorance because of various sexual taboos established by different cultural biases. Throw in the misinformation lurking on the internet and throughout social media and you've got a real mess when it comes to sex and our reproductive bits.

"The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide" by Dr. Brooke Ah Shay will tell you everything about the male penis and the femail vagina that you did not even know that you did not know, whether you're 16 or 60. Dr. Ah Shay has distilled all the clinical anatomical information into a fun, informative guide for anyone, boy or girl, man or woman, curious about what exactly is going on when you're getting it on, or any other part of the day.

Designed as two books in one, this owner's one-stop guide is flippable: one side has information all about the vagina. Turn it around, and it's a guide to the penis. Full of infographics and some mind-boggling facts, "The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide" is the perfect guide for anyone seeking medical and anatomical sound information on the human reproductive organs.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide" is impressively 'reader friendly' in tone and commentary style. Comprehensively detailed, "The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, highschool, college, and university library Human Sexuality & Anatomy collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Dr Brooke Ah Shay is a Fellowed GP from Queensland, Australia, currently working in a remote outback community. As a doctor, she's heard every myth under the sun about penis and vaginas and is happy for the opportunity to set the facts straight with the publication of "The Penis / The Vagina: An Owner's Guide".

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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