Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Wisconsin Bookwatch

Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 10 October 2019 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Education Shelf
Martial Arts Shelf General Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Poetry Shelf Railroading Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Native American Studies Shelf Biography Shelf
Political Science Shelf Cookbook Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Business Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Activity Shelf Crafts Shelf
Woodworking Shelf American History Shelf Civil War Shelf
Automotive Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Wine Shelf
Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Travel Shelf Self-Help Shelf


Reviewer's Choice


Wisconsin Post Office Murals
David W. Gates Jr.
Post Office Fans
www.postofficefans.com
9781970088007, $55.00, PB, 178pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As part its Great Depression era recover programs, the United States government commissioned over 1,100 murals for the embellishment of post offices nationwide. Wisconsin received 35 of these murals. After nearly 85 years, the story of their existence is elusive and often overlooked. With the publication of "Wisconsin Post Office Murals", David Gates's exhaustive and detailed research of the correspondence between the artists and government tells the stories of how the murals were developed and eventually installed in small towns throughout Wisconsin.

"Wisconsin Post Office Murals" is packed with fascinating details and includes: 130 full-color images of the murals; 70 images of buildings and cornerstones; A full-color map with the location of each town; The history and story of each mural.

Written to educate and promote these wonderful Depression-era works of art and buildings, "Wisconsin Post Office Murals" is a unique treasure for the collection of any New Deal, history, or post office enthusiast.

If you've ever been to any of the 35 post offices written about here and asked yourself, Why is there a mural in the lobby or Who is the artist who painted the mural on the wall, "Wisconsin Post Office Murals" will prove an accurate and comprehensive answer.

Critique: Profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout, "Wisconsin Post Office Murals" is impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, making it an essential and core addition to every personal, Wisconsin community, college and university library 20th Century Wisconsin History collection and supplemental studies reading list.

The Last Ten Days
Martha Risberg Brosio & Shelley Burbank
Myers Education Press
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
www.styluspub.com
9781975501808, $49.47, HC, 150pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Spanning sixty years, "The Last Ten Days: Academia, Dementia, and the Choice to Die" is the extraordinary love story of Martha Risberg Brosio and her husband, Richard Brosio, Ph.D., a brilliant scholar and college professor whose communication skills dazzled all with whom he came in contact. Teenage sweethearts who went their separate ways after high school, Martha and Richard reconnected twenty-six years later over a friendly dinner that sparked into passionate love. They married in 1983, enjoying a vibrant life.

Then tragedy struck. In late 2013, Richard was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a type of dementia similar to Alzheimer's that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The disease impacted Richard's ability to communicate. Eventually, he would lose his verbal and processing skills. There was no cure. Determined to have a dignified death at the time and in the manner of his own choosing, Richard hastened his death two years after his diagnosis by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, seeking only palliative and hospice care until the end.

Critique: "The Last Ten Days: Academia, Dementia, and the Choice to Die" by Martha Risberg (written with the assistance of Shelley Burbank) is a heartrending and inherently engaging memoir of love, scholarship, dignity, courage, and the choices one is forced to make when given the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Last Ten Days" is fully endorsed and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, while it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Last Ten Days" is also available in a paperback edition (9781975501815, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.86).


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Write Better
Andrew T. Le Peau
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
www.ivpress.com
9780830845699, $18.00, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Write Better: A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality" is primer on nonfiction writing and offers insights learned by Andrew T. Le Peau as a published author and an editor for over forty years, training, guiding, and cheering on hundreds of writers.

Here is a compendium of skills that writers can master ranging from finding strong openings and closings, to focusing on an audience, to creating a clear structure, to crafting a persuasive message.

With wide-ranging examples from fiction and nonfiction, Le Peau also demystifies aspects of art in writing such as creativity, tone, and metaphor. He considers strategies that can move writers toward fresher, more vital, and perhaps more beautiful expressions of the human condition. One aspect of writing that rarely receives attention is who we are as writers and how writing itself changes us.

Self-doubt, fear of criticism, downsides of success, questions of authority, and finding our voice are all a part of the exploration of our spirituality as writers found in these pages. "Write Better" reveals how the act of writing can affect our life in God.

Critique: Reflecting the experience and expertise of its author, "Write Better: A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for the personal instructional reference collections of veteran writers, the occasional practitioner, a publishing professional, or any student just starting to explore such skills. While a core addition to community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Write Better" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.10).


The Education Shelf

Learning in the Making
Jackie Gerstein
ASCD
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
www.ascd.org
9781416628040, $26.95, PB, 150pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Making is a dynamic and hands-on learning experience that directly connects with long-established theories of how learning occurs. Although it hasn't been a focus of traditional education or had a prominent place in the classroom, teachers find it an accessible, exciting option for their students.

The maker movement brings together diverse communities dedicated to creating things through hands-on projects. Makers represent a growing community of builders and creators (engineers, scientists, artists, DIYers, and hobbyists of all ages, interests, and skill levels) who engage in experimentation and cooperation.

Transferring this innovative, collaborative, and creative mindset to the classroom is the goal of maker education. A makerspace isn't about the latest tools and equipment. Rather, it's about the learning experiences and opportunities provided to students. Maker education spaces can be as large as a school workshop with high-tech tools (e.g., 3D printers and laser cutters) or as small and low-tech as the corner of a classroom with bins of craft supplies. Ultimately, it's about the mindset - not the "stuff."

In "Learning in the Making: How to Plan, Execute, and Assess Powerful Makerspace Lessons", experienced educator Jackie Gerstein helps classroom teachers at all levels to plan, execute, facilitate, and reflect on maker experiences so both they and their students understand how the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of maker education transfer to real-world settings. She also shows how to seamlessly integrate these activities into any curriculum with intention and a clearly defined purpose.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Learning in the Making: How to Plan, Execute, and Assess Powerful Makerspace Lessons" is an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide and manual that is unreservedly and especially recommended for personal, professional, school district, college, and university library Teacher Education instructional reference collections and curriculum supplemental studies lists. It should be noted that "Learning in the Making" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.69).

Editorial Note: Jackie Gerstein teaches graduate-level online courses for Walden, Western Governors, and Boise State Universities, and she teaches gifted education for Santa Fe Public Schools. Her motto is "I don't do teaching for a living; I live teaching as my doing, and technology has amplified my passion for doing so." Her background includes a strong focus on experiential learning, which she brings into all of her teaching. Gerstein believes that one of the roles and responsibilities of the 21st century educator is to share resources, ideas, and instructional strategies with other educators.

C.R.A.F.T. Conversations for Teacher Growth
Sally J. Zepeda, Lakesha Robinson Goff, and Stefanie W. Steele
ASCD
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
9781416628057, $29.95, PB, 164pp, www.ascd.org

Synopsis: Conversations between administrators and teachers take place every day, for many reasons, but what can we do to elevate them so that they lead to better professional relationships, more effective school leaders and teachers, and improved learning for students?

The collaborative work of Sally J. Zepeda, Lakesha Robinson Goff, and Stefanie W. Steele, "C.R.A.F.T. Conversations for Teacher Growth" offers the answer by demonstrating how exchanges that are clear, realistic, appropriate, flexible, and timely can be transformational.

The authors collectively explain how C.R.A.F.T. conversations support leaders' efforts in four "cornerstone" areas: Building Capacity, Invoking Change, Promoting Collaboration, and Prioritizing Celebration. With this foundation in place, they offer explicit guidance for developing the skills necessary to move through all components of a C.R.A.F.T. conversation: planning, opening, engaging, closing, reflecting, and following up.

Extended vignettes featuring administrators and teachers bring each component to life, illustrating how focused efforts on improving how we communicate and build relationships can help schools achieve their goals and become places where adults (and students) thrive.

Critique: Also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.99, Amazon.com), "C.R.A.F.T. Conversations for Teacher Growth" is unreservedly recommend as a core addition to school district for in-service training programs, as well as college/university library Teacher Education collections in general, and Education Administration supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Community-Based Art Education Across the Lifespan
Parmela Harris Lawton, et al.
Teachers College Press
1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
www.tcpress.com
9780807761892, $99.00, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Community-Based Art Education Across the Lifespan: Finding Common Ground" by the team of Pamela Harris Lawton (a practicing artist and Associate Professor of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University), Margaret A. Walker (a Clinical Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Maryland, College Park -- and coordinates the master's programs in Visual Arts and Arts Integration in UMD's College of Education), and Melissa Green (who is a museum educator, artist, and creative community engagement designer) provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of Community-Based Art Education.

Community-Based Art Education encourages learners to make connections between their art education in a classroom setting and its application in the community beyond school, with demonstrable examples of how the arts impact responsible citizenship. Written by and for visual art educators, this resource offers guidance on how to thoughtfully and successfully execute CBAE in the pre-K - 12 classroom and with adult learners, taking a broad view towards intergenerational art learning.

Individual chapters include vignettes, exemplars of practice, curriculum examples that incorporate the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, and research frameworks for developing, implementing, and assessing CBAE projects. Community-Based Art Education Across the Lifespan will help artist-educators to: Approach a community to work with; Use theoretical frameworks to develop communal understanding, establish rapport, and challenge assumptions; Plan a project in which everyone has a meaningful stake and voice: Foster a transformative learning experience beyond the creative process and the resulting product: Share, publish, exhibit, and celebrate the experience within and outside of the community.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Community-Based Art Education Across the Lifespan: Finding Common Ground" is an extraordinary instructional guide and manual that is especially and unreservedly recommended for college and university library Teacher Education collections in general, and Art Education supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, classroom teachers, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Community-Based Art Education Across the Lifespan: Finding Common Ground" is also available in a paperback edition (9780807761885, $32.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $31.30).

Powering Up Students
Guy Claxton & Graham Powell
Crown House Publishing
81 Brook Hills Circle, White Plains, NY 10605
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781785833380, $22.95, PB, 400pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Learning Power Approach (LPA) is a pedagogical formula which aims to develop all students as confident and capable learners ready, willing, and able to choose, design, research, pursue, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves, alone and with others, in school and out. This approach therefore empowers teachers to complement their delivery of content, knowledge, and skills with the nurturing of positive habits of mind that will better prepare students to flourish in later life.

Building upon the foundations carefully laid in 'The Learning Power Approach' (ISBN 9781785832451), the first book in the Learning Power series, Guy Claxton and Graham Powell's "Powering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach To High School Teaching" embeds the ideas of this influential method in the context of the high school.

"Powering Up Students" offers a thorough explanation of how the LPA's design principles apply to this level of education and, by presenting a wide range of practical strategies and classroom examples, illustrates how they can be put into action with different age groups and in different curricular areas especially relating to literacy and numeracy, but also in specific subjects such as science, history, geography, and design technology.

All teachers can foster the capacity of students to be, for example, curious, attentive, imaginative, rational, and reflective and Guy and Graham provide clear guidance on how this can be achieved. Step by step, they explore all aspects of pedagogy: from how to make learning compelling and challenging, to how best to make use of the environment for learning; from how to coach students so that they become more independent and responsible directors of their own learning, to subtle shifts in teacher language and behaviour that change the climate for learning.

Rooted in the authors knowledge of international research about how students can and should learn in schools, "Powering Up Students" is practical guide is suitable for both newly qualified and experienced teachers of students aged 11-18. It will also appeal to those school principals, educationalists, and administrators who are committed to improving both students achievement and their preparedness for the world of learning beyond school.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Powering Up Students: The Learning Power Approach To High School Teaching" is an ideal curriculum textbook that is especially recommended for school district, college, and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Power Up Students" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Martial Arts Shelf

Yin Yang Blades
Zhenyi Yu & F. Lit Yu
Long River Press
c/o China Books & Periodicals, Inc.
www.chinabooks.com
9781592651658, $16.95, PB, 218pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Based on an exotic martial arts system with complex lineage, "Yin Yang Blades: Taoist Combat Tradition for the Modern Martial Artist" details esoteric knife routines that are both complex and devastating, deeply rooted in Taoist combat tradition but simplified for the modern-day martial artist.

"Yin Yang Blades" is an uncompromising weapons system that is both strategic and intuitive, both deceptive and dependent on muscle memory for natural execution. The practitioner is taught to plan ahead, anticipate the future, and entice the enemy into predictive reactions, while at the same time adjusting his or her timing and distance measurements in between moves to adapt to high speed combat, both for exercise or self-defense.

"Yin Yang Blades" is useful for all serious martial arts practitioners looking to pursue additional studies into the Taoist martial arts experience, adding new routines or new weapons to their arsenal.

Critique: Impressively organized and presented, as well as profusely illustrated throughout with full page black-and-white photography, ""Yin Yang Blades: Taoist Combat Tradition for the Modern Martial Artist" by experienced martial arts practitioners Zhenyi Yu and F. Lit Yu is an ideal instructional guide and manual that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, dojo, community, college, and university library Martial Arts collections and studies lists.


The General Fiction Shelf

A Milwaukee Inheritance
David Milofsky
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299325701, $26.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Successful Yale Law School grad Andy Simonson returns to Milwaukee if not in triumph, at least thinking he is better off than his blue-collar upbringing. But coming home again isn't all it's cracked up to be. A childhood friend lands him an associate gig at a big downtown firm and Andy settles into a lakeside mansion with his mercurial wife, Moira. But when his artist mother exacts a deathbed promise that he take over as landlord of her rundown duplex on the East Side, complete with delinquent occupants, Andy is forced to decide which vows he can honor.

As Moira's obsession with starting a family and the temptations of her friend Patsy threaten to upend his marriage, Andy is roped into an unwinnable domestic dispute involving his shady tenant, and former classmate, Frankie "The Pin" Pignatano.

Critique: A deftly crafted novel of generational secrets and the past emerging to influence the present and endanger the future, "A Milwaukee Inheritance" aptly showcases author David Milofsly's impressive flair for the kind of entertaining narrative storytelling style that raptly engages the reader from beginning to end. This is a truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: David Milofsky is a Professor Emeritus of English at Colorado State University. He is the author of the novels Playing from Memory, Eternal People, and Color of Law.

The Teacher
Michal Ben-Naftali, author
Daniella Zamir, translator
Open Letter Books
c/o University of Rochester
Lattimore Hall 411, Box 270082, Rochester, NY 14627
www.openletterbooks.org
9781948830072, $14.95, PB, 138pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: No one knew the story of Elsa Weiss. She was a respected English teacher at a Tel Aviv high school, but she remained aloof and never tried to befriend her students. No one ever encountered her outside of school hours. She was a riddle, and yet the students sensed that they were all she had. When Elsa killed herself by jumping off the roof of her apartment building, she remained as unknown as she had been during her life.

Thirty years later, the narrator of "The Teacher" is one of her students who has decided to solve the riddle of Elsa Weiss. Expertly dovetailing explosive historical material with flights of imagination, this work of fiction deftly explores the impact of survivor's guilt and traces the footprints of a Holocaust survivor who did her utmost to leave no trace.

Ably translated into English for an American readership by Daniella Zamir, Ben-Naftali's "The Teacher" takes the reader through a keenly crafted, albeit fictional, biography for Elsa that ranges from childhood through adolescence, from the Holocaust to her personal aftermath

Critique: As thought-provoking as it is inherently fascinating, "The Teacher" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Teacher" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: Michal Ben-Naftali was born in Tel Aviv in 1963. A writer, translator, and editor, she has published collections of essays, a novella, a memoir, and a novel, as well as many articles on literature, philosophy, and art, in Israel and abroad. Her translations from French to Hebrew include works by Jacques Derrida, Andre Breton, Marina Tsvetaeva, Maurice Blanchot, Julia Kristeva, Esther Orner, and Annie Ernaux. She has received the Prime Minister's Prize (2007) and the Haaretz prize for Best Literary Essay of the Year (2008). Her novel, The Teacher, won the 2016 Sapir Prize.

A Dangerous Man
Robert Crais
G. P. Putnam's Sons
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780525535683, $28.00, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Joe Pike didn't expect to rescue a woman that day. He went to the bank same as anyone goes to the bank, and returned to his Jeep. So when Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller who helped him, steps out of the bank on her way to lunch, Joe is on hand when two men abduct her. Joe chases them down, and the two men are arrested. But instead of putting the drama to bed, the arrests are only the beginning of the trouble for Joe and Izzy.

After posting bail, the two abductors are murdered and Izzy disappears. Pike calls on his friend, Elvis Cole, to help learn the truth. What Elvis uncovers is a twisted family story that involves corporate whistleblowing, huge amounts of cash, the Witness Relocation Program, and a long line of lies. But what of all that did Izzy know? Is she a perpetrator or a victim? And how far will Joe go to find out?

Critique: A deftly crafted and solidly entertaining read from cover to cover, "A Dangerous Man" is another novel that showcases author Robert Crais' uniquely compelling narrative storytelling style, one that holds the readers rapt attention from first page to last. While unreservedly endorsed and highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of Robert Crais fans that "A Dangerous Man" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781531878368, $24.99, MP3 CD).

My Camino
Patrick Warner
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771962872, $15.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Reeling from the Night of Nights, an unexpected blockbuster of an art show, Floss, a transgender New York gallery owner, invites subversive installation artist Budsy and their best friend, the Apostle John, to cycle the Camino de Santiago. When Floss tells her friends about her shocking experience at the hands of the King of the New York art scene, the journey becomes an anti-pilgrimage -- from spiritual discovery to a revenge fantasy.

Moving from New York to Spain to Dublin, "My Camino" by Patrick Warner is a novel about misfits, identity, art and spirituality narrated by the audacious Apostle John whose telling sometimes rhymes, is often hilarious and is always a blistering account of the contemporary art world.

Critique: An original and inherently compelling read by an author with a knack for the kind of narrative storytelling that keeps the reader riveted from cover to cover, "My Camino" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Camino" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).

Christmas from the Heart
Sheila Roberts
Mira Books
195 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007
www.mirabooks.com
9780778360964, $27.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Olivia Berg's charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia's grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he's declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don't have money to spare, you don't have money to share. You'd think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia's Christmas budget depends on Hightower's contribution. She's focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy's Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he's relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What's a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn't learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

Critique: A deftly crafted and delightfully entertaining novel from the pen of an author with a genuine flair for originality, the creation of memorable characters, and a distinctively reader engaging narrative storytelling style, Sheila Robert's new novel, "Christmas from the Heart" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to all community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Christmas from the Heart" is also available in a paperback edition (9780778309611, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

A Tall History of Sugar
Curdella Forbes
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.akashicbooks.com
9781617757518, $28.95, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "A Tall History of Sugar" is the story of Moshe Fisher, a man who was "born without skin," so that no one is able to tell what race he belongs to; and Arrienne Christie, his quixotic soul mate who makes it her duty in life to protect Moshe from the social and emotional consequences of his strange appearance.

The narrative begins with Moshe's birth in the late 1950s, four years before Jamaica's independence from colonial rule, and ends in the era of what Forbes calls "the fall of empire," the era of Brexit and Donald Trump. The historical trajectory layers but never overwhelms the scintillating love story as the pair fight to establish their own view of loving, against the moral force of the colonial "plantation" and its legacies that continue to affect their lives and the lives of those around them.

Written in lyrical, luminous prose that spans the range of Jamaican Englishes, "A Tall History of Sugar" follows the couple's mysterious love affair from childhood to adulthood, from the haunted environs of rural Jamaica to the city of Kingston, and then to England -- another haunted locale in Forbes's rendition.

Critique: "A Tall History of Sugar" by Curdella Forbes (a Jamaican writer who lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, and who teaches at Howard University) is a deftly scripted novel that is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Tall History of Sugar" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9781684572687, $39.99, CD).

To the Lions
Holly Watt
Dutton
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10014-3657
www.us.penguingroup.com
9781524745455, $27.00, HC, 400pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Casey Benedict, star reporter at the Post, has infiltrated the lives and exposed the lies of countless politicians and power players. Using her network of contacts, and her ability to slip into whatever identity suits the situation, Casey is always on the search for the next big story, no matter how much danger this might place her in, or what the cost might be, emotionally.

Tipped off by an overheard conversation at an exclusive London nightclub, she begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy young British man whose death has left his fiancee and family devastated. The young man's death, however, is only the tipping point of a much more sinister and dangerous scandal involving the world's most powerful leaders and magnates -- men who are gathering in northern Africa for an extreme and secret hunt.

With fellow reporter Miranda and combat veteran Ed by her side, Casey's determined hunt for the truth will take her from the glitz of St. Tropez to the deserts of Libya and on to the very darkest corners of the human mind.

Critique: As an investigative journalist, Holly Watt has written about the refugee crisis, traveling to Libya, Lebanon, and Zaatari refugee camps in Jordan, and covered stories ranging from the Panama Papers to chasing modern-day pirates in the Indian Ocean. As an author of a suspense thriller of a novel she clearly has drawn upon her years of experience to infuse a compulsive page-turning sense of reality into a work of fiction. Deftly crafted and highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "To the Lions" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Tidal Flats
Cynthia Newberry Martin
Yellow Pear Press
www.yellowpearpress.com
9781732676824, $26.95, HC, 364pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mary Cassatt Miller has fallen for famous photojournalist Ethan Graham. But it's complicated. For months at a time, Ethan's work takes him to Afghanistan, and Cass, who's passionate about her job in Atlanta, wants a husband who comes home at night. Then, there's the issue of family -- he wants one; she doesn't.

What they do want is a life together, so Ethan agrees that after three years, he will stop traveling - - whether Cass agrees to children or not. But for Cass, who grew up with a mother who didn't want her and a father who was never home, even thinking about children is troubling.

Now, nine weeks before their third anniversary, Cass wonders whether Ethan will try to squeeze in one final trip to Afghanistan. When he does, she's unsure if he will ever give up the work he loves. And if he won't, well, she will not repeat the life her parents had.

As the clock counts down, it doesn't help that Singer, the artist-bartender, is always in Atlanta, and the enthralling Setara, the subject of Ethan's most famous photograph, is also his business partner. Then, a new danger in Afghanistan changes everything.

Cass and Ethan must navigate that fine line between the things they want for themselves and the life they want together, and it appears that Cass will have to choose one or the other.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Tidal Flats" is author Cynthia Newberry Martin's debut as a novelist, this compelling and inherently fascinating story is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. Showcasing a genuine flair for an exceptionally entertaining narrative storytelling style, it should be noted for personal reading lists that Cynthia Martin's "Tidal Flats" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.89).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Christmas Angels
Nancy Naigle
St. Martin's Griffin
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250312624, $15.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Growing up, Liz Westmoreland dreamed of taking over her grandparents inn located in the small mountain town of Antler Creek only for it to be sold before she ever got the chance. While browsing the internet, she stumbles upon a listing for what looks to be the picturesque inn and it's set to go to auction. Liz places a bid, and by a miracle, wins the auction. But when she gets there she finds the property in significant disrepair.

When Matt Hardy narrowly lost the inn and property that butted his land, he just hoped it wasn't another city slicker coming to make matters worse after the previous owners gutted the place for an art gallery. But the minute he recognized the sweet, freckle-faced girl from his childhood and heard her plans to reopen the inn, he jumps at the chance to help his childhood crush restore a place where he made so many fond memories.

While working on repairs, Liz and Matt discover her grandmother's collection of angels in one of the cabins. When the angels start mysteriously showing up all over the inn, she begins to look at them as reassurance -- that restoring the inn is what she's meant to do. But when an accident leaves Liz feeling like she made a mistake, will Matt (and the residents of Antler Creek) be able to show Liz that she's found a home? And possibly true love as well?

Critique: Another superbly crafted and thoroughly entertaining novel by a master of narrative driven storytelling, Nancy Naigle's "Christmas Angels" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the growing legions of Nancy Naigle fans that "Christmas Angels" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Woman in the Park
Teresa Sorkin, author
Tullan Holmqvist, author
Beaufort Books
27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10011
www.beaufortbooks.com
9780825308994, $24.95, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Manhattanite Sarah Rock meets a mysterious and handsome stranger in the park, she is drawn to him. Sarah wants to get away from her daily routine, her cheating husband and his crazy mistress, her frequent sessions with her heartless therapist, and her moody children.

But nothing is as it seems. Her life begins to unravel when a woman from the park goes missing and Sarah becomes the prime suspect in the woman's disappearance. Her lover is nowhere to be found, her husband is suspicious of her, and her therapist is talking to the police.

With no one to trust, Sarah must face her inner demons and uncover the truth to prove her innocence.

Critique: The collaborative work of Teresa Sorkin (who is a Television Producer with a passion for creating, writing, telling, sharing and producing great stories and the founder of Roman Way Productions, a production company with 32 projects in development) and Tullan Holmqvist (who is an investigator, writer and actor), "The Woman in the Park" is a deftly crafted suspense thriller of a novel with more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Woman in the Park" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Living Lies
Natalie Walters
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800736323, $29.99, HC, 338pp, www.amazon.colm

Synopsis: In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name -- but no one knows your secret. At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Critique: A deftly written, compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover, "Living Lies" showcases author Natalie Walter's genuine flair for originality and a narrative storytelling style that keeps her reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Living Lies" is also available in a paperback edition (9780800735326, $14.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Recorded Books, B07QRYD2SV, $24.49, CD, 10 hours and 57 minutes).

Last Song Sung
David A. Poulsen
The Dundurn Group
3 Church Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1M2
www.dundurn.com
9781459739864, $17.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: On February 28, 1965, a young singer named Ellie Foster stepped into the alley behind The Depression, a Calgary folk club where she shared the bill with Joni Anderson, later to become famous as Joni Mitchell. During a cigarette break in the back alley, Ellie was forced into a car and the musicians with her were shot and killed. The investigation that followed turned up no sign of the kidnappers, and Ellie Foster was never seen again.

Now, more than fifty years after the singer's disappearance, Ellie's granddaughter approaches Cullen and Cobb to try to find out what happened to her grandmother. The search for the truth about Ellie Foster takes the two investigators straight into the past. They find themselves investigating a failed political assassination and discover that there are those who will stop at nothing, even half a century later, to ensure that certain secrets remain untold.

Critique: Another deftly crafted and simply riveting read from David A. Poulsen who once again demonstrates an impressively compelling and thoroughly entertaining narrative storytelling style, "Last Song Sung" is the latest in his Cullin and Cobb mystery series. While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of the growing legion of David Poulsen fans that "Last Song Sung" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

A Cup of Holiday Fear
Ellie Alexander
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250214348, $7.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ashland, Oregon, looks as pretty as a postcard this holiday season. The halls are decked, stockings hung, and eyes are all aglow -- mostly thanks to the buttered rum. Jules Capshaw and her staff at Torte are busier than ever, still, even the town's most in-demand bakers need to take a break. So Jules invites everyone to celebrate at the local Winchester Inn's Dickens Feast, a six-course extravaganza with Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas goose, and all the trimmings.

But as the weather outside becomes frightful, things inside turn less delightful when one of the guests ends up as dead as Scrooge's doornail. Now it's up to Jules and her helpers to make a list of suspects (and check it twice) to try to find out who's naughty, who's nice, and who's guilty of murder!

Critique: The latest addition to author Ellie Alexander's superbly crafted 'A Bakeshop Mystery' series, "A Cup of Holiday Fear" is a genuine 'whodunnit' treat for all mystery buffs and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Cup of Holiday Fear" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Trap
Lilja Sigurdardottir, author
Quintin Bates, translator
Orenda Books
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
www.ipgbook.com
9781912374359, $15.95, PB, 276pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she's finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she's back to square one -- and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that's not all! Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they'll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren't as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk.

Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership by Quintin Bates, and set in a Reykjavik still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Lilja Sigurdardottir's "Trap" is a deftly scripted Nordic crime thriller that will engage the reader's rapt attention from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Trap" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978679092, $14.99, MP3 CD).

The Bird Boys
Lisa Sandlin
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781947627130, $16.95, PB, 306pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Bird Boys" is the new mystery/suspense novel fromauthor Lisa Sandlin and catches her readers up with the almost-murdered secretary Delpha Wade to whom we are first introduced in the novel "The Do-Right" (2015) as she's now released from a hospital in order to be tucked into the back seat of a police cruiser.

Her boss, P. I. Tom Phelan, sets out to spring her. He needs her back in his investigation business, where he'll soon be chasing a skulking grand larcenist and plotting how to keep a ganjapreneur out of the grabby hands of a brand new agency, the D.E.A.

Delpha digs through old records and knocks on strange doors to unravel the dangerous case of two brothers with beaucoup aliases -- verifying that sometimes truth is not true, but murder is always murder.

Critique: Another perfectly penned novel by a master of the mystery/suspense genre, "The Bird Boys" is a wonderfully entertaining read from cover to cover and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all mystery buffs that "The Bird Boys" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9781684572120, $29.99, CD).

Gore in the Garden
Colleen J. Shogan
Camel Press
6524 NE 181st Street, STE #2, Kenmore, WA 98028
www.camelpress.com
9781603817233, $15.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Congressional staffer and amateur sleuth Kit Marshall hopes to reconnect with her hippie-turned-techie brother, but the reunion gets complicated when the body of a high-ranking government official is found at the United States Botanic Garden. Solving the crime becomes a family affair as Kit and her posse set out to identify the killer and unravel the complicated motive behind the murder.

Critique: A wonderfully crafted and reader riveting 'whodunnit' political murder mystery by a novelist with a complete mastery of the genre, "Gore in the Garden" is unreservedly and wholeheartedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Gore in the Garden" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

Bomber's Moon
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250113306, $27.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Two young women form the heart of "Bomber's Moon", a police procedural novel by Archer Mayor. One, an investigative reporter, the other a private investigator. Uneasy allies from completely different walks of life, they work together (around and sometimes against Joe Gunther and his VBI cops) in an attempt to connect the murders of a small town drug dealer, a smart, engaging, fatally flawed thief, and the tangled, political, increasingly dark goings on at a prestigious prep school.

While Gunther and the VBI set about solving the two murders, Sally Kravitz and Rachel Reiling combine their talents and resources to go where the police cannot, from working undercover at Thorndike Academy, to having clandestine meetings with criminals for their insider's knowledge of Vermont's unexpectedly illicit underbelly.

But there is a third element at work. A malevolent force, the common link in all this death and chaos, is hard at work sowing mayhem to protect its ancient, vicious, very dark roots.

Critique: Brilliantly scripted and a compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover, "Bomber's Moon" is novelist Archer Mayor's latest entry in the Joe Gunther series and unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated crime fiction fans that "Bomber's Moon" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dorothy and the Glass Key
Christopher J. Finn
Austin Macauley Publishers
https://www.austinmacauley.com
9781641826938, $27.95, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: 14-year-old Dorothy Alston had to grow up fast when her father's alcohol-induced carelessness resulted in a house fire that claimed her mother's life. She finds a new life on her uncle's farm in Florida -- but not for long.

Now, thirty-four years later, Dorothy's in a permanent vegetative state and it's up to Ellen Steward - the hard-working, slightly jaded administrator at an upscale rehab facility - to unravel the mystery that landed Dorothy in this condition. With some unexpected help, Ellen unwinds Dorothy's fantastical narrative.

It begins with a strange glass key that leads Dorothy to worlds that exist between time and space. She awakens a dark creature who feeds on the pain of the young. Ellen discovers that even she is wrapped up in Dorothy's strange saga. If she wants to save her, Ellen will have to give up everything. But if she fails, much more is at stake than anyone could have imagined.

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently compelling fantasy novel, "Dorothy and the Glass Key" artfully showcases author Christopher J. Finn's innate flair for originality and a reader engaging, reader entertaining narrative storytelling style. While especially endorsed for community library Contemporary Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dorothy and the Glass Key" is also available in a paperback edition (9781645750321, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.95).

Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju
Kim Newman
Titan Books
https://titan-comics.com
9781785658860, $14.95, PB, 400pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Kim Newman is a well known and respected author and movie critic. He writes regularly for Empire Magazine and contributes to The Guardian, The Times, Time Out and others. He makes frequent appearances on radio and TV. He has won the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy and British Science Fiction Awards and been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and James Herbert Awards.

Now in Newman's latest novel, "Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju", it is the eve of the new millennium, and the vampire princess Christina Light is throwing a party in Daikaiju Plaza (a building in the shape of a giant mechanical dragon) in Tokyo, attended by the leaders of the worlds of technology, finance, culture and innovation.

After a century overshadowed by the malign presence of Dracula, Christina decrees the inauguration of an Age of Light. The world is connected as never before by technology, and conquests have been made in cyberspace that mark out new nations of the living and the undead.

But the party is crashed by less enlightened souls, intent on ensuring that the brave new world dies before it can come to fruition. The distinguished guests are held hostage by cyberpunk terrorists, yakuza assassins and Transylvanian mercenaries.

Vampire schoolgirl Nezumi (a sword-wielding agent of the Diogenes Club) finds herself alone, pitted against the world's deadliest creatures. Thrown out of the party, she must fight her way back up through a building that seems designed to destroy her in a thousand ways. Can Nezumi survive past midnight? Can the hopes of a shining world?

Critique: An original, deftly written, and inherently fascinating compulsive page turner of read from cover to cover, "Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju" is a 'must read' choice for all dedicated vampire action/adventure fans. While certain to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Anno Dracula 1999: Daikaiju" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

The Chronicles of Davids
David Afsharirad, editor
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
www.baen.com
9781481484268, $15.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Compiled and edited by David Afsharirad, "The Chronicles of Davids" is comprised of fifteen stories spanning the SF/F genres -- each one written by a "David." Here are stories by David Drake, David Weber, Gregory Benford & David Brin, D.J. Butler -- and still more Davids!

The individual stories range from a Depression-era magic man who comes face-to-face with an ancient evil, to a once-promising filmmaker whose fate depends on a movie-producing AI, to a shape-shifting detective on the trail of a pack of werewolves, to a sentient tank who must confront one of its own, to a diner regular who gets more than he bargained for when he orders the soup du jour.

"The Chronicles of Davids" even features a David-inspired cover art by celebrated artist David Mattingly!

Critique: A science fiction fans total delight, "The Chronicles of Davids" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections! It should be noted that "The Chronicles of Davids" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Studying the Life of Saint Clare of Assisi
William R. Hufo, OFM Cap.
Joanne Schatzlein, OSF
New City Press
202 Cardinal Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
www.newcitypress.com
9781565486911, $24.95, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Studying the Life of Saint Clare of Assisi: A Beginner's Workbook" is one-of-a-kind resource helps readers discover St. Clare through a series of crisp chapters that first teach them about the sources for St. Clare's life and writings and then apply that knowledge to manageable topics from her life.

This workbook has been successful with high school graduates and Ph.Ds. It works for anyone who wants to do a guided study of the life of St. Clare of Assisi using primary sources. Those benefitting from this unique approach include Franciscans of all kinds, especially those in formation programs, students of medieval or female spirituality, historians of religious life, women and men working in Franciscan ministries, former pilgrims who have visited Assisi and anyone wanting to learn how different people in the history of the church responded to its changing circumstances.

Studying the Life of St. Clare helps readers understand the Franciscan intuition in ways that move beyond St. Francis of Assisi.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Studying the Life of Saint Clare of Assisi: A Beginner's Workbook" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, church, seminary, and academic library collections.

Editorial Note: William Hugo has ministered in initial formation and vocation promotion for thirty-eight years. He currently directs his province's Office of International Collaboration and ministers in the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. He is a member of the Midwest Capuchin Province of St. Joseph (USA).

Joanne Schatzlein, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee, is liaison to congregationally sponsored ministries and leads pilgrimages to Rome and Assisi. She has served in congregational leadership.

You Can Trust God to Write Your Story
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth & Robert Wolgemuth
Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
www.moodypublishers.com
9780802419514, $19.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Our kids beg us for stories at bedtime or while we drive; we gather around firepits and dinner tables to tell and retell our favorite tales -- the more dramatic the better. But when it comes to our actual lives, we prefer something less sensational, even boring -- sunny skies and smooth sailing, please and thank you. We want our own stories to be predictable, safe, controllable, and catastrophe-free.

When plans fall apart, jobs are lost, kids wander off, doctors give bad reports, we often wonder, "What are you doing, God? Are you sure you have this under control? It doesn't really seem like it right now."

God is the master Storyteller. He's writing your story and it's a part of His bigger, grander, eternal Story. But we're still in the middle. We haven't gotten to the happy ending yet, and it can be hard to trust Him in the thick of our struggles. That's why in "You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence" Robert and Nancy Wolgetmuth share their own story, friends' stories, and the stories of people in the Bible who have faced life-altering challenges, but, in the end, have found God to be faithful. Learn why you really can trust God to write your story -- no matter what plot twists you may encounter along the way.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for personal, community, and church library collections. It should be noted that "You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence " is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640913004, $24.99, CD).

Living for the Fruit of the Spirit
Heide R. Kuhlman
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.westbowpress.com
9781973641940, $28.95, HC, 110pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most Christians today understand and appreciate that God created each of us with a unique purpose and personality. Christians suffering with mental health conditions can feel angry, guilty, sad, alone and hopeless. Many feel like they have done something wrong and that they are not good Christians -- that there is no way the God could love or accept them as His own. They may know that God loves them, but perhaps they believe He doesn't like them very much.

"Living for the Fruit of the Spirit: Christianity for Those with Mental Health Conditions" by Heide R. Kuhlman was written specifically for those Christians who suffer from mental health conditions and for the people in their support systems. Kuhlman shares her own struggle with Borderline and Bipolar disorder, showing fellow Christians how God uses both the condition and those who suffer from the symptoms for His glory. She also explains how it is possible for those with mental health conditions to live by the characteristics and power of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control-or by the Fruit of the Spirit.

The primary message of "Living for the Fruit of the Spirit" is that if you, as a Christian, have been diagnosed with a mental health condition and must understand that you are not alone in your Christianity or in your suffering. Just like all Christians you are able to receive God's love and His gifts as well as live a life that is reasonable, realistic and healthy.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Living for the Fruit of the Spirit: Christianity for Those with Mental Health Conditions" offers a unique message that is unreservedly recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Living for the Fruit of the Spirit" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1973641957, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

Editorial Note: Heide R. Kuhlman has a Master's degree in Counseling and Guidance with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. She is presently working on her Master of Divinity degree. Heide has maintained a healthy lifestyle for many years. She attributes all glory and success to God and appreciates how His hand touched her through her hard work with mental health professionals and medications.

If Jesus Is Lord
Ronald J. Sider
Baker Academic
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
9781540962140, $39.99, HC, 258pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: What does Jesus have to say about violence, just war, and killing? Does Jesus ever want his disciples to kill in order to resist evil and promote peace and justice?

"If Jesus Is Lord: Loving Our Enemies In An Age Of Violence" by noted theologian Ronald J. Sider provides a career capstone statement on biblical peacemaking. Sider makes a strong case for the view that Jesus calls his disciples to love, and never kill, their enemies. He explains that there are never only two options: to kill or to do nothing in the face of tyranny and brutality. There is always a third possibility: vigorous, nonviolent resistance. If we believe that Jesus is Lord, then we disobey him when we set aside what he taught about killing and ignore his command to love our enemies.

This thorough, comprehensive treatment of a topic of perennial concern vigorously engages with the just war tradition and issues a challenge to all Christians, especially evangelicals, to engage in biblical peacemaking. Of special note is the inclusion a foreword by Stanley Hauerwas.

Critique: A timely and ultimately inspiring study for our troubled times, "If Jesus Is Lord: Loving Our Enemies In An Age Of Violence" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community. While especially recommended for community, church, seminary, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "If Jesus Is Lord" is also available in a paperback edition (9780801036286, $24.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Ronald J. Sider is the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Nonviolent Action, The Early Church on Killing, Just Politics, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Good News and Good Works, and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.

Stay Curious
Stephanie Williams O'Brien
Fortress Press
P.O. Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1209
http://fortresspress.com
9781506449562, $25.99, HC, 284pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most members of the Christian community are simply going through the motions when it comes to faith, either believing they have found all the relevant answers to life's questions or believing none can be found. We tend to shy away from our deepest questions about God because we fear the uncertainty on the other side. But when we make certainty and correct belief the end goal of faith, we miss out on the chance to know God more deeply and to participate in God's work in the world.

Pastor Stephanie Williams O'Brien leads the Mill City Church in Minneapolis and is the executive producer of Lead Stories Media. She is a professor and program director at Bethel Seminary and a sought-after speaker, captivating large audiences at churches and conferences with her preaching and training leaders for a life on mission.

In "Stay Curious: How Questions and Doubts Can Save Your Faith", Pastor Steph shows us how to lean into our questions and embrace a life of curiosity. Taking Jesus's life as a model, we can confront our fears, be set free from our anxiety, ask new questions, and live into an adventurous life of curiosity. After all, Jesus was a question man, not an answer man.

Our questions, and even our doubts, can push us closer to a God we can actually believe in -- rather than further from a God we think we can contain.

In "Stay Curious", Pastor Steph walks readers through common obstacles and road blocks to curiosity, and offers practical strategies for embracing even the most intimidating questions.

Critique: Uniquely inspired and inspiring, "Stay Curious: How Questions and Doubts Can Save Your Faith" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to church and academic library Christian Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stay Curious" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.99).

The Way of Simple Love
Fr. Gary Caster
Franciscan Media
https://info.franciscanmedia.org
9781632532824, $16.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Through her autobiography and an extensive collection of letters, St. Therese of Lisieux (2 January 1873 - 30 September 1897), helped people understand nothing was too little to give Jesus, and nothing done out of love for him was insignificant. Perhaps this is why so many lives still resonate with hers. It is easy to feel insignificant and unimportant. Yet, the clear and compelling language of her story and her letters remains the perfect antidote to such feelings.

In "The Way of Simple Love: Inspiring Words from Therese of Lisieux", Fr. Gary Caster writes, "While the language she uses might be new to you, the insights she offers are as eternal as the God who loves us and longs for each of us to be united with him, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit, for all eternity."

These inspiring words from her writings have been selected and arranged according to important themes of the spiritual life: confidence, holiness, humility, abandonment, obedience, the love of God, mercy, charity, and suffering. Her devotion to Jesus, Mary, and the Eucharist shine through all of her writings.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "The Way of Simple Love: Inspiring Words from Therese of Lisieux" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all members of the Catholic community, as well as being a core addition to church, seminary, and academic library collections.

Gospel Allegiance
Matthew W. Bates
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
9781587434297, $17.99, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Is faith in Jesus enough for salvation? Perhaps, says Matthew Bates, but we're missing pieces of the gospel. The biblical gospel can never change. Yet our understanding of the gospel must change. The church needs an allegiance shift.

Popular pastoral resources on the gospel are causing widespread confusion. Bates shows that the biblical gospel is different, fuller, and more beautiful than we have been led to believe. He explains that saving faith doesn't come through trust in Jesus's death on the cross alone but through allegiance to Christ the king. There is only one true gospel and one required response: allegiance.

Bates ignited conversation with his successful and influential book "Salvation by Allegiance Alone". Now in "Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ" he goes deeper while making his acclaimed teaching on salvation more accessible and experiential for believers who want to better understand and share the gospel.

Of special note is that "Gospel Allegiance" also includes a guide for further conversation, making it ideal for church groups, pastors, leaders, and students.

Critique: An ideal curriculum textbook for Christian studies, "Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ" is unreservedly recommended as an addition to personal, church, seminary, and academic library collections. Inspired and inspiring, it should be noted that for all members of the Christian community, "Gospel Allegiance" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.09).

Signs of Life
Stephanie Lobdell
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513805627, $29.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Every day we lose a little bit of something. Career plans wither. Friendships crumble. Our zeal for Jesus wanes. Whether it's the demise of ideals and expectations, belief in the church, a previously healthy relationship, or our image of ourselves: we all experiences losses.

So does the God of the resurrection have anything to say to our hurts? Was Christ's resurrection a once-and-done thing, or is there hope for healing and restoration now?

In "Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope out of Ordinary Losses", pastor Stephanie Lobdell leads her readers into the grand story of God's saving action and resurrection power. Punctuated with stories of biblical figures such as Sarah, Naaman, Saul, and Anna (who faced ordinary deaths and also God's reviving power), "Signs of Life" claims Jesus' resurrection matters now. In candid and artful prose, Lobdell shares stories of her own depression, loss of confidence, and disillusionment with the church.

Hope isn't cheap, and you can't muscle your way through to joy. There's no sense in pretending everything is fine. Yet through it all, Lobdell claims, God breathes life into what seems beyond redemption. Through it all, the resurrection matters.

Critique: With its inspired and inspiring message of encouragement, "Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope out of Ordinary Losses" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community. While highly recommended for community, church, seminary, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Signs of Life" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1513805610, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Stephanie Lobdell is a pastor and writer whose work has been published in Christianity Today, Women Leaders, Mutuality, Holiness Today, and Missio Alliance. She graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with degrees in Christian Education and Spanish and holds an M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary. She has served a co-lead pastor with her husband for the past nine years in the Church of the Nazarene. She blogs at www.stephanielobdell.com.

Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History
Darrell L. Bock & J. Ed Komoszewski, editors
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
www.zondervan.com
9780310534761, $34.99, PB, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In recent years, a number of New Testament scholars engaged in academic historical Jesus studies have concluded that such scholarship cannot yield secure and illuminating conclusions about its subject, arguing that the search for a historically "authentic" Jesus has run aground.

Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Darrell L. Bock & J. Ed Komoszewski, "Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins" brings together a stellar lineup of New Testament scholars who contend that historical Jesus scholarship is far from dead.

These scholars all find value in using the tools of contemporary historical methods in the study of Jesus and Christian origins. While the skeptical use of criteria to fashion a Jesus contrary to the one portrayed in the Gospels is methodologically unsound and theologically unacceptable, these criteria, properly formulated and applied, yield positive results that support the Gospel accounts and the historical narrative in Acts.

"Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History" presents a nuanced and vitally needed alternative to the skeptical extremes of revisionist Jesus scholarship that, on the one hand, uses historical methods to call into question the Jesus of the Gospels and, on the other, denies the possibility of using historical methods to learn about Jesus.

Critique: An impressive volume of meticulous scholarship, "Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to church, seminary, college, and university library Christian Studies & History collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.99).

Praying the Attributes of God, second edition
Rosemary Jensen
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825445538, $15.99, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Prayer can be an intimate connection to God, and taking time to reflect on the character and nature of God is vital to our spiritual growth. Combining the two will open exciting new vistas of worship for every believer.

Rosemary Jensen served as Executive Director of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) International for twenty years prior to her current ministry as general director with the Rafiki Foundation, an affiliate of BSF. The primary mission of Rafiki Foundation is to aid the people of developing nations in medical, educational, and economic enterprises, with a special emphasis on providing centers for disadvantaged women and orphans.

Now in a newly updated and revised second edition of "Praying the Attributes of God: A Guide to Personal Worship Through Prayer", Rosemary offers 31 prayer devotionals designed to direct thoughtful meditation on the attributes of God. Combining Bible study with focused prayer will enrich your personal devotional and worship time.

Each devotional highlights one of God's attributes and structures prayer suggestions around the ACTS acrostic, representing the four different essentials of prayer -- Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Significant Scripture references are included to direct the reader's thoughts to focus on each attribute. Attributes studied include: Accessibility. Creator. Eternality. Justice. Personality. Sovereignty.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Praying the Attributes of God: A Guide to Personal Worship Through Prayer" is unreservedly recommended for all members of the Christian community, as well as a significant addition to church and seminary Christian Studies collections.

Raising Disciples
Natalie Frisk
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513802596, $29.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Children and youth will not necessarily follow in the faith of their parents. Talking with kids about Jesus no longer comes naturally to many Christian parents.

In "Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids", pastor Natalie Frisk helps us reconnect faith and parenting, equipping parents to model what following Jesus looks like in daily life. Filled with authenticity, flexibility, humor, and prayer, Pastor Frisk outlines how parents can make openings for their children to experience God in their daily lives.

As curriculum pastor at The Meeting House, one of the largest churches in Canada, Pastor Frisk calls parents who follow Christ to ask the big questions about the spiritual formation of children and teens. In practical and thoughtful ways, she equips parents to disciple their kids in various stages of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. "Raising Disciples" will awaken parents to the possibly of Jesus-centered parenting and encourage us to engage in the lost art of discipling our own kids.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter for Our Kids" is an extraordinary, inspiring, and unreservedly recommended to the attention of all Christian parents and grandparents seeking to assist their children in understanding the Gospel, tenants, and obligations of their Christian faith. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Raising Disciples" is also available in a paperback edition (9781513802589, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Natalie Frisk is the curriculum pastor at The Meeting House Church in Toronto, Canada, where she and a team create kids' and youth curricula for ages 0 - 18 used by churches worldwide. Pastor Frisk is a sought-after speaker on topics of youth and children's ministry, spiritual formation, and discipleship, and her work has been published in Canadian Youth Workers Magazine and at the ReKnew and Pangea blogs. Pastor Frisk has a master's degree in theological studies from McMaster Divinity College and serves on the board of Be in Christ Church of Canada.

Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary
Alexander Schmemann
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
www.svspress.com
9780881411416, $11.00, PB, 93pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary" is the third volume in a collection of sermons by Fr Alexander Schmemann. The topic is particularly close to his heart: the Virgin Mary.

The "Theotokos," as Mary is usually referred to among the Orthodox, figures prominently in Byzantine liturgical worship. While no single service is without one or more references to her, Eastern Orthodox theological manuals have little to say about Mary beyond repeating the primarily Christological titles affirmed by the Third Ecumenical Council "Theotokos," "Birthgiver of God."

It is to the Eastern liturgical tradition, then, that one must turn for a more developed Mariology. Eastern hymnographers, drawing on Scripture, the early Christian Apocrypha and on a rich theological tradition, went far beyond the laconic definition of the Third Ecumenical Council. Fr Schmemann draws on all these to explain Mariology to a modern audience.

Critique: Impressively informative and exceptionally well presented, "Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary" is an extraordinary volume and unreservedly recommended to the attention of all members of the Orthodox Christian community.

Editorial Note: Father Alexander Schmemann (13 September 1921 to 13 December 1983) was a prolific writer, brilliant lecturer, and dedicated pastor. Former dean and professor of liturgical theology at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, his insight into contemporary culture and liturgical celebration left an indelible mark on the Christian community worldwide.

The Bathsheba Battle
Natalie Chambers Snapp
Abingdon Press
www.abingdonpress.com
9781501890802, $16.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "The Bathsheba Battle: Finding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn", Natalie Chambers Snapp helps women find healing and hope when things haven't gone as they had planned.

Bathsheba, typically misrepresented as an adulteress, is one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Despite an unexpected turn in her life, which resulted in tragic circumstances beyond her control, there are glimmers of hope in her story. By studying her life, readers will find healing from their own painful pasts and hope for living the free and full lives God intends.

Critique: Written specifically for those members of the Christian community who have had their life taken an unexpected turns leaving them feeling heartsick, confused and feeling helpless, "The Bathsheba Battle: Finding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn" will prove to be as inspirational as it is insightful. While very highly recommended and potentially life enhancing reading, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bathsheba Battle" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Natalie Chambers Snapp is an author, blogger, and speaker known for her refreshing authenticity and practical approach to life and God's Word. Not choosing to follow Jesus until the age of twenty-seven, she is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God's love with others "regardless of your track record". With a transparency and humor that endear her to women of all ages, Natalie is the author of the book Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have, and Becoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships. She has also written for various blogs and online devotionals, including Proverbs 31.


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Lost Teachings of the Runes
Ingrid Kincaid
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578636761, $16.95, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Known as the Rune Woman, Ingrid Kincaid is an author, educator and workshop facilitator with over 45 years of experience. She is a staff-carrying wise woman in the Old Norse tradition and her connection with the runes is ancestral. Ingrid teaches throughout the United States and Europe. She maintains a website at www.ingridkincaid.com.

In "Lost Teachings of the Runes: Northern Mysteries and the Wheel of Life" she presents a life-affirming, death-honoring approach that returns the runes to a place of balance, of light and dark, of order and chaos, back to the roots and branches of the World Tree.

"Lost Teachings of the Runes" invites the reader to journey to the realms of past and future that exist hidden beyond the horizon and beneath our feet. Using an engaging blend of stories, meditations and ancestral knowing, Kincaid explores Northern Mysteries from the center of the Wheel of Life, demonstrating ways the Wheel can be used to connect ancient wisdom with modern living. She offers tools and teachings that may be used on a daily basis to enable readers to reconnect with their ancestors, reclaim their heritage and live more harmoniously with the earth.

"Lost Teachings of the Runes" is an unexpected adventure into the hidden meanings and profound lessons held in the signatures of these ancient beings.

Critique: A deftly written and impressively informative contribution to the study of the ancient runes of time-lost antiquity, "Lost Teachings of the Runes" is an extraordinary and unique contribution to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Runic Lore supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Lost Teachings of the Runes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Magian Tarok
Steven E. Flowers
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558690, $16.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Tarot is a mythic map of the world and of consciousness. It offers a meta-language of signs and symbols that communicate their meaning precisely. Yet the true origins of the Tarot remain shrouded in mystery. These oracular cards have long been thought to have come from Egypt or from the "Gypsies," but as Stephen E. Flowers reveals in "The Magian Tarok: The Origins of the Tarot in the Mithraic and Hermetic Traditions", their original roots lie in the Mithraic tradition of the Persian Magi.

In "The Magian Tarok", Flowers explores the historical roots and mythology of the symbolic images that became known as the Tarot. Drawing on theories first pioneered by the Swedish scholar Sigurd Agrell (1881-1937), he reveals the genesis of the Tarot's symbolism in the great Hermetic tradition at the same time the Magical Papyri were being written in Greco-Roman Egypt. He explains how the sequencing of the Major Arcana is related to the images used in Mithraic initiation, elements of which were then integrated into existing Roman and Egyptian traditions. Exploring the Magian teachings on the Stoeicheia, an alphabet that acted as a map for understanding the order of the cosmos, he demonstrates how this alphabet of magical symbols was the template for the Tarot.

"The Magian Tarok" also shows how the 22 Major Arcana cards were related to the 22 letters of the Roman alphabet used for oracular purposes in ancient times. Looking in-depth at the principles of Mithraism, the author explains how the Roman form of Mithraism, a guiding factor in the early shaping of the Tarot, was itself a synthesis of Iranian Magianism, Greek stoicism, Babylonian astrology, and Greco-Egyptian Hermeticism.

Exploring the cards themselves, Flowers then looks at the original meanings of the Major Arcana using Mithraic symbolism and its offshoots. He also explains the truth behind many of the myths surrounding the Tarot, including their deep-level connections with Egypt, the Romani people, the Semitic tradition, and runes. By restoring the original mysteria to the icons of the Tarot and learning their true origins, we can better understand the insight these powerful cards impart in divination.

Critique: A detailed and seminal work of exceptional scholarship, "The Magian Tarok: The Origins of the Tarot in the Mithraic and Hermetic Traditions" is a unique, extraordinary, and definitive introduction to the origin and history of the Tarot and a 'must' for all personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and The Tarot supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted that "The Magian Tarok" is also available in a digital book format (eTextbook, $11.99).

Operative Witchcraft
Nigel Pennick
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558447, $16.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A comprehensive look at the history and practices of rural English witchcraft, "Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork and Herbcraft in the British Isles" by Nigel Pennick deftly explores witch's familiars and fetches, animal magic, and the forms of witchcraft practiced by rural tradespeople, such as blacksmiths, herbalists, and artisans.

"Operative Witchcraft" also offers practical insight into spells, charms, folk incantations, herbal medicine practices, amulets, sigils, and tools of the craft.

Of special note is how "Operative Witchcraft" details the evolution of public perception of witchcraft throughout England's history, including the laws against witchcraft in place until the 1950s and witchcraft's contentious relationship with the Christian church.

Critique: Meticulously researched, exceptionally well written, impressively informative, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork and Herbcraft in the British Isles" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and British witchcraft and wiccan supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, wiccan practitioners, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork and Herbcraft in the British Isles" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

In Light and In Shade
Patricia Irvine
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
www.ozarkmt.com
9781940265735, $25.00, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "In Light and In Shade: The Inspirational Story of A Love That Refused to Die, Even After Death" by Patricia Irvine is the inspirational true story of a love that refused to die, even after death. It is the first-hand account of extraordinary events that happened to an ordinary woman.

Before her husband died prematurely, Patricia Irvine was skeptical about spiritual matters. However, driven by grief and fear over a feud concerning the family business, she decided to seek the advice of a medium. Shortly afterwards, inexplicable things began to happen to challenge her beliefs. As Patricia awakened spiritually, so her husband was able to reach beyond the grave to help his widow achieve justice for her and their young family in a court battle that made legal history.

Based on the journals Patricia kept throughout this time, "In Light and In Shade " is a memoir that describes Patricia's amazing journey from non-believer to finding her true destiny, healing through words. In a troubled and turbulent world, "In Light and In Shade" raises important points about religion, God, and the true meaning of spirituality. It is a story anyone seeking answers to the big questions about life and death should read.

Critique: A unique and extraordinary story, "In Light and In Shade: The Inspirational Story of A Love That Refused to Die, Even After Death" is an inherently fascinating and ultimately inspiring read. This is a deeply personal story that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "In Light and In Shade" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Llewellyn's Little Book of Unicorns
Angela A. Wix
Llewellyn Publications
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
www.llewellyn.com
9780738761817 $12.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: From their historical and modern significance to the two types of unicorn encounters you can experience, Llewellyn's Little Book of Unicorns is packed with ways to find inspiration, heightened creativity, and the playful source of your joy.

Llewellyn's Little Book of Unicorns features a variety of methods to connect with unicorn energy, including your imagination, crystals, dreams, chakras, your passions and personal quirks, and the unicorn-like people in your life. Discover what makes you shine from the inside-out, even in the face of difficult life challenges. Through engaging exercises and spiritual techniques, this fun, practical book helps you live your most amazing life.

Critique: Llewellyn's Little Book of Unicorns is primarily a metaphysical self-help guide, offering meditation and spiritual techniques to help one confront difficult challenges, clear away clutter, and focus the mind. Unicorns and "unicorn energy" is a spiritual metaphor, in this bright and positive-minded guide about finding balance in one's life. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Llewellyn's Little Book of Unicorns is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).


The Poetry Shelf

Joe Dimaggio Moves Like Liquid Light: Poems
Loren Broaddus
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
www.andrewsmcmeel.com
9781524852498, $14.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Joe Dimaggio Moves Like Liquid Light: Poems" by Loren Broaddus is a unique collection of poetry and quotes about baseball -- and about so much more.

The baseball diamond is the backdrop for Loren Broaddus's exploration of nostalgia, family, race, jazz, and the winding hallways of history. Joe DiMaggio is sometimes domestic, sometimes political -- microscopic here, aerial there.

While Broaddus's poems may start at home plate, he sends them flying in all directions: sometimes into left field, sometimes out of the park entirely.

Critique: With a unique attraction for baseball game fans ( a sport often described as poetry in motion played out on a field of dreams), "Joe Dimaggio Moves Like Liquid Light: Poems" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic Contemporary American Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Joe Dimaggio Moves Like Liquid Light: Poems" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

come see about me, marvin
Brian G. Gilmore
Wayne State University Press
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
http://wsupress.wayne.edu
9780814347225, $16.99, PB, 104pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "come see about me, marvin" is accessible, honest poetry by Brian G. Gilmore about and for real people. In the collection, Gilmore seeks to invite the reader into a fantastical dialogue between himself and Marvin Gaye - two black men who were born in the nation's capital, but who moved to the Midwest for professional ambitions. In trying to acclimate himself to a new job in a new place - a place that seemed so different from the home he had always known - Gilmore often looked to Marvin Gaye as an example for how to be. These poems were derived as a means of coping in a strange land.

"come see about me, marvin" is divided into four sections, beginning with section one, "love that will shelter you," and features poems about dealing with life in Michigan as it is in reality. Sections two and three, "nowhere to hide" and "no ordinary pain," include poems about the brutality of the Midwest and some of the historical realities as Gilmore came to understand them. The final section, "let your love come shining through," attempts to invoke hope in poetry.

"come see about me, marvin" is Gilmore's answer to life's perplexing issues, with Marvin Gaye as the perfect vehicle to explore these ideals. Readers of poetry and lovers of Motown will embrace this love letter to a local legend.

Critique: An impressive compendium of deftly crafted verse that is as memorably thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is reader engaging and inherently interesting, "come see about me, marvin" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated and valued addition to community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "come see about me, marvin" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

to cleave: poems
Barbara Rockman
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
www.unmpress.com
9780826360755, $18.95, PB, 104pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Exhibiting an impressive sensory detail and written with astute observational skills, "to cleave" is an impressively compendium of Barbara Rockman's poetry that collectively searches for and lays bare the mythic moments one finds even in the most ordinary life. Using a free verse format Rockman deftly explores the themes of aging; our relationships to our bodies; marriage; and the surprises, griefs, and joys of motherhood. Each of the seven sections comprising this memorable collection urges readers to view their own daily lives with renewed curiosity and wonder.

Critique: A notable and extraordinary collection showcases a major literary talent, Barbara Rockman's "to cleave" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "to cleave" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Railroading Shelf

The Southern After Steam
Don Benn
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526700087, $49.95, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After the end of steam on the Southern in July 1967, the author and railroad historian Don Benn concentrated primarily on visually recording the Southern scene, to start with in black and white and then from 1972 in color.

In so doing he built up a huge collection of slides for the period 1972 to 1988 concentrating on the lines close to his Kent home or in the London area but also with some images taken on the Central and Western Division main lines. "The Southern After Steam: A Vision in Blue and Grey" contains more than 260 high quality colour images of second generation rolling stock set out by class of electric or diesel multiple units and locomotives, ranging from 4 SUBs and EPBs through Hastings Diesel units to Class 73 Electro-Diesels, a total of fifteen classes all told.

The severe winters of 1985 and 1987 are also included and Departmental stock isn't forgotten. Fans of the Southern Region in the 1970s and 80s prior to the introduction of replacement stock will find much of interest in browsing through the pages of "The Southern After Steam: A Vision in Blue and Grey".

Critique: One of the newest additions to the outstanding series of railroading histories from Pen & Sword Books, "The Southern After Steam: A Vision in Blue and Grey" an informatively captioned compendium of beautifully reproduced images that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library British Railroading History collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and railroading enthusiasts that "The Southern After Steam" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).

Editorial Note: John Scott-Morgan is the author of multiple railway histories and photographic surveys, he is the founder of the British Overseas Railways Historical Trust and is a life long transport historian and preservationist. His family has been involved with the railway industry since the early days, having relatives who worked on the railways since 1836. He is also involved in a curatorial capacity, with the Great Western Society at Didcot, advising on the restoration and preservation of locomotives and rolling stock. He lives in Woking in Surrey where he continues to write transport history books.

The Hayling Island Branch
John Scott-Morgan
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526726810, $39.95, HC, 104pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Hayling Island Branch was one of Britain's most iconic sea side lines, connecting Havant with Hayling Island via Langston Harbour. Opening in 1865 for freight and 1867 to passenger traffic, it was after a few years of local control, managed and operated as part of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway, who were responsible for its upkeep until the railway grouping in 1923, when it became a part of the Southern Railway.

The railway had a colorful and bucolic existence, with trains headed by the attractive Stroudley Terrier class tank locomotives and a collection of vintage carriage stock. In 1948 the branch became part of the Southern Region of British Railways, carrying on as a local and at times heavily used branch line, until its closure in November 1963. Today the lines track bed is a walking path from end to end, with only the former goods shed at Hayling Island to show the visitor any tangible evidence of the railways existence.

Critique: An impressive compendium of informatively captioned black & white photos, as well as a concluding and major section of full color photos, "The Hayling Island Branch: The Hayling Billy" is the latest addition to the outstanding Pen & Sword Books series 'Branch Line Profiles' and is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections on the history of British railroads. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and dedicated railroading history buffs that "The Hayling Island Branch" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).

Editorial Note: John Scott-Morgan is the author of multiple railway histories and photographic surveys, he is the founder of the British Overseas Railways Historical Trust and is a life long transport historian and preservationist. His family has been involved with the railway industry since the early days, having relatives who worked on the railways since 1836. He is also involved in a curatorial capacity, with the Great Western Society at Didcot, advising on the restoration and preservation of locomotives and rolling stock. He lives in Woking in Surrey where he continues to write transport history books.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

I Love Happy Cats
Anneleen Bru
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357879, $24.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Anneleen Bru is a behavioral therapist with a specialty in domestic cats and zoos. She offers consultations, lectures, and training courses about cat behavior around the world and has a master's degree in companion animal behavior counseling. She is passionately committed to increasing the harmony between animals and their owners.

People have been under the spell of the mysterious and elegant nature of the cat for thousands of years. They are one of our oldest animal companions and have been much-loved family members in households around the globe for generations. But have you ever felt that despite your good intentions and love, there are some things about your cat you don't quite understand? Do you sometimes feel like it might be trying to tell you something? That you could make them even happier than they already are?

In "I Love Happy Cats: Guide for a Happy Cat", Anneleen Bru, drawing upon her years of experience and expertise will change everything you once thought you knew about cats. You can use its many tips and insights to optimize your relationship with your cat.

In "I Love Happy Cats", you will be taken on an intimate journey through the world of the domestic cat, covering all their natural instincts and mysterious behaviors. The tips and tricks are the outcome of hundreds of behavioral consultations. Your relationship with your cat will never be the same.

Critique: Nicely illustrated with line drawings and full color photography, "I Love Happy Cats: Guide for a Happy Cat" is an impressively informative and inherently fascinating read that is especially recommended to anyone that has a feline companion of their own. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Pets/Wildlife collections, is unreservedly recommended and endorsed.

Letting in the Dog
Patricia Blocker
Hubble & Hattie
Veloce House
www.hubbleandhattie.com
9781787113053, $13.99, PB, 96pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Communicating with and understanding dogs builds trusting relationships, and relieves frustration and improves lives on both ends of the leash. Apart from simply reading canine body language, "Letting in the Dog" by Patricia Blocker explores the juncture between hearts and minds where true understanding begins.

"Letting in the Dog" takes a light-hearted, yet earnest approach to exploring how to connect with dogs. Each individual chapter features amusing, thought-provoking anecdotes and illustrations that show us how dogs are our teachers, and how, by connecting with them, we learn how to connect with ourselves.

"Letting in the Dog" helps us find the intersection between the academic and the spiritual for better communication with dogs. It's about having an effective two-way conversation; it shows us how to talk with our dogs instead of talking at them. The intuitive side of communicating with canines in conjunction with the intellectual side is also investigated: in this space, we build trust, respect, and better relationships, and human and canine!

Critique: An expertly organized and presented compendium of practical information and instruction that will prove to be of immense value to anyone having a canine companion of their own, "Letting in the Dog" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Pets/Wildlife collections.

Editorial Note: Patricia Blocker, CPDT-KA, owner of Peaceful Paws Dog Training, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with more than 20 years' experience. Peaceful Paws specializes in resolving canine behavior issues. Pat's passion is to help improve dogs' lives by enhancing the human/canine relationship. She does so through education and force-free training, with emphasis on opening the lines of communication between humans and dogs. Pat offers lectures and is a contributing feature writer for local dog magazines and community newsletters. She is the author of "Taking the Lead without Jerking the Leash", and "The Art of Mindful Dog Training".

Woof!
Robert Freeman
Page Publishing Inc.
101 Tyrellan Avenue Suite 100 New York, NY 10309
www.pagepublishing.com
9781644626733, $13.95, PB, 60pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Robert Freeman is a Harvard summa, a Princeton PhD, and a Steinway artist. Over forty-two years of marriage to his wife, Carol, he has been the proud master of seventeen tenured dogs-eleven of them golden retrievers, six of them American dogs. Having made tenure at MIT, he directed the Eastman School of Music for twenty-four years, presided over the New England Conservatory for three, and served as dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin for seven. "WOOF! A Love Story of Dogs, Music and Life" showcases the joys of pet ownership together with the responsibilities that should accrue to those who take on that responsibility.

Critique: A quick, easy, informative, and ultimately inspiring read, "Woof!" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of everyone that has a canine companion of their own (or is considering obtaining one!) that "Woof!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Native American Studies Shelf

Stand in the Light
Thomas F. Voight, compiler
Edward S. Curtis, photographer
Rio Nuevo Publishers
PO Box 5250, Tucson, AZ 85703
www.rionuevo.com
9781940322346, $16.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Edward Sheriff Curtis (February 16, 1868 - October 19, 1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American peoples.

Thomas F. Voight and his wife, Diane, own Wintercount American Indian Fine Art Publishing Company and the Stardancer Trading Company.

In a perfect partnership, "Stand in the Light: Native Voices Illuminated by Edward S. Curtis" is comprised of the songs, prayers, and philosophies of eight western American Indian tribes as compiled by Voight and paired with photographs taken by Curtis.

Critique: A unique and inherently fascinating compendium of Native American wisdom and culture expertly juxtaposed with truly memorable historical photographic images, "Stand in the Light" is a truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Native American History & Culture collections, and would be appropriate and appreciated for 19th Century Photography collections as well.


The Biography Shelf

Ed Garvey Unvarnished
Rob Zaleski
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299323707, $24.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ed Garvey (1940 - 2017) was one of the most influential and colorful progressive politicians in Wisconsin's history. Growing up in what was a conservative rural town, he got his first taste of liberal activism at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, became the first executive director of the National Football League Players' Union, led two spirited campaigns against Bob Kasten and Tommy Thompson, and eventually cofounded the Fighting Bob Fest.

Shortly before he died, Garvey expressed his views on everything in a series of detailed, no-holds-barred interviews with journalist Rob Zaleski. In his trademark witty, blunt, and often abrasive style, he offered his impressions of the political climate, worries about the environment, and Act 10 protests on Capitol Square. Garvey's candor during these conversations provides deeper insight into the personal highs and lows he experienced over his rich life. Diehard followers will fondly remember his energetic campaigns, but they may be surprised to learn of his long-simmering disappointment after those losses. Ever timely and meaningful, Garvey's words offer a path for how the Democratic Party, both within Wisconsin and nationally, can regain its soul.

Critique: Ed Garvey Unvarnished: Lessons from a Visionary Progressive is an in-depth biography of the life and political activity of labor lawyer and progressive politician Ed Garvey. Garvey's ideals and commitment show through his lifelong opposition anti-union policies, and his calls for campaign finance reform. Extensively researched, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Ed Garvey Unvarnished is a choice for personal and public library biography and political science collections. Highly recommended.

Pickin' Cotton on the Way to Church
Nancy Van Note Chism
Indiana Historical Society Press
450 W Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
http://www.indianahistory.org
9780871954336, $24.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Pickin' Cotton on the Way to Church" by Nancy Van Note Cism is a biography of Father Boniface Hardin, a Benedictine monk. Excluded from the seminaries in Kentucky because of his race, he enrolled in Saint Meinrad Seminary in Spencer County, Indiana.

After completing his studies he took his vows as monk and was ordained a priest in 1959. In 1965 he accepted the position of associate pastor at Holy Angels Catholic Church, a predominately black parish in Indianapolis.

Father Hardin (November 18, 1933 - March 24, 2012) was a social activist who spoke out against poverty, segregation, and police brutality, actions that were considered inappropriate for a priest. Father Hardin soon left Holy Angels, and, along with Sister Jane Shilling, opened the Martin Center, where they advocated full time for the poor and disenfranchised through a series of programs and services.

Realizing the correlation between education and career advancement, Father Boniface and Sister Jane founded Martin University, the only predominately African American institution of higher learning in Indiana.

Critique: "Pickin' Cotton on the Way to Church" is the true-life story of Father Hardin, a devoted advocate for the poor and dispossessed. His tireless work to promote services and education for those who needed it most make for an inspirational tale. "Pickin' Cotton on the Way to Church: The Life and Work of Father Boniface Hardin, OSB" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.

Editorial Note: In 1999, Nancy Chism became Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She retired in 2012 and currently is president of the board of trustees of Martin University.

My Soviet Youth
Irina Rodriguez
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
https://mcfarlandbooks.com
9781476677590, $35.00, PB, 225pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Irina Rodriguez grew up in the suburbs of Kharkiv, Ukraine, which was then a part of the Soviet Union. She came to study at the University of Kansas on an exchange scholarship in 1994. She is an affiliate instructor of modern languages at the University of Dallas, where she teaches Spanish, Italian and occasionally French. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

"My Soviet Youth: A Memoir of Ukrainian Life in the Final Years of Communism" is her personal account of putting on gas masks and learning how to shoot Kalashnikov rifles in grade school made Soviet children fear possible attack by Cold War enemies. But a more prosaic invasion of Colorado beetles in the 1980s turned out to be a far more real threat to Soviet families. Many had to master farming when the state, near its demise, no longer had the finances to pay salaries.

One of the last generation of Soviet teenagers who tasted the political restrictions and propaganda, and the benefits and deficits and of the communist state, In "My Soviet Youth, Irina vividly recalls her early years in a Soviet school, a Young Pioneer inauguration ceremony, work on a collective farm, her family's plot of land and their fights against invasive insects, and her first breaths of post-Soviet freedom, which brought economic havoc and bitter disappointments, along with new hopes.

Critique: An impressively informative, deftly written, and inherently fascinating life story, "My Soviet Youth: A Memoir of Ukrainian Life in the Final Years of Communism" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Biography & 20th Century Russian History/Culture collections, and will prove to be of especial interest to readers with an interest in life in the Communist Soviet Union just before its collapse.

The First Strike: Doolittle Raider Don Smith
Paul Higbee
South Dakota Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SC 57501-2217
https://www.sdhspress.com
9781941813126, $29.95, HC, 195pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A secret bombing mission, a crash-landing, a bold escape far from the plains of his homeland, World War II pilot Donald G. ( Don ) Smith swam toward unknown terrain, having just played a significant role in the legendary American military venture, the Doolittle Raid.

Commanding Plane Fifteen, a B-25 nicknamed TNT, the twenty-four-year-old Smith successfully led his squad to their target in Japan and, after a watery landing, to safety through Japanese occupied territory in China. Seven months after the Doolittle Raid, Smith died when his new bomber crashed during a routine exercise over the English countryside.

He left behind a family and a community that had, only months before, welcomed him home during a brief reprieve from fighting. In his short life, Smith made an indelible impression on those who served with him, but he left behind no personal recollections of his experience. Until now, his story was known only to a close few, surviving through the frequent letters he wrote home to his parents in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

In "The First Strike: Doolittle Raider Don Smith", author Paul Higbee follows Smith from his childhood through college, flight training, and Army Air Corps service, highlighting the young man's transformation from South Dakota boy to American hero. Higbee reveals the excitement, danger, and pride of the eighty men who took part in the first American attack on Japan and the uncertainty of life in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Smith's story reflects lives forever altered by wartime experiences, whether on land or in the air.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and engaging read from first page to last, "The First Strike: Doolittle Raider Don Smith" is an extraordinary and valued contribution to the growing library of World War II histories and biographies. "The First Strike" is a deftly crafted blend of biography and history that is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of dedicated military buffs and certain to be a highly valued addition to community and academic library World War II military history collections.

Mino
Hisako Matsubara
Daniel & Daniel Publishers
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
www.danielpublishing.com
9781564746146, $24.95, HC, 364pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Hisako Matsubara has written an "autobiography" in the voice of her remarkable son, Mino. Saya (as Mino calls his mother) records her son's thoughts from his earliest years as a precocious pre-toddler, through his formal education, and on to the beginning and the ascent of his career as an astrophysicist at NASA.

Alas, the rise of this brilliant star ends too early, when a tumor the size of a lemon intrudes and occupies space in his brain. Mino fights for his life, unwilling to leave before learning all there is to learn about the universe.

This man has had a lot of experience resisting authority; it's a talent he discovered as a determined child when he challenged his stern father and sometimes won the skirmish.

The ending seems to answer the Prelude: this hero isn't interested in anybody else's promise of an afterlife. He's not done exploring. A young scientist's lifelong journey through outer and inner space, "Mino", like the man who tells his story (with help from his mother) is fascinating, inspiring, and honest. The voice is full of wonder at the vast universe he explores through both telescope and microscope.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and ultimately inspiring account, "Mino" is an especially endorsed and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections.

Editorial Note: Hisako Matsubara was born and grew up in Kyoto, the daughter of a Shinto priest. She studied comparative religion and literature at the International Christian University in Tokyo and did graduate work in theater arts at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her doctoral degree at the University of Gottingen, Germany (1966-1970) in Comparative History. Living in Cologne, Matsubara taught herself to write in German, and within five years she had her own weekly column in Die Zeit. Her many novels were written in German, Japanese, and English and have been translated into eight languages.


The Political Science Shelf

Liberty in Peril
Randall G. Holcombe
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428
www.independent.org
9781598133325, $24.95, HC, 356pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When the United States was created in 1776, Americans viewed the role of government as the protection of their individual rights, or liberty. At that time, and now again 200+ years later, the enemy of individual liberty is an intrusive and regulation obsessed government.

Over time, the ideology of democracy -- the idea that the role of government is to carry out the will of the people, has displaced the ideology of liberty.

In "Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History", Randall G. Holcombe narrates an account of the political history that transformed the fundamental principle of American government from liberty to democracy. And why that shift from the protection of liberty to democratic collectivism has serious and negative economic and political consequences.

Critique: A timely, informative, thought-provoking contribution to our current on-going national political dialogue given the current administration's expansions of federal authority, "Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History" is an extraordinary read and is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of political science students, academia, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Liberty in Peril" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Merge Left
Ian Haney Lopez
The New Press
120 Wall Street, floor 31, New York, NY 10005
www.thenewpress.com
9781620975640, $26.99, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 2020, America is heading into what will surely be one of the most consequential elections ever, with the Right gearing up to exploit racial fear-mongering to divide and distract, and the Left splintered over the next step forward. Some want to focus on racial justice head-on; others insist that a race-silent focus on class avoids alienating white voters.

Can either approach (race-forward or colorblind) build the progressive supermajorities necessary to break political gridlock and fundamentally change the country's direction?

For the past two years, Haney Lopez (Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at University of California, Berkeley) has been collaborating with a research team of union activists, racial justice leaders, communications specialists, and pollsters. Based on conversations, interviews, and surveys with thousands of people all over the country, the team found a way forward.

By merging the fights for racial justice and for shared economic prosperity, they were able to build greater enthusiasm for both goals -- and for the cross-racial solidarity needed to win elections. What does this mean? It means that neutralizing the Right's political strategy of racial division is possible, today. And that's the key to everything progressives want to achieve.

A work of deep research, nuanced argument, and urgent insight, "Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America" is arguably an indispensable tool for the upcoming political season and in the larger fight to build racial justice and shared economic prosperity for all of us.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is informed and informative, "Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America" is a timely and invaluable contribution to our current on-going national discussion with respect to salvaging, repairing, and restoring our American democracy and those national values that distinguished and set us apart from the autocratic and undemocratic nation states. While unreservedly endorsed and recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, political activists, government policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Merge Left" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.80) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781494539504, $29.99, CD).


The Cookbook Shelf

Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners
Linda Larsen
Rockridge Press
https://www.getrockridgebooks.com
9781641529563, $19.99, PB, 238pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism.

Linda Larsen has written numerous cookbooks, including The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, The Complete Slow Cooking for Two Cookbook, and Eating Clean for Dummies. She also served as the Busy Cooks Guide for About.com for fifteen years, writing about food safety, quick cooking, and more.

In "Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners: 75+ Recipes for Faster, Healthier, & Crispier Fried Favorites" she draws upon her professional experience and expertise to teach even the most novice of kitchen cooks how simple it is to make delicious air-fried foods -- the Ninja way. An officially licensed guide, this air fryer cookbook teaches you all the ways you can serve up deliciousness like a pro using the Ninja Air Fryer and Max XL.

Ideal for new and experienced owners alike, "Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners" is filled from cover to cover with recipes for scrumptious, crispy delights. This is an air fryer cookbook that not only teaches how to use all the core functions of the Ninja Air Fryer, but also offers more advanced advice.

"Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners" includes: Be a Ninja master - Get going right away thanks to a complete guide for using the Ninja Air Fryer and Max XL - plus tons of helpful tips and troubleshooting tricks; Air frying made easy - All 77 recipes in this air fryer cookbook have exact instructions for using your Ninja so you can fry up perfect foods, every time; No recipe? No problem - Fix whatever you want with cooking (as well as crisping and dehydrating) charts for everything from Brussels sprouts to frozen chicken nuggets.

Critique: With thoroughly kitchen cook friendly air fryer based recipes for palate pleasing and appetite satisfying dishes that range from Classic Hash Browns; Easy Garlic-Parmesan French Fries; and Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes; to Louisiana Fried Catfish; Buttermilk Fried Chicken; Spicy Grilled Steak; and Baked Apples, "Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners" is very highly recommended for personal, family and community library collections. It should be noted for every homemaker that owns an air fryer that the "Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Japanese Pickled Vegetables
Machiko Tateno
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9784805315309, $16.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Chef Machiko Tateno is an expert in fermented and preserved foods, as well as a menu consultant and registered dietitian. After working for many years as the supervising dietitian at a hospital, she attended cooking schools in Japan and the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, a pioneer in the Slow Food movement. She later served as Executive Chef at the eco-friendly Roppongi Nouen restaurant in Tokyo. Tateno now develops recipes, has written several homestyle Japanese cookbooks and organizes fermented food cooking classes.

"Japanese Pickled Vegetables" is her first book to be translated into English and showcases 129 homestyle recipes for making traditional brined, vinegared and fermented pickles.

Nutrient-rich, inexpensive and incredibly tasty -- simple homemade Japanese tsukemono (pickles) are an integral part of everyday meals in Japan. Every Japanese family has their own tsukemono recipes handed down through the generations.

The recipes comprising "Japanese Pickled Vegetables" use ingredients that are easily available in the West -- including asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, daikon, turnips and squashes, olive oil, honey and yogurt. More adventurous cooks can try their hand at traditional Japanese pickled vegetables like burdock root, bitter gourd, lotus root and wasabi leaves.

The recipes are cross-referenced by vegetable and pickling method. A chapter on regional pickling recipes and styles lets home cooks learn more about the traditional art of tsukemono in Japan -- from Tokyo to rural farm villages. A section on pickling fresh seasonal vegetables helps you to make the most of your fresh garden produce, while another provides recipes using fermented seasonings -- such as Garlic Miso and Green Peppercorn that can be used to enhance the umami flavor of any dish!

An important part of Japanese cuisine, Japanese pickles are often made the day they are eaten, and used as side dishes, bar snacks or garnishes. Whether you have your own vegetable garden and want ways to preserve your bounty into the winter, or are just looking for healthy meal inspiration, these homemade Japanese superfood recipes are a great place to begin.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "Japanese Pickled Vegetables" is a unique and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' addition to family, personal, professions, and community library ethnic cookbook collections.

The Food of Sichuan
Fuchsia Dunlop
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.wwnorton.com
9781324004837, $40.00, HC, 480pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Almost twenty years after the publication of his "Land of Plenty" (which is considered by many to be one of the greatest cookbooks of all time), with the publication of "The Food of Sichuan", Fuchsia Dunlop once again revisits the region where her own culinary journey began, adding more than 70 new recipes to the original repertoire and accompanying them with mouth- watering descriptions of the dazzling flavors and textures of Sichuanese cooking.

"Food of Sichuan" shows home cooks how to re- create classics such as Mapo Tofu, Twice-Cooked Pork and Gong Bao Chicken, or a traditional spread of cold dishes, including Bang Bang Chicken, Numbing-and-Hot Dried Beef, Spiced Cucumber Salad and Green Beans in Ginger Sauce.

With gorgeous food and travel photography and enhanced by a culinary and cultural history of the region, "The Food of Sichuan" is a captivating insight into one of the world's greatest cuisines.

Critique: A massive culinary compendium of some 200 mouth-watering, appetite arousing, palate pleasing, beautifully illustrated, 'kitchen cook friendly' recipes showcasing the very best of Sichuan cooking, "The Food of Sichuan" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections. Simply stated, no collection of Chinese cuisine cookbooks would be complete or comprehensive without a copy of Fuchsia Dunlops' "The Food of Sichuan".

Nut Butter
Carolyn Cesario & Julie Sullivan
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
www.andrewsmcmeel.com
9781449499488, $19.99, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A nut butter is a spreadable foodstuff made by grinding nuts into a paste. The result has a high fat content and can be spread like true butter, but is otherwise unrelated. Nut butters include: Acorn butter; Almond butter; Cashew butter; Hazelnut butter; Macadamia nut butter; Peanut butter; Pecan butter; Pistachio butter; Walnut butter. (Wikipedia)

Knowledgeably written by Carolyn Cesario and Julie Sullivan, the co-founders Portland's Ground Up Nut Butters, "Nut Butter: Over 50 Clean and Simple Recipes to Fuel a Healthy Lifestyle" is a DIY guide for those looking to make their own nut butters, as well as to incorporate more nut butter into their life in a healthy way.

After making countless nut butters over the years, from some major hits (Cinnamon Snickerdoodle was a happy accident) to some, well... odder, concoctions (don't ever make balsamic nut butter!), Julie and Carolyn share their wisdom so that even the most novice of kitche cooks can make the perfect nut butter at home, too.

All the recipes comprising "Nut Butter" are peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free -- but so delicious that you wouldn't even know it! You'll come away with the tools and know-how to make your own nut butters, as well as some helpful tips and recipes on how to use nut butters in your everyday cooking. But more than that, you'll feel less intimidated to start preparing healthy and delicious food -- food that fuels your body and makes you feel great!

Critique: Profusely illustrated and comprised of fifty palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitchen cook friendly recipes that celebrate and showcase nut butters, "Nut Butter: Over 50 Clean and Simple Recipes to Fuel a Healthy Lifestyle" is also available a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and unreservedly recommended as a unique and very special addition to personal, family, professional, and community library cookbook collections.

Spice It Up: Recipes with a Sensual Twist
LaJuan Preston
http://spiceitupcookbook.com
Rosedog Books
c/o Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
www.dorrancepublishing.com
9781645305088, $41.00, HC, 172pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Culinary expert LaJuan Preston has published "Spice It Up: Recipes with a Sensual Twist" specifically for those kitchen cooks wanting to learn how to prepare and serve a delicious dish or meal -- keeping the spice not only in their kitchens but in their relationships. With this compendium of palate pleasing and appetite satisfying dishes, now anyone can enhance the excitement by cooking and making love to their your partner both mentally and physically.

"Spice It Up: Recipes with a Sensual Twist" also includes helpful tips on cooking in and out of the kitchen and enable even the most novice of kitchen cooks to put and keep chemistry and spice in a relationship.

Critique: Featuring occasional full color photographs of finished dishes, and with thoroughly 'user friendly' recipes ranging from drinks like Eggnog and Slow Screw, to appetizers like Spicy Warm Nuts and Crab Cakes, to dishes like Steak and Spinach Salad, Turkey Soup, and Vegetarian Chili, to a Sweet Potato Casserole and Stuffed Turkey Burgers, to desserts like Carrot Cake and a Cream Cheese Pound Cake, "Spice It Up: Recipes with a Sensual Twist" is a pleasure to plan menus with. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections, it should be noted that "Spice It Up: Recipes with a Sensual Twist" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480988149, $33.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.89).


The Philosophy Shelf

Mister Rogers and Philosophy
Eric J. Mohr & Holly K. Mohr, editors
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
www.opencourtbooks.com
9780812694772, $19.99, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, (a television show which began as The Children's Corner in 1953 and terminated in 2001), left its mark on a generation of America children that still resonates to this day.

The show's message of kindness, simplicity, and individual uniqueness made Rogers a beloved personality, while also provoking some criticism because, by arguing that everyone was special without having to do anything to earn it, the show supposedly created an entitled generation.

Collaborative compiled and co-edited by Erick and Holly Moher,"Mister Rogers and Philosophy", is a compendium of articles in which thirty philosophers give their very different takes on the Neighborhood phenomenon.

Critique: An inherently thoughtful and thought-provoking body of contributions by an impressive diversity of contributors, "Mister Rogers and Philosophy" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for community, college, and university library 20th Century American Popular Culture & Philosophy 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 "Mister Rogers and Philosophy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).


The Business Shelf

Love is Just Damn Good Business
Steve Farber
McGraw Hill Education
c/o McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020
www.mhprofessional.com
9781260441222, $26.00, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The underlying message of Steve Farber's "Love is Just Damn Good Business" is that it is time to toss aside the touchy-feely notions of love in business and acknowledge the real power that it holds. Love is not only appropriate in the context of business, it's the foundation of great leadership. To put it bluntly: love is just damn good business. That's the simple but profound truth that leadership consultant Farber has discovered in his extensive work with Fortune 100 companies and other successful businesses.

"Love is Just Damn Good Business" showcases a game-changing approach to love as a practical business strategy will help you to: Identify your passions (and share them with others); Create a culture of love at work (and spark innovation, productivity, and joy); Serve your customers, so they love how you treat them (and have them coming back for more); Invest time in making personal connections (that are mutually rewarding); Focus on serving the needs of others (they're going to love it!); Do what you love (and make it your business, so others love it, too!).

The proven principles you'll find in "Love is Just Damn Good Business" will help you lay the groundwork for a thriving, competitive enterprise. When love is part of your organization's framework and operationalized in its culture, employees and customers feel genuinely valued. Employees who are passionate about the work that they do are more loyal, innovative, creative, and inspired, and that translates to great customer experience. They don't serve others out of obligation, but because of a genuine desire to improve people's lives. And when customers reciprocate by loving your products, your services, and your people, that's when something great happens. That's when you get loyalty. That's when you get raving fans. It's a refreshingly human way of doing business.

In addition to Farber's field-tested strategies, "Love is Just Damn Good Business" provides inspiring and illustrative case studies from a wide range of industries and leaders, revealing self-assessment quizzes, and practical pointers on how to build a corporate culture based on love, the ultimate competitive advantage. At the end of the day, it's just damn good business!

Critique: Exceptionally well written, deftly organized and presented, insightful and inspiring, "Love Is Just Damn Good Business: Do What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, corporate, college and university library Business Management collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, academia, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Love Is Just Damn Good Business" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Steve Farber is the president of Extreme Leadership, Inc., the founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, a sought-after speaker and consultant, and the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. The Radical Leap is considered a classic in the leadership field. It received Fast Company's Readers' Choice Award and was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time in the book of the same name by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten. The Radical Edge was hailed as "a playbook for harnessing the power of the human spirit." And Greater Than Yourself was a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.

The Chocolatiers Primer
A. K. Crump
TCB Cafe Publishing
http://cafepublisher.com
www.tastetv.com
9780991120895, $19.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Chocolatier's Primer: A Roundtable of Chocolatiers answer Creative, Product, Brand and Business Defining Questions" was specifically written for entrepreneurs who are interested in chocolate and confections as a small business.

There are many how-to books on starting an enterprise, but often the best advice comes directly from those with actual experience. Thus came the idea for "The Chocolatiers Primer" as an instructional guide, manual and "primer". Why not ask chocolatiers firsthand what they have experienced and what they recommend? With this concept in mind, a set of key questions was composed and proposed to interesting artisans from around the world with experience in both the business and creative sides of chocolate.

Their answers on creativity, product, branding and business are very frank and often personal, and written in a journal or diary style. The information in the resulting primer will prove to be invaluable for the aspiring chocolatier!

Critique: Comprehensive, exceptionally informative, expertly organized and presented, "The Chocolatier's Primer: A Roundtable of Chocolatiers answer Creative, Product, Brand and Business Defining Questions" must be considered essential reading for anyone considering a career or business in the chocolate business -- and is unreservedly recommended for both college and university library Business & Entrepreneurship collections and supplemental studies lists.


The Audiobook Shelf

Toil & Trouble: A Memoir
Augusten Burroughs
Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250240149, $26.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For as long as Augusten Burroughs could remember, he knew things he shouldn't have known. He manifested things that shouldn't have come to pass. And he told exactly no one about this, save one person: his mother.

His mother reassured him that it was all perfectly normal, that he was descended from a long line of witches, going back to the days of the early American colonies. And that this family tree was filled with witches. It was a bond that he and his mother shared -- until the day she left him in the care of her psychiatrist to be raised in his family.

After that, Augusten was on his own. On his own to navigate the world of this tricky power; on his own to either use or misuse this gift.

"Toil & Trouble" is a chronicle of one man's journey to understand himself, to reconcile the powers he can wield with things with which he is helpless. Especially when there are very few things that are coincidences! Ghosts are real, trees can want to kill you, beavers are the spawn of Satan, houses are alive, but in the end, love is the most powerful magic of all.

Critique: A wonderfully entertaining and deftly scripted memoir that is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections, "Toil & Trouble: A Memoir" by Augusten Burroughs is fully brought to life in a complete and unabridged 'theatre of the mind' audio book experience by the narrative team of Augusten Burroughs, Anne Bobby, Robin Miles, and Gabra Zackman. (10 CDs, 12 Hours).

Black Nowhere
Reece Hirsch, author
Performed by Emily Sutton-Smith
Brilliance Corporation
PO Box 887, Grand Haven, MI 49417
www.brillianceaudio.com
9781721384105 $34.99 reecehirsch.com

Synopsis: Special Agent Lisa Tanchik is the best at taking down cybercriminals. So when the FBI discovers a multibillion-dollar black market online, she's tasked with finding the creator and bringing him to justice. Donning one of her many digital disguises, Tanchik goes undercover into the network.

Brilliant college student Nate Fallon started his site as an idealistic experiment. But his platform has made illegal trade not only more efficient - but also more dangerous. Now the FBI aren't the only ones out to get him. As profits soar, a criminal organization casts its monstrous gaze on Fallon, and danger leaps from cyberspace into reality.

Feeling pressure from both sides of the law, Fallon is forced to make a decision with shattering consequences. Can Agent Tanchik find Fallon before his dangerous infrastructure falls into the wrong hands?

Critique: Black Nowhere is the unabridged audiobook rendition of a cybercrime thriller, revolving around one agent's role in uncovering an online black market and its naive genius creator. A booming underground market means money, which in turn attracts violent criminals! Adeptly performed by Emily Sutton-Smith, Black Nowhere is a tautly written, masterful work of modern-day suspense, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. 7 CDs, 8 hours 37 min.

Ninth House
Leigh Bardugo
Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250238061, $44.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living!

Critique: All the more impressive when considering "Ninth House" was author Leigh Bardugo's debut as a novelist, this superbly produced, complete and unabridged audio book edition is ably narrated by the team of Lauren Fortgang and Michael David Axtell. The result is a complete and thoroughly entertaining 'theatre of the mind' experience. "Ninth House" is an especially and reservedly recommended addition to personal and community library audio book collections. (13 CDs, 13 Hours).

Old Bones
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, authors
Read by Cynthia Farrell
Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.HachetteAudio.com
9781549142246 $40.00 amazon.com

Synopsis: Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called "Lost Camp" of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder-and cannibalism.

Benton tells Kelly he has stumbled upon an amazing find: the long-sought diary of one of the victims, which has an enigmatic description of the Lost Camp. Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate it-to reveal its long-buried secrets.

Once in the mountains, however, they learn that discovering the camp is only the first step in a mounting journey of fear. For as they uncover old bones, they expose the real truth of what happened, one that is far more shocking and bizarre than mere cannibalism. And when those ancient horrors lead to present-day violence on a grand scale, rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned the case...only to find that her first investigation might very well be her last.

Critique: Now available as an unabridged audiobook on CD, Old Bones is a suspenseful mystery- thriller with its roots in a horrifying true event in American History. In 1846-47, the Donner Party, a pioneer group, became trapped in the snowbound California mountains. The group succumbed to starvation, with survivors resorting to cannibalism. In Old Bones, curator Nora Kelly and historian Clive Benton follow clues to a shocking revelation far worse than historical records ever claimed, and a monstrous, violent threat menacing potential victims in the present day! Intense, gripping, and masterfully performed by Cynthia Farrell, Old Bones is highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. 9 CDs, 11 hours.


The Music CD Shelf

Becoming Tomorrow
Jarred Walker
jarredwalker.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Contemporary instrumental pianist-synthesist Jarred Walker presents his debut album Becoming Tomorrow, a lively showcase of acoustic piano supported by instrumentation from bass, drums, percussion, strings, electric piano, cymbals, clarinet, tambourine and more. A lively, masterfully crafted new-age treat, Becoming Tomorrow speaks to pursuing one's dreams with full steam ahead. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Something New", "Along for the Ride", "Dream of the Firefly", "Fill the Stars", "Steam Horse", "This Time", "Turning Point", "Looking Back", "Around the Block", and "End of the Line".

Promise
FLOW
flowthegroup.com
LMB Music
$13.98 CD amazon.com

Award-winning, four-piece ensemble group FLOW presents Promise, their sophomore album of contemporary New Age music. Featuring guitar, piano, flugelhorn, ukulele, percussion, and vocalizations, Promise is a crisp, uplifting current, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are "promise", "something on tuesday", "adrift at sea", "all these years", "last light", "fresh air", "nightfall", "blue umbrella", "chasing secrets" and "memoire du dome".

HaitiaNola
Lakou Mizik
www.lakoumizik.com
Cumbancha
www.cumbancha.com
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Haitian roots revival group Lakou Mizik combine their talents with an extraordinary list of guest artists from the New Orleans music scene in HaitiaNola, an original album created during recording sessions in both New Orleans and Haiti. Haiti and New Orleans have an intertwined history and culture for over 200 years; HaitiaNola blends the best of both worlds into a lively, joyous soundscape. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Renmen", "Pistach Griye", "La Fanmi", "Kay Granpa", "Loumandja", "Lakou Dogwe", "Azaka Vini We'n", "Iko Kreyol", "Sa Na Kenbe", "Rasanbleman", "Grann", "Manman Lavi", "Bouyon Lakou", and "Mizik Sa Yo".


The DVD Shelf

The Truth Will Out
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$39.99 www.acornonline.com

Inspired by true events, and from the producers of the psychological thriller "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", The Truth Will Out is a top-rated Swedish police drama about a detective who forms a team to reopen unsolved murder cases, including a the possible work of a serial killer. Eight masterfully crafted episodes (performed in Swedish with English subtitles) weave intrigue, a dark sense of humor, and desperation into an enthralling series, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted that The Truth Will Out is intended expressly for mature viewers, due to the presence of violence, sexual situations, and disturbing images. 8 episodes on 2 DVDs, 356 min., SDH subtitles.


The Activity Shelf

Number Sense and Nonsense, second edition
Claudia Zaslavsky
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9781641602457, $14.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In this newly updated second edition, "Number Sense and Nonsense: Games, Puzzles, and Problems for Building Creative Math Confidence" continues to be a reliable compendium of more than 80 games and activities specifically designed to help kids ages 9-12 to go beyond just memorizing rules. Instead, they will learn to think critically about math and how numbers work.

Group and individual games teach fun, useful ways to manipulate odd and even numbers, prime and composite numbers, common and decimal fractions, and factors, divisors and multiples of numbers. Counting, calculating and writing numbers in languages from other cultures, such as China and Egypt, provide more understanding of basic math systems. Riddles, puzzles, number tricks and calculator games are fun ways to boost estimating and computation skills for every math student.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, this newly published second edition of "Number Sense and Nonsense: Games, Puzzles, and Problems for Building Creative Math Confidence" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for home-schooling parents, elementary and middle school math class curriculum supplements, and community library collections.


The Crafts Shelf

Sugarcraft Flowers
Marilyn Hill
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945213, $22.95, PB, 152pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Sugarcraft Flowers: The Art of Creating Beautiful Floral Embellishments" by Marilyn Hill is a profusely illustrated DIY instructional for anyone wanting to learn how to make exquisite, lifelike sugarcraft floral displays for showstopper cakes that are perfect for special occasions.

"Sugarcraft Flowers" provides: Detailed step-by-step instructions for 11 types of flowers, including honeysuckle, foxglove, wild rose, gladioli and clematis, and for five types of foliage, including variegated ivy, viburnum and Aquilegia seed heads; Comprehensive instructions for each project accompanied by clear, close-up photographs, making them easy even for complete beginners to follow; Simple-to-use templates at the back of the book. Once having mastered the different flowers and foliage the aspiring sugar flower maker is shown how to assemble them into stunning floral displays.

Critique: An expertly organized and step-by-step guide to sugarcraft flowermaking that is especially recommended for personal, professional, and community library crafts & hobbies collections, "Sugarcraft Flowers" will prove to be a helpful and thoroughly 'user friendly' guide to the basic tools, materials and techniques required to impress friends and family at the next celebration.

Editorial Note: Marilyn Hill is an Honorary Member, Past President and Past Chairman of the British Sugarcraft Guild. She is also a judge and an accredited demonstrator for the Guild. Marilyn has been making sugar flowers for over 30 years, ever since the first cutters for flowers and leaves became available in the UK. She enjoys being able to pass her skills onto others by teaching in sugarcraft flower-making classes, workshops. "Sugarcraft Flowers" is her first book.

Miniature Cake Creations
Maive Ferrando
GMC Publications
c/o The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945374, $24.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Miniature Cake Creations" by Maive Ferrando is a fully and profusely illustrated compendium of delicious confections, that if real, would will satisfy any appetite for culinary creativity as well as an appreciation of sugary things. There are 30 scrumptious polymer clay projects to choose from, so even the most novice of hobbyists and crafting enthusiasts can enjoy all their favorite cakes in calorie-free miniature polymer clay perfection.

The projects in Miniature Cake Creations have clear step-by-step instructions, beautifully photography of what's to be made, and an extensive techniques section clearly and systematically laying out everything needed in order to successfully embark on these intricate polymer clay based bakery themed arts and crafts projects

Critique: Unique, thoroughly 'user friendly', and unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Crafts & Hobbies collections, "Miniature Cake Creations: 30 Polymer Clay Miniatures" will prove to be an enduringly popular acquisition.


The Woodworking Shelf

Creating Wooden Jewelry
Sarah King
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781497100015, $19.99, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Creating Wooden Jewelry" by Sarah King is first-ever, step-by-step comprehensive guide to creating wooden jewelry teaches woodworking skills through a series of 24 techniques for creating beautiful, accessible projects as Sarah King shows any jewelry maker how to expand their range of techniques and combine wood with other media, from silver to silicon to create memorable pieces of decorative jewelry with wood!

Staring with basic techniques and moving on to advanced, aspiring woodworking jewelry makers will learn skills that include jointing, turning, steaming, polishing, staining, painting, beveling, inlaying, and working with different woods. The 14 showcased projects with their step-by-step instructions and photography teach how to shape, connect, and treat wood, as well as other processes like electroforming and ebonizing.

Creating Wooden Jewelry is especially and specifically for those woodworkers who want to extend their practice to jewelry, as well as those who want to learn woodworking skills, but find furniture too intimidating or too large, and want an alternative to smaller projects like bowls and boxes.

Critique: Profusely and effectively illustrated throughout, "Creating Wooden Jewelry: 24 Skill-Building Projects and Techniques" is a unique, thoroughly 'user friendly', and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and school woodworking shop instructional woodworking reference collections.

Woodland Whittling
Peter Benson
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945091, $14.95, HC, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When the stresses of modern life get too much, what could be better than gathering a few simple tools, heading into the woods and literally whittling away a few hours? The gentle art of whittling is a relaxing and absorbing hobby that can be enjoyed almost anywhere from round the campfire to in a cozy armchair at home. All you need is a good pocket knife, a piece of wood and your imagination.

Peter Benson set up the Essex School of Woodcarving in 1996. He is often traveling and runs many workshops overseas as well as judging competitions around the world. He also writes regularly for woodcarving journals. Peter's passion is centered on carving miniature objects, especially the carving of netsuke -- which he has written a book on and has also been published by GMC.

In Benson's newest whittling DIY book, "Woodland Whittling", the projects range from the delightfully simple to impressively intricate, and include a letter opener, a thumb stick, a ring tree an egg cup, and more!

"Woodland Whittling" guides the whittling enthusiast through the basics, explaining what equipment is needed, how to hold the knife, and what timber to use. The projects are then all described in detail with clear step-by-step photographs.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Woodland Whittling" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Crafts & Hobbies collections.


The American History Shelf

Bold Women in Nevada History
Kay Moore
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
www.mountain-press.com
9780878426959, $14.00, PB, 212pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Alice Lucretia Smith, who was a descendent of slaves and became a civil rights activist in Reno, once said, "Let's not throw our lives away. Let's do something constructive. I always feel like I want to climb up a little bit, and maybe I can take someone with me."

The eighth installment of Mountain Press' state-by-state series for teen readers, "Bold Women in Nevada" history reveals what women can accomplish when they dare to be bold.

The boom-and-bust cycles driven by Nevada's mining industry and the state's liberal stance on divorce at the turn of the century allowed women of various backgrounds to break out of traditional gender roles. Divorcees did not always remarry, and widows took charge of their husband's holdings and became landowners or started prospecting to help pay the bills. Young women not only taught in schools -- they started their own.

From Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, a Paiute who worked as an interpreter, to Mary Fulstone, a rural doctor who traveled through heat, snow, and mud to deliver more than 4,000 babies during her career, to Felice Cohn, who became the fourth female attorney to practice law before the US Supreme Court, the fourteen women featured in "Bold Women in Nevada History" by Kay Moore broke down barriers of sexism, racism, and political oppression to emerge as heroines of their own time.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Bold Women in Nevada History" is an outstanding compendium showcasing succinct biographies of women who made an significant and enduring impact upon Nevada state history. An inherently fascinating and impressively informative biographically based showcase of the contributions women were able to make, "Bold Women in Nevada History" is especially recommended for family, highschool, and community library American History collections in general, and Nevada History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Williams' Gang
Jeff Forret
Cambridge University Press
One Liberty Plaza, Fl. 20, New York, NY 10006
www.cambridge.org
9781108493031, $29.95, PB, 450pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: William H. Williams operated a slave pen in Washington, DC, known as the Yellow House, and actively trafficked in enslaved men, women, and children for more than twenty years. His slave trading activities took an extraordinary turn in 1840 when he purchased twenty-seven enslaved convicts from the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond with the understanding that he could carry them outside of the United States for sale.

When Williams conveyed his captives illegally into New Orleans, allegedly while en route to the foreign country of Texas, he prompted a series of courtroom dramas that would last for almost three decades. Based on court records, newspapers, governors' files, slave manifests, slave narratives, travelers' accounts, and penitentiary data, "Williams' Gang: A Notorious Slave Trader and his Cargo of Black Convicts" by Jeff Forret (Professor of History, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas) examines slave criminality, the coastwise domestic slave trade, and southern jurisprudence as it supplies a compelling portrait of the economy, society, and politics of the Old South.

Synopsis: An inherently fascinating, impressively researched and documented, deftly crafted work of seminal scholarship, "Williams' Gang: A Notorious Slave Trader and his Cargo of Black Convicts" is an extraordinary contribution to personal, community, and academic library 19th Century American History collections in general, and Antebellum Slave Trade supplemental studies reading lists in particular.


The Civil War Shelf

The Hardest Lot of Men
Joseph C. Fitzharris
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
www.oupress.com
9780806164014, $34.95, HC, 338pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Outstanding in appearance, discipline, and precision at drill, the Third Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was often mistaken for a regular army unit. Rebel Colonel Ponder described the regiment as "the hardest lot of men he'd ever run against." Betrayed by its higher commanders, the Third Minnesota was surrendered to Nathan Bedford Forrest on July 13, 1862, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Through letters, personal accounts of the men, and other sources, author Joseph C. Fitzharris (Professor Emeritus of History at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota) recounts how the Minnesotans, prisoners of war, broken in spirit and morale, went home and found redemption and renewed purpose fighting the Dakota Indians.

They were then sent south to fight guerrillas along the Tennessee River. In the process, the regiment was forged anew as a superbly drilled and disciplined unit that participated in the siege of Vicksburg and in the Arkansas Expedition that took Little Rock.

At Pine Bluff, Arkansas, sickness so reduced its numbers that the Third was twice unable to muster enough men to bury its own dead, but the men never wavered in battle. In both Tennessee and Arkansas, the Minnesotans actively supported the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) and provided many officers for USCT units.

"The Hardest Lot of Men" follows the Third through occupation to war's end, when the returning men, deeming the citizens of St. Paul insufficiently appreciative, spurned a celebration in their honor. In this first full account of the regiment, Professor Fitzharris brings to light the true story long obscured by the official histories illustrating aspects of a nineteenth-century soldier's life (enlisted and commissioned alike) from recruitment and training to the rigors of active duty. "The Hardest Lot of Men" gives us an authentic picture of the Third Minnesota, at once both singular and representative of its historical moment.

Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a twenty-two page Bibliography, fifty pages of Notes, and a sixteen page Index, "The Hardest Lot of Men: The Third Minnesota Infantry in the Civil War" is an inherently fascinating, impressively documented and informative history that is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for both community and academic library American Civil War History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and civil war buffs that "The Hardest Lot of Men" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.95).


The Automotive Shelf

GQ Drives
Paul Henderson
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781784725990, $29.99, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The GQ magazine is synonymous with style -- and from its pages comes "GQ Drives: A Stylish Guide to the Greatest Cars Ever Made", the ultimate guide to the greatest cars the world has ever seen.

With imagery from the world's greatest car photographers, plus British GQ's knowledgeable in-depth reports, the cars showcases in "GQ Drives" represent the pinnacle of driving style and performance.

From classics of the 1950s to the very latest machines, featuring sultry Italian supercars, classic British engineering, pure American muscle and much more besides, "GQ Drives" is an indispensable handbook of automotive excellence.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout with full color photography, "GQ Drives: A Stylish Guide to the Greatest Cars Ever Made" is an extraordinary and impressively informative volume to browse through. While unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Automotive History collections, it should be noted that "GQ Drives: A Stylish Guide to the Greatest Cars Ever Made" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).


The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Cure That Works
Sean Masaki Flynn
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
www.regnery.com
9781621579533, $28.99, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The modern health care crisis in the United States is the rising costs of health care and the inability of so many of our citizens who cannot afford health insurance or pay of the medicines and medical services they need. While this is common knowledge and the subject of our on-going political discourse, what's fairly unknown by the public at large is that we as a nation already know what the political, social, cultural, and economic remedy for this problem is.

Whole Foods Markets, the State of Indiana, and innovators around the world have used forgotten American ideas to slash healthcare costs by 75 percent while simultaneously delivering true universal access, coverage for preexisting conditions, and an ironclad safety net.

In "The Cure That Works: How to Have the World's Best Healthcare -- at a Quarter of the Price", Sean Flynn (the author of "Economics for Dummies") deftly explains that simple things like price tags, competition, and plentiful health savings contributions, that will dramatically decrease costs while granting every American equal access to what is arguably the world's best healthcare services.

Critique: Impressively informed and informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Cure That Works: How to Have the World's Best Healthcare -- at a Quarter of the Price" is an extraordinary and critically important contribution to our present political and economic discourse on what would be an effective and 'real world practical' approach to providing every American citizen with the health care services they require. While unreservedly recommended and fully endorsed for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Health Care Issues collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, social activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Cure That Works" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Authentic Health
Gus Vickery, M.D.
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781683506539, $17.95, PB, 282pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Authentic Health: The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight, Feeling Better, Mastering Stress, Sleeping Well Every Night, and Enjoying a Sense of Purpose" by Dr. Gus Vickery is a comprehensive guide to reclaiming health for the millions of Americans plagued by painful chronic conditions including obesity, depression, diabetes, and insomnia.

Offering a straightforward, easy-to-use roadmap, Dr. Vickery deftly lays out a comprehensive program for addressing painful chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, depression, persistent headaches, and difficulty sleeping. From nutrition and physical activity to lesser-known, but powerfully effective, techniques for managing stress, sleeping well, and cultivating a sense of purpose, Dr. Vickery offers a powerful manifesto for claiming the good health that's within you.

Critique: Exceptionally and impressively well organized and presented, "Authentic Health" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary Health & Medicine collections. Extraordinarily informative and ideal for the non- specialist general readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Authentic Health" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Dr. Gus Vickery is a board-certified family doctor with extensive experience in helping individuals manage their health. He participates in teaching both family medicine residents and medical students from UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University. Dr. Vickery has served as president of the Western Carolina Medical Society and as chairperson for Moving Healthcare Upstream, an initiative of The Development Council. Dr. Vickery is the medical director for The Clinic at Biltmore, a nationally recognized innovative direct to employer health care model and personally produced a nutritional curriculum to help his patients lose weight and reverse obesity related chronic diseases, which was used for The Biltmore Company's Healthstyles program successfully. Dr. Vickery currently resides and practices in Asheville, North Carolina.

How To Be Well When You're Not
Ariane Resnick, CNC
The Countryman Press
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.countrymanpress.com
9781682683460, $21.95, PB, 216pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ariane Resnick spent half a decade being seriously sick. Upon returning to health, she resolved to help others do the same. "How to Be Well When You're Not: Practices and Recipes to Maximize health in Illness" is a detailed guide to facilitating the healing capabilities of your body. It's all about the wellness mindset -- the belief that you can feel better. When you believe you have the power to recover, you feel less stressed. You experience a sense of hope. You operate from a vantage point that your entire life cannot be summed up by your illness, that there is far more to you. And, according to research, your chances of recovery increase.

"How To Be Well When You're Not" is a comprehensive and basic guide for anyone who would like a boost in attitude and well-being. Whether having to deal with a chronic illness, an occasional discomfort, or simply feeling the effects of aging, In "How To Be Well When You're Not" Resnick provides emotional coping strategies, writing exercises, physical practices, and soothing, restorative recipes to help you thrive. These are the tools to find hope and happiness despite physical challenges.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "How To Be Well When You're Not" is an especially recommended and life-enhancing read that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Health & Medicine collections. It should be noted that "How To Be Well When You're Not" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974973651, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef and certified nutritionist whose private chef clientele has included an array of celebrities. Ariane writes books and articles, and consults for individuals, brands, and chefs on nutrition, recipes, and wellness. She has been featured in media such as Forbes, CBS' The Doctors, ABC News, HuffPost, Cosmopolitan, MindBodyGreen, and ELLE.


The Wine Shelf

Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine 2020
Hugh Johnson
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781784726126, $16.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2020" is the essential reference book for everyone who buys wine whether in a shop, at a restaurant, or on the internet. Now in its 43rd year of publication, it simply has no credible rival as the comprehensive, most up-to-the-minute annual guide.

Hugh Johnson provides clear succinct facts and commentary on the wines, growers and wine regions of the whole world. He reveals which vintages to buy, which to drink and which to cellar, which growers to look for and why. "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2020" gives clear information on grape varieties, local specialities and how to match food with wines that will bring out the best in both.

Of special note is that edition of "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2020" includes a color supplement on 'Wine Flavor: How, What, Why?'

Critique: Comprehensive, reliable, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine 2020" is unreservedly endorsed and recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections. It should be noted that "Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine 2020" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).


The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

The Other Russian Dolls
Linda Holderbaum
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357817, $39.99, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Linda Holderbaum is a museum professional who has authored articles for national doll magazines and has been a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs for nearly four decades. Russian dolls are her area of special research interest and in "The Other Russian Dolls: Antique Bisque to 1980s Plastic" she brings to bear her years of experience and expertise to focus on these history-rich ethnic dolls.

"The Other Russian Dolls" is the only comprehensive resource available to collectors and Russian Doll enthusiasts. For those who collect, deal in, or appraise dolls from the 1920s to the 1980s, "The Other Russian Dolls" is a compendium of essential tips on identification; offers helpful resource documents such as rare postcards, advertising, and press photos; and features over 800 photos of Russian dolls dressed in costumes representing Russian historical periods, as well as those featuring various ethnic cultures.

"The Other Russian Dolls" begins in the 1920s with antique dolls of bisque and cloth stockinette, then travels into the 1930s and 1940s for the composition dolls, and moves on to the 1960s through the 1980s, when the USSR was showcasing its fifteen republics with dolls of plastic. "The Other Russian Dolls" also covers dolls representing various folklore characters, as well as the popular Russian tea cozy dolls.

Critique: A beautifully and profusely illustrated volume supported by informative identification commentaries, "The Other Russian Dolls: Antique Bisque to 1980s Plastic" will prove to be a unique and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community and academic Antiques/Collectibles collections, and is an essential and impressively informational resource for anyone collecting and/or dealing with them.


The Travel Shelf

Waterfalls of the White Mountains
Bruce Bolnick, Kyle van der Laan, Daniel Bolnick
The Countryman Press
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.countrymanpress.com
9781682683156, $21.95, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The White Mountains of New Hampshire are home to many gushing, cascading, beautiful waterfalls waiting to be discovered by the intrepid traveler.

Now in a completely revised and updated third edition "Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes To 100 Waterfalls" deftly outlines hiking trails ideal for observing the more than 100 waterfalls in the region -- and requires no matter experience level or ability on the part of the visitor.

Each hike opens with the trail at a glance overview that includes the distance, difficulty, altitude gain, and directions to the starting point. Helpful tips and suggestions are offered throughout, like the best times of year for each hike, best vantage points for viewing the falls, great swimming holes for cooling down, and uncrowded scenic treasures that are perfect for a woodland picnic.

Also featuring labeled maps and fascinating short essays on local history and lore, "Waterfalls of the White Mountains" guides readers through their next excursion to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Critique: Enhanced for the traveler with the inclusion of ten maps and fifty color photographs, this newly revised and updated third edition of "Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes To 100 Waterfalls" is unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Travel Guide collections. An ideal resource for planning day trips or weekend vacation activities, it should be noted that "Waterfalls of the White Mountains" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Self-Help Shelf

Own Your Weird
Jason Zook
wanderingaimfully.com
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762467174, $24.00, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Creative entrepreneur Jason Zook (wanderingaimfully.com) certainly walks the walk of "owning his weird". He's had some crazy yet successful schemes. He's made over a million dollars by having more than 1,600 companies pay him to wear their t-shirt (a project called I Wear Your Shirt). Later he auctioned off his last name twice, for $50K each time. He then self-published his first book "Creativity for Sale" by nabbing sponsors and generating $75K in revenue.

Now in "Own Your Weird: An Oddly Effective Way for Finding Happiness in Work, Life, and Love", Jason showcases more ideas and insights for other potential "out of the box" thinkers who dream not only of doing work on their own terms, but also creating a meaningful life.

Consider Jason as a kind of spirit guide offering strategies for honing in on what makes you weird, recognizing when feedback is just another form of procrastination, and how to stop with social media already. There's a specific set of strategies and exercises that can help you prioritize your life over your business, by identifying your MMM (Minimum Monthly Magic) number.

Jason also offers examples from his own life (how he got out of $124K worth of debt, escaped the pressure to have a big wedding, and has thrived on social media by primarily ignoring it).

"Own Your Weird" is the permission slip you need to take that big risk. To finally chase down that big idea. And to let go of "supposed to" thoughts. See how life opens up when you break out of the blueprint.

Critique: Unique, iconoclastic, thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring, "Own Your Weird: An Oddly Effective Way for Finding Happiness in Work, Life, and Love" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Own Your Weird" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781549101366, $35.00, CD).


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design