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

Internet Bookwatch

Volume 34, Number 6 June 2024 Home | IBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Environmental Studies Shelf Parenting Shelf Cookbook Shelf
American History Shelf World History Shelf Military History Shelf
Civil War Shelf Art Shelf Biography Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf
Romantic Fiction Shelf Western Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Poetry Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Library CD Shelf Library DVD Shelf Relationship Shelf
Architecture Shelf Political Science Shelf Economic Studies Shelf
Business Shelf International Studies Shelf Archaeology Shelf
Wildlife Shelf Music Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Computer Shelf Egyptology Shelf Language Studies Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Interior Design Shelf Travel Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf
Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Psychology Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf    


Reviewer's Choice

The Editor
Sara B. Franklin
Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
www.simonandschuster.com
9781982134341, $29.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Editor-Publishing-Legend-Culture-America/dp/1982134348

Synopsis: When she was twenty-five years old, Judith Jones began working as a secretary at Doubleday's Paris office in 1949, she spent most of her time wading through manuscripts in the slush pile and passing on projects -- until one day, a book caught her eye. She read it in one sitting, then begged her boss to consider publishing it. A year later, "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" became a bestseller. It was the start of her culture-defining career in publishing.

During her more than fifty years as an editor at Knopf, Jones nurtured the careers of literary icons such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Tyler, and John Updike, and helped launched new genres and trends in literature. At the forefront of the cookbook revolution, she published the who's who of food writing: Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, James Beard, and, most famously, Julia Child. Through her quiet and tenacious work behind the scenes, Jones helped turn these authors into household names, changing cultural mores and expectations along the way.

Judith's work spanned decades of America's most dramatic cultural change ranging from the end of World War II through the Cold War, from the civil rights movement to the fight for women's equality -- and the books she published acted as tools of quiet resistance.

Now, her astonishing career in publishing is explored for the first time in "The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America" by Professor Sara B. Franklin. Based on exclusive interviews, never-before-seen personal papers, and years of research, "The Editor" tells the riveting behind-the-scenes narrative of how stories are made -- and how Judith Jones used them to influence American popular culture.

Critique: "The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America" from Atria Press is a brilliant biography that will be of very special interest to authors, publishers, academia and bibliophiles with an interest in the history of the publishing industry as manifested in the lives and work of significant individuals who were employed in the process of publishing -- often without notice by the general public. An inherently fascinating and well crafted read from start to finish, "The Editor" by Professor Sara B. Franklin is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library American Women's Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Editor" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797179384, $39.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Sara B. Franklin (www.sarabfranklin.com) is a writer and professor at New York University's Gallatin School for Individualized Study, where she teaches courses on food, oral history, embodied culture, and non-fiction writing. She has written for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Literary Hub, The Nation, and Travel & Leisure. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart
Barbara Allen
Broadleaf Books
www.broadleafbooks.com
9781506493565, $22.99, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Heart-Shared-Healing-Navigating/dp/1506493564

Synopsis: Deftly written by Barbara Allen, creator of a groundbreaking chaplaincy program in the largest animal hospital in the southern hemisphere, "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart: Navigating the Loss of Your Pet" acknowledges the deep pain that pet loss causes their human companions and offers gentle guidance on how to navigate this difficult time.

Grounded in practical advice and research that pet owners can draw on for real help for their broken hearts, "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart" offers strategies for honoring loss and our own grieving process. We will also see that we are not alone in our grief and how we process it as Allen introduces us to famous people and their pets and explores how pets have been memorialized in various cultures, including through prayers, funeral and burial services, condolence cards, and mourning jewelry.

Inevitably, those experiencing the death of a pet will ask about the afterlife of animals. Will they meet their beloved companion again? Allen explores long-held teachings in religious traditions (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and especially her own, Christian tradition) to look for answers, comfort, and reassurance. With this holistic and useful approach, you will find the support you need for navigating your grief, meaningful ways to memorialize your beloved pet, and the spiritual and emotional care you need during this tender time.

Critique: Absolutely and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone of any age who experiences the inevitable loss of a feline or canine companion (or any other pet ranging from goldfish to turtles to rabbits and more), "Broken Heart, Shared Heart, Healing Heart: Navigating the Loss of Your Pet" is an essential addition to personal, community, and college/university library Pet Care & Loss collections.

Editorial Note: Barbara Allen helped develop Australia's first animal chaplaincy program at Lort Smith Animal Hospital. She is passionate about animals and about stewardship of all creation, and is the author of numerous books, including I Was There, Pigeon, Animals in Religion, and Pelican. Allen serves as an ordained minister in the Uniting Church in Australia (a Methodist/Presbyterian/Congregational merged church), and in a voluntary capacity as the grief support person for Story Dogs, a charity that uses dogs to help children become confident readers.

Consolidated Wisdom
Gene S. Jones
www.genejoneswisdom.com
Dreamquest Publishing
9780998324029, $24.95 Paperback/$9.99 eBook

https://www.amazon.com/CONSOLIDATED-WISDOM-ULTIMATE-QUOTATIONS-HAPPINESS/dp/0998324027

Consolidated Wisdom: The Ultimate Book of Quotations for Success, Happiness and Health gathers insights and advice from ancient to modern times, serving as a source of inspiration for those who struggle with modern challenges.

The delight of this presentation lies not only in the diversity of quotes that Gene S. Jones cultivates, but in the book's arrangement, which injects these quotes into chapters with subjects as diversely appealing as 'Business & Leadership', 'War & Peace', 'Feng Shui, Health & Harmony' and 'Observing Human Nature.' This organization allows for a specific form of navigation on the reader's part -- one which eschews the usual placement of admonitions and advice in typical quote collections in favor of a novel approach.

Jones emphasizes the historical context of wisdom and experience, juxtaposes words from all kinds of sources and perspectives, and maintains a bigger-picture perspective on the issues confronting humanity, which have emerged over human history and remain as relevant today as they did in the past. Also notable is the extent of attribution to the authors of these quotes. Jones takes the time to succinctly note each author's background, historical era, and key contributions and influences, placing each quote within the context not only of shared themes, but the disparate writers who created them.

The result is a consideration of wisdom and ageless admonitions that should serve not just as an inspirational read, but as an example of historical and social perceptions of what constitutes success and happiness.

Libraries and book club discussion groups interested in a collection that is lively, wide-ranging, and in-depth in its presentation and interpretation of phrases and sayings will welcome Consolidated Wisdom as a standout. It's highly recommended for historical, inspirational, and psychological value and enlightenment.


The Education Shelf

50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement
Ana Marie Hernandez
Shell Education
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Shell-Education
9798765974063, $21.99, PB, 88pp

https://www.amazon.com/50-Strategies-Summer-School-Engagement/dp/B0CPTJYMHK

Synopsis: Summer school offers a unique opportunity for students to accomplish grade-level learning objectives in a more relaxed environment, often with smaller class sizes. "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" by Ana Marie Hernandez is specifically tailored to make summer learning enjoyable and engaging. Simply stated, "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" is the ultimate DIY guide to infusing your summer school sessions with creative, effective teaching strategies.

This strategy book is divided into seven main sections, each offering a diverse set of innovative approaches: Playful Practice; Hands-On Learning; Cultivating Community; Multimedia Adventures; Beyond the Classroom; Unleashing Literacy and Drama; Assessment Quick Checks.

"50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement", offers a wealth of educational ideas that can be swiftly integrated into any summer school program. Whether you are a seasoned educator or just beginning your teaching journey, "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" is designed to help you create an engaging, enriching summer school experience for your students. Get ready to transform your summer school sessions into a time of growth, exploration, and fun with this outstanding resource.

Critique: "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" is the latest addition to the highly acclaimed 50 Strategies series from Shell Education. Specifically designed to provide K-8 educators with practical, research-backed ideas to enhance the summer school experience, "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" is an especially practical and effective resource for teachers (and home schooling parents) seeking innovative and engaging approaches to summer learning for children ages 4-14. Highly recommended for school and community library educational activities collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "50 Strategies for Summer School Engagement" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.89).

Editorial Note: Ana Marie Hernandez is an experienced and accomplished educator with a strong background in various aspects of teaching and education. She has worked as a Certified K-6 educator for 14 years within the Miami Dade County Public Schools system, where she has specialized in gifted education, English as a second language (ESL) instruction, and STEAM programs. Her diverse expertise suggests a comprehensive understanding of different teaching strategies and student needs across these specialized areas. She has successfully operated a freelance education consulting firm for over 20 years. She frequently provides professional development trainings representing Teacher Created Materials for teachers in school districts all over the country in a variety of subjects. Most recently, she has joined the Primer Microschools' Team as a Microschool Leader.

The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms
Katharina Sass
Cambridge University Press
www.cambridge.org
9781009235181, $118.11, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Politics-Comprehensive-School-Reforms-Comparative/dp/1009235184

Synopsis: Why are school systems structured differently across different countries?

"The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms: Cleavages and Coalitions" by Professor Katharina Sass examines this question through an in-depth analysis of school politics in Germany and Norway during the post-war period of educational expansion.

Using a Rokkanian theoretical framework, Professor Sass argues that school politics can only be understood in light of the cleavages, or political divides, that shape actors' interests, ideologies, and inclinations for who they want to cooperate with -- or not.

"The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms" analyzes cross-cutting cleavages connected to religion, geography, language, anti-communism, and gender, and demonstrates how Norwegian social democrats and German Christian democrats built successful coalitions by mobilizing support from different social groups.

Extensively researched and expansively applicable, "The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms" contributes to the interdisciplinary literature on the politics of education, and to the field of comparative welfare and education regime research. It should be noted that "The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms" is also available Open Access on Cambridge Core.

Critique: Informative enhanced for the reader's benefit with numerous figures and tables, "The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms" is exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented. A part of the Cambridge Studies in the Comparative Politics of Education series from the Cambridge University Press, this seminal and ground-breaking study is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, college and university library International Education Studies collections and graduate school curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Politics of Comprehensive School Reforms" is also available in a paperback edition (9781009235198, $34.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.49).

Editorial Note: Katharina Sass is the Associate Professor of Sociology and Didactics at the University of Bergen.

Teaching Reading Across the Day, Grades K-8
Jennifer Serravallo
www.jenniferserravallo.com
Corwin Press, Inc.
www.corwinpress.com
9781071924600, $37.95, PB, 344pp

https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Reading-Across-Day-Grades/dp/1071924605

Synopsis: With the publication of "Teaching Reading Across the Day", by literacy expert Jennifer Serravallo, classroom teachers are provided with nine effective, predictable, research-based lesson structures that help them to save planning time and focus their teaching (and student attention) -- on content rather than procedures.

Each of the nine lesson structures (read aloud, phonics and spelling, vocabulary, focus, shared reading, close reading, guided inquiry, reader's theater, and conversation) has its own chapter and features a wealth of resources that let you see the lessons in action in ELA, Science, and Social Studies classes, including: An annotated teaching vignette, lesson explanation, and research notes; Tips for planning, structure and timing suggestions, and ideas for responsive teaching; Detailed planning templates and 22 accompanying online videos covering over 3 hours of classroom footage; Reflections, key look-fors, and ideas for next steps

The nine lesson structures can be used with any curriculum or core program, text, and subject, making it easier for teachers to maximize explicit and engaging teaching time across the day, and simplify planning and preparation.

"Teaching Reading Across The Day" also incorporates a wide range of compelling research about how best to teach reading to every student in your class and translates the research (or the science of teaching reading) into high-leverage moves you can count on to deliver powerful lessons again and again. An experienced instructor, Jennifer Serravallo also honors the art of teaching reading, helping teachers tap into their experience and hone their expertise to make quick, effective classroom decisions that take student learning to the next level.

Critique: This large format (7.95 x 0.79 x 9.92 inches, 1.74 pounds) paperback edition of "Teaching Reading Across the Day, Grades K-8: Methods and Structures for Engaging, Explicit Instruction" from Corwin Press is an especially recommended addition to professional, school district in-service workshop, and college/university library Teacher Education, Language Arts, and Phonics collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Jennifer Serravallo is an award-winning educator, a literacy consultant, a frequently invited speaker at state and national conferences, and a former member of the Parents Magazine editorial board. Jen is best known for creating books (including The Reading Strategies Book 2.0) and resources rooted in research that help make responsive, strategic, differentiated literacy instruction possible for all educators. Jen's books are used around the world and several have been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian. In 2023, she launched her podcast To the Classroom: Conversations with Researchers and Educators.

Jen holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Teachers College Columbia University, where she has also taught graduate and undergraduate classes. She can be followed on X (@jserravallo) and Instagram (@jenniferserravallo), and her website/blog at: www.jenniferserravallo.com

Rentz's Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education, sixth edition
Naijian Zhang & Associates
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
https://www.ccthomas.com
9780398094140, $71.95 HC, $71.95 eBook, 712pp

https://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398094140

Synopsis: Now in a newly updated and expanded sixth edition, "Rentz's Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education' introduces readers to the functions of all student affairs services on college campus and to the nuts and bolts on what student affairs professionals in each specific area do to achieve their goals of providing students with meaningful collegiate experiences and accomplish the institution's mission.

This new edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" not only includes the evolution of student affairs but also how its philosophy and theories are integrated into its practice. By reading "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" experienced student affairs professionals will acquire a thorough understanding of each student affairs service on college/university campus and increase their competence in practice.

This new sixth edition has 17 chapters which include the philosophical heritage of student affairs, historical perspective of higher education and student affairs, admissions to enrollment management, academic advising, career services, counseling centers, student conduct, multicultural affairs and special support services, orientation, residence halls, student life programs, fraternity and sorority life, collegiate recreation, financial aid, student learning assessment, health services, and future of student affairs.

It has also been integrated with the most recent literature on student affairs development, especially how the global pandemic has impacted the practice of student affairs in higher education and how the social, political, and economic dynamics at the national level have influenced the climate of college and university campus as well as the most recent professional standards. A unique feature of the book is that its contributors are expert practitioners and scholars.

Through this new edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" student affairs professionals will learn knowledge and wisdom not only from the current generation in student affairs but also from the generations many years in the past. The sixth edition has advanced the knowledge base of student affairs while inheriting its values and missions for higher education.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive, detailed, organized and presented, as well as so very timely in view of the current college/university student movements that are disrupting campuses across the country today with respect to such issues as the national/political subject of student loan debt relief, and the evolving role of student affairs in institutions of higher education, this newly released sixth edition of "Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education" is a necessary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, college and university library collections and Higher Education curriculum studies lists.

The Magical Place We Call School
Dr. Kathleen Corley
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
9781637632246, $26.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Magical-Place-Call-School-Challenging/dp/163763224X

Synopsis: At a time when public discourse rages on about what students should or should not be taught, when books are being banned, when school shootings fill the news, and when families are still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic -- here comes "The Magical Place We Call School: Creating a Safe Space for Learning and Happiness in a Challenging World" by Dr. Kathleen Corley.

With its fresh focus on the power and perils of education, it's an intentional way of thinking that will intrigue readers everywhere.

In her literary debut, school principal Dr. Corley (a forty-year veteran in elementary education) writes knowingly and with unique humor and insight about the value of education, how kids think and learn, what they need to succeed in and out of school, and how their home life affects their performance. Plus, she tackles some of the most daunting societal issues impacting children today, from bullying to gun violence and beyond.

Dr. Corley reminds us that something extraordinary still occurs in classrooms across America -- not just miraculously, but by design and with tenacity.

With the publication of "The Magical Place We Call School", Dr. Corley shares human interest stories that shed light on what is and isn't working and provides a calm hand and a much-needed perspective from the front lines of learning. Her deep caring for the children, educators, and parents in her midst shines through, providing a true sense of what she calls "the magic of schools."

Critique: "The Magical Place We Call School: Creating a Safe Space for Learning and Happiness in a Challenging World" is a timely and invaluable contribution to our on-going national conversations regarding school safety in an increasingly gun violent American where 'active shooter' exercises are now commonplace, as is book banning from school libraries, and curriculum interference from radical political groups and local/state governmental officials. Highly recommended for personal, professional, community, school boards, and college/university library Contemporary Education Psychology/Administration collections, it should be noted that "The Magical Place We Call School" from Forefront Books is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798212980098, $36.40, CD).

Editorial Note: Dr. Kathleen Corley is an educator, an authority on school culture, and the charismatic principal at Red Cedar Elementary School in Bluffton, Corley has a bachelor's in music education from the University of Illinois, a master's in music administration from Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois. Dr. Corley began her career in education as an elementary music teacher, and then transitioned to education administration to make a wider impact upon student achievement and school culture. She entered the administrative ranks as an assistant principal in Palatine, Illinois, then became an elementary school principal in Lynchburg, Virginia, Salem Massachusetts, and Bluffton, South Carolina. She was the founding principal at three of those schools, and has been an educator for over 40 years (and still counting). Corley has also been an assistant professor at Salem State University and continues to mentor principals.

Grad School Life
Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund
Columbia University Press
https://cup.columbia.edu
9780231207843, $110.00, HC, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grad-School-Life-Surviving-Coursework/dp/0231207840

Synopsis: For students going after a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree, graduate school isn't easy. It's even less easy when you're also managing a second job, a family, or depression -- or when you are a first-generation student, or if you come from an under-represented group or a lower socioeconomic-status background. Grad students are overworked, over-stressed, and over it.

Most grad school advice books focus on the professional side: finding funding, managing research and teaching, and applying for academic jobs. But students today face a difficult job market. Only a handful will obtain coveted tenure-track professorships, so they need alternative career prep. Plus, grad school is only one part of your life. And with an average age of 33 years, today's students are juggling far more than school.

That's where "Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research" by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund comes in. It will help you keep up a personal life, make the most of your time, and prepare for your career -- whether in academia or beyond.

This pragmatic book explains how to persevere through the grad school long haul, covering challenges both on and off campus. It shares candid, specific advice on personal finances, mental health, setting your own learning and career goals, maintaining friendships and relationships, and more.

Peppy, sensible, and smart, "Grad School Life" points out the pitfalls of academia and helps you build the life you want. With fresh insights, concrete suggestions and exercises, and helpful lists of resources, "Grad School Life" gives grad students a new roadmap for not only surviving but thriving -- both in school and in the real world.

Critique: If you are preparing for (or already involved in) attending graduate school then it is vital that you give a close and careful reading to what author and independent scholar Jacquelin M. Kory-Westland has to say about maximizing the experience with all of its demands, requirements, surprises, frustrations and opportunities. Comprehensive and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in style, organization and presentation, "Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Higher & Continuing Education collections. It should be noted that "Grad School Life" is also available for interested readers in a paperback edition (9780231207850, $28.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.39).

Editorial Note: Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund (https://jakory.com) is a writer, artist, and independent scholar with the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. She received her PhD from the MIT Media Lab in 2019. Kory-Westlund has worked for NASA developing autonomous vehicles and laser space robots, designed graphics for software startups, and currently consults for small businesses and think tanks on education, design, and technology.

The VESPA Handbook
Steve Oakes & Martin Griffen
Crown House Publishing
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781785837104, $29.95, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/VESPA-Handbook-activities-commitment-productivity/dp/1785837109

Synopsis: Co-authored by educators Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin, "The VESPA Handbook: 40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity" from Crown House Publishing offers 40 concrete, practical tools and activities that will supercharge learners' ambition, organization, persistence and determination.

"The Vespa Handbook" builds on the success of co-author Oakes & Martin's previous books, "The A Level Mindset" and "The GCSE Mindset", by introducing 40 new activities for teachers to use to improve the grades of their students. This handbook is a perfect introduction to the VESPA (Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice, Attitude) approach, as well as a practical addition to previous resources.

Just like their previous books, "The Vespa Handbook" will help teachers develop the five key characteristics and behaviours that students need to be successful: vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude. When it comes to achieving academic success, these characteristics are crucial. The ability of students to have a vision, commit the effort, be organised, practise and revise well and have a positive attitude and good work ethic are vital to their success.

The 40 activities included are set out clearly and categorised thematically under the VESPA umbrella, making them easy to navigate and use in any setting. Each activity can be delivered one-to-one, to a tutor group or to a whole cohort, has been designed to take fifteen to twenty minutes to complete, and has been written with a pupil audience in mind. The co-authors offer valuable advice for teachers looking to improve learners' resilience and ambition, based on their combined 40 plus years of experience in teaching and coaching.

Critique: Especially recommended as an ideal planning resource for classroom teachers, tutors and parents who want to boost academic outcomes in students ages 14-18 and equip them with powerful tools and techniques in preparation for further education and employment, "The VESPA Handbook: 40 new activities to boost student commitment, motivation and productivity" is an important addition to personal, professional, school district, and college/university library Contemporary Education collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "The VESPA Handbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

Editorial Note #1: Steve Oakes has over 20 years' of experience as a teacher and leader, and has been a Head of Sixth Form at two successful schools in the UK and the UAE. As a current Head of Sixth Form, he works closely with students to maximise levels of engagement and commitment, designing high-impact interventions and practical tools for improving academic performance.

Editorial Note #2: Martin Griffin has over 20 years' experience teaching and coaching post-16 students. He was a Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head at a successful comprehensive school for eight years, and has worked with hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK and beyond to design and implement study skills, character development and mindset programmes.


The Health/Medicine Shelf

Teaching Yoga, second edition
Mark Stephens
North Atlantic Books
www.northatlanticbooks.com
9781623178802, $24.95, PB, 448pp

https://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Yoga-Second-Comprehensive-Alliance-Aligned/dp/1623178800

Synopsis: Now in a newly revised and updated second edition, "Teaching Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide for Yoga Teachers and Trainers" by yoga expert Mark Stephens is one of the most popular resources for new and experienced teachers, and has been a trusted guide since its original publication in 2010.

This classic resource covers fundamental topics of yoga history and philosophy, as well as each of the 11 major styles of contemporary yoga. There is also practical advice for every stage of the teaching process, including tools for teaching 108 yoga poses (asanas), the art of yoga sequencing, breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation.

This new second edition of "Teaching Yoga" is adapted to meet the needs of the modern yoga teacher and features: Updated sections on yoga history and philosophy; Discussions of trauma-sensitive yoga; Coverage of cultural appropriation, racism, and sexism in yoga; An inclusive approach that expands beyond the traditional vinyasa flow style; Refined exploration of the art of yoga sequencing; New photos and illustrations; 1-page summaries after each chapter; An extended list of references for further learning.

Developed to meet 100% of the teacher training curriculum standards set by Yoga Alliance, the world's leading registry and accreditation source for yoga teachers and schools, this second edition of "Teaching Yoga" is ideal for use as a core textbook in yoga teacher training programs.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive, profusely illustrated with B/W photos, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Teaching Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide for Yoga Teachers and Trainers" is essential reading for anyone with the responsibility of teaching a yoga class or providing individual yoga exercise training. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Health/Exercise/Yoga collections, it should be noted that it is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Mark Stephens (www.markstephensyoga.com) is the author of Yoga Sequencing (2012), Yoga Adjustments (2014) and Yoga Therapy (2017), which are available in multiple languages. Mark has been practicing yoga since 1991 and teaching since 1996 years, training over 2,500 yoga teachers worldwide. With a rich background in Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow, Tantra, and Yoga Healing, Mark brings an eclectic perspective to the practice that's all about making yoga more accessible, sustainable, and deeply transformational.

Vital Pulp Treatment
Henry F. Duncan & Ikhlas A. El-Karim, editors
Wiley-Blackwell
www.wiley.com/wiley-blackwell
9781119930389, $185.00, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Vital-Pulp-Treatment-Henry-Duncan/dp/1119930383

Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by the team of Henry F. Duncan and Ikhlas A. El-Karim, "Vital Pulp Treatment" offers a comprehensive overview of existing and developing vital pulp therapies, the science that underpins them as well as their clinical applications.

Preserving dental pulp tissue is critical to oral health and vital pulp treatments are designed to maintain, repair, and regenerate this tissue. With a focus on clinical practice, "Vital Pulp Treatment" begins with the diagnosis and causes of pulpitis before elaborating on the application of vital pulp treatment after trauma, caries, or dental procedures. Later chapters cover a variety of extent treatment modalities including caries removal, pulpotomy, direct or indirect pulp capping and regenerative endodontic therapies.

"Vital Pulp Treatment" includes: Clinical photographs to support and highlight key parts of the text; Detailed discussion of topics including pulp diagnostics, deep caries, and pulp exposure management, as well as controversial and clinically relevant discussions; Dedicated treatment of each therapeutic modality with a summary of the state of the art in each case; Outcome measures and follow-up guidelines.

Critique: Comprehensive, up-to-date, and firmly founded upon evidence-based dentistry and robust scientific research, "Vital Pulp Treatment: is impressively organized, informatively essential, and strongly recommended for dentists, endodontists, restorative dentists, and dental students seeking information on this critical component of modern minimally-invasive dentistry. Especially recommended for professional, medical school, and college/university library Dentistry collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that this large format (7.2 x 0.83 x 10.24 inches, 1.44 pound) hardcover edition of "Vital Pulp Treatment" from Wiley-Blackwell is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $148.00).

Editorial Note #1: Henry F. Duncan BDS, FDS RCS (Ed), MClin Dent, MRD RCS, FFD RCSI, PhD is a Professor and Consultant in Endodontics in the Division of Restorative Dentistry and Periodontology at Dublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

Editorial Note #2: Ikhlas A. El-Karim BDS, FDS RCS (Ed), FFD RCSI, PGCHET, PhD is a Clinical Professor and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Local Anesthesia in Dentistry
Jesus Calatayud & Mana Saraghi
Wiley-Blackwell
www.wiley.com/wiley-blackwell
9781394180158, $190.00, HC, 512pp

https://www.amazon.com/Local-Anesthesia-Dentistry-Locoregional-Approach/dp/1394180152

Synopsis: With the publication of "Local Anesthesia in Dentistry: A Locoregional Approach", co-authors Jesus Calatayud and Mana Saraghi provide comprehensive coverage of all aspects of local anesthetics, including anatomic considerations, pharmacology, armamentarium, injection techniques, indications, contraindications, complications, novel anesthetics formulations, and more.

The in-depth chapters comprising "Local Anesthesia in Dentistry: A Locoregional Approach" offers dental students clear criteria and guidelines for patient care, supported by hundreds of evidence-based references. Alongside this, standalone appendixes are hosted on the book's companion website. In these appendixes, the co-authors have distilled a wide body of research, summarizing the findings of the seminal studies in the field, including historical landmark studies and clinical trial data to support practical aspects of locoregional anesthesia discussed in the textbook.

In summation, "Local Anesthesia in Dentistry: A Locoregional Approach": Provides students and professionals with a one-stop resource on local anesthesia in dentistry; Offers critical evaluations of research and literature on each topic and subtopic; Addresses all common local anesthetic techniques, including basic injection, mandibular and maxillary anesthesia, and local anesthesia in children; Features practical quantitative data and step-by-step information on situations encountered in daily practice.

Critique: Specifically designed to support all levels of dental students and professionals, "Local Anesthesia in Dentistry: A Locoregional Approach" is co-authored by two highly experienced practitioners, Jesus Calatayud and Mana Saraghi, making this authoritative resource an essential instructional reference for dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, hygienists, specialists, students, and researchers. While unreservedly recommended for professional, medical/dentistry school, and college/university library and supplemental Dentistry curriculum studies lists, it is also a valuable reference for other healthcare providers looking to support future study in a digital book format (Kindle, $152.00).

Editorial Note #1: Jesus Calatayud, MD, PhD, DMD is Associate Professor (Retired) of Pediatric Dentistry in the School of Dentistry at Complutense University of Madrid in Spain.

Editorial Note #2: Mana Saraghi, DMD, DABDA is Director of the Dental Anesthesiology Residency Program at the Jacobi Medical Center in New York and Assistant Professor of Dentistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, both in the United States. She is the President of the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology.


The Environmental Studies Shelf

River Profiles
Pete Hill
Columbia University Press
https://cup.columbia.edu
9780231207645, $120.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/River-Profiles-People-Restoring-Waterways/dp/0231207646

Synopsis: Centuries of mismanagement and destructive development have gravely harmed American waterways, with significant consequences for the ecosystems and communities built around them. But a range of passionate and committed people have stepped up to restore streams and rivers around the United States.

A husband-and-wife scientist team in Pennsylvania lead projects to unclog the sediment left by early colonists' dams. Members of the Tulalip Tribes in western Washington State bring beavers back to headwater streams. A public servant in Milwaukee drives the sewer department to remove concrete channels and reduce flood risk. Community activists in Atlanta push for environmental justice in river restoration.

Telling these stories and many more, with the publication of "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" Pete Hill (a twenty-year veteran of the field of watershed restoration) provides a deep dive into the world of river and stream conservation. He profiles the practitioners, scientists, and activists from all walks of life who take part in restoration efforts, exploring their differing, sometimes controversial approaches. Through their stories, Hill illustrates the challenges and rewards of river restoration and the evolving scientific understanding in the field.

Underscoring the need for a variety of strategies adapted to different local contexts, "River Profiles" reveals that new ideas have come from a wide range of people ranging from those operating the machinery, to those researching stream ecology -- and that Indigenous knowledge offers vital resources. At once personal and learned, insightful and inspiring, "River Profiles" shines a light on the people working to heal our streams and rivers.

Critique: An informative and inspiring read from start to finish, "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Environmental Reclamation collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, environmental activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "River Profiles: The People Restoring Our Waterways" is also available in a paperback edition (9780231207652, $30.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.19).

Editorial Note: Pete Hill is the principal and owner of Great Lakes Watershed Opportunities, a consultancy in the Milwaukee area. He previously worked in watershed planning and stream and wetland restoration for the Washington, DC, Department of Energy and the Environment. Hill holds a master's degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


The Parenting Shelf

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids, second edition
Helen Olsson
Roost Books
c/o Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com
9781645470939, $24.95, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Down-Dirty-Guide-Camping-Kids/dp/1645470938

Synopsis: Written by Helen Olsson (a seasoned camper, adventurer, and mother of three) this newly updated and expanded second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature" continues to be a practical, irreverent introductory guide to all things camping.

With the publication of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids", Olsson writes from a parent's point of view, giving her readers a clear plan (and plenty of encouragement) for creating an enjoyable family camping experience. Whether as a parent you are planning a simple outing, a multiday trek with babies or teens, or camping with several families, "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" has you covered.

Each individual chapter features helpful checklists, including "Little Tykes" lists dedicated to items for babies and toddlers. "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" also focuses on car camping but additionally nods to alternate ways to camp: backpacking, pull-behind campers, canoe/kayak trips, hut camping, and trips with pack animals.

The newly revised second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids"is updated to reflect the latest products, outdoor etiquette, and lifestyles and provide guidance on: Choosing a destination; Packing gear and food; Setting up the campsite; Planning menus, and Staying Safe!

Critique: "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature" by Helen Olsson is a timeless camping instructional resource and 'how-to' manual that clearly and effectively addresses the myriad unique needs and concerns of parents and children for any and all forms of camping out! While especially and unreservedly recommended for family and community library Family Camping & Outdoor Family Recreation collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this new second edition of "The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Helen Olsson (www.maddogmom.com) is a freelance travel and skiing writer and a regular contributor to the New York Times Travel and Escapes sections, where she writes about family outdoor and adventure travel. Among the camping trips she's chronicled are llama-trekking in Colorado's backcountry and a canoe-and-kayak trip in the Niobrara River Valley of Nebraska -- both taken with three children under nine.


The Cookbook Shelf

Taste of Home Classic Family Favorites
Tastes of Home
c/o Trusted Media Brands
https://www.trustedmediabrands.com
9798889770251, $22.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Home-Classic-Family-Favorites/dp/B0CL3BMZD5

Synopsis: "Taste of Home Classic Family Favorites" is an illustrated compendium of 277 'standby' dishes that families have enjoyed generation after generation. These tried-and-true recipes include the dinners, desserts, soups and sandwiches that have proved to be enduringly popular. Additionally, here also are to be found DIY recipes for palate pleasing, appetite satisfying snacks, breakfasts and side dishes.

Contest-Winning Icon spotlights blue-ribbon foods throughout the book. 3 At-a- Glance Icons help you find slow-cooked and air-fried recipes as well as recipes prepared in the Instant Pot. There are reader reviews and tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen staff, as well as nutrition facts with every recipe and diabetic exchanges where applicable.

Critique: This large format (8.06 x 0.7 x 8.94 inches, 1.8 pounds) paperback edition of "Taste of Home Classic Family Favorites" is a delight to browse through and ideal for planning memorable and 'family friendly' menus with. The full page, full color photos of finished dishes is particularly inspiring. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), "Taste of Home Classic Family Favorites" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Taste of Home magazine has hundreds of thousands of subscribers throughout North America and publishes best-selling cookbooks and newsstand specials. The brand's web site (www.tasteofhome.com) is a top destination, featuring kitchen-tested recipes, how-to techniques, cooking videos and more. Taste of Home has more than 6.3 million fans on Facebook, 2 million followers on Instagram, 2.6 million Pinterest followers and receives more than 28 million unique monthly visitors.

The Mediterranean Cook: A Year of Seasonal Eating
Meni Valle
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
www.rizzoliusa.com
9781922754875, $35.00, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mediterranean-Cook-Year-Seasonal-Eating/dp/1922754870

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Mediterranean Cook: A Year of Seasonal Eating" culinary expert Meni Valle celebrates of the fresh and flavor-packed cuisine of the region, with more than 75 vegetarian recipes. These beautifully illustrated dishes range from roasted eggplants and tangy artichokes to perfectly flaky pastry boats and juicy grilled plums and figs. Each individual dish is an invitation to savor the sensational flavors of the countries that border the Mediterranean.

Following slow food values, Valle's recipes are simple and seasonal, showcasing how to get the best out of fresh, local produce, all year round. Featuring beautiful photographs of each recipe, as well as step-by-step images to guide the reader through more intricate preparations, "The Mediterranean Cook: is a heartfelt and beautifully captured homage to a cuisine rich in flavor and history.

Critique: Showcasing authentic Mediterranean dishes made with fresh, seasonal produce, this large format (8.56 x 1.07 x 10.34 inches, 1.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "The Mediterranean Cook: A Year of Seasonal Eating" from Smith Street Books features an attached 'place saving' ribbon and a culinary wealth of kitchen cook friendly, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying recipes. A delight to page through and plan memorable menus with, "The Mediterranean Cook" will prove to be a prized pick for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Meni Valle (www.menivalle.com.au) is a Greek-Australian cookbook author and food teacher. Her rich Greek heritage, coupled with her love for travel and food, has seen Meni become one of Australia's most-respected authorities on Mediterranean cuisine. When she is not writing cookbooks, Meni shares her knowledge and passion for Greek food through cooking classes and culinary tours to Greece, where she loves connecting with locals and discovering new recipes. She also regularly presents at festivals and conferences and contributes to magazines. "The Mediterranean Cook" is Meni's sixth cookbook, following My Greek Kitchen (2011), My Mediterranean Kitchen (2012), Everyday Mediterranean (2015), Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking (2019), and Ikaria (2020).

Greekish: Everyday Recipes with Greek Roots
Georgina Hayden
Bloomsbury Press
www.bloomsbury.com
9781526630667, $35.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Greekish-Everyday-Recipes-Greek-Roots/dp/1526630664

Synopsis: Packed from cover to cover with simple Mediterranean recipes perfect for weeknight cooking and effortless weekend meals alike, "Greekish: Everyday Recipes with Greek Roots" is inspired by beloved author Georgina Hayden's Greek-Cypriot roots and travels.

After a lifetime of collecting favorite dishes that are easy to throw together, bursting with flavor, and sure to be cooked on repeat in countless kitchens, Georgina has homed in on the best ways to balance fresh, hearty ingredients with traditional methods-always keeping them easy, delicious, and balanced.

Leaning on familiar Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, herbs, halloumi, tahini, and honey, Georgina offers "hero" recipes like crispy cauliflower with herby dressing, chicken thighs with figs and olives, and baklava French toast to provide both classic combinations and plenty of Greek-influenced dishes with playful, modern twists.

With fewer ingredients and less stress, "Greekish" delivers beloved Mediterranean flavors and satisfying, craveable meals every time.

Critique: This large format (7.75 x 1.05 x 9.95 inches, 1 pound) hardcover edition of "Greekish: Everyday Recipes with Greek Roots" from Bloomsbury Publishing is visually enhanced for the kitchen cook's benefit with full color, full page photos of finished dishes. The thoroughly 'user friendly' recipes will enable even the most novice of cooks to present Greek inspired, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying fare fit for any and all dining occasions. A culinary delight to browse through and inspiring to plan menus with, Georgina Hayden's "Greekish: Everyday Recipes with Greek Roots" is an unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Greekish: Everyday Recipes with Greek Roots" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.50).

Editorial Note: Georgina Hayden (https://georginahayden.com) is a cook, food writer and stylist from north London. She writes for publications such as The Telegraph, Delicious Magazine and Observer Food Monthly, and in 2021 she won the Fortnum & Mason Best Cookery Writer Award for her work in Waitrose Food magazine. She has appeared on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, and regularly appears on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch and BBC1's Saturday Kitchen.

Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons
Diana Henry
Aster
c/o Octopus Books
https://www.octopusbooks.co.uk
9781783256297, $29.99, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Water-Pickled-Lemons-Mediterranean/dp/178325629X

Synopsis: With the publication of "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa", Diana Henry offers a culinary exploration of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa.

"Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" is a compendium of recipes for dishes that combine exotic flavors in ways long forgotten (or never discovered) in many Western kitchens.

Colorful, aromatic and perfumed ingredients, from leathery pomegranates, with their insides bursting with ruby seeds, to flower-waters that allow you to drink in the scent of a garden,

combine to bring an intoxicating whiff of the exotic to your table and pleasure to your kitchen. The core ingredients of these cuisines are increasingly available so dishes such as Chermoula marinated Tuna, Fennel, Pomegranate and Feta Salad, and Lavender, Orange and Almond Cake are both delicious and accessible to cook.

Critique: This large format (7.75 x 0.77 x 10 inches, 2.07 pounds) hardcover edition of Diana Henry's "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa" from Aster is beautifully illustrated throughout and is a significant source of inspiration for planning memorable menus with. Each recipes is throughly 'kitchen cook friendly' in organization and inspiration. Offering a culinary wealth of palate pleasing, appetite satisfying Middle Eastern dishes for any and dining occasions, "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" is a welcome, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781845332846, $22.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Diana Henry is the food columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. A Bird in the Hand received a 2016 James Beard Award, and A Change of Appetite, voted Cookbook of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers in 2015, was a James Beard Award nominee. Diana was named "Cookery Writer of the Year" by The Guild of Food Writers in 2009 and in 2007 for her column in the Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine. Diana has written nine other books including Cook Simple, Salt Sugar Smoke, and Roast Figs Sugar Snow.

Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ
Moe Cason
National Geographic Press
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426223525, $30.00, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Moes-Book-BBQ-Cornbread/dp/1426223528

Synopsis: "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ: 75 Recipes From Brisket and Ribs to Cornbread and Mac and Cheese" is comprised of mouth-watering, beautifully photographed recipes showcasing time-tested techniques and recipes ranging from smoked bone-in Tomahawk steaks to a 14-hour turkey brine.

Also included is a secret-ingredient mac-n-cheese, a generations-old family recipe for sweet-and-savory cornbread, and perfectly seasoned collard greens.

Cason offers expert guidance on different types of smokers and grills, filling the pantry with time-tested spice rubs and marinades, selecting the perfect cut of meat, and more.

The recipes comprising this BBQ compendium include: Fall-apart tender Texas brisket; Sweet and spicy pork ribs; Smoked pork shoulder; Hawaiian Burgers with pineapple, soy sauce, and feta cheese; Spicy mac-n-cheese; Collard greens; Cornbread; Homemade black-eyed peas -- and more!

Critique: Showcasing 75 unique, palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, and memorably flavorful recipes, "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ" is delectable and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' recipe collections will help even the most novice of family cooks to unlock the secrets of amazing barbecue flavor. Highly recommended for personal, professional, and community library BBQ cookbook collections, it should be noted that "Big Moe's Big Book of BBQ" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: In 2005, after a career in the Navy and then as a water treatment operator, Moe Cason began competing in (and winning!) barbecue competitions. He has faced off with some of the most famous pitmasters in America. He appeared on BBQ Pitmasters regularly from 2009 to 2018, and has also been featured on America's Pit Wars, Food Network's The Kitchen, and Chopped. His National Geographic series, World of Flavor, debuts in 2023. He has a website at https://moecasonbbq.com and can be followed on Instagram @bigmoecason

Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Outdoor Cookbook
Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing
www.barbourbooks.com
9781636098319, $17.99, Spiral Bound, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wanda-Brunstetters-Friends-Outdoor-Cookbook/dp/1636098312

Synopsis: With the publication of "Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Outdoor Cookbook: Over 250 Recipes Proving Outdoor Cooking Is Much More Than a Hot Dog on a Stick", this iconic author of Amish romance novels share her Amish community's tips for cooking outdoors while still at home or away at a campsite.

This is an ideal and spiral bound compendium of DIY Amish recipes for nature lovers and adventurous cooks. In its pages, Amish cooks have shared over 250 recipes divided into sections by method: stick, pie iron, foil packet, cast iron, grill. Also included is advice for building a fire, packing a cooler, maintaining cast-iron tools, and much more. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, home cooks of all ages will be delighted to add this cookbook to their collections.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout with full color photos, each individual and authentically Amish recipe is thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation. A delight to page through and practical for planning menus with, this spiral bound edition from Barbour Publishing is an extraordinary, unique, and highly recommended pick for personal and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Wanda E. Brunstetter (www.wandabrunstetter.com) is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. With over 12 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nation's most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards. Wanda's ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia
Billy Law, et al.
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
www.rizzoliusa.com
9781923049086, $19.95, HC, 128pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rice-80-Nice-Recipes-Asia/dp/1923049089

Synopsis: With the publication of "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia", American kitchen cooks will discover some of the best rice based dishes that Asia has to offer, ranging from sushi and nam khao to chicken biryani and lo mai gai. Written by chefs who know their rice, these recipes celebrate the all-time classics, from dishes fit for a holiday feast to quick bowls of kimchi fried rice.

With recipes from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and beyond, paging through the recipes that comprise "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" is (almost) as good as a trip across Asia. Start the day with nasi lemak and end it with nigiri.

Whip up a bowl of jok or learn to make biko. Sate your cravings, find new favorites and slurp your way from dawn to dusk with rice, rice, and more rice!

Critique: Enhanced for the novice and experienced cook alike with full page, full color photographs of finished dishes, "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" is an extraordinarily recommended and high value pick for personal, professional, family, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: The recipes comprising "Rice: 80 Nice Rice Recipes from Asia" were contributed by professional chefs Billy Law, Aim Aris, ArChan Chan, Caroline Griffiths, Jerry Mai, Sarin Rojanametin, Ahmad Salim and Jean Thamthanakorn.

Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City
Rosa Jackson
W. W. Norton & Company
www.wwnorton.com
9781324021162, $39.99, HC, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ni%C3%A7oise-Market-Inspired-Cooking-Frances-Sunniest/dp/1324021160

Synopsis: To eat (and cook) like a Nicoise from France involves snacks and sandwiches you can enjoy on the go (socca and pan bagnat), tender stuffed vegetables (petit farcis), slow-simmered meat stews (beef daube), and vivid fruit desserts.

This distinctive southern French cuisine is among the healthiest in the world, relying on classic Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, fresh and dried herbs, preserved fish, and an abundance of seasonal produce.

Drawing on the city's rich food traditions, with the publication of "Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City", French cuisine expert Rosa Jackson showcases over 100 recipes by season. Gliding through open air markets, tiny bakeries, and generations-old restaurants, she conjures a region and its cuisine as only a local can.

Critique: An ideal introduction to Nicoise style French cuisine that presents American family cooks the unique and captivating side of French food, "Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France's Sunniest City" by Rosa Jackson is enhanced with the inclusion of some 100 full-color photographs and a wealth of thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' step-by-step palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, nutritionally health recipes that will mae any and all dining occasions truly memorable experiences. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99), this large format (8.3 x 1.3 x 10.3 inches, 3.51 pounds) hardcover edition from W. W. Norton & Company is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Rosa Jackson (https://rosajackson.com) has run her cooking school Les Petits Farcis in Nice, France, for over twenty years. A former Paris restaurant critic, she has written about French food for international publications, including the Financial Times and Food & Wine, and also runs the Paris food tour company Edible Paris.

Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice
Christina de Witte, author
Mallika Kauppinen, author
Ten Speed Graphic
c/o Penguin Random House
https://prhcomics.com
9781984861603, $22.99, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Noodles-Rice-Everything-Spice-Cookbook/dp/1984861603

Synopsis: From an exciting all-female, all-Thai team, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" combines easy-to-follow comic book panels with pops of vibrant food photography to perfectly capture the bright, colorful flavors and ingredients that are crucial to Thai cuisine.

"Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" by co-authors Christina de Witte and Mallika Kauppinen showcases authentic Thai cuisine from the country's distinct culinary regions. Now American kitchen cooks and their families can journey to the northern Lanna region and dine "khan tok" style with small bowls of chile dips, curries, sticky rice, and vegetables on a gilded pedestal tray for sharing; sit cross-legged on a bamboo mat around a spread of tangy salads and grilled meats in the northeast Isaan region; roam the bustling markets of central Bangkok for iconic street food treats; and lounge on a beach in southern Thailand with dangerously spicy seafood.

With recipes divided into six delectable sections for any meal or mood of the day, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" shows step-by-step how to make world-class snacks and starters such as Som Tam (papaya salad) and Satay Gai (grilled chicken skewers), or iconic noodle dishes such as Khao Soi (coconut curry noodle soup) and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles), as well as some lesser-known regional favorites to pair with rice such as Pad Sator (stir-fried bitter beans) from the south and Nam Prik Ong (Ong's spicy pork and tomato chile dip) from the north. The book also teaches helpful cooking and preparation techniques such as how to properly grate a papaya, make sticky rice in the microwave, fry an egg to crispy perfection, and more.

In celebration of the warm, welcoming spirit of Thailand, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" shares the secrets to making these dynamic Thai dishes at home, whether as a quick one-plate meal or a showstopping spread of multiple dishes for enjoying communally.

Critique: Original, unique, authentic, and thoroughly 'kitchen cook' friendly in a fun style of organizations and presentation, "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice: A Thai Comic Book" is an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Noodles, Rice, and Everything Spice" is also readily available from Ten Speed Graphic in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Mallika Kauppinen grew up in a remote area of southern Thailand where cooking was a huge part of her life. She now teaches Finnish and Thai online and has founded her own education company.

Editorial Note #2: Christina de Witte, also known by her illustrator alias chrostin, is a Thai Belgian cartoonist and the author of The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl.

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen
www.americastestkitchen.com
9781954210875, $40.00 HC, $34.99 PB, $20.99 Kindle, 496pp

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Cooking-Cookbook-10th-Anniversary/dp/1954210876

If The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook sounds familiar, that's because it originally appeared in 2014 to become an instant NY Times bestseller, selling some 700,000 copies. All its recipes were re-engineered dishes for couples instead of families, making it a guaranteed success for those seeking smaller meal options and recipes. This revised 10th anniversary edition packs in over 200 new recipes (making its contents some 700 dishes in total), providing more plant-based offerings, plus air-fryer dishes to make the most of current trends and modern technology. Lest novices think that scaling down recipes merely involves cutting them in half, it should be noted that spices don't scale, cooking times can vary immensely for reduced sizes, and challenges emerge from such circumstances as halving an egg in a recipe. Some 17 new chapters reduce food waste and, along with the recipes, provide tips on main courses and leftover usage alike. Add in the wealth of small, appealing color photos throughout that pair well with 'why this recipe works' insights for a sterling winner in The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook. It should be part of any cook's collection, as well as libraries catering to them.


The American History Shelf

Bygone Days of the Old West
Fred Lambert
Sunstone Press
www.sunstonepress.com
9781632936578, $52.00, HC, 490pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bygone-days-of-the-old-west-fred-lambert/1144849319

Synopsis: With the publication of "Bygone Days of the Old West", Fred Lambert and Sunstone Press provides a unique collection of poetry and pen and ink drawings that recall and evoke the lore, traditions and romance of the Old West.

Originating from recollections of Fred Lambert's childhood in New Mexico, as well as carefully chronicled stories gleaned from legends and traditions picked up during his years as a lawman, "Bygone Days of the Old West" provides the reader with a informative and entertaining glimpse into life on the American western frontier that is no more.

The bold artwork that accompanies each and individual tale entertains transports the reader back in time to a bygone era of American frontier history.

Critique: This large format (8.50 x 11.00 x 1.06) hardcover edition of "Bygone Days of the Old West" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in the history and people of American West and is especially and unreservedly recommended as a prized addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library American Frontier History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Fred Lambert (1887 - 1971) was a lawman, poet and painting. He was sworn in at the age of 16, was the youngest Territorial Marshall from New Mexico. (www.legendsofamerica.com/nm-fredlambert)

One Week to Change the World
DW Gibson
Simon and Schuster
www.simonandschuster.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781668033562, $19.99, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/One-Week-Change-World-Protests/dp/1668033569

Synopsis: One week in late 1999, more than 50,000 people converged on Seattle. Their goal was to shut down the World Trade Organization conference and send a message that working-class people would not quietly accept the runaway economic globalization that threatened their livelihoods.

Though their mission succeeded, it was not without blowback. Violent confrontations between police and protestors resulted in hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in property damage. But the images of tear gas and smashed windows that flashed across TVs and newspapers were not an accurate representation of what actually happened that week.

With the publication of "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests", award-winning journalist DW Gibson pieces together a complex and compelling account of what really went down in Seattle, introducing the angst that defined the end of a millennium, complete with fight clubs and Y2K doomsday scenarios.

In more than 100 original interviews with protestors, police, politicians, anarchists, artists, activists, union members, and many others, Gibson reconstructs the events in gripping detail; documents its antecedents and aftermath; and shows how so many of its themes remain just as pressing today, including the vitalness and difficulty of grassroots activism, the aspirations and limitations of globalization, the militarization of policing, the sensationalism of the media, and the undeniable power of the people.

Timed to the 25th anniversary of the protests, "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests" is a dramatic and essential history, as well as a practical handbook for how to make one's voice heard in terms of social protest against perceived injustice.

Critique: A seminal, ground-breaking, extraordinary, impressively informative, and exceptionally well organized/presented study, "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library late 20th Century American History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "One Week to Change the World: An Oral History of the 1999 WTO Protests" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797177311, $49.99, CD).

Editorial Note: DW Gibson (https://dwgibson.net) is most recently the author of "14 Miles: Building the Border Wall". His previous books include the award-winning "The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century" and "Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy". He shared a National Magazine Award for his work on "This is the Story of One Block in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn" for New York magazine. Gibson also serves as director of Art Omi: Writers in Ghent, New York, and he co-founded Sangam House, a writers' residency in India.


The World History Shelf

Two Roman Revolutions
John D. Grainger
Pen & Sword Books
https://www.penandswordbooks.com
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
9781399037181, $36.95, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Two-Roman-Revolutions-Emperors-Gallienus/dp/1399037188

Synopsis: The disastrous reign of the Emperor Commodus, which saw a great expansion of the power of the emperor, eventually resulted in his assassination, but also in a civil war, which was as revolutionary as that of 69. Though the original assassination had been in the name of a restoration of the authority of the Senate (the program of Pertinax and his supporters) the victory of Septimius Severus established a murderous autocracy, which degenerated into incompetence under his successors. It also set up a continuous tension within the government between imperial and senatorial powers and authority.

The weakness of the imperial power after Caracalla was emphasized by the assassination of all emperors between 217 and 238; it also produced an increase in warfare on all frontiers from Syria to Britannia.

In the later years of Alexander Severus the Senate began to recover its authority, thanks to the emperor's long absences from Rome in the east and in Germany. His frontier policy displeased the army, however, and his assassination produced the Emperor Maximinus. The recovery of the Senate was immediately stopped in its tracks and Maximinus disdained all authority apart from his own.

This was a classic pre-revolutionary situation, and the reaction amongst the senators was the revolution of 238, sparked by trouble in Africa under the Gordians, but also producing another civil war and the deaths of several emperors.

The authority of the Senate was enhanced by the senatorial victory but in in the end the Senate proved unable to defend the empire, and the contest between imperial and senatorial power continued until the 260s when in effect Gallienus returned to imperial autocracy.

This marked the end of real senatorial power, and the empire as an autocracy was finally established.

Critique: A seminal and ground breaking study, "Two Roman Revolutions: The Senate, the Emperors and Power, from Commodus to Gallienus (AD 180-260)" by historian John D. Grainger is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of a number of Maps and Illustrations, seventeen pages of Notes, a four page Bibliography/Abbreviations, and a six page Index. As an historian so well versed in the history and personalities of the Roman Empire, and a prolific writer, Granger has a positive knack for presenting history in an especially compelling and informative style that will be greatly appreciated by both scholars, students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Roman history. While unreservedly recommended as a core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Roman History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Two Roman Revolutions" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: John D Grainger (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/John-D-Grainger/a/1657) is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King's and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater's Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019), The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020) and The Galatians (August 2020).

Babylonian Jews and Sasanian Imperialism in Late Antiquity
Simcha Gross
Cambridge University Press
www.cambridge.org
9781009280525, $130.00, HC, 360pp

https://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Jews-Sasanian-Imperialism-Antiquity/dp/100928052X

Synopsis: From the image offered by the Babylonian Talmud, Jewish elites were deeply embedded within the Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE). The Talmud is replete with stories and discussions that feature Sasanian kings, Zoroastrian magi, fire temples, imperial administrators, Sasanian laws, Persian customs, and more quotidian details of Jewish life.

Yet, in the scholarly literature on the Babylonian Talmud and the Jews of Babylonia, the Sasanian Empire has principally served as a backdrop to a decidedly parochial Jewish story, having little if any direct impact on Babylonian Jewish life and especially the rabbis.

With the publication of "Babylonian Jews and Sasanian Imperialism in Late Antiquity", historian and academician Simcha Gross advances a radically different understanding of Babylonian Jewish history and Sasanian rule. Building upon recent scholarship, Professor Gross portrays a more immanent model of Sasanian rule, within and against which Jews invariably positioned and defined themselves. Babylonian Jews realized their traditions, teachings, and social position within the political, social, religious, and cultural conditions generated by Sasanian rule.

Critique: A seminal, erudite, and ground-breaking study, "Babylonian Jews and Sasanian Imperialism in Late Antiquity" is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an Introduction (Toward a New History of Jews and the Sasanian Empire), a fifty page Bibliography, a six page General Index, and a seven page Source Index. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, this edition of Professor Simcha Gross' definitive history, "Babylonian Jews and Sasanian Imperialism in Late Antiquity" from Cambridge University Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/library Judaic History and Assyrian/Babylonian/Sumer History collections, as well as a textbook for supplemental Late Antiquity Middle Eastern curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Babylonian Jews and Sasanian Imperialism in Late Antiquity" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $123.50).

Editorial Note: Simcha Gross (https://jwst.sas.upenn.edu/people/simcha-gross) is the Assistant Professor of Ancient Rabbinics in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His is co-author of The History of the 'Slave of Chris': From Jewish Child to Christian Martyr and co-editor of Jews and Syriac Christians. He also was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow for Assistant Professors at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; and a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship for experienced researchers.

The History and Natural History of Spices
Ian Anderson
The History Press
c/o Arcadia Publishing
www.arcadiapublishing.com
9781803991566, $35.00, HC, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/History-Natural-Spices-5000-Year-Flavour/dp/1803991569

Synopsis: Spices have been highly valued since at least the Bronze Age, with the so-called Spice Trade, spanning Asia to the Mediterranean, developing from the late centuries BC. By the first century AD, Roman society spent vast sums fueling their demand for spices, importing black pepper from India and other exotics from further afield.

Importing spices from the east was a daunting and dangerous task, whether by ship across the Indian Ocean, a perilous round journey of many months, or by caravan overland along the myriad routings of the Silk Road, or other trade routes. The search for spices in the 15th and 16th centuries led to Columbus' discovery of America (and the discovery of chili in Cuba and Hispaniola); Vasco da Gama's proving of the route to India around the coast of Africa; and Magellan's discovery of the western route to the Spice Islands.

With the publication of "The History and Natural History of Spices: The 5000-Year Search for Flavour", Ian Anderson presents a comprehensive history spices, including their uses, botanical descriptions and classifications, as well as delving into the trade routes and importance of spice through history in driving global events.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and thoroughly 'reader friendly' study that is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an Introduction (The Allure of Spices and Botanical Origin), an Epilogue (The Influence of Spice on Global Cuisine), an eight page Bibliography, thirty-two pages of Notes, and a five page Index, this edition of "The History and Natural History of Spices: The 5000-Year Search for Flavour" from The History Press, while unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Gastronomy, Food Science, and Herb/Spices history collections is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Ian Anderson is professional geologist with a long-standing interest in history and archaeology, who has lived and traveled extensively in SE Asia for over 25 years. He has previously published papers in geology and an article on travel by light aircraft in Mexico, and lives immersed in a 'foodie' environment as his wife is a cordon bleu chef.


The Military History Shelf

Skies of Thunder
Caroline Alexander
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
www.penguin.com
9781984879233, $32.00 HC, 496pp

https://www.amazon.com/Skies-Thunder-Deadly-World-Mission/dp/1984879235

Synopsis: In April 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army steam-rolled through Burma, capturing the only ground route from India to China. Supplies to this critical zone would now have to come from India by air -- meaning flying across the Himalaya mountains, on the most hazardous air route in the world.

"Skies of Thunder: The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World" by Charlotte Alexander is the history of an epic human endeavor, in which Allied troops faced the monumental challenge of operating from airfields hacked from the jungle, and took on "the Hump" -- the fearsome mountain barrier that defined the air route.

They flew fickle, untested aircraft through monsoons and enemy fire, with inaccurate maps and only primitive navigation technology. The result was a litany of both deadly crashes and astonishing feats of survival. The most chaotic of all the war's arenas, the China-Burma-India theater was further confused by the conflicting political interests of Roosevelt, Churchill and their demanding, nominal ally, Chiang Kai-shek.

As an historian and author, Caroline Alexander (who wrote the defining books on Shackleton's Endurance and Bligh's Bounty) is simply brilliant at probing what it takes to survive extreme circumstances. She has unearthed obscure memoirs and long-ignored records to give us the pilots' and soldiers' eye views of flying and combat, as well as honest portraits of commanders like the celebrated "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell and Claire Lee Chennault. She assesses the real contributions of units like the Flying Tigers, Merrill's Marauders, and the British Chindits, who pioneered new and unconventional forms of warfare.

Decisions in this theater exposed the fault-lines between the Allies (America and Britain, Britain and India), and ultimately and most fatefully between America and China, as FDR pressed to help the Chinese nationalists in order to forge a bond with China after the war.

Critique: Clearly, "Skies of Thunder: The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World" from Viking Books is a deftly written, magnum opus of military aviation history and an essential addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library World War II Military Aviation History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Skies of Thunder: The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Caroline Alexander is the author of The Endurance, The Bounty, and other acclaimed works of narrative nonfiction, as well as a new translation of Homer's Iliad. She studied philosophy and theology at University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and has a doctorate in classics from Columbia University. She has written for The New Yorker and National Geographic, among other publications.

The Second World War Illustrated: The Final Year
Jack Holroyd
Pen & Sword Books
https://www.penandswordbooks.com
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
9781399063081, $36.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Second-World-War-Illustrated-Final/dp/1399063081

Synopsis: "The Second World War Illustrated: The Final Year" follows the author Jack Holroyd's visual tour of the war by means of painstakingly researched and digitally restored pictures from the period of the key battlefields and events of the period from September 1944 until the end of the war.

This concluding volume to 'The Second World War Illustrated" series from Pen & Sword Books, "The Final Year" begins with Montgomery's Market Garden failure, devoting 60 pages to the planning, key individuals and forces involved in the operation and its outcome on both sides. Attention then turns to the Warsaw Uprising, where the Polish underground resistance attempted to liberate Warsaw from German occupation at the cost of thousands of resistance and civilian casualties. It then explore the importance of Walcheren and the port of Antwerp, culminating in the Battle of Scheldt.

Of special note is the chapter is devoted to the fighting along the Siegfried Line at Aachen, the Battle for Hurtgen Forest and the liberation of Alsace, before switching to the Battle of the Bulge: Hitler's final major offensive campaign of the war. From here "The Final Year" documents the decline of the Nazi war machine and the Allies' push to victory with Operation Varsity (the largest airborne operation in history), leading the way to the battles for Berlin.

Faced with impending defeat, Hitler's suicide marks the beginning of the end and the fate of the Fuhrer's party leaders is addressed. "The Final Years" concludes with VE celebrations, before turning attention to the Burmese Campaign, the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Critique: Featuring more than 1,000 original B/W historical photographs, "The Second World War Illustrated" series (concluding with the publication of "The Final Years") is a true labor of love and an ideal reading for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the history of the Second World War in a visual format. It is also unreservedly recommended as a core addition for community and college/university library World War II collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Jack Holroyd has been employed in printing and publishing for fifty years. His works several fictional titles, two books on aviation topics, five further titles on the First World War and one covering the actions of the SS Totenkopf Division in the invasion of France in May 1940.

The Breakthrough of Kampfgruppe Peiper in the Battle of the Bulge
Hugues Wenkin & Christian Dujardin
Pen & Sword Books
https://www.penandswordbooks.com
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
9781036104030, $42.95, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Kampfgruppe-Peiper-Battle-Bulge/dp/1036104036

Synopsis: Joachim Peiper (30 January 1915 - 14 July 1976) was a German Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and war criminal convicted for the Malmedy massacre of American POWs. Peiper served as personal adjutant to Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, and as a tank commander in the Waffen-SS.

Kampfgruppe Joachim Peiper was the spearhead of the German 6th Panzer-Army in the Ardennes, responsible for clearing the way for the German tanks towards the Meuse and Antwerp. His armored column was endowed with considerable firepower and brought together the most motivated veterans of the Third Reich. His unit had to rush forward without regard to its flanks, seizing the bridges over the Meuse before the American army had time to react.

After a difficult start, the German armored column broke through the defensive curtain of Gis and set off on its mission. It had to cross the Ardennes, an easy-to-defend area that the American command used to gain time. One after the other, bridges were being blown in front of Peiper. His fuel ran out, and he found himself at a standstill isolated on a promontory at La Gleize.

Using combat reports from both sides, "The Breakthrough of Kampfgruppe Peiper in the Battle of the Bulge" by co-authors Hugues Wenkin and Christian Dujardin analyzes the events as they occurred, minute by minute, explaining the reasons for Peiper's failure, even though, on paper at least, he had everything he needed to win.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout with B/W historical photographs, and enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an informative Introduction, a five page Conclusion (The Impossible Blitzkrieg), a one page Appendix (Equivelent Military Ranks), nine pages of Notes, and a three page Bibliography, this hardcover edition from Pen & Sword Books of "The Breakthrough of Kampfgruppe Peiper in the Battle of the Bulge" is a seminal, ground-breaking, and unreservedly recommended contribution to personal, professional, community, and college/university library World War II history collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and military history buffs that "The Breakthrough of Kampfgruppe Peiper in the Battle of the Bulge" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $25.00).

Editorial Note #1: Hugues Wenkin, a historian and engineer, has been collaborating with the most important French historical publishers since 2006. Author of numerous monographs and historical studies on mechanised warfare, his works are always based on in-depth archival research. He makes it a point of honor to systematically confront his tactical analyzes with a return to the battlefield, while his factual, contrarian approach allows him to see the issues addressed in a new light. As a senior adviser to the editors of the Mook 1944 publications, he renews the genre through a scientific approach and the reinterrogation of primary sources.

Editorial Note #2: Author of several books on the Battle of the Bulge, Christian Dujardin is a well-known local historian in the Ardennes. As a field specialist, he trains local guides at the request of the official Belgian tourism services, and is a scientific advisor for the Bastogne War Museum.

Burma '44
James Holland
Atlantic Monthly Press
c/o Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
www.groveatlantic.com
9780802160584, $30.00, HC, 448pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burma-44-james-holland/1144313061

Synopsis: In February 1944, in one of the most astonishing battles of World War II, a ragtag collection of British clerks, drivers, doctors, muleteers, and other base troops, stiffened by a few dogged Yorkshiremen and a handful of tank crews, managed to defeat a much larger and sophisticated contingent of some of the finest infantry in the Japanese army on their march towards India.

What became known as the Battle of the Admin Box, fought amongst the paddy fields and jungle of Northern Arakan over a fifteen-day period, turned the battle for Burma. Not only was it the first decisive victory for Allied troops against the Japanese, more significantly, it demonstrated how the Japanese could be defeated. Lessons learned in this otherwise insignificant corner of the Far East set up the campaign in Burma that would follow, as General William Slim's Fourteenth Army finally turned the tide of the war in the East.

With the publication of "Burma '44: The Battle That Turned World War II in the East", World War II historian James Holland offers a dramatic tale of victory against incredible odds. As momentous as the Battle of the Bulge ten months later, the Admin Box was a triumph of human grit and heroism and remains one of the most significant yet underappreciated conflicts of the entire war. "Burma '44" restores its proper place in the history of World War II.

Critique: Informative enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of seven Maps, a Cast List, an eight page Postscript, a four page Order of Battle, a six page Admin Box Timeline, a twelve page listing of Sources, a thirteen page section of historical photos, a two page Glossary, and eight page Index, "Burma '44: The Battle That Turned World War II in the East" is a seminal and ground-breaking history that must be considered an essential and core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library World War II History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and military history buffs that "Burma '44" is also readily available from Atlantic Monthly Press in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.99).

Editorial Note: James Holland is an English historian, author and broadcaster, who specializes in the history of the Second World War. There is an extensive listing of his published books online at https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/78267.James_Holland


The Civil War Shelf

War in the Western Theater
Chris Mackowski & Sarah Kay Bierle, editors
Savas Beatie LLC
www.savasbeatie.com
9781611215960, $32.95, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/War-Western-Theater-Perspectives-Anniversary/dp/161121596X

Synopsis: The Western Theater of the American Civil War has long been pushed to the side by dramatic events in the Eastern Theater -- but it was arguably in the West where the Federal armies won the Civil War.

Interest in this complex region is finally increasing, and the authors at Savas Beatie Emerging Civil War series add substantially to that growing body of literature with the publication of "War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War".

Dozens of entries offer fresh and insightful aspects and angles to key events that unfolded between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River. Revisit an important Confederate charge at Shiloh, discover how key decisions won (and lost) the bloody fighting at Chickamauga, and ponder how whiskey may have impacted the fighting at Corinth. Readers will walk the battlefield at Fort Blakeley outside Mobile, fight in the hellish cedars at Stones River, and mourn with a Mississippi family. Insights abound.

How many students of the war knew a Confederate major, watching the riverine bombardment of Fort Donelson up close and personal, rushed to send detailed sketches of the ironclads to Gen. Robert E. Lee to warn him of this new way of fighting -- and the lethal dangers it portended?

And these are just a taste of what's waiting inside "War in the Western Theater"!

The selections comprising this edition of "War in the Western Theater" herein bring together the best scholarship from Emerging Civil War's blog, symposia, and podcast, revised and updated, together with original pieces designed to shed new light and insight on some of the most important and fascinating events that have for too long flown under the radar of history's pens.

Critique: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Civil War experts Chris Mackowski and Sarah Kay Bierle, and an absolutely essential and core addition to any personal, professional, community, or college/university library American Civil War history collection and supplemental curriculum studies lists, "War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War" is an extraordinary compendium of erudite, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and inherently fascinating articles about the American Civil War in the West. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The War in the Western Theater" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.95).

Editorial Note #1: Chris Mackowski, is the editor-in-chief of Emerging Civil War. He is a writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University and the historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield. He has authored or co-authored more than two dozen books on the Civil War. Additional information is available at https://emergingcivilwar.com/contributor/chris-mackowski

Editorial Note #2: Sarah Kay Bierle (https://sarahkaybierle.com) is a managing editor for Emerging Civil War's blog. A graduate from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in History, she has spent the last few years researching, writing, and speaking about the American Civil War, helping audiences gain a better appreciation for the accounts of real people caught in the struggles of the past.

Dranesville
Ryan T. Quint
Savas Beatie LLC
www.savasbeatie.com
9781611216936, $32.95, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Dranesville-Northern-Virginia-December/dp/1611216931

Synopsis: After the guns of Manassas fell silent, the opposing armies grappled for position wondering what would come next. Popular history has us believe it was "All quiet along the Potomac." But the reality was altogether different.

The fall and early winter of 1861 was a hotbed of activity that culminated in the December combat at Dranesville. The Union victory, although small when measured against what was to come, was sorely needed after the string of defeats at Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, and Ball's Bluff. Tt also helped shape many of the players in the bloody years to come.

With the publication of "Dranesville: A Northern Virginia Town in the Crossfire of a Forgotten Battle, December 20, 1861", historian Ryan Quint provides the first full history of that narrow but critically important slice of the war. No one knew what was coming, but soon civilians (sympathetic to both sides) were thrown into a spreading civil war of their own as neighbor turned on neighbor. In time, this style of warfare, on the home front and on the battlefield, reached the town of Dranesville in Fairfax County.

This mostly forgotten story uses overlooked or underused sources to sweep readers along from the White House and Charleston's Secession Hall to midnight ambushes and the climactic Dranesville action. A host of characters and commanders that would become household names cut their teeth during these months, including Generals J. E. B. Stuart and Edward Ord. The men of the Pennsylvania Reserves saw their baptism of fire at Dranesville, setting the Keystone State soldiers on a path to becoming one of the best combat units of the entire war.

Though eclipsed by larger and bloodier battles, Dranesville remained a defining moment for many of its participants (soldiers and civilians alike) for the rest of their lives. Here for the first time, shared through the eyes of those who lived it, is the story of Dranesville and the early war in Northern Virginia.

Critique: A seminal and ground-breaking study, "Dranesville: A Northern Virginia Town in the Crossfire of a Forgotten Battle, December 20, 1861" is a fascinating, informatively detailed, and impressively well written study that is a critically important addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library American Civil War collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, Civil War buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Dranesville: A Northern Virginia Town in the Crossfire of a Forgotten Battle, December 20, 1861" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Ryan Quint is a native of Maine and earned his degree in history from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. He has worked in the field of public history, including at the George Washington Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, and the National Park Service. Ryan has been involved with Emerging Civil War since 2013, and his first book, "Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy", was published by Savas Beatie in 2017 as part of their Emerging Civil War series (www.emergingcivilwar.com).


The Art Shelf

Make Art or Die Trying
Stuart Semple
Rockport Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760387030, $30.00, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Make-Art-Die-Trying-Changes/dp/0760387036

Synopsis: Multidisciplinary artist, entrepreneur, and activist Stuart Semple believes that art is for everyone, and that everyone is an artist. Every single human has an inner spark of creativity that can make the world a better place. Art can change people, places, attitudes, and communities, healing and communicating when words aren't enough.

With the publication of "Make Art or Die Trying: The Only Art Book You'll Ever Need If You Want to Make Art That Changes the World", Semple empowers you to understand and connect with big art ideas and embrace your creative potential, no matter where you're starting from. Stunning, informative, and inspiring, "Make Art or Die Tryting demystifies influential art concepts of the 20th and 21st centuries, including happenings, performance art, Bauhaus, and Fluxus, making them super-approachable and inviting you to learn, make art, and make change.

"Make Art or Die Trying": Explains a transformative art concept in a simple, straightforward, jargon-free way; Shares examples by amazing and innovative artists; Offers DIY ideas and exercises that encourage you to explore the concept yourself and ultimately develop your own unique conversation with the wider world; Includes a QR code that allows access to an exclusive video by Stuart that takes the conversation to a deeper level.

"Let Make Art or Die Trying" is the ideal instructional guide to harnessing the power of creative ideas to create art and change in your life and community.

Critique: This large format (8.8 x 0.85 x 10.3 inches, 2.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "Make Art or Die Trying: The Only Art Book You'll Ever Need If You Want to Make Art That Changes the World" from Rockport Publishing is profusely illustrated throughout, exceptionally well organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation. Of particular relevance for readers with an interest in pop culture art and artistic creativity, "Make Art or Die Trying" is particularly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted that Stuart Semple's "Make Art or Die Trying" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $26.50).

Editorial Note: Stuart Semple (www.stuartsemple.com) is a world-renowned contemporary artist, curator, and activist. His multidisciplinary approach spans painting, printmaking, video, technology, sculpture, happenings, and performances. His works have been exhibited at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)/UK, Denver Art Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Barbican, the Whitworth, and several other museums and institutions. Stuart has written for The Guardian, VogueSpain, and Art of England magazine, and has presented for the BBC, including the BBC Radio Documentary "Hostile Design," which was nominated for an ARIA (an "Academy Award" for radio).

Start Here: Draw
Moira Clinch
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartous.com
9780760390252, $22.99, PB, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Start-Here-Artist-Without-Trying/dp/0760390258

Synopsis: With the publication of "Start Here: Draw: 50 Ways To Be an Artist Without Trying", artist Moira Clinch gives you exciting prompts for kickstarting an artistic practice centered on drawing. By exploring how simple motifs, such as lines or circles, can be repeated to draw more intricate images and patterns, "Start Here: Draw" builds up your understanding of shape, color, and technique without the usual intimidating jargon or theory.

"Start Here: Draw" features: Daily mark-making ideas, from the simplest single line to turning curves, dots, and scribbles into cute motifs designed to be drawn in 30 minutes to an hour; Guidance on how you can get the most out of your sketchbook and inspiration to help you keep it up; Using these prompts as an inspiring starting point, have fun experimenting with different techniques and developing your own style; Patternmaking with stylized motifs to more realistic sketches (this section helps you develop your own creative approach by interpreting the prompts in your own way or by copying them using a different medium); A few essential pieces of equipment you will need, or what you could add to your kit.

Of special note is the inclusion of plenty of ideas of what to do with your finished work, from making T-shirts and mugs to curating your own "pin it" library of pieces you're proud of.

Critique: As instructive as it is inspiring, "Start Here: Draw: 50 Ways To Be an Artist Without Trying" is an extraordinary and impressive 'user friendly' DIY how-to guide to drawing that is an ideal introduction for the novice and beginner, as well as an excellence reference resource for the more experienced artist. Exceptional in organization and presentation, "Start Here: Draw" from Quarry Books is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, and college/university library Art Instruction collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Moira Clinch is a watercolor artist and urban sketcher. The author of the companion art titles Start Here: Draw and Start Here: Paint, she is also the author of two books on watercolor painting, including The Watercolor Painter's Pocket Palette, which sold more than half a million copies. She has worked as a creative director in the publishing industry for more than 25 years, and her own artwork has been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and featured in several books. Currently residing in London, there is an extensive listing of her books at https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/58957.Moira_Clinch


The Biography Shelf

Duty Calls: Lessons Learned From an Unexpected Life of Service
Dr. Antonia Coello Novello
Fulcrum Publishing
www.fulcrumbooks.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781682754467, $19.95, PB, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Duty-Calls-Lessons-Learned-Unexpected/dp/1682754464

Synopsis: Dr. Antonia Novello's enduring commitment to service has left an indelible mark on the world of public health in the United States and Puerto Rico. With a distinguished career spanning more than four decades, including serving as the US Surgeon General and the New York State Commissioner of Health during 9/11, her story highlights an unwavering dedication to improving the well-being of individuals and communities.

Dr. Novello's personal life story is one of challenges faced and overcome, of resilience and perseverance, and of shattering glass ceilings and opening doors for future generations of leaders. With honesty and openness, she shares her early battles with childhood illness and her desire to overcome stereotypes, while also chronicling her meteoric rise through various roles in the field of health care, leading to her service as the nation's top medical officer.

From her struggles to her celebrations to her tireless advocacy for the health of young people, each chapter offers a glimpse into the resilience and wisdom that have shaped her life, unveiling the profound lessons she has gathered along the way.

Critique: Inherently interesting, fully fascinating, and ultimately inspiring, "Duty Calls: Lessons Learned From an Unexpected Life of Service" by Dr. Antonia Coello Novello will hold a very special attraction for readers with an interest in Hispanic/Latina memoirs and professional medical/political biographies. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Duty Calls: Lessons Learned From an Unexpected Life of Service" is unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Women's Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Duty Calls: Lessons Learned From an Unexpected Life of Service" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874773892, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Dr. Antonia Coello Novello was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.S. and an M.D. She completed her residency/internship in pediatrics at University of Michigan, and a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at the University of Michigan and Georgetown University. Also, she received a Masters and a doctor of public health from Johns Hopkins University. In 1990, Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn as the fourteenth Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, and became the first woman and the first Hispanic ever to hold this position. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonia_Novello)

Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words
Michael Peppiatt, editor
Colm Toibin, foreword
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
www.thamesandhudsonusa.com
9780500021866, $50.00, HC, 480pp

https://www.amazon.com/Francis-Bacon-Self-Portrait-Michael-Peppiatt/dp/0500021864

Synopsis: The documents compiled and edited by Michael Peppiatt for "Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words" fully illustrate Bacon's sharp wit and ability to express complex ideas in highly personal, memorable language. Included here are not only letters to friends, patrons, and fellow artists, but also intriguing notes and lists of paintings. They often come with a sketch as an aide-memoire or an injunction to himself as he worked in the studio, and many have only come to light since his death.

Bacon's letters mirror and reveal his dominant preoccupations at different points throughout his long career. Most of Bacon's letters have never been published and include several that he wrote to author Michael Peppiatt. Particularly intriguing is the record of a dream that he jotted down, outlining impossibly beautiful paintings he had conjured up in his sleep. Together with photographs, archive material, and works by the artist are numerous reproductions of Bacon's characteristic handwriting, from the briefest jottings and notes to more extensive letters and statements.

Bacon frequently came up with memorable epithets and definitions. He delighted in doing with words what he set out to do in painting: "I like phrases that cut me." In his editorial role, Peppiatt explores the personal legacy of one of the twentieth century's most important painters and presents a compelling verbal self-portrait that reveals both man and artist.

Critique: Enhanced for the reader's benefit with some 209 color illustrations, two personal B/W photographs of Francis Bacon, an informative Foreword by Colm Toibin, and a four page Index, "Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words" is a seminal, detailed, exhaustive, original, and ground-breaking study that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Biography & Art/Artist Essay collections.

Editorial Note #1: Michael Peppiatt (https://michaelpeppiatt.com) is an English art historian, curator and writer. He is internationally respected as an expert on 20th-century art.

Editorial Note #2: Colm Toibin (https://colmtoibin.com) is the author of 11 novels including The Master, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary, Nora Webster, House of Names and The Magician. His work has been shortlisted for The Booker Prize three times, has won the Costa Novel Award and the IMPAC Award. He has also published two collections of stories and many works of non-fiction.

Black Girl IRL
Gail Hamilton Azodo
Lawrence Hill Press
c/o Chicago Review Press
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9781641609296, $19.99, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Girl-IRL-Between-Magic/dp/164160929X

Synopsis: Whatever happened to the regular Black girl? -- The one who works a nine-to-five or maybe owns her own business or is completing her master's. Or how about the one figuring out how to be a good mom or wife or daughter? Or the one that's doing all the above?

A lot of Black women are doing it all, and it's not just the Oprahs and Beyonces. There's an entire group of Black women that are just, well, regular. They are handling things, like determining if they should speak up in that work meeting and risk becoming the "voice" for all Black women, or considering whether tonight is the night to introduce our silk hair bonnet in the relationship that is just getting serious.

These decisions range from impactful to trivial, but they shape who Black women are.

So where is the place for this type of girl talk and unfiltered sharing? Gail Hamilton Azodo is your thirtysomething corporate ladder climber turned entrepreneur, mom, wife, and Black Girl IRL. In her dinners, happy hours, and group texts with Black women, they shared everything from motivational quotes to the latest in Black girl advice.

Whether it's how to cut ties with friends who no longer align with a mutual purpose or how to talk about money and embrace Black women's wealth, Gail is here in the pages of "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" to share these authentic stories of everyday Black women -- with a fair number of frills.

Critique: A fascinating and thought-provoking read from start to finish, "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" will prove to be of particularly special and relevant value to readers with an interest in African-American Women's biographies and memoirs. While highly recommended for community and college/university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Black Girl IRL: Life Between the Mess and the Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Gail Hamilton Azodo (www.blackgirlirl.com) is a writer, professor, entrepreneur, mom, wife, and Black Girl in Real Life. With over three decades of life as a Black woman, Gail has spent the last couple of years writing her story to record the experiences of everyday Black women. When she's not writing, she is a professor at the Chapman School of Hospitality and Honors College at Florida International University and the co-owner of Sips Coffee Roasters.

On My Way Back to You
Sarah Cart, author
Glenn Plaskin, author
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
9781637632512, $26.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/My-Way-Back-You-Catastrophic/dp/1637632517

Synopsis: Throughout her 42-year marriage, writer Sarah Cart has enjoyed a life of "gloriously controlled chaos," as she and her husband, Ben, a successful entrepreneur and seasoned outdoorsman, embarked on numerous adventures with their four active sons. Then the unthinkable happened.

In suspenseful and heartrending detail, Cart shares how Ben developed an incurable autoimmune condition that was manageable and under control one minute and threatened to kill him the next, landing him in the ICU as the Covid pandemic closed the world down. Thrust into the role of nurse and caregiver, Sarah joined the ranks of 39 million Americans who champion and care for an ailing loved one.

In addition to confronting doubts, fears, and endless setbacks, aggravations, and red tape, she also had to consent to daunting procedures on Ben's behalf. Too, there were the months-long Covid-era restrictions on hospital visitations and the post-surgery snafus with home healthcare personnel. Thank goodness for the heartfelt communiques with family and friends, all of which reflect the faith, fortitude, grit, and grace that sustained her.

While readers will identify with Sarah's anxieties and be moved by hers and Ben's strength, they will also learn the questions to ask, the notes to take, the signs to never overlook, and the self-care necessary should they ever find themselves in her shoes. "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" is a profoundly inspirational account of one couple's medical odyssey and the patience, determination, and love that ultimately helped them find their way back to one another.

Critique: Extraordinary, remarkable, intensely personal and with a universal resonance, "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" by Sarah Cart (with the assistance of Glenn Plaskin) is an exceptionally well written and truly memorable memoir that will have an immense appeal to readers with an interest in what care-givers to loved ones had to cope with, endure, and overcome with the additional stresses of a world wide pandemic. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99), "On My Way Back to You: One Couple's Journey through Catastrophic Illness to Healing and Hope" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library Contemporary Medical themed American Biographies & Memoir collections.

Editorial Note: Sarah Cart was raised and educated in New York and New England. As a freelancer, she wrote for multiple local publications while she and her husband, Ben, raised four sons in northeastern Ohio. Upon becoming empty nesters, the two moved to the Florida Keys, but they returned every summer to the Pennsylvania Poconos, where each had lifelong family connections. Then came Covid. The pandemic, combined with Ben's health issues, necessitated their sheltering in place in Florida for the entirety of 2020. In the wake of Ben's undergoing miraculous lifesaving measures, they have been afforded the unanticipated gift of a future and, more than ever before, relish time spent with family and friends.

Editorial Note #2: Celebrity interviewer and columnist Glenn Plaskin is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five books, specializing in memoir, business, self-help, leadership, and inspiration.

Fire in the Hole!
Bob Parsons
Forefront Books
https://www.forefrontbooks.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781637632987, $29.00, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Hole-Traumatic-Explosive-Success/dp/1637632983

Synopsis: Born in the tough town of East Baltimore to parents who were inveterate gamblers, billionaire philanthropist Bob Parsons' early years were marked by hardship and financial struggle. While he vowed his own children would never lack for anything, never did he imagine the wealth he would one day amass as the founder of Parsons Technology, GoDaddy, PXG Golf, and YAM Worldwide.

In his personal memoir, "Fire in the Hole!: The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success", this extraordinary entrepreneur recounts the exploits of his youth, his hellish days at the mercy of Catholic school nuns, his harrowing tour of combat duty in Vietnam as a US Marine, his pioneering contributions to the software and internet industries, and his latest ventures in power sports, golf, real estate, and marketing.

Along the way, we witness his remarkable resilience as he copes with his mother's mental illness and his father's struggles, battles PTSD resulting from both his childhood and war traumas, and mounts a quest to find new and effective treatments for himself and others who suffer from this affliction. He strongly supports veterans organizations, and believing in the concept of paying it forward, has awarded grants to more than ninety-six charities and organizations worldwide through the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

Perhaps the only thing that has come easy to Parsons is his gift for storytelling. His reflections are at turns heartbreaking, heartwarming, hilarious, and inspiring. If ever there were a story about a self-made man whose wealth can be measured as much by the contents of his heart as by the contents of his bank account, this is it.

Critique: A fascinating read from start to finish, "Fire in the Hole!: The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success" is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man. Detailed, candid, and ultimately inspiring, "Fire in the Hole" will prove a welcome addition to community and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fire in the Hole!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874746209, $39.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Bob Parsons (https://tbrpf.org) is the CEO and founder of YAM Worldwide, home to his entrepreneurial ventures in the fields of motorcycles, golf, real estate, finance, marketing, innovation, and philanthropy. However, he is perhaps best known as the founder of GoDaddy.

Abandoned at Birth
Janet Sherlund
Worth
c/o Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781637632758, $26.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Abandoned-Birth-Searching-Arms-that/dp/1637632754

Synopsis: Adoption is often painted as a happy, inspirational act -- a baby finds a family and lives happily ever after. But the truth is that adopted children experience displacement and rupture from their mother and that trauma can impact an individual for a lifetime. Adoption can lead to feelings of loss and grief not just for the adoptee, but for the biological and adoptive parents as well.

This startling fact comes vividly to life in Janet Sherlund's heartbreaking memoir, "Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms that Once Held Me". In candidly recounted life story, Janet Sherlund explores the complex issues so many adoptees and their parents grapple with, including the complicated emotions of rejection, loss, grief, denial, and shame.

Sherlund, who was given up for adoption within days of her birth, shares her journey to fulfill her lifetime longing for connection with her family of origin, her instinctive ache for connection with her birth mother, and what it was like to have a "borrowed identity." In poignant detail, Sherlund describes her quest to find out who she is, where she came from, and why she was given away. And she reveals the pain and courage required to discover one's true identity.

With 5 million adoptees in the U.S., many of whom are discovering their biological roots on DNA websites, "Abandoned at Birth" offers insights that Sherlund derived from her journey of discovery that will encourage and console others on the same path, while examining the inherent need of all of us to belong, and understand our origins, our culture, and our genetic roots.

Critique: Eloquent, intimate, detailed, exceptional, "Abandoned at Birth: Searching for the Arms that Once Held Me" is an unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone with an interest in adoption issues that "Abandoned at Birth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874811228, $35.60, CD).

Editorial Note: Janet Sherlund raised her family and served on nonprofit boards in education, health, and the cultural arts before writing her memoir, Abandoned at Birth. Her single most significant life event was being given up for adoption at birth. Being adopted made her feel as though she was living a "borrowed life," undermined her sense of trust and personal value, and impacted every decision she made. It also led to a lifelong quest to find her biological mother with the hope of finally feeling a tether to this world, a sense of belonging, and ultimately, herself.


The General Fiction Shelf

How to Read a Book
Monica Wood
Mariner Books
www.marinerbooks.com
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
www.harpercollins.com
9780063243675, $28.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-Monica-Wood/dp/0063243679

Synopsis: Violet Powell is a twenty-two-year-old from rural Abbott Falls, Maine, who is being released from prison after serving twenty-two months for a drunk-driving crash that killed a local kindergarten teacher.

Harriet Larson, a retired English teacher who runs the prison book club, is facing the unsettling prospect of an empty nest.

Frank Daigle, a retired machinist, hasn't yet come to grips with the complications of his marriage to the woman Violet killed.

When the three encounter each other one morning in a bookstore in Portland (Violet to buy the novel she was reading in the prison book club before her release, Harriet to choose the next title for the women who remain, and Frank to dispatch his duties as the store handyman) their lives begin to intersect in transformative ways.

Critique: "How to Read a Book" by author Monica Wood is an inherently thoughtful, impressively hopeful, deftly crafted and original story about dealing with guilt, the value of second chances, and the power of books to impact on our lives. One of those work of such literary excellent that it will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the novel itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "How to Read a Book" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Read a Book" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Monica Wood (www.monicawood.com) is a novelist, memoirist, and playwright; a recipient of the Maine Humanities Council Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities; and a recipient of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to the literary arts.

Anna Bright Is Hiding Something
Susie Orman Schnall
https://susieschnall.com
SparkPress
c/o Spark Point Studio
www.gosparkpress.com
9781684632527, $17.95, PB, 344pp

https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Bright-Hiding-Something-Novel/dp/1684632528

Synopsis: "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" by novelist Susie Orman Schnall is a ripped-from-the-headlines story set in the glossy offices of Silicon Valley startups and NYC new media. It explores our fascination with female founders breaking barriers -- and sometimes behaving badly in the process.

Anna Bright is committing fraud. But nobody knows it yet. Not the board of her multibillion dollar company, not her investors, not the public breathlessly anticipating the launch of BrightSpot, and not the media -- including Jamie Roman, a hardworking journalist for BusinessBerry.

But when Jamie does learn about Anna's misconduct, she embarks on a bicoastal journey to expose the crimes and make a name for herself as a journalist. It's not long before Anna learns what the reporter is up to, however -- and that she will do anything to stop Jamie.

Especially now that BrightLife's IPO is days away!

Critique: An original and deftly crafted novel by Susie Orman Schnall from start to finish, "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" expertly blends satire with suspense. While especially and unreservedly recommended as a prized pick for community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Anna Bright Is Hiding Something" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9798874751265, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Susie Orman Schnall (https://susieschnall.com) is the author of the novels We Came Here To Shine, The Subway Girls, The Balance Project, and On Grace.

Searching for Van Gogh
Donald Lystra
Omena Hills Press
9798989772421, $24.95, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Searching-Van-Gogh-Donald-Lystra/dp/B0CW651G2B

Synopsis: It's fall of 1963 in a city in America's industrial heartland. Audrey Brubaker, rejected by her family and community but determined to build a life for herself, becomes the unlikely mentor to Nate Walker, a math and science prodigy who has turned to art in an effort to cope with the death of a revered older brother.

In a relationship that borders on love but never quite seems to get there, Audrey gives meaning to Nate's artistic aspirations, introduces him to life's hard edges, and helps him find courage. Together they set off on an ill-fated mission: to recover Nate's brother's body from a military cemetery in northern Michigan.

Along the way, secrets are uncovered and boundaries are crossed which will change Nate's life forever. But in a heart-wrenching ending, it is Audrey who will need to tap the well-spring of Nate's empathy for her own redemptive needs.

Critique: Rising to the level of literary excellence, "Searching for Van Gogh" showcases author Donald Lystra's genuine flair for creating memorable characters and a distinctive, narrative driven storytelling style that quickly engages the reader's total attention from start to finish. "Searching for Van Gogh" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. An impressive work of biographical fiction, "Searching for Van Gogh" from Omena Hills Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Searching for Van Gogh" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798989772407, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Donald Lystra (http://donaldlystra.com) was in his fifties when he began to write fiction in a serious way. As a writer Lystra has received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the McDowell Colony. His 2012 novel, Season of Water and Ice, received a gold medal from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. His 2014 story collection, Something that Feels like Truth, also received a MIPA gold medal and Michigan Notable Book award, as well as an IPPY gold medal for Best Regional Fiction.


The Historical Fiction Shelf

To Do Justice
Frank S. Joseph
https://www.frankjoseph.com
BookBaby
9798990440913, $19.95, PB, 291pp

https://www.amazon.com/DO-JUSTICE-Chicago-Trilogy/dp/B0D4TT8XSW

Synopsis: Pinkie, 11, is of mixed race and longs to connect with the White woman who gave her birth. Pinkie looks White but is being 'raised Black' by shiftless Jolene, who also raises biological daughter Bettina, 8. Bettina and Pinkie are devoted to one another. But how does Jolene have custody of Pinkie?

Mollie, 23, is a rookie Associated Press journalist, is a beautiful soul (plucky, honest, sensitive) who is trapped in a homely exterior. She longs for oafish colleague Steve, 27, who breaks her heart. But with the aid of 'Conrad the dying poet,' Mollie will make her name as a gutsy street reporter.

The "fire hydrant riot," Chicago's first of the tumultuous '60s, erupts outside Pinkie's home. Pinkie watches every night, realizing she could flee life with Jolene. She runs away.
Missus Sawhill, a powerful Democratic operative, takes Pinkie in, opening a new and seemingly better chapter for Pinkie.

The riots continue. Far worst is in North Lawndale. Pinkie and Bettina are separated in the melee. Pinkie searches all night but can't find Bettina.

Dr. King schedules a march through Gage Park, a White neighborhood known as racist. Bivens' plan is for Pinkie to be in the lead, her ambiguous identity symbolizing a meeting of the races. But Bettina is in the march too. After Dr. King is struck in head by a rock, Pinkie has her epiphany: Mrs. Sawhill's way to do good is wrong vs. Dr. King's way; but even bad people may do good things...

Critique: "To Do Justice" is the third novel in journalist and author Frank S. Joseph's "Chicago Trilogy" and is set in the city of Chicago during the years 1965 and 1966. "To Do Justice" is a deftly crafted and riveting novel that rises to a very high level of literary excellence. It is impressive as to how, as an author, Frank Joseph has drawn upon his own Chicago-based journalistic history and experience to create a work of fiction that is true and accurate to the turbulent times into which it is set. A vivid and inherently fascinating read from start to finish, "To Do Justice" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "To Do Justice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Editorial Note: Frank S. Joseph is Chicago born and bred. He cut his journalistic teeth at the storied City News Bureau of Chicago and served his apprenticeship in the Chicago bureau of The Associated Press covering the ghetto riots of the mid '60s. He left The AP as night city editor but returned the following summer to cover the 1968 Democratic Convention street disorders. Frank came to Washington in 1969, landing at The Washington Post during the Watergate years, then went on to a career in specialized publishing during which he co-founded or founded two companies that each won numerous awards.

The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale
Tristan Nettles
Addison & Highsmith Publishers
c/o Histria Books
www.histriabooks.com
9781592113842, $29.99, HC, 230pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Bronze-Age-Tale/dp/1592113842

Synopsis: A young shepherd boy living between the no mans land of civilization and beyond is taken and made slave by an invading army en route to his homeland. Led by an undefeated general with a penchant for cruelty, this unassuming adolescent careens his way into the commander's good graces through a witless charm. Finding out only all too late that the little shepherd boy was not at all what he had seemed, the unconquerable general and his army are led to their doom.

Critique: An original action/adventure novel set in antiquity, author Tristan Nettles' novel "The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale" is a entertaining read from start to finish. Showcasing Nettles' distinctive and narrative driven storytelling style -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for community library Historical Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: In 2015 Tristan Nettles journeyed to the far side of the world from Micronesia to Nepal to Thailand. There he became an international dark web drug dealer in order to fund his party lifestyle and pay for medical school studies in Europe. But after Ashley Oosthulzen, his twenty-one year old fiancee, was arrested and sentenced to death for an intercepted package of MDMA, he tried everything to get her released from prison. Ashley was first put on death row and later sentenced to life in prison. All proceeds from the sale of "The Shepard: A Bronze Age Tale" will go towards supporting the care and efforts to free Ashley from her imprisonment.


The Literary Fiction Shelf

Vladivostok Circus
Elisa Shua Dusapin, author
Aneesa Abbas Higgins, translator
Open Letter Books
c/o University of Rochester
www.openletterbooks.org
9781960385123, $15.95, PB, 140pp

https://www.amazon.com/Vladivostok-Circus-Elisa-Shua-Dusapin/dp/1960385127

Synopsis: Nathalie arrives at the circus in Vladivostok, Russia, fresh out of fashion school in Geneva. She is there to design the costumes for a trio of artists who are due to perform one of the most dangerous acts of all: the Russian Bar.

As winter approaches, the season at Vladivostok is winding down, leaving the windy port city empty as the performers rush off to catch trains, boats and buses home; all except the Russian bar trio and their manager. They are scheduled to perform at a festival in Ulan Ude, just before Christmas.

What ensues in author Elisa Shua Dusapin's novel, "Vladivostok Circus" is an intimate and beguiling account of four people learning to work with and trust one another. This is an original novel about the delicate balance that must be achieved when flirting with death in such spectacular fashion, set against the backdrop of a cloudy ocean and immersing the reader into Dusapin's trademark dreamlike prose.

Critique: Ably translated from the French for an American readership by Aneesa Abbas Higgins, this paperback edition of "Vladivostock Circus" from Open Letter Books is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and college/university library French Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in French literature that "Vladivostock Circus" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Elisa Shua Dusapin was born in France in 1992 and raised in Paris, Seoul, and Switzerland. Winter in Sokcho is her first novel. Published in 2016 to wide acclaim, it was awarded the Prix Robert Walser and the Prix Regine Desforges and has been translated into six languages. Her novel, Winter In Sokcho, won the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2021. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisa_Shua_Dusapin)

Editorial Note #2: Aneesa Abbas Higgins has translated books by Elisa Shua Dusapin, Venus Khoury-Ghata, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Ali Zamir, and Nina Bouraoui. Seven Stones by Venus Khoury-Ghata was short-listed for the Scott-Moncrieff Translation Prize, and both A Girl Called Eel by Ali Zamir and What Became of the White Savage by Francois Garde won PEN Translates awards. Her translation of Dusapin's Winter in Sokcho won the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2021. (www2.societyofauthors.org/soa-member/aneesa-abbas-higgins)


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

A Wonderland Wish on Ever After Street
Jaimie Admans
Boldwood Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781804838808, $41.00, PB, Large Print, 466pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-wonderland-wish-on-ever-after-street-jaimie-admans/1144719188

Synopsis: Set in a picture-perfect town, a place where dreams come true. "A Wonderland Wish on Ever After Street" is the story of Cleo Jordan who has only ever wished for one thing -- to open her own teashop in memory of her lovely gran.

So when she accidentally fools the interview board into thinking she's a brilliant baker and is offered a prime spot on Ever After Street, she knows her dream is about to come true! But there's a complication -- Cleo has completely lost her love of baking! With her little white lie ticking in her ear, it seems her dream is over before it's begun.

Until she meets her very own Mad Hatter. Loved by everyone on Ever After Street, magician Bram brings an energy to the teashop that lifts everyone, and slowly, with his encouragement, Cleo is getting back to doing what she loves best.But with Bram hiding secrets of his own,

Cleo isn't sure she can put all her faith in him. And when things start going wrong at the teashop, Cleo wonders if the culprit sabotaging her dream is someone closer than she thinks? If Cleo wants her wish to work, she has to learn to trust again before she loses her head and heart completely -- although it might already be far too late for that!

Critique: A deftly crafted and impressively original novel that will have a very special appeal to romance fans, this large print paperback edition of Jaimie Admans novel "A Wonderland Wish on Ever After Street" from Boldwood Books is a fun read from start to finish and one that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition for personal reading lists and community library Romance Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Jaimie Admans is the author of several romantic comedies. Currently the Ever After Street series, and The Gingerbread House in Mistletoe Gardens for Boldwood Books, and she previously wrote ten books for HarperCollins including The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane, The Post Box at the North Pole, and The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove.

Love in Tandem
Becca Kinzer
Tyndale House Publishers
www.tyndale.com
9781496466129, $15.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Tandem-Becca-Kinzer/dp/1496466128

Synopsis: After a failed engagement and her mother's battle with cancer, Charlotte Carter's life is finally turning around now that she's landed a dream job teaching music. What she didn't see coming was the imminent closure of the school's music program. She's determined to save it, even if it means getting creative. There's no way she's chalking this up as just another failure in her book of recent embarrassments.

Zach Bryant is back in town just long enough to see his brother Ben get married and then he's off traveling the world again. He never imagined he'd run into Charlotte Carter, his brother's ex-fiance, or that everyone would believe he and Charlotte are an item. He certainly didn't dream he'd end up riding a tandem bicycle hundreds of miles with her in an attempt to raise funds for a defunct music program, but how can he say no when the prize money would help him out of his financial predicament too?

Charlotte is sure she can set aside her differences with Zach long enough to cross the finish line and win the giant cash prize... can't she? A few hundred miles in, she's questioning her deeply held assumptions about Zach and wondering if maybe tandem biking is only the start of their biggest adventure yet.

Critique: Especially appropriate for readers with an interest in clean and wholesome romance novels that are a fun read from start to finish, "Love in Tandem" by Becca Kinser is original, deftly crafted, charming, contemporary -- and all the more impressive when considering that it is her debut as a novelist! While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal and community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Love in Tandem" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and in a Large Print edition (Thorndike Press, 9781420513899, $33.99, 581pp).

Editorial Note: Becca Kinzer (www.beccakinzer.com) lives in Springfield, Illinois where she works as a critical care nurse. She is a 2018 ACFW First Impressions Contest winner, a 2019 Genesis Contest winner, 2021 Cascade Award winner.

Heart Restoration Project
Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi
https://www.merlinandmod.com
Montlake
c/o Amazon Publishing
9781662522239, $16.99, PB, 303pp

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Restoration-Project-Beth-Merlin/dp/1662522231

Synopsis: Who is the real Plum Everly? -- And wouldn't she like to know!

Raised in front of the cameras on her family's hit reality show, Plum has reluctantly ridden the wave of D-list fame for way too long. Fading under the spotlight, she's ready to ditch Hollywood forever when a new opportunity arises: a DIY in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. Chateau Mirabelle and Plum's identity. Both in need of restoration.

Bienvenue en France. The village is gracious and welcoming. Elliott Schaffer, the flirty head of production, isn't bad either. But it's Mirabelle itself (a symbol of courage reaching back to World War II) that pushes the show in a new direction. Focusing on its profound connection to history, Plum and Elliott are developing a greater appreciation for the legendary chateau and, along the way, for each other.

The best part of this makeover of the heart and soul? Plum gets to write her own ending. This time, for the first time, her life is going to be the real thing!

Critique: Brilliantly co-authored by beth Merlin and Danielle Modafferi, "Heart Restoration Project" is an original, delightful, and thoroughly fun read from start to finish. A contemporary romantic comedy, this new novel from the co-authors of "The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan" continues to demonstrate their shared, narrative driven, and distinctive storytelling style. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "Heart Restoration Project" is wholeheartedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

Editorial Note #1: Beth Merlin earned her BA from the George Washington University and her juris doctor from New York Law School. A lifelong New Yorker, Beth loves anything Broadway, romantic comedies, and a good maxi dress. When she isn't writing, you can find her spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cavapoos, Sophie and Scarlett, at home or at their favorite vacation spot, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Editorial Note #2: Danielle Modafferi, a high school English teacher and pun enthusiast, earned her MFA in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and, shortly after, founded Firefly Hill Press in 2016. By day, she helps her students discover the magic of language, and by night, she's a writer and publisher on a mission to unleash her creativity and help others do the same. Danielle loves making memories with friends and family, traveling to faraway (and some not-so-faraway) places, and snuggling with her two dogs, Jackson and Liam, who are also incidentally her biggest fans.

Wish You Weren't Here
Christy Schillig
Crooked Lane Books
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781639107070, $29.99, HC, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wish-You-Werent-Here-Novel/dp/163910707X

Synopsis: Ava Graham's ducks are in a row as she heads off to Italy to complete her final law school credits and fulfill a promise she made to her late mother five years ago. Ava expects her long-term boyfriend to propose before her trip, but instead of giving her a ring, he suggests they use her time abroad as a "break" before settling down.

When James Massini arrives (late) to the airport to pick up Ava as a favor to his aunt and uncle, he's surprised to find that she's not a young co-ed, but a fascinating woman approaching thirty with a serious superiority complex and a habit of underestimating him. When she's assigned to his class as a TA, he becomes determined to prove to her that there is more to life than plans and lists, no matter how hard she fights with him - or how annoyingly charming he finds their banter.

Despite the sudden disaster of her life, and with her type A personality, Ava might actually enjoy Italy -- if only annoyingly carefree James wasn't there, too. As Ava reluctantly lets James try to show her a different way of life in Italy, she begins to find beauty in the chaos. Of course, it's when things begin to make sense again that her past comes storming back.

With a humorously relatable protagonist and a rich Italian setting, "Wish You Weren't Here" is an escapist treat and a necessary reminder that life doesn't always care about the plans we've made for ourselves.

Critique: A fun read from first page to last, "Wish You Weren't Here" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Christy Schillig's debut as a novelist. Holding a very special appeal to readers with an interest in workplace and contemporary romance novels set in Italy, "Wish You Weren't Here" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and unreservedly recommended for both community library Romance Fiction collections and personal reading lists.

Editorial Note: Christy Schillig (www.instagram.com/christyschillig) is a middle school teacher who lives in a log cabin in suburban South Jersey with her two children, her husband/best-friend since 6th grade, and her dogs, Puppay and Sheep. Christy graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Italian Literature and Language (yes, that's a real degree) and uses that degree to commentate classroom science games in Italian and plan off the grid trips to the Italian Rivieras. On any given day, you can find her reading young adult paranormal romance beneath her desk at school.


The Western Fiction Shelf

The Pinfire Lady Strikes Back
P. J. Gallagher
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781444853087, $25.00, PB, Large Print, 234pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pinfire-lady-strikes-back-p-j-gallagher/1130920594

Synopsis: Abigail, Lady Penraven, is an Englishwoman set adrift in the wilderness of the Great American Desert. But Abbie is made of stern stuff, and she develops skills with firearms and establishes herself as a gunfighter and wagon master. During a trek westwards, seeking the supposed inheritance left by her deceased father, she encounters numerous perils that test her new skills to the full.

Critique: P. J. Gallagher is the consummate master of the western novel genre with a genuine flair for the kind of action/adventure storytelling that keeps the reader's riveted attention from first page to last. This new large print paperback edition of Gallaher's novel, "The Pinfire Lady Strikes Back" now available from the Linford Western Library collections will prove to be a high value and appreciated addition to personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: P. J. Gallagher served in the British Army. He has written and had published close to 20 articles for The Journal of the Royal Artillery, competed for the past 20 years in Cowboy Action Shooting, and is a collector of antique firearms. There is an extensive listing of his books at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/281621.Paul_Gallagher

Rage at the Devil
Dale Graham
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781444853094, $25.00, PB, Large Print, 234pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rage-at-the-devil-dale-graham/1132682461

Synopsis: When stable hand Ben Cade returns home to visit his father, he is stunned to discover the old farmer has been killed by drinking poisoned whiskey. Suspicion falls on a peddler who has recently passed through the Nebraska town of Gothenburg asking strange questions, allegedly to locate old friends. Ben has vengeance in his heart, but his shooting ability is woefully lacking. A chance meeting with Wild Bill Hickok, his boyhood hero in dime novels, sees the legendary gunfighter teaching him the rudiments of his dubious profession. Ben proves to be an able student. A new confidence finds him setting out on a merciless quest for retribution. But the fortuitous acquisition of a gun-toting reputation brings dangers he could never have imagined. Will Ben have the maturity and wisdom to meet the unforeseen challenges fate throws in his path?

Critique: A fun and entertaining read throughout, this large print paperback edition of Dale Graham's "Rage at the Devil" will prove to be an immediately and enduringly popular pick for community library Western Fiction collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated action/adventure western novel fans.

Editorial Note: Graham Dugdale writes westerns under the two pen-names of Dale Graham and Ethan Flagg. He acquired his interest in American Western history following a period working as a teacher in New Mexico. He also compiles crossword puzzles for a weekly country sports newspaper and has produced 11 highly successful walking guides all based in the north of England.

Unfinished Business
Corba Sunman
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781444853186, $25.00, PB, Large Print, 234pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unfinished-business-corba-sunman/1130920540

Synopsis: After hearing rumours of trouble in Benton County, deputy US Marshal Dale Banham visits his sister Hannah to investigate. Neighbouring rancher Matt Dolan is letting his steers roam across Hannah's land, eating her feed and drinking her water, and claims she's responsible for damaging his fences. Sheriff Bain warns her that she has no chance of standing up to the powerful cattlemen. But Banham won't let this injustice stand...

Critique: Corba Sunman writes action/adventure western novels with a particularly vivid flair from start to finish. -- "Banham cocked his gun. The remaining two men came up off the floor side by side, guns smoking. Banham fired. The nearest man toppled over as the slug thudded into his chest and broke two ribs before piercing his heart. The last man was already levelling his gun. Banham shaded him, fired first, and a torrent of blood erupted from his adversary's mouth when the half-inch chunk of lead tore out his throat...." A compelling page turner of a read from cover to cover, thie large print paperback edition of "Unfinished Business" from the Linford Western Library collections is strongly recommended for both the personal reading lists of dedicated western fans and community library Western Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Corba Sunman is the pseudonym for Peter Mallet, who has published more than 40 westerns and has also had published romantic fiction, science fiction, and romantic thrillers.

Marshal Flynn's Pilgrimage
Simon Webb
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781444853292, $25.00, PB, Large Print, 228pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marshal-flynns-pilgrimage-simon-webb/1132682478

Synopsis: Marshal Jedediah Flynn has resigned his office and is determined to become a church minister. While travelling to take up a place at a theological college in Illinois, however, he stumbles across a crime which he cannot ignore. It seems that before he can devote himself to the Lord's work, the marshal will be compelled to take up arms one last time.

Critique: Simon Webb is a master storyteller with a particular expertise when it comes to action/adventure westerns. A fun read from start to finish, this large print paperback edition from the Linford Western Library series of Simon Webb's novel, "Marshal Flynn's Pilgrimage", is specifically and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Simon Webb, who lives on the outskirts of London, is the author of more than thirty westerns, published under both his own name and also a number of pseudonyms; for example Brent Larssen, Harriet Cade, Ed Roberts, Ethan Harker and Fenton Sadler. In addition to westerns, he has written many non-fiction books, chiefly on the subjects of social history and education.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

S.S. Murder
Q. Patrick
American Mystery Classics
c/o Penzler Publishers
https://penzlerpublishers.com
9781613165379, $15.95, PB, 264pp

https://www.amazon.com/S-S-Murder-Q-Patrick/dp/1613165374

Synopsis: Cub reporter Mary Llewellyn is on a soothing sea cruise to help her recover after a minor operation. Her fellow passengers are pleasant enough, gathering to play a friendly game of bridge to pass the time. But the game turns considerably less so when a wealthy businessman samples a cocktail -- and ends up dead at the table.

The news that someone onboard dumped a fatal dose of strychnine into the man's drink sends a ripple of panic through the voyagers. All too soon, it becomes clear that the murder was not an isolated incident when another passenger is shoved overboard during a storm.

Determined to stop a murderer, Mary decides to do some snooping above and below deck to get to the truth. If she doesn't figure out the mystery of the seagoing slayer, she might not make it back to land alive.

Critique: "S. S. Murder" is a traditional 'whodunnit' mystery set aboard a luxury cruise liner from the Golden Age of nautical travel. Deftly crafted and a fun read for dedicated mystery buffs from start to finish, this new paperback edition will hold special appeal for readers with an interest in historical detective mysteries featuring an amateur female sleuth.

Editorial Note: Curtis Evans is the author of several studies of classic crime fiction, including Masters of the "Humdrum" Mystery, The Spectrum of English Murder, and Clues and Corpses: The Detective Fiction and Mystery Criticism of Todd Downing. He edited the Edgar-nominated Murder in the Closet: Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall and blogs at The Passing Tramp.

The Village Detectives & The Art Of Murder
Fiona Walker
Boldwood Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781835619261, $42.00, PB, Large Print, 488pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-art-of-murder-fiona-walker/1144703326

Synopsis: Former stand-up comic Juno Mulligan has been suffering a serious sense-of-humor failure. Not only has she lost the love of her life, but she's having to relocate to the (admittedly idyllic) village of Inkbury to watch out for her elderly mother, who she's genuinely worried might be marrying a wife-killer.

She hopes that her old friend, disgraced-journalist-turned-novelist Phoebe Fredericks can help her crack the case of whether her mother's perma-tanned, iceberg-smiled, three-times-a-widower fiance is hiding a murderous past.

But before they have a chance, the local art dealer washes up distinctly dead in the village's famous river. His lover is in the frame, but Juno and Phoebe suspect that there is a deeper secret. One that relates to Phoebe's own past and Juno's present.

Will the unofficial Village Detective Agency solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? In sleepy Inkbury, as they soon discover, living one's best midlife can be murder!

Critique: With the publication of "The Village Detectives & The Art of Murder", novelist Fiona Walker demonstrates her impressive mastery of the crime thriller genre complete with all the makings and elements of a successful and memorable cozy mystery. Memorable characters, clever plot twists, original and narrative driven storytelling, this larger print paperback edition of Fiona Walkers's "The Village Detectives & The Art of Murder" from Boldwood Books is especially recommended for both the personal reading lists of whodunnit murder mysteries and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Editorial Note: Fiona Walker (www.fionawalker.com) is the author of eighteen novels. Plucked out of the slush pile at twenty-three with her first novel, "French Relations", Fiona's unique brand of sharp-eyed romantic comedy and never-want-to-leave setting was an immediate hit, and her books have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide.

Murder On The Italian Riviera
T. A. Williams
Boldwood Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroft.com
9781835187500, $42.00, PB, Large Print, 321pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-on-the-italian-riviera-t-a-williams/1144566024

Synopsis: Private investigator Dan Armstrong is no stranger to working with criminals, but when he's approached for help by Bianca Moretti, he's on high alert. Bianca is intelligent and beautiful, and Dan likes her -- but he also once sent her to prison.

Bianca explains that a guest has been found dead at her father's luxurious and private retreat on the beautiful Italian Riviera. The police are sure the death is accidental, but Bianca is convinced the man's been murdered. Dan's sure he can get to the bottom of things...as long as Bianca is telling him the whole truth.

But when Dan arrives at the resort, he's in for a shock. He finds that the place is a naturist retreat, and everybody is walking around stark naked! Dan is determined to discover the truth, but this is going to mean revealing a whole lot more of himself than he expected. Can Dan sniff out the truth about this case before Oscar's cold wet nose causes havoc?

Critique: "Murder On The Italian Riviera" is the brand-new and much awaited cozy crime novel by T. A. Williams. This time set in gorgeous Tuscany and part of the author's cozy mystery series that includes "Murder in Tuscany", Murder in Chianti", Murder in Florence", and "Murder in Siena" this large print paperback edition of "Murder on the Italian Riviera" is a 'must' for the growing legions of T. A. Williams fans and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Editorial Note: Writing under the androgynous name of T. A. Williams (because 65% of books are read by women) this author has written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and is now writing romance and cozy mystery whodunnits. (www.bookseriesinorder.com/t-a-williams)

Molten Death
Leslie Karst
https://www.lesliekarstauthor.com
Severn House
www.severnhouse.com
9781448312160, $29.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Molten-Death-Orchid-Isle-Mystery/dp/1448312167

Synopsis: Retired caterer Valerie Corbin and her wife Kristen have come to the Big Island of Hawai'i to treat themselves to a well-earned tropical vacation. After the recent loss of her brother, Valerie is in sore need of a distraction from her troubles and is looking forward to enjoying the delicious food and vibrant culture the state has to offer.

Early one morning, the couple and their friend (tattooed local boy, Isaac) set out to see an active lava flow, and Valerie is mesmerized by the shape-shifting mass of orange and red creeping over the field of black rock. Spying a boot in the distance, she strides off alone, pondering how it could have gotten there, only to realize to her horror that the boot is still attached to a leg - a leg which is slowly being engulfed by the hot lava.

Valerie's convinced a murder has been committed . But as she's the only witness to the now vanished corpse. Who is going to believe her?

Determined to prove what she saw, and get justice for the unknown victim, Valerie launches her own investigation. But, thrown into a Hawaiian culture far from the luaus and tiki bars of glossy tourist magazines, she soon begins to fear she may be the next one to end up entombed in shiny black rock!

Critique: All the elements of a cozy mystery are to be found in "Molten Death" by Leslie Karst. An amateur female sleuth, a puzzling murder mystery with more unexpected twists and turns than an Oklahoma tornado, all played out against an Hawaiian backdrop. An original and fun read from start to finish for dedicated cozy mystery fans, "Molten Death" is especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Molten Death" from Severn House publishers is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781448315154, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst waited tables and sang in a new wave rock and roll band, before deciding she was ready for a 'real' job and ending up at Stanford Law. It was during her career as a research and appellate attorney in Santa Cruz County that she discovered a passion for food and cooking, and she once more returned to school - this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. (www.lesliekarstauthor.com)

The Noh Mask Murder
Akimitsu Takagi, author
Jesse Kirkwood, translator
Pushkin Vertigo
c/o Pushkin Press
www.pushkinpress.com
9781782279655, $16.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Noh-Mask-Murder-Akimitsu-Takagi/dp/1782279652

Synopsis: In the Chizurui family mansion, a haunting presence casts a shadow over its residents. By night, an eerie figure, clad in a sinister Hannya mask is seen roaming around the house. An amateur murder mystery writer, Akimitsu Takagi, is sent to investigate - but his investigation takes a harrowing turn as tragedy strikes the Chizurui family.

Within the confines of a locked study, the head of the family is found dead, with only an ominous Hannya mask lying on the floor by his side and the lingering scent of jasmine in the air as clues to his mysterious murder.

As Takagi delves deeper into the perplexing case, he discovers a tangled web of secrets and grudges. Can he discover the link between the family and the curse of the Hannya mask? Who was the person who called the undertaker and asked for three coffins on the night of the murder? And do those three coffins mean the curse of the Hannya mask is about to strike again?

The Noh Mask Murder's legendary ending offers locked-room mystery fans the perfect coda to an ingeniously constructed mystery.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Noh Mask Murder" is an ingeniously constructed masterpiece of a murder mystery that is written by one of Japan's most celebrated crime writers and ably translated into English for the first time by Jesse Kirkwood. It is an ideal selection for locked-room mystery fans and ends with a truly breathtaking conclusion. "The Noh Mask Murder" is a compelling and fascinating read from start to finish -- making it an ideal and highly recommended pick for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Noh Mask Murder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note #1: Akimitsu Takagi was born in Japan in 1920 and went on to work as an aeronautical engineer until the end of the Second World War. He later decided to become a mystery writer on the recommendation of a fortune teller. He went on to become one of the country's most popular crime authors. "The Noh Mask Murder" won the prestigious Mystery Writers Club Award and is considered one of the great classic Japanese whodunits. It is his second novel to appear in English, following "The Tattoo Murder Case".

Editorial Note #2: Jesse Kirkwood is a literary translator working from Japanese into English. The recipient of the 2020 Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize, his translations include "The Kamogawa Food Detectives" by Hisashi Kashiwai, "Tokyo Express" by Seicho Matsumoto and "A Perfect Day to Be Alone" by Nanae Aoyama.

The Main Character
Jaclyn Goldis
Atria / Emily Bestler Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
www.simonandschuster.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781668013045, $27.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Main-Character-Novel-Jaclyn-Goldis/dp/1668013045

Synopsis: Reclusive, mysterious author Ginevra Ex is famous for her unusual approach to crafting her big bestselling thrillers: she hires real people and conducts intensive interviews, then fictionalizes them. Her latest main character, Rory, is thrilled when Ginevra presents her with an extravagant bonus -- a lavish trip along Italy's Mediterranean coast on the famed, newly renovated Orient Express. But when Rory boards the train, she's stunned to discover that her brother, her best friend, and even her ex-fiance are passengers, as well. All invited by Ginevra -- and all hiding secrets.

With each stop, from Cinque Terre to Rome to Positano, it becomes increasingly clear that Ginevra has masterminded the ultimate real life twisty plot with Rory as her main character. And as Ginevra's deceptions mount, and the lies and machinations of Rory's travel companions pile up, Rory begins to fear that her trip will culminate like one of Ginevra's books: with a murder or two. In the opulent compartments of the iconic train, Rory must untangle the shocking reasons why Ginevra wanted them all aboard -- and to what deadly end.

Critique: "The Main Attraction" is a deftly crafted and elegant mystery by novelist Jaclyn Goldis that is on the same level of literary excellence as Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Oriental Express". An original and fun read from start to finish, "The Main Attractions" will prove to be a highly prized and appreciation addition to personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "The Main Attraction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797178509, $44.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Jaclyn Goldis (www.jaclyngoldis.com) is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and NYU Law. She practiced trust and estate law at a large Chicago firm for seven years before leaving her job to travel the world and write novels.

Hart Island
Gary Zebrun
University of Wisconsin Press
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299348342, $17.95, PB, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hart-Island-Gary-Zebrun/dp/0299348342

Synopsis: Driven out of the Coast Guard during the days of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Sal Cusumano hauls coffins to Hart Island with a burial crew of Rikers Island inmates and guards.

Only there can he fully leave his family troubles on Staten Island behind: Justin, his adopted brother and lover; his mother, Ida, slipping rapidly into dementia; the memory of Francesco, his father, a bookie gunned down on his stoop; and his brother Antony, a Manhattan homicide detective moonlighting with the mob. But the island ceases to be his sanctuary after Antony ensnares him (and others) in a crime that involves a nocturnal visit to the potter's field.

"Hart Island" is compelling and intricately plotted novel that moves through the shadows as its characters yearn for belonging and forgiveness. Set on the eve of the COVID pandemic, it is part love story, part crime novel, and part mystery.

Critique: Brought vividly to the attention of the general public during the height of the COVID pandemic, Hart Island has served as a potter's field for more than a century. It holds over a million indigent, unclaimed, or unknown New Yorkers' bodies -- and yet before the pandemic was little-known even among locals. A simply riveting read from start to finish, this edition of "Hart Island" from the University Press of Wisconsin is an absorbing novel in which author Gary Zebrun deftly explores overlapping connections of family, crime, sexuality, and human decency. A work of an impressive literary excellence, "Hart Island" is an extraordinary and highly commended pick for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hart Island" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.05).

Editorial Note: Gary Zebrun (https://garyzebrun.net) is a writer who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. His first novel, Someone You Know, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He is the recipient of Yaddo, MacDowell, and Breadloaf fellowships and has published work in the New York Times, the New Republic, the Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

Star Struck
Marjorie McCown
Crooked Lane Books
www.crookedlanebooks.com
Dreamscape Media
9781639106646, $31.99, HC, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Struck-Hollywood-Mystery-Marjorie-McCown/dp/1639106642

Synopsis: Costumer Joey Jessop is working on a movie set in 1930s Hollywood and starring two of the world's biggest stars. The male lead is also a dedicated social activist, and the female lead, Gillian Best, is known for her lifestyle brand. After a hit-and-run near the set, Joey realizes that the car involved belongs to Gillian, and she begins to wonder if the actress has more to hide than her Botox appointments.

Her suspicions deepen when Gillian's personal assistant, Rita, vows to get revenge for Gillian replacing her and is found dead shortly after. Gillian quickly labels Rita's death a suicide, and the police seem to agree-but Joey isn't so sure.

With the police standing aside, it's up to Joey to dig up the truth -- but Hollywood stars know how to keep their secrets close, and a woman like Gillian Best won't take kindly to someone sniffing around her affairs. Joey is certain that Gillian has something to hide -- and she's determined to find out what.

Critique: Of special and particular interest to fans of mysteries that feature an amateur female sleuth and a plot that is thick with unexpected plot twists and turns (as well a being a fun read from start to finish), "Star Struck by novelist Marjorie McCown will not disappoint! A riveting entertainment set in the Hollywood of the roaring 20s, "Star Struck" will prove a popular pick for community library Cozy Mystery collections and is also available for the personal reading lists of dedicated cozy mystery fans in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape, 9798874749910, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Marjorie McCown (https://marjoriemccown.com) has spent her entire professional life in the storytelling business, though she started out on the visual side of the craft, having spent more than twenty-five years working on costume-design teams for movies such as Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and Hairspray. She has a BA in theater from the University of Virginia and an AAS in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Fondant Fumble
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin/Random House
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com
Dreamscape Media
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9780593549148, $9.99, PB, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fondant-Fumble-Cupcake-Bakery-Mystery/dp/0593549147

Synopsis: Professional football players Keogh Graham and Tyler Matthews want to open a Fairy Tale Cupcakes franchise. They're spending the off-season in Scottsdale working in Mel's bakery, learning about the business and how to bake show-stopping cupcakes. The popular athletes bring a boom of customers to the store as football fans flock to see the friends mixing batter and piping icing.

Everyone's excited the athletes are pursuing their dream of owning a bakery -- except for those who fear the players will ditch football for fondant and retire early from professional sports. The angry naysayers include their team owner and Keogh's sports agent, along with some very vocal fans.

When the owner of their team, the Arizona Scorpions, is found dead on the floor of their new bakery following an argument with Keogh, the pros become prime suspects. As the investigation heats up, Mel and the rest of the cupcake bakery crew must step up and prove their franchise owners are innocent before it's game-over for the new bakers.

Critique: A classic cozy mystery, "Fondant Fumble" by Jenn McKinlay is a 'Cupcake Bakery Mystery' and a fun read for 'whodunnit' mystery buffs. Packed with unexpected plot twists and a roster of memorable characters, "Fondant Fumble" will prove to be a highly prized pick for personal and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for cozy mystery fans that "Fondant Fumble" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9798874752170, $39.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Jenn McKinlay (https://jennmckinlay.com) is the author of the Cupcake Bakery and Library Lover's Mystery series and has also written the Good Buy Girls and the Decoupage Mystery series under the names Josie Belle and Lucy Lawrence, respectively. She studied English literature and library science at Southern Connecticut State University and has worked previously as a librarian.

Another Day's Pain
K. C. Constantine
The Mysterious Press
www.mysteriouspress.com
c/o Penzler Publishers
https://penzlerpublishers.com
9781613164839, $26.95, HC, 252pp

https://www.amazon.com/Another-Days-Pain-Rocksburg-Novel/dp/1613164831

Synopsis: The police force of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, doesn't see a lot of action. With jobs and industry moving away from the small city outside Pittsburgh, Detective Ruggiero "Rugs" Carlucci's greatest adversaries are his negligent vacation-prone fellow officers and an older divorcee who has a habit of dancing naked on her back porch when she stops taking her medication. Retirement is on the horizon for Rugs, and the Vietnam vet is counting the days until he can move on from the job.

But the city of Rocksburg isn't going to let Rugs drift off to retirement without a fight. Before he can neatly wrap up his career, Rugs will face a mad shooter, a vengeful city councilman, and, most perilously -- his own mother.

Critique: Of immense interest to fans of police procedurals and action packed crime thrillers, "Another Day's Pain" by K. C. Constantine features a deftly crafted supporting cast of memorable characters in a dark humor laced novel about the impact of crime and 'the damaged souls it leaves behind'. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Another Day's Pain" from Mysterious Press is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.49) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874709495, $40.40, CD).

Editorial Note: Carl Constantine Kosak (1934 - 2023) was better known by the pen name K. C. Constantine. An American mystery author. In his novels he chronicled the fictional city of Rocksburg for fifty years, delighting readers with tales of Mario Balzic and the hapless Rocksburg Police Department. "Another Day's Pain", was completed shortly before the author's death, is the final chapter in that saga.

The Back of Beyond
P. K. Norton
Stillwater River Publications
https://stillwaterpress.com
9781963296112, $15.00, PB, 246pp

https://www.amazon.com/Back-Beyond-Amy-Lynch-Investigation/dp/1963296117

Synopsis: What do long-haul truckers, Indian burial grounds, motorcycle gangs, and an insurrection have in common? -- A investigator named Amy Lynch in another spell-binding cozy mystery by novelist P. K. Norton.

"The Back of Beyond" is the riveting story of what happens to Amy in rural West Tennessee when a straight-forward life insurance claim turns as crooked as the country roads.

Critique: It is interesting to note that the cozy mystery female sleuth Amy Lynch is modeled on the author, P. K. Norton who spent thirty years as a life insurance claims investigator and has deftly infused her fiction with her real life experiences in that role. A 'must' for the legions of dedicated cozy mystery fans, "The Back of Beyond" is an impressive original, deftly crafted, exceptionally entertaining, and unreservedly recommended pick for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Back of Beyond" from Stillwater River Publications is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

Editorial Note: Paula 'K. Norton (https://pknortonauthor.com) draws on her thirty years in the insurance business, as well as other real life experiences and passions, in her 'The Amy Lynch Investigations' mystery series which currently includes: "Deadly Diamonds"; "Direct Elimination"; "Deep Secrets"; "Dead Drop"; "Sweet Dreams, Sweet Death"; "Avenging Madonna"; and "The Back of Beyond".


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea
Rebecca Thorne
Bramble
c/o Tor Publishing Group
https://torpublishinggroup.com
9781250333292, $19.99, PB, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cant-Spell-Treason-Without-Tomes/dp/1250333296

Synopsis: All Reyna and Kianthe want is to open a bookshop that serves tea. Worn wooden floors, plants on every table, firelight drifting between the rafters... all complemented by love and good company. Thing is, Reyna works as one of the Queen's private guards, and Kianthe is the most powerful mage in existence. Leaving their lives isn't so easy.

But after an assassin takes Reyna hostage, she decides she's thoroughly done risking her life for a self-centered queen. Meanwhile, Kianthe has been waiting for a chance to flee responsibility -- all the better that her girlfriend is on board. Together, they settle in Tawney, a town nestled in the icy tundra near dragon country, and open the shop of their dreams.

What follows in author Rebecca Thorne's "Can't Spell Treason Without Tea" is a cozy fantasy tale of mishaps, mysteries, and a murderous queen throwing the realm's biggest temper tantrum. In a story brimming with hurt/comfort and quiet fireside conversations, these two women will discover just what they mean to each other -- and the world.

Critique: An original and fun read from start to finish, "Can't Spell Treason Without Tea" is a 'must read' pick for fans of romantic fantasy laced with humor and featuring memorable characters set in an inherently fascinating story. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Can't Spell Treason Without Tea" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, 9.99).

Editorial Note: Rebecca Thorne (https://rebeccathorne.net) is an author of all things fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic, such as the Tomes & Tea series. After years in the traditional publishing space, Rebecca pivoted into self-publishing. Now, she's found a happy medium as a hybrid author, and leans into her love of teaching by helping other authors find their perfect publication path.

The Die
Jude Berman
https://judeberman.com
SparkPress
c/o Spark Point Studio
www.gosparkpress.com
9781684632305, $17.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Die-Novel-Jude-Berman/dp/1684632307

Synopsis: Darah, a tech writer living in the democratic nation of California, is dismayed to see the game she's helping develop for a Silicon Valley tech company has been tampered with. When her hacker friend Jedd investigates, he uncovers a conspiracy that could change the nation -- and the world.

With a circle of close friends, Jedd digs deeper and deeper into the darknet and exposes the unthinkable: an app is being developed that uses quantum computing and neuroscience to alter people's brains, totally unbeknownst to them. As the friends realize the devastating impact of this technology, they're presented with a dilemma: stay quiet and stay safe, or risk their lives to stand up to the international authoritarian force behind this plot?

Combining activist, techno-thriller, and metaphysical fiction elements and scaffolded on three realities (the ancient wisdom of the Mahabharata, our current sociopolitical reality, and the near future) "The Die" is a story about friendship, courage, and democracy.

Critique: A riveting, scary, and thriller of a read from start to finish, "The Die" by author Jude Berman is a techno-thriller of a dystopian science fiction novel that is an all-too-believable extrapolation and projection of current political and technological realities. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this edition of "The Die" from SparkPress is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49)

Editorial Note: Jude Berman grew up amid floor-to-ceiling shelves of books in many languages. In addition to a love of literature, her refugee parents instilled in her a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and social justice. Jude has a BA in art from Smith College and an EdD in cross-cultural communication from UMass Amherst. After a career in academic research, she built a freelance writing and editing business and ran two small independent presses. In her free time, she volunteers for progressive causes, paints with acrylic watercolors, gardens, meditates, and blogs at www.judeberman.org. Jude lives in Berkeley, California, where she continues to work with authors and write fiction.

Grand Tour: The Brass Queen II
Elizabeth Chatsworth
CamCat Books
www.camcatpublishing.com
9780744306293, $29.99, HC, 432pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grand-Tour-Brass-Queen-II/dp/0744306299

Synopsis: In a fantastical steam-powered world, eccentric aristocrat and secret arms dealer, Miss Constance Haltwhistle, has been blackmailed into stealing alien artifacts from the crown heads of Europe. Only the shady but annoyingly handsome US spy, "Liberty" Trusdale, can help her execute her perfect palace heists. As Constance creates chaos and mayhem across the Continent, monstrous creatures are plotting an interdimensional invasion of Earth. Will Constance and Trusdale stop bickering long enough to end the war of the worlds before it starts?

Critique: The sequel to science fiction and fantasy novelist Elizabeth Chatsworth "The Brass Queen" (CamCat Books, 2021), "Grand Tour" is set a fantastical steam-powered world, where eccentric aristocrat and secret arms dealer, Miss Constance Haltwhistle, has been blackmailed into stealing alien artifacts from the crown heads of Europe.

Only the shady but annoyingly handsome US spy, "Liberty" Trusdale, can help her execute her perfect palace heists. But as Constance creates chaos and mayhem across the Continent, monstrous creatures are plotting an interdimensional invasion of Earth. Will Constance and Trusdale stop bickering long enough to end the war of the worlds before it starts?

Critique: An original and fun read from start to finish, "Grand Tour" is another 'tour de force' blending of romance, science fiction and fantasy by Elizabeth Chatsworth -- a master of the genre. Written with wit and laced thoroughly with humor, "Grand Tour" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated scifi/fantasy fans and librarians that "Grand Tour" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and in a large print paperback edition (9780744306262, $30.99, 592pp).

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Chatsworth (www.elizabethchatsworth.com) is a British author who writes of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space. From Victorian sensibilities to interstellar travel, she'll send you on a cosmic adventure filled with quirky characters and a touch of humor. Elizabeth won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award(TM) Gold and the Writers Of The Future Contest for Science Fiction & Fantasy.

City of the Undead
C. L. Werner
Aconyte Books
https://aconytebooks.com
Tantor Media
https://tantor.com
9781839082849, $16.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/City-Undead-Zombicide-Black-Plague/dp/1839082844

Synopsis: Witch Hunter Helchen mourns her dear friend, one of many heroes The Black Plague has sent to their grave as it consumes the kingdom. Yet she is determined to save what remains of humanity. Helchen and her companions travel to the labyrinthine canals of Zanice to obtain magical resources that would change the course of the zombie plague. Horrendous swaths of the undead mark their journey, and the companions are pursued relentlessly by necromantic forces of evil. When they discover a friend turned foe, Helchen must decide if all zombies are monsters... or if a new darkness is taking shape across the land.

Critique: The third novel in author C. L. Werner's 'A Zombicide Black Plague' series, "City of the Undead" is the story of a group of unlikely heroes, all of whom mean to prevent humanity's demise as the zombie apocalypse engulfs their kingdom. A riveting and fun read for all zombie apocalypse fans that is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9798874761509, $45.95, CD), "City of the Undead" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular pick for personal reading lists and community library Heroic Fantasy collections..

Editorial Note: C L Werner is the author of many novels and short stories spanning the genres of fantasy and horror. He has written for Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Old World, Warhammer 40,000, Warmachine's Iron Kingdoms, and Mantic's Kings of War. For Aconyte, he is the author of Marvel Legends of Asgard: Sword of Surtur and Three Swords, as well as the Zombicide: Black Plague trilogy, Age of the Undead and Isle of the Undead.

Warbound
Larry Correia
Baen Books
www.baen.com
9781982193348, $18.00

https://www.amazon.com/Warbound-Grimnoir-Chronicles-Larry-Correia/dp/1982193344

Author Larry Correia is a magician. His ability to build fantasy based on strong psychological foundations and personality makes all of his books compelling; but perhaps none so much as in Warbound, when he lends his hand to both an alternative history set in the 1930s and an urban fantasy.

In this story, magic comes not from human or faerie endeavors, but from a living creature that fled another universe in the 1850s. The magical Power has the perfect hiding place on Earth... until it is not. Add PI Jake Sullivan's magic savvy and detective prowess into the confrontation with a magic-eating predator for a vivid story that walks mean streets with disparate twists, from space pirates and knights to suicide missions when the creature's hunger threatens Earth.

Sci-fi readers will relish the world-building (and world-destroying) saga of unusual alliances, heroes, and impossible efforts to save Earth and survive.


The Poetry Shelf

Barfly and Other Poems
Michael Lista
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771966115, $15.95, PB, 96pp

https://www.amazon.com/Barfly-Michael-Lista/dp/1771966114

Synopsis: With the publication of "Barfly and Other Poems, the poet comes back to haunt both himself, and his reader.

In his compelling third collection of his work (his first in a decade), poet and essayist Michael Lista once again reinvents poetry with humor, pugnacity, and a deeply singular and identifiable voice. Splicing Byronic rhymes and Auden's meters with the twenty-first century irreverence of a late-stage Twitter feed, the poems comprising "Barfly and Other Poems" are aggressive, sweet, deadly, and emotionally raw with a break-your-heart vulnerability.

Critique: With his own distinctive style of cadence, rhythm, word driven imagery, and emotional reach, the poems comprising Michael Lista's last volume of verse is an extraordinary, memorable, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Poetry collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted that "Barfly and Other Poems" is also readily available from Biblioasis is a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Michael Lista (https://michaellista.com) is an investigative journalist, essayist and poet. He has worked as a book columnist for the National Post and as the poetry editor of The Walrus. He is the author of four books: the poetry volumes Bloom and The Scarborough; Strike Anywhere, a collection of his writing about literature, television and culture; and The Human Scale: Murder, Mischief and Other Selected Mayhems, a book of longform journalism. His essays and investigative stories have appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The Walrus, Canadaland, and Toronto Life. He is a contributing editor at Toronto Life and Maclean's. He was the 2017 Margaret Laurence Fellow at Trent University and the winner of the 2020 National Magazine Awards for both Investigative Reporting and Long Form Feature Writing.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Let's Make Bread!: A Comic Book Cookbook
Ken Forkish, author
Sarah Becan, author/illustrator
Ten Speed Graphic
c/o Penguin Random House
https://prhcomics.com
9781984860873, $22.00, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Make-Bread-Comic-Cookbook/dp/1984860879

Synopsis: With the publication of "Let's Make Bread!: A Comic Book Cookbook", author Ken Forkish adapts his expert bread baking tips and recipes from Evolutions in Bread and Flour Water Salt Yeast for the fun, beginner-friendly comic book format.

With comics artist Sarah Becan's lively and colorful illustrations, Let's Make Bread! invites readers to embark on the journey of making bread with this new visual twist.

Co-authors Forkish and Becan provide valuable tips for the first-time breadmaker, from the necessary equipment and ingredients to the basic eight-step bread method. They explain how to start, feed, maintain, and share a sourdough starter and include valuable troubleshooting tips for temperature, dough texture, proofing, and more. They also present seventeen gold-standard recipes for both traditional and customizable loaves, including The Saturday Bread, The Standard, Corn Kernel Bread, and Raisin-Pecan Bread, and more!

Pairing foolproof techniques and recipes with an exciting and inviting comic format," Let's Make Bread!" is an enjoyable (and effective) guide to making your own perfect loaf at home.

Critique: Presented in a kind of graphic novel style, this large format (7 x 0.54 x 9.97 inches, 1.09 pounds), paperback edition of "Let's Make Bread!: A Comic Book Cookbook" from Ten Speed Graphic is a unique, kitchen cook friendly, and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, family, home economics class, and community library bread-making cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Let's Make Bread!: A Comic Book Cookbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note #1: Ken Forkish is the founder of Ken's Artisan Pizza and Ken's Artisan Bakery (https://kensartisan.com/bakery). He is the bestselling author of Evolutions in Bread and Flour Water Salt Yeast, which won both a James Beard and IACP award, and The Elements of Pizza.

Editorial Note #2: Sarah Becan (https://sarahbecan.com) is a comics artist, author, illustrator, and designer based in Chicago. She is also the creator of I Think You're Sauceome, a food-centric autobiographical webcomic. She illustrated the cookbook The Adventures of Fat Rice and is the coauthor and illustrator of Let's Make Ramen! and Let's Make Dumplings! Her work has appeared in various publications, including Saveur, Eater, Organic Life, StarChefs, and Tasting Table.

My Name Is Shingo 1
Kazuo Umezz
Viz Signature
www.viz.com
9781974742721, $35.00 hc / $17.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/My-Name-Shingo-Perfect-Vol/dp/1974742725

Synopsis: A chilling science fiction tale of humanity and artificial intelligence from classic horror manga creator Kazuo Umezz!

When an industrial robot named Monroe begins to work at his father's factory, Satoru is fascinated. As he and his friend Marin spend more time with Monroe, they start to suspect there's much more to the machine than anyone else realizes. But neither children nor adults are prepared for Monroe's violent awakening into consciousness.

Critique: Science fiction fans who enjoyed Isaac Asimov's classic "I, Robot" anthology will find My Name Is Shingo to be a fascinating take on a quintessential sci-fi theme! Originally published in the 1980's, My Name Is Shingo 1 collects the first volume of a classic black-and-white manga (Japanese comics) series by Kazuo Umezz. Although Umezz is best known for his horror manga including "The Drifting Classroom", "Orochi", and "Cat-Eyed Boy", the "My Name Is Shingo" series downplays horror elements to explore concepts of divinity, consciousness, and the metaphysical. My Name Is Shingo begins when a young boy named Satoru and a young girl named Marin become fascinated by an industrial robot named Monroe. But neither the children nor the adults around them are ready for the moment when Monroe gains consciousness! The intense line art weaves into immensely complex settings and materials, bringing to life this gritty sci-fi parable. The My Name Is Shingo series is highly recommended for both manga and sci-fi connoisseurs. It should be noted for personal reading lists that My Name Is Shingo 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($17.99).

Status Royale 1
Ruxu
Viz Originals
www.viz.com
9781974727995, $16.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Status-Royale-Vol-1/dp/1974727998

Synopsis: Choose your teammates carefully and rank up fast because in the world of esports, anyone can snatch the crown!

Status Royale is THE game to master if you want to join the rank of elite players in the competitive world of VR esports. Vell is just having fun as a casual gamer with her best friend and teammate Jun teaching her the tips and tricks... until he shuts her down and skips town! Vell's competitive spirit is unlocked and she vows to challenge her former best friend with her own team of amateur Status Royale players and beat Jun at his own game, but does she really know who she's competing against?

Critique: Intended for both teen and adult readers, Status Royale 1 is the first volume of a Viz Originals black-and-white graphic novel series featuring manga-style art, set in a modern-day world where the virtual reality game "Status Royale" is a phenomenally popular e-sport. Vell is a young women who enjoys playing games casually. Her best friend Jun shows her tips and tricks - until one day he abruptly leaves town! Vell realizes that she truly enjoys intense competition, and vows to challenge her former best friend with her own team of amateur Status Royale players! A fascinating glimpse into the competitive human psyche and the drive for self-improvement, Status Royale is highly recommended for graphic novel connoisseurs and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Status Royale 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1
Sekka Iwata, story
Yu Aoki, artist
Viz
www.viz.com
9781974743551, $14.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Magilumiere-Magical-Girls-Inc-Vol/dp/1974743551

Synopsis: Are you looking for something new? Something challenging? Something very highly paid? Exterminating monsters is an exciting, fast-paced field that will get you out from behind a desk and into the action. With over 500 magical girl companies now in operation, you're sure to find a position - and a uniform - that fits. Start your career as a magical girl today!

Kana Sakuragi is an excellent candidate for the job. Any job! She's motivated and organized, and has a fantastic memory. So why has she interviewed at over 15 companies without receiving a single offer? She's trying to keep a positive attitude, but it seems like her bad luck is only getting worse when a monster crashes her latest interview. As havoc ensues, she finds herself helping the magical girl who comes to their rescue and ends up with more than just her life in return. Meet the newest magical girl at Magilumiere Magical Girls Inc.!

Critique: Intended for both teen and adult readers, Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1 is the first volume of a black-and-white manga (Japanese comics) series set in a world where young women can pursue being a "magical girl" as a career! "Magical girls" harness the power of advanced technology to combat mysterious, amorphous monsters that ordinary people can't fight. (Although men can wield the "magical" technology, they are incapable of doing so without releasing vast amounts of power and causing inadvertent destruction.) Over 500 competing corporations develop and refine this technology to deploy their own "magical girls", with "transformations" engineered by experts and "wands" that have pre-programmed executable "spells". Kana Sakuragi is a young woman interested in pursuing a career as a Magical Girl, but her job-seeking interviews never seem to go well - until an unexpected monster attack gives her the chance to demonstrate her full potential! An action-packed story with and underlying theme about dangers of reckless abuse of power, Magilumiere: Magical Girls Inc. 1 offers a sci-fi take on the "magical girl" genre and is highly recommended especially for manga and Japanese pop culture connoisseurs. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Magilumiere 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).


The Library CD Shelf

Ancestor Sounds
Africatown, AL
Free Dirt Records
https://freedirt.net
$14.99 CD

https://freedirt.net/products/africatown-al-ancestor-sounds

The brainchild of GRAMMY-winning producer Ian Brennan and his filmmaker wife Marilena Umuhoza Delli, Ancestor Sounds is a music album of recordings from the residents of the Africatown neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama, including music by descendants of the Clotilda, which was the final ship to bring enslaved people across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Some songs have musical accompaniment from the Africatown community; others include ambient recordings from the factories that surround and pollute the community today. Ancestor Sounds is intended to give a lasting emotional impression of the local community rather than serve as a meticulous historical document; all recordings were captured live, on-site, and as first takes. Ancestor Sounds defies traditional musical classifications, although it could be considered experimental folk due to its deep community roots. Highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Run, If You Can; Family Secret; Do You Hear Me Now?; Lead Me Home; Black Part of Town; Illegal Factory (Smokestack Sighs); Africatown in Their Face; Kept Me; First Thing He Did When Freed Was Build a Drum; Haunted by Her Capture; Sent to Vietnam, But Never Been to Africa; Only Black School; Reconstructed Memory; Cudjoe's Statue Defiled; Birdsong Beside the Refinery; Walk With Thee; Graveyard Shift Emissions; and The Blues Returns (Taking Flight).

Another Heart
Ann Lavoy
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
https://folkways.si.edu
ASIN: B0CV84JFPY, $13.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Another-Heart-Ann-Savoy/dp/B0CV84JFPY

Synopsis: Ann Savoy has made her name as a leading musician and historian, digging deep into the traditions of Cajun life through more than 40 albums, thousands of concerts in dozens of countries, and definitive books that tell their stories. Her own stories of that life are remarkable, as she and her husband Marc (himself a National Heritage Fellow for both his accordion playing and for having revived the art of hand-crafted accordion making) and their children Sarah, Joel, Wilson, and Gabrielle stand as leaders in their community.

Now with the releases of "Another Heart" we join her in a different musical adventure -- the spiritual follow-up to her 2006 collaboration with Linda Ronstadt, Adieu, False Heart.

With the magical touch of producer Dirk Powell, Savoy explores a wide array of musical influences that date back to her childhood and adolescence in Richmond, Virginia. Featuring several new originals alongside renditions of tunes by The Kinks, Donovan, Bruce Springsteen, Sandy Denny, and more, this album offers a glimpse into Savoy's formative years and the sounds that set her on the path to become a cherished musical icon.

Critique: "Another Heart" is the latest album from traditional music legend Ann Savoy and was released digitally and on CD and LP on April 19h. A 'must' for the growing legions of Ann Savoy fans, "Another Heart" is comprised of eleven musical gems: Cajun Love Song; A Heart Needs a Home; Waterloo Sunset; Gabie's New Year's Lament; Stolen Car; Triste Samedi/A Hurricane Song; Time Goes On My Love; Something's Got a Hold on Me; Tin Angel; Lord of the Reedy River; Who Knows Where Time Goes. Especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library CD music collections, it should be noted that "Another Heart" is also available from Smithsonian Folkways Recording in a Vinyl edition ($19.99) and in an MP3-CD format ($9.49).

Out of the Question
Allegra Levy
www.allegralevy.com
SteepleChase Records
$TBA CD / $TBA digital

https://open.spotify.com/album/4jVJqd0tGPD1HDOEBBpE6y

Jazz vocalist Allegra Levy presents Out of the Question, an album of creative and inspired performances of jazz classics, all of which revolve around their titular questions. Out of the Question is intended for a teen and adult audience, as some of its songs - such as"Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and its question fraught with tangled romance and threat - deal with mature themes. Allegra Levy's memorable vocal performance is supported by Carman Staaf on piano, Mimi Jones on bass, Allison Miller on drums and shaker, Roxy Coss on tenor and soprano saxophone, Andrew Baird on guitar and ukulele, and Aubrey Johnson on background vocals. A treasure for connoisseurs of jazz and vibrant new interpretations of beloved favorite songs, Out of the Question is highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The track list is Are You Real?, What Are You Waiting For?, Where Are You Going?, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, What Is This Thing Called Love?, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, Que Pasa?, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life, Will You Still Be Mine?, What's in a Name?, How Deep is the Ocean?, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?, and What'll I Do?

Searchin'
Anthony D'Alessandro
anthonydalessandro.ca
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $6.93 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CR32J116

Searchin' is a jazz album featuring five original compositions by Toronto-based pianist Anthony D'Alessandro plus two covers of classic songs, performed by Anthony D'Alessandro on piano, Benny Benack III on trumpet (and vocals for two numbers), Neil Swainson on bass, and Ernesto Cervini on drums. As the title suggests, Searchin' is meant to embody the human search for answers in music, art, and everyday life. The songs of Searchin' span a diversity of jazz styles, from intense swing ("Outbreak") to delicate jazz waltz ("Wonder"). Lively and captivating, Searchin' is a choice pick for jazz connoisseurs, highly recommended! The tracks are The Golden Mean, Tune for Monty, Blues for the Down and Out, Someone to Watch Over Me (by G. Gershwin and I. Gershwin), Outbreak, Wonder, and East of the Sun (by B. Bowman and S. Oliver).

As It Is
Gabriel Genest
gabrielgenest.ca
Odd Sound
$20.00 CAD CD / $10.00 CAD digital

https://gabrielgenest.bandcamp.com/album/as-it-is

A completely original contemporary jazz album composed by Gabriel Genest, As It Is features Genest on saxophone, Jeanne Laforest on vocals, Jean-Nicolas Trottier on trombone, Olivier Salazar on vibraphone, Yannick Anctil on piano, Alex Le Blanc on bass, and Guillaume Pilote on drums. A holistic intertwining of jazz improvisation and music conducive to mindfulness meditation, As It Is interlaces its predominantly instrumental tracks with musical settings of Zen poems. The result is resonant, entrancing, and highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Sur le fil, Kairos, Effet papillon, Savor, As It Is, Stalemate, Voir au-dela, She Let Go, and Savor (alternate take).

Motherhood
Brenda Earle Stokes
brendaearle.com
Privately Published
$20.00 CD / $18.00 digital

https://brendaearlestokes.bandcamp.com/album/motherhood

Motherhood is a vocal jazz album of original songs by Brenda Earle Stokes, featuring Stokes on piano and vocals, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Evan Gregor on bass, Ross Pderson on drums, and both Melissa Stylianou and Nicole Zuraitis on background vocals. The songs of Motherhood explore many aspects of being a mother - identity, fear, expectations, body image, and working toward being a better person so that one can be a better parent. Motherhood is a heartwarming collection, a choice pick for public library collections and jazz connoisseurs, and also makes an excellent gift. The tracks are The Endless Wait, This Is Your Childhood, Who Am I Now?, Where are the Mothers?, Kathleen, Loose Teeth Blues, Saying Goodbye, Sharp Edges, The Strength of a Woman, and Happy Mother's Day.

Accolades of Time
Ruth Saphir
ruthsaphir.com
Orchard of Pomegranates
$TBA CD / $8.00 CAD MP3

https://ruthsaphir.bandcamp.com/album/accolades-of-time

Accolades of Time is the fifth album by Ruth Saphir, who composed all of its vocal jazz songs except for Lost At Sea, which was co-created with Cedric Speyer. Performed by Ruth Saphir on vocals and flute, Genevieve Gauthier on alto saxophone, Kate Wyatt on piano, Adrian Vedady on bass, Mili Hong on drums, and with Ky Brooks and Ayelet Rose Gottlieb contributing background vocals, Accolades of Time has a musical richness that complements its searching lyrics. The songs navigate time, love, loss, grief, and renewal, and celebrate the fragile beauty of close relationships. An unforgettable listening journey, Accolades of Time is inspiring, emotional, and highly recommended. The tracks are Ancestral Shadows; Where Do Dreams Go?; Hand-Me-Down Clothes; Lost At Sea; Go Home; Untethered; Twinkle, Twinkle; Find it in Your Body; and Accolades of Time.

Ascending Primes
Modney
modney.art
Pyroclastic Records
pyroclasticrecords.com
$30.00 CD / $20.00 digital

https://modney.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-primes

Ascending Primes is an album of original compositions fusing elements of jazz and classical, fluidly improvised and meticulously noted musical traditions. The tracks are prime-numbered ensembles, performed by an array of talented musicians including Anna Webber, Nate Wooley, Ben LaMar Gay, Cory Smythe, Charmaine Lee, Dan Peck, Kate Gentile and members of the Wet Ink Ensemble and International Contemporary Ensemble. The result is a wondrous, atmospheric concert and a transcendent work of art, worthy of the highest recommendation for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Ascender, Lynx, Everything Around It Moves, Fragmentation and the Single Form - I. Source, Fragmentation and the Single Form - II. Vox, Fragmentation and the Single Form - III. Song, Fragmentation and the Single Form - IV. Call, Event Horizon - I. Serrated Scream, Event Horizon - II. Passacaglias, and Event Horizon - III. Ascenders.

Strange Medicine
Kaia Kater
Free Dirt Records
https://freedirt.net
$15.00 CD / $9.00 digital / $25.00 vinyl

https://kaiakater.bandcamp.com/album/strange-medicine

Banjo player and vocalist Kaia Kater presents Strange Medicine, an original roots music album that reflects upon the suffering and challenges that women and oppressed people have faced throughout history. Kater sings about women burnt at the stake as witches in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, among others who have struggled, died, or sparked revolutions. Strange Medicine is passionate, evocative, and worthy of the highest recommendation for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are The Witch (feat. Aoife O'Donovan), Maker Taker, Mechanics of the Mind, In Montreal (feat. Allison Russell), The Internet, Fedon (feat. Taj Mahal), Floodlights, Often as the Autumn, History in Motion, and Tigers.

Relentless
Fernando Huergo Big Band
Whaling City Sound
www.whalingcitysound.com
c/o Naxos (distribution)
https://www.naxos.com
$TBA CD / $8.99 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D18PPMBJ

Bassist, composer, and arranger Fernando Huergo presents Relentless, an album created with a big band of well over a dozen extraordinary and talented musicians, performing on trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, flute, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, piano, drums and congas. The original songs encompass social topics such as oppression, discrimination, and the need to protect the environment, as well as a call to renew compassion and the will to make a difference in the world. Individual songs reflect on the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, offer a tribute to jazz legend Ornette Coleman, and more. Relentless is a "must-have" for connoisseurs of big band jazz, highly recommended. The tracks are Consciousness of Reality, Ornette, Vidalita, Panorama, La Vida Sigue, Relentless, Deluge, Modernities, Blues Sureno, The Illusion of Hope, and Groove Odds.

Love Songs for Good Machines
Natasha Blackwood
natashablackwood.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CVFD438N

Love Songs for Good Machines is a jazz album featuring original compositions by Newfoundland vocalist and saxophonist Natasha Blackwood; two songs are co-created with Jenelle Duval. Natasha's consummate vocals, tenor saxophone, and piano performance is supported by multiple talented musicians on backup vocals, trumpet, baritone saxophone, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, nylon string guitar, upright bass, drums, vibraphone, and more. The title of Love Songs for Good Machines refers to the term "good machine", which in Newfoundland means something that lasts a long time. The working class are all too often treated as "good machines", and only celebrated once they finally wear out. Love Songs for Good Machines features songs about the grinding reality of working day in, day out, and never getting ahead; the bonds of love and family; and the need to have one's hard work appreciated. Emotional and heartfelt, Love Songs for Good Machines is highly recommended. The tracks are Who Is It For?, Home to Me, Pleading Guilty, The Doctor, Good Machines (N. Blackwood and Jenelle Duval), Melita, Happy Anniversary, Like Me Now (N. Blackwood and Jenelle Duval), How Long, and Women's Lullaby.

Darkness is a Bright Sound
Jeremy Ferrara
American Standard Time Records
c/o Free Dirt Records (distribution)
https://freedirt.net
$12.00 CD / $7.00 digital / $25.00 vinyl

https://jeremyferrara.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-is-a-bright-sound

Darkness is a Bright Sound is a folk album of songs composed by Jeremy Ferrara. The performances feature Jeremy Ferrara on vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar; Luke Temple on bass, synth, electric guitar, and vocals; Andrew Maguire on drums and percussion; Erik Clampitt on pedal steel; and Erisy Watt on vocals. The open-minded songs draw inspiration from nature's beauty and resonate with the understanding that no definition is complete or perfect in and of itself. Haunting and emotional, Darkness is a Bright Sound is a captivating journey of the senses and highly recommended. The tracks are Darkness is a Bright Sound; Come and Go; Paint Me Blue; Different Way; Reason; Morning Light; Like the Fog, Like the Shore; and Wild/Unknown/Free.

Interdwell
Dark Sky Alliance
Spotted Peccary Music
www.SpottedPeccary.com
$16.00 CD / $10.00 digital

https://dark-sky-alliance.bandcamp.com/album/interdwell

Interdwell is the debut, ambient electronic album of Dark Sky Alliance, which consists of percussionist Jerry Marotta, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, soundscaping synthesist Eric Taylor, and guitarist David Helpling. All of the Interdwell's songs are original compositions, which craft evocative scenes that beckon the listener's imagination to soar. Ideal for relaxation, meditation, or inspiration creative writing and art, Interdwell is a treasure for connoisseurs of the genre. Highly recommended! The tracks are Search, Fortunate One, Warm Inlet, The Desert Mind, Latch, Interdwell, The Far Cry, Marotta Swamp, Tre Pur, The Slow Train Home, Linear, and Bring Myself To Say It.

I Was Here
Andy Ezrin
andyezrinmusic.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CXQ6BC3H

Jazz pianist Andy Ezrin presents I Was Here, an album Ezrin's original compositions featuring Andy Ezrin on piano, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, John Patitucci on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and Ari Hoenig on drums. Imaginative, uplifting, and playfully testing the boundaries between musical genres, I Was Here is an audiophile's treat and highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are Grapes, This Is What It Is, Greenwoman, Luna, Siren Song, Snowfall, Ain't That Some Shit, If I Don't See You, Wiggle Room, Never Enough, I'm Runnin' Outta Time, Lost Days, and Cascades.

Beatin' the Odds
Leigh Pilzer's Seven Pointed Star
leighpilzer.com
Strange Woman Records
strangewomanrecords.com
$TBA CD / $9.00 digital

https://leighpilzer.bandcamp.com/album/beatin-the-odds

Baritone saxophone specialist, composer, arranger, and educator Leigh Pilzer presents Beatin' the Odds, a jazz album of original creations performed by Pilzer and an array of talented musicians on alto saxophone, trombone, piano, drums, trumpet, percussion, and more. Written over the course of 2017 to 2023, Beatin' the Odds includes songs that reflect life-changing events ranging from personal (a cancer diagnosis) to universal (the COVID-19) pandemic. A powerful, emotional album steeped in the feelings of turbulent times, Beatin' the Odds is a welcome addition to personal and public library jazz music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are SKCC; Lin; Waterkress; The Platinum Taxi; Beatin' the Odds; And Then It Stopped; Last Year, Lost Year; How Much Longer; and Where Will We Go?.

Green Lights
Troy Roberts, Paul Bollenback, John Patitucci, and Jimmy MacBride
troyroberts.com
Toy Robot Music
$20.00 CD / $15.00 digital

https://troyroberts.bandcamp.com/album/green-lights

Two-time Grammy nominated saxophonist Troy Roberts presents Green Lights, an album of Roberts' original compositions performed by Roberts on tenor saxophone along with Paul Bollenback on guitar, John Patitucci on acoustic bass, and Jimmy MacBride on drums. A jazz album that freely incorporates elements of multiple other modern genres, Green Lights is about the creative process, including the journey to improve at one's craft and cultivate artistic vision. Inspired and inspiring, Green Lights is an excellent selection for connoisseurs of balanced jazz quartet performances, highly recommended. The tracks are Green Lights, The Question, By Your Side, Solar Panels, harry Brown, Jive Dumpling, Up To No Good, The Scotsman's Ballad, Stretch Armstrong, and Soundcheckin'.

Windows Through Time
Mariah Parker
mariahparkermusic.com
Ancient-Future.com Records
$20.00 CD / $20.00 digital

https://mariahparker.bandcamp.com/album/windows-through-time

Windows Through Time is an original Indo-Latin jazz album by composer and pianist Mariah Parker. Mariah Parker showcases her mastery of the piano with enrichment from an array of talented music artists on sax, guitar, bass, drums, cymbals, and more. The songs embody themes of human memory, love, life experience, and perception, inviting the listener to reflect and expand their psychological horizons. Windows Through Time is an extraordinary audio journey, highly recommended. The tracks are The Very Wings, Windows Through Time, Sol de Barcelona, Espiritu Samba, True North, Duende, and Rendezvous.

Exuberance
Christopher Zuar Orchestra
christopherzuar.com
Privately Published
$20.00 CD / $10.00 digital

https://christopherzuar.bandcamp.com/album/exuberance

Bandleader and composer Christopher Zuar presents Exuberance, a big band album featuring a grand ensemble of talented musicians on guitar, piano, bass, drums, Brazilian percussion, horns, special guests on violin and vocals, and much more. Every track is highlighted with top-notch performances from versatile soloists! Exuberance is a celebration of life and love, drawing inspiration from Zuar's relationship with filmmaker Anne Beal, who is now his wife. A wondrous, enchanting, and multifaceted musical journey, Exuberance is a choice pick for connoisseurs of big band music and highly recommended. The tracks are In Winter Blooms, Moments in Between, Communion, Simple Machines, Before Dawn, Certainty, and Exuberance.

Ancestral Numbers I
Jason Robinson
jasonrobinson.com
Playscape Recordings
www.playscape-recordings.com
$14.95 CD / $8.00 digital

https://jasonrobinson.bandcamp.com/album/ancestral-numbers-i

Saxophonist and composer Jason Robinson presents Ancestral Numbers I, the first of a planned two-album set (Ancestral Numbers II is intended for an October 8, 2024 release). The original compositions of Ancestral Numbers I are inspired Robinson's own family history and reflections on ancestry. Robinson combines his saxophone talents with trombonist Michael Dessen, pianist Joshua White, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ches Smith, in this extraordinary exploration of past and present connections with family. Inspired and inspiring, Ancestral Numbers I draws the listener into its multifaceted soundscape, and is highly recommended. The tracks are Second House, Malachi, Potentiality, Remembering Water, Roots and Routes, Wattensaw, Vestibule, and Ancestral Numbers (alt).


The Library DVD Shelf

Underdog
Tommy Hyde, director
First Run Features
www.firstrunfeatures.com
FRF 918336D, $19.95, DVD, (82 Minutes)

https://www.amazon.com/Underdog-DVD-Tommy-Hyde/dp/B0CV622Z1N

Synopsis: Doug Butler is a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer with an offbeat passion - dog mushing. A local folk hero, Doug's ease with cows, dogs and people is a joy to behold. And when he trains his team of mutts on the family farm with a dream to compete at the world championships in Alaska, his teenage exuberance seems to erase the tired lines on his sixty-five year old face.

Meticulously captured over the course of a decade, "Underdog" paints an intimate verite portrait of Doug Butler as he puts a curiously optimistic twist on the family farm tragedies that have so marked American rural life. The resonance of Doug's journey extends to all who have faced down loneliness, isolation and the struggle to make sense of forces beyond control.

Critique: A full color documentary featuring Doug and Casey Butler, "Underdog" is a fascinating and full color documentary that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Biography DVD collections. (http://www.firstrunfeatures.com/underdogvod.html)

Editorial Note: First Run Features was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers to advance the distribution of independent film. Under the leadership of the late Fran Spielman, First Run Features quickly gained a reputation for its controversial catalog of daring documentaries and fiction films. Seymour Wishman continued her legacy over the next 38 years. Today First Run remains one of the largest independent distributors in North America, releasing 10 films a year in theaters nationwide and an additional 20 films annually to educational institutions, on home video, to television broadcasters, and online through a diverse mix of digital platforms.

No Way Up
RLJE Films
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
DVD, $14.99, 1,198IMDb, 4.6, 1hour 30 minutes, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/No-Way-Up-Phyllis-Logan/dp/B0CKF8VFGN

Synopsis: When a plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean and comes to rest on the edge of an underwater ravine, the survivors face a race against time to escape the airlocked galley they are trapped in.

Critique: A riveting suspense drama where great acting is ably supported with special effects, "No Way Up" will hold a special appeal and interest for fans of JAWS and survivor themed films. "No Way Up" is a highly recommended pick for personal and community library Film/Movie DVD collections.


The Relationship Shelf

Loneliness For Dummies
Andrea Wigfield
For Dummies
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
https://www.dummies.com
9781394229321, $24.99, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Loneliness-Dummies-Andrea-Wigfield/dp/1394229321

Synopsis: With the publication of "Loneliness For Dummies". Professor Andrea Wigfield helps her readers understand loneliness and how to take steps to overcome this unwanted feeling.

At some point in life, loneliness affects everyone. It can be triggered by unusual situations and events like children leaving home, losing a loved one, working remotely, moving, divorce, or retirement. It can also occur seemingly without reason.

But thanks to "Loneliness For Dummies", you don't have to be afraid of being lonely. Professor Wigfield deftly explains that loneliness is a natural reaction that signals us to make a change.

You will learn the signs to look out for to assess loneliness, understand why people feel lonely, and most importantly, the step-by-step actions you can take to reduce your own feelings of loneliness. Included in "Loneliness For Dummies" are real case studies of people who have felt lonely and seeing how they overcame loneliness.

"Loneliness For Dummies" includes a simple scale to help you measure how lonely you feel, so you can identify which changes to make and assess your progress. Of special note is the completion of a questionnaire to gauge your own loneliness and identify steps you can take to feel less lonely -- including changes to your lifestyle that will lead to greater satisfaction in the long run

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly" in style, content, organization and presentation, "Loneliness For Dummies" is the perfect DIY guide for anyone who is currently feeling adrift without social connections and wants to make a change. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.00), "Loneliness For Dummies" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Interpersonal Relations, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Andrea Wigfield is Professor of Applied Social and Policy Research and Director of the Centre for Loneliness Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. She is a prominent researcher working to understand loneliness, its implications, and the interventions that can reduce it. (https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-wigfield-325301).

The Joy of Imperfect Love
Carla Marie Manly
Familius
www.familius.com
9781641709057, $21.99, PB, 392pp

https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Imperfect-Love-Creating-Relationships/dp/1641709057

Synopsis: Stuck in unhealthy relationship dynamics? Yearning to find (or be) that perfect someone? Can you accept someone while also wanting them to grow? The key to healthy relationships is accepting that real love is messy, imperfect, and a work in progress!

With the publication of "The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships", clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly guides readers on a transformative journey of compassionate, healthy love.

With research-backed insights, captivating case studies, and empowering exercises, readers explore how attachment issues and unresolved personal issues negatively impact both self-love and the quality of our relationships. Dr. Manly offers sound solutions for creating the awareness and healthy habits that promote lasting love.

Her readers will breathe a sigh of deep relief as they discover the doable, real-life secrets to creating joy-filled relationships and genuine, imperfect love.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships" by Dr. Carla Marie Manly is a life changing, life enriching, life expanding read from start to finish. Authentic, inspired and inspiring, "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is critically important and of immense interest to readers concerned with love, romance, and marriage. Simply stated, "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is a specifically recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections and supplemental Popular Psychology curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "The Joy of Imperfect Love" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.63).

Editorial Note: Dr. Carla Marie Manly (www.drcarlamanly.com) is a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker who makes her home in Sonoma County, California. With a refreshing mindfulness-based approach, Dr. Manly focuses on supporting others in their journeys of personal transformation and the creation of deeply fulfilling relationships.


The Architecture Shelf

Intimate Spaces
Miaden Jadric, author
Alexander Peer, contributor
Actar D
c/o Actar Publishers
https://actar.com
9781638401261, $24.95, HC, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Intimate-Spaces-Miaden-Jadri%C4%87/dp/1638401268

Synopsis: Good housing proved to be the savior of the working world in the last pandemic. The term "family" could also be understood much more broadly today: Neighborhoods, co-living, working groups have taken on much of the characteristics of a close-knit, jointly socialized group.

Comprised of three presented projects, "Intimate Spaces" from Actar D reflects three different rhythms of life for three families with respect to their privacy and the public. Three different ambiences, open and closed spaces, offer a range of uses lived through self-determination. Projects: Green House (Austin Texas 2013); Haus Grill-Reichenauer/Payerbach); (AUT 2020); and At Home In The Alps (Ramsau, AUT 2022).

Critique: Offering a wealth of B/W photos illustrating an informatively descriptive commentary, "Intimate Spaces" by Miaden Jadric ( and with contributions by Alexander Peer), "Intimate Spaces" is a high value and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Architecture & Interior Design collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Mladen Jadric teaches (TU) and practices architecture in Vienna, Austria. He has realized a wide range of projects of different scales: Architectural and urban design projects, residences, art installations and experiments with new materials and technologies in Austria, USA, Finland and China. He has had extensive experience as a visiting professor and guest lecturer in Europe, the USA, Asia, Australia and South America.

Editorial Note: Alexander Peer: Born in 1971 in Salzburg, he studied German language and literature, philosophy, and journalism. Peer now lives as a freelance writer in Vienna. He writes regularly about literature and architecture for various newspapers and magazines (www.peerfact.at).

Washington State's Round Barns
Tom Bartuska & Helen Bartuska
Basalt Books
c/o Washington State University Press
https://wsupress.wsu.edu
9781638640271, $45.00, HC, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Washington-States-Round-Barns-Preserving/dp/1638640270

https://wsupress.wsu.edu/product/washington-states-round-barns

Synopsis: Enchanted by their beauty, complexity, and historical significance, Tom and Helen Bartuska began researching, visiting, and photographing the region's round barns soon after Tom accepted a teaching position at Washington State University's architecture department in 1963.

Focusing on structures over fifty years old, at least two stories, and over fifty feet in diameter, the Bartuska couple eventually found twenty-one, and made it their mission to create a comprehensive inventory.

Since most of the barns were constructed in the early 1900s, the couple explored archives to gather remarkable historic photographs and paperwork. When possible, they also took interior and exterior photographs and talked with owners to tell the story of each one--who built it and when, original and current uses, individual characteristics, construction details, and extra anecdotes they learned along the way. They also revisited several sites to document what changed over time.

In addition, with this edition of "Washington State's Round Barns: Preserving a Vanishing Rural Heritage" from Basalt Books, the Bartuskas introduce the hows and whys, as well as the fascinating history and development of round barns across the United States.

The structures continue to succumb to economic and technological changes, as well as to fire, disrepair, and the forces of nature. Since the Bartuskas started their project, seven of the barns no longer exist, and several of the remaining fourteen are in serious trouble. Hoping to inspire others to help maintain, preserve, and restore these unique cultural icons, they include examples of successful re-use and creative conservation nationwide, along with other significant ways to save additional types of barns, buildings, and rural communities in order to preserve a vanishing rural heritage.

Critique: This large format (8.7 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches, 2.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "Washington State's Round Barns: Preserving a Vanishing Rural Heritage" is beautifully illustrated and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9781638640240, $29.95), "Washington State's Round Bounds" is a seminal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Regional Architecture collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Tom Bartuska received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois, and completed post graduate studies at the University of Manchester. After a forty-year teaching career, he is now a professor emeritus at Washington State University's School of Architecture and Construction Management.

Editorial Note #2: Helen Bartuska attended the University of Illinois and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and holds a BA in Home Economics, Child and Family Studies. She received her Montessori certification from England's St. Nicholas Montessori Training Center, and taught young children for over two decades.


The Political Science Shelf

The Handy Civics Answer Book
David L. Hudson, Jr.
Visible Ink Press
www.visibleinkpress.com
9781578598601, $64.95, HC, 400pp

https://www.amazon.com/Handy-Civics-Answer-Book-Citizen/dp/1578598605

Synopsis: Whether through the vote, exercising our free speech rights, defending our country, serving on a jury, respecting laws, staying informed, or respecting the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others, civic engagement empowers citizens to shape the policies and decisions that affect their lives, ensuring that government remains accountable and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people it serves.

A vital guide that explores the duties and responsibilities of an American citizen, "The Handy Civics Answer Book: How to Be a Good Citizen" explains the Constitution, the three branches of government and the political processes that influence their functioning. A treasure trove of civics knowledge, this illuminating volume answers more than 500 of the most intriguing questions about civics, citizenship, and the government, including: What does the Declaration of Independence say?; How did the Constitutional Convention delegates deal with the issue of slavery?; Who actually wrote the U.S. Constitution?; What were the Federalist Papers?; What are the Powers of Congress?; Why did the Framers want to limit the powers of Congress?; What are the duties of the president of the United States?; What is the presidential oath?; How was the U.S. Supreme Court created?; Can Supreme Court justices be impeached?, and so much more!

"The Handy Civics Answer Book" will arm the reader with the knowledge needed to be an informed and active participant in the democratic process. This compelling resource to Washington, governance, and civic duties is ideal for anyone interested in American politics and government or who is simply seeking to become a more engaged citizen.

Critique: Comprehensive, illustrated, exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Handy Civics Answer Book: How to be a Good Citizen" is an incredibly important, essential, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, highschool, and college/university library American Civics & Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. Also available in a paperback edition (9781578598113, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99), "The Handy Civics Answer Book: How to be a Good Citizen" is especially relevant and recommended to anyone studying for their American citizenship test.

Editorial Note: David L. Hudson Jr., J.D., is an attorney and law professor at Belmont University's College of Law, a U.S. Constitution scholar, and a fellow for the First Amendment of the Freedom Forum. He is an author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 books, including Visible Ink Press's The Constitution Explained: A Guide for Every American and The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book: The History and Issues Explained. He writes regularly for the American Bar Association's Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases and ABA Journal.

The Illusion of Accountability
Justin H. Kirkland & Jeffrey J. Harden
Cambridge University Press
www.cambridge.org
9781009219631, $99.99, HC, 350pp

https://www.amazon.com/Illusion-Accountability-Transparency-Representation-Legislatures/dp/1009219634

Synopsis: Does open governance strengthen democracy?

With the publication of "The Illusion of Accountability: Transparency and Representation in American Legislatures" academicians and co-authors Professor Justin H. Kirkland and Professor Jeffrey J. Harden contends that it does not.

Leveraging a wealth of data from decades of legislative politics in the American states, "The Illusion of Accountability" assesses the causes and consequences of 'open meetings laws,' which require public access to proceedings in state legislatures. This extensive study traces the roots of these laws back to the founding constitutions of some states and analyzes the waves of adoptions and exemptions to open meetings that occurred in the twentieth century.

"The Illusion of Accountability" then examines the effects of these transparency laws on a host of politically consequential outcomes both inside and outside the legislature. This analysis consistently finds that open meetings do not influence legislators' behavior or citizens' capacity to alter that behavior. Instead, a link between transparent legislatures and an expanded system of organized interests is established.

An illuminating work, "The Illusion of Accountability" concludes that transparency reform only creates the illusion of accountability in state government.

Critique: A seminal and ground-breaking work by co-authors Justin H. Kirkland and Jeffrey J. Harden, "The Illusion of Accountability: Transparency and Representation in American Legislatures" is enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of Figures, Tables, a seventeen page listing of References, and a two page Index. An important and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, political activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Illusion of Accountability: Transparency and Representation in American Legislatures" is also available in a paperback edition (9781009219662, $34.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $33.24).

Editorial Note #1: Justin H. Kirkland is Associate Professor of Politics and Policy in the Department of Politics and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He is the co-author of Indecision in American Legislatures (2018) and Roll Call Rebels (2018).

Editorial Note #2: Jeffrey J. Harden is Andrew J. McKenna Family Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Multidimensional Democracy (2016) and co-author of Indecision in American Legislatures (2018).


The Economic Studies Shelf

Plenty Good Room
Andrew Wilkes
Broadleaf Books
www.broadleafbooks.com
9781506491516, $19.99, PB, 179pp

https://www.amazon.com/Plenty-Good-Room-Co-creating-Economy/dp/1506491510

Synopsis: Economic inequality yawns as wide as ever. Capitalism is working as it was designed: replicating an uneven balance of power, constraining life chances, and limiting imaginations. Those of us concerned about injustice often confine ourselves to issue-by-issue activism. The end result? Owners, investors, and a politics of inequality win.

But what if there's another way to organize our common economic life -- and what if it's as homegrown as sweet potato pie? What if we could become moral engineers who co-create the world we all deserve?

With the publication of "Plenty Good Room: Co-creating an Economy of Enough for All", Reverend Andrew Wilkes helps readers understand Black Christian socialism, a stream of the Black radical tradition, from the perspective of a Brooklyn pastor and political scientist's civic awakening. As the former director of the Drum Major Institute, founded by America's most famous democratic socialist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Wilkes mounts a challenge to the endless greed, inequality, and profiteering of racial capitalism.

Tugging on the threads of history and scripture and pointing to the work of Black radicals like W. E. B. Du Bois, Rev. Addie Wyatt, and Fannie Lou Hamer, Wilkes weaves a narrative of "plenty good room moments": times in which communities and individuals had sufficient resources, human rights, and beauty. Reverend Wilkes invites us to join a movement that a day-laboring Christ initiated as he organized the dispossessed, the disinherited, and those pushed to the edges of society. Wilkes also introduces contemporary efforts pushing for reparations, community ownership, participatory democracy, and solidarity economies.

These stories show us that we can create a world of care and reciprocity by envisioning an economy of enough for all -- one rooted in justice, equity, and the God whose spirit falls on all flesh.

Critique: Written with compelling eloquence, "Plenty Good Room: Co-creating an Economy of Enough for All" offers a Christian values approach to economic and social issues such as income inequality, the destructive anti-democratic excesses of capitalism, and the creation of an economy that will produce and distribute goods and services fairly and for all. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.49), "Plenty Good Room" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary Social & Economic Issues collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Rev. Andrew Wilkes, PhD, is co-pastor of the Double Love Experience Church in Brooklyn and the former executive director of the Drum Major Institute. He is the co-author, with his spouse Rev. Dr. Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes, of Psalms for Black Lives and the author of Freedom Notes. His work and voice have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Sojourners, among other outlets. He serves on boards for the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York and the Institute for Christian Socialism. Dr. Wilkes is a graduate of Hampton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Coro Foundation's Fellowship in Public Affairs, and the CUNY Graduate Center.


The Business Shelf

The Payroll Process: 24th Edition
Gregory R. Mostyn
Worthy and James Publishing
https://worthyjames.com
9798218000400, $35.95, PB, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Payroll-Proces-Procedures-Requirements-Practice/dp/B0CZ2935JN

Synopsis: "The Payroll Process: A Basic Guide to U.S. Payroll Procedures and Requirements Plus CPP Exam Practice - 2024 Edition " updates and adds new content to the popular prior editions. Uniquely, this instructional reference volume provides step-by-step coverage for both the Department of Labor's FLSA rules and calculations as well as the many IRS compliance requirements. The broad scope of the process, with clear explanations, numerous examples, practical advice, and references for further study address the variety of user needs.

For those wanting to achieve Certified Payroll Practitioner status, there are multiple practice exams containing over 500 questions, each question with its solution and page reference to the explanation and examples in "The Payroll Process 2024".

Payroll staff, HR staff, managers, owners, start-ups, and interested professionals can follow a mapping of all process steps with procedures and compliance explained clearly in each step. For employees, the discussion of employee rights and benefits will be of vital interest. Instructors and students will appreciate the clear explanations, many examples, and scope of topics.

"The Payroll Process 2024) covers: Employment law and methods; Gross wages and withholding; Employee benefits; Accounting / recording payroll; Making payments; Forms, reports, and audits; Employment of non-U.S. persons and expats; Internal control protection for payroll; CPP practice tests.

Critique: Comprehensive, up to date, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, this large format (7 x 0.57 x 10 inches, 2.02 pounds) paperback edition of "The Payroll Process: A Basic Guide to U.S. Payroll Procedures and Requirements Plus CPP Exam Practice - 2024 Edition" from Worth & James Publishing is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Financial Accounting Instructional Reference collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Gregory R. Mostyn, CPA, MBA, and College Instructor is the author of prior editions of this book. He is also the author of a two volume set Basic Accounting, Concepts, Principles, and Procedures, reviewed in Choice magazine, Issues in Accounting Education journal, and Kirkus magazine. He has worked both in public accounting and education as an instructor. (https://missioncollege.edu/-profiles/accounting/mostyn-gregory.html)

The Science of Business
Justin B. Craig and Ken Moores, authors
Edward Elgar Publishing
www.e-elgar.com
9781800370326, $116.00, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Science-Business-Justin-B-Craig/dp/1800370326

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Science of Business" and adopting a multidisciplinary approach, co-authors Justin Craig and Ken Moores reinforce the positioning of business as a science and remind the reader that those involved in the practice of business are, in fact, social scientists. Showcasing a novel science of business framework, "The Science of Business" is populated with economic, entrepreneurial, accounting, financial, marketing and management discipline perspectives.

Incorporating critical insights from practicing business scientists, this incisive study emphasizes the significance of theoretical explanations and scientific foundations, valuing science, theory and practice as equally important. Individual chapters rigorously analyse the works of seminal thinkers who have helped to formalise the position of business as a social science. The evolution of economics, entrepreneurship, accounting, finance, marketing and management disciplines as standalone scientific pursuits is explored.

"The Science of Business" is a reminder that there is a business component to most activities and will prove to be an indispensable resource for academics, researchers, educators and students in many arenas, including government, engineering, medicine, law as well as traditional domains such as entrepreneurship, management education, organization studies, and management.

Business practitioners and advisors across a broad spectrum will similarly benefit from the book's practical implications.

Critique: A seminal, impressively organized, ground-breaking, and well presented study, "The Science of Business" from Edward Elgar Publishing will prove to be a welcome and appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Research & Reference collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Justin B. Craig -- Bond Business School, Bond University, Australia and Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, US.

Editorial Note 32: Ken Moores -- Bond Business School, Bond University, Australia

Women in Family Business
Mary Barrett, Jolien Huysbrechts, & Jean S.K. Lee, editors
Edward Elgar Publishing
www.e-elgar.com
9781802206357, $161.00, HC, 316pp

https://www.amazon.com/Women-Family-Business-Perspectives-Contexts/dp/1802206353

Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by academicians Mary Barrett, Jolien Huysbrechts, and Jean S.K. Lee, "Women in Family Business: New Perspectives, Contexts and Roles" is forward-thinking volume that provides an invaluable contribution to the burgeoning field of research on women in family business.

Combining academic rigour with first-hand narrative accounts, "Women in Family Business" explores classic family business concerns while considering how gender, feminism and cultural differences play a part in these organizations.

Adopting a multidisciplinary method of enquiry, the co-editors have brought together expert researchers from across the globe to analyse and assess a variety of family business organizations. Individual chapters explore the gender equality differences between family and non-family firms, daughters' succession in Chinese family businesses, the development and functioning of spousal ownership teams and how daughters in Saudi Arabian family firms are conquering gender constraints.

Through quantitative data analysis, literature reviews and in-depth case studies, "Women in Family Business" provides important insights into women in family businesses in specific contexts and offers inspiring suggestions for future research.

Critique: Comprised of eleven eloquent, informative, and insightful articles by knowledgeable contributors that are deftly organized into three major sections (Women in Family Business Roles; Women and Family Business Entrepreneurship; Women and Family Succession), "Women in Family Business: New Perspectives, Contexts and Roles" also features a listing of the contributors and their credential, a Foreword by Justin Craig, and a four page Index. A seminal and ground-breaking study from Edward Elgar Publishing is recommended for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Women & Business collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Mary Barrett is Professor of Management, School of Business, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Editorial Note #2: Jolien Huybrechts is Associate Professor in Family Business and Entrepreneurship, Department of Organization, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Editorial Note #3: Jean S.K. Lee is the Michelin Chair Professor in Leadership and Human Resources Management, Professor of Management, Associate Dean (Research) and Co-Director, CEIBS Centre for Family Heritage, Shanghai, China

Collaborative Learning
Nick Hernandez
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398610552, $131.00, HC, 240pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/collaborative-learning-nick-hernandez/1143717185

Synopsis: With the publication of "Collaborative Learning: How to Upskill from Within and Turn L&D into Your Competitive Advantage", Nick Hernandez offers a practical guide that explains the basics of collaborative learning, outlines its many benefits, and explores why it is needed in a nimble, fast-moving business world. He also explains the science behind shared expertise and how to encourage people to learn from each other.

"Collaborative Learning" fully illustrates how a culture of collaborative learning can combat low learner engagement and employee burnout, as well as how it can guide the full employee journey from pre-boarding and onboarding through to promotion and progression. "Collaborative Learning" also explains why collaborative learning is not a top-down cascade of information from the most senior employee to the most junior, but is an inclusive approach to learning across functions and teams, across hierarchies, and across job titles or tenure.

"Collaborative Learning" is comprised of expert discussions about why collaborative learning is a culture enhancer and skills enabler, and contains advice for overcoming common obstacles when making collaborative learning part of a company's learning strategy. Packed with case studies and examples from global firms who have implemented and benefitted from collaborative learning including Mitsubishi Electric, Slack, AlphaSights, and Safran, "Collaborative Learning" is a blueprint for all L&D professionals who are looking to embed collaborative learning in the workplace and upskill from within, but aren't sure where to start.

Critique: Of particular value and relevance to readers with an interest in Human Resources, Personnel Management, and Leadership Training, "Collaborative Learning: How to Upskill from Within and Turn L&D into Your Competitive Advantage" will prove of extraordinary value as a text for an MBA curriculum textbook or a corporate in-service management training workshop. While also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9781398610521, $41.99) and a digital book format (Kindle, $33.59), "Collaborative Learning: How to Upskill from Within and Turn L&D into Your Competitive Advantage" should be considered an essential and core addition to professional, corporate, and college/university library Business Management instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Nick Hernandez is the CEO and Founder of 360Learning, and a leading advisor and investor in the SaaS technology industry. Driven by his passion for improving the way we solve problems together through learning, Nick founded 360Learning in 2013, and has since grown the company into a leader in the EdTech sector. In late 2021, Nick and his team secured funding from Sumeru, SoftBank, and Silverlake for 360Learning to continue championing upskilling from within through collaborative learning.

The Problem with Change
Ashley Goodall
Little, Brown Spark
c/o Hachette Book Group
www.hachettebookgroup.com
9780316560276, $30.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Change-Essential-Nature-Performance/dp/0316560278

Synopsis: For decades, "disruption" and "change" have been seen as essential to business growth and success. "The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance" is a provocative and incisive book in which leadership expert Ashley Goodall argues that what has become a sacred dogma is both wrong and harmful.

Whether it's a merger or re-org or a new office layout, change has become the ultimate easy button for leaders, who pursue it with abandon, unleashing a torrent of disruption on employees. The result is what Goodall calls "life in the blender" -- a perpetual cycle of upheaval, uncertainty, and unease.

The problem with change, Goodall argues, is that a culture where everything from people to processes to strategic priorities are constantly in flux exerts a psychological toll that undermines motivation, productivity, and performance. And yet so accustomed are we to constant churn that we have become numb to its very real consequences.

Drawing on two decades spent leading HR organizations at Deloitte and Cisco, Ashley Goodall reveals why change is not the same as improvement, and how, by prioritizing team cohesion (instead of reshuffling teams at will), by using real words (rather than corporate-speak), by sharing secrets (not mission statements), by fixing only the things that are truly broken (instead of moving fast and breaking everything in sight, and more, leaders at every level can create the stability that people need to thrive.

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought provoking, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance" is an extraordinary, iconoclastic, and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone an interest in business management, leadership, motivation, and transformation. An essential and core addition for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university collections, it should be noted that "The Problem with Change" is also readily available from Little Brown Spark in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Ashley Goodall (https://ashleygoodall.com) is a leadership expert who has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside, most recently as an executive at Cisco. He is the co-author of Nine Lies About Work, which was selected as the best management book of 2019 by Strategy + Business and as one of Amazon's best business and leadership books of 2019. Prior to Cisco, he spent fourteen years at Deloitte as a consultant and as the Chief Learning Officer for Leadership and Professional development.

Growing Confident Leaders
A. J. Josefowitz
River Grove Books
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781632997562, $18.95, PB, 178pp

https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Confident-Leaders-Powerful-Developing/dp/1632997568

Synopsis: Corporate leadership doesn't happen in a vacuum. It arises to fill a need of the leader's constituents. So often people feel they are missing the keys to effective leadership. And that can be because they lack clarity about what motivates and inspires people into action.

With the publication of "Growing Confident Leaders: A Powerful Model for Developing Skills to Motivate and Inspire", A. J. Josefowitz distills his leadership expertise into a simple, yet powerful model that anyone can use to improve their leadership skills or develop future leaders. Centered on the relationship between leaders and their constituents, the model shows how leaders can tap into the core motivators of meaning, hope, and trust to meet goals, generate creativity, and enhance accountability.

Critique: Eloquent, 'real world' practical, inspiring, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Growing Confident Leaders: A Powerful Model for Developing Skills to Motivate and Inspire" is an extraordinary, single volume, DIY course that is especially and unreservedly recommended reading for anyone who aspires to or is charged with leadership responsibilities in a business or corporate environment. While a solid pick for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Management/Leadership collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Growing Confident Leaders" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: A. J. Josefowitz (www.ajjosefowitz.com) is a leadership development consultant, coach, and trainer with a PhD in educational psychology. After decades developing leaders in the corporate arena, AJ now dedicates his time to teaching and consulting the next generation of leaders.

The Steadfast Leader
Randy Brazie, MD, SEP & Geoffrey VanderPal, DBA, CFP
McGraw Hill Professional
www.mhprofessional.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9781265524487, $28.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Steadfast-Leader-Confident-Decisions-Leadership/dp/1265524483

Synopsis: As a business leader today you are face unprecedented and extraordinary challenges -- and it's not uncommon for them to make you feel simply overwhelmed by the sheer number and complexity of seemingly nonstop decision making. To further complicate matters, you may believe that some decisions require rational (brain) decision making, while others call for you to "go with your gut."

But with the publication of "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" by co-authors Dr. Randy Brazie and Dr. Geoffrey VanderPal you will discover that integrating the two (brain and gut) will help you become the calm, steadfast and powerful leader you want to be.

With their combined expertise in both business and medicine, VanderPal and Brazie frame the latest scientific understanding of the human nervous system, drawing on Polyvagal Theory to show how the brain and the gut (connected by the vagus nerve) make decisions together. Helping to put an end to the tension caused by "either-or," they show how using "both-and" works better in every situation.

Packed from cover to cover with eye-opening research, case studies, and relatable examples from the business world, "The Steadfast Leader" provides practical, cutting-edge neuroscientific concepts to help you stay focused and make better decisions -- for yourself, your team, and your organization.

Critique: A complete DIY course of study in effective leadership decision making, "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Decision Making/Problem Solving collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Steadfast Leader: Control Anxiety, Make Confident Decisions, and Focus Your Team Using the New Science of Leadership" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874678906, $36.88, CD).

Editorial Note #1: Randy Brazie, MD, SEP(R), is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry, with extensive experience in multiple sectors, including both clinic and hospital based services as well as emergency and urgent care settings. He currently serves as the chief medical officer for Resilient Health, an Arizona nonprofit healthcare provider of innovative multi-modal services for both public and private sectors.

Editorial Note #2: Dr. Geoffrey VanderPal, DBA, CFP(R), Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Life Underwriter, has taught for various universities on four continents in the areas of finance and business. He has been published in multiple research journals and is author of Invincible Investing. He is currently a professor in the Master of Science in Finance program at Purdue University Global, teaching financial-planning related courses.

Good Judgment
Richard Davis
Harper Business
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
www.harpercollins.com
Blackstone Audiobooks
https://www.blackstonelibrary.com
9780063293670, $29.99, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Judgment-Business-Decisions-Personality/dp/0063293676

Synopsis: Psychologists widely agree that five key traits define our personalities -- intellect, emotionality, sociability, drive, and diligence. Unlike emotions, which are transitory in nature, these traits determine our behaviors, including our motivations, social inclinations, reactions to crisis or complexity, patterns of thinking, and more.

Organizational psychologist Dr. Richard Davis is an expert in assessing personalities. He has spent decades advising business leaders and evaluating executives from some of the world's biggest companies, including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Under Armour, Meta, Starbucks, Nike, LVMH, and the NBA. Over the course of his career, he has helped numerous executives make tough, highly consequential hiring calls based on personality.

A company's board of directors might want its next CEO to be decisive, focused, and a strong communicator. Investors backing a start-up might want a leader who is not only a visionary but also a team player who doesn't retaliate when given constructive feedback. That's where he comes in. As a result of his life's work, Dr. Davis has developed not only a unique perspective on what human personality is, but an indispensable toolkit for analyzing it, and using the information effectively.

With the publication of "Good Judgment: Making Better Business Decisions with the Science of Human Personality", Dr. Davis brings his expertise to you and explains what the science of personality is and how it works, and how all of us can use it to improve our working relationships, careers, and lives. Whether you're a novice manager looking to hire your first assistant, a board member in need of the ideal CEO, an angel investor trying to choose between two different startups, or a new parent selecting a pediatrician, understanding the science of personality and how to utilize it is the key to exercising good judgment -- at work and in life.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Good Judgment: Making Better Business Decisions with the Science of Human Personality" from Harper Business is a prized and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Good Judgment" by Dr. Richard Davis is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798874622466, $40.46, CD).

Editorial Note: Dr. Richard Davis is an organizational psychologist and managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates. He has extensive experience advising CEOs, including those leading Fortune 100 companies or otherwise in the public eye. Clients include Under Armour, Best Buy, Target, Endeavor (WME Entertainment), the National Basketball Association, Canada Goose, Redfin, RBC, LCatterton, and Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment. He has also assessed senior executives and board members from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, General Motors, Walmart, Home Depot, United Health, and Google.

Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance
Dr. Erin B. Taylor & Dr. Annette Brolos
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398613898, $173.00, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/customer-centric-innovation-in-finance-erin-b-taylor/1144039957

Synopsis: With the publication of "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance: Leveraging Human Insights to Drive Product Innovation in the Digital Age", co-authors Erin B. Taylor and Anette Brolos help finance and fintech innovators to understand customers' behavioral motivations to drive effective product development.

Relying on quantitative data is not enough: numbers can be great at telling us what people are doing but they often fail to explain why people do what they do. And if a service doesn't exist yet, there is no data to tell us how people use it. Human insights, behavioural science and qualitative data add immense value to product development.

Readers will learn to innovate smarter by getting a firm understanding of why customers like their solutions and how they adapt them to suit their needs.

"Centric Innovation in Finance" presents real-life examples throughout of how customers are changing their behaviour in response to a fast-evolving financial landscape and provides practical advice on how to transform such insights into innovation. It also explores how to produce customer insights for services that don't exist yet, for instance Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). As well as providing descriptions of hands-on tools to build new insights and apply them to innovation and of methodologies such as portable kits, personas, digital ethnography, observations and interviews.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an Appendix (Life of Company Examples), a four page Glossary, and a seven page Index, "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance: Leveraging Human Insights to Drive Product Innovation in the Digital Age" is an ideal introductory textbook on the role and function of business and human centric financial services. Informed and informative, "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance" is especially recommended for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Business & Financial Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Customer-Centric Innovation in Finance" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781398613874, $47.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $38.39.

Editorial Note #1: Erin B Taylor (https://finthropology.com) is Managing Director and Founder of Finthropology and an anthropologist based in The Hague, the Netherlands. She specialises in how people's financial behaviour is changing along with innovation in financial services. She holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia, and has carried out ethnographic research in the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Europe. Other projects include carrying out research for findexable's Fintech Diversity Radar.

Editorial Note #2: Anette Brolos (https://finthropology.com) is Director and Founder of Finthropology and a fintech analyst based near Odense in Denmark. She is an experienced fintech and financial services leader working on strategic innovation, partnerships, open banking and digital transformation and an experienced speaker and facilitator. She holds an industrial PhD in collaborative innovation and has a background in economics. Brolos has extensive experience in banking and finance including consultant work on the implementation of PSD2, six years as CEO of Copenhagen FinTech Innovation and Research and prior to that, was the CFO and later Head of Development at Fionia Bank. She also sits on the Fintech Connect Advisory Board on Digital Transformation and is a co-lead of the European Women Payments Network Research network.

Internal Communication Strategy
Rachel Miller
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398614666, $124.45, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/internal-communication-strategy-rachel-miller/1144039967

Synopsis: Written by award-winning communications professional Rachel Miller and featuring key insights from companies such as Marks & Spencer, Hilton, BBC and The Met Office, "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" covers not only how to develop and write an internal communication strategy, but also how to practically implement it throughout your organization to create a shared understanding and vision.

With workplaces constantly evolving, "Internal Communication Strategy" provides you with a solid framework to return to when you need to refresh your strategy, providing actionable guidance and inspirational insights throughout.

Drawing on the author Rachel Miller's 20 years of experience, "Internal Communication Strategy" also tackles the key topics facing communicators today including communicating with neurodivergent employees, how to influence at C-suite level, the effect of hybrid working and how to measure the impact and prove the value of internal communication.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" must be considered essential reading for anyone charged with the most out of their company's workforce with clear and effective communications systems, policies and technological advances. While an especially recommended pick for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Business Management, Communications, and Public Relations collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Internal Communication Strategy: Design, Develop and Transform your Organizational Communication" is also available in a paperback edition (9781398614642, $37.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.39).

Editorial Note: Rachel Miller (www.allthingsic.com) is an internationally recognized authority on Internal Communication, based in London, UK. She's a Chartered PR Practitioner and Fellow of both the Institute of Internal Communication and Chartered Institute of Public Relations. She's a keynote speaker and member of the Company of Communicators. Rachel began her career as a journalist, then spent a decade in-house, before establishing her consulting business, All Things IC, in 2013. She's listed in Inspiring Workplaces' top 101 global employee engagement influencers. In 2020, Rachel was awarded the Chartered Institute of Public Relations' President's Medal for distinguished service to PR.

ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth
Matthew Sekol
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398614260, $131.00, HC, 296pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/esg-mindset-matthew-sekol/1144039919

Synopsis: Earth System Governance (ESG) is a paradigm building on notions of environmental policy and nature conservation, and within the context of human-induced transformations of the entire earth system. (Wikipedia)

But for the business community, ESG goes beyond decarbonization commitments, corporate goals and industry awards, to core business issues, stakeholders and the balance sheet. Managing these risks and opportunities requires courage, imagination and careful analysis to improve and innovate around what is and isn't working at a company.

It also requires main streaming a consistent definition of ESG so key decision-makers are empowered to act across the business and their value chains, including in daily business practices, communication with stakeholders, financial considerations, and the integration of new technologies and products.

With the publication of "ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth ", Matthew Sekol guides business leaders, ESG specialists and CSR strategists through the nuanced and most thoughtful ways to focus on these core business issues. Equipping readers with an enhanced way to think through complex business decisions and interconnected crises, "ESG Mindset" provides accessible perspectives and real-world examples from companies around the world that have implemented a meaningful approach to ESG and learned lessons along the way.

With "ESG Mindset" readers will learn how to think about pressing ESG challenges from a new perspective and build defensibility in their efforts to future-proof a business and potentially save the world as only they can.

Critique: Of particular, practical, and instructional value for readers with an interest in Environmental Economics, Sustainable Business Development, and Corporate Leadership/Motivation, "ESG Mindset: Business Resilience and Sustainable Growth" is a seminal and ground-breaking resource for business managers, corporate executives, and governmental policy makers who take environmental, social and corporate governance seriously as a means to transform their companies, industries and economies for success worldwide. Also readily available in a paperback edition (9781398614246, $39.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $37.99), "ESG Mindset" is a strongly recommended and essential pick for personal, professional, corporate, and college/university library Contemporary Business Management collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Matthew Sekol (https://matt.flockofsekols.com) is an ESG and sustainability advocate at Microsoft, based between New York City, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He came into ESG several years ago through working with some of the world's largest ESG data aggregators and financial services firms. Today, he guides companies across industries to new value by unpacking their ESG and sustainability challenges along the intersection with technology. In his current role, he also sits on the LP Advisory Committee of Morgan Stanley's Next Level Fund, which invests in diverse-led and founded start-ups and ventures, providing technology and ESG mentoring while advising on the portfolio. Sekol speaks and writes about ESG topics regularly and has authored and co-authored whitepapers and online articles on ESG, biodiversity, how technology is an ESG risk and more. In 2023, Onalytica named him to its "Who's Who in ESG" list.


The International Studies Shelf

The Nature of Politics
Annette A. LaRocco
Ohio University Press
www.ohioswallow.com
9780896803336, $80.00, HC, 408pp

https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Politics-Building-Conservation-Postcolonial/dp/0896803333

Synopsis: "The Nature of Politics: State Building and the Conservation Estate in Postcolonial Botswana" by Professor Annette A. LaRocco is a case study of Botswana that focuses on the state-building qualities of biodiversity conservation in southern Africa.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork, Professor LaRocco argues that discourses and practices related to biodiversity conservation are essential to state building in the postcolonial era. These discourses and practices invoke the ways the state exerts authority over people, places, and resources; enacts and remakes territorial control; crafts notions of ideal citizenship and identity; and structures economic relationships at the local, national, and global levels.

The study's key innovation is its conceptualization of the "conservation estate," a term most often used as an apolitical descriptor denoting land set aside for the purpose of conservation. LaRocco argues that this description is inadequate and proposes a novel and much-needed alternative definition that is tied to its political elements.

The components of conservation (control over land, policing of human behavior, and structuring of the authority that allows or disallows certain subjectivities) render conservation a political phenomenon that can be analyzed separately from considerations of "nature" or "wildlife".

In doing so, "The Nature of Politics" addresses a gap in the scholarship of rural African politics, which focuses overwhelmingly on productive agrarian dynamics and often fails to recognize that land nonuse can be as politically significant and wide reaching as land use.

Botswana is an ideal empirical case study upon which to base these theoretical claims. With 39 percent of its land set aside for conservation, Botswana is home to large populations of wildlife, particularly charismatic megafauna, such as the largest herd of elephants on the continent.

Utilizing more than two hundred interviews, participant observation, and document analysis, "The Nature of Politics" examines a series of conservation policies and their reception by people living on the conservation estate. These phenomena include securitized antipoaching enforcement, a national hunting ban (2014-19), restrictions on using wildlife products, forced evictions from conservation areas, limitations on mobility and freedom of movement, the political economy of Botswana's wildlife tourism industry, and the conservation of globally important charismatic megafauna species.

Critique: A seminal and ground-breaking study, "The Nature of Politics: State Building and the Conservation Estate in Postcolonial Botswana" by Professor Annette A. LaCrocco will prove to be of particular value to readers with an interest in environmental science, policy, and African politics. Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of an Appendix (Primary Source Interviews), an eight page Glossary of Setswana Terms; twenty-two pages of Notes, a twenty-eight pages listing of References, and a thirteen page Index, "The Nature of Politics" from the Ohio University Press is an impressive and recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library International & Environmental Studies shelf and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Nature of Politics" is also available in a paperback edition (9780896803343, $34.95) a digital book format (Kindle, $33.20).

Editorial Note: Annette A. LaRocco (https://annettelarocco.com) is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. Her work has appeared in Politics and Gender, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, the Journal of Southern African Studies, and other outlets. LaRocco was a 2022-23 US Fulbright Scholar conducting research in Botswana and Zimbabwe through the Africa Regional Research Program.


The Archaeology Shelf

Archaeology: An Introduction, sixth edition
Hannah Cobb, Kevin Greene, Tom Moore
Routledge
www.routledge.com
9780367485856, $180.00, HC, 514pp

https://www.amazon.com/Archaeology-Introduction-Hannah-Cobb/dp/0367485850

Synopsis: Now in a new sixth edition, "Archaeology: An Introduction" by the team of archaeologists Hannah Cobb, Kevin Greene, and Tom Moore explains how the subject emerged from an amateur pursuit in the eighteenth century into a serious discipline and explores changing trends in interpretation in recent decades.

The three authors collaborate to convey the excitement of archaeology while helping readers to evaluate new discoveries by explaining the methods and theories that lie behind them. In addition to drawing upon examples and case studies from many regions of the world and periods of the past, "Archaeology: An Introduction" incorporates the authors' own fieldwork, research and teaching. It continues to include key reference and further reading sections to help new readers find their way through the ever-expanding range of archaeological publications and online sources as well as colour illustrations and boxed topic sections to increase comprehension.

Serving as an accessible and lucid textbook, and engaging students with contemporary issues, this comprehensive volume is designed to support students studying Archaeology at an introductory level. New to it's sixth edition is: An inclusion of the latest survey and imaging techniques, such as the use of drones and eXtended reality; Updated material on developments in dating, DNA analysis, isotopes and population movement, including consideration of the ethical considerations of these techniques' Coverage of new developments in archaeological theory, such as the material turn/ontological turn, and work on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion; A whole new chapter covering archaeology in the present, including new sections on heritage and public archaeology, and an updated consideration of archaeology's relationship with the climate crisis; and a Revised Glossary with over 200 new additions or updates.

Critique: Also available in a paperback edition (9780367485825, $46.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $46.54) for students, academia, amateur and professional archaeologists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, this new sixth edition of "Archaeology: An Introduction" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Archaeology collections and curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Hannah Cobb is Professor of Archaeology and Pedagogy at the University of Manchester, UK.

Editorial Note #2: Kevin Greene is Visiting Fellow in Archaeology at Newcastle University, UK.

Editorial Note #3: Tom Moore is Professor of Archaeology at Durham University, UK.


The Wildlife Shelf

Endangered and Disappearing Birds of Appalachia and the Southeast
Matt Williams
The University Press of Kentucky
www.kentuckypress.com
9780813198361, $40.00, HC, 264pp

https://www.amazon.com/Endangered-Disappearing-Birds-Appalachia-Southeast/dp/0813198364

Synopsis: From the most unforgiving of concrete jungles to the pastoral reaches of the countryside, birds are among the most plentiful and plainly visible animals on the planet. For millions of years, they have survived in every known biome, carving out ecological niches for themselves and their offspring and often thriving.

But this remarkable adaptability can only go so far. With the recent acceleration of habitat loss, climate change, spread of invasive species, and other detrimental environmental developments, birds are disappearing across the world. Yet despite such wide-ranging decimation, birdwatching remains one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States.

With the publication of "Endangered and Disappearing Birds of Appalachia and the Southeast", by author and photographer Matt Williams, we know have access to an essential guide for the bird-curious in the Appalachian and southeastern regions of the United States.

Combining brilliant photography with taxonomic classification, identification tips, and other information, "Endangered and Disappearing Birds of Appalachia and the Southeast" goes beyond the scope of a traditional field guide. Each profile includes descriptions of current species conservation efforts, as well as tips on how to get involved in the ongoing work to save these endangered creatures.

This carefully compiled and beautifully illustrated guide offers a detailed introduction to the birds that most need our help and to the steps we can all take to protect their future.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of birdwatching enthusiasts and readers with concerns about how so many bird species are either already extinct or on endangered species lists, "Endangered and Disappearing Birds of Appalachia and the Southeast" is a seminal study and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Ornithology Studies collections and supplemental Ecosystem curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that this large format (7.8 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches, 2.2 pounds) hardcover edition from the University of Kentucky Press is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $38.00).

Editorial Note: Matt Williams (www.mattwilliamsnaturephotography.com) is an author and photographer from Crawfordsville, Indiana. His previous works include Indiana State Parks: A Centennial Celebration and Endangered and Disappearing Birds of the Midwest.


The Music Shelf

Experiencing Jazz, third edition
Richard J. Lawn & Justin G. Binek
Routledge
www.routledge.com
9781032231051, $170.00, HC, 390pp

https://www.amazon.com/Experiencing-Jazz-Richard-J-Lawn/dp/103223105X

Synopsis: Co-authored by Professors Richard J. Lawn and Justin G. Binek, "Experiencing Jazz, third edition" is an integrated textbook, website, and audio anthology for jazz appreciation and history courses. Through readings, illustrations, timelines, listening guides, and a playlist of tracks and performances, Experiencing Jazz journeys through the history of jazz and places the music within larger cultural and historical contexts. Designed for the jazz novice, this textbook introduces the reader to prominent artists, covers the evolution of styles, and makes stylistic comparisons to current trends and developments.

New to this third edition is: Expanded coverage of artists, particularly important vocalists and prominent women in jazz, including Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, and Terri Lyne Carrington; A dynamic, web-exclusive bonus chapter - Chapter 14.5: The Story Continues - exploring contemporary jazz artists who push the boundaries of jazz by creating new stylistic fusions and who utilize new media to create, collaborate, and share their artistry; A re-worked companion website featuring new recordings, a more comprehensive audio anthology, and a major revision of The Elements of Jazz section; Condensed musician biographies and updated content reflecting jazz's global impact; Revised listening guides for spotlighted recordings highlighting key moments worthy of closer listening and analysis.

Critique: Comprehensive, informative, nicely organized and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, the third edition of "Experiencing Jazz" provides a complete and foundational understanding of the history of the genre and is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Jazz Music History/Criticism collections and supplemental American Music History curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and jazz enthusiasts that "Experiencing Jazz" is also available in a paperback edition (9781032231044, $79.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $75.95).

Editorial Note #1: Richard J. Lawn is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the College of the Performing Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Previously, he served as Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of the Department of Music at The University of Texas at Austin.

Editorial Note #2: Justin G. Binek, DMA, is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Jazz Studies at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He also serves on the faculties of the Online Jazz Harmony Retreat and the Halewynstichting Jazz Workshop in Belgium.

Cool and Strange Music! Magazine
Dana Countryman
BearManor Media
www.bearmanormedia.com
9798887714578, $62.00, PB, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cool-Strange-Music-Magazine-Collection/dp/B0D1YL7XRN

Synopsis: Between the years 1996-2003, Cool and Strange Music! Magazine became a beloved publication that music lovers of the unusual could count on for information about the latest "cool and strange" music releases, exclusive interviews with legendary artists, and in-depth articles that could not be found anywhere else.

With the publication of "Cool and Strange Music! Magazine - The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, Issues 1-7" and for the first time, every issue of this legendary magazine has been collected in a four-volume compendium, preserving every single page of each of the 28 issues, including the original ads and illustrations.

For many years, collectors have been asking for the magazine to be printed in book form, and finally that day has come. This publication of this book set has been personally supervised by Dana Countryman, the magazine's founder and editor.

Critique: This profusely illustrated, large format (8.5 x 0.74 x 11 inches, 2.27 pounds) paperback edition of "Cool and Strange Music! Magazine - The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, Issues 1-7" from BearManor Press will be of very special interest to fans of American pop-culture music. Solidly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library 20th Century American Music History collections "Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Volume 1" is also available in a paperback edition (9798887714578, $62.00) -- will leave its readers looking eagerly toward the next three volumes in this unique series!

Editorial Note: Dana Countryman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Countryman) is an American electronic music composer, songwriter and performer notable for his sustained presence in the Seattle Pop scene as well as his collaborations with French electropop artist Jean-Jacques Perrey. He is also well known as songwriter and performer for The Amazing Pink Things (1985-1991). as well as the publisher for Cool and Strange Music Magazine (1996-2003). Countryman is currently composing, performing and releasing original albums of retro vocal pop.


The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Long Revolution
Zelda Fichandler, author
Todd London, editor
Theatre Communications Group
https://www.tcg.org
9781559369756, $25.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Long-Revolution-Writings-Frontlines-American/dp/1559369752

Synopsis: Written by the late Zelda Fichandler (September 18, 1924 - July 29, 2016) and edited by Todd London, "The Long Revolution: Sixty Years on the Frontlines of a New American Theater" gathers sixty years of essays, speeches, and manifestos by the founding mother of the resident professional theatre movement.

As a founder and artistic director of the flagship Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and chair of New York University's Graduate Acting program, Zelda changed the where and how of the American theatre. "The Long Revolution" gathers under one cover Zelda's most prescient writing about that movement, ranging over such topics as The Institution as Art-Work, the Profit in NonProfit, Race and a Deepening Aesthetic, and Creativity and the Public Mind.

Also included is an intimate portraits of artists with whom Zelda frequently collaborated and her director's notes from the major productions that defined her vision. Celebrated as the defining architect and builder of the most sweeping transformation of twentieth-century American theatre, her brilliant writing reestablishes Fichandler as one of its most expansive and provocative thinkers.

Critique: Leaving this and future generations an extraordinary legacy. "The Long Revolution: Sixty Years on the Frontlines of a New American Theater" must be considered an essential and core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library American Theatre History/Biography collections. It should be noted for theatre students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Long Revolution: Sixty Years on the Frontlines of a New American Theater" from the Theatre Communications Group is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Zelda Fichandler was a seminal figure in the regional theater movement, and led Arena Stage in Washington, DC, for forty-one years, producing more than four hundred shows and directing more than fifty for a company that helped spur the growth of professional theater around the country. She spent another twenty-five years training hundreds of actors as chair of NYU's Graduate Acting Program. She was a titan in the theater world, a visionary producer and teacher who was instrumental in seeding the American continent with the work of playwrights, directors, actors, and designers.

Editorial Note #2: Todd London (www.toddlondon.net) has been a leading figure in the U.S. nonprofit theater for more than thirty-five years. The first recipient of TCG's Visionary Leadership Award, his service has taken many forms: artistic director, educator, arts journalist and essayist, public speaker, theater historian, and advocate for artists. He is also an award-winning novelist.

To Repair the World
Mary B. Robinson
Routledge
www.routledge.com
9781032580913, $48.95, PB, 388pp

https://www.amazon.com/Routledge-Advances-Theatre-Performance-Studies/dp/1032580917

Synopsis: "To Repair the World: Zelda Fichandler and the Transformation of American Theater" by Mary B. Robinson is a biography in the form of an oral history about a woman whose founding of Arena Stage in Washington, DC in 1950 shifted live professional theater away from Broadway and inspired the creation of non-profit theaters around the country.

In the pages of "To Repair the World", actors Dianne Wiest, James Earl Jones, Stacy Keach, and Jane Alexander, among many others, share their memories of this intrepid pioneering woman during Arena Stage's early years.

As Head of New York University's Graduate Acting Program for 25 years, Zelda Fichandler also trained a younger generation of gifted actors. Marcia Gay Harden, Rainn Wilson, Mahershala Ali, and other developing actors who became "artist-citizens" under her guidance, talk about the ways in which she transformed their lives.

Theater practitioners who have lived during Zelda Fichandler's time will find "To Repair the World" to be a fascinating and entertaining read -- as will all theater lovers, especially those in Washington, DC. And through this vivid and compelling oral history, students and aspiring artists will come to grasp how the theatrical past can shed essential light on the theater of today and tomorrow.

Critique: A fitting tribute to the life and accomplishments of Zelda Fischandler (September 18, 1924 - July 29, 2016) who was a stellar member of the contemporary American theatrical community for decades, "To Repair the World: Zelda Fichandler and the Transformation of American Theater" is essential reading for the legions of Zelda Fischandler fans, as well as theater students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in American theater direction, production, and history. While a core pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library American Theater collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "To Repair the World" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $46.50).

Editorial Note: Mary B. Robinson headed an undergraduate directing program at New York University (under the auspices of Playwrights Horizons Theater School) from 1999-2014. She has directed 70 productions at non-profit theaters (including Arena Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, and Seattle Repertory Company), from 1981 to the present. She was one of 50 directors (along with Zelda Fichandler) featured in American Women Stage Directors of the Twentieth Century (University of Illinois Press, 2008). Author of Directing Plays, Directing People: A Collaborative Art, published by Smith & Kraus in 2012.

Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic
A. S. Berman
BearManor Media
www.bearmanormedia.com
9781629332925, $39.00, PB, 354pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cube-a-s-berman/1128143541

Synopsis: With the publication of "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic", A. S. Berman welcome you to what exploded onto the international film scene with 1997's Cube, a sci-fi /horror film about six people trapped in a maze of death. Its cult film repercussions are still being felt cinematically today.

"Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" reveals the complete story of how these childhood friends brought a convincing, futuristic vision of hell to the big screen for less than $1 million in Canada, far from the Hollywood studio system.

From the first spark of inspiration to the development of the script and its shooting, the reader will follow the filmmakers through the triumphs, mathematics, mutinies and elations they experienced along the way.

Also inside this detailed 'making of a film' expose, director VincinzoNatali opens up his Cube archives to share: Storyboards; Character sketches; Behind the scenes photos; Unused Cube traps; Early script excerpts -- and so much more!

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of cult movie buffs in general, and fans of "Cube" in particular, "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" is a unique and highly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Cinematic History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Cube: Inside the Making of a Cult Film Classic" is also available from BearManor Books in a paperback edition (9781629332918, $27.00).

Editorial Note: A. S. Berman is a former writer and editor for USA Today, and now writes for several national publications and is currently at work on several books about television and film.
He is the author of "The Gilmore Girls Companion," "Soap: The Inside Story of the Sitcom that Broke all the Rules," and the forthcoming book "So Beautiful it Hurts: The Making of My So-Called Life." and a novel, "Wolves Lie Dreaming".


The Computer Shelf

Taming the Machine
Nell Watson
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398614345, $68.00, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Taming-Machine-Ethically-Harness-Power/dp/1398614343

Synopsis: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already starting to transform our world, supercharging productivity and driving new innovations. With the publication of "Taming the Machine: Ethically Harness the Power of AI", Nell Watson (President of the European Responsible AI Office) uncovers how you can responsibly harness the power of AI with confidence.

AI has the potential to become a personal assistant, a creative partner, an editor and a research tool all at once. But it also represents a threat to your livelihood, data and privacy. "Taming the Machine" offers the practical insights and knowledge you need to work with AI with an ethical and responsible approach.

With "Taming the Machine", AI expert and ethicist Nell Watson offers practical insights on how you can ethically innovate with AI. With this instructive introduction to Artificial Intelligence Watson delves into the ethical issues of unbridled AI, highlighting the challenges that it will bring to society and business unless we fortify cybersecurity, safeguard our data, and understand the dangerous potential of artificial intelligence.

Critique: A exceptionally timely, impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to our growing national conversation about AI, its values and liabilities, uses and abuses, "Taming the Machine: Ethically Harness the Power of AI" is a fundamental, essential, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library AI collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, political activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Taming the Machine: Ethically Harness the Power of AI" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: Nell Watson (www.nellwatson.com) is a researcher, writer, speaker and applied tech ethicist. She is President of the European Responsible AI Office, an AI Expert at Singularity University, and pioneers global standards as an AI Ethics Certification Maestro at IEEE. She advises leading organizations on their machine learning strategies, specializing in AI research and ethical advocacy.

Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks
Jessica Barker
Kogan Page Inc.
www.koganpage.com
9781398613720, $68.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hacked-jessica-barker/1144319440

Synopsis: Today, when it comes to cyber attacks, everyone and every business a potential target. But we don't have to be helpless against these threats from abroad or here at hom.

With the publication of "Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks", cybersecurity expert Jessica Barker offers the knowledge and strategies you will need in order to protect yourself and your business. "Hacked" reveals how hackers are weaponizing cutting-edge tactics and technologies to target individuals and organizations. It then goes on to showing how you can safeguard yourself against any potential attacks and how to react if you do become a target.

Featuring expert commentary from world-leading cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers, "Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks" uncovers the fascinating stories of the most insidious and notorious cyber attacks, including how the Mirai malware almost took down the internet and how a supply chain attack infiltrated the US government and other global institutions.

From social engineering and data theft to ransomware and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, there are numerous strategies that hackers use to target our finances and data. Uncover their secrets and learn how to safeguard your data with "Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks".

Critique: Essential reading for anyone charged with the cyber security of their company, organization, as well as anyone concerned with their own cyber security, "Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks" is an unreservedly recommended and critically important addition to personal, professional, community, governmental, corporate, and college/university library Cyber Security & Anti-Computer Hacking collections. Absolutely appropriate for in-service workshops and cyber-security curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general reader with an interest in digital currencies, strategic business planning, and security systems, that "Hacked: The Secrets Behind Cyber Attacks" is also available in a paperback edition (9781398613706, $17.99) and in a digital book format Kindle ($14.39).

Editorial Note: Dr Jessica Barker MBE (https://cyber.uk/about/dr-jessica-barker) is an award-winning leader in the human side of cyber security and has delivered awareness sessions to over 50,000 people. She has appeared on media outlets such as BBC, Sky News and Wired and has delivered over 80 keynotes for organizations and conferences including NATO, the World Government Summit and RSA. She also serves on numerous boards, including the UK Government Cyber Security Advisory Board. Jessica Barker has been awarded an MBE for services to cyber security.


The Egyptology Shelf

Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide
Charlotte Booth
Pen & Sword Books
https://www.penandswordbooks.com
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
9781399043564, $49.95, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Tourism-Egypt-Through-Ages-Historical/dp/1399043560

Synopsis: With the publication of "Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide ", Charlotte Booth ( a freelance Egyptologist with a PhD in Egyptology who has had numerous books and articles published on all aspects of Egyptology) takes the reader on a journey through 5,000 years of tourism in Egypt starting with the pre-2011 economic height, back through the Thomas Cook cruises in the nineteenth century, to the ancient Egyptians themselves making journeys down the Nile to visit Abydos and Memphis on pilgrimage, or to travel for work.

While tourism for its own self is a new concept, exploring the local (and not so local environment) is almost hardwired into human nature. And considering the Giza pyramids were a thousand years old at the time of Ramses II, there would have been many wonderful things to see.

"Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide" explores the tourism industry and its development from selling amulets at ancient temples, through manufacturing mummies for tourists to buy to adventure trips in the modern day. As numbers of visitors increased so did the business of tourism including refreshments, accommodation, guided tours and souvenirs.

"Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide" will provide a comprehensive introduction to Egypt and its attraction to tourists from the pharaonic period to the modern day. while thousands of years separate us the evidence shows many traveled for the same reasons people do today.

Critique: With a fifteen page section of B/W photos, an informative Introduction and Epilogue (The Future of Tourism in Egypt), thirteen pages of Notes, a five page listing of References, and a two page Index, "Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide" from Pen & Sword Books is a seminal work of original scholarship that is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. Informed and informative, "Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide" is a unique and recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Egyptian History & Travel collections. It should be noted that "Tourism in Egypt Through the Ages: A Historical Guide" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).

Editorial Note: Charlotte Booth earned both her Bachelor's and her master's degrees in Egyptian Archaeology at University College London. After graduating, Booth started teaching for Birkbeck, University of London. Her focus of study at university was the Hyksos period of Egypt. In 2018, she received her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the University of Birmingham. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Booth)

Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt
Sue Rainey
George F Thompson Publishing
www.gftbooks.com
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
9781938086533, $45.00, HC, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Picturesque-Palestine-Sinai-Egypt-1878-1879/dp/1938086538

Synopsis: Edited with commentary by Sue Rainey, "Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt: Artworks and Letters of John Douglas Woodward, 1878-1879 Hardcover - April 30, 2024" is a beautiful and engaging presentation of drawings and letters by John Douglas Woodward, (1846-1924), a prominent American artist/illustrator during the 1870s and 1880s.

He was on assignment for New York publisher D. Appleton and Co. to make on-the-spot drawings for illustrations for Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt (1881-1883), which has been called the most important book of illustrations of the region of its time. Some 200 of his compositions appeared in the book as wood engravings, the least expensive mass media of the time, while he contributed the art for 13 steel engravings.

Woodward traveled with the somewhat older and better-known artist, Harry Fenn, who was the lead artist for the very successful Picturesque America, published by D. Appleton in parts from 1872-1874. Woodward was the second most prolific contributor to Picturesque America and, like Fenn, also traveled and drew for Picturesque Europe (1878-1879).

Woodward's travels for Picturesque Palestine yielded a treasure trove of unique historical art and correspondence. Most drawings for book and magazine illustrations during this period were discarded by the artist after the printing plates were made. But Woodward saved his, providing a visual record, often in full color, of the region, in addition to the black-and-white illustrations in the book.

In presenting them alongside his lively, engaging letters, "Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt" will appeal to those interested in the history and art of the Middle East as well as in the appearance of places of importance mentioned in the Holy Bible and the specifics of travel to the region during the 1870s, when there was almost no tourist infrastructure and limited knowledge of other cultures.

Although Picturesque Palestine is well-known to scholars and connoisseurs and available in some libraries and on-line, Woodward's drawings and letters recording his trip to Palestine are not. The exquisite drawings, rendered in pencil, watercolor, and gouache, belong to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and have been stored since 1941 at Shrine Mont, a conference center in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley (founded by the artist's nephew). The letters to his wife and mother are in the collection of the Valentine History Museum in Richmond.

Critique: This large format (10.31 x 1.02 x 12.28 inches, 3.55 pounds) hardcover edition of "Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt: Artworks and Letters of John Douglas Woodward, 1878-1879" from George F Thompson Publishing will prove of immense and informative appeal to readers with an interest in the 19th Century Middle Eastern culture and landscape of Palestine, Sinai, and Egypt. A beautiful book compiled with notations by scholar and academician Sue Raney is an inherently fascinating and unreservedly recommended pick for personal reading lists and professional, community, and college/university library collections. A veritable A treasure trove of beautiful and informative illustrations of key areas of the Holy Land during the late nineteenth century, "Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt: Artworks and Letters of John Douglas Woodward, 1878-1879" would be an excellent selection choice as a public and academic library Memorial Fund acquisition.

Editorial Note: Sue Rainey is an esteemed scholar who has focused her research and writing on artists who prepared book and magazine illustrations in the latter half of the nineteenth century, especially John Douglas Woodward and Harry Fenn. Her Creating Picturesque America: Monument to the Natural and Cultural Landscape (Applewood Books, 1994; 2001) was the first study of that landmark 1872-1874 publication and won the 1997 Charles C. Eldredge Prize of the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian) for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art. In 1997 she and Roger B. Stein curated an exhibit of Woodward's work at the University of Virginia's art museum, whose catalog, Shaping the Landscape Image, 1865-1910; John Douglas Woodward (Bayly Art Museum/University of Virginia, 1997) won the Award for an Outstanding Publication of the American Historical Print Collectors Society, as did her Creating a World on Paper: Harry Fenn's Career in Art (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013). For over thirty years, Rainey has served as volunteer curator of the Woodward collection owned by Shrine Mont, an Episcopal conference center in Orkney Springs, Virginia.


The Language Studies Shelf

Chinese Folktales for Language Learners
Vivian Ling & Wang Peng, authors
Yang Xi, illustrator
Tuttle
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804857284, $18.99 pbk / $18.04 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Folktales-Language-Learners-Recordings/dp/0804857288

Synopsis: Welcome to the fascinating world of Chinese folklore. The fifteen stories in this book address universal concerns such as the origins of humankind, the impact of wars and natural disasters, the great deeds of cultural heroes, the struggle for dignity and justice for the common man, and the yearnings of the human heart.

For readers from around the world, this book is a window to some of the historical and cultural facets of China that remain relevant today. These stories can be enjoyed in English by readers with no knowledge of Chinese, while the bilingual format and vocabulary lists are an added bonus for language students.

Each story is given in parallel Chinese and English versions, and is accompanied by a short essay about its historical context, a vocabulary list, discussion questions, and native speaker audio recordings.

Critique: Chinese Folktales for Language Learners lives up to its title with fifteen classic Chinese folktales, each presented in both English and Chinese. Readers with no knowledge of Chinese can still enjoy these venerable fables, each presented with an essay that offers historical and cultural context. Readers who are learning the Chinese language will find the vocabulary sections appended to each folktale helpful. A handful of black-and-white illustrations loosely in the style of ancient Chinese artwork rounds out this excellent supplemental resource for folktale aficionados and Chinese language learners alike. Chinese Folktales for Language Learners is accessible, enjoyable, educational, and highly recommended especially for school and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Chinese Folktales for Language Learners is also available in a Kindle edition ($18.04).


The Needlecraft Shelf

10,000 Crocheted Hats
Emma Varnam
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784946692, $29.99, Spiral Bound, 80pp

https://www.amazon.com/10-000-Crocheted-Hats-Combinations/dp/1784946699

Synopsis: "10,000 Crocheted Hats: Discover Your Own Unique Design Combinations" by Emma Varnam is a fun and clever spiral bound, flip-page instruction book for designing and building unique headwear creations.

This interactive crochet book showcases photographs of different hat brims, bodies and crowns that can be combined in a total of 10,626 ways to create unique hat patterns. With "10,000 Crocheted Hats" needlecrafters an choose their own unique design, then turn over the pages for the correct written pattern for that combination of brim, body and crown.

Of special note is the handy embellishments section to add extra features, a clear and 'user friendly' format that is suitable for all abilities, and that every pattern comes in three adult sizes.

"10,000 Crocheted Hats" is the ultimate DIY crocheted hat resource for creating stylish, unique and personal headwear.

Critique: This large format (9781784946692, 1.74 pounds) spiral bound edition of Emma Varnam's "10,000 Crocheted Hats: Discover Your Own Unique Design Combinations" from GMC Publications is a unique, effective, fun and inspiring DIY approach to creating memorable and distinctive crocheted hats for any and all occasions -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference book collections.

Editorial Note: Emma Varnam (www.emmavarnam.co.uk) has a special talent for creating unique characters in crochet that make people smile. As well as writing a number of popular crochet books, all published by GMC Publications - Cute Crocheted Good, Crocheted Succulents, Crocheted Houseplants, Cute Crocheted Animals, Cute Crocheted Wild Animals, Cute Crocheted Woodland Creatures, How to Crochet, Granny Squares Home and Granny Squares Weekend - she has had a number of successful collaborations with the celebrated knitwear designer Debbie Bliss. Emma lives in Greater Manchester, UK and can be followed on Instagram: @emmavarnam & Twitter: @EmmaCrochetToys


The Interior Design Shelf

The Complete Color Harmony: Deluxe Edition
Tina Sutton, author
Rockport Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760392577, $30.00, HC, 216pp

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Color-Harmony-Information-Professional/dp/0760392579

Synopsis: "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" by Tina Sutton was the first book published by the Rockport Publishers in 2004, and has since gone on to become an essential reference for generations of interior designers. This special 2024 edition of that classic reference celebrates Rockport Publisher's 40th anniversary.

Now in a deluxe edition, "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" provides an ideal introduction to using the color wheel and discovering the key aspects of color, such as warm, cool, pale, and bright.

Readers can then delve into moods and color and see how a wide variety of palettes can come across as earthy, powerful, regal, calm, dependable, and more.

"The Complete Color Harmony" covers: Hundreds of organized color palettes that can be used for a variety of art and design projects; Why certain colors attract; How colors evoke certain moods; Advice on choosing the best colors to work with; A CMYK process color chart and color swatches to make choosing colors and palettes easy.

With all the expert information in this convenient portable guide, aspiring and practicing interior designers will feel confident in every color choice they make.

Critique: This deluxe anniversary edition of "The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results" from Rockport Publishing is a basic and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Decorative Arts, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Color Use collection and supplemental Decorative Arts curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Tina Sutton is a veteran color, consumer trends and fashion marketing consultant for product developers, corporations and advertising agencies. She has researched, written about and lectured on the psychology of color for numerous publications, arts institutions, and television and radio programs nationwide. Sutton was also a longtime style and features writer for The Boston Globe, and the author of "The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon", a highly regarded biography of legendary dancer Alicia Markova.

Never Too Small: Vol. 2
Joel Breath & Camilla Janse van Vuuren
Smith Street Books
c/o Rizzoli
www.rizzoliusa.com
9781923049079, $40.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Too-Small-Reinventing-Living/dp/1923049070

Synopsis: Following the success of their first book, "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living, Volume 1", this second volume of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" by co-authors Joel Breath & Camilla Janse van Vuuren showcases 30 new and outstanding homes from around the world that (like in Volume 1) explore small space living.

Framed by five small footprint design principles, this new second volume of "Never Too Small" features beautiful photography, detailed floor-plans, and accessible architectural commentary on each of the 30 homes.

Championing the work of award-winning architects and designers, Both volumes 1 & 2 of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" offers inspiring models for the future of housing -- one where sustainability and style, comfort and affordability can coexist.

Critique: This large format (8.6 x 1.18 x 10.14 inches, 1.25 pounds) hardcover edition of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living, Volume 2" from Smith Street Books is an inspirational pleasure to simply browse through one elegant and illustrated page at a time. Exceptional in organization and presentation, this second volume of "Never Too Small: Reinventing Small Space Living" is especially appropriate as an core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Interior Design & Home Decoration collections.

Editorial Note: Co-authors Joel Beath and Camilla Janse van Vuuren provide a window into the world of small footprint living, featuring award-winning designers and homes from the hugely popular Never Too Small YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/NEVERTOOSMALL).


The Travel Shelf

100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die
Melanie Radzicki McManus
Reedy Press
www.reedypress.com
9781681064741, $17.99, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/100-Things-Wisconsin-Dells-Before/dp/168106474X

Synopsis: It is difficult to capture the essence of Wisconsin Dells, which is why it's such a fascinating place to explore. Its origins as a tourist destination began with 19th-century photographer H.H. Bennett, whose stunning photos of the area's intricately carved sandstone formations drew visitors in droves.

Over time a wide variety of attractions opened, followed by a wealth of waterparks, including the nation's largest outdoor waterpark and first indoor waterpark.

Today the Dells offers something for every taste. History buffs can explore sites like Circus World, home to the world's largest collection of authentic circus wagons. Adventurers can get their hearts racing at places like Bigfoot Zipline Tours and Jet Boat Adventures. The 1,150-mile Ice Age Trail that winds around town will beckon nature lovers, while foodies can nosh on elk sliders or avocado naan after touring Driftless Glen Distillery.

Local writer Melanie Radzicki McManus has been following the Dells' evolution since the 1990s, testing waterslides, go-karts, and roller coasters; playing numerous rounds of mini-golf; and constantly keeping an eye open for unheralded gems.

Critique: Exceptionally 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die" is an inspiring pleasure to browse through and plan itineraries with whether its for a day, a weekend, a week, or an extended vacation of any length. A 'must' for the tourist and surprising for locals in its scope, "100 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells Before You Die" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and Wisconsin based community and college/university library Travel Guide collections.

Editorial Note: Melanie Radzicki McManus (www.TheThousandMiler.com) is a travel writer who has been writing about Wisconsin Dells for more than 25 years, always trying the newest waterslides and evaluating the latest trends. She's also an avid backpacker who loves to point out that the Ice Age National Scenic Trail runs right through the Dells. Melanie's writing credits include the Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and CNN. She's also the author of Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017).

The 50 States Bucket List
Jessica Laughlin
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760388495, $19.99, Flexibound, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/50-States-Bucket-List-Ultimate/dp/0760388490

Synopsis: Now even the most novice of travelers can make any road trip extraordinary and memorable with help of "The 50 States Bucket List: The Ultimate Journal for a Journey across America", a unique guide to the most exciting places across America (including Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico!).

Organized by region, you will find fast facts about each state, like the state's nickname, state bird, and state flower; write-ups on key attractions in each state, along with a list to check off your bucket list items and customizable destination plans; and beautifully illustrated state maps, giving you an overview of the best each state has to offer.

Every visit can be journaled in the prompts throughout, where you can memorialize each experience.

Exceptionally portable, take "The 50 States Bucket List" on any trip and discover fun facts about both the best-known attractions and out-of-the-way gems, including: Mount Rushmore and the old west town of Deadwood in South Dakota; The Wizard of Oz Museum in Kansas; Chicago sites like the Bean and Navy Pier, as well as Illinois' Shawnee National Forest; Fossil Cabin in Wyoming, home to 5,796 dinosaur bones -- and so much more!

Use "The 50 States Bucket List" to vacation in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, -- and don't forget to keep track of each stop with your very own bucket list! Then revisit your trips through this keepsake journal, full of family memories, amazing experiences with friends, and your favorite spots in the United States of America.

Critique: Flexibound and profusely illustrated, Jessica Laughlin's "The 50 States Bucket List: The Ultimate Journal for a Journey across America" from Epic Ink is especially and unreservedly recommended as the ultimate travel guide and memory maker.

Editorial Note: Jessica Laughlin (www.jessicalaughlindesigns.com) is an artist, graphic designer, photographer, and real estate agent. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada, where she graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts. She received her bachelor's degree from California State University Monterey Bay.

The National Parks Bucket List
Linda Mohammad
Epic Ink
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9780760386811, $19.99, Flexibound, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/National-Parks-Bucket-List-Adventure/dp/0760386811

Synopsis: When visiting any of our country's national parks, "The National Parks Bucket List: The Ultimate Adventure Journal for all 63 Parks" by Linda Mohammad is an ideal and unique travel guide/travel journal to take with you as you take in breathtaking scenery and take on thrilling terrain that each park has to offer.

Featuring a soft, faux-leather cover and prompts throughout its pages, "The National Parks Bucket List" encourages you to detail every expedition, camping trip, hike route, and more. The journaling prompts for each park will inspire you to truly take in your time in nature and make note of the special memories you make, from your favorite trails to the most exciting flora and fauna you spot during your stay.

For each of the 63 parks, there are helpful facts on the terrain, geography, both natural and cultural history, and wildlife, as well as exclusive Bucket List Traveler tips and tricks to make the most of your time in the park.

There's something new to discover about each of these unique spots, including fun facts like: The first female park ranger worked at Yosemite National Park in 1918; Mount Rainier National Park in Washington is one of the oldest national parks, actually created prior to the start of the National Park Service; Lake Clark National Park in Alaska offers world-class opportunities to view brown bears; Carlsbad Cavern National Park in New Mexico contains some of the largest caves in North America; Nabesna Glacier, found in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, is the longest valley glacier in the world -- and so much more!

As you tick off each park on your bucket list, you will be creating a keepsake that will allow you to share and relive your precious national park experiences again and again. "The National Parks Bucket List: is the perfect companion for your on-site park adventures.

Critique: A welcome and thoroughly 'user friendly' combination of guide and journal, "The National Parks Bucket List: The Ultimate Adventure Journal for all 63 Parks" has the twin value of being an excellent itinerary planner for getting the most out of a visit to an American national park -- and souvenir memorial to be cherished afterwards.

Editorial Note: Linda Mohammad is a national park lover who is a self-proclaimed weekend warrior. Originally born and raised in Malaysia, she migrated to the United States to pursue her college education. Her passion for traveling stemmed from her college days when she would have to vacate her dorm room during school breaks. Fast forward to today, Linda is an engineer working in the energy industry. Known as The Bucket List Traveler, who journals her way through the parks and documents her visits, trip planning and list-making are her forte. On the weekends, she can be found exploring some of our many national parks across the country. To date, she has crossed off all of the 63 big national parks in the US as well as more than halfway through the 420+ national park units that are currently managed by the National Park Service. Her favorite national park is the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona because geology rocks!

50 States, 1,000 Eats
Joe Yogerst
National Geographic Press
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426222825, $27.99, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/50-States-000-Eats-Where/dp/1426222823

Synopsis: "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is the beautifully illustrated sequel to the National Geographic Press bestsellers "50 States, 5,000 Ideas" and "100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas".

This new travel guide compendium offers foodies the ultimate road trip around the United States and Canada, with 1,000 of the best bites and sips from every state and province. From must-have diner breakfasts and food trucks to can't miss farm-to-table dinners and U-pick farms, "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" has a flavor and food experience for every type of traveler, from road trip warriors and families to foodies of the first degree.

Filled with the best dishes in every state (think crab cakes in Maryland, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in Illinois, and wine in Oregon's Willamette Valley) you will discover the regional delicacies that make up the great tastes of the United States and Canada. Plus, you will get expert advice on where to find the top meals at local establishments, which fine-dining experiences are worth the price tag, and when to visit for the best food and drink festivals.

"50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" features: The origins of Alabama's famous white barbecue sauce; The world's largest food festival, Taste of Chicago, held in Grant Park each summer; The ultimate whiskey distillery in the most unlikely of places: Park City, Utah; The Northeastern seaboard's finest lobster rolls; The Native American and Hispanic roots of New Mexico's most iconic dishes; The secrets of Portland, Oregon's craft brew scene; The iconic Juicy Lucy burger in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- and so much more!

Critique: Ideal for the armchair traveler and the on-site visitor alike, "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is comprehensive, informative, profusely illustrated, and inspiring -- especially if you need to find your next great bite away from home. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university culinary themed travel guide collections, it should be noted that "50 States, 1,000 Eats: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Eat, What to Drink" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: During three decades as an editor, writer, and photographer, Joe Yogerst (https://joeyogerst.com) has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. His writing has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Islands magazine, the International New York Times (Paris), Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic Traveler. He has also written 34 National Geographic books, including the best-selling 50 States, 5,000 Ideas. Yogerst is also the host of a National Geographic/Great Courses video series on America's state parks.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers
Marie Paul Curley
Pauline Books & Media
www.pauline.org
9780819824165, $7.95, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Eucharistic-Adoration-Prayers-Curley/dp/081982416X

Synopsis: Jesus desires a relationship with you. As a Roman Catholic, what better place to meet him than in the Eucharist -- his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity present among us? "Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers" is pocket-sized (4.5 x 0.9 x 6.3 inches, 5.6 ounces) paperback collection of traditional and contemporary Eucharistic prayers draws from the Bible and the wisdom of the Church. As you encounter Jesus at Mass, Benediction, and in Eucharistic adoration, may these essential prayers give you the words you need to open your heart more fully to him.

Critique: While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), this easily portable paperback edition of "Essential Eucharistic Adoration Prayers" from Pauline Books & Media is unreservedly recommended for personal, clergy, and seminary student Eucharist reading lists and Catholic Theology reference collections.

Editorial Note: Marie Paul Curley is a member of the Daughters of Saint Paul, a Catholic community of women religious who seek to communicate the love of God through our lives and all forms of media. (www.pauline.org/mariepaulcurley)


The Judaic Studies Shelf

Pirkei Avot: Hebrew and English Edition
Adin Steinsaltz
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
www.korenpub.com
9789657813621, $29.95, HC, 248pp

https://www.amazon.com/Pirkei-Avot-Hebrew-English-Steinsaltz/dp/965781362X

Synopsis: Tractate Avot is unique within the Mishna and the Talmud. It does not address halakha, but is primarily a book of ethics and wisdom, guiding us in our behavior and inner attitudes.

Avot was primarily written for those of us who seek to go above and beyond our standard obligations and follow a more elevated path. It therefore constitutes our aspirations for improving our moral character by keeping its teachings front and center.

This Hebrew-English bilingual edition of "Pirkei Avot" might be the Sages' most personal work as its words of wisdom and ethics were hewn from the hearts of the Sages of Israel, and studying them illuminates the Sages' worldview and way of life.

This commentary on Pirkei Avot opens the gate to a wondrous treasure of Jewish tradition, connecting our inner experience today to the world of the Sages.

Critique: Featuring informative and insightful commentary by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, "Pirkei Avot" includes full color illustrations and will prove a welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, synagogue, community, and college/university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental Talmud curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the leading scholars and rabbis of our times. Founder of the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, Rabbi Steinsaltz has published over 300 titles and hundreds of essays on a variety of topics, including the Talmud, Jewish mysticism, religious thought, sociology, historical biography, and philosophy. In Israel, Rabbi Steinsaltz established the Mekor Chaim network of schools in Jerusalem and the vicinity. In 1988, Rabbi Steinsaltz received the Israel Prize (the country's highest honor) for Jewish Studies. In 2012 he was one of the first recipients of the Israeli Presidential Award of Distinction for his contribution to Israel and its standing in the world.


The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Gardens of Awakening
Kazuaki Tanahash, author
Mitsue Nagase, photographer
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com
9781645472056, $26.95, HC, 184pp

https://www.amazon.com/Gardens-Awakening-Aesthetics-Spirituality-Landscapes/dp/1645472051

Synopsis: Imagine yourself in Kyoto, Japan, gazing at an ancient temple garden. How would you contextualize what you are seeing? What is the history of this centuries-old contemplative art form of Zen gardening? What are its symbols and concepts?

Richly illustrated with full-color photographs by Mitsue Nagase, "Gardens of Awakening: A Guide to the Aesthetics, History, and Spirituality of Kyoto's Zen Landscapes" guides you through a series of Zen temple gardens, most of which were created from the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries. Some are teeming with plants and flowing water, while others have only rocks and sand. All share in the Zen aesthetics of awakening.

Through essays and commentary on Mitsue Nagase's striking photographs, famed Zen artist and translator Kazuaki Tanahashi presents the gardens in terms of seven qualities that arise from Zen practice: direct, ordinary, vigorous, gleaming, pivotal, nondual, and inexhaustible. Relating these qualities to the development of Zen culture and its influence on Japanese art, "Gardens of Awakening" invites you deep into the heart of Zen.

Critique: This large format (8.34 x 0.73 x 10.31 inches, 1.94 pounds) hardcover edition of "Gardens of Awakening: A Guide to the Aesthetics, History, and Spirituality of Kyoto's Zen Landscapes" from Shambhala Publications will prove to be of very special value to readers with an interest in Zen Philosophy/Spirituality as manifested and symbolized in the Japanese garden. Beautiful, thought-provoking, and inspiring, "Gardens of Awakening" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Zen Buddhism collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Gardens of Awakening" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note #1: Kazuaki Tanahashi is an artist and Buddhist scholar active in the United States, originally from Japan. He has visited Zen gardens in Kyoto almost every year for the past three decades. His many publications include Penetrating Laughter: Hakuin's Zen and Art, and Sky Above. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazuaki_Tanahashi)

Editorial Note #2: Mitsue Nagase (www.mitsuenagase.com) is a photographer, dividing her time between her native Japan, Germany, and the US. Her photography is based on her studies in Zen Buddhism and of Miksang, a contemplative approach to photography as a spiritual practice, which she also teaches.

Kadam
Mamgon Kongstrul, compiler
Artemus B. Engle, translator
Snow Lion Publications
c/o Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com/snowlion
9781559395052, $54.95, HC, 1048pp

https://www.amazon.com/Kadam-Training-Essential-Teachings-Instructions/dp/1559395052

Synopsis: The Treasury of Precious Instructions by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, one of Tibet's greatest Buddhist masters, is a shining jewel of Tibetan literature, presenting essential teachings from the entire spectrum of practice lineages that existed in Tibet. In its eighteen volumes, Kongtrul brings together some of the most important texts on key topics of Buddhist thought and practice as well as authoring significant new sections of his own.

The Kadam lineage derives from the teachings and practices taught by the Indian master Atisa and his Tibetan students. Atisa spent twelve years in Tibet and left a scholarly and devotional lineage that would be significant to all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, but particularly the Geluk, the tradition of the Dalai Lamas, which fashioned themselves as the New Kadam tradition.

Jamgon Kongtrul's catalog to The Treasury of Precious Instructions classifies Kadam literature into five categories: treatise, instruction, esoteric practice, ancillary works, and associated works. The first two are the main topics covered in this volume: Lamrim, or Stages of the Path, and Lojong, or Mind Training. These two Kadam teachings continue to exert a significant influence on Tibetan Buddhism and therefore represent the legacy of the Kadam tradition.

The first centers around "The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment", written by the eleventh-century Indian master Atisa who spent twelve years in Tibet, and this volume also includes stories of Atisa's life and travels. The second set of teachings consists of aphorisms known as the Seven-Point Mind Training, meant to be used as contemplative practices to develop compassion and transform the mind. These selections show not only the foundational texts of the Kadam tradition but also the widespread impact these teachings continued to have across traditions.

Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership, "Kadam: Stages of the Path, Mind Training, and Esoteric Practice, Part One: Essential Teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibet, Volume 3" is a comprehensive volume that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Buddhism collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. A massive volume, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that this edition of "Kadam" from Snow Lion Publications is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $33.99).

Editorial Note: Jamagon Kongtrul Lodrotaye (1813-1900) was a versatile and prolific Buddhist scholar and one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time in Tibet. He was a pivotal figure in eastern Tibet's nonsectarian movement and made major contributions to education, politics, and medicine.

Editorial Note #2: Artemus B. Engle studied Buddhism with the late Sera Mey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche for more than thirty years. Over much of the past decade, he has continued his studies as a student of Gyume Khensur Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche. In 1983 he earned a doctorate in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin and is currently a fellow with the Tsadra Foundation.


The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2024-2025
Judith Miller
Miller's Publishing
c/o Octopus Books, Dist.
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781784729431, $49.99 HC, $27.99 Kindle, 600pp

https://www.amazon.com/Millers-Antiques-Handbook-Price-2024-2025/dp/1784729434

Because Judith Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide receives regular updates, each edition proves an authoritative reference that either stands alone well or, when taken into consideration with its preceding incarnations, helps readers trace price trends. The book first appeared in 1979 to easily earn the title of being of the most updated collector's general guide on the market.

Over 8,000 antiques, from ceramics and furniture to jewelry and textiles, are included in this latest edition. Some 600 pages are packed with color photography, including not only small but clear images suitable for identification purposes, but sidebars of reference data about particular companies or makers, and their histories.

All these elements make Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2024-2025 a resounding 'must' for any library or individual seeking an authoritative, industry-respected guide to the latest antiques values.


The Psychology Shelf

The Kramer Method of Art Therapy
David R. Henley
Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
https://www.ccthomas.com
9780398094324, $39.95, PB, 252pp

https://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398094324

Synopsis: Although "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" by David R. Heley is a clinical text, it is also more a conversation than a traditional textbook. It is a means of sharing the work of artists, most of whom have varying degrees of special needs. It also emphasizes that handicapping conditions do not constitute a barrier for creating therapeutically meaningful art.

The precepts of Edith Kramer focus on subtly suggesting media, content, or techniques, all without interfering with the artist's preferences. This intervention came to be known as the 'Third Hand' where the artist in therapy is free to accept, reject or ignore the therapist's suggestions. The case vignettes describe how aesthetic richness is also illustrative of the uniqueness of clients' clinical stories, with the artists' emotional or behavioral challenges overcoming and even benefitting by their conditions.

The work of early pioneers who influenced Kramer's illustrate how her own analytical methods later shaped her approach. The format of "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" also questions the author as being the ultimate authority, by posing questions to the reader, says a kind of dialogue that emphasizes there are no absolutes in art, behavioral science or therapy.

While espousing Kramer's and his own ideas, Henley also includes those of other art therapists who contribute their own expertise, in the hope that the analyses will be enriched from multiple perspectives. Dr. Henley describes how Karamer's therapeutic interventions were debated during their many years of collegial interaction. By describing Kramer's early influences and personal art history, he describes how Kramer's interventions helped innumerable clients and trained hundreds of student therapists. These facets will hopefully enable creative arts therapists to implement her patented artist-centered interventions.

The processes and artistic outcomes will lead the way, guiding the reader toward the uses of the Third Hand and hopefully bring alive the uniqueness of these special artists' stories.

Critique: This large format (11 x 1 x 8.5 inches, 1.78 pounds) paperback edition of "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" from Charles C. Thomas Publisher is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of a Foreword by Judith A. Rubin, an Epilogue (Nepal), a four page listing of References, a two page Name Index, and a four page Subject Index. Occasionally illustrated with b/w images, "The Kramer Method of Art Therapy: Exploring the Third Hand" by David R. Henley will have a particular relevance and recommendation for personal, professional, and college/university Popular Psychology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: David R. Henley, PhD, ATR, is a nationally recognized authority on child art therapy, a professor and the former chair of the creative arts therapy programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and Long Island University. He is also the author of Exceptional Children, Exceptional Art and Clayworks in Art Therapy. During his career as an art therapist and educator, he has lectured, taught and written extensively on many aspects of art therapy. David is also a ceramicist and a mixed-media artist.


The Self-Help Shelf

You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything
Beth Kurland
Health Communications, Inc.
https://hcibooks.com
9780757325021, $18.95, PB, 336pp

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-dont-have-to-change-to-change-everything-beth-kurland/1143902863

Synopsis: One of the most significant sources of suffering comes from our human tendency to avoid difficult emotions. We are not taught how to face these unpleasant, often daily inner experiences (mind-body energies) and so we tend to push them away, ignore them, or become unwittingly overwhelmed by them.

Yet how we meet and greet these difficult emotions has everything to do with our well-being, resilience, and ability to connect with ourselves and others. Instinctually, we fight against our uncomfortable emotions; in doing so, we reinforce messages of "not good enough" or "something is wrong with me that I am feeling this way."

With the publication of "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything: Six Ways to Shift Your Vantage Point, Stop Striving for Happy, and Find True Well-Being" by clinical psychologist Dr. Beth Kurland, readers learn that instead of forcing themselves to feel "happy" and pushing away what is unpleasant, or instead of getting hooked by intense emotions, another path can lead to more profound well-being.

Rather than trying to change one's inner experiences, "You Don't Have to Change Everything" offers six specific ways to shift one's vantage point when difficult emotions arise. Being aware from each of these six vantage points allows readers to cultivate inner stability, willingness to turn toward rather than away from themselves, greater perspective, internal strengths and inner resources, self-compassion, connection with the "Whole Self" versus identification with "hole self," and interconnection with the world around them.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with eight pages of Notes, "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything: Six Ways to Shift Your Vantage Point, Stop Striving for Happy, and Find True Well-Being" is extraordinarily instructive, impressively insightful, exceptionally 'real world practical', and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. Life-changing, life-enriching, life-celebrating, "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything is an inspiring and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university popular psychology collections. It should be noted that "You Don't Have to Change to Change Everything" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9798874760199, $45.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Beth Kurland (www.BethKurland.com) is a clinical psychologist practicing in the field for nearly 30 years. Dr. Kurland is a mind-body wellness coach and creator of the online program The Well-Being Toolkit Program. She is also the author of "Dancing on the Tightrope: Transcending the Habits of Your Mind and Awakening to Your Fullest Life" (Wellbridge Books, 2018); "The Transformative Power of Ten Minutes: An Eight Week Guide to Reducing Stress and Cultivating Well Being" (Wellbridge Books, 2017); and :Gifts of the Rain Puddle: Poems, Meditations and Reflections for the Mindful Soul" (Wellbridge Books, 2017).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Norse Mysticism
Disa Forvitin
Wellfleet Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
www.quartoknows.com
9781577154266, $19.99, HC, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Norse-Mysticism-Exploration-Traditions-Practices/dp/1577154266

Synopsis: The gods and goddesses of the Norse pantheon are larger-than-life beings who practice and wield magic like no other pantheon of deities. With the publication of "Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices", Disa Forvitin introduces you to these deities and the customs and traditions that surround them, including:

An exploration of Oral Traditions and mythic gods and goddesses
Guides to runes and vocal magic
Techniques for spellcasting and divination
Histories behind Nordic teachings and customs
Records of ancient prose works and poems

With this guidebook for both newcomers and experts in Nordic metaphysics alike, can experience the magical and beautiful spirituality of the Vikings and foster a deeper connection to themselves and the world as a whole.

Critique: Nicely illustrated with Nordic symbols and images "Norse Mysticism: An Exploration of Viking Traditions and Magical Practices" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation making it an ideal introduction to Nordic mythology and spiritual practices. While wholeheartedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Metaphysical Studies collections and supplemental curriculum lists, it should be noted that "Norse Mysticism" by Disa Forvitin is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Disa Forvitin is a lifelong practitioner of mystical traditions and is passionate about Norse history and culture. A pagan through and through, she casts runes and leaves offerings to the nature spirits in the suburbs of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where she lives with her partner and an unhealthy number of books.

Editorial Note #2: The Mystic Traditions series from Wellfleet Press explores mystical and spiritual traditions and magical practices from around the world from a modern perspective. These guides offer concise introductions to the origins of mystical practices; explain key concepts, figures, and legends in these traditions; and give straightforward and engaging instruction on how to connect directly with these practices through rituals, spells, and more. Also available in the Mystic Traditions series is: Native American Spiritualism, Zen Buddhism, Celtic Mysticism, and Indian Spirituality.

Celtic Druidry
Ellen Evert Hopman
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
www.innertraditions.com
9781644118603, $19.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Druidry-Rituals-Techniques-Practices/dp/1644118602

Synopsis: "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is an authentic handbook for the Celtic Druid path. In it, Druid priestess and practitioner Ellen Evert Hopman shares lessons, rituals, and magical techniques drawn from the ancient wisdom teachings of the Celts as well as a modern Druid Order created by the leading minds of twentieth-century Celtic Reconstructionism.

Hopman begins by exploring what we know about the original ancient Druids, citing Druid-contemporary sources such as Caesar and Diodorus Siculus as well as transcriptions of Druid oral teachings.

Then she explains the basic tools and clothing of a Celtic Druid, including instructions for making the essential tools of the craft, such as the crane bag and the apple branch, the tool used to open a Druid rite.

She also explores meditation techniques based on ancient texts and discusses the Goddesses and Gods of the Celtic pantheon, Druidic cosmology, and the Druidic festivals that occur throughout the turning of the year. She shares invocations for connecting with specific deities and elements and also outlines the basics of Druidic liturgy, enabling you to create Druid rituals for seasonal rites.

Hopman shares charms and incantations for abundance, protection, and healing as well as plant spells for performing magic with herbs. She discusses many forms of Druidic divination, including interpreting omens and divining with the ancient Ogham alphabet. Exploring the special connection between humans and Nature, a core component of Druidic practice, the author explains how to bond with Nature and the Sacred Land and the important connection between Druids and trees.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with an explanation of why Ellen Hopman wrote "Celtic Druidry", and included a three page listing of Resources & Suggested Reading, a four page Glossary, a three page Bibliography, and a seven page Index, "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is a fascinating and enlightening read from start to finish. Exceptionally well organized and presented, this Druid Handbook is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted that "Celtic Druidry: Rituals, Techniques, and Magical Practices" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Ellen Evert Hopman (https://elleneverthopman.com) is a master herbalist and lay homeopath, who has been a Druidic initiate since 1984. She is a founding member of the Order of the White Oak and its former co-Chief, the Archdruidess emerita and founder of Tribe of the Oak, a former professor at the Grey School of Wizardry, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. She is the author of Celtic herbals and Druid novels, including A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, Secret Medicine from Your Garden, The Sacred Herbs of Samhain, The Sacred Herbs of Yule and Christmas, and Once Around the Sun.


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
www.midwestbookreview.com


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design