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Jim Cox Report: June 2024

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I had another one of those 20 minute Zoom interviews about the value of getting reviewed and how to go about it. Here's a direct link in case you are interesting in seeing what I look like these days:

It's important to get a competent reviewer. It's even more important to get a competent reviewer who is thematically appropriate to your book. Here's a little tip on how to do just that:

Do a Google search using this little trick. Suppose you have a romance novel. Type into the Google Search Bar the following: Book Reviewers: Romance Novels. If what you have is book about the American Civil War type into that search bar Book Reviewers: American Civil War Books. Or perhaps you have a poetry book -- Book Reviewers: Poetry Books.

So basically, type in Book Reviewers and then the genre or subject matter of your book -- and up will pop a list of thematically appropriate web sites to seek out good thematically relevant reviewers -- and, for that matter, ideas of where to post reviews that will bring your book to the attention of readers with an interest in your particular subject or genre.

A novel came across my desk and it was the title that compelled me to open it up and peek inside. I was immediately hooked -- because although it was a deftly crafted work of fiction, it fully revealed the power of books to impact upon our lives.

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

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 ( 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.

Quote of the Month:

"A classic is something that everybody wants to have read, and nobody wants to read."
-- Mark Twain

Website of the Month:

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Now here are reviews of some newly published books that will be of special interest and relevance to writers, publishers, and dedicated bibliophiles:

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

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 ( 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.

Olders' Voices
Janet Benner, Ph.D
Newman Springs
9798887636269, $18.95, PB, 202pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Olders' Voices: Wisdom Gladly Shared By The Chronologically Gifted", Janet Benner describes what it's like to become and to be older. In its pages, twenty-nine people tell their stories. They are in their 70s and 80s, plus one is 99, and one is 68.

In "Olders' Voices" people from all over the United States and one from Canada talk about their feelings and well-being now and what they did before they were older. They come from a wide variety of professions and occupations and a wide variety of experiences and beliefs.

"Olders' Vocies" is a unique book that is impressively relevant for senior citizens to read especially when they feel alone -- and for their children and grandchildren to read in order to learn what their beloved elderly parents and grandparents are capable of doing and experiencing, including what might they need to make their lives more meaningful and comfortable.

Critique: Wisdom is the quality or state of being wise; of having a knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. With age comes experience, with experience comes wisdom, with wisdom comes an appreciation for what life has to offer. Informative, fascinating, insightful, thought provoking, inspiring, memorable, the individual stories comprising "Olders' Voices: Wisdom Gladly Shared By The Chronologically Gifted" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections on aging, parenting, and Life Lessons/Life Skills collections. It should be noted that Janet Benner's "Olders' Voices" from Newman Springs is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Janet Benner, Ph.D., at age 86 is herself an Older. She had been looking for a way to assist older people in her neighborhood, some caring for infirm spouses and some infirm themselves. She started a group for 80-something women that inspired her to believe a book would be the best way to reach lots of older people and those who care for them. She has authored three other non-fiction books including: "Parent Survival Training", "Football: Mysteries Revealed for the Feminine Fan", and "Smoking Cigarettes: The Unfiltered Truth".

"The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating to our postage stamp fund.

Janet Benner -- "Olders' Voices"
Frank S. Joseph -- "To Do Justice"
Charissa Soful -- "One Pond Drive"
P. K. Norton -- "The Back of Beyond"
Blair R. Sorrel -- "A Schizoid at Smith"
Dana Killion -- "Where the Shadows Dance"
Tracy L. Carter -- "Lawyers, Dogs, and Money"
Barbara Gaughen-Muller -- Peace Podcast
Lindsy Parker -- Lindsy Parker Media
The Paper Posie Publishing Company
Joanne McCall -- McCall Media Group
Lindsy Parker -- Lindsy Parker Media
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community.

Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at: SupportMBR [at] (The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)

If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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