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Jim Cox Report: July 2019
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
One of the true joys and rewards of being the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review is that when something unique and very special arrives on my desk I can assign it to myself for review. This month that 'rank has its privileges' selection is Jane Hanser and J. C. Duffy's "Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me: With Amazing Examples from Donald Trump" -- newly published by Ivy Books. It is perhaps the most unique, potentially controversial, yet effective instructional English grammar textbook that I have ever seen -- and one that I would unreservedly recommend to the attention of all authors and publishers seeking to insure their proper use of basic English grammar in what they write or publish. Here is my review:
Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me
Jane Hanser, author
J. C. Duffy, illustrator
9780991514946, $29.95, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me: With Amazing Examples from Donald Trump" raises the bar for an English grammar book as it transports us through the great English language and the topsy-turvy world of Donald Trump's policies and predilections. With memorable (and occasionally embarrassing) examples of Donald Trump's use of English this unique book of grammar entertianingly guides the reader through grammar's complexities and makes them relevant and easy to understand using Donald Trump's distinctive verbal and twitter communication style.
"Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me" provides accessible introduction to American English grammar for English users regardless of their skill levels: both native and ESL speakers. Every grammar principle is accompanied by several examples of Donald Trump -- both how to do it and how not to do it! In addition, exercises allow the reader to try the grammar principals themselves, which often means correcting Donald Trump's grammar, sentence structure and punctuation
Critique: Donald Trump is the perfect and very public example of the kind of functional illiteracy that emerges when someone who can read actually and chronically prefers not to. This is reflected in a seemingly limited vocabulary with which to describe things, people and events -- as well as the kinds of grammatical errors that, if in school, would result in very low grades on English exams.
Also available in a paperback edition (9780991514939, $26.95) and especially recommended as a unique addition to personal and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, "Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me: With Amazing Examples from Donald Trump" is both instructively educational and inherently entertaining. It is in fact and substance a thoroughly 'learner friendly' textbook with a wealth of humourous examples reflected in the actual statements, both spoken and written, by Donald Trump. While controversial with respect to the subject used for illustrative and educational purposes, the grammar lessons and exercises comprising "Nobody Knows How to Write a Grammar Book Better Than Me: With Amazing Examples from Donald Trump" are sound, germane, pertinent and relevant for anyone with an interest in learning about the use of proper English grammar for the purpose of enhancing and facilitating their spoken and written communications
Editorial Note; Jane Hanser's roots as a teacher of English and English as a Second Language, and the developer of the popular software application Easy Writer: Interactive Software for Learners of English, and as a story-teller in her award-winning book Dogs Don't Look Both Ways come together in this funny, helpful and relevant guide through English grammar.
The renowned cartoonist, J.C. Duffy, whose works can be regularly seen in The New Yorker and whose comic strip The Fusco Brothers is nationally syndicated, contributes additional rewards for the reader through his satirical illustrations of Donald Trump quotes.
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
Everybody Has A Book Inside of Them
Ann Marie Sabath
Career Press Inc.
12 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470
9781632651693, $16.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Everybody Has a Book Inside of Them: How To Bring It Out", aspiring authors will learn firsthand from Ann Marie Sabath and her army of author colleagues the answers to the roster of questions so often asked about the writing process ranging from how to get their writing motor revved, to ridding themselves of those debilitating writing doubts, or learning the power of KITA for meeting deadlines.
Showing how to make a dream of becoming an author a reality, the 49 topics specifically addressed range from: How long does it take to write a book?; Why knowing your reader is a must before you begin; and What motivates authors? Love or money?; to Why to stop writing while you are ahead; What seasoned authors would tell their younger selves; and How bestselling authors structure their books.
With her honesty, sense of humor, and encouragement, Ann Marie will provides the steps for creating a book, including easy-to-follow guidelines, trade tips, and valuable insights from other experienced authors will get an aspiring author's 'writing engine' started up.
Critique: As 'real world practical' and informational, as it is inspirational and motivating, "Everybody Has A Book Inside of Them: How To Bring It Out" is very highly recommended to the attention of anyone who has ever felt like they would like to create a book whether it would be fiction or non-fiction. I should be noted for personal reading lists that "Everybody Has A Book Inside of Them: How To Bring It Out" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.98) would be of special and particular relevance for anyone contemplating getting published what they have already begun whether it be a memoir, a book of their poetry, an attempt at the next Great American Novel, or anything else that would seek a readership for their work.
Writing for the Cut
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933006, $26.95, PB, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Editing is what makes a movie a movie. Consulting with master film editors including Walter Murch, Juliette Welfling, Eddie Hamilton, and Anne V. Coates (whose insights and wisdom anchor the book), script writer and author Greg Loftin engagingly, smartly details the storytelling nuances and tricks screenwriters can learn from their film-editor peers in "Writing for the Cut: Shaping Your Script for Cinema".
Cutting-room veterans have long maintained that visual juxtaposition fuels film storytelling. Over-lapped images spark fresh ideas in the minds of viewers, encouraging them to become active partners in your storytelling and discover your story for themselves.
In later chapters, "Writing for the Cut" shows how we can bring our stories closer to the screen by writing not only with text, but with images and sounds. The screenwriter is taken deep into the edit suite to learn the secrets of the sizzle reel.
Critique: A complete course of instruction under one cover, "Writing for the Cut: Shaping Your Script for Cinema" should be considers essential reading for all aspiring script writers. Comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Writing for the Cut" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections in general, and Screen/Script Writing supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Writing for the Cut" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $25.60).
Editorial Note: Greg Loftin wrote and directed his first feature film in 2007 -- the award-winning urban western Saxon. He is also course leader of the very first undergraduate program in film editing and postproduction in the UK. His world-class program of master classes has attracted visiting mas-ter editors such as Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather), Paul Machliss (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Baby Driver), Tom Rolf (Taxi Driver, Heat), Mick Audsley (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Murder on the Orient Express), and Lisa Gunning (Nowhere Boy, Seven Psychopaths). "Writing for the Cut" is the result of a practice-based PhD that the University of Exeter awarded Loftin in 2016.
The Hollywood Standard, second edition
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781932907636, $29.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A professional screen writer with his wife and writing partner, Kathleen Riley, Christopher Riley ran the script processing department at Warner Bros. Studio. Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition, "The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style " by Christopher Riley describes in clear, vivid prose and hundreds of examples how to format every element of a screenplay or television script.
A reference for everyone who writes (or aspires to writing) for the screen, from the novice to the veteran, "The Hollywood Standard" is the dictionary of script format, with instructions for formatting everything from the simplest master scene heading to the most complex and challenging musical underwater dream sequence.
This new second edition includes a quick start guide, plus new chapters on avoiding a dozen deadly formatting mistakes, clarifying the difference between a spec script and production script, and mastering the vital art of proofreading. For the first time, readers will find instructions for formatting instant messages, text messages, email exchanges and caller ID.
Critique: Simply stated, "The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style" fully lives up to its subtitle and is comprehensive, 'user friendly', and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Script Writing instructional reference collections and supplemental studies lists.
Authors and Apparatus
Cornell University Press
512 East State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
9781501709920, $41.95, HC, 282pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Copyright is under siege. From file sharing to vast library scanning projects, new technologies, actors, and attitudes toward intellectual property threaten the value of creative work. However, while digital media and the Internet have made making and sharing perfect copies of original works almost effortless, debates about protecting authors' rights are nothing new.
"Authors and Apparatus: A Media History of Copyright" is sweeping account of the evolution of copyright law since the mid-nineteenth century in which Monika Dommann (Professor of Modern History, University of Zurich) deftly explores how radical media changes ranging from sheet music and phonographs to photocopiers and networked information systems -- have challenged and transformed legal and cultural concept of authors' rights.
Dommann provides a critical transatlantic perspective on developments in copyright law and mechanical reproduction of words and music, charting how artists, media companies, and lawmakers in the United States and western Europe approached the complex tangle of technological innovation, intellectual property, and consumer interests.
From the seemingly innocuous music box, invented around 1800, to BASF's magnetic tapes and Xerox machines, Dommann demonstrates how copyright has been continuously destabilized by emerging technologies, requiring new legal norms to regulate commercial and private copying practices.
Without minimizing digital media's radical disruption to notions of intellectual property, Dommann uncovers the deep historical roots of the conflict between copyright and media -- a story that can inform present-day debates over the legal protection of authorship.
Critique: An intrinsically fascinating and meticulously presented history of copyright in relationship to the ever advancing progress of the technologies affecting the intellectual property rights of authors (and their publishers!), "Authors and Apparatus: A Media History of Copyright" is ably translated from the original German into English for an American readership by Sarah Pybus.
Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a list of illustrations, a list of abbreviations, and informative Introduction (A Media History of Legal Norms), a summarizing Conclusion (Legal Histories of Media Transformation), a four page Bibliography Essay (Further Reading), thirty- four pages of Notes, a thirty page Bibliography, and a six page Index, "Authors and Apparatus: A Media History of Copyright" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections in general, and Copyright supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of authors, publishers, students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Authors and Apparatus: A Media History of Copyright" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99).
Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, second edition
Wendy Laura Belcher
University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
9780226499918, $60.00, PB, 442pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition, "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success", by Professor Wendy Belcher takes the seemingly overwhelming task of writing an article for a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal and breaks it down into small, manageable steps.
With this new edition, Professor Belcher expands her advice to reach beginning scholars in even more disciplines. She builds on feedback from professors and graduate students who have successfully used the workbook to complete their articles. A new chapter addresses scholars who are writing from scratch. This new edition of "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks" also includes more targeted exercises and checklists, as well as the latest research on productivity and scholarly writing.
"Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks" is the only reference to combine expert guidance with a step-by-step workbook. Each week, readers learn a feature of strong articles and work on revising theirs accordingly. Every day is mapped out, taking the guesswork and worry out of writing. There are tasks, templates, and reminders. At the end of twelve weeks, graduate students, recent PhDs, postdoctoral fellows, adjunct instructors, junior faculty, and international faculty will feel confident they know that the rules of academic publishing and have the tools they need to succeed.
Critique: Academia is known as a 'publish or perish' environment for anyone seeking to advance their career, establish tenure, or otherwise share their discoveries and insights with their fellow academicians, researchers, and scientists. It is no overstatement to say that it being thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional manual and guide that is also available in a digital book format (eTextbook, $48.00), "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success" is the key to successfully be published in a peer-reviewed publication.
Editorial Note: Wendy Laura Belcher is Professor of African literature at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department for African American Studies. She wrote (and updated in this second edition) "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks " based on her experiences as an author, a managing editor of a peer-reviewed journal, and the designer of academic writing workshops that have helped hundreds of students, scholars and academicians from around the world to publish their work.
How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781722489274, $15.99, PB, 71pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Specifically designed for young writers in grades 4-6, "How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!" by Heather Konet is a straightforward instructional guide on how to write, illustrate and format files for publication.
Heather Konet is the author of the STEM themed children's book series Li'l Booger Buddies Inventors and a Mechanical Engineer by trade. In "How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!" she shares lessons learned over years of learning the book self-publishing process and has compiled those lessons into a clear, concise guide for those interested in self-publishing their own stories.
Young readers and writers will learn the steps of publishing printed and eBook versions through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Other self-publishing guides are wordy and confusing. But this particular guide provides concise instructions with clear computer screen shots to guide aspiring authors through exactly what they need to do.
Now boys and girls ages 9-11 can fulfill the dream of writing their own book and seeing it for sale on Amazon reaching potential readers around the world! It's time to finally turn that children's picture book, teaching guide, graphic novel, comic book, art book, cook book, instructional manual, etc into something real that can be appreciated by others and that will generate revenue for a self-published author.
Critique: Although specifically intended for young readers who might aspire to become self- published authors and use Amazon.com as a marketing tool, and now in a fully updated second edition, "How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!" will prove to be of value to any and all aspiring self-published writers with respect to using Amazon.com. Of special note are the computer on-screen charts with clearly marked 'click' instructions. "How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!" is unreservedly recommended for personal, elementary school, and community library 'how to' instructional self-publishing and book marketing reference collections. It should be noted that "How to Write, Illustrate, Publish & Sell Your Own Book On Amazon!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Set the Page on Fire
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608686117, $15.95, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Successful writers write, rather than just think about writing, talk about writing, or plan what they'll write when they get the proverbial cabin in the woods. Yet even accomplished writers sometimes get "blocked," losing access to their in-the-zone writing mind.
In "Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers", Steve O'Keefe offers proven techniques and practices for jump-starting stalled ideas, honed during his many years of working in virtually every aspect of publishing. His innovative, often unconventional exercises will get aspiring but creatively blocked writers writing again and accessing their own unique voices.
Packed from cover to cover with a career's worth of writing and publishing savvy, as well as the advice of expert authors gleaned from hundreds of interviews, "Set the Page on Fire" is the kind of nuts-and-bolts coaching and encouragement invaluable to novice and veteran writers alike.
Critique: Every aspiring writer who has ended up staring at a blank page or screen and waiting vainly for inspiration to strike needs to obtain and give a very careful reading to Steve O'Keefe's 'real world practical' and effective 'things to do' "Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers". While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal and professional reading lists that "Set the Page on Fire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.42).
Editorial Note: Steve O'Keefe is content director at Orobora, a firm that hires writers to produce expert content for publishers such as Random House, Pengiun, HarperCollins and John Wiley & Sons. Steve wrote the bestselling book "Publicity on the Internet" in 1996 and taught Internet Public Relations at Tulane University from 2000-2011. From 2004-2008, Steve ran the startup AuthorViews, criss-crossing North America interviewing authors about their books.
Crazy Screenwriting Secrets
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933013, $29.95, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Through a "Crazy" approach in writing the feature screenplay, the first half of "Crazy Screenwriting Secrets: How to Capture A Global Audience" by Weiko Lin guides the aspiring script writer in how to create and develop: Story Idea, Characters, One Page Step Outline, and the solid script.
In the second half, "Crazy Screenwriting Secrets" covers professional business side of the ever-changing industry by taking the aspiring screen writer through the work flow of Hollywood and explores how to work creatively with international countries like China in producing movies that resonate with a global audience.
Critique: Informative and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Crazy Screenwriting Secrets: How to Capture A Global Audience" is a critically important and 'real world practical' instruction manual and guide that will prove to be of enormous benefit for the novice screen writer -- and have a great deal of value for every the more experienced professional. Simply stated, "Crazy Screenwriting Secrets" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections.
Editorial Note: An Associate Professor at Emerson College, Weiko Line has written projects fo the Mark Gordon Company, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Don Mischer Productions, Wanda Pictures, Ivanhoe Pictures, Super Delux, and many other film making companies. His screen credits include 100 Days.
Finally, "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 this past month:
Bruce Ario -- "Everyone is a Star"
Dorothy Martin -- "The Story of Billy McCarrell"
Nancy Glenn Powell -- "Where Grass Grows High"
Madeleine Dunphy -- Web of Life Children's Books
Daniel Zube -- "Human-Powered Poetry from the Appalachian Trail"
Blue Whale Press
Create Write Now
Green Acres Press
Karen Thomas -- Thomas Public Relations
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company
Beth Blenz-Clucas -- Sugar Mountain PR
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
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] aol.com
(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 www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. 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!
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James A. Cox
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