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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 7, Number 4 April 2008 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf Dance Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Poetry Shelf Travel Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Fiction Shelf Military Shelf Gardening Shelf
Hunting/Fishing Shelf Biography Shelf Parenting Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Pearls Of Wisdom For The Art Of Living Today
H. Ramachandran
Ram Publications
105 North Hall Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77478
9788190587907, $7.99

The use of poetry as a means to illustrate, codify, illuminate, and transmit wisdom from one generation to the next goes back thousands of years in recorded human history -- with reference to oral traditions that extend even further back in human history than that. Thirulvalluvar was a poet who lived in Southern India some two thousand years ago. His verse has been the subject of hundreds of learned treatise and scholarly analysis down through the centuries. Now an English language edition of "Pearls Of Wisdom For The Art Of Living Today From Insights Into Thirukkural" by the late academician and an expert in Tamil literature H. Ramachandran provides a thoughtful and thought-provoking illustrative analysis of Thirulvalluvar's work that is more than just a simple translation of an ancient book of poems. Rather this post-humously published edition provides the contemporary reader with illuminating essays dealing the essential concepts embedded within the pre-Christian poetry. "Pearls Of Wisdom For The Art Of Living Today" is welcome and highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in Tamil literature and poetry in general, and the works of Thirulvalluvar in particular. Also very highly recommended is another of H. Ramachandran's books, "Towards A Brave new World: Impact of Science and Technology on Religion and Ethics" (9788190587914, $5.99, Ram Publications).

Through Their Eyes
Michael G. Elasmar
Marquette Books
5915 South Regal Street, Suite 118B, Spokane, WA 99223
9780992993543, $69.95

There is an ideological, religious, political, and military struggle going on throughout the Islamic communities and nations of the world. Often miscast in simple (and simple minded) us vs. them sloganeering by politicians and pundits, it is actually very complex and among its effects is the present American 'War on Terror' in response to the Al Qaeda attack of September 11, 2001. "Through Their Eyes: Factors Affecting Muslim Support For the U.S.-Led War On Terror" by Michael G. Elasmar (Director of the Communication Research Center at Boston University and Founding Editor of the 'American Journal of Media Psychology) provides scholars and non-specialist general readers with a seminal, scholarly, theory-driven, quantitative structural model developed, analysis of the Islamic communities of Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Senegal with respect to the underlying causes of Muslim support for the efforts of America and its allies to combat Islamic Jihad-style terrorism both within the Islamic communities and against the western nations. This 526-page, critical important study deserves the widest possible readership among scholars, policy makers, journalists, and those with an interest and a stake in the outcome of this global tragedy that has spread out from the Islamic countries to challenge, affect, and savage the entire world community.

Searching For Thoreau
Tom Slayton
Images From The Past
PO Box 137, Bennington, VT 05201
9781884592447, $18.95

19th Century writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau has had an impact on the public imagination that endure down to this very day. The former editor of 'Vermont Life Magazine' and a student of Thoreau's writings from three decades, Tom Slayton has written and compiled seminal essays arising from his travels to the places associated with Thoreau. These deftly written, articulate, engaging commentaries are published collectively as "Searching For Thoreau: On The Trails And Shore Of Wild New England". The individual essays include Walden Pond and 'Walden'; A Walk in the Concord Woods; A Day on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers; The Mountains of Hme; Katahdin Means Greatest Mountain; Northern Main: Big woods, Big Question; Walking Cape Cod; Mount Washington, Two Times; and Conclusion: What's Left. Enhanced with a 'Chronology of Thoreau's Travels'; 'When You God: Tips on Tracking Thoreau'; a Bibliography, and a Sources list, "Searching For Thoreau" will aptly serve as an instructive guide for readers who would like to make their own way to those outdoor New England wilds that so inspired Thoreau in his time. A 'must read' for the legions of Thoreau fans, "Search For Theoreau" is enthusiastically recommended for personal and community library collections, and as an addition to academic Thoreau Studies supplemental reading lists.

The Cookbook Shelf

Chicken Wing Wisdom
Christina M Abt
Western New York Wares Inc.
PO Box 733, Ellicott Station, Buffalo, NY 14205
1879201526, $12.95

Chicken Wing Wisdom: Western New York Stories of Family, Life and Food is much more than a cookbook - it collects a wealth of true-life stories of family mealtime camaraderie (or discord)! A handful of black-and-white photographs illustrate the timeless slice-of-life moments that make for wonderful leisure reading, especially while waiting for treats like Lisabeth's Healthy Birthday Cake or Sr. Mary Johnice's Cheese Souffle to cook! Profiles of individual recipe creators, often mothers whose creations grew out of love for their families and friends, enhance this superior collection of taste-tested dishes. "If I could, I would have only round tables... everywhere that people eat together. For when you bring people together at a round table, - the food, the conversation, the love - everything flows around the table with no end."

Handy Mom's Guide: Grilling
Catherine Mayhew
Cool Springs Press
101 Forrest Crossing, Suite 100, Franklin, TN 37064
97815918603762, $19.95,

Once the domain of the guys, outdoor grilling is now benefiting from a woman's touch thanks to award-winning barbeque cook and former syndicated food writer Catherine Mayhew's "Handy Mom's Guide: Grilling". This nicely illustrated instruction manual and recipe compendium begins with an informed and informative introduction to grilling, followed by sage advice for selecting a grill and getting started with outdoor grilling. There are invaluable chapters dedicated to recipes for seasonings and sauces, appetizers, meats and poultry, vegetables and side dishes, desserts and 'Master Recipes'. There are even recipes for pizzas and sandwiches!. Each recipe begins with a sentence or tow of descriptive introduction, followed by an ingredients list, and concludes with step-by-step preparation instructions. The result is a delectable dish that would please any palate and satisfy any appetite. These ideal recipes for outdoor grilling range from Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts; Marinated Flank Steak; and Garlic Butter-Basted Tilapia; to Loaded Sausage Pizza; Corn and Cheddar-Stuffed Chiles; and Alaskan King Crab Legs. The "Handy Mom's Guide: Grilling" truly lives up to its title and is a practical, 'cook friendly', highly recommended addition to any personal, family, and community library collection!

The Dance Shelf

Patsy Tarr, editor
2wice Editions
c/o Ellen Jacobs Associates
611 Broadway, Suite 403, New York, NY 10012
9780972388610, $25.00

2wice Editions is an iconoclastic publisher in the field of dance and choreography. Edited by 2wice Editions founder Patsy Tarr, and organized in its presentation by Abbott Miller, "Start" is a compilation of chiaroscuro photographs sequentially taken from a three and a half minute routine by dancer and choreographer Jonah Bokaer's solo performance 'False Start'. By flipping the pages, the reader is presented with an animation of the consecutive dance positions. The result is a kind of moving image of dance moves that is unique in a printed medium. Unusual, unique, memorable, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Start" is, from beginning to end, a truly remarkable achievement both in terms of a solo performance by a talented choreography/dancer but as a work of the printer's art. "Start" is especially recommended for avant garde enthusiasts in the fields of photography, publishing, and modern dance.

The Self-Help Shelf

Principles of Brain Management
Ilchi Lee
Best Life Media
6560 Highway 179, Suite 114, Sedona, AZ 86351
9780979938801, $13.95

Written by President of the Korean Institute of Brain Science Ilchi Lee, Principles of Brain Management: A Practical Approach to Making the Most of Your Brain lives up to its title with its simple, straightforward advice for mastering and making the most of one's brain. Chapters discuss how to deliberately create life-affirming good habits, improve one's sense of hope and fulfillment, raise one's personal energy levels and much more. Simple breathing and relaxation techniques are also touched upon. "There may indeed be some biological barriers to overcome as we get older. The brain's connections do become denser and slower as we fill the brain with the experiences and knowledge of a lifetime. However, most people lose a great deal of neuroplasticity simply because they choose not to use it. For that reason, I encourage you to use and challenge your brain as much as possible. You will find that, in the end, developing your brain is the same as leading a vital, fulfilling lifestyle." Recommended exercises for the reader round out this very highly recommended self-help guide for readers of all backgrounds.

Why Don't They Just Quit?
Joe Herzanek
Changing Lives Foundation
4000 Hawthorne Circle, Longmont, CO 80503
9781604020786, $24.95 1-303-775-6493

One of the most frustrating and demoralizing experiences men and women have is watching the horrifically destructive impact of addiction upon the health, life, and relationships of a loved one. Often the disastrous consequences of addiction are so severe that we are led to shake our heads and wonder why the addict cannot simply stop the addiction that has so enslaved and ruined them. In "Why Don't They Just Quit?: What Families And Friends Need To Know About Addiction And Recovery", drawing upon thirteen years as an addiction counselor working in the Colorado criminal justice system, Joe Herzanek (himself a recovering addict who founded and presides over the Changing Lives Foundation) provides answers to more than thirty common (and not so common) questions that non-addicts have with respect to a loved one's addiction. Herzanek explains with illustrative clarity why addicts don't really have to hit 'rock bottom' before they are willing to be helped; when helping an addict is counter-productive; why quitting an addiction is not the same thing as recovering from that addiction; how to deal with an addict who has relapsed; how to obtain a 50% (or more) reduction in the medical costs of addiction treatments; why a parent would leave their own child due to a parent's addiction; why an effective intervention need not be an ambush-style confrontation with the addict. Articulate, 'real-world' practical, thoroughly 'user friendly', and strongly recommended reading, "Why Don't They Just Quit?" is also available on DVD. Counseling centers and community libraries are particularly encouraged to buy a "Why Don't They Just Quit?" book/DVD set for $39.95 to provide their patients and patrons with the alternatives of a book or DVD format.

Navigating For Success
Moss A. Jackson
Corporate Initiatives
125 Coulter Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity (publicity)
2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274 Nashville, TN 37203
9780615180458, $14.95

Sometimes the only thing harder to handle than failure is success. Clinical and organization psychologist Moss A. Jackson draws upon his years of experience-based expertise in "Navigating For Success: Passion, Goals & Action" a confidently recommended self-help, self-improvement guide written to provide the non-specialist general reader with an unusually articulate and insightful instruction manual on getting their own personal lives and destinies under their own self-directed control. Readers will learn how to map the course of their lives, gain mastery over the influences and unexpected circumstances that can misdirect them, apply four critically important and real-world applicable keys fundamentally essential to becoming successful, and through a special (and simple) four-step model, translate personal passion into effective performance. Using metaphors and symbols associated with sailing, "Navigating For Success" offers a kind of workbook blueprint that is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring.

Paul Borthwick
Authentic Publishing
1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
B&B Media Group (publicity)
109 S. Main Street, Corsicana, TX 75110
9781934068014, $12.99

If the simple life equates with the good life, then it stands to reason that the more complicated, cluttered, disorganized, and complex the life the less likely life will be experienced as 'good' on a day to day basis. That's why Paul Borthwick (a Senior Consultant for Development Associates International -- a training group dedicated to the character and ministry development of leaders in third world countries) draws upon his years of experience and expertise to write "Simplify: 106 Ways To Uncomplicate Your Life", a compendium of tips, tricks, techniques, and strategies to get more out of life by decluttered the daily schedule, reducing wasted efforts on things that don't really matter, keeping fit, becoming aware of how our time is being spent, and fostering a life-style that is truly suited to our needs and deftly adapted to our aspirations. Practical, articulate, and very highly recommended reading for anyone seeking to improve the quality of their daily life, "Simplify" is as informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring.

Dreaming Big
Bobb Biehl & Paul Swets
Authentic Publishing
1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
9781934068366, $16.99

Co-written by executive consultant Bobb Biehl and pastor/counselor/business owner Paul Swets, Dreaming Big: Energizing Yourself and Your Team with a Crystal Clear Life Dream is a guide to tapping into one's core passions and dreams to reap increased productivity, powered by natural energy. Even those with a dream too grand to be contained within a single person's lifetime can draw upon the methodologies for building a team that shares one's dream and make it manifest. Chapters discuss the importance of choosing one's dream wisely, how to embody and demonstrate leadership, create competitive advantage, and much more. Dreaming Big is a consumable self-help book; end-of-chapter questions and quizzes encourage the reader to look into himself or herself and write down answers. Though primarily a self-help book, not a religious book, Dreaming Big also touches upon the larger questions of life from a Christian perspective at times. "Developing an income stream beyond your job requires learning delayed gratification. It requires stamina, focus, and mental toughness. You can't be bullied by the discouraging words of well-meaning souls who may think they have your best interest at heart. They likely do not know your interior core - the dreams and passions and courage that drive and pull you into the future." A wonderfully motivational, life-changing read.

The Poetry Shelf

Julie Doxsee
Octopus Books
1431 South 18th, #3, Lincoln, NE 68502
9780980193800, $12.00

The debut full-length poetry collection by author Julie Doxsee, Undersleep features a fluidly brief economy of words that nonetheless evoke ripples from the reader's unconsciousness. Touched with the emotional longing, Undersleep shines with the brilliant promise of a half-formed dream. "Peripheral": Paradise is not a thing to keep. / Shadows are little nighttimes / for pronouncing / night's hymn. // Night's hymn / cannot contain / doses of / Paradise. Sleep / is a movement through not. // Undersleep thickens want as it prods. / Make the proper substitutions above.

Sarah Hannah
Publicity Department
Tupelo Press
PO Box 539, Dorset, VT 05251
9781932195613, $16.95 1-800-283-3572

The second poetry collection by the sadly late Sarah Hannah (1967-2007), Inflorescence is a collection of poems using both free verse and various rhyme schemes, blending insight, compassion, and sharp-edged wit. At times a memoir in poetry form, Inflorescence tells of Hannah's travails in taking care of her dying, mentally ill mother, the artist Renee Rothbein. The keenly whetted, deftly crafted artistry of Hannah's words prove beyond doubt that the contemporary world lost a great poet all too soon. "Northampton, Massachusetts": I wander tree to tree, an idle guest. / The names are stamped on metal plates / And nailed to the trunks: Sugar Maple, / Elm, Cedar-of-the-Lebanon. / It is autumn, Friday afternoon; / The walks are empty. / The elm is pure gold serrate, / The cedar a series of thickets. / I stand by the burning maple. / In the stillness, a ghost: / My mother running toward me / Across the lawn of broken leaves. / She is brining me the reddest.

Purgatory Chasm
Susan Edwards Richmond
Adastra Press
16 Reservation Road, Easthampton, MA 01027
9780977666751, $20.00

Purgatory Chasm is a collection of 30 poems inspired by the Massachusetts State Reservation, where published poet and creative writing teacher Susan Edwards Richmond often hikes. Blending knowledge of geology and history with the voices of hikers past and present, and the spirits of those who have lost their lives amid the rocks, Purgatory Chasm resonates with timeless wisdom. An immersive experience that hikers and poetry lovers should not miss. "Judgment": Even God deems lust the least of sins, / although He makes its supplicants dance / through pillars of fire. // "As they did in life," He shrugs. / "It's just illusion." He is / fond of them, though. // They touch His heart, so / occasionally, // He lets one burn.

The Travel Shelf

Alpine Sierra Trailblazer
Jerry Sprout & Janine Sprout
Trailblazer Travel Books
89 Lower Manzanita, Markleeville, California 96120
9780978637101, $17.95

Authors Jerry Sprout and Janine Sprout have explored the Sierra Nevada for more than twenty years; Alpine Sierra Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Ski, Bike, Fish, Drive from Tahoe to Yosemite is the culmination of their combined experience. Written for families and veteran hikers alike, Alpine Sierra Trailblazer covers 88 different trailheads suitable for assorted levels of experience, 51 cross country ski and snowshoeing spots, 72 places ideal for fishing in lakes and rivers or creeks, 6 driving tours, 148 black-and-white photographs, 7 maps, and much more. Organized primarily by site - each ideal location to visit is listed successively, along with notes about its highlights and extensive directions - Alpine Sierra Trailblazer is an excellent supplementary resource for anyone seeking to see Sierra Nevada's natural beauty and wonders for themselves.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Hand Mending Made Easy
Nan L. Ides
Palmer/Pletsch Publishing
1801 NW Upshur Street, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97209
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780935278743, $14.95 1-800-728-3784

Being able to mend a bit of clothing is economical, personally satisfying, and an indispensable skill that has almost been lost in the currents of our throw-away culture. The looming economic recession is beginning to introduce and instruct a whole new generation in the benefits of conserving garments through the use of a bit of needle and thread. Needlecraft expert Nan Ides' "Hand Mending Made Easy: Save Time And Money Repairing Your Own clothes" is specifically designed to teach novice sewers to use the economically beneficial option of making simple, common repairs ranging from sewing on buttons, to fixing seams, to ironing, to repairing broken zippers. Superbly organized, illustrated and presented, "Hand Mending Made Easy" is an ideal instruction manual and reference for students, bachelors, working women, and anyone else operating on a limited budget and needing to make their clothing look good while recovering from the inevitable wear and tear they are subjected to. Of special note is the chapter on when not to try mending a garment. "Hand Mending Made Easy" is a money-saving and enthusiastically recommended addition to any personal or community library Needlecraft reference shelf.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Collecting And Investing Strategies For U.S. Gold Coins
Jeff Ambio
Zyrus Press
PO Box 17810, Irvine, CA 92623
9781933990101, $34.95 1-888-622-7823

The price of gold just hit $1,000 an ounce. With the decreasing value of the dollar, the emergence of significant inflation, the unpredictability of the stock market, and the expanding recession within the general American economy, gold and precious metals has resumed its traditional role as a place that capital is being invested to protect it from the instability of the national and global economies. Part of the Zyrus Press 'Official Strategy Guide Series', Jeff Ambio's "Collecting And Investing Strategies For U.S. Gold Coins" is a premier instruction guide to understanding the specialty investments in, and collections of, rare American gold coins. From gold dollars, quarter eagles, gold pieces, gold stellas, half eagles, and double eagles, each variety and sub-variety of gold coin is identified, illustrated, described, backgrounded, and provided with investment tips. An indispensable manual, "Collecting And Investing Strategies For U.S. Gold Coins" is a core and essential addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library gold coin collection and investment reference shelves.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Comfort Of Home For Alzheimer's Disease
Maria M. Meyer, et al.
Care Trust Publications
PO Box 10283, Portland, OR 97296-0283
RES Marketing Alliance (publicity)
1927 Michigan Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34759
9780978790301, $24.95

It is the desire and preference of most elderly men and women to live out the last years of their lives in the comfort and familiarity of their homes or the homes of their children. It is almost always the preferred option, delaying the necessity of placement into an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Specifically designed as a guide to caregivers of Alzheimer patients, "The Comfort Of Home For Alzheimer's Disease" is the collaborative work of Maria M. Meyer, Mary S. Mittleman, Cynthia Epstein, and Paula Derr intended to help aging men and women to remain safely at home for as long as possible. The focus of "The Comfort Of Home For Alzheimer's Disease" is to help caregivers understand the difficult behaviors that arise from the affliction of Alzheimers, to make the home safe and comfortable, to reduce the chance of frustration-born conflict and make everyday activities easier for their charges, for dedicated caregivers to take care of themselves with practical self-care tips, to work with the health care providers in behalf of their charges, and to decide when and if nursing home placement is appropriate. Of special note is the necessity for understanding end-of-life health care needs and the necessary documents to guide caregivers when the time comes. Thoroughly 'user friendly', "The Comfort Of Home For Alzheimer's Disease" should be considered an essential study for anyone charged with providing care for a loved one suffering from Alzheimers. Also very highly recommended from Care Trust Publications is the companion title "The Comfort Of Home For Chronic Lung Disease: A Guide For Caregivers" (9780978790318, $24.95) by Maria M. Meyer, Paula Derr, and Mary E. Gilmartin.

The Fiction Shelf

Shuttle Rising
Charles Boyle
Trident Publishing
1837 Cove Point Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
9780965721455, $14.95,

The three critical components of a successful novel are talent, experience, and imagination. A veteran of 32 years with the NASA program, Charles Boyle has the experience to write a story about astronauts, cosmonauts, and the Cold War era rivalries involving the early days space exploration. In writing a story of astronaut Adam MacGregor's encounter in space with a mysterious derelict that may hold a dead Russian cosmonaut, and the political storm that ensues involving the 'Open Lands' concept being applied to space in a time of tense East-West international politics, nuclear weapons, and the technological difficulties of rendezvousing in space, Boyle also demonstrates his talent as a writer and his imagination as a storyteller. From beginning to end, "Shuttle Rising: Rendezvous With A Rumor" is an action thriller that is an enthusiastically recommended novel for personal reading lists and community library collections.

Hunter's Choice
J. C. Hager
Greenstone Publishing
7253 Graal Shores, Rapid River, MI 49878
9780979754654, $15.95

A good read is defined as a novel you simply can't put down from first page to last. "Hunter's Choice" by J. C. Hager is just such an action/adventure rollercoaster of a suspense thriller account of Matt Hunter, a man who survives killer storms, ruthless gangsters, and a DEA bureaucracy. Then there is Tanya Vega -- a lovely and seductive woman who slams into Matt's life along with a smuggler's plane full of drugs whose owner is a volatile, unpredictable, but always lethal Russian crime boss. This riveting novel is set in one of Michigan's Upper Peninsula ice-covered lakes where Matt's snow-bound cabin is to be found, continues on a 54-foot Hatteras yacht sailing the Gulf Stream, and continues along the Amber Coast hills of the Dominican Republic. Superbly crafted, "Hunter's Choice" documents Hager as a master storyteller whose attention to detail insures the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end.

One Clown Short
Linda C. Wright
Cold Tree Press
9781583852200, $12.95

Anyone who has ever labored with co-workers, served under supervisors, and been the recipient of inexplicable memos from upper management will appreciate Linda C. Wright's superbly written novel "One Clown Short". Mandy Maloney needed a job and wanted a change from her former occupation of flipping burgers at a fast food joint. Looking through newspaper want ads she lands just such employment as a sales trainee at a circus supply company. This is a dream job complete with great pay and benefits. Unfortunately it also come equipped with a sexist boss and a cast of characters as co-workers. Her on-the-job training plunges Mandy into a very strange world that is more than just a little sinister! Drawing upon her more than thirty years of experience working in corporate America, talented author Linda Wright has crafted a truly entertaining novel as her first venture into fiction. "One Clown Short" is an energetic, entertaining, thoroughly engaging read from beginning to end, and will prove to be a welcome addition to any personal reading list or community library contemporary fiction collection.

The First Sandcastle
M. E. Delgado
Barrio City Press
524 Hurlingame Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94063
9780980141009, $16.95

A well crafted novel is one that engages the readers rapt attention from the very first page, holds that attention completely riveted on the story until the last page, and then has the reader looking eagerly toward the author's next title. Such is the case with "The First Sandcastle", the debut novel of San Francisco author M. E. Delgado who deftly weaves he complex story of Marlo Clemente, a young man whose home life is in constant turmoil, and whose father's misogynist views of women seem to be born out by the heart-bruising experiences of Marlo's friend Danny. Nonetheless, Marlo's own artistic drives lead him to hope for something better and he meets Desiree Castillo who shares Marlo's 'sandcastle dreams' of becoming an artist. Desiree seems to be the perfect romantic match, the answer to Marlo's aspirations for romance -- until he meets her 'twin' cousin Divina. Why must life be so difficult, so confusing, so complicated, and so frustrating? Highly recommended reading from beginning to end, "The First Sandcastle" clearly documents Delgado's impressive gift for storytelling.

The Military Shelf

Letters Home: Paris Island And Beyond 1944-1946
Owen G. Halpin
Long Dash Publishing
368 Stratford Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218
9781598991437, $15.00,

As any historian will attest, among the best 'windows into yesteryear' are collections of correspondence by ordinary people who are living through extraordinary times. "Letters Home: Paris Island And Beyond 1944-1946" is just such an example. U.S. Marine Corporal Owen G. Halpin had a talent for writing that clearly comes through in this collection of his letters home. The anecdotal observations of a young man undergoing military training, his assignments after leaving Paris Island, and through to the end of his service and honorable discharge, the reader is treated to an honest, candid, informative, and intrinsically engaging memoir of life in the Marine Corp at the close of World War II. A personable, informal, entertaining memoir of his Marine Corp service and experience, "Letters Home: Paris Island And Beyond 1944-1946" is a welcome contribution to the growing library of military oriented memoirs and highly recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in what it was like for one young serviceman during the American yesteryears of the mid-nineteen forties.

The Gardening Shelf

The Wildlife Gardener's Guide
Janet Marinelli
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781889538372, $9.95

Even the most domestic of gardens are living ecosystems that, for best effect, also incorporate insects, birds and small mammals for a well-balanced and dynamic habitat. The latest addition to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides series, "The Wildlife Gardener's Guide" is specifically written by horticulturist Janet Marinelli (and former director of publications for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden) to provide aspiring and practicing gardeners with ten beautifully illustrated 'hands-on' wildlife garden projects complete with 'user friendly' step-by-step instructions. "The Wildlife Gardener's Guide" is a valued on-going reference guide for gardeners with its wealth of practical, real-world tips for turning yards and back lots into eco-havens for birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects. Also provided are lists of native plants, organized by region for easy reference, which are found to be especially supportive of (and attractive to) a diversity of wildlife. Enhanced with detailed plans for wildlife-friendly flower borders, container gardens, nest boxes, bat houses, and bee shelters, "The Wildlife Gardener's Guide" is an ideal reference and a welcome, useful, recommended addition to personal, professional, school, and community Wildlife and Gardening instructional guide collections and supplemental reading lists.

The Hunting/Fishing Shelf

Fly and Spin Fishing for River Smallmouths
Bruce Ingram
c/o Finney Company
8075 215th Street West, Lakeville, Minnesota 55044
9781893272095, $15.95

Written by expert outdoorsman Bruce Ingram, Fly and Spin Fishing for River Smallmouths is an easy-to-use smallmouth bass fishing guide. Chapters cover everything from how to improve wildlife and river habitats, canoe camping while on a fishing trip, specific aspects to keep in mind when fishing for smallmouth in the summer, fall, or winter, and much more. "Like many anglers, I have a Monday through Friday job... If I launch on Saturday or Sunday mornings, I am competing with scores of other anglers. Thus, I have taken to sleeping in on weekends and not arriving at a river until around noon. This is a particularly good time to put in on Sundays when everyone has left off fishing to prepare for the workweek ahead." Black-and-white photographs illustrate this handy, reader-friendly guide highly recommended for river fishing enthusiasts.

The Biography Shelf

A Few Good Horses
Pierce Burns
Gap Creek Press
12109 Shetland Chase, Austin, TX 78727
Stephanie Barko (publicity)
16100 Crystal Hills, Austin, TX 78737
9780615164892, $24.95

A Few Good Horses is the biography of author and Writers' League of Texas member Pierce Burns' ancestors, the Burns family in Texas, from the mid-nineteenth century through the Great Depression. Twelve-year-old Simon Pierce Burns fled his troubled Ohio home in 1847, at length settling in Brown County, Texas, where he and his sons gradually built up a large ranch over forty years. The onset of the Great Depression weighed heavily upon the family; some were overcome by its weight, while others earned a good and noble name for themselves during those hard years. A handful of vintage black-and-white photographs illustrate this compelling "creative nonfiction" narrative, told in first-person as the imagined words of the hardy people who lived through turbulent times.

Silent Prisoner
Amanda Young
Booksurge LLC
7290-B Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
9781419668951, $19.99

Author Amanda Young has changed the names but not the reality of her life in her memoir Silent Prisoner, a story of surviving childhood abuse and domestic violence. Not all the people in her life are hurtful; she also is fortunate enough to have a loving aunt, a spiritual mentor, a thoughtful grandmother, and a patient therapist. Yet the power that ultimately gives her the will to tap into her own strength is that of God and the Angels; through her Christian faith, she is able to overcome tremendous suffering. Written in the hope of encouraging those in similarly traumatic situations to seek help, Silent Prisoner carries the highest of recommendations.

From Nowhere I Came...
Harlan V. Wien
223 West Main Street, Perham, MN 56573
9780979970504, $65.00

The history we are taught in school is comprised of the lives and deeds of the famous and the infamous. But equally informative and attention riveting are the life stories of ordinary people who have lived through extraordinary times. Such is "From Nowhere I Come...Passing Through Life...To Somewhere I Am Going", the autobiography of Harlan V. Wien. Beginning with his birth in Perham (a small town in west-central Minnesota) in 1924, through his growing up in the American Midwest, to his combat experiences in World War II, to his life today as a Senior Citizen at the age of 83, Harlan has recorded his memoirs with candor and a genuine storyteller's talent for narration. In his time he traveled the world photographing what he saw. He is a man of many parts including having been a hunter, poet, inventor, car salesman, and author. Illustrated with historic photographs, maps, and personal documents, reading ""From Nowhere I Come...Passing Through Life...To Somewhere I Am Going" is like sitting at the feet of your grandfather and hearing the inherently fascinating stories of people and places in times gone by.

Son Of Scarface
Chris W. Knight
New Era Publishing
300 Park Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10022
Seven Locks Press (distributor)
3100 West Warner Avenue, Suite 8, Santa Ana, CA 92704
9780615156651, $18.95 1-800-354-5348

Most of us have a proverbial 'black sheep' member of our family. It wasn't until as a 13 year old boy whose father died in his arms that Chris Knight learned that his grandfather was the notorious Chicago mafia boss Al Capone. It was at his father's funeral, attended by a large number of men previously known to Chris that he learned of his father's true identity and began what was to become his life's journey to find out all that he could about his family connection to the notorious Al Capone. Stymied by his mother's abuse and insistence that he and his sister keep his newly discovered connection a family secret, Chris was not allowed friends -- or even to go outside the gates of the family's compound. It was only when he reached adulthood that he could investigate his family's past, from his father's fraudulent birth certificate, to his mother's reluctant confirmation, to genealogical research and private investigator reports confirming and detailing Chris Knight as the grandson of one of the most notorious gangsters of the 20th Century. Of special note is the inclusion of black-and-white photos. His struggle to find out about his family's past, "Son Of Scarface: A Memoir By The Grandson Of Al Capone" is a fascinating, candid, well-written, informative biography and a highly recommended addition to community library collections.

The Parenting Shelf

Baby Boomers And Their Parents
George P. Moschis and Anil Mathur
Paramount Marketing Publishing
950 Danby Road, Suite 136, Ithaca, NY 14850
9780978660246, $47.50

If you live long enough, you will by be both an adult with aging parents, and then an aging parent with adult children. The perspectives can vary widely between the generations in both directions. Co-authored by George P. Moschis (Professor of Marketing, Alfred Bernhardt Research Professor, and the founding director of the Center for Mature Consumer Studies, Georgia State University -- and member of the Gerontology program Faculty) and Anil Mathur (Vice Dean and Professor of Marketing and International Business at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University, new York), "Baby Boomers And Their Parents: Surprising Findings About Their Lifestyles, Mindsets, And Well-Being" is a fascinating compendium of often surprising information about the massively influential 'Baby Boom' generation and their parents. On the issue of health, Boomers have worse health than their parents and even though Boomers are more likely to be better informed about matters of nutrition -- they are less likely than their parents to eat wisely. Aging parents prefer products that minimize problems where their Boomer children prefer products that maximize benefits. Attitudes between the generations are distinctively different with respect to attitudes toward money, planning for retirement, responses to advertising, lifestyle preferences, and so much more. Superbly organized and presented, "Baby Boomers And Their Parents" is especially recommended reading for corporate managers, governmental policy makers, social issues advocates, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in how Boomers and their Elders view and respond to each other -- and the world in which both of them live.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Loreleigh Of The Red Mist
Leigh Brackett
Haffner Press
5005 Crooks Road, Suite 35, Royal Oak, MI 48073-1239
9781893887244, $40.00

The late Leigh Bracket (December 7, 1915 to March 17, 1978) was on of the first and most successful professional writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She was of the generation of writers (that included such luminaries as Robert A. heinlein, Jack Williamson, and Ray Bradbury) who were to elevate Science Fiction and Fantasy to the status of a respectable and commercially successful literary genre. Just weeks before her death, Leigh Brackett authored and turned in the first draft of the screenplay for 'The Empire Strikes Back'. Now thirteen of her original stories have been anthologized in "Loreleigh Of The Red Mist" from Haffner Press and will well serve to introduce a major literary talent to a whole new generation of appreciative readers. In addition to the title piece (which she co-wrote with Ray Bradury), the stories include The blue Behemoth; Thralls of the endless Night; The Jewel of Bas; The Veil of Astellar; Terror Out of Space; The Vanishing Venusians; The Moon That Vanished; The Beast-Jewell of Mars; Quest of the Starhope; The Lake of the Gone Forever; The Dancing Girl of Gannymede; and The Science-Fiction Field" (a non-fiction article written for the July 1994 issue of 'Writer's Digest' magazine). Enthusiastically recommended for academic and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, "Loreleigh Of The Red Mist" should be considered as a 'must read' by the legions of Leigh Brackett fans.

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

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