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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 4, Number 10 October 2005 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fiction Shelf Gaming Shelf
Children's Shelf Biography Shelf American History Shelf
Business Shelf Computer Shelf Jobs/Careers Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Self-Help Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics
James Stevens Valliant
Durban House Publishing
7502 Greenville Avenue, Suite 500, Dallas, TX 75231
Holly White & Associates (Publicity)
29734 Nella Lane, Vista, CA 92084
1930754671 $27.95

Controversial philosopher and successful novelist Ayn Rand was the subject of posthumous biographies by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden. These biographies gave misleading portrayals of Rand's life and character. Now in James Valliant's The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against The Brandens, a long awaited corrective is applied as readers are provided for the first time with Rand's own never-before-seen journal entries on the Brandens, as well as the first in-depth analysis of the Brandens' own works which reveal their profoundly inaccurate and simply unjust depiction of their former mentor. A welcome and highly recommended read (especially for those with an interest in the life, work, and thought of Ayn Rand), The Passion Of Ayn Rand's Critics debunks the myths promulgated by the Brandens and makes an informed and informative contribution to a truer understanding of the value and controversies of Ayn Rand's contributions philosophical legacy.

The Power Of A Wish
Ali Lauren Spizman
Active Parenting Publishing
c/o The Spizman Agency Media & Public Relations
5280 Cross Roads Manor, Atlanta, GA 30327
1597230812 $14.95

The Power Of A Wish: A Celebration Of Love, Hope & Gratitude by Ali Spizman (an 18-year- old volunteer ambassador for the Mask-A-Wish Foundation of America) is a compendium of personal stories about the "wish kids" and their unforgettable experiences as their wishes were granted, providing them and their families with happy life-affirming events. Several of these wish kids profiled in The Power Of A Wish were able to go on to lead healthier, productive lives beyond their childhood. Included are heart-warming letters of gratitude and thanks written by the children and their families, along with personal reflections from volunteers, staff members, and celebrities ranging from Jazz legend David Brubeck, to skateboard legend Tony Hawk. The stories themselves range from 16-year-old Alex who saw his own car designs turned into full- color, 3-D images and a clay model by General Motors vehicle designers; to 14-year-old aspiring artist Shelby who toured Paris as part of her wish, and went on to create the painting used as the cover art for The Power Of A Wish. These and dozens of other uplifting stories make for the kind of reading that inspires us all to do what we can to make wishes come true for children everywhere.

Best AltWeekly Writing And Design 2005
Ruth Hammond & La Shonya McNeil, editors
AAN Press
1250 "I" Street NW, Suite 804, Washington, DC 20005-5982
0977047105 $19.95 1-800-494-3537

Publishing articles that defy conventional expectations by definitively addressing uncomfortable points of view on the social, political, and economic issues of the day is a hallmark of the 126 "alternative newsweeklies" (non-daily free-circulation papers with distinct, local identities distinguishing them from their corporate mainstream press contemporaries) serving their readerships in the United States and Canada. Forty of the best of those published stories are collected and showcased by the collaborative editorial work of Ruth Hammond and La Shonya McNeil in Best AltWeekly Writing And Design 2005. One of these journalism pieces went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Report: Nigel Jaquiss' series in the Willamette Week exposing a decades-old secret about Oregon's former governor Neil Goldschmidt who had sexually abused a teenage babysitter when he was mayor of Portland. The forty stories comprising Best AltWeekly Writing And Design 2005 were winners in nineteen diverse categories but every one of them was a compelling read that ranges from pointed political commentary, as well as art and music criticism, the role of photography, and issues of illustration and layout. Best AltWeekly Writing And Design 2005 is a recommended addition to Journalism School supplemental reading lists and academic library reference collections.

The Fiction Shelf

The Woman Of Shadow Creek
Gabriel Sinclair
SterlingHouse Publishers
7436 Washington Avenue, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15218
1563152495 $11.95

An artist, John Denton becomes obsessed with the image of a beautiful red-haired woman, a dream woman whose portrait he finds himself painting over and over again. She haunts his dreams, sometimes inviting, sometimes threatening. When John takes a job in the Canadian wilderness, he discovers his dream woman in the flesh -- but all is not well. She's under the brutal spell of the ghost of a dad ancestor. And John is the target victim of that long dead malevolence. Recommended reading, Gabriel Sinclair's The Woman Of Shadow Creek is a deftly written novel that gripes the imagination and attention of the reader from first page to last.

The Elephant Who Crossed The Alps
Marv Gold
Privately Published
3901 Ashford Street, San Diego, CA 92111
193031308X $TBA

The Elephant Who Crossed The Alps by Marv Gold is a chapbook novelette that tells the story of Hannibal, the greatest and most successful of the Carthaginian generals to oppose the Mediterranean hegemony of Rome in the spring of 1217 B.C. Leading some 90,000 troops and a small band of war elephants, Hannibal successfully invaded Italy by crossing into the Roman empire by way of the Pyrenees, Alps, and Apennines mountain ranges. Hannibal met and overcame several Roman armies leaving a wide swatch of destruction that included 250,000 dead Roman legionaries, thousands of destroyed horses and pack animals, dozens of razed Roman cities, and brought the Roman Empire to the teetering edge of destruction. Novelist Marv Gold pays close attention to historic details as he tells the story of Hannibal through the eyes of his mistress Pilar (a royal camp follower and trained assassin). This 43-page enthusiastically recommended novelette is replete with memorably colorful characters, plot twists, and dramatic battles.

The Gaming Shelf

Weighing The Odds In Hold'em Poker
King Yao
Pi Yee Press
4855 West Nevso Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89103-3787
0935926259 $24.95

Playing poker since the age of 10, King Yao quite his job as a derivatives trader to play poker and other gambling games professionally. He uses the skills he acquired in trading equity options, equity index options, currency options, commodity options, and mortgage derivatives to playing Limit Hold'em. He has distilled his experience and expertise in Weighing The Odds In Hold'em Poker showing players how to identify and attack different player personalities; the basics of "Expected Value" in poker; explains the outs, non-outs, unknown cards, and how to count outs in poker; how to figure out pot odds quickly and accurately at the table; and how different positions have different values. Readers will also learn when and against whom to raise for free cards; when to bluff and how to induce our opponents to bluff; the importance and value of semi-bluffing at the right time; and just when to use these deceptive strategies. There are chapters dedicated to starting hands, the Flop, the Turn, and the River. Serious students of the game will appreciate what King Yao has to share about how shorthanded Hold'[em differs from a full game; how to avoid mistakes and adjust correctly; and how poker on the Internet differs from face-to-face "brick-and-mortar" poker. An ideal and highly recommended course of instruction for the novice, Weighing The Odds In Hold'em Poker has much of value for even the more experienced Hold'em player.

The Children's Shelf

Making New Friends
Jacqueline H. Blumenstock & David C. Pools, authors
Colleen M. Madden, illustrator
The Big Brown Box, Inc.
KSB Promotions (publicity)
443 Hill Road, Douglassville, PA 19518-9530
0976464713 $14.95

We live in a highly mobile society. It's perhaps hardest on the children who are moved from school to school and are repeatedly faced with the necessity of losing old friends and making new ones every time the family relocates. Making New Friends is the story of a young boy named TJ who has just moved into a new residence with his family and is hesitant about going out to meet the kids in his new neighborhood. Then while playing with one of the boxes that his family's possessions had been moved in, TJ is surprised with it comes to life and starts to talk to him. Browny helps TJ to develop the self-confidence to make new friends, and TJ comes to realize that is okay to miss his old friends -- and to remember the good times they shared. Recommended for both school and community library picturebook collections, Making New Friends is brilliantly co-authored by Jacqueline Blumenstock and David Pools at a third grade reading level, while Colleen Madden's gentle illustrations are thoroughly age appropriate for young readers ages 4 to 10.

A Very Special Athlete
Dale Bachman Flynn & Emilio Soltero
Pearl Press
3104 "O" Street, #175, Sacramento, CA 95816
0974133213 $14.95 1-916-739-1835

Written by Dale Flynn and illustrated by Emilio Soltero, A Very Special Athlete is the story of Adam, a young athlete running in his first big race at the Special Olympics. The challenges that Adam faces and the decisions he makes demonstrate his courage. This colorful picturebook story was inspired by the Special Olympics competitions that now take place in over 150 countries and involve millions of people each year. The author Dale Flynn was also writing from the perspective of being the parent of a son who was a Special Olympian. A Very Special Athlete is an honest portrayal of what it is like to participate in the Special Olympics and recommended for inclusion in both school and community library collections for young readers.

Rock USA And The American Way
Edna Cucksey Stephens & Mark J. Herrick
EDC Publishing Inc.
2648 Lapeer Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
0971269270 $22.95 1-888-510-3326

The collaborative work of teacher Edna Stephens and artist Mark Herrick, Rock USA And The American Way highlights for young readers key events, places, people, and concepts that have made America the free and democratic nation it is today. Laid out in an alphabetical order, the text is densely crammed with "kid friendly" infobits about American history with a profusion of visual images to showcase the points of the text. Ideal for homeschooling curriculums, Rock USA And The American Way will prove as popular an addition to school and community library American History collections as it is lively and entertaining for young readers ages 8 to 12.

Shanleya's Quest
Thomas J. Elpel & Gloria Brown
12 Quartz Street, Pony, MT 59747-0697
1892784165 $12.50

Shanleya is a young girl who lives in a world where Time is a liquid that falls as rain. When Shanleya paddles her canoe out to the "Tree Islands" to learn the plant traditions of her people, she learns that each island is home to a separate family of plants, and encounters an unforgettable Guardian with lessons to teach her about the identification and uses of those plants. A mythic, fairytale-like picturebook story for young readers, Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure For Kids Ages 9 To 99 is as entertaining as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, introducing young readers to the complex and diverse world of plant life -- and how to correctly identify various species of plants. There are even bits of sage advice along the way such as "In our national parks it is illegal to pick flowers. Please leave them for others to enjoy!". Deftly written by Thomas Elpel (whose informative text is enhanced with the artwork of Gloria Brown), Shanleya's Quest is confidently recommended for school and community library collections.

Libby And The Cat
Yetti Frenkel
Snow Tree Books
294 Lynn Street, Peabody, MA 01960-6533
0974900621 $16.95

Animals and children are not always a peaceful combination. Sometimes kids can't resist pulling whiskers, stepping on tails, or petting two hard. That's why muralist Yetti Frenkel wrote and illustrated Libby And The Cat for young readers ages 2 to 6. This is a thoroughly entertaining, 32-page, full color, "kid friendly" picturebook featuring a rhyming, humorous story of a mischievous three-year-old girl who teases the family cat until she learns to see him as a kindred spirit. Libby And The Cat is a very highly recommended children's book that parents can readily utilize to help youngsters empathize with family pets and learn to treat them with consideration. No school or community library picturebook collection for preschoolers should be without a copy of Yetti Frenkel's Libby And The Cat.

Time To Fly
Barbara Lanza
Moo Press, Inc.
6 High Street, 2nd floor, PO Box 54, Warwick, NY 10990-0054
0972485376 $19.95 1-845-987-7750

Barbara Lanza has created the elegant, elaborate, enchanted world of Fairy Lane, the home of Petals, a fairy child who has the honor of sprinkling fairy dust on the baby fairies on a particular evening. It's an important responsibility because while baby fairies are born with wings, they cannot fly without the magic fairy dust. Petals (who tends to be a bit messy) is in a bit of a panic -- she can't find the all-important pouch of fairy dust! Young readers will be focused on the pages of this superbly, wonderfully illustrated picturebook story as they follow Petals in her efforts to search all around Fairy Lane for the missing pouch. Time To Fly is an impressive, original, and enthusiastically recommended picturebook addition for family, elementary school, and community library collections -- and leave young readers eagerly looking forward to future adventures of Petals and her friends on Fairy Lane!

The Blacksmith's Gift
Dan T. Davis & Matthew S. Armstrong
Second Star Creations
12120 State Line Road, #190, Leawood, KS 66209
0972597743 $14.95

The Blacksmith's Gift identifies Santa Clause as a Norwegian carpenter around 1900 who befriends all of the village children but builds toys only for his own imagined child. It's when he is asked to build a dollhouse for the blacksmith's daughter, that Santa finally discovers his true purpose in life. Dan T. Davis has written a modern masterpiece that is particularly recommended reading for children who have become disillusioned with the legends and fantasies of Santa Claus. The museum quality, full color artwork of Matthew S. Armstrong is a perfect enhancement for a story that can be read with deep pleasure by adults who believe that Christmas is still a time and a season of miracles bringing out the best in men and women. Highly recommended reading for older children, teens, and adults of all ages.

The Teacher Who Would Not Retire Goes To Camp
Sheila Sustrin & Letty Sustrin
Blue Marlin Publications
823 Aberdeen Road, West Bay Shore, NY 11706
0967460271 $17.00

Elementary school teacher Mrs. Belle is off to summer camp to be the Head Counselor. The eccentric Mrs. Belle insists on wearing ballet slippers for all the camp events and activities (including hiking, bowling, and scuba diving!) which is plunging the camp kids, staff and the owner Mr. Rivera into upheaval and disorder. Can the children devise a compromise between Mrs. Belle and Mr. Rivera (who wants her to be in normal, sensible shoes) that will take into account Mrs. Belle's sore feet? Imaginatively written for readers ages 4 to 104 by Sheila and Letty Sustrin, and energetically illustrated with the artwork of Thomas H. Bone III, The Teacher Who Would Not Retire Goes To Camp is a unique, original, and superbly presented picturebook whose story and imagery will capture the delighted attention of readers from first page to last.

Penelope And Priscilla And The Enchanted House Of Whispers
Jennifer Troulis
Twin Monkeys Press
0976860201 $13.95

Penelope and Priscilla Post are identical twins. When the girls and their mother move to the small town of Dunville, they are met with inexplicable angry stares and rebuffs from the townspeople. Over the next few weeks mysterious events take place in their new home. Priscilla thinks that the house may be haunted. Penelope wants nothing to do with anything ghostly. To keep peace between them, their mother and grandmother devise a plan to help reconcile the twins, but there are unintended consequences! It will take the help of a 200-year old magical book, and the house itself talking to them, before the sisters defeat a sinister neighbor -- and protect a family secret. Written with originality and a distinctive flair for storytelling by Jennifer Troulis, Penelope And Priscilla And The Enchanted House Of Whispers is a fun story that will delight young readers grades 4 through 6.

Quigley McCormick And The Curse Of The Polka Dotted Pig
David Hollaway
Quackenworth Publishing
PO Box 4747, Culver City, CA 90231-4747
1933211547 $15.95

Quigley McCormick is an ordinary boy in Buckletuckle, the most "kid friendly" town in the country. When Quigley's grandparents give him a long list of chores to do, Quigley sneaks out of his house to avoid them. But he soon runs into trouble of a most peculiar kind. Can he extricate himself with the help (or hinderance) of his crafty sister Moxy, or loyal buddy Oskee Nelson -- and then there's the ill-mannered Flip Stuperton. Written and illustrated by first time author David Hollaway, Qucigley McCormick And The Curse Of The Polka Dotted Pig is enthusiastically recommended and guaranteed fun reading for kids ages 9 and older.

The Biography Shelf

Don't Call Me Mother
Linda Joy Myers
Two Bridges Press
3563 Solano Avenue, PMB 325, Berkeley, CA 94707
0972394753 $17.95

Don't Call Me Mother: Breaking The Chain Of Mother-Daughter Abandonment by author and therapist Linda Joy Myer is the compelling, compassionate, at times heart-wrenching story of her being abandoned by her mother. Linda painstakingly uncovers the multifaceted secret of the story of that abandonment and in doing so, takes her readers along on an intensely personal life journey the originates in a home shattered by more than a half-century of dysfunctional family history. Indeed, she found that abandonment was part of a generations-long tradition. But Don't Call Me Mother is also the story of Linda's personal struggle for a peaceful and loving family, breaking the patterns of neglect, achieving an ability for forgiveness. A candid, unflinching, personal memoir of discovery and recovery, Don't Call Me Mother is compelling, and at times inspiring, reading which is especially appropriate for Women's Studies and Family Studies library collections, as well as strongly recommended reading for anyone who were themselves rejected as children by their own mothers.

The American History Shelf

Winning The Vote
Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr.
American Graphic Press
PO Box 8403, Santa Cruz, CA 95061
0977009505 $85.00 1-707-636-2888

Winning The Vote: The Triumph Of The American Woman Suffrage Movement by Robert Cooney in association with the National Women's History Project is a comprehensive, 496-page history of the struggle for American women to have the right to vote in local, state, and national political elections. Superbly and profusely illustrated with more than 960 color and b/w illustrations that include historic photographs, posters, leaflets, and campaign buttons, the informed and informative text is further enhanced for the non-specialist general reader with an extensive bibliography for further study or research. It's been 85 years since women won the right to vote in 1920, and a whole new generation of women voters has arrived who would benefit from knowing the long, hard, frustrating, long-odds struggle to provide them with an equal opportunity to participate in every facet of American political life from determining candidacies, to running and holding office, but most fundamentally -- the write to cast a ballot to determine who will make, administer, and adjudicate the laws under which they and their families must live. No academic library's Women's Studies or Political Science collections can be considered either comprehensive or complete without the inclusion of Robert Cooney's Winning The Vote!

The Business Shelf

The 100 Best Things I've Sold on Ebay
Lynn Dralle
All Aboard, Inc.
PO Box 14103, Palm Desert, CA 92255
0967440467 $15.95

Author Lynn Dralle is a third-generation antiques dealer and an eBay Power Sellers who has sold up to 20K a month through online auctions - so more than competing guides, her tips on how and what best to sell on eBay are to be taken seriously. The author's first-person descriptions and stories behind each item accompany a facing page of the auction's written description and illustration for maximum impact. Starting and ending bid amounts, bid history, and more discuss strategy options and successes.

The Computer Shelf

295 E. Swedesford RD, PMB#285, Wayne, PA 19087

Two outstanding advanced programmer's guides are quality picks even years after their appearance. Boris Kulagin's ADVANCED 3DS MAX 5 MODELING & ANIMATING (1931769168, $39.95) covers the new features of 3ds max 5, from its ability to improve 3D graphics development to its modeling projects and ability to adjust animation results for time periods and atmosphere. Typical pitfalls and how to overcome them are covered in important chapters which offer keys to improving modeling and animating skills. Ictor Rudometov and Evgeny Rudometov's PC HARDWARE TUNING & ACCELERATION (1931769230, $39.95) provides a reference programmers will turn to again and again. The most common computer complaint revolves around systems which do not perform to optimal standards: from processors to memory, video adapters, and other hardware, PC HARDWARE TUNING & ACCELERATION surveys the systems and what might be done to fine-tune their interworkings for best performance levels. Testing results are presented, web sites covering acceleration are provided, and keys to components are included.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

You Can Bank on Your Voice
Rodney Saulsberry
Tomdor Publishing
PO Box 1735, Agoura Hills, CA 91376-1735
0974767808 $16.95

Can you succeed in the lucrative but very competitive voice-over world? Yes - if you have a guide such as YOU CAN BANK ON YOUR VOICE: YOUR GUDE TO A SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN VOICE-OVERS to reveal industry insider tips and common traps. YOU CAN BANK ON YOUR VOICE covers everything from auditioning and locating an agent to making a demo CD, developing unique and ear-catching marketing strategies, and recording voice-overs at home. Sample sessions and case histories pepper an account by one of the top voice-over talents in the country.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Be A Survivor: Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment
Vladimir Lange, MD
Lange Productions
519 Cleveland St. #205, Clearwater, FL 33755
0966361083 $24.95

The third updated edition of this classic is out - fully revised, and with a free DVD containing patient interviews. While Dr. Lange regrettably notes the need for a revised updated edition did not come from the elimination of breast cancer as a threat; he does offer a new approach to educating women about breast cancer. Dr. Lange's wife, also a physician, was diagnosed with breast cancer 17 years ago: even as doctors it took them weeks to understand all the information surrounding it. BE A SURVIVOR culls all the details into an easily-understood format to help educate readers, providing a DVD which contains voices of survivors and videos of the procedures. A 'must' for any breast cancer sufferer - especially the newly diagnosed.

This Mean Disease
Daniel Becker
Gurze Books
PO Box 2238, Carlsbad, CA 92018
0936077506 $14.95

This memoir of author Daniel Becker's mother, a survivor of anorexia nervosa, recounts the starvation disease's impact not just on his mother, but on his entire family. Throughout his childhood his mother was obsessed with food and the family secret of his mother's disease which influenced the entirely family. From Jewish and family rituals to his mother's feelings about her anorexia, THIS MEAN DISEASE offers a poignant chronicle by another family member other than the usual sufferer - and brings to life many family issues surrounding an anorexic family member.

Cartographies of Disease
Tom Koch
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92373-8100
1589481208 $44.95

What do early medical maps have to do with modern GIS maps? How can patterns of diseases from the past relate to those in modern times created by GIS? Dr. Koch is a geographer, bioethicist, and here explores relationships between medicine and mapmaking from paper-based to computer-based today. Chapters follow early epidemics, mapmaking processes and myths, public health and medical developments, and more as it examines those who made maps, cartography issues, and medical history. Plenty of charts and detail throughout.

The Self-Help Shelf

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse
Albert Ellis, PhD & Marcia Grad Powers
Wilshire Book Company
9731 Variel Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311-4315
0879804459 $12.00

Mistreatment by a partner usually is considered physical, so most books on abuse focus on physical abuse - but verbal abuse is just as damaging, and THE SECRET OF OVERCOMING VERBAL ABUSE: GETTING OFF THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER AND REGAINING CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE tells how to overcome it. The 'secret' strategies imparted here have been tested by time and aim to allow the reader to thwart self-doubt, guilt, depression and more. Author Albert Ellis is a renowned psychologist who works with psychological educator Marcia Grad Powers to create a program which works.

Volcano Press
PO Box 270, Volcano, CA 95989

Two excellent guides by Elaine Weiss, Ed.D. on overcoming family violence are highly recommended picks. FAMILY AND FRIENDS' GUIDE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (188424422X, $17.95) provides practical answers to identifying signs of domestic abuse and helping victims. Not only are signs of abuse pointed out, from unexplained injuries to psychological reactions, but chapters tell how to listen, talk and take action which will help a friend. From overcoming a victim's isolation and fears to bolstering ego and finding help, here's the place to turn first. Weiss' SURVIVING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: VOICES OF WOMEN WHO BROKE FREE (1884244270, $17.95) gathers the stories of women who suffered abuse and escaped from it. From the tendency to explain and rationalize violent behaviors to physical escapes from abusive homes and patterns of relationships, SURVIVING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE presents case histories which all end with positive lessons.

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

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