Portland F R E E www.portlandbookreview.com
VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 June - September 2012
A New Leash on Life Page 4
Recipes from Barefoot Season Page 8
Author Q&A with Derald Hamilton Page 12
12 By Michael Orr
15 79 Reviews INSIDE!
The History Press, $19.99, 127 pages In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Portland Timbers fan and a member of the Timbers Army 107ist supporters organization. When I root, I root for the Timbers. I am old enough to remember the old Portland Timbers, and I even met the Timbers’ greatest ambassador Clive Charles when he coached soccer at my school, Reynolds High School, back in the mid-1980s. As such, I am precisely the person that Michael Orr’s book is written for. Michael Orr, a Portland-area blogger/ football journalist/podcaster, is one of those souls at the center of the DIY football fan culture that gives soccer its distinctive charm. His book, The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City, USA, details the first year of the Timbers, their formation as an expansion franchise in the rough and tumble, fly-by-night North American Soccer League (NASL), through
to their appearance in Soccer Bowl ‘75, the NASL championship game. Orr has done a significant amount of scholarships culled from player interviews, box scores and news reports. He also had deep access to a vast array of per-
When I Root, I Root for the TIMBERS! sonal photographs and unique mementos from ex-players and coaches. He writes in a concise journalistic style. His book is strongest when he discusses the day-today life of the players as they and their adoptive city grew to love one another.
Soccer has always been something of a niche sport in the United States, seemingly ever-poised to grasp the zeitgeist of the average sports fan. Portland, however, has embraced soccer without reservation, and to some extent, it’s because of this 1975 squad. These original Timbers were English First Division players mainly borrowed from Wolverhampton, Aston Villa, and West Ham United. Many of them went back to England immediately following the season, but a core group remained permanently as players, coaches and ambassadors of the game, fostering the growth of football here in Portland. This appealing book will make an excellent gift for anybody fascinated by the history of our beautiful Rose City, and those who love soccer in Portland especially. BRAD WRIGHT
Art, Architecture & Photography Beaton In Vogue By Josephine Ross Thames & Hudson, $39.95 240 pages ««««« Cecil Beaton was a world renowned photographer, illustrator and writer who enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Vogue magazine for almost 50 years. Beaton in Vogue is an elegant reminder of that time, with Beaton’s columns accompanied both by his photographs and his illustrations, all on beautiful heavyweight paper. The book is divided into the chapters of Beaton’s career. Each chapter is prefaced with a series of his Vogue essays on the subject. For the reader who knows only of his photography, this is a welcome addition as his charm and erudition are as captivating as his photos. The layout is especially nice as it allows focus on the word before being immersed in the image. While much of his career was spent photographing the wealthy, celebrities and royalty, Beaton also served in World War II as official photographer for the Ministry of Information in England. In contrast to his stylish society portraits, the section titled “Beaton At War” captures a range of human emotion from the stoic cheer of the British forces to the despair of the victims of the war in Asia. In “Travel” we see the unadorned beauty of Turkey and India, and in “A Windsor Album” there is a winsome Princess Elizabeth smiling shyly on her 16th birthday. By its physicality, this is a book meant to adorn a coffee table, but it is so much more than a pretty face. Beaton in Vogue is a beautifully executed look at the life and work of a multi-talented artist. It is a book to be read and looked at again and again. CATHERINE GILMORE Nikon Speedlight Handbook: Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers By Stephanie Zettl Amherst Media, Inc., $34.95 160 pages «««« If a picture is worth a thousand words, then visual poetry is what can be achieved when you are familiar with your equipment. As photographer and author Stephanie Zettl explains, “When we are comfortable with our technical skills, we are free to focus on the creative side of photography and fully accomplish our artistic vision.” The Nikon Speedlight Handbook: Flash
June - September 2012
Techniques for Digital Photographers breaks down the nuts and bolts of the Nikon creative lighting system and teaches you how to make practical application of lighting techniques in various settings. Whether it is portrait photography, fastpaced wedding receptions, or magazinequality dramatic shots, this book will provide inspiration for lighting methods you didn’t know were possible. Zettl gives clear, concise explanations for each lighting accessory’s function, and how to set it up. If only your camera’s user’s manual was as appealing and wellcomposed as this! Ample illustrations let you see the techniques used and the final result it produces. Bottom line: This manual is a must for the dedicated Nikon photographer. ALICEA SWETT The Portrait Photographer’s Guide to Posing By Bill Hurter Amherst Media, Inc., $34.95 128 pages «««« The Portrait Photographer's Guide To Posing by Bill Hurter is a great guide for the amateur photographer. In this book, the elements of a photograph are broken down so that we can better understand why we pose people the way we do. The book takes an element-by-element approach to posing subjects in portraits to elicit the desired feeling, emotion and look. The book addresses multiple concerns such as elements of the face, lighting, angles, styling, solo and group portraits. A subject who feels uncomfortable will likely look uncomfortable in their photos. After all, these are normal people, not models who make their living posing professionally. This book will appeal to amateurs as well as more experienced photographers, who may need a little guidance on how to best pose a subject. The book is easily read and focuses on one element at a time. The book is also full of photograph examples of the concepts described, making it easy to see what the author is referring to in each section. Overall, this book is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in developing their skills taking portrait photography. RACHEL RICHARDS
Engagement Portraiture: Master Techniques for Digital Photographers By Tracy Dorr Amherst Media, Inc., $34.95 128 pages «««« Engagement photos have a lot of weight to carry; they will be used to announce to the world a couple has chosen to tie the knot. Thus, engagement photos have the task of showing off a little of a couple’s quirks and style. Engagement Portraiture: Master Techniques for Digital Photographers is a wonderful guide for those photographers new to shooting the ever stressful engagement photo. The graphically stimulating book walks photographers through the professional process step by step. Author and photographer Tracy Dorr covers everything from understanding the client’s perspective and photo style to pricing guides and increasing your value. This is not Dorr’s first photography guide; the experienced photographer has many accolades for her writing and photography, which is evident through the quality of the book. The photography acts as an inspiration for couples seeking images that represent their individual relationship and shows how photographers can artfully, and tastefully, represent the couple. The images in the book range from standard, posed portraits to funky, crafted candids where couples are stuck in washing machines. Engagement Portraiture is sure to be an asset for the photography world as well as worried brides-to-be everywhere. SOPHIE SESTERO Christopher Grey’s Vintage Lighting: The Digital Photographer’s Guide to Portrait Lighting Techniques from 1910 to 1970 By Christopher Grey Amherst Media, Inc., $34.95 128 pages «««« Check your local bookstore’s photography shelf. “Plethora” cannot describe the amount and variety of books available on the subject of image capture. Yet they are mostly redundant, rehashing, in slightly different form, the same ideas as the books propped up next to them. Enter photographer Christopher Grey. In his book, Christopher Grey’s Vintage
Lighting, Grey covers an exciting and fresh angle of photography, that of lighting techniques from the 1910s to the 1970s. Grey explains the signature lighting setups of each decade in detail. He provides tips on props, wardrobe, background, poses and post-processing to further authenticate the images. The photographs in the book are beautifully done and do a good job of illustrating Grey’s concepts. Within the broad spectrum of photographic lighting styles, the lighting created by the masters of Hollywood ... stand to remind us that there’s a lot to be learned from the past. As indicated in the title, the book is about lighting, so readers should be familiar with photographic lighting equipment and concepts. This is not a beginner’s manual. That said, the writing is conversational and easy to read, though occasionally mature in content and wordage. For portrait photographers, this book delivers highly specialized and novel instruction to provide that edge over competitors. It may also be of interest to historians, movie producers and theatre directors. ANDREA KLEIN Lingerie By Lillian Bassman Abrams, $29.95 128 pages «««« This gorgeous coffee table book filled with Lillian Bassman’s photos of women in lingerie is both breathtakingly beautiful and nostalgic. The photos themselves showcase Bassman’s signature style, and in many of the images the composition and the interplay of shadow and light or of the different shapes on the page are as much the subject matter as the young woman captured in the photograph. The lingerie itself will make readers look back with nostalgia, and in some cases horror, as these women are much more modest than many teenage girls one sees at the mall or the park today. The introductory essay by Eric Himmel is interesting and well written. He adds insight into how Bassman captured the relaxed quality of her subjects. In addition to giving the reader a sense of how much the fashion world was changing in the mid-20th century, this book offers a glimpse into the roots of our contemporary stick-thin supermodel culture. KATIE RICHARDS
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IN THIS ISSUE Art, Architecture & Photography....... 2
Living the Dream – It’s an Everyday Journey, Not a One-Time Decision
Biographies & Memoirs.................... 15
It’s Friday, and I’m outside on my deck enjoying the sun… finally. As much as I love Portland, the rain gets to me; I need the sun once in a while, so when it comes, I turn into this sun-zombie where I wander out into it and just stand there with my arms out, moaning…. Ahhhhh. The funny thing is, when it rains I want to go do things like go downtown, shop, check out local bookstores, people watch, whatever. But when the sun comes out, I don’t want to really do anything but enjoy it, soak it up, and be as lazy as a cat on a sunny windowsill.
Biographies & Memoirs.................... 16 Childrens......................................... 10
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Brad Wright firstname.lastname@example.org 503.577.5256
Cooking, Food & Wine........................ 8
LAYOUT & GRAPHICS EDITOR WEBSITE ADMINISTRATOR Janet Wright email@example.com 503.577.4791
Current Events & Politics.................... 6
COPY EDITORS Elizabeth Franklin Kathryn Franklin Catherine Gilmore Samantha Karp Jaime Peterson Aimee Rasmussen Donna Reynolds Whitney Roscoe DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING Jack Godwin firstname.lastname@example.org 503.539.9932
Cooking, Food & Wine........................ 9 Historical Fiction................................ 4 History............................................. 14 Humor Non-Fiction............................. 6 Mystery, Crime & Thriller................. 11 Philosophy......................................... 7 Popular Fiction................................. 12
COLUMN COORDINATOR FOR “WRITERS ON WRITING” AND “THE READER’S PERSPECTIVE” Joseph Arellano
Science Fiction & Fantasy................. 13
The Portland Book Review is published quarterly and is licensed from 1776 Productions, producers of the San Francisco Book Review and Sacramento Book Review. The opinions expressed in these pages are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Portland Book Review advertisers. All images are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders. All words © 2012, Portland Book Review.
Sequential Art.................................... 6
Science & Nature................................ 7 Travel................................................ 7 Tweens............................................... 5 Young Adult........................................ 4
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FROM THE EDITOR
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As I sit here contemplating this article, I can’t help but think I’m the luckiest person on the planet. I live in this great town with everything at my disposal, work for myself, read books, talk about books, and plot book events and activities. I am livin’ the dream, baby! But, why didn’t anyone tell me that my dream was not going to be just one event but a real journey? Living the dream doesn’t mean everything is coming up roses. In fact, I think it is almost the opposite. Your dream challenges you. When you live your dream, you have to choose that dream every day. You have to make decisions every day that affect that dream. If you have a clear understanding of what you want and where you want to go, it’s easier to see the right choices in front of you, but it’s not always that clear. You have to make tough decisions – decisions that aren’t pleasant or could change someone else’s course. Just because you have your dream in your hands right now doesn’t mean it will stay that way. I’m constantly surprised by the options that present themselves, and by having to determine if the choices I make are staying true to that dream. Hopefully, the end result will sustain that dream, keep it alive, and keep it where I want it to be. I thought I would just be fat, dumb and happy reading a good book on a sunny day for the rest of my life! There’s so much more to come, and how we determine our next step is how our dream will play out… good or bad. My dream is only just beginning. Every day is living that dream and making it what it will be tomorrow and, by golly, I’m determined to stay true to it! So, dear Readers, get out there, take that chance and live your dream. Make those decisions and don’t look back! Readers Unite!
M. Chris Johnson
Editor In Chief, Portland Book Review email@example.com
June - September 2012
Historical Fiction The Mist of God: Volume Three of the Magdala Trilogy By Peter Longley iUniverse Publishing, $33.95 683 pages Joshua is dead, crucified by the Romans and condemned by the Jewish elders who feared that his teachings challenged their spiritual superiority within the hierarchy of Jewish law. After his tomb is discovered empty, his body removed, Joshua’s followers fall into disarray. Yet even though he is gone, Maria of Magdala refuses to be subdued. Within her womb, she carries Joshua’s son and everywhere she sees the light of his divine presence. Linus Flavius carries with him the guilt of Joshua’s crucifixion – he oversaw Joshua’s final moments. But the teachings of Joshua’s followers touch him, and he finds himself becoming a part of their growing community. Soon, Joshua’s followers are found in all corners of the empire and beyond. But will the prejudice of their own people be their final downfall? In The Mist of God — the final book in The Days of the King By Filip Florian & Alistair Ian Blyth Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22.00 207 pages «« Joseph Strauss is a German dentist that happens to solve the dental problems of the future prince of Romania. Strauss is rewarded handsomely with the typical gold pieces but also by relocating with the prince to Bucharest. Strauss visits his favorite German brothel one more time, Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me By Peter B. Boody Bartleby, Scrivener & Co., $16.99 323 pages How much would you pay to have dinner with any American president? For Jack Arrowsmith, it cost around $1,400 for one dinner with Thomas Jefferson. That was just the start of the journey between these two men. This is more than a dinner date, as Thomas Jefferson is back in the flesh and is ready to experience all that this century has to offer. Arrowsmith, a retired history teacher, finds himself in the middle of an odd love story between his friend Rachel and Mr. Thomas Jefferson. The ghost of Jefferson becomes the catalyst for this story, as Jefferson’s reemergence forces Jack to face his own demons. He lost both his son and wife within a year and never fully accepted their passing. The book is a tale of two men — one from our time and another
June - September 2012
the Magdala trilogy — Longley concludes his epic retelling of the life of Joshua and the spread of Christianity. In the final piece of the story, we’re introduced to new characters, such as Paulus (known as Saul of Tarsus), the Nazarene’s greatest enemy-turned-advocate, and Marcus, a merchant prince and half-brother to Ben Joshua, the controversial son of Maria and the messiah. Spanning the far-flung trade routes of the Roman Empire and beyond, Longley weaves a plausible tale of the rise and spread of Christianity, as well as the deviations of belief that inevitably rose among its followers. Longley’s style has matured yet again, and his prose flows evenly along one twisty riverbed of a tale. My only complaint: the multiplicity of names that some characters were saddled with. But that’s more a by-product of the effort made to show how Joshua’s message was spread. Overall, an intriguing read and a great alternate telling of a very old story. SPONSORED REVIEW packs up his belongings and carries his tomcat by carriage, train and boat to his new home. Strauss continues to service the prince, including introducing him to a blind prostitute. Unknown to the prince, the prostitute bears a son. Strauss ends up being in the middle of the prostitute and the prince while trying to maintain his own personal romance on the side. The Days of the King is a tough read with little reward. The sentences are long, winding and at times, nonsensical. I often read passages two or three times to understand the storyline. The ending seemed abrupt and really did not satisfy this reviewer. SENIYE GROFF from the 18th century — coping with loss and redemption. The best part of this book is the characters. Jack and Rachel are fullbodied and feel like real people. Jefferson is the star of the book, as he is both pronounced and entertaining. While it is Jack’s exploration of growth that is the center plot, the book really gets its motivation from Jefferson’s reaction to modern life. Imagine this slave owner’s response after discovering that the 44th president is African American! The book has a certain quirkiness to it that makes it a fast read. The pacing of the story is also a well-done balance of humor and excitement. The book feels like a journal of a close friend, which made each discovery more personal and unforgettable. Thomas Jefferson, Rachel & Me is a fun, emotional exploration of human interactions that everyone will find captivating. This is a story that will touch your heart and make you think, regardless of what century you call home. SPONSORED REVIEW
Young Adult The 39 Clues: Vespers Rising By Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman & Jude Watson Scholastic, $12.99 240 pages «««« Sometimes it is hard to find a good point to join in on an already established series. The 39 Clues series is an excellent example with 11 best-selling books to date. Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson is the 11th book and already a fan favorite. If you don’t mind a little information overload at the beginning of the book, then this is an excellent starting point for new readers. It contains the origins of the various families, including the Madrigal branch. There is also an account of Grace Cahill’s first venture to help in the quest, as well as a short Dan and Amy adventure. Gideon’s ring features prominently in the book, as well as the rise of the Vespers. With four different authors penning a story, one would expect one of the stories to fall flat. That doesn’t happen here, as each of the stories easily carries its own weight. Not only are the stories well written and pulse-pounding, but they easily combine into a small tapestry of their own. This book should please veterans of the series, as well as entice new fans into reading more of The 39 Clues books. JAMAIS JOCHIM The Water Wars By Cameron Stracher Sourcebooks, $9.99 240 pages «« The Water Wars is Cameron Stracher’s first young adult novel. His futuristic book is set after “The Great Panic” ravaged the United States. The country has been divided into eight territories with separate governments that fight over a resource which has become more precious than gold or oil: water. Only the rich are able to afford clean drinking water, and waste is a crime. When Stracher’s protagonist, Vera, sees Kai drink half a glass of water and carelessly dump the other half in the dirt, she thinks he’s downright insane. He doesn’t go to school, rides around in a limo with armed guards and makes dangerous statements such as, “the government is keeping secrets from you.” Vera and her brother William befriend Kai, but when his apartment is ransacked and his bodyguard murdered, they find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime. They are captured by pirates, are threatened by rebel armies, and battle with Blue-
water, a malevolent, money-hungry corporation. While Stracher’s book begins to drag soon after Kai is captured, and while it lacks a great deal of historical context, The Water Wars may be appealing to middle school students who enjoy action-packed books and semi-post-apocalyptic stories. EMILY DAVIS A New Leash on Life By Erna Mueller CreateSpace, $14.99 240 pages A New Leash on Life is the winding together of several stories: a workaholic widower and his two lonely kids, a crazy toy factory owner perfecting a new way to steal people’s money, and a human member of the K-9 Corps, who is killed in the line of duty and comes back as a dog. The dog/cop’s heavenly assignment is to bring the widow and his kids closer together, but what he really wants to do is find the people who killed him. It’s a roller coaster ride of intertwining lives, chases (both dog and car varieties), and even a little romance. ‘We’re going to crash!’ he shouted. ‘We crashed!’ He panted for breath, wet with sweat where he’d been under the covers. Spencer whined and nudged him with his head. Author Erna Mueller’s depiction of Spencer, the dog-who-used-to-be-a-cop, is hilarious and oddly believable! Spencer brings enough of his old cop personality to his furry new body to make him crabby, bossy, and constantly on the search for coffee. Getting inside his head as his loner cop self struggles with the lovable dog part of him, who wants to be teenage outsider Justin’s best friend, makes you root for Spencer even though he’s sometimes incredibly annoying. Also, watching Spencer struggle against his dog instincts creates some of the most memorable scenes in the book — watch for him wandering into a cat show! The adventure of Justin trying to figure out why the toy factory people are so interested in Spencer is fun enough to appeal to teen readers and complex enough that adults will want to “borrow” this book from their kids. The adult characters, with the exception of Spencer, are a bit bumbling, leaving all the excitement to the kids: Justin, his sister Vicki, and his girlfriend Shalha. Mueller’s portrayal of the teenagers is skilled. They’re brave, but not too brave. They argue, fly off the handle and do a lot of eye rolling. Very realistic. In my opinion this is the ideal book for the whole family to enjoy. SPONSORED REVIEW
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Tweens Escape From Zobadak By Brad Gallagher Mackinac Island Press, $8.95 332 pages ««««« Uncle Gary has been making furniture for as long as his family can remember. So it comes as a shock when he asks them for $10,000. Why isn’t Gary selling his pieces to get the cash he needs? After their uncle disappears for six months and strange men show up, siblings Billy and Sophie know something is wrong. They begin an adventure to find Uncle Gary that is filled with danger, excitement and magic. Read their story in Brad Gallagher’s Escape From Zobadak. Gallagher is extremely imaginative and seems to understand exactly what it is like to be a teenager. The only way the kids can rescue Gary is to travel to another world using his furniture as a portal. This world is filled with countless drawers containing numbers and bits of history. Did Gary leave clues for the children to help them? If your child likes the Narnia adventures, check out this book. The chapters can be short, but the action keeps the story moving. While searching, Sophie and Billy must also deal with school bullies and nosey parents. Young adult readers will enjoy tagging along on this uniquely magical and whimsical journey. ELIZABETH FRANKLIN Gifts From The Gods By Lise Lunge-Larsen & Gareth Hinds Houghton Mifflin Harcdourt, $18.99 90 pages ««« Many of the words used today have ancient roots in GrecoRoman mythology. Janitor, museum, furious, echo, genius, and panic are just a few examples of the linguistic legacy left to the English language by much older cultures. Gifts from the Gods explores the origins of these words by looking back to the adventures of the heroes and gods who inspired them, bringing to light the history hiding in everyday speech. Although the myths contained in this book have been severely abridged, Gifts from the Gods is still a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the myths of ancient Greece and Rome. The attention grabbing, comicbook-esque illustrations will appeal to boys and girls alike, and the short accessible chapters are sure to encourage further reading on the subject. The book is made slightly less appealing by its frequent use of unrelated quotes and
clunky typography, but is on the whole a very beautiful and engaging read. ELIZABETH GOSS Being Me: A Kid’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and SelfEsteem By Wendy L. Moss, PhD Magination Press, $9.95 112 pages ««««« We can all use a confidence boost now and then, especially kids who are growing and maturing every day. Being Me helps pre-teens and teens take on everyday challenges and build confidence and selfesteem. Doctor and author Wendy L. Moss, a licensed psychologist with a certification in school psychology, has over 25 years of experience. Written directly to readers, the book is filled with questions that prompt kids to think about who they are and what they have to offer. The author profiles kids and demonstrates how they handle challenges. Learn how to avoid self-sabotage (comparing yourself to others, expecting perfection, beating yourself up) and how to do positive self-talk. Activities throughout the book help build confidence. Using a list of words and phrases (i.e. good with animals, nonjudgmental, organization, football), the reader circles what she feels are her strengths, and picks out areas in which she'd like to improve. Using the list, the reader writes a letter to herself to look at when feeling down (read about your accomplishments) or motivated (pick a trait to work on strengthening). Any kid looking for a boost of self-esteem will definitely benefit from this well-written book. KATHRYN FRANKLIN Pie By Sarah Weeks Scholastic, $16.99 184 pages ««««« When Alice Portman’s beloved aunt Polly, an award-winning pie maker with a heart of gold, dies unexpectedly, she leaves a puzzle behind. In her will, Polly leaves the secret of her famous pie-crust to her bad-tempered cat, and leaves the cat to Alice. Now Alice and her friend Charlie must solve the mystery of the missing recipe before their pie-crazy hometown goes to pieces. A genuine, heartfelt, downright wonderful book, Pie is truly a joy to read. Colorful characters and hilarious antics combine with explorations of coming of age and grief to create an appealing and wellbalanced story. Alice’s imperfect relation-
ship with her mother and understated, but poignant, struggle to come to terms with the loss of her aunt give surprising depth to this otherwise lighthearted mystery. Each chapter of Alice’s adventure begins with a unique pie recipe. Bakers of all ages will enjoy trying out these delicious, sometimes unusual, pies. A gentle story about family, loss, love and — of course — pie, Sarah Week’s beautiful book is sure to make any reader’s day a little brighter. ELIZABETH GOSS Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows By Molly E. Johnson Raintown Press, $16.95 303 pages ««««« When Spartacus’ mom leaves town to join the circus, his father, brother and almost everyone in town accepts her absence — but not Spartacus. With the online help of his nerdy, technowizard friend Eli, Spartacus hits the road to save his mom from her kidnappers, Bartholomew and his World-Renowned Circus of the Incredible. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters, each more outlandish than the last. From the giant tattooed biker to the blue-haired criminal maniacs, author Molly E. Johnson captures a colorful group through vivid description and unique voices. Spartacus’ travels will scare him, stress him and delight him, but mostly they will push him to become more than he ever thought possible. Along the way Spartacus may not be certain of much, but by the end he finds the meaning of family, friendship and love. You’ll be rooting for Spartacus throughout this tight, quick-paced tale. Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows is a funny, smart adventure story that will appeal to middle-grade readers and beyond. LISA ARD Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors By Jane Drake & Ann Love, Illustrated by Heather Collins Kids Can Press, $16.95 176 pages «««« Sisters Jane Drake and Ann Love prove that fun does not require batteries in their book Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors. Suitable for a one-child family or a football team’s worth of siblings, the book is well written, with clear, easy-to-understand instructions for all the activities. The activities are organized by season for year-round outdoor pleasure. For the inevitable bad weather days,
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the authors have included a subsection for each season of indoor games and activities, though how seasonal some of the ideas are is debatable. This is not a flashy book; there are no photos or graphics. The illustrations are black and white sketches, giving the book the look of a traditional, old-fashioned field guide. Activities are suitable for children of all ages (teenagers may be forced to take part when they see how much fun everyone else is having), but some aspects of certain activities require adult supervision or help, depending on the child’s age. From the sports enthusiast to the nature lover to the science geek, this book has ideas that will get them all outside. ANDREA KLEIN Ghost Train to Freedom: An Adventure on the Underground Railroad By Faith Reese Martin American Literary Publishing, $14.99 400 pages «««« At first glance, this novel appears to be just another young adult fictional tale, but in fact includes rich history, tragedy, suspense, time travel and super powers that whisk away young readers to another place and time. Jinx and her best friend Max, along with Poppy the cat and Petey the dog, embark on adventures that call to them. Jinx has the ability to “see” these haunting events and can travel through time to right a wrong in the past. Max can converse with and understand animals, so Petey and Poppy are always on the lookout for them and ready to help. She is in a deep void of total darkness; no smells of the sweet summer meadow, no insects ... no stars ... nothing. In this novel, author Faith Reese Martin includes maps, drawings, dates and historically accurate data of the days of slavery with added enticements of the supernatural. Young readers will get a glimpse into the horror of those times for the slaves, while simultaneously being entertained, craving more information from that time period, and rooting for Jinx and Max. The first-person account side stories are a bit distracting, but in the end they are a useful part of the whole story. You finish the book feeling some of the pain of those slaves and more enlightened by the possibilities this fantasy world conjures up. Non-stop excitement and details will keep those pages turning! M. CHRIS JOHNSON
June - September 2012
Humor Non-Fiction Ghoul: A Dark and Humorous Look at Collection Agencies By Bob Gage Pikeminnow Publishing, $11.95 96 pages ««« As an industry veteran, Bob Gage’s self-aware and often times entertaining look at the ugly underbelly of collection agencies introduces us to the faceless ghoul: that washed-up, angry guy who calls your home at least once a day, every day, to hound you for money. The ghoul in Gage’s view isn’t your ordinary bill collector — he (or she) is a highly predictable, highly volatile machine, programmed to do one thing, and one thing only: threaten/harass/scare you into handing over cash. Gage provides insight into ways to “beat” the ghoul, including explanations of rules and laws around what a bill collector can and can’t legally get away with doing or saying. While Ghoul is revealing in some ways, it lacks substance as a true non-fiction book: this is not a collection agency tellall. Rather, Gage pokes fun at the industry, and uses inline commentary to make the book a quick, light-hearted read, with a few great nuggets of important information scattered throughout. Gage doesn’t take his chosen profession too seriously, and the reader shouldn’t take the title of the book too seriously, either. ALEXANDRA WALFORD
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) By Jenny Lawson Putnam, $25.95 224 pages «««« Jenny Lawson writes the enormously popular blog, “The Bloggess.” She’s now taken the life experiences that have made her blog entertaining and turned them into a memoir that is both frighteningly bizarre and uproariously funny – not two traits you expect to find in the same book. The subtitle for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is “A Mostly True Memoir,” and this reviewer clung to that fact, as certain episodes are so fantastical they can only be the work of an imaginative (and slightly deranged) mind. Phenomena like a dead squirrel used as a hand puppet, chupacabra, a killer pug, the zombie apocalypse and agoraphobia are all parts of Lawson’s life she’s happy to relate for your entertainment. And you will be entertained. While this memoir is utterly unique in its style, it can also get exhausting to read. Lawson’s mind appears to work at warp speed and is often fueled by extreme anxiety and OCD. It is her self-deprecating humor that keeps the reader engaged. That, and the fact that you can’t believe all of this could have happened to one person. The law of averages makes it highly un-
likely, but this reviewer is not going to call her on it, because one, it made for good reading and two, I’m a little afraid of her. Disclaimer: Lawson loves the ‘f’ word and frequent use of explicit anatomical language. If either of those are a problem you should avoid this book like a tetanus shot. If not, read and prepare to laugh out loud in public places even if you’re alone. CATHERINE GILMORE Are You Serious?: How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly By Lee Siegel Harper, $24.99 212 pages ««« It is author Lee Siegel’s belief that when “serious” and “seriously” became intensifiers, seriousness went by the wayside in America. In his book Are You Serious?, he explores how cultural changes like the information explosion and reality television have eroded our ability to separate fluff from substance. Using his own definition of three characteristics of seriousness (attention, purpose, continuity), he looks at examples in modern culture, politics and business and how this trend has impacted us all. He discusses the interesting phenomena of our shift from ideas, which engender discussion, to the new political/ news favorite — issues, which actually discourages ideas and polarizes people.
Sequential Art Tantalize: Kieren’s Story By Cynthia Leitich Smith Candlewick Press, $19.99 188 pages «««« Why can’t vampires and werewolves just get along? In Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, everyone knows about werewolves, and to be known as one attracts all of the wrong attention. Kieran is on the verge of going to a pack to train in his were-abilities. He just needs to solve what’s going on at the new local hot spot. At stake is not only his future, but also that of his family and the girl he loves. This is a nice taught thriller, where the stakes are apparent and the twists actually work. The art isn’t bad; it’s done in an over-inked rough style that’s actually perfect as it gives the book a nice noir-ish feel. This is the kind of book that will probably not last one sitting, but that’s because you will have problems putting it down. Even better, Kieran is not your standard rush-
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into-it werewolf. He is a kid that needs to weigh every option before he acts, and is very aware of the stakes in which he has inadvertently placed his family. This is definitely one of the more interesting werewolf stories you will read this year! JAMAIS JOCHIM The Finder Library By Carla Speed McNeil Dark Horse Comics, $24.99 616 pages ««« In 1996 Carla Speed McNeil began writing, illustrating and publishing her Finder series. Fifteen years later Dark Horse comics decided to compile several issues into The Finder Library. In this first volume are three story arcs, Sin-Eater, King of the Cats and Talisman. Readers will be impressed by the book’s art work. McNeil has an ability to create beautiful images with simplistic lines. It is no wonder that he is described by Douglas Wolk in the introduction as, “A cartoon-
ist’s cartoonist, the kind of artist that other comics professionals talk about with a little bit of awe.” Unfortunately, attractive art is where this tome’s positive features end. It is obvious McNeil is trying to create a brand new science fiction world, complete with its own languages, races, professions and technologies. However, dropping the reader into the center of all of this does not necessarily lead them to want to learn more. Instead it is easy to read the first chapter, not have an inkling of what is happening and give up, frustrated at having spent hard earned money. Finder is the kind of comic that you really want to enjoy. Beautifully enticing illustrations suck you into believing there is a great story to match, but sadly the confusing storyline and lack of clarity make Finder very unlikeable. If you have been a fan of Finder since its inception, this collection will remind you why you stuck with it for so long. If you are new to the Finder universe, be prepared to slug your way through 600 pages of story before you find answers in the appendix at the end. ANDREW KEYSER
The economic crisis has forced a massive layoff of the intellectuals. For readers used to the sound bytes and loud voices that increasingly confront us in our everyday information sources, a methodical, thoughtful look at any subject may feel uncomfortable. This book is not filled with glib solutions but is well written, and Siegel has a dry wit that keeps the reader engaged. Bottom line? If you’re someone interested in America’s cultural shift from serious to silly and wondering where you fall into the spectrum, then this is well worth reading. If you get your news from TMZ, probably not. CATHERINE GILMORE
Current Events & Politics Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America’s Big Three Auto Makers — GM, Ford, and Chrysler By Bill Vlasic William Morrow, $26.99 400 pages «««« In 2008, the U.S. auto industry was sick enough to land in the Intensive Care Unit. Neither the economic experts nor the auto industry executives knew then if The Big Three would survive. This is Bill Vlasic’s detailed, engrossing account of what went on behind closed corporate doors in the Motor City. It is, to a great extent, a true morality play with good and evil in the forms of Alan Mulally and Rick Wagoner. Mulally’s forward thinking ensured that the Ford Motor Company would survive without bail-out funds, while Wagoner was the CEO who lost $45 billion for General Motors (GM) in just 15 months. Once Upon a Car also covers the failed nine-year marriage between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, which started out as a mad romance and ended in tears and acrimony. In this account, Vlasic strongly and convincingly argues that the Obama administration’s decision to give taxpayer dollars to GM and Chrysler was essential. The disposal of Wagoner was one positive outcome. After reading this book, you’ll understand why Detroit’s back in the game after crashing and burning. The Motor City’s now producing cars like the Ford Focus instead of Hummers, which in the end is a very good result. JOSEPH ARELLANO
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Travel Devil Dolphins of Silver Lagoon and Other Stories By Michael Bennett CreateSpace, $15.00 219 pages Captain Michael Bennett has been places most of us can only imagine, and along the way, he’s had experiences both amazing and baffling. Whether it’s being hassled by surly dolphins, befriending a hermit crab on a treacherous island, spearheading the rescue of an orphaned orca, or relying on sheer luck to cross conflict-stricken Sri Lanka, Bennett has plenty of engaging tales to tell. Devil Dolphins of Silver Lagoon and Other Stories is a collection of anecdotes and stories from his travels far and wide, and occasional awkward phrasing aside, it’s a delightful read. A laid-back, yet immensely capable seaman with diving, navigation and photography expertise under his belt, he’s the perfect right-hand man for any impromptu expedition. He has the indefatigable spirit of someone who has seen many incredible things, yet hasn’t lost his sense
Philosophy of awe and appreciation for the world’s wonders. While I wish more of the photography he’d assisted with had been included, the photos adorning the front and back covers offer teasing glimpses of the adventures to come, which range from his time as a vagabond in Hawaii to misadventures on a poorly-organized cruise ship tour. The highlight of the book is his trip to Isla de Cocos, an island that partly inspired Jurassic Park, as well as the location of the aforementioned hermit crab bonding experience. At turns a hilarious, unnerving, and deeply thoughtful narrative, it highlights both the highs and lows of his nomadic lifestyle beautifully. And while the title claims he was a reluctant assistant, his boundless enthusiasm for his work and adventures is inescapable, as is his pride in the fine work he and photographer Flip Nicklin produced for National Geographic (although I’m sure he’d prefer not to have been bitten by rude dolphins to get those impressive photos). SPONSORED REVIEW
Science & Nature The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must By Robert Zubrin Free Press, $16.99 384 pages ««« It is nice to see Robert Zubrin’s The Case for Mars updated and republished. Here, Zubrin outlines his mission to take us to Mars, our closest neighbor in space. The book is visionary and provides a challenge for those who would like to be along for a trip. Zubrin writes that it is the second safest place in the solar system in a book which at times reads like a mission briefing. Unfortunately, there is the sad note that his dreams may not be realized within our lifetime. It is my firm belief that we now possess the technology that could allow a human landing on Mars within ten years of any time a decision is made to launch the program. The big problem with the plan is the bi-
ology and sociology part. It will potentially be very dangerous to keep people in space for a few years. There is also not enough concern for back contamination, which could introduce dangerous microbes to Earth, or forward contamination, which could ruin our chances of finding extraterrestrial life, the greatest potential discovery of all time. In the current climate it also does not seem wise to abandon our planet for someplace else, but on the flip side, our political systems may be better off with a sister society where new political reforms can be explored. All told, the reader will likely want to become a Martian. RYDER MILLER Counting the Rings Edited by Karen Nichols Odin Ink, $15.00 100 pages ««««« Counting the Rings is a collection of passionate testimonials about the varying impact that Portland’s Outdoor School program has had on its students since 1966. Sixth
Adequate Wisdom: Essays on the Nature of Existence By Ronald P. Smolin Trans-Atlantic Publications, Inc., $27.95 366 pages
Humanity, and Final Thoughts. The author states, “We can begin to piece together the varied components of existence, creating a clearer understanding of how the world works and then proposing guidelines to help us make wise decisions and lead meaningful lives.” Smolin additionally includes some ideas based upon new research, for which further Adequate Wisdom: scrutiny and examination is warranted. Essays on the Nature of Existence is an ex- “The obvious motif of this work is to emhaustive collection of philosophical view- brace all components of the world and to points presented for a layman. Smolin pres- suggest that everything is contingent upon ents the general reader with an overview of everything else, while paradoxically allowessays that discuss existence, our cosmos, ing forms and processes to express themand the many different viewpoints held selves individually,” says Smolin. Most of by people. The simplistic wording by Smo- the discussions cover scientific information lin makes these essays easy and philosophical ideas, to comprehend and gives the Even though we were assem- whereas, some of the disgeneral reader a framework to bled by physical forces, we cussions get a little more build a better understanding have flowered into remark- personal, speaking about able living forms that reso- sexuality, of “the nature of existence.” self-control, The essays are short but nate with and yet transcend religion, and state. While concise. Covering a wide range all our antecedents. I may not agree with all of diverse subject matter, the of the contentions of the essays can be read alone or as a whole. There author, Smolin presents his work in a wellis a great deal of information covered by organized and classy form that leaves the the author, and he does an exceptional job reader open to explore his ideas. organizing, arranging and presenting the Smolin’s essays cover diverse fields of vast research that is clearly evident as you life, philosophy, cosmology, sociology and read through this book. Smolin goes into psychology. “A key idea of adequate wisdom great depth exploring the nature of forms is the apparent duality between synergy and processes, which provides the back- and individualism, whereby virtually every ground necessary to discuss the myriad of form has its own function and structure subject matter contained in this book. while at the same time becoming part of The book is composed of eight parts: another, greater structure.” It is well writEssentials, Questions & Ideas, Physical ten and easy to understand — a worthwhile Existence, Biological & Human Existence, read for those with interest in this subject Trends & Other Matters, God & Religion, matter. SPONSORED REVIEW graders from Portland-area public schools spend a week at camp and learn about not only natural history, but about their peers, community and a sense of place. The importance of the program, especially as a crucial moment of development in the lives of Portland's future decision makers, shows through the testimonials. The program allows students who do not perform well in classroom settings to thrive, as well as others to open up socially. Most important, it brings students from different socioeconomic backgrounds together. As one student attested about her camp experience, “there weren’t the haves and the have-nots.” Why is there the need for a book of testimonials from students, parents, camp leaders and program staff? In recent years Outdoor School has shortened to a few days instead of a week for some schools and cancelled altogether for others because of budget cuts. The Friends of Outdoor School, who put this collection together, have raised money and garnered public support to keep the program alive. Every student deserves the opportunity to attend Outdoor School. MICHAEL BARTON
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June - September 2012
Cooking, Food & Wine Recipes featured from Barefoot Season By Susan Mallery Photography by Jenel Looney (see review on Page 12)
Blackberry Chipotle Sauce 2 C blackberries, fresh or frozen ¼ C sugar 2 T olive oil 1 small onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 T – ¼ C canned chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped (the more, the hotter) 1 t cumin 1 T balsamic vinegar ½ t Kosher salt Heat the blackberries and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When they’re warm, mash them with a potato masher. Lower heat and continue cooking for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a wire mesh strainer over a bowl or measuring cup. Discard solids, reserve liquids. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent. Add the blackberry juice, chipotles, cumin, vinegar, and salt. Simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly. Oven-Baked Pork Chops with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce ¼ C olive oil 2 pork chops, 1-1 ¼” thick Salt and pepper ¼ C Blackberry Chipotle Sauce Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in heavy, oven-safe pan with a lid. Salt and pepper the chops, then brown for five minutes on one side. Flip the chops, cover the pan, and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Add 2 T Blackberry Chipotle Sauce on top of each chop. Cover again and bake until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees, about 10-20 minutes more. Blackberry Mousse Parfaits Blackberry Mousse: ½ C whipping cream ½ t vanilla ¼ C cream cheese, softened ¼ C blackberry jelly ½ C salted peanuts 1 C blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed) ¼ C Grape Nuts cereal ½ C whipped cream Make the Blackberry Mousse at least a few hours before making the parfaits and allow to chill. Chill four parfait (or other) glasses at the same time. In each glass, layer one-quarter of each of the ingredients in this order: peanuts, blackberry mousse, blackberries, Grape Nuts, and whipped cream. Serve or chill until ready to serve.
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Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking By Jamie Goode & Sam Harrop University of California Press, $29.95 259 pages «««« When Louis Pasteur said “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages,” it is likely he was talking about wine made with the integrity and character of the grape at the fore. Authentic Wine is a sensible discussion of natural and sustainable winemaking as it was in the beginning and as it has been gaining in popularity in recent years. The greening of the wine trade with biodynamic and organic farming practices are illustrated, in part, by case studies from Oregon’s own Brick House Vineyards in the Willamette Valley and Beaux Freres in the Chehalem Valley. Both growers and wine makers are part of the natural wine movement whose history and philosophy are explained by wine writer, Jamie Goode, and winemaker, Sam Harrop. Written to be understood by ordinary wine drinkers, Goode and Harrop explain the details of certified organic and biodynamic farming, the influence of grafted versus ungrafted vines, the nuances of appellations and terroir, and the interventions of the winemaker that ultimately determine the quality and cost of the final glass of wine. It is information that will only add to the pleasure of your next wine tour and chat with the winemaker. SUE PHELPS Funny Food: 365 Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts By Bill & Claire Wurtzel Welcome Books, $19.95 160 pages ««««« Imagine having 365 easy, fun, healthy, and tasty recipes for creative breakfasts at your fingertips! From the wild imaginations of Bill and Claire Wurtzel, Funny Food transforms simple foods into edible works of art. Divided into four sections (Eggs, Waffles/Pancakes, Oatmeal/Cereal/Fruit, and Toast/Bagels/ Snacks), the book’s full-page color photographs show exactly how to create these inspired meals. Like Michelangelo who saw images in marble and carved to unveil them, you too can create art from food. Your family and guests will be amazed when you serve fried egg funny faces with ham noses and toast ears. Bagels make bike wheels, scrambled eggs make bushy hair, and oatmeal turns into fluffy beards. Children will love getting involved in the creative cooking actions.
Working on kid-friendly ideas makes for great family bonding time. Fresh ingredients add flavor and nutritional value. Use seasonal fruits and vegetables to introduce young children to new foods. Soon you’ll be experimenting with making lunch and dinner into unique works of art. Start your day with an artistic, healthy, super fun breakfast and listen to the giggles of your family as they gobble up your masterpieces. KATHRYN FRANKLIN Joy the Baker Cookbook By Joy Wilson Hyperion, $19.99 246 pages ««««« Anyone’s kitchen cookbook shelf would benefit from Joy the Baker Cookbook. The recipes are mostly basic but author Joy Wilson gives them a twist to make them original and out-ofthe-box, either by using an unusual ingredient or by their preparation. Yet some recipes will test your skill, and the results are likely to be sumptuous. Each recipe in this book is meant to be approachable, comforting, and, of course, delicious. The introduction discusses ingredients, techniques, substitutes and useful baking tips. The layout of the book and recipes are great and cook-friendly. You’ll never need to search for hard-to-find ingredients. The recipes range from very easy, like pancakes, muffins, biscuits and French toast, to the more difficult chocolate chip marshmallow cubes and banana bourbon bread pudding. There is enough added freshness to each recipe to make it special. Wilson even includes some smoothies, milk shakes and hot chocolate. The recipes are well written and very easy to follow, and a beginner baker should be able to reproduce many of them. The head notes are hilarious and definitely worth reading. Beautiful full-page photos illustrate many recipes in this medium-format trade paperback. The pages are of heavy stock and reasonably spill-proof. The index is excellent and well cross-referenced. This book is a must for all bakers. GEORGE ERDOSH Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family By Dreena Burton Lifelong Books, $20.00 308 pages ««««
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Most carnivores find the mere thought of going vegan abhor-
Cooking, Food & Wine rent. The idea of including their kids in the process is laughable. For those brave souls who want to test the vegan waters and bring their families along for the dip, the latest cookbook by Dreena Burton offers an excellent place to start. Let Them Eat Vegan! contains meatless and dairyfree dishes that mimic meals your family already loves. Take the ubiquitous hamburger. Burton offers “Nutty Veggie Burgers” which are out-of-this-world good. Powered by three types of nuts, these delicious patties deliver the flavor and look meat-eating families are accustomed to. The “Baked Macaroni with Broccolini in a Creamy Walnut Gravy” is another hit thanks to a non-dairy sauce that mimics the cheesy one you grew up with. Burton’s main dishes seem to alternate between lentil-based and nut-based options. Depending on your tastes, you may find yourself leaning towards one or the other. The “Anise and Coriander-Infused Orange Lentil Soup” and “No-fu Love Loaf” may take getting used to for some families. Overall this is a user-friendly cookbook that will make even the most rigid of carnivores express delight and shock when they learn that what they’re eating is vegan. ELLISON G. WEIST Great Food Starts Fresh By Nathan Lyon Nathan Lyon, $35.00 343 pages ««« Though a beautifully produced largeformat cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh is rather disappointing. It repeatedly emphasizes purchasing fresh and seasonal produce from farmers’ markets, but the recipes are neither original nor exciting enough to inspire a cook to dash out for ingredients. Most of the included recipes can be found in any good cookbook (i.e. meatloaf, vegetable stew, hummus, beet salad). Author Nathan Lyon starts the book with a list of recipes listed by course and continues with a good introduction on kitchen tools, staples and a shopping guide. “How to Choose and Store” is a 12-page section that lists common produce in alphabetic order and how to properly store each item. Lyon divides the main body of the cookbook into four sections by season plus a fifth entitled “Chocolate.” So, grab your sauté pan, and a handful of fresh seasonal ingredients, because together, we’re going to be cooking some amazing food. The recipes are good and easy to follow, and many list a link to bonus material re-
lated to that recipe on Lyon’s website. Each section is preceded by a list of recipes which a nice tool to help chefs pick a dish to make. Unfortunately, the book’s layout is poor. Some recipes spill over to the next page which proves inconvenient for the cook. The brief index is not cross referenced. It is no more than a simple recipe index. GEORGE ERDOSH The Little Big Cookbook for Moms Edited by Alice Wong & Natasha Tabori Fried Welcome Books, $24.95 352 pages ««««« The Little Big Cookbook for Moms, edited by Alice Wong and Natasha Tabori Fried, is perfect for young mothers and their families. This beautifully produced manual is illustrated with hundreds of vintage images that range in size from small to full page. All are gorgeous, and readers of all ages will flip through the pages simply to enjoy the graphics. The introduction covers health and nutrition for children, pantry staples, spices and herbs, and preparing baby food. The recipes are divided into breakfasts, soups/sandwiches, snacks, dinners, veggies/sides and desserts. The book’s layout is easy to use and the recipes are simple, well written, and use readily available ingredients. Find basics such as Chicken Potpie, Super Nachos, Rice Noodle Salad and Apple Crisp. Many recipes feature interesting tips and are followed by suggestions for variations. Useful tables and lists include Lunch Bag Stuffers, Nuts and Seeds, Popcorn Toppers, Sauces, Know Your Fish and A Month of Dinners. The cross-referenced index is excellent. GEORGE ERDOSH Canal House Cooking Volume 7: La Dolce Vita By Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.95 124 pages «««««
easy to read, and the recipes are easy to follow. Some recipes require advanced preparations. One look at the detailed table of contents is all it will take to realize what a wonderful cookbook this is. If you love Italian food and cooking, you will enjoy all this cookbook has to offer. GEORGE ERDOSH Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient By Editors of Grit Magazine Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99 234 pages «««« This is a book for those who read cookbooks, and especially for people “of a certain age” who miss the rich flavors they remember from childhood. It will also appeal to younger readers who value traditional foods prepared from scratch. Readers may find the facts about
lard surprising and encouraging. The authors start by explaining why lard is a good and healthy alternative to butter, shortening and cooking oils for many recipes. Techniques and sources make cooking with lard accessible to everyone. Methods are offered for traditional rendering as well as by microwave. People raising their first hog will find this book's tips and techniques indispensible. The recipes include a wide variety of vegetable dishes, entrees, and desserts. Instructions are easy to follow and feature readily available ingredients. The book contains photographs of several recipes and is well indexed. This collection represents the multiple nationalities that created our American cuisine as well as favorites from the 1950s and earlier. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient is a worthy addition to any cookbook collection and would be a great gift for those who are committed to local and sustainable foods. BRENDA SEARLE
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When you buy, read and use Canal House Cooking Volume 7: La Dolce Vita, you will truly be living the sweet life. This great Italian cookbook reads like a travelogue. It is full of watercolor illustrations and outstanding photography of food. Authors Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer have created a high-quality product. They make use of ingredients that are readily available to most cooks; however, if you have an Italian deli nearby you will be able to purchase more authentic items. Substitutes are often suggested. The layout is excellent using red ink to make ingredients
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June - September 2012
Childrens Here Come the Girl Scouts! By Shana Corey Illustrated by Hadley Hooper Scholastic, $17.99 32 pages ««««« Hooray! Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts by reading Shana Corey’s new picture book Here Come the Girl Scouts!. Readers are introduced to Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts and one exceptional woman! Most girls of the Victorian era adhered to strict rules that people expected females to follow, but not Juliette Low! She loved the outdoors, camping, fun adventures, and meeting new people. She formed an organization for all girls, regardless of color, class or religious beliefs. Woven into the illustrations are bits of wisdom from a 1913 Girl Scout Handbook. Illustrator Hadley Hooper captures the empowering spirit of scouting and helps encourage young girls to find a troop of their own. Read about how Juliette formed her first troop, what she included in the handbook and which badges were available for girls to earn in the early 1900s. This is a must read for any past, present or future scout. Readers will be interested to learn about famous women who were scouts – Hillary Clinton, Lucille Ball, Rebecca Lobo and more. Corey’s conclusion gives a deeper explanation of Juliette’s lasting legacy. Don’t be surprised if your little one wants to become a Girl Scout. Adventure awaits! KATHRYN FRANKLIN Larf By Ashley Spires Kids Can Press, $16.95 32 pages ««««« Any kid would love to meet Larf, a hairy, seven-foot-tall, vegetarian Sasquatch. When you are constantly hiding from people, it is easy to feel like no one knows you exist. Larf is used to a solitary life of gardening, jogging and walking Eric, his pet rabbit. The thought of any public attention makes Larf sweaty. When he is sighted, people think he is a guy in a gorilla suit, an escaped circus bear and even their Aunt Mildred! Author Ashley Spires’ book Larf takes place in the Pacific Northwest and tells the story of a creature faced with change. Spires’ illustrations are rendered in watercolor, ink, recycled paper collage and a dollop of organic Sasquatch detangler and conditioning shampoo! This book is vegetarian, vegan and Sasquatch friendly. One morning Larf sees an article in the newspaper stating that a Sasquatch will be appearing in town. Larf realizes he isn’t
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the only Sasquatch in the world. With someone like him, Larf could actually ride the teeter-totter and share hair grooming tips. Shy kids will identify with Larf’s feelings of loneliness and isolation from others. Everyone can relate to the challenge of making a new friend. This heartwarming story about companionship and change is bound to become a family favorite. ELIZABETH FRANKLIN My Very Own Name By Maia Haag Illustrated by Mark Mille I See Me! Inc., $39.90 32 pages «««« Children will delight in seeing their very own name spelled out, each letter delivered by a colorful animal (i.e. T by Toucan). Names fit within a catchy rhyming scheme. This gift book includes both first and last names, as well as the child’s birthday. Elaborate page illustrations will engage kids in finding all the visible and hidden animals. An animal encyclopedia in the back includes a short description and illustration to help kids identify animals within the book. The book comes encased within a striped paper enclosure. Attach a bow and this book will make the perfect gift. LISA ARD Three Little Beavers By Jean Heilprin Diehl Illustrated by Cathy Morrison Sylvan Dell Publishing, $9.95 32 pages «««« Everyone is good at something, but occasionally it takes a little time to figure out just what that something is. Beatrix the beaver learns and shares this lesson with young readers in Jean Heilprin Diehl’s delightful new children’s book, Three Little Beavers. Diehl has written an engaging short story about three sibling beavers named Bevan, Beverly and Beatrix. Beatrix quickly recognizes her brother Bevan’s awesome building skills, and her sister Beverly’s underwater acrobatic talent, yet fails to realize that she too possesses a few special qualities of her own. It isn’t until the three fall into traps that Beatrix’s talents come into focus and enable the siblings to get through their ordeal unharmed. The book overflows with artist Cathy Morrison’s exquisite illustrations that seem to leap off the page in an almost 3D-like appearance. Young readers are sure to be captivated by the beautiful color and rich detail that these illustrations showcase. Also included is a four-page section titled “For Creative Minds,” which is filled with intriguing facts about beavers, their habitat and ecological impact on the
environment. This inclusion is sure to satisfy inquisitive young readers who are interested in learning more about beavers. KIMBERLY LOGAN-ELWELL
nos, whose colorful images make the story come to life as characters pop off the page and gain a new sense of style. SOPHIE SESTERO
Bronto & the Pterodactyl Eggs By Charlotte Vivian Rodenberg Craigmore Creations, $14.99 32 pages «««« One small apatosaurus named Bronto and his heartwarming story of friendship and caring comes beautifully to life with Charlotte Vivian Rodenberg’s words, watercolor and ink illustrations in one of the newest titles from Portland publishing house Craigmore Creations. Bronto comes across a nest of whimpering pterodactyl eggs with no mother to be found. He cares for the eggs as he waits for the mother to return. Ultimately, Bronto must be resourceful and find a way to quickly protect the eggs from an erupting volcano before making his own escape. Have a story time with any young booklover and dinosaur enthusiast, ages two to eight, and find out how Bronto protects the eggs and what happens next in this unique Jurassic adventure. This tale is perfect to introduce any young mind to science, dinosaurs and adventure. The story flows nicely and each page is illustrated with hand-painted watercolor and ink by the author. We hope this first book from Rodenberg is not her last! CATHERINE MCMULLEN I Had a Favorite Dress By Boni Ashburn Illustrated by Julia Denos Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95 32 pages ««««« At some point every little girl and boy has a favorite something. Be it a blanket, dress, stuffed animal or pillowcase, inevitably it goes everywhere the child goes and is loved until there is nothing left. This is the case for the little girl in I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn. After outgrowing her favorite dress, her mother teaches the little girl to become resourceful and “make molehills into mountains.” The dress evolves into a shirt, a skirt, and all the way down to a frilly accessory for her hair. While told in a rhythmic style, the book teaches children in a fun way to find their own solutions to seemingly daunting issues, while explaining it via whimsical anecdote. By the end of the story the young girl is no longer running to her mother to solve problems, but becoming creative to find her own resolutions. The book is wonderfully done and is only made better with the lovely pictorials by illustrator Julia De-
The Little Gardener By Jan Gerardi Random House Children’s Books, $6.99 16 pages ««««« The Little Gardener, by Jan Gerardi, is a beautifully illustrated children’s book. Your little reader will eagerly move through the pages looking at the colorful pictures with hidden surprises under the flaps. The rhyming words take the child through the complete process of sowing a garden, from raking and hoeing to planting seeds, hoping for rain and dealing with bugs. Finally, flowers and vegetables grow and seeds are saved for the next year. The Little Gardener is a book your child will browse through many times and will undoubtedly become a well-worn favorite due to the sweet storyline, beautiful illustrations and the interactive flaps. SENIYE GROFF The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea By Helaine Becker Illustrated by Willow Dawson Kids Can Press, $15.95 80 pages «««« How do fish breathe underwater? Why is the ocean salty? Do otters really use tools to eat their food? Through simple experiments and fun facts, The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea teaches readers about the ocean and the importance of preservation. With a particular focus on pollution, ecological changes, overfishing and other environmental threats, this informative book promotes environmental awareness and suggests ways everyone can help to protect the ocean. Author Helaine Becker has created a book that uses educational hands-on activities to interest young readers in the watery world of the ocean and inspire them to develop their own ideas about environmental preservation. Although these activities are quite simple, each effectively demonstrates a scientific concept or animal adaptation. Every experiment has a set of clear step-by-step instructions and requires only a few household items to complete. Accompanying “What can you do?” sections suggest small environmentally-friendly changes readers can make in their daily lives to contribute to the health of the ocean. Willow Dawson’s illustrations add charm to the text. This book is an excellent addition to any classroom or home library. ELIZABETH GOSS
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Mystery, Crime & Thriller The Men Made of Stone By Logan Lo Grifters, $2.99 473 KB Let’s start with praise that I consider of the highest order. Logan Lo’s novel The Men Made of Stone has enough going for it that, while reading, I kept thinking back to Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. Both have a strong and unyielding hum of ultra-violence. Both have outbursts of humanity and humor that stand out sharply from the hum. Those breaks become gasps of welcome air to parched lungs, and this is not an effect one runs into in humdrum, grind ‘em out action thrillers. It’s a pity really that the director of the film version of A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, remains dead, as in his hands, there would be a quite intriguing film here. There are as many excellent books and movies about the Italian Mafia as you can shake a cannoli at, yet the equal intrigue of the competing Asian organized crime mobs of New York have not received the same treatment. Then again, Asian stories as a whole have not really received their due in terms of marketing and publicity. Logan Lo’s novel is not for the casual reader — let’s be clear about this. Rather ominously, before one reads the first chapter, there is a two-page list of characters, like the dramatis personae in Shakespeare. Personally, I never needed to refer to it, finding that the flow of Lo’s story about the club owner named C and his encounters with the mobs managed to explain itself just fine. Amidst the violence, there are pieces of knowledge interjected that give the whole a certain veritas, such as the Asian mobs picking up the sending of a black rose to an impending victim. Good ideas are always worth sharing. A book not for the weak of heart, but one that will please the strong of mind. SPONSORED REVIEW The Rope By Nevada Barr Minotaur Books, $25.99 368 pages ««««« The Rope is the latest installment in Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series. Here, Barr turns back the clock to reveal the back story behind her popular character. The Rope opens in Utah’s Glen Canyon in 1995. Pigeon, a new park employee who has fled a terrible trauma in New York, goes hiking alone only to wake up naked and injured in a natural dry well with no memory of how she arrived in her predicament. From there, Barr tells a
gritty but well crafted tale. Without giving too much away, this mystery is particularly satisfying because it continues beyond where the reader may believe initially that it will end, giving the work a refreshing lack of predictability. For fans of this series, The Rope will provide answers about a character they have grown to love. For those just starting to read this series, The Rope will provide great incentive to read the other books in the series. Either way, this book will make a great summer read that will prove hard to put down. ANNIE PETERS Dead Man’s Switch: A Kate Reilly Mystery By Tammy G. Kaehler Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95 290 pages «««« Kate Reilly, a race car driver without a car or team, follows the American LeMans Series races from track to track, hoping to be offered a job by a team that might need a substitute. When parking her car at the track, she finds the dead body of one of the race drivers. Finding herself a suspect, she quickly scrambles to solve the crime. While being offered the job of replacing the dead driver, which is a delightful development, she has to endure the suspicions of her team members who wonder if she would kill to get a spot in the race. As the list of suspects grows, she begins to worry about her own safety. Studying the track itself for the race and learning team procedures compete with her need to find the killer. With very little practice time in the Corvette she would drive in the race, she does all she can to prepare, determined to run the best possible race. Dead Man’s Switch is the first novel by Tammy G. Kaehler, who is a technical writer living in California. She has written marketing materials, feature articles and executive speeches, but an experience in corporate hospitality introduced her to the racing world and inspired the novel. An interesting look at racing from the inside, this bright and fun story is as fastpaced as an actual car race. The very enjoyable read engenders hope for more novels from the author. FRAN BYRAM
The River Secrets By Diane Dunning Amazon Digital Services, $2.99 167 KB Diane Dunning’s explosive debut novel calls all morality, religion, hypocrisy and sensationalism into question. The River Secrets opens with the epitome of scandal: an illicit affair between a nun and a priest, a brutal murder by a bishop and a coverup worthy of Hollywood, with an ending sure to sear its memory into the depths of your soul. Sister Anthony loves her life as a nun in Father Francis’ convent. She believes wholeheartedly in her faith (if not
A Trick of The Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel By Louise Penny Minotaur, $25.99 339 pages «««« When the body of a woman is discovered in the garden of a local artist, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his Montreal-based homicide team return to the small village of Three Pines to investigate. The story becomes more complicated when it is revealed that the victim is not (as first suspected) a stranger, but someone with troubling links to many of the village’s permanent residents and summer visitors. Under the general theme of “chiaroscuro” – the artistic interplay of shadows and light – Canadian author Louise Penny masterfully crafts an intricate plot that will keep readers guessing until the last pages. In the process of discovering the identity and motives of the murderer, the stories of several of the main characters, each with his or her own personal and professional struggles, also unfold. Fans of Penny’s previous work will thoroughly enjoy the latest installment in this popular series, which also made several Best Crime Novels of 2011 lists. Readers new to this author will want to go back and read the preceding six novels. LINDA FREDERIKSEN
“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.” Edward P. Morgan
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by all the rules and dogmas of the Catholic church) and relies on her God. Without it, she’d be lost. This makes her excommunication ever more traumatic. To make matters worse, she is innocent. Or is she? Are there levels of sin and guilt? She may not have been the direct perpetrator of the heinous murder committed by their bishop. She, however, did witness the cover up as a direct result of an affair between her and Father Francis. Does this make her guilty by association? How about him? These are just a few of the questions explored here. In Dunning’s hands, these issues are explored in a way that is simply divine. The ending will stun and excite you. Dunning has earned my recommendation and I look forward to reading her further works. SPONSORED REVIEW The Next One to Fall By Hilary Davidson Tor Forge, $24.99 352 pages ««« Travel writer Lily Moore’s drug addicted sister has recently died, plunging her into a deep depression. Her best friend Jesse, a photographer, convinces her to travel to Peru with him where, on a trek to Machu Picchu, Lily witnesses a woman’s suspicious death and becomes obsessed with solving the case and bringing the perpetrator to justice. With a strong premise, The Next One to Fall virtually guarantees to be an enthralling read. But it falls a bit short, its weaknesses mostly lying in its rather limited list of suspects. Towards the end of the novel, having approximately five people of interest, all of whom are in some way related to each other (biologically or through business), with author Hilary Davidson wanting to stretch her story out to achieve the utmost suspense, we end up actually just going in what feel like tedious circles. Is it Suspect A? No, it must be Suspect B! But no! Another twist! Maybe it’s Suspect C … but was Suspect A in on it? Additionally, there are certain aspects of the characters that seem forced; Lily’s best friend and cohort Jesse, for example, is conveniently homosexual, but with a penchant for down-home colloquialisms that come across as superficial. Shortcomings aside, however, The Next One to Fall is a fun and quick read. It is a relatively unchallenging book featuring a strong — albeit wavering — female protagonist and intriguing real-life Andean locations. Still, with Davidson having authored almost 20 nonfiction books, it should be a bit stronger. ASHLEY MCCALL
June - September 2012
Popular Fiction Twice Upon a Prequel ... & Three Shorts By Derald Hamilton D. Hamilton Books, $7.95 270 pages A good prequel gets you more interested in the previous book. Twice Upon a Prequel ... & Three Shorts explores the history of Elmo Piggins and Reginald Dexter, along with three shorts. “The Astonishing Elmo Piggins” looks at how Elmo Piggins received the call. With his family life, it is hard not to garner some sympathy for the character. Although he has some of the most understanding parents, his sister is the rebel in the crowd. As an origin story it hits all of the points it needs to, while at the same time showing how a family handles crises, both internal and external, as well as rising fame. It’s a good story, rising above its clichés. The “Rebirth of Reginald Dexter” is probably the best of the lot, as Hamilton had some fun with it; an old dog learns some new tricks, and his younger wife is defiThe Red Jacket By Jim Perkins Jim Perkins, $7.99 184 pages Do not let its plain cover deter you. The Red Jacket is a straightforward, almost charming novel about a young man growing up in the 1960s. Sixteen-year-old Francis grapples with the usual problems: he resents being the eldest son of a large, poor family, he dislikes his stepfather, and he thinks about girls without knowing too many of them. Less typical of the usual teenager, though, Francis also wrestles with his conscience. Recovering from a nasty illness that almost killed him, the boy wonders if he should become a priest or not. Not a lot of characters think about Elvis Presley and Jesus at the same time, but Francis is fleshed out enough to have these amusing contradictions. While the novel delves into the many reasons to go into the priesthood, its most entertaining and natural moments come from the family scenes that feature bickering, reminiscing, and the crazy grandfather who makes his own wine and talks about Italy all the time. The author writes these sections with skill and humor, and he gives Francis just enough serious trials to help him decide his path in life. Readers who want to dive into rose-colored nostalgia and don’t mind some religious musings should give The Red Jacket a try. They might be pleasantly surprised. Indeed, with a more appealing cover and some minor formatting, this novel should be a hit with Christian readers. SPONSORED REVIEW
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nitely appreciative of it. A colleague shows him how to enjoy his retirement years, and it culminates in a tandem jump that restarts a marriage while almost killing the pair. This is a truly fun story of rebirth with a nice counterpoint between logic and passion, and shows how the interplay works at its finest. The others tend toward the cliché; although the writing is solid throughout, it just comes off as either attempting to fit into the standard iconoclastic mold, or being borderline on the “God is Almighty” trope. “Taken Up Before The General” is about a son who is in conflict with his overbearing military father and sees reflections of his father in all authority figures. The military wife of “The War Comes Home” puts her life on hold every time her husband comes home, showing that not only soldiers suffer in wartime. “A Little Bit Wisdom” rounds things out, showing that God has an interest in even the smallest activities and their outcomes. This will definitely get someone interested in the The Call itself, and it stands well on its own. SPONSORED REVIEW Barefoot Season By Susan Mallery Mira Books, $14.95 365 pages ««« Barefoot Season, the first book in the new Blackberry Island series from popular romance novelist Susan Mallery, explores the damaged friendship between Michelle Sanderson and Carly Williams. After ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan, Michelle has returned home to the idyllic Blackberry Island, located off the coast of Washington state, to claim her inheritance — Blackberry Island Inn. Injured in the war and resentful after a decade of estrangement from her late mother and former best friend, Michelle is angry and defensive. Her mother Brenda nearly bankrupted the inn in her absence, and Michelle suspects Carly of being complicit in its destruction. However, single mother Carly dedicated years of her life to keep Brenda’s inn afloat with the understanding that she would become partial owner. When Michelle returns, Carly learns this couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite a bitter feud that involves their families and has left both women feeling betrayed, Michelle and Carly will need to work together to save their beloved inn. Will they be able to salvage their friendship and the inn over the course of one summer? Mallery’s many fans will relish this poignant tale of shattered friendships, new loves, overcoming the trauma of war and the enduring power of healing and redemption. Be sure to dip into this touching summer read with a warm slice of blackberry pie. LAURA DI GIOVINE
The Rescue of Belle & Sundance By Birgit Stutz & Lawrence Scanlan Da Capo Press, $22.00 220 pages ««« Near the town of McBride in the Robson Valley in northern British Columbia, some snowmobilers spot a pair of abandoned horses in the Canadian Rockies. A few folks in the town go up to the base of Mt. Renshaw loaded with hay and a gun to either feed the horses or put them down as necessary. What they saw and reported back to the town was that the horses were alive but that there was a glimmer of life in the horses’ eyes, so they fed them and mounted a rescue effort. The town of McBride with help from other nearby towns proceeded to dig a sixfoot-deep trench 3200+ feet downhill to a semi-maintained logging road in negative 40 degree weather. With factors such as limited daylight and bad weather, along with the horses' deteriorating condition, time was of the essence. Warming blankets were added to the horses and the digging of the trench started in earnest. Winter was taking its toll on the diggers and the horses, but when the media kicked in and more workers began appearing, they pushed on. A good read if you are horse lover, this is a feel good book showing that the human spirit can be cruel and good. Although someone would abandon two horses, the good of a village can rescue them. DICK MORRIS Come Home: A Novel By Lisa Scottoline St. Martin’s Press, $27.99 384 pages ««««« As pediatrician Jill Farrow plans her wedding, one of her step-daughters from a former marriage appears unexpectedly at her door. The girl delivers the shocking news that her father is dead and she believes he was murdered, despite the authorities’ ruling of an accidental overdose. Though resisting her step-daughter’s pleas to investigate, Jill is drawn into a swirling caldron of mystery and danger that threatens not only her planned nuptials, but her life. Adding complexity, her fiancé does not want the step-daughter in their lives and threatens to end the relationship. However, Jill discovers that her ex had an apartment in Manhattan which he leased under a false name, and hints of a dark conspiracy begin to emerge. She soon realizes that he was probably murdered and the killers are now after her. (continued on Page 16)
Derald Hamilton Author of The Call
PBR: Why two prequels? Why not link them together rather than separately? It would have been interesting to contrast the two given their ages and beliefs. Hamilton: Both stories were originally a part of my novel The Call. Then, during the editing process, one of my editors, Michelle Pollace, suggested that I revise them and make them separate works. And now that I've done so, I'm rather pleased with the results. These are two of the supporting characters in my novel that I deemed substantial enough to warrant their own stories. As for contrasting the two, I never considered that as an option. Elmo's story comprises his entire life up to his entry into Parkins. With Reginald, we are only covering the summer before his entry into the seminary. PBR: Are there any plans to a sequel of The Call? Or more novellas? Hamilton: No. I do have plans in the offing for another novel, but it's on a totally unrelated topic. PBR: As a child of the ’70s there are certain aspects of his background that ring familiar. Did you attempt to make his story a statement of the times? Hamilton: Most of Elmo's story took place in the ’70s. But yes, although I'm more inclined to believe the statements found in this novella are not necessarily exclusive to this present era. Sinclair Lewis' "Elmer Gantry" makes a similar statement, and I believe the backdrop of that story was the ’20s and ’30s. So there are some features that remain timeless. For instance, I believe it was back in the late 19th century, a venerable showman by the name of P.T. Barnum was quoted as saying, "There's a sucker born every minute." And given the current political scene here in America and the incidents that are highlighted in the news, I'm lead to conclude that there is a large part of the American psyche that enjoys being conned. And deep down, although he projects a strong aura of sincerity and conviction at the conclusion of the novella, I think young Elmo knows he is someone on the giving end of that dynamic. PBR: Any particular inspiration for "Little Bit of Wisdom"? Hamilton: Nothing in particular. I was riding in the bus one day and saw a piece of paper blowing by. The writer in me just took hold. And based on the feedback I've received thus far, it must have done a pretty decent job of doing so. Full interview available at www.portlandbookreview.com.
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Science Fiction & Fantasy Above His Proper Station By Lawrence WattEvans Tor, $26.99 336 pages ««« After his riot-sparking speech fails to save his lover’s sister from death, Anrel Murau travels to the city of Lume in the hopes of starting a new life. Unfortunately, the capital city proves no safe haven for the young fugitive. Famine, sorcery and imperial mismanagement have brought all of Walasia to the brink of destruction, and even Lume is not exempt from the growing tensions. Now Anrel must rise through a churning pool of thieves, foreign spies, angry mobs and corrupt sorcerers to become a national hero before the whole country descends into chaos. The sequel to A Young Man Without Magic, Above His Proper Station promises swashbuckling and high adventure, but delivers little action. The political parts of the story are very interesting, as WattEvans has developed a believable and fascinating political system. But although the turmoil engulfing Walasia should also be exciting, the central characters are too bland for their problems to be compelling. Anrel gets in and out of most predicaments simply by remaining alive, the supporting characters go along with whatever Anrel finds himself doing, and the entire story ends up being too mellow to develop real suspense. A good rainy-day read, but not a page turner. ELIZABETH GOSS Fenrir By M. D. Lachlan Pyr, $16.00 448 pages ««« Fenrir tells the interweaving story of Aelis, a Parisian noblewoman, Jehan, a crippled monk, and Leshii, an eastern trader, As they travel east, a sibling duo known as the ravens begin hunting Aelis for a prize for their king. The further into the journey, the more the adventurers begin to realize there are forces at work beyond anything they can comprehend. Fenrir is a fascinating story, retelling the old Norse tales in a new, fresh way. The characters are fascinating, shining with their own personalities. They transcend stereotypes, instead becoming believable entities, making the reader wonder by the end of the book if they haven’t just finished a real-life account of intrepid travelers. In spite of the fascinating and endearing characters, the story progressed sluggishly. Instead of letting the story unfold
on its own, the author sometimes forces it on. He also neglects some necessary information early in the story, like how characters came to be where and who they are. Eventually, all is revealed, but some clarification earlier on would have helped carry the story along more smoothly, especially with some characters sharing the same name. Very few shortcomings aside, Fenrir is an entertaining and enticing story of Norse gods meddling in mortal lives. It should not be missed. ANDREW KEYSER The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins Scholastic, $12.99 373 pages ««««« The smash hit The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a book set in a world like and unlike our own. Panem is split into 12 districts, each of which specializes in manufacturing a particular product. Katniss Everdeen, our heroine, lives in District 12. Her father was killed in a coal mining accident, and her mother’s heart broke, leaving Katniss to raise her younger sister Prim. Every year the Capitol requires each district to offer up one boy and one girl as a “tribute,” to remind them of the cost of rebellion. When Prim is selected, Katniss volunteers to save her little sister. The story continues as Katniss enters a fight for her life. This book is rich and full of detail. The story is riveting and will keep you turning pages. However, it also raises social questions and debates about topics such as hunger, poverty and social class. These themes are prevalent throughout the book. In addition to a great story, it provides key talking points for discussion with those around you. RACHEL J. RICHARDS Touchstone By Melanie Rawn Tor Forge, $25.99 368 pages «««« Melanie Rawn’s Touchstone shows her continuing status as a major figure of contemporary fantasy. This book tells the story of a band of traveling players, known as Touchstone, as they try to overcome both the difficulties of becoming successful in the cutthroat world of the theater, but also their own personal hurdles. Cayden, the major narrator is trying to deal with his aristocratic mother’s disappointment in his humble profession and ambitions that are differ-
ent from her own. Mieka, the secondary narrator, is striving to create a place for himself within his own overwhelmingly large family, as well as find an outlet for his sometimes dangerous and reckless talent. The story is briskly paced and engaging, and the reader is immersed in the story of Cayden and Mieka, as well as a richly formed cast of supporting characters. The end of the book works into an obvious setup for the second book of the trilogy, but not to such an extent the story in the present volume is left unfinished. Rawn is also not an author that spends a lot of time explaining the worlds she has created, so readers who are unfamiliar with fantasy may feel slightly out of their league. Ultimately, this is contemporary fantasy that references multiple real-world issues without being too didactic. KATIE RICHARDS The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity Edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray DAW, $7.99 320 pages ««« Fae culture has never been the same since humans took over the world. Fae have become experts at finding ways to survive. In order to blend in, they sneak around and hide who they really are. Editors Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray provide helpful tips for Fae living secret lives in their new book The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. The book is a compilation of short stories. The featured tales demonstrate what Fae can do to survive in the mortal world. Some try to take over the economy by starting companies like Walmart. Others steal babies and raise them as their own. Fae who can control the weather can also control society. The stories cover a wide range of topics. Readers should be aware that some of the content is disturbing. But overall, this is a fun compilation which fans of the fantasy genre will enjoy reading. BARBARA COTHERN Summoning: Book One of the Moon Wolf Saga By Carol Wolf Night Shade Books, $14.99 276 pages ««««« Amber is a lone wolf with a pack of one, and she likes it that way. After escaping an abusive family situation, the plucky 16-yearold has set up a life for herself in sunny Los Angeles. One night while prowling the
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Hollywood hills, Amber stumbles across an occult ceremony. Before she knows it, she finds herself tied to Richard, a handsome demon with a bit of an identity problem. Author Carol Wolf (a perfect name for the genre!) brings readers Summoning, the first book in the Moon Wolf Saga series. Wolf is no novice; she’s an award-winning playwright, a script writer for video games and a movie director. This book is Wolf’s urban fantasy debut. Amber, daughter of the wolf-kind (aka, werewolf), gets the news that the World Snake and the Eater of Souls are both headed to Los Angeles to wreak some major havoc. Meanwhile, Richard is looking to reclaim his soul from two old enemies. Fans of Patricia Briggs should try out this new series. Wolf adds a unique mythic lore to the genre. Amber is a strong character who readers will want to see more of soon. KATHRYN FRANKLIN Lance of Earth and Sky (The Chaos Knight, Book Two) By Erin Hoffman Pyr, $17.00 324 pages «««« When we last left Vidarian Rulorat, he had used a powerful sun ruby that opened a gate between worlds, a choice that had consequences both for Vidarian personally and for the universe. An unexpected change is Vidarian’s connection with his friend Ruby, whose body is now dead but whose spirit is trapped inside the ruby. Being called on to aid the emperor in the impending war and deal with the lasting effects of the gate, Vidarian must work to stabilize the world again before it is too late. Lance of Earth and Sky is the exciting sequel in Erin Hoffman’s new series, The Chaos Knight. It picks up where the first book left off (reading them in order is extremely important) and does a great job of showing the effects of the choices that were made in the first novel. It also shows how Vidarian’s character changes when dealing with the effects of grief, lost love and war. The political storyline is also intriguing. Fans of the first book will enjoying reading about Vidarian’s further adventures. BARBARA COTHERN
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June - September 2012
History The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II By Alex Kershaw Da Capo Press, $26.00 294 pages ««««« Out of the most insufferable injustices, sometimes a truly great story of humanity emerges. Up until 1944, Hungary had been the last safe haven for Europe’s remaining Jewish population. As the Nazis realized their time was running out, Adolph Eichmann, Hitler’s notorious henchman, launched a last ditch effort to annihilate those who were left. As many as 1200 Jews who had fled to Hungary for safety were being sent to the ovens at Auschwitz every day. Time was of the essence. In The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II, Alex Kershaw presents an absorbing, suspenseful account of evil versus fellow feeling. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest on a mission to save as many lives as he could. This man, who could have lived out the war peacefully in his neutral home country, was compelled to act. Possessing an air of authority the Nazis were not accustomed to, he was able to bring tens of thousands of Jews under Swedish protection. Your heart will be drumming in your ears as Wallenberg goes head to head with Eichmann, if it meant going to the train stations himself: retrieving people at the most crucial moment. Author of the bestseller The Bedford Boys, Alex Kershaw brings his expert approach to the story of a man who saved more lives than Oscar Schindler and has not received as much recognition. This book encompasses humanity at both ends of the spectrum. As someone who has an entire shelf devoted to Holocaust survivor stories, let me tell you that this one is not to be missed! ALICEA SWETT 1812: The Navy’s War By George C. Daughan Basic Books, $32.50 491 pages «««« In 1812, the British Empire was pouring its naval and army resources into defeating Napoleon. The British were attacking our commerce shipping and taking the sailors to work in their naval ships. President Madison thought the time was right to stand up to the “impressment” of U.S. citizens. The Republicans
June - September 2012
were advocates for the war with England but were against instituting taxes to pay for it. The Federalists were against the war although profited handsomely from it due to the licensed trade with England to deliver supplies to the Wellington forces fighting Napoleon’s army in Spain. One of the early successes in the war was the victory of the Constitution over the British ship of the line Guerriere. The Constitution met the Guerriere on August 19, 1812. After 30 minutes the ship was reduced to a “floating log” while the Constitution had received little damage. This single, two-ship battle shocked the English and earned the fledgling American navy grudging respect. Initially, President Madison was intent on attacking Canada. Unfortunately with few men, few ships and what seemed like a never ending line of poor military leaders, the U.S. never did make much progress. The captains of the navy had no communications with shore and therefore could act in a decisive manner and make decisions on a moment’s notice. All captains wanted to distinguish themselves in battle and lead their crews into battle. The War of 1812 established the United States as a legitimate power in time to be Britain’s most loyal ally for the next 200 years. BRIAN TAYLOR The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery By Eric Foner W.W. Norton & Company, $18.95 426 pages «««« Eric Foner won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2010 biography titled The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, and with unmistakable good reason. This book — named for Lincoln’s 1862 proclamation that “the fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation” — examines Abraham Lincoln’s character at a depth not yet considered. Rather than rest easy with a Lincoln whose anti-slavery stance defines his career and life, Foner instead explores a deeper complexity. “Too often, Lincoln is presented as a singular model of prudence and pragmatism while other critics of slavery are relegated to the fringe, caricatured as self-righteous fanatics with no sense of practical politics,” Foner writes. “I believe that this displays a misunderstanding of how politics operates in a democratic society.” In attempting to locate Lincoln within a broader realm of anti-slavery thought, Foner considers not just what Lincoln has written and spoken but also what Lincoln does not say or consider. One hallmark of Lincoln’s greatness was his capacity for
growth. How then, Foner asks, can we pinpoint him with singular quotes, ideologies or assumptions? In his attempt to question Lincoln’s shortcomings alongside his strengths, Foner writes a biography that raises Civil War considerations to a new level. This book is a must-read for history buffs and students of American culture and heritage. JENNIE A. HARROP If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home By Lucy Worsley Walker & Company, $27.00 350 pages ««««« In the book, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, author, historian and museum curator Lucy Worsley explores the fascinating social history of various customs and practices of life carried out within the private sphere of the home. Worsley starts with The Bedroom, where, until recently, most people entered the world, and continues on to The Bathroom, The Living Room, and The Kitchen. Each chapter discusses the history and evolution of various aspects of everyday life such as privacy (everyone slept in the same room), childbirth (a communal event), toilet paper (an ‘arsewisp’— a handful of straw), cluttered Victorian drawing rooms (the more ‘stuff’ displayed in a room, the better), and etymology (the word dessert derives from the French word desert, ‘the creation of absence’ of the main course followed by sweets). If Walls Could Talk is a companion book to the popular BBC television series of the same name. However, this book holds its own as a curious and thought-provoking read. CHERI WOODS-EDWIN The Day the World Discovered the Sun: An Extraordinary Story of Scientific Adventure and the Race to Track the Transit of Venus By Mark Anderson Da Capo Press, $26.00 280 pages ««««« Close your eyes, and imagine a scientist. Your mental image is very likely a nerdy, white, middle-aged (or older) man in a lab coat on a university campus. From our perch at the beginning of the 21st century, it’s easy to think that this has always been the case. The Day the World Discovered the Sun describes a time when scientists were introduced to kings, and hailed as conquering heroes.
For navigators during the age of sail, no information was more necessary, or more vital to the survival of the ship and her crew, than to know the precise latitude and longitude of their position. By the first half of the 18th century, astronomers realized that by observing the transit of Venus across the face of the sun, they would be able to use simple trigonometry to create extremely accurate maps and charts. The transit of Venus occurs (at most) twice per century. It is rare that a history book can be described as genuinely suspenseful. Anderson’s narrative is exciting; his description of three different expeditions reads like an adventure novel. He also clearly explains the math behind the astronomy, and why it’s important even today. June 5, 2012, marks the last transit of Venus in our lifetime, the next time this occurs will be in 117 years. If sometime in late spring you happen to glance towards the stars, remember that 250 years ago, you wouldn’t want to mess with a scientist. BRAD WRIGHT The Cunard Story By Chris Frame & Rachelle Cross The History Press, $14.95 128 pages ««««« In an age when romance and travel are no longer compatible, The Cunard Story explains why ocean liners have not only survived but why they enjoy a new lease on life as cruise ships. This small book is loaded with images and snippets of information that complement a cheerful, affectionate narrative. Early in the 19th century, Samuel Cunard recognized the potential of steam power and left Nova Scotia for England, setting his sights on a seafaring fortune. He contracted with the British government to run the first reliably scheduled transatlantic mail service. As business grew, the “Cunarders” played a leading role among their rivals on the high seas. They lost their luxurious appeal in World War I when a German torpedo sank the Lusitania and the Mauretania became a hospital ship for soldiers wounded at Gallipoli. After further service in World War II, Cunard again became synonymous with glamour. The book follows rivalries with French, German and American companies. It is elegantly designed and the pages show both exterior and interior developments. The three contemporary Cunard Queens — Elizabeth, Victoria and Mary 2 — epitomize all that the company has stood for during the last two centuries. JANE MANASTER
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Biographies & Memoirs Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life By Maria Ross Red Slice Press, $14.95 214 pages The vivacious memoir writer was a marketing and businessbranding consultant before her brain exploded. Just like there are no atheists in the foxhole, we can say there are no folks who don’t examine their lives after they almost lose it. When the hectic and meticulously packed suitcase of your life gets dumped out all over the floor, it’s actually a blessing. You can repack it however you want. My life had whipped itself up in a frenzy of change and stress until my head (quite literally) exploded. Once the rubble was cleared away, I saw the world in sharp focus. I believe this book is valuable for several reasons. First, Ross is not a professional writer. She doesn’t lie or fictionalize. Her experiences strike me as authentic, compared to many other memoirs. She truly writes with unabashed candor. She had an aneurysm and survived. After the cerebral hemorrhage, she was blind for six weeks and suffered horrible physical pain. She lost her memory and vocabulary. She had eye surgeries, brain surgeries, personal therapies, MRIs, drugs, in-home care, group therapies; the whole business might have cost a million dollars without insurance. What if her husband had not worked at Microsoft, which had excellent benefits? The post-aneurysm months were excruciating, but with tremendous spirit (perhaps that perky marketing optimism helps) we root for her. She’s humorous and honest, and even describes her myriad of medical procedures as if she’s talking about her dog, who figures prominently in her recovery. Her reflections on the tenuous, and even frivolous, nature of health are touching. It’s all random. And it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe. A year and half after almost dying, she decided to write a book. This book tells us about the last two years of Ross’s life after her brain injury and the trials and tribulations for her, her husband Paul, and their friends. Do not ever take life for granted. Now she’s “back” to her life and even admits she’s back on the “hamster wheel,” but perhaps with more philosophical reflection focusing on quality more than quantity. SPONSORED REVIEW
Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories By Stephanie Hart And Then Press, $12.00 223 pages ««««« Don’t be confused by the title of the book; in theaters everywhere a movie of the same name is playing. Rest assured, author Stephanie Hart’s moving book is far from a fairy tale. Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories follows one woman’s life journey. The collection is a series of short vignettes split into chapters that explore childhood, boarding school and high school years. Hart focuses on her family history and comes to terms with what she has learned throughout her life. Some of the stories are humorous (like shopping trips with her mom) but overall, the tone is very somber. Hart lived through verbal abuse, a strained mother/daughter relationship, divorce and the eventual loss of both her parents. Yet she successfully shares her very personal experiences in a way that makes them universal. Readers will relate to Hart and recognize parts of themselves in her words. By the end of the book, Hart shares her revelations about love, loss, heartache, death, tolerance and aging. She should be proud of her work and the potential it has to encourage readers to hold up a mirror to their own past and start living their future. ELIZABETH FRANKLIN Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics By Loretta Lynn Alfred A. Knopf, $29.95 224 pages «««« Loretta Lynn is the real country deal. Her rags-to-riches story was made famous in her 1976 best-selling memoir, Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. She was the first woman to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association and is beloved by musicians of all genres. I survived a lot of things in my lifetime. And I guess that’s what most of these songs are about: survivin’. In Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics, which includes a touching forward by Elvis Costello, Lynn shares her memories of the people and places that inspired her to write some of her most famous songs throughout her more than 50-year career. She talks about writing “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” after a performance one night, when she met a woman with seven children who
was dumped by her husband for a younger girl. They sat down together, drank a few beers, and then cried. Plenty of her songs pine over losing love and home wreckers, but she also tackles the social issues of birth control and war. She always speaks her mind and holds nothing back. The book includes lots of memorabilia, over 100 photographs, and anecdotes that offer insight into her hardscrabble childhood in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. She also touches on her collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes fame, who Lynn refers to as that “rock and roller from Detroit.” They ended up working together on the Van Lear Rose album which White produced in 2004. Several of the songs listed toward the back of the book have yet to be released, so there’s hope for a new album on the horizon. Lynn says that she only writes about stuff she’s experienced, and that becomes obvious when you read her heartfelt lyrics and observations. This is a beautiful book and a must-have for any Loretta Lynn fan. My only complaint is that I would have loved to read even more about her songwriting process. DIANE PROKOP 1065131 By Jason Breedlove Breedlove Publishing, LLC, $11.99 178 pages ««« Local author Jason Breedlove’s memoir, 1065131, is a gritty, angry, often brutally honest account of his three terms of prison in Iowa. The author sold every kind of illegal drug and was addicted to cigarettes, alcohol and meth. Breedlove believes the only way to stop the illegal drug trade is for there to be many more police and longer sentences for those who get caught. The most interesting aspect about this book is Breedlove’s description of prison life including the food, the nicknames prisoners use for one another and the amazing, cruel tricks they play. He admits to being the happiest person in prison, where he had structure, clear rules, and could sit and talk to other inmates. Breedlove describes the way he has organized his life after prison to resemble the life he had while incarcerated. This is a remarkable memoir about the tale of someone still trying to figure out their life after spending the majority of it in jail. It is not for the lighthearted as it can be dizzyingly honest and cringe worthy at many different points. A short read at 178 pages, the book is mainly composed of poems and looks at prison life from the view of someone struggling to maintain optimism after years in a world that contained little of it. LIZ FRIEDMAN
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The Book of Drugs: A Memoir By Mike Doughty Da Capo Press, $16.00 252 pages ««« Mike Doughty’s adventurous memoir in The Book of Drugs covers all the topics expected: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The book spans from Doughty’s days of devotion to his band to the hard partying that comes with a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. This spiral starts when he was young and given a front row seat to his parents’ daily fighting. The conflicts that ensue are due to a childhood devoid of a loving family as support. The short memoir provides a behind-the-scenes glance at the life of someone in the spotlight. Anyone with an interest in stepping into the spotlight or starting to experiment with drugs would enjoy this book as a foreshadowing of a possible life. Readers should enjoy the quick wit and clever self-analysis Doughty employs. This is an interesting read about the places drugs can take a person and the requirements for completely reorganizing one’s life. This quick memoir asks the reader to analyze his or her own life in accordance to when Doughty’s went off track. LIZ FRIEDMAN Shatner Rules By William Shatner with Chris Regan Dutton, $21.95 254 pages ««««« William Shatner has been in the public eye for decades. He’s worked in film, television and theater, given lectures, recorded albums, written books and, let’s not forget, attended all those “Star Trek” conventions. With Shatner Rules, Bill (as he likes to be called) doles (continued next page)
June - September 2012
Biographies & Memoirs out anecdotes, advice and rules to live by with humor and charm. The writing is tongue-in-cheek with its simultaneously self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing passages. But there is truth there as well, and getting a look at the Shatner psyche is what it’s all about. RULE: Always Be Yourself. Especially If ‘Yourself ’ Has a High Q Rating and Is Pleasing to a Wide Variety of Advertisers. This book is an utter delight. It is, literally, laugh-out-loud funny. The stories are full of twists that are at times surreal— like having Henry Rollins and Rush Limbaugh together at a football party in Bill’s house. The book is full of jokes, rules and “fun factner” asides with little cartoon Shatners. It is … just … so much … fun to read. And that’s just what it’s meant to be. Shatner Rules is a light, clever, witty book that is all about enjoying life from the perspective of a now 80-year-old man with fascinating stories to tell. Don’t look for serious here, but if you’re in the mood for something flip and fun, this is a great read. LEAH SIMS Uncovering the Truth about Meriwether Lewis By Thomas C. Danisi Prometheus Books, $26.00 350 pages «««« This is a very interesting book except the author expects that the reader already has a familiarity with the life and times of Meriwether Lewis, and so there is no information about Lewis’s life prior to his joining the army. The in-depth and detailed information on Lewis from 1795 to 1809 often reads like a textbook for a collegiate course. Lewis proved his mettle early in his army career by acting as his
June - September 2012
own attorney when he was accused by a superior on false charges. For a 21 year old with no experience in military law, Lewis “showed great skill” in successfully defending himself at his court-martial. Prior to being selected by President Jefferson to lead the exhibition to the northwest with William Clark, Lewis was working for Jefferson as his personal secretary. Jefferson said of Lewis, “He is an intelligent officer who possessed the expertise and ability to accumulate the scientific and geographical aspects of the exhibition and later to convert the vast, cumulative data into print.” Lewis contracted malaria, which would have a profound effect on his health and life until his death at the early age of 35. Throughout his military career and other various governmental appointments and his participation in the Lewis and Clark Exhibition, Lewis was plagued by high fevers, headaches, bouts of delirium, pains in his muscles and bones, and body shakes. Theories regarding his death include both suicide and that he was murdered. After much research the author states that in his opinion, Lewis did not kill himself on purpose but, due to depression and the constant pain and anguish from malaria, he acted irrationally and shot himself. BRIAN TAYLOR Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak By Mark Saunders Fuze Publishing, $14.95 283 pages ««« The idea of quitting our jobs, packing the car and taking a journey to a whole new life has probably been a dream for most of us at one time or another. This book is the story of a couple who did just that. They quit successful careers in Portland and drove south and east to Mexico. The foibles of travelling thousands of miles to a foreign country with a cat and a dog in the back seat is the perfect setting for a humorous story. This true story is a cautionary tale about adjusting to life in a new place where you don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language. Anyone thinking of making such a move should read this book to receive instruction in such exciting areas as dealing with scorpions, food, shopping, car repair, the slower pace of life, and endless fiestas and fireworks. This is the first book for Mark Saunders, though he is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and cartoonist. He even tried stand-up comedy at one point. He and his wife currently live in Mexico, and their journey there is described in this book.
An autobiographical accounting, this delightful and amusing read will have you chuckling and engrossed, and wanting more. Descriptions of a warm, sunny city, fascinating people and fun way of life are wonderful. FRAN BYRAM Kasher in the Rye By Moshe Kasher Grand Central Publishing, $24.99 300 pages «««« Moshe Kasher’s memoir documents his descent into drugs, vandalism and overall trouble beginning when he was twelve. Kasher’s parents are both deaf, which allows him to get into all sorts of trouble while distorting the truth, since he is his mother’s interpreter. Trouble begins when his mother leaves New York City and his father to live in Oakland with his grandmother and brother. Kasher is overweight, unpopular and ashamed of his Jewishness. While desperate to fit in and hanging out with the wrong crowd leads Kasher down the wrong path, he seems to love weed, LSD, alcohol and phone sex nonetheless.
Given that Kasher is a comedian, you expect this memoir to be funny. But, at times, this reviewer felt there was a bit of exaggeration too. As long as the reader enters this relationship of a glimpse into Kasher’s early childhood, he will be genuinely entertained and kept wondering if and how Kasher will be able to get out of the deep hole he has dug for himself. SENIYE GROFF (continued from Page 12) The story of a suburban mom/pediatrician quickly becomes a compelling and suspenseful thriller. It will keep you guessing right up to the unexpected end. New York Times best-selling author of Save Me, Think Twice, and Look Again, Lisa Scottoline has been creating exciting novels full of wonderful and lovable people and astounding plots for many years. Her multitudes of fans know they can always count on a great read when they open one of her novels. Days after finishing this novel, I am still thinking about Jill and her family. They feel like old friends. Worrying about finding time to read a rather large book, I was surprised to find I had finished it in only two days. I just couldn’t put it down! FRAN BYRAM
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Published on Jun 1, 2012