March 2011 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 F R E E
NEW AND OF INTEREST
Why and How to be a Writer By Therese Fowler, author of Souvenir, Reunion, and Exposure Page 2
The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters
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Science Fiction & Fantasy/Sequential Art Expanded Section
A Bucket List for Outdoor Enthusiasts By Chris Santella Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95, 224 pages It seems like everybody’s got a “Bucket List” these days – a list of things they’d like to accomplish before they die. Chris Santella’s Fifty Places To Hike Before You Die, the latest in the popular “Fifty Places” series, will grab the attention of outdoor enthusiasts with a diverse list of must-see places to hike. Hiking aficionados will need to save up their nickels and dimes, because Santella’s beautifully crafted tome ventures far beyond the backyard and touches down in exotic locales around the globe.
From Maine to Morocco and Texas to Tibet, Fifty Places To Hike Before You Die is a smorgasbord of global tastes. While few people will ever conquer more than a handful of these hikes in their lifetimes, that isn’t really the point – the stunning photos and detailed descriptions of these places are enough to transport the reader to each and every far-flung locale. Some are leisurely strolls – a brisk walk along Italy’s Amalfi Coast is more an excuse for a steaming hot bowl of scialatielli pasta and a tour of the See FIFTY, cont’d on page 10
A Talk With Kevin Behan
Author of Your Dog is Your Mirror Page 10
How to Make Grilled Cheese
By author Laura Werlin, cheese expert...find out why Page 11
74 Reviews INSIDE!
Crafts & Hobbies Simply Sublime Gifts By Kahn, Jodi Potter Craft, $19.99, 128 pages I consider myself a crafty person, but perhaps not very into crafts. There seems to be a flooding of little craft project books floating around. It’s difficult to find one that really stands out. This one, though it has a couple of projects that really interested me, like shrinkable plastic charms and the pillowcase tote bag, didn’t really provide the level of inspiration I expected. It’s no surprise that the Pil-
lowcase Tote stood out to me, as the author also has a book titled, Simply Sublime Bags. I’m really interested in that one. These “gifts” tended to show a lot of tricks with iron on transfers. A cool trick in some cases, but I’m not apt to pull out an iron for my own clothes, let alone making gifts for someone else. A redeeming quality can be found with some of the projects that focus on reuse and recycling, I only wish the items looked more…recycled. Like the cereal box gift tags, super cute and an idea I will borrow for my scrapbooks. While worth a looksee at a bookstore or a checkout from my local library, I don’t see myself spending full-price on this book. Reviewed by Janet Wright
Travel Caribbean Hideaways: Discovering Enchanting Rooms and Private Villas By Meg Nolan Van Reesema Rizzoli, $50, 202 pages Caribbean Hideaways: Discovering Enchanting Rooms and Private Villas is exactly that -- a book where dreams are born and to be fulfilled. Every page offers a fantasy, fun-filled vacation getaway or a life-changing adventure waiting for you to participate. The exciting thing about this particular book is that these are secret hideaways, places that most likely won’t show up on Travelocity.com or Priceline.com. These are the intimate plac-
es that only the most-affluent get to see and enjoy. While the pictures alone will entertain you for hours idealizing your retirement days in a villa overlooking the ocean on one of the infamous bays of the Caribbean islands, this books offers more in the way of description narratives about the various locations, such as; Hermitage Bay, Cobblers Cove, Itopia and Jade Mountain. Even if you’re merely planning a simple and inexpensive vacation to the Caribbean’s, you’ll want to own this work, get a feel for what all these islands have to offer. From Montego Bay to Isle De France, this is the quintessential encyclopedic work on the Caribbean islands gives anyone a bird’s eye view of how the other half lives. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson
Parenting & Families Heart Transplant By Andrew Vachss - Frank Caruso Dark Horse Books, $24.99, 100 pages Heart Transplant is written by three amazingly wired-in individual artists; all three bringing their own unique talent to this heart-wrenching project. Written in a first-person account from a kid who lives with his alcoholic father, the story begins relaying the plight of every teenager, the understood and clich‚ classes, who belongs and who doesn’t. “The only time anyone ever saw us was when they needed someone to make themselves look big. By making us small.”
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His father attempts to teach him lifelessons in his own way; not in the normal way a stable parent would do but unique to his own abilities and experiences. It’s not until his father dies that he realizes how much his father did love him and sacrifice for him taking a beating to build confidence in his son. Touching, poignant story that would grab any teens’ attention from the first sentence and dark sketch-style drawings. The book does well in enticing its readers to finish the story to completion; it compels the viewer to want to know what happens next to this deprived young man and who, in the end, finds real love, confidence and inner strength that wasn’t there before. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson
Why and How to be a Writer By Therese Fowler, author of Souvenir, Reunion, and Exposure
Location: a writing conference, where I am inside the conference hotel’s Grand Ballroom. Countless rows of metal chairs with upholstered seats face a small stage at one end of the room. There are some 8,000 writers and writing professionals in attendance—aspiring writers, published authors, editors and publishers of lit journals and small presses, writing program administrators and teachers. The five authors who will read have all won or been finalists for a major writing award. Their names are nearlegendary in certain circles, but I confess I have read only one of the books by only one of the authors, seated four rows in front of me. Though I am a former writing teacher with an MFA, a well-published author whose books are sold around the world, an author with another book about to be released and one more under contract—in short, a working professional writer—it’s hard not to feel lesser to these five authors in every way. They are winners of major awards (Pulitzer, MacArthur). They are celebrated and revered. They have a Hindenburg-sized ballroom reserved for their reading, whereas the biggest venues I’ve appeared in to date could seat perhaps one hundred. If they are “writers,” what, then, am I? “Award-winning” is not part of my bio, unless you include finalist and runner-up. Still, my novels are finding readers, and I’m making a living from my work; if I am feeling lesser, how must the still-unpublished writers feel? These five authors’ books have been labeled as important, relevant, exemplary, even transcendent. As each takes the podium in turn and reads his or her work, I am impressed. Surprisingly, though, I’m not any more impressed than I have been by many other authors whose books go unrecognized. Why, and how, did these works rise to the top of the heap? When the fifth author has finished, the audience is told that books will be sold and autographed at the other end of the ballroom. I’ve met many authors. Some came to visit the MFA program where I was a student. Some were on book tour. Some were participants at literary festivals. Writers go to see other writers because we seek inspiration. We seek affirmation. We seek validation, and we want to learn. We go because we love the author or the book, because we love writing, because we love stories and words. Here in the ballroom, as I get in line to buy the latest book by, for me, the most impressive of the five I’ve just seen and heard, I’m thinking about what I might say when I have the book signed. Will I self-identify as an author? I did on meeting Joyce Carol Oates, and she wrote down my name and my book’s title and promised to look for it. I did once with Alice Walker; she took my hands and wished me blessings. I buy the book, then turn and move towards the signing table—and stop short when I see that four of the five authors, including the one whose book I am holding, have gone. Perhaps there’s a good reason for this apparent bad form. I give the benefit of the doubt, and later, when I see the author whose book I bought now sitting at the bar, I decide to stop. I say, Great job, and I say, I bought your book, and I say, I was really disappointed that you left so quickly afterward that I didn’t get it signed. The author says, Oh, sorry, in a tone that doesn’t convince, and then, a clear afterthought, Thanks for buying the book. I nod, but say, Un-cool. Just so you know. Un-cool because, in this author’s shoes, I’d now invite the reader to get the book, and I’d sign it, and then I’d buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar just because. With this thought I’m reminded that I’m not lesser at all. The writing life is difficult, the publishing world vast and fickle, the literary community hard to comprehend, let alone penetrate. It’s difficult—oh, my, is it ever—to hold on to those things that compel you to put down in words the stories in your head. Will they be undervalued, dismissed? Will you be? What if you are? Is it your problem, or theirs? How do you grow a skin thick enough to withstand a bad review? A skin thick enough to allow you to say to a supposed superstar, Un-cool? You perfect your craft, then tell your stories the best way you can. You take the good with the bad. You tell yourself, opinions are not facts. You refuse to compete. You value yourself. You say, I am a writer.
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526 S. 15th Avenue Cornelius, OR 97113 Ph. 503.701.6761 email@example.com EDITOR IN CHIEF M. Chris Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org 503-701-6761 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Brad Wright email@example.com 503-577-5256 GRAPHIC DESIGN/LAYOUT Heidi Komlofske firstname.lastname@example.org 877-913-1776 Janet Wright email@example.com 503-577-4791 WEBSITE ADMINSTRATOR Janet Wright firstname.lastname@example.org 503-577-4791 COPY EDITORS M. Chris Johnson Mark Petruska Brad Wright ADVERTISING SALES Brad Wright email@example.com 503-577-5256 M. Chris Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org 503-701-6761 AD DESIGN Janet Wright Axie Barclay COLUMN COORDINATOR FOR WRITERS ON WRITING AND THE READER’S PERSPECTIVE Joseph Arellano 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 San Francisco Book Review or San Francisco Book Review advertisers. All images are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders. All words © 2011, Portland Book Review. March 2011 print run - 10,000 copies.
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IN THIS ISSUE Crafts & Hobbies............................................ 2 Travel............................................................. 2 Parenting & Families...................................... 2 Classics........................................................... 4 Humor Non-Fiction........................................ 4 Poetry............................................................. 4 Romance......................................................... 5 Horror............................................................ 5 Popular Fiction............................................... 5 Mystery, Crime & Thrillers............................. 6 Current Events & Politics............................... 7 Historical Fiction............................................ 7 Expanded Science Fiction & Fantasy and Sequential Art............................................ 8 Self-Help....................................................... 10 Business & Investing.................................... 10 A Talk With Kevin Behan.............................. 10 Cooking, Food & Wine.................................. 11 How to Make Grilled Cheese......................... 11 Biographies & Memoirs................................ 12 Health, Fitness & Dieting............................. 12 Art, Architecture & Photography................. 13 Spirituality................................................... 13 Tweens......................................................... 13 Young Adult.................................................. 14 Children’s..................................................... 15
FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to Portland Book Review’s very first printed edition! We are all so excited to be putting this paper out to other avid readers and book lovers alike. One of the things we, as a staff, have focused on is making a hallmark in Portland, choosing books that would appeal to you; our readers. Please take some time to visit our website at www.portlandbookreview. com; share your comments, check out our other reviews and news-worthy articles and let us know what you want to read. We also want to ask that you support our distribution sites and advertising patrons as well. Your participation will keep this paper alive! With the devastating news of Powell’s recent announcement of layoffs and now Borders’ bankruptcy, it reminds us all to support the art of reading, buying books both locally and on-line to keep books alive. There’s not much out there in this world that compares to curling up with a book in your favorite spot with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Make it an iced mocha (no whip, please) for this summer’s reading which, we will be featuring Cookbooks, Food, Wines and Vacation Spots in our June edition. My favorite spot for reading is in my bed, all snuggly with my goose-down comforter and pillows fluffed and propped all around me like a nest. To feel the book in my hands, the soft pages between my fingers, the smell of the new book’s ink... what could be better? Neither an electronic device that’s cold and impersonal, nor a laptop that strains your neck and arms, I would rather have a book any day to highlight or be able to dog-ear the pages. Do you remember that cheesy, sci-fi television show called Thunderbirds Are Go in the mid-sixties? I sure do, and these recent events with our beloved bookstores bring it back to mind. The Thunderbirds had a battle cry before they always banded together to save the world. They would simply bellow; Thunderbirds, Unite! Well, I say we adopt that same enthusiasm, that, call to arms and shout; Readers Unite! M. Chris Johnson - Editor in Chief
Poetry Best Women’s Erotica 2011 By Edited by Violet Blue Viva Editions, $15.95, 210 pages Women are fast realizing the power they wield in the bedroom, and they are loving it! This was never more evident than in the sexually dynamic and wickedly explicit pages of Best Women’s Erotica 2011. This book is a wonderful collection of sexually ambitious short stories from some of the top female authors in the erotica genre. There are stories for women with all types of fantasies, from women who love to get dominated to women who delight in taking charge in the bedroom. While many of the stories manage to reduce the reader to a writhing mass of lust, several missed their mark. Some not setting the stage properly or neglecting to let the reader in on a few key points that would make the story more accessible. If you know what turns you on and what doesn’t then this book isn’t for you. With the wide variety of stories this book offers you are bound to find quite a few you don’t care for. If you are new to the erotica scene and don’t really know what you like, this book would be perfect for you. With a
little bit of everything, you will certainly find something to tickle your fancy. Reviewed by Rebecca Feuerbacher
While neither easy nor light reading, Otherwise Elsewhere is worth the effort. Reviewed by Annie Peters
Otherwise Elsewhere: Poems By David Rivard Graywolf Press, $15.00, I enjoy studying and writing poetry, and I have read and thought about many poems. Still, I don’t have any special skills that would make me an expert in poetry. When I read David Rivard’s latest book, I admit that I struggled and did not completely grasp many of his poems. Despite that, I would still recommend Otherwise Elsewhere. Rivard writes in free verse and often juxtaposes images or references that I cannot reconcile. Still, those images are fresh and often surprisingly global in their scope. Furthermore, certain poems speak eloquently to me. For example, in For Lynda Hull, Rivard revisits the memory of a friend’s overdose and eventual death, and then confesses his somewhat irrational fears for his newborn daughter. In a feat of poetic brilliance, he closes the poem by tying the image of the cedar coffin to the cedar chest holding the dead woman’s gift for the newborn. That poem and several others make me want to continue to struggle with those poems that I do not understand because I will be the poorer until I do.
The Jane Austen Companion To Love By Alistair Moffat Sourcebooks, $9.99, 61 pages About the size and shape of a book for young readers, The Jane Austen Companion to Love is a picture book for the Austen lover. Filled with quotes from the books and letters written by the famous English author, the words of Miss Austen come alive yet again to a new generation of readers. The accompanying high-quality watercolors add great visuals to the quotes, which are short enough for even the wildest Twitter fiend to read and of a quality and humor that long-standing Austen fans will love. The only shortcoming of the book is while quotes abound, the book seems poorly put together in that tidbits about Austen’s life and times appear sporadically and without much thought as to guiding the reader through her life or linking the quotes together beyond the obvious theme of love and marriage. It would have been greatly improved by having some arc to give it an obvious beginning, middle, and end. The few pages that did devote time to Austen’s life were wonderful and a few more of those types of entries, her love for an unnamed man by the seaside for example, would have been a fantastic inclusion in this volume. Reviewed by Axie Barclay
Humor-NonFiction The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale By Susan Maushart Tarcher, $16.95, 279 pages The average American child spends almost as much time online as they do sleeping. When author/journalist/mother Susan Maushart saw this happening with her three teens (and herself!), she decided life had to change. So began “The Experiment”, the subject of Maushart’s The Winter of our Disconnect. Maushart tells the often times LOL (laugh-out-loud) story of a family in technological withdrawal. At first, this computer savvy mom misses her gadgets just as much as her children do. But as the six month experiment progresses, the family starts to (re)discover “real life.” They reflect on how the often feared idea of bore-
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dom is actually quiet motivating. “Down time” (that would otherwise be filled with emails and computer gaming) becomes an opportunity for creativity and problem solving. The Ten Commandments of Digital Living (found at the end of the book) includes “Thou shalt not fear boredom” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s upgrade.” Most importantly, “Thou shalt love REAL LIFE with all thy heart and soul.” Try (dis) connecting with your family for a day, week, or month. Monumental changes are ahead, and you too will live to tell the tale. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar By David Haviland Tarcher, $12.95, 262 pages The 1665 Great Plague of London was believed to be caused by deadly vapors and doctors thought that other foul smells would help ward off the disease. Some people kept dirty goats in their homes. Others bottled their own flatulence which could be inhaled later for protective measures. Such interesting facts can be found in David Hariland’s
book Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar. Each trivia fact is, at most, a few pages long - perfect for quick reading. In chapters such as “Disgusting Diseases,” “Curious Cures,” and “Dodgy Diagnoses,” readers will be grossed out and intrigued by the research Haviland has done about entertaining oddities. Have you ever wondered how often a person can vomit in a twelve-hour period? Look no further! Patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome will vomit as much as twelve times per hour! Kids will be glad to find out that it doesn’t really take seven years for swallowed chewing gum to digest (despite what their mothers tell them). People are generally quite curious about unusual medical issues. Hariland’s book goes a long way to satisfy such curiosities, and he does it with a quirky sense of humor. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
Classics The Arabian Nights - Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1 By Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursula Lyons Penguin Classics, $20.00, 944 pages If you’ve never read The Arabian Nights, and you pick up this three-volume set from Penguin Classics, you’re in for a real treat. This fresh translation of the classic Arabian Nights is entrancing. Professor Lyons’ prose is clear, and engaging. The Arabian Nights: 1001 Nights, a collection of Persian and Arabic folk tales, is framed into the story of Shahrazad, the young wife of a King, who plans to have her killed the morning after her wedding night. In order to save her life she begins to tell her husband a story. For 1001 nights, she spins yarns that never quite ends. The folk tales are comedies, romances, adventures, morals, and poems. The stories interlace, with each other, characters in a story told by Shahrazad, who in turn tell other stories, each leaving a cliffhanger to be never-quite-fulfilled by the end of each night. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad, Aladdin and the Lamp, these stories are familiar, and like Shahzarad’s husband, you’ll want to keep turning the pages to see how it all turns out. Reviewed by Brad Wright
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Romance Embers of Love: Striking a Match Book 1 By Tracie Peterson Bethany House, $14.99, 351 pages Tracie Peterson uses the historic background of Texas in the 1800’s for her story Embers of Love. Tracie builds real life, emotion and character into her people and makes them come alive. She also brings nuggets of history into the story and you feel you understand the times and problems of that era. Women of those times were not encouraged to go to school, but encouraged to stay home, marry and have families. Our heroine; Debra loves her family and life in Texas but she wants to go to college and learn so she can help her family with their ever-growing logging business. Her college roommate becomes her best friend and their lives become intertwined as she comes home to Texas with Debra. Living in a small town with its problems and joys help both girls realize the far-reaching power of God’s faithful in their lives. The entire book has a thread of romance and the love of a family dedicated to each other. This is a thrilling and exciting book to read. Reviewed by Mary Church Precious and Fragile Things By Megan Hart Mira, $13.95, 394 pages It is a housewife’s impossible fantasy brought to life in excruciating detail when one woman is brought to the brink of exas-
Popular Fiction peration and then the unthinkable happens: a carjacker kidnaps her. Gilly, an unlikable, angry, depressed housewife, is at first relieved to be away from her monstrous young children. Then there are moments when she seems to acutely miss her normal life that tug the reader to reluctantly root for her. As Gilly tailspins into depression, the male kidnapper, Todd, seems improbably hell bent on saving her from herself. However the only purpose this seems to serve is to keep him oblivious to his own depressing past. This novel was completely devoid of humor in any form. Gilly in fact spent the entire novel biting her cheek because she had deemed laughter in her situation to be inappropriate. While a Stockholm syndrome romance could have been interesting, this particular novel dwells too much on depressing mundane activities. The writing is sharp and the descriptions gripping, but two people trapped together for an indefinite period of time drowning their sorrows in each other’s misery ultimately results in depressing the reader. All in all, a kidnapper romance is a difficult concept to write, more difficult romanticize, and apparently equally challenging to keep the reader actively engaged. Few stories can be carried for 394 pages with only two characters trapped alone in isolated cabin and still remain interesting. This is not one of them. Reviewed by Rachelle Barrett
Horror The Best of Tomes of The Dead: A Collection of Three Terrifying Zombie Tales By Matthew Smith, Al Ewing, Rebecca Levene Abaddon, $12.99, 672 pages Zombie fans, this one’s for you! The Best of Tomes of the Dead is a collection of three terrifying zombie tales. Each author’s characters depart from the tra ditional shuffling, brain-eating zombies. In Matthew Smith’s The Worlds of Their Roaring, mankind is the instigator of its own demise. The story takes place over several decades and explores how a virus that raises the dead might evolve over time.
In Al Ewing’s story “I, Zombie,” John Doe has been dead for ten years and he’ll do just about anything for hire. He can’t remember anything about his former life, except that he carries a samurai sword, he can literally slow down time, and he enjoys eating human brains. The not-so-typical zombie story takes a turn when we learn that werewolves are the living dead’s natural (or UN-natural) predator. Rebecca Levene, in “Anno Mortis,” features Boda, a female Gladiator and her horrifying discovery of a plot to open up a gateway between the living and dead. She befriends fellow slaves and free citizens and together they must try to save the Roman empire. All three stories are a great read for zombie enthusiasts and newcomers to the genre. Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin
The Descent of Man By Kevin Desinger Unbridled Books, $24.95, 272 pages What would you do if you saw your car being stolen? Get somewhere safe and call the police? Try to stop the theft? In Kevin Desinger’s novel The Descent of Man, when mild-mannered Jim wakes to find two men trying to steal his car, he goes outside to get the plate numbers of the thieves’ truck. In a split-second decision, Jim climbs into the truck and steals it from the thieves. When police become involved, Jim tells lie after lie to avoid selfincrimination. But this only further commits him to a pattern of life where nearly every possible choice he can make is the wrong one. Soon his life spirals out of control. The thieves, looking for revenge, begin stalking and terrorizing Jim and his wife. Jim finds himself behaving in unfamiliar ways. His challenge is to escape from his fabricated life and return to reality. “I was tired of hearing about guys stealing cars and taking a slap on the wrist for it. If the courts couldn’t solve the problem, maybe it should be up to the citizens.” This is a fascinating story about how one decision can alter life forever. The reader is encouraged to think about how they would handle life-changing situations. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin The Last Brother: A Novel By Nathacha Appanah, Geoffrey Strachan, Translator Graywolf Press, $14, 164 pages Living on an island, unaware of a distant world war, a boy who is born into poverty still finds joy in his daily life. After being devastated by the tragic loss of his two brothers, his parents move to another part of the island, There his father takes a job as a prison guard that comes with a house in the forest. The prison, on the island of Mauritius, holds Jewish refugees who tried to escape Europe during World War II. While playing near the barbed wire at the prison, Raj meets and becomes friends with a boy. The events that follow, including the escape of his new friend, will change his future and haunt him for the rest of his life.
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The author takes the reader into the life and mind of Raj and his struggling parents in this endearing story of courage and friendship. The story is told from the perspective of a child and as the memories of an elderly man. The Last Brother is a reminder of the innocence and idealism of childhood. The characters are believable and unforgettable. Reviewed by Fran Byram
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Mystery, Crime & Thrillers Autumn By David Moody St. Martin’s Press, $13.99, 320 pages Carl Henshaw was driving home after a middle of the night call to repair factory equipment. Suddenly, cars were crashing around him as the drivers abruptly died. At home, he found his wife and daughter dead, apparently of the same disease that had killed the drivers he had tried to help. Michael Collins was scheduled as a guest speaker at a school. Before he could begin his talk, students began dying. Unable to help them or find anyone else alive in the building, he wandered outside, seeing bodies everywhere, decided to go home. Emma Mitchell was a medical student who stayed home from class with a head cold. Unable to find anything to eat at home, she went to the corner market, where the customers and then the owner all dropped to the floor and died. The three eventually went to the same community center with a few other survivors. When the bodies outside seemed to recover and walk around, the survivors believed themselves in danger. The three decided to flee and found a vehicle to drive into the country, where they fought to survive in an isolated farmhouse. Autumn by David Moody grabs the reader with breath-taking tension and doesn’t let go until the end. Reviewed by Fran Byram The Shadow War By Glen Scott Allen Thomas Dunn Books, $25.99, 336 pages Benjamin Franklin Wainwright is contacted by Fletcher, a brilliant Harvard classmate he has not heard from for years. Fletcher is a member of a prestigious think tank run by a wealthy foundation in New England. He tells Wainwright he has uncovered something critically important. He refuses to reveal more, only that he wants to hire Wainwright as a consultant for his expertise on Colonial history and asks that he come as soon as possible. Upon arrival, Wainwright finds his friend has died and the Foundation has not contacted police, but hired its’ own investigator. Wainwright is drawn into the investigation, and after another member dies and the
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investigator disappears, he flees the Foundation campus. The clues that had been uncovered there lead him to Natalya, a beautiful employee of the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. In their search for the truth they end up in the Siberian wilderness. Romance develops during their dangerous journey. It can be somewhat difficult to follow the many characters in the plot. Keeping all the clues and secret codes straight, requires some concentration. The story may leave the reader with a new perspective on the motives of governments as they seek to hold onto power. Reviewed by Fran Byram Did Not Survive By Ann Littlewood Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 256 pages Did Not Survive is the latest installment in the Zoo Mystery Series by Ann Littlewood. This second book continues to tell the story of Iris Oakley, zookeeper at the fictional Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington. The story begins with Iris stumbling into what she believes is a violent elephant attack against her boss, Kevin Wallace. After his death, Iris makes it her mission to solve his murder and piece together the odd incidences happening at the zoo, including missing animals and possible employee sabotage. The reader really misses out on the back story and character development that one would assume occurred in the first book. Littlewood does a great job of weaving her personal knowledge of working in zoos with animal rights issues. Her subtle ways of writing about animals living in zoos, sanctuaries, and in the circus, enlightens readers without preaching at them. In the words of Jane Goodall, ‘The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.’ Kudos to Littlewood for using her books to spread the word on these important issues. If you are looking for an entertaining story for a good weekend read, check out Did Not Survive. Reviewed by Crystal Schneider Yarn By Jon Armstrong Night Shade Books, $14.99, 309 pages Tane Cedar is at the top of the heap as a leading man’s tailor when he is visited by his former lover, Vada, who requests his help in creating a coat made from Xi, an illegal drug. Tane reluctantly agrees to help her and heads on a dangerous journey to obtain the Xi. Along
The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters By Philip Carlo The Overlook Press, $25.95, 254 pages
Most fans know Philip Carlo for the work he did to meet, interview, document, and understand the minds of serial killers, psychopaths, and mafia hit men. After reading his newest and final book The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters, fans will know Carlo for his devotion to life, commitment to those he loved, and the unwavering way he fought the disease that took his life in late 2010. Carlo was diagnosed with ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease), which is a debilitating terminal illness. His book is a fascinating look back at his life, how he became a journalist, and his struggle to maintain a quality of life. Throughout the book, Carlo tells readers to make the most of life even when faced with adversity. While an invalid, Carlos continued to write, travel, and love. His wife now fights for improved ALS treatments and most importantly, she supports stem cell research. This book will inspire you to act. Writing your legislative representative to share your opinion on the use of stem cells would be a good start. By Elizabeth Franklin
the way, Tane also starts to examine his own life and examines his transformation from corn slub to in-demand men’s tailor. With Yarn, Jon Armstrong has created a stylized world that revolves around the glittering cutthroat (literally) fashion world of the future. He writes with flair as he tells the story of Tane’s life and constructs an elaborate society that worships clothing and textiles. Ultimately, though, there was little substance behind the style. The main character felt underdeveloped and hollow, which makes it difficult for the reader to care about either his past and present journey and, in the end, the story falls flat. Reviewed by Barbara Cothern God’s War By Kameron Hurley Night Shade Books, $14.99, 288 pages In a desolate world where black market organ sales are a man source of income and magicians use bugs to work their magic, peace is the only thing that hasn’t been
achieved. Nyx is the main character in Kameron Hurley’s novel God’s War. She’s a former government assassin who does anything to stay alive, including selling her womb to the highest bidder, cutting off heads for cash, and serving a brutal prison term. On this ravaged futuristic world, ethnicity determines social standing and people are lucky if they can avoid contamination from the biological weapons used daily the centuries old holy war raging over the border. Nyx gathers together a group of rag-tag mercenaries to carry out one last assassination -- one that may finally end the war. Hurley has created a world and characters that are both fascinatingly alien and familiar. The unique plot is not revealed all at once, but rather keeps the reader in suspense from page to page. It is really unlike any scifi/fantasy book available. Let’s hope another adventure is soon on the way. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
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Current Events & Politics Common Sense: A Booklet on How Simple It Is To Make Our Country Even Better By An Oregonian Physician Lulu.com Press, $17.94, 52 pages Common Sense: A Booklet on How Simple It Is to Make Our Country Even Better by an Oregonian physician is just that…good old fashioned common sense. Written with a didactic approach, it attempts, and frankly succeeds, in educating its readers on the current governmental downfalls, pitfalls and conundrums plaguing any administration. Political opinions and the challenges we face by making extreme changes to our current systems are breezily and non-confrontationally explored by the author, deftly referencing websites, documents and our own Constitution of the United States of America. Taxation without representation, proportional representation, campaign-finance reform, health-care reform, the national debt and an Article V Convention are only a few of the topics dissected and analyzed, aptly presenting the facts and some viable solution options with arguments for the rationale. The author cites that “83% of Americans are very concerned about corruption in our government” and, “only 32% of Americans are satisfied with the position of the U.S. in the world...” Whether you avidly agree with this author’s philosophies or not, this booklet inspires deep thought and reflective contemplation on where we are as the richest, most
powerful nation in the world and where we are going with obvious misuses of that power. It invokes solidarity in one’s own political beliefs, wary awareness of realities and often times, extreme anger with the realization of hidden truths, inspiring one to get out their number two pencil, punch the chad completely through and mark their calendar for the next chance to vote. Footnotes and references abound allowing the reader to use these tools to form their own conceptual ideology on government. This booklet will enlighten or enhance your perceptions of our current government and if nothing else, drive home the fact that we cannot change without accurate knowledge and individual action. Sponsored Book Review The Future of Power By Joseph S. Nye Jr. Public Affairs, $29.99, 320 pages There are no better examples of the shifting meaning of power than the recent regime changes in North Africa. It used to be that the force with the biggest guns won the war, but as events Tunisia and Egypt clearly demonstrate, the winner in the digital age can be the player with the best story. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., former dean of the Kennedy School of Government, argues in his new book that although nations will remain dominant,
they’ll just be the bigger players on a stage stuffed with all kinds of actors. “[W]orld politics,” he says, “will not be the sole province of governments.” In order for nations to maintain their leadership positions, they’ll have to blend the hard power of coercion and money with the soft power of persuasion and attraction. Nye calls this “smart power,” and goes on to stress that only through accepting responsibility in the evolution of world order through mediation, the development of international rules and institutions, and the promotion of an open international economy of goods and services can nation states continue to influence. The Future of Power is a smart, accessible, and timely document and guide to the present and future of world affairs. Reviewed by Heather Shaw The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom By Evgeny Morozov Public Affairs Books, $24.95, 409 pages The Internet has been sold as a panacea for the world’s ills. Economic equality, totalitarianism, social justices are all problems that the Internet has been proposed to be an answer to. Much like its forebears: telegraph, radio, television, the Internet has failed to deliver on those promises. Despite this the Internet has eagerly been embraced by Washington D.C. as the weapon of choice against totali-
tarian regimes. Evgeny Morozov addresses these issues in The Net Delusion, a comprehensive look out how the Internet is not as simple a tool as politicians in the West believe it to be, how Authoritarian regimes can, and have, used the Internet to increase their hold on power, and how centering policy on technology blinds policymakers and citizens as to the nature of the issues they must deal with. Morozov’s culprits are cyber-utopianism and its child Internet centrism. The first is the belief that technology is always the answer to any problem and its offspring is the philosophy that the best answers to these problems should be addressed through the World Wide Web. Morozov thoroughly highlights the deficits of these views and reminds readers that “the promotion of democracy is too important an activity to run out of Silicon Valley.” Reviewed by Jonathon Howard Waiting for “Superman”; How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools By Edited by Karl Weber Public Affairs, $15.95, 288 pages The children of the US are in trouble. An education system that was once top in the world is failing our children and the problem is getting worse by the day. In the book Waiting for “Superman”: How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools the reader gets a look at five families who are struggling to find success for their children in our lackluster See WAITING, con’t on page 13
Historical Fiction Lily of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatra’s Daughter By Stephanie Dray Berkley, $15, 351 pages Cleopatra’s story of power and political intrigue is known the world over. But few are aware of the story of Selene, her daughter. Author Stephanie Dray explores the life of one of Egypt’s most important female figures. Lily of the Nile opens with the death of the Queen of Egypt. Selene, daughter of Mark Antony, and her brothers find them- selves in the hands of Augustus and his ruthless Roman soldiers.
When death seems eminent, they are saved by the emperor’s sister and are sent to live with other royal orphans. Selene struggles to keep her family and faith intact. She must also work to outmaneuver the new Caesar as he attempts to use her for his own personal gains. The longer she lives in Rome, the more distance she gains from Egypt. Is this a betrayal of her mother or Isis? And what will Selene do when Augustus demands she become his Cleopatra? Drays’ seamless telling of an important but overlooked part of history is a fascinating read. Fortunately, Dray is writing a sequel that will explore Selene’s life in Africa. While you wait for that, enjoy this story of a young woman’s journey to become a queen. Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin
A Guided Tour Through the Museum of Communism: Fables From a Mouse, a Parrot, a Bear, a Cat, a Mole, a Pig, a Dog, and a Raven By Slauenka Drakulic Penguin Books, $14, 208 pages You may imagine yourself as an active participant in this group of short stories by Slavenka Drakulic, a Croatian feminist writer and journalist most commonly recognized for her nonfiction works on communism. In this creative piece, you are a tourist traveling to Prague to rendezvous with a mouse who is your tour guide through a Museum of Communism or to an island in the Birini archipelago where you are put down by a wisecracking fashion conscious parrot named Koki. Sev-
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eral other animals await your listening ears: a cooking pig, dancing bear, or old dog, to name a few. A kindly bed time story to read to your children at night this is not. It is a unique format for Americans to relate to and digest the idea, however flawed, that was communism in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Each animal shares their personal experiences during and after the rule of communism. As you are taken into the confidences of these animals you begin to understand life as it was lived differently than your own. These are not stories with beginnings, middles and ends, but rather character manifestos. At some point in each story the voice of the character becomes inseparable from the voice of the author. It is however worth reading for the information that is presented, and the animals are cute too. Reviewed by Rachelle Barrett
March 2011 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
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Science Fiction & Fantasy Sequential Art River Marked - A Mercy Thompson Novel By Patricia Briggs ACE, $24.95, 324 pages Mercy Thompson, Coyote shifter, is looking forward to her 10-day honeymoon camping with her mate and new husband, Adam Hauptman. Things don’t go quite as planned when Mercy and Adam end up embroiled in a mystery involving multiple drowning in the river near their campground. As Mercy and Adam dig deeper, they find themselves in the crossfire between the fae, a group of local Native American shifters and a spirit who has taken over the river. Patricia Briggs brings another delightful chronicle of the Mercy Thompson. The author shows a deft hand in developing Mercy as a character as she navigates her relationship with Adam and learns more about herself and her possible connection to Old Coyote, a mystical Native American shifter. Readers local to the Columbia Gorge and surrounding areas will take a special interest in the level of detail the author brings to the landmarks and to the local lore that permeates this story. Fans of Mercy will not be disappointed in this sixth installment of the series. Reviewed by Barbara Cothern Darkwar By Glen Cook Night Shade Books, $16.95, 570 pages If you are a science fiction fan or enjoyed reading both the Black Company and the Dread Empire series, you will be happy to know that author Glen Cook’s early works have been combined in a collection called Darkwar. First released in 1985
and 1986, this trilogy follows Marika, a being who is part canine and part human. This trilogy is a great read because it is a combination of sci-fi, space travel and fantasy. In Doomstalker, the first novel of the trilogy, Cook introduces Marika. She is just a young pup struggling to survive. On her planet winters are harsh and getting longer. Nomads roam the land searching for strong communities to invade. As Marika matures she finds that she holds a deadly power within herself. When her Packstead is invaded by desperate nomads will she be able to help? Warlock, the second book of the saga, focuses on other societies found in Marika’s world. Cook’s main character becomes less sympathetic with her growing ruthlessness. The final novel, Ceremony, finds Marika traveling in space. If Marika can harness her mental power she may be able to save both her people and her world. Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin Enemy Within By Marcella Burnard Berkley, $15, 342 pages Sometimes you have to wonder what would happen if Jane Austen was a little racier and into science fiction. Enemy Within goes a long ways towards answering that question. Captain Alexandria ‘Ari’ Rose is the first person to be let go from an alien prison; as the aliens were into genetic manipulation, this makes the military unsure of her loyalties. She is effectively sentenced to her father’s expedition, where she is captured by pirate Seagdh Cullin, who has a crush on Ari. Eventually, the secret of what they did to her comes out, and it wasn’t even what she thought it was. Although the sheer amount of sexual tension here is normally a death-knell for a book, especially as close to pulp archetypes this book hews, but because of the sheer fun Burnard has with it, the twists and turns of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tales By Joss Whedon Dark Horse Books, $29.99, 290 pages
This coffee table-book sized hardcover collects nearly two dozen separate stories, mainly from BtVS:Tales of the Slayer trade paperback series and oneshot comic books. The stories follow different incarnations of slayers, and their prey. If you are a fan of the Buffyverse, you know exactly what I just said. In the spirit of full disclosure, Joss Whedon is my master now. I loved Buffy, admired Angel from afar, and thought that Firefly was cruelly struck down before its obvious brilliance could find an audience. Shortly after Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its television run in 2003, Milwaukie, Oregon’s Dark Horse Comics, along with series creator Whedon, have published the further adventures of the famous slayer. While the stories in Tales don’t feature Buffy Summers, they fill in the back story of the “Buffyverse”. Most of the stories in Tales were written by Joss Whedon, with additional stories by several other authors, notably Jane Espenson, and Scooby-gang regular Amber Benson (Tara). Additionally two unpublished stories, written by Becky Cloonan “The Thrill”, and Jackie Kessler “Carpe Noctem”, which fit into BtVS: Season Eight are included. Rather than follow one continuous story arc, Tales offers glimpses into the lives, sometimes their bitter end, of different slayers. “Tales of the Vampires”, story by Whedon, art by Alex Sanchez, shows a young Watcher learning her trade at the feet of a captured vampire. “Tales”, written by Whedon, with art by Karl Moline introduces us to a slayer from the future. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales , is the musical equivalent of a guitar player messing around with different riffs. Some are decent, some merely fun, and some worthy of being fleshed out into a longer song. Many different artists put their stamp on the stories. While I was put off by Mira Friedman’s take on a Nazi-era slayer “Sonneblume”, most of the different takes are beautifully rendered in this collection. I especially enjoyed the sepia tones of Steve Lieber, in “...the Glittering World” David Fury’s story of a 19th century Navajo slayer. Vatche Mavlian’s too short “Jack” was also spectacularly expressed. This weighty tome makes a wonderful gift to any fan of the Buffyverse. While the stories are mainly reprints from trade paper backs and one-shot comic books, this collection gets the red carpet treatment. The weight and quality of the paper makes the art leap off of the page. This isn’t a “I’m going to have another piece of pizza, and read some slayer stories”, kind of book. If you’re a fan of the Buffyverse, it might be time to invest in a nice set of kid gloves. Reviewed by Brad Wright
EXPANDED SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY / SEQUENTIAL ART their romance and plot itself work out. Ari is not your normal Austen heroin, as her angst matches her weapon skill, making her one of the most interesting protagonists in a while. Enemy Within is one of those books you need to read, especially if you’re tired of the traditional ‘damsel in distress gets rescued’ books. Reviewed by Jamais Jochim
Colt is recruited to join a top secret group of combat fighters, he learns that monsters and aliens have come to Earth through invisible gateways that connect the planet to other worlds. Earth and its citizens are in jeopardy and it is up to Colt and his friends Oz (a champion fighter) and Danielle (a computer whiz) to find out the truth behind Trident Industries before it is too late.
Faeries: Deluxe Collector’s Edition By Brian Froud and Alan Lee Abrams, $29.95, 208 pages The faeries are both complex and beautiful, the same can be said for this compilation. This is the Deluxe Collector’s Edition, so some of the work has been seen before, some is new and there is a balanced combination of original sketches with handwritten text. There are many beautiful and complex illustrations that take you far from Neverland into a more mature and darker, yet mystically beautiful, world of fantasy. The artist’s work is well renowned and mimicked in the work you would see in Dungeons & Dragons and other works of fantasy.
“If everyone knows the truth that there really were monsters in their closets and under their beds, there’d be a widespread panic. That’s why we keep it a secret.”
“Faeries remains unique in books about the Realm; it is a reminder of a world we all once lived in, when we had a connection to the earth itself.” While learning about the world of Faeries, you also get a glimpse of the artist’s world through their original sketches and notes. Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth will feel at home within the works of Alan Lee. You will recognize Brian Froud’s work from the darker works of Jim Henson, such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. It is pleasing to get so much out of one book, including eight frameable prints and a poster of the book jacket. Reviewed by Janet Wright Invasion By Jon S. Lewis Thomas Nelson, $14.99, 336 pages When sixteen-year-old Colt McAllister’s parents are killed in a car crash, he discovers it wasn’t an accident. His mother, an investigative journalist, was planning on releasing a story that would reveal the mind-control secrets of the powerful biotech corporation; Trident Industries. John S. Lewis’s Invasion is the first book in the CHAOS series for young adults. When
Action, intrigue, and even a little romance fill every page. Invasion’s sci-fi and fantasy themes are perfect for boys, girls, and parents who’d like to share in the adventure. Superheroes and villains are around every corner. From death-defying flights by jet-pack and flying motorcycles, to shape shifting aliens, readers will enjoy Colt’s adventures. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences By Brian Yansky Candlewick Press, $15.99, 227 pages The world changes for high school student Jesse and the rest of the world on the day the earth is conquered in 10 seconds by aliens. Due to his latent telepathic abilities, Jesse ends up in the house of Lord Vertenomous, the new leader of the alien colony. There Jesse starts to realize that his power is growing and finds, with the help of his friends, that the aliens may not be unstoppable after all. Despite its title, this novel doesn’t focus on the aliens or the invasion - instead it is the characters and how they change and develop after being plunged into the role of ‘product’ that moves the story along. The characters are all well-written and, in the character of Jesse, Brian Yansky has crafted a hero character that is witty and courageous. Jesse’s observations are often funny -- imagine his surprise that the aliens are, in fact, little green men and frequently poignant as his journey from slave to leader unfolds. It is Jesse’s hope and belief in his own growing power to make a difference that has the reader rooting for him throughout. This novel is funny, thoughtprovoking and hard to put down. Reviewed by Barbara Cothern
The Witch’s Daughter By Paula Brackston Thomas Dunne, $24.99, 305 pages Bess Hawksmith’s world is torn apart when a plague comes to her village with subsequent charges of witchcraft. When Bess finds herself jailed and awaiting execution, she makes a bargain with warlock Gideon Masters for her life. This choice is not without sacrifice, however, and Bess spends the rest of her life running from Gideon and his attempts to possess and ultimately destroy her. In The Witch’s Daughter, Paula Brackston blends historical fiction with elements of fantasy. She recounts Bess’s story with vivid description and detail that brings both the story and historical timeframes to life. The characters, particularly the character of Bess, are well-written and engaging. The fantasy elements of the novel aren’t the primary focus but serve as enhancements to Bess’s journey and her attempt to be free from Gideon. Overall, this is an engaging, well-written novel that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and fantasy alike. Reviewed by Barbara Cothern Shadowspell By Jenna Black St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99, 304 pages Shadowspell is a magical tale about a young girl named Dana who is a Fairywalker. She’s half fairy and half human who could bring modern technology into the fairies’ world and fairy magic into the humans’ world. In this book, her close friend, Ethan gets captured by the Erlking, an immortal that hunts fairies and humans at will. Only a few things might be able to save him from the Erlking. Luckily the queens of the fairy courts had made a deal permitting him to hunt only when they say he can, but that doesn’t mean good news for Dana, who is on the queens’ bad side. Unfortunately there is also another villain in Jenna’s book, Dana’s aunt Grace, a power mad woman who is trying to kill one of the queens. This book has amazing detail and a stunning storyline. Now my only question is how author Jenna Black will finish the series. Reviewed by Leona Johnson Femina & Fauna By Camilla d’Errico Dark Horse Books, $22.99, 111 pages Artwork portfolio-style, Femina & Fauna is the work of artist Camilla d’Errico. Her endearing artwork is reminiscent of Pre-
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cious Moments figurines, drawing joy and innocence from their viewers. D’Errico’s illustrations of consistently doleful eyes and soft brush strokes, vibrant, yet iridescent colors mix well on her palette of design. Black & white drawings are also included to see the spectrum of artwork without the vivid color. Vulnerable young females with little lambs in their arms, sensitively drawn kittens on their shoulders & butterflies in their hair, then, darker depictions of those same sweet girls with octopuses and crocodiles on her head and at her feet, a strange mix of softness with frightening circus folks makes the viewer feel odd, as if there is good in everything. Or is it the other way around with evil in all things good? In the end, d’Errico’s art is enjoyable and everywhere; t-shirts, posters, key chains, note cards. It all works well, whatever she puts it on. D’Errico has a pleasing talent, and a gift that she chooses to share with the world. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur By Tony Lee Candlewick Press, $21.99, 144 pages The story of King Arthur seems to be one of those stories that get re-told every so often. Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur is the newest incarnation. The story concentrates on the usual four, King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Merlin, with the Vivianne, the Lady of the Lake, thrown in to complete couples. The variation here is that Merlin spirited the young Arthur away to spend two years in Avalon during a night of real time, where he falls in love with Vivianne. When they depart, Arthur has Merlin curse him so that he forgets Vivianne. He remembers her, and it adds yet another crack to Camelot’s doom. It is not a bad take, especially as it ensures that King Arthur gains a little happiness when he eventually ends up in Avalon. However, the story itself is a little lackluster, and is a little slower-paced than other versions. It focuses more on the social interactions, and adds a little to Morgan Le Fey, making her willing to do anything to get revenge on Arthur, as well as some to Lancelot, as it explores his fey background. A little slow, but something that Arthur fans will definitely like. Reviewed by Jamais Jochim
A Talk With Kevin Behan
Self-Help Resilience - How Your Inner Strength Can Set You Free from the Past By Boris Cyrulnik Tarcher, $14.95, 320 pages There is hope in the idea that our past does not define our future. For those who have suffered trauma, it is a major step in the healing process to accept that pain does not equal destiny. Within our bodies we possess an inner strength called resilience. These ideas are the foundation of French psychoanalist Boris Cyrulnik’s book titled Resilience: How Your Inner Strength
Author of “Your Dog is Your Mirror”
Can Set You Free from the Past. The first section gives a scattered history of trauma. Cyrulnik provides examples of historical figures who survived abuse and uses quotes from authors such as Dickens whose characters experienced pain but moved on to lead better lives. Exiles, orphans, and other groups who have been resilient in the face of adversity are featured in the second section. The next logical step in this study of resilience should be to teach people specific ways to use inner strength to heal. Unfortunately, the third section is just more stories about people who overcome abuse. Cyrulnik’s work would be a good addition to the curriculum of a psychology class. People looking for a self-help book to aid in the process of healing from pain should look elsewhere. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
Business & Investing Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People By Edward M. Hallowell, MD Harvard Business Review Press, $26.95 197 pages Managerial advice books tend to be a little boring, as they look towards the bottom line. Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People ignores that to a certain degree, allowing that sometimes by ignoring the bottom line one can actually make it look better. Hallowell’s inspiration for this book comes from a shoeshiner in Boston’s Logan Airport who makes a point of reaching out to his customers. The advice he gives in his book echoes that, as he preaches that a manager’s job is to help his people do what they do.
FIFTY, cont’d from page 1 vistas dotted with sheep rather than snowcapped mountain peaks. Others are strenuous treks not for the faint of heart; Lunana, an isolated valley in north-central Bhutan, is described as “the most remote place in the most remote place…closed off on all sides by high mountain passes.” The Lunana Snowman Trek described by Santella is a 150mile, month-long excursion at 13,000 feet and higher. Santella’s dialogue is sharp and crisp, his attention to detail remarkable. He covers not only the trail conditions themselves, but touches on local lore, legend, and cuisine. Each hike comes recommended by an individual who has traversed it before, and
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The examples given in this book work well to emphasize his point, and make a strong case for managers who simply facilitate the work to be done rather than constantly looking over the shoulders of those that they manage. In some cases, this is simply a matter of making sure that the right person is in the right position, but it can also apply in other areas as well, such as making sure that there are areas filled with M&M’s. This is a great book with some great ideas on how to manage groups that aren’t just Dilbert clones. Reviewed by Jamais Jochim
Santella draws on those first-hand experiences to craft more than just a hiking guide – Fifty Places turns into a personal travelogue crammed with the sights, sounds, and experiences that will immerse armchair travelers into a world of hidden gems, and prepare anybody planning to venture forth into these destinations with the knowledge necessary to make the trip safe and memorable. Reviewed by Mark Petruska
Can we know what’s going on in the mind of a dog? Yes, a dog feels what we feel, however everything we’re experiencing in an emotional event is not pure emotion or a “true” feeling, it’s an amalgam of these plus instinctual sensations, mental habits of mind and thoughts about the experience. If we were to understand dogs as creaQ&Awe - DOG tures of the immediate moment, would then have an analytical tool to parse apart these components of emotional experience. And when we get down to emotion and feelings, we have arrived at the basis of a group mind, and in which our dog, unlike we humans, is participating with its entire conscious awareness. How did the dog become “man’s best friend?” The common interpretation is that early man either directly or inadvertently selected for tameness, docility, submissiveness, and then given that proto-dog was closely related if not wholly descended from wolves, was predisposed to a complex social way of life and so being hormonally awash in stress reducing neurochemicals, was able to adapt to the demands of living with human beings. But such traits are not able to account for the nature and inclinations of the modern dog. My theory is that wolves evolved to hunt “by feel” because their main prey was too large and dangerous to be physically overpowered, even by wolves in numbers. Wolves had to induce a state of confusion in a vulnerable prey individual in order to enjoy any chance of success. In other words, they had to tune in to what their prey was feeling. This style of hunting then begat their social structure, i.e. being social by feel rather than by instinct, and which translates into a “hierarchy of feelings.” In other words, which ever member wants something the most, goes first and the others willingly follow because they feel what it feels. Then early man’s interest in the wolf or proto-dog was in regards to the hunt, not companionship or utilitarian service around the campsite, and this symbiotic connection amplified the inborn propensity to go-by-feel many times over. For this reason virtually every breed derives its name and particular mannerisms and social dispositions according to some aspect of hunting. Thus today, we live with nature’s ultimate empath, i.e. our dog feels what we feel. What is emotion? Studying dogs wholly as creatures of the immediate moment, I came to recognize emotion as a monolithic and universal “force” of attraction. The animal mind evolved to be in a default state of tension, and emotion arises when in the presence of a certain class of stimuli, which innately represent release from that tension. So every sentient being is attracted to every other sentient being by way of this universal medium, and within which individuals can synchronize what they are feeling in order to make contact and ultimately connect. Why do dogs like car rides, why do they wag their tails? The strongest drive in the dog is to be in harmony. In a car, every person’s body is swaying in rhythm with the road and everyone is facing in the same direction. This recapitulates the emotional context of hunting and is the easiest set of circumstances for a dog to feel in sync with humans since people are acting so naturally. Likewise, a dog’s behavior is a graphic display of what it is feeling so that others can readily sync up with it, hence, its tail is so emotionally expressive and is beating out an obvious cadence that reveals the intensity and frequency of what the dog is attracted to making the dog easy to approach.
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Cooking, Food & Wine The Good Neighbor Cookbook: 125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Surprise and Satisfy the New Moms, New Neighbors, Recuperating Friends, CommunityMeeting ... Cohorts and Block Party Pals in Your Life! By Suzanne Schlosberg, Sara Quessenberry Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99, 195 pages Authors; Sara Quessenberry and Susannah Schlosberg are practically geniuses to create a cookbook like this one. They have cataloged their recipes into events. Just leafing through the The Good Neighbor Cookbook you begin to think of things you could do for others. The author’s have a servant’s heart and it gives us the incentive to want to serve others also. Whether you want to have a neighbor over for a smoothie on your deck this summer, a special snack for the football game or even an elegant dinner for two, this book has your instructions on hand and easy to find. There are recipes on the lighter side and recipes that will satisfy the health nut. Some are low-sodium (no salt, no butter), olive oil and the use of a variety of spices and herbs that are on our kitchen shelves but are seldom used. This cookbook also offers suggestions for encouraging others without cooking. Great ideas! It also takes the idea of making certain dishes ahead of time and having them in the freezer for an emergency situation for a friend or neighbor. The Good Neighbor Cookbook includes cooking tips, nutrition and yet, comfort foods for a variety of situations refined in our everyday lives. The organization of events and recipes is so helpful for lastminute ideas for a friend or one in need. Reviewed by Mary Church How to Squeeze a Lemon By The Editors, Contributors, & Readers of Fine Cooking Magazine Taunton Press, $19.95, 266 pages No matter how savvy we think we are in the kitchen, all that trial and error is bound to land us in a pickle at some point. In How to Squeeze a Lemon, we find the collective wisdom of Fine Cooking’s Editors, Contributors and Readers at our fingertips. Valuable features include: a guide to food storage offering guidelines on the shelf-life of certain
foods, tips on caring for your kitchen appliances properly, a wine and beer guide that will break down the tasting terms and leave you secure in your own evaluations, and dozens of techniques for baking, grilling, freezing, and frying. Perhaps the most indispensable information is found in the chapter, ‘When Things Go Wrong: A Quick Guide to Substitutions and Equivalents.’ This handy reference addresses scores of problems that call for immediate solutions. It makes for a quick, light read, but there are enough clever tips in this book to propel the everyday cook to the next level, so it’s worth keeping on hand. And yes, of course, you will be able to squeeze a lemon with the best of them. Reviewed by Alicea Swett Grilled Cheese, Please! 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes By Laura Werlin Andrews McMeel Universal, $16.99, 158 pages Did you know April is Grilled Cheese month? Neither did I, but April is now my favorite month! Grilled Cheese, Please; 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes is author Laura Werlin’s fifth book on cheese! Delightfully presented, her cookbook on grilled cheese sandwiches in all forms is an inspirational take on an old favorite. With all the healthy cookbooks coming out and the push for eating raw foods, going vegan and giving up all the joys of eating what we all love, this book is refreshing. From Meat and Cheese to Around the World, cheese is comfort food, healthy food and offers what seems, an endless variety of choices, textures and flavors. Thick, glossy pages and pictures of her creations will make your mouth water within a few pages. Check out our interview with author Laura Werlin and then go make a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup to dunk it in! Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson Fine Cooking Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor By Various Authors Taunton Press, $19.95, 252 pages The editors of Fine Cooking Magazine have pooled their culinary expertise to bring you, Fine Cooking Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor. Whether you’re a novice or a natural, these recipes are sure to inspire your inner host/hostess. The recipes are impressive, but not inSee FINE COOKING,
Portland Book Review...You have written five books on the subject of cheese; Cheese Essentials, Great Grilled Cheese, The All American Cheese and Wine Book and The New American Cheese and now, Grilled Cheese Please!. Obviously, you love cheese! What inspired you to make a career out of it? Laura Werlin...You’re right – I love the stuff. I’ve never been able to explain my inspiration for turning this passion into a career -- I’m not sure that’s entirely knowable – but what I can tell you is shortly after becoming a food writer (I had been in television news since college but decided I wanted to pursue my interest in food), I knew pretty much right away that I wanted to write about cheese. But not just any cheese. I wanted to write about American cheese. The cheesemakers I would meet at the farmers’ markets were like rock stars to me, and I had this inexplicable desire to memorialize them in the form of a book. I felt as though they represented an entire food movement that few people knew about but would someday soon. Their stories were the basis of my first book, The New American Cheese. The rest, as they say, is history. PBR... Are all these recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches your own creations or a collaboration with other cheese-loving chefs, or simply new twists on old favorites? LW... Most of the recipes are my own, although I did get recipes from other sources too. I have a chapter in the book called Grilled Cheese On The Go, which is comprised of recipes I procured from stand-alone grilled cheese restaurants and mobile trucks. These types of places are sprouting up around the country, and I wanted to pay homage to them by including them in this book. Plus, their recipes are excellent! Also, I have a friend who’s a chef in Aspen, Colorado, who is not only a phenomenal cook, but he also happens to make amazing cheese. One of the mainstays on his lunch and bar menu is a grilled cheese sandwich. Of course, it’s not just any grilled cheese sandwich. He combines a few cheeses, some of which are actually made a few miles from Aspen, puts them on a particular type of Italian bread, and serves it with a sweet-spicy mostarda. Now all his grilled cheese fans (and there are many!) will be able to cook the recipe at home, although of course I tweaked the recipe so that the cheeses were more readily found. Otherwise, the recipes are ideas I came up with as the result of having made and eaten hundreds of grilled cheese sandwiches over the last few years. PBR... Where do you get your inspiration for the all the various and creative ingredients? LW... My inspiration comes from a lot of different places. Sometimes it’ll come from a particular cheese I have on hand or one that I like, and I’ll build from there. Or sometimes it will come from a dish I’ve had that I think would make a great grilled cheese sandwich. This was certainly the case with my Pizza Grilled Cheese. As I write in the headnote for that recipe, “I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before.” I’ve basically taken old-fashioned pizza ingredients – mozzarella, mushrooms, pepperoni, olives, and tomatoes and turned them into a grilled cheese sandwich. If I say so myself, it’s quite delicious! Likewise, I have a recipe called Cheese, Chips, and Guacamole. For this sandwich, I actually crush tortilla chips with butter and slather the outside of the bread with that mixture. Inside are two kinds of cheeses, bacon, tomato, and guacamole. When grilled, well, all I can tell you is that it’s pretty phenomenal. So I guess inspiration has come from a lot of places – a walk down the produce aisle, a nod to the past, other foods – but really it’s mostly about the combination of my favorite food with a little imagination. Read the rest of this article at portlandbookreview.com/author-spotlight/laura-werlin/
Laura Werlin will be at The Grilled Cheese Grill’s new location at 113 SE 28th Ave, Portland 1:30 to 3:30 on Saturday, April 9
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Biographies & Memoirs A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman By Lisa J. Shannon Seal Press, $16.95, 344 pages By sharing her journey into Congo, Lisa Shannon holds a megaphone for the Congolese women who do not have a voice. This truly inspiring memoir dignifies the white noise that washes over us daily in the news reports. It is not merely a collection of horror stories. The author relates her triumphs and confronts her feelings of inadequacy as she leaves her home in Portland, Oregon, to bear witness to an evil she doesn’t have to face. Although passionate about making a difference, once in Congo, she finds herself at a loss: ‘I feel ridiculous; my hurling antics at this country’s problems is like tossing teaspoons of water on a raging fire. “It’s okay to cry with them.” A Thousand Sisters lays bare the heinous situation in Congo and the fortitude of its women. They do not beg for our pity. They embrace our compassion and teach us that when all seems lost, there is still joy to be gleaned in the field where they gather together to cry. Reviewed by Alicea Swett The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holmes By Dawn Schiller Medallion Press, $19.95, 478 pages There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Wonderland murders of 1981 and the central figure in those murders ‘ John Holmes.
Many have speculated about him and his past but author Dawn Schiller actually lived it. In The Road Through Wonderland Schiller provides a chilling look at the life of Holmes and the events leading up to the infamous murders. She paints a gruesome portrait of drugs and abuse and shares the story of how she survived this life of torture. This book is a must read, even for those who may not be familiar with the back story. Schillers’ writing is gripping and the reader gets sucked in to this twisted tale. The story is so shocking it’s hard to believe that she lived through these terrifying events. This book is hard to put down and definitely provokes the reader to want to continue to see what happens next. Schiller is incredibly brave for sharing her story with the world and I can only hope that she has made peace with everything that happened. This is by far the best book I have read in months and I highly encourage anyone reading this to go pick it up! Reviewed by Nicole Will A Day in the Life of The Beatles By Don McCullin Rizzoli, $24.95, 143 pages This is a charming set of Beatles photographs taken in a single day about 6 months before what was to be their dissolution. What we seem to see is a band of brothers, happy to be together. Something else is that these are not the Beatles who were photographed to look as much like each other as possible. Instead, what we see are four separate individuals -- a prideful and content Paul, a wacky John, a contemplative George
and a Ringo who looks like he’s tougher than the rest. (Paul’s dog Martha makes a guest appearance.) It’s a bittersweet collection as it represents the last time the band members would not look either exhausted or angry. These were the boys enjoying the calm before the storm. They also seemed to occasionally be making fun of their earlier image; some of the poses present a wacky Monkees aura. At $24.95, it’s a Rizzoli that will be a bit rich for some budgets and it’s not essential when compared to the large, comprehensive Chronology book. But the picture of Paul, on pages 122-123, appearing to sleep with a smile on his face while his mates laugh is worth the money. Reviewed by Joseph Arellano God’s Angry Man: The Incredible Journey of Private Joe Haan By Wayne Quist Brown Books, $24.95, 403 pages In God’s Angry Man, author B. Wayne Quist pays tribute to his uncle, Joe Haan. A child of the Great Depression, Joe’s bleak childhood bred in him a mistrust of organized religion. Lack of love and formal education didn’t impede his inquisitive mind as he rode the rails across the country, fought the Battle of the Bulge in Patton’s Army, and recorded his thoughts as a way of making sense of mankind’s insanity.
Health, Fitness & Dieting How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old By Marc Agronin Da Capo Press, $25.00, 302 pages We may not advocate turning our seniors into crackers to feed the poor, but our treatment of the majority of them can surely be described as aggressively passive: we ignore or neglect them as much as possible. In fact, it could be said that we treat
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old age as if it were a disease, and inoculation is best achieved through avoidance. “...[I]n my fifteen years of working in nursing homes, I have never heard a patient tell me that he or she was afraid of death. Sometimes there is acceptance, other times anticipation, but most often there is no great concern. Life goes on in death’s shadow.” Marc E. Agronin, a psychiatrist with the Miami Jewish Health Systems, doesn’t offer any cures for old age, but he does present a remedy for youthful ignorance with his honest
exploration of old people and the process of aging. Beginning with a section on what it means to grow old, moving onto the role of memory in aging, and then the development of wisdom, both emotional and intellectual, Agronin illustrates the science with anecdotes from literature and the life stories of a wide variety of patients and acquaintances. How We Age is an excellent and hopeful book for caregivers of all kinds. Included are some truly helpful strategies for dealing with memory loss, a thoughtful list of lessons-learned for both doctors and patients, and an interesting bibliography for further reading. Reviewed by Heather Shaw
“My advice for the next generation when all else fails, try common sense.” Interspersed throughout Joe’s story are his poems, songs and letters; piecing together a patchwork of life experience that can only be brought about by way of hard knocks. His workingman’s poetry ranges from themes of survival and the universe, to futility of war and man’s ignorance, thus evoking the inevitable comparison to Woody Guthrie. An evolutionist, Joe marveled at creation while repudiating the existence of a creator. While Joe’s belief system is championed by the author, a sense of apathy is felt in the absence of details regarding the personal relationships in his life. Whether one agrees with his aggressive atheism or not, Uncle Joe has something to offer all in the way of words of wisdom: ‘My advice for the next generation -- when all else fails, try common sense.’ Reviewed by Alicea Swett
FINE COOKING, cont’d from page 11 timidating, with many of the ingredients likely to be on-hand in your kitchen. Potentially unfamiliar ingredients are explained for those of us who have yet to discover phyllo, tahini, and garam masala. Beautifully illustrated, the recipes are accompanied by time-saving and storage tips, keeping stress at bay and allowing you to enjoy your company. The collection takes you from garlic roasted shrimp cocktail to gravlax; tiny twice-baked potatoes to grilled figs with goat cheese and mint. So go ahead, conquer the classics, and tackle those tartlets. Your guests will be sipping, scooping, stuffing themselves and singing your praises. Reviewed by Alicea Swett
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Art, Architecture & Photography Care of Ward 81 By Bill Diodato Golden Section Publishers LLC, $49.99, 60 pages 1975’s movie; One Flew over the Cockoo’s Nest comes to life again in this hauntingly significant photography book, Care of Ward 81. Women of Ward 81 in Oregon’s own Oregon State Hospital suffered a multitude of mental disturbances, shoved aside from societies’ everyday lives’forgotten and dismissed. Poetically silent, barren walls scream at you like a horrifying nightmare of a clown doll in the corner of the room. The disturbingly bare pictures portrayed in Bill Diodato’s incredible work tell a tale of many and yet of each one, some locked up alone and others to roam the now-desolate halls. From the small, dingy rooms to the poignant upper-room view of the center yard down below; the pictures invoke strong emotions of suffering, shame, loneliness, and pain. No one really knows if this facility did harm or good. No longer a functioning facility, Oregon State Hospital’s memory lingers on in this tome. The story it tells is a personal one; like art, only the viewer can experience. Beautifully bound and exquisitely-captured details Care of Ward 81 is a must-have, not only for the incredible reality but the artwork of the pastel coloring and the story it tells. Sponsored Review
Suburban Knights: A Return to the Middle Ages By E.F. Kitchen powerHouse Books, $35, 196 pages Suburban Knights is an interesting book for those that like to see other people in armor. It’s about the Society for Creative Anachronism, and why people join it. Although the emphasis is on the armor, and the book shows that through its dozens of pictures, it’s ultimately about the people that make it up. The SCA is a medieval recreationist group, where the emphasis is on the ideals of the period and not its realities. Thus, knights in armor and the code of honor exemplified by them is explored, and but not the more negative traits, such as chauvinism; if one pinched the wrong damsel, one is likely to be whacked by her sword. There are stories of the SCA as well from its members, making it an interesting history book. Of special interest are the last few pages, where the non-SCA lives of those pictured are briefly touched on, showing that these are regular people; they just like to fight occasionally. The pictures that make up the bulk of the book are fun as well, as they show people in some gorgeous suits of armor. This not only makes a great coffee table book, but is great for showing people what the SCA is all about. Reviewed by Jamais Jochim
Spirituality The Art of Intuition - Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom By Sophy Burnham Jeremy P. Tarcher, $24.95, 269 pages When you get a feeling that suggests you should or shouldn’t do something, do you listen? These inner encouragements or warnings are part of intuition. Bestselling author Sophy Burnham offers guidance on how to follow these hunches in her new book called The Art of Intuition: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom. Burnham believes that everyone possesses psychic abilities but some people may have to strengthen their skills in order to
benefit from them. The book includes exercises and instructions to help you practice being intuitive. One interesting section of the book focuses on ways premonitions and extrasensory perception play a role in keeping us safe. Burnham provides examples of documented moments when people have had forebodings and, because they listened, lived to tell their stories. One such story is of a man who canceled his voyage on the Titanic because he had a hunch that he shouldn’t go. Burnham, along with others, changed her flight reservation from September 11, 2001 to another day after having felt uneasy about flying. After reading this book, you will be better prepared to trust your own instincts. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communites (Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks) By Alexander Garvin W. W. Norton & Company, $65, 223 pages Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities is an encyclopedic style, beautifully presented book on public parks in America. Alexander Garvin, author of this methodically detailed work, purveyor of urban planning and advocate for the values in public parks, not just for their beauty and enjoyment of the communities they serve but also strategically, of the importance parks play in the success of the human spirit, the cities’ core relevance and what key part they play together for sustainability. Much research and analysis is shared in this book; analysis on park development, design influences, location and overall governing of parks is discussed. Our own beautiful Portland, Oregon is featured in a few chapters with parks such as; Keller Fountains, McCall Waterfront Park and the Pearl District. Parks include fountains, play structures, luscious lawns, sports areas, waterfalls, fauna, rocks, statues, natural habitats, trees and flowers. The list is endless what a park can include and how valuable they are to bring people -- often times, total strangers, together as a community. If you are a traveler of all America has to offer or just a curious observer, Public Parks is a wonderful book to own, read and enjoy. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson
Tweens Atlanta, GA: Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know By Kate Boehm Jerome Arcadia Kids, $9.95, 48 pages What city is nicknamed The Big Guava? (Tampa). Where can you find the Mud Pit Belly Flop Contest? (Atlanta). Kids will find these answers and more in Kate Boehm Jerome’s series about U.S. cities, Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know (featuring Houston, Atlanta, Buffalo, Tampa, Cincinnati, and Charleston). Kids will gobble up facts and trivia found in the sixteen pages of information about each city and thirtytwo pages about the state. Beautiful photos will inspire a de-
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WAITING, cont’d from page 7 cation system. These stories are just a handful of the millions of children who will never get the education they deserve. This book is meant to be a companion guide to the movie and I think it needs to stay that way in order for the message to be clear. My one critique would be that I would have liked to have seen positive stories as well. This book is very one sided and pushes the uplifting stories into the shadows. The movie does a much better job of putting a face to these stories and really pushes the viewer to take action. Overall the book was good, but my suggestion would be to see the movie instead. Reviewed by Nicole Will
sire to take a family trip to see the included sites. Parents will appreciate that the series is both fun and educational. Teachers can use the books in the classroom, making history and geography come alive with the award winning Cool Stuff series. Students with school projects will find all they need to know in sections like “Sights and Sounds,” “Strange but True,” and “Dramatic Days.” The books feature descriptions of popular museums unique to each city. A full-size carousel is on display at the New York State Museum. In Charleston, there is a museum that houses over one hundred thousand insects! The “Find Out More” section provides websites and phone numbers where families and teachers can find out more information about the cities and states. Reviewed by Kathryn Frankin See TWEENS, con’t on page 14
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Con’t from page 13 Bogbrush the Barbarian By Howard Whitehouse Kids Can Press, $17.95, 184 pages It can be a challenge to find books that younger boys will enjoy. Fortunately, author Howard Whitehouse has written a doozy. Bogbrush the Barbarian features a young warrior who is very strong. Even his chainmail underwear is strong. He is leaving on a quest to find a city where an axe lays in stone. If Bogbrush can pull the axe from the stone, he will become the true King. One thing stands in his way. Although Bogbrush is “mighty-thew’d” (in Barbarian this means that he has big muscles), he is not as smart as other warriors. Much of the comedy in the book comes from situations Bogbrush finds himself in because of misunderstandings. Luckily Bogbrush meets people who help him on his quest. He’ll run across a damsel, a thief, a gerbil with a full bladder, ape-men, and a magician. With their help and Bogbrush’s good intension, he may make it to the city after all. Throughout the chapters, boxes of information provide questions to aide in comprehension, definitions of words, and meanings of proverbs. While these can get silly, kids will enjoy the trivia aspect they provide and parents will appreciate the educational com-
ponent. Grab your chain-mail underwear and join Bogbrush on his epic adventure! Reviewed by Kathryn Frankin
every person with an adventurous tween in their life. Reviewed by Missy Wadkins
A Young Wizards Handbook: How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire, and Other Hands-on Activities for Monster Hunters By A.R. Rotruck Wizards fo the Coast, $12.95, 80 pages Written as a guide for young wizards that want to start hunting monsters, How To Trap A Zombie is more than meets the eye. Not only is it a book for adventurous tweens, it’s a must have for moms, librarians and the teachers that work with them. When I first received the book, I thought it was going to be just a run-of-the-mill guide with made-up stories for young imaginations. I was thoroughly surprised when I opened it to find not only descriptions of monsters and how to trap them, but also interactive recipes and crafts that kids can create at their own homes. Hands down, this is definitely one of the most entertaining and beautifully illustrated instruction manuals that I have ever seen. While this book is from the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons and makes several references to the series, it can stand all on its own for anyone lacking D&D knowledge. I’d highly recommend this book to any and
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth By Jeff Kinney Amulet Books, $13.95, 217 pages In the same spirit of the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney’s fifth novel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth is sure to not disappoint. This reviewer could not put the book down; reading at each stop light, and giddy that I got to wait in line or arrive early to an appointment, only to be able to pull the book out and read some more in Greg Heffley’s constantly erratic life. Continuously entertaining, in the hand-written diary-type format with pictures included, keeps any reader on the edge of their seat for the next ridiculous antics of this junior-high teen wanting more from his life than he will probably ever get. In this sequence, he has to face middle school with no best friend, no pimples to show he’s becoming a man and no experience with girls. Greg anxiously attends a Lock-In party at his school and his Uncle’s fourth wedding hoping to be invited to his Uncle’s bachelor party. As always life is a disappointment and reality sets in teaching him the life lessons every teen has to learn. Bravo, Mr. Kinney in this brilliantly funny series! Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson
Young Adult Night Star: The Immortals By Alyson Noel St. Martin’s Press, $17.99, 320 pages The elaborate world of Alyson Noel’s Immortals series is back in its fifth and most recent installment. As Ever Bloom, a sixteen year old recently turned immortal, begins training for the fight of her life against an enemy that she created, she struggles with the lies and half truths that seem to surround her relationship with Damen Auguste, her supposed soul mate. While fans of this series will find nothing to complain about, as the characters remain true to Noel’s first four books and the series continues towards its eventual conclusion in a sixth book finale, a first time reader of this series will be lost. No‰l continually refers to unknown characters and subplots that are seemingly irrelevant to this particular book. This fantasy world Noel has created is extremely diverse and complex asking the reader to step so far out-
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side of what we know to be true that unless you begin with the first book you will find yourself with an almost comical, “huh?” look on your face. If you are an avid lover of tween fantasy romance then you will find this book/series entertaining. If you are looking for the next tween phenomenon then this isn’t it. Reviewed by Rebecca Feuerbacher Greek Myths By Ann Turnbull Candlewick Press, $18.99, 168 pages Myths. A world where maidens become reeds, golden apples distract athletic heroines, and gods can become showers of gold. Add the lovely illustrations by Sarah Young, and the Greek myths pop to life on the page in Greek Myths by Ann Turnbull. In leafing through the thick pages, the reader can feel the reverence author and illustrator both feel for and put into the material. Lovingly rendered and retold, these myths are an enjoyable addition to anyone’s book shelf. The myths are retold in an approachable, readable way that makes Bulfinch look rather pompous, and the pictures are just as rich and tell as much of the story as the words do.
From the Minotaur to Midas, this book would work well as a coffee table ornament for the Greekophile or as a gift for a young (or young at heart) individual in love with the early Greek myths. The myths flow into one another, creating a sense of contingency. This reviewer enjoyed how the book predated the battle of Troy, sticking to creation, hero and god myths that reflect the heart of classical Greece. Reviewed by Axie Barclay Another Pan By Daniel & Dina Nayeril St. Martin’s Press, $17.99, 320 pages Professor Darling is a first year teacher at Marlowe School. His children Wendy, the social-climber, and John, the boy genius, both attend the school and find it equally lacking. When they stumble upon the BOOK OF GATES, the children, along
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall By Mary Downing Hahn Clarion Books, $17, 153 pages After seven long years living at Miss Medleycoate’s Home for Orphan Girls in London, twelve-year-old Florence learns that she will be moving in with her Uncle Thomas to live at his English countryside estate, Crutchfield Hall. Who, or what else awaits her arrival is the subject of Mary Downing Hahn’s book The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall. Greeted with wind and rain and groggy with sleep after a long carriage journey, Florence’s first impression of the house is a grim one. She discovers that she bears a striking resemblance to Sophia, her cousin who died tragically the year before. Florence won’t be completely without friends as her cousin James also lives at Crutchfield Hall, although he mysteriously never leaves his room. Florence loves to read and often compares her situation to the plights of literary heroines like Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet. Florence soon ‘meets’ Sophia and at first wants to befriend the lonely ghost. But Sophia’s plans don’t include friendship. She wants to cause someone else to die so she can be restored to life. Young readers will enjoy this classic spine-tingling ghost story and the surprise ending. Keep the lights on! Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin
with the new advisor Peter, find themselves in the world of Peter Pan. Another Pan is a character-driven book, from the youth-seeking Peter to the all-toofamiliar Lost Boys. I think the only character that lacked for me was Wendy’s brother John, who seemed too sullen and lacked any enthusiasm - though it hardly takes away from the story. One of my favorite things about this book is the chemistry between Wendy and Peter. It was spot on. Although a little slow at first, the book is full of action, strong description, and an original take on Egyptian mythology. Although this book is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. I’d recommend this book to YA fans of all ages, as well as fans of the classic tale of Peter Pan. Reviewed by Missy Wadkins
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Children’s Books Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix By Gary Golio Clarion Books, $16.99, 32 pages Jimi Hendrix belongs to a tiny group of artists, like Van Gogh for example, who developed a style so individual that it can never be copied. Perhaps it is this authenticity that continues to inspire male teenagers to make Hendrix’s music -- the soundtrack of their life. Unfortunately, and this goes for Van Gogh as well, the popular image tends to dwell heavily on the misfortune of these artists’ deaths. Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow offers the flip side: a story of joy, discovery, and creativity. Combining quotes, lyrics, and biography, the text for young readers flows musically across the page and is delightfully accompanied by the collage illustrations of Javaka Steptoe. The emphasis is on Hendrix’s urge to echo the sounds of life, everything from raindrops to sirens. The book also highlights the stresses in his young life -- poverty, an absent mother -- and how he overcame them through perseverance and the support of his father. Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow is an exuberant introduction for upper-elementary children to arguably the best electric guitarist of all time. Appendices also prepare the reader for the downside of Hendrix’s fame, and the Author’s Note even contains Website and further reading information about drug and alcohol abuse, aimed at teenagers. Reviewed by Heather Shaw Moon Bear By Brenda Z. Guiberson Henry Holt, $16.99, 40 pages Brenda Z. Guiberson’sMoon Bearis a story of the rarely encountered Asiatic black bear. Readers get to follow one illusive bear from the time it wakes up from a long winter’s hibernation through rediscovering all the sensory experiences through the four seasons. Guiberson’s question and answer style give children the opportunity to explore their imaginations and come up with an answer after the question is posed. In addition, it educates readers on the treedwelling bear. Two-time Caldecott Honor recipient, Ed Young, uses a combination of drawings, photographs and torn paper to bring the story alive with mesmerizing illustrations in a collage format. It is evident in the writing that Guiberson has a passion for the Moon Bear. That evidence is further solidified on the final two pages where readers have the pleasure
of viewing six photographs of Moon Bears relaxing and playing at the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center in China. Guiberson offers readers the chance to learn more and contribute to the Moon Bear rescue through a website. Overall, this is recommended reading for elementary aged children, and could be used in class as a springboard to research animals. Reviewed by Linda Welz
task. This book encourages young girls to branch out from previous notions about the daily activities considered feminine, but it goes a step further by encouraging a balance of femininity. By never leaving off their sparkly crowns, these girls never seem less feminine just because they are essentially enjoying the messiness of life. The creative colorful illustrations would be a joy to mothers and daughters old and young. Reviewed by Rachelle Barrett
All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever By Jane Yolen Philomel Books, $17.99, 40 pages This book combines two of my most favorite things: A Jane Yolen release, and baseball. Jane Yolen is the most prolific children’s writer imaginable. I’ve read dozens of her books to my own daughter. With All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever, she’s hit yet another home run. Even dyed in the wool baseball fans can be forgiven, if when they think of the game’s greatest players, they forget the men who toiled at the beginning of the 20th century. Think of Honus Wagner as the ARod of his era, sans the ‘chemical enhancement’. He played with speed, power and grace. He was a gentleman, when baseball was the game of ruffians and scoundrels. Jim Burke’s beautiful illustrations look like the baseball cards of the era. Painted, soft focus, alive with the motion of the game. All Star! is the perfect book for that youngster, just about ready to start T-ball. A children’s book that takes the young reader seriously. No talking bears, or licensed Japanese pop-icons here. Jane Yolen and Jim Burke deliver the goods one more time. Reviewed by Brad Wright
The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye By Jane Yolen Random House, $16.99, 32 pages The loss of a pet is hard on anyone, especially on children. Books are often useful tools to help parents explain the process to their kids. Jane Yolen’s book The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye is a beautiful story of a sweet kitty’s enjoyable last day. Tiger Rose has lived a full life filled with love and adventure. It is her time to say goodbye to the people, animal, and special secret spots that have made her life a fulfilling one. In this book, death is treated as a natural event, a part of life, and a process that is both an ending and a beginning. Jim LaMarche’s breathtaking illustrations make the story complete. His use of soft and soothing colors calm the reader and make it even more of a special reading experience. Anyone who has owned a pet or loved an animal will cherish and take comfort in this tale of how Tiger Rose fearlessly accepts her fate, uses her last day to find closure, and prepares to move on to the next adventure. Parents can use this story as a way to bridge a sensitive topic and to discuss the meaning of life and death and a sensitive, gentle, and thought-provoking way. Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink By Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 30 pages Three amazing women come together to form this children’s book that celebrates the strength that can be found in any version of femininity. Just as the colorful, fun cover illustrates a group of friends sporting their own individual styles of dress while being actively involved in useful tasks, the rest of this cute rhyming story describes princesses participating and enjoying a wide variety of messy or arduous tasks. Every page has a girl wearing a sparkly crown with pride and participating in a task that would not be a clich‚ princess
The Way of the Ninja By David Bruins and Hilary Leung Kids Can Press, $16.95, 32 pages In the second installment of the story of three very different friends; Ninja, Cowboy, and Bear, Ninja must learn an important lesson. While Cowboy and Bear prefer more peaceful, relaxed, and injury free activities, Ninja only wants to have fun his way. Ninja enjoys adventures that are too daring or dangerous for his friends. When his activities actually cause injury, Cowboy and Bear decide not to participate in any more of Ninja’s activities. The visually appealing and at times hilarious Japanese anime style illustrations depicted in a comic book frame renders the simple
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words on the page all but unnecessary. This story is meant for children at the age where social customs of friendships are being explored. While the plot and verbiage seem overly simplistic, the message comes through loud and clear; the way of the ninja is not the only way to have fun. Reviewed by Rachelle Barrett The Good Garden - How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough By Katie Smith Milway Kids Can Press, $18.95, 32 pages The concept of green, is all too like a threat to children. There’s an overtone of punishment when they mix trash and garbage or complain about the malodorous compost heap near the backyard baseball pitch. But green becomes meaningful when explained in the ideal setting of The Good Garden, a lesson taught and understood in an ideal setting. Maria Luz Duarte and her family live in an impoverished Honduran village, when the corn crop fails her father leaves to seek work far away. The new schoolteacher, like a guiding light, shows how to improve crops by utilizing the resources available to all. Maria Luz takes her new understanding to the villagers. Not merely a charming fable based on a personal memory, Katie Smith Milway’s gentle text simplifies the practice of sensibly tweaking nature. Her words are matched by Sylvie Deigneault’s gracefully colored pencil drawings. The text is complemented to good effect by a Spanish/English glossary, suggestions for emulating the teacher’s instruction, and information about several organizations that tackle hunger around the world. Reviewed by Jane Manaster Magic at the Bed & Biscuit By Joan Carris Candlewick Press, $15.99, 103 pages At the Bed and Biscuit boardinghouse, Grampa cares for animals who need some rest and relaxation. Grampa’s own pets, Ernest the mini-pig, Gabby the mynah bird, Milly the cat, and Sir Walter the Scottish terrier, are ideal hosts for newcomers...except for Malicia, a tiny ornery chicken who shows up, ready to wreak havoc with her magical talents. In her Bed and Biscuit series, Joan Carris creates an exciting world of talking animals presented in a beginning chapter book format. In the See MAGIC, con’t on page 16
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MAGIC, con’t from page 15 third book of the series, Magic at the Bed and Biscuit, the animals work together to stop Malicia, a city chicken with a bad attitude, from causing trouble with her magic. Any one of them could be her next target. They all witnessed how Malicia stopped Rory the Rooster from crowing at dawn (she stole some of his tail feathers!). Readers will enjoy Noah Z. Jones’ illustrations. Each one adds to the humor of the story and together, the text and illustrations present a fantastic animal adventure.Will Grampa see the truth about Malicia before something goes horribly wrong? Leave it to Ernest, one smart mini-pig, to help his pals stop Malicia’s magic for good. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin All the Seasons of the Year By Deborah Lee Rose Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 26 pages Soft, sweetly charming and captive, All the Seasons of the Year by Deborah Lee Rose has appropriately vivid colors and dialogue for young readers and viewers. Breezily introducing children to the different seasons and the joys that each one brings, this loveable book will be a favorite in the night-time ritual of reading before bed. All the Seasons of the Year is appealing to parents, infants and children alike. IIIllustrations portrayed by Kay Chorao, are skillfully drawn, painted and delivered with the sing-song poetry that dances along on the pages like a ballerina in a fantasy-based ballet. This reviewer can easily picture a parent reading this book to their infant child with tears welling up in their eyes with the love for their child oozing to the top, or a child reading this to their parent with an enthusiasm that only children can muster. Memorization can be mastered easily and adds to
the emotion and love. This children’s book should be required reading for young children with parents who want to share the changing seasons with the little ones they love. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson The Desperate Dog Writes Again By Eileen Christelow Clarion Books, $16.99, 40 pages Who can an animal turn to when they have questions that need immediate answers? They write to “Dear Queenie” of course! Eileen Christelow, in her funny new book The Desperate Dog Writes Again, tells the story of Emma, a pup who has troubles at home. Emma is happy living with her human, George, and an orange cat. The couch is just the right size for the three of them and everyone gets plenty of attention. But when a female stranger starts holding hands with George, Emma thinks her owner is being kidnapped! The miserable mutt sets out to the library to email canine advice columnist, Queenie. The expert tells Emma to do her best to discourage George’s new admirer - roll in stinky garbage, hide her belongings, and act naughty. Will Emma’s plan work, or will the family need a bigger couch? Kids will enjoy the comic book style and bright illustrations. An emailing dog fits in with today’s technology based world. The tail-wagging tale is ideal for kids adjusting to a new member of the family (be it twolegged or four-pawed). Animal lovers will cherish the message of unconditional love. Move over, Dear Abby, Queenie is only an email away! Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
Music & Movies The Tempest By William Shakespeare Introduction by Julie Taymor Abrams, $29.95, 176 pages Julie Taymor’s new film, The Tempest, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare is a cinematic marvel in book form. Jonathan Bate, eminent critic and Shakespearean expert, deftly contributed the Foreword adding William Shakespeare’s life-history with his work as a playwright. Spectacular photos from the film make up a large part of this book but more than just still-shots bound in a book.
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Pages and pages of eye-catching, fantasystyle photographs fill this movie-to-book bound purchase. The screenplay script accompanies the shots and storyline making this such a unique and appealing work, you don’t want to put it down. In this stylish format and one of Shakespeare’s shortest magical comedies, it comes to life in a believable, current day storyline making you want to see the movie and the original play by Shakespeare himself. Phenomenal cast for the movie, The Tempest, makes the shots come to life even more than if a skilled artist rendered the pictures in still-life form. If you’re a Shakespeare fan or just a movie buff, this book is a collector’s dream. Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson
Volunteer as a SMART® Reader for one hour per week! Imagine an Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed. Join more than 6,000 Oregon volunteers to read one-on-one with two K-3rd grade children for 30 minutes each. Help the SMART children you read with to select and take home new books every month to keep and read with their families. The same hour every week, from NOW through May – that’s all it takes to make a difference and help Start Making A Reader Today! For more information and to apply go to www.getsmartoregon.org or call 971-634-1616. Applications will be accepted year-round.
Miss Tutu’s Star By Lesléa Newman Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 30 pages As the mother of a 4-year old princess who loves to dance, I originally thought, not another ballerina book. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong! This is an enchanting book that teaches children that if they love something and work at it, they can accomplish whatever they want. Selena is an awkward girl who grows into a confident performer despite obstacles. The illustrations are especially endearing and appreciated throughout this book. The art is truly enchanting and works to weave in parallel stories throughout, making it a great picture book. The themes woven in the images provide a variety of ways to use this book with your child. From pointing out ‘silly’ things, to counting the number of kids falling, and asking the names of the other kids in the book, children will want to do it all. Any parent or childcare provider would be pleased to read this book to their young ones and see how much enjoyment they get from it. I hope we can expect to see more enchanting stories from this amazing author/ illustrator duo. Reviewed by Janet Wright
Art and Max By David Wiesner Clarion Books, $17.99, 40 pages Max, the lizard wants to learn to paint. His friend Arthur already knows about art and offers to teach Max. But Arthur is very busy painting a formal portrait. Max is so excited to start and all he needs is a subject. He convinces Art to let Max paint him. But instead of painting on a canvas, he paints all over Art! David Wiesner takes us on an artistic adventure shared by Art, who wants to follow traditional rules with his formal portraits, and Max, who wants to experiment by flinging paint like Jackson Pollock, watering the paint down to create watercolors, using the dot method like Seurat, and re-drawing his friend using figure and line drawing techniques. This book has only a few words because the emphasis is on visual storytelling. The author gives us an art history lesson on each page. We get a life lesson as well. Art, the teacher, ends up learning that it is okay to let go and let your imagination and colors run free. And, it is okay to go beyond the lines and even better if those lines disappear altogether. It is no surprise that Wiesner has won the Caldecott Medal three times for his work. Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
For those interested in why radio “was and is a force in our lives, this is an enjoyable trip for a quiet afternoon.
-- San Francisco Book Review
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