American Prison by Shane Bauer (Book Review)

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment By Shane Bauer Penguin Books Paperback $18.00 (Previously in Hardcover) ©2018 Nonfiction 351 Pages Many people in the United States first heard of Shane Bauer in 2009, when he and two other Americans, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were arrested on false charges of spying on Iran.  They were held for more than two years before the U.S. State Department secured their release. All three Americans who were subjected to that trauma co-authored a memoir and wrote about their experience in Mother Jones Magazine.  However, Shane Bauer had a continuing … Continue reading American Prison by Shane Bauer (Book Review)

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme (Book Review)

Keep Her Close by Therme, Erik Psychological Suspense ©2018 Bookouture Original Paperback $10.99 (USD) 230 Pages ISBN-13:  978-1-78681-9 In your experience, how many times have you acted on impulse against your better judgment? You probably don’t have an answer to that, and if you did you wouldn’t say. An even more uncomfortable question might be, How many times have you acted on impulse because of an intense emotional void? I want to be careful not to share too much, but Erik Therme has written a modern classic suspense novel that explores the ways we — any of us — react when … Continue reading Keep Her Close by Erik Therme (Book Review)

Maid by Stephanie Land (Review)

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive By Land, Stephanie Foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich Memoir ©2019 $27.00 Hardcover Hachette Books 270 Pages You may have social media friends who rely on each other for emergency childcare or other support when their families suffer hardships.  Even if you’re not in a particular inner circle, you may see posts on Facebook by friends who thank their siblings, parents or others for stepping up to the plate during a crisis. Stephanie Land, author of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, rarely had any human safety net … Continue reading Maid by Stephanie Land (Review)

One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner (Book Review)

(Disclosure: This post underwent minor revisions on April 3, 2019.) ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD: THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD NIXON By Tim Weiner ©2015 369 Pages, Including Source Notes and Index $17.99 St. Martins Griffin Paperback (Originally in Hardcover) If you’re old enough to remember Watergate, some names are with you forever.  I can recall a parody album which a friend insisted on playing for me through the telephone.  I don’t remember how many times she did that, but a musical chorus with names of the scandal’s principals still repeats in my head occasionally. Consider what we don’t remember, or … Continue reading One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner (Book Review)

Gaslighting by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. (Book Review)

Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People — and Break Free By Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, Ph.D. Da Capo Press (An Imprint of Hachette) ISBN-13: 978-0738284668 $16.99 USD Trade Paperback (Also Available as an E-Book) (Disclaimer:  I am not a mental health professional.) Most of us who have the slightest human vulnerability have been gaslighted.  Maybe it didn’t work on some of us, but don’t be too sure about that. Gaslighting is a form of mental manipulation which causes people to question their own perceptions or judgment.  The effect of it is the emotional equivalent of slipping on ice.  You might … Continue reading Gaslighting by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. (Book Review)

Golden State by Ben H. Winters (Book Review)

GOLDEN STATE By Ben H. Winters Mulholland Books, Issued in 2019 336 Pages ISBN-13:  978-0316505413 $28.00 Hardcover Also available as an e-book I first became an admirer of Ben H. Winters when I read his 2011 novel Bedbugs.  He has a gift for finding horror in the human condition, and using the physical setting as metaphor. Golden State does not disappoint.  Mr. Winters’ latest dystopian fiction is set in the future, in a place resembling Los Angeles.  Small lies — even efforts at creativity — are treated as felonies, and the population must live with the consequences of being “honest” at all … Continue reading Golden State by Ben H. Winters (Book Review)

Two’s a Crowd (Book #1 in Pug Pals Series) Review

Two’s a Crowd Written and illustrated by Flora Ahn Scholastic Press $9.99 (USD) Hardcover (No Dust Jacket) © 2018 Pugs are wonderful dogs.  However, most have attitudes.  They’re stubborn, and when they don’t get what they want they sulk. Flora Ahn knows this.  If my dear Puggie acquaintances were able to cross their arms, they would resemble one of the drawings inside the front cover of this book. Two’s a Crowd is the first and so far only book in this new series, and I plan on reading all of them eventually. Care should be used to avoid giving away too … Continue reading Two’s a Crowd (Book #1 in Pug Pals Series) Review

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (Review)

Dog Man Text and Illustrations By Dav Pilkey Color by José Garibaldi Children’s Book (Graphic Novel) 231 Pages, Hardcover © 2016 ISBN-13: 978-0-545-58160-8 $9.99 USD Presently, there are four books in the heroic Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey.  I’ve read only the first, and here’s a review to get the rest of you at least mildly acquainted. In case the author’s name sounds familiar, he’s the heroic creator of Captain Underpants.  If you have to ask who Captain Underpants is, visit the Children’s Room at your local library at once and tell the librarian it’s “urgent.”  I guarantee you’ll be enlightened before … Continue reading Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (Review)

Room by Emma Donoghue (Review)

Room By Emma Donoghue Mass Market Paperback ISBN: 978-0316268356 © 2010 $7.99 USD Also Available in Trade Paper and E-Book Editions Some highly educated people claim that literature isn’t published anymore.  My father used to say that. Room, the 2010 novel by Emma Donoghue, is one of the exceptions to that rule. You might recall a California kidnap victim named Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was missing for eighteen years before being freed in 2009.  She had two children by then, both fathered by her kidnapper. There is no indication that Room is based on that crime.  The novel must have taken more than … Continue reading Room by Emma Donoghue (Review)

War on Peace by Ronan Farrow (Review)

War on Peace:  The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence By Ronan Farrow Published by W. W. Norton & Company © 2018 392 Pages, Including Source Notes & Index ISBN: 978-0-393-65210-9 $27.95 USD Most of us are poorly informed, especially where foreign policy is concerned.  When we follow that topic, we often fall back on lightweight, centre-right or far-right sources.  Real journalism tends to go over our heads, and even when it doesn’t it seems tedious. War on Peace:  The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence is real journalism which is not tedious.  That may … Continue reading War on Peace by Ronan Farrow (Review)