All posts by alanwp

Jorge Cramez ‘s “Amor Amor” proves that love is a many-sided thing

We always focus on love. It makes the world go around, It brings peace and joy and happiness.

So now we focus on Jorge Cramez’s Amor Amor (IndiePix), starring Jorge Freitas as Jorge, a manipulative and self-centered photographer who feels stuck in his long relationship with Marta (Ana Moreira). Head over heels in love with him, Marta is also the new object of desire of Jorge’s friend, Carlos (Nuno Casanovas), who also happens to be in a relationship with Ana’s best friend, the cynical Lígia (Margarida Vila-Nova). Lígia’s romantic younger brother Bruno (Guilherme Moura) is also infatuated with Marta.

Complicated? Perhaps, but why have a conventional love triangle when you can have a pentagon of feelings and manipulation?

A loose adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th-century play La Place Royale, Amor Amor tells the story of a group of friends spending New Year’s Eve in Lisbon, living love’s zigzags. There are those who come to discover themselves. Those who come to discover love. And those who come to discover the limits of their own freedom. At this New Year’s Eve, everything can change, but not exactly as one expects.
Easy to love this film, nominated for the Grand Jury Award at IndieLisboa. It’s so good that, Ana Moreira was also nominated for “Best Actress” at the 2019 Portuguese Autores Awards. As our dear friends at IndiePix say, “love is a many-sided thing”!

“White Riot” chronicles Rock Against Racism’s fight to end racism. Music to our ears!

We’ll do anything to end racism.  Perhaps we should take a lesson from Rock Against Racism (RAR).

Flashback: Britain, late-’70s. The country is deeply divided over immigration. The National Front, a far-right and fascist political party, is gaining strength. And countering this was Rock Against Racism, a movement that swept across the U.K. and Europe and culminated in a 100,000+ person march and a legendary concert event, think Woodstock meets the March on Washington, punk-style.

Capturing this incredible moment in time when music changed the world is director Rubika Shah’s award-winning documentary,  White Riot.

Expanding on her documentary short White Riot: London, Shah’s energizing film charts the rise of Rock Against Racism (RAR), formed in 1976, prompted by “music’s biggest colonialist” Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell. The brisk, informative White Riot  blends fresh, engaging interviews with RAR staff and musicians with archival footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches.

As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. The campaign grew from “Temporary Hoarding,” the movement’s fanzine to 1978’s huge antifascist concert in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Tom Robinson, Steel Pulse and, of course, The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses. White Riot chronicles this “extraordinary fusion of culture and politics that changed society for the better.” (Jackson Caines, Glass Magazine).

I tell Dolly we are “bosom buddies”. She coos, “and my breast friend”. Dolly’s life busts out on 19 DVDs!!

My next book is entitled Dolly Parton’s Boob in My Hands . . . and Other True, Titillating Stories From My 35 years of Hollywood Hobknobbing.

Let me explain.

I knew Dolly Rebecca Parton and I would become fast friends when she let me hold her left breast. Before you start calling the tabloids or TMZ, let me explain. It was 1987, and we were in a photographer’s studio on the Upper East Side where Dolly was being photographed for the cover of Redbook.

She was dressed in a handmade denim blouse (size 0), the wig was perfectly placed, the makeup flawless. She eyed the catered buffet and picked up a piece of chicken with her two fire-engine red (fake) fingernails, brought it to her mouth and, plop!, the sliver landed on her blouse, smack-dab on her left . . . well, you get the picture.

The adrenaline kicked in. “Quick, Dolly!” I said. “You hold and I’ll wipe.” I poured water on a paper towel and begin to very gently dab the spot. Dolly grabbed a portable hair-dryer and with that infectious giggle cooed, “Now quick! You hold and I’ll dry.”

With those seven simple words, my entry into the dizzy, delightful world of Dolly Parton—40DD-17-36—had begun. “One day,” I thought to myself, “I will live to write about this.”

The shoot was a success, and as Dolly climbed into her limo, I whispered, “I feel like your bosom buddy.” Without missing a beat, she said, “And my breast friend.”

Oh! The stories I can tell.

It’s the sassy and self-effacing side of Dolly that has always made her look better than a body has a right to. “I’m not a natural beauty, so when I started out, I needed to be as flamboyant and outrageous as possible,” she recalls. “My trashy look started from a sincere place — a country girl’s idea of glamour. I always wanted to be sexy even before I knew what the word meant. I thought that town tramps were beautiful. They had more hair, more color, more of everything. And they had men always hanging ’round them. So I copied those girls. And I owe them a lot.”

She giggles. “When I realized my trashy look was working, I kept it. It’s cost me a lot to look so cheap,” she adds. “I wear the fake hair because it’s so tacky. I wear high heels because I have short legs. And I wear fake fingernails because I have short, fat arms. I have no taste and no style and I love it! When I am 90, I’m going to look like Mae West. I may be in a wheelchair, but I’ll still have the big hair, big boobs and big fingernails. I’ll probably end up this way in my coffin. But I won’t be a fat hog!”

You can call her the Queen of Country, an award-winning songwriter, actress, TV star, philanthropist, business mogul, gay icon and American treasure, but to her millions of fans, she’s known simply as Dolly. From her start out of Nashville in the ’60s to her Hollywood debut and beyond Dolly has done it all . . . and in 6 inch heels!

Now, for the first time ever, the incredible highlights of Dolly’s remarkable career are together in a one-of-a-kind 19-DVD set DOLLY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION. From her early appearances in the ’60s through her own star-studded variety shows in the ’70s and ’80s, to concerts, interviews, TV appearances and blockbuster collaborations with her closest friends, she’s still going strong and lookin’ spectacular!
“It’s been an amazing journey and you’ll find some of my most precious highlights included here in this collection,” says Dolly. “Thank you to the wonderful folks at Time Life for putting this together. What a delightful trip down memory lane….just the hair styles and outfits alone are worth a look and I’m surprised there are still any rhinestones left in this world! I hope you enjoy these moments as much as I did.”
Time Life cordially invites Dolly Parton fans everywhere to come along on the journey of a lifetime. Available now exclusively at TimeLife.com/DollyParton, this dazzling, carefully curated 19-DVD deluxe collection includes:
  • 22 star-studded episodes of Dolly’s variety shows from the ’70s & ’80s with guest appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender, Burt Reynolds, Miss Piggy, Merle Haggard, Smokey Robinson & The Temptations, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and more!
  • 7 episodes of The Porter Wagoner Show, from 1967 – 1974 featuring historic Dolly Parton performances including Jolene, I Will Always Love You, Coat of Many Colors, Mule Skinner Blues, and her very first appearance where she sang Dumb Blonde.
  • A special Christmas disc featuring A Down Home Country Christmas with Mac Davis and Burl Ives, and Bob Hope’s Jolly Christmas Show
  • Dolly’s spectacular Live and Well concert from 2002
  • Dolly’s unforgettable Live from London concert from 2009 plus bonus features
  • Rare TV appearances of Dolly throughout her career from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonThe Oprah Winfrey Show, and Crook & Chase
  • The entire Song by Song: Dolly Parton series, highlighting Dolly’s most iconic songs and how they came to be
  • Bonus features include Dolly’s University of Tennessee Commencement Address and Imagination Library Dedication Ceremony at The Library of Congress
  • Classic duets with Dolly & Porter Wagoner taped live at the Grand Ole Opry
  • Unforgettable Dolly Parton performances from the CMA Awards in the ’70s
  • New bonus features created just for this collection featuring Dolly Parton reminiscing about memorable moments from throughout her career
  • Exclusive, complete, and never before seen interviews with Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Kenny Rogers, Marty Stuart, Lily Tomlin, and Carrie Underwood!
  • Plus your FREE Bonus DVD with the complete authorized BBC documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am
  • An Exclusive Collector’s Book filled with photos, Dolly in her own words, and loving tributes from her famous friends.
  • And it all comes in a beautiful Collector’s Box!
Dolly Parton remains as vibrant and relevant as ever. Her songs have captured the hearts of generations. Her electric smile has brightened the lives of millions. And her trademark style is recognized across the globe. Join Time Life for a celebration of her iconic, unforgettable career with DOLLY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, only available via direct response or online at TimeLife.com/DollyParton.
 

Time Life chers the life and legacy with the super special 9-DVD set, “The Best of Cher”

Two days before my birthday, the pros at Time Life issues a most welcome  birthday present. I promised to cher the news.

For the first time ever, all the spectacular highlights of Cher’s remarkable career are together in one electrifying collection: The Best of Cher.

 Cher initially rose to stardom as part of a singing act with then husband Sonny Bono in the ’60s, hitting No. 1 with the single “I Got You Babe” before they starred together on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Following a parting of ways, the incredibly talented artist spread her wings, established a chart-topping solo career of her own, starred in her own variety show, and sold out music venues across the globe. The inimitable multi-hyphenate continues to shine brightly and  this collection brings together the stunning scope of her sensational life in the spotlight like never before across two loaded volumes and 9 DVDs, as well as a collectible look book featuring Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe sketches.                    
In a new interview included in the set, Cher said, “I love looking back at these shows. They’re so much fun to watch and they were so much fun to make. While I’m not done yet, it’s great that Time Life has put this set together.”
THE BEST OF CHER VOLUME 1: 5 DVDS
When America’s favorite musical couple parted ways in 1974, effectively ending The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, CBS quickly decided to give Cher her own variety show. Simply titled Cher, the new series starring the soon-to-be superstar aired its first episode in February 1975. In the opening, Cher told the audience: “My future is in your hands. I am really happy to be back. No, I am thrilled to be back.” Now 10 episodes of Cher’s very own show are available for the first time in over 40 years! Home audiences will thrill to have front row seats to see Cher flying solo with a nonstop cavalcade of the hottest stars including Charo, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Muppets, Linda Ronstadt, Raquel Welch and more! Also included:
  • Exclusive new interviews with Cher, Designer Bob Mackie, comedy icon Lily Tomlin and Cher executive producer George Schlatter
  • TV appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and Dinah (1975)
  • Cher CBS Promo
  • Newly produced featurette, Cher: Then & Now
THE BEST OF CHER VOLUME 2: 4 DVDS
Cher is one of a kind and her legendary TV specials hit our screens as family-friendly, psychedelic, counterculture kaleidoscopes. Whether playing all the parts in West Side Story, a roller-skating goddess, the snake in the Garden of Eden, a synchronized secretary, or simply Laverne—no one puts on a show like Cher. Her Vegas shows (and outfits!) were even more spectacular, and they’re all on incredible display in VOLUME 2, which features:
  • Both of Cher’s legendary TV Specials from the ’70s: Cher…Special (1978), Cher…and Other Fantasies (1979)
  • Two unforgettable concerts in Vegas, live from the Mirage (1991) and MGM Grand (1999), as well as exclusive extras including backstage home movies, rehearsal songs and more
  • The full-length documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher offering a rare peek into Cher’s fascinating family history
  • Plus bonus features including a 2018 appearance on The Late, Late Show with James Corden
As a young girl, Cher’s mom promised her that she was special and that one day she would believe it. Audiences around the world have been believing since she burst onto the scene in the ’60s, and we haven’t stopped—The Best of Cher captures Cher’s incredible, undeniable talents to enjoy again and again.

One special ticket or ride: the must-have 5-DVD collection, “The Soul of the Midnight Special”

We offer you one special ticket to ride: The Soul of the Midnight Special. This must-have 5-DVD (Time Life) brings home audiences and music lovers everywhere an unforgettable collection of legendary soul artists performing their hits in the prime of their careers—uncut performances, just straight-from-the-heart soul singing with live musicians in front of a live audience.
In the period between American Bandstand and MTV, there were sev­eral shows that tried to bring new music to television, but it wasn’t until The Midnight Special, premiered on August 19, 1972, that live music found a home on the air. Burt Sugarman, producer of Grammy Awards telecasts, was frustrated by television’s lack of programming after The Tonight Show ended; the screen reverting to test patterns at 1:00 a.m. Recognizing this valuable airtime could cater to a brand-new audience that craved its latest musical heroes, he created The Midnight Special, which ran every Friday night on NBC from 1972 to 1981.

The’70s was a special time for soul music and The Midnight Special truly had an affinity for the genre. Week after week, home audiences would have virtual front row seats for performances by the greatest soul performers of the time including Al Green, Earth Wind & Fire, Patti LaBelle, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Spinners, The O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, The Stylistics, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and the Pips and so many more. The Midnight Special was the only show where you could see real live performances week after week.

Now, the first time ever,  The Soul of the Midnight Special brings together the greatest soul performances handpicked from thousands in one very special collection. Included is an incredible collection of true soul classics, many of which haven’t been seen since their original broadcast: from Let’s Stay Together to Midnight Train to Georgia to love songs like the Stylistics’ Betcha by Golly, Wow to dance grooves like Sly & the Family Stone’s Dance to the Music and Ohio Players’ Fire. All-time classic performances include Back Stabbers by the O’Jays, Tired of Being Alone by Al Green, Could It Be I’m Falling in Love by Spinners, Lean on Me by Bill Withers, The Love I Lost by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and I Want to Take You Higher by Sly & the Family Stone. Also included are exclusive interviews with James Brown, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire The O’Jays, Russell Thompkins Jr. of The Stylistics, Bobby Womack, Ted Mills of Blue Magic, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, Gerald Alston, The Manhattans and George Benson.
The Soul of the Midnight Special includes (in alphabetical order):
  • Al Green — Tired of Being Alone (8/3/73), How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (8/3/73), I’m Still in Love with You (11/29/74), Let’s Stay Together (11/29/74)
  • Al Wilson — Show and Tell (3/1/74)
  • Barry White — You’re the First, the Last, My Everything (11/15/74), Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (12/13/74), Never, Never Gonna Give You Up (12/13/74)
  • Bill Withers — Ain’t No Sunshine (3/22/74), Lean on Me (3/22/74)
  • Billy Preston — Will It Go Round in Circles (1/4/74)
  • Blue Magic — Sideshow (12/13/74)
  • Bobby Womack — Lookin’ for a Love (12/13/74)
  • Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode (11/2/73)
  • Curtis Mayfield — Back to the World (6/8/73), Freddie’s Dead (Theme from Superfly) (9/21/73), Superfly (1/4/74)
  • Earth, Wind & Fire — Devotion (4/18/75)
  • George Benson — This Masquerade (7/30/76)
  • Gladys Knight & the Pips — Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) (4/6/73), I Heard It through the Grapevine (4/6/73), Midnight Train to Georgia (10/5/73), Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me (12/20/74)
  • Gladys Knight/B. B. King —The Thrill Is Gone (10/5/73)
  • Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes — Bad Luck (5/23/75), The Love I Lost (5/23/75), Let’s Get Together Soon (Hope That We Can Be Together Soon) (5/23/75)
  • James Brown — Sex Machine (8/6/76), Get Up Offa That Thing (8/6/76), Cold Sweat/Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag (10/8/76),
  • Johnnie Taylor — Who’s Making Love (11/2/73)
  • Kool & the Gang — Hollywood Swinging (12/20/74), Jungle Boogie (12/20/74)
  • LaBelle — Lady Marmalade (4/18/75)
  • Love Unlimited Orchestra — Love’s Theme (11/15/74)
  • Minne Riperton — Lovin’ You (7/18/75), Inside My Love (7/18/75)
  • Ohio Players — Fire (4/4/75), Skin Tight (4/4/75)
  • Ohio Players — Love Rollercoaster (12/19/75), Honey (12/19/75)
  • Ray Charles — Georgia on My Mind (3/30/73), What’d I Say (3/30/73)
  • Ray Charles/Aretha Franklin — Takes Two to Tango (3/30/73)
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan — Sweet Thing (12/12/75), Once You Get Started (12/12/75)
  • Sly & the Family Stone — Stand! (10/26/73), I Want to Take You Higher (10/26/73), Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), (10/26/73), Dance to the Music (10/26/73)
  • Spinners — Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (2/9/73), I’ll Be Around (2/9/73), One of a Kind (Love Affair) (6/8/73), Sadie (2/14/75), Then Came You (2/14/75)
  • The Brothers Johnson– I’ll Be Good to You (10/8/76)
  • The Chi-Lites — Oh Girl (9/21/73)
  • The Main Ingredient — Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely (10/11/74), Everybody Plays The Fool (10/11/74)
  • The Manhattans — Kiss and Say Goodbye (12/3/76)
  • The Miracles — Love Machine (12/3/76)
  • The O’Jays — Back Stabbers (3/23/73), Love Train (3/23/73), Put Your Hands Together (913/74), Sunshine (9/13/74)
  • The Staple Singers — Let’s Do It Again (1/16/76), Respect Yourself (1/16/76)
  • The Stylistics — Betcha by Golly, Wow (6/1/73), Break Up to Make Up (6/1/73), I’m Stone in Love with You (6/1/73), You Make Me Feel Brand New (3/1/74)
  • The Sylvers — Boogie Fever (7/30/76)
  • Wilson Pickett — In the Midnight Hour (9/21/73)

Long before Count Dracula sucked blood, there was “Carmilla”, the eerie 1872 Gothic novella

A quarter century before Bram Stoker put the super supernatural and horror tale of Count Dracula on the page, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu wrote Carmilla, the 1872 novella that greatly influenced Stoker.
The seductive vampire Carmilla attacks the sleeping Bertha Rheinfeldt.
Now there’s the film, courtesy of Film Movement, in which fifteen-year-old Lara (played by Hannah Rae) lives in seclusion on a vast country estate with her father and strict governess Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine). Late one evening, a mysterious carriage crash brings a young girl (Devrim Lignau) into their home to recuperate. Lara immediately becomes enchanted by this strange visitor who arouses her curiosity and awakens her burgeoning desires.

Read the novella and see the flick, or see the flick and read the novella. Halloweed in right around the corner.

His art is instantly recognizable. With “Botero”, now learn how he became an artistic master.

I have a secret desire which I have admitted to few people.
Until now.
My aunt Yolanda owns a Botero. An original Botero. I hope she bequeaths it to me. Just think! I can sell it and make lots of money.
Sound crass?
Botero is one of the world’s most popular living artists, with millions of fans transcending cultures across the globe. While his art is instantly recognizable, the story of how he became “the Maestro” is largely unknown.
Botero (Corinth Films)  changes that.

This poetic, beautifully filmed documentary for award-winning filmmaker Don Millar offers an inspiring look at the power of relentless vision, unwavering conviction and a lifetime of discipline.

Weaving together original footage shot in 10 cities across China, Europe, New York and Colombia, with decades of family photos and archival video, the documentary  grants home viewers unprecedented access to the artist and his family, along with a colorful cast of historians, curators and academics who together reveal the creativity and convictions at the heart of the artist.
Botero ultimately brings together the man and his art to capture his essence—the quiet resolve and strength of character that allowed him to overcome poverty, decades of harsh criticism and the tragic death of his four-year-old son. Never-before-seen moments come to life: His children uncover 50 year-old sketches in a shuttered storage facility; cameras go behind the scenes at a show exhibiting his work alongside that of Pablo Picasso; the artist takes us on a private tour of his studio.
 

Kids learn about the right way to eat (and have good manners!) in the nifty “Fellow in Yellow”

It’s a perfect day, brimming with a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. Then a young boy spots a man wearing a yellow suit, walking down the sidewalk carrying and enjoying a huge piece of pie and an oversized cookie in his bare hands. A pie in the sky moment?

Nope.

The boy’s curiosity sparks a conversation with the man. The boy is  surprised, almost shocked, as the man tells the boy about his unique, peculiar and–gulp! unhealthy–eating habits. (Neither the boy nor man have names; part of the book’s universal appeal.)

Such food for thought is the main dish of David Duncan’s debut book Fellow in Yellow (Amazon.com Services LLC, $9.99), a nifty book whose rhyming text whimsically helps young readers ages 3-9 understand  the importance of a healthy diet and good manners.

A sampling of the prose: You’re a kid,
my diet won’t do.
You should eat your
fruits and veggies too!

The tasty lessons are accompanied by oodles of captivating illustrations by Patrick Carlson.

We think of Fellow in Yellow as a delicious dessert (and no calories!) that needs to be on every parents menu. Kids are sure to ask Mom and Dad to read the story again and again, savoring its humor and amusing images.

Duncan serves up another extra: A portion of the book’s profits will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa , Florida.

Hungry for more about the author? Visit facebook.com/davidduncanbooks and davidduncanbooks.com 

The Best Simon & Schuster Books You Must Read During the Pandemic, Part 1

Open. Shut. The pandemic continues to drive us crazy.
And for those who have gotten sick, the suffering and frustration and anger and confusion refuses to end.

So we decided to start a new chapter in this pandemic nightmare.

We decided to read. More often. More books.

And when we say “read”, we mean physical books. Audio books have a place (in the car), but electronic versions read on tablets and Kindles and sundry doodads are major no-nos. True bibliophiles want to hold a book, smell a book, rifle through the pages and bask in a momentary breeze.

And so we read.

Choices on our “must-read” list . . .

The Buddhist on Death Row:  How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place (Simon & Schuster, $27)
When His Holiness the Dalai Lama gushes, “This book shows vividly how, even in the face of the greatest adversity, compassion and a warm-hearted concern for others bring peace and inner strength”, you know you are holding an important book.

book coverGreat book, great lessons. In 1981, when he was 19, Jarvis Jay Masters was imprisoned at San Quentin and then accused of murdering a prison guard five years later. A criminal investigator offered to teach him breathing exercises to help him deal with the rage, anxiety and panic as he prepared for his trial. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he tried meditating and likened it to the George Clinton lyric, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

Masters transformed his outlook and became a bodhisattva—someone dedicated to reducing others’ suffering. He lives with the threat of execution everyday,  yet he makes the most out of confinement. Though not a Buddhist himself, author David Sheff learned a multitude of lessons from all the time he’s spent with Masters. They are shared with readers; to research the book, Sheff made more than 200 trips to death row, visiting Masters almost every week in Tuesdays with Morrie fashion, recorded more than 150 hours of conversations. Sheff also spoke on the phone with Masters for countless hours.

This is a profound book about one man’s capacities for learning, enduring, and ultimately, inspiring others—capacities we all share.


Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World (Simon & Schuster, $27)
New history is made every day, but we never forget events that shattered the world. August 6 marked the 75th anniversary of the first atomic bombing.  Fallout exposes how the U.S. government engaged in the biggest cover-up of the 20th century by suppressing the truth about the full effects of atomic weapons and radiation poisoning after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki until journalist John Hersey blew the lid off the narrative.
book cover
Garnering praise from noted voices including Carl Bernstein, Dan Rather, Adam Gopnik and former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, the book serves as a timely reminder of the essential role of journalism to save lives when the world is threatened by a global existential crisis. It also is a call for remembrance and deterrence in regard to nuclear warfare. Right now, the Doomsday Clock reads: 100 seconds to midnight according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—midnight being nuclear annihilation. This setting is closer than the world has ever been to doomsday before, even during the height of the Cold War.


A Private Cathedral (Simon & Schuster, $28)
In James Lee Burke’s 40th (!), beloved Detective Dave Robicheaux must battle the most terrifying adversary he has ever encountered: A time-traveling superhuman assassin.

A Private Cathedral - A Dave Robicheaux Novel ebook by James Lee Burke

Mixing crime, romance, mythology, horror and science fiction, the book is a captivating story about the all-consuming, all-conquering power of love.  to give away any more would ruin the mysteries . . . and horror.


Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness (Simon & Schuster, $28)
Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s crusading environmental legacy and troubled by the fight that still wages today over America’s public lands, acclaimed nature writer David Gessner takes to the road.

book cover

Roosevelt’s life guides Gessner along a wilderness road trip through America’s national parks and wild places. He travels to the Dakota badlands where Roosevelt awakened as a naturalist; to Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon where Roosevelt escaped during the grind of his reelection tour; and finally, to Bears Ears, Utah, a monument proposed by Native Tribes that is embroiled in a national conservation fight.

Along the way, Gessner questions and reimagines Roosevelt’s vision for today in a profound meditation on our environmental legacy and future. Part travelogue, part environmental clarion call and part biography of one of America’s greatest conservationists, the book has been praised by Robert Redford, who says,it’s a “rallying cry in the age of climate change”.


Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980 (Simon & Schuster, $40)
Over two decades, Rick Perlstein has published three definitive works about the emerging dominance of conservatism in modern American politics. With the saga’s final installment, he has delivered yet another stunning literary and historical achievement. In late 1976, Ronald Reagan was dismissed as a man without a political future: defeated in his nomination bid against a sitting president of his own party, blamed for President Gerald Ford’s defeat, too old to make another run.

book cover

His comeback was fueled by an extraordinary confluence: fundamentalist preachers and former segregationists reinventing themselves as militant crusaders against gay rights and feminism; business executives uniting against regulation in an era of economic decline; a cadre of secretive “New Right” organizers deploying state-of-the-art technology, bending political norms to the breaking point—and Reagan’s own unbending optimism, his ability to convey unshakable confidence in America as the world’s “shining city on a hill.”


Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions (Simon & Schuster, $27)
The Frédéric Chopin Annik LaFarge presents here is not the sickly figure so often portrayed. The artist she discovered is, instead, a purely independent spirit: An innovator who created a new musical language, an autodidact who became a spiritually generous, trailblazing teacher, a stalwart patriot during a time of revolution and exile.book cover

LaFarge follows in his footsteps during the years, 1837-1840, when he composed his iconic “Funeral March”—dum dum da dum—using its composition story to illuminate the key themes of his life. LaFarge visited piano makers, monuments, churches, and archives; she talked to scholars, jazz musicians, video game makers, software developers, music teachers, theater directors and of course dozens of pianists.

Dare we say: True music to our eyes!

Kids in quarantine? The welcome and wondrous “Ants Don’t Talk, Do They?” will help them start a new chapter in the “new normal”

We almost bugged out when we realized a new and good . . . a new and very good . . . kids’ book was being released tomorrow!  How did this happen? Do we blame spam? Laziness? The pandemic? We’ll blame all of them, though we do wish important emails that live in  our unwelcome underground go to . . .

Spam should be against the law, which brings us to British lawyer/author John Sharer,  who now brings us to Ants Don’t Talk, Do They? (Wompetias Press, $18.95/$10.95), the warm and welcoming story of Chet, a lonely boy who, because he has a contagious  illness, has to stay in his room. By himself. All day every day. For month after month.

Chet keeps busy by daydreaming and playing games on his tablet.  One day an ant walked across the screen. It looked like an ordinary insect, but over several weeks, Chet learned this was not an ordinary ant. It talked! It did wondrous and  magical things! It was kind and gentle, actions which really helped Chet overcome his loneliness and boredom, helped him stay engaged and, of course,  get well. The most important lesson he learned? Not to take anything before being quarantine for granted . . . especially when he’s able to return to his friends, family and school.

Indeed, such adventures didn’t bug out Chet. But what would you do if an ant started talking to you? Would you faint? Run from the room? Or, gulp!, stomp on the little creature? No need to worry: Talking ants—officially known as member of the special club  ASK (Ants for Sick Kids)—only visit and interact with children who are ill and contagious and who must be quarantined from others.

We told you such talking ants was anything but ordinary!

With warmth and humor, Ants Don”t Talk, Do They?  will capture the imagination of kids during these extraordinary and sometimes challenging times. And the illustrations by Jay Mazhar are simply delightful! This amusing and lighthearted tale offers a very relatable situation for children—and adults—as we all begin to reemerge from months of staying at home to a “new normal”.

Think of this as a gift parents, grandparents and “ants” and uncles, should give to restless and bored little ones.

Learn more about the author and book @ johnhsharer.com