Category Archives: Books

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.
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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.

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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

The meat to Jamie Oliver’s success? Great food, great fun, great new book, “Ultimate Veg”

The meat of Jamie Oliver’s success? He’s friendly, fastidious and one helluva nice guy.

And a hot damn! chef.

Oliver—one of the bestselling cookbook authors of all time—is back with his first-ever all vegetable, plant-powered cookbook. With inspiration from all over the world, Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone (Flatiron Books, $35) shows how easy and delicious it is to add more vegetables into your cooking whether
you’re looking to embrace a meat-free day or two each week or live a vegetarian lifestyle. From simple suppers to dinner-party worthy stunners, Oliver packs the book with flavor combinations that will inspire everyone to get cooking.

From chapters from One-Pan Wonders, Traybakes and Curries & Stews to Pasta, Salads, Burgers & Fritters and everything in between, Jamie includes recipes that everyone will want to cook and eat, plus tips for easy weeknight meals.

Our Top Three faves:

♥ GREENS MAC ‘N’ CHEESE with leek, broccoli & spinach and a toasted almond topping
VEGGIE PAD THAI, crispy fried eggs, special tamarind & tofu sauce and peanut sprinkle
♥ SUPER SPINACH PANCAKES with avocado, tomato and cottage cheese

As Oliver says: “It’s all about celebrating really good, tasty food that just happens to be meat-free.”

Find Oliver recipes and videos on jamieoliver.com

Suzanne Somers offers “A New Way to Age”

We have always loved Suzanne Somers.

Every time we chat with her, she has something profound to say.
Witness: “Gay men love me. And why not?  I get what that experience is. I think children of alcoholics are wounded birds, and I think the gay experience is very wounding. I have always had great relationships with my gay friends, and I think that’s because we’re simpatico. We get one another. I know the wounding; I know how to find my way through. So do they. I don’t know what it is, but lesbians don’t make passes at me. Maybe I’m too femme?”

With her new book, A New Way to Age: The Most Cutting-Edge Advances in Antiaging (Gallery Books, $28), Somers cuts right to the heart of how most of us are far too comfortable with the present paradigm of aging, which normalizes pills, nursing homes and “the big three”: heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

But you don’t have to accept this.

She presents a “new” way to grow older—with vibrancy, freedom, confidence and a rockin’ libido.  The book is a health bible that explains how to stop aging like your parents and embrace cutting edge techniques such as:
♥ Balancing nutritional and mineral deficiencies
♥ Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
♥ Detoxifying your gut for weight loss
♥ Pain management with non-THC CBD instead of harmful opioids
♥ Cell rejuvenation with senolytics and NAD supplementation
♥ Natural, nondrug intimacy enhancers
♥ Stem cell treatments for healing and revitalizing more body parts

In A New Way to Age, Somers interviews some of the foremost doctors in the field of antiaging medicine. Reading these interviews makes you feel like you are in the office of a top doctor. Suzanne
asks the questions you may be afraid to ask or not have the opportunity to. They discuss topics including stress, hormone enhancement, yoga, statins, toxins and the gut, EECP treatment, the heart and how to keep it from breaking, stem cell treatment, natural pain treatment, energy medicine and the healing power of touch.

As Suzanne writes, “The information throughout this book is meant
to be provocative in order to stimulate interest in the newest possibilities. These amazing professionals gave me their best so I could pass it along to you.”

At the end of the book, Suzanne includes appendices which include a comprehensive list of tests you may want to do and how to obtain them; doctor contact information for all the doctors interviewed or
referenced in the book; and information about supplements and supplementation.

With this nook, the 73-year-old takes things a step further to present a revolutionary philosophy for a longer and better-quality
life—in the form of easy-to-understand lessons and doctor interviews that will make you feel like you’ve
just had the best checkup of your life.

“Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote” is the authoritative account of one of the great episodes in the history of American democracy.

A new year that will bring change. We will kick out the scumbag misleading the country.

And we  will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

Leading the parade is Ellen Carol DuBois’s Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote (Simon & Schuster, $28), a wonderful book that explores the full scope of the dramatic and inspiring suffrage movement—which brought half of the American population into the voting body, gave them fundamental political rights, and recognized their existence as individuals beyond the scope of family roles.

book coverRenowned historian  DuBois, a distinguished Professor Emeritus at UCLA, takes us through the very heart of American history with vivid portraits of the suffrage movement’s bold leaders and devoted activists. Profiled in the book are well-known foremothers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, as well as lesser known figures like Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul.

Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote is sure to become the authoritative account of one of the great episodes in the history of American democracy.

Joshua Hammer hatches a brilliant new book chronicling a globe-trotting smuggler

On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales.

So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s hell bent on protecting the world’s birds of prey.book cover

From the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird (Simon & Schuster, $26), tails a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own.

It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page. Another great book  that’s been hatched by Joshua Hammer, the best-selling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. 

Master storyteller Jerry Mitchell’s new book reopens the unsolved murder cases of the Civil Rights era

The book is so important that John Grisham states: “For almost two decades, investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell doggedly pursued the Klansmen responsible for some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights movement. This book is his amazing story. Thanks to him, and to courageous prosecutors, witnesses, and FBI agents, justice finally prevailed.”

Indeed.

Jerry Mitchell has been called “a loose cannon,” “a pain in the ass” and a “white traitor.” He’s also one of the most decorated investigative journalists in the nation, having won more than 30 national awards—including a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” Columbia’s John Chancellor Award, the Sidney Hillman Prize and the George Polk Award as well as a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Whatever he’s been called, he has never given up in his quest to bring unpunished killers to justice.

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Since 1989, the investigative journalist for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, has unearthed documents, cajoled suspects and witnesses, and quietly pursued evidence in some of the nation’s most notorious killings. Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era (Simon & Schuster, $28) documents the work that led to the re-openings and re-prosecutions of some of the nation’s most notorious murders, including the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers; the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist church in Birmingham that killed four girls; the 1966 firebombing of Vernon Dahmer; and the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers (commonly known as the “Mississippi Burning” case). These four cases were landmarks in the civil rights movement, and since then, we’ve seen an all-time high of hate crimes in America. As Mitchell writes: “We must remember, to point our compass toward justice. We must remember, and then act.”

With Race Against Time, readers get an unputdownable suspense story about a chapter in American history. It’s unbelievable that killers had been walking around in broad daylight, their crimes unpunished. Like reading a nonfiction version of a John Grisham novel, the book is filled with courtroom twists and heart-pounding one-on-one confrontations with killers. Mitchell’s investigations of unpunished killings by the KKK have hardly been popular. Some readers of his stories complained bitterly in letters to the editor. Others cancelled their subscriptions. Klansmen have repeatedly threatened him. In addition to his reporting on these cases, he has exposed injustices, incompetence and corruption, helping lead to investigations, exonerations, firings and reforms of state agencies. The book also reveals the courage of those involved in the civil rights movement.  And this book shows the power of the press in a nation that desperately needs accountability

Hoarding old Martha Stewart mags? The domestic doyenne proves decluttering is possible in “Martha Stewart’s Organizing” 

Some consider her a madcap maven who seems to have a perfect life: She knows how to braise a pork loin, prune her bush, befriend  animals and Snoop Dogg, give up real fur, trade stocks, even once going to jail for five months at a jail whose grounds were almost as lavish as Cantitoe Corners, one of her multi-million dollar estates. This home sits on 153 acres of prime real estate in Bedford, New York; the insignia of the home, er mansion, is that of a sycamore tree.
The prolific (and very very very very very rich) 78-yearold is also an author, and we must admit her really like her latest: Martha Stewart’s OrganizingThe Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30).

The tome is just the thing for people who are cluttered and, frankly, overwhelmed by junk they refuse to toss.
Yes, we know even a cursory glance at amazon proves that there are many “how to” guides on the topic of organizing, but Martha knows the subject of bringing order to one’s life is so much more than simply discarding what doesn’t please you.
“I’m a big proponent of keeping a calendar and populating it with every task, appointment and event, big and small–down to staking the peonies, grooming my dogs, sharpening my kitchen knives, setting up my grandchildren’s sailing lessons and ordering the Thanksgiving turkey,” she coos.
The book is crammed with her own monthly calendars as templates. The calendars are easy to personalize, so anyone can achieve Martha’s level of organizational success. Through big picture advice and smaller step-by-step projects–a culmination of decades of research gathered for Martha Stewart Living, her TV shows and online videos–she helps readers craft (and stick to) a deliberate approach to organizing with clear rules, pre-set schedules and to-do lists informed by their unique lifestyles.
The manual is split into three sections (Organize Your Year, Organize Your Home, Organize Your Routine) and topics include:

  • Room-by-room strategies to make spaces more hardworking and rewarding (i.e. how to sort office paperwork, when to purge the garage or attic, and ways to store perishables in the fridge or freezer for maximum shelf life.)
  • Seasonal advice like when to swap out bedding and clothing and how to put away holiday decorations. For example, in January, Stewart sets days to establish healthy habits, review your financial plan for the year, clean your pantry, and make and freeze soups to get you through the cold winter months.
  • Day-by-day or week-by-week plans for projects such as de-cluttering, house cleaning, creating a filing system and overhauling the closet.And for this, we thank Martha as we butterfly some shrimp.

JJ Smith’s book offers miracles and marvels of apple cider vinegar

Heard about the miracles and marvels that apple cider vinegar delivers? JJ Smith, certified weight loss expert, nutritionist and author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, has. And he provides an all-new and accessible cleanse to help readers lose weight and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.
The 7-Day Apple Cider Vinegar Cleanse (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) is a revolutionary detox system that taps into the time-tested benefits of apple cider vinegar to support the body’s natural detoxification process, promote fat loss, improve digestion and overall gut health and gain renewed energy and mental focus.
Included in this book are 25 specific recipes for long-term weight loss, step-by-step instructions for completing the seven day cleanse, and a catalog of all the benefits of apple cider vinegar—from acne reduction to sunburn and sore throat relief.