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Jim Cox Report: August 2019

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

As the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review I have one of the very best jobs in the publishing industry. I get to see books that most folks will never hear of. Unique little life-enhancing, quality of life-improving volumes that it is a part of my job to bring out of obscurity and into the purview of librarians, booksellers, and the general reading public. Here are just two of the most recent little gems that would be of particular interest to writers, publishers, and dedicated bibliophiles like me:

The Art of Mindful Reading
Ella Berthoud
Leaping Hare Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781782407683, $14.99, HC, 144pp,

Synopsis: The healing power of reading has been renowned since Aristotle; focus, flow and enlightenment can all be discovered through this universal act.

"The Art of Mindful Reading: Embracing the Wisdom of Words" by bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud embraces the joy of absorbing words on a page, encouraging a state of mind as deeply therapeutic and vital to our wellbeing as breathing.

"The Art of Mindful Reading" poses such questions as: If reading is our daily nourishment how best should it be consumed? How should you read mindfully? And why will reading mindfully help you to read better?

"The Art of Mindful Reading" deftly explores how reading mindfully can shape the person you are, give you your moral backbone, and teaches empathy with others. Through meditative exercises, engaging anecdote, and expert insight, "The Art of Mindful Reading" reveals the enriching potential of reading for mindfulness.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "The Art of Mindful Reading: Embracing the Wisdom of Words" is an extraordinary compilation of insights into the impact literacy has upon character, how what we read shapes who we are. It also subtle underscores the tragedy of functional illiteracy -- that is, the cultural impoverishment of those who can read but choose not to. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Art of Mindful Reading: Embracing the Wisdom of Words" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.36).

Editorial Note: Ella Berthoud is a bibliotherapist at the international School of Life, prescribing literary cures to readers everywhere. She is the co-author of "The Novel Cure" and "The Story Cure", and read English literature at Cambridge University. Residing in West Sussex, England, Ella regularly gives talks on reading ailments and mindful reading at bookstores and festivals across the UK.

Damn the Novel
Amr Muneer Dahab
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781546271307, $23.99, HC, 160pp,

Synopsis: Amr Muneer Dahab, a Sudanese essayist and poet, is best known for his critical essays tackling controversial cultural, literary, intellectual, and political issues in the Arab world and worldwide. His over twenty years' experience as a columnist in opinion journalism, in addition to his academic engineering degree and relevant practical career, allowed his words to be architected in a skillfully depict reality with honesty, objectivity, and creativity.

In "Damn the Novel: when a Privileged Genre Prevails Over All Forms of Creative Writing" Dahab proposes that it is time to extend our reading arena outside the novel and narrative fiction.

As Dahab notes, life is profound and gorgeous; it deserves to be experienced beyond fantasy! So in "Damn the Novel" he asserts an overt condemnation of all forms of privilege granted to a literary genre over other writing genres.

Though "Damn the Novel" could be perceived as a vociferous cry against the novel per se, it is actually an objective view against the process of perpetuating the delusion that the novel specifically, and narrative fiction in general, should inevitably be the most dominating and influential literary trend.

"Damn the Novel" offers an exciting and challenging reading experience, through which the reader will be able to realize that it is time for literature to embrace a fresh literary atmosphere in which all genres are granted equality to get the same chance to flourish in total freedom without any literary sponsorship.

Critique: An iconoclastic, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from first page to last, "Damn the Novel: when a Privileged Genre Prevails Over All Forms of Creative Writing" is an extraordinary and inherently fascinating literary argument and one that will be of particular interest to writers and readers in general, as well as everyone and anyone who has ever wanted to write 'The Great American Novel' in particular. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Studies, as well as Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Damn the Novel" is also available in a paperback edition (9781546271321, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Set the Page on Fire
Steve O'Keefe
New World Library
9781608686117, $15.95

Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers began as a four-year road trip author O'Keefe undertook, videotaping interviews with hundreds of published authors across the country. Some were quite famous; others were local celebrities or literary festival winners. All introduced their secrets to written success for this book, which synthesizes their insights into a succinct advice guide that includes the basic admonition to write as fast as possible and worrying about cleaning up any problems later. The result is packed with details on writing the best, most lively pieces possible no matter what the genre, and will inspire readers to become 'unstuck' and put pen to paper for more effective results.

Story Selling
Heather Hale
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932818, $26.95, PB, 220pp,

Synopsis: Pitching is an art form that brings together content and communication channels. Regardless of What you're pitching, 'Where, When and to Whom' are the fundamental and universal principles. It's how you pitch that matters -- and there are countless strategies that combine these three elements in different combinations.

In "Story Selling: How to Develop, Market, and Pitch Your Film & TV Projects", Heather Hale details all of them, including their construction and applications, in a fun and interactive way that inspires readers to create memorable and saleable pitches in order to get their projects made.

Critique: Whether authors pitching an idea for publication, a publicist pitching a novel for a film option, a screen writer or a dramatist pitching a show, "Story Selling: How to Develop, Market, and Pitch Your Film & TV Projects" is a complete course in the 'real world' requirements for success in an infamously competitive field. Especially well organized and presented, "Story Selling" should be considered a 'must' for all dedicated writers seeking to sell what they have written for publication or adoption. While essential for all community and academic library Writing/Publishing collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Story Selling" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.41).

Finally, "The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating to our postage stamp fund this past month:

Lisa Blair
John Keenan
Carol Smallwood
Mike Brogan -- "Car Wars"
D. C. Faith -- "Facing The Son"
Jeffrey W. Tenney -- "Caveman"
Janet Tlachac-Toonen -- "Cozmo's Wish"
Marc Hess -- "The Gillespie County Fair"
David Krueger -- "Engaging the Ineffable"
Crystal Hemmingway -- "Mom's Perfect Boyfried"
Norman Whaler -- "Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black"
Ivy Books
Camven Media
Red Feather Publishing
Krueger Holdings, LLC
Vincharo Ventures, LLC
Brendan Kelly Publishing Inc.
Mark B. Weiman - Regent Press
Don Roberts -- Fair Oaks Press
Heidi Stock -- Whistlefritz, LLC
Todd Stolp -- STS Studioes, LLC
Eileen McIntire -- Amanita Books
Lindy Litrides -- Litrides Associates
Michelle Muriel -- Little Cabin Books
Jeff Miracola -- Three Points Publishing
Beth Blenz-Clucas -- Sugar Mountain PR
Elizabeth Waldman Frazier -- Waldmania!
Barbara C. Wall -- The Barrett Company, LLC

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:

SupportMBR [at]

(The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)

If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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