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Jim Cox Report: August 2023
Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:
I am now 80 years old and have been a dedicated, die-hard bibliophile since first learning to read at age 5. In my position as editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review, once every few years a book will cross my desk that compels me to drop everything I'm doing, ignore looming deadlines, take the phone off the hook, start reading and not stop until the last page has been concluded.
This time it was a 128 page book of captioned drawings (one per page) for children ages 7-10 called "101 Ways To Read A Book". It was laugh out loud funny as I recognized myself in many of its pages -- and if you are also a dedicated bookworm/bibliophile you will too.
Here's my review:
101 Ways To Read A Book
Timothee de Fombelle, author
Benjamin Chaud, illustrator
Karin Snelson & Angus Yuen-Killick, translators
Red Cornet Press
9781636550824, $20.00, HC, 128pp
Synopsis: The Sunflower, The contortionist, The sleepwalker, The romantic -- "101 Ways To Read A Book" is one-of-a-kind whimsical volume that presents 101 different ways, poses and positions in which to read a book.
Each of the diverse poses has been keenly observed and collected by author Timothee de Fombelle, then charmingly illustrated with the greatest precision by the artwork of Benjamin Chaud. For young (and young at heart) bibliophiles, bookworms, browsers, and the just plain curious, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is a delightful book and a joyful celebration of reading in its many and varied ways.
Critique: Ably translated into English by the team of Karin Snelson and Angus Yuen-Killick, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is a 'must' for all dedicated young bibliophiles who love books and reading. An inspiration to all bookworms who desire to pursue their cherished pastime one hundred and one percent of the time, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is strongly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library humor collections for ages 7-10. It should be noted that "101 Ways To Read A Book" is also readily available from Red Comet Press in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note #1: Timothee de Fombelle is a Paris-based playwright, and author of award-winning children's fiction and picture books. His first series, Toby Alone and Toby Alone and the Secrets of the Tree has been published in twenty-seven languages and won numerous awards, including France’s prestigious Prix Sorcieres and the Marsh Award. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timoth%C3%A9e_de_Fombelle)
Editorial Note #2: Benjamin Chaud (https://www.debbiebiboagency.com/benjamin-chaud) has illustrated more than 60 books. He is the author and illustrator of New York Times Notable Book The Bear's Song and tree sequels. Benjamin Chaud lives in France.
Editorial Note #3: Karin Snelson (http://karinsnelson.com) is a Seattle-based book editor and translator, specializing in children's literature.
Editorial Note #4: Angus Yuen-Killick is the founder and publisher of Red Comet Press, located in Brooklyn, New York. (https://www.redcometpress.com/about)
Now here are reviews for more books of special interest and relevance to writers, publishers, and bibliophiles:
The Art of Libromancy
9781771965415, $18.95, PB, 240pp
Synopsis: With Amazon's growing power in both book selling and publishing, considering where and how we get our books is more important now than ever - especially to authors, publishers, and dedicated bibliophiles.
The simple act of putting a book in a reader's hands (what booksellers call hand-selling) becomes a catalyst for an exploration of the moral, financial, and political pressures all independent bookstores face.
From the relationship between bookselling and white supremacy, to censorship and the spread of misinformation, to the consolidation of the publishing industry, with the publication of "The Art of Libromancy: On Selling Books and Reading Books in the Twenty-first Century" veteran bookseller and writer Josh Cook turns a generous yet critical eye to an industry at the heart of American culture, sharing tips and techniques for becoming a better reader and, of course, recommending great books along the way.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, deftly organized, and impressively presented, "The Art of Libromancy: On Selling Books and Reading Books in the Twenty-first Century" is as informed and informative, as it is inherently fascinating commentary on the independent bookstore owner/seller in a publishing industry increasingly dominated by the big book bookstore chains and the internet based booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble).
In the author's words: "If books are important to you because you're a reader or a writer, then how books are sold should be important to you as well. If it matters to you that your vegetables are organic, your clothes made without child labor, your beer brewed without a culture of misogyny, then it should matter how books are made and sold to you."
While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "The Art of Libromancy: On Selling Books and Reading Books in the Twenty-first Century" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections and supplemental Contemporary Media Studies curriculum studies lists.
Editorial Note: Josh Cook (https://www.portersquarebooks.com/josh-cook) is a bookseller and co-owner at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has worked since 2004. He is also author of the critically acclaimed postmodern detective novel An Exaggerated Murder and his fiction, criticism, and poetry have appeared in numerous leading literary publications.
The Author's Walk
Mile High Press
9781885331007, $20.00, PB, 130pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "The Author's Walk: Finding and Using Your Voice to Create Publishing Success" author and book marketing expert Dr. Judith Briles offers beginning and established writers with a roadmap to writing that next book. Comprised from cover to cover with sage, practical, DIY advice, this small by enormously informative volume is invaluable for any writer wanting to become a published author.
As as experienced and successfully published author, Judith would advise that if you are contemplating or already engaged in writing your first book, then give a careful reading to what she has to say in "The Author's Walk: Finding and Using Your Voice to Create Publishing Success" -- and don't hesitate to take notes and turn to it again and again for both instruction and inspiration.
Critique: Of special note are the illustrative personal anecdotes, useful insights and practical advice comprising "The Author's Walk: Finding and Using Your Voice to Create Publishing Success". This is essential reading for all aspiring authors about finding their own personal style and workable approach to getting profitably published -- while taking sefl care of your mental, emotional, and creative well-being. Simply stated, "The Author's Walk: Finding and Using Your Voice to Create Publishing Success", while also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99) is a significant, essential, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections and personal reading lists.
Editorial Note: Dr. Judith Briles is (also known as throughout the publishing industry as The Book Shepherd) is the author of 43 books including The Author's Walk, How to Avoid Book Publishing Blunders, her memoir When God Says NO, and historical fiction, The Secret Journey. You can subscribe to her informative Tuesday and Saturday blogs on her website: https://thebookshepherd.com
"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:
Dorian Box -- "Funeral Daze"
Carrie Rubin -- "Fatal Rounds"
Oreste J. D'Aversa -- "Unplugged"
Jennifer Redmond -- "Honeymoon at Sea: A Memoir"
Mark Lavine -- "ForeverChild: A Novel of the Future"
Tracy L. Smoak -- "Who Brought the Dog to Church?"
Susan Dormady Eisenberg -- "One More Seat at the Round Table"
Steven Burgauer -- "The Grandfather Paradox: A Time-Travel Story"
Alicia Blando -- "Open for Interpretation: A Doctor's Journey into Astrology"
Bold Story Press
Artisan North America
Library Lin Editing Service
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR
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] aol.com
(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.
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So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!
Midwest Book Review
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James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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