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Jim Cox Report: December 2020

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

I am and have been since early childhood a Bibliophile (more popular referred to, especially by non-readers, as a Bookworm) -- that is, someone who enjoys reading and collecting books.

Before becoming a full time book reviewer I had a huge (as in filling several rooms of the house) book collection. One entire room had been dedicated to comic books and graphic novels. But when I became a book reviewer recognized as reliable and desirable by the publishing industry both personally and as the fellow in charge of the Midwest Book Review, I quickly became inundated by books on an almost daily basis. The result is that I had to quit book collecting 'cold turkey' and disposed of my entire collection -- I needed the physical room for the book review driven traffic of hardcover and paperback submissions.

As a kind of consolation prize I found that I was no longer spending about 30% of my personal income on books and magazines -- and still had more interesting stuff to read than I had time for. A condition that continues down to this present day even with the publishing industry being hammered by the Covid pandemic.

Here is another book reviewer editor perk! -- Because of the Midwest Book Review being rather well and favorably known within the publishing industry I often receive interesting informational reports and studies on the state of that same industry. Here is a particularly fascinating and informative report on the reading habits of the literate populations around the globe that was sent to me by Isabel Cabrera of Global English Editing:

World Reading Habits in 2020 [Infographic]

This is a study that every author, publisher and publicist should read. It's a quick and easy read, informative, thought-provoking, and especially relevant in these troubled times.

Now here is a review of a book that is of particular and special interest to writers and their publishers:

Invent & Wander
Jeff Bezos
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
9781647820718, $28.00, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Jeff Bezos is the founder of -- which is the dominate on-line bookstore and exerts a powerful impact upon the American publishing industry.

"Invent and Wander" is collection of Jeff Bezos's writings and includes his unique and strikingly original annual shareholder letters, plus numerous speeches and interviews that provide insight into his background, his work, and the evolution of his ideas. Readers will gain an insider's view of the why and how of his success. Spanning a range of topics across business and public policy, from innovation and customer obsession to climate change and outer space, "Invent and Wander" provides a rare glimpse into how Bezos thinks about the world and where the future might take us.

Written in a direct, down-to-earth style, "Invent and Wander" offers readers a master class in business values, strategy, and execution: The importance of a Day 1 mindset; Why "it's all about the long term"; What it really means to be customer obsessed; How to start new businesses and create significant organic growth in an already successful company; Why culture is an imperative; How a willingness to fail is closely connected to innovation; What the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us.

Each insight offers new ways of thinking through today's challenges (and more importantly, tomorrow's) and the never-ending urgency of striving ahead, never resting on one's laurels. Everyone from CEOs of the Fortune 100 to entrepreneurs just setting up shop to the millions who use Amazon's products and services in their homes or businesses will come to understand the principles that have driven the success of one of the most important innovators of our time.

Critique: A unique opportunity to tapp into the mindset of a man who has dramatically influenced and shaped the publishing industry of today, "Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos" should be considered mandatory reading for anyone wanting or needing to do business with or through While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Booksellers/Bookselling and E-commerce collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of authors and publishers in particular that "Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.00) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Gildan Media, 9781663710758, $29.99, CD)

The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Christopher Vogler
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615933235, $39.95, HC, 520pp

Synopsis: Originally an influential memo that Hollywood development executive, screenwriter, author and educator Christopher Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives regarding The Lion King, "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired method that has galvanized Hollywood's treatment of cinematic storytelling.

A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler's comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with universal acclaim, and is detailed in the pages of "The Writer's Journey" using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies. Indeed, "The Writer's Journey" is justifiably credited with having changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years -- and continues to do so to this very day.

Critique: This fourth edition of "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" from Michael Wiese Productions was published in celebration of its 25th year. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of novice screenwriters, film and television program developers and writers, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781615933150, $29.95).

The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations
Jo Brielyn
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
62545 State Highway 10, Hobart, NY 13788
9781578266302, $11.99, HC, 96pp

Synopsis: Comprised of more than 200 meaningful quotes, heartfelt humor and witty one-liners that will have a very special and direct appeal to dedicated bibliophiles, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" brings together the best and brightest to speak on all that books have to offer. Whether it's their ability to transport us to exciting new worlds, or the way they open our eyes to new ways of seeing our own, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations" speaks directly to the lifelong reader in each of us.

Critique: Knowledgeably compiled and deftly organized by Jo Brielyn, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" is a delight to simply browse through again and again and again. Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" should be considered an essential, core addition to the personal reading lists of authors, publishers, and dedicated fans of the written word. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Book Lover's Treasury of Quotations: An Inspired Collection on Reading, Writing and Literature" is also readily available in a pocket sized (5 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches) paperback edition (9781578266302, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Jo Brielyn is an author and contributing writer for Hatherleigh Press and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. She is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She maintains a personal website at

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:

Andrew Masi
Edward Marx
Jane Donovan
Tricia Spencer
Jeanette Nicely
Kevin Chapman
David G. Carriere
Laura H. Gilbert -- "Enough"
Holly Thomason - "Galileo!Galileo!"
Susan Alcorn -- "Walk, Hike, Saunter"
Craig Douglas -- "A Time for Violence"
Sandra Elaine Scott -- "The Magical Day"
Grace Walker Gray -- "Bye-Bye Back Pain"
Oreste J. D'Aversa -- "Life Beyond The Pandemic"
Peg Guilfoyle -- "Singing All The Verses: Essays From A Mid-American"
To Press & Beyond
Gere-geld FinanciŽle dienstverlening
Rachel Epstein -- ACMI Press
Mark Weiman -- Regent Press
Jason Gridley -- Gresham & Doyle
Tracy Million Simmons -- Meadowlark Press
John R. Guevin -- Biographical Publishing Company
Karen Thomas -- Thomas Public Relations
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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