Book Reviewer's Corner...
Click picture to ZOOM
     
  Norm Goldman
Banyon Publishing is pleased to announce that the internationally acclaimed "book reviewer" Norm Goldman will be sharing his reviews here in Banyon's "Book Reviewer's Corner."

Husband-wife team Norm Goldman and Lily Azerad-Goldman are based in Montreal, Canada. Norm is a freelance book reviewer and travel writer whose work has appeared in BookPleasures.com, Bootsnall.com, TheBestReviews.com, blether.com, and other online publications. More on Lily Azerad-Goldman's work can be found at www.azergo.com.

Norm and Lily are a unique husband-wife team, writer and watercolorist, who write and paint about romantic destinations. Basically, they meld art and words in order to create an unusual travel story, which generates interest, particularly because of the fact that each painting appears to have been 'custom-made' for the story. Their travel articles and art work appear on lovetripper.com, thetimesharebeat.com and travellady.com.

Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com comments about book reviewing
for Boaze Publishing


Reviews No. 1-10 (below)       Reviews No. 11-20         Reviews No. 21-30         Reviews No. 31-40




-- INDEX --

TITLE: A Story of a Forgotten Hero-Turning Back The Pages Of Time
AUTHOR: Emerson Watkins
REVIEW: #31

TITLE: ADA BLACKJACK: A STORY OF SURVIVAL IN THE ARCTIC
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
REVIEW: #18

TITLE: ALL ANIMAL BAND, THE
AUTHORS: Jim MOORE: & illustrated by Norris HALL
REVIEW: #6

TITLE: All Eyes Skyward
AUTHOR: Dan Spencer
REVIEW: #21

TITLE: All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story Of How The Vatican Really Works
AUTHOR: John L. Allen, Jr.
REVIEW: #1

TITLE: Artist's Model and Other Love Stories, The
AUTHOR: Guy de Maupassant: Translator: Mark Scott
REVIEW: #12

TITLE: Berlitz Ocean Cruising& Cruise Ships 2004, The
AUTHOR: Douglas Ward
REVIEW: #19

TITLE: Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom In The 21st Century
AUTHOR: Alexander Sanger
REVIEW: #24

TITLE: Blood From Stones
AUTHOR: Douglas Farah
REVIEW: #3

TITLE: Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting, The
AUTHOR: Skip Press
REVIEW: #37

TITLE: Designed To Kill
AUTHOR: Chester D. Campbell
REVIEW: #7

TITLE: Fine Artist’s Guide To Marketing And Self Promotion, The
AUTHOR: Julius Vitali
REVIEW: #9

TITLE: Four Wheels Drive
AUTHOR: Dan Spencer
REVIEW: #16

TITLE: Free
AUTHOR: Paul Vincent
REVIEW: #11

TITLE: Full Matilda, The
AUTHOR: David Haynes
REVIEW: #2

TITLE: Game Face
AUTHOR: Dr. James Chlovechok's         (Banyon Network member)
REVIEW: #4

TITLE: How America’s Intelligence Failures Led to September 11th
AUTHOR: Bill Gertz
REVIEW: #15

TITLE: Inside Monster Garage
AUTHOR: Ken Vose
REVIEW: #28

TITLE: Last Alchemist Count Cagliostro, Master Of Magic In The Age Of Reason, The
AUTHOR: Iain McCalman
REVIEW: #8

TITLE: Letter Perfect The Marvelous History Of Our Alphabet From A to Z
AUTHOR: David Sacks
REVIEW: #25

TITLE: Miriam the Medium
AUTHOR: Rochelle Jewel Shapiro
REVIEW: #30

TITLE: Payback, The
AUTHOR: Hilary Hawke
REVIEW: #34

TITLE: POETRY SPEAKS
AUTHORS: Elise Paschen: Rebekah Presson Mosby
REVIEW: #5

TITLE: Rich Man’s Coffin
AUTHOR: Kenneth Gardner
REVIEW: #32

TITLE: SOPRANOS FAMILY COOKBOOK, THE
AUTHORS: ALLEN RUCKER: MICHELE SCICOLONE
REVIEW: #36

TITLE: Stars In My Eyes, Then and Now
AUTHOR: Burt Richards         (Banyon Network member)
REVIEW: #23

TITLE: Taming Technology: You Can Control The Beast
AUTHOR: Brian J. Nichelson, Ph.D.
REVIEW: #33

TITLE: There Goes a Mermaid! A NorFolkTale
AUTHOR: Lisa Suhay: Illustrator: Sam Hundley
REVIEW: #26

TITLE: TRIALS OF LENNY BRUCE, THE
AUTHORS: Ronald K.L. Collins: David M. Skover
REVIEW: #17

TITLE: Train at Home To Work At Home: How to Get Certified, Earn a Degree, or Take a Class From Home to Begin a Work-at-Home Career
AUTHOR: Michelle McGarry
REVIEW: #35

TITLE: Trusting Yourself: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Live More Happily with Less Effort
AUTHOR: M.J. Ryan
REVIEW: #22

TITLE: 12th & McGraw
AUTHOR: Forrest Haskell
REVIEW: #27

TITLE: Unto Us A Child
AUTHOR: Donald R. Phillips
REVIEW: #13

TITLE: What They’ll Never Tell You bout The Music Business: The Myths, the Secrets, the Lies (& a Few Truths)
AUTHOR: Peter M. Thall
REVIEW: #29

TITLE: WHY WE LOVE: THE NATURE AND CHEMISTRY OF ROMANTIC LOVE
AUTHOR: DR. HELEN FISHER
REVIEW: #10

TITLE: Writing A Book That Makes A Difference
AUTHOR: Philip Gerard
REVIEW: #14

TITLE: You Are Here Traveling with JohnnyJet.com
AUTHOR: John E. DiScala and Eric Leebow
REVIEW: #20




Review #1

Title: All the Pope’s Men: The Inside Story Of How The Vatican Really Works

Author: John L. Allen, Jr.
ISBN: 0385509669


Recognized as a maven when it comes to the intricacies of the workings of the Vatican, John A. Allen, Jr., Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, has written an excellent reference text that will go a long way in helping us to be better informed about its thoughts, how it reacts and why, and its perspective of the world.

Due to the complexity of the subject matter, Allen, in order to lay a solid foundation for what ensues, appropriately begins with an introductory chapter entitled Vatican 101.

Readers are quickly informed that although the media interchangeably use the terms Vatican, the Holy See and the Roman Curia as if they were one and the same, in fact, such is not the case, as they are quite distinct from one another.

Many of us are unaware that the Holy See is an institution rather than a person and it is the proper term to use for designating the authority of the papacy to govern the Church. It is the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.

More precisely, it is the Holy See that governs the Catholic Church on behalf of the Pope, not the Vatican. The Vatican refers to the 108-acre physical territory in Rome.

The Pope, through the Holy See, is the supreme governor of Vatican City.

On the other hand, it is through the Roman Curia that the Pope administers the Holy See and carries out his function both as supreme governor of the Catholic Church and as sovereign diplomatic actor.

Understanding these basic terms is essential in understanding the remaining chapters of the book, where the author delves into such topics as five myths pertaining to the Vatican, its Psychology, Sociology and Theology, and finally concluding with two very important and well researched chapters that are constantly in the news today, the American sexual abuse crisis and the war in Iraq.

What is noteworthy and extremely helpful in understanding the position of the principal actors pertaining to these two latter important events is the author’s presentation of a chronological review of events involving the exchanges between the United States and the Holy See.

Some of the myths that are exposed are quite intriguing. Did you know that there is no such thing as “the Vatican?” As the author points out, “there is no “the Vatican” in the sense that most English-speaking journalists, commentators, and activists use the phrase.” It is not a living creature or organism. It is rather a bureaucracy “staffed by human beings, each of whom has his or her own wants, fears, intentions, visions, hopes, and dreams.”

Other myths examined are: who’s in charge, Vatican secrecy, Vatican wealth, and climbing the career ladder.

It should be noted that from the very onset the author tries to maintain complete impartiality and to a very large degree has succeeded admirably.

The author refrains from offering his own personal opinions as to whether a particular Vatican document or policy choice is right or wrong, good or bad, successful or not. The primary objective, and one that has been successfully demonstrated, is the presentation to the readers of the Vatican’s rationale pertaining to various actions or inactions. If you agree or disagree with this rationale is left to the reader to decide. However, based on Allen’s exposé, perhaps you will arrive at a better understanding as to why decisions are made in one way or another. Lets not forget, Roman Catholicism is a world -wide communion of 1 billion people, representing every culture, language, and worldview on earth. It is little wonder that every decision must take into account this enormous divergence.

Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #2

Title: The Full Matilda

Author: David Haynes

Publisher: Harlem Moon, an imprint of Broadway Books
Publisher Address: 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Publisher Phone No:1-888-591-1200
Website: www.harlemmoon.com
ISBN: 0767915690
Price: US $14: CAN $21.00


David Haynes latest novel, The Full Matilda, focuses on the memoirs of a tough and feisty fictional character, Matilda Housewright, who was born during the early years of the last century, and grew up in Washington, D.C. in the home of a head steward or majordomo to a US Senator.

The story is recounted through the voice of Matilda as well as various male members of her family, as we pass from one generation to the next.

Haynes’ delightful written work of fiction is resplendent with warm dialogue, mesmerizing words and descriptions. You almost have the feeling that the narrators are in the same room as yourself. Just reading the title of the first chapter, The First Thing I have To Tell You sets the theme and tone of what is to follow. Immediately, the principal narrator, Matilda Houswright, informs us that although her father may have been in the service of a well-known US Senator, her family was to remain invisible.

It is this invisibility that continually runs through the book, reflecting the poignant remarks made by Matilda at her father’s funeral when she states: “Jacob Housewright, a man who, although almost always there in the corner of the room just waiting to respond to every need, seemed at the same time to be invisible, seemed not to be there at all.”

Readers are also provided with an insightful perspective through the eyes of three generations of the life and times of African Americans, who although may not have grown up in the ghetto, were not spared the blatant racism as well insensitivity that surrounded them.

When Matilda’s brother Martin goes into the catering business, that eventually propels him to wealth and success, he is still constantly reminded that he and his staff are African Americans and are to “remember their place.” Matilda, who initially joins her brother in his catering business, passes on instructions to their staff that they are to accept their role as invisibility although they may not like it. These were the lessons that she was taught by her father and she or they were not to question their justification. On the other hand, she makes it clear that “although on the surface it might seem otherwise, our lives have almost nothing to do with blind obedience. The blindly obedient do not think. We do. What our lives are about is easing the way, smoothing things over; we are a kind of social Vaseline.” The Housewright’s principal role in life was to take care and to perform their tasks as flawlessly as possible.

Haynes, who is an underrated novelist, has fashioned a great story that once you have completed this latest novel will entice many to read some or all of his previous work, if they have not already done so.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #3

TITLE: Blood From Stones

Author: Douglas Farah
ISBN: 0767915623


Disturbing is an understatement when I try to come to grips with the American intelligence community’s failure to understand the complex financial workings of al Qaeda pre and post 9/11.

Award-wining investigative reporter for the Washington Post as well as other publications, David Farah delivers an outstanding exposé in his book Blood From Stones of just how extensive this financial network spreads itself throughout the world, something akin to an octopus with its multitude tentacles.

In 2000’ Farah was named as the Post’s West African chief. It is little wonder that he had to flee for his life from the Ivory Coast, where he had been stationed, if the information he uncovered and revealed in Blood For Stones is any indication of his findings.

Prior to 9/11, tracking down the financial networks of terrorist groups was given very low priority within the western intelligence agencies. In fact, when it finally began to show up on their radar screens indicating how vital financing was to the lifeblood of these groups, many in the intelligence community were caught in a state of disarray.

It also depicted just how uncreative these intelligence agencies were when its members failed to understand the mentality and culture of these various groups.

Farah’s findings divide itself into nine chapters, each of which deals with different aspects of the intricate architecture of the financing of terrorists organizations. Using historical narrative peppered with hard investigative facts, the author effectively succeeds in divulging just how far and deep the system has extended.

Beginning with the terrorists’ forays into the diamond fields of Liberia and Sierra Leone, and how money is exchanged for diamonds in order to escape the conventional banking system, readers are subsequently apprised of other avenues of creative terrorist financing.

We learn how charitable organizations, individuals, and businesses funnel millions of dollars to the coffers of al Qaeda as well as other terrorist organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, who incidentally, contrary to some wide held belief, do in fact collaborate with one another.

How small-time scams and petty crimes committed by terrorist sympathizers in the United States help their cause. These crimes include skimming the profits from drug sales, stealing and reselling baby formula, illegally redeeming large quantities of grocery coupons, stealing credit card numbers, and many more.

Farah also explains to the reader that one of the vital ingredients of the system of financing of terrorists is the ‘hawala.” One built on trust, family relationships and regional affiliations - a concept foreign and little known to the intelligence community. According to the author, “hawala” means to change or transform, and also carries a connotation of trust. The money that flows through it often actually does not move at all.

The author’s superb investigative skills do not shy away from the difficult realities exposing the incompetence of the American intelligence services, although he does attribute part of the blame for the extensive cutbacks that had occurred after the end of the cold war.

No doubt, had the intelligence services followed up on the many leads presented to it from various sources including the author, a different picture and understanding of al Qaeda and its collaborators would have emerged.

In part, it may be that pre 9/11’s principal focus was on stamping out illegal drugs, rather than bothering about the smuggling activities in West African countries or the petty crimes in the USA.

There was also a general philosophy within the intelligence services that “thinking out of the box” or creativity on the part of their personnel was unacceptable. In fact, there was a kind of self-denial that such an intricate financial system would be possible.

Farah gets top marks for his crisp and intelligent writing avoiding quick generalizations, and many of his findings are corroborated with concrete evidence found in the “notes” section at the end of the book.

Definitely, this is a must read for anyone wishing to know more about the intricate workings of these terrorist groups.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #4

Title: Game Face

Author: Dr. James Chlovechok's
ISBN: 1932172130

Interview of Dr. James Chlovechok by Norm Goldman


Have you ever wondered how some athletes seem to have a personality transformation the minute they put on their uniforms?

It is as if mentally, spiritually and emotionally their psyche has been modified to such an extent that they seem to have a marked edge over their opponents.

Suppose we were offered a drug that could easily accomplish this feat. Would we take it not knowing its side effects?

With this in mind, first time novelist, James D. Chlovechok, M.D., author of Game Face, manages to combine his private passions with matters of a public nature.

Dr. Chlovechok is a board-certified emergency physician and founder of the Ohio Sports Medicine Institute. According to the information I gleaned from the author’s description of himself, it is stated: “while writing Game Face, he also pursued fellowship training in forensic medicine.”

After reading some of the book’s descriptive crime scenes, I could see where this training must have come in very handy.

Focusing on the theme of drugs that are able to do wonders for athletes without even being detectable, Dr. Chlovechok crafts an exciting plot with a very surprising twist for an ending.

The beginning of the story finds the team of Mark McKenzie, who is a forensic medicine specialist and his boyhood friend, Detective Sergeant Tim McGregor, investigating the death of an elite woman athlete.

What follows is a series of scenes, characters and events that initially do not seem to be interconnected, and at times I felt like I was caught in “rumbling traffic.” However, when you reach the last page, you realize how everything nicely fits in, leaving the reader with a memorable story that is sure to linger on well after you have put the book to bed.

As the novel progresses, readers are informed that a football player had seriously pummeled a policeman. The player’s excuse was that he was taking a new potent drug that he described as “attitude in a bottle.” Apparently, it has the power to transform your personality and is called “Game Face.”

We later learn that “the drug is unpredictable and makes the people who take it unpredictable. But once they’re taking it they may not believe that.”

Following this event, an unexplained death occurs at a Sports Institute, where experiments pertaining to this wonder drug have been taking place.

At this same institute mysterious computer files, which are supposedly lost, are retrieved under the file name of “Game Face” exposing some very interesting findings pertaining to experiments performed here.

Thrown in is the rivalry between two of the principal scientists connected to the institute, and their breakup due to a difference of opinion as to how to best use the drug. And to add another dimension to the story, the reader also learns about the hostility between Tim McGregor and his twin brother, Carl, leading the reader to some very intriguing and teasing speculations.

What is noteworthy about the author’s “gung ho” style is his ability to partially disclose facts and then gradually reveal them to his audience. In this way, the reader is kept off balance trying to figure out the “good guys” from the “bad guys.”

Beyond doubt, in writing Game Face, the author perfectly exemplifies the old adage-you should write about something you know in order to create something that is not only believable but also memorable. Dr.Chlovechok effectively succeeds in leaving his readers with something that challenges and provokes thought pertaining to the world of sports and athletes, where winning seems to be the only thing that matters, no matter the consequences.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #5

TITLE: POETRY SPEAKS

AUTHORS: Elise Paschen: Rebekah Presson Mosby
ISBN: 1570717206


Did you ever wonder what it would be like to listen to Alfred, Lord Tennyson recite some of his most well known poems?

How about T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, Gertrude Stein, Robert Browning, Ogden Nash and many more.

These are only a sampling of some of the 42 deceased poets, who speak to us in book so appropriately entitled, Poetry Speaks.

Unfortunately, many of us never had the opportunity to experience poems that, as the editors of this wonderful book indicate, “speaks to each of us at another level, below our consciousness. Like music, it reaches inside to touch us.”

Not only does this book and its accompanying 3 CDs enable us to listen to these great men and women of letters, but we also can read along with them, and learn about the different schools and types of poets- Victorians, Imagists, Modernists, Harlem Renaissance poets, Black Mountain poets, Beat poets, and Black Arts Movement poets.

To facilitate the reading and appreciating of the book, the editors have conveniently provided us with a table of contents listing the poets’ names, their life span dates, poems included in the book, as well as a track list of the recited works contained on the CDs.

Each chapter devotes itself to one specific poet, and the chapters are arranged in chronological order by birth date.

Within each chapter readers are presented with a short biography that is meant to be an introduction to the poet’s life.

To further pique our interests, the editors provide essays about the poets written by prominent living poets.

As indicated, “these essays can help you gain a very different insight into each of the poets.”

What is also fascinating is the inclusion of many rare handwritten manuscripts, letters, or photographs that aid in our understanding of the poets.

One word of caution, when listening to some of the poems you will notice that some of the readings are very different from the published versions. As the editors indicate, “poets are constant revisers and they sometimes change a poem even in the middle of a reading. This is another level of understanding that can’t be achieved by simply reading or listening to a poem.”

British essayist, William Hazlitt, most aptly described poetry, when he stated in his essay entitled, On Poetry in General, “Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.”

After devouring this remarkable book and the accompanying CDs, I can well understand why Hazlitt came to this conclusion.


Reviewer: NORM GOLDMAN EDITOR OF BOOKPLEASURES.COM
page top




Review #6

Title:THE ALL ANIMAL BAND
Authors: Jim MOORE: & illustrated by Norris HALL
ISBN: 0-9752619-0-8


Writer/musician Jim Moore and illustrator Norris Hall have concocted a deliciously musical story.
Fans of the giggling bedtimes will get a kick out of this rhythmically fun, upbeat story.

Based on the song All Animal Band, the book version will have children and adults alike, snapping fingers, setting a beat and dancing.

Willie the Squirrel, Ollie the Owl, Slick the Snake, Fredi the Frog and Dan the Dog form the world’s first and only all-animal band. Of course, Willie the Squirrel had a good model in his neighbor, the music promoter, who incidentally looks exactly like the author.

The characters are very well developed. The pace of the book follows a low rhythm followed by a high tempo. All is activity, not a minute to rest! Jim MOORE has all the animals of the forest building the band’s instruments at a furious pace. Practice makes good and at their first concert, “The All Animal Band” is “discovered” by a talent agent and become famous. (The dream of all musicians)

The illustrations by Norris HALL are simply delightful. The wide-eyed characters are happy and full of zest and are having a rollicking good time. Backgrounds are simple and textured. Colours are bright and cheerful. One can see that Norris HALL had a ball illustrating this simple tale. What’s even cleverer, he even drew the portrait of the author and his own on the book jacket.

There’s plenty to hold the interest of younger and older readers. Who knows maybe it will spur some of them into forming their own band one day!


REVIEWER: LILY AZERAD-GOLDMAN
page top




Review #7

Title: Designed To Kill
Author: Chester D. Campbell
ISBN: 1930754469


Have you ever wondered how safe it is when stepping out on the balcony of a high- rise condo building? Did the contractor strictly follow the architect/ engineer’s plans or did he try to cut corners in order to save a couple of dollars?
You say that could not happen, as there are inspectors who make sure that the plans are followed to a tee. What if the inspectors are not doing their job properly?

All of the above and more, including a real estate company that turns out to be a Mafia front, are some of the themes readers will encounter in Chester D. Campbell’s latest thriller, Designed To Kill.

Set in Pensacola Florida, Campbell’s heroes, Greg and Jill McKenzie, embark on a journey to find out if the death of the son of their good friends, Sam and Wilma Gannon was in fact a suicide, as the police stubbornly would have them believe.

Tim Gannon was the architect/engineer of a fifteen- story condo, whose balcony collapsed one evening causing the death of two people. Shortly after the accident Tim was found dead in his car.
Using the investigative skills he acquired when he was working for the special investigations division of the Air Force, Greg together with his charming and very observant wife Jill piece together what actually happened on the night of Tim’s death.

Working backwards, the McKenzie’s uncover many pieces of a puzzle leading them to some disturbing connections involving Claude Detrich, the contractor of the project, Evan Baucus, the President of the real estate company that is selling the condos, and Bosley Farnsworth, the inspector, who was supposed to watch that everything was above board when the building was being built.

To complicate matters readers are informed that the original plans of Tim Gannon have vanished and the computer file containing the plans was erased. Another set of plans has shown up that appears to have changed some essential building requirements.

We often hear that crime fictions are nothing more than clever escapist puzzles. We start with a crime and then we proceed to find out who did it, why etc.
To a certain extent this may be true, however, what differentiates one from the other is the author’s ability to provide ample plot twists that effectively sustain the narrative tension until the last chapter. Here is where Designed To Kill shines, and perhaps Campbell has carved out his own unique literary niche to be followed by more of the McKenzie’s adventures into the world of crime investigations.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com
page top




Review #8

Title: The Last Alchemist Count Cagliostro, Master Of Magic In The Age Of Reason
Author: Iain McCalman
ISBN: 0060006919


On the back cover of historian Iain McCalman’s latest book, The Last Alchemist Count Cagliostro, Master Of Magic In The Age Of Reason, it states, “depending on whom you ask, he was either a great healer or a dangerous charlatan.”

This just about sums up an intriguing historical novel pertaining to one of the most charismatic and interesting characters of the late 18th century, Giuseppe Balzamo or better known as, Count Alessandro di Cagliostro.

No doubt, after reading this unbelievable biography, I would have to ask, would the real Cagliostro stand up?

This gentleman certainly seemed to have extraordinary mystical and even cabalistic powers, although at times, they may have been somewhat diabolic.

Even after his death there were many stories about him that perhaps stretched one’s imagination but nevertheless were quite entertaining.

Written in narrative format, McCalman explores the many facets of Cagliostro’s life and his escapades as a freemason, necromancer, shaman, Copt, prophet, rejuvenator, and finally a heretic.
In fact, such a fascinating character was he that a kind of cult of Cagliostro swept Paris, or as the author termed it, “Cagliostromania.”

We learn of his belief in Egyptian Freemasonry, which we are not quite sure if it actually existed or was a figment of his imagination. Nonetheless, it did open up for him many doors to the royal courts of Europe, for it entailed science, religion and magic, all of great interest during the Age of Reason.

Traveling with Cagliostro and his wife Seraphina throughout their world travels, we can’t help being captivated with his uncanny ability to meet up with such figures as Casanova, or his implication in such notorious events as the Diamond Necklace affair in France involving Marie Antoinette, Cardinal deRohan and Countess de Lamotte. Apparently, the Countess swindled 1.6 million francs for a necklace for Marie Antoinette and then accused Cagliostro for stealing it. As a result, Cagliostro was sent to the Bastille, tried for fraud, and eventually exonerated and banished from France.

We are also enamored by Cagliostro’s sympathy for the poor or the “petit people,” who adored him, while he spent his life among them as well as the sick, distributing remedies free of charge and paying out of his own pocket for soup.

In Italy his reputation as a healer attracted crowds, who besieged him in carriages, in chairs or stretchers,” However, it was also here where the church imprisoned him after his wife, who was fed up with his shenanigans, denounced him to the Inquisition as a heretic, magician, conjuror and Freemason. This led to a trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, the Pope subsequently commuted his sentence to life imprisonment in the fortress of San Leo in the Apennines, where he died.

The eloquent writing of The Last Alchemist Count Cagliostro, Master Of Magic In The Age Of Reason is a fascinating endeavor taking our curiosities to new levels, and even the most skeptical readers will want this one on their bookshelves.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #9

Title: The Fine Artist’s Guide To Marketing And Self Promotion
Author: Julius Vitali
ISBN: 1581152817


As I am married to an artist, I can well appreciate the immense difficulties artists face when they are endeavoring to sell their art- work. It is with this in mind that I decided to read and review Julius Vitali’s updated edition of The Fine Artist’s Guide To Marketing And Self Promotion.

Vitali’s question in his introduction- how do fine artists create a reputation and career that will ultimately allow commercial galleries to sell their work- sets the tone of this extremely informative book.

We often hear the common complaint of artists that they have been rejected so many times that they might as well throw in the towel and forget about selling their work. A simple reply to the artist would be to persist and don’t be discouraged. However, unfortunately this is not enough.

They must realize, as Vitali points out, there are other factors contributing to making an artist known, such as knowing about publicity, marketing, a clear and articulated aesthetic vision, networking, timeliness, and yes, a certain amount of luck.

Vitali deals with all of these elements in his eleven chapters that clearly point the artist in the right direction. In addition, the reader is also provided with brief profiles of thirteen successful artists, who have implemented to a lesser or greater degree many of Vitali’s guidelines. When I was growing up my parents always told me that you learn from the best not the worst. In other words, find out why certain individuals are successful and learn from them. This is basically Vitali’s motive for including these thirteen profiles, wherein the reader may be able to implement some of what worked for these artists.

There is also no shortage of interesting advice scattered throughout the book. As examples, did you know that making personal contact with magazines and newspapers is the most effective way to achieve success with these publications; be careful if you exhibit in the same area and repeatedly send media releases, this may turn off reports and reviewers; that more people listen to radio than ever before and this is an excellent opportunity to be known.

In addition to receiving some excellent tips as to how to market and sell yourself, the author provides timely resources pertaining to grants for individuals and special projects, corporate support for the arts, exhibiting your art professionally in a variety of venues, assembling a résumé, portfolio, and letters of recommendation.

A useful appendix at the back of the book deals with digital resources, Internet security and other related Internet topics, useful software, printers, ink and paper, and publishing.

Julius Vitali is a well- known international artist who has exhibited all over the globe, and his work appears in numerous public and private collections.
Artists who will devote the time to thoroughly read and probably re-read chapters that are most appropriate to their situation have the most to gain from Vitali’s advice.


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top




Review #10

TITLE: WHY WE LOVE: THE NATURE AND CHEMISTRY OF ROMANTIC LOVE
AUTHOR: DR. HELEN FISHER
ISBN: 0805069135


From time immemorial philosophers, poets, writers, and probably anyone else who could voice an opinion have pondered over the question, what is romantic love?

In fact, if you ask someone to describe its attributes, you would probably be informed that once you experience romantic love it is difficult to control. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to have fallen in love, we are well aware of some of the effects it may have on us, such as, being obsessed with our partners, distorted reality, emotional and physical dependence, personality changes, and domination of our drives to eat and sleep.

In 1996, renowned anthropologist, Dr. Helen Fisher, with a team of behavioral scientists, set out to investigate the mystery of “being in love.” Their objective was to find out why we love, why we choose the people that we choose, the differences between male and female feelings as it pertains to romance, animal love, love at first sight, love and lust, love and marriage, evolution of love, love and hate, and the brain in love.

The culmination of this study has now been summed in Dr. Fisher’s book, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.

In order to scientifically study these themes, Dr. Fisher and her team used the newest technology for brain scanning known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The team endeavored to record men and women’s brain activity, after they had just fallen madly in love. The principal objective was to record the range of feelings associated with “being in love.”

Dr. Fisher’s findings are extremely interesting, particularly the observations she and her team were able to make with their brain scanner concerning the different brain regions that become active when their subjects felt romantic ecstasy.

A strong believer in the theory that romantic love is a universal human feeling that produces specific chemicals and networks in the brain; the author was determined to discover what effect these chemicals and networks had on the human brain.
Consequently, her study focused on collecting scientific data on the chemistry and brain circuitry of romantic love, and more particularly on dopamine and norepinephrine, as well as a related brain substance, serotonin.

Dr. Fisher states that the reason why she concentrated on these chemicals was because the “attraction animals feel for particular mates is linked with elevated levels of dopamine and/or norepinephrine in the brain.” Moreover, as she states, “all three of these chemicals produce many of the sensations of human romantic passions.”

The method used by Dr. Fisher and her team was to ask their love-smitten subjects to look at a photograph of his or her beloved, and secondly to look at another photograph of an acquaintance who generated no positive or negative romantic feelings. Pictures were taken of the brain and blood flows in the brain were also recorded.

Dr. Fisher’s observations are presented in an engaging style devoid of technical terms, and will go a long way with its interesting insights in helping us understand more about romantic love.
Moreover, this fascinating analysis of romantic love reveals a great deal more about the subject than we may have initially perceived.

As a side note, I found it somewhat amusing that Dr. Fisher had prefaced her chapters with quotes from many literary giants as Shakespeare, Yeats, Shelley, Dickens, and others who have written about romantic love.

Many of these quotes only reconfirm Dr. Fisher’s scientific findings, and will probably seduce readers in rushing back to read the romantic writings of these literary figures.

To read an interview conducted by Norm with Dr. Fisher click HERE


Reviewer: Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com

page top

Reviews No. 11-20











| The BANYON NETWORK | Betty Byers | INNER-VIEWS WITH CELEBRITIES | Whitlow Synopsis | ECLECTIC REVIEWS | The NEWS | SHORT STORIES CORNER | Francine Silverman | BOOK REVIEWER'S CORNER |
| Return Home | GREAT LINKS | Self-Publishing Help | LIBRARY OF STEPHEN P BYERS | CONTACT US |
 
     




Copyright © 2016, Banyon Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.