Book review: My Kid Brother’s Band a/k/a The Beatles!

My Kid Brother’s Band, aka The Beatles!
By Louise Harrison
Published by Acclaim Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-938905-52-0
Review copy sent by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

I first saw Louise Harrison at this year’s Fest for Beatles Fans in Rye, N.Y. She spoke about her brother George with so much love and affection that I decided I had to read her book to learn more about the man we Beatles fans call The Quiet Beatle, but she called her little brother. I was half expecting a puff piece making George look more angelic than was humanly possible, like another Harrison bio I read (see my earlier review, “Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison” by Joshua M. Greene). Instead, I found an honest, in-depth history of the author’s life during World War II as well as before and after her little brother became famous.
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Book review: Here Comes the Sun. The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison

Here Comes the Sun. The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison
By Joshua M. Greene
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006
ISBN-13:9780470127803
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Let me say right from the beginning: I loved this book! Despite the obvious proselytizing on behalf of the Hindu religion—what used to be known as Krishna Consciousness here in the States—Joshua M. Greene, writer and producer for PBS and the Disney Channel (he also wrote “Justice at Dachau” and “Witness: Voices from the Holocaust”, which was made into a PBS-TV documentary), has written a tender, loving account of the life of George Harrison, before and after the Beatles, and how his faith in Krishna helped him to overcome all the emotional and financial setbacks in his life, ultimately allowing him to die with grace after losing his battle with brain cancer.
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Book Review: My Beloved World

My Beloved World
By Sonia Sotomayor
PUBLISHED BY: Borzoi Books, a division of Knopf/Random House, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-307-59488-4
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This has been one of the most refreshing reads I’ve had so far this year. And the year is just getting started! It’s not often that I get to read about one of my own making good. Justice Sotomayor is a Puerto Rican home girl from the Bronx, with a background similar to my own, but whose ambition and drive took her to the top of the legal profession, a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. The closest I got to the legal profession is typing form letters for lawyers at my civil service job. I could plead poverty, but the plain truth is that I just didn’t have the brains and gumption to qualify for all the grants and scholarships she got to attend both Princeton and Yale Law School. When I look at all she managed to accomplish during the same period that I was struggling to survive after graduating from high school, all I can do is shake my head and mutter “Damn, she’s good!”
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Book review: God’s Jury: The Inquisition And The Making of The Modern World

God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World
by Cullen Murphy
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0-618-09156-0
Review copy supplied by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose office is located at the Piazza del Sant’Affizio 11 in Rome, is the part of the church whose job is, “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals throughout the Catholic world”. All the Vatican’s pronouncements on cloning and same-sex marriage originated here, along with its directives to Catholic parishes not to supply names of past or present congregants to the Mormon Church’s Genealogical Society of Utah, because of the Vatican’s “grave reservations” about the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism. The declaration Dominus Jesus, issued in 2000, reiterating that the Catholic Church is the only true church of Christ and the only assured means of salvation, is also a CDF document.
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Book review: Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart

Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart
By Stefan Kanfer
Published by: Borzoi Books, aka Alfred A. Knofp, Random House, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-27100-6
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This has got to be one of the best books I ever read about one of my favorite celebrities! I’ve been a Bogie fan for as long as I can remember, and I’ve read a lot about him as an actor and a man, but nobody humanizes him as completely as Stefan Kanfer does. He goes into great detail about Bogie’s background and life—his socialite parents, the exclusive prep school that he dropped out of, his brief naval career and less than successful acting career on Broadway before he got his big break in the movies, his three failed marriages before he met Lauren Bacall—but he never gets boring, judgmental or moralistic. This Stefan Kanfer is a straight-shooter; he tells it like it was for one of America’s greatest male show business icons, and lets us be the ultimate judges on what kind of man Humphrey Bogart was.
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Book review: The Art of Hammer

The Art of Hammer
by Marcus Hearn
Published by Titan Books, October 2010
ISBN: 978-1848567375

Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This is your standard coffee table book; that is, an oversized volume full of colorful pictures meant to amuse guests while they wait for you to make coffee or finish getting dressed. But if your guests are real horror fans or just totally into Hammer films, you may end up spending the night at home going through the pages of this humongous book, admiring all the brightly colored old movie posters and going, “Oh, I remember that one! Scared the hell out of me when I was a kid!” or “Yeah, what a stinker that one was. The poster sure had me fooled.”
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Book Review: You Never Give Me Your Money

You Never Give Me Your Money
By Peter Doggett
Published by Harper
Review copy supplied by publisher
ISBN 10: 0061774464
ISBN 13 978 0061774461

Review by Lynn Loper

I remember reading a ‘making of the film story about Raging Bull years ago. Martin Scorsese said he put the comedian scene in first, because everybody knew that De Niro had put on a lot of weight for that part of the movie, and he wanted them to get the fat man out of their minds and watch the movie.

The prologue of “You Never Give Me Your Money” lays out the book for you. Time, death, lost hope, tangled relationships, pain. For some reason, it took me three days to get through it. Am I still that much of a Beatlemaniac? Probably. I still can’t sit still watching “A Hard Day’s Night.” I want to scream.
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Book Review: Free From Addiction

Free From Addiction: Facing yourself and Embracing Recovery
Written by Morteza Khaleghi with Constance Gove
Published by Palgrave imprint of Macmillan.
ISBN10: 0230606113
ISBN13: 9780230606111

Review by Linda Yau

Addictions are something that inflicts one in five Americans, and this can lead to family heartbreaks and tragedies. In the context of Free From Addiction, addiction is a negative aspect that must be cured of. Addictions are usually caused by an emotional trauma, that an individual would try to escape from, either with the use of alcohol or drugs (either legal or illegal). I had a hard time reading through this book, it was an definitely a self-help book for those who can use this book, and are use to reading these type of books. The author of this book is a medical doctor that founded a clinic on the Western Coast to treat those that had addictions. He gathers enough facts and case studies of patients that was treated at the clinic to write this book.
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Book Review: Work’s a Bitch and then You Make It Work

Work’s a Bitch and then You Make It Work: 6 Steps to Go From Pissed Off to Powerful
Written by Andrea Kay
Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
ISBN10: 1584797088
ISBN13: 9781584797081

Review by Linda Yau

What a mouthful of a title, readers of this review, and this is a self-help book. So do take a look at this book if this book can answer your current situation. The stimulus package promises plenty of jobs, so do not lose hope if this book is currently not for you at the moment.
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Book Review: Batman Unauthorized

Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City
Edited by Dennis O’Neil with Leah Wilson
Published by Benbella Books, Inc.
ISBN10: 1933771305
ISBN13: 9781933771304

Review by Linda Yau

With the New York Comic Con approaching in several more weeks, I figure it would be a good time to review this book. Batman Unauthorized is a series of eighteen essays that explores various aspects of the franchise of Batman. Topics cover from the sidekicks, to location, to possibilities, to villians, and even the identity/health of Batman; hardly anything is left unturned in this book. I bet the various writers in this book had fun researching for this book.
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Book review: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
By Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
Grand Central Publishing

Review by Kathryn L. Ramage

As a Master of Library Science and cat lover, I’m astonished that I never heard the story of Dewey before. The cat who lived at the public library in Spencer Iowa for eighteen years and acted as the library’s mascot, official greeter, and spokes-kitty seems to have well-known worldwide in his day; he was featured in a number of magazine articles, and even in two documentaries. (Also, the author turns out to have taken her degree from my own library-school alma mater, Emporia State University, just a few years before I was there.)
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Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Well Being

The Ultimate Guide to Well Being
Written by Jason Pegler
Published by Chipunkapublishing Ltd.
ISBN10: 1847470068
ISBN13: 9781847470065

Review by Linda Yau

On the cover of this book, there is a figure quoted the Wolrd Health Organization of about one million people committing suicide on an annual basis, and then there is this expression of “If people change their perception we can make it zero.”
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Book review: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masulinity

Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masulinity
By Robert Jensen
Published by South End Press
ISDN-10: 089608-776-x
ISDN-13: 978-0-89608-776-7

Review by Chad Denton

It is difficult being a person with strong political and social convictions and reviewing a book like this, which an impassioned treatise that isn’t so much directed toward one topic but exists as an open letter pleading every case they ever cared about. Either you agree and your critique is blinded by the joy of finding a fellow traveler, or you disagree and the author slowly turns into the Worst Most Ignorant Person Ever. Of course, even when you firmly disagree, the least one can do is appreciate the passion the activist author has stirred into the prose. And Robert Jensen has indeed spent a great deal of time thinking and arguing about pornography and its possible connections to the mistreatment of women in modern society, which I must respect. In fact, Jensen and I probably, if someone reduced our positions to pie charts, agree more than we disagree, especially when it comes to traditional gender roles (who needs ’em?) and misogyny (it’s very bad).
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Book Review: The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room: Sharing The Secrets For Pursuing Real Financial Success
Written by Ed Baker
Published by First Command
ISBN10: 0979365414
ISBN13: 9780979365416

Review by Linda Yau

The numbers sound kinda scary, but as the introduction states, 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. With the current economy, this is a book to read if there is concern for the necessity to save.
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