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Chuck Palahniuk
Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
Ben Hogan, Anthony Ravielli
Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR & the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II
Joseph E. Persico
Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship Between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley
Geoffrey Ward
David Shields, Shane Salerno
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween - Mélanie Watt This review is based on an ARC of the book.

This book shows how you can prepare for Halloween with costumes, parties, trick-or-treating and more! Of course, being an overly nervous squirrel will help you appreciate this book the most.

This humorous guide is aimed (sort of) at kids, but contains little to no content that would actually be of that much help. It's just supposed to be funny. And within the book are hints like using a plastic knife to carve a jack o'lantern. I think I'd actually pay to watch a kid try that one.

The art style is modern and cute, and compliments the book well. I can see the kids who read this aging gracefully into other series like "Diary Of A Winpy Kid."

I hadn't heard of Scaredy Squirrel before I picked up this book, but could see myself reading the other books in the series for a chuckle.
Happy as a Rat in a Trash Can - Don Pasco I got an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.

A self-help book that deals with positive thinking. It's got an unapologetically Christian angle, but doesn't try to force it down your throat.

Will it help me? Possibly some, I can apply enough lessons from it to hopefully see things in a slightly different light.

Not the best book ever... but not the worst either. I'd sit down and rap with this guy for a while.

The Liar and Other Stories - Matthew W. McFarland The Liar was an ok collection of short stories. They aren't interconnected, so everything can be read in any order you'd like.

The first one was about the best... revenge stories always are enjoyable for me.

As far as quality goes, it's a lot better than many of the self-published stuff I've read. There is a delightful lack of grammatical and spelling errors. A big plus for me.
Maybe Your Leg Will Grow Back!: Looking on the Bright Side with Baby Animals - Amanda McCall, Ben Schwartz Ever wonder how animals always look at the bright side of life? This book will show you an over-the-top optimism that also includes baby animals!

Don't worry about it being too thick of a tome, or that you'll have to invest hours in examining schools of thought- the book is actually a series of easily detachable postcards that you can mail to people when a relevant situation emerges! Isn't that grand? That means a page has (at most) 20 words on it, and the back is blank for you to add your thoughts!

4/5 stars. Short, cute premise. I can't actually see mailing the postcards though.
I'm a Dog, You're a Cat: Love Lessons from Our Furry Friends - Marla Press, Jim Tweedy This review is based on an advance copy of the book.

I'm a Dog, You're a Cat is a book about relationships in the same vein as the Mars/Venus books, only with personality types that are not neccesarily tied to a person's gender. They're not even tied to if a person actually prefers dogs or cats, just shards of their personalities.

It's obviously not meant to be taken as hard science or gospel, and has a lot of fun as the book progresses. There are some fair points to be made about relationships in general.

The book is filled with fun illustrations, which do not detract from the book at all (and fit well with the writing style. It's a quick read, and possibly something you could look through to determine differences with your S.O.

Like, I'm apparently a dog and my wife is a cat, even though we each prefer the other animal. Odd. :)

The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990–1990 - Miriam Elia, Ezra Elia This review is based on an ARC of the book.

A very funny book on the musings of a nihilistic hamster.

Edward is very much a "glass half-empty" kind of soul, as he tries to relate to the physical world around him, and when possible other living beings. He decides to keep a journal of his experiences in life, which is the only thing that brings him any solace in the pointlessness of everything.

This book is a *very* quick read, which means if you're looking for a gift for the gloomy artist in your life you can enjoy it yourself while waiting in line at the bookstore. You may even decide to keep it yourself after you buy it.

If course, the length is pretty par for what a hamster would actually write, and kind of fits with the ephemeral theme of the book. Kind of meta.

I'd rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. A little too short for me, but greatly enjoyed.
City of Pillars - Dominic Peloso I reviewed a free copy of this book, and you can get a free copy too! Go here.

On his way to work one day, a self-obsessed lawyer is accidentally given a mysterious package. He opens it and finds mysterious scribblings... then the Men In Black start trying to get the package back. He tries to decode what the package means, and the adventure begins.

The story is set as a confession/diary as the narrator peels back the layers of the puzzle, and how the powers that be will stop at nothing stop him from doing so. It's got a good psychological bent, and you don't know if the narrator is actually being pursued or is just plain crazy.

The answers start to fall into place, which lead to wondering who is having the narrator ask the questions in the first place? And why?

Comparisons are drawn in other reviews to The Matrix, but I think this is a pretty strong story and any similarity is superficial at best.

This was one of the better stories I've found in independent distribution. CoP holds the attention well, and for the most part moves an exciting story along at a good pace.

It would have gotten five stars probably, but it kind of meandered a little in the middle, and it had one word that was used two or three times that actually needed the homonym used instead (but that's just a little quibble that probably only bothers me.)

I would recommend reading this. There's a chance I may even reread someday, which is high praise.
Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back - Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent This book wasn't bad, and was sort of interesting in that the kid saw a bunch of stuff while he was under the knife. I do wonder if his imagination took over a bit as he reveals more and more in the years that follow, but can't really judge. Perception is a strange thing.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman This book follows a man as he returns to his childhood home for a funeral. He goes out driving, gets a little lost and discovers a long-forgotten memory.

The book is a masterpiece, and is quite moving. Clearly one of Gaiman's best.
50 Best Jokes Ever - Jane Parks I'm going to save you some time and give you two jokes that a 're far funnier than anything you'll read in this pamphlet.

why do men die before their wives?
because they want to.

why is divorce so expensive?
it's worth it.

You're welcome. I just saved you five minutes.
The Poo Rapper - Pete Potter This review is based on an advance copy given in exchange for a review.

This book follows the lyrics of the Poo Rapper, and hopes to be successful enough to lay down some mad beats for all of us to enjoy.

in concept this is an interesting enough idea, but it sort of falls as little short because it is only lyrics. Imagine perusing liner notes for an album you've never heard and you'll sort of get the idea.

This could have worked a lot better for me if the lyrics had been interspersed with pictures of the Poo Rapper, along with his backstory... I mean what makes the Poo Rapper who he is, and why does he want to share his gift with the world?

I'll give it three stars for the concept... had it been more fleshed out it may have gotten four.

You're in the Matrix Charlie Brown

You're in the Matrix Charlie Brown - Stupidpic It was free.

It was amusing.

Review over.
Work Standing Up: The Life and Art of Paul Fontaine - Paul Fontaine, Claudia Fontaine Chidester, Katie Robinson Edwards, Margaret Stenz, Mary Brantl, Robert Linsley This review is based on an electronic advanced release

Work Standing Up is a biography/coffee table book that shows the work of painter Paul Fontaine throughout the different periods of his life. Like many painters of his time he started with fairly realistic paintings and then at some point due to his influences ventured into more abstract territory.

While I had never "heard" of Fontaine before I read this book, I admire a lot of the skill and control he had.

The book is essentially three or four essays on different aspects of his life and art. The first and most intimate essay was written by one of his daughters, while the others were written by people who are more "art scene."

There are many photos of his work inside. Some are black and white due to them being photos of work that was later destroyed, lost or otherwise mislaid. The book goes into depth to describe the different paints and styles he used throughout his life.

While I don't have any coffee table books that I display due to my dog having a voracious book appetite, this is one book that I would love to have. The electronic edition, while nice and getting the point across, would surely pale to a larger format for the photographs.

If the publishing price I saw is legit, this is only a must-buy if you're a diehard Fontaine fan. Otherwise, see if your library is getting a copy. If the price was a typo, it's quite possibly worth the money.
Bicycle Diaries - David Byrne David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries is a series of essays loosely connected to him bicycling around different cities all across the world. He discusses the artists and locals he meets, talks about what he is actually doing in the city (not touring) and also give his reflections on life at the time.

He often will tell you what the year was at the time, so that when he edited the essays later they would convey the context of what people were thinking in a post-9/11 world.

This book had some very interesting parts, and some that just seemed to fall flat for me. I really enjoyed the first couple chapters, and probably the last three. But the middle just seemed to drag. Perhaps because it was based on his real experiences and didn't really follow the narrative of a "story".

There are lots of photos inside of the places visited and the various artists he met in his travels. The end of the book also has several sketches he made while designing bicycle racks for NYC.

Byrne gets a little preachy extolling the virtues of bicycle travel as opposed to motor vehicle in urban settings, although he correctly points out that it's often quicker to use bicycles in certain situations.

While in a short section about securing a bike so it doesn't get stolen, he seems rather undisturbed that his own bikes have either had wheels or seats (or the entire bike) stolen repeatedly. Though he does advise against expensive bikes for this reason.

It's an interesting book, nonetheless. Worth a read (or a graze).
No End to the Shit that Pisses Me Off - Peg Tittle This review is based on a free copy of this book.

I was hoping with a title like this that this book would be a witty expose on modern life.

Instead it was a screed on how men are responsible for all of society's ills, including (but not limited to) health care expenses, littering, companies wanting to make a profit, politics and more.

At first I was hoping this was tongue in cheek, or at least a poor attempt at trolling, but then I saw that these essays were reprints from other publications.

It's hard to take someone seriously who is advocating the idea that women wear makeup and shave their legs because deep down men are pedophiles. But you'll find that gem in here, among other nuggets that are poorly reasoned or just plain sexist.

I understand that this book is clearly aimed at preaching to the choir of freshmen new to college, stretching their philosophical wings for the first time. I just wish there had been at least a little common (rational) ground that I could have agreed with the author on.
The Waiting Room - H.L. Baker I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

The Waiting Room is a quick little read that encompasses three tales of the paranormal. The three tales are not connected in any way, but are separate little stories that can be read in a few minutes each.

The Waiting Room involves a girl dropping off dinner for her Mother at the hospital where she works as a nurse. While leaving she bumps into a mysterious stranger....

The Forgotten Son is about a boy who has a friend named Tommy. Not long after Tommy showed up all his other friends abandoned him...

In Closed Circle of Friends a close-knit group of drinking friends get bored playing poker and find a Ouija board in the closet...

Of the three stories I liked the first the best, and the second had the most potential (the second is also by far the shortest.) I'm still not totally sure what was even going on in the third story, although I liked how each character became the central character for their own "chapter".

I think all of these stories had potential that could have been realized more completely. There was just more that could have been said or done, and they seem more like a working framework rather than a completed work to me. This is especially true with the second story.

I'd say this is two of five stars. It was OK. Good for a quick, quick read, and it won't give you nightmares (although the first story could have if the author had taken it in a slightly different direction.)