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Stolen Child: A Mother's Journey to Rescue Her Son from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Laurie Gough. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $21.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4597-3591-0

Veteran travel writer Gough (Kite Strings of the Southern Cross) recounts a different kind of journey that began when her 10-year-old son experienced the sudden onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Quinn had been a healthy, carefree boy, but signs of OCD surfaced after several months of deep grief following the death of his grandfather, with whom he had been very close. Gough details behaviors and beliefs that soon made it impossible for Quinn to attend school or live as he previously had: tapping his knees and twisting his head in symmetry rituals, clenching his fists to hold magic bubbles that were essential to his obsession with winning a race at the 2024 Olympics, and other rituals he believed would bring his grandfather back to life. The family sought help from doctors, and Quinn began treatment with a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Gough characterizes OCD as an insatiable monster that gets hungrier the more one gives in to it. With help from family and friends, Quinn confronts this inner bully. This moving story is highly recommended as a beacon of hope for those experiencing OCD and their loved ones. Agent: Martha Webb, McDermid Agency. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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One Story, One Song

Richard Wagamese. Douglas & McIntyre (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-77162-080-2

In this collection of brief essays, Wagamese (Medicine Walk), an Ojibwe journalist, author, and poet, reflects on matters including climate change, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, growing up as a First Nations boy in Ontario in the 1960s and 1970s, homelessness, alcohol addiction, and simple pleasures such as walking in the woods with his dog. All of the reflections have a conversational and folksy tone to them, and the more politically and socially charged ones skillfully avoids the self-righteousness that sometimes accompanies such messages. Even when dealing with dispiriting topics, Wagamese expresses hopefulness without sounding naive. The book is loosely divided into four sections based on the four cardinal directions and points on the traditional Native medicine wheel: east for humility, south for trust, west for introspection, and north for wisdom. The way Wagamese uses these divisions feels arbitrary; the book's sections overlap considerably in both content and sentiment. However, the eloquence that has made Wagamese one of Canada's foremost First Nations storytellers and writers largely quiets any qualms one might have about the book's structure. This is an uplifting collection that readers will peruse thoughtfully and revisit many times. John Pearce and Chris Casuccio, Westwood Creative Artists. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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The "Red" Kelly Story

Leonard Kelly, with L. Waxy Gregoire and David M. Dupuis. ECW Press (Perseus/Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-77041-315-3

National Hockey League legend Kelly offers his own account of a remarkable career, which included eight Stanley Cup wins during his 20 years on the ice, followed by another decade coaching. Kelly played defense for the Detroit Red Wings from 1947 to 1959 and offense for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1959 to 1967. He also served as a member of Parliament while playing for the Leafs. This is a heartwarming story of a dedicated player who was raised on tobacco farm near Port Dover, Ontario, and his rise to NHL fame. The Red Wings only paid him $6,000 a season, including performance bonuses, but Kelly's farm work kept him fed and in top condition. Readers who crave racy revelations of off-ice life won't find them in this memoir of a devout Catholic and family man. But Kelly's play-by-play recollection of games is dynamic, and he offers some no-holds-barred views of the internecine politics of the business. Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard, who was both caustic and wealthy, is a perfect foil to Kelly's stoicism. This is a must-read for devotees of vintage NHL hockey. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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Miniscapes: Create Your Own Terrarium

Clea Cregan. Hardie Grant (Chronicle, dist.), $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-74379-140-0

Urban dwellers with a green thumb will be wise to pick up a copy of Cregan's delightful guide to DIY terrariums. Easier to care for than most bonsai, more contained than a regular houseplant, terrariums can solve a multitude of problems for people who don't have much space or light. Australian gardener Cregan, who makes custom terrariums for a living, presents the subject in a crisp, fun style, with plenty of information and ideas to get novices started. Seasoned terrarium gardeners can probably skip the early instructional part of the book, but will still find plenty of inspiration in Cregan's tiny landscapes. Especially fascinating is the use of small toys and figures to create scenes in the terrariums. Animals such as deer can be used to give the grouping a woodland look; aliens and cartoon characters can be used for more whimsy. The pictures and instructions are clear and easy to follow, and materials are easily sourced. Air plants and succulents come in many more colors than new gardeners probably realize, and creating a colorful container of plants in the home can be as easy or involved as the gardener wishes. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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No Day Shall Erase You: The Story of 9/11 as Told at the National September 11 Memorial Museum

Edited by Alice M. Greenwald. Skira Rizzoli, $45 (226p) ISBN 978-0-8478-4947-5

Published to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, this official companion to the National September 11 Memorial Museum—located where the Twin Towers once proudly stood—transports readers back to that dark day and the ensuing weeks, months, and years. An engraving of a line from Virgil's Aeneid, "No day shall erase you from the memory of time," forged in steel recovered from the site of the attacks, is the centerpiece of a 140-foot-long, 34-foot-high concrete wall that separates the museum's public space from a repository of victims' remains not open to the public. As of the 15th anniversary, 40% of the victims had not yet been identified, despite "extraordinary efforts" to do so. The book presents the efforts to memorialize those victims in the museum and the behind-the-scenes strategies at work in, for example, presenting disturbing subject matter or archiving dust (considered by many survivors to be sacred). Vivid photos and several insightful essays by museum staff complement text written respectfully and with understated authority by Greenwald, the memorial and museum's director and executive vice president for exhibitions, collections, and education. The book is a tribute to those who died on 9/11 as well as a powerful exploration of collective memory. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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How the Police Generate False Confessions: An Inside Look at the Interrogation Room

James L. Trainum. Rowman & Littlefield, $36 (308p) ISBN 978-1-4422-4464-1

In this groundbreaking book on the U.S. criminal justice system, Trainum, a former Washington, D.C. police detective, argues for reform of police interviewing and interrogation practices. The confession is considered the gold standard for law enforcement, because "most people believe that they would never confess to a crime they did not do." Yet suspects, witnesses, and informants often feel that they have no other option. Trainum carefully demonstrates why in an era of minimum sentences, where the worst-case scenario can be significant jail time, registration as a sex offender, or even the death penalty, prosecutors have breathtaking power to hold a person's life in the balance. The best option for a suspect or witness may be a false confession, informing, or a plea bargain, especially when a long legal fight may drain a family bank account, or when a prosecutor offers a reduced sentence or jailhouse privileges as reward. Without reform, prosecutors, police, and investigators may soon discover that "harsh and verbally abusive interrogation tactics that focused solely on obtaining confessions... not only [contribute] to false confessions but also to the negative perception of law enforcement by the public." Using numerous examples and backed by persuasive academic research, Trainum proposes a better way that is already at work in countries with similar criminal justice systems. His book will hit a nerve with a public newly concerned with abuses of police power, and hopefully will influence those tasked with law enforcement and public policy as well. (July)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond

Marc Lamont Hill. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2494-5

Hill, a journalist and a professor of African-American studies at Morehouse College, places recent incidents of police violence against African-Americans in their historical and geographical contexts. The outrage over constant tragedy gathers momentum as what might once have been local matters become highly publicized events. Places such as Ferguson, Mo., Sanford, Fla., and Hempstead, Tex., and victims such as Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Kathryn Johnston, have become familiar nationwide through media exposure. Hill critiques the intended and unintended consequences of various policies: the expanding discretionary power, performance requirements, and militarization of the police; mass incarceration, often the consequence of mandatory minimum sentences or indeterminate sentencing leading to the wide use of plea bargaining; the disproportionate imposition of public-nuisance laws, and "broken windows" and stop-and-frisk policies, on African-Americans; and the outgrowth of state-sponsored exploitation of African-Americans for economic gain, evidenced by privatized prisons, the bail bond business, the use of fines in funding local police department budgets, and housing practices that created ghettos of poverty. Hill's work is valuable in rendering individual lives with empathy but without sanctification as he assesses the historical, sociological, and statistical milieu of these casualties in a lucid, highly readable book. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

Britt Salvesen and Jim Shedden. Insight Editions, $29.99 (152p) ISBN 978-1608878604

This portrait of Bleak House, the home of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak), is pure nerd eye-candy. Salvesen and Shedden have assembled a richly illustrated house tour, with essays outlining how different areas represent different facets of del Toro's artistry. Bleak House is filled with photorealistic mannequins of horror characters and creators; thousands of statues, toys, and props from genre films; various occult doodads; and multiple overflowing libraries, including a room solely devoted to vampire lore. If there ever was a Xanadu for fans of science fiction and horror, del Toro's stately halls fit the bill. The essays, especially one on collecting, are warmly written and welcome, if unnecessary next to the breathtaking photographs. The book's latter half features short written pieces with titles such as "Victoriana"; "Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult"; and "Frankenstein and Horror." There are also reproductions of more classical artworks, tying del Toro's world to that of fine art. Del Toro is known for equally embracing horror films and Charles Dickens (after whose novel his home is named); it is only fitting that in his home, Frankenstein's monster stands among irreplaceable antique furnishings. This unusual portrait of the artist will have readers scrambling to catch up on the director's works; it is an unqualified success. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton

Joe Conason. Simon & Schuster, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-1-4391-5410-6

Journalist Conason (It Can Happen Here) shows his writing and research chops to full advantage in this engrossing look at former president Bill Clinton in his post-presidency years. From the book's first page—a detailed January 2001 snapshot of Clinton's first morning as a private citizen—the book grabs the reader's attention and holds on tight. The profile begins with Clinton in his first post-presidency year, surprised at the backlash following his pardon of Marc Rich and struggling with a "badly tarnished" reputation. Conason follows Clinton as he searches for his footing, becomes involved with helping regions affected by natural disasters, and addresses the international AIDS crisis. Conason's detailed and intimate sketches show a newly health-conscious man ("overnight, he became that rarest of Arkansans: a vegan") who's equally comfortable interacting with other former heads of state and with a young African AIDS survivor helped by his initiatives. With Hillary Clinton running for president, it's fair to be wary of the book's potential propaganda value, but Conason, a consummate journalist, does his best to present an objective portrait, including his subject's occasional less-than-lovely words and careless acts. Coming in the midst of a particularly fierce election season, this look at Clinton and his extraordinary work ethic may strike readers as almost poignant. Agent: Jeffrey Posternak, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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Jimmy Carter: Elected President with Pocket Change and Peanuts

Dorothy Padgett. Mercer Univ., $35 (544p) ISBN 978-0-88146-586-0

Padgett offers front porch–style storytelling in this memoir of serving former president Jimmy Carter as a loyal campaign worker. In an informal and nostalgic style, Padgett recounts key moments in Carter's political life: his inauguration as governor in 1971, his announcement of his presidential run in 1974, and the fund-raising and planning of the Carter Library and Museum, which opened in 1986. Though a discussion of Carter is her goal, Padgett's strength is in stories of Carter's dedicated campaign workers. Padgett, an organizer of the famed Peanut Brigade, recounts the Georgia group's experiences as they traveled from state to state, knocking on doors, charming prospective voters with their Southern accents and manners, and helping Carter win key primaries. The stories have wit and exude the fervor and excitement of the times. Padgett provides extraordinary recollections of her time on Carter's campaigns and in his administrations, pinpointing minute specifics for long-past events. However, the inclusion of often superfluous details and exposition undermines the pace and effectiveness of her storytelling. Padgett is a Carter devotee, lavishing praise in her assessment of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's lives while withholding significant critique (such as of Carter's early silence on segregation), and her impressive portrait of her subject is unfortunately two-dimensional. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 08/26/2016 | Details & Permalink

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