Friday, February 22, 2008

Title: Let us Share - A Conversation on Growing Older

Author: Lou Dunn Diekemper

Publisher: Synergy Books

ISBN: 978-1-933538-76-1

Genre: Memoirs

The book is titled as a conversation, but is a monologue since the reader has no way of taking part in the conversation (if all of us start writing back to the author, she will be swamped).

The book is an attempt by the author to share her perceptions on a variety of topics. The topics are presented in a whimsical way (at least I could not find a pattern).

The style is good at some places and is like a sermon at others. Some of the many topics are likely to resonate with the reader.

I started this book and another at the same time, on 28th of November, 2007, and while the other book was finished in 2 or 3 days, this book was not an easy read. I persevered and completed it now.

I would strongly recommend you to browse the book at a book store or check as much as possible online using Google's book search, and then decide whether it is for you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Title: Good-bye, Baby Max
Author: Diane Cantrell
Illustrator: Heather Castles
Publisher: Bridgeway Books
ISBN: 9781933538952
Genre: Children's Books/Illustrated Story

Good-bye, Baby Max is a beautifully written and equally (or more importantly) beautifully illustrated book for children in the suggested age group of 4 to 8 years. For the children in the younger part of this age group, the parents or elder children and other care givers can help in reading and also deal with the emotions that may arise.

Story outline from the back cover: Mrs. B's class excitedly awaits the birth of three baby chicks. When Max is unable to crack open his shell, the children's loving teacher assists them in expressing their feelings of loss and planning a special good-bye.

An excerpt:

Silence falls over the room.
Liz and Rob begin to cry.
"Don't worry," says Mrs. B.
"We will find a way to say good-bye."

"We had a funeral for grandma!" Riley exclaims.
"Maybe for Max we could do the same?"
Jeremy joins in. "We had a memorial for Uncle Jim.
People sang songs and told stories about him."
So they plan a funeral to have the next day,
With songs and prayers and kind words to say.

End of excerpt.

The illustrations are beautiful and help to invoke the right feelings.

The book tells children some important things about life: Life is a struggle and everyone doesn't make it. It is OK to cry and mourn those who fail and fall down. But life is about accepting the loss and moving on and seeing the emergence of new life.

The children can be encouraged to read, explore and analyze the emotions that well up.

The book has A Note to Parents and Educators from the author, which puts the story in the right perspective.

The book is edited and printed well.

I would have liked to see the book in a CD form with the story set to music. I hope the publishers will think of bringing it out even now.

DIANE CANTRELL is a former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach. Diane lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Rich, and their three dogs.

HEATHER CASTLES is a children’s book illustrator who likes inchworms, dandelion puffs, and leopard print purses. Heather and her husband, Ben, live in Australia.

S.V. Swamy is an avid reader, editor, author and reviewer with a small child in his heart.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

While I posted all the book reviews from my blog to my other blog,, I find that you cannot locate an individual book through search function. So, it looks as if I have to put each book under its title separately.

Till I do that, I would request you to continue using this blog.


I have posted all the book reviews on my blog, and will be using this blog to post my comments and reviews on many other things apart from books. As the reviews of other items build up, I may consider creating separate blogs to hold them.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Title: Pretzel on Prozac - the Story of an Immigrant Dog
Author: Ellen Palestrant
Publisher: Elusive Press
ISBN: 9781587368417
Genre: Animal / Memoir / Literature / Psychology / Immigration
Presentation: Soft cover

Pretzel is a pet dog of the author and when she immigrates to USA from South Africa, it also goes along. Unlike the other pet dog, Pretzel doesn't adjust well and later when the author's house is being remodelled, all the noises made by men and machines add to Pretzel's problems and it develops depression, anxiety etc. The vet puts Pretzel on Prozac, an antidepressant and the title of the book is derived thus. Pretzel becomes normal and after a few years, continues to be normal even after Prozac is withdrawn. Pretzel lives to a ripe 20 years of age.

The book is well written and is at places humorous and poignant. It would appeal to all pet lovers. It brings out well, the problems of adjusting to a new society and environment and shows how other animals are similar to humans if having difficulties of adjusting.

An excerpt:

"How excited Pretzel is to be in motion out in the open. His tail wags vigorously. This is his Lap of Luxury-the Sonoran desert blooming with lus, emerald green golf-courses paved with perpendicular lanes. This is where he struts. Only in the streets of Scottsdale does he take charge of Bailey (the second dog, which normally dominates him - reviewer), lead the expedition, and decide when it's time to sprint. Attached to both their leashes, we obey the dogs and go tearing after them."

The book is edited and printed well.

Recommendation: The book would appeal to pet lovers. Check it out online or at the local book store.