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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


General Interest

The Thrall's Tale by Judith Lindbergh (Viking) (Audio CD (Unabridged Penguin Audio) the language in this novel moves upon the tides of inward emotion that blurs the vivid landscape and physical drudgery of the lives of these peasants.  In Lindbergh's telling these women are vividly individualistic, yet with a sameness of introversion in viewpoint of the characters that except for the script that each seems to be following each person seems to wallow in the same emotional brew with very little growth and characters advanced during the 20 plus years of the narrative.  As a historical novel Lindbergh's project fails. It fails as a convincing ecology of work.  It fails psychologically because the voices of these characters drift too aimlessly in out of their own individualized perceptions and not within the more complex social contexts that would have made up the day-to-day life of the early settlers of Greenland.  A vividly imagined chronicle of love, hatred, and revenge at a time when the Vikings were exploring to new worlds, Judith LindberghâŔ™s spectacular debut novel takes its inspiration from Old Norse Sagas and creates the riveting story of a beautiful slave, her ill-begotten daughter, and their maligned but powerful mistress. As a work of fantasy however the novel may find its admirers among a readers and listeners.  In the unabridged audio CD (16 in all) the reader Virginia Leishman justly captures the evocative language of the characters. 

Lindbergh spent the last ten years researching and writing The Thrall’s Tale. This monumental work, illustrated with maps and accompanied by historical notes, will surely appeal to readers of Norse history and sagas as well as to fans of great historical fiction like Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife.

Woman Made of Sand: A Novel in Stories by Joann Kobin (Delphinium Books) A collection of short stories all involving the same cast -- a family -- with "Harriet" doubling as both mother and authorial voice. The stories interact temporally and substantively, allowing the reader benefits of redundancy, 'delayed decoding' (see Joseph Conrad), and shifting perspectives. Clever from this standpoint, but readers may find the contents somewhat thin as regards setting, topic, detail, or, in a word -- substance -- unless of course they are new to post-feminist literature of a somewhat lukewarm vein, like marbled cream in weak coffee, no stronger than advocating re-cycling, abortion rights, or doing your own thing. To be fair though, I don't think the author set out to advocate anything in particular, but rather, toned and finished the work to a luster of considerable subtlety and finesse about family ('values', even), and the difficult choices that family members must sometimes make to survive, live, and/or be happy. From this point of view the book is successful. The stories speak from a shadowland of feelings as tonality that slowly open us to flukes of character and self remade through clear action.
Any of the stories can be read on an individual basis -- or, free-standing -- but perhaps at the cost of loosing some of their accumulative effect, and other aforementioned narrative attributes. Rain, the first of eleven stories, takes its title from a funeral scene where Harriet's mother in law, Belle, is kept from approaching the grave-site of her husband because -- according to the dissuasive family minister -- it is raining too hard. "She'll get too "upset" seeing "the casket lowered into the grave," he seems to have told Phillip, Belle's son (Harriet's husband). Harriet's calling for a second opinion here gives the piece -- and, by extension, the entire work -- its best and most genuine tone: "But now is the time to get upset," I said. "There are times to get upset and this is one of them. Her husband of almost fifty years just died." Neither the pitfalls of marriage nor the healing of catharsis are alien to Harriet who develops throughout the book toward greater self-knowledge, hence change. Charity Work follows, set in a resort along the Jersey shore, it is perhaps the most descriptive and atmospheric of all the pieces, it is also the most daring, as the opening paragraph depicts the nuclear family bathing together in the sea with up-stirred flesh -- the "points" of her mother's "nipples," the "bulge" in her father's "tight shiny swimming trunks," a young Henrietta swimming naked as a "mermaid" in-between -- in such a way that has nothing to do with sexual abuse, or even penetration for that matter, but rather, just plain sensuality, a fact among all father's, mother's, sons and daughters, whether they choose to recognize it or not. The story also involves the sometimes-difficult tension that often arises within the individual caught between caring for others -- hence the title -- and themselves. What I Learned From Clara, (story/chapter five in the sequence) boasts perhaps the work's most revealing line, via Clara herself, an older woman and somewhat role-model with a strong sense of independence: "Brides all look alike to me," Clara said. "They look so hopeful and sweet . . . and a little silly." Though the author falls way short of dissing marriage as an institution in any comprehensive way, the line seems to best-embody her own personal vision of life learning, change and personal transformation. Woman Made of Sand is an artful read, a little snapshot of lives in discovery and care.

Wild Ginger: A Novel by Anchee Min (Houghton Mifflin) The beautiful, iron-willed Wild Ginger is only in elementary school when we first meet her, but already she has been singled out by the Red Guards for her “foreign-colored eyes.” Her classmate Maple is also a target of persecution. It is through the quieter, more skeptical Maple, a less than ardent Maoist whose father is languishing in prison for a minor crime, that we see this story to its tragic end.

The Red Guards have branded Wild Ginger’s deceased father a traitor and will drive her mother to a gruesome suicide, but she fervently embraces Maoism to save her spirit. She rises quickly through the ranks and is held up as a national model for Maoism. Wild Ginger now has everything, even a young man who vies for her heart. But Mao’s prohibition on romantic love places her in an untenable position, and into this erotically charged situation steps Maple.

Wild Ginger is a moving novel that brilliantly delineates the psychological and sexual perversion of the Cultural Revolution. It is Anchee Min’s most powerful work to date.

Storytelling for Young and Old

So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest edited and compiled by James P. Leary with an Introduction by W. K. McNeil (University of Wisconsin Press) In the land of beer, cheese, and muskies-where the polka is danced and winter is unending and where Lutherans and Catholics predominate-everybody is ethnic, the politics are clean, and the humor is plentiful. This collection includes jokes, humorous anecdotes, and tall tales from ethnic groups (Woodland Indians, French, Cornish, Germans, Irish, Scandinavians, Finns, and Poles) and working folk (loggers, miners, farmers, townsfolk, hunters, and fishers). Dig into the rich cultural context supplied by the notes and photographs, or just laugh at the hundreds of jokes gathered at small-town cafes, farm tables, job sites, and church suppers. This second edition includes an afterword and indexes of motifs and tale types.|/p>

The Invisible Child: On Reading and Writing Books for Children by Katherine Paterson (Dutton) Here are the remarkable critical speeches and essays of world-renowned author Katherine Paterson. Featuring selected essays originally published in Gates of Excellence and The Spying Heart, this collection also includes the complete acceptance speeches for her two National Book Awards and two Newbery Medals, plus a new introduction and eight speeches never before published in book form.
With the same perception, wit, and generosity that characterize her fiction, this much-honored writer shares her ideas about writing for children, as well as her passion for reading, her spiritual faith, and her conviction that the imagination must be nourished. Her words will touch all those who care about literature and the lives of children.

The likeliest explanation for Ms Paterson's choice of career may be her own love of stories: "if you call yourself a writer," she observes, "you can read all you want to and people will think you are working." Beyond that, Ms Paterson saw the impact that writing could have on her chosen audience: "When I became a writer, I wanted to write books for children like me who were often discouraged and afraid ‑who needed encouragement and hope." The common perception that children's stories require happy endings to provide peace of mind does not work for Ms Paterson. For her, "a bit of cheer pasted to the end" is not what children look for: "They want hope rooted in reality, not wishful thinking."

Ms Paterson stresses how successful, effective writing for children takes into account the actual workings of their lives, both positive and negative. Children may read seeking adventure, escape, or laughter, but most importantly, they look for insight into more serious concerns: "‑to understand themselves, to understand others, to rehearse the experiences that someday they may live out in the flesh." There is no harm for a child to read about life's difficulties; in fact, for Ms Paterson, "the time a child needs a book about life's dark passages is before he or she has had to experience them," so as to learn ahead of time about possible ways to cope.
Successful children's stories also do not need to insist on teaching virtues. "When I write a book I am not setting out to teach virtue," Ms Paterson says, "I am trying to tell a story, I am trying to draw my reader into the mystery of human life in this world." Rather then present idealized views on the manner in which children ought to conduct themselves, Ms Paterson praises books where "the child, the real child, is fully visible in them, portrayed with respect and affection." If characters are presented this way, then readers may see themselves with all their fears and failings, but still be able "to like the selves they see because the author has seen them so clearly and so obviously cares for them. As they come to love and forgive these people on the page [they are] able to forgive and love their own deepest selves." The child reader has the chance to recognize the invisible child, the child with worries and wonders within him or herself, and may gain a sense of belonging in the big bewildering world that they are just beginning to understand.

The Invisible Child is a positive, but challenging, message to those who select children's stories for publication or to add to a curriculum, and for those reading or recommending stories for children of their own.

 Inviting the Wolf in: Thinking About the Difficult Story by Loren Niemi and Elizabeth Ellis (August House) As professional storytellers, Loren Niemi and Elizabeth Ellis have confronted their fair share of stories that are difficult to tell, as well as uncomfortable for the audience to hear. They know that almost any story can be troublesome to tell in the context in which it is heard, or if it is personally problematic for either the teller or listener.

Of course, many stories ‑ by the very nature of their subject matter are always going to be difficult for both teller and listener. It's taxing for anyone to speak of topics such as violence, rape, betrayal, revenge, abuse, suicide, racism, and death without having strong emotions and worries. But Niemi and Ellis feel that it is essential to tell and hear the difficult stories of life.

According to the authors, Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories sprang from a simple question: "How can we learn from our troubles and how can we share those experiences with others in a way that helps them learn and grow?" They feel the answer to the question is also a simple one: "Tell the story." Their sense of the importance of these stories, however, goes much deeper: "We believe that to understand, shape, and honestly tell the difficult story is to touch the core of what it means to be human."

Inviting the Wolf In is designed for anyone who deals with crisis and confusion, but it is especially helpful to storytellers, ministers, therapists, social workers, human service professionals, lawyers, and teachers. The book has three essential elements: a general discussion about the value and necessity of telling difficult stories; a "how‑to" section that leads readers through the process of creating and shaping difficult stories; and sample stories authored by Niemi, Ellis, and others who explain the choices they made in shaping them.

Stories include Niemi's "By the Grace of God," an account of a homeless man from which the author learned life truths over a $3.68 bottle of Irish Rose; "Demeter and Persephone, 1984," Ellis's telling of the poignant myth in conjunction with the disappearance of her own fifteen‑year-old pregnant daughter; and Tim Herwig's "Slaughter House," a disturbing and gut‑wrenching look at a business of the same name. Suggested further reading and a bibliography are included.

 Tell It Together: Foolproof Scripts for Story Theatre by Barbara McBride-Smith (August House) Story Theatre? "Readers Theatre on Steroids!" Oklahoma Educator "Beefs Up" Classroom Participation

Story Theatre begins with the best techniques and discipline of Readers Theatre, and then breaks all the rules. ‑Barbara McBride‑Smith

Professional storyteller, librarian, and teacher Barbara McBride Smith has been working with kids for a mighty long time, and she's learned a fair amount of what grabs their interest and enthusiasm. High up on her list of kid‑ and classroom‑tested activities is Story Theatre, a storytelling vehicle that allows a group of people to tell a story together.

McBride‑Smith has been developing and field‑testing Story Theatre scripts in workshops, in her own classroom, and in classrooms throughout the United States for more than twenty years. Although the end result of her scripting is a new book ‑ Tell It Together: Foolproof Scripts for Story Theatre ‑ the scripts were not written for the purpose of being published in book form. "They were written as real lesson plans and workshop activities for students and teachers who know what really works," she says.

According to McBride‑Smith, Story Theatre embraces many values important in the classroom:

Beginning storytellers can learn the art of performing in a supportive, non‑threatening environment.  Non‑readers and non‑verbal students can help tell the story.

Story Theatre supports a whole language philosophy of learning. Story Theatre is a participatory sport. Story Theatre is inexpensive and easy. Story Theatre is fun.

Scripts are divided into three categories: Myths ("Arachne and Athena," "Bill Erophon and His Horse Peggy Sue," "The Naming of Athens"), Folktales ("Aaron Kelly is Dead," "Sody Salleratus," "Cat‑Skins"), and Fiction ("Bubba the Cowboy Prince," "A Thoroughly Modern Rapunzel," "Santaberry and the Snard").

Equipment needed for Story Theatre can be simple and inexpensive. McBride‑Smith suggests such items as scripts and binders, stools, music stands, wooden platforms, very simple costumes, sound effect devices, basic props, and sparse sets. All stories in the book can be told by a group or by a single storyteller, and are designed for third to sixth grade students, although many are appropriate for older students

 Through the Grapevine: World Tales Kids Can Read & Tell by Martha Hamilton, Mitch Weiss edited by Carol Lyon (August House) Grapevine Keeps Buzzing Into Twenty‑First Century: "1 like storytelling better than TV, because the TV never asks you to do anything." ‑Elementary Student

35,000 years ago ‑ give or take ‑ folks started talking with one nother. They spent the next 29,500 years (or 8,082,191 days) perfecting the art of the story, whether it was a report on the day's hunt, the latest news in culinary cave cuisine, or where did thunder and lightning really come from.

When written language appeared some 5,500 years ago, spoken communication began evolving into new forms via the printing press, telegraph, telephone, radio, television, and the Internet. But like a Mississippi patch of Kudzu claims its territory, the grapevine of communication absorbed and utilized all those technological advances and continued to thrive, and in the last twenty‑five years ‑ with the storytelling renaissance ‑ we've gone back to our roots and stories are being told on audiocassettes and CDs, and in places such as schools, libraries, museums, senior citizen centers, storytelling festivals, and most importantly, in homes.

Storytellers Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss have embraced the stories carried down through the ages by many cultures in their latest book, Through the Grapevine: World Tales Kids Can Read and Tell. Thirtyâ€Ńone world tales that are fun to read out loud and especially fun to tell are included, as well as tips for telling the story without the book. The authors encourage budding tellers to "take these stories and make them your own. Don't tell them exactly the way we wrote them. Make them jump off the page!"

Twenty‑nine countries and traditions are represented, including Kenya/Tanzania ("The Fearsome Monster in Hare's House"), Turkey ("Watermelons and Walnuts"), Norway ("The Boy Who Battled the Troublesome Troll"), Congo ("Taking the Bad with the Good"), and Jewish ("The Thief Who Aimed to Please"). General tips for telling stories, follow‑up activities, and story sources are included.

This collection embodies the philosophy of Hamilton and Weiss when it comes to the importance of nurturing the modern‑day grapevine: "It's only when stories are passing from one person to another that they really come alive. It's the living story‑the one told directly to us by someone else‑that grabs our attention and touches our hearts."

The Parent's Guide to Storytelling: How to Make Up New Stories and Retell Old Favorites by Margaret Read MacDonald (August House) "There is a special magic in the sharing of a story with your child... This is a gift you give a child, a gift of time, energy, and caring... a gift of your shared imagination. " ‑‑‑Margaret Read MacDonald

In 2001 master storyteller Margaret Read MacDonald spun her special type of magic around the hearts of more than 15,000 listeners. This year she's waved her wand to make that magic multiply and settle on the shoulders of parents and grandparents, weaving a special web of storytelling sorcery.

MacDonald believes that storytelling is an essential ‑ not optional ‑part of family life. Although the storytelling time spent with children is magical, she doesn't believe that the "hows and wherefores" should be shrouded in mystery. The Parent's Guide to Storytelling: How to Make Up New Stories and Retell Old Favorites glitters with the magic, but is underpinned by the basics.

According to MacDonald, the benefits of family storytelling are many: passing on values ("saying without saying"), developing literary skills (exposing the child to fine language), recording history (giving a sense of our own past), nurturing emotional development (providing models for encountering and overcoming adversity), and fostering intimacy (giving the gift of shared imaginations).

MacDonald knows that part of the magic is fitting storytelling into our busy lives. Since TV has replaced the traditional family fireside gathering at night, she suggests using other niches during the day, such as long drives in the car, time spent waiting for some other activity to begin, moments before naptime or bedtime. Even those "cranky afternoons" can be brightened by audience‑participation stories and tales.

The Parent's Guide to Storytelling has stories with telling tips and techniques for all ages:

Favorite Nursery Tales ("The Little Red Hen") Fingerplay Stories ("The Parrot with the Key to Rome") Bedtime stories ("The Squeaky Door") Expandable Stories ("Ms. Mouse Needs a Friend") Endless Tales ("A Dark and Stormy Night") Participation Folktales ("Cheese and Crackers") Scary Stories ("The Dark, Dark House") Family Stories ("Grandpa and the Blacksnake")

Frogs into princes? Snow White awake once more? Old hat! MacDonald's magic turns parents into tellers, children into listeners ‑ and that would make even Merlin sit up and take notice!

Search the Top 100 Titles at Amazon.com

Iris Murdoch: A Life by Peter J. Conradi (W.W. Norton) It has been nearly two years since Iris Murdoch's death from Alzheimer's and the publication of her husband John Bayley's memoir Elegy for Iris, Where he movingly described his wife's struggle with Alzheimer's disease. It seems fitting that the beloved philosopher and novelist should be the subject of a biography nearly as idiosyncratic and charming as she was herself. One of the numerous oddities of this one is its construction: each chapter is broken into numbered sections rarely more than four pages long. This allows the author (Murdoch's longtime friend and biographer of Angus Wilson) to ramble back and forth chronologically, examining a few years at a time through different perspectives literary, romantic, and philosophical and gradually progress forward. The overall effect is leisurely, informal, highly literary and more than a bit uneven. In the first half, Conradi faithfully traces Murdoch's family background and intellectual development, painstakingly tracking down her earliest Latin teachers or the history of modern Irish sectarianism, as the moment requires. Ala in all a warm, appreciative portrait focused on Murdoch's formative years: happy Anglo-Irish childhood; intellectual fulfillment at Oxford University, where she joined the Communist Party and formed many enduring friendships; a stint in the civil service and work with refugees during World War II; and the postwar decade, when she began to write the intellectually challenging yet wickedly entertaining novels that made her reputation. Conradi ncentrates on recapturing the intense young woman who awed fellow students with her brains and enticed men with her blonde hair and generous figure, yet kept everyone at a slight distance, finding epistolary relationships more manageable than the tangled sexual intrigues her fiction explores so acutely. She had many affairs, including a painful one with expatriate (and married) European intellectual Elias Canetti, but marriage to Bayley in 1956 gave her the stability she needed; over the next 40 years she produced 25 steadily more assured and provocative novels, from Under the Net through A Severed Head and The Black Prince to The Green Knight. Toward the end Conradi compresses too much compressing 16 prolific years in one short chapter, and mentioning Murdoch's knighthood almost in passing. The book's great strength lies in its characterizations ("She had a way of staring down at her glass, listening very carefully to the speaker, possibly indicating also that the glass was empty"). Documenting Murdoch's eccentricities and legendary kindnesses, Conradi, literary executor of the estate of Iris Murdoch and her close friend in the 1980s and '90s, succeeds in reviving her presence. Thus, readers who seek a few last glimpses of Murdoch's rare personality will be gratified by this affectionate, if disorganized, tribute; those looking for closure or hoping to make sense of the narrative of her life will not. 

Gabriella's Fire by Venero Armanno (Hyperion). It a Romeo and Juliet story with Australian Italian ethnic background. Their love has some twists and turns over the years and there is a mystery at the heart of their relationship that creates some suspense. powerful and transformative novel.Telling the story of Salvatore and his childhood love Gabriella, and the decades that follow - is an ultimately a moving story of mythic and intimate proportions. Armano writes with grace that draws the reader into a world of lovers, past and present and the nature of obsessive love.

From the flyleaf:

At fifteen, Salvatore (Sam) Capistrano is a normal Australian teenager in all ways but one: he's got Sicilian blood coursing through his veins, with all the zest for life and romance that implies. The object of his desire is Gabriella, the Italian-Irish girl next door, whose brilliant red hair and incendiary personality prompt Sam to nickname her Firehead. Gorgeous, independent and maddeningly elusive, Gabriella teases Sam with her beauty while luring him to perform favors that not only compromise his values, but endanger the already shaky relationship between their two families. Then one day Gabriella disappears abandoning Sam just when he needs her most. Bitter and resentful, Sam moves on with his life: into the shady world of Brisbane's nightclubs, into intense relationships with unobtainable women, and into the company of Gabriella's beloved grandfather, who possesses remarkable powers of his own. Over the next two decades, Sam and Gabriella will find their lives inextricably, painfully, and passsionately linked. How and when they will meet again is the subject of this romantic novel that's as colorful, lyrical, and languid as a Sicilian summer day.

Trade, Tourism and Native Arts

1001 Curious Things: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and Native American Art by Kate C. Duncan (University of Washington Press)

For more than one hundred years, tourists and residents alike have flocked to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, located on Seattle's waterfront. Here a mummy nicknamed Sylvester, a collection of shrunken heads from Ecuador, a two-headed calf, and a mermaid preside over walls and cases crammed with an incredible jumble of souvenirs and trinkets, intermixed with authentic Northwest Coast and Alaskan Eskimo carvings, baskets, blankets, and other artworks. The guestbook records visits by Theodore Roosevelt, Will Rogers, Jack Dempsey, Charlie Chaplin, J. Edgar Hoover, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, and Queen Marie of Rumania, among many others.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop was founded in 1899 by Joseph E. "Daddy" Standley, an Ohio-born curio collector who came to Seattle in the late 1890s during the Yukon gold rush. Although Native American material vied for space with exotica from all corners of the globe, it soon grew to be the mainstay of the shop, which became identified with the whalebones displayed outside and the "piles of old Eskimo relics" within. Also to be found were baskets, moccasins, ivory carving from Alaska, Tlingit spruce root baskets, Haida "jadeite" totem poles, masks, paddles, and other curiosities from the Northwest Coast. Indians from the Olympic Peninsula brought baskets, coming up to the back door of the shop in their canoes. Others, originally from British Columbia but now living on the flats not far from the shop, carved miniature totem poles by the hundreds and full-size poles on commission. Trading companies supplied Indian curios from the Plains, Southwest, and California.

An art historian trained in the classic arts of the Northwest Coast, Kate Duncan became interested in the history of the shop when she learned that it had not only been an active participant in Seattle's 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition but had also been a major source of important Northwest Coast collections in many museums, including, among others, the Royal Ontario Museum, the George G. Heye Collection (now in the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian), the Washington State Museum, the Newark Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. Granted full access by the present owners-grandson and great-grandson of "Daddy" Standley-to the remarkably complete archives maintained from the time the shop opened, Duncan has provided a fascinating chapter in the history of Seattle, especially in its early years, as well as a significant contribution to the literature on tourist arts and collecting.


now available from Visible Ink: VideoHound's® DVD Guide

DVD (Digital Versatile Disk) is quickly replacing VHS tape. It should be equal by 2002. Blockbuster Video recently elected to stock DVDs, bringing the total number of video stores carrying the format to more than 8,000 in the US. alone. Meanwhile, 40 to 50 million homes are expected to have a DVD player by 2007. In the same way that CDs replaced vinyl record albums, DVDs are well on their way to becoming America's favorite way to watch movies.

But while DVDs potentially offer better picture and sound than VHS, quality varies significantly. Consumers are often rightly mystified as to what they may be buying or renting. How does the DVD release compare to the VHS? Is screen resolution and sound quality a dramatic step up? What kind of "extras" does the disc contain?

Fortunately the same folks who bring you VideoHound's ® Golden Movie Retriever have now released VideoHound's® DVD Guide  which reviews more than 3,000 movies that have been released in DVD format. That is nearly every feature-length film available as of June 2000 as well as some significant television shows and cartoon collections. Like the VideoHound's ® Golden Movie Retriever, each of the reviews in the DVD guide provides a brief plot synopsis and commentary on the artistic quality of the film. Similarly, a rating is provided (from 4 "bones" to zero or, "Woof!") which judges the quality of the storytelling and filmmaking.

However, the DVD Guide doesn't stop there. In addition to the general review of the film, each entry also provides remarks on the technical details of the film's transfer to DVD. Then, each film receives a second "technical" rating (the same 4 "bones" to "Woof!") that refers to the quality of image, sound and the extra features that are so often included in the DVD versions of films. And finally, each review concludes with a list of those "extras," if any, such as director's commentary, deleted scenes, alternate endings, storyboards, production notes and "making of' documentaries.

Each of the 3,000 reviewed films also lists cast and credit information (director, screenwriter, cinematographer, composer/lyricists) and provides film details such as year released, MPAA rating, length, country of origin, and awards and nominations.

In the VideoHound's ® tradition, the VideoHound's® DVD Guide also includes eight indexes (alternative titles, cast, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, composer, category and distributor) that allow for easy and limitless cross-referencing. Also included is an appendix that lists related Websites, books, and magazines.

Editor Mike Mayo is a the VideoHound ® veteran. He is the author of three the VideoHound ® "spin-off" titles (the VideoHound's ® War Movies, the VideoHound's ® Horror Show, and the VideoHound's ® Video Premiers) and he is the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program, "The Movie Show on Radio," which broadcasts weekly on more than 80 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. While this first edition of the VideoHound's® DVD Guide is as up to date as possible, Mike knows that annual editions will be essential to keep up with the expansion of the market. According to Mike, "This book is a snapshot of a medium that is just beginning to realize its capabilities."

Photography as Science, History and Art

 PHOTOHISTORICA Landmarks in Photography Rare Images from the Collection of the Royal Photographic Society by Pam Roberts

For almost one hundred and fifty years, England's Royal Photographic Society has been collecting the finest examples of the world's youngest art form. Its collection constitutes an unbroken thread in the medium's development from 1826 to the present, and includes masterpieces by luminaries in the field as well as revelatory photographs by lesser-known and anonymous practitioners. Now, for the first time, the Royal Photographic Society's remarkable collection is the subject of a book, PHOTOHISTORICA: Landmarks in Photography.

PHOTOHISTORICA is an essential work for lovers of photography and an invaluable introduction for everyone else. With 350 color and duotone photographs ranging in subject from portraiture to journalism, landscapes to nudes, and nature to architecture, PHOTOHISTORICA provides what its title promises - a multifaceted history of the medium. But this is in no way a traditional reference book; rather, it's an unparalleled collection of images selected for their importance and visual impact.

Highlights include rare work by Stieglitz, Steichen, and Coburn; selections from the world's largest collection of the works of Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron; and some of the first images brought back to the West from the Far East, Africa, and the Pacific.

The photographs in PHOTOHISTORICA are organized by theme - Portraiture, which explores the universal appeal and psychology of the portrait; Social Documentary, which illustrates the power of the documentary image to change our view of the world; Domestic Photography, which captures the medium at its most intimate and democratic; Art Photography, which examines the link between photography and other visual arts; and Fashion and Nudes, which focuses on the relationship between the lens and the human body. Other themes include Landscape and Architecture, Nature and Science, Travel, and Exploration and Tourism.

The images in PHOTOHISTORICA have been selected from the full range of photography's formats of presentation, including daguerreotypes, albums, illustrated books, autochromes, magic lantern slides, negatives, and works on paper using nearly every known process. And because it features works by photographers whose reputations never reached the heights of some of today's acknowledged masters of the form, PHOTOHISTORICA provides an opportunity to reassess the reputations of the unjustly forgotten as well as allowing invaluable glimpses at bona fide masterpieces.

Taken in its entirety, PHOTOHISTORICA follows the fascinating development of photography from image to image, each revealing the enduring power of the form.

About the Royal Photographic Society

In 1853, the Royal Photographic Society was formed in Bath under the patronage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Established for "the promotion of the Art and Science of Photography, by the interchange of thought and experience amongst Photographers," the world's oldest such society has an unparalleled collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century photography.

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