Friday, 24 April 2015

Review: 'The Wolf: Ghost Hunter' by Daniel Leboeuf

The Wolf: Ghost Hunter by Daniel Leboeuf, Photos by Thomas Kitchin and Victoria Hurst, 1996, Firefly Books, $19.95, softbound, 142 pages. Cover: cool. Where we got it: Borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This book contains some particularly interesting facts about an already intriguing predator. For example, Francis I in France organised a wolf hunt in the Middle Ages that took place three times a year; this official hunt was not dismantled until 1971. And in England in 1500, entire forests were burnt to get rid of wolves.

Wolves can hear the ultrasonic vocalisations of rodents, as well as their scurrying sounds. It's likely that a wolf's jaw can exert 200 pounds of pressure per square inch, and they use their jaws like a vise, grabbing and not letting go despite the prey's attempts to throw them off. It's also been said that if the wind is in their favour, wolves can smell three deer from 1.5 miles away; they're also able to hear and interpret sounds from several kilometres away.

A pack averages in size from five to eight members, with 20 or more members in an Alaskan pack. Wolves' diets change with the seasons: ungulates (moose, deer, elk, caribou, muskoxen, and the like) in winter, and small mammals like muskrats, marmots, hares, beavers, birds who nest on the ground, and fish in summer.

The photos alone make this book worthwhile. Great for a wolf lover's library.

If you like this one, try: Of Wolves and Men, by Barry Holstun Lopez.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Review: 'Yoga Chick' by Bess Gallanis

Yoga Chick: A Hip Guide to Every Om by Bess Gallanis, Illustrated by Sheila MacDiarmid, 2006, Warner Books, $12.95, softbound, 123 pages. Cover: pretty good. Category/Genre: exercise. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks-A-Million

Filled with wellness tips, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, healthy recipes, and self-reflection exercises, this book -- despite its name -- is good for both sexes.

There are techniques for morning stretches to help you get started; getting the kinks out after a hard day; and more. Overall self-care is a big part of the book: tips are given for foot treatments, hair conditioning, and eye soothers; and while most men may not go for those ideas, there are other helpful suggestions, such as creating a private retreat for yourself, tips on how to combat insomnia, and ways to get protein without eating meat.

Self-reflection exercises include keeping a journal, and Gallanis gives suggestions for breaking through writer's block. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?

Bess Gallanis can be found on TwitterGoodreads, and Facebook

Friday, 10 April 2015

Review: 'Behind Every Great Man' by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Behind Every Great Man: The Forgotten Women Behind the World's Famous and Infamous by Marlene Wagman-Geller, 2015, Sourcebooks, $16.99, softbound, 356 pages. Cover: good. Category/Genre: history, reference. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and NobleBooks-A-Million.  

'First I thought of a colorful famous man,' writes Wagman-Geller, 'and if his wife dwelled in the shadows, I investigated. If her life was an intriguing one and shone light on a hitherto unknown aspect of her husband, she merited a chapter.' 

You'll find forty such women in this book: the wives and companions of Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Richard Wagner, Gertrude Stein, Jim Henson, Sting, and more. 

There's considerable sadness in these pages as we read about women who endured their husband's relentless affairs, or lost their spouse and were left alone. Alice Babette Toklas, wife of Gertrude Stein, felt she was 'but a memory' of her beloved when Gertrude died. Other women felt the same way; Cosima Liszt, wife of Richard Wagner, stopped writing in her million-word diary when Wagner died. She even flung herself into his open grave at the funeral. 

A book that lets you look at the famous (and infamous) a bit differently.

If you like this one, try: Women Heroes of the American Revolution, by Susan Casey.  

You can find Marlene Wagman-Geller on GoodReads or Facebook, or you may contact her at her website here.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Revew: 'Women Heroes of the American Revolution' by Susan Casey

Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue by Susan Casey, 2015, Chicago Review Press, $19.95, hardbound, 226 pages. Cover: not bad. Category/Genre: history. Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

This is a good book if you like history. It's put together from diaries, journals, letters, historians, writers of the time, and accounts by soldiers or families; some of the letters and other documents are included in the book along with Casey's narrative.

It isn't entirely clear whether all the stories are true or not – Casey says that separating fact from fiction or exaggeration was one of the hardest parts about writing the book – but she does tell you if the story is in question, and she offers information at the end of each tale as to where to go if you want to learn more.

There are some interesting stories in here: that of Phillis Wheatley, a slave who published a book of her own poetry that was about and for America; Lydia Darragh's spy ring (although her husband and sons played as big a role as she did); and Grace and Rachel Martin, who prevented papers from being delivered to British officers by pretending to be militiamen, are a few.

This book is part of the Women of Action series, a biography series that 'introduces young adults to women and girls of courage and conviction throughout the ages.'
If you like this one, try: Behind Every Great Man, by Marlene Wagman-Geller.

Susan Casey is an author, teacher, public speaker, and journalist. You can find out more about her and her books at: She has two Facebook pages for her books: Kids Inventing! and Women Invent!