The Light Princess and Other Stories by George MacDonald

The Light Princess and Other SToriesWhat a lovely collection of short stories! The writing is clever and layered, with turns of phrase that had me chuckling with delight. MacDonald’s character descriptions are particularly fun – here’s an example: “She was a sour, spiteful creature. The wrinkles of contempt crossed the wrinkles of peevishness, and made her face as full of wrinkles as a pat of butter” (p. 2). The stories are quite odd, and I probably would not have enjoyed them very much as a child because some of the themes would have gone over my head. MacDonald himself stated that he wrote not for children, but for the childlike. This is not to say that the stories are not appropriate for all ages – they are; it’s just that they are very OLD, and many modern children might find them challenging.

Reviewed by Caroline

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30-Minute Social Media Marketing by Susan Gunelius

30-minute Social Media MarketingAlthough this title is already over two years old, much of the information is still highly relevant. Social media platforms are constantly changing, but you can use the same basic marketing strategy. Gunelius begins by outlining the four pillars of reading/research, content creation, sharing/signal boosting, and discussion/participation. This simple advice is the foundation upon which to build your successful marketing strategy. From here, the author discusses concrete examples and potential strategies, then focuses on specific types of social media platforms. Finally, the author shares several sample marketing plans that take only 30 minutes. Presumably, a successful marketer would tackle several of these plans (indirect marketing, brand building, relationship-building, and word-of-mouth marketing, for example). The book ends with an excellent list of the rules of the Internet, both written (copyright and libel laws) and unwritten (don’t spam your followers). In my opinion, this book is a terrific primer for anyone interested in using social media to build or expand their business. There is a wealth of practical information and concrete strategies that you should supplement with LOTS of up-to-date research (read: exploration) of new platforms.

Reviewed by Caroline

Starting Your Career as a Social Media Manager by Mark Story

Starting Your Career as a Social Media ManagerAs social media is fairly ephemeral and changes rapidly, any title on the subject is only relevant for a short amount of time. Unfortunately, this particular title was not useful or relevant even briefly, in this reviewer’s opinion. While the “case studies” were marginally interesting, inasmuch as they gave examples of various social media experts’ career paths, the book is devoid of really useful information for an emerging social media manager. The bulk of the book instructs the reader how to find a job using social media- not quite the same thing as making your job social media. Finally, in chapter 11, the reader is treated to a real-world scenario for creating and managing a social media program. However, the steps are glossed over and best practices in terms of content and participation are not explored. My recommendation: give this title a miss and check out Meredith Farkas’ Social Software in Libraries. Though it’s industry-specific and a bit dated, it’ll still be incredibly germane for anyone interested in actually building and managing social media business profiles.

Reviewed by Caroline

The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim: The Untold Story of Fallen Angels, Giants on the Earth, and Their Extraterrestrial Origins by Scott Alan Roberts

rise and fallOh boy. I knew what I was getting into with this one: crackpot pseudoscience and theological ramblings.  But I picked it up because of my fascination with Bigfoot, and was looking forward to reading various interpretations of the Genesis verses about the nephilim.  But to my dismay, the Bigfoot theory is not even mentioned in this book!

Reviewed by Caroline

Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab The Body Farm Where the Dead do Tell Tales by Dr. Bill Bass & Jon Jefferson

deaths acreForensic scientist Dr. Bill Bass, a respected pioneer in forensic anthropology, created a research facility called the Body Farm dedicated to studying various processes of human decomposition.  This book describes how experiments in weathering, insect and other opportunistic scavenger assistance, and trauma to bodies taught (and continues to teach) the research team much about deterioration timelines and clues, and ultimately, helps police solve murder cases. Narrated memoir-style, this is both a biography of a scientist and an origin story of a truly fascinating place.  Readers interested in criminal investigation and death studies will find the book captivating; those with sensitive stomachs might find some details a bit gruesome.  I personally felt that the title was rather misleading; I expected a more thorough history of the Body Farm, but Bass only introduces it at page 94.  Furthermore, I was very intrigued by the case studies describing how Bass identified gender, race, age, and so forth from bodies; but found myself wanting more details.  I think this title is a terrific introduction to the topic, however, and think it pairs very well with Mary Roach’s Stiff.

Reviewed by Caroline

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

The Stolen ChildDonohue’s The Stolen Child is by far the best fiction title I’ve read this year. I’ve long been fascinated with changeling lore, and this is the first book I’ve read that speaks from the perspective of the changeling. In fact, the narrative follows both the original human child-turned-changeling and the changeling-turned-human as their parallel lives separate and they grow into their new lives. Often dark and at times heartbreaking, The Stolen Child had me captivated from the first page. But fear not, there are many moments of levity and whimsy, and readers will be intrigued by the science of the change and the histories of the changelings.

Reviewed by Caroline