A good first volume for a new generation of John Lennon fans.

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DEATH OF A DREAMER

THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN LENNON

Twin narratives converge in New York City on December 8, 1980, when John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman.

Behnke calls the murder an assassination, and by the general definition of the word—“to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack, often for political reasons”—the murder of John Lennon might qualify. Lennon was political by the end of his life, writing “Give Peace a Chance,” which became the anthem of the peace movement, but he was hardly a revolutionary, as Behnke terms him. Chapman was not especially political, and he didn’t really seem to know why he attacked Lennon; it was certainly not from any well-thought-out political motives, as the author herself describes. The volume will have plenty of eye appeal for young readers, though, with its lively (if overdone) black-and-white design, well-chosen photographs and thorough backmatter that includes a handy timeline and a “Who’s Who?” section. The writing is mostly clear, though occasionally awkward and too often interrupted by unnecessary definitions and asides. It's an adequate starter book for readers a bit young for Elizabeth Partridge’s John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth (2005).

A good first volume for a new generation of John Lennon fans. (source notes, bibliography, for further information, index, about the author) (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9036-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.

SCARED STIFF

50 PHOBIAS THAT FREAK US OUT

Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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