A well-written and thoughtful guide to managing a challenging process.

UNTHINKABLE

REAL ANSWERS FOR FAMILIES CONFRONTING CATASTROPHIC INJURY OR DEATH

A debut manual focuses on coping with the aftermath of the negligent death or injury of a loved one.

Bachus combines personal and professional experiences in dealing with catastrophic injury and death to present a step-by-step guide to handling the legal, medical, financial, and emotional effects. The author is a personal injury attorney with more than two decades of experience representing victims and families in civil litigation, and he is also the son of a woman killed by a negligent driver. The book discusses the potential criminal and civil charges that may be brought, the rights and responsibilities of victims and their families, and the possible outcomes. Bachus explains autopsies, advance directives, estates and probate, and insurance. The volume’s final chapters address the emotional aspects of coping with death and injury, including grief, healing, and advocacy. Appendices provide information on each state’s relevant laws and offer templates for contacting police, prosecutors, and other officials. The manual is concise and informative, and the author does an excellent job of balancing the narrative between cut-and-dried facts and the nuances of his own experiences. (For instance, the discussion of the role of victims and families in the criminal justice system is punctuated by Bachus’ account of the driver who killed his mother being subject only to a minor fine because a box was left unchecked on the initial traffic citation.) Although it is clear that the author loved and still mourns his mother, the book’s overall tone is lawyerly and dispassionate rather than emotional. This allows the work to serve as a comprehensive resource rather than a call to arms, ensuring that victims and families are aware of their rights—not only in the courtroom, but also concerning communication, information, and reimbursements—and how to exercise them. The volume handles complex legal topics at an appropriate level that balances detail and readability (and emphasizes the importance of understanding how each state’s laws differ), making it useful to readers without a legal background.

A well-written and thoughtful guide to managing a challenging process.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5445-2795-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Both a practical and inspirational guide with special appeal for budding musicians.

HOW TO WRITE A SONG THAT MATTERS

A songwriter’s guide for those who are more concerned with making meaningful art than with commercial success.

As a recording artist, singer/songwriter, author, and leader of songwriting retreats, Williams has established a fruitful career on the periphery of the mainstream. In her latest book, following What I Found in a Thousand Towns, she distills her wisdom and experience to help others who have similar priorities. She also demonstrates how a great song comes about, how a songwriter develops her artistry, and how a song progresses from initial inspiration into something acceptable and possibly even exceptional. Through examples from her own songwriting and workshopping, Williams shows how a song can start from a familiar chord progression of the sound of certain words, even if the words don’t hold a specific meaning yet. Then there’s a spark of inspiration, for those who are receptive to it, which fuels a creative flame. Williams smoothly describes the process of “listening for cues and clues” to discover the focus of the song, who the narrator is, what a particular combination of verbal sounds and guitar progressions is trying to convey to the songwriter and to potential listeners—and why any of this matters. The author recognizes that there are many hunches and intuitions involved and that experience will help the songwriter learn how much to value the initial inspiration, when to remain true to the voice and when to question it, and how to incorporate feedback from others. Williams also shows how and where songs can make a wrong turn and how to get them back on course. Even those with no musical experience or aspirations will appreciate the author’s illumination of the mechanics of songcraft, and she is consistently encouraging. “However you join music with your lyrics,” she writes, “please, please, just jump over things in this book that don’t relate to your songwriting or that are intimidating in general.”

Both a practical and inspirational guide with special appeal for budding musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-306-92329-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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