An intriguing tale that entwines exploration and education.



A spiritual travelogue sparked by a voyage of discovery in the Himalayas.

Canadian author Schauch’s nonfiction debut opens in 2012 in the high, snow-swept wilds of northern Nepal. There, he and his wife, Chantal,and their two Nepalesefriends and guides, IC and Ngawang, were hiking and exploring when Schauch spotted a peculiar mountain on a map and was immediately fascinated. This wasn’t just any mountain, he assures his readers: “It was the mountain. A perfect pyramid from its southwest aspect, with sheer faces and a striking ridgeline that snaked its way to a spear-tipped summit piercing both cloud and sky. It was a mountain out of a storybook.” Schauch and his wife led a small group, including a photographer, a painter, and a musician,into the Himalayas, but their expedition was far more than work to the author, who’s always considered Nepal a mystical place: “I didn't want to escape intensity but to dive into it,” he writes, “and the mountains were my portal.” In the seldom-visited valley of Nar Phu, they met a 7-year-old girl named Karma whose intelligence and inquisitiveness impressed Schauch and his wife, prompting them to help her get a formal education. This turned out to be a complicated procedure involving not just finding a Nepalese school, but also the right school—one that, among other things, would honor Karma’s traditional Buddhist beliefs. The bulk of the book goes on to tell the combined stories of the couple and the child.

Schauch has a lively and involving narrative voice, and he’s adept at conveying the combination of detail and wonder that one looks for in the best travel writing. He draws the reader smoothly into his dual narratives, and he handles both of them with skill. His choice to ground a good deal of the story in the relatively mundane environs of his home in the Vancouver area is ultimately a wise one, as it gives the more extravagant details of his overseas travelogue more color by contrast. The account of the long and complex process of securing an education for Karma is unexpectedly compelling, as are Schauch’s broader observations on the subject: “We in the West remain ignorant of how fortunate we are,” he writes at one such point. “Our children are taught to dream as big as they want.” Along the way, the author manages to work a large and well-defined cast of supporting players into the story, and he places the bulk of the narrative between two mountaineering-adventure tales, which works effectively. In addition, he shows that he has a good ear for intriguing conversation and a fine sense of pacing, and although some of his social insights can be a bit narrow—for example, he never notes that, even in the most prosperous countries, there exists even greater poverty than what Karma experienced in Nepal—his sweeping sense of adventure never deserts him. Fans of travel writing and family narratives will appreciate this work.

An intriguing tale that entwines exploration and education.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77160-467-3

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.


A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

Did you like this book?

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?