The high-appeal topic will attract many readers, and the suspenseful account will have them trying to solve this still...

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THE BORDEN MURDERS

LIZZIE BORDEN AND THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY

This true-crime narrative examines the question that mesmerized the nation in 1892: did Lizzie Borden kill her father and stepmother?

With an evenhanded approach, the author crafts a gripping story full of well-documented dialogue drawn from legal records. Lizzie Borden was the 32-year-old daughter of a wealthy but frugal businessman in Fall River, Massachusetts. She quickly became the prime suspect when Andrew and Abby Borden were bludgeoned to death in the home she shared with them. A conviction would result in the death penalty. After a brief prologue, a short section describes the gruesome scenes when the bodies were discovered, followed by an introduction to the Borden family. The rest of the chapters chronicle the investigation, hearings, and trial. An initial “Who’s Who” keeps the many players straight, while diagrams and photographs of the Borden house help readers picture the layout. Frequent sidebars, integrated gracefully into the text, add context. The detailed narrative separates fact from fiction, discussing and sometimes dismissing rumors and sensational newspaper reports. It’s hard to get a sense of personalities due to lack of reliable information, but the courtroom scenes are vivid and exciting.

The high-appeal topic will attract many readers, and the suspenseful account will have them trying to solve this still unresolved murder mystery. (author’s note, endnotes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49808-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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