Press Release: Community Arts Leader and Cleveland Arts Prize winner, Nina Gibans, Celebrates the Soul of Cleveland in New Book
Community Arts Leader and Cleveland Arts Prize winner, Nina Gibans, Celebrates the Soul of Cleveland in New Book
New book describes sustaining life in one’s city.
Press Release: Guinness World Record Adventurer Graham Hughes’s book “Man of the World” now Available as Audiobook!
Guinness World Record Adventurer Graham Hughes’s book “Man of the World” now Available as Audiobook!
Book one of The Odyssey Expedition, covering the first year (139 countries & territories) is now available in audio format via iTunes, Audible, and Amazon.
Sixty years after the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian field marshal’s grandson tries to unravel the mystery of a long-lost treasure in this globe-trotting debut novel.
It is 1965 and the Cold War is in full swing. Josh Ross, a World War II veteran–turned-diplomat, arrives in Istanbul to dissuade the Turkish government from pursuing hostilities toward Greece. There, he receives a mysterious letter, written in Russian and meant for his dead father. The missive leads him to André Zommer, an academic who fought in the Russo-Japanese War under Josh’s grandfather. Zommer tells Josh about his grandfather, a favorite of the czar and entrusted by the czarina with “something of great value, which she thought he could safeguard better than anyone”—namely a priceless coronation necklace given by Peter the Great to his second wife. This treasure could change the fortunes of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews looking to immigrate to Israel, so with Sarah Burstein, a Mossad “secretary,” in tow, Josh sets out to find the necklace. But the Soviets are aware of Josh’s presence in Istanbul, and ruthless KGB head Ivan Dzerzhinsky has dispatched operatives to monitor the diplomat’s increasingly suspicious movements as well as deal with anyone who gets in their way. What promises to be a breakneck international thriller in the Dan Brown vein is marred by incompetent antagonists, meager characterization, oddly placed chapter breaks (a prologue is sprinkled over four opening chapters), and a third-person, omniscient point of view that undermines dramatic tension. As a result, the action feels occasionally aimless and the dialogue is largely expositional. This could make for an aggravating read, but the engaging central mystery is rooted in a wealth of research, and Ross relates his story in the kind of breezy, eminently readable prose that frequently makes up for the novel’s shortcomings (“It was always amazing how inhabitants of an area under assault were like flocks of birds before an oncoming storm. Somehow they knew that the winds would howl and the skies would open and bring forth torrents of rain and lightning. They sought shelter far from the storm well before it came”). Autobiographical elements also help to give the narrative the intriguing texture of a tall tale, briskly told by an international man of mystery.
This adventure is more a fanciful story related by a mischievous uncle than an airport thriller—and all the more entertaining for it.
Press Release: Award Winning Crime Historian, Author, & Essayist Albert Borowitz Concludes His Literary Career with 2 New Anthologies and a Memoir that He Penned more than 70 Years Ago!
Award Winning Crime Historian, Author, & Essayist Albert Borowitz Concludes His Literary Career with 2 New Anthologies and a Memoir that He Penned more than 70 Years Ago!
Press Release: “Man of the World” is a Riotous Account of British Adventurer Graham Hughes’s Madcap Guinness World Record™ Expedition to Every Country in the World Without Flying
“Man of the World” is a Riotous Account of British Adventurer Graham Hughes’s Madcap Guinness World Record™ Expedition to Every Country in the World Without Flying
Graham Hughes, the world’s most traveled Liverpudlian, has released a book about his Guinness World Record™ breaking adventure to every country in the world without flying.
Kirkus Review (Starred Review)
A witty, resilient Liverpudlian sets out to visit every sovereign nation in the world in this travelogue.
British adventurer Hughes plans to visit every country and territory in the world. In order to satisfy Guinness World Records, he agrees to follow a few basic rules: He can’t travel by plane, nor hitchhike, nor use anything other than public transportation; he must set foot on dry land in each place; and “A visit to a far-flung territory does not count as a visit to ‘the motherland.’ ” This first installment of a planned trilogy begins on Jan. 1, 2009, on the border between Argentina and Uruguay and ends, 133 countries and 6 territories later, on Dec. 31, 2009, at the Egyptian pyramids. It covers the author’s journey through the Americas, Europe, and Africa, and it’s bursting with fascinating, hilarious, and occasionally terrifying anecdotes. While traveling across the Gulf of Mexico, he nonchalantly recounts that a yacht captain used “a fishing hook to put stitches in [his] head with no anaesthetic other than a bottle of scotch.” In the Congo, he’s inexplicably thrown into a prison cell that “was like somewhere you might wake up if you were a victim of the Jigsaw Killer” in the movie Saw. Yet the mood is almost always upbeat, and readers will succumb to Hughes’ deliciously blunt humor: “the fact that I still hadn’t suffered the squits the entire journey…only goes to prove that my DNA should be extracted and cloned in order to create the race of ginger super-soldiers that will one day RULE THE WORLD.” The book is made even more amusing by editor’s notes that occasionally translate the author’s Liverpool slang: “Helga rustled up some scouse (Liverpool stew) for me to eat and it was proper boss la…. Editor’s Note: Apparently in Liverpool this means really good.” The straightforward, chronological approach leaves little time for evocative description, but it adds to the urgency as the author visits country after country. It’s also carefully illustrated with maps and information cards throughout. Readers will be eager to read the next book in this series.
A riveting journey recounted by an irrepressible, highly likable narrator.
Novelist and true-crime writer Borowitz (Death Play, 2016, etc.) shares an autobiography that he wrote during a precocious adolescence.
The author, who was born in 1930, has written books and practiced law for decades, but this memoir doesn’t portray those years of experience and observation. Instead, it captures a young boy’s view of his own life; Borowitz says that he likely wrote it when he was about 13, possibly for a school assignment, and kept it ever since. After an opening that relates his family’s emigration from Central and Eastern Europe to Chicago, the author’s birthplace, he tells of his infant years and his development into an inquisitive child. As one might expect from a teen’s memoir, the book and its chapters are brief, favoring short observations over more intensive examination of the author or his surroundings. One chapter offers an account of his time as an ambivalent camper, surrounded by much more enthusiastic participants at Wisconsin’s Camp Menominee, while another describes the thrill of his first plane ride. Borowitz’s boyhood coincided with World War II, and he provides a unique, youthful perspective, sharing his confusion, for example, that a 1938 newspaper headline, “Nazi Escape from Justice Seen,” didn’t refer to a jailbreak. His authorial voice is often appealingly wry and self-aware, providing a funny portrait of a cautious, smart, and somewhat hapless child in a world of strong personalities. Borowitz writes charmingly of his first-grade art projects: “I had no respect for the anatomy of the body in my drawings, and my characters often appeared in positions which even contortionists would consider impossible.” The charm gradually lessens, however, during a lengthy closing chapter on the Borowitz family’s Mexico trip, which reads like a string of names and places, much like a student’s report on how he spent his summer. Overall, the book is clearly the work of a clever young writer, and it’s no surprise that Borowitz grew into a successful author. That said, it still essentially reads like a teenager’s school assignment, and therefore its target audience, beyond the author’s friends and family, is unclear.
An often charming but slight literary artifact, capturing a writer early in his career.
In The News: This tech geek and improbable master of modern dance might be the most interesting man in Cleveland: Michael K. McIntyre’s Tipoff
This tech geek and improbable master of modern dance might be the most interesting man in Cleveland: Michael K. McIntyre’s Tipoff