Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Scholastic Books
780 pages
ISBN: 043935806X

Kids are calling the new Harry Potter book good but a little different. The new Harry is going through changes, becoming a little darker, more self-centered and even a tad angry according to the reports of readers age 8 to 12. There is also not as many exciting adventures in the first half of the book, at least, which means that this installment is a little deeper, more complex with less "car chases" and more introspective content.

The young readers, however, are devouring the book like wild fire. Pre-teens managed to make it at least half way through the almost 900 page book in the first weekend after the release on Saturday. Despite the content change as Harry, obviously, is growing up and facing childhood's end a bit more, the readers still find the book totally awesome, great reading, fun and very interesting.

Very few books or series of books have captured the imagination of children as well as these books have, in fact the only one really in this league are the "Hobbit" books of J.R.R. Tolkein, an Oxford Scholar who made up the tales of Bilbo Baggins to entertain his children. Years late he wrote them out for other children to read.

The Hobbit books, also lengthy tomes, generally appealed to older kids in late Middle School and early High School. These Harry Potter "boy apprentice wizard" books, also come from the imagination of a school teacher, J.K. Rowling. She, however, was going through tough times, in a new land, with no job, newly divorced, living on welfare and taking care of a young baby. She used her free time to sit at a coffee shop in rural Ireland, planing out the Harry Potter stories meticulously through seven books and writing several drafts before having the gumption to submit it to publishers, all of whom rejected the first book as being too long for children, known to have a limited attention span and more into television or arcade games then reading. Eventually she found an agent who liked the books, but also had a tough time interesting a publisher. Finally finding an imprint who would press a limited number, probably expecting it to reach mostly the library market along with a few mom and pop book stores, that first book sold millions of copies. The Potter books seem to reach a much wider audience than the Hobbit books, as 8 and 9 year olds have no problems reading every volume in the series.

This marks the fifth in the series of seven books. Rowling says there will be no more and if she is true to her word then Harry Potter, boy wizard, may simply go into adulthood by the end of book seven, seeing as how he's already becoming a somewhat a terror-teen in this installation! While she has said over and over that seven will be it, that does not mean she won't eventually be tempted to write prequels, stories of secondary characters and cover other ancillary material surrounding the events in Potter's life.

A far cry from Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn or the Nancy Drew books from generations long past, these potter books have content, a high standard of literacy (Rowling is, after all, a school teacher by trade) and a strong dose of ultra-fantasy. Excellent reading for both kids and adults alike!
-- E.R.D.

I Know I'm In There Somewhere
Dr. Helene Brenner
Gotham Books
ISBN: 1-592-40028-0

David Leonhardt

Have you ever felt like you spend your whole life pleasing others complying with their wishes, doing what's best for them, second-guessing if they would approve of your decisions that you never seem to live life for yourself? Well, so do dozens or hundreds of patients of Dr. Helene Brenner, and she reports about them and their challenges in I Know I'm in There Somewhere.

Books written by therapists are often teeming with tales of patients, and this book seems to follow that pattern. In fact, Brenner uses patient anecdotes more than most therapist-authors. At first, this disturbed me, but Brenner does a very good job of weaving the tales together in a fashion to inspire the reader.

Along the way, Dr. Brenner leads readers through a couple dozen "innercizes" to help them tune in to their inner voices, but these are not the strength of the book.

In the epilogue, Dr. Brenner reveals herself to be a bit of a feminist, which shows throughout the book in a very apolitical way. While it might be true that the topic of this book applies more to women than to men, I hasten to add that there is little or nothing in this book that does not also apply to many men.

Is there anything in this book that makes me cry out "WOW!"? No, but it is a gentle inspiration for anyone who sees herself (or himself) in my opening question ... or who wants to better understand a friend or partner who might fit that description.

I give I Know I'm in There Somewhere a 7 out of 10.

The reviewer is David Leonhardt, author of Climb your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness.

David Leonhardt
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How to Publish Your Articles
A Complete Guide to Making the Right Publication Say Yes
By Shirley Kawa-Jump
Square One Writers Guides
Hardback, First Edition
Publisher Link:
Nonfiction/How-To for Writers
Rating 5 of 5

Writing Articles is a Way to Brand Yourself, Your Book, Your Business

How to Publish Your Articles is Basic
And Advanced-A One-Read Does It All

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered

I asked for a coy of How to Publish Your Articles by Shirley Kawa-Jump because I'm writing a series of how-to books for retailers and wanted to recommend a tell-it-all book on a subject I would just be touching on. Having published many articles in the national and local media, I was afraid I wouldn't find a good one, that I would be too tough a critic.

Now I'll have to eat my fears. If that is similar to eating crow, so be it. Having published more than 2500 articles herself, Kawa-Jump's book is thorough and knowledgeable. It's also both basic enough for beginners and advanced enough to be a good review for accomplished writers. Seasoned article writers might even find a new tidbit or two that will help them with marketing, with their contracts or with building their careers.

What I liked best about HTPYA is that it gives a mini insider's view of how an article reaches a publication's desk and it does it for categories from large consumer magazines to e-outlets.

I was surprised that the chapter I found the most rewarding was all about goals. Obviously, my retailers who choose to pursue writing articles in their area of expertise are going to have to narrow their goals very drastically. If it will work for someone with such a strict objective, it's sure to do even more for writers with big dreams.

(Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards.
Her newly released Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remember has won three.
Paul St. John Fleming says, "Howard-Johnson is one hell of a writer."
Learn more at:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author
This is the Place has won eight awards
and Harkening has won three.
Learn more at:

Author Leon Uris Dies

Best known for the novel "Exodus" who also wrote "QB VII" the saga of a book writer who was sued over one sentence in his book (based on true events that happened to Uris over "Exodus"). Uris also wrote the screenplay for "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and has a forthcoming book "O'Hara's Choice," arriving in book store this October. He also wrote "Trinity" a book about the Irish conflict.

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