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Books for stocking stuffers

By Richard Sumrall          Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 24, 2004]  Here are some new book titles that will make great stocking stuffers for Christmas:

"Laughter From Heaven." Barbara Johnson, W Publishing Group, 2004, 120 pages.

Laughter is the best medicine, and there's plenty of medicine to go around in Johnson's latest book. This collection of touching stories, funny quips and hilarious cartoons all direct the reader to a central theme: God's enduring promise of eternal life with him in glory. Johnson's humorous approach to developing strength and fortitude to combat life's problems is a breath of fresh air in the self-help publishing market. Called the "Queen of Encouragement," she currently serves as speaker emeritus for the Women of Faith conference.

* * *

"Ex-Etiquette for Parents." Joan Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe, Chicago Review Press, 2004, 335 pages.

One of the most important, and neglected, aspects of a divorce or separation is the way parents conduct themselves around their children and each other. In their new book, "Ex-Etiquette for Parents," authors Joan Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe describe the peaceful coexistence that parents must exercise with their former family and their new family. The book is divided into three sections and addresses issues such as integrating the new partner, getting along with your spouse's ex, improving the extended family relations and how to handle delicate situations such as holidays and special occasions. An outstanding bibliography of information available on this topic concludes the book.

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"Wild and Scenic Illinois." Robert Hutchinson (text) and Willard Clay (photography), Brown Trout Publishers, 2004, 167 pages.

Simply stated, this may be the coffee-table book of the year. Author Hutchinson has teamed up with photographer Clay to produce a book of breathtaking photography and informative writing on the natural beauty of the Prairie State. Dividing the book geographically into the state's four scientific landforms -- central lowland, Ozark plateaus, interior low plateaus and coastal plain -- Hutchinson and Clay have shattered the stereotype of Illinois as a flat plain containing endless rows of corn and soybeans. The state has an abundance of natural wonders and supports a diversity of ecosystems. These ecosystems are captured on film in a spectacular way that is guaranteed to capture any reader's attention. The colors are vibrant and alive and highlight the beauty of the change of seasons in Illinois. If you are considering one book purchase this year, consider "Wild and Scenic Illinois."

* * *

"The House to Ourselves." Todd Lawson and Todd Connor, Taunton Press, 2004, 217 pages.

The last of the kids have left the nest and now it's just you and your spouse. So what's the next step? According to authors Lawson and Connor, it may be to "reinvent your home." In their new book, "The House to Ourselves," they point out that, once the children have grown up and left home, it's a perfect opportunity for couples to rethink the concept of their house or neighborhood. It is this opportunity that's explored through the book's tour of 20 homes that are designed for this "joyous and liberating phase in life." The book's central themes reflect the different possibilities that couples can consider in planning their new abode. Particularly interesting are the themes of the home as either a retreat, a family compound or a office-studio-workshop. Whatever your decision may be, this book and its stunning photography are certain to offer endless ideas for recapturing your home for you and your spouse.

[Richard Sumrall,  Lincoln Public Library District]

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