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Poetry, discovery, mutual funds

Reviews by Richard Sumrall

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[February 09, 2011]  In this edition of Book Look we are celebrating Black History Month, discovering unknown explorers and investing in mutual funds.

"The 100 Best African American Poems." Nikki Giovanni, editor, Sourcebooks Inc., 2010, 228 pages.

To celebrate Black History Month and recognize the achievements of America's African-American poets, award-winning author Nikki Giovanni presents "The 100 Best African American Poems."

This edited collection combines contemporary selections and classic poetic verse to offer a stunning and diverse representation of this important genre. Many of the names are recognized as giants in American literature -- Gwendolyn Brooks, James Weldon Johnson, Mari Evans and Remica L. Bingham. The works of Langston Hughes (a graduate of the first class at Central School in Lincoln) are also prominently featured.

This book represents a wonderful opportunity for talented contemporary African-American poets to reach a wider audience and demonstrate the lyrical beauty of their writings.

"The Discovery of Jeanne Baret." Glynis Ridley, Crown, 2010, 288 pages.

Everyone is aware of the great explorers who broke geographic barriers in search of fame, fortune and scientific achievement. Few of us are familiar with the name Jeanne Baret. In her new book "The Discovery of Jeanne Baret," professor Glynis Ridley recounts Baret's incredible life story in 18th-century France.

In 1765 the first French circumnavigation of the world was under way. Unbeknownst to anyone, Baret, the mistress of the expedition's leader, secretly signed aboard as "Jean." This simple act made her the first woman in history to sail around the world. Baret's accomplishments during the voyage were impressive. Aside from performing her onboard duties at sea, she was also a gifted naturalist.

This is a remarkable story about "a working-class woman whose scientific contributions were quietly dismissed and written out of history -- until now."

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"Common Sense on Mutual Funds," 10th anniversary edition. John C. Bogle, Wiley, 2010, 622 pages.

John Bogle is the founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and a noted expert on the financial markets. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the mutual fund industry, and the 1998 publication of his book "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" was considered a watershed moment for investors. This landmark work has now been updated for the new world markets of the 21st century and the explosion of financial instruments available to the public.

Although the book is timely in its approach to the new rules of investing, Bogle reiterates the same fundamental principles toward mutual funds that were the foundation for his earlier edition -- simplicity and common sense still trump costly complexity; and a low-cost, broadly diversified portfolio is the best way to build wealth at the lowest cost and risk.

This book will help any reader become a better investor and make better decisions with their money.

[Text from file received from Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]

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