Sunday, January 17, 2021

"How to Astronaut: Everything You Need to Know Before Leaving Earth"--by Terry Virts--a wildly entertaining account of the rules, lessons, procedures, and experiences of space travel, How to Astronaut is a book that will appeal to anyone— male or female, young or old—with even a passing interest in space--it answers all of our curious questions and much more



How to Astronaut: Everything You Need to Know Before Leaving Earth

Ride shotgun on a trip to space with astronaut Terry Virts. A born storyteller with a gift for the surprising turn of phrase and eye for the perfect you-are-there details, he captures all the highs, lows, humor, and wonder of an experience few will ever know firsthand. Featuring stories covering survival training, space shuttle emergencies, bad bosses, the art of putting on a spacesuit, time travel, and much more! 

Former NASA astronaut Terry Virts offers an insider's guide to astronauting—a behind-the-scenes look at the training, the basic rules, lessons, and procedures of space travel, including how to deal with a dead body in space, what it’s like to film an IMAX movie in orbit, what exactly to do when nature calls, and much more, in 50 brief chapters.




How to Astronaut is an amusing and enlightening insight into an astronaut's work life...This is an eye-opening insider's view on what it's really like to be an astronaut: the joys, the dangers, the fear, and the day-to-day reality of it. Virts' writing is humorous, playful, down to earth, and often wise."-- "Booklist"

"There's something intriguing to be learned on practically every page...[How to Astronaut] captures the details of an extraordinary job and turns even the mundane aspects of space travel into something fascinating."-- "Publishers Weekly"

"Virts' firsthand accounts are richly detailed and...hilarious."-- "Discover" 


Col. Terry Virts


Col. Terry Virts (ret) served as a U.S. Air Force test fighter pilot, is a NASA veteran of two spaceflights and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Harvard Business School.

He recently directed his first film, ​One More Orbit​. His next book, ​The Art of Space Travel​, is due out in the fall of 2020. He is currently involved in several film and television projects, serves on corporate boards, consults to the entertainment industry,
writes and promotes public policy.

He is a celebrated thought leader, speaker and author whose ​seven months in space included: piloting the Space Shuttle; commanding the International Space Station; three spacewalks; and performing scientific experiments, while working closely with multiple international partners. Virts worked with Russian Space Agency cosmonauts during some of the most stressful
U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

While in space he took more than 300,000 photos – more than on any other space mission. The images are an integral component of the National Geographic IMAX film ​A Beautiful Planet​, which Virts also shot and stars in. His first book for National Geographic, ​View From Above​, combines his best photography with stories about spaceflight alongside his
perspectives about life on earth and our place in the cosmos.

An in-demand speaker at events across the globe, Virts’​ inspires audiences with stories from space as well as his insights into life on earth. He brings his unique perspective to businesses worldwide on diverse topics such as our environment, global wealth, intercultural leadership, crisis and risk management, innovation, strategy and vision and decision making.

"The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn"--by Alice L. George--on February 20, 1962, John Glenn became a national star--that morning at Cape Canaveral, the small-town boy from Ohio took his place atop a rocket and soared into space--in a time when an increasingly cynical world needs heroes, John Glenn’s aura burns brightly in American memory (see my review)


The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn

On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became a national star. That morning at Cape Canaveral, a small-town boy from Ohio took his place atop a rocket and soared into orbit to score a victory in the heavily contested Cold War. The television images were blurry black-and-white phantoms. The cameras shook as the rocket moved, but by the end of the day, one thing was clear: a new hero rode that rocket and became the center of the world's attention for the four hours and fifty-five minutes of his flight. He became celebrated in all corners of the world as not just the first American to orbit the Earth, but as the first space traveler to take the human race with him. From that day forward, Glenn restively wore the hero label. Wherever he went, people knew his name and what he had done. Refusing to let that dramatic day define his life, he went on to become a four-term US senator—and returned to space at the age of seventy-seven. The Last American Hero examines the many layers that formed the man and unravels the reasons for his singular role. He was a creation of the media, in some ways, but he was also a product of the Cold War. Not even Glenn himself seemed to fully understand his celebrity. He was a war hero, a two-time astronaut, a veteran senator, a devoted husband, a father, and much more. At a time when increasingly cynical Americans need heroes, his aura burns brightly in American memory.

MY REVIEW: Early on in his idyllic Ohio childhood, John Glenn developed a lifelong passion for science and aeronautics and a deeply-rooted sense of patriotism. Biographer Alice L. George explores the life of this amazing American in "The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn". From his small-town Midwest boyhood, through his combat pilot experience in both WWII and the Korean War, to his historic achievements in space and his Senate term of more than two decades, John Glenn lived a life of courage, curiosity, and service to his country. Before becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School and set a new speed record for traveling from Los Angeles to New York--he went from coast to coast in less than three and a half hours. While serving his final year in the senate, Glenn signed on for a mission that would return him to the role of astronaut. At age seventy-seven, he became the oldest person to enter space. John Glenn had a special partner in his long and storied life. He and his wife Annie, with whom he had two children, were childhood sweethearts, and they remained married for over seventy three years until his death at age ninety-five. Annie, who had struggled with a severe stuttering problem, worked hard through a therapy course and eventually overcame her speech impairment. The first time that she was able to speak easily with her husband in complete sentences, he wept with joy. Annie Glenn survived her husband by several years, passing away ate age one-hundred. John Glenn once stated: “If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self interest.” The author does an admirable job of letting readers learn about a true American hero and offers an in-depth look at a remarkable man.

Book Copy Gratis Chicago Press



“Alice George’s superbly written biography provides a fair, accurate, and insightful account of all John Glenn’s careers—as Marine pilot, astronaut, politician, and American hero.” —Michael J. Neufeld, curator at the National Air and Space Museum and author of Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War

“John H. Glenn Jr.—United States Marine, combat pilot, Mercury and shuttle astronaut, US senator from Ohio—a ‘Greatest Generation’ American and hero.” —Rudy deLeon, former Deputy Secretary of Defense

"Today, it seems, we cherish our cinema superheroes, forgetting that people like John Glenn used to walk among us—and probably still do." —Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist American Museum of Natural History, Author of Space Chronicles:Facing the Ultimate Frontier

“Alice George has the ‘Right Stuff’ to tell the amazing tale of this extraordinary fighter pilot, astronaut, and US senator.” —Ron Grimes, John Glenn’s Senate Legislative Director

"A well-informed biography that presents its subject in a golden light." Kirkus Reviews

"Time’s “Colonel Wonderful” receives a new biographical treatment in The Last American Hero, which positions him as an adventurer, a statesman, and a role model." —Foreword Reviews

"George (Awaiting Armageddon, 2006) scrupulously details Glenn’s transformation from his Ohio farm upbringing." —Booklist

 Alice L. George

Alice L. George 

Alice L. George is an independent historian with a special interest in America during the 1960s. She has authored or co-authored eight books, primarily focusing on Twentieth Century American history or Philadelphia history. She has written a new biography, John Glenn: The Last American Hero, which will be released in November. She earned a Ph.D. in history from Temple University in 2001, a master of liberal arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, and a bachelor's degree from Dickinson College in 1974. Prior to becoming a historian, she was a senior editor at the Charlotte (NC) News, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Detroit Free Press, and the Philadelphia Daily News. She serves as vice chair of the board at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vice chair of the national Theodore Roosevelt Association, and a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the National Space Club and Foundation, and the Planetary Society. Born in Hickory, North Carolina, she resides in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"How to Forgive When It Feels Impossible"--by Peter Horrobin--Discover Hope and Healing through Forgiveness (see my review)


How to Forgive When It Feels Impossible

Discover Hope and Healing through Forgiveness...

On the cross, Jesus prayed these dramatic words: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. He set a powerful example for us, demonstrating that forgiveness is possible even in the face of the worst that human beings can do to one another. Forgiveness is the key to healing in the most hurtful relationships. It transforms our relationship with our heavenly Father and is the beginning of a fresh new adventure with Him.

This liberating teaching from Peter Horrobin explores the most powerful prayer on earth: the prayer of forgiveness--even toward those who don't seem to deserve it. As we learn to set forgiveness as a foundation stone for our faith, we can rise above the bondage of bitterness. Here you will find words of healing for your past and the ability to walk through new doors of freedom in your future.

MY REVIEW:  Author Peter Horrobin is the founder and director of Ellel Ministries, an international, non-denominational, Christian organization. His book "How to Forgive When It Feels Impossible" is a slim little volume which offers a simple, yet powerful, message: "Forgiveness is the master key which opens the door of hope and healing". The author details his own personal experience with forgiveness, which led to the founding of Ellel Ministries. He also includes true stories of others whose faith and lives were transformed by forgiveness. Peter Horrobin cites the Eight Steps to Freedom as: "Make a Decision"; "Make a List"; "Start to Forgive:' "Ask God to Set You Free"; "Say You Are Sorry For Blaming God"; "Pray the Most Powerful Prayer on Earth"; "Pray That Jesus Will Forgive Them"; and "Expect Your Resurrection Morning". Peter Horrobin began Ellel Ministries in 1986, and today, along with his wife Fiona, he continues to spread his message of the power of forgiveness across the globe.

Book Copy Gratis Chosen Books

How to Forgive When It Feels Impossible                       How to Forgive When It Feels Impossible


Peter Horrobin

Peter Horrobin 

Peter Horrobin ( is the founder and international director of Ellel Ministries. There are more than 50 Ellel operations in more than 35 countries. Each center provides training courses, schools and opportunities for personal prayer ministry. Peter is a graduate of Oxford University and was a successful publisher before starting Ellel in 1986. He and his wife, Fiona, live near the first Ellel center, Ellel Grange, in Lancashire, England. Learn more at 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch"--by Erin French--from the owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up



Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch

Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad's diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir--a classic American story--invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the "girl from Freedom" fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin's life triumphant.

In Finding Freedom, Erin opens up to the challenges, stumbles, and victories that have led her to the exact place she was ever meant to be, telling stories of multiple rock-bottoms, of darkness and anxiety, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but in the end ripped away her very sense of self. And of the beautiful son who was her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of bringing goodness into the world. Erin's experiences with deep loss and abiding hope, told with both honesty and humor, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin reveals the passion and courage needed to invent oneself anew, and the poignant, timeless connections between food and generosity, renewal and freedom.


“Erin is an overcomer and a risk-taker. She’s the kind of person who, when faced with a setback, pushes forward and makes beauty out of hardship. Her story is full of passion and courage, and when you read this book, you will walk away feeling inspired and encouraged in your own life.” ―Joanna Gaines, Co-Founder, Magnolia

"Erin French is a talented chef, a successful entrepreneur, a beautiful young woman, and a passionate promoter of living the 'good life.' This book chronicles the incredible ups, and relatable downs, of building a life and a business. Congratulations, Erin! You have done it!"―Martha Stewart, Founder Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

"Women everywhere will respond to Finding Freedom, a story of the triumph of true passion against all odds. With grit, honesty, and lyrical writing, Erin French takes us on her journey: working the line at her father’s diner, surviving addiction, toxic relationships, raising her son as a single mother, to finally re-inventing herself as a renowned chef and restaurateur. Finding Freedom is a wild ride, one you won’t soon forget."―Stephanie Danler, bestselling author of Sweetbitter and Stray

"Erin and I grew up in very different kitchens (an American diner; Chez Panisse), but I recognized so much in her experience: the intimacy and immediacy of a restaurant-as-second-home; the sounds and smells of cooking; the pleasure of bringing joy to people through food. Erin's story is a gritty, sensuous, honest story of finding her own path―with the pursuit of good food as her bellwether."―Fanny Singer, author of Always Home


Erin French

Erin French

Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places and one of "12 Restaurants Worth Traveling Across the World to Experience" by Bloomberg. A born-and-raised native of Maine, she learned early the simple pleasures of thoughtful food and the importance of gathering for a meal. Her love of sharing Maine and its delicious heritage with curious dinner guests and new friends alike has garnered attention in outlets such as The New York Times (her piece was one of the ten most read articles in the food section the year it was published), Martha Stewart Living, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Food & Wine. She has been invited to share her story on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Chew, CBS This Morning, and The Today Show. Erin was featured in a short film made by Tastemade in partnership with L. L. Bean, which won a James Beard Award, and The Lost Kitchen Cookbook has been named one of the best cookbooks by The Washington Post,, and Remodelista and was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. 

"Anywhere for You"--by Abbie Greaves--a poignant and thrilling love story about one woman’s decade-long search to reconnect with the love of her life who disappeared without a trace


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Anywhere for You

The straphangers of Ealing Broadway station are familiar with Mary O’Connor, the woman who appears every day to watch the droves of busy commuters. But Mary never asks anything from anyone. She only holds out a sign bearing a heartrending message: Come Home Jim.

While others pass her by without a thought, Alice, a junior reporter at the Ealing Bugle, asks Mary to tell her story. Many years ago, Mary met the charming and romantic Jim Whitnell. She was certain she’d found her other half, until one day he vanished without any explanation. But Mary believes that Jim isn’t a cad, that he truly loved her and will return—especially because she’s recently received grainy phone calls from him saying he misses her.

Touched but also suspicious, Alice quietly begins her own investigation into Jim’s disappearance, unraveling a decade-long story filled with desire, heartbreak, and hope. With Greaves’s signature warmth and charm, Anywhere for You is a romantic and immensely moving novel about the enduring power of love and finding happiness in unexpected places.



“Abbie Greaves’s Anywhere for You is a gorgeous story about hope, healing, and human connection—one of those rare novels that is as elegantly written as it is emotionally raw. Greaves’s words will stay with me for a long time.” (Emily HenryNew York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, on Anywhere for You)

“A remarkably assured debut which doesn’t go where you expect it to go. I very much look forward to seeing what she writes next.” (Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author, on The Silent Treatment)

"Greaves finds extraordinary in the ordinary, carefully pulling apart this seemingly happy marriage to reveal the guilt and desperation that lie beneath. Frank and Maggie’s struggle to define themselves when life doesn’t meet their expectations is full of intensity and emotion, their love for one another the only constant. With the sincerity and hope of Tayari Jones' An American Marriage (2018) and the thoughtful, circumspect snapshots of marriage in Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies (2015), Greaves' debut depicts the many joys and sorrows that make up a marriage." (Booklist on The Silent Treatment)

"Abbie Greaves held me spellbound with this intimate, emotional story of the brutal power of silence and ostracism. Yet this deep dive into a troubled marriage is ultimately uplifting as Frank and Maggie make their way through the challenges of isolation, mental health, ageing, and the yearning for connection. Keep the tissues handy for this lovely read." (Susan Wiggs, #1  New York Times  bestselling author of  The Oysterville Sewing Circle, on The Silent Treatment)

“The premise alone had me, but The Silent Treatment itself is just heartrendingly lovely. It’s beautiful, so moving and clever. I truly adored it.” (Josie Silver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One Day in December, on The Silent Treatment)

"The Silent Treatment is a gorgeous heart-breaker of a novel—an intimate, unpretentious, precisely drawn and surprisingly suspenseful look at a decades-long marriage: how it soars and plummets and, gem-like, alters its appearance under different lights. Abbie Greaves has a bright future and I can’t wait to see what it brings." (Meg Mitchell Moore, author of Two Truths and a Lie and The Islanders, on The Silent Treatment   )

“An original and moving debut from a talented new voice.”   (Santa Montefiore, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Secret Hourson The Silent Treatment)

“Not so much a case of ‘he said/she said’ as ‘he didn’t say/she didn’t say,’ this moving debut unpicks the secret selves of Maggie and Frank to reveal the tragic miscommunications of their broken family. It’s a pleasure to read such a stylish and confident new voice—readers are going to love discovering Abbie Greaves.” (Louise Candlish, internationally bestselling author of Our House and Those Peopleon The Silent Treatment)

“In her tremendously moving debut, a novel that pulses with emotional tension, Abbie Greaves masterfully unpicks a history of ordinary lives facing extraordinary challenges. I found it impossible to look away from the relationship at the heart of this novel.” (Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knewon The Silent Treatment)

"In an urgent race against the clock, the layers of Frank and Maggie's decades-long love story are peeled back to reveal the heartrending secrets that lurk below. But will the truth save Maggie's life, let alone their marriage? Greaves' gripping and poignant debut had me hooked from beginning to end." ( Meg Donohue, USA Today Bestselling author of All the Summer Girls and You, Me, and the Seaon The Silent Treatment
Abbie Greaves
Abbie Greaves 
Abbie Greaves is the author of THE SILENT TREATMENT (2020) and THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (UK) / ANYWHERE FOR YOU (US) which is forthcoming in April 2021.

When she's not writing, she enjoys modern calligraphy, travelling for inspiration and reading - the greatest hobby of all. She lives in the UK.

Follow her on Instagram: @abbiegreavesauthor

Friday, January 8, 2021

'I'm Just Happy to Be Around!' Neil Diamond on His New Album and Living With Parkinson's

'I'm Just Happy to Be Around!' Neil Diamond on His New Album and Living With Parkinson's: Three years ago, Neil Diamond shook the music world with the news that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and wouldn’t be touring anymore. But did that mean the end of his music? Not at all. “I’m working on new songs right now,” he says brightly, on a Zoom call with Parade from his home [...]