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Book Reviews September 2017



Gardeners from across the country have turned to Southern Living Senior Garden Editor Steven Bender, “The Grumpy Gardener,” for his keen knowledge and gardening know-how with equal doses sarcasm and sidesplitting humor for nearly 35 years. Finally, his collected wit and wisdom can be found in The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Country’s Most Irritable Green Thumb, providing gardeners from coast-to-coast with his valuable tips for planting, troubleshooting, and growing flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees and more, delivered in his signature cantankerous style.




NFL Pro-Bowler Wade Smith offers another in his series of children’s books. In Smitty Tackles Bullying, Smitty is one year older and a year wiser since readers last saw him. He has truly discovered his love of reading and is doing great in class and on the field, but when Smitty begins to notice his best friend, Luke, is skipping out of Reading Lab, he decides to investigate. What Smitty finds is that somone is bullying Luke because he isn’t a strong reader! Smitty uses kindness and understanding to conquer the bully, and in the end makes a new friend and finds a way to help Luke with his reading.




Born from her experience of everyday living in France, Sharon Santoni reveals the gracious, easy French way of entertaining guests at her countryside home, year-round in My French Country Home: Entertaining Through the Seasons. Santoni creates lush bouquets from her garden and utilizes resources from surrounding nature to lay gorgeous tables for everything from a Sunday morning breakfast on the patio, to a ladies lunch in her lush garden, a formal dinner in her dining room, and a picnic by the river. Santoni also shares 15 favorite recipes utilizing seasonal foods.




The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, is the seminal book on the subject of creativity and a powerfully provocative and inspiring work. In it, Cameron takes readers on an amazing 12-week journey to discover the inextricable link between their spiritual and creative selves. This groundbreaking program includes: Introductions to two of Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery — The Morning Pages and The Artist Date; hundreds of highly effective exercises and activities; and guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors. This 25th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author.




Leo Fender has influenced every person on earth today – at least everyone who has ever heard a song. The inventor of the electric guitar was shy, had one glass eye, and was nearly deaf. Yet, from the small town of Fullerton, Califor­nia, he built an iconic worldwide empire and was worshiped by rock stars. The highest price ever spent for music memorabilia was not for Michael Jackson’s glove, original Beatles’ handwritten lyrics or even Elvis’ killer pantsuit. It was for a Fender Stratocaster, which sold for a staggering $2.7 million. Leo Fender: The Quiet Giant Heard Around the World, written by his wife Phyllis, provides a rare look into the mind and world of this quiet genius.




Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait sees the late icon’s former art director, Steve Parke, revealing stunning intimate photographs of the singer from his time working at Paisley Park. Alongside these remarkable images are 50 engaging, poignant and often funny vignettes written by Parke. They reveal the very human man behind the reclusive superstar: from shooting hoops to renting out movie theatres at 4 a.m.; from midnight requests for camels to meaningful conversations that shed light on Prince as a man and artist. Parke photographed Prince at the request of the star himself for several years. The images in this book are the arresting result of this collaboration.

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