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Reggie Reads: May 2011

Kohn, Rita T. True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

Bloomington: Quarry Books-Indiana University Press, 2010. 288pp.

Summary: When thinking about Indiana, several ideas may come to mind about the Midwestern state. Beer is probably not one of them. “For a state with a legacy as a major producer prior to Prohibition,” claims Rita T. Kohn in her Preface, “that was a hard swallow for a Hoosier-state-based beer writer.” True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana honors the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.

True Brew is “a dynamic introduction to the people, their passion, and their purpose” (xvii). The book is organized into three main sections: The Background, The Brewers, and The Business. The detailed Table of Contents and the cross-listed Index make finding a particular brewer in a particular part of the state easy for the reader. True Brew is a nicely produced book with glossy pages and photographs by Kris Arnold to supplement Kohn’s text.

Twelve thousand years ago, a woman in Mesopotamia (Iraq) brewed the first beer, claims Bob Ostrander in “A History of Brewing” (5). Barley, one of the main ingredients of beer, was probably humankind’s first cultivated crop. Another fascinating fact is that a recipe for beer, dating to 4000 BC Sumeria, was recently unearthed. Babylonians had at least 20 styles of beer by 2000 BC, and the Egyptian pharaohs were buried with beer.

Not simply listing myriad facts about this well-loved beverage, in the second section, by far the longest part, Kohn intertwines interviews with brewers, which she conducted in 2008–2009, with descriptions of their establishments. For instance, she talked with Belinda Short, assistant brewer at Alcatraz Brewing Company in Indianapolis. Short, who claims that bock is one of her favorite beers, describes how she not only cleans the fermenter, serving tanks and kegs, but also helps brew: “When the mash is in, I come in and look at [the] recipe and get the hops and the yeast ready and go through the whole procedure of getting everything ready for the brew” (91).

Kohn’s book is an appealing look at the history of craft beer and particularly Indiana brewers—both leading brew masters and homebrewers. Her goal is “to be representative of the people involved in the various facets of the craft.” Thus, interviews are transcribed verbatim (xvii). Her lively style and informative details make for engrossing reading, even without a brewsky in hand.

About the Author: Rita T. Kohn, M.S. ’68, is senior writer for NUVO Newsweekly, where her reviews of the arts and “Beer Buzz” column appear. She has edited Always a People: Oral Histories of Contemporary Woodland Indians and Long Journey Home: Oral Histories of Contemporary Delaware Indians, both published by Indiana University Press. She currently lives in Indianapolis.

Price, Steve W. Dream Making in a Dream-Taking World: Ten Surefire Strategies to Overcome Obstacles and Live Your Dreams.

Tampa: INTI Publishing, 2002. 114pp.

Price, Steve W. How to Bounce When Others Break: The Top Ten Rules of Resilient People.

Tampa: Metaphor Press, 2010. 115pp.

Summary: In his Introduction to Dream Making in a Dream-Taking World, Steve Price explains how his life changed in 1982 when, after teaching high school English for 22 years, he enrolled in Illinois State University’s Doctor of Arts program. After completing his doctorate in English, he resigned from teaching, packed all his belongings in a U-Haul, and relocated to Tampa, Florida. His optimistic outlook, plus the communication skills he honed in graduate school, have resulted in Price’s successful career as motivational speaker, author, and publisher. He was living his dream.

Price calls successful people Dream Makers because they make their dream happen. “If reality is who we are right now, right this moment, then dreams are the blueprints for what we become,” he opines (6). Written in a personal and engaging style, in Dream Making in a Dream-Taking World Price outlines in 10 chapters what he considers surefire strategies to aid and encourage us to identify and achieve our goals, our dreams.

The book includes personal anecdotes from his own life and from people he has met. For instance, in “Travel on the Train Tracks,” he describes how Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa overhauled their assistance program to better enable their clients to improve their lives. Instead of merely offering free meals and shelter to homeless people, they implemented “Uplift U,” a program of classes and counseling designed to develop personal skills and job skills. This tough love approach, says Price, promoted personal growth, not pity (44-45).

In a similar fashion, in the 10 chapters of How to Bounce When Others Break, Price encourages, coaches, and explains how to turn adversity into advantage. He talks about problems which challenge people, whether the challenges be financial, emotional, or medical—or a combination. Using as examples his own wife and daughter, Price personally connects with his theme and his readers, reinforcing the motivational tone of his message.

Resilient people exemplify the acronym FAST: Face the facts, Attitude is everything, Seek solutions, and Touch others. Price quotes one of Langston Hughes’ poems: “Hold fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly” (23). Price displays his English teacher background in several allusions to literary works and authors. Never preachy or self-aggrandizing, both Dream Making in a Dream-Taking World and How to Bounce When Others Break are engaging and readable, offering both ideological precepts and practical guidance.

About the Author: Steve W. Price, D.A. ’85, has coauthored a dozen books on personal growth and free enterprise. They have been translated into 20 languages. He currently lives in Tampa, Florida.

Ryburn, Terri. Age on Stage: Ten Minute Plays.

Portland: ArtAge Publications: 2009. 66pp.

Summary: As a member of Young at Heartland, a senior theatre company associated with Heartland Theatre in Normal, Terri Ryburn has acted in and written plays performed by the troupe. Their performances are mainly at nursing homes, retirement centers, churches, and nonprofit organizations, venues which lend themselves to shorter productions. Age on Stage is a collection of six affectionate and humorous glimpses of human relationships.

In “Ten Years Younger,” ZsaZsa, a haughty 50-plus department store cosmetics consultant, offers advice to Jane, who is buying pantyhose on the way to her daughter’s wedding. ZsaZsa’s over-the-top make-up suggestions please Jane, who believes she does look 10 years younger though the audience realizes otherwise. Two middle-aged sisters try to recall actors’ names, just on the tip of their tongue, in “Let’s Go to the Movies.”

The title of “Cross Words” is a double entendre as we see a retired married couple struggle to complete a crossword puzzle over morning coffee. That the conversation is so typical makes this sketch humorous. More serious is the conversation between a couple married for 50 years as they reminisce in “The Edge of Forever.”

In “They Also Serve” three women in their 80s remember how they met the men they love during World War II, demonstrating that love transcends time and place. Finally, we overhear two women trying on shoes in “High Heels” and declaring that their feet are as tiny as they were 40 years ago.

The vignettes in Age on Stage offer something for everyone. Ryburn’s understated humor encourages the audience to think about their own relationships. Additionally, these plays provide wonderful material for small amateur acting companies.

About the Author: Terri Ryburn, ’85, M.S. ’88, D.A. ’99, received the ISU Distinguished Service Award in 2003. Her other books include Route 66 Goin’ Somewhere: The Road in McLean County. A recognized authority on Route 66, she frequently speaks on its history and on her many trips along the highway, as well as the grass-roots movement to preserve it for future generations. She has been recognized by the National Park Service for her ongoing work restoring Sprague’s Super Service Station on Historic Route 66 in Normal.

Simon, Mary Manz. Trend-Savvy Parenting.

Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006. 150pp.

Simon, Mary Manz. First Virtues for Toddlers.

Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 2003. 259pp.

Summary: “We live in a choice-mentality society,” claims Mary Manz Simon in her Introduction to Trend-Savvy Parenting. Parents are challenged by hyper-fast changes in technology; moreover, they are overwhelmed by the resulting changes in “the mindscape.” Consequently, “a sense of defeat replaces the joy that can accompany the thrill, challenge, and privilege of raising the next generation.” A mother of three, Simon offers advice based not only on personal experience but also on her analysis of societal trends.

The book is divided into 35 short chapters, each of which succinctly summarizes a specific aspect of modern day life and provides clear guidelines for good child-rearing practices. A common problem is cyber-bullying, which she discusses in Chapter 7. Her recommendation to parents dealing with this problem in their child’s life is aimed at prevention: limit online contacts to a small circle of friends, regularly review the child’s address book and delete names when appropriate, and teach children to guard their cell phone number. Perhaps most important is to encourage children to develop real-time relationships.

Helping a toddler develop motor skills is an important aspect of playpen sports, discussed in Chapter 22. While getting a child involved in athletics is a valuable goal, Simon says we don’t have to send our 2-year-olds out onto the tennis court. She gives a list of specific physical skills a child can accomplish before and during their second year.

First Virtues for Toddlers is a collection of 12 stories aimed at children ages 4-8. Each storyline is built on a particular virtue, written in language which very young children can understand and augmented by colorful illustrations. For instance, in “Kitty Shows Kindness,” a child will learn that “If I’m tempted to be cruel, I recall the Golden Rule.” “God shows me what I should do,” says Kitty. Each story concludes with a Bible verse, such as “Be kind to everyone” (2 Tim. 2:24), written in kid-style language. The goal is to “help your toddler build godly character” (back cover).

First Virtues for Toddlers is only one of the many children’s books written by Mary Manz Simon, several of which have been ranked on the Christian Bookseller’s Association best-seller list.

About the Author: Mary Manz Simon ’69 is a corporate consultant on the children’s market and a popular motivational speaker. Her titles, on topics including Christian themes for children and on parenting, have sold millions of copies in 10 languages. She was a longtime columnist for Focus on the Family. She received the Illinois State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Simon currently lives in Odenton, Maryland.

Denecke, Jean. Walking Isn’t Everything. Eds. Kris Gruenawald and Keith Storey.

Oshawa, Ontario: Crystal Dreams Publishing-Multi-Media Publications, Inc., 2008.  220pp.

Summary: In 1947, at the age of 30, Jean Denecke contracted the polio virus. Her memoir Walking Isn’t Everything paints an iconic portrait of a polio survivor while reflecting the experiences of thousands of children and young adults in the 1940s and 1950s, when polio epidemics raged throughout the United States.

Edited by Denecke’s daughter Kris Gruenawald, Walking Isn’t Everything is co-edited by Kris’s cousin Keith Storey, a professional in the disability field. More than a family remembrance, it depicts a slice of American history through the experience and voice of a middle-class Midwestern woman, who contracted polio and heroically rose above her disability. Denecke began writing her memoir after returning from therapy at the Roosevelt Foundation in Warm Springs, Georgia. It covers about four years. Unsuccessful at finding a publisher, Denecke put aside the manuscript and got on with her life as wife and mother.

In the 1940s and 1950s, treatment of polio often relegated the victims to years of isolation— often in iron lungs away from family, friends, school, jobs—the aspects which comprised a life for most American children and adults. Places were not accessible to people with disabilities, and cultural attitudes were often paternalistic. Denecke’s recollection of the details of her care “reveal a character and state of mind that, at its core, proved willful and determined” (21).

This determination helped her deal with aspects of “normal” life. Even having her hair washed took two people: “they used to put a rubber sheet under my head and towels around my shoulders. They then folded the rubber sheet into a funnel shape that led into a bucket on the floor.” Heated water was conveyed in teakettles until the job was done (86). This is one example of the details which Denecke relates about her first four years dealing with her illness. Most amazingly, she does so in a straightforward, non-pitying way.

Jean Denecke died in 1970 but her story continues to inspire. The editors of Walking Isn’t Everything have included appendices and an extensive bibliography of works related to polio; consequently, this memoir contributes to the portrait of post-World War II American life.

About the Co-Editor: Keith Storey, ’78, is professor of education and Special Education Program chair at Touro University, Vallejo, California. In addition to co-editing Walking Isn’t Everything, he is the author of several textbooks.

Wildes, Emma. Lessons from a Scarlet Lady.

New York: Signet Eclipse-Penguin, 2010. 324 pp.

Wildes, Emma. My Lord Scandal.

New York: Signet Eclipse-Penguin, 2010. 326 pp.

Wildes, Emma. Seducing the Highlander.

New York: Signet Eclipse-Penguin, 2010. 303 pp.

Wildes, Emma. An Indecent Proposition.

New York: Signet Eclipse-Penguin, 2009. 328 pp.

Summary: Lessons from a Scarlet Lady involves the “Duke of Rolthven’s new wife, Brianna, the perfect aristocratic bride. So what would society say if they saw her with a copy of Lady Rothburg’s Advice—a courtesan’s lessons for the boudoir? When his innocent wife suddenly becomes a vixen in the bedroom, the proper Duke is truly astounded by her seductive powers. Following a courtesan’s advice might lead to trouble—but will it lead to Brianna’s ultimate desire: winning her husband’s love?” (

Part of the Notorious Bachelors series, My Lord Scandal features Alexander St. James, who “may be a thief of hearts, but he is no burglar. Nevertheless, he must recover an item belonging to his family to avoid a scandal, and so he has stolen into the home of Lord Hathaway, only to come upon the beguiling and chaste Lady Amelia in her bedroom, wearing little but a look of surprise. Alexander leaves Amelia breathless—but is it from fear or excitement? Captivated by her beauty and charmed by her intellect, he ignores the scandalous whispers as he sets out to seduce the woman of his dreams” (

Seducing the Highlander is a collection of three interconnected short stories: All three heroines skillfully seduce and softly bully their wild Scotsman (one is the hero of each story) into falling in love with them (

An Indecent Proposition has been translated into Spanish as Una apuesta indecente. In this novel,  “London’s two most notorious rakes have placed a very public wager on which of them is the greatest lover. But what woman of beauty, intelligence, and discernment would consent to judge such a contest? Lady Carolyn Wynn is the last woman anyone would expect to step forward. But if the men keep her identity a secret, she’ll decide who has the most finesse between the sheets. To everyone’s surprise, however, what begins as an immoral proposition turns into a shocking lesson in everlasting love” (

About the Author: Katherine Smith has published many novels in the Romance genre under the pseudonym of Emma Wildes. She started in e-publishing where she received an Eppie, a Lories Best Published, and a WisRWA Reader’s Choice Award (author’s website). Most recently she won the Passionate Plume award for best historical (2010). Smith currently lives in Indiana.

Sherman, Helene J., Lloyd I. Richardson, and George J. Yard. Teaching Learners Who Struggle with Mathematics: Systematic Intervention and Remediation. 2nd ed.

Upper Saddle River: Merrill-Pearson-Prentice-Hall, 2009. 288pp.


Summary: The stated purpose of Teaching Learners Who Struggle with Mathematics is to give teachers the tools they need to help students go from believing they “can’t do math” to achieving real success and gaining confidence in their math skills. If parents and teachers, instead of trying the same thing over and over, focus on how their students learn best, this goal can be achieved.

The authors present a systematic, three-step approach on how to assess a student’s strengths and weaknesses and then plan instruction accordingly: (1) Creating a Data Analysis Sheet (DAS), (2) Considering the learner’s strengths and areas of concern, and (3) Completing a Mathematics Improvement Plan (MIP).

Each of the 10 chapters deals with a different mathematical topic: place value, problem solving, fractions, addition, subtraction, division, decimals, time and money, etc. A number of errors by a variety of students are described using a case study of a “typical” struggling student. The text then explains how teachers can systematically assess the students’ work and appropriately diagnose their problems.

Special features include case studies to illustrate how to diagnose error patterns, instructional activities at the end of each chapter, discussion questions encouraging critical thinking and analysis, and a chapter on time and money (back cover).

By analyzing and understanding why and how their students make errors, teachers can design appropriate ways to correct their mistakes and then promote long-term learning through repetition and practice that is meaningful to them. Teaching Learners Who Struggle with Mathematics addresses mathematics education in a manner that encourages positive content growth and attitude for both teachers and students. The book is currently being translated into Arabic.

About the Author: George J. Yard ’59 is associate professor emeritus, University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has authored and coauthored numerous publications and has served as editor of The Journal of the National Association of Adults with Special Learning Needs. He currently lives in Houston, Texas, where he continues to teach at the college level and serve as a certified mediator for issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act.