It’s been a long while since writing a previous blog, Reading Nonfiction Books. Many books later, it’s time to share more favorites books that have provided hours of reading pleasure and meaningful conversations during monthly book club meetings.

Take a look. You might enjoy reading these books and learning from them as I have.

10 favorite nonfiction books continued

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell. Virginia Hall, an American, a spy for the British, and an amputee with only one leg, performed heroic deeds during the French resistance.

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson. With the setting for this book just an hour or so away, the events of this prison uprising were familiar from news accounts at the time. What was not familiar was the story of the devastation that occurred to real human beings and their families with lasting effects. What an eye opener.

The Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke. Set in World War II Burma, elephant wallah Billy Williams put elephants to work with compassion, tenderness, and love. What the elephants accomplished building bridges and leading an escape on a mountain stairway was nothing short of miraculous.  

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. This thriller is a wake-up call of what occurs when those in power stop others who they deem unworthy from rising, succeeding, and living the good life.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean. The Los Angeles Public Library burned to the ground in 1986.  Library lover Susan Orlean explores why, who, and how this happened. From the devastation through the rebuilding and beyond, the library’s role as a magnet for people from all walks of life comes alive. There are many people to thank for making the public library a special place. I, for one, couldn’t live without it.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. Understanding the opposing parties during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, where violence ruled, is no easy matter. Patrick Radden Keefe gives an up close and personal account of a 1972 murder and exposes the personalities and motivations of the time.

Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink’s Heist by Gary Craig. A local reporter and local crime story, the names and places were very familiar to book club members. With $7 million yet unfound and a tie to The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this book was a winner for our book club.

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild. For me, the highlight of this book was how Arlie Russell Hochschild synthesized what she learned about one side of America into one Deep Story and what she knew about her side into another Deep Story. Different narratives. Different worldviews. The challenge is how to cross the divide.

These Truths:  A History of the United States by Jill LePore. What I loved about this dense book that starts in 1492 and goes to just a few years’ short of the present day is the message I received: knowing our history is critical to understanding and confronting current, unsettling events.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Isabel Wilkerson tells the stories of real families who migrated from the South to the North and West in search of a better life. For many and likely most, better was far from perfect. Captivated by the beautiful writing and rich, thoroughly-researched content, our book club is now reading Wilkerson’s second book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Even in the opening pages, it’s clear that Caste is another must-read book.

What are some of your favorite nonfiction books?

This is a time for giving thanks to each of you who, knowingly or unknowingly, have enabled, motivated, or inspired us to do good work and to enjoy the ride. As the critters in Froggy’s world of plenty have expressed, we have so much for which to be grateful. We hope you enjoy Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, a thank-you gift especially for you.

As one reviewer wrote about the book, “It’ll brighten your day, even if you didn’t think you needed it.”

One and all are welcome to enjoy this freebie on November 23, 24, and 25.

Just click here to download.


The eLearning Companion to Career Success

With a pandemic looming and lingering, a long period of sheltering in place presented an opportunity to move back-burner projects to the forefront. With a pause in client work, both this business owner and employees could focus on some fun stuff. Long-time employee Julia expressed an interest in learning Articulate Storyline 360 to create eLearning content. The question was, “What existing content could we use?”

For 35 years, Shenouda Associates Inc. has created technical and business publications for clients, from guides that show users how a product works to manuals that service engineers use when installing equipment, replacing parts, doing adjustments, and more. Over the past 10 years, I have authored and published my own books, both in print and eBook formats. With the help of my extraordinary employees, these books have been inside jobs, from writing and editing, to designing and publishing, to distributing through online stores. One book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal, proved to be the right candidate to use for eLearning content. Thus, the process began.

Julia explored the capabilities of Articulate Storyline 360. Early on, she wrote, “My first goal was just to see how well the tool could handle users answering the types of questions in the Career Success book.” She found that the tool could handle the book’s essay, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal includes a Self-Assessment in which readers begin to explore their strengths, their likes, and their current work situation. The book also includes My Evolving Story, a series of 12 stories (each aligned with one of the 12 steps to career success) in which readers fill in the blanks to write their own story for moving forward at work or in other life endeavors. The Self-Assessment and My Evolving Story are the backbone of the eLearning companion.

Julia continued to learn the tool and communicate her progress. Throughout the development process, I set the direction, reviewed drafts, and offered feedback.

With the eLearning ready to share, the focus now is finding organizations and groups that can benefit from using it as a standalone tool, a companion to the book, or in preparation for an instructor-led workshop.

I applaud Julia’s desire to learn Articulate Storyline 360 and consider the resulting eLearning product impressive and useful.

If you would like to try the eLearning companion and feed back how it worked for you, please provide contact information below.

Give. Share. Be generous.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I can hear my dear mother and her always wise advice to give, share, and be generous. To honor her memory, I have two gifts for you.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud is a light, whimsical book of flash, slices-of-life stories intended to entertain and inspire. When read aloud, the critters’ sweet talk can enchant even the youngest of listeners.

In A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way, you’ll discover ways to take a little of this and that, make a mishmash, cook, bake, eat, kibbitz, and enjoy. Along with the recipes, you’ll find recollections of cooks and kitchens that continue to sustain.

Download Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud here.

Download A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way here.

The freebies are available on May 7, 8, and 9. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

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Bye-bye 2020. Hello 2021. To welcome the new year, download the eBook version of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud at no charge on January 1, 2, and 3. Click here.

Here’s one of the 30+ flash stories intended to cheer the young, the old, and everyone in between.

Toasts

His many critter friends lift a paw, flap a wing, toot a tune, and share a toast.

Today is Froggy’s birthday. Now a not-so-tender age, Froggy is what you might call seasoned. But never mind. It’s good to age and to do so gracefully. His many critter friends lift a paw, flap a wing, toot a tune, and share a toast.

With her sweet aroma permeating the air, Orchid speaks, “May the fresh, evergreen earth, caressed by the sky blues above, make your every breath heaven sent.”

“Ditto,” adds Minnie O.

In perpetual motion, Franny Fish blows some bubbles in Froggy’s direction. “May you sparkle with every hop, skip, and jump you take. May you and may we take pleasure in the ebullience you exude.”

Belle Birdie and Bobalong Bird dance and chirp, “May every do-re-mi you hear and every fa-so-la you sing create harmony that suits you to a ti.”

Woodsy taps his message, “My dear, chipper friend, may you love a bushel and a peck, peck, peck.”

Bumbler B and Sweetie B send a zinger to Froggy, “May you be zapped with honey and health, with sweetness and life.”

Flutter By, who once upon a time could only crawl, flies by and throws Froggy a kiss, “May you be uplifted.”

Fuzzy Chick Chick sheds her fluffy, downy feathers. “My dear Froggy, may your every landing be safe and sound and soft.”

“May this earth nourish you,” Wiggly Worm adds.

“May you reach the top of every hill you climb,” Anty Annie toasts. “Always remember that friends like me are just a step away.”

“You have sown well, my dear friend. May you reap rich rewards,” adds Rosie Flower.

Froggy responds, “I’ll drink to that and that and that.”

Froggy is saturated in the roasty, toasty warmth of so many well-wishes from so many well-wishers.

To read more, download the eBook version of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud at no charge on January 1, 2, and 3, 2021. Click here.

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We spiffed up our website with words wrapped in graphics

Challenge

At Shenouda Associates Inc., we even edit ourselves… continually! To keep pace with evolving technology and taste, our website needed some updates: optimization for the small screens of mobile devices as well as the large screens of computers, with less need to zoom in on or scroll through dense text, and with more visual appeal.

Solution

Several associates had used the application Flare by MadCap Software and considered it an easy choice—the right choice. Its well-designed interface eliminated or minimized the need to know any of the standard languages used in website development. It included several easily modifiable templates and all the tools needed to create a modern, easy-to-use, visually pleasing website, including:

Responsive layouts that can be viewed and navigated with ease on any device

Expandable text that gives the reader the choice of what to read and when

Graphic components—on the Home page and on the Our Work page

On the Home page, we freshened the look by replacing text boxes with panels that introduce, both in words and graphics, the content on the website.

On the Our Work page, we added Read More

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Words of Gratitude from Froggy and His Critter Friends

What fun I had doing this recording of sweet-talking stories from my book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud for the Writers & Books Literary Partners Reading Series.

You’ll find that Froggy and his critter friends mix and mingle, and work and play. They live with energy, with purpose, and with gratitude. They might just give you a few good ideas for living well in your world of plenty.

For more stories and more ideas for living well, visit Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available as an ebook or paperback.

 

I’ve had great fun creating books, including a cookbook with favorite old-time recipes and stories from family and friends. If the yummy recipes in A Plate of This and That look tempting, these recipes and more are yours for the taking in A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. A free copy of the ebook is waiting for you on Mother’s Day, May 10, or Monday, May 11, at https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Ellison-Shenouda/e/B07KFN96DZ. Infographic_ABisl_2020-02-25c

 

On Leap Year Day 2016, inspiration visited me and resulted in Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud. To celebrate, order your free ebook on February 29 and March 1, 2020. Share a toast with Froggy and his critter friends.
https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Ellison-Shenouda/e/B07KFN96DZ

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The critters know that in any season, in any weather, during hours of light and dark, the time, the moment, and the space are ripe for relaxation, rest, and renewal.

“Renewal, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud

Before 2019 ends, enjoy this gift of the ebook Kindle edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty. May the sweet talk of Froggy and his critter friends offer renewal, sustenance, light, laughter, and all that’s good to you and yours.