SirReadaLot.org

SirReadaLot.org


We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

Contributors

SirReadaLot has about six to twelve active anonymous reviewers at any one time. Working with either our review editor or associate editor, we encourage local members of the reading public to apply for book review opportunities.

Want to write reviews for SRL?

We will provide you with a stylesheet that will give you an idea of what we're looking for in a review and we will provide you with complimentary copies of books on topics that you have a particular interest in or knowledge about. Email: sjones(at)SirReadaLot.org

Executive Team 

Anna Washington is our managing editor. Anna’s background is in education, teaching, training, and instructional design. Anna says she particularly likes being privy to the “current intellectual buzz swirling around in the hot air just slightly above eye level.” See biography below. E-mail: awashington(at)SirReadaLot.org or washin2432(at)aol.com.

Savannah Jones is our Review Editor. She has worked in marketing for nearly twenty years. Savvy has a general appetite for all things in print and is a constant reader. She loves a good mystery and enjoys the continuous whirl of literary discovery this job entails.  E-mail: sjones(at)SirReadaLot.org or sjones(at)aol.com .

Janet Lentz is our Administrator. She attempts to keep the front office going and the books straight. E-mail: jlentz(at)SirReadaLot.org

Paul Nagy is our emeritus editor. He brings over twenty-five years of experience as a book reviewer and executive editor. Paul has an M. Div. degree, and a spiritual friendship practice that kindles a keen interest in religious studies and philosophy. E-mail: pnagy(at)SirReadaLot.org or pnagy(at)mindspring.com.

Biographies 

Bonnie Foster, R.N., Nursing, Psychology, Gerontology Studies.

Foster, after receiving her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in the ‘90s, worked for three years in a nursing home. Enjoying working with the elderly, she subsequently went back to school to get her Nursing degree, specializing in Gerontology. She is now working in the nursing psychology field in the Annapolis area, having recently taken some time off to have a fourth child.

She and her husband, a copyright lawyer, somehow manage to home-school their four sons by working alternating shifts. In her spare time she devours arts and crafts books. 

Mary Louise Hester, M.S., Education.

Hester earned a master’s degree in the communications department at San Francisco State University in the 1980s.  She has worked as a publicist and also taught new media in several community colleges in California. Hester tends toward freelance writing about pedagogy and educational theory. Hester loves romantic novels, as she says, the sappier the better. 

Savannah (Savvy) Jones, M.Ed., Review Editor, Home & Garden.

Savannah Jones grew up in a small town in North Carolina. Her mother was a high-school, home-economics teacher and a cook in the old South style, pork as a seasoning, fresh corn, butterbeans, snaps, tomatoes, okra and salsify. Her father was an office manager and frustrated farmer, gardener, boat builder and fisherman who was also an outdoor chef specializing in chicken barbecue and Brunswick stew. She and her sister spent one summer writing down the recipes of their mother (and Daddy, too) and then experimenting to figure out – what is 'a pinch and a handful,' anyway? Her favorite cookbook (which her mother gave her for a wedding present) remains The New Joy of Cooking.

She also was drawn to art – drawing and painting – as a child and young adult, with a great interest in attention to fine detail, probably due to myopia. Jones went to Europe upon graduation (in Art History), and then came back to get a Masters degree in education at UNC-CH.

Shortly after this time, Jones got into the back-to-the-land movement and gardening herself. She graduated from Southern cooking through her interest in different cultures and tastes and traveling abroad. She has lived in Germany in several different decades, as well as Italy, Greece, and Mexico. And she’s traveled in Spain, France and Yugoslavia. In 2002 Jones spent three weeks in Bel Horizonte, Brazil, attending a Feijoada party (beans with pork, greens, sort of like a midwinter barbecue – you had to be there) and drinking Caipirinha (sort of like a Margarita) laced with Cachaşa (the local hooch).

Now she’s interested in healthful and flavorful cooking and the application of the new diet guidelines and fads – the Mediterranean diet, the Asian diet, Volumetrics, as well as food as art. And of course, all us Boomers are now into exercise, too – it used to be low-impact aerobics, but the new concept is 'strengthening the core.' Let’s gaze at our navels and live forever!  

Research Question: Jones wants to know: if you knew you were going to be stranded on a desert island and could have with you only three foods, what would they be? Her current choices are corn, tomatoes and fish (actually beef, but we’re trying to be realistic and healthy here). 

Janet K. Lentz, Administrator.

Janet Lentz is the Office Administrator at SirReadaLot.org. With a degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University, she is an organizational mastermind, as she attempts to keep the front office going and the books straight. FrontPage, PowerPoint, Quicken and Excel are among her trademark areas of expertise. On a cold winter evening, she enjoys a good mystery-romance. 

Ruth Toby Singer (née Kleinbaum), M.P.P., Policy Studies, Parenting, and Families.

Ruth Toby SingerSinger received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991.  She also studied German and completed her junior year abroad in Tübingen.

After spending a year traveling and working in various public service jobs around the country, Singer went to graduate school and received her Master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Chicago in 1994. She stayed in Chicago, working for the National Opinion Research Center and later the Research Triangle Institute (at its Chicago office), where she directed social science research studies and developed an expertise in survey design.

Singer is currently a stay-at-home mother with two young daughters. As a Board Member of the Edgebrook School Foundation and Edgebrook Park Advisory Council, she is actively involved in her local school and community.  Her husband is a project manager for the City of Chicago. Singer enjoys reading memoirs, other types of non-fiction, and children’s books.

Henry S. Mitchell, Sociology, Computers and the Internet, Self-Help.

Mitchell got his degree in Social Work in 1983 at the University of Chicago. He came to North Carolina in the ‘90s following his wife, from whom he was divorced, to be near his daughter. In the ‘80s, when computers were taking over the work world, Mitchell changed his focus from social work to web development and started training for his career shift and freelancing. He now runs his own business working as a website designer and computer troubleshooter.

Mitchell also enjoys coaching recreation league sports and follows sports, ALL sports. 

William D. Monday, M. S., Health and Fitness, Entrepreneurship.

With a master’s degree in Recreational Sports from East Carolina University, Monday has an abiding interest in all things athletic.  A physical fitness teacher and trainer, Monday likes to keep abreast of sports medicine and psychology.  Monday lives in Cary, North Carolina and runs his own business.

Paul Nagy, M. Div., Founding and Emeritus Editor, Philosophy and Religion.

Nagy is managing editor of Wordtrade.com, an Internet newsletter that reviews new books and has a specialty focus in religious studies and philosophy as well as being the founder of SirReadaLot.org.  He is also the webmaster and research assistant for a Washington, DC-based think tank, and also maintains an active ministry in spiritual direction.

Nagy received his M. Div. from the Pacific School of Religion, an interdenominational seminary, a member of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. Nagy worked as an anthropologist studying new religions in and around the San Francisco Bay Area from 1968-1984. His approach was participant observation with open-ended, in-depth life history interviews. Nagy has a background with Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim groups. He also is conversant with New Though traditions, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Subud, Beshara Foundation, Free Thought movements, the general history of religions, American church formation and alternative neopagan groups.

Nagy was an associate editor of the Journal for Contemporary Studies in the 1980s and a freelance contributor and book reviewer for several metaphysical periodicals such as Gnosis, Quest, and Pagan New Times.

Nagy has also been active in the hospice movement, suicide prevention, drug information services, childcare advocacy, the Theosophical Society, and the Unitarian Universalist Association, the American Ethical Union and is currently encouraging various contemplative practices, especially Trika and centering prayer. He reads tarot cards and contributes to the development of New Age tarot lore. And he can’t seem to get enough of esoteric religious studies. 

Recently Paul has a weekly radio talk show, Touchstones: Religious Experience, Tuesdays 11 AM-12 NOON on WCOM, 103.5 FM  that features the variety of religious and spiritual choices available in the Chapel Hill area. Paul often offers capsule reviews of notable books in religious studies and does call-in author interviews.

J. Martin Otterham, Ph.D., History and Culture Studies.

Otterham developed his love of history as a child when he became a stamp collector.

He received his doctorate from the University of Surrey, Roehampton in the 1970s. Thereafter he was a lecturer in contemporary history at Birkbeck College, University of London.  Currently he resides in the Southeastern U.S. where he does freelance journalism for several British periodicals on contemporary American culture. Something of a polymath when it comes to cultural topics, Otterham enjoys reading topical history works as well as academic historical monographs. 

Whit Price, M.S.L.S., Information Science, Reference and Music.

After growing up in a small town in North Carolina, Price received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and History at UNC-CH. Like so many of his generation, he took up guitar as an undergraduate in the ‘70s. He received his master’s degree in Library Science in 1981 and worked for the U.S. E.P.A. as a reference librarian before starting his own business in document delivery.

Price has also continued his avocation in music, writing songs and playing acoustic guitar and mandolin and making frequent trips to Nashville.

Price is also obsessed with the environment, both in terms of spending time in nature and concerns about global warming. He enjoys travel and especially likes books about the desert.

His daughter is a classical archeologist currently digging a hole in Crete. 

Anna Peed Washington, M.A.T., Managing Editor, Teaching and Learning.

Washington felt a calling in the 50s growing up in Oxford, NC to do something about racism, rebelling against the disparity between people thinking of themselves as fair-minded and yet treating a whole segment of the human family unfairly. That insight has broadened to the mission: ‘bring people together.’

With an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Washington went back to school to become an instructional designer and taught in Carnage Junior High and Ligon Senior High during the second year of integration in Raleigh, NC, the year that both Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were murdered.

For most of Washington’s professional career, she has worked as an instructional designer, creating courses and teaching materials, managing projects and working as a team with subject-matter experts, educators/trainers and production experts. She worked in both business and higher education, at Nortel Networks, Research and Evaluation Associates, the Instrument Society of America, the Centers for Disease Control, and the UNC-CH in Nursing, Public Health, Medicine, Pharmacology, Education, and Computer Science. She created courses, self-study workbooks, job-aids, videotapes, internet-based courses, etc. for group home houseparents, unemployment insurance claims adjudicators, health care providers, etc., on such topics as listening skills, telephone interviewing, hotline counseling, Hepatitis B, working with the AIDS patient, virtual reality research, principles of grounding, reproductive epidemiology, allergen skin testing, etc. Having managed large-scale projects and coordinated outreach programs, she also put on train-the-trainer workshops and evaluated faculty and instructors’ teaching skills.

Washington has had a parallel volunteer career. First as a student at UNC-CH she marched the streets for the integration of Chapel Hill in the 60s and was active on the committee for the United Nations in the campus YMCA. Then she served on the board of a parents’ cooperative preschool. She managed and coordinated the first Soup Kitchen in Chapel Hill for the Interfaith Council for Social Service and served on that board for three years. Over a period of 16 years, Washington’s grounding in working with groups developed through coordinating weekly ‘Search for God’ study group meetings using the Edgar Cayce ‘Guidelines to Small Group Work.’ She organized and facilitated a leadership-training program to create a bureau of public speakers. She served three terms on her church board and was active on the Tapestry Committee, helping lead several community gatherings, consciousness-raising sessions using the Color of Fear film, and weekend-long, community building trainings. Washington organizes activities to bring people together: murder mystery dinner parties, volleyball, bridge, hiking, bocce and most recently, Salon discussion groups and women’s groups.

Washington has lived in Chapel Hill for 40 years and in the same big old house, located behind UNC-CH, for 26 years, where she and her husband are active in the Westside Neighborhood Association and have a bocce court in the backyard. Her daughter and son-in-law have two daughters and live in Chicago.

She dearly enjoys the character development in a good murder mystery series – Nero Wolf, Easy Rawlins, Rumpole of the Bailey and the like – as well as books on graphic and visual design. 

Norman Wellheim, Ph.D., Philosophy & the Social Sciences.

Wellheim studied philosophy and social policy formation at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He also holds advanced degrees from the University of New Hampshire and has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Rowan University, and East Carolina University. He is currently pursuing his own interests as an independent scholar and writer. 

Richard T. Zieger, Home Improvement.

Growing up in the 30s in New Jersey, Zieger is a member of the Greatest Generation. After service in the U.S. Navy, he worked as a clerk in a hardware store, a machinist in a machine shop, and the caretaker of an estate. He is qualified as a plumber and an electrician as well as a machinist. Since his retirement he has logged many hours as a volunteer at the UNC Hospitals and done the plumbing and wiring on 160 Habitat for Humanity houses.

Zieger is a voracious reader, having moved to Chapel Hill because he could live near a university and attend classes. He has three daughters and two granddaughters. He loves comedy series, P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves being the prime example.

Zieger, something of a loveable curmudgeon, notes that nobody seems to know how to do anything any more.