2014 Holiday Gift Guide—Books

BURN ME UP FAST (January 1, 2015) by BT Rockwell

The author, BT Rockwell, was featured in TIME magazine when Wu Tang’s album got best Hip Hop album of the year a few years back. Now he’s penned his first book, a fiction novel called BURN ME UP FAST (January 1, 2015) which chronicles a coming of age tale of protagonist Byron Bella, who grows up in the music scene and has difficulty navigating both youth culture and the drug culture that hides in the shadows of the music industry.

“Do Ferrets Fly?”

“Do Ferrets Fly?” was published in January of this year and is selling on Amazon. It is both entertaining and informative. There is little known about ferrets and they are often misunderstood animals. Beautifully illustrated, each page has a hidden sock for children to find!

The Brooklyn Iceman by Anthony Dipello

The Brooklyn Iceman is a colorful saga spanning the 20th century from 1915 through the 1980’s, using one man’s experience to illustrate many of the important historical and cultural events of the era from the perspective of a pragmatic and amoral individual.

Dipello’s story defines the journey of the first, second and future generations of Italian immigrants in their quest to establish good and secure lives for themselves and their families. Although this is a work of fiction, many of the characters are historically correct (including Jimmy Walker, Fiorella LaGuardia, Gino Morelli, Al Capone).

VALOR:  Unsung Heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front By Mark Lee Greenblatt 

As the Season of Giving approaches, we should make a concerted effort to say “thank you” to the brave men and women who serve in our nation’s military.

In his new book, VALOR (Taylor Trade), Mark Lee Greenblatt explores some of these heroes, telling the thrilling stories of nine brave Americans who risked their lives to accomplish a mission or to save the lives of others.

Readers of VALOR will be transported to a variety of settings and look through the eyes of the individual soldiers, sailors, and Marines as they face gut-wrenching decisions and overcome enormous odds. A few sample highlights from the book, which Greenblatt modeled after John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, include:

  • An Army pilot who landed his helicopter in hostile territory to rescue two downed pilots, lugged them 100 yards across an insurgent-held field, and due to lack of space in the aircraft, strapped himself to the outside of the helicopter for the flight to the hospital.
  • A Navy SEAL who singlehandedly liberated a group of Marines trapped in a house in Fallujah and dragged one injured Marine 50 yards to safety as insurgents chased them down a dusty alley.
  • An Army Special Forces commander who fought back against a point-blank insurgent ambush (of at least two machine guns) with a pistol, and after diving for cover, ran back through the kill-zone multiple times to attempt to save a colleague’s life and recover valuable equipment.


VALOR is an amazing illustration of the bravery shown by true American heroes under the most harrowing of circumstances. It is a classic portrayal of their love and dedication to the country they serve and the service men and woman who stand by their side.

31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction by Marcia Gloster (The Story Plant, ISBN: 978-1-61188-188-2, September 16, 2014)

Marcia Gloster was a college student traveling through Europe in the summer of 1963. When she arrived in Salzburg, Austria to study at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision, she envisioned a month of intensive painting, never expecting to find herself swept into a passionate affair. Nor did she imagine her lover to be a married instructor with a long history of indiscretions. Even at a young age, Marcia knew how to protect her heart. But it had never been taken by a man as overwhelming and sensual as Bill Thomson.

“31 Days” gives the reader a glimpse into Kokoschka’s famous, and infamous, school and paints an intimate portrait of the artists with whom she shared the seductive Salzburg nights. Two decades after WWII, she observes the tensions and mysteries of an era in flux. Above all, she exposes the naïve curiosity of a young art student willing to take chances and discover a new world of love and sensuality.

Luxury, Inequity & Yellow Fever: Living Legacies and the Story of Old New Orleans

A new book by acclaimed author and photographer, Kerri McCaffety, “Luxury” pairs gorgeous photographs of two of New Orleans’ most majestic historic landmarks with captivating accounts of the turbulent times of antebellum New Orleans. The Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses have been preserved and restored to their original glory thanks to The Woman’s Exchange, one of the oldest continually run nonprofits owned and operated by women.

Highlights include:

  • 152 pages of beautiful photographs and intriguing history;
  • Intricate details about 19th century New Orleans—a romantic, mysterious and decadent time of wealth, slavery, hurricanes and disease;
  • Perfect for history enthusiasts, photography lovers, and readers of all ages;
  • Retail price – $45;
  • Available online at the Exchange Shop at the Hermann-Grima House and Barnes and Noble.


RUBMLE_bookcoverRUMBLE! How Boxing’s Greatest Match Was Made

Originally published in 2010 as From the Corners of the Ring to the Corners of the Earth: The Adventure Behind the Champions, this is the hilarious, thrill-a-minute story of how a Jewish engineer from Brooklyn came to be the promoter of the most famous fights in boxing history – the Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. The hoops Hank Schwartz jumped through to pull it off make for an over-the-top, page-turning story that features Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, the unscrupulous dictators of developing nations, the biggest banks in the world, Howard Cosell, and, of course, “Mr. Self-Promotion,” Don King.

RUMBLE! How Boxing’s Greatest Match Was Made (Acanthus Publishing, 2014) was the winner of the Gold Medal at the 2010 Independent Book Publishers Awards.

The Berlin Candy Bomber 

“The Berlin Candy Bomber” is a love story—how two sticks of gum and one man’s kindness to the children of a vanquished enemy grew into an epic of goodwill, spanning the globe—touching the hearts of millions in both Germany and America.

In June of 1948, Russia laid siege to Berlin, cutting off the flow of food and supplies over highways into the city. More than two million people faced economic collapse and starvation. The Americans, the English and the French began a massive airlift to bring sustenance to the city and to thwart the Russian siege.

Gail Halvorsen was one of hundreds of U.S. pilots involved in the airlift. While in Berlin, he met a group of children standing by the airport watching the incoming planes. Though they hadn’t asked for candy, he was impressed to share with them the two sticks of gum he had in his possession. Seeing how thrilled they were by this gesture, he promised to drop more candy to them the next time he flew to the area.

True to his word, as he flew in the next day, he wiggled the wings of his plane to identify himself and then dropped several small bundles of candy using parachutes crafted from handkerchiefs to slow their fall. Local newspapers picked up the story. Suddenly, letters addressed to “Uncle Wiggly Wings” began to arrive as the children requested candy drops in other areas of the city. Enthusiasm spread to America, and candy contributions came from all across the country. Within weeks, candy manufacturers began donating candy by the boxcar.

In May of 1949, the highway blockade ended, and the airlift ended in September. But the story of Uncle Wiggly Wings and the candy-filled parachutes lives on—a symbol of human charity.

“The Berlin Candy Bomber” is available at The Marketplace by The Blaze, Barnes and Noble, Deseret Book, Costco, Books and Things and many other great bookstores.

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