National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Five new, potentially good reads for August

By Hannah Connorton

August 06, 2014


This month’s selection of books from Goodreads.com includes a lesson in unleashing “bad” creativity and the story of a man who used smarts and force to pave the way for modern-day Las Vegas.

New York--Online book discussion website Goodreads has just come out with its list of new releases for the month of August, and National Jeweler has chosen four from the assortment that could be useful to business owners.

This is the fourth installment of National Jeweler’s Goodreads picks, which also ran in April, May, June and July. A staff pick is included as the last read in each.

Among August’s reads are Make it Mighty Ugly, a lesson in harnessing fear of creativity; a historical novel following an innovative man who helped to shape modern-day Las Vegas; and Violins of Hope, which explores the importance of violins during the Holocaust and a man who made hundreds to honor those who perished.

The following list includes a brief summary of each book and links to additional information on Goodreads.

1. Make it Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When it Ain’t Pretty
Kim P. Werker

What better way to tackle a fear of creativity than to create something, well, mighty ugly? Werker encourages her readers to do just that in this book, which encourages its readers to pick up their pen, paintbrush or scissors and make something mighty ugly to get “failure” out of the way. Through essays, interviews, exercises and prompts, Make it Mighty Ugly dares its reader to get crafty to banish their creative fears. This book is 240 pages.

2. Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker
Doug J. Swanson

Blood Aces tells the story of the crucial role Benny Binion--cowboy, pioneering casino owner, gangster and founder of the World Series of Poker--played in shaping modern Las Vegas, through vision, determination and brutal expediency. His formula? Run a good business, cultivate the big boys, kill your enemies and own the cops. Journalist and author Swanson uses once-secret government documents and reporting to show how Binion outsmarted his adversaries, including J. Edgar Hoover, in this untold piece of American history. This book is 368 pages.

3. Positive: A Memoir
Paige Rawl, Ali Benjamin

In this memoir, Rawl shares her experience of being HIV-positive since birth, a condition that didn’t define her until she disclosed it to a friend in middle school and faced social repercussions that led to an attempt to end her life. The failed attempt, however, proved to be only the beginning for Rawl, and she shares how choosing compassion over cruelty can change the life of a stigmatized individual. This memoir is 288 pages.

4. Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust--Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour
James A. Grymes

In Violins of Hope, Grymes tells the stories of the violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust and of the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these instruments back to life. It also explores how the violin assumed extraordinary new roles within the Jewish community, from liberator to savior, from comforter to, surprisingly, avenger. Ultimately, this book expresses how these instruments during the Holocaust represented strength and optimism for the future and the man who dedicated 20 years to restoring them as a tribute to those who were lost. This book is 336 pages.

5. Editor’s recommendation: High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed
Michael Kodas

Senior Editor Hannah Connorton just discovered and begun this non-fiction novel, a first-hand account of journalist Michael Kodas’ life on top of the world, and the changes Mount Everest has seen in past years caused by a tremendous boom in traffic. Here, Kodas explores cases of beatings, thugs, drugs, prostitution, coercion, threats and abandonments on the mountain’s highest slopes, and how these actions have become the rule rather than the exception.