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Beth Cox Report: August 2017

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,

I'll get straight the point - Hurricane Harvey has caused immense devastation and tragic loss of life, especially to the state of Texas and the city of Houston. The good news is the heartwarming amount of aid and support that the general public has offered in response. has an excellent article listing vetted charities that are actively working to help people in need:

I've personally made a donation to Save the Children for Houston relief; I chose them because they earned high marks from multiple charity watchdog organizations.

I'm emphasizing this article because, tragically, unscrupulous con men shadow natural disasters like hungry ghouls. It is vitally important to verify that one is donating to a legitimate relief charity (and preferably, a charity that does not spend too great a percentage of its donations on fundraising or administrative costs) before reaching out to help. The worst of the fraudsters may even try to steal one's identity along with one's donation.

Now for August's Link of the Month. It's Duck Duck Go

They are "the search engine that doesn't track you." That is, they don't collect or share any of your personal information. They don't store your search history, or sell it to advertisers.

We have to do many, many web searches here at The Midwest Book Review, so we've switched from Google to Duck Duck Go as our "go-to" search engine. If there's any difference in search engine quality, then I haven't personally noticed.

I also have a couple useful links for prospective authors or bloggers; first is the DesignBombs guide to starting a WordPress Blog

and next is a guide to potentially turning one's blog into an ebook.

I'll wrap up these recommended links with a shout-out to Phil Kaveny, who has been a friend of the MBR for decades; his book blog is

Finally, August's Book of the Month is the fascinating and sober true-life testimony of a modern-day whistleblower, and the price he paid for obeying his conscience:

Doing Time Like A Spy
John Kiriakou
Rare Bird Books
453 South Spring Street, #302, Lost Angeles, CA 90013
9781945572418, $26.95, HC, 293pp,

On February 28, 2013, after pleading guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, John Kiriakou began serving a thirty month prison sentence. His crime: blowing the whistle on the CIA's use of torture on al Qaeda prisoners. "Doing Time Like A Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison" is Kiriakou's personal memoir and account of his twenty-three months in prison. Using twenty life skills he learned in CIA operational training, he was able to keep himself safe and at the top of the prison social heap. Including his award-winning 'Letters from Loretto' blog series. "Doing Time Like a Spy" is at once a searing journal of daily prison life and an alternately funny and heartbreaking commentary on the federal prison system. A unique, informative, and thought-provoking read, "Doing Time Like A Spy" is a compelling and highly recommended addition recommended for both community and academic library collections. An especially appreciated and uncommon contribution to our national discussion about the value of revealing governmental misconduct despite federal laws prohibiting such exposures, "Doing Time Like A Spy" deserves as wide an audience and readership as possible.

That's all for the August 2017 Beth Cox Report. A reminder to everyone reading this - whether or not you can afford to give a monetary donation to a worthy disaster relief charity, you very likely can give a blood donation to the Red Cross (some individuals are ineligible, but simply having a tattoo or a body piercing is not an automatic disqualification). Giving blood also helps save lives.

Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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