Book Reviews

Synopsis: “From Schnitzel to Nockerln: And Everything That Happened in Between” is an entertaining and informative memoir in which author Joy Viola paints a tender tribute to her late husband Alfred and the many adventures they shared over their half-century together.


Both being avid bird watchers and people with a passion for the natural world, the couple visited all seven continents and enjoyed rare views and interactions with some of the world’s most awe-inspiring creatures, from polar bears in the Arctic to penguins in the Antarctic.


“From Schnitzel to Nockerln: And Everything That Happened in Between” is comprised of intimate travel stories, all taken from Viola’s detailed diary entries, telling of the couple’s experiences in China, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, India, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Canada, Cuba and Antarctica, and of the unique, beautiful, and often hilarious moments they had along the way.


Critique: A joyful and memorial account of their lives together, “From Schnitzel to Nockerln: And Everything That Happened in Between” is a pure pleasure from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended to community library Contemporary American Biography & Memoir collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “From Schnitzel to Nockerln: And Everything That Happened in Between” is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Small Press Bookwatch: March 2022
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief

“Joy Viola offers a delightful memoir of the global travels that she and her husband Alfred made in search of rare birds and other wildlife spectacles. Drawing on a lifetime of meticulous journaling, the book offers poignant observations about these far-flung destinations–and the people and wildlife encountered during their journeys. Thoroughly enjoyable.”   -Bruce A. Stein, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Associate Vice President, National Wildlife Federation.

“This sensitive life narrative is at once an enduring love story studded with pathos, humor, and a rich accounting of natural history adventures that capture not only the essence of two lives intimately shared, but also which offer personal and authoritative portrayals of different cultures and some of more than 2300 birds and other wildlife species seen through the lens of a camera and the shared eyes of an organic chemist and a talented writer. Readers of this adventure filled odyssey will be both moved and entertained by Joy Viola’s delightful commentary.”
Wayne R. Petersen, Director, Massachusetts Important Bird Area Program, Massachusetts Audubon Society                 

“This book is a naturalist’s travel bucket list with ten great adventures for photographers, birders, botanists, foodies and animal lovers. What I enjoyed most about the book was even if things didn’t go exactly as planned, Joy and Alfred’s attitude remained positive, and they made the best out of the situation. The book is great. Joy is truly a gifted author and I look forward to sharing this book with others..”
– Chuck Bargeron, Director, University of Georgia, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.              

“Joy’s From Schnitzel to Nockerln is truly a joy to read. This compilation of Joy and Alfred’s wonderful and varied travel adventures spanning decades of their lives together reminds us of what a well-lived life is all about. This book is a treasure.”
-Steve Cox, Co-founder International Expeditions, Inc.